Doomsday Dawn GM Feedback Part 1

Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback

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I just finished GMing Doomsady Dawn part 1 (The lost Star). The party opted to play an “iconic” party so I had a wizard, a cleric, a fighter and a rogue. The scenario went relatively smoothly as we did not need to spend as much time looking through the rules as with the first Starfinder tables we had.

The encounters were all hard for the players; there were only 2 encounters (the fungus and the centipedes) where no player went to 0 HP. I had no kills but there were too many close calls and without the cleric the party would have definitely TPKed. (And I thought the “when do they die”- part would be later.) While the design philosophy of more “weaker” enemies seems fine it does require 2 things to work that were not given in this scenario:

1.) The weaker enemies have to be weaker. I hit my players far too often even with the mooks.
2.) The area needs to be so that the enemies can attack multiple party members. The worst offender was the A7 encounter where the enemies all could only attack 1 PC at a time and with the far too high to hit they had the bodies piled up. (At the end all but the cleric went unconscious in that encounter and if I would have played nastier there would have been kills here. For example the goblins had seen that there would be healing involved and they could have made sure to kill some PCs if they aimed their third strike each turn at someone unconscious)

The players were surprised how fast they could create their characters, but as they told me the biggest reason for that was that they felt there were too few options. Another big complaint I heard from all players was that the characters did not feel “competent” the difference between characters was really low and especially the fighter told me that if all he could do is hit stuff but everyone else can hit stuff nearly as good as he can but can also do other things why should he play a fighter.
The Cleric was also massively disappointed how the class evolved from a supporter who could also heal the party out of combat (for money -> CLW-wand) to a pure “healing-b$~&%”. There are too few spell slots at 1st level so she told me that she felt like she was playing a 6th-level caster in PFS but without the upsides. The support spells seemed all nerfed to oblivion, for example Bless is at the same power level than a CANTRIP. And with everyone getting hit the only viable decision seemed to be taking every heal spell she could.

The Wizard had similar complaints as he said there were too few spell slots to really matter. And with enemies having this high boni on their saves the critical failure does not seem to be something that would happen realistically. But he told me that the general idea of variable degrees of success made spells very interesting and a promising upgrade to PF1.

In general the feedback was relatively negative, as the players found the combat too random and felt it was stacked against them. They would not hit very reliably and the enemies all had a better to hit which coupled with their numbers increased their feeling of “The enemy can do everything better than I can”. Another BIG complaint was the healing economy: The cleric felt forced to take all heals she could get and the rest of the party could only rely on her as there are not enough other ways of healing. After the sold some loot and got potions they got massively disappointed as these were far too expensive for 1st level players and they could not even heal full once with their resonance pools. So the party took a 1 day rest where the only thing they did was empty the cleric to get back to full HP and get back to rest. So if the intent is to have resonance to gate the adventure day of healing then the lest that should be done would be an way to fully restore HP for free (WITHOUT ANY CHECKS) once they rested for a day as without it some characters would have needed 2 weeks of rest to be back to full HP. The only system that was praised by everyone was the action economy as the “you have 3 actions”-paradigm felt very intuitive and seemed to solve some problems pathfinder 1 had.

schattenstern wrote:

1.) The weaker enemies have to be weaker. I hit my players far too often even with the mooks.

I think this is a level 1 problem, honestly, but I still need to test more to be sure.

How much weaker would a monster need to be to not be trivial at all? It would be interesting to roll the same adventure with a level 2 party and see how better would they fare imo.

Numerical buff spells are weaker (or numericaly smaller), but spells like Sanctuary are really strong still imo, my player had no problem with balancing healing with buffs (but the quantity of spells at level 1 is low, that's a fact)

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How much weaker would a monster need to be to not be trivial at all?

I think their to hit should be lowered significantly, they should not be able to crit 25% of the time. (which happened against the animal companion when I played)

I think a to hit of +2 or +3 should be fine for the "normal" monsters and maybe a +6 for the boss (currently it is +6 and +10)

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