A sober campaign journal of Doomsday Dawn: Doom, gloom, and TPKs

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Colette Brunel wrote:

I was remembering the -2 penalty, yes. I do not think I forgot it a single time. Sheer volume matters for those Attacks of Opportunity, especially when taking even one of them punctures a non-negligible hole in hit points due to the flaming rune. This is not like Pathfinder 1e wherein an attack of opportunity from a monster at 17th level is a slap on the wrist.

Remember that my first group dissolved due to a lack of players. If I could round them up for the Resonance Test, part #6, and part #7, I would, because those are the only three parts that I have not GMed for a second time.

Yeah, I suppose that is true. Hits really do add up here, again unlike PF1 where attacks seemed to usually be either trivial or devastating. It was so bloody hard to find that middle ground...

If you don't mind a fairly unimportant question, do you GM in person or over Roll20 (Or some other online method)?


You did remember that the giants take up 20'x20' of space, right?

I can imagine several formations, but let's go with the most obvious one where they are in a line, shoulder to shoulder, with no space between them.

In my text diagram, the giants are labeled A through D and then there is the PC Fighter, F, and the Monk, M, and I used S for empty spaces:


In this example, the monk and fighter begin 60 to the right of the giants and use their movement to move to the spaces shown. The monk moves first with a speed of at least 55, provoking once from A, then the fighter moves, provoking once from B (I'm assuming the fighter can move this fast, or use Spring Attack or charge or something to get at least one attack this round). They will each provoke exactly one time.

That's not 4 AoOs. It's only two and no focus fire. Statistically, that's probably only one AoO hit. And now they have flanking for their attack. They probably each only get one attack after that movement unless they had ways to get about 80 feet of movement into one action, or to "pounce", or some kind of haste, etc. Also, the monk readies his attack action until the fighter gets into flanking position.

Maybe I'm overestimating the fighter's speed, but really, if I'm expecting to fight alongside a monk, I'd invest in a feat or two, or an item or two, that gets me some reasonable speed despite heavy armor.

Note: I could have put F farther north and still get flanking, but I put F as far south as I reasonably could and giant C still cannot reach her so she still doesn't provoke from C. She really should be farther north but I just did this for an example.

So, on their first round, they can deliver at least two but maybe more than two attacks with focus fire and flanking on A, while provoking only 2 AoOs which, statistically, might only be just one hit.

If I imagine any other staggered or picket formations, there's always at least one giant in the "A" position where the two martials can approach with never more than two AoOs, although if the giants do it right, maybe the monk won't want to get back into their picket for flanking.

This is just off the top of my head. At least, stuff like this is what I would have tried, rather than just blindly charging in one at a time.

Sure, next round C & D could move to fight the fighter (I really should move her as far north as possible so D will need TWO actions to get within his 20' reach. Hopefully the cleric is standing by, that could be 9 attacks focused on the poor fighter. But hey, she wanted to be a grey maiden tank anyway, right? I sure hope she is tough enough to actually tank hits like that...

A major complication is that the fighter and the monk start off on the ground, distinctly not flying. Conversely, in this scenario, the rune giants are, in fact, 20 feet into the air.

Consider the scenario wherein the rune giants win initiative (something that happened multiple times), surround the close-together party aerially, and blast down with cones of electricity. The entire party is now within all four rune giants' reach. Even if the party places flight methods upon the fighter and the monk, flying up to reach the rune giants will be a painful process that provokes from all four.

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DM_Blake wrote:


It also seems like the most interesting spells these level 17 characters managed to come up with were more suitable to a 9th level group. Where were their big game-changer spells?

What "big game-changer spells" are there in this edition? The nerf-hammer was used enthusiastically...

There are still plenty of spells that can manipulate the battlefield in favor of the party; walls, auras and the like. Heightened haste would let the party gain some distance between themselves and the golems to buff and set up as well.

Colette, I know you said the wizard was made quickly but I'm wondering if you had access to that characters full spell book as well. They only have the ones prepped for the day on the character sheet you posted. At that level the wizard would have about 40 spells in their book, not counting any extra gained through arcana. (8 1st level and 2 more each level after automatic) that's a fairly large set of options the player would access to.

Also on that note some spells I see on the sheets that would be useful. Divine aura, foresight, polar Ray, disintegrate, chain lightning.

Really useful spell of note would be maze. It auto transports so it wastes at the least 1 action of the enemy targets survival which the Giants only have at a +20 vs a likely spell DC around 34 meaning the need a 20 to get out on the first turn and two rounds of 14+ to escape

pad300 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


It also seems like the most interesting spells these level 17 characters managed to come up with were more suitable to a 9th level group. Where were their big game-changer spells?
What "big game-changer spells" are there in this edition? The nerf-hammer was used enthusiastically...

I know the nerf-hammer has bashed just about every spell into sad parodies of their former glory. Heck, in most cases, I don't even think it was a bad thing, though maybe it many cases it's been overdone, bashing a lot of spells into uselessness.

But not all, surely.

Whatever choices might or might not be made, continuing to only use spells of 4th level and lower, then suicidally charge, then lose, then restart, then do the same mid-level noob spells again and again and again is certainly not my vision of high-level play.

My suspicion is that:
a) these players have no experience running high level characters in any related game system.
b) these players put no effort into winning, perhaps because they had already reached a foregone conclusion that they couldn't.

Maybe it's both.

Rune giants actually have Survival +26, not +20. They would succeed on escaping a maze on a natural 8+ against spell DC 34. Casting the maze costs the spellcaster two actions.

I do not see why you keep saying "suicidally charge" in reference to the fighter and the monk here. Melee combatants doing anything other than proactively trying to kill the rune giants would have been the wrong choice, if anything. Delaying would have let the rune giants blast the party with electricity more easily, and given the rune giants' air walk, Attack of Opportunity, and 20-foot-reach, it is not as though the rune giants had any difficult at all restricting PC movement and gaining freedom in target selection.

Whoops forgot to add the ability modifier. Anyways so they need a 18 to crit succeed and get out in 1 turn or two 8s to succeed and get out in 2 turns

So pop a giant out of the fight for at the least a round (the target loses any remaining actions though it can make reactions for it's turn) it has a 15% chance of auto escaping, a 50% chance of getting on the right path a 30% chance of no progress and a 5% chance of losing progress.

That time difference should give the party plenty of space to turn the fight even more in their favor especially if the caster keeps using their turn to continue dropping other Giants into the maze while the fighter and the monk start taking them down.

Oh also it would be easier for the fighter to stop trying to trick scroll cast fly and just buy a potion of fly.

Oh also walls super useful since you can't move straight up and down with air walk have to move 45degree angles put the wall in front of them they have to go up and to the side parallel to the wall before being able to cross over/under it.

Has anyone else played #7 yet? Until we get some other reports, I'd not want to be too critical of Colette's tests here.

I am not seeing where it says that if someone escapes a [I]maze/I] spell, they lose their remaining actions and reactions.

I spaced the rune giants apart in such a way that a single wall could not impede all of them.

Generally, this fight is heavily dependent on whether or not certain uncommon actions allowed, whether or not the GM allows pre-battle buffing, whether or not the GM has the rune giants begin in midair, the precise starting positions of the party and the rune giants, and so on and so forth. The premade adventure gives very few stipulations on these important parameters.

I'm not being critical of Colette's running of Part 7 here. (I actually really appreciate the fact that they tried out different positioning of the enemies and tactics to see how that would affect the fight.)
I'm being more critical of the players in this case. It really feels like they didn't want to try anything for this encounter and am simply trying to point out options that they could have had to succeed.
(Though I still don't personally like the using the same initiative for all enemies but that's totally up to GM/Table choice)

At the end of the maze spell you have this section

When the spell ends, either because the target escaped or the duration ran out, the target returns in the space it occupied when it was banished, or the nearest space if the original space is now filled. It loses any remaining actions it would have on its current turn, but it can spend reactions normally.

It was a section I missed in the spell too until looking at again it for my last response.

Most walls are 60+ ft long and 20+ ft high. So even with spacing the Giants are trying to get to the PC's to attack them meaning they are going to get closer together. The wall will impede their movement a bit giving the party to buff/set up. Wall of Stone, especially, since it doesn't need to be placed vertically meaning you can basically make whatever shape you want out of the 120ft long 20ft high sections of stone. The examples in the book are a bridge or stairs so a creative party can really put that to some use.

Oh, I missed the bit about Maze and actions also. Thanks!

Maze is probably a decent spell to use.

If someone is waiting for the rune giants to get closer to the party before throwing up a wall spell, then that spellcaster is going to be due for several Attacks of Opportunity.

I don't know if you really even need to wait to get use out of it. The spells can be used right in the face of some of them from the start of the fight or even placing it about 15ft up in the air right in front of the party from the start would prove useful as the giants would still have to maneuver around it. Or even 10ft up as that would block most straight on line-of-effect from the "invoke rune" cone.

However, if you are waiting to do it. Well that's why you have a front-line fighter, maneuvers around procs the threatening attacks-of-opportunity (there's no reason the Rune Giants would not use their reaction for this), casters now free to make wall and are setting everything up. Protecting themselves, the party, ensuring they can't just be mobbed by enemies.

Is the wall big enough to make a cube around the party with only one side open? This could be great, forcing the Rune Giants to hack it apart giving time to buff or to move all the way around to the open side where likely only one or two giants can get reach in at a time.

wall of stone would be since its 120ft long and you can put it in any border of a square vertical or horizontal.

*Grins in malicious trolling*
I'll have to remember this if my players ever fight someone with this spell...

I am skeptical on reorienting wall of force and wall of stone because they specifically stipulate how "high" the wall is. It does not seem to me that you could freely redefine the axis where "high" belongs to.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Wall of stone specifically mentions it doesn't have to be vertical and can be used to make bridges. So it's fair to say other wall spells cannot be used in that way.

Yeah the other walls tend to state the shape they come in. Vertical horizontal straight. Though wall of force is interesting because it lacks those descriptors. It has the distance across and height, as well as that it has no discernable thickness, but nothing else saying it's orientation other than that.

Though a benefit of wall of force is that it's invisible so that could disrupt the Giants as well since they would have to determine the edges of the wall after first figuring its there in the first place. Giants move up all ready to invoke rune and the cones just smack into an invisible Wall and do nothing.

Only one rune giant would have their cone impeded; the other three rune giants would take their turns more intelligently.

Yeah but the others still don't know the full scale of the wall, they would have to move in a way to ensure they could get the cone off potentially moving well out of the way to avoid it or spending actions seeking to find the edges. Even if they used arcana as an action to identify the spell as wall of force they still wouldn't be able to figure out the spacing/positioning of it.

And this really goes for anything dealing with a wall of force. Can be a really fun mechanic to use for boss fights and traps. Fight starts fighter sudden charges the enemy big bad. Runs headfirst into a wall. Meanwhile big bad is throwing fireballs just over the wall to hit another wall above the party catching them in the radius

Rune giants deal enough damage on critical hits that it would be better to just destroy the wall outright.

Sure it's still actions the Giants are having to spend that isn't hitting the party. Which is successful to the goal of buying time.

Hmm that raises another question about invisibility and miss chance. But I'll start a thread about that in the spells section to not derail the current discussion of player options for this encounter

I forget, can you crit objects in this edition? I remember the question coming up but I don't remember the answer. Still, that is a good action waster.

Items are not immune to crits, but most items don't have an AC listed. In the case of wall spells, crit happens. With the damage of Rune Giants, you traded two of your Actions and a Spell against 2 actions from the Giants. Don't know if that is worth it.

Well it is only one 5-foot wall section lost per break so they will possibly have to waste more actions than that. But yeah, it ain't perfect.


CRB page 269, Wall of Force wrote:
If the wall is broken, the spell ends.

Wall of force breaks if any of it breaks. Wall of ice/stone/thorns can break in sections. Wall of fire/air can't break but can be moved through.

I'm looking forward to this Sunday, my group will finally be fighting the Theorems and I can see what's up.

Goblin Alchemist (Wizard MC), Half Elf Ranger (Wizard and Fighter MC), Half Orc Druid (Cleric MC), Human Draconic Sorcerer (Fighter MC), and Halfling Rogue versus 5 Malignant Theorems.

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