player has insanely high perception check


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Chess Pwn wrote:
Terquem wrote:
well yeah, that makes sense, so if I created a dungeon of traps so that your character has to always roll something between a 7 and a 14 for success, cause I think that is a challenge, but you want to have a rogue who doesn't have to roll at all because even a 1 will always succeed, we should have talked about this before we stated playing, cause one of us isn't going to have as much fun as we wanted to.

See when you say this what I hear is

"well yeah, that makes sense, so if I created a dungeon of traps so that your character choices don't matter, cause I think that is a challenge, but you want to have a rogue who wants to use his choices to make a difference on the game, we should have talked about this before we stated playing, cause one of us isn't going to have as much fun as we wanted to."
The other thing it translates to is
"well yeah, that makes sense, so if I created magical story time, cause I think that is a challenge, but you want to have agency in the game, we should have talked about this before we stated playing, cause one of us isn't going to have as much fun as we wanted to."

which, yes, both of those are true. You should definitely talk about things with your party if you're wanting to vary from the assumed base state of the game.

Agreed. No one is forcing you at gunpoint to play Pathfinder, but for you to claim to play Pathfinder and then throw all the common assumptions of the actual Pathfinder game out the window without discussing it with your players first seems at best an instance of false advertising. If you want to play Amber Diceless RPG, it's easily obtained.


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The Sword wrote:

Giving someone a 65% chance of success is not making something moot.

Giving something a 5% success chance does make something moot to all intents and purposes. All I have ever argued for is some element of heroism and risk. Never unbeatable skill DCs or immunity.

It is some of the posters on this thread arguing for auto success not me.

(For reference Terquem. Our group uses the optional "natural 1 equals -10" rule. It seems to work quite well.)

Personally, as a player, I don't want the GM "giving" me anything. I want what I've earned and/or deserve.

You make a generic dungeon, you decide you want to add traps, you make traps that are appropriate for a generic party of level X to have Y% chance of success.
Then the party runs through it and suffers or succeeds based on the choices of the characters, previous and ones in the dungeon, and the results of the dice. If someone has perception and disable to 100% beat all the traps then good for them, that's what they wanted their character to do obviously.
I feel this "problems that players are too good" comes from the GM's having a story they want to tell and don't like the players messing up their story.


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B.O.B.Johnson wrote:


The problem with a lot of power gamers in social games like this is that they want to play a character with god mode turned on,

But that's not what is being discussed here -- and in fact, since Pathfinder is a resource management game, it's almost impossible to accomplish.

We're discussing a character who spent "25% of his 8 Feats and his 2 traits", in addition to his racial choice, a lot of skill points, and a substantial amount of gold on bringing a single skill to a high level. If he had spent those feats, traits, race, skill points, and gold on doing something else instead, he'd be doing that extremely well -- or perhaps he'd be a generalist, doing everything acceptably but nothing superbly.

The trap finder is not going to be playing on God mode, and in fact, he's likely to be weaker in combat than a combat specialist or even a generalist. He'll be fantastic at dealing with pit traps and not very good at dealing with pit fiends -- great at iron grates and lousy at iron cobras -- awesome at ballistae and poor at basilisks.

Why is this a problem?


it keeps being repeated that DMs wanting some element of chance in the game (read not autosuccess on spell DCs, skill checks, ACs etc) are removing player agency, or trying to railroad a story. That is the opposite of the truth. It is the player with the +40 skill that is trying to create a fait accompli!

Challenge is not just about giving pain. Challenge is about dramatic tension, uncertainty, risk taking, triumph in the face of adversity and opportunities for heroism.

That isn't railroading a story like a DM handwaving the escape of a favourite NPC, making them deal in certain ways or frustrating PCs efforts by making it impossible them to succeed. That isn't what is being discussed by any of the people here advocating appropriate difficulty.

For me the ability to create dramatic tension in a game by making a game challenging without me feeling brow beaten and defensive is the difference between an mediocre DM and a great DM. Guess what ... it's easier to get that balance right when players don't min-max.


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He doesn't want traps to be a challenge for him.

He's allocated his build resources accordingly.

Traps are the only way you can make things challenging enough to make the story feel right?

I mean, when's the last time you heard about Catwoman *failing* to pick a lock or steal something? Some characters are just 'aces' at things, and that doesn't stop them from getting into loads of trouble and getting beat up.


Then tell the DM you don't want traps in the game. He isn't just stopping traps being a challenge for him, he is stopping them being a challenge for anyone.

You can't expect a DM to waste game time on a fait acompli.

Pathfinder used to be a role playing game when you took on the role of a character. Now it's a resource management game? Interesting. I'd never though of it that way but I can see how it is increasingly seem that way on these boards - as feat combos, WBL spending, stat allocations become more important than the story that the characters chart together.

There are two very different styles of DMing here. Each to their own. I think it is very important that the alternative style than the resource management game is presented as a valid alternative. Particularly for new players reading these boards who think they are failing if they don't have a character who succeeds 95% of the time.


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The Sword wrote:

it keeps being repeated that DMs wanting some element of chance in the game (read not autosuccess on spell DCs, skill checks, ACs etc) are removing player agency, or trying to railroad a story. That is the opposite of the truth. It is the player with the +40 skill that is trying to create a fait accompli!

Challenge is not just about giving pain. Challenge is about dramatic tension, uncertainty, risk taking, triumph in the face of adversity and opportunities for heroism.

That isn't railroading a story like a DM handwaving the escape of a favourite NPC, making them deal in certain ways or frustrating PCs efforts by making it impossible them to succeed. That isn't what is being discussed by any of the people here advocating appropriate difficulty.

For me the ability to create dramatic tension in a game by making a game challenging without me feeling brow beaten and defensive is the difference between an mediocre DM and a great DM. Guess what ... it's easier to get that balance right when players don't min-max.

And how is this invalidated by making traps a non-issue?

And our view is
If something that is "Challenging" has a X% chance of success at any given time then why should I invest a single point into perception? If a "Challenging" trap to find is 50% (so to stop take 10 from auto succeeding) then the GM will just set the DC to give me a 50% chance of working whether that is a 31 for my 20 perception or a 14 cause of my 3 perception being the party highest.

You'd agree that that's what you'd do right? To make it challenging.


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He probably wants to roleplay how exceptional his character is at delving into places they shouldn't be, traps or no traps. Having a skill like that makes you an invaluable member of an adventuring party, even if you have weaknesses elsewhere. He likes the flavor of being that guy who makes traps feel like they're not there. Which seems fair enough to me, a lot of people make choices in this game based on how they want to feel about the flavor of their character.

I mean, everyone has a niche. It'd be hard to justify him existing in the party if he's only good at perception for trapfinding and for some reason no one in the entire world used traps.


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The Sword wrote:
Then tell the DM you don't want traps in the game. He isn't just stopping traps being a challenge for him, he is stopping them being a challenge for anyone.

That's his job. He's the trap guy. We bring him along to handle any traps. He'd still be handling any traps if he only had a 50% chance of success, because he's way better at it than anyone else. So it's never really a challenge for anyone besides him anyways. The wizard with 10 perception and 0 disable device doesn't do anything different if the trap guy always succeeds, most the time succeeds, or hardly ever succeeds. The only time he care's is if the party decides to use the wizards summons to deal with traps. In which case they fire the trap guy cause he sucks at his thing. The cleric is the same, his only care is if he needs to use some healing or status removal if the trap guy fails. The fighter doesn't care since it's not something he can hit. The fighter only cares if the party decides to fire the trap guy, hire an extra healer, and have the fighter just take the hit and be healed afterwards.

So if your party has a trap guy then the rest of the party aren't challenged by a trap.


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Snakers wrote:
I mean, everyone has a niche. It'd be hard to justify him existing in the party if he's only good at perception for trapfinding and for some reason no one in the entire world used traps.

Or if you still fail about as many traps as if he wasn't good at finding traps.

Joe, before we hired you we failed 40% of traps.
Once we hired you we failed 5% of traps.
But after a few weeks we were back to failing 40% of traps.
We need you to stop slacking and get back to form or your fired, since we're just as well off as before we hired you.


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I just like how rogues are so bad at rogueing these days (maybe unchained excluded) compared to other choices that instead of saying 'rogue' we default to 'trap-guy' because so many guys can pick up trapfinding with archetypes.


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The Sword wrote:


There are two very different styles of DMing here. Each to their own. I think it is very important that the alternative style than the resource management game is presented as a valid alternative.

I'd be very happy if that were the case, provided that the people arguing for Magical Tea Party weren't also saying that "you can do all the role-playing you like as long as you don't interfere with the story I want to tell. Be awesome or be awful, you'll still fail at exactly 35% of the tasks that I set you."

Because that's exactly what you're saying when you say that you'll adjust difficulties to make sure I succeed 35% of the time.


The party are challenged by them if the trap finder misses every once in a while maybe 20 - 25% of the time. Then traps are tangible and threatening rather than being a colossal waste of time.

Setting appropriate difficulties is not about low balling players. A party should aim to be balanced - that's been in every players handbook and every AP since the game started. I find it very strange that some players think that the DM setting appropriate challenges mean they can not invest any effort into it all. If you don't put any effort in (for some bizarre meta gaming reason) then your success will be substantially lower than 70%.

You must surely see that there is a difference between making no effort with a skill and making a character with +40 in that skill. If you can't see there is a happy balance to be struck then we are playing a totally different game.


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I think I disagree that it's a colossal waste of time, since the traps are generally over with in two rolls given the large numbers we're talking about.

If I was the DM, I would start using the traps as more a plot device than a real challenge. If you hype up a huge treasure, you'd put a bunch of traps around it, KNOWING that it's gonna take, like, no time at all for the party to blow through them.

But it makes the item feel more valuable because someone in-world decided to try protecting it that much....and it makes the party/Trap Guy(TM) feel like a badass for swinging through his defences.

And feeling like a badass for disarming traps is probably a large part of his Fun.

And Fun's the point of the game, isn't it?


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Sword wrote:


There are two very different styles of DMing here. Each to their own. I think it is very important that the alternative style than the resource management game is presented as a valid alternative.

I'd be very happy if that were the case, provided that the people arguing for Magical Tea Party weren't also saying that "you can do all the role-playing you like as long as you don't interfere with the story I want to tell. Be awesome or be awful, you'll still fail at exactly 35% of the tasks that I set you."

Because that's exactly what you're saying when you say that you'll adjust difficulties to make sure I succeed 35% of the time.

You're misrepresenting the points that I have already clarified. At no point have we argued for a fixed success rate or railroading stories as I have made clear. At this point you are arguing in bad faith and there is little more to be said to you.


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The Sword wrote:

The party are challenged by them if the trap finder misses every once in a while maybe 20 - 25% of the time. Then traps are tangible and threatening rather than being a colossal waste of time.

So, the trapfinder isn't happy with that 20-25%, so he picks up another feat to drop that to 5-10%.

Now, you as a GM do what....raise the DCs so the percentage goes back to 20-25%?


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I see that either (A) the player really hates traps and has invested like crazy so they'll never have to face them or (B) they want to play the trap expert.
If (A) then handwave traps from now on. They've paid for it. Just give the occasional "and there's a trap, which you find and disarm."
If (B) there's your plot hook. Play it up. Once word gets around, have people come to them "only you could get through X." "Everyone who goes in dies." "I need you to tell me if my security is good enough." Let them choose whether they face 'normal' traps or 'one-of-a-kind, elite' traps. If the latter, make them special.


The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

They are not satisfied with defeating four out of five fiendish (level appropriate challenges) because in film and fiction 'things always go right' don't they? God forbid that surprise or the unknown factor into player agency.

Liberty's Edge

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The Sword wrote:
The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

So you have a hard cap of 80% effectiveness in any one task in your games? Cool. Just tell people that and tell them when they've reached it (or how far they have to go to reach it). Then, they won't waste resources going further and everyone can be happy.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Sword wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Sword wrote:
is there any point to the rest of the party in that situation?
Yes.
Being your janitor doesn't count

The Sword, haven't I watched you dismiss as nonsense the very argument you're making, when discussing the same spellcaster in a game-design context rather than an individual PC context? Why the sudden turnaround?


The Sword wrote:

The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

They are not satisfied with defeating four out of five fiendish (level appropriate challenges) because in film and fiction 'things always go right' don't they? God forbid that surprise or the unknown factor into player agency.

This wasn't really responsive to my question. Do you just flat out prevent the player from taking the extra feat to boost their percentages, or do you just raise the DCs to make that feat irrelevant?


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I like Haranaki's idea- make it a ridiculous plot hook! What if a gold dragon comes knocking asking him to make sure his hoard is secure, because he heard he was the GREATEST trap specialist in this country and the five surrounding ones? If you can break through my defences while I'm watching, I'll give you one item of your choice from my hoard while I shore up whatever the hell you did to break it.


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The Sword wrote:

The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

They are not satisfied with defeating four out of five fiendish (level appropriate challenges) because in film and fiction 'things always go right' don't they? God forbid that surprise or the unknown factor into player agency.

I think you're missing that there is no reason for them to be "happy with missing out 20-25% of the time". YOU want that but why should THEY want that? The only reason it's an arms race is that you aren't satisfied unless you get to make them fail "20-25% of the time".

You're need to MAKE them fail is as reasonable as their need to succeed. What makes YOUR need for satisfaction greater than the players? Why should THEY be happy with your rate of failure?


Jiggy wrote:
The Sword wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Sword wrote:
is there any point to the rest of the party in that situation?
Yes.
Being your janitor doesn't count
The Sword, haven't I watched you dismiss as nonsense the very argument you're making, when discussing the same spellcaster in a game-design context rather than an individual PC context? Why the sudden turnaround?

I don't believe you have Jiggy because at no point have I advocated casters with auto succeed spell DCs or effects that make the rest of the party irrelevant. In fact if you read my responses to the series of "what to do about x spell" threads created by GM1990 you will see that I strongly advocate minimising the impact such spells have as far as possible - going as far as outright banning them if necessary.


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The Sword wrote:

The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

They are not satisfied with defeating four out of five fiendish (level appropriate challenges) because in film and fiction 'things always go right' don't they? God forbid that surprise or the unknown factor into player agency.

It only turns into an "arms race" if you have a crappy GM who keeps adjusting the DCs to make sure that characters are wasting their skill points and feats.


graystone wrote:
The Sword wrote:

The trap finder should be happy with missing out 20-25% of the time. That is the crux of the problem and why this turns into an arms race - because some players are just not satisfied unless it is 95%.

They are not satisfied with defeating four out of five fiendish (level appropriate challenges) because in film and fiction 'things always go right' don't they? God forbid that surprise or the unknown factor into player agency.

I think you're missing that there is no reason for them to be "happy with missing out 20-25% of the time". YOU want that but why should THEY want that? The only reason it's an arms race is that you aren't satisfied unless you get to make them fail "20-25% of the time".

You're need to MAKE them fail is as reasonable as their need to succeed. What makes YOUR need for satisfaction greater than the players? Why should THEY be happy with your rate of failure?

Please see my point about dramatic tension and opportunities for heroics. I don't want to make them fail. I take no satisfaction from them failing at all. In fact I have no vested interest in them succeeding or failing provided everyone enjoys the game. However I see the RISK of failure (albeit small) as essential to maintaining that enjoyment to prevent the game becoming routine and dull. If playing the way you suggest was good for the game then console games would all be played on easy mode and Pathinder would have a CR system 5 levels lower.

Ozy. I would say to the player that their burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include them in the game. I would ask them to compromise by not boosting the skill to such a high level in order to maintain the relevance of traps in exchange for which I promise not to try and screw the party over with particularly lethal or ridiculously difficult to detect traps.


It has been a while since I ran any games other than PFS or an AP as written, but a rule of thumb I used to use was to make encounters designed to challenge specific players, and to do so on a person by person basis. If I was designing a small dungeon with 6 encounters for 5 players, I'd usually make 1 encounter designed to challenge each player, and 1 more that is effectively the BBEG. One thing that I would never do however is break the CR guidelines for designing encounters, since as a lot of people have said before if a player wants to invest heavily in doing something really well then they certainly should be rewarded for it. If you want to design an encounter specifically meant to challenge your trapfinder without arbitrarily cranking up CRs, think about using the environment and the encounter design to push them a little outside of their comfort zone. As an example, at 15th level, control weather is certainly not outside of the range of expectations, especially when witches can grab it as a hex at level 10. Most storms, which are well within the bounds of control weather, results in a -8 penalty to perception, and significant penalties to ranged attacks. Including both traps and foes in an environment like this will force the group to make a tough call between putting the trapfinder or the tank in front.

As an example, a advanced gargoyle waiting in ambush is DC 39, +1/10 ft away to spot when it. Even with a +40 perception, to notice this CR 5 creature in a storm from 30 ft away is going to require a 10 on the die to notice. Consider adding class levels to the creature to make it a more combat effective foe for the rest of the party and you'll end up with a foe that the party may or may not notice until they are within about 20 ft.

A harsh trap like a collapsing stair trap is normally a DC 29 to notice, which is still nearly a freebie for this rogue. However, if this is placed in the same encounter as your new gargoyles, the outcome is likely one of the following:
1 - The rogue notices the gargoyles and sends the tanks in front, who are very unlikely to notice this trap before triggering it.
2 - The rogue does not notice the gargoyles but notices the trap, now finding himself in the front line of a melee combat situation.

This will help to create a situation that continues to reward everyone for their investments, but forces at least someone to put themselves in a situation outside of their normal comfort zone. If other players have methods of mitigating the harsh environment, either by controlling the weather on their own or dispelling the source, they can make this encounter significantly easier, however this requires teamwork, which is something that is always to be rewarded. As long as you include the sources of the harsh environment as part of the CR for the encounter, I wouldn't say you are artificially inflating the DCs of the encounter, but providing an interesting and hopefully challenging experience for your party.


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The Sword wrote:

The party are challenged by them if the trap finder misses every once in a while maybe 20 - 25% of the time. Then traps are tangible and threatening rather than being a colossal waste of time.

Setting appropriate difficulties is not about low balling players. A party should aim to be balanced - that's been in every players handbook and every AP since the game started. I find it very strange that some players think that the DM setting appropriate challenges mean they can not invest any effort into it all. If you don't put any effort in (for some bizarre meta gaming reason) then your success will be substantially lower than 70%.

You must surely see that there is a difference between making no effort with a skill and making a character with +40 in that skill. If you can't see there is a happy balance to be struck then we are playing a totally different game.

So if no one invests in traps at all what do you do?

If you include normal traps then it's "beyond challenging" since they are missing most traps and unable to disable 100% of traps, and this isn't challenging so it's not what we want.
If you include the awesome traps that you'd use to challenge the 40+ guy then they miss 100% of them, and this isn't challenging so it's not what we want.
If you don't include any traps then you've removed any challenge and thus you must include traps.
So what, you include traps that the best person in the party can do 20 - 25% of the time?

But what do you say that since you want them to have invested X and they are only at Y you'll drop their success chance by Z% to penalize them, but still not have any set traps that the party faces regardless of skill.

Like I'm serious. If you're advocating setting DC's to have 20 - 25% fail rate to be challenging what do you do if the party didn't cover this base and the best spotter was the cleric at +4 cause of wisdom and the disabler is a +6 cause 1 rank and class skill, At lv 7.


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The Sword wrote:
I would say to the player that their burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include them in the game. I would ask them to compromise by not boosting the skill to such a high level in order to maintain the relevance of traps in exchange for which I promise not to try and screw the party over with particularly lethal or ridiculously difficult to detect traps.

So do you let them trade out feats and traits and gear spent getting super high and just let him leave his skill points making him "good enough"? Do you tell your party at the start, "Party, I like to tell challenging stories, and a challenging story is one where the absolute highest you can be is 80% success rate, so don't go for super high skills. If you want 100% success for something you should leave now as you're not wanted for this game."?

Or would you just spring it on them? "Yes Joe? oh you're having a problem with my traps? Well your burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include you in the game. I ask you to not boosting the skill further to maintain the relevance of traps in exchange for which I promise not to try and screw the party over with particularly lethal or ridiculously difficult to detect traps."
(Hahaha, okay as a side note this part cracks me up. If you've raised the DC to keep up with their perception you're creating ridiculously difficult to detect traps for their level.)


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You may find this useful for the discussion at hand.


If no one invests in traps, then Reflex saves, Perception, tough characters to the front and a healthy dose of caution are advised. In my experience perception is the most commonly taken skill in the game so I would expect there to be several back ups to find traps. There aren't any awesome traps to challenge someone with perception +40 that's the problem, they stretch credulity. That level of perception is superhero. GM Rednals interesting link makes that very apparent.

I'm not advocating setting DCs to a fixed 20-25% failure rate. Please stop saying I am. I'm saying when there isn't a chance of failure there is no tension in the game. APs have a range of trap DCs. I would leave them in, but would consider removing or modifying some of them if there was absolutely no one in the party able to find them (unlikely). This is the same as removing some of the divine scrolls from treasure if there is no party cleric. It is called designing an adventure tailored to the party and It is important in every DM adventure creation advice I have read.


Chess Pwn wrote:
The Sword wrote:
I would say to the player that their burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include them in the game. I would ask them to compromise by not boosting the skill to such a high level in order to maintain the relevance of traps in exchange for which I promise not to try and screw the party over with particularly lethal or ridiculously difficult to detect traps.

So do you let them trade out feats and traits and gear spent getting super high and just let him leave his skill points making him "good enough"? Do you tell your party at the start, "Party, I like to tell challenging stories, and a challenging story is one where the absolute highest you can be is 80% success rate, so don't go for super high skills. If you want 100% success for something you should leave now as you're not wanted for this game."?

Or would you just spring it on them? "Yes Joe? oh you're having a problem with my traps? Well your burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include you in the game. I ask you to not boosting the skill further to maintain the relevance of traps in exchange for which I promise not to try and screw the party over with particularly lethal or ridiculously difficult to detect traps."
(Hahaha, okay as a side note this part cracks me up. If you've raised the DC to keep up with their perception you're creating ridiculously difficult to detect traps for their level.)

As Players keep me informed about feat choices and equipment etc I would have this conversation before it was picked ideally. If I missed it (we're only human) I would let them swap it out yes. Though I think the game can stretch to more than just skill points without being broken.

I've been DMing for 18+ years Chess Pawn with one set of players for a substantial chunk of that time. I don't Spring my DM style on anyone. My players (of which I am one, as we rotate) seem to like it as I end up DMing about 50% of the time. I had my first ever TPK on Saturday that happened due to an unlikely succession of dice rolls which was a shock for everyone myself included, rather than deriving some malicious entertainment. I don't punish my players - I reward them - and try to have an adult conversation about what impact their choices have on the game. I've not come across anyone in person who didn't get that autosuccess for APL challenges was bad for the game. I also go for the ball not the player. I've never banned someone from one of my games, you mention that not me.

One of my most enjoyable parts of a new campaign is writing a comprehensive players guide to tempt them in and set the scene. I do not spring surprises where possible - though I am happy enough when players spring them on me.


I think the crux of this goes back to playstyle. What some refer to as Magical Tea Party, I refer to as "Fantasy Adventures."

What others call "resource management game" I refer to as "Fantasy-themed Math Problem."

Using both negative terms, I guess I prefer Magical Tea Party over Fantasy-themed Math Problem.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
The Sword wrote:

Giving someone a 65% chance of success is not making something moot.

Giving something a 5% success chance does make something moot to all intents and purposes. All I have ever argued for is some element of heroism and risk. Never unbeatable skill DCs or immunity.

It is some of the posters on this thread arguing for auto success not me.

(For reference Terquem. Our group uses the optional "natural 1 equals -10" rule. It seems to work quite well.)

Personally, as a player, I don't want the GM "giving" me anything. I want what I've earned and/or deserve.

You make a generic dungeon, you decide you want to add traps, you make traps that are appropriate for a generic party of level X to have Y% chance of success.
Then the party runs through it and suffers or succeeds based on the choices of the characters, previous and ones in the dungeon, and the results of the dice. If someone has perception and disable to 100% beat all the traps then good for them, that's what they wanted their character to do obviously.
I feel this "problems that players are too good" comes from the GM's having a story they want to tell and don't like the players messing up their story.

Or the GM wanting to "win".

And then lord it over the players that he had to take it easy on them.


So wait a minute. Are some of you saying that if the DC is, say, 17, and your character ha a +4 on the roll, AND you decide those odds are not to your liking, you will invest in a character improvement that raises your modifier by +2, and when you have done that you fully expect that from that point on the DC should never increase, making the investment you made worth while?


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Terquem wrote:
So wait a minute. Are some of you saying that if the DC is, say, 17, and your character ha a +4 on the roll, AND you decide those odds are not to your liking, you will invest in a character improvement that raises your modifier by +2, and when you have done that you fully expect that from that point on the DC should never increase, making the investment you made worth while?

Sort of. The DC for the same task should never increase just to match then new abilities of the character. Also, the DC for the average lock in the town should not suddenly become higher just to spite the character. Sure DCs should be higher if the character goes after bigger challenges, but the world should not randomly get harder just because the character got better.


I think the crux here is that a player has invested a lot of resources to be really good at something, but the GM has decided he doesn't want the PC to succeed (as often) at the thing he has invested in.

Traps in APs or designed by the GM are supposed to be set at a DC based on the level of the party. There are guidelines for what those checks should be.

If the GM goes about adjusting all those checks by +10 to negate the player's investment, then it's a bit disingenuous. The player might as well not have made as much of an investment.

The GM has arbitrarily decided to raise the DCs by an unreasonable amount to negate the PCs investment.

That's why many of us have a problem with what is being suggested.

If you want to make a difficult trap, it also increases the CR of the trap. There are rules that generalize what the perception check of traps should be, and when you start deviating from that you are increasing the challenge.

If you've arbitrarily decided that the trap needs a DC 50 perception check to find so that the PC can't easily find it, you're also increasing the CR of the trap, to a potential level that is beyond what PCs should encounter.

Simply put it's unfair to counter the PCs investment because you as the GM want the PC not to succeed. If CR 20 traps are only suppsed to have a perception DC of 34, when you make it 50 you've made the trap much higher CR than a 20.

You would send a Balor against 10th level PCs would you? And even if you did and had some laughs about it, your PCs would probably be pissed, and rightly so. Because this game is based on an inherent agreement between players and GMs. The game is supposed to be challenging at time, but fair in it's challenge. Not just arbitrary,


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Terquem wrote:
So wait a minute. Are some of you saying that if the DC is, say, 17, and your character ha a +4 on the roll, AND you decide those odds are not to your liking, you will invest in a character improvement that raises your modifier by +2, and when you have done that you fully expect that from that point on the DC should never increase, making the investment you made worth while?

No, I think that they expect that if the DC is 17 that the player improving their skill by +2 doesn't retroactively increase that 17 to a 19. No one expects the DC's to be static but they don't expect them to react to specific improvements the players have taken. So a set increase per level is expected but a +3 increase to offset a player's new skill focus isn't.

So in essence they are expecting DC's to make sense to the setting and their level instead of illogically high specifically to challenge a skill focused player.


so let's say you increase the trap spot dc. Are you increasing tge lethality of the trap as well, or are you leaving that the same.
Im imagining the dungeon boss hiring the greatest trap hider in the multiverse, then running out of money so he has to use some s~$& 1d2 dex poison from discount bobs poison utopia.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The Sword wrote:
I also go for the ball not the player. I've never banned someone from one of my games, you mention that not me.

Actually, you mentioned that.

The Sword wrote:
I would say to the player that their burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include them in the game.

I'm not sure that you meant it to be taken that way, but it would sound like a threat to me, no matter how calmly delivered it was.

I've been reading through this thread (there's been a lot added to it since I last peeked in), and I have to ask, if you aren't advocating adjusting percentages to meet player capabilities, what are you advocating? It seems like you are saying that you are telling players you don't like them to be too good at any one thing, and that if they want to do that, you do "not want to include them in the game."
I get that you don't see that as the same action, and I can agree with that distinction (one involves a conversation with the player, one involves DM fiat behind the scenes) but both boil down to the DM, either on the character sheet or with the dice roll, not wanting to reward that kind of character build.
I'm not sure I could agree with that kind of DM, and as a player I would be very disappointed.


The idea of a "set percentage" for pass/fail based on player capabilities is kind of weird to me.

As a GM, I prefer a variety of challenges. Some will be pretty easy, routine things that their invested abilities will help them pass by (unless they roll REALLY poorly or do something abnormally stupid, anyway). Others will actually require a pretty good roll on their part in order to pass (and the DCs will increase whether they invest or not, so it's not like things are arbitrarily sliding up to match them). Occasionally, some DC will be incredibly high (within their capabilities, but at the far edge), usually representing something extreme in-universe that WOULD be near-impossible to directly overcome... in which case there's usually another solution.

As the one guiding the story, my goal is to help create a sense of tension and adventure. In my experience, that sense is absent if a player is allowed to be so good that they trivialize an entire category of challenges, because then it just becomes me saying "yay, you win" each time that appears.

Rather than allowing a player to get to something like +40 on Perception, I think it would be better for a GM to simply talk to them when they reach the high end of what the campaign should allow. All a GM really has to do is say "You've reached the point where you're about as good as you can be here, and any more investment will give you rapidly diminishing returns. I'd like you to put those points into something else."


GM Rednal wrote:

The idea of a "set percentage" for pass/fail based on player capabilities is kind of weird to me.

As a GM, I prefer a variety of challenges. Some will be pretty easy, routine things that their invested abilities will help them pass by (unless they roll REALLY poorly or do something abnormally stupid, anyway). Others will actually require a pretty good roll on their part in order to pass (and the DCs will increase whether they invest or not, so it's not like things are arbitrarily sliding up to match them). Occasionally, some DC will be incredibly high (within their capabilities, but at the far edge), usually representing something extreme in-universe that WOULD be near-impossible to directly overcome... in which case there's usually another solution.

As the one guiding the story, my goal is to help create a sense of tension and adventure. In my experience, that sense is absent if a player is allowed to be so good that they trivialize an entire category of challenges, because then it just becomes me saying "yay, you win" each time that appears.

Rather than allowing a player to get to something like +40 on Perception, I think it would be better for a GM to simply talk to them when they reach the high end of what the campaign should allow. All a GM really has to do is say "You've reached the point where you're about as good as you can be here, and any more investment will give you rapidly diminishing returns. I'd like you to put those points into something else."

Dramatic tension for the sake of dramatic tension contributes little to a story. In truth, it becomes rote and uninteresting very quickly. Even if the players can trivialize 4 categories of challenges... you know the game has many many more categories then that right? If a player being able to effortlessly handle one category of challenges ruins a GM's story, it probably wasn't a very interesting story in the first place.


GM Rednal wrote:


Rather than allowing a player to get to something like +40 on Perception, I think it would be better for a GM to simply talk to them when they reach the high end of what the campaign should allow. All a GM really has to do is say "You've reached the point where you're about as good as you can be here, and any more investment will give you rapidly diminishing returns. I'd like you to put those points into something else."

That doesn't really follow though. If it's "rapidly diminishing returns", the same goes for trap-makers... How come the limit is higher for them?

If the player would rather the "sense of tension and adventure" be in another area, why is that an issue? Why does 'eagle eye' have to 'hold back' just to allow NPC trap-makers to have a chance to beat them? Do you limit how high someone can jump to allow for a "sense of tension and adventure"? Acrobatics too high so there's no "sense of tension and adventure" from AoO? Concentration checks too high for a "sense of tension and adventure" from casting defensively? Spellcraft too high to create a "sense of tension and adventure" from failing to learn a spell from a spellbook or scroll?

Liberty's Edge

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I agree with most of the above that if someone wants to be Mr. Perception then just let them notice hidden traps. This is usually a fairly boring sort of trap anyhow that is usually resolved in a few rolls. Personally, as a GM I would still include them however to acknowledge the player's investment.

That said, I would also make it a point to include some puzzle type traps as well, which are obvious and in plain sight, and which would not be automatically defeated by skill rolls and involve some player interaction.

One other thing that some GMs do (and that I hate) is to force players to narrate every square inch of what they are looking at or they don't find anything. Very tedious and undesirable gotcha style of GMing imo.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
The Sword wrote:
I also go for the ball not the player. I've never banned someone from one of my games, you mention that not me.

Actually, you mentioned that.

The Sword wrote:
I would say to the player that their burning desire to make traps irrelevant with abnormally high perception checks is making me not want to include them in the game.

I'm not sure that you meant it to be taken that way, but it would sound like a threat to me, no matter how calmly delivered it was.

I've been reading through this thread (there's been a lot added to it since I last peeked in), and I have to ask, if you aren't advocating adjusting percentages to meet player capabilities, what are you advocating? It seems like you are saying that you are telling players you don't like them to be too good at any one thing, and that if they want to do that, you do "not want to include them in the game."
I get that you don't see that as the same action, and I can agree with that distinction (one involves a conversation with the player, one involves DM fiat behind the scenes) but both boil down to the DM, either on the character sheet or with the dice roll, not wanting to reward that kind of character build.
I'm not sure I could agree with that kind of DM, and as a player I would be very disappointed.

By 'them' I mean traps. If you read my posts with that in mind you will see I am not advocating banning players for being good. I don't believe extreme builds should be rewarded no. The super-save-DC-enchanter is as disruptive to the campaign as is Players with an AC 15 higher than the rest of the party.

Player self-restraint is the key to solving this problem and not min-maxing abilities to become autosuccess. If you can convince your players not to try and break the maths of the game then things become a lot more balanced for the everyone. Unfortunately with a lot of PFS players and theory crafters on the boards comes a lot of entitlement - and a lot of people who seem to see the DM/challenge as the enemy rather than a partner in wanting to create a story - together!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
The Sword wrote:


By 'them' I mean traps. If you read my posts with that in mind you will see I am not advocating banning players for being good. I don't believe extreme builds should be rewarded no. The super-save-DC-enchanter is as disruptive to the campaign as is Players with an AC 15 higher than the rest of the party.

Oh yeah, that changes the meaning totally. But you can probably see why I, and others, might have jumped to the wrong conclusion?

Not including traps isn't actually a terrible reaction. Effectively, the hypothetical player is the one removing traps from the game by giving themselves such a high perception score, and presumably a DD skill to match. As someone else (and I apologize for not finding the proper quote, forgive me) mentioned, one reason a player might build that particular character is that the player hates traps and is not inclined to put up with that nonsense. So by not including traps, everyone might win!

The Sword wrote:
Player self-restraint is the key to solving this problem and not min-maxing abilities to become autosuccess. If you can convince your players not to try and break the maths of the game then things become a lot more balanced for the everyone. Unfortunately with a lot of PFS players and theory crafters on the boards comes a lot of entitlement - and a lot of people who seem to see the DM/challenge as the enemy rather than a partner in wanting to create a story - together!

Unfortunately, very true. I am glad to hear that you've been successful at that goal in your own games.


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Hi dont view the dm as a challenge I view the DEADLY MONSTERS IN THE GAME as a challenge.

extremely deadly, immortal, monsters. Surprise, I dont want to die so I'm not going to pick feats that are useless and I'm not going to shank my perception so I can die like an extra in a indiana jones movie


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Terquem wrote:

I don't get it.

Does the player NOT want to be bothered by traps, such that they simply want to always spot them, all the time, without rolling?

Does the player want to be bothered by traps so that they always roll the dice to spot the traps and only ever fail on the roll of a 1?

Does the player want to be bothered by traps such that they knowingly are challenging you to come up with traps that are spotted on the roll of a 16+, just to see if you can really make one up like that?

Why spend all those resources so that traps are not a challenge, and therefore should never award experience points because they are not a challenge

I don't understand the way people are saying "he spent all those resources to be really good at something, so let him be really good at it." Okay, so what does "really good at it" mean? You never fail, you only fail when you roll a 1, you never have to roll at all, you only fail when you roll less than 10, you find traps, on the roll of a 16, that no other trap searching character in the history of the kingdom has ever found. What does it mean to be "really good" at something in the game.

If you never roll the dice, what are playing exactly?

A challenge in the game is just something to overcome whether it be combat, a trap, or social encounter. If you do this, and it has a CR rating within a certain number compared to your party level then you get XP.

Your use of challenge sounded more like the common dictionary term of "difficult obstable". The game does not say you don't get XP because something is easy. As a GM you can go that route if your party trounces an APL+1 encounter, but the book assumes you still get XP for it, no matter if you barely get out alive or run over it.

PS: Nobody said anything about never having to roll the dice. The way you worded it made it seem like the point being advocated was "it's ok if everything is so easy the dice never have to be rolled".

That is much different than focusing on perception. Arguments like this that take things way out of context do not help.

It that was not your point then restating assuming you have not would be helpful.


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thorin001 wrote:
Terquem wrote:
So wait a minute. Are some of you saying that if the DC is, say, 17, and your character ha a +4 on the roll, AND you decide those odds are not to your liking, you will invest in a character improvement that raises your modifier by +2, and when you have done that you fully expect that from that point on the DC should never increase, making the investment you made worth while?
Sort of. The DC for the same task should never increase just to match then new abilities of the character. Also, the DC for the average lock in the town should not suddenly become higher just to spite the character. Sure DCs should be higher if the character goes after bigger challenges, but the world should not randomly get harder just because the character got better.

Yeah I'm going to have to disagree with that. If a town is having routine break-ins, the towns people aren't going to be like 'oh well' and keep using the same mundane locks - they're going to invest in better and better locks, traps, security, and neighborhood watches and so on.


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B.O.B.Johnson wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Terquem wrote:
So wait a minute. Are some of you saying that if the DC is, say, 17, and your character ha a +4 on the roll, AND you decide those odds are not to your liking, you will invest in a character improvement that raises your modifier by +2, and when you have done that you fully expect that from that point on the DC should never increase, making the investment you made worth while?
Sort of. The DC for the same task should never increase just to match then new abilities of the character. Also, the DC for the average lock in the town should not suddenly become higher just to spite the character. Sure DCs should be higher if the character goes after bigger challenges, but the world should not randomly get harder just because the character got better.
Yeah I'm going to have to disagree with that. If a town is having routine break-ins, the towns people aren't going to be like 'oh well' and keep using the same mundane locks - they're going to invest in better and better locks, traps, security, and neighborhood watches and so on.

Sure, but they aren't going to wait for the intruder to level up either. The townspeople only deciding to forge better locks at the precise time the thief gets much better at disabling them is still blatant plot convenience. Apart from that issue, it's a good way to show that the thief had an impact on the world around them.

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