The vault in Red Flags [spoilers]


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Dire Ursus wrote:

I'm still confused why everyone doesn't understand that when the PCs are at the vault door they cannot be attacked by the kraken since it would have no way to get line of sight to them. The whole point of the kraken is to be a set piece. not a battle. Once Necierion gets into the fray things get interesting as the pillar begins to fall.

So the ideal scenario for PCs would be: They sneak past the kraken with invisibility or other means

Well... the issue with monster skill values and the level of the kraken make sneaking very difficult. A weak kraken has a +28 to Perception, and invisibility doesn't give a stealth bonus. An absolutely maximized Stealth score for level 14 is Master proficiency (+16 Proficiency), 22 Dex (20, anklets of alacrity) (+6 Ability), Cloak of Elvenkind (+3 Item), and a conditional bonus from a spell or performance, let's go with +2 from Heroism. That's a total of +27 Stealth.

1. That's still lower than the weak kraken's Perception score. A maxed character would have to roll an 11 or better to successfully sneak to the vault.

2. The whole party is not going to have that level of investment in Stealth, and all of them will have to roll. That severely compounds the chances of failure.

3. The party doesn't know what's in the vault room, and may be eschewing stealth altogether, as it was a fairly ineffective tactic in PF1. (This is what my party did.)

Edit:
Also, why wouldn't the kraken have line of sight? The height difference? It is a Gargantuan creature with a 60ft reach, it can attack pretty much anywhere in the room. Remember that this map has 10ft squares.


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It defeats the point of a playtest to rewrite significant encounters just to give the PCs a fighting chance.


I'm rewriting the entire module, adding ~6 encounters and as many NPCs, rewriting every other one, changing every DC.

We won't submit feedback for Red Flags. We're using this to judge if we want to use 2E, and the other 6 to give Paizo their constructed feedback to improve it.


Colette Brunel wrote:
It defeats the point of a playtest to rewrite significant encounters just to give the PCs a fighting chance.

It also defeats the purpose of the Playtest to run monsters in ways against the guidelines in the rules, blatantly use meta-knowledge, etc. just to make sure you never have to say you had a party actually survive a chapter of Doomsday Dawn.


And it also defeats the purpose of the Playtest by endlessly beating a dead horse by using exploits/loopholes that you've already identified as a problem and by using 100% optimal tactics in situations where you've already discerned monsters are too powerful which is something already acknowledged by the developers. The productive thing to do in such a case would be to try something else and feel for the edges of the system limits instead of warping things to make sure you push past them every time. And if you're foregoing things like players using Demoralize because a dev has said that it could be overpowered/abused, doesn't that mean that by the same token you should be tuning down all monster stats based on the fact that devs have said they are overpowered? Not doing so certainly seems like a double standard, almost like your only concern is getting TPKs through any means necessary.


Thebazilly wrote:


Edit:
Also, why wouldn't the kraken have line of sight? The height difference? It is a Gargantuan creature with a 60ft reach, it can attack pretty much anywhere in the room. Remember that this map has 10ft squares.

The map says 5 foot squares in my pdf, was that changed at some point? As I see it, until they add the line of effect restriction to reach attacks, the kraken could reach all the way down the hallway to the next room. Not that I'd run it like that, but it is how it is.


ErichAD wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:


Edit:
Also, why wouldn't the kraken have line of sight? The height difference? It is a Gargantuan creature with a 60ft reach, it can attack pretty much anywhere in the room. Remember that this map has 10ft squares.
The map says 5 foot squares in my pdf, was that changed at some point? As I see it, until they add the line of effect restriction to reach attacks, the kraken could reach all the way down the hallway to the next room. Not that I'd run it like that, but it is how it is.

It was changed in an early errata.


I better track that down, thanks for the heads up.


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Edge93, I do not think I am actually breaking any hard and concrete rules. All I am doing is playing monsters in an optimal and ruthless manner. If that causes 2e's combat system to crumble apart into a mess of TPKs, then there is a serious problem with overpowered monsters.

I am holding off from Intimidation (Demoralize) because the developers have already said that they will tackle that as a problem. The developers have also mentioned that the monster math is also an issue, but there is no way to circumvent that other than by not playtesting at all.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

The weak kraken, while tricky due to the ambush tactics given to it by the adventure, doesn't seem insurmountable. Assuming the party doesn't get decimated on initiative (really the only dicey element of this encounter), they can back up to the previous room and pre-buff and recall knowledge. The oversized kraken can't follow them.

The kraken doesn't have any special senses other than darkvision, meaning its almost completely countered by invisibility. Note that although invisibility no longer grants a bonus on stealth checks, it DOES allow you to take 20 on every check to sneak. Even a moderately optimized stealther beats the weak kraken's DC38 perception while invisible as a result.

Playtest CRB on Sneak wrote:

If you’re unseen by a creature and it’s impossible for that creature

to see you (such as when you’re invisible, the observer is blinded,
or you’re in darkness and the creature can’t see in darkness), you
automatically treat the result of your d20 roll as a 20 against that
creature on your checks to Sneak. You also continue to be unseen
if you lose cover against or are no longer concealed from such a
creature. Acting to do something other than Hide or Sneak makes
you sensed instead of seen. If a creature senses you via Seek, you
must Sneak to become unseen by it again.

If instead you actually want to fight the kraken:

With heightened invisibility on an attacking character (say a rogue because this was touted as a social scenario), they can face the kraken and use a Strike, Strike, Sneak each round, succeeding automatically at their Sneak to regain the unseen status (they became sensed because they attacked). The kraken has to use a seek action, guess the right area to seek, beat the creature's Stealth DC (a 60-100% chance depending on PC stealth optimization), and even then the creatures still have a 50% miss chance from being invisible. This leaves the kraken 0-1 actions remaining after a successful hit to use the Grab action to actually grapple someone.

And while the more martially inclined folks are doing their thing while invisible, the invisible casters can use Slow or Paralyze or Flesh to Stone for a 5-10% chance of crippling the Kraken for an extended duration OR a 50% chance to eat one of its precious actions, leaving it unable to grab after seeking.


Cellion wrote:

The weak kraken, while tricky due to the ambush tactics given to it by the adventure, doesn't seem insurmountable. Assuming the party doesn't get decimated on initiative (really the only dicey element of this encounter), they can back up to the previous room and pre-buff and recall knowledge. The oversized kraken can't follow them.

The kraken doesn't have any special senses other than darkvision, meaning its almost completely countered by invisibility. Note that although invisibility no longer grants a bonus on stealth checks, it DOES allow you to take 20 on every check to sneak. Even a moderately optimized stealther beats the weak kraken's DC38 perception while invisible as a result.

Playtest CRB on Sneak wrote:

If you’re unseen by a creature and it’s impossible for that creature

to see you (such as when you’re invisible, the observer is blinded,
or you’re in darkness and the creature can’t see in darkness), you
automatically treat the result of your d20 roll as a 20 against that
creature on your checks to Sneak. You also continue to be unseen
if you lose cover against or are no longer concealed from such a
creature. Acting to do something other than Hide or Sneak makes
you sensed instead of seen. If a creature senses you via Seek, you
must Sneak to become unseen by it again.

If instead you actually want to fight the kraken:

With heightened invisibility on an attacking character (say a rogue because this was touted as a social scenario), they can face the kraken and use a Strike, Strike, Sneak each round, succeeding automatically at their Sneak to regain the unseen status (they became sensed because they attacked). The kraken has to use a seek action, guess the right area to seek, beat the creature's Stealth DC (a 60-100% chance depending on PC stealth optimization), and even then the creatures still have a 50% miss chance from being invisible. This leaves the kraken 0-1 actions remaining after a successful hit to use the Grab action to actually grapple someone.

And while the...

Holy cow, nice tactics! I hadn't thought of some of that beyond the general throw attacks and spells hoping for good debuts plan. And I somehow totally forgot about the auto 20 while invisible!


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Cellion wrote:

The weak kraken, while tricky due to the ambush tactics given to it by the adventure, doesn't seem insurmountable. Assuming the party doesn't get decimated on initiative (really the only dicey element of this encounter), they can back up to the previous room and pre-buff and recall knowledge. The oversized kraken can't follow them.

The kraken doesn't have any special senses other than darkvision, meaning its almost completely countered by invisibility. Note that although invisibility no longer grants a bonus on stealth checks, it DOES allow you to take 20 on every check to sneak. Even a moderately optimized stealther beats the weak kraken's DC38 perception while invisible as a result.

Playtest CRB on Sneak wrote:

If you’re unseen by a creature and it’s impossible for that creature

to see you (such as when you’re invisible, the observer is blinded,
or you’re in darkness and the creature can’t see in darkness), you
automatically treat the result of your d20 roll as a 20 against that
creature on your checks to Sneak. You also continue to be unseen
if you lose cover against or are no longer concealed from such a
creature. Acting to do something other than Hide or Sneak makes
you sensed instead of seen. If a creature senses you via Seek, you
must Sneak to become unseen by it again.

If instead you actually want to fight the kraken:

With heightened invisibility on an attacking character (say a rogue because this was touted as a social scenario), they can face the kraken and use a Strike, Strike, Sneak each round, succeeding automatically at their Sneak to regain the unseen status (they became sensed because they attacked). The kraken has to use a seek action, guess the right area to seek, beat the creature's Stealth DC (a 60-100% chance depending on PC stealth optimization), and even then the creatures still have a 50% miss chance from being invisible. This leaves the kraken 0-1 actions remaining after a successful hit to use the Grab action to actually grapple someone.

And while the...

Note that all of this only works if the players go in with metaknowledge optimized for such tactics. In actual practice, the players shouldn't know the kraken is there beforehand or what the layout and circumstances of the room are, and certainly aren't likely to have all these heightened invisibilities etc prepared and available. Even if the party finds out about the kraken by successfully wooing Whark at the party, they don't have time to prepare spells again before they go for the book that same evening.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

@Fuzzypaws: As I said, the hardest part of this encounter is initiative. The PCs don't know the kraken is there and when it suddenly surfaces, they're going to be caught with their proverbial pants down 9 times out of 10. If they can back up though, they can make their recall knowledge checks in peace and actually plan.

And let's be honest, what reasonably smart caster with access to invisibility doesn't prepare at least one copy of it (and usually multiple)? Keep in mind that the mission is about infiltrating a party, locating a book, and stealing it. Invisibility is the bread and butter of any operation like that.


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Cellion, the automatic natural 20s do not apply against Seek.

I placed the kraken near the entrance to the sea cave, in the Searching exploration mode, for one use of Seek per round. That would mean that it could fairly easily detect the presence of anyone who would dare to come down the stairs and enter the sea cave.

Furthermore, as long as the kraken can beat the initiative of at least one PC, which is not hard given its Perception modifier, that PC is doomed.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Colette, I don't see where automatic natural 20s don't apply against Seek. I checked the Sneak (Action) and the Seek (Action), as well as the section on Detecting Creatures. Where should I be looking for that?


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Cintra Bristol wrote:
Colette, I don't see where automatic natural 20s don't apply against Seek. I checked the Sneak (Action) and the Seek (Action), as well as the section on Detecting Creatures. Where should I be looking for that?

Seek is made against the targets stealth DC, which is their modifier +10. since you aren't rolling the check, you aren't getting the automatic 20 roll. It may be intended that the 20 also replaces the 10 in your stealth DC, but it isn't stated anywhere I can find.


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I believe ErichAD is right in that regard.

But that ends up being a mixing of exploration and encounter actions. This Kraken has been, apparently, seeking every 6 seconds since the adventure began forcing it into an encounter mode with nothing else. At least until the PCs get to the room that it's in.

Assuming the PCs have invisibility, which takes priority; the sneaking exploration tactic which has them move at half travel speed while sneaking (giving them the +20 stealth) or the seek encounter action that the, obviously exhausted and starving, Kraken has been employing?

However, I will say I definitely disagree that this Kraken spends every 6 seconds seeking the entrance-way into the vault. That poor thing wouldn't have made it a day.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

This Kraken was bound and compelled to guard the vault. Which, obviously means if it encounters anyone that shouldn't be in the area, effectively anyone not Whark, it fights them. But if it has no reason to believe anyone is nearby say something sneaking and beating its perception DC, most likely its just swimming around keeping an eye/ear out around it. Now if someone sneaking fails to beat its perception at any point during that creatures trek to the vault than obviously the Kraken would start seeking around for the target that it now has sensed.

So you have a few scenarios that can rise up:

1st scenario: Dude Bros
This group rolls up on the vault high-fiving each other after getting past the mirrors, cheering and hollering that the vault is in their sight. Kraken notices them as soon as they enter the room since they aren't stealthing.
Result: Crushed by Kraken

2nd scenario: Seal Team 6
This group has had invisibility on them as soon as they left the main room. Nothing has noticed their movement as they have invested everything into stealth. Not a single piece of dust has been disturbed by their movements. Kraken is unaware that anything has entered the room.
Result: Book secured and nobody knows.

3rd scenario: Scholars/Sages
This group used diplomacy so well they and Whark are grabbing drinks later. Whark told them about all the defenses between them and the vault including the Kraken. They get close to the Vault room and employ any number of spell combinations to easily allow themselves to avoid the Kraken.
Result: Book secured and Captain Whark is buying first rounds

4th scenario: Self-Sacrifice
This group has always struggled and fought together. They have been employing all their tactics to secretly break in and grab this book. They manage to get to the vault room and begin to sneak around as to not trigger any traps. However Bill slips up and has gained the ire of the Kraken. Knowing they have to get this book Bill signals to the rest to keep moving and draws his staff to face the Kraken in combat. Bill does his best to distract the Kraken as the rest of his crew get to the vault and work on it.
Result: Book secured but at a cost

These are just a few ideas of how this whole encounter can go down. Obviously none of these have included what could happen if Necerion shows up or if things just go horribly from the beginning (bad dice/decisions).


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PsychicPixel, taking one Seek action per round is not, in fact, fatiguing. It becomes fatiguing only when you reach two actions per round.

A magically-bound guardian performing a Seek action each round hardly seems unreasonable, given that protecting the area is the creature's duty.

Scenario #4 is mechanically unlikely, given that there are few methods for reliably forcing the kraken to attack this one character and no one else. It is not as if the kraken is a dumb brute either.


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As written in the adventure, there is no way to access the water without either going down the stairs, or using passwall to take a weird route. And if the kraken has only one Seek action per round without tiring itself out, then it may as well cover the most common entrance to the sea cave.

If the kraken was to go on patrol, alternating between moving and Seeking each round, then that would leave major gaps in its ability to actually perceive creatures. That is why it may as well Seek once per round in a reliable spot.

The party could time their Sneak actions such that they bypass the kraken's cones, but they would have to know that there is a Seeking kraken in the first place.

The point of playtesting is to run things in a mechanical fashion. This is not an environment wherein playing nicely or in a more narrative-concerned manner is particularly relevant.


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"If this effect is dispelled or otherwise removed, the kraken
immediately abandons the chamber, swimming to freedom
through a long submerged tunnel." pg. 83

So there's another entrance to the area.

If the party takes their actions and sneaks past the Kraken they are sneaking against the Kraken's perception DC which as was pointed earlier with invisibility makes it basically guaranteed that they make it past. They have now made it past your stationary Kraken. Especially since its floating in plain view of the entrance to the area, any creature that pokes its head around the corner has seen this Gargantuan Aquatic beast looking towards the doorway and can prep appropriately. Which again leads into the scenarios I mentioned. The group that doesn't try to actually sneak through their heist mission will just be spotted right away while the groups that employ stealth tactics, like a group specialized in infiltration, knowledge, and subtlety, would be completely fine.

I also am not saying it can only take 1 seek action every round. I am saying that any creature that is forced to go and stare at any location every 6 seconds is not going to have the ability or time to do anything else. At some point that creature would need to sleep/eat/poop all of which would take longer than 6 seconds to accomplish.


And a thought coming off of the idea that you might need to have certain things prepared to get by: If Necerion is spotted and dealt with before now (Which really should happen because I feel like the odds of NO ONE in a party for this chapter being a caster who can and will utilize level 5 See Invisibility are very low) then as written there's nothing stopping the PCs from noticing the Kraken (who is evidently keeping clear line of sight to the entrance to the cave and thus would likely be seen before even entering the cave) and immediately buggering back off down the hallway and deciding to rest in watches and re-prepare spells and such in the morning to specifically deal with this. I mean, if we're going by completely machine-like application of the written rules with no human adjucation involved, it works.


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There is currently no listed access method in the adventure for the "long submerged tunnel," and certainly no listed way for the PCs to even know that it exists, so for all intents and purposes related to adventure-running, it may as well be nonexistent.

I had the weak kraken constantly using Seek once per round, which is precisely why it was entitled to spot those peeking their head around the corner. Peeking one's head around the corner is not some foolproof stealth method.


Colette Brunel wrote:

There is currently no listed access method in the adventure for the "long submerged tunnel," and certainly no listed way for the PCs to even know that it exists, so for all intents and purposes related to adventure-running, it may as well be nonexistent.

I had the weak kraken constantly using Seek once per round, which is precisely why it was entitled to spot those peeking their head around the corner. Peeking one's head around the corner is not some foolproof stealth method.

Again, under your method of running mechanically with no thought to reason, a PC could go to the entrance of the cave, take one action to brazenly walk in, one action to Seek somewhere, one action to walk back into the hallway. And mechanically they could do this as often as they please and never get spotted because they'd only be inside the cave during their actions, never during the time when the Kraken gets his one Seek oer round.

I hope you can realize both how silly that sounds and that it sounds no more silly than a lot of the way you run things. But again, by a blind mechanical running of the written rules, ignoring all roleplaying aspects of the rules and human adjucation/reasoning as per your MO, it works...


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Well, the whole setup silly, so what is the problem?

There is a kraken in the water that is "bound to this chamber" where the water is only 30ft deep, so not exactly a roomy place for a creature it's size.

Could it be off taking a dump somewhere? Sure it could, but it is "bound to this chamber" and "compelled to guard the treasure", so it is living in it's own excrement.

Could it be off eating? Sure it could, but it is "bound to this chamber" and "compelled to guard the treasure", so it is probably slowly starving to death. Probably the best meals it gets are from anyone that make it this far that are not Whark.

Heck, if you don't like the encounter, just rule that it happens to be sleeping and as long as no one throws rocks in the water or goes for a swim it doesn't even emerge.

Of course, that goes against the statement that: "the kraken surges up out of the water to attack intruders as soon as they enter the area, fighting to the death."

Due to the mechanics of the game, I'm not sure it can really employ the action that seems the most realistic to me, which would be attempting to just sweep people off the walkways into the water with it's tentacles. Then it could deal with them in its favored environment.

Just to reiterate, the whole scenario is silly. Feel free to keep attacking someone else for running things differently than you would, if you think that actually is going to have any sort of positive effect. I can pretty well assure you it is a waste of time, and Colette isn't the only DM out there you don't approve of. I expect I am one as well, though I don't have as many TPK's to show for it.


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Typically, magically bound Guardian beasts in fantasy don't have to deal with such trivialities as "food" or "potty time" or "aging."

It taking seek actions every turn forever is also weird and not necessary, UNLESS the party gets into a fight in the Hall of Mirrors, the immediately preceding room. That would let the kraken know something is up and it would be on active alert for a while.

It would just lie on the bottom of its cramped shallow pool in a state of depressed malaise, facing up with the "keeping a lookout" exploration tactic. Since PF2 doesn't use opposed checks and the expectation is one party rolls against the other party's DC of 10 + their rating, any PCs who sneak in roll Stealth against the kraken. If they pass, the kraken doesn't know they're there and doesn't have a reason to Seek them. If alerted by a fight in the mirror room, it probably WOULD seek at the entrance as Colette suggested.

Because of the weird layout of the room and a walkway being between the PC's and the kraken, I would suggest that if party members aren't sneaking but also aren't blatantly making noise, they're "passively stealthy." In this case the kraken rolls its Perception against 10 + their Stealth rating as they enter. As above, if it doesn't notice them on this roll, it doesn't have a reason to scan the room. Even if they put it on alert, if they successfully get through the entrance and move away from the entrance, it won't thereafter notice them as long as they stay on the other side of the room and don't make noise, because its Seek only covers the entrance.

If the PCs trigger the kraken, it is compelled to fight them. However, it is also an intelligent creature that hates its captor. I think if my party triggers it, I'm going to have the kraken actually command them to leave the room. If they do, it will stop fighting as soon as no one is technically inside the room and Smaug for a bit, talking to the PC's around the corner. Likewise, if it's on active alert, if it notices the PCs on approach if they huddle in the entrance to assess the room before entering, it will speak to them before they enter. It will explain the binding on it and ask them to remove it, promising to leave and let them at the vault if they do, because it has no loyalty to Whark and every reason to exploit the technical loopholes in its binding.


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Seeing how the playtest survey asks details on how the kraken battle goes, I am fairly sure that the playtest survey expects the kraken to be fully willing to put up a fight.


Colette Brunel wrote:
Seeing how the playtest survey asks details on how the kraken battle goes, I am fairly sure that the playtest survey expects the kraken to be fully willing to put up a fight.

Does the survey have the "Encountered but did not defeat" and/or "Did not encounter" options like all of the other fights in the playtest so far?

Also it's kind of funny how you stretch to decide monster behavior in a fashion against the PCs by looking out into the survey questions but vehemently refuse to tweak monster behavior in a way that the PCs can use to their advantage by looking into the actual rules descriptions on how monsters are supposed to behave, what with making tactical errors, having emotional responses in battle, etc..

I know I've called out your blatant double standards before but I feel this bears special mention.


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I cannot go back and tell; I had already filled out the surveys as both a GM and as a player.

Monster tactics fall to the GM's judgment. The GM decides the emotional responses of any given creature. For playtesting purposes, I have been deciding, "No, these creatures are not, in fact, going to make tactical blunders due to emotional responses." I do not see the need to do so.

If this results in TPKs because of busted monster math, then that is Paizo's fault, not mine. Other games can handle the GM going all-out with monster tactics. If Pathfinder 2e cannot, then that is a problem.


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Monster math is a particularly sore point for me, because I am fairly certain that Paizo themselves knew early on that the monster math was off, as Mark Seifter has been alluding to in their posts. It is just that redoing the bestiary would take plenty of time and effort. So instead of putting the playtest on hold while the designers fixed a critical component of the game, the monster math, Paizo instead opted to keep the playtest going, which meant that everyone would be playtesting with obsolete and overpowered monster math. It is frustrating to know this. It it is frustrating to know that monsters are currently balanced around the GM going easy on the players and having monsters' tactics be emotional and suboptimal, because if the GM plays ruthlessly, the monsters will stomp.


Wait... You had someone else GM this for you as well? How did they handle these scenarios in front of you? Did they rack up this same insane tpk total you had?

Unless you think having gmpcs qualifies you to fill in the player surverys...


Colette Brunel wrote:
Monster math is a particularly sore point for me, because I am fairly certain that Paizo themselves knew early on that the monster math was off, as Mark Seifter has been alluding to in their posts. It is just that redoing the bestiary would take plenty of time and effort. So instead of putting the playtest on hold while the designers fixed a critical component of the game, the monster math, Paizo instead opted to keep the playtest going, which meant that everyone would be playtesting with obsolete and overpowered monster math. It is frustrating to know this. It it is frustrating to know that monsters are currently balanced around the GM going easy on the players and having monsters' tactics be emotional and suboptimal, because if the GM plays ruthlessly, the monsters will stomp.

And so your response is, instead of working to help find the solution to the problem or work within it to get feedback on other areas, you've essentially thrown a giant months-long TPK tantrum based on your assumptions and opinions of Paizo's actions, screwing over who-knows-how-many people's initial PF2 experiences instead of actually working with Paizo in their Playtest. Is that about right?

Again, as I've said before, I don't think things should even be made to where a ruthless GM can't kill a party under standard challenges. Because it screws over GMs who want to challenge their parties but without boring ruthless optimal and/or metagaming tactics. The fact that a ruthless GM often couldn't kill parties in PF1 was a problem of PF1 and showed just how broken the system could be, the reverse being true is not necessarily a fault of PF2.


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PsychicPixel wrote:

Wait... You had someone else GM this for you as well? How did they handle these scenarios in front of you? Did they rack up this same insane tpk total you had?

Unless you think having gmpcs qualifies you to fill in the player surverys...

Playing a scenario with a GMPC or two does, in fact, qualify me to fill out player surveys.

Edge93 wrote:
And so your response is, instead of working to help find the solution to the problem or work within it to get feedback on other areas, you've essentially thrown a giant months-long TPK tantrum based on your assumptions and opinions of Paizo's actions, screwing over who-knows-how-many people's initial PF2 experiences instead of actually working with Paizo in their Playtest. Is that about right?

No, it does not seem about right, because as you can see from my thread creation history, I have created numerous threads trying to point out issues with Pathfinder 2e.

Edge93 wrote:
I don't think things should even be made to where a ruthless GM can't kill a party under standard challenges

I disagree; I think that a GM playing ruthlessly should not be able to generate a TPK with this degree of reliability.


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Just chiming in here as one of Collete's players. Something to keep in mind is that while Colette was playing the enemies as optimally as they could, that went both ways. In basically every single encounter, our group was playing as optimally as we could conceive as a group.

I can't speak for everyone I played with, but the vast majority of them were veteran roleplayers extremely familiar with Pathfinder 1e and or D&D 4e. In addition, many of them have been in sessions where Colette has GM'd for them before and from what I have gathered they have never had problems with this bad of TPK's before.

Personally, I am a veteran GM for Pathfinder 1e, having been GMing for over 3 years now and having been a player for almost double that. I am a self-declared optimizer who usually prefers to make stupid gimmick builds that have no right working. That said, I have more than my fair share of sheer munchkiniry builds in my portfolio, with gems such as an Arcanist who could one turn a Tarrasque at level 10 with several hundred negative HP left over, and a Witch who essentially obtained godhood at level 5. Finally, keep in mind I'm the kind of person who thinks of games such as XCOM: Long War as fun and easy strategy games.

Thus keep in mind what it means when regardless of how much we pushed are characters, and how much we debated our actions and worked together, a party of four players operating on a level of optimal efficiency that would get us thrown out of most tables for meta-gaming, we couldn't beat a GM playing hardball with this system.

That shows there is a serious problem with the tactical combat game.


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But you aren't a player Colette you are a GM in these games even with a GMpc you are still running with knowledge that the PCs don't have thus skewing any player survery results you could have.

@Lyricanna
This is interesting to read. You are a "veteran" of tabletops and enjoy playing XCOM long war and still chose to use terrible tactics against the Kraken. Any smart player or veteran, (especially with someone that can "make a god at lvl 5"), should have realized the first thing to do when encountering a surprise threat is to back off and examine your options. As I had pointed at earlier you and the other player had multiple options for escaping from the Kraken so you could regroup and plan but instead you both chose to stay in the Kraken grasp. You also didn't seem to have uses of invisibility for the stealth section of the Playtest. Based purely off the information provided by Colette I can't actually believe any of what you have posted.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Just to add a contrasting experience...

My group played Red Flags this weekend, and here's how it turned out:

The Kraken was indeed a tough foe! But they did eventually manage to beat it, with only one PC down and zero deaths.

The one-action double Strike was formidable, but since the Kraken has to take a second action to Grab, it can't do that combo twice in one turn.

The Grappled condition really isn't that bad. For a melee character, it basically doesn't matter. My group had a wizard, cleric, monk, and two rogues. They all got grappled at some point during the battle.

The wizard and the cleric both cast Freedom of Movement, and thereafter didn't care about getting grabbed. The monk and rogues were both grabbed, but didn't really care; they just stabbed/punched the Kraken until its hit points gave out. Also, a DC 5 flat check is only a 20% chance of failure. I think there was only one point where it mattered, which is when one of the rogues tried to use a Necklace of Fireballs on the beast. He was able to do it again the next turn, so not a big deal.

The kraken was critting on a 12 or so, which had the players very worried. But since the Cleric wasn't grabbed, she was able to keep everyone healed up.

Was it a tough fight? Absolutely! But it wasn't a foregone TPK as I'd been lead to believe by reading these posts. In fact, it probably wasn't even the hardest fight in the Playtest so far! (Not counting chapter 5, of course!)


Tamago wrote:

Just to add a contrasting experience...

My group played Red Flags this weekend, and here's how it turned out:

The Kraken was indeed a tough foe! But they did eventually manage to beat it, with only one PC down and zero deaths.

The one-action double Strike was formidable, but since the Kraken has to take a second action to Grab, it can't do that combo twice in one turn.

The Grappled condition really isn't that bad. For a melee character, it basically doesn't matter. My group had a wizard, cleric, monk, and two rogues. They all got grappled at some point during the battle.

The wizard and the cleric both cast Freedom of Movement, and thereafter didn't care about getting grabbed. The monk and rogues were both grabbed, but didn't really care; they just stabbed/punched the Kraken until its hit points gave out. Also, a DC 5 flat check is only a 20% chance of failure. I think there was only one point where it mattered, which is when one of the rogues tried to use a Necklace of Fireballs on the beast. He was able to do it again the next turn, so not a big deal.

The kraken was critting on a 12 or so, which had the players very worried. But since the Cleric wasn't grabbed, she was able to keep everyone healed up.

Was it a tough fight? Absolutely! But it wasn't a foregone TPK as I'd been lead to believe by reading these posts. In fact, it probably wasn't even the hardest fight in the Playtest so far! (Not counting chapter 5, of course!)

That sounds just about how I expect the fight to turn out for my party. Glad to know my assumptions may be fairly accurate.


Tamago wrote:


The wizard and the cleric both cast Freedom of Movement, and thereafter didn't care about getting grabbed. The monk and rogues were both grabbed, but didn't really care; they just stabbed/punched the Kraken until its hit points gave out. Also, a DC 5 flat check is only a 20% chance of failure. I think there was only one point where it mattered, which is when one of the rogues tried to use a Necklace of Fireballs on the beast. He was able to do it again the next turn, so not a big deal.

The kraken was critting on a 12 or so, which had the players very worried. But since the Cleric wasn't grabbed, she was able to keep everyone healed up.

Did the Kraken just grab them when they were adjacent to it and never repositioned them? Because Grab doesn't have the same rules as it did in PF1, and the target is not moved to an adjacent square. Which means the Kraken can grab people anywhere within it's reach and keep them there. And if your players don't have the Kraken in reach, they can't attack it.

Also do note that freedom of movment doesn't protect you from being grabbed, it just lets you autosucceed when you try to escape. The PC still has to use one of their Actions, which might impact the rest of the turn (no 3 action Area healing, for example).

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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TheFinish wrote:
Tamago wrote:


The wizard and the cleric both cast Freedom of Movement, and thereafter didn't care about getting grabbed. The monk and rogues were both grabbed, but didn't really care; they just stabbed/punched the Kraken until its hit points gave out. Also, a DC 5 flat check is only a 20% chance of failure. I think there was only one point where it mattered, which is when one of the rogues tried to use a Necklace of Fireballs on the beast. He was able to do it again the next turn, so not a big deal.

The kraken was critting on a 12 or so, which had the players very worried. But since the Cleric wasn't grabbed, she was able to keep everyone healed up.

Did the Kraken just grab them when they were adjacent to it and never repositioned them? Because Grab doesn't have the same rules as it did in PF1, and the target is not moved to an adjacent square. Which means the Kraken can grab people anywhere within it's reach and keep them there. And if your players don't have the Kraken in reach, they can't attack it.

Also do note that freedom of movment doesn't protect you from being grabbed, it just lets you autosucceed when you try to escape. The PC still has to use one of their Actions, which might impact the rest of the turn (no 3 action Area healing, for example).

The kraken repositioned one of the rogues in order to get a beak attack in, but that wasn't super effective, so I didn't repeat the tactic. (It's more effective to just do another one-action double attack, even at -10, than to reposition and bite a single target.)

The PCs didn't move, but if they are being grappled by a thing, then surely it's close enough to attack! The idea that a character wouldn't be close enough to swing their sword at the giant tentacle that is literally touching them seems frankly ludicrous and didn't even cross my mind.

I can't remember for certain, but I think with respect to Freedom of Movement, the grappled casters did spend an action to automatically escape, and the kraken at that point realized that they were not going to be able to stay grabbed, and didn't spend a lot of actions trying to get at them.


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Tamago wrote:

The kraken repositioned one of the rogues in order to get a beak attack in, but that wasn't super effective, so I didn't repeat the tactic. (It's more effective to just do another one-action double attack, even at -10, than to reposition and bite a single target.)

The PCs didn't move, but if they are being grappled by a thing, then surely it's close enough to attack! The idea that a character wouldn't be close enough to swing their sword at the giant tentacle that is literally touching them seems frankly ludicrous and didn't even cross my mind.

I can't remember for certain, but I think with respect to Freedom of Movement, the grappled casters did spend an action to automatically escape, and the kraken at that point realized that they were not going to be able to stay grabbed, and didn't spend a lot of actions trying to get at them.

Well no. If they're being grappled by the thing, they're not absolutely close enough to attack. To able to Strike, the Kraken needs to be in Reach of the player. If the Kraken has you Grabbed 40ft out,it's not within your reach. "Attacking the tentacle" isn't a thing you can do, and it never has been. You may consider it silly (it is), but that's RAW, and that's what Colette runs with. And I'm sure it would have made your encounter much, much harder.

And I know repositioning to bite is a bad tactic. But the Kraken could also just reposition them under the water in order to drown them, or force them to swim (especially for the spellcasters with freedom of movement).


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Tamago wrote:

...

The PCs didn't move, but if they are being grappled by a thing, then surely it's close enough to attack! The idea that a character wouldn't be close enough to swing their sword at the giant tentacle that is literally touching them seems frankly ludicrous and didn't even cross my mind.

It is also ludicrous that you can't hit a creature with reach as they are trying to bite you, but that was explicitly how it worked in PF1 unless you had a certain feat. I would have also assumed that that is how it would have worked in PF2E, given that the lack of rules permitting attacking creatures using reach is almost the same situation as PF1E, and we know how the team ruled back then. It might be ludicrous, but that is the sort of thing we are supposed to be identifying and reporting on, not ignoring. In any case, you threw your PCs a massive bone there. Be aware of that.

On the "is Seek spamming reasonable for a bound guardian" issue, is there any guidance anywhere on how to run monsters in exploration mode? It seems to be completely ad-hoc and up to GM.


Tamago wrote:
I think there was only one point where it mattered, which is when one of the rogues tried to use a Necklace of Fireballs on the beast. He was able to do it again the next turn, so not a big deal.

I'm not sure how one expects to fireball a creature that's essentially underwater...

If I were running the kraken, the first thing I'd do is dunk anyone I'd grabbed underwater. It makes things quite a lot harder for them.

FoM is obviously a nice thing to have here, but it's not much good if you don't have it. Because, you know, supposedly a non-combat scenario.


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Just because a creature is grappling you does not mean that you can attack it in melee; the creature still needs to be within your melee reach.

That is how things work by RAW.


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Colette Brunel wrote:

Just because a creature is grappling you does not mean that you can attack it in melee; the creature still needs to be within your melee reach.

That is how things work by RAW.

Of course by RAW that also means that you could use things like Resilient Sphere or Wall spells to break the grapple by removing line of effect, yet somehow you've argued against that as well, essentially asserting that the Kraken simultaneously does and does not exist in the area of a creature it is grappling and/or intervening spaces.

Forgive me if I don't find this logic or interpretation compelling.


Resilient sphere and wall of force vs. grapplers are a topic for this thread.


Colette Brunel wrote:
Resilient sphere and wall of force vs. grapplers are a topic for this thread.

If that's so then you shouldn't be arguing about attacking grabbing creatures here either given you went and started a thread on that too after it was brought up here. Don't argue one off-thread topic (That was actually started here) and then tell me not to argue another off-thread topic (Which was also started here).


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It was actually another poster who brought it up first, so by your logic, you should be taking issue with them.

There is a rules ambiguity here, and the fault lies with the rules for being unclear. I am not your enemy, contrary to what you constantly try to insinuate. I am on the same side as you, participating in this playtest to try to polish the final product. Please try to understand that.


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Perhaps so. Yet doing so with such an obvious bias against your players that you argue two mutually exclusive opinions just because both of them happen to work against your players calls into question the viability of the feedback we get here and how it pertains to any style of GMing save for the heavy outliers.

As I've said before I appreciate that you've found some inconsistencies in the rules but at the same time most of the useful things you've found could have easily been found without the nonsense you put your players through and certainly the holes in some of these rules can be easily pointed out and discussed in a much more reasonable fashion without you actually running with the obviously sketchy interpretations of the rules that even the barest amount of good GM discretion (Which contrary to what you insinuate IS part of the rues as written)would never let fly.

To clarify what I mean, if you really are trying to work towards a more polished game you would get a much more productive result out of, for example, running Red Flags, seeing that the rules as written don't allow for creatures to attack foes grappling them unless they are in melee reach, realize it is OBVIOUSLY not Paizo's intent for the Kraken to be able to hold enemies at 60' distance and crush them to death with impunity unless said foes have 60' range abilities, and then proceed to run with a more reasonable ruling such as PF1's pulling grappled creatures adjacent or the logically sound method of allowing players to attack the thing grabbing them. Then you get to see how things work out without that obvious blip that would cause an easy TPK and can not only provide feedback on that but you can also then go and make a thread pointing out the rules hole you found and how this would easily lead to big problems. Such a thread would likely generate much more productive discussion and less argument than "Lol I got another TPK by choosing to exploit an obviously unintended error in the rules and my players couldn't do anything about it because as the person in control of the game I make sure they can't unless I have no other choice".

So if you really are looking to have a more polished game maybe you should try an approach such as this that is more productive, gets more useful feedback and discussion overall, and is less stubborn.

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