Party too overpowered


Advice


Hi, I've recently decided to GM again and I'm running Rise of the Runelords with some friends. They are a THW summoner, a magus and a THW paladin. The other one wanted to try in Pathfinder one of his favourite class from 3.5, the Artificer. He found the class converted to Pathfinder, and I said ok. They are lvl 8, and are now about to assault Fort Rannick, and I think it's been easier than it should be for them. The paladin deals the "normal" amount of damage with smite (if normal means almost one-shotting a boss), the magus and the summoner aren't that far from him. But I think the real problem is the Artificer. He does nothing during combat, except using CLW wands if needed (it's been a while since he had the need to do that), but crafting their gear and every wand they could need, I think is unbalancing the game, since they don't have to care for their health nor during combat or after, and it's cheaper.
I haven't GM'ed a long campaign before, and as a player I didn't see this kind of problems, but I don't know what to do to balance things before the battles become more boring.
All suggestions are welcome, thanks in advance


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#feelsbadman

Item crafting tends to result in the party having lots of items that may unbalance the game very easily.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How did you port over the artificer class, out of curiosity? RotRL is infamously low wealth (like a lot of Paizo APs actually), so even with 3.5's craft discount feats he shouldn't be able to craft much of anything for most of book 1.

You didn't turn the crafting pool that was supposed to be a 3.5e XP mitigator into free item crafting, did you? That would be a major issue in an AP balanced around super poor PCs for the most part.

Aside from that, I would add a few simpler encounters to drain smites and magus spells a bit. Maybe up the boss HP just a bit (except on Nualia). Otherwise, RotRL is designed for pre-buff fighters and rogues (and paizo's vision of spellcasters), so it's easy for competently-built paladins and magi to run roughslod through it.


Ask them how they feel about it. I played in a campaign where the players felt that they were having a too easy time, and we agreed to go 'hard mode' where I would make every encounter more difficult in some way. If they're having fun and prefer to play a low risk game, then you don't need to take action. If they do want more of a challenge, you can look into adding more enemies or giving existing enemies the Advanced template.

Wands of Cure Light Wounds are pretty cheap by level 8 even if you're not crafting them, so I don't think out of combat healing expenses are going to be much different in your game.


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DM Forgedawn wrote:

#feelsbadman

Item crafting tends to result in the party having lots of items that may unbalance the game very easily.

Yes, crafting has multiple benefits, in the best case...

... you can craft for half the shop price.
... you can craft what you want and don't depend on loot or shop supply.
... you can upgrade items to adapt to new needs.
... you can sell everything roughly for the production costs, freeing resources to craft new items.

Now it could be worse, the artificer could contribute more to combat. But his crafting alone has great synergy with an otherwise capable party.

Make sure he plays by the rules - crafting is time intense. And sometimes there is a chance of failure.

Gino Cocolo wrote:
They are a THW summoner, a magus and a THW paladin.

There are a few counters to two-handed weapons:

* Ranged attacks from a safe location: If you can't reach the enemy, a two-handed weapon is worse than using a shield
* Grapple: When you are grappled, you can't use them, period
* Disarm: Losing your single weapon hurts more than 'just' losing one of both (a shield can be used as a weapon)
* Mirror Images etc.: They completely negate hits and therefore damage - in case of two-handed weapons, they negate more damage

Introduce these counters slowly, to avoid frustration.

Beside this, it's ok if they win a lot of battles easily. They optimized their PCs, so there should be some reward for that.

Dark Archive

SheepishEidolon wrote:
DM Forgedawn wrote:

#feelsbadman

Item crafting tends to result in the party having lots of items that may unbalance the game very easily.

Yes, crafting has multiple benefits, in the best case...

... you can craft for half the shop price.
... you can craft what you want and don't depend on loot or shop supply.
... you can upgrade items to adapt to new needs.
... you can sell everything roughly for the production costs, freeing resources to craft new items.

Now it could be worse, the artificer could contribute more to combat. But his crafting alone has great synergy with an otherwise capable party.

Make sure he plays by the rules - crafting is time intense. And sometimes there is a chance of failure.

Gino Cocolo wrote:
They are a THW summoner, a magus and a THW paladin.

There are a few counters to two-handed weapons:

* Ranged attacks from a safe location: If you can't reach the enemy, a two-handed weapon is worse than using a shield
* Grapple: When you are grappled, you can't use them, period
* Disarm: Losing your single weapon hurts more than 'just' losing one of both (a shield can be used as a weapon)
* Mirror Images etc.: They completely negate hits and therefore damage - in case of two-handed weapons, they negate more damage

Introduce these counters slowly, to avoid frustration.

Beside this, it's ok if they win a lot of battles easily. They optimized their PCs, so there should be some reward for that.

He can take 10 on crafting checks and he should be in the autosuceed range for any items he wants to craft. What chance of failure is there?


Felyndiira wrote:

How did you port over the artificer class, out of curiosity? RotRL is infamously low wealth (like a lot of Paizo APs actually), so even with 3.5's craft discount feats he shouldn't be able to craft much of anything for most of book 1.

You didn't turn the crafting pool that was supposed to be a 3.5e XP mitigator into free item crafting, did you? That would be a major issue in an AP balanced around super poor PCs for the most part.

Aside from that, I would add a few simpler encounters to drain smites and magus spells a bit. Maybe up the boss HP just a bit (except on Nualia). Otherwise, RotRL is designed for pre-buff fighters and rogues (and paizo's vision of spellcasters), so it's easy for competently-built paladins and magi to run roughslod through it.

https://sites.google.com/site/eberronpathfinder/conversion-info/classes/art ificer

Mostly from there, some minor changes I think, but that's pretty much it. And I think I'm going to do that, do some work and add more encounters. I upped the hp in most battles, maybe I'll buff the enemies a bit and adapt them to the party


Halek wrote:
He can take 10 on crafting checks and he should be in the autosuceed range for any items he wants to craft. What chance of failure is there?

Accelerated work and each missed requirement add +5 to the DC.


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Halek wrote:
He can take 10 on crafting checks and he should be in the autosuceed range for any items he wants to craft. What chance of failure is there?
Accelerated work and each missed requirement add +5 to the DC.

With all his bonuses and stuff, it's almost impossible for him to fail. The only thing that keeps him from crafting more is time


are the pc's having fun?
are you having fun?
if the answer to both is yes every thing is fine
if the answer to one is no talk it out with them and potentially make combat harder


The usual GM instinct in these situations is to throw tougher monsters at the party until parity is achieved, and that's fine some of the time.

What I might suggest instead is taking a leaf from Tucker's Kobolds; have the NPC enemies fight smarter. By now the party ought to be getting relatively famous, so their opponents will know of them and prepare for them with better tactics (setting up difficult to reach locations where they fire ranged weapons from, nimble enemies retreating onto difficult terrain, a long killzone with a s##%load of archers at the other end etc).

Then there's my personal favourite; terrain challenges/traps. The enemy might have set up traps (a net being dropped on the party, pit traps, rolling barrels down stairs etc). They key thing here is to give your party an opportunity to respond when they see these things happening, because what matters is that it forces them to diversify from their standard response to challenges ("I hit it with my sword"). Put them in a situation where they have to make a difficult choice (the artificer is dangling from a pit trap, do they help him or turn to face the enemy etc.)

They key thing is to make these things seem like challenges, rather than arbitrary difficulty-raising. They are there to be overcome, but the party will have to think outside of their usual go-to tactics to accomplish this.


Something to keep in mind...

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCampaign/campaignSystems/magicIt emCreation.html

"You can take advantage of the item creation rules to hand-craft most or all of your magic items. Because you've spent gp equal to only half the price of these items, you could end up with more gear than what the Character Wealth by Level table suggests for you. This is especially the case if you're a new character starting above 1st level or one with the versatile Craft Wondrous Item feat. With these advantages, you can carefully craft optimized gear rather than acquiring GM-selected gear over the course of a campaign. For example, a newly created 4th-level character should have about 6,000 gp worth of gear, but you can craft up to 12,000 gp worth of gear with that much gold, all of it taking place before the character enters the campaign, making the time-cost of crafting irrelevant.

Some GMs might be tempted to reduce the amount or value of the treasure you acquire to offset this and keep your overall wealth in line with the Character Wealth by Level table. Unfortunately, that has the net result of negating the main benefit of crafting magic items—in effect negating your choice of a feat. However, game balance for the default campaign experience expects you and all other PCs to be close to the listed wealth values, so the GM shouldn't just let you craft double the normal amount of gear. As a guideline, allowing a crafting PC to exceed the Character Wealth by Level guidelines by about 25% is fair, or even up to 50% if the PC has multiple crafting feats.

If you are creating items for other characters in the party, the increased wealth for the other characters should come out of your increased allotment. Not only does this prevent you from skewing the wealth by level for everyone in the party, but it encourages other characters to learn item creation feats.

Example: The Character Wealth By Level table states that an 8th-level character should have about 33,000 gp worth of items. Using the above 25% rule, Patrick's 8th-level wizard with Craft Wondrous Item is allowed an additional 8,250 gp worth of crafted wondrous items. If he uses his feat to craft items for the rest of the party, any excess value the other PCs have because of those items should count toward Patrick's additional 8,250 gp worth of crafted items."

Emphasis mine.


Those guidelines don't allow for a crafter character who doesn't directly participate in combat. Three characters with extra gear isn't normally going to be more powerful than four characters at WBL.


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

Are you running the original 3.5 edition with pathfinder classes, or are you using the hardcover anniversary edition? Those first four adventure paths were originally made for 3.5 D&D, and need modification to run with pathfinder.


I'm GMing this AP as well (anniversary edition), and my party is overpowered too.
There are several reasons for that:
- There are usually 5 to 7 players around the table, clearly more than expected by the book.
- Some of them know how to optimize well and give good advices to those who can't.
- I've been too nice at character creation (25 pt buy, roll two HD/level and keep best).

Now I also think that some fights are just not hard enough.
It is obvious that many fights are there just to eat up party's ressources in order to make boss fights harder.

I'm balancing this all out by buffing the opposition. Basically, every opponent has most of its stats buffed up to a +2 (att, dmg, saves and so on) and I also max their HD.

Also, you must really prepare ahead of time and imagine the best tactics possible in order to play the opponents efficiently.

Last but not least, for meaningful fights, I allow myself to simply rewrite them.
If you google the named opponents, you will often find revamped versions online that provide much better opposition.
Don't hesitate to add minions when needed.


Booloo wrote:

I'm GMing this AP as well (anniversary edition), and my party is overpowered too.

There are several reasons for that:
- There are usually 5 to 7 players around the table, clearly more than expected by the book.
- Some of them know how to optimize well and give good advices to those who can't.
- I've been too nice at character creation (25 pt buy, roll two HD/level and keep best).

Now I also think that some fights are just not hard enough.
It is obvious that many fights are there just to eat up party's ressources in order to make boss fights harder.

I'm balancing this all out by buffing the opposition. Basically, every opponent has most of its stats buffed up to a +2 (att, dmg, saves and so on) and I also max their HD.

Also, you must really prepare ahead of time and imagine the best tactics possible in order to play the opponents efficiently.

Last but not least, for meaningful fights, I allow myself to simply rewrite them.
If you google the named opponents, you will often find revamped versions online that provide much better opposition.
Don't hesitate to add minions when needed.

Ye, I'm running Anniversary Edition too, I'll start doing that, it's true that some bosses feel weak, I'll rethink the strategy and modify the encounters. I don't have much time for that because of college, but if some of them are revamped online and I like those, less work for me, ty for the idea


Your first mistake was allowing a 3.5 class. Fortunately your problem can be addressed. Start increasing the APL of your PCs by +1 and increase the CR of your encounters accordingly. If the combats are still too easy, continue to increase your APL by +1 until things even out. If everything I just typed is gibberish, then you need to research how to accomplish this. I recommend reading Alex Augunas' Guide to Creating Challenging Encounters.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The party in my game is getting similar results with a wizard who is focused on crafting. Most of his feats have been item creation feats, but since he was lucky enough to acquire a Quicken Rod, he is also quite deadly in combat.


Brother Fen wrote:
Your first mistake was allowing a 3.5 class. Fortunately your problem can be addressed. Start increasing the APL of your PCs by +1 and increase the CR of your encounters accordingly. If the combats are still too easy, continue to increase your APL by +1 until things even out. If everything I just typed is gibberish, then you need to research how to accomplish this. I recommend reading Alex Augunas' Guide to Creating Challenging Encounters.

Wow, I didn't know there was a guide like that, it's going to make my life easier, thanks for the info


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Those guidelines don't allow for a crafter character who doesn't directly participate in combat. Three characters with extra gear isn't normally going to be more powerful than four characters at WBL.

The guideline give a range. 1 feat 25%, multiple 50%, a whole class would there for be 75% or 100%. If the class truly isn't capable of participating in combat I'd go with 100%, if the class is able to participate a bit then 75%.


Gino Cocolo wrote:

Hi, I've recently decided to GM again and I'm running Rise of the Runelords with some friends. They are a THW summoner, a magus and a THW paladin. The other one wanted to try in Pathfinder one of his favourite class from 3.5, the Artificer. He found the class converted to Pathfinder, and I said ok. They are lvl 8, and are now about to assault Fort Rannick, and I think it's been easier than it should be for them. The paladin deals the "normal" amount of damage with smite (if normal means almost one-shotting a boss), the magus and the summoner aren't that far from him. But I think the real problem is the Artificer. He does nothing during combat, except using CLW wands if needed (it's been a while since he had the need to do that), but crafting their gear and every wand they could need, I think is unbalancing the game, since they don't have to care for their health nor during combat or after, and it's cheaper.

I haven't GM'ed a long campaign before, and as a player I didn't see this kind of problems, but I don't know what to do to balance things before the battles become more boring.
All suggestions are welcome, thanks in advance

I remember playing that AP not that long ago. At 8th level we were not challenged either and we had a rogue, wizard, fighter, Oracle/Barbarian. That didn't last. Let the players have their time in the sun. I got the feeling that around level 8 it was just exercise in leveling up so you fight the tough guys later in the AP.

Having run many APs I find level 8 is where you are in book 3, that is the book that seems to be about getting the party treasure as up to that point the AP has been lean. So you get loot and XP with connective story that is full of easy encounters. Then book 4 things start getting hard again and the treasure drops off again. Usually lots to sell but nothing usable till you get to a place to sell all the +1 weapons you found and hopefully buy some new stuff. In RotRL lack of wealth was never an issue, access to buy magic items was.


voska66 wrote:
Gino Cocolo wrote:

Hi, I've recently decided to GM again and I'm running Rise of the Runelords with some friends. They are a THW summoner, a magus and a THW paladin. The other one wanted to try in Pathfinder one of his favourite class from 3.5, the Artificer. He found the class converted to Pathfinder, and I said ok. They are lvl 8, and are now about to assault Fort Rannick, and I think it's been easier than it should be for them. The paladin deals the "normal" amount of damage with smite (if normal means almost one-shotting a boss), the magus and the summoner aren't that far from him. But I think the real problem is the Artificer. He does nothing during combat, except using CLW wands if needed (it's been a while since he had the need to do that), but crafting their gear and every wand they could need, I think is unbalancing the game, since they don't have to care for their health nor during combat or after, and it's cheaper.

I haven't GM'ed a long campaign before, and as a player I didn't see this kind of problems, but I don't know what to do to balance things before the battles become more boring.
All suggestions are welcome, thanks in advance

I remember playing that AP not that long ago. At 8th level we were not challenged either and we had a rogue, wizard, fighter, Oracle/Barbarian. That didn't last. Let the players have their time in the sun. I got the feeling that around level 8 it was just exercise in leveling up so you fight the tough guys later in the AP.

Having run many APs I find level 8 is where you are in book 3, that is the book that seems to be about getting the party treasure as up to that point the AP has been lean. So you get loot and XP with connective story that is full of easy encounters. Then book 4 things start getting hard again and the treasure drops off again. Usually lots to sell but nothing usable till you get to a place to sell all the +1 weapons you found and hopefully buy some new stuff. In RotRL lack of wealth was never an issue, access to buy magic items...

I read the rest of book 3 and book 4, and it seems that things will get interesting. The artificer can salvage the magic items they find and make new ones with them, but I don't think he'll have that much time to craft, so that balances it out.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Those guidelines don't allow for a crafter character who doesn't directly participate in combat.

Why should it?


In the not too distant future, the party should start really feeling like they are pressed for time. They know certain really bad things are going to happen and no idea when. You should continue to push them more and more.

The lack of downtime will also help balance out the crafting issues (I think, I don't know anything about the artificer). If they keep insisting on taking long periods of time to craft, then start making really bad things happen, and clue them in on the knowledge that those things happened because they took too long.

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