Is the Oceanid too powerful for a CR 7 monster


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Dark Archive

My party of 5th level PCs found her pretty much unbeatable.

The fact that they were on a boat and she was in salt water I think is the standard environment to encounter one of these things, so I cannot imagine that in itself that would raise the CR.

However, the combination of endless 7d6 ranged attacks, 80 foot movement and fast healing 10 meant she could work away on them in a war of attrition. Her DR also meant that eventually the party ran out of cold iron arrows.

Being able to lower water at will (!) also meant she had battlefield control. And she has pretty respectable saves too.

(The three orcas she summoned at the beginning of the encounter were just an aperitif which the PCs overcame. It was all her other stuff which made her impossible for them).

What do you think?

Richard


Yes, water creatures are generally under cr'd. For example, the water cover rules means she has an ac of 29 at basically all times.

Fighting underwater is the absolute worst.

I guess hope for a lucky fort save hit or fire damage.

Dark Archive

CWheezy wrote:

Yes, water creatures are generally under cr'd. For example, the water cover rules means she has an ac of 29 at basically all times.

Fighting underwater is the absolute worst.

I guess hope for a lucky fort save hit or fire damage.

We actually house ruled the water cover rules to +4 rather than +8.

But, indeed, it didn't help!

Richard


Damn, these things are the sceaduinar of the seas!


I think the cr is fair, for a solo encounter creature for a level 4 or 5 party.

Suggest to make this easier fog cloud,or some other kind of miss chance spell for ranged attacks draw it in and grapple and pull it out the the water.

Maybe gm missed this, it take two rounds to use the water spouts, it must use one standard action to activate water telekinesis, then another to actual use the ranged attack, you must concentrate to maintain. it so concentration checks every time it gets hit. eventual it will fail, also few scorching rays could take it out.

how fast does the boat move, can the creature keep up if it constantly has to feel battle to heal up and reactivate or use it's abilities and come back to the boat. All they have to do is drive it away. or even negation would have been an option on the encounter possible it is CN alignment. they don't have to battle everything to beat an encounter and get rewarded, they just have to over come it. That includes driving it off.

Also normally pc's know when they are getting on boats and may have a water based encounter and should prepare for such. potions of water breath maybe scrolls of freedom of movement.

Dark Archive

KainPen wrote:

Maybe gm missed this, it take two rounds to use the water spouts, it must use one standard action to activate water telekinesis, then another to actual use the ranged attack, you must concentrate to maintain. it so concentration checks every time it gets hit. eventual it will fail, also few scorching rays could take it out.

"This ability also allows her to create a small waterspout as a standard action once per round, striking an opponent within 100 feet with a blast of water as a ranged attack that deals 7d6 points of bludgeoning damage."

Seems like once per round to me.

Richard


But it is a function of water telekinesis, which is it own standard action to activate and is subject to concentration.

rd 1 creature spend standard action to activate water telekinesis, if the creature is hit at all during this round it must make a concentration check.it not a constant ability like it's ability to speak with sea creatures.

rd 2 the creature can use it water telekinesis to attack with a water spout as standard action. It functions as the spell Telekinesis and require concentration to use, so again subject to these checks again. odds are every round and every attack the creature is going to have to make these checks and will fail at some point and have to spend and have to restart the process taking 2 round to reactive water telekinesis again.

Thus it takes two rd to preform.

I know it a water creature but concentration is called for based on Vigorous motion while casting or concentrating. the the waves of the water is going to cause a vigorous motion, similar to riding a mount or spell caster on a ship. thus another check for that. it is unlikely to fail that check but it should still be rolled. Considering it has +14 to the check add the dc is 16, but if it rolls a 1 it still fails.

Also ready action effect this greatly as that is how combat on boat vs a sea based creature. Everyone ready attacks with their bows and cold iron arrows when the creature comes in site and then fires. the wizard or Sorc does the same with scoring ray or a fire ball spell. the vulnerability to fire in the creature and Scorching ray will most certainly cause the concentration failure. considering the minimum damage is going to cause a Concentration check of 17 at the lowest. The Cr is not that bad because of this.

I can't remember if SU ability normal require concentration but for this creature and that function if does call maintain concentration is required.


richard develyn wrote:


My party of 5th level PCs found her pretty much unbeatable.

The fact that they were on a boat and she was in salt water I think is the standard environment to encounter one of these things, so I cannot imagine that in itself that would raise the CR.

However, the combination of endless 7d6 ranged attacks, 80 foot movement and fast healing 10 meant she could work away on them in a war of attrition. Her DR also meant that eventually the party ran out of cold iron arrows.

Being able to lower water at will (!) also meant she had battlefield control. And she has pretty respectable saves too.

(The three orcas she summoned at the beginning of the encounter were just an aperitif which the PCs overcame. It was all her other stuff which made her impossible for them).

What do you think?

Richard

In our party's experience, when something was so difficult, it was usually poor party composition for the fight. So the standard tactics we employed were tossed out the window and left us scrambling with no preparations.


Skylancer4 wrote:


In our party's experience, when something was so difficult, it was usually poor party composition for the fight. So the standard tactics we employeed were tossed out the window and left us scrambling with no preparations.

I have a feeling this is part of the case here. I ran into stuff like this before, like had two players who were so stuck on their builds so much the two weapon Mobile fighter and two handed fighter, with vital strike refused to use bows or even pick up one encase of emergency. they know they where in a game with lots of dragons, but sold every bow they ever found. So when they encountered a Wyrm Green Dragon in a very dense forest it started to preform strafing attacks they where in cable of doing anything to it. Fly potions they had did not help because they where hinder by the environment while the dragon got to ignore it. So They where basically two men out in the party and it lead to TPK. They where mad because they expect a creature with over 20 int and wisdom and 1000 years of experience to stop and fight them on the ground.

I notice players often over specialize now a days, got another one while playing way of the wicked, playing a Sorc that specializations in enchantment and charms, and against normal appoints he super effective, to the point of overly effective, but the moment he runs into undead or creatures immune to mind effects, this character is completely shut down. because it's only offense are these abilities.


She only has a +8 to hit with her water spout.

At 5th level a party member should reasonably have a AC of 20-22. Assuming you're on a boat in the ocean, use the boat as cover (+4 to AC). Now you have an AC of 24-26. If the boat happens to have arrow slits on the lower deck, you can get improved cover for a +8, giving an AC of 28-30.

With at least regular cover she only has a 20% chance to hit you if your AC is normally 20. Ready actions with ranged weapons or fire based attack or try to lure her out of the water. If you can get her out of the water and cause her regeneration to cease function she's toast.

Also don't forget she should probably take penalties from firing under water into the air, at the same rate you do for firing at her from the boat underwater.

Also, use obscuring mist, a wand preferably. She might use her control winds magic to get rid of it, but she wastes her turn doing so and then you can cast it again. She only has the ability 3 times per day. If you have a wand she'll run out first. Then if she wants to target you she'll have to get close, into the fog. Hostile Levitation could get it out of the water, and a Mad Monkey spell could really mess with her ability to cast any spells.

And for what it's worth, favorable terrain does usually add +1 to the CR of enemies. Though I can't find where in the rules it says this, I'm fairly positive that's a thing.


Claxon wrote:


Also don't forget she should probably take penalties from firing under water into the air, at the same rate you do for firing at her from the boat underwater.

Ha ha it totally does not work that way, water creatures are awesome.

Anyway it kind of doesn't matter if it takes her a turn or whatever, the attack is good but I think the bullrush part of the telekinesis is a worse part, if you get pushed off the boat, good luck surviving


CWheezy wrote:
Claxon wrote:


Also don't forget she should probably take penalties from firing under water into the air, at the same rate you do for firing at her from the boat underwater.

Ha ha it totally does not work that way, water creatures are awesome.

I don't know why that's funny, but okay. Even if the oceanid doesn't take the penalties (which seems odd) they should still be able to find cover on the boat.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

If you look at the monster creation table, she's pretty spot on. HP is a little low (made up w/ DR & fast healing). Average damage is also spot on, 7d6 average is 28, 2 less than high damage. Also her to hit is very low, +8 vs a suggested +13. I am using the high hit/damage because it doesn't have lots of other abilities to make up for low damage (energy drain, offensive spell-likes etc.)

If you tried to put her at CR 8, her to hit is now about half the suggested value and her average damage is 20% below expected value. Also her hp is now 25% behind.

Does she have good defenses? Yes.
Does she have pretty favorable terrain in your encounter? Yes.

Is she too strong for CR 7?

no.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Claxon wrote:


And for what it's worth, favorable terrain does usually add +1 to the CR of enemies. Though I can't find where in the rules it says this, I'm fairly positive that's a thing.

It's in the Encounter design section of the CRB, favorable terrain for the PC's, is CR-1 and favorable terrain for the monster is CR+1


Claxon wrote:
And for what it's worth, favorable terrain does usually add +1 to the CR of enemies. Though I can't find where in the rules it says this, I'm fairly positive that's a thing.
Core Rulebook, Gamemastering wrote:

Favorable Terrain for the PCs: An encounter against a monster that's out of its favored element (like a yeti encountered in a sweltering cave with lava, or an enormous dragon encountered in a tiny room) gives the PCs an advantage. Build the encounter as normal, but when you award experience for the encounter, do so as if the encounter were one CR lower than its actual CR.

Unfavorable Terrain for the PCs: Monsters are designed with the assumption that they are encountered in their favored terrain—encountering a water-breathing aboleth in an underwater area does not increase the CR for that encounter, even though none of the PCs breathe water. If, on the other hand, the terrain impacts the encounter significantly (such as an encounter against a creature with blindsight in an area that suppresses all light), you can, at your option, increase the effective XP award as if the encounter's CR were one higher.

I believe in the OP's case, from the point of view of Core Rulebook, a +1 to CR is not necessary.


Have you tried talking to her?

Dark Archive

They were in a row-boat. It only gave them +2 cover.

Then she used lower water on the boat, dropping them 18' to negate their cover completely.

I generally agree that the party were not really made for it.

Oh, and they did talk to her in the end - when they surrendered :-)

Richard


richard develyn wrote:

They were in a row-boat. It only gave them +2 cover.

Then she used lower water on the boat, dropping them 18' to negate their cover completely.

I generally agree that the party were not really made for it.

Oh, and they did talk to her in the end - when they surrendered :-)

Richard

Why were they in the ocean in a rowboat?

Dark Archive

They were in a saltwater lagoon in the middle of an island.

Richard


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richard develyn wrote:

They were in a saltwater lagoon in the middle of an island.

Richard

Ah, well...potions of fly and hightailing it back to land should always be an option. Everyone should always have a SHTF kit containing something along the lines of a potion of fly and a potion of invisibility.

Sczarni

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For those that wonder if encounter's CR is higher due to water:

Gamemastering wrote:

Favorable Terrain for the PCs: An encounter against a monster that's out of its favored element (like a yeti encountered in a sweltering cave with lava, or an enormous dragon encountered in a tiny room) gives the PCs an advantage. Build the encounter as normal, but when you award experience for the encounter, do so as if the encounter were one CR lower than its actual CR.

Unfavorable Terrain for the PCs: Monsters are designed with the assumption that they are encountered in their favored terrain—encountering a water-breathing aboleth in an underwater area does not increase the CR for that encounter, even though none of the PCs breathe water. If, on the other hand, the terrain impacts the encounter significantly (such as an encounter against a creature with blindsight in an area that suppresses all light), you can, at your option, increase the effective XP award as if the encounter's CR were one higher.


Malag wrote:

For those that wonder if encounter's CR is higher due to water:

Gamemastering wrote:

Favorable Terrain for the PCs: An encounter against a monster that's out of its favored element (like a yeti encountered in a sweltering cave with lava, or an enormous dragon encountered in a tiny room) gives the PCs an advantage. Build the encounter as normal, but when you award experience for the encounter, do so as if the encounter were one CR lower than its actual CR.

Unfavorable Terrain for the PCs: Monsters are designed with the assumption that they are encountered in their favored terrain—encountering a water-breathing aboleth in an underwater area does not increase the CR for that encounter, even though none of the PCs breathe water. If, on the other hand, the terrain impacts the encounter significantly (such as an encounter against a creature with blindsight in an area that suppresses all light), you can, at your option, increase the effective XP award as if the encounter's CR were one higher.

The whole party being stuck in a row boat, while fighting an opponent who would be probably be assumed to be met on a beach or large ocean going vessel, should have an impact.

Fish in a barrel? Sounds like it warrants the increased CR per the last sentence you didn't bold in your quote which is the pertinent information in this regard.

Regardless, the party wasn't prepared for the fight per the OP. Defeat isn't a surprise and without more information, "fairness" isn't something we can weigh in on. CR 7 or 8 is still appropriate for a 5th level party.


I think an Oceanid being in a terrain that allows her to use her abilities doesn't warrant an increase in CR. Presumably she has the at-will Control Water for a reason, and it's factored into her CR.

If the party had the chance to consider the risks of fighting on a boat and prepare accordingly, then I think their lack of preparation is at least partially their own fault.

Dark Archive

They knew they were going to fight an Oceanid, BTW - but Knowledge skills only go so far.

Richard

Sczarni

@skylancer4

The Gamemastering guidelines pretty much say everything. Usually, water based creatures do not require CR increase due to water terrain. Water terrain is one of the most devastating terrain types and party was ill prepared for it.

My thoughts about this, GM should have provided party with additional information or weapons to counter it and make it more even ground. Whether it was CR 7 or CR 8 however wasn't too relevant in the end. GM could have scaled it maybe down by CR -1 during combat. It's pretty hard to say when we don't know much about party itself.


If they knew they were going to fight an Oceanid and went to fight it in a rowboat on the water they made some big mistakes in the first place.

If you knew the Oceanid was there, don't fight it on its terms. Sit on the beach and coax it to you. Make it get out of the water. Prepare siege weapons (like the light ballistae that are on the proper boat that brought you there).

Sounds like the party walked into the worst situation they could without thinking about it.

Dark Archive

I was the GM, actually, and at the end of the day the Oceanid accepted their surrender and nobody got killed.

The Oceanid got what she wanted, though, which was more of an RP thing in the end. The players failed to defeat her, so kudos to the Oceanid, but in the end they didn't suffer for it and the adventure carried on regardless.

There wasn't an option to coax it out of the water, unfortunately. I don't want to give away where this happened because it's in a Pathfinder Adventure, but circumstances meant it had to be taken on in its own ground. I also think an Oceanid would take an awful lot of coaxing to leave salt water given the dramatic effect on its abilities.

The "is this too tough for CR" question comes up quite a lot, though, and I think it's an interesting one to ponder.

It does seem to me that the Oceanid has some pretty high level SLAs that it can do at will. Its fast healing, speed, DR and ranged attack is a pretty good combination too, allowing it to succeed in a ranged war of attrition against anything that doesn't completely overpower it (i.e. be totally immune to its abilities or able to destroy it in one round).

IMVHO

Richard


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j b 200 wrote:
If you look at the monster creation table, she's pretty spot on.

According to the monster creation table, a 17th level NPC wizard "should" be something like CR 8 -- the only number out of line would be the primary ability save DC.

Just something to think about, when dealing with primarily magic-using foes.

Sczarni

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@richard develyn

I think you did it fine. Some of the new Beastiary creatures (and Oceanid is from Beastiary 4) are quite brutal. The higher you go toward new Beastiaries, the tougher they get. I kinda suspect that this in response to more powerful player options in general, but that's another topic. As long as party hasn't died, they can learn on their mistakes next time. Sometimes, GM has to pull out more bigger guns in play.


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Still, there are always effective combinations to take out an opponent.

Slow, Ray of Exhaustion, Eldritch Fever, Tiny Hut to name a few.
Glitterdust can blind it so it can't use it Water telekinesis well.
Hostile Levitation (not sure exactly how this would work on a target in water, could possibly actually force it out of the water).

Readied actions to cast damaging fire spells at it when it uses a SLA or Water Telekinesis, so that you force a concentration check. Ranged attacks work too if you can get through the DR (smart archer should have some cold iron arrows about).

My point is that there are a lot of options for how you could disable the Oceanid to keep it from fighting effectively. You just have to be properly prepared before going in.

I think you party could have won, they just didn't make adequate preparation or strategy when they should have (they knew what they were about to fight).


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A lot of responses say the party should have been better prepared and/or more generalised. As a player in this encounter know that the party was marooned and under a time sensitive mission. So sleeping was not really an option nor purchasing specific items. More than anything that effected this encounter was the movement speed making the only option ranged (and we all know how awesome ranged attacks in the water). If we'd have obscured the area in anyway she could have waited it out under water whilst fast healing. I think this specific encounter would have been fine with more specialists rather than less as it would have been much easier if we'd had a couple of blasters or optimised Druids wild shaping.

Oh and Richard we didn't surrender we made a deal not to slaughter her real targets lol.

All in all however it turned a boring combat into a fun RP encounter.

As an addendum I find the whole CR system as a player and GM only a rough guide anyway as it IMHO gets it wrong far more than it gets it right.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
If you look at the monster creation table, she's pretty spot on.

According to the monster creation table, a 17th level NPC wizard "should" be something like CR 8 -- the only number out of line would be the primary ability save DC.

Just something to think about, when dealing with primarily magic-using foes.

Not true. A 17th level wizard with NPC gear is a CR 16.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
According to the monster creation table, a 17th level NPC wizard "should" be something like CR 8
Not true. A 17th level wizard with NPC gear is a CR 16.

True, but that's in violation of Paizo's own Monster Creation guidelines - see "Monster Statistics by CR" in the Bestiary which say that a CR 16 threat should have around 240 hit points, +19 saving throws, etc.


Matthew Downie wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
According to the monster creation table, a 17th level NPC wizard "should" be something like CR 8
Not true. A 17th level wizard with NPC gear is a CR 16.
True, but that's in violation of Paizo's own Monster Creation guidelines - see "Monster Statistics by CR" in the Bestiary which say that a CR 16 threat should have around 240 hit points, +19 saving throws, etc.

Surely those apply to monsters, i.e. things with racial hit dice than to NPC's which have class levels and no racial hit dice?

I always understood the Monster Stats to be for things which had no/very limited class levels - something that does not apply to a lvl 17 NPC wizard! Class levels have their own CR calculations, else all PCs would be CR 8 at lvl 15 - 17 which would make for odd fights at the very least...


Matthew Downie wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
According to the monster creation table, a 17th level NPC wizard "should" be something like CR 8
Not true. A 17th level wizard with NPC gear is a CR 16.
True, but that's in violation of Paizo's own Monster Creation guidelines - see "Monster Statistics by CR" in the Bestiary which say that a CR 16 threat should have around 240 hit points, +19 saving throws, etc.

Not at all. There are several rules(guidelines) for CR depending on how the monster was made. I am sure we all have enough common sense to know in which context to use the rules. If we just read the book without applying context a lot of things begin to fall apart.

That monster chart is for monsters, not class based NPC classes. That chart also does not account for magic(spells or SU's).

I am going to assume you already know everything I just said so now I have to ask what point are you trying to make if you know the distinction between how the CR's are made??


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Kirth's original point was that the Oceanid's stats being 'pretty spot on' for the CR guidelines isn't that relevant if it has abilities that allow it to attack, retreat, heal and return whenever it wants. That table wouldn't give the right CR for a monster with the stats and abilities of level 17 Wizard, and it probably doesn't work for this situation either. You reported the actual CR of a level 17 Wizard being 16 as though it countered his point, but it was actually implicit in the point he was making.


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I'd just like to point out that what is described seems pretty spot on for what CR INTENDS (even though 90% of the time ti doesn't work out anything like that). An APL+2 challenge is supposed to be of Hard difficulty. It's winnable, but it's certainly lose-able as well.

The PCs lost. It was a possibility. If they'd had better ranged options, or had been better prepared, it would have gone another way. Sounds like everything went exactly as it should have. Unprepared PCs vs APL+2 challenge = Bad time.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Kirth's original point was that the Oceanid's stats being 'pretty spot on' for the CR guidelines isn't that relevant if it has abilities that allow it to attack, retreat, heal and return whenever it wants. That table wouldn't give the right CR for a monster with the stats and abilities of level 17 Wizard, and it probably doesn't work for this situation either. You reported the actual CR of a level 17 Wizard being 16 as though it countered his point, but it was actually implicit in the point he was making.

Then Kirth used a bad example since he knows monsters with racial HD and NPC are not judged the same way.

With that aside CR's are not going to match up well with every party. Depending on the party composition, and player ability some APL+2=CR or higher encounters will be steamrolled, and an APL=CR will be like a boss fight.

As a GM you(not you specifically) have to adjust to the party at times. Well you don't really HAVE to, but if not then expect for things like this to happen.

Dark Archive

Sure.

There is a balance, though, between posing the challenge to the PCs to produce a party that can handle a variety of challenges, and letting them off a bit by adjusting encounters that they're not suited to.

I must admit, I lean to the former.

This encounter, incidentally, although not part of the Skull and Shackles AP, was run within that AP, so it's not altogether unexpected.

Richard


You want a rediculously under CR-ed CR 7 creature?

Let me introduce you to the 3 eyes, many tentacled, swimming slimy people eater

THIS is what under values looks like...

I ran an encounter with 4 of these vs 6 level 10 PCs.... and they almost died...

They failed to perceive the aboleths in a pool they were walking across (the pool was DEEP). A few of the party members got dominated and well... it got ugly... it would have been a TPK if I didnt realize how under CRd they were and surfaced them so the party had a chance and didnt get TPKd at the very start of the campaign...


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I think after the fact spell list options given aren't that helpful. The group didn't have a lot of options and hindsight item shopping won't help. Not a lot of people spend their few gold at level 5 on a potion of flight, for example.

However, if the creature had to make spell concentration attempts to cast to attack, I think it's fair to say your best bet would have been to ready actions to attack when it "casts".

This may have shut down a large portion of its offensive, frustrating it to maybe get closer to physical combat since ranged wouldn't work.

This may have proven difficult but it may have been a good edge for the group to have and perhaps leveled the playing field.

I'd like to see how it would have played out if they had tried to disrupt it's casting this way.

Some few entangle spells may have worked too? Seaweed and the like slowing it down. Clearly it's movement was a hard obstacle to overcome. This may have helped. I liked the fog option given too. A common enough spell, so it may have also been an option.

Just some quick thoughts.


Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

You want a rediculously under CR-ed CR 7 creature?

Let me introduce you to the 3 eyes, many tentacled, swimming slimy people eater

THIS is what under values looks like...

I ran an encounter with 4 of these vs 6 level 10 PCs.... and they almost died...

They failed to perceive the aboleths in a pool they were walking across (the pool was DEEP). A few of the party members got dominated and well... it got ugly... it would have been a TPK if I didnt realize how under CRd they were and surfaced them so the party had a chance and didnt get TPKd at the very start of the campaign...

I believe it was explained several times (including by me) that there were several GMing mistakes that raises the difficulty of that encounter.


The real monster is the Seguathi

This f#%!ing guy is a real monster. Confuse aura AND if someone fails you get to pick, with mind fog and phantasmal killer? he should be something like cr 8, maybe 9


Hell our level 11 conjurer wizard was drowned by a g#!*++n kelpie. So CR sometimes doesnt mean s&#&.

(Also didn't help that our barbarian got greedy and paid an outlandish amount of money to permenantly enlarge himself, making him unable to fit through the passageway to save said wizard.)


Rynjin wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

You want a rediculously under CR-ed CR 7 creature?

Let me introduce you to the 3 eyes, many tentacled, swimming slimy people eater

THIS is what under values looks like...

I ran an encounter with 4 of these vs 6 level 10 PCs.... and they almost died...

They failed to perceive the aboleths in a pool they were walking across (the pool was DEEP). A few of the party members got dominated and well... it got ugly... it would have been a TPK if I didnt realize how under CRd they were and surfaced them so the party had a chance and didnt get TPKd at the very start of the campaign...

I believe it was explained several times (including by me) that there were several GMing mistakes that raises the difficulty of that encounter.

Even still, I doubt the encounter would go all the way up to a CR 12 or 13 encounter. And this party was with 6 (not 4) members and had full gear (I gave them solid gear since they started in a prison). It was mainly the combination of their Dominate, Projected Image, and being underwater. It also didn't help that the party Scarred Witch Doctor (pre-errata) and rogue (ninja) failed their saves initially...


That was the main thing, as I recall. The Aboleths should not have been capable of getting in those first two Dominates at all. There was no way they could target the party and still be out of sight.

That kind of stuff (giving the Aboleths a free round they shouldn't have gotten) ups the challenge of an encounter by a LOT.

Not to say Aboleths are wimps by any means, but 4 CR 7 creatures is already a CR 11 encounter, combined with bad luck and a free round DEFINITELY pushes it up the scale.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Then Kirth used a bad example since he knows monsters with racial HD and NPC are not judged the same way.

Correction: combat NPCs and monsters are judged the same way -- look at the tables, and you can see the numbers more or less synch. Spellcasting NPCs are not, because this is Pathfinder and spells >> everything. So if a monster is primarily a spellcaster, not a combat monster, it should be rated based on spellcasting CR criteria -- which pointedly do not exist for spellcasting monsters.

As a DM who makes a lot of custom monsters, I've had to create those guidelines from scratch. Using them, the oceanid would be correct at 9 HD, CR 7 (as shown) by removing some of its upper-level SLAs. Alternatively, to keep them all, it should have a few more HD, and its CR would be closer to 9.

Either CR means something, or else it's a sham and should be dumped. If a 12th level NPC sorcerer is CR 11, then a monster that casts 6th level spells (and even 9th level spells on occasion!) should also be in the ballpark of CR 11 -- not CR 8 and also have much higher stats, auras, and so on (for example).


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

But not all spells are created equal. And a sorcerer would have more than one 6th level spell, but a bunch of 5th, 4th etc. Also a sorcerer is expected to have equipment that buffs up his abilities and makes him more deadly, and should have feat selection that does the same.

The Oceanid, on the other hand, has no gear and has one feat that bumps up her spellcasting, and combat casting only helps her to actually use those spells, instead of say spell focus and metamagic and bloodline arcana.

It is disingenuous to put an NPC against a monster. It is comparing Apples to Oranges.

Instead of just cherry picking one sentence from my post, if you look at the whole thing, I do take into account all the abilities. Yes she has good spell likes. But only 1 is actually offensive (SM V) and that is limited to a CR 5 water dependent monster.

The only other offensive ability is her waterspout. The damage is actually below CR 7 assumptions AND her to hit is ALSO below CR7 assumptions.


j b 200 wrote:
And a sorcerer would have more than one 6th level spell, but a bunch of 5th, 4th etc.

And the oceanid has a 7th level spell, which the sorcerer lacks altogether. And the number of spells quickly becomes irrelevent when a fight is over in a few rounds and you can only cast 1 spell/round.

j b 200 wrote:
BAlso a sorcerer is expected to have equipment that buffs up his abilities and makes him more deadly

That's accounted for in the (CR = level-1) for NPC gear vs. (CR = level) for PC gear.

j b 200 wrote:
It is disingenuous to put an NPC against a monster. It is comparing Apples to Oranges.

If the CR system only works for one, and not the other, then it's no system at all. Just scrap it, ditch XP, and move to come more rational leveling system.

j b 200 wrote:
Yes she has good spell likes. But only 1 is actually offensive (SM V) and that is limited to a CR 5 water dependent monster.

I can come up with a number of offensive uses for control weather (a 7th level spell). They might not be in-encounter uses, but they'd be offensive nonetheless.

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