[Closed] Is it wrong to play monsters in an optimal & deadly fashion


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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
The GM is free to do this with any given encounter. If 2e's combat balance crumbles apart the GM decides to play enemies as especially vicious, then something as wrong.

The rules didn't crumble, your combats did because you had all enemies function as "vicious" and focus fire and CDG individual PCs until there was none.

Intentionally misreading a rule to force a negative income does in no way/shape/form prove a rule is faulty.


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Midnightoker wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


But if every GM is pulling punches, under-playing the monsters, letting the PCs win, then reporting "Hey, this combat system is perfect, the players had fun, nothing went wrong" then we as playtesters have failed the entire purpose of the test.

I don't think it's really "pulling punches" to play monsters to the outlined Adversary Rules defined in the book.

Especially playing creatures unrealistically to their intelligence level or giving monsters GM/OoC knowledge.

The rules are explicit and outlined in the book. At the very least, advising that those rules are being fudged in favor of a more deadly approach should be mentioned upfront as an indication of the differences from a standard game.

I'm not advocating playing against the explicit rules outlined in the book. Quite the opposite.

It's only a valid playtest of the Rules if we play exactly by the Rules.

Adversaries should follow the adversary rules. That's simple enough. But if they crit some PC to death, let the PC die. If the GM fudges that into a hit, then we're not playtesting the Rules. If goblins are supposed to be intelligent (when not high on shrooms) then play them intelligently and make them act like they like being alive and want to keep it that way. They're smart enough to use their best abilities in the best way to win a fight so doing anything else is not playtesting the Rules.


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Rysky wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
The GM is free to do this with any given encounter. If 2e's combat balance crumbles apart the GM decides to play enemies as especially vicious, then something as wrong.

The rules didn't crumble, your combats did because you had all enemies function as "vicious" and focus fire and CDG individual PCs until there was none.

Intentionally misreading a rule to force a negative income does in no way/shape/form prove a rule is faulty.

CDGs are vicious. Focus fire is not vicious; it's simply smart. Any enemies with an INT or WIS above 8 should easily grasp this concept and should do it like their lives depend on it. Because they do.


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I mean one thing I will observe that many RPGs are great, but are ill-suited to certain types of play. So if Pathfinder falls apart with super-wargamey "the GM is playing to win" gameplay that's a thing to note about the game, but isn't really a flaw so much as "Pathfinder goes on the enormous pile of games where that doesn't work."

What separates Pathfinder from, say, Paranoia or MonsterHearts here, is that perhaps this is a problem for Pathfinder since some groups want to play Pathfinder like this. But it's a question for the devs for "what kinds of gameplay do we want to support" (like PF1 didn't really acknowledge that some people prefer "theater of the mind" style play until Horror Adventures, I think). But this is one of those situations where there's tension between "we are playing a game" versus "we are doing a playtest" since the former is more fun and the latter resembles work.

I mean, if I'm GMing something and it's not working for whatever reason, the first question I ask is "what an I change about what I am doing to make this go better" and if the answer is something like "tone down combat, make the enemies dumber or less vicious" that is very easily done.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
super-wargamey "the GM is playing to win"

That's dismissive and frankly a little insulting.

The GM isn't playing to win. Any GM can win at any moment. Just drop in an army of Balors or say "Rocks fall, everybody dies". It's not about winning and I doubt any GM really plays to win. Well, maybe some super new and/or young GMs but they outgrow it almost immediately (or maybe GMing really isn't for them, which they'll find out when they have no players).

Obviously the GM should never play to win. Every GM knows that.

But the monsters should be playing to win because, to them, it really is life or death and they know it. They have abilities and they should use them optimally to win. If they have intelligence, they should optimize their tactics accordingly. Etc.

If all a group wants to do is tell a fun story and they view every encounter as just a pile of XP and coins waiting to be collected or just a speed bump that interferes with the real story telling, well, then I guess that group just wants to get it over with as soon as possible to get back to their story.

But, hey, if we want to play THAT game, then why pick a system where 90% of the rulebook is devoted to combat/encounters? This group would probably be much happier in a game system that facilitates story telling rather than encounter challenges.

Obviously, THIS game is designed to challenge players, not merely to steamroll a few walking piles of XP and cash.

Every game I play, I'm looking for a challenge. Usually the challenge is about defeating other players who want to defeat me. Like in chess or Risk or poker. That's a challenge. I love that challenge.

In PnP RPGs, the other players are working with me and the challenge is overcoming the GMs encounters. I love that challenge too. But there is NOTHING there to love if it's never a challenge. Never a risk of losing. If all I'm doing is rolling dice to see how many rounds it takes to inevitably win. Boring.

No risk, no reward.

Finally, a good GM makes fun and interesting encounters that the PCs can defeat or avoid and that fit into the ongoing story and add value to the game in general. But once the players find that encounter, the gloves should come off. Hey, it's already balanced for the players to win, shouldn't that be enough? Don't the players deserve to see their foes do everything they can to win, so that when their PCs are triumphant, they will feel like they earned that achievement?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's not WRONG to turn every monster up to 11 and aim for a super-high-lethality game, but it's a very specific type of playstyle and it's one that not everyone enjoys. I don't like it, personally, but if that's your table's style and everyone there likes it, then sure. I don't think it's the default assumption for APs that you'll be rolling up new characters every few sessions given that they seem to assume a consistent party.

As a GM, I don't enjoy killing PCs, but I won't fudge the dice to avoid it. I do, however, always give them some sort of opportunity to resurrect their characters should they so choose. (The only instance in which I might do a little dice fudging is if it's starting to look like it might be a TPK, but that's never actually come up.)

I generally assume that most intelligent creatures will want to focus on the current active threats over finishing off downed enemies that aren't doing anything at the moment, especially if doing so can prevent them from healing their downed companions. Most unintelligent and mindless creatures will go for the ones that are still moving around and getting their attention. I don't typically have them go for downed characters unless they're not being otherwise threatened.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Generally, as of update 1.3, aiming for downed characters tends to be a poor deal for monsters due to how Hero Points clear out both dying and wounded.


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Rysky wrote:

The rules didn't crumble, your combats did because you had all enemies function as "vicious" and focus fire and CDG individual PCs until there was none.

Intentionally misreading a rule to force a negative income does in no way/shape/form prove a rule is faulty.

What exact ruling was misinterpreted?


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AnonMD wrote:
Rysky wrote:

The rules didn't crumble, your combats did because you had all enemies function as "vicious" and focus fire and CDG individual PCs until there was none.

Intentionally misreading a rule to force a negative income does in no way/shape/form prove a rule is faulty.

What exact ruling was misinterpreted?

Specifically the issue is that the rulebook calls out that "only the most vicious" monsters will go after downed characters, which gives the GM room to interpret "all of these monsters are the most vicious" for every monster in the game if they are so inclined. It's certainly contrary to the text, which is there to imply that the overwhelming majority of monsters will never attack downed combatants when there are other people to fight around.

Whether of not monsters are played to the hilt in terms of making combat difficult, I feel like "making sure downed PCs are D-E-A-D before moving on to someone else" is crossing a line unless used extremely judiciously.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
Generally, as of update 1.3, aiming for downed characters tends to be a poor deal for monsters due to how Hero Points clear out both dying and wounded.

..How do monsters know about hero points? At least with "most creatures die at 0 HP" you had GM discretion to have certain creatures or NPCs gain the dying condition instead.

But by definition no monster has hero points, and neither does any creature they have ever encountered. If this change to the rules causes to change your tactics because it is no longer the optimal way to kill PCs, you have fully abandoned the concept of actually playing from the perspective of these creatures. At which point you are longer running a roleplaying game.

I mean it is fine if you want to use Pathfinder as a war game. It certainly has enough combat rules to make that work. But you aren't actually roleplaying anymore and that basically means you are not actually playing Pathfinder.


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Monster sees a character get up from what would have been a killing blow..." OH crap, we got a hero here" I'm not sure why monsters wouldn't know about heroes...

Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.

Legends about heroes from the Monsters point of view:

You gotta kill them more than once. Make sure they dead so they don't come back.

Seems like a pretty basic Monster Recall Knowledge check Lore: Heroes. I'd give it a static DC of 13... level 1 heroes have this ability.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Folks, joke or not, giant posts in all bold, all caps are not really something we want to see here on the boards.

I also want to remind folks that the point of the playtest is not to argue about the playstyle of particular participants. We have decided to focus on the game on what we believe to be the average GM style, as exemplified by our text. If folks want to run their games under different assumptions, they are free to so long as everyone playing has the same understanding.

Carry on... politely.


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Snickersnax wrote:


Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.
.

They really aren't. PCs are rare, and they are the only ones who get hero points. Adventurers are common, but not all adventurer are PCs. NPCs are just NPCs. They don't get hero points.


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Mathmuse wrote:

In her first battle of The Lost Star, a player who had missed the first session, wondering about the best strategy after she downed a foe, asked, "Should I coup de grace?" I was too shaky about the dying rules to speak with certainty; nevertheless, I promised, "Even if that goblin stabilizes, he is not going to wake up for an hour."

Because that was what was necessary to keep the game interesting. Dealing with an unconscious foe in the middle of combat is one of the most boring combat actions possible. I don't want it to be a routine part of good tactics.

And if coup de grace is bad tactics for the party, then it will be bad tactics for the enemy, too.

Most parties have healers so letting the downed opponent back in to the fight is a worse tactic than easily killing them.

Ive seen downed party members get back up and kill monsters. Killing them has been the better option 9/10 times. However as a GM I know it might not lead to the most fun depending on the players.


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GM's Playing to Win,
I have seen a lot of games (Con's, in game stores and home games) since I started playing in 78.
I can say that I have seen and played with a lot of good GM's and I can say that I have seen and played with some GM's that I hope were on the road to being a good GM's. And I can say that I have at times been a poor/bad/other adj also GM. The thing is how to help GM's be the best GM based on how that game wants to be played. Yes this is different from how the group wants to play as the more you deviate from the core rules often the less products that group will buy which is generally different than what the company wants.

Monsters actions,
In general I prefer monsters should be played according to their nature. Problem is very few games expressly list how creatures react in all combat situations. So the GM has to make value judgments and decisions which can vary from combat to combat as well as table to table.

Monster Difficulty,
IMHO as it is now creatures are a lot more like the old video game Thief where generally once you were detected you were dead. Some liked the style some did not, the thing is does this style represent the PF group that plays now or will it grow the group significantly that will play PF2.

MDC


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Snickersnax wrote:

Monster sees a character get up from what would have been a killing blow..." OH crap, we got a hero here" I'm not sure why monsters wouldn't know about heroes...

Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.

Legends about heroes from the Monsters point of view:

You gotta kill them more than once. Make sure they dead so they don't come back.

Seems like a pretty basic Monster Recall Knowledge check Lore: Heroes. I'd give it a static DC of 13... level 1 heroes have this ability.

I mean, my personal interpretation is that PC-calibre people are exceedingly rare, so much that many monsters will go their entire lives without ever meeting one, and when combat is involved the first time a monster fights a PC or PC-equivalent person, it is also most likely to be the last time.

So "PCs" are about as common in the world as "Dragons" but are harder to identify since they look like normal people rather than "enormous lizards with wings".

I generally find "NPCs within the diagesis to be aware of game mechanics" to be something that reliably breaks verisimilitude so I'm uncomfortable doing it beyond things which are obvious (e.g. plate mail protects you more than leather.)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Folks, joke or not, giant posts in all bold, all caps are not really something we want to see here on the boards.

I also want to remind folks that the point of the playtest is not to argue about the playstyle of particular participants. We have decided to focus on the game on what we believe to be the average GM style, as exemplified by our text. If folks want to run their games under different assumptions, they are free to so long as everyone playing has the same understanding.

Carry on... politely.

What does this mean with regards to GMs who wish to play enemies in a ruthless and especially vicious manner? Are those GMs' playtesting reports considered "less valid" than those of GMs under the "average GM style"?

How are GMs supposed to resolve whether or not any given creature is aware of the dead/dying condition of other combatants?


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:


Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.
.

They really aren't. PCs are rare, and they are the only ones who get hero points. Adventurers are common, but not all adventurer are PCs. NPCs are just NPCs. They don't get hero points.

Even disregarding PCs and hero points. Any NPC group of adventurers with a healer (which is nearly all of them) have the capacity to bring their friends back from the brink of death. It's a common thing, something most monsters should expect when they encounter adventurers. And something that most player characters should expect the monsters to know.


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Snickersnax wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:


Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.
.

They really aren't. PCs are rare, and they are the only ones who get hero points. Adventurers are common, but not all adventurer are PCs. NPCs are just NPCs. They don't get hero points.

Even disregarding PCs and hero points. Any NPC group of adventurers with a healer (which is nearly all of them) have the capacity to bring their friends back from the brink of death. It's a common thing, something most monsters should expect when they encounter adventurers. And something that most player characters should expect the monsters to know.

Only if you ignore that most NPCs just die at 0 HP. (Which, to be fair, you already established you pretty much do in the other thread.) Therefore most NPCs don't actually have what you are describing.

Edit: Look, its fine if you want to play the game differently, just stop trying to pass it off as how the rules are written or intended. You are just spreading disinformation at that point.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Unfortunately, this is a question where there can never really be a definitive solution as to what is best. The closest I can come to an absolute is to suggest that playing every kind of monster the same way as every other monster, every time, is probably a poor choice. Fighting a horde of goblins should play out differently from fighting a revenant, or a hungry animal, or a rival adventuring party, or the city guard, and so on, and so on.

The problem becomes how much of that difference should be up to intangibles like GM tactics and how much of it should be baked into the mechanics of the game system? Consider the newbie or last-minute GM. Should anyone be able to pick up a revenant and use it properly without a good understanding of what it is and how it's motivated? Is that even possible? How much or how little GM preparation should we assume as the baseline?

I think published adventures including suggested tactics has been a great thing. Maybe that should be a section of a creature's bestiary entry as well. Just make sure that, in such a general format, it's clear that these are "typical" tactics, and that there's always room for circumstances and specifics to alter them.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Colette Brunel wrote:
The GM is free to do this with any given encounter. If 2e's combat balance crumbles apart the GM decides to play enemies as especially vicious, then something as wrong.

The rules didn't crumble, your combats did because you had all enemies function as "vicious" and focus fire and CDG individual PCs until there was none.

Intentionally misreading a rule to force a negative income does in no way/shape/form prove a rule is faulty.

CDGs are vicious. Focus fire is not vicious; it's simply smart. Any enemies with an INT or WIS above 8 should easily grasp this concept and should do it like their lives depend on it. Because they do.

Strange, because I’ve GMed for plenty of tables where the players didn’t have their characters show that level of tactics. I’ve seen plenty of instances of players show-boating with something like “This one is mine!” and going one on one with an enemy. It is a common trope in fantasy media as well.

Common bandits aren’t likely to work together like Roman centurions, yet I’ve seen GMs go “hive mind” and execute near perfect strategy. Typical goblin strategies when given often are sub-optimal. When their lives depend on it, some of those opponents should be deciding running while the others in their group fight is the smart move. The people trying to kill them would go for the ones still fighting rather than the ones running away.

For anyone who wants to argue what is realistic, it might be useful if you bring in desertion rates in various military.

Some groups are looking for tactical challenges and that is fine provided it is made clear what the setting expectations are. This is supposed to be shared story-telling so it is important that people understand the type of setting they are in.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:


Heroes are one of the leading causes of death of monsters. You might expect even marginally intelligent monsters to be aware of heroic traits.
.

They really aren't. PCs are rare, and they are the only ones who get hero points. Adventurers are common, but not all adventurer are PCs. NPCs are just NPCs. They don't get hero points.

Even disregarding PCs and hero points. Any NPC group of adventurers with a healer (which is nearly all of them) have the capacity to bring their friends back from the brink of death. It's a common thing, something most monsters should expect when they encounter adventurers. And something that most player characters should expect the monsters to know.

Only if you ignore that most NPCs just die at 0 HP. (Which, to be fair, you already established you pretty much do in the other thread.) Therefore most NPCs don't actually have what you are describing.

Edit: Look, its fine if you want to play the game differently, just stop trying to pass it off as how the rules are written or intended. You are just spreading disinformation at that point.

People with healers are specifically EXCLUDED from the 'die at 0' suggestion. SO any creature that has knowledge of healers isn't shocked when someone gets back up because it's an assumed part of the world. Which creatures would you realistly say have no idea healers/clerics/druids/bards/ect exist?

"Villains, powerful monsters, enemies with healers or regeneration, and any other NPCs at the GM’s discretion are knocked out like a PC as well."


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If monsters are somehow aware that "whenever a group has someone waving a holy symbol around, the dead ones are liable to get back up" the logical thing for those monsters to do is not focus fire on "would-be corpses" but to focus on the person who uncorpses those.

But we generally view "focus fire on the squishy caster" to be dirty pool by the GM, so I don't know how "focus fire on the downed ones" isn't exactly.


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BretI wrote:
Strange, because I’ve GMed for plenty of tables where the players didn’t have their characters show that level of tactics. I’ve seen plenty of instances of players show-boating with something like “This one is mine!” and going one on one with an enemy. It is a common trope in fantasy media as well.

Yep, you're right. Anybody can choose sub-optimal tactics. My players do it sometimes too. Either because they were 'show-boating' or because they just didn't think of it.

I've done it with monsters and villains, too. Random odd-ball behavior can be entertaining.

However, I bet the side that is losing (pretty much always the monsters/npcs but not always, sometimes it's the PCs who are losing) is far less likely to be showing off while their (winning) enemy is throwing them a deadly beat-down.

Show-boating is for the victors. Desperate hail-maries or last-second surges are for the losers.

And, for the general battles, optimal tactics are desired on both sides most of the time, unless the specific situation calls for something else (like goblins being high on mushrooms).

Shadow Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

If monsters are somehow aware that "whenever a group has someone waving a holy symbol around, the dead ones are liable to get back up" the logical thing for those monsters to do is not focus fire on "would-be corpses" but to focus on the person who uncorpses those.

But we generally view "focus fire on the squishy caster" to be dirty pool by the GM, so I don't know how "focus fire on the downed ones" isn't exactly.

If there are already downed enemies, it's more efficient to kill them than to try to down the healer before the healer undoes your efforts. A dead character stays dead and is easy to target, while the healer's defenses are still functional and is much harder to bring down.

This tactic doesn't make as much sense if the healer doesn't actually have enough power to bring a character back to full functional strength with their actions, nor if the monster is in danger of dying if it doesn't force defensive actions on the part of its opponents. Right now, it looks like NPCs have enough offensive and defensive strength that they can weather the PCs attacks just fine.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Colette Brunel wrote:

What does this mean with regards to GMs who wish to play enemies in a ruthless and especially vicious manner? Are those GMs' playtesting reports considered "less valid" than those of GMs under the "average GM style"?

How are GMs supposed to resolve whether or not any given creature is aware of the dead/dying condition of other combatants?

If you want to play your foes all as ruthless beasts, that is a call you can make. I am not sure that is a play style I find palatable, but if that is what you and your group enjoy, then more power to you. As for wether or not your reports are valid, your surveys are a part along with everyone else's. You are one extreme.. and that is ok. Our spreadsheets account for that.

Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

If monsters are somehow aware that "whenever a group has someone waving a holy symbol around, the dead ones are liable to get back up" the logical thing for those monsters to do is not focus fire on "would-be corpses" but to focus on the person who uncorpses those.

But we generally view "focus fire on the squishy caster" to be dirty pool by the GM, so I don't know how "focus fire on the downed ones" isn't exactly.

If the only people that could heal were clerics, then 'dogpile on the cleric' makes sense. But we're in a world where it's 'wave a holy symbol... or an instrument... or your blood... or some twigs... or your hands... or has a potion... or...

The 'healing guy' can be that guy on no armor [sorcerer] or one in light armor [bard], medium armor [cleric/druid] or the one in heavy armor [paladin] carrying a symbol, instrument, twig or nothing at all... SO focus fire on who again?


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

If monsters are somehow aware that "whenever a group has someone waving a holy symbol around, the dead ones are liable to get back up" the logical thing for those monsters to do is not focus fire on "would-be corpses" but to focus on the person who uncorpses those.

But we generally view "focus fire on the squishy caster" to be dirty pool by the GM, so I don't know how "focus fire on the downed ones" isn't exactly.

If the only people that could heal were clerics, then 'dogpile on the cleric' makes sense. But we're in a world where it's 'wave a holy symbol... or an instrument... or your blood... or some twigs... or your hands... or has a potion... or...

The 'healing guy' can be that guy on no armor [sorcerer] or one in light armor [bard], medium armor [cleric/druid] or the one in heavy armor [paladin] carrying a symbol, instrument, twig or nothing at all... SO focus fire on who again?

Shadowrun had it right all along. Geek the mage.

Shadow Lodge

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

Perhaps I'm missing the point of a playtest, but shouldn't you be welcoming data like this? If you're attempting to design any kind of system, then stress test data is infinitely more valuable for determining how well you've accomplished that end, than data from people refusing to push the system to its limits.

If your re-design of the dying rules hinges upon a GM interpretation of a nebulous term in order to function as intended, then the fault lies with the rules. Not with the person who found the issue.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.
Perhaps I'm missing the point of a playtest, but shouldn't you be welcoming data like this? If you're attempting to design any kind of system, then stress test data is infinitely more valuable for determining how well you've accomplished that end, than data from people refusing to push the system to its limits.

Giving NPCs and monsters tactics based on out of game mechanics, treating all monsters as fodder meant only to die to trade another enemy's life, and not playing monsters realistically to their intelligence level are not going to be standard at a lot of gaming tables.

This data might be valuable for designing encounters of certain kind, like a boss fight against a demon obsessed with gore, but it's not something you should base entire rules sets on since it's so far removed from the average table IMO.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Given what I have seen of the surveys, they really don’t have the information to sort out how “hard core” a GM is.

Filling it out as a player, it wasn’t even possible to indicate when a fight was ended by two lucky strikes.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

If you want to play your foes all as ruthless beasts, that is a call you can make. I am not sure that is a play style I find palatable, but if that is what you and your group enjoy, then more power to you. As for wether or not your reports are valid, your surveys are a part along with everyone else's. You are one extreme.. and that is ok. Our spreadsheets account for that.

Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

Could you please clarify what you mean? The playtest results are valid and are taken into consideration along with everyone else's results, and yet no significant changes will be made based on any results that stem from an extreme GMing style?

How is it possible that results can be valid, yet not taken into consideration for changing the game? How would Paizo even discern if a given set of survey results stemmed from a hardcore GMing style?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Colette Brunel wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

If you want to play your foes all as ruthless beasts, that is a call you can make. I am not sure that is a play style I find palatable, but if that is what you and your group enjoy, then more power to you. As for wether or not your reports are valid, your surveys are a part along with everyone else's. You are one extreme.. and that is ok. Our spreadsheets account for that.

Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

Could you please clarify what you mean? The playtest results are valid and are taken into consideration along with everyone else's results, and yet no significant changes will be made based on any results that stem from an extreme GMing style?

How is it possible that results can be valid, yet not taken into consideration for changing the game? How would Paizo even discern if a given set of survey results stemmed from a hardcore GMing style?

That's not what he said.

What he said was that your reports are valid. He's told you they're statistically valid, but outliers. He's told you he's not making significant changes based on outliers.

All is precisely as it should be.

Shadow Lodge

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Midnightoker wrote:
Giving NPCs and monsters tactics based on out of game mechanics, treating all monsters as fodder meant only to die to trade another enemy's life, and not playing monsters realistically to their intelligence level are not going to be standard at a lot of gaming tables.

But they ARE how you test a system. Testing whether your GM can arbitrarily decide to make a fight easier by using poor tactics, or forcing enemies to run, DOES NOT provide feedback on how to make the system better--because the system was superseded by something completely outside it.

If you really feel that such things are mandatory to balance the combat (which they're not in Pathfinder, they're not in 5e, and they certainly shouldn't be here), then Paizo needs to add a morale system, or some way to represent enemies breaking and running.


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The monsters are not pieces in a strategy game controlled by the GM. He's not moving his armies at your armies. It's not Axis & Allies.

I expect mindless opponents to not use advanced tactics (constantly flanking, etc).
Ravenous undead like ghouls might attack a downed PC. In PF1, there are in fact monsters that have abilities they use on a downed victim.
Cruel monsters like demons might want to cause misery and suffering.
But just keep it reasonable and fun.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Anguish wrote:
What he said was that your reports are valid. He's told you they're statistically valid, but outliers. He's told you he's not making significant changes based on outliers.

Either a set of data is valid and to be taken into consideration for making changes, or it is not. How can a set of data be valid, yet be ignored for the purpose of making changes?

How would Paizo even tell if any given set of survey results are from a hardcore GM?


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Disk Elemental wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
Giving NPCs and monsters tactics based on out of game mechanics, treating all monsters as fodder meant only to die to trade another enemy's life, and not playing monsters realistically to their intelligence level are not going to be standard at a lot of gaming tables.

But they ARE how you test a system. Testing whether your GM can arbitrarily decide to make a fight easier by using poor tactics, or forcing enemies to run, DOES NOT provide feedback on how to make the system better--because the system was superseded by something completely outside it.

If you really feel that such things are mandatory to balance the combat (which they're not in Pathfinder, they're not in 5e, and they certainly shouldn't be here), then Paizo needs to add a morale system, or some way to represent enemies breaking and running.

If you have to eliminate any form of realism in a fight in order to have a good time playing there are countless systems that can support that.

Manticores of 7 INT playing "I'm going to sacrifice myself to kill this PC so next time they're in combat they are down a party member and I have perfect knowledge of the PCs current hit points and condition status" is not 'good tactics' it's metagaming for the sake of winning combat.

You can stress test the PCs ability to survive random meteor showers and earthquakes too, but that's really only going to be relative to designing a system when those events occur, which is why I said it might be advantageous for designing certain encounters.

I'm of the opinion that if you are going to create a house rule (grossly playing adversary encounters against RAW and granting NPCs 'God/hivemind' knowledge) then you're the one responsible for creating a house rule to solve the problems that creates.

It is data, and it is valuable, but basing rules on a small subset of GMs is a disservice to the GMs that do not play that way.

Balancing around that is no different than balancing around other optional rules, like gestalt for instance.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

If you want to play your foes all as ruthless beasts, that is a call you can make. I am not sure that is a play style I find palatable, but if that is what you and your group enjoy, then more power to you. As for wether or not your reports are valid, your surveys are a part along with everyone else's. You are one extreme.. and that is ok. Our spreadsheets account for that.

Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

Could you please clarify what you mean? The playtest results are valid and are taken into consideration along with everyone else's results, and yet no significant changes will be made based on any results that stem from an extreme GMing style?

How is it possible that results can be valid, yet not taken into consideration for changing the game? How would Paizo even discern if a given set of survey results stemmed from a hardcore GMing style?

They won't discern it directly. You'll just be part of an extremely small subpopulation of high kill-rate GMs that won't affect the overall statistics of the group.

When the overall lethality of the game is where the designers are happy with it, and 0.02% of players has a nearly 100% TPK rate, you're probably looking at a statistical outlier.

Expecting a change in that case is a bit like expecting car makers to limit the top speed of a car to 80 MPH because some people like to floor the accelerator and then crash when they can't control the car.

Shadow Lodge

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Midnightoker wrote:
If you have to eliminate any form of realism in a fight in order to have a good time playing there are countless systems that can support that.

See, this statement right here is proof you haven't grokked my point.

If the purpose is to see how well the combat mechanics hold up, what is/is not fun doesn't really matter. Personally, I despise save-or-suck spells as a player and as a GM, they aren't fun for me. But if I'm attempting to playtest the rules, to figure out how well they function as-written, then my own fun is irrelevant, the spells are going to hit the table.

Midnightoker wrote:
Manticores of 7 INT playing "I'm going to sacrifice myself to kill this PC so next time they're in combat they are down a party member and I have perfect knowledge of the PCs current hit points and condition status" is not 'good tactics' it's metagaming for the sake of winning combat.

What a lovely strawman you've constructed.

Midnightoker wrote:
I'm of the opinion that if you are going to create a house rule (grossly playing adversary encounters against RAW and granting NPCs 'God/hivemind' knowledge) then you're the one responsible for creating a house rule to solve the problems that creates.

I see no RAW being violated here. However, I do see you making wild statements and pretending that they are RAW. Would you care to elaborate on what actual printed rule is being violated?


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:


Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

I can understand not wanting to make significant changes, but could you at least elucidate further on how foes are meant to handle downed players? "... only the most viscous creatures..." tells us very little of what actually would attack a downed player, and leaves far too much to interpretation.


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Quote:

What a lovely strawman you've constructed.

Um that was a direct example of something in the persons playtest. It's not a straw man so much as it is evidence.

I suppose the fact that you called it a straw man is evidence that you acknowledge how ridiculous playing enemies that way seems though.


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I mean, how can you set up the rules so a GM can't have monsters attack downed characters until they are dead?

Even if you put it in big bold letters not to do this, that won't stop a GM dead-set on playing this way.

So it's not really worth a developer's time to worry about people who are dead set on playing some way that is somewhat out of the norm. Just make things relatively simple for them to adjust the game for their particular preferences and let people figure it out. Lethality is one of those things that's much more easily tuned by the user to fit their preferences than like "low magic/no magic" games which are quite a bit more common (in my experience at least) anyway.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
If you have to eliminate any form of realism in a fight in order to have a good time playing there are countless systems that can support that.

See, this statement right here is proof you haven't grokked my point.

If the purpose is to see how well the combat mechanics hold up, what is/is not fun doesn't really matter. Personally, I despise save-or-suck spells as a player and as a GM, they aren't fun for me. But if I'm attempting to playtest the rules, to figure out how well they function as-written, then my own fun is irrelevant, the spells are going to hit the table.

Midnightoker wrote:
Manticores of 7 INT playing "I'm going to sacrifice myself to kill this PC so next time they're in combat they are down a party member and I have perfect knowledge of the PCs current hit points and condition status" is not 'good tactics' it's metagaming for the sake of winning combat.

What a lovely strawman you've constructed.

Midnightoker wrote:
I'm of the opinion that if you are going to create a house rule (grossly playing adversary encounters against RAW and granting NPCs 'God/hivemind' knowledge) then you're the one responsible for creating a house rule to solve the problems that creates.
I see no RAW being violated here. However, I do see you making wild statements and pretending that they are RAW. Would you care to elaborate on what actual printed rule is being violated?

While I have more sympathy for Collete Midnightoker does, this isn't a strawman. That example with the Manticore is the sort of thing Collette employs. It is very much a violation of RAW. Collete doesn't seem to run monsters with the knowledge they would have as monsters, but the knowledge Collette has as a GM.

That is kind of the crux of the matter here. This isn't so much a matter of fun as it is breaking the fundamental conceit of this being a roleplaying game through application of meta knowledge in order to maximize PC death.

While this is a more nuanced conceit than many other rules, it is analogous to withholding the magic items Doomsday Dawn tells you to give players. You aren't stress testing the game. You are running a different game.

Shadow Lodge

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Midnightoker wrote:
Um that was a direct example of something in the persons playtest. It's not a straw man so much as it is evidence.

Except that literally did not happen, you are making it up. I went through their entire campaign journal to be sure.


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Colette Brunel wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

If you want to play your foes all as ruthless beasts, that is a call you can make. I am not sure that is a play style I find palatable, but if that is what you and your group enjoy, then more power to you. As for wether or not your reports are valid, your surveys are a part along with everyone else's. You are one extreme.. and that is ok. Our spreadsheets account for that.

Your playtest results are valid, but to be honest, I am not sure I am going to making any significant changes to the game based on a rather harcore approach to NPC tactics.

Could you please clarify what you mean? The playtest results are valid and are taken into consideration along with everyone else's results, and yet no significant changes will be made based on any results that stem from an extreme GMing style?

How is it possible that results can be valid, yet not taken into consideration for changing the game? How would Paizo even discern if a given set of survey results stemmed from a hardcore GMing style?

Well it is just the nature of gathering information.

So... Let us say that Paizo gets 100 reports for any given adventure with 4 player characters in it.

Of those 100 reports the breakdown goes like this:
(This is an example)

5 reported TPKs (you are one of those)
5 reported no PCs taking any damage.
20 reported no PCs dying.
30 reported 1 PC death.
30 reported 2 PC deaths.
10 reported 3 PC deaths.

So they look at the outliers...
5 say that there were TPKs.
5 say that there were no PCs taking damage.

These results are obviously vastly different than any other group results.

The vast majority (50%) reported 1-2 PC deaths.

That is going to be the ones that they want to most look at. They are going to look at how/why those happened because that is the most common result.

You reported 5 TPKs and you explained, in great detail, that you used a methodology that is not in-line the the majority of the player base. Your data is valid, as an outlier, but is not as important as data that comes from the majority group who encountered typical results.

Do you understand now?


Disk Elemental wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
Um that was a direct example of something in the persons playtest. It's not a straw man so much as it is evidence.
Except that literally did not happen, you are making it up. I went through their entire campaign journal to be sure.

They communicated that was in line with their tactics in all combats, regardless of monster intelligence. Manticore was a part of the playtest and player trading tactics for the sake of causing long term TPKs was the standard.

I asked if the above was the case and was told yes. I don't have access to the campaign journal, feel free to share with rest of us and I'll be happy to find a more appropriate example.

Shadow Lodge

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Midnightoker wrote:
They communicated that was in line with their tactics in all combats, regardless of monster intelligence. Manticore was a part of the playtest and player trading tactics for the sake of causing long term TPKs was the standard.

But that's not even remotely what happened. You claimed the manticore suicide bombed the party, solely to kill 1 PC, and make the dungeon harder. When in fact, the manticore used its mobility and natural abilities to stay out of harm's way, and then when it had the party at its mercy, used them to further it's own ends--in a way that was close to mutually beneficial. That's not "durr hurr murder PCs" that's roleplaying an enemy with human intelligence.

All this data is available here, all it took to find was a quick glance at the user's post history.


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Disk Elemental wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
They communicated that was in line with their tactics in all combats, regardless of monster intelligence. Manticore was a part of the playtest and player trading tactics for the sake of causing long term TPKs was the standard.

But that's not even remotely what happened. You claimed the manticore suicide bombed the party, solely to kill 1 PC, and make the dungeon harder. When in fact, the manticore used its mobility and natural abilities to stay out of harm's way, and then when it had the party at its mercy, used them to further it's own ends--in a way that was close to mutually beneficial. That's not "durr hurr murder PCs" that's roleplaying an enemy with human intelligence.

All this data is available here, all it took to find was a quick glance at the user's post history.

So the 7 INT manticore was played at human level intelligence (3 points different to an average commoner) and that's still valid?

We disagree fundamentally on what constitutes immersion in a roleplaying game. I'm on mobile so I'll have to read the posts at another time, however this is heavily detailing the thread.

I am not even close to the only one with this viewpoint. I am not attacking this person, all I am saying is they are not playing by RAW or the way most people play (both true). They, as I said earlier in this thread, are free to play as they choose, but it shouldn't be a huge surprise that something so far left of center is being taken with a grain of salt.

Things seem to be getting hostile so feel free to call it a win as I don't want to continue this argument.


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"Typically most will ignore" being interpreted as "none will ignore" is a bad faith interpretation of the rules - full stop.
The rules as written grant a degree of flexibility to allow the GM to make a call - this is a good thing. A GM deliberately misinterpreting that flexibility is not stress testing the system, it is wilfully stepping outside of the system.

This is not an area of the rules I would want to see straightjacketed - it needs that flexibility. Not every demon should be required to go for the jugular and sometimes the paladin needs to show no quarter.

"Typically most" sets an expectation that in "most" encounters the bad guys will not attack downed foes. whether that is 55% or 85% or not at all is at the discretion of the GM, but the bad guys should not be attacking downed characters in every encounter. The rules state that outright and clearly.


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I don't think Colette has done anything to break RAW. But they definitely aren't following RAI, simply making them not what they assume to be 'the average gm style'.

The rules should be loose enough to play whatever style you want - but made clear what the 'expected' way of running monsters should be in order to keep the game at 'average' difficulty. I think the rules accomplish that balance well as they are now.

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