Encounter Help


Advice


I'm looking to get some assistance to achieving a "interesting encounter" my party is kind of different with a bit many players, as a result building an encounter is somewhat difficult outside of just throwing many strong things at them.

I've been using a guide for a XP-buy system to help keep the encounters at least on the more "worrysome" side so they can't just charge in at everything.

The problem is their odd party makeup.
The party is all 9th level.

Here's the list of players/how they're playing:

Players/Playstyles:

1. Cartomancer Witch - Effectively acting healer of the party. with very little combat-prepared spells, so she's very limited on her buffing as she wants to be more prepared for the RP/other segments of the game. It makes out of combat interesting but she's effectively just throwing heals for most of the time, sometimes choosing to do nothing for her turn.

2. Paladin - Some sort of order or archetype that lets him focus on aberrations which is a sort-of focus of this campaign which basically makes him off-healer and #1 damage dealer with his Adamantine scythe.

3. Orc Armor Master Fighter - mentioning the race on this on as basically he has all the strength in the world along with DR, a tower shield, a bastard sword, and 33 AC (touch of course in the toilet).

4. Martial Artist Monk - He's pre-unchained and doesn't want to change to new as he likes being chaotic good (matrial artist removing the alignment requirment). He uses weapon finesse and wants to get a agile amulet of mighty fists or whatever so he can do better damage. Right now he has the Pummeling style/pummeling charge stuff. He's the bad player who forgets most of his abilities (never uses stunning fist/has the bleeding strike feat and never tells me during combat that he has a bleed added to his unarmed strikes so it slips my mind). So basically he can manage to get into his style,
use it and use exploit weakness.

5. Sylph Gunslinger Pistolero - Uses a revolver, and now can fly.

6. The...Samurai/Monk Merfolk - Yes... he's the "special" one of the group. Took the alternative trait to get slightly more land speed and dropped just enough levels into master of many styles monk to get Archon style. Dumped everything into constitution which only offsets his terrible Hit dice rolls. He's a standard samurai, but asked to use a snapping turtle as a mount. I approved it but said he still had to be able to ride it meaning he can't ride one until he's 7 levels in samurai (currently 6 with 3 in monk).
So he's a bit more underpowered right now. In addition to that he has terrible to-hit and choses to use combat expertise to be extra tanky. That said thats to combo with archon style so he can redirect attacks and grant AoO.

So now referring to them by number:

6 is the most strategic, 4 being the most simplistic. 1 is a very weak healer due to the limits of healing hex and not preparing much else spell-wise. 2 is best damage when a appropriate opponent is near, 3 can just take a beating forever.

So we bascially have two tanky characters in 6 and 3.
Our Dps is 5, sometimes 4 if he crits under the pummeling style, and 2 wins if the enemy is appropriate type to smite.
Then of course leaving 1 as the healer.

If you read the player list sorry for the long descriptions but i thought it would be helpful to understand this group and how odd these composition/builds are.

My problem is trying to throw a good/different encounter at them.

They each have weaknesses but the issue is trying to throw a varied encounter at them because oddly enough they kinda have all the bases covered outside of the fact that right now they have almost no sustainability. That said while they have a lot of bases covered its not hard to cripple 1 and watch the whole thing fall apart.

I almost can't throw a spellcaster at them right now because the two tanky players easily fold under it and the rest of them aren't durable enough to take on much if the tanks go down, in addition to the limited sustain of the party.
But they better handle melee encounters (sometimes the enemies flat out need 18s/19s or even only 20s to hit the fighter).

So short version is due to the weird party composition its hard to throw varied fights at them because what has been a properly balanced encounter for other groups/parties is a bit less predictable what they can handle and what will just outright destroy them.


Well Druids get some nice spells to make the fighter/gunslinger/samurai miserable without completely destroying them with save or suck. Throw in a large number of low power mobs to break up their formations/force prioritization. A minor caster capable of enacting wind walls. A mini boss with some ranged harass who is controlling the mobs.

Witch can try RP and if that fails the fight should be challenging without being an insta-wipe.

Alternatively look into spell casters who don't do SoD/SoS, and set the party up against them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No controllers...which commonly results in what you have already identified, no staying power. Without sufficient battlefield control, your party is split between trying to out-damage the foe and finding they have to spend a lot of resources healing...

Also it means when facing a balanced opposing force with controllers they fare very poorly.

Actually you may find this article useful:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i5hWkHXHOetRlpLOmxbpoEWod77psN0JcwFvxCl NrGc/mobilebasic?pli=1 or google "Pathfinder Forge of Combat"

If you want to tailor the game, you basically had to softball to cover their weaknesses...or you can encourage them to learn. Up to you. If the former...drop the CR of all they face.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Challenging your players from time to time is actually okay, so don't hesitate to use a spellcaster or two. They might even surprise you with a new tactic/strategy.

But anyway...they are level 9 but you are looking at 6 players. APL 10, normally would say APL 11 but they don't seem to be super optimized.

If you want to test the waters...here 3 encounters that I would recommend:

-3 Alchemical Golems , encounter would be CR 12, it is a rather brutal encounter due to the alchemical launching ranged touch attacks, rather good defenses and solid melee.

-A rakshasha with 2 Lamia Matriachs, this one combine martial might and spellcasting but they are evil, so the paladin could potentially enjoy unloading smite evil multiple times in the fight. Stuffs to watch out for: lamia matriarchs with their crit bonuses on their weapons, crit very easily (15-20 is a crit). It's a rather brutal encounter again.

-2 Animate Dreams , mostly here to test how they handle incorporeal creatures. It would be a cr 10 encounter, normally should be easy for them but depending on the party weakness, it could end up a challenging encounter.

-Bonus fun encounter: Flesh Golem + shocker lizards...just have the shocker lizards keep shooting lightning at the flesh golem or golems. It is mostly made to be a fun encounter and the fight would be much easier, if they take down the shocker lizards.


Rerednaw wrote:

No controllers...which commonly results in what you have already identified, no staying power. Without sufficient battlefield control, your party is split between trying to out-damage the foe and finding they have to spend a lot of resources healing...

Also it means when facing a balanced opposing force with controllers they fare very poorly.

Actually you may find this article useful:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i5hWkHXHOetRlpLOmxbpoEWod77psN0JcwFvxCl NrGc/mobilebasic?pli=1 or google "Pathfinder Forge of Combat"

If you want to tailor the game, you basically had to softball to cover their weaknesses...or you can encourage them to learn. Up to you. If the former...drop the CR of all they face.

Definitely trying to make them learn, but generally an encounter that exists to point out their strategic flaws usually results in them nearly dying and assuming that i'm being a mean DM.

My party isn't too good when it comes to learning. Either they assume they need to smash it more or I've made an impossible encounter and they will need to run away and find something else more beatable.

The party used to be balanced but after a complete wipe due to a player in a dungeon running into a room full of baddies and proceeding to run halfway across the dungeon into a room full of the final boss encounter they ended up dying to general unlucky rolls and poor planning.

Since this point the party started kinda swapping in extreme directions of what they previously play trying to make up for whatever major weakness of the previous character.

So the only way the party generally seems to "learn" is if their character dies at which point they don't as much learn as overcompensate.

Eltacolibre wrote:

Challenging your players from time to time is actually okay, so don't hesitate to use a spellcaster or two. They might even surprise you with a new tactic/strategy.

But anyway...they are level 9 but you are looking at 6 players. APL 10, normally would say APL 11 but they don't seem to be super optimized.

If you want to test the waters...here 3 encounters that I would recommend:

-3 Alchemical Golems , encounter would be CR 12, it is a rather brutal encounter due to the alchemical launching ranged touch attacks, rather good defenses and solid melee.

-A rakshasha with 2 Lamia Matriachs, this one combine martial might and spellcasting but they are evil, so the paladin could potentially enjoy unloading smite evil multiple times in the fight. Stuffs to watch out for: lamia matriarchs with their crit bonuses on their weapons, crit very easily (15-20 is a crit). It's a rather brutal encounter again.

-2 Animate Dreams , mostly here to test how they handle incorporeal creatures. It would be a cr 10 encounter, normally should be easy for them but depending on the party weakness, it could end up a challenging encounter.

-Bonus fun encounter: Flesh Golem + shocker lizards...just have the shocker lizards keep shooting lightning at the flesh golem or golems. It is mostly made to be a fun encounter and the fight would be much easier, if they take down the shocker lizards.

I'll have to try some of those. Though I imagine them dying horribly to incorporeal creatures as I haven't thrown that at them yet so they'd be woefully unprepared.


Encounter 1 Elemental on slot
1 air elemental (huge) CR 7
1 earth elemental(huge) CR 7
1 fire elemental (huge) CR 7
1 water elemental(huge) CR 7
1 druid 10 CR 9
1 sorcerer 10 CR 9

Encounter 2 Devil Death Cult
3 Erinyes CR 8
1 Clerics 11 CR 10
1 Contract Killer CR 10

Encounter 3 Giant War band
1 Fire Giant Glaive CR 12
2 Fire Giant CR 10
8 Advanced trolls CR 6

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