help. the boss i am putting my party up against is too strong for them, and we are partway through the fight. i only just now realized this, and am not sure what to do to try to fix the situation


Advice


party made up of a slayer, a sorcerer (who is an npc), a barbarian, and a bard. all are level 3, and they are up against a serpentfolk. how do i resolve this without ending the campaign?


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Have the enemy run away because it's worried about dying and doesn't want to.


the situation is a lot worse than it otherwise would be, because the barbarian fell prey to the serpentfolk's suggestion that they help defeat their friends...


*Gestures up* I stand by my suggestion.


the enemy would have to go through them to get to the only exit, and still has more health than all of them combined...


although i guess the boss might be getting bored...


drallyowl wrote:
the situation is a lot worse than it otherwise would be, because the barbarian fell prey to the serpentfolk's suggestion that they help defeat their friends...

The problem is that you are playing suggestion wrong. It isn't that strong of a spell.

Suggestion wrote:
Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell.

Also, remember- the actions that you ask them to do under suggestion must be 'reasonable'.

So you can ask the barbarian on night watch to leave and go to the bar for a quick drink (when the serpent folk can ambush the sleeping party), but you cannot ask the barbarian to fight his friends.

Unless the barbarian is a guy that normally betrays his friends to join up with snake men, you would need a MUCH STRONGER enchantment spell to do something like this. Maybe dominate person?


Have Gorum bless the barb with clarity of hatred since he hates dumb tricks like that and remove the charm. Welcome to why everyone suggests melee guys build up Will saves.


Are they fighting just the boss? or does the boss have minions?

If has minions.... "this bores me, minions deal with this trash. I have more important things that require my attention"

If no minions.... "infectious rabble... you waste my time with your petty attacks, begone" tosses a bottle that bursts into a cloud which d doors/teleports/ or dazes the group long enough for him to leave the area, or far enough away that the party loses sight/track of him


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Give the party a way to retreat, so they can come back later with more equipment and more levels.
Alternatively, have the serpentfolk capture them and the next adventure is a jailbreak.


he had minions... which the group killed


If the serpentfolk already used Suggestion to make the party fight itself, that's an ideal time to Teleport away. If the boss doesn't have a vendetta against the party, it's probably more interested in just getting away than making sure they die.

Maybe cast something like Deeper Darkness or Obscuring Mist first just to further gum up the works. A Quickened Obscuring Mist/Dimension Door combo would be a good villainous escape move.


he is more of a mob-boss type, who after his minions had been killed was of the mindset that if you want something done correctly, do it yourself. plus he doesn't have those tools available. the issue isn't getting the serpent away so much as getting the party to survive


i think i figured out how to handle this. thank you all for your help.


/shrug

Play him stupid. Have him stand in flanking or Aid another on the Barbarian... If his tactics flat out suck, the heroes should still come out on top.

There are lots of way to skew a fight in a players favor without outright throwing the fight.


Record for longest thread tittle goes too! You could just literally make some of the weaker retroactively. next time someone hits them say oh their dead. The run away thing works pretty good too. I personally am not above fudgeig dice rolls but some people are uncomfortable with that.

Sovereign Court

Your party has no idea of its hit points: it only has a few left.

Honestly though, I would go for, [b]”Oh, no, guys and gals, I’ve been doing suggestion all wrong. Time for some second-chance theatre!”


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Yeah if you have been doing a spell wrong and its been detrimental to the party best o just come clean and ret-con. You might think it makes you lose your street cred but you'll find it is quite the opposite.


Other examples are to soften up the boss, the party members probably don’t know the Serpentfolks stats off my heart so add a negative template to it, other examples would be to say the Serpentfolk is probably diseased (weaken accordingly), cursed (and hasn’t yet removed it), was involved in a prior battle and had was softened up.

Alternatively you could add a third party into the mix, something “bursts in” and starts fighting everyone, starting with the bad guy. Nothing scary hard just enough of a distraction to buy the players time.

Alternatively just have him take off as someone said, leave the players to his “minions” like some full of himself bad guy that he may be.


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Let the chips fall where they may. When the party is defeated, rather than kill them, have the boss monster do evil things to them and leave the party to suffer and dream of bloody vengeance. Or roleplay a few scenarios of the party as prisoner-slaves to the boss monster so they plan their escape/bloody vengeance.


lemeres wrote:


The problem is that you are playing suggestion wrong. It isn't that strong of a spell.
Suggestion wrote:
Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell.

Also, remember- the actions that you ask them to do under suggestion must be 'reasonable'.

So you can ask the barbarian on night watch to leave and go to the bar for a quick drink (when the serpent folk can ambush the sleeping party), but you cannot ask the barbarian to fight his friends.

Unless the barbarian is a guy that normally betrays his friends to join up with snake men, you would need a MUCH STRONGER enchantment spell to do something like this. Maybe dominate person?

I think this is the way out, have the serpentfolk stand next to the barb whispering sweet nothings in his ear, then when it's the barbs turn before he's about to attack his allies, tell him that the fog in his head clears and he know's who his friends are...gives him the perfect opportunity, you could even give him the benefit of having the serpentfolk flat-footed as he had let his guard down thinking the barb was with him.


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Kill your party


How long have the party known eachother? I ask because you can't just force someone to do something against their nature with Suggestion that easily. You can make it sound reasonable, to a certain extent, but turning on an ally because he said "help me defeat your friends" would likely be against their nature.

An example from a campaign I'm playing in:

Suggestion can't be used to force a pacifist to commit murder. It CAN be used to make someone angrier and angrier, by repeating the same suggestion that a given person (or group of people) is out to get them, until they fly into a blind rage and commit murder on their own.

As previously mentioned, you ARE playing suggestion wrong. CURSE (also a third level spell) could have done this by making the barb see their friends as known enemies, and the serpent as a known friend... but not suggestion.


Have a cute bird fly in and land on boss's shoulder and tweet or chirp,
or it has a tiny scroll (like an animal messenger spell, you could even have a Spellcraft roll for some PC). The boss narrows his eyes and cocks his head before looking perturbed. "Oh for Pete's sake! [or your favorite exclamation] Do I have to do everything!?" Then he eats the bird, says something like, "Do forgive me, something worthy of my time has come up."
Then have him throw down a vial of gas which spreads across the floor. His fallen minions rise back up as zombies or something equally easy, and he leaves or maybe the gas covers him and he's gone but the bodies are rising up. They're level 3, if they ask for a spellcraft, alchemy, or knowledge check, ask their modifier, roll behind your screen and say they don't know.

The party does not get XP for defeating the boss. They didn't defeat him or even drive him off themselves, which is normally sufficient. Just surviving would be okay too, but not when the GM purposefully has the boss leave the encounter and the PCs as part of his plan (though they have in-character knowledge now which is equally valuable, such who the boss is, what he is, what he can do, etc.) You can give them XP for beating the minions and even the zombies (since unlike normal things like summoned creatures or spell-generated allies, this wasn't one the boss's resources that were used up). You can always give them a reduced flat XP, but definitely not an amount equivalent to the boss's actual CR.


Frankly, Pizza, I'm disappointed here... Players these days should be more creative and they aren't. I had a group of level ones take out an Ettin, so serpent folk seems a little tame for 3rds. Then again, I've been gaming since I was 6, so...


Zarius wrote:
Frankly, Pizza, I'm disappointed here... Players these days should be more creative and they aren't. I had a group of level ones take out an Ettin, so serpent folk seems a little tame for 3rds. Then again, I've been gaming since I was 6, so...

Oh, I tend to agree, but also sometimes there are situations where the GM misjudges things or the players just have a real series of bad luck rolls. I could care less about the barbarian failing his save, that's his weak save, that's what's supposed to happen. Also, I don't know their skill levels as players or experience, so I try not to judge them. I'm just replying with a potential option for the OP, who's asked for advice.


Fair.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Have the PCs accidentally trigger a pit trap with a slide that transports them away from the serpent folk.


Yeah I was immediatly excited to learn about the dreaded serpentfolk boss so I went to its entry.

...

And then I was thoroughly underwhelmed.

Considering suggestion cant be used the way you used it, how is it supposed to kill your party? Harsh words??

I could have this up against a party of level 1 characters and they wouldn't flinch as they dismembered it.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, I just read up on them too. It looks like they have really good defenses, pretty accurate attacks, but do low damage. So they might just whittle down the PCs over time, but most PCs should be able to run away from them if they don't get some lucky hits in first.


I'm sure he considered the whole "kill the party" route and decided against it before he posted this here guys. come on now.


Beat them,
imprison them
put them in a death trap
and then leave them alone in said death trap while forgetting the easily exploitable weaknesses of the trap that will allow the group to escape.


The boss reaches up and just unzips himself from the head down, revealing that he's really...
.... the barbarian!

There was no suggestion, since everyone agrees that it doesn't work that way. The barbarian was only using the spell as an excuse for his hatred of the others!

How did he pull it off? Wasn't the barbarian there at the same time? Well... the barbarian with the PCs was really a complex programmed illusion... How did it damage them? They're really gullible... as proven by the fact that they will totally believe you (and you'll even roll some Spellcraft or skill checks behind your screen after asking what their modifiers are... and they'll totally believe whatever you tell them the results were too.) Then you can give them some hit points back, saying that the phantasmal damage was only temporary. Of course... they may kill the barbarian player's PC... but that's just... a fair turn at beating him up like he did for them.


Do some/all of these:


  • Drop the monsters damage reduction down (if any)
  • The next attack, have the monster roll a 1 or if the monster is going to cast a spell, have them cast one that does nothing (nothing the players see or can tell. If they attempt a spellcraft check, just tell them they couldn't figure it out).
  • Every time a player hits, add some damage.
  • Have the monster back away (doesn't want to be flanked, right) and trip, provoking AoO when it stands.
  • Have the monster's mortal enemy show up and assist the party.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...is anyone else in suspense about how this actually ended?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Yossarin wrote:
...is anyone else in suspense about how this actually ended?

Yes!

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