NobodysHome's Silly Serpent's Skull Moments [***Spoilers***]


Serpent's Skull

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NobodysHome wrote:

Don't get me started.

It's classic "U.S. Thinking".

Multinational research has shown that:

  • More time in school does NOT lead to better grades
  • More homework actually negatively affects student learning
  • So, U.S. scores lag other countries?

    More school! More homework!

    Maybe if our schools were better, our elected officials would understand educational research better, leading to better schools, leading to more educated elected officials, leading to...

    (My favorite/least-favorite example was one of the kids in my group talking about an AP class: The amount they learn doesn't matter at all. The class is judged based on having more homework than the non-AP version of the course. Because the ONLY way a class can teach you more is to have more homework, right?)

    EDIT: Or another favorite example of "education gone wrong": Impus Major took two tests in math over two days: One a group test and the other an individual test. They got 11/24 on the group test. He got 37/40 on the individual test. I think what he learned is that "other people are idiots".

    What in the Hades is group test?!


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    Well, on the bright side I spent 5 hours (!!) prepping last night, and got the overall city plus areas B and C ready. Means I'm ready for next week, and can go back to my, "Prep one area per night per campaign" approach.


    Drejk wrote:
    NobodysHome wrote:

    Don't get me started.

    It's classic "U.S. Thinking".

    Multinational research has shown that:

  • More time in school does NOT lead to better grades
  • More homework actually negatively affects student learning
  • So, U.S. scores lag other countries?

    More school! More homework!

    Maybe if our schools were better, our elected officials would understand educational research better, leading to better schools, leading to more educated elected officials, leading to...

    (My favorite/least-favorite example was one of the kids in my group talking about an AP class: The amount they learn doesn't matter at all. The class is judged based on having more homework than the non-AP version of the course. Because the ONLY way a class can teach you more is to have more homework, right?)

    EDIT: Or another favorite example of "education gone wrong": Impus Major took two tests in math over two days: One a group test and the other an individual test. They got 11/24 on the group test. He got 37/40 on the individual test. I think what he learned is that "other people are idiots".

    What in the Hades is group test?!

    I'm guessing it's a test where multiple people participate. It's probably an essay-style, where a single topic is given to an individual, and the collected whole is put together as a single test.


    NobodysHome wrote:
    Well, on the bright side I spent 5 hours (!!) prepping last night, and got the overall city plus areas B and C ready. Means I'm ready for next week, and can go back to my, "Prep one area per night per campaign" approach.

    YAY!


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    Drejk wrote:
    What in the Hades is group test?!

    So, having been at the forefront of some of the research and testing into this process, I'm rather embarrassed at what it has become.

    I want to say it was Sumner Davis and his wife Sylvia who started this at U.C. Davis back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but I'm too lazy to research whether the ideas were original to him or whether he just brought them to U.C. Davis.

    But the (very good) idea is that the best way to know whether or not you understand something is to try to explain it to someone else. So in our calculus classes, we'd meet 4 days a week. 3 days were traditional lectures. On the 4th day we'd hand out a sheet of problems for the students to work on, break the students into groups of 3-5, tell them which problem they were responsible for, and they were responsible for solving the problem, choosing a 'leader', and having that 'leader' explain the solution to the rest of the class. We'd go around and help them. So students learned to work together, ask good questions, and present solutions. It all worked very well, and students frequently cited the problem-solving sessions as "THE way they were learning" the material.

    Unfortunately, then administrators got involved, and it went from a cooperative, "Let's have fun trying to work this stuff out" effort into, "In the 'real' world, they have to do this! So let's make it a test instead of a project!"

    So a group of kids is given a test and they have to do ALL of the problems on it with NO help.

    And of course, it's an utter failure. This of course doesn't stop the administrators from making the teachers perpetuate this lunacy.

    So there it is.


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    That's... even worse than I thought.

    >.<


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    Aye...with Tac on that...

    That is utter nonsensical BS!

    This is why we can't teach using nice things!

    Shadow Lodge

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    Good LORD. That's horrible. I somehow managed to get through 13 years of public schooling without ever running into that once. Far too many group projects for my liking but never a monstrosity like that.


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    Only group tests I ever had to take were for an undergrad economics course. My group was frat bros.

    ...looking back, I wonder if that class was one of the major reasons I decided to not finish a business degree.


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    But the (very good) idea is that the best way to know whether or not you understand something is to try to explain it to someone else...

    Hum. Well at least the idea seems very cool and quite clever. I need to try it. How old are the students this was designed for? (Sorry about the digression)


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    NeoTiamat wrote:
    NobodysHome wrote:
    But the (very good) idea is that the best way to know whether or not you understand something is to try to explain it to someone else...
    Hum. Well at least the idea seems very cool and quite clever. I need to try it. How old are the students this was designed for? (Sorry about the digression)

    This was for University of California college students, so most of them were 18-20. It worked extremely well. I've done it with Impus Major as well. "OK, you think you know what's going on here? Why don't you explain it to Impus Minor and let's see whether he understands it?"

    It doesn't work as well for the under-16 crowd, as they still haven't mastered logical order of progression of thoughts.

    One more reason not to do it in high school. (And I can name a slew of reasons that it's a bad idea in high schools, #1 being, "You need an entire class of people who want to learn the material, or at least feel that they have to."

    When I was in high school I wanted to be a high school teacher. Then a couple of the teachers let me teach their classes. Once I'd been in front of a live class, I decided to teach college. Says something right there.

    Liberty's Edge

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    Yeah, I would never want to teach anything younger than 19-year-olds. Even in the early years of college it's a g** d+%ned running battle getting people to take interest.

    At my university we didn't have group tests (though we had far too many regular tests - what part of "midterm" gives folks the idea that they can have a 90-minute test at 8 pm every three weeks???), but we had plenty of recitations where we were supposed to work in groups and had no check-ins from the instructor until the end of the period. That always, always led to at least one group with a whole string of wrong answers because, either out of boredom or anxiety, no one questioned the loudest person in the group when they made a logical leap (several times, I was the loudest person at fault). Not that I really fault the undercompensated caffeine-dependent TAs who were heading these recitations, but it's hella important to actually have someone who understands the material there to stop the "smart" kids from teaching an entirely incorrect lesson.

    My Serpent's Skull game is having similar scheduling difficulties . . . we got to Tazion like a month and a half ago, but then Hell's Rebels took up two weeks, and then KC's halloween game took up two more, and now we're doing HR again this weekend because we have a new player to introduce. I do envy your group already getting to Ilmurea, NH - it seems like mine is going to take a couple more years at least :V


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    When I was in high school I wanted to be a high school teacher. Then a couple of the teachers let me teach their classes. Once I'd been in front of a live class, I decided to teach college. Says something right there.

    Hah. I've got the opposite progression going. Went to grad school intending to be a professor, finished my PhD and promptly looked for jobs teaching high school.

    Though in my case, I'd actually prefer and be very happy teaching college students, it's all the rest of the stuff I can do without. Publish-or-perish, the whole 'string together post-docs as a kind of highly educated hobo' job path, the stress of grant applications... yeah, pass.

    Mind, I usually teach history, so whenever the kids get too bored I can usually find something gruesome and gory to talk about. That helps a bit.


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    NeoTiamat wrote:
    NobodysHome wrote:
    When I was in high school I wanted to be a high school teacher. Then a couple of the teachers let me teach their classes. Once I'd been in front of a live class, I decided to teach college. Says something right there.

    Hah. I've got the opposite progression going. Went to grad school intending to be a professor, finished my PhD and promptly looked for jobs teaching high school.

    Though in my case, I'd actually prefer and be very happy teaching college students, it's all the rest of the stuff I can do without. Publish-or-perish, the whole 'string together post-docs as a kind of highly educated hobo' job path, the stress of grant applications... yeah, pass.

    Mind, I usually teach history, so whenever the kids get too bored I can usually find something gruesome and gory to talk about. That helps a bit.

    Community colleges, my friend. No research; no publish-or-perish, and a remarkably good student body of people who are (mostly) really dedicated to getting a "real" education so they can move on to a "real" college.

    In high school, math is such a hated subject that no matter how interesting you make it, you have a good percentage of the students who tune it out just out of resentment. In college, if you make it interesting, students will sit up and say, "Hey, I haven't seen math taught this way before!"


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    I'm not saying that was totally true of me.

    Nope. Not saying that at all.


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    Community colleges, my friend. No research; no publish-or-perish, and a remarkably good student body of people who are (mostly) really dedicated to getting a "real" education so they can move on to a "real" college.

    I considered it, and actually sent off some job applications... but community colleges (or at least the ones I'm familiar with) have gone heavily for the adjunct model of teaching. Which is it's own kettle of severely messed up fish.

    Anyway, I can't complain too much. I graduated last year and finally landed a job a few months ago (teaching English abroad) and it's been the most profitable and least stressful two months of my life so far.

    NobodysHome wrote:
    In high school, math is such a hated subject that no matter how interesting you make it, you have a good percentage of the students who tune it out just out of resentment. In college, if you make it interesting, students will sit up and say, "Hey, I haven't seen math taught this way before!"

    I enjoyed statistics, but my memory of most of the rest of my high school math education consists of 'memorize these formulae'.

    Liberty's Edge

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    Yeah, the education sector in the US is, nearly everywhere at every grade level, struggling to offer proper compensation and resources for teachers. I've also moved abroad, and though I'm hoping not to get shoehorned into teaching work, I have talked to a lot of teachers here. They have so much more financial security than instructors I know in the US.


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    NeoTiamat wrote:
    I enjoyed statistics, but my memory of most of the rest of my high school math education consists of 'memorize these formulae'.

    NobodysHome's Story Time:
    I was teaching statistics at City College of San Francisco. One rainy October afternoon, I was going over a particularly nasty bit of work when one of my students just stood up, right in the middle of class, and declared, "You're not Dr. Good! You're Dr. Evil!"

    Of course, the class lost it entirely.

    Unfortunately for them, the next class session was on October 31, and I had time...
    ...NobodysWife and I went to Costumes on Haight and got a full-blown Dr. Evil uniform, complete with scar, and I dutifully shaved my head. She dressed up like a biker dominatrix.

    So the next time we showed up in class, she stormed in ahead of me, glared down the class, and I came striding in in all my glory.

    I got a standing ovation.

    And for the rest of the semester, every test question was of the form, "Dr. Good is trying to use xxx to control this many people in his attempt to take over the world. Calculate the probability of his success. Should he proceed with this plan?"

    Best answer of the semester, from a student who was already receiving a whopping 15%: "I refuse to support you in your vile endeavors, so in good conscience I cannot answer this question."

    I gave him half credit. It was an awesome answer.


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    Apologies to all: I have caught something extremely nasty, and will be bedridden tonight, rather than running a game.

    As I posted on FaWtL, usually my body waits until AFTER all the major events to break down. I must be getting old...


    NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    NH, I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN BETTER EVENTUALLY!

    YOU DIDNT HAVE TO STEAL THIS FROM MEEEEEEEE


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Please, please tell me there is photographic evidence.

    (Also, hope you get better soon!)


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    NeoTiamat wrote:
    NobodysHome wrote:
    ** spoiler omitted **

    Please, please tell me there is photographic evidence.

    (Also, hope you get better soon!)

    I'll see whether I can find it and scan it when I'm feeling better.


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    Giant Spiders? AGAIN? And we Never Really Liked Kwai Chang Anyway...

    Last night we finally resumed the campaign, but not before losing another half hour to finalizing level 13 character sheets and gear at the start of the session, and a shot-in-the-eye by a Nerf gun mid-to-late session. (One of my pet peeves: I was a teenager. I'm well aware that, "If it's a toy that can possibly hurt someone, I'm going to try it out," is a teenage boy mantra. So I get inordinately peeved when Impus Major brings out anything that can potentially be used as a weapon. Heck, if I could get away with it I'd force him to put a cork on his fork when he eats, a la Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Anyway, Impus Major got out a pair of Nerf guns, and Impus Major got shot pretty badly in the eye. Live and learn... I hope...)

    Once we started, the session was pretty fun. The party proceeded down the long, long, LONG passageway into Ilmurea, losing only one minute-per-level buff due to the half-mile-long passage. (I'd been really hoping they'd do their usual and cast a dozen minute-per-level buffs, only to lose them all, but they somehow sensed that the passage would be immensely long.) As they saw a widening in the passage, they heard clicking and clacking as of creatures moving into position. Not wanting to tip their hand, they sent Kwai Chang in to scout ahead...

    ...unfortunately, Tremorsense is not a scout's friend, and we started the surprise round with one of the vagabond spiders miraculously hitting Kwai Chang with its webbing (it rolled a natural 20 to manage to hit the monk's ludicrous touch AC), gluing Kwai Chang to the floor, well ahead of the rest of the party.

    The next 2 rounds were... curious... to say the least. As the first spider walked up and hit Kwai Chang for 42 points of damage, he chose to forego Abundant Step in favor of an Escape Artist attempt. His natural 2 did nothing to help. Athelya cast Burning Hands on the webbing, figuring Kwai Chang's Evasion would save him. It did, but the Burning Hands didn't do enough damage to burn the webs away.

    So... knowing full well that Kwai Chang was trapped, that the spiders did 40+ points per hit, that two of them were approaching Kwai Chang, and that he didn't have enough hit points to survive those two hits, the rest of the party... stood back and buffed.

    Yeah, Hooken shot at the spiders, but without being fully-buffed and without having vermin as a Favored Enemy, he missed... a LOT. Athelya wisely put a Fireball between the two spiders to start getting in some damage, but it certainly wasn't enough to even slow them down. Kwai Chang spent his next round trying to use Escape Artist again. I suggested, "Try rolling higher than a 2 this time."
    He obliged by rolling a 3, so the two spiders cheerfully walked up and knocked Kwai Chang to -24 hit points.

    At this point Narlock did the bard thing. She'd already started performing and cast Good Hope on the last round, and Voren, after wasting a round to a declared action that everyone else ignored, had managed to Haste the party. (I swear, you'd think that when one party member clearly states, "I declare that once everyone is within 30' of each other, I cast Haste on the party," at least one or two people would pay attention. Instead, everyone ignored him and Voren lost a round waiting for his ungrateful party members to move.)

    Bard's Escape dropped Malek and Bara next to the spider on the floor. Sad, sad spider. Malek is finally learning to accept buffs, so he didn't rage until after he'd been teleported. The eensy-teensy earthbreaker that might look appropriate in a child's hand was hitting for 1d10+2d6+29 per hit. Splatty spider. Bara tore into the one on the ceiling, hitting 5 times but not managing to rip it loose from its moorings (what kind of creature has a 52 CMD?!?!?!? Apparently a colossal spider, that's what). Unfortunately, now that he and Bara were farther into the room, Malek saw the third spider waiting for its chance to move in.

    Unfortunately, now that Malek and Bara were in front, the remaining two spiders hitting at 40+ hit points per round were not a particular threat. One crit Malek for 83. Meh. It wasn't even half his hit points. Bara took 86. Meh, barely over a quarter. With those two blocking the way, Athelya was able to get in and apply Breath of Life to Kwai Chang, who promptly finally used Abundant Step to get out of there.

    The rest was mere mop-up, as the spiders just didn't hit for enough damage to survive the Bara-Malek-Hooken rain of pain.

    If you're interested, Kwai Chang's obituary is here.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Quote:
    (what kind of creature has a 52 CMD?!?!?!? Apparently a colossal spider, that's what)

    Size bonuses, yo.


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    I remember those spiders. Our magus had put Vorpal on his weapon, and managed to oneshot a spider the size of a house.


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    Hey guys, Talky McTalkTalk/Narlock here, I wanted to ask a question to everyone:

    For all our silly misadventures and dumb choices, why do you think we made it so far?

    Rangers being broken?
    The GM taking over at just the right moments?
    Bards?
    Bara, the Blushing Froghemoth?
    Drunken Ninjas?
    (Please say Bards)

    Grand Lodge

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    I'd say attrition in the early stages. You could always make more characters to die easily on the early levels.

    I'm not much of a fan of Bara, but I'm looking forward to seeing you all handle what comes after this.

    Rangers being broken is the current reason for your success, by all appearances.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Combination of Hooken and Malek, Bara, and dumb luck. =) Though the Bard is indeed moving up in the list, they're just fairly new to the group so they can't get too much credit.


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    Mangenorn wrote:

    I'd say attrition in the early stages. You could always make more characters to die easily on the early levels.

    I'm not much of a fan of Bara, but I'm looking forward to seeing you all handle what comes after this.

    Rangers being broken is the current reason for your success, by all appearances.

    Aw, c'mon! Without Bara they'd be at least half a book farther along!

    Most... disruptive... "gift"... EVER!


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    Mangenorn wrote:

    I'd say attrition in the early stages. You could always make more characters to die easily on the early levels.

    I'm not much of a fan of Bara, but I'm looking forward to seeing you all handle what comes after this.

    Rangers being broken is the current reason for your success, by all appearances.

    Aw, c'mon! Without Bara they'd be at least half a book farther along!

    Most... disruptive... "gift"... EVER!

    Also amazingly useful. Kinda...at least we don't have to deal with all the bodies.


    I super-heart Bara, dang it!

    Rangers are not broken - they're juuuuuuussssst right.

    Like Barbarians!

    Ninjas are pretty okay!

    Bards are rockin', especially for skills, especially if they're careful in their investment into Performance.


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    Dawning Aegis wrote:

    Hey guys, Talky McTalkTalk/Narlock here, I wanted to ask a question to everyone:

    For all our silly misadventures and dumb choices, why do you think we made it so far?

    Rangers being broken?
    The GM taking over at just the right moments?
    Bards?
    Bara, the Blushing Froghemoth?
    Drunken Ninjas?
    (Please say Bards)

    As an honest answer, count the PC's:

    Kwai Chang
    Athelya
    Hooken
    Narlock
    Voren
    Malek
    (and Bara)

    6 PC's, and a highly potent NPC asset, and I think I've forgotten one. I'm guessing that your PCs are more than 15 pt buy for stats. (if you need an explanation of point buy, see HERE ).

    I don't think Nobody's Home is adjusting the encounters from the ones in the book. The book is intended to be a challenge for a group of 4 PC's made with 15 pt buy, with "average" players.

    I figure that as a group got roughly twice the potential "power" of the group the adventure path is intended to challenge. Which is why your lot is still alive. However, you kids need to raise your game - this could get a lot nastier quickly...


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    pad300 wrote:

    As an honest answer, count the PC's:

    Kwai Chang
    Athelya
    Hooken
    Narlock
    Voren
    Malek
    (and Bara)

    6 PC's, and a highly potent NPC asset, and I think I've forgotten one. I'm guessing that your PCs are more than 15 pt buy for stats. (if you need an explanation of point buy, see HERE ).

    I don't think Nobody's Home is adjusting the encounters from the ones in the book. The book is intended to be a challenge for a group of 4 PC's made with 15 pt buy, with "average" players.

    I figure that as a group got roughly twice the potential "power" of the group the adventure path is intended to challenge. Which is why your lot is still alive. However, you kids need to raise your game - this could get a lot nastier quickly...

    We have a ninja who is rare there. I don't remember his name on here, but his presence is not much more than comic relief. I heard from NobodysHome that he maxes out the HP on the creatures due to us having a large party. And to be honest, from where we were, we have improved by miles. Now it's some actual thinking(like knowing the enemies would plan something) rather than saying "maybe we should cast Protection from Evil."


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    pad300 wrote:
    6 PC's, and a highly potent NPC asset, and I think I've forgotten one. I'm guessing that your PCs are more than 15 pt buy for stats.

    LOL. I would hardly call Bara "highly potent". The party has lost SO many rounds and SO many hit points spending time trying to convince her to DO something, or trying to squeeze her through narrow passages, that I consider her a delightful liability.

    As for the PCs, you forgot Deady McDeaddead's Irwin the ninja, an amazing amalgam of uselessness and silliness. But yes, they're all 15-point builds, "mostly" core-only. (Hero Labs is extremely irritating in that every time a new AP or third-party book comes out, or you buy a campaign setting or player companion, it ends up being turned on. As I was telling a friend the other day, "If the player companions aren't 'broken', then why is it that the moment one slips through and ends up enabled in Hero Labs, every single player chooses a spell or ability from it, judging its content "better" than core?)

    pad300 wrote:
    I don't think Nobody's Home is adjusting the encounters from the ones in the book. The book is intended to be a challenge for a group of 4 PC's made with 15 pt buy, with "average" players.

    Not quite true. In Book 1 I started with my original group of Impus Major, Impus Minor, and Deady. Talky joined about midway through, and then Mr. Stereotype. Even with 5 PCs instead of 4, the book was quite deadly due to their relative inexperience. Once Bacon Boy and the Adult in the Room joined (I think in Book 2), I started having to maximize the hit points of the enemies.

    That worked up until Book 4, where the optimization potential of a ranger/alchemist/bard combination started meaning that Hooken was one-rounding even those enemies.

    So in Book 5 I'm biting the bullet and upping the encounter CRs by 2, as I should have been doing ever since the party hit 6 people. And the first encounter went very well: It was challenging, but not particularly deadly. The only reason Kwai Chang died was that the rest of the party left him hung out to dry. So more "lack of teamwork" than "the monsters were too hard".

    We'll see how the rest of the book plays out.

    Dawning Aegis wrote:
    We have a ninja who is rare there. I don't remember his name on here, but his presence is not much more than comic relief. I heard from NobodysHome that he maxes out the HP on the creatures due to us having a large party. And to be honest, from where we were, we have improved by miles. Now it's some actual thinking(like knowing the enemies would plan something) rather than saying "maybe we should cast Protection from Evil."

    Yep.


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    NobodysHome wrote:
    As I was telling a friend the other day, "If the player companions aren't 'broken', then why is it that the moment one slips through and ends up enabled in Hero Labs, every single player chooses a spell or ability from it, judging its content "better" than core?)

    Catchy names. They don't always do what their name implies they do, or if they do they not always are really good at that.


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    Drejk wrote:
    NobodysHome wrote:
    As I was telling a friend the other day, "If the player companions aren't 'broken', then why is it that the moment one slips through and ends up enabled in Hero Labs, every single player chooses a spell or ability from it, judging its content "better" than core?)
    Catchy names. They don't always do what their name implies they do, or if they do they not always are really good at that.

    I'll politely disagree. Every time a player pulls out a spell or a feat that makes me think, "What the heck were developers thinking when they allowed that in?", I look it up, and it is virtually always a Player Companion addition.

    (I personally hate all the Litanies (or pretty much anything else that reads, "And even if you save, you're fully disabled for a full round anyway"), and they ended up getting into Ultimate Magic, but if memory serves the first place I saw them was again a Player Companion.)

    Action economy is already massively in the players' favor. Granting players the ability to skew that even worse, with saves not significantly helping, does not make for interesting fights.


    NobodysHome wrote:
    pad300 wrote:
    6 PC's, and a highly potent NPC asset, and I think I've forgotten one. I'm guessing that your PCs are more than 15 pt buy for stats.
    LOL. I would hardly call Bara "highly potent". The party has lost SO many rounds and SO many hit points spending time trying to convince her to DO something, or trying to squeeze her through narrow passages, that I consider her a delightful liability.

    I will agree that they are not using Bara to anywhere near her full potential, but she's still a CR13 "pet". That's a full PC wealth 13th level character. Using her effectively - say a PC maxing his handle animal skill and teaching her some tricks? How about buying a masterwork tool for handle animal, chain shirt barding for Bara, heck, maybe even some cheap magic items for Bara - collar of obedience and tightfit belt anyone? This would make for a heck of a difference in effectiveness.

    NobodysHome wrote:


    So in Book 5 I'm biting the bullet and upping the encounter CRs by 2, as I should have been doing ever since the party hit 6 people. And the first encounter went very well: It was challenging, but not particularly deadly. The only reason Kwai Chang died was that the rest of the party left him hung out to dry. So more "lack of teamwork" than "the monsters were too hard".

    We'll see how the rest of the book plays out.

    Dawning Aegis asked why they have been successful so far - now your getting closer to having the "expected" difficulty level, and the first encounter has resulted in a dead PC...


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    pad300 wrote:


    NobodysHome wrote:


    So in Book 5 I'm biting the bullet and upping the encounter CRs by 2, as I should have been doing ever since the party hit 6 people. And the first encounter went very well: It was challenging, but not particularly deadly. The only reason Kwai Chang died was that the rest of the party left him hung out to dry. So more "lack of teamwork" than "the monsters were too hard".

    We'll see how the rest of the book plays out.

    Dawning Aegis asked why they have been successful so far - now your getting closer to having the "expected" difficulty level, and the first encounter has resulted in a dead PC...

    That was due to our lack of attention and Kwai Cheng not using Abundant Step. As I said, we just need to think more tactfully and considerately.


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    ...

    ...

    ... I'm sorry.

    I have a problem.

    I admit this.

    This is way to large a wall of text:
    Bara has not lived up to the possibility of a CR 13 anything, though.

    Also, it's important to note, that while a 13th level PC with full wealth would be considered a CR 13, and Bara would be considered a CR 13, those two CR 13s are nothing close to being equal.

    Check it.

    That +20 attack bite and four +18 attack tentacles and a +18 tongue attack (not to mention constrict and swallow whole) are all really nice, but a "properly" spec'd fighter will eliminate a Bara one-on-one, much less a barbarian.

    That reflex +8 with a weakness to electricity is going to murder her (as being slowed negates her many attacks).

    So what is a danger to Bara?
    As an aside, I had to re-learn that it's "Froghemoth" when looking things up, not "Bara"...

    - an evoker mage (least powerful mage possible)
    > > > a cleric (storm domain), druid, oracle (any lightning-associated revelation), sorcerer, witch, or wizard

    - a fighter with a +1 shock weapon of any sort (+13 BAB, +1 weapon, +3 strength (+5 with spell or minor buff of most any kind available at this level), and two attacks (via haste); that's a +20/+20/+15/+10: two better-than 50% chances to hit, and two other chances besides)

    - a barbarian (see fighter, increase the attack bonus)

    - a ranger (like a fighter but at range and likely more attack and damage)

    - a paladin (like fighter but even better attack and damage; see also: inquisitor)

    - an alchemist (bombs hit touch AC)

    - a magus (doesn't even need a shock weapon)

    Pretty much any of these are going to wreck Bara or Froghemoths in general. That 184 hit points is a lot, sure... but nothing that can't be easily and quickly whittled by someone doling out 1d8+4-or-more (so ~8.5) damage per attack to a creature who will be limited to a single move-or-standard (not both) per round, and a -1 to attacks and AC (the half-speed thing is unlikely to matter, given it will probably be standing against a fellow full-attacker) - that's a hearty 21.647-blah attacks - not so many full-attacks, though (roughly 14?). And, again, that's very few buffs at all, and minimal average damage (i.e. going with the +4 number, instead of anything higher, ignoring probably larger attack bonuses for more likely hits, and very messy math).

    Note: I've not optimized with any of those things - that's a 16 or 17 in strength, which isn't that high on the list of things a fighter might want. Further, this presumes minimal expendables on the part of the people in question - a haste spell (extremely standard; generally speaking you can and will get this anywhere), anything like bull's strength or even something like bless - a nice and inexpensive low-grade potion (25 g, 1 minute bonus). It's worth noting that the "buffs" listed here are only "necessary" for people like fighters - and I didn't even factor in a fighter's favored weapon (likely a +2 or +3 bonus, side-stepping the need for buffs in that case).

    Relevant, AC is simple: +3 full plate (+1 Dex) and +3 heavy shield +2 ring -> +3+9+1+3+2+2 = +12+4+4 = +16+4 = +20; that's 30 AC, meaning the frog gets one 50/50 shot per round at him.

    So I had to leave this post, and was stuck getting my son and other stuff, and then I more or less ended up making a human (or half-elf, or half-orc) guy.

    15 Str (+2 racial -> 17), 12 Dex, 10 Con, 12 Wis, nothing else relevant (minimum 1 skill, shove it into Perception, why not; 2 if human and, for symmetry, put it in stealth). I haven't distributed stat increases, but let's pump dex for some unknown reason (maybe them sweet AC/initiative bonuses; also ranged attack - sensible, really), to 14 (at 4th and 8th); 14 Dex, that's nice. I suppose since I'm here, I might as well add the 1 to Str: 18 Str for an extra +4. Similar results can be nabbed with other creatures, but, eh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    How much I care seems kind of arbitrary and vague, really.

    Anyhoo, Perception is 13 ranks +3 class, +1 wis = +17, and stealth (if we have it) is similar, so: 13 ranks +3 class, +2 Dex, -3 acp = +15.

    AC 30 (10+2 ring, +12 armor [9+3], +2 Dex, +5 shield [2+3] = 10+2+12+1+5 = 12+13+5 = 25+5 = 30)
    - +3 full plate, +3 heavy steel shield, +2 ring of protection
    CMD 27 (10 +13 bab, +3 str, +1 dex)

    A +1 shocking longsword (noted above). I will throw the guy a bone and let it be in his second weapon training, though, for a +2 attack. I'm that nice of a guy.

    97 hp (13*5.5 = 71.5; +13 favored -> 71+13 = 84; toughness for +13 more)

    A 13th level has 140k, and I've spent ~32k on a +2 weapon (+1 with shock), and two +3 defenses, and a ring.

    Feat: improved initiative to go first, toughness I know, but, eh and others

    Again, this is super-basic, and I really don't care much about optimizing this guy.

    Now, froggy has 4 ranks in perception (4 ranks +1 wis, +3 class +8 racial = 16) and 12 ranks in stealth (-8 huge, +1 dex, +12 ranks, +3 class, +6 focus) (he has +10 Str, and +8 swim from his speed, so that's the +18).

    How does our fighter hold up?

    Well, haste-only, the hp of both of them is going to be rough for the fighter: he'll hit more often than froggy*, though not as hard**. This makes it ~17.825 damage per round for fighter, and ~7.65 per round for froggy. That's victory in just over ten rounds (10.32258 rounds) for a fighter, and two rounds longer for the froggy (12.67973856-whatever rounds). So, a single buff (haste; 750/pop, 7 rnds each, two potions), with a regular backup weapon, and minimal expenditure, though it's close, a fighter will win out.

    ... except, of course, for constrict and swallow whole, which (probably, I didn't math; look, I'm busy) pushes it right back into favoring froggy. That increased damage (the +1d6+10 once and all subsequent 3d6+10/round instead of 2d6+10/2 rounds) will make quite a difference (averaging at 20.5 dmg/round, or 4.634-blah rounds until victory ~> 5-6 rounds total, compared to 10-11 rounds for the fighter).

    ... only now you grant that fighter bonuses from potions (bless and, say, invisibility to guarantee a 50% miss chance on the first hit in addition to being 45% chance for the attack to hit, and a +20 stealth until attack, and/or displacement), or a belt of increasing ability scores (probably a +2 strength and dex for +1 more AC and and +1 attack and damage, and +2 CMD), potion of enlarge person (for similar), or whatever, really, and it'll swing right back to the fighter again (dealing the extra damage each round and usually making him harder to hit/damage or increasing CMD or both). And, of course, whatever the fighter has to heal himself.

    Now, typically, a fighter could expect ~2,900 gold from a CR 13, but that's only because it's divided by four (typical CR 13 gets 11,600) - presupposing the one-v.-one scenario, and we've a laaaarrrrrrge amount of money to expend on a single encounter to get 25,600 XP for the fighter (1/5 of the way from level 13 to 14 on standard) and a profit to boot. Or just fly for a minute with a +1 adaptive longbow pelting it with entirely normal arrows from beyond its reach (with a swig of acute senses for beating its Stealth by 27 v. 22 in a swamp) - and if it hides in total cover after receiving a round or two of pelting, then you can melee it, using any standard tricks shown, and can generally bank on the fighter coming out ahead.

    So this was a slapped-together not-very-optimized dude (compare a damage-maniac two-hander with weapon focus/specialization, power attack, higher bonus; anything ranged-focused with the ability to pierce water or cover; magic in general; anyone with, you know, actual feats) is certainly better than what I slapped together up there.

    * with a +1 shock longsword (+13 BAB, +1 weapon, +4 strength, +2 weapon training, and two attacks (via haste); that's a +20/+20/+15/+10; damage is 1d8 +4 str, +1 enhancement, +2 training -> 4.5+4+1+2 = 8.5+3 = 11.5 dmg), he's going to hit that 27 AC 0.65+0.65+0.4+0.15 -> 1.55 times per round; compare froggy's...
    ** with a bite (+19 attack; 2d6+10 -> 7+10 -> 17 dmg; plus grab) v. AC 30 is 0.45 times per round, or ~once per 2 rounds...

    So why did I spend all this time on this? I'unno.

    (As an aside, though this is literally in response to a specific post, it's actually not in response to any specific post, but more pointing at the general idea that CR X =/= CR X, even when applied to PCs or others.)

    pad300 wrote:
    I will agree that they are not using Bara to anywhere near her full potential,

    That's really all that needs to be recognized in the context of,

    pad300 wrote:
    Dawning Aegis asked why they have been successful so far

    Bara isn't really the equivalent of a level 13 (well, probably a rogue), and has often caused problems. Your suggestions for doing better with her are worthwhile, but that certainly doesn't count her as a true benefit (though she is, just not for the reasons implied above).

    pad300 wrote:
    now your getting closer to having the "expected" difficulty level, and the first encounter has resulted in a dead PC...

    I don't think this was entirely true. It seems that the PCs didn't use their full- I was totally ninja'd, never mind.

    NH wrote:
    I'll politely disagree. Every time a player pulls out a spell or a feat that makes me think, "What the heck were developers thinking when they allowed that in?", I look it up, and it is virtually always a Player Companion addition.

    I'll politely disagree with your disagreement - not because you're wrong when spells are broken, but because of the wording used by both Drejk and yourself (Drejk's answer could be inclusive, rather than the exclusive you took it as).

    Potential reasons include (but are not limited to):

    - the spells in question are different from your excepted expectations of how balanced encounters suss themselves out, when compared to the Devs, and thus tweak your "wait, what?" sense more than others
    This does not mean you are wrong, or they are unbalanced. This just means it tweaks your sense of game-design. This spills over into the group of those you play with, incidentally, as they learn from you in subtle and nuanced ways. I.e. "different groups are different."

    - the spells in question aren't broken, but they look like they do X, and really do Y (often with catchy names)

    - the spells in question are, in fact, broken

    Other sources for broken spells, though, are: Core, APs, Core, Ultimate lines, Core...

    But you're not necessarily wrong; I'm just opening things up for more interpretation. :)

    Note: "broken" does not necessarily mean "powerful" though it can.

    EDIT: I can totally do this right, yeah.


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    Oh, man.

    I have lots of writeups to do, and no time to do them (Strange Aeons last night, Serpent's Skull tonight and a TSO concert tomorrow night), but let's just say when you use the term "Parade of Stupidity" during a game, and one of the players suggests that they really need to be playing the Benny Hill theme song for a fight, you know it's not going well...

    ...or, if we measure sessions in terms of laughter, Best Session Yet!!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I'm mortified. Honestly. I was expecting that we were going to go into this with clear heads and get through problems a bit easier.

    I am sorely mistaken.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    NobodysHome wrote:
    one of the players suggests that they really need to be playing the Benny Hill theme song for a fight, you know it's not going well...

    ...that's...standard operating procedure for our group. That or "Gourmet Race."


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Don't you listen to that mean old Tacticslion oh most beauteous Bara Love-Muncher, we the crazed inhabitants of this thread think you are an AWESOME party member, and your real value cannot be quantified.

    Plus it IS impolite to leave masses of dead foes around, and equally uncool to not recycle :). Bara is a force for green living (and is green, coincidence, I think not!)

    LOL...just messing with you Tac! (good comparison piece BTW)


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    Don't you listen to that mean old Tacticslion oh most beauteous Bara Love-Muncher, we the crazed inhabitants of this thread think you are an AWESOME party member, and your real value cannot be quantified.

    Plus it IS impolite to leave masses of dead foes around, and equally uncool to not recycle :). Bara is a force for green living (and is green, coincidence, I think not!)

    LOL...just messing with you Tac! (good comparison piece BTW)

    H-h... HEY!

    A-HEM:

    Tacticslion wrote:
    I super-heart Bara, dang it!

    I WUV YUU BARRRRRRAAAAAAAA~!

    (... but not that way, 'cause you're already married.)


    GM_Beernorg wrote:
    LOL...just messing with you Tac! (good comparison piece BTW)

    Thanks!

    ... I'm pretty sure I made a few mistakes, including a lower Dex or AC than I mentioned at some point or another. But... I wasn't invested enough to double or triple check.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Bara t-shirts..?!

    It could and should be a thing!


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    GM_Beernorg wrote:

    Bara t-shirts..?!

    It could and should be a thing!

    Spreadshirt exists. I'd wear it if everyone else would.


    ... I'm listening.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Tactics Lion, with regards to your analysis:

    1) The CR system is of course, very, very approximate. This is not a shock to anyone.
    2) Try that analysis again without a shock weapon - that specifically targets the Froghemoth weakness – say a +1 flaming longsword…
    3) Or how about if you account for grappling when the Froghemoth hits – the grab effect on all their attacks… Even without swallow whole that is a -2 to attacks for the fighter. If he’s swallowed, he can’t use that longsword at all. If he's trying to break a grapple, he's not swinging that sword either.
    4) But with regards to all of this, including the builds, what you’re dancing past is that ALL BUILDS have points of relative weakness. What shows up in an adventure, is generally not an opponent that targets your specific weaknesses… For example, how many times has Bara been subject to an electrical attack since she’s been with the party? If my memory serves, zero! In your analysis, you haven't considered builds that a Froghemoth would be deadly against eg. a bad touch cleric, a rogue who can't hide from against blindsight and all around vision...

    Coming back to the core of your comment, “Bara has not lived up to the possibility of a CR 13 anything, though.” Which PC in this party (except maybe Hooken), has lived up to their potential effectiveness? Which is why they were only getting by with approximately twice the power potential of a “expected” party. Now if NH continues his adjustments, they are facing a "even" fight.

    And I am not sure they are up to handling this. Consider the first report since the NH started adding +2 CR to match the expanded party size : 1 dead in 1 enounter. How about the preliminary assessment on the second:

    NobodysHome wrote:

    Oh, man.

    let's just say when you use the term "Parade of Stupidity" during a game, and one of the players suggests that they really need to be playing the Benny Hill theme song for a fight,

    and

    Dawning Aegis wrote:

    I'm mortified. Honestly. I was expecting that we were going to go into this with clear heads and get through problems a bit easier.

    I am sorely mistaken.

    Actual results count.

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