Players keep dying. Am I doing something wrong?


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Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@Flite: those are all 3-7 scenarios. Silver Mount is very tough even with a kind GM. The others are potentially dangerous and can become very much so in the hands of a GM out for blood.


The beatstick should always get an Adamantine Weapon as soon as they can afford it....It helps kill constructs and is an Amazingingly good door opener if you don't have on of those sneaky types to unlock the door.
NEVER EVER DUMP CON!!!!...cannot emphasize that enough...HP's are your secondary armor
Sometime you are just going to get beat on by a monster...be able to take the hit and get away as soon a possible if you are not the melee guy

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Ascalaphus wrote:
@Flite: those are all 3-7 scenarios. Silver Mount is very tough even with a kind GM. The others are potentially dangerous and can become very much so in the hands of a GM out for blood.

...

Right. I was thinking of the sealed gate...

Never mind. (I also don't know why I thought Gods was 7-11)

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Unklbuck wrote:

The beatstick should always get an Adamantine Weapon as soon as they can afford it....It helps kill constructs and is an Amazingingly good door opener if you don't have on of those sneaky types to unlock the door.

NEVER EVER DUMP CON!!!!...cannot emphasize that enough...HP's are your secondary armor
Sometime you are just going to get beat on by a monster...be able to take the hit and get away as soon a possible if you are not the melee guy

Pumping your con is not going to help against enemies that coup de gras in every scenario: you will fail that fort save sooner or later.

5/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:
No, it doesn't. Your oracle channels use the oracle abilities you have, and don't add cleric domain stuff (and vice versa).

Actually reading through the rest of the variant channel entry makes it clear that Life Oracles can take variant channels.

However, Life Oracles only seem to be able to get positive healing channels so you could only daze undead with the Oracle channels. While the revelation says you can channel like a Cleric it also specifies healing/damage to undead.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Increasing the amount of paladins/barbarians and other extreme 2H beatstick classes can help a lot. In general, monsters are more likely to kill you than traps; most PFS traps aren't lethal in themselves, but monsters are. Killing the monsters fast is one of the best ways of minimizing the damage they do to you.

That said, I get the impression there's something seriously wrong with your GM. I get suspicious anytime a GM is openly fudging in the PCs favor, because then there's usually more going on and it tends to be nasty. The GM who increases challenges and then fudges in the PCs' favor is a sad cliche because it's happened so often.

The scenarios named are either just plain brutal (Silver Mount) or can be if the GM is out for blood and/or tends to take nasty rule interpretations (Among the Gods) or deviates from tactics (Diamond Gate; BBEG wastes a lot of time on pointless summons instead of going for the kill immediately).

5/5

I find it interesting the selection of scenarios your GM is putting you through, and there might be a reason for this.

From one perspective, it seems to be a combination of two factors:
You have a GM who wants to provide a challenge to the party; and
You have a character who is trivialising most challenges.

I can see that this would cause an escalation of a GM vs Player mentality, which would explain why the GM keeps running scenarios that are not trivialised by your character.

I would suggest speaking with your GM and coming up with an agreement where you all start over with new characters, and provide a bit more balance for everyone.

Sovereign Court

pauljathome wrote:


As an aside, animal companions can't use weapons. Its specifically outlawed in PFS.

http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lc1y?Monkey-See-Monkey-Do-An-FAQ-on-In telligent seems to say ape can use it, though it is not natural to them. I have given it linguistics so it can understand my exact commands. With that all added together it can make a shot even if it doesn't come naturally to it.

Oracles are specifically able to use variant channels.
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ln8z?Can-a-Life-Oracle-with-Channeling-take

Life channels are being used for positive dazing undead mostly but my GM has said he is ok with me using them for neg dazing as well.

and in all other ways I have done my homework for this build.

The topic seems to be taking a turn for the rant-y and I feel like we are getting off track. I have my character pretty well made, That was the point of posting my build. The real question is are there tactics for 3-7 that I am missing? I have a feeling like there is something that changes at that point that is making it more difficult. I can see where maybe the GM is picking more interesting scenarios, but I would imagine after the first set of wipes we would catch a breath on some easier stuff. Is there something I am still missing about this level tier? I have taken to starting up a ultimate mercy pally for a lvl 5 res on demand. I'm not happy with it but it seems like the most sensible way to keep the group from falling apart.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TheGreatXandini wrote:
pauljathome wrote:


As an aside, animal companions can't use weapons. Its specifically outlawed in PFS.

seems to say ape can use it, though it is not natural to them. I have given it linguistics so it can understand my exact commands. With that all added together it can make a shot even if it doesn't come naturally to it.

PFS specific FAQ specifically says otherwise.

You cannot give your animal weapon feats, and animals cannot use weapons. Regardless what their Intelligence is. Sorry, your gorilla cannot use a Bow. Even untrained.

Sovereign Court

Andrew Christian wrote:
TheGreatXandini wrote:
pauljathome wrote:


As an aside, animal companions can't use weapons. Its specifically outlawed in PFS.

seems to say ape can use it, though it is not natural to them. I have given it linguistics so it can understand my exact commands. With that all added together it can make a shot even if it doesn't come naturally to it.

PFS specific FAQ specifically says otherwise.

You cannot give your animal weapon feats, and animals cannot use weapons. Regardless what their Intelligence is. Sorry, your gorilla cannot use a Bow. Even untrained.

well that faq is a lot clearer than previous ones I have seen. Thanks. I will have to go back to lending out my arrows to party members I guess.

Sovereign Court

New companion will be a skittergoat from battle of bloodmarch hill. giving it int so it can take dragon style. Getting amulet of mighty fists +1 for it with bane construct. Take that constructs!!!! lol

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Where does the skittergoat cone from?

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

TheGreatXandini wrote:
New companion will be a skittergoat from battle of bloodmarch hill. giving it int so it can take dragon style. Getting amulet of mighty fists +1 for it with bane construct. Take that constructs!!!! lol

The amulet is a good choice, if constructs are such a frequent problem for you .

Regarding the general issue, have your tried to play with other people? Maybe try to play online? This would enable you see more GM styles and help to put your own experiences in perspective.

Of course, you have always to option to GM yourself and give new players a "save" environment to learn the game.

Andrew Christian wrote:
Where does the skittergoat cone from?

Appartently from the first volume of the Giantslayer AP. Just checked it is on the sanctioned pages... and has a kickass picture ^^

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cool, I'll have to check it out.


Note that the Amulet of Mighty Fists does not actually require a +1 before you add enchantments, unlike magic weapons. Could save you some gold.

Alternately, bump it up to +2 Bane Construct, when facing constructs the enhancement bonus goes to +4 and as such counts as adamantine.

Or there's a good old Golembane Scarab.

-j

Silver Crusade 5/5

Jason Wu wrote:

Note that the Amulet of Mighty Fists does not actually require a +1 before you add enchantments, unlike magic weapons. Could save you some gold.

Alternately, bump it up to +2 Bane Construct, when facing constructs the enhancement bonus goes to +4 and as such counts as adamantine.

Or there's a good old Golembane Scarab.

-j

Problem with the Golembane Scarab is that it specifically only bypasses DR of golems, not all constructs. In at least one of the scenarios OP mentioned the Scarab wouldn't do anything.

5/5 Venture-Agent, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Azothath

TheGreatXandini wrote:
OK a lot of responses to respond to, Thanks for all the advice here. I will try to consolidate the main issues I am hearing. And yes this is PFS.

okay... so what your group needs is some help to get a better game going. Once you guys are on the PFS path things should get better and more fun for everyone, including your GM.

You know where you are, so write the Venture Officer in your area using your regular email.
Here is a list of Venture Officers (otherwise known as) Regional Coordinators

reference this thread (you can click on a post and copy the url in your browser into the email)

he can have you join a regular group that meets in your area, let you see some other GMs and play some games with experienced folks, you'll meet people that have played PFS for years to newbies, there might even be a GM 101 session...

Part of PFS is that there are many of us with various degrees of experience and we all Explore, Report, and Cooperate.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Jason Wu wrote:

Note that the Amulet of Mighty Fists does not actually require a +1 before you add enchantments, unlike magic weapons. Could save you some gold.

Alternately, bump it up to +2 Bane Construct, when facing constructs the enhancement bonus goes to +4 and as such counts as adamantine.

Or there's a good old Golembane Scarab.

-j

Note that to penetrate Hardness, it has to be actual Adamantine. A +4 bonus only gets you past DR/Adamantine, not Hardness.

Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Agent, Washington—Bellevue aka Divvox2

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TheGreatXandini wrote:
New companion will be a skittergoat from battle of bloodmarch hill. giving it int so it can take dragon style. Getting amulet of mighty fists +1 for it with bane construct. Take that constructs!!!! lol

I read this as "Skittlegoat" and immediately thought, "TASTE THE RAINBOW, B***H!".

Sczarni 4/5

I would double check your character sheet again. You said you did your homework, but it seems that you haven't check PFS FAQ-s regarding animal companions. Perhaps you missed a lot of other stuff also. The link about Oracle channels discusses feats in general for channels and doesn't address Variant Channeling, but even that on side considering that you can that such class feature, I am not sure how did your GM give you a permission to channel negative energy.

The thread might be transgressing a bit, but sometimes there is more problems at hand then you might think. What seems to me is that you have inexperienced GM who might need guidance in how to solve issues at hand.

Grand Lodge

TheGreatXandini wrote:

Oracles are specifically able to use variant channels.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2ln8z?Can-a-Life-Oracle-with-Channeling-take

Life channels are being used for positive dazing undead mostly but my GM has said he is ok with me using them for neg dazing as well.

and in all other ways I have done my homework for this build.

You can't daze undead with your positive channel. Positive channeled energy is only modified by variant channeling when it is used to heal. The harm effect does not apply when channeling positive energy to harm undead.

PRD wrote:
A variant channeling either modifies positive channeled energy when used to heal or modifies negative energy when used to harm.

Also, if you are having trouble with constructs you could consider the Iron Priest archetype.

PRD wrote:
Channel Energy (Su): When an iron priest channels energy to heal or harm living creatures, she heals or harms constructs with the clockwork or robot subtypes as well. Constructs without those subtypes are also affected, but gain only half the normal amount of healing or take only half the normal amount of damage, as appropriate. An iron priest cannot harm or heal undead with channel energy. This ability alters channel energy.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Iron Priest is so sweet. The name sounds like Agent Steele made a buttbaby with Rob Halford. A very heavy metal one. I've got an Iron Priest 1/Witch Hunter 8 who has so far only touched one robot with the sheer profane 12d6 power of Nethys, but that only made it that much more sweeter.

Sovereign Court

Stephen Ross wrote:
TheGreatXandini wrote:
OK a lot of responses to respond to, Thanks for all the advice here. I will try to consolidate the main issues I am hearing. And yes this is PFS.

okay... so what your group needs is some help to get a better game going. Once you guys are on the PFS path things should get better and more fun for everyone, including your GM.

You know where you are, so write the Venture Officer in your area using your regular email.
Here is a list of Venture Officers (otherwise known as) Regional Coordinators

reference this thread (you can click on a post and copy the url in your browser into the email)

he can have you join a regular group that meets in your area, let you see some other GMs and play some games with experienced folks, you'll meet people that have played PFS for years to newbies, there might even be a GM 101 session...

Part of PFS is that there are many of us with various degrees of experience and we all Explore, Report, and Cooperate.

I play with several of these people and they are actually way harder on players than my current GM. They are where he gets his CDG ideas. One of the GMs in my area literally celebrates when he kills players. I have had one in a nearby area openly fudge dice against the player. I never had as tough a time in my 6 years experience in RPGs as I have in PFS. Not entirely sure I would be open to new GMs here.

Sovereign Court

Muser wrote:
Iron Priest is so sweet. The name sounds like Agent Steele made a buttbaby with Rob Halford. A very heavy metal one. I've got an Iron Priest 1/Witch Hunter 8 who has so far only touched one robot with the sheer profane 12d6 power of Nethys, but that only made it that much more sweeter.

WTF I HAVE technology guide but somehow did not see this! :D Sounds GREAT vs constructs, only issue is Paizo's love of undead. Seems like a great archetype in home-brew but a great way to cripple yourself in PFS.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

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TheGreatXandini wrote:
I play with several of these people and they are actually way harder on players than my current GM. They are where he gets his CDG ideas. One of the GMs in my area literally celebrates when he kills players. I have had one in a nearby area openly fudge dice against the player. I never had as tough a time in my 6 years experience in RPGs as I have in PFS. Not entirely sure I would be open to new GMs here.

PFS GMs should not be changing tactics to make scenarios more deadly (by aiming for CDGs), fostering a GM-vs-player mentality, or outright cheating. PLEASE get a Venture-Captain involved to sort this toxic situation sorted out. These GMs need some 'retraining'.

If the nearest VCs can't/won't help, then please make Tonya aware of the situation.

Dark Archive Venture-Agent, Ireland—Cork aka Psyblade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TheGreatXandini wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:
TheGreatXandini wrote:
OK a lot of responses to respond to, Thanks for all the advice here. I will try to consolidate the main issues I am hearing. And yes this is PFS.

okay... so what your group needs is some help to get a better game going. Once you guys are on the PFS path things should get better and more fun for everyone, including your GM.

You know where you are, so write the Venture Officer in your area using your regular email.
Here is a list of Venture Officers (otherwise known as) Regional Coordinators

reference this thread (you can click on a post and copy the url in your browser into the email)

he can have you join a regular group that meets in your area, let you see some other GMs and play some games with experienced folks, you'll meet people that have played PFS for years to newbies, there might even be a GM 101 session...

Part of PFS is that there are many of us with various degrees of experience and we all Explore, Report, and Cooperate.

I play with several of these people and they are actually way harder on players than my current GM. They are where he gets his CDG ideas. One of the GMs in my area literally celebrates when he kills players. I have had one in a nearby area openly fudge dice against the player. I never had as tough a time in my 6 years experience in RPGs as I have in PFS. Not entirely sure I would be open to new GMs here.

ugh, openly cheering when you kill a player is something I don't like to see... It's fun to mess and laugh with players, but a player death can really put down a player in my opinion and they might not return then. So far I have seen some player deaths but here in NL we have sorted it out, paid as a grp for the resurection and other cost and then moved on to fight another day.

Overall I have seen some good advice here in this thread, one other piece of advice I might be able to give, if you have a set grp of people you play with, get together on a dreary sunday, talk over your PFS chars, possibly start anew with a lvl 1 char, run the confirmation and play together (from what it sounds like you have the same grp of people there all the time) and create a well balanced grp. It will increase your fun as well.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Oh, from the player side, remember to focus fire. One enemy down is better than two at half hit points, since being injured, unless your attacks give status effects, is no detriment to an enemy's abilities in combat. Whereas, if an enemy is out of the fight, that reduces the attacks on the players, and can even negate things like sneak attack.

No issue with area effects, but most of them, on at-level opponents, are not likely to take them out in one attack. Multiple, however, is a different kettle of fish.

example:
Played a game recently, with a negative channeling cleric with Selective Channel and an Evoker wizard with a Selective rod. Between them, in one round, they could take out most mooks, and have a good chance that any left were suffering from negative status effects. Truly, it was a bit ugly. We activated two combats at once, and took care of one of them, with the most enemies, in that same round.


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I had no idea PFS had a mortality rate for players. That can't be good, though it would explain the aggressive recruitment programs at conventions...

Maybe check the use by date on your food, test your water for harmful agents...dunno really...maybe....oh hang on. You mean PC deaths. I was about to call the authorities...


I notice in some scenarios I am much more deadly than other DMs. If I play an intelligent creature, I try to run them as such if I have a dumb creature I run them that way too.

Sometimes dumb is dangerous. I had an 1 int creature that just wants to eat. I Had it keep attacking a player that dropped and attacked his corpse 2 twice before it was disturbed. Now I warned the players that made the knowledge check that this thing just wants a meal and will keep going at someone long after they are dead.

Knowing the rules and how they work. If a gunslinger five foot steps and shoots me. My usual response is to 5 footstep and sunder their weapon if the creature is smart.

I take advantage of the abilities the monsters do and use them to best I can. I have and do CDG. But it is not common practice. If someone is temporarily helpless I will use it because it is stupid not to. A fighter rushing a caster cleric gets stuck with hold person. I will warn the party that can see what he plans to do and take advantage of it he can before he gets free and easily kills the cleric(I place the responsibility on the team). I have also attacked downed characters after their frequent revival(I also warn people healing someone at high level games with clw that are downed because it makes them a target and I allow the downed player to refuse it). If someone keeps getting back up it would be stupid to not make sure they stay down. Also I look at the goals of the bad guys. I have bested PCs and had bad guys rob them, imprison them, and a variety of things like that. If the bad guys have no desire to kill the PCs, I will nto have them do so. Heck I had an angel plane shift a paladin to the plane of good to keep them from fighting.

Contrary to that I have seen DMs play opponents as if they had brain damage. Where the bad guys never use any special ability even when it strategy says to. They never use combat maneuvers and walk around provoking for no tactical or scripted reason.

So a DM can make a great difference between the danger levels

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Finlanderboy wrote:
I notice in some scenarios I am much more deadly than other DMs. If I play an intelligent creature, I try to run them as such if I have a dumb creature I run them that way too.

Because that's what the scenario calls for, correct?

Finlanderboy wrote:
Sometimes dumb is dangerous. I had an 1 int creature that just wants to eat. I Had it keep attacking a player that dropped and attacked his corpse 2 twice before it was disturbed. Now I warned the players that made the knowledge check that this thing just wants a meal and will keep going at someone long after they are dead.

Did that get lumped in with 'Special Attacks/Weaknesses/Immunities/Worst Save/'?

Finlanderboy wrote:
Knowing the rules and how they work. If a gunslinger five foot steps and shoots me. My usual response is to 5 footstep and sunder their weapon if the creature is smart.

Does the creature in each situation make their Knowledge: Engineering roll to realize that they can sunder the weapon to make it non-functional?

Finlanderboy wrote:
I take advantage of the abilities the monsters do and use them to best I can. I have and do CDG. But it is not common practice. If someone is temporarily helpless I will use it because it is stupid not to. A fighter rushing a caster cleric gets stuck with hold person. I will warn the party that can see what he plans to do and take advantage of it he can before he gets free and easily kills the cleric(I place the responsibility on the team). I have also attacked downed characters after their frequent revival(I also warn people healing someone at high level games with clw that are downed because it makes them a target and I allow the downed player to refuse it). If someone keeps getting back up it would be stupid to not make sure they stay down. Also I look at the goals of the bad guys. I have bested PCs and had bad guys rob them, imprison them, and a variety of things like that. If the bad guys have no desire to kill the PCs, I will not have them do so. Heck I had an angel plane shift a paladin to the plane of good to keep them from fighting.

So the *intelligent* opponent, seeing five characters on the field of battle and one down CdGs the one that is down, initiating a full-round action that provokes AoO rather than attack one of the remaining five characters? And that is somehow on the players if they don't have the initiative to be able to prevent the action? That sounds like a jerk move.

Also, just because someone gets healed doesn't mean they have to get up. Bluff checks are amazing things, especially if it's believable. Hey, this guy got hit with a healing spell and doesn't seem to be moving. He must be dead. I'd better go after his friends.

Finlanderboy wrote:

Contrary to that I have seen DMs play opponents as if they had brain damage. Where the bad guys never use any special ability even when it strategy says to. They never use combat maneuvers and walk around provoking for no tactical or scripted reason.

So a DM can make a great difference between the danger levels

Not every scenario supports blind following of scripted tactics. And if NPCs are built to be 'one trick ponies' and their 'special snowflake attack' doesn't work, it's up to the GM to figure out how to make the NPC work within the context of the situation.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
lots of counter arguements

A scenario as i understand requires monster run as you see them best suggested.

Your second argument I do not understand what you are intending to debate so I can not argue it. I run creatures to their intentions and goals. As i believe we were meant to. A creature ont he losing side of fighting to the death I target the player in the weakest armor in attempt to take them with him. Often it is a monk or other super high armored person. If a player screams out for heals I might target them too. But I let my players know these things long before I act on them. Teachable moments. It also give realism to your opponents.

Weapon hurts me, I break it. Why is an engineering check made to understand it? Do players need to make engineering checks when they see a gun? So every gunslinger that does not have a rank in engineering can not use their gun? This is some of the poorest rule lawyering out there. I do it with bows to, do they need craft bowyer or fletcher before sundering one is legal? If someone pointed an object at you, it exploded, and a owund appeared on you; would you understand it came from that object? Would you try to break that object if that was the only visible weapon that, and you have an 16 intelligence? These are things I take in account when I play the bad guys.

FOurth argument. It is the benefit of the players if I CDG provoking. As the enemy will drop quickly from this. The two situations where i warned what the bad guy would do giving the pcs times to act as a team to save the player that was 20 and 80 feet away from his nearest ally. The party rallied and saved them creating a dramatic fun express you would have poo pooed. It was a teachable moment to a player so they could learn the dangers of rushing alone ahead trying to be a superhero. I often offer players the chance to fake dead. I am more than willing to do that. I take it a step farther and often give them their chances to succeed the bluff. But as many people can and will tell you that play often healing someone from unconsciousness adject to a bad guy is death. I often suggest the reposition/drag and then heal. Again this is a teachable moment(theme of many of my games). The first player that ever died at one of my pfs tables refused my advice and stood up to remove that -4 after being dropped and then healed. But go ahead blame that on me.

There is a huge difference between breaking script because pc invalidate and not following it because you did not take enough time to prep and were to lazy/stupid to read over the tactics section to speed the game along. I have played encounters where the bad guys were nerfed completely because DMs did not read that paragraph. I have seen a wizard on the first round of combat win initiative and charge the players with a dagger because it was in his stat block he had a dagger. The tactics were to sit behind his allies and cast spells. You can understand where not following the tactics made the fight to easy. Maybe you appreciate it, I do not. I will not play with DMs that have a history of doing that. I honestly believe you disagree with on my other points you felt you needed to defend this too, but few will disagree with you here.

If you want free chronicles and easy Dms I can point them out to. Looking to argue with me because I do not is silly at best. I want players to learn and grow leaving my tables. I tell them the rules I use to have the bad guys do the things they do. I try to teach my players, and almost every time the player agrees with me on what actions they decided caused their characters death.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is a bit long, and may be detracting from the OP's original concerns. Would you like to take this to PM?

Finlanderboy wrote:
A scenario as i understand requires monster run as you see them best suggested.
PFSRPGG pg 34-35 'Table Variation' wrote:

As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game source, errata document, or official FAQ on paizo.com. What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right for your table during cases not covered in these sources. Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills, spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should consider whether changing these would provide a more enjoyable play experience.

Additionally, the GM may consider utilizing terrain and environmental conditions when those effects have been written into the flavor of a scenario but the mechanics that are normally associated with them by the Core Rulebook have not been added to the encounters. GMs are always encouraged to reward role-playing and flavor when adjudicating the reactions of NPCs or the outcome of in-game encounters. GMs may use other Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor to the scenario, but may not change the mechanics of encounters. Specifically, the mechanics of an encounter are the creatures presented, the number of opponents in the encounter, and the information written into the stat blocks for those opponents. If an encounter is a trap, haunt, or skill check that needs to be achieved to bypass a situation then the listed DCs and results are not to be altered, as they are the mechanics of that encounter. Additionally, if an encounter already includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather, or hazards, please be aware that these things are also considered mechanics that may not be altered.
Finlanderboy wrote:
Your second argument I do not understand what you are intending to debate so I can not argue it. I run creatures to their intentions and goals. As i believe we were meant to. A creature ont he losing side of fighting to the death I target the player in the weakest armor in attempt to take them with him. Often it is a monk or other super high armored person. If a player screams out for heals I might target them too. But I let my players know these things long before I act on them. Teachable moments. It also give realism to your opponents.
PFSRPGG pg 5 'The Core Tenets' wrote:
The leadership of this organized play community assumes that you will use common sense in your interpretation of the rules. This includes being courteous and encouraging a mutual interest in playing, not engaging in endless rules discussions. While you are enjoying the game, be considerate of the others at the table and don’t let your actions keep them from having a good time too. In short, don’t be a jerk.
Finlanderboy wrote:
Weapon hurts me, I break it. Why is an engineering check made to understand it? Do players need to make engineering checks when they see a gun? So every gunslinger that does not have a rank in engineering can not use their gun? This is some of the poorest rule lawyering out there. I do it with bows to, do they need craft bowyer or fletcher before sundering one is legal? If someone pointed an object at you, it exploded, and a owund appeared on you; would you understand it came from that object? Would you try to break that object if that was the only visible weapon that, and you have an 16 intelligence? These are things I take in account when I play the bad guys.

So the intelligent character seeing that the gun is hurting him, instead of trying to put down the person shooting the gun attempts to destroy the gun, when taking the person down is easier and doesn't run the risk of an AoO if they're not trained in the Sunder maneuver?

PRD, Core Rulebook wrote:

Sunder

You can attempt to sunder an item held or worn by your opponent as part of an attack action in place of a melee attack. If you do not have the Improved Sunder feat, or a similar ability, attempting to sunder an item provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.
Finlanderboy wrote:


FOurth argument. It is the benefit of the players if I CDG provoking. As the enemy will drop quickly from this. The two situations where i warned what the bad guy would do giving the pcs times to act as a team to save the player that was 20 and 80 feet away from his nearest ally. The party rallied and saved them creating a dramatic fun express you would have poo pooed. It was a teachable moment to a player so they could learn the dangers of rushing alone ahead trying to be a superhero. I often offer players the chance to fake dead. I am more than willing to do that. I take it a step farther and often give them their chances to succeed the bluff. But as many people can and will tell you that play often healing someone from unconsciousness adject to a bad guy is death. I often suggest the reposition/drag and then heal. Again this is a teachable moment(theme of many of my games). The first player that ever died at one of my pfs tables refused my advice and stood up to remove that -4 after being dropped and then healed. But go ahead blame that on me.

The same level of drama has happened at tables I've been at because players were getting close to -CON without stabilizing, without the NPCs resorting to CdG. The party rallied in those cases and pulled it together to end the battle and save the fallen party members.

If the player felt they had *no other options* If I stand up, I get chopped down. If I just stay here, I get CdG'd then I could easily see why they wouldn't be thinking of what advice the GM is giving them but the very real Well, crud, my character's going to bite it, I don't have any choices, I'd better do the heroic thing and go out with a bang, then. Place yourself in the player's shoes, if you didn't have the gamemastery skills that they apparently lacked, and see how you might react in such a situation. There's no blame here, I'm trying to learn, and unlearn bad habits I learned from GMing a different campaign and setting.
Finlanderboy wrote:
There is a huge difference between breaking script because pc invalidate and not following it because you did not take enough time to prep and were to lazy/stupid to read over the tactics section to speed the game along. I have played encounters where the bad guys were nerfed completely because DMs did not read that paragraph. I have seen a wizard on the first round of combat win initiative and charge the players with a dagger because it was in his stat block he had a dagger. The tactics were to sit behind his allies and cast spells. You can understand where not following the tactics made the fight to easy. Maybe you appreciate it, I do not. I will not play with DMs that have a history of doing that. I honestly believe you disagree with on my other points you felt you needed to defend this too, but few will disagree with you here.

Prior to running a scenario(here or elsewhere) I spend 4-6 hours of prep-time, reading through, analyzing a given scenario, coming up with alternatives if the players defeat the box text for whatever reason, and in general try to get *into* the mindset of the NPCs. I would agree with you that GMs that did not prep well for a scenario (not counting folks who volunteer to run 'cold' and make a valid run of it with a few minor issues, nothing like what you're talking about) do a disservice to their players and the campaign.

It actually grinds my gears a fair amount (it happened twice about six months or so ago) when the GM throws a higher tier at the party than the party is playing at, and then goes 'Oh, uh, whups, uh, wrong tier' and then tries to apply the ham-handed method of 'fixing' the problem as you mention above. How does an Evil Mastermind go from "Number One Society Threat" to "Candidate for Village Idiot" when they haven't been struck with say, Feeblemind.
Some GMs can make the adjustment seamlessly, and mad props to those that do.

Finlanderboy wrote:
If you want free chronicles and easy Dms I can point them out to. Looking to argue with me because I do not is silly at best. I want players to learn and grow leaving my tables. I tell them the rules I use to have the bad guys do the things they do. I try to teach my players, and almost every time the player agrees with me on what actions they decided caused their characters death.

I want my players to *have fun*. I want to feel challenged with legitimate risk, but at the same time have an understanding GM that isn't going to squish my development as a player because I missed five feet of movement for 'optimal murder placement'. I don't want 'free chronicles' nor do I want 'easy' DMs. That's insulting the time that everyone at the table is spending at the table.

But I also don't want to run into the (apparent)CdG Death Masters of your tables because I happened to get ten feet out of position and they Sundered my weapon and disarmed me of my backup weapon.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Stuff

IF a player only has a rnaged weapon out and are foot stepping to get thier ranged attacks that do massive damage off. Then why not sunder their weapon? Your forgot that they need a weapon that threatens to get an AoO. Not many gunslingers do(a few do). The weapon is the immediate threat. Removing that threat will make putting down the creature easier. Have you ever seen a sunder build make a game easy? My barbarian with a 30 foot reach sunders away things putting encounters on easy mode. Why would a powerful intelligent monster realize this to?

The first player at my table I gave plenty of other options. He wanted the glory of winning the fight with a few hp. I told him straight out he would chase the other PCs if he laid there. I stopped the game and debated with him for 3 minutes and told him the creature has a 90% chance of hitting you and if he does 20% of not dying outright if he does. The player still stood up and i let the dice decide. Higher level games I would not have done as much but level 1s i give much more advice.

I have forgotten to scale down encounters before. This is a mistake and sometimes i get wrapped up in the game. I have never placed the wrong teir. This is a mistake and I would rewind any damages to the players as a result. That is nothing i advocate and placing it in your argument against me is poor form. Almost as if you are suggesting I do it.

Calling my creatures cdg master is silly as well. I am not scared to use CDG does nto make me a master of it. Yes, if you are out of position I will have an intelligent creature take advantage of it. You want your smart opponents to suddenly be dumb because you made a mistake? Now keep in mind I will give you and your party hints when you make choices that put you in this danger if you are low level or inexperienced in the game. Keep in mind the monk with dragon style charging 60 across difficult terrain to smack the enemy was warned he would be alone if something bad happened to him out there. I also offered him the chance to do something else, he was happy with his choice. There were three witches, the PC downed one bad guy in a hit. He got, evil eyed, ill omens, and then hold person. I describe the scythe wielder walking up to him looking at his eye as if next turn he would stab through it. The rest of the party easily realized the threat and pulled out the stops to save him. They still talk about that encounter happily and enjoyed it even after like 2 years. It is a tool to be used and to refuse to use it is dumb if you ask me.

I want my players to have fun that's it. I do not care if they are challenged or not. Because some players are very skilled at the game and come with characters and the knowledge of how to use them to remove any fear of death or failure. If someone takes some risks then I do not pity them when they die.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I love using combat maneuvers with my enemies, particularly as AAO's. Sundering guns, tripping monks and archers, etc. It makes many players super frustrated though. Then again, some players just get frustrated each time enemies win even a fraction.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Sundering range weapons makes a lot of sense. A typical ranged weapon has 5-10HP, while a ranged warrior probably still has a good HD and decent Con score. Sundering the weapon is the quickest way to reduce the danger he poses.

The threat of CdG does make sense if the rest of the party doesn't come to the defence of a fallen teammate. If the rest of the party is trying to kite the monster, it can basically use the body as a hostage to force them to come close enough for a full attack or otherwise the monster gets to CdG the fallen PC without so much as an AoO. (Obviously not an animal-level tactic, but possible for even relatively dumb monsters described as being evil and having "low cunning".)

That said, I'm not sure Finlanderboy is entirely on the right track with regards to tactics. They're not a guideline to help GMs come up with something interesting; quite often they're there to intentionally nerf NPCs to make an encounter doable for the players. Although this isn't always explicitly told to the GM in the scenario; so any time you think you could "improve" the tactics, you might be treading on the author's attempts to balance an encounter.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Finlanderboy wrote:

IF a player only has a ranged weapon out and are foot stepping to get their ranged attacks that do massive damage off. Then why not sunder their weapon? Your forgot that they need a weapon that threatens to get an AoO. Not many gunslingers do(a few do). The weapon is the immediate threat. Removing that threat will make putting down the creature easier. Have you ever seen a sunder build make a game easy? My barbarian with a 30 foot reach sunders away things putting encounters on easy mode. Why would a powerful intelligent monster realize this to?

If that's the tactic that the encounter has 'baked in'? Sure. It's a counter to the power of ranged attacks. If it isn't 'baked in'? No. Because the opponent has other tactics they're written up as using. If they have *no other written options*, then they're at the point where yes, sunder, trip, grapple, caltrop, alchemist fire, etc away...

Finlanderboy wrote:


The first player at my table I gave plenty of other options. He wanted the glory of winning the fight with a few hp. I told him straight out he would chase the other PCs if he laid there. I stopped the game and debated with him for 3 minutes and told him the creature has a 90% chance of hitting you and if he does 20% of not dying outright if he does. The player still stood up and i let the dice decide. Higher level games I would not have done as much but level 1s i give much more advice.

Which sounds EXACTLY like the point I was trying to make. When character lives get on the line players get a bit of tunnel vision, and decisions boil down to the binary 'fight or flight' reflex. And since there's a 'fight' going on, there's a 'social pressure' at a given table to *fight*. You can toss numbers all day at a player, but the die has been cast even before a rules discussion, so to speak.

Finlanderboy wrote:


I have forgotten to scale down encounters before. This is a mistake and sometimes i get wrapped up in the game. I have never placed the wrong tier. This is a mistake and I would rewind any damages to the players as a result. That is nothing i advocate and placing it in your argument against me is poor form. Almost as if you are suggesting I do it.

It was *not* directed at you, but AGREEING with you that opponents run by the DM need to use the tactics they've been given for play balance reasons. It was not intended as a suggestion that you use the wrong information.

Finlanderboy wrote:


Calling my creatures cdg master is silly as well. I am not scared to use CDG does not make me a master of it. Yes, if you are out of position I will have an intelligent creature take advantage of it. You want your smart opponents to suddenly be dumb because you made a mistake? Now keep in mind I will give you and your party hints when you make choices that put you in this danger if you are low level or inexperienced in the game.

What do you do for players that are new to your table at a convention or game shop that haven't encountered this before and are at the medium-high levels? Example: My -1 in PFS play (now at L8) has seen CdG enacted *once*. By him. After combat was almost done against the remaining Fast Healing opponent. It wouldn't be on his mind that opponents would necessarily do that in the heat of battle?

Finlanderboy wrote:


Keep in mind the monk with dragon style charging 60 across difficult terrain to smack the enemy was warned he would be alone if something bad happened to him out there. I also offered him the chance to do something else, he was happy with his choice. There were three witches, the PC downed one bad guy in a hit. He got, evil eyed, ill omens, and then hold person. I describe the scythe wielder walking up to him looking at his eye as if next turn he would stab through it. The rest of the party easily realized the threat and pulled out the stops to save him. They still talk about that encounter happily and enjoyed it even after like 2 years. It is a tool to be used and to refuse to use it is dumb if you ask me.

Well, that's just dumb on the character's part. I've seen weapons grade DUMB before. And I've done bad things to characters who've been that stupid.

If you were running at some of the conventions in this area, that 'will stab through the eye next turn' might get lost in the background noise or as fluff, though. I'd be wary of trying to pull that one off.

5/5

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
If they have *no other written options*, then they're at the point where yes, sunder, trip, grapple, caltrop, alchemist fire, etc away...

That isn't the test for departing from written tactics. Invalidated can have a wide range of different meanings and will be interpreted by GM's very differently. It is the very essence of table variation.

Sczarni 4/5

@Wei Ji

I think a lot of those comments about Finlander's GMing style are unnecessary. He hasn't done anything spectacularly terrible yet that I see, CdG debates on side.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Malag

I learned a lot from this exchange, including the correction of a couple of gross conceptual errors.

Wei Ji The Learner wrote:


I want my players to *have fun*.
Finlanderboy wrote:


I want my players to have fun that's it.

Important common point above bolded for emphasis

At the end of the day we both have enough important common ground that we can look at what the other is thinking (roughly) and realize 'Okay, we're not as far apart as we might have thought initially' and 'we're not talking past each other anymore'.

With the clarification in subsequent posts, I think it'd be interesting to sit at a table run by Finlanderboy if he'd have me at it.

Sczarni 4/5

@Wei Ji

Excellent. Carry on then :)


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


stuff

Thank you, I appreciate the common ground we are on.

I try to Dm on the golden rule. Do onto others are you want done unto you.

I love difficult scenarios that are run fairly and difficult. Since you can only run these once I do not want someone to leave my table disappointed.

At the same time I do understand not everyone enjoys the things I do. So players that have troubles I start giving hints and suggestions so they learn what they are capable of doing.

Of the things a DM can do that makes me not enjoy the game is cheat and then a close second softball. I can still have a blast with easy encounters/scenarios, with weak DMs, or weak sceanrios.

When I talk about a scenario and how I beat it later I do not want some guy to say what about XYZ/ Then with shame say the DM did not use it. It takes the priode of victory away. As a DM I never want my players to leave that I cheated or softballed them.


I think you guys are being too nice to each other. I think some negative feedback is totally warranted, but since you're going to be nice, I guess I won't get into it on either side.

Having said that, I do want to address the original post, even though the author seems to have checked out by now. Just in case he/she returns, I have a couple of comments:


  • A coup de grâce is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. You cannot do it if you have to use a move action to reach the target, since all you have left is a standard action (well, technically you can still do the coup de grâce but it uses a special "full round action over 2 rounds" action, and that gives the PCs lots of time to kick ass or otherwise foil it). Even if you can pull it off, you're provoking free attacks. The dumb ghoul who decides to coup de grâce the target on the ground while surrounded by 3 enemies is an idiot -- he will suffer 3 free attacks, AND then the PCs get their normal attacks in normal initiative as well. That ghoul is basically ensuring its own death. That is moronic. It shouldn't happen with even INT 1 creatures, as we've all seen on youtube/documentaries/safaris or real life that even animals are smart enough to pull back or be mindful of enemies. A mindless creature, maybe. Is it programmed, like a skeleton set to defend an area? Then even though it's mindless it needs to keep defending. In other words, this should be rare. And if it happens, you as a player should insist it be run correctly and you gain full advantage from it.
  • I think that when you said that you cannot run this up the chain of command because the people above your GM are worse and trained your GM to be this way, you did not give yourself an "out" to sit on your hands and do nothing. Instead, I think you've possibly given the leadership what it needs to step in without you. At least that is my hope. I am not feeling pushy enough to notify Tonya myself, but if she is made aware of this discussion, I would hope she would intervene even without you running it up the flag pole. I mean, this is a bad situation -- someone else here called it "toxic" and you yourself said that it has nearly killed PFS in your area. This is NOT how things should be run, and it needs to be addressed even if you don't spearhead it.

Scarab Sages 4/5

A Coup de Grace is a full round action not a 1 round action. The ghoul would suffer the attacks of opportunity, but that's it. If those fail, the CdG would go off at the end of the Ghoul's turn. Unless you were only talking about a situation where the Ghoul starts a CdG after a move. But that seems an unlikely situation. More likely is that the Ghoul paralyzes someone on round 1, and if the Ghoul is still standing on round 2, they CdG. I agree it's maybe unwise if they are surrounded by 3 opponents, but 5 foot steps are a thing. Before CdG's were discouraged unless specifically in the tactics, I had a character killed in a similar situation. I failed a save to a harpy song and moved up to her. The party closed in to try to take her out and failed. On her round, she took a 5 foot step so only one other party member was adjacent. The AoO failed to kill her. Her CdG did not fail to kill me.

Performing a CdG might create a disadvantage for the creature in some situations. The problem is, even with that disadvantage it only takes a bad roll or two and the consequence is instant death for the target. From what I remember, I was pretty close to full hitpoints. I'd much rather have taken a full round of attacks than have to make a fort save or die. I'm fairly sure I would have survived that.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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I am finding it hilarious that this thread is going on at the same time as the "Pathfinder scenarios are too easy" thread.

This is what it looks like when the fights in all the pfs scenarios are fair fights.


Ferious Thune, thanks for replying to my post. It's weird. It comes off like you're disagreeing, but your conclusion is basically that you dislike CdG and wish it hadn't happened to you, so I'm really unclear on your intentions. But sorry that you had a bad experience.

Ferious Thune wrote:
A Coup de Grace is a full round action not a 1 round action.

Yeah, but nobody has mentioned a "1 round action" except for you. Your text is a clarification that isn't needed.

Ferious Thune wrote:
The ghoul would suffer the attacks of opportunity, but that's it.

That is exactly what I wrote. This is not new info.

Ferious Thune wrote:
Unless you were only talking about a situation where the Ghoul starts a CdG after a move.

That is indeed exactly what I wrote, so yes, that's what I was referring to.

Ferious Thune wrote:
But that seems an unlikely situation. More likely is ...

Naturally it's unlikely -- that's how the math works. And yes, obviously something else is more likely. None of this changes my point: coup de grâce is dangerous for the attacker to try, and has limitations that need to be followed. These limitations matter, and that is why a CdG should be rare.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Outshyn - No problem. Your post was confusing when I read it. The whole start a full round action with a standard part threw me off, and I wasn't sure if you were talking about that the whole time. That's probably because you only mentioned it in parenthesis, so I assumed that was an aside and not the focus of that whole section of your message. I wasn't sure, though, which is why I put that qualifier in there. So, my misunderstanding.

I was pointing out that there are much more likely scenarios where performing a CdG does not mean instant death for the creature, but does for the character with just a bad roll or two. Your message seemed to imply otherwise. I would hazard to guess that in most cases where a character is rendered helpless, they have become that way while in melee range of their attacker or through an ability like Harpy song, which means the creature won't need to move to them.

With a ghoul, we're talking about a creature with relatively low hitpoints and AC, so the AoOs may take it out. With a ghast or a harpy, there's a much better chance they are going to survive a round of AoOs. My point is that GMs aren't doing players a favor by provoking AoOs while attempting a CdG. What they're actually doing is making it an all or nothing situation. Either the character is going to die or they aren't. There's very little in between in that situation. And I think, in general, that's a bad idea. By the time the CdG starts, either the party is in position to have a chance to save the character or they aren't. They have to see the CdG coming a round ahead of time. The OP was talking about relatively low level parties, and since the highest character is 4th level, I'm guessing relatively inexperienced players. Pulling out multiple CdGs on that group as described[edit - described by the OP] is way over the top.

My example from my own experience was not meant to complain. I pretend to be bitter about the death, and the character has developed an intense hatred of Harpies as a result, but I didn't have a problem with the tactic at the time. The example was meant to show that even when a creature is "surrounded by 3 enemies" to start their turn, that doesn't mean that will be the case when they actually perform the CdG.

(As an aside, if the creature does need to move to a helpless character before performing a CdG, then moving up and attacking normally or moving up and going full defense are probably better options for the creature. If a character is down in negative hitpoints, the attack might kill them anyway. If they're helpless for another reason, going full defense would make it more likely the creature will survive to make a normal CdG the next round).


Ferious Thune wrote:
Pulling out multiple CdGs on that group as described[edit - described by the OP] is way over the top.

So what this comes down to then is that you and I are in complete agreement, but wording ourselves in such a way as to suggest disagreement. The bottom line is that you and I both feel that the CdG is over the top and unnecessary and/or unfair and/or "insert some negative term here."

Scarab Sages 4/5

outshyn wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
Pulling out multiple CdGs on that group as described[edit - described by the OP] is way over the top.
So what this comes down to then is that you and I are in complete agreement, but wording ourselves in such a way as to suggest disagreement. The bottom line is that you and I both feel that the CdG is over the top and unnecessary and/or unfair and/or "insert some negative term here."

More or less. I don't feel like it should never be used. For a high level, experienced group where the creature really doesn't have a better tactic, it's fine. But I do feel like in the instance the OP described, it sounds like CdG is being excessively used to the detriment of the PFS community in their local area.

My post was more about how easy or hard it is for the creatures to pull off a CdG. The AoOs aren't really an effective counter. If the right creature type (something that can paralyze or otherwise render a character helpless before unconsciousness) is played with a CdG as the goal, it's not that hard to make happen. It's also often a poor tactical decision overall for the creature, as you pointed out for one situation. But that doesn't make it any less deadly. It's the creature fighting to take someone with them instead of fighting the party as a whole.

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