How to build a character that makes nobody else have fun; or how I learned to not fear power creep


Advice

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You might think that you need to pour through various obscure sourcebooks to build a broken character that causes nobody else at your table to have fun, but that isn't true! You can do this just with the Pathfinder RPG line of products (and not even that many books in it really). You're probably going to want to make a wizard, because they consistently have spells that are allowed in PFS that can immediatly shut down a combat in the first round. If you combine spells like these with a really high initiative modifier, then you are very likely to go first and end combat before any other player can act.

The example level 1 build I have below has an initiative modifier of +17 at level 1. It reaches this with: 18 DEX (+4), Improved Initiative (+4), Greensting scorpion familiar (+4), Reactionary trait (+2), forewarned class feature (+1), Fleet-Footed alternate racial trait (+2). Even if you roll a 1 when rolling initiative, you are still pretty likely to go before every other character in combat. You do not even need to be worried about surprise rounds, because the Diviner School's Forewarned class feature also ensures you always act in surprise rounds.

The spells you will be using will be ones that can disable, incapacitate or seriously hamper multiple enemies at once. Some examples of good spells to be using for this purpose at some of the spell levels in your PFS career are:
1st: Color Spray, Grease
2nd: Glitterdust, Web
3rd: Slow, Stinking Cloud
4th: Black Tentacles, Confusion
5th: Icy Prison (Ultimate Magic; while this spell doesn't disable multiple enemies, it deserves mention for how it wins bossfights even when saved against)

While using a build like this, with spells that are mostly from the Core Rulebook, you can make combat unfun for everybody else (including the GM). However, there is also another part of Pathfinder Society you can perform reasonably well in at no expense to your combat ability; social encounters. While it is not a book in the RPG line, Pathfinder Society Primer is related enough to this campaign to be included here I feel. The trait "Clever Wordplay" allows you to use your Intelligence modifier instead of your Charisma modifier for a Charisma based skill; in our case we will take Diplomacy.

So how does this relate to power creep in new sourcebooks? While new options in new sourcebooks might be more powerful than some other existing options, they are generally not anywhere close to being broken like already legal options in the Core Rulebook (and the RPG line). Unless more Master Summoners are printed, new character options that may or may not be legalized for play are not going to be as powerful as what is already legal from the core line of products.

Example Build:
Elfy “I Go First” Elfington
Male Elf Diviner 1
N Medium humanoid (elf)
Init +17; Senses low-light vision; Perception -1

DEFENSE

AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 10 (+4 Dex)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +0; +2 vs. enchantments
Immune sleep

OFFENSE

Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff -2 (1d6-2)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st; concentration +6)
8/day—diviner’s fortune (+1)
Diviner Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +6)
1st—true strike, x2 color spray (DC 16), grease (DC 17)
0 (at will)—dancing lights, ghost sound (DC 15), detect magic, read magic
Opposition Schools abjuration, necromancy

STATISTICS

Str 7, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 20, Wis 7, Cha 7
Base Atk +0; CMB -2; CMD 12
Feats Run (Bonus), Spell Focus (conjuration) (Bonus), Improved Initiative
Traits Reactionary (Advanced Player’s Guide), Clever Wordplay (Diplomacy; Pathfinder Society Primer)
Skills Diplomacy +5, Knowledge (Arcana, Dungeoneering, Local, Nature, Planes, Religion) +9, Spellcraft +9
Languages Common, Elven, Celestial, Sylvan, Draconic, Goblin, Orc
SQ: Fleet-Footed (Advanced Race Guide), arcane bond (greensting scorpion (Ultimate Magic)), forewarned +1
Combat Gear quarterstaff; Gear spellbook (cantrips, grease, color spray, true strike, 5 other 1st level spells go here; they honestly don't matter), spell components pouch, 145gp


Cool gimmick for the low levels :p

The Exchange

Cool story.

Dark Archive

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*watches Elfy Elfington cry as the level 2 Empiricist in the party solos Season 7 (Year of the Skill Check)*

The Exchange

don't forget you can use some alchemical reagents to increase the dc's or alter the effects of several of these spells also.

Sovereign Court

i have a wizard that shuts combat down through enchantment, i enjoy it cause it allows for more roleplay, i know some do not like it as they want combat more than anything so im very selective bout playing it.


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It is interesting how you are not automatically safe from not ruining everyone else's fun just because you stick to a few hardcover books.

Sovereign Court

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I perma-booted a kid from my tables for playing a wizard just like that. Dude was a jerk on top of bring a fun sponge, so when tables stopped making when he signed up, I had him banned.

Congrats, you won Pathfinder. With that accomplishment you don't ever have to play at my table again. Bye, Felicia.


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Ok so you get to go first, and cast your 2 colour sprays and one grease. What do you do for the rest of the 5-10 encounter adventure.

if you didn't have initiative 17, but instead had +6 say you would still go first more often than not, still have the ability to cast your 3 spells and do other useful stuff too.

Divination is highly overrated.

The Exchange

RoshVagari wrote:

I perma-booted a kid from my tables for playing a wizard just like that. Dude was a jerk on top of bring a fun sponge, so when tables stopped making when he signed up, I had him banned.

Congrats, you won Pathfinder. With that accomplishment you don't ever have to play at my table again. Bye, Felicia.

So you mean you didn't have him booted for playing a wizard just like that at all then.


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I'm especially impressed by how you think this is something new, or that ruining the table's fun requires any particlar options at all.

Shadow Lodge

Ragoz wrote:
So you mean you didn't have him booted for playing a wizard just like that at all then.

Pay it no mind, Rosh is just staying true to form.

Dark Archive

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Ragoz wrote:
RoshVagari wrote:

I perma-booted a kid from my tables for playing a wizard just like that. Dude was a jerk on top of bring a fun sponge, so when tables stopped making when he signed up, I had him banned.

Congrats, you won Pathfinder. With that accomplishment you don't ever have to play at my table again. Bye, Felicia.

So you mean you didn't have him booted for playing a wizard just like that at all then.

Having played with the wizard in question, the characters were the straw that broke the camel's back. Other offenses include, having screaming matches with his girlfriend, refusing to not engage in PvP, and constantly arguing with the GM.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You really just confirmed what Ragoz was saying.

Shadow Lodge

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General Spoon wrote:
You might think that you need to pour through various obscure sourcebooks to build a broken character that causes nobody else at your table to have fun, but that isn't true!

Let's take a deeper look at this central concept "the character that a person plays impacts the fun of the table".

I would argue that this could be better stated as "the way that a player plays their character impacts the fun of the table". I know many people who could take exactly this build a written and use it to add to the table's experience and enjoyment of gaming session.

It is my strong contention that the mechanics of any build can be played by a player who is skilled at spotlight sharing and is knowledgable of the communal nature of the game can add to the fun of any table by the way they choose to play.

I also contend that any build, without regards to optimization, can be played by a selfish player who ignores or doesn't care about the experience of the other people at the table can severely impact the fun of the table.

It is the person that causes the issue not the marks on the page.

The person playing the character makes a conscious choice to take each action they do in game. The motivation behind these actions whether communal/sharing or individual/selfish shape whether their contributions to the experience will be positive or negative.

If we attempt to address this problem by addressing the rules the problem person will still have their 'bad' behavior patterns and just express them in another area. All we do is push the issue into a different area.

If we take the time to address the person who is the root cause of the issue we have a chance of getting things to change.

Sometimes there will be people who just bug us for no rational reason, times like this we have found one of our own issues to work on.

Sometimes people seriously don't have any understanding that their behavior is a problem, in these cases we have a duty to inform them as kindly, clearly, and in-dramatically as possible.

Sometimes people understand the impact they have on others and aren't willing to change. In these cases I believe we al have a duty to our community to invite these individuals to have their fun (get their lulz) elsewhere.

These conversations are not always easy and looking at our own issues can also be challenging but by facing the issues as they are we can all work together to make our hobby safer, more fun, and even more jam packed with awesomeness.


Majuba wrote:
I'm especially impressed by how you think this is something new, or that ruining the table's fun requires any particlar options at all.

Actually, he was attempting to raise awareness of the fact "that the real broken options in PFS are the stuff already in it" "rather than anything the staff might be considering allowing into PFS" (yes, those are direct quotes from the original poster. He said that on IRC).


I firmly believe that every feat, class, skill and item has value in the game in some way, to some person be it GM or player. However because we play a complex game these can be stacked and combined in an almost infinite number of combinations. It is the stacking and combinations that cause the problems and happens through player choice.

That said I agree with Eric that it's the way it is taken to the table that damages the fun, not the build itself. The two are generally extricably linked!


General Spoon and Eric Brittain both have very valid points to make, and do a good job of making them. You can do nasty thing things with just the older hardcover books, and maybe even just Core. However, it is often the player not the build that ruins fun.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11


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See I don't mind if you play some insta-win character. Frankly I only care about party victory where we win and the bad guys lose and I can count the fat gold at the end. People seem to have this thing about needing 'to shine' and needing to be 'given' the chance to do it, I'm happy with the shine on all my loot. if you can one shot them and I don't need to risk life and limb then we're all gravy in my book.

At the end of the day a swift resolution of encounters is fine. Economy of effort all the way.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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I'm with shifty, I like to pay for less Raise Dead at my games.

Silver Crusade

I like for everyone to be able to participate in encounters. So I agonised when I realised that my alchemist could use a true strike extract (did not have infusion discovery at the time) to make a vital bow shot with much greater chance of success than the party rogue-archer. I wasn't even carrying a bow, I relied on bombs with a backup sling for ranged attacks.

But I told my party that I had this option and they asked me to use it. And after it worked they were all happy, including the player of the rogue-archer. I still felt a bit guilty for "stepping on her toes" but everyone said my actions may have saved them all.

I suppose the lesson I take from this is, discuss all your options with the other players in advance. (and if you're an alchemist maybe learn the infusion discovery).


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How is that 'stepping on her toes'?

Having 'everyone participate' is fine as an idea, but actually it is inefficient and wasteful - why are we spending extra time and extra resources and exposing ourselves to extra risk?

I guess it comes down to how you see participation - I love working with the party and coming up with teamwork and involving them in RP, but everything that happens after initiative is about defeating the encounter as swiftly as possible - which gives just more time to josh and jape and rp at the table.

in PFS play people need to be cognisant of the need to have a diverse range of skills and abilities so that they can meaningfully contribute in a wide variety of circumstances, so even if one player has things mostly down pat, they can at the very least assist and help to improve the chance of victory.

Sometimes the best way to shine is to be the player who doesn't get in the way.

Silver Crusade

Shifty wrote:

How is that 'stepping on her toes'?

That's how I felt at the time.

Party make up, as best I can remember it:
Fighter1/Alchemist 3 (me)
Gunslinger1/Witch4
Cleric 5
Rogue 5
Occultist 4 (i think, not familiar with OA; used a sword and self-buffed)

Like you Shifty I want to make characters that are able to contribute effectively throughout their careers. My alchemist, Drokk, is a melee beast. The bombs are very much secondary. Drokk is very effective at tearing it up in melee.

The party we had was not terribly strong in combat overall. The rogue was a gnome with basic archery feats (pbs, precise shot), but no rapid shot or deadly aim; very reliant on sneak attack as rogues so often are.

I think at the outset of the mission only the rogue had a bow. Other characters had other means of attacking at range, but none doing huge damage (my bombs did 2d6+3 which was certainly the highest ranged damage output unless the rogue could manage a ranged sneak attack, which would do 1d4+2+3d6 or thereabouts).

to judge a soul 2: karma reclaimed:
early in the mission we get given an arrow of undead slaying to use on the BBEG. If this arrow hits and works it makes the boss fight a lot quicker and easier. And as I said, this wasn't a party that was overly strong in combat. We'd just played to judge a soul 1 with the same party, sans occultist.

Now I want to succeed at missions, of course, and I'm nervous in parties that I think are under-powered. Normally I would expect a level 5 archer-type to be fairly sure of hitting with a bow attack. But also I expected that this particular rogue, based on past performance, wouldn't be able to do much (or anything) against the BBEG if I took the shot instead. I was sort of wrong on that count because there were also mooks and the rogue was effective against them (melee plus flanking)

tl;dr I felt I was usurping another PCs specialism. My character was much more optimised, could do much more in and out of combat. We did succeed, and that probably was because I did what I did, and everyone had fun. So I'm not exactly arguing against you, just saying that if all the players agree on an "optimal" course of action then it's all to the good.


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Shifty wrote:
Having 'everyone participate' is fine as an idea, but actually it is inefficient and wasteful - why are we spending extra time and extra resources and exposing ourselves to extra risk?

Not everyone in the "we" you speak of is there just to score points at the end; some of us enjoy the actual gameplay as well. Remember, it's not really *characters* that participate, it's players. If I as a player just sit there during combat because someone else has a "I Win Pathfinder!" build, it's not very fun for me. In a stable group, I could of course learn from the experience and be able to apply it next time, but in the revolving door of organized play that doesn't happen.

It's fine to have that optimized character - but you don't need to upstage everyone else in the surprise round every single time. "I am not left-handed!"* is a way to feel out this situation at your table, so that you can play in a style that works with and not against the other players at your table.

*:
Princess Bride. Watch the sword fight.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

One of the things I learned to do with my sorcerer was ask the party if things were alright. You're probably familiar with instances of asking your fighter buddy if he minds getting caught in your fireball. Well, I ask that about fight-enders too.

There was a case of the party opening a door to be confronted by a large skeleton. My sorcerer won initiative as he often does, so I turned to the table and asked "you guys want to fight this out?" before I took my action. On hearing them answer "NO please" I turned to the GM and said "Able waves his hand, "Begone from my sight, foul wretch!" and it needs to make a Reflex save to avoid the create pit spell he casts." Skeleton gets pot-shot from the top of the pit until destroyed.

Dark Archive

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I make every character I build as grossly overpowered as possible, with the sole intent of being able to solo the entire scenario in the event that I get either a lame duck party, or that everyone has died horribly. Because it's no fun if the entire party dies horribly and has to burn prestige and gold to get their characters back.

Frankly, I think everyone should do this, and then just tone it down until they need to go balls to the wall on something. You'd never know my Summoner was a screaming murderbeast, until he suddenly pops out with a seemingly unending swarm of psychopomps and just craps all over everything. Especially when I get Catrinas at level 7, and start forcing gobs of really unpleasant saves on everything.


GM Lamplighter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

I know it quite well :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Legio_MCMLXXXVII wrote:
I make every character I build as grossly overpowered as possible, with the sole intent of being able to solo the entire scenario in the event that I get either a lame duck party, or that everyone has died horribly. Because it's no fun if the entire party dies horribly and has to burn prestige and gold to get their characters back.

Exactly. I optimize so other people don't have to.

Paizo Employee Contributor—Canadian Maplecakes

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I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)


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Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

It would be great. I mean it would be nice to see some NPC's built to be at least moderately challenging to stronger PC's. Or perhaps just some relaxing of tactics or avoiding tactics certain to doom them to fail (anything involving drinking healing potions or for the most part using 1 round cast summons).

Or maybe we could see a return to hard mode options.

The Exchange

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

minor derailing rant about surprise rounds - feel free to skip it:

depending on the judge (and author to a limited extent), this type of build is not needed by the monsters.

"Auto-surprise rounds" are a thing I have encountered more than once.
along with:
"Small map syndrome" where the monsters always start within charge reach (and they get to charge inside the "Auto-surprise round"), or sometimes even just a 5' step away.

Or the combat starts with the monsters first set of attacks.

heck, once before, when I pointed out that I was running a Prescience Wizard (so she always gets an action in the "surprise round"), I've been told that the monsters get an action before the "surprise round" - thus insuring the monsters got actions before the "surprise round", and then again during the surprise round (along with my PC).

Silver Crusade

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

Some might learn, others might sees this as a confirmation that their choices were the right ones.

Of course there is a world of difference between the players taking one NPC out of commission with a color spray, of the GM forcing a player to be bored for 30+ minutes since his character is stun locked.

Dark Archive

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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

Some might learn, others might sees this as a confirmation that their choices were the right ones.

Of course there is a world of difference between the players taking one NPC out of commission with a color spray, of the GM forcing a player to be bored for 30+ minutes since his character is stun locked.

In my experience (Living Greyhawk-Bandit Kingdoms; Living Arcanis) where this was a thing, it leads to continued escalation between players/authors. You inevitably reach a point where people are terrified to play outside their trusted friends, certain builds are the only acceptable ones, and it's not that fun a time for everyone involved.

Hard encounters are fine, when they are at the appropriate difficulty level by level/APL. Tier 1-5 can be challenging without being completely unforgiving, whereas Tier 7-11 generally should be challenging with less margin for error. Making every fight an optimized meatgrinder is not fun, though, and inevitably deters new players from wanting to play at all.


Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

Actually season 7 has boss fights that aren't too far different from the OPs. Problem is that unlike the OPs assertion its pretty dam easy rip that type of spellcaster apart if you start using all the available options. For example using the spell list that the OP provided only one works on my Alchemist.

The Exchange

Thurston Hillman wrote:
I wonder how people would react if these types of characters started showing up as NPCs in future scenarios? :)

I would celebrate and make the counter magic specialist I always wanted to. Right now there is no point in doing such a build.

andreww wrote:
Or maybe we could see a return to hard mode options.

What a glorious day that be.


I found 2 ways to make the other players hate me.

1) Sundering build: You are destroying the treasure!

2) This is for PFS: get Scent, Blind Fighting, and carry an Eversmoking Bottle. You will make everybody Blind, including you, but you'll be mostly okay due to Scent and Blind Fighting. Since the PFS players don't know each other, they don't create characters for each other, and most players don't plan effectively for contingencies like what happens when your opponent is Invisible, or what happens when the lights go out and Darkvision won't work.

Shadow Lodge

My ifrit twins would love you.

Paizo Employee Contributor—Canadian Maplecakes

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I think a lot of the problem is "save or suck" spells, at least in terms of having fun play experiences.

It's really enjoyable to defeat the BBEG with a Hail Mary hideous laughter, but it sure sucks from the GM perspective. Alternatively, using spells like icy prison against PCs make an encounter extremely dicey and potentially unejoyable for the PCs spending their time chipping through ice!

In home games,I'm have a sort of "nuclear agreement" in terms of spell use. Abuse of specific spells essentially meant they were open game from my side of the table. It led to self-control of abusive spells, and the use of such spells as last resorts. Not necessarily a PFS-related thing, but a standalone though on the merits of self control with spells.

There's a place for spells like this. But I don't think ANY party would appreciate an encounter with multiple "save or die" effects stacked against them.

Effective /= necessarily mean fun.

The Exchange

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

I found 2 ways to make the other players hate me.

1) Sundering build: You are destroying the treasure!

2) This is for PFS: get Scent, Blind Fighting, and carry an Eversmoking Bottle. You will make everybody Blind, including you, but you'll be mostly okay due to Scent and Blind Fighting. Since the PFS players don't know each other, they don't create characters for each other, and most players don't plan effectively for contingencies like what happens when your opponent is Invisible, or what happens when the lights go out and Darkvision won't work.

that would be fine with me, as all I have to do is sing and all my friends can see thru the smoke (Flame Dancer Bard)


TOZ & Ember, I should've been playing with you!

Dark Archive

INDEED! None can stand before the POWER OF THE EFREETI!

Dark Archive

My brother speaks truth! Despite lacking the blood of our ANCIENT AND NOBLE ANCESTORS, this Ember Flameheart would be a fine addition to our court!

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Thurston Hillman wrote:

I think a lot of the problem is "save or suck" spells, at least in terms of having fun play experiences.

It's really enjoyable to defeat the BBEG with a Hail Mary hideous laughter, but it sure sucks from the GM perspective. Alternatively, using spells like icy prison against PCs make an encounter extremely dicey and potentially unejoyable for the PCs spending their time chipping through ice!

In home games,I'm have a sort of "nuclear agreement" in terms of spell use. Abuse of specific spells essentially meant they were open game from my side of the table. It led to self-control of abusive spells, and the use of such spells as last resorts. Not necessarily a PFS-related thing, but a standalone though on the merits of self control with spells.

There's a place for spells like this. But I don't think ANY party would appreciate an encounter with multiple "save or die" effects stacked against them.

Effective /= necessarily mean fun.

Sadly, this is really true. I have received complaints in person, on the messageboards, and through product reviews that it is (to only lightly paraphrase) "cheating for NPCs to use the same tricks that PCs do." As a developer, I have to look at some encounters and say, "yes, this would be very effective, but it would also KO 1-2 characters per round. Is that going to be fun for the typical group?"

The Exchange

John Compton wrote:
Sadly, this is really true. I have received complaints in person, on the messageboards, and through product reviews that it is (to only lightly paraphrase) "cheating for NPCs to use the same tricks that PCs do." As a developer, I have to look at some encounters and say, "yes, this would be very effective, but it would also KO 1-2 characters per round. Is that going to be fun for the typical group?"

Is there interest at all from Paizo's end for challenging material to be published? Sometimes I have ideas for high level quests (so the encounter wouldn't be in the standard scenario line) but I always end up scrapping it when I think to myself "they wouldn't want this". I know upfront that many people wouldn't enjoy such content but then there are others who would love the challenge.

The Exchange

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
TOZ & Ember, I should've been playing with you!

clearly I can see that... ;)

"we can see clearly now - the smokes not gone..." (sung to the tune of "can see clearly now the rain is gone")


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

I found 2 ways to make the other players hate me.

1) Sundering build: You are destroying the treasure!

2) This is for PFS: get Scent, Blind Fighting, and carry an Eversmoking Bottle. You will make everybody Blind, including you, but you'll be mostly okay due to Scent and Blind Fighting. Since the PFS players don't know each other, they don't create characters for each other, and most players don't plan effectively for contingencies like what happens when your opponent is Invisible, or what happens when the lights go out and Darkvision won't work.

Scott, your #2 is a bit unfair and argued with bad evidence. You describe a mist/smoke situation, and then chide PFS players for not being prepared for invisible enemies or darkness (I agree however, that too often we let ourselves get caught with our pants down on these issues). While the overall effect is the same, the mundane and magical remedies for these problems are very separate. As examples: Daylight won't dispel smoke, neither will see invisibility.

To my knowledge, there aren't a whole lot of ways to see through mist or smoke.

Silver Crusade

I had a player build a wizard with this stat array for a Mummy's Mask campaign, except he didn't find the trait to make his diplomacy better. He ended up leaving the campaign because he didn't feel like there were enough role-playing opportunities. (In fairness, Mummy's Mask is very dungeon-heavy.)

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

Ragoz wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Sadly, this is really true. I have received complaints in person, on the messageboards, and through product reviews that it is (to only lightly paraphrase) "cheating for NPCs to use the same tricks that PCs do." As a developer, I have to look at some encounters and say, "yes, this would be very effective, but it would also KO 1-2 characters per round. Is that going to be fun for the typical group?"
Is there interest at all from Paizo's end for challenging material to be published? Sometimes I have ideas for high level quests (so the encounter wouldn't be in the standard scenario line) but I always end up scrapping it when I think to myself "they wouldn't want this". I know upfront that many people wouldn't enjoy such content but then there are others who would love the challenge.

There is an interest; however, I also recognize a scenario that challenges one group can absolutely crush another—often many others. The Hard Mode concept can take up some of that slack. Bonekeep also attempted to provide very challenging material to the player base with mixed results. Fact of the matter's that highly challenging material only appeals to a limited number of players, and pitching adventures that don't have broad appeal is tricky.

The Exchange

John Compton wrote:
There is an interest; however, I also recognize a scenario that challenges one group can absolutely crush another—often many others. The Hard Mode concept can take up some of that slack. Bonekeep also attempted to provide very challenging material to the player base with mixed results. Fact of the matter's that highly challenging material only appeals to a limited number of players, and pitching adventures that don't have broad appeal is tricky.

I'm pretty happy with some monsters I have created recently that took some inspiration from recent threads. Maybe I'll give this one a shot and see what happens then. Thanks.


John Compton wrote:
Ragoz wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Sadly, this is really true. I have received complaints in person, on the messageboards, and through product reviews that it is (to only lightly paraphrase) "cheating for NPCs to use the same tricks that PCs do." As a developer, I have to look at some encounters and say, "yes, this would be very effective, but it would also KO 1-2 characters per round. Is that going to be fun for the typical group?"
Is there interest at all from Paizo's end for challenging material to be published? Sometimes I have ideas for high level quests (so the encounter wouldn't be in the standard scenario line) but I always end up scrapping it when I think to myself "they wouldn't want this". I know upfront that many people wouldn't enjoy such content but then there are others who would love the challenge.
There is an interest; however, I also recognize a scenario that challenges one group can absolutely crush another—often many others. The Hard Mode concept can take up some of that slack. Bonekeep also attempted to provide very challenging material to the player base with mixed results. Fact of the matter's that highly challenging material only appeals to a limited number of players, and pitching adventures that don't have broad appeal is tricky.

Count me amongst those who think optional hard modes are a good thing. One thing that may be appreciated is a small bonus boon for completion in hard mode. Nothing spectacular, it does not even need to have mechanical effects. Just a little something for the extra difficulty. Something like "Hero of the Vale: Your exploits went beyond those of of common tales. Your name is known throughout ______".

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