Climbing a wild Ksarik while Battle - How hard should it be ?


Rules Questions


Hi,
first of all I want to apologize for my really bad english. Its not my native language and my school english was never toooo good, but I hope you can understand what I try to say.

I DM a round of 4 Players. When we played last time the players (Lvl 3) attacked two Ksariks (CR 4). They had a really hard time with them (I think next time i take LvL 3 enemies for a LvL 3 group, my bad). So one Player (Android Agent) wanted to try something different. He wanted to "climb" the Ksarik and hit it with his dagger, while riding it. The Ksarik was at the moment attacking the Vesk Soldier and was standing with its back towards the Android Agent.
I told the Agent Player, that it is possible, but hard to do so. I said he would get a +12 mali on an attack to succesfulli climb the Ksarik. (Ksarik Armorclass is 18, so he would need a 30).
He didnt want to do it.
After the round we had a really (!) long discussion. He argued that it shouldnt be that hard to climb the ksarik, because it is a big creature, and he could kindoff rodeo it like a horse or bull.
I told him that bulls and horses dont have tentacles and try to eat you while you ride them and in a rode you dont climb onto the horse/bull, you sit on it from the beginning and just try not to fall down.
He argued that he had an dagger, which he could use to climb the ksarik.
I argued that the ksarik is still armored (thick armorlike skin i think) and moves while fighting and not standing still.

I am really new to Starfinder and never played Pathfinder or DnD before (I am more a Shadowrun, Fallout or DSA Player/DM), so was the +12 to much?


There isn't really a rule for this so far as I can see, but if you'd like to allow the player to attempt it, I'd suggest just making it a Combat Maneuver, possible with some kind of penalty.

And ask how hard he thinks it would be to climb in top of a bull that doesn't want you to and is trying to stop you (and how hard it is to stay on). Because it wouldn't be easy.

Combat maneuvers are already against AC+8, so you definitely made it a bit harder than that - but that would definitely be the absolute baseline, and never any easier than that. But rolling against AC+12 is effectively the same as making a Combat Maneuver (AC+8) with a Full Attack penalty (-4), so... Not out of the realm of where the rules could go, but definitely spectacularly difficult, but probably impossible for where a level 3 character's attack bonus is going to be, which I imagine the player didn't love.

There's a certain level of Rule of Fun that might come into play here, too, depending on the kind of game you're all aiming for.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:

There isn't really a rule for this so far as I can see, but if you'd like to allow the player to attempt it, I'd suggest just making it a Combat Maneuver, possible with some kind of penalty.

Thats what I did. I saw grabbling (dont know if this is the correct english word for it) would be +8 AC, I thought climbing - riding - and while doing this hitting it with the dagger, a wild Ksaric would be really (!) hard. So I thought +12 would be approbriat. Now I think it was to much (maybe +10 AC). The whole fight was to hard, and I apologized for it to my players. (They won the fight, after one Ksarik paniced and ran away).

The Android Player got another problem with the hole Situation. He argues that he cant do anything else than just standard-attack. I told him that there are the Combat Maneuvers, he told me that they are to hard to succesfully work (+8 AC is hard for a LvL 3 Char).
I told him there are Actions where he wont get a Mali of +8 AC, like surpressive Fire, he told me that actions like this are useless. So the only thing he could do are standard attacks.

We discussed the hole topic quite a long time. I think his problems, are problems with the system. He thinks I just make the battles kind of boring and he (and the other players) should have more choices. Like doing cool stuff (like climbin and ride-fighting a Ksarak).
Dont get me wrong, I dont think I have to do what the rulebook tells me everytime. I think cool, movielike Actions are fine. But they should be hard, the question is: How hard?


So... as far as I can tell, riding an opponent is mechanically a terrible idea.

But, letting him describe his character as riding the enemy when he's actually just standing there attacking isn't an issue. He can make that KAC+8 roll to try and hang on if it starts moving.

Is the android an operative or something else? Trick attacking is different than just standard attacking after all.


The android is an Ghost-Agent (Agent is the german word for it, operative the english?).

He wanted to "climb" the Ksarik while fighting it. The Ksarik would not (!) Want someone who stabbed him before to ride it.

Trick attack is where he gets a d4 extra damage. That is his "standard" attack which he uses.


English version is operative yes.

The trick attack should also start applying debuffs and causing much more damage soon. He should also start getting some operative tricks that can do other things.

Still the operative's choices in combat tend to be 'trick attack' or at higher levels 'triple/quad attack'. That player may have simply picked a class that's not a great fit for him. Spellcasters tend to be the character that does something other than attack every turn.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

combat manuever and a hard climb check.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I would probably resolve it as a variant grapple. Same combat maneuver check, but force the grappler to move with the ksarik, instead of preventing the ksarik from moving.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A variant grapple sounds like a valid way to resolve it. I lean slightly towards a skill check, though. Target number 10 +1.5 x CR, + either 0 or 5 or 9 depending on whether I judge the overall situation to be either low medium or high difficulty. For example, if the creature you're trying to ride is one you've never seen before, and has a back that lacks anything resembling a good spot to sit or grab? +9 for being high difficulty. OTOH, if the creature is wearing a saddle of some kind already and the PC is using Profession ( Rancher ), it'd be +0 for being low difficulty.

Why do I lean this way? Because unlike a combat maneuver, this doesn't actually inflict a status as such on the enemy, it just changes the circumstances and perhaps allows you to solve the situation by means other than fighting. If the player is trying to do something other than fight, I generally want them to be able to use some ability other than fight stats.


I would have approached this in a very different way.

I enjoy being GM when players try and do something unusual, so this does seem to be applicable for the Rule of Cool. I try to say "yes" when a player asks if they can try something, as long as the request isn't outrageous. At worst, I say "you can try" and hint that its either possible or plain stupid.

The player could simply stand adjacent to the creature and attack (boring), or they could attempt to leap up onto its back, run along its spine and attack it from above.

Either way, the attack roll would be the same, so why not allow the player to do something cool?

I would have asked the player to make an Acrobatics check, maybe as low as a DC 15 check. To add some reward / danger to the manoeuvre, then it would be easy to say if he fails the DC by 5 then he can't attack but if he succeeds by 5 then he gets an extra die on the damage.

I would try and find a balance where the player can try something cool, in this case it didn't seem that the player wanted to be able to one-shot the Ksarik, it just seemed a request to do a normal attack but in an unusual way. I don't see any harm in allowing a player to do that.

I don't see the need to bring in a combat manoeuvre as there didn't seem to be a requirement that the attack would be anything more than just an attack. Sure, its got tentacles and it's trying to eat you but it would be doing the same if you were standing next to it attacking or you were on its back attacking.


Thanatos83 wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:

There isn't really a rule for this so far as I can see, but if you'd like to allow the player to attempt it, I'd suggest just making it a Combat Maneuver, possible with some kind of penalty.

Thats what I did. I saw grabbling (dont know if this is the correct english word for it) would be +8 AC, I thought climbing - riding - and while doing this hitting it with the dagger, a wild Ksaric would be really (!) hard. So I thought +12 would be approbriat. Now I think it was to much (maybe +10 AC). The whole fight was to hard, and I apologized for it to my players. (They won the fight, after one Ksarik paniced and ran away).

The Android Player got another problem with the hole Situation. He argues that he cant do anything else than just standard-attack. I told him that there are the Combat Maneuvers, he told me that they are to hard to succesfully work (+8 AC is hard for a LvL 3 Char).
I told him there are Actions where he wont get a Mali of +8 AC, like surpressive Fire, he told me that actions like this are useless. So the only thing he could do are standard attacks.

We discussed the hole topic quite a long time. I think his problems, are problems with the system. He thinks I just make the battles kind of boring and he (and the other players) should have more choices. Like doing cool stuff (like climbin and ride-fighting a Ksarak).
Dont get me wrong, I dont think I have to do what the rulebook tells me everytime. I think cool, movielike Actions are fine. But they should be hard, the question is: How hard?

Just, keep in mind, combat maneuvers are already pretty hard without being specialized in them.


Your penalty seems about right.

I've seen a lot of rodeos with people getting tossed off the bulls. I've never seen a rodeo where they didn't START there with the bull penned in in a fence first.


I think I would made it a double move action at a DC20 Athletics,
DC 20 Acrobatics or a DC 15 Profession (Rodeo Cowboy).

Although I unsure why an operative would want to do this.

I too try to give the players the nod when they come up with something out of the box, but plausible.


Well thanks for the many answers. I gave my players this (special thanks to Hawk Kriegsman):

If you want to ride an enemy he needs to be at least 1 size category bigger than you.
You roll against acrobatics 20 + CR, if you suceed you mount it and can attack (double damage), if you fail by max. 5 you ride but cant attack this turn. If you fail more than 5 you land on your a**. When its the enemies turn he can make a reflex roll against your acrobatics roll to throw you down.

I think with this rules it is possible to do this stunt while its not just an even harder combatmaneuver.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, the above sounds reasonable to me, too. Grapple combat maneuver to get a grip on it, Athletics check to pull themselves up. Then maintain the grapple as normal, or if they want to attack on a subsequent round, then it'd be a difficult Acrobatics Check to stay standing on the Ksarik. DC 25 = 15 (for balancing on the spinal ridge 15-5cm across) + 10 (for severely unsteady terrain). Then let that Acrobatics check be their trick attack check. If they fail, they fall off; if they fail by 5 or more, then they fall off and land prone adjacent to the Ksarik having used their full action to attempt the trick attack.


Thanatos83 wrote:

Well thanks for the many answers. I gave my players this (special thanks to Hawk Kriegsman):

You are more than welcome!

or Bitte, jederzeit!


Thanatos83 wrote:

Well thanks for the many answers. I gave my players this (special thanks to Hawk Kriegsman):

If you want to ride an enemy he needs to be at least 1 size category bigger than you.
You roll against acrobatics 20 + CR, if you suceed you mount it and can attack (double damage), if you fail by max. 5 you ride but cant attack this turn. If you fail more than 5 you land on your a**. When its the enemies turn he can make a reflex roll against your acrobatics roll to throw you down.

I think with this rules it is possible to do this stunt while its not just an even harder combatmaneuver.

Ahem, the example you gave was based on my suggestion wasn't it, don't I get a nod :)

One other point that might be worth incorporating would be that leaping up onto the creature's back would invoke an Attack of Opportunity (since you would be leaving a threatened square to leap on the creature's back).


@xris
Oopsie. Well then thanks to you too.


Thanatos83 wrote:

@xris

Oopsie. Well then thanks to you too.

In that case, you are more than welcome! :)

BTW, I think you fleshed out the idea quite well.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Surprised nobody mentioned this, but Survival is the skill you use to ride creatures.

Although, obviously, this is a creature that doesn't want to be ridden.

Your player is a 3rd level Operative? Their Trick Attack damage should now be +1d8, and they can make their target flat-footed. Plus, it's a very mobile class. "Boring" is never a complaint I've heard anyone use to describe it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Man with a rule like that's I'd max out Acrobatics and deal double damage by hopping on and off all my bigger-than-me foes.

Why not use Survival, which is the skill that governs riding skill?


Thanatos83 wrote:

Well thanks for the many answers. I gave my players this (special thanks to Hawk Kriegsman):

If you want to ride an enemy he needs to be at least 1 size category bigger than you.
You roll against acrobatics 20 + CR, if you suceed you mount it and can attack (double damage), if you fail by max. 5 you ride but cant attack this turn. If you fail more than 5 you land on your a**. When its the enemies turn he can make a reflex roll against your acrobatics roll to throw you down.

I think with this rules it is possible to do this stunt while its not just an even harder combatmaneuver.

Just a thought - I don't see that Reflex save being succeeded at very often. It would be an exceptionally difficult save.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yes, skill checks will get so much higher than saving throws that matching them directly against each other does not make sense.

I also think that for proper difficulty scaling, DCs for skill checks based on enemy CR should probably use 1.5xCR, like feint and demoralize do.


I think climbing on a wild ksarik should be the definition of how hard other very very hard things should be.


Ravingdork wrote:

Man with a rule like that's I'd max out Acrobatics and deal double damage by hopping on and off all my bigger-than-me foes.

Why not use Survival, which is the skill that governs riding skill?

Well, I dont think that this rule will be used very often, mabey never again.

I thought about survival too, but survival is more about "riding" an animal / anmimalplant. The player wanted to climb/jump on the Ksarik and stab it, so I will go with athletics.

HammerJack wrote:

Yes, skill checks will get so much higher than saving throws that matching them directly against each other does not make sense.

I also think that for proper difficulty scaling, DCs for skill checks based on enemy CR should probably use 1.5xCR, like feint and demoralize do.

The Skill Check is easier than the Save Check, thats right. But what if the enemy has arms (for example), then he will get a bouns. Its not that much about having a "hard" rule, we will use every session. My opening question was more about "How to handle Super Cool Cinema Actions" your Players want to do. If my Players start to abuse the improvised Rules I that I give them, then the checks will get harder and harder.

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / Climbing a wild Ksarik while Battle - How hard should it be ? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.