Should I allow this race in this campaign?


Advice


Hello all,

So, I just ran Rappan Athuk for the first time last weekend, and... they died (2 to 3 wisps, the other 2 to 10 dire wolves...). They were lv. 1, 25 point buy etc.

Their next batch of characters will be lv 2, and a player asked if he could play the ogre race (rp 23). Now, I know how lethal RA is first hand, but the reach on the ogre makes me unsure about allowing the race. It's obvious he's trying to powergame. He did so with the last character that died... to irritating proportions. But, it is RA, so part of me is inclined with allowing it.

So, I'm looking for some advice. Would you allow a player to have a large race with reach, even in Rappan Athuk?


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Not unless everyone else is getting a similar boon. Being Large size is basically nothing but gravy in this game. More Str, more Con, less Dex (lol), more Reach, more damage, and a slight hit to AC.

If everyone else gets to play a similarly powered up race, I'd say it'd be fine, but if it's just the one guy reaching for more, I'd say no.


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Agree with Sundakan.

If you're OK with the entire party having similar advantages, then more power to you. Having one character playing an ogre while the rest of the party were more typical races would be unbalancing and likely to cause discontent in the play group.


For me, that would mostly depend on the other players and how they would feel about it. I don't want the problem where half of the group feels inferior and useless to the other.

Otherwise I don't care much, I can always adjust the module somewhat or use the NPCs to the best of their ability to keep it a challenge.
It is of course important to be familiar with all the rules for reach and what requires what type of action in your case, to keep the abuse to a minimum. Rollplayers always read specials into the rules which are not there (or not anymore since 3.5).

I personally like Rappan Athuk a lot. It has a lot of my favorite monsters in it, a few nasty traps and some nice treasure. You can also adjust it a lot and use books that were not out when it was written (Occult Adventures, the psionic books from Dreamscarred Press and the Mythic handbook suggest themselves to me).

I wonder how far your group will get...it's a long way to the final encounter :)


I hove no problem with allowing large races, or races with reach, or even entirely custom races built with the Race Builder rules...

However, since level adjustments are not a pathfinder concept; I would never allow one player to play a 20+ RP race unless everyone else is also playing similarly powerful races.

Solutions I would consider might include:
A) giving players the option to add appropriate racial traits to whatever race they are playing which bring them all equal to the highest RP race in the party.
Example: A Human might gain an additional flexible feat (4 RP), an additional skill point per level (4 RP), and two additional traits (As a static bonus feat; 2 RP). Other races would be given the option to select a similar number of alternate racial features without trading existing racial features.

B) Require that the player playing an "Ogre" be built within 15 RP (if able).

C) Disallow the ogre. This is the simplest option, and the one most GMs would select. However it's not really a solution to the player's desire to play an Ogre.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You could also give him a lower point buy to account for his advantageous race. 10 or 15 should be plenty in this situation. I'm not familiar with the creature mix in RA, but you should also think about how you'll handle sizing of magic armor and weapons since most pre-written campaigns will have fewer of these for larger creatures.


Personally, I am very liberal as a GM, while im not familiar with the adventure you're talking about I can still offer some insight. So maybe he is trying to power game, while I would say that most group discourage that, advise him of some of the consequences, little things like space and mobility are always a factor when considering playing a large race. Of course if does opt to still play the race for a "flavor" aspect while you offer him to build it with ARG, then maybe it is just that. Large characters are often the first to be targeted, so depending on the material your running, he may not have any more success playing this race than he would anything else.


Rappan Athuk is the sort of adventure that breeds resentment if you don't run it fairly.

I would not allow this, unless everyone is allowed to do it.

Alternatively, give him some scary IC debt that's likely to kill him to go along with his power.


A lot of helpful advice. Thanks everyone.

I definitely would allow all of my players access to any race I allow another player, so that answers that question. If they all want to be ogre, if I allow ogre, I'm fine with that.

That being the case, I think I might allow it. I just have this image in my mind of him hamming up a reach build, but I suppose that'll only get him (and the others if they choose) so far.

Thanks again.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Third Mind wrote:

I definitely would allow all of my players access to any race I allow another player, so that answers that question. If they all want to be ogre, if I allow ogre, I'm fine with that.

You might want to broaden things out a bit and make sure there are other equally powerful races as options.

Being an ogre is a boon to a melee fighter, but not much use to a caster for example.


To be honest, there aren't really any overpowered caster races to be had, anyway.


To be fair, you can let him be an ogre just fine. However, don't let him be an ogre from a bestiary. Reverse engineer the race, and dig out its modifiers. Make him do normal point buy and so on, and don't let him just use the stat array of normal ogres. Since they have racial HD, they're not the same as character levels. So, essentially, give him the abilities and modifiers but not the racial HD.


Olaf the Holy wrote:
To be honest, there aren't really any overpowered caster races to be had, anyway.

Serpentfolk would beg to disagree :)


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Buri Reborn wrote:
To be fair, you can let him be an ogre just fine. However, don't let him be an ogre from a bestiary. Reverse engineer the race, and dig out its modifiers. Make him do normal point buy and so on, and don't let him just use the stat array of normal ogres. Since they have racial HD, they're not the same as character levels. So, essentially, give him the abilities and modifiers but not the racial HD.

That's what we're discussing.


Cool. What I've found is when most players say they want be a monster race, they want what's in a bestiary entry.


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Okay, to balance race points I can see several options.


  • Point buy - this can be positive or negative. i.e. high-RP races get less points or low-RP races get more.
  • Money - Once again, you can give more money to people with low-RP races or less money to people with high-RP races.
  • Level - this one's kinda chunky. It's very hard to balance out, as all of the 3.5 people can testify to. I don't like this one.

One idea is to offer 35 points for both race and point buy. A human would have a 26 point buy, an ogre would have a 12 point buy and a kobold would have a 30 point buy. You could even allow a gargoyle with a -1 point buy.

2nd level is normally 3,000 gp for WBL. You could trade one of the above points for 300 gp, or vice versa. That way, you could get more money if you needed it, or you could have a big ogre with good stats but lousy equipment.

The Exchange

Philo Pharynx wrote:

...

One idea is to offer 35 points for both race and point buy. A human would have a 26 point buy, an ogre would have a 12 point buy and a kobold would have a 30 point buy. You could even allow a gargoyle with a -1 point buy.

2nd level is normally 3,000 gp for WBL. You could trade one of the above points for 300 gp, or vice versa. That way, you could get more money if you needed it, or you could have a big ogre with good stats but lousy equipment.

Havn't done the math but i like the idea! :-)


Actually, on further consideration, I'd probably go with a higher rate of money to RP/BP. Either 750 or 1,000. Money is something you'll get easily over time, and some classes don't need much money. Monks for example.


I would just tell him no, and that to be fair you won't also be arbitrarily increasing NPC/Monster's reach and stats etc. I mean, if the player wanted to do so, why wouldn't you also do so for NPCs if that is "fair and reasonable". Thing is, the player is trying to use powergaming etc to beat the game when their "in the cockpit" play performance is not up to par. Obviously this is a meatgrinder of an adventure, but just handing the players more "Power Candy" is not the right solution IMHO, certainly not when they already have access to very high point buy (25).


Large and reach is just asking for trouble, especially in a dungeon. He's not only going to trivialize some encounters, he's also going to get in the way of other players, etc. Perhaps he should look at options that are less crazy race point wise, like an ifrit with the enlarge person SLA or whatever.


Agree with the No. Reasoning -

More work for you as the GM. You have to "balance" stuff around his character. There's been a number of threads on this forum about trying to balance a encounter to be challenging to a OP character without wiping the rest of the party.

Is it fair to the other players? Even if the other players do agree to it now, would they agree to it as they level up?

Might want to ask for a leveling progressing sheet on how your players see their character (feats, powers, & classes) as they level up. Main reason for this is that I've seen some seriously overpowered combos on characters that can wreck the enjoyment for everyone but the player playing them. Gives you a chance to decide if you want to allow these combos and the player a chance to explain why he should have these combos.

Sovereign Court

I wouldn't use XP or money to try to balance it with the other players, because unless the players also agree to distribute those unevenly in the future, the effect will fade. Meanwhile, being naturally Large means you can actually go Huge with Enlarge Person style effects, and the Strength and weapon damage dice bonuses will stay good forever as well.

In my experience the game is VERY centered around an expectation of small/medium sized PCs. Many monsters derive their scariness from size and reach. A Large PC, especially when well-built for reach, will thoroughly unhinge that. I've seen both Abyssal Bloodragers, Living Monoliths and Mammoth Riders with Dire Collars in action. There's nothing like escaping a Purple Wurm's attempts to swallow whole because your mammoth becomes just as big as it.

Which is not to say that you mustn't do it, but that you should be ready for the consequences.


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Hi, playing in a Rappan Athuk game here. Our GM was very clear in that a level 1 party is very deadly. I think he said the book suggests being around level 4. To be fair, the first few sessions felt rather easy (Dire Rats, Stirges, Skeletal Champions, Giant Spiders, and so on), but it ramped up hard, and we matched it bit for bit. I'd say level 4 is about perfect to start with, maybe level 3 if you're feeling very confident. There are some random difficulty spikes early on you don't want to face as a fresh-faced, resourceless party.


Oh, and the restrictions for us:
- 20 point buy
- Core races get a +1 stat point
- Background in fighting against evil gives +1 skill point per level

We're now almost level 12, and we've had three deaths so far: a Circle of Death, one curse that made one player explode, and a Purple Worm. Though I do admit we're using awesome tactics and most of us have extremely cheesy builds. But still, from what I've heard, that's still a record low for what we've been through so far.

Also, a Dire Wolf is CR3 on its own. I'm not great at CR math, but I'm pretty sure 10 of those versus a fresh party is just TPK. A Direwolf has 37 HP, that's about three to four times the amount of a regular PC at level 1. Yeah, no wonder you wiped. I'd suggest having your players start at a higher level, not necessarily increase the power level of your players.

The Exchange

I don't know but Rappan Athuk you're supposed to know when to run. Again running away from Dire wolves with more movespeed then you would be a bit of a tall order. If I remembered my time in Rappan Athuk the corridors were a little crammed, so I'm not sure how an Ogre would fit in there.


Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Hi, playing in a Rappan Athuk game here. Our GM was very clear in that a level 1 party is very deadly. I think he said the book suggests being around level 4. To be fair, the first few sessions felt rather easy (Dire Rats, Stirges, Skeletal Champions, Giant Spiders, and so on), but it ramped up hard, and we matched it bit for bit. I'd say level 4 is about perfect to start with, maybe level 3 if you're feeling very confident. There are some random difficulty spikes early on you don't want to face as a fresh-faced, resourceless party.

Perhaps I'll just tell him no on the ogre, but increase their levels to 3rd instead of starting at 2nd. If I may ask, at 4th, did it feel difficult or just moderate? I'm sort of looking to keep things reasonably difficult for them.

They were wandering the wilderness and I happened to roll high on the dire wolves. I told them it'd be rough, so we went with it... and they died (unsurprisingly). They'll be heading toward the Mouth of Doom soon, having learned the wilderness is harsh.


As I said, there were random difficulty spikes. A lot of if felt pretty easy, but every now and then it got pretty hairy. I find it's pretty difficult to balance and gauge what the sweet spot is. Our party of 5 is pretty optimal, and with 20 point buy, level 4 felt a bit easy at first, but that did mean we were able to beat higher odds. There were definitely fights where being a level lower would've killed us. Maybe 25 point buy will offset that lower level, I don't know.

Also, don't be afraid to let your players optimise. Players won't survive this dungeon if you're not heavily optimised. It simply doesn't play fair, and most of the time the odds are simply against the players. Still don't think Ogres are smart idea as a player race, but don't feel bad about letting your players experiment.


Quentin Coldwater wrote:

As I said, there were random difficulty spikes. A lot of if felt pretty easy, but every now and then it got pretty hairy. I find it's pretty difficult to balance and gauge what the sweet spot is. Our party of 5 is pretty optimal, and with 20 point buy, level 4 felt a bit easy at first, but that did mean we were able to beat higher odds. There were definitely fights where being a level lower would've killed us. Maybe 25 point buy will offset that lower level, I don't know.

Also, don't be afraid to let your players optimise. Players won't survive this dungeon if you're not heavily optimised. It simply doesn't play fair, and most of the time the odds are simply against the players. Still don't think Ogres are smart idea as a player race, but don't feel bad about letting your players experiment.

Fair enough. They all pretty much optimize in their PCs respective areas. I'll have them go 3rd, and say no to the Ogre. I've allowed most other things.

Anyways, thanks everyone for the advice.

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