Why no love for Giantslayer?


Giantslayer

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Are... Are you telling us we're doing it wrong.

Seriously, NOTHING makes a great rogue, even a rogue, that's why they made it an obsolete class, honestly if you have a rogue in your party you're already screwing yourselves.

And all the dead bodies in a tree in Cheliax disagree that goblins are "only good at being a rogue" for instance, they get no penalty to intelligence.

And whilst we're on the subject of mechanical benefits and drawbacks, my wife has a Ghoran Witch with a minus to intelligence, hasn't stopped her from kicking ass.

Your optimization of EVERYTHING doesn't necessarily mean you're doing it better than everyone else.

So stop acting like it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

+4 to one stat is significantly more powerful than -2 to two stats.

With a 15-point build, you can have an Orc with a Strength of 20, and still have 5 points left to use on other stats. You could have a Orcish Barbarian with a Strength 20, Constitution 14, Dexterity 12, Intelligence and Wisdom of 8, and Charisma of 6... and upon Raging at first level has a Strength of 24, with a +7 to hit and damage. Give him a Greatsword and he's doing a minimum of 12 points of damage, which will one-shot the majority of monsters suitable for level 1 characters to fight.

Or to put it another way: just raising a 10 to a 14 is a 5 point build. You can have a 15-point build that is three 14s and three 10s, and be considered a fairly balanced character. You just went and took away a penalty for that massive bonus which in even non-min/maxed characters is still quite impressive.


captain yesterday wrote:

Are... Are you telling us we're doing it wrong.

Seriously, NOTHING makes a great rogue, even a rogue, that's why they made it an obsolete class, honestly if you have a rogue in your party you're already screwing yourselves.

And all the dead bodies in a tree in Cheliax disagree that goblins are "only good at being a rogue" for instance, they get no penalty to intelligence.

And whilst we're on the subject of mechanical benefits and drawbacks, my wife has a Ghoran Witch with a minus to intelligence, hasn't stopped her from kicking ass.

Your optimization of EVERYTHING doesn't necessarily mean you're doing it better than everyone else.

So stop acting like it.

You've got a personal problem, you've taken what I've written personally. Stop it, please. I'm no longer going to respond to you.


Tangent101 wrote:

+4 to one stat is significantly more powerful than -2 to two stats.

Or to put it another way: just raising a 10 to a 14 is a 5 point build. You can have a 15-point build that is three 14s and three 10s, and be considered a fairly balanced character. You just went and took away a penalty for that massive bonus which in even non-min/maxed characters is still quite impressive.

That argument only works if you are using a point buy system. Me, I have my players roll their attributes up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

No, it doesn't. Because an Orcish fighter would very likely put the highest-rolled stat in Strength, which would then be boosted even higher. Hell, if the player managed an 18? That means that player now has a 22 Strength.

Meanwhile, do you roll up stats for the monsters as well?

Because, and I verified this talking to James Jacobs (well, on the forums here) that the monsters are built assuming a 15-point build for characters. Thus if you are doing a 30+ point build equivalence because of lucky die rolls... you end up with people who breeze through the monsters.

Also, how do you deal with disparities between stats? I know I used die rolls for my Skype Runelords game. And then I ended up increasing one player's stats because she rolled poorly and the other two people rolled quite well. It would end up being unfair to her character. (And then the next two players I gave a point build of around 40 points each because that was how well those first couple of players rolled.)

I'm going with a 25-point build with my future Skype-based Hell's Rebels game. And most of the group is fine with the stats (which are even all pre-assigned as they don't want to mess with stats and builds, so they accepted 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 10 as their generic stats). Though I will also be boosting monster and antagonist stats by +1 for each stat to compensate for the higher hero stats once the heroes are of high enough level.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Order of the Amber Die folks used rolled stats and died/lost in the final battle. Just sayin...


Tangent101 wrote:

No, it doesn't. Because an Orcish fighter would very likely put the highest-rolled stat in Strength, which would then be boosted even higher. Hell, if the player managed an 18? That means that player now has a 22 Strength.

Because, and I verified this talking to James Jacobs (well, on the forums here) that the monsters are built assuming a 15-point build for characters. Thus if you are doing a 30+ point build equivalence because of lucky die rolls... you end up with people who breeze through the monsters.

Why would it matter all that much if an Orc Fighter put his single 18 he got from rolling his attributes into Strength? That sort of thing happens all the time in my games, yet PC's still die regularly. Hell, I had SIX character deaths in Carrion Crown. They didn't breeze through the monsters, as you seem to think. Sometimes *I* get lucky too, and kill them with critical hits.


I haven't been on the forum in a few weeks and I didn't expect this thread to get as big as it has.

In all honesty it seems like Giantslayer suffers from the same issue I see with most other APs - third act problems.

Is there something inherent to Pathfinder and maybe D&D in that the players become so powerful after a certain point that it is difficult to create limitations for them? There's something really attractive about players starting off in a world that's ready to kill them at every turn, having to strategise against potential enemies and carefully select new spells etc. Once higher level play begins, I become more and more disinterested.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes. There is. But it is inherent to the D&D system.

However, Giantslayer has more Third Act problems than some of the other APs. It is better than WotR which had the added power creep given by Mythic, but some APs handle the power creep somewhat better. Giantslayer's greatest flaw (or benefit) is that you can end the game without even facing the Big Bad if you just blow up his flying castle... and that is easily doable once you find one specific room.

And there is one other thing to consider. All monsters for Pathfinder and encounters in the APs are built assuming a 15-point build. A lot of games that run into problems are using die-rolled stats because of tradition. So you end up with some people with characters that would be a 30+ point build... and I saw one player legitimately roll up a 52-point build once.

A lot of players complain about the stats and feel 15-points are underpowered. However, do consider this: in AD&D, a 15 Dexterity would give the same armor class bonus as a d20 system 12 Dexterity. An AD&D 16 Strength gives the same damage bonus as a 12 Strength in d20. In AD&D you had high high stats... and needed them to get small bonuses. Using a point-build, for 12 points you can gain the same bonuses to Dexterity, Strength, and Constitution (14, 12, and 14 respectively) as three 16s would in AD&D.

Even letting characters have a 25-point build ends up with overpowered characters... but can easily be compensated for by adding +1 to each stat of all monsters and NPCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes. My players love their die rolled stats, and in the interests of everyone having fun, I am loathe to take away one of their favorite toys. They have a system where everyone rolls a set of six stats, and then we pool all of those stats together into one giant mess and negotiate with one another to draw from the pool for our own characters. On the one hand, this approach ensures that you don't have a huge power discrepancy between characters, leaving that one player who rolled like crap feeling like crap; on the other hand, it contributes well to optimization, since the wizard doesn't have to roll his own 18 int, the sorceror his own 18 Cha, etc. They can just take mediocre stats and effectively min max from the pool.

I have told them, however, that when I run Hell's Rebels, it will be a 15-pt buy. "Because in this AP, you are not skilled adventurers!" I do plan to give them all a free rank to invest in a Craft or Profession skill to represent this so that they can all begin play with a career of some sort.

With Giantslayer, I found that my optimized players were challenged when I challenged them to tackle the Storm Tyrant without much opportunity for rest. I accomplished this mostly by having him announce to the whole castle through a jury-rigged storm-and-thunder styled PA system to "prepare the dropstones and set a course for Trunau", forcing them to find a way to stop the castle or stop the Storm Tyrant before he crushed their hometown beneath falling granite.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
SMNGRM wrote:
In all honesty it seems like Giantslayer suffers from the same issue I see with most other APs - third act problems.

What are third act problems supposed to mean in the context of an AP? Is it derived from the three act structure, because I'm not necessarily sure that those apply to well on APs.


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Yossarin wrote:
Yes. My players love their die rolled stats, and in the interests of everyone having fun, I am loathe to take away one of their favorite toys. They have a system where everyone rolls a set of six stats, and then we pool all of those stats together into one giant mess and negotiate with one another to draw from the pool for our own characters. On the one hand, this approach ensures that you don't have a huge power discrepancy between characters, leaving that one player who rolled like crap feeling like crap; on the other hand, it contributes well to optimization, since the wizard doesn't have to roll his own 18 int, the sorceror his own 18 Cha, etc. They can just take mediocre stats and effectively min max from the pool.

That's an interesting system, I haven't heard anything like that.

Biggest problem I have with rolled stats is that they are almost never the actual 'random' rolls they are supposed to be. No player wants to play a character gimped from the start due to bad rolls and no GM wants to force him to either... and what we end up with once the option of poor is eliminated is, more often than not, something fairly ridiculous. Think about on these boards how often we hear about how 'lucky' players got and how high all their stats are - its pretty much constant - but almost never hear stories about trying to make a 7, two 8's, a 10, a 12 and a 13 work or how much fun it was to play such a character. Those characters almost never seem to actually make it to the table...

Point buys have saved both them and me the aggravation, and I've never met a group who was openly opposed to them. It actually seems to have become the norm now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The way to avoid players openly opposing point-builds is to give them no debate in the issue.

"We are using an X-point build for the characters. If you don't want to use points, you can use these stats instead" (with said stats being the point build).

Mind you, a 25-point build may be easier to ease the group into, and is easily rectified with Hero Labs or related programs by adding +1 to each stat of all the monsters and NPCs.

Indeed, giving that a lot of players really dislike the 15-point build as being "underpowered" when Paizo eventually does a 2nd Edition Pathfinder, they probably should start with 25-point builds for the characters and build their monsters accordingly. Players will be happier because they see their PCs as having better stats and powers, and GMs won't have to worry about overpowered PCs romping all over everything.

Though one thing Paizo really would need to work on in that future game is ensuring high-level PCs aren't so overpowered that even high-level monsters aren't a threat.


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I hate point buy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not being able to roll as well as my fellow PCs, I love point buy.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, I have to admit that if a game is using rolling rather than point-buy, that for me is a reason not to play in that game. Obviously we don't all agree on this, but for me point-buy is key.

Liberty's Edge

I've been loving this AP. Been playing Loki, whom I am trying very hard to design after the Mythical Figure as a Dragon Sorcerer based on trickery (but still able to do combat) So far it's been effective and heck he even made a sweet heart in the giant Priestess Ferin, Keeper of the Forge.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wiggz wrote:
Biggest problem I have with rolled stats is that they are almost never the actual 'random' rolls they are supposed to be. No player wants to play a character gimped from the start due to bad rolls and no GM wants to force him to either... and what we end up with once the option of poor is eliminated is, more often than not, something fairly ridiculous. Think about on these boards how often we hear about how 'lucky' players got and how high all their stats are - its pretty much constant - but almost never hear stories about trying to make a 7, two 8's, a 10, a 12 and a 13 work or how much fun it was to play such a character. Those characters almost never seem to actually make it to the table...

That's the problem with "random." Stretches of really low rolls, or really high rolls, are actually expected at some point. People tend to associate "random" with "at least average," but it does not always work out that way.


Gratz wrote:
SMNGRM wrote:
In all honesty it seems like Giantslayer suffers from the same issue I see with most other APs - third act problems.
What are third act problems supposed to mean in the context of an AP? Is it derived from the three act structure, because I'm not necessarily sure that those apply to well on APs.

Just broadly referencing the three act structure. I think most do generally adhere to the structure somewhat, even though they're spread over five books.


I have having some of my players vote from a few different APs and it seems like this will be the one I will be running ill be trying to steal many ideas from the players who have already played and GMed this AP.


Also a fan of point buy, particularly because every advocate of rolling stats that I've gotten to play with in person said, when asked why they preferred rolling, that it's was because they expected that if they rolled below-average, the GM would let them take a more average spread instead.

...Basically, they wanted the chance to be better than the rest of the players, with no chance of a downside. Also, I've caught literally every stat-roll-advocating player I've ever played with (which is about 2 dozen of them) cheating at some point or another. So really what they wanted was the opportunity to try and pull a fast one on the GM and say "No, really, I totally rolled these awesome stats while you were helping that other player out".

There will be rolling players who don't cheat, of course. I've just never met any, and after so many cheaters, I think it's easier to just favour players who are eager for point-buy. Someone asking for a system where they can't cheat just earns immediate trust points from me.

...Whew, that was off-topic. As for Giantslayer, I was pretty firmly in the "Never going to run this, but I'll buy the books to mine them for stuff" camp until Ironfang happened. I actually like the look of Ironfang, but the rest of my group disagrees vehemently, and has recently been considering giving Giantslayer a shot, since it no longer looks like the worst AP to them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I've never cheated on rolling stats or in game.

My brothers are the same.


Not to add fire to the derailing, but I have noticed (throughout many years on the forums) that most Players/GMs that complain about lack of challenging encounters in any AP use anything but the recommended 15 point buy. Even the online campaigns seem to mostly use a 20+ point buy.

Also, I do agree with SMNGRM partially. To me the third act problems are specifically with the 5th chapters of most APs, IMHO. For example, three of my favorite APs, Runelords, Kingmaker, and Carrion Crown have terrible (again IMHO) 5th chapters that would require massive rewrites on my part if I run them. Runelords most of all. The final installments of these APs however, are excellent. Gallowspire and Thousand Screams are possibly the best endcaps of any AP, and Xin-Shalast reminds me of AD&D's module D3 Vault of the Drow. The city is a framework (like Erelhei-Cinlu), and it's up to the GM to populate it better and breath life into it.
To date, the only chapter 5s that I have liked are from Ironfang Invasion, Shattered Star, and Serpent Skull. All of which, I'm not too fond of with the exception of SS, I'd have to replace most of chapter 4 (again YMMV).

On topic now, based on reading the comments, Giantslayer seems to take a classic module and carry it over 6 longer modules. That's not a small job, especially with multiple authors.

Ultimately, as some previous GMs here have stated, it's what you make of it.
My old group took one of the heaviest, and most repetitive "Dungeon Crawls" ever, the Temple of Elemental Evil, and made it one of our most memorable campaigns of all time. We had an unreal amount of RP going on within the group, as well as character backgrounds that worked well with the campaign.


This past weekend our group completed my 5e conversion of Giantslayer. It took 2.5 years to get from start to finish, but we did it! I greatly enjoyed running it, and I think the group enjoyed the adventure. It was our first (and only, to date) 5e endeavor. Converting it was a major challenge, and converting it for a 6-PC party was even more so.

The final battle against Volstus and Akazerath was as epic as I'd hoped for. The setting, the stakes, everything was as imagined. The battle swung from side to side, but of course the heroes emerged victorious in the end.

I used books 1-3 mostly as is (converted, of course), but swapped out my conversion of Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (G2) for book 4 since Tales From The Yawning Portal wasn't out at the time I began the conversion. I also substituted my conversion of Hall Of The Fire Giant King (G3) for book 5. I really appreciated Redlake Fort in book 2 and felt it was very useful as a stand-in for the hill giant fort in G1.

I'm so glad we finished the adventure and had a grand time doing so. It was a great story, and one that I was happy to share with my players.


That sounds awesome, Dosgamer. Congratulations on finishing. Could you tell a bit more about the conversion? Does the AP play better in 5e do you think? How did you convert encounters and treasure and so on?

Do you have notes ;-)


Hi Matrix, I'll send you a PM. Thanks!


As I have been reading through the Books and the Posts I am greatly disappointed with the lack of GM support for this AP. I guess this didnt hit a cord with alot of gaming groups. I will be running it next but im definitely going to make all the player Play Dwarves which will be alot of fun I think.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I did the same thing a few months ago. I made the mistake, however, of prepping the path and tying the characters too tightly to their dwarven heritage. There was a TPK in the second book and since the new characters would have had no tie to the dwarven backstory I lost all interest in continuing.

That Melira is quite the woman scorned.


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rkotitan wrote:

I did the same thing a few months ago. I made the mistake, however, of prepping the path and tying the characters too tightly to their dwarven heritage. There was a TPK in the second book and since the new characters would have had no tie to the dwarven backstory I lost all interest in continuing.

That Melira is quite the woman scorned.

Larry Wilhelm (the author of book 2) was interviewed by the Glass Cannon Podcast soon after they finished that volume.

He confessed that he didn't really have time to playtest many of the encounters, which accounts for the extreme brutality of some of them.

It's a really good adventure, but hoo boy, some of that stuff is just brutal!


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I love Brutal Encounters I increase the challenge of most encounters


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

We are about to finish book 5.

Before I began running the AP, I noticed all the artifacts thrown around and wasn't happy about it. I replaced the artifacts in book 1 with scalar items from a 3pp product (One Bling to Rule them All). I removed most of the other artifacts, but kept a few for plot purposes. You and your group may be fine with artifacts.

Book 1 was actually the most challenging because of the orcs. Being able to fight at negative hp was a big deal. Throughout the AP the Giants themselves have not been that difficult. But when they hit, they hit hard.

I have 5 players, so I often combine encounters or slap advanced templates to increase challenge.

As the AP progressed, I have also taken to changing feats on the standard giants to things like lunge, vital strike, furious focus, etc. This makes them tougher and also reflects the increased training of the giants from books 3-5.


I love the Artifacts its such a rarity that PCs get an artifact, I love that the PCs get multiple Artifacts through out this campaign. Makes it more memorable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That's good and with all of them playing dwarves, it should be interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
waltero wrote:
That's good and with all of them playing dwarves, it should be interesting.

IN GENERAL TERMS - did you make any changes to book 5 to spice up the monotony of

Spoiler:
room - fire giants - room - fire giants
?
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