Replacing Giant Encounters in Ashpeak (Book 5 Spoilers)


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I used a ton of the spell casting templates from Monster Codex. I would use the ones from the third party source that makes all the rest of the classes into templates. But can’t get it on Hero Labs


Joey Virtue wrote:
I used a ton of the spell casting templates from Monster Codex. I would use the ones from the third party source that makes all the rest of the classes into templates. But can’t get it on Hero Labs

Are you talking about the simple class templates? Because I like them but they're way over CR, considering you can get about as much just by adding class levels.

That said I have used them a lot when I need a custom monster on the fly.

My main concern is that Fire Giants have such terrible mental stats they can barely cast unless they're wisdom based, and even them they're not great.


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I'm very much not a fan of applying templates, as they're an easy way for a GM to accidentally make a monster that is way off base for its supposed CR. The advanced template adds far too much AC for example (+4, when the real difference in AC when moving between CRs is 1-2 per the monster creation table), making it worth more than +1 CR to a creature that relies on AC for defense, and less than +1 CR to a dedicated spellcaster that was one level away for a new set of spells.

The Cleric Creature template applies to a Fire Giant would increase its CR to 13, but its general survivability stats would still stay on par with a CR 9-10 creature. Per the monster creation rules, which Paizo uses to judge appropriate stats for a given CR, the AC for a CR13 combatant should be 30. The templated Cleric-Fire Giant has AC24. The same ends up true of saves, hp, DCs, etc.

Templates are just a bad way to build a monster - its way too easy to get something underpowered or overpowered for its CR. I'd much rather build and tweak by hand until I get a good mix of capabilities and stats that are right for the CR I want.


I use hero labs, I use the class templates but I don’t give it the same Cr modification that the templates call for. I tweak that part by hand comparing them to the stats for what ever the CR I put them in. Just giving them a few spells to cast before they get destroyed by the players. Instead of charging up and getting destroyed.


Cellion wrote:

I'm very much not a fan of applying templates, as they're an easy way for a GM to accidentally make a monster that is way off base for its supposed CR. The advanced template adds far too much AC for example (+4, when the real difference in AC when moving between CRs is 1-2 per the monster creation table), making it worth more than +1 CR to a creature that relies on AC for defense, and less than +1 CR to a dedicated spellcaster that was one level away for a new set of spells.

The Cleric Creature template applies to a Fire Giant would increase its CR to 13, but its general survivability stats would still stay on par with a CR 9-10 creature. Per the monster creation rules, which Paizo uses to judge appropriate stats for a given CR, the AC for a CR13 combatant should be 30. The templated Cleric-Fire Giant has AC24. The same ends up true of saves, hp, DCs, etc.

Templates are just a bad way to build a monster - its way too easy to get something underpowered or overpowered for its CR. I'd much rather build and tweak by hand until I get a good mix of capabilities and stats that are right for the CR I want.

I completely agree with you here, but unfortunately I don't always have the time to tinker with the numbers as you so. I'd also say that CR is more of a broad goal than a specific target. Same CR encounters can vary wildly straight from the books, even against the same party composition and power level.

I'm mostly using the CR written in the book as guideposts so I don't end up writing every single encounter as CR+4, which would invariably happen.


Yeah I’m changing all the encounters personally.


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Artofregicide wrote:

I completely agree with you here, but unfortunately I don't always have the time to tinker with the numbers as you so. I'd also say that CR is more of a broad goal than a specific target. Same CR encounters can vary wildly straight from the books, even against the same party composition and power level.

I'm mostly using the CR written in the book as guideposts so I don't end up writing every single encounter as CR+4, which would invariably happen.

Yeah, rebuilding monsters without cutting corners is a pain and super time consuming. One rule of thumb I have from playing around with the monster creation rules is the following for increasing a generic creature's CR by 1:

Increase all its derived statistics (basically everything you'd roll a d20 for) by 1.
Increase its AC by 2
Increase its spell and ability DCs by 1
Increase its HP by 5+(its old CR)*1.5
Increase the damage it deals per hit with its attacks by 3 if two-handing or 2 if one-handing/natural attacks.

This is like the advanced template but a bit more balanced.

One other thing I do if I'm in a rush is give creatures thematically appropriate spell-like abilities. In an old home game I make a serpentfolk race that each had a SLA from their bloodline. The sneaky ones might have blur at low levels, and greater invis at high levels. Dangerous bruisers might have burning hands or fireball. Commander types might have create pit or black tentacles.

Basically I just kept their base statistics similar and gave them a 1/day or 3/day trick to use to cement their combat role.


Joey Virtue wrote:
Yeah I’m changing all the encounters personally.

If you don't mind, I'd love to see what you come up with.


What book are you on I’m currently running book 2 and working on book 5


Joey Virtue wrote:
What book are you on I’m currently running book 2 and working on book 5

I'm not running any of Giant Slayer at the moment, just Reign of Winter, Strange Aeons, and Hell's Rebels. I do listen to the GCP podcast but this was more of a thought exercise than plans for imminently running the book.


I see

We just finished book 2 last night no deaths in first two books but almost 4 or 5 deaths in the Vault of Thorns.


Joey Virtue wrote:

I see

We just finished book 2 last night no deaths in first two books but almost 4 or 5 deaths in the Vault of Thorns.

The vault of thorns is amazing in concept, but it's also notoriously poorly balanced and thus a PC killer. Even the author admits he barely playtested the chapter.

Care to share the gory details?


I made it a lot harder for 7 optimizers. So dropping a few into the Lilly pads killed one if not for another player jumping off the cliff and taking the 50 foot fall damage.

Another one (same cleric) took 6 twig jack sprays two rounds in a row and failed almost every save

I replaced the brambleblight with a green dragon that took 2 more down below negative con. One of them twice.


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I've seen your RotRL conversion notes for larger parties Joey, and I've gotta say, your games are at a super high power level. I think beyond them being big optimizers, you have high point buy and wealth too, right?

I'm currently running RotRL for a 6-man group and was looking through your notes, but ended up making much much more modest changes for my own team and they were very much challenged.


Wealth isn’t super over standard. But yeah they do have some super high stats. I use the guide to creating challenging encounters for all my fights. Especially with as many players as I have at the table. Like I’ve said before the original encounters for this module suck and need to be fixed.

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