How to stop an optimized Gunslinger?


Advice

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I'm running a custom campaign and allowed for a 30-point race buy, 25 stat buy, and one template they meet prerequisites for.

Right now, I am against a huge sized lycanthrope fighter with 30 AC, a magus at 20 AC, and a gunslinger at 25 AC, at level 1.

I'm okay with throwing a challenge at them, I can get the monsters down to bat, but I'm worried that the gunslinger (A fine sized, 90 ft perfect fly speed, free-action reload and holster, optimized gunslinger) will start to wreak havoc on everything since I can't find anything to get to him that isn't already threatened by the fighter.

Right now, they need to enter a sewer to reach their first mini-boss. I can restrict the flying to 15 feet and reduce the fighter's ability to hit because he's cramped. But after later levels, I don't know what to do.

Any advice?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes. Next campaign... don't open the race door that wide. And keep your point buy down to 20. And don't give them templates.

Your setup pretty much read... "Come in and min-max the hell out of my campaign."


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Wind Wall.


You are so far out of the normal expectations, I'm afraid I have no useful advice to you.

If I were to give you advice it would be to ditch everything you have, play using the races available in the advanced race guide (without using the race builder), and without the templates. And to adjust for the party's high point buy by running every encounter with enemies having max hp, the advanced simple template, and possibly 50% more enemies in every encounter.


sigh and let him kill everything


Deflect Arrows and/or Protection from Arrows.

You can limit the effectiveness of the gunslinger (in some battles, I wouldn't suggest doing it all the time otherwise you end up going the opposite and making it no fun for the gunslinger) without making the enemies too tough for the other characters.


Easiest way is to use low level kobolds and make the game so easy for him that he quits and reroll.

Second easiest way is Fickle Winds


Oh, and grapplers. I'm not entirely sure of the penalty of using a ranged weapon to strike a grappling creature (it's GOTTA be more than when in melee, right?), or at least with the Body Shield feat.


A little late to tell you, don't give the players so much power if you won't be able to challenge them consistently. This is outside what I'm used to, so the only advice I can give is general:

You could let them smash through their first few challenges with ease, but ensure they become (in)famous in the process. Set up their overarching adversary as someone intelligent and with a lot of resources. That way, he (and therefore you) can plausibly ensure that his henchmen are well-tailored the task of bringing down your party - using high Touch AC and magical Miss Chance to avoid getting hit, for example. Or using spells to target each of their weakest saves, if any (or not bothering with save spells if the party has a reputation for being magic resistant). He may simply want to slow down / misdirect the party while he completes his goal, and the challenge goes from "can you defeat this encounter" to "can you plow through all these enemies fact enough, and in the right direction?"

Barring that? Throw higher CR enemies at them until they feel challenged again. All this piling on of stats and templates does is skew "Power Level" further away from Character Level. Either way, you have to find enemies that match their Power Level, and now you can rely even less on CR to do it.


Grapplers, Sunder his weapon, grease his weapons , hold person him , charm person, sleep, wind wall , total darkness


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What you're suggesting is like going:

"hey go ahead and play a demon. So they do. then say, okay all demon's are hated and instantly attacked by everyone that sees them. Like, if you don't want them to be a demon don't let them."

what I mean is, you let them have the tools to make super broken characters. Now you're going to try and shut down all the toys you gave them. Why not just play where there are no allowed options that you're going to negate in game?


DR will help at first. It will at least make his bullets more expensive.

Monks are another foe to challenge the gunslinger. High touch AC and they can use deflect arrows to stop the first bullet each round.

Bad guys who can teleport right next to them.

The dampen powder spell.

Amulets of bullet resistance.


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% miss chance.
It's the best way to deal with most OP ranged characters.
Spell or natural effect that break line of sight are wonderful too.
Also look into the weather rules for weather in the game mastery guide.

Here some ideas:
-Rain and snow can give -4 to ranged attacks.
-Severe wind can actually blow away your tiny player and give a -4 to ranged attacks.
-Fog can give concealment (20% miss chance)
-Have monsters use cover and arrowslits
-Have monsters chug potions of blur (20% miss chance)
-Have monsters get the feat "dodge"
-Have monsters learn spells like or spell like abilities like mirror image
-Have monsters use illusion magic to create fake barriers (total concealment thus 50% miss chance for at least one attack)


A 30 point race buy is...excessive. It's a bit late now, but that was a big mistake on your part as the GM, especially if you allowed custom built races.

Horse is already out of the barn, though.

Consider the things that hurt all ranged characters:

-Short sight lanes in dungeons or other indoor situations so the Gunslinger is within charge range of opponents.
-Obscuring Mist, or other such spells that put sight range at 5', and provide a miss change from being obscured.
-Glitterdust; blind characters have a 50% miss chance.
-Make actual use of the cover rules until he's used the Feat slots to overcome that hindrance.
-Angry creatures that sunder his ranged weapon, disarm him, or grapple/pin/tie him up.

Also, have intelligent enemies use that intelligence if the Gunslinger obviously becomes a threat. If those enemies are organized and have time to do so, they will plan to counteract that player.


You said he was fine sized, right? So, what, a grain of sand? How much damage is he set to do with his guns anyway? 1D1? Who is even going to craft these weapons of his? Forgive me if these are silly questions, but if someone told me they were going to be the size of a fly and attack a dragon with guns his own size, I think I'd laugh.


well, aside from the fact that making a gun that small with any kind of firing power is impossible (the size of the charge would be insufficient, or would blow the tiny gun apart) the following are counters to such a build:

-any kind of wind spell will mess with him and his flight, and projectiles that small will be easily blown off course.

-entanglements or anything requiring a strength score to overcome are doom for him. Getting hit by a tangle-foot bag is nearly death since his strength is abysmal.

-environments that are ill suited to ranged combat or gunpowder. Not every corridor is 10ft wide and not every room is 30ftx30ft. Mist will dampen powder, fog obscures vision, blinders do the same.

-Contrary to popular belief, there were forms of armor that were effective vs early firearms. These were primarily cotton and fabric based, and caught the bullet rather then tried to wall it. In my campaign there are armors that apply their ac to touch specifically when dealing with firearms.

Also, villains are smart. A rug could be dropped on him he's fked.Getting drenched will likely prevent his flight too, and create water is a divine cantrip which can drop buckets of it right on top of him. Once his enemies know he is a diminutive flying pixi thing they can easily counter.

Of course, your players may be displeased with these counters... However, nothing says they are the only one of their species in the world. All that high ac would be pointless vs a swarm of the diminutive pixi gunslingers. All of a sudden their uber powerful race is now an uber powerful enemy and general hard counter to the group, expecially the big guy.


Oh, also, if he's Fine sized, eventually Gust of Wind is going to give him difficulty. I'm willing to bet the player will neglect to put points in the Fly skill....

"This spell creates a severe blast of air (approximately 50 mph) that originates from you, affecting all creatures in its path. All flying creatures in this area take a –4 penalty on Fly skill checks. Tiny or smaller flying creatures must make a DC 25 Fly skill check or be blown back 2d6 × 10 feet and take 2d6 points of damage. Small or smaller flying creatures must make a DC 20 Fly skill check to move against the force of the wind."


Limit the availability of guns. Plus, getting a fine sized guns / ammo should be even harder (armor too, its not like there is likely high demand for fine sized weapons/armor). On top of that their damage with a fine gun should be like 1d2 or 1d3.


until lv5 when he gets dex to damage and it becomes obscene (my guess is he has a super super high dex) plus with the bonuses from being fine his to hit is even better than a normal gunslinger's.

Silver Crusade

I think combat maneuvers will be your friend on top of the other things suggested. Being a fine creature, his CMD should be abysmal compared to his (assumed) small or larger enemies. Disarm could be a way to disable him for a turn or two, grapple could make life difficult unless he spends a lot in escape artist, dirty trick can steal his move actions (standard at higher levels). Another thing to consider is instead of using average HP for monsters, you could bump them up to max HP per Hit Die (something I've had to do constantly for my broken Reign of Winter players), and of course there's the "throw higher CR creatures at them." Be sure you know what you're throwing at them though: you probably don't want to send them against a pack of CR5 monsters at first level, but a few CR3 creatures could provide them a decent challenge. Once it gets into higher levels you can probably jack up the creatures more without worrying too much (again from my Reign of Winter group, the group of 6 at 11th level just took on an ancient white dragon, a CR15 creature, which ended up being an epic fight that they all ultimately walked away from in one piece).


I would not to stop them. If you let them play such overpowered races then they'll expect a higher power game, artificially decreasing their power by canceling out all their cool abilities just takes the fun out of the game.

Instead of that just increase the number of opponents or their CR. For races with thirty points the Race Builder advises increasing CR by +2 in levels 1-5, +1 in levels 6-10, and by nothing after that. Take note of the template they took and add its CR to the CR of encounters as well. This formula won't be perfect, but you can fiddle around with the CRs until you find something appropriately challenging for your group.

I'd also advise making all the templates have equal CR adjustments, but if the game's already started the players will not like you taking away their stuff.


First of all, thank you everyone for your help so far!

The campaign hasn't started yet, and probably won't for a few weeks (We are playing another campaign and barely are in it at the moment).

I know what I am allowing my players to grab and how much harder it will be, but I've gotten to a point where (After some math and scenarios) the players should be challenged enough with the encounters I am throwing at them to give us both (DM and players) a fun and challenging experience.

He noticed that his size is going to give him d1 damage and went medium, making him easier to hit and get to. But I'm still worried about his damage to threat ratio compared to the big tank they have.

The blur, wind wall, and environment conditions were just what I was looking for though, to help out my campaign overall.


Pathfinder Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

A fine sized gun shouldn't be able to hurt anything except other fine sized creatures if even that IMO. The amount of gun powder is a fine sized fire arm would probably be equivalent to a crappy air gun.

Sovereign Court

Adagna wrote:
A fine sized gun shouldn't be able to hurt anything except other fine sized creatures if even that IMO. The amount of gun powder is a fine sized fire arm would probably be equivalent to a crappy air gun.

True IRL - but that's alo true of any weapons that a fine sized creature wielded IRL.

Silver Crusade

How to stop an optimized Gunslinger?

A semi-optimized wizard.

;-)


I feel you have 3 good options
1)Let him play the gunslinger as is and not change anything because he picked gunslinger instead of a different class. Thus giving him value for his choice.

2)Make the only legal gunslinger be the bolt ace

3)Ban the gunslinger and all guns.

The reason for this is the gunslinger's thing is doing quite ridiculous amounts of damage very easily. Hitting touch AC with full bab and bonuses means pick deadly aim and anything that gives you extra attacks for penalties to accuracy and go to town. If you feel this is too strong I suggest picking option 3. If you feel it's maybe too strong go with option 2. If you want your characters to do whatever they want this game go with option 1.

option 4 is let him be a gunslinger and have everything in the world randomly be able to stop the gunslinger. I suggest to stay away from 4.


Pathfinder Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Adagna wrote:
A fine sized gun shouldn't be able to hurt anything except other fine sized creatures if even that IMO. The amount of gun powder is a fine sized fire arm would probably be equivalent to a crappy air gun.
True IRL - but that's alo true of any weapons that a fine sized creature wielded IRL.

That is true. Still as a GM I don't think I would allow firearms under small size via House Rule. Or if I did it would be like 1 in a million to find a gunsmith to fix, and or create one of that size.

Liberty's Edge

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Water, the rules say if his powder gets wet it is useless. That includes paper cartridges.


Swordjockey wrote:
Water, the rules say if his powder gets wet it is useless. That includes paper cartridges.

I agree with this. I would argue rain would wreck his shots.

There are also spells that wet someone. Having a mephit breathe water damaging stuff ont he party wrecks his shot and damages him

underwater would nerf him too.


Let's not forget Fickle Winds

Sovereign Court

Gunslingers can be easily defeated with damage (my level 9 gunslinger almost goes to negative hit points every game), and they hate to be flat-footed (sneaky rogues will do a number on them)


How do you stop a good guy with a gun? A bad guy with a gun.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Gunslingers can be easily defeated with damage (my level 9 gunslinger almost goes to negative hit points every game), and they hate to be flat-footed (sneaky rogues will do a number on them)

Yeah, but anybody will be easily defeated by damage except those specifically built to tank it. Gunslinger AC will be on par with Swashbuckler AC, and hit points are similar, too. Other DEX-based classes also hate to be flatfooted- go and ask any Monk.


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Swarms.
Rust Monsters.
Rust Monster swarms.

Liberty's Edge

Swarms are only good if he doesn't have a blunderbuss or a dragon pistol.

Liberty's Edge

To expand on my water idea I'd argue that at fine size even the spell create water will ruin his cartridges. That takes out his ability to reload as a free action. Esentuley the gunslinger is at his most vouable in the sewer, just find a way to get him wet.


Use a 1st level spell.

Liberty's Edge

Some one with more rules experience can say if the 1.5 damage from splash weapons applys to all fine size creachers or just if there are in a swarm? If I'd dose apply then that opens him up to a lot more dangers.


Swordjockey wrote:
Swarms are only good if he doesn't have a blunderbuss or a dragon pistol.

That depends on the size of the swarm, doesn't it? Immunity to weapon damage is immunity even if it's an area effect.


Swordjockey wrote:
Some one with more rules experience can say if the 1.5 damage from splash weapons applys to all fine size creachers or just if there are in a swarm? If I'd dose apply then that opens him up to a lot more dangers.

Only swarms.


Stay... like... 30 ft away from him. Now he can't target touch AC and suffers a -2 to attack rolls. Or do the opposite and stay right next to him... Now he gets smacked every time he shoots.

He can get the "distance" (or whatever it's called) enhancement... But that makes his gun exponentially more expensive.

Next time, simply ban firearms or remove the idiotic "target touch AC" rule...


He'll never be too good, because misfire owns him forever. Just remember if he ants to shoot more than once per round hidls misfire Is 1-3, which is pretty brutal, especially since you lose all your attacks when it happens.

A lot of people complain about gunslingers but they aren't any better than an archer fighter.

Scarab Sages

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If he's "optimized," then that means he has all kinds of weaknesses, namely, everything he didn't "optimize" for. There's this stupid, yet mostly unchallenged, meme going around that treats characters like power tools that only exist to serve one function. This is a serious mistake born of narrow thinking, and such a player's weakness is anything that exists beyond their narrow scope of interest, like a 1-dimensional being in a 4-dimensional universe. Exploit the s~!& out of it.


Optimized characters have good defence, since defence is a part of the character. I think you misunderstand what optimized means.
Maybe you think maximum damage builds where they dump every stat? That is optimizing for damage, not for general game play


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
If he's "optimized," then that means he has all kinds of weaknesses, namely, everything he didn't "optimize" for. There's this stupid, yet mostly unchallenged, meme going around that treats characters like power tools that only exist to serve one function. This is a serious mistake born of narrow thinking, and such a player's weakness is anything that exists beyond their narrow scope of interest, like a 1-dimensional being in a 4-dimensional universe. Exploit the s$&* out of it.

Where can I find this meme? You aren't taking the DPR Olympics as characters intended for general play, are you?

It's always been recognized that the most powerful characters are the ones that can deal with the widest variety of situations, including being on the receiving end of attacks. I could count on no hands the number of people I've read who think that DPR is everything. The same is not true for the number of people who say "those dirty optimizers think DPR is everything" when they couldn't be further from the truth.

Sovereign Court

Saldiven wrote:


-Angry creatures that sunder his ranged weapon, disarm him, or grapple/pin/tie him up.

This. My level 9 gunslinger has 4 firearms, in case this happens, but a fighter specialized in sunder or disarm will knock off those four options off his list real fast.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
If he's "optimized," then that means he has all kinds of weaknesses, namely, everything he didn't "optimize" for. There's this stupid, yet mostly unchallenged, meme going around that treats characters like power tools that only exist to serve one function. This is a serious mistake born of narrow thinking, and such a player's weakness is anything that exists beyond their narrow scope of interest, like a 1-dimensional being in a 4-dimensional universe. Exploit the s%&% out of it.

This is half true. A good optimization allows them to apply their optimization horizontally.

I have plenty of optimized characters and they are caught helpless much less than everyone I play with.

Sovereign Court

How would I stop a "a huge sized lycanthrope fighter with 30 AC, a magus at 20 AC, and a gunslinger at 25 AC, at level 1"?

Social encounters.

Puzzles.

and traps.

Anything that can't be solved by shooting, thwacking, or thumping it, really.

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