Why don't high level demons and devils always teleport away?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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deuxhero wrote:
Square-cube law is already in the rules with effects that increase the size of creatures (Enlarge Person). Catgirls don't apply.

In one place, not everywhere. The rules are not consistent with respect to real-world physics, and this is one of those places where that inconsistency is glaring. You can try to fix it for consistency, but IMO that way lies madness. Easier to just play it as it lies--unless it's more fun to change it, anyway!


I think Blahpers might be right, as the whip at least could just be twice as long but not any thicker.


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If the sword were twice as long, twice as wide and twice as thick it would be hard for the balor to use it. It would weigh 8x as much, but being twice as long it would have 32x the moment of inertia which determines how hard it is to use. If the balor (Str 35) is 16x as strong* as a typical Str 15 fighter, he would expect to wield a sword with 16x the M of I. So the sword needs to be shorter, slimmer or thinner. The art suggests that it's not shorter and it's certainly not slimmer**, so it must be paper-thin. That means half the expected weight, ie 4x Medium. Which actually matches the square cube law. Catgirls are saved!

* based on +5 Str = x2 carrying capacity

** that sword looks like he welded a spare blade to the side of an existing sword


Ryan Freire wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
Persepolis wrote:
MY demons and devils absolutely do teleport away if they think they're about to die. It frustrates the hell out of my PCs...
Does their frustration advance the story?
Given the creation of recurring villains, and the fact that demons and devils are generally an "end game" form of monster, yeah i'd say it does. If it gets too frustrating pc's can always learn dimensional anchor

Eh. If you include summonings, I'd say they could serve as "end of dungeon" form of monsters at pretty much any level. And given their various abilities and the numerous player abilities that target them (smite evil, favored enemy:evil outsider, etc), they are attractive gameplay tools at any level.

Given their general malevolence, it isn't hard to see demons inserted pretty much anywhere- the creature causing a disturbance in the local forest (causing bears and wolves to come out into human land), the serial killer in town, the hidden support forces for a villain backed into a corner, etc.

They are frankly disposable in this form. They don't necessarily have to serve a larger purpose in the campaign- they could be random events while the party heads to the next objective, or maybe as an unrelated problem troubling an essential NPC you need to butter up. And this is the kind of use that is frustrated by teleportation- the GM may have never had any further plans with them- again: they are often good "enemies" game playwise, so they just have been a suitable tool for the combat encounter.

Devils need a bit more importance though. It is rare to find them slumming around without being involving in some larger scheme.


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Mudfoot wrote:

If the balor (Str 35) is 16x as strong* as a typical Str 15 fighter...

Except, at least in terms of carrying capacity, he's actually 32 times as strong by RAW; due to also being a full size category larger.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
Persepolis wrote:
MY demons and devils absolutely do teleport away if they think they're about to die. It frustrates the hell out of my PCs...
Does their frustration advance the story?
Given the creation of recurring villains, and the fact that demons and devils are generally an "end game" form of monster, yeah i'd say it does. If it gets too frustrating pc's can always learn dimensional anchor

If you are using one of the high CR demons or devils as a BBG, who are their minions? It makes sense that a demon, devil or most outsiders would have others of their own kind as servants.

You're a Balor in need of some competent mussel. Do you trust these simpering weaklings that made a deal to open a gate so you could rule over them to be competent? Or do you bring in some weaker demons you know are stronger than the pitiful mortals sucking up to you? You don't bring in some demon that is only slightly inferior to yourself because that is just asking for betrayal, but bring in two dozen demons that absolutely can't challenge you should be just a matter of course.

And of course you use the mortals too. It would be a waste not to put the simpering fools to work. But better put a demon among them to keep an eye on things.

And what never makes sense to me is for some unexpliciable reason some unintelligent creature is now following the demon. Seriously, why would a demon tame some giant vermin or slime? At least import the pet from the Abyss or Hell or where ever the outsider comes from.

Scarab Sages

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Watery Soup wrote:
Persepolis wrote:
MY demons and devils absolutely do teleport away if they think they're about to die. It frustrates the hell out of my PCs...
Does their frustration advance the story?

Often yes. If the fiend is a free agent (i.e. not summoned) then I treat it as a character rather than a simple monster. That means that it can return either later in that adventure or in subsequent adventures. That enhances continuity and gives the fiend a relationship to the PCs, which enables a lot of plot goodness.

As a purely aesthetic matter, I hate running intelligent monsters as though they're stupid. Even a simple Vrock has an intelligence of 14. They're often run as thoughtless killing machines but they're smarter than most humans. They should be crafty, and that means using their powers as well as they can. Leaving a major ability like teleporting at will off their menu chafes my soul.


Persepolis wrote:


As a purely aesthetic matter, I hate running intelligent monsters as though they're stupid. Even a simple Vrock has an intelligence of 14. They're often run as thoughtless killing machines but they're smarter than most humans. They should be crafty, and that means using their powers as well as they can. Leaving a major ability like teleporting at will off their menu chafes my soul.

Intelligence doesn't mean smart across the board. Even smart people do dumb things, esp. when confronted with an unfamiliar situation. Like coming across puny humans that turn out not to be pushovers, unlike every other one they have met.

Vrocks for example "embody all the rage, hatred, and violence of that despicable realm" and "generally form from the evil souls of hateful and wrathful mortals, particularly those who were career criminals, mercenaries, or assassins." Does that sound like someone who is going to run from a fight just because some mortals got in a good shot? Maybe. Or, maybe it sounds like someone that will stay in the fight a little too long because an eternity of shame for losing is worse than dying.

Playing a villain intelligently also means stepping into their shoes. Mortals besting a demon in combat? The very idea is laughable!


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John Mechalas wrote:
Vrocks for example "embody all the rage, hatred, and violence of that despicable realm" and "generally form from the evil souls of hateful and wrathful mortals, particularly those who were career criminals, mercenaries, or assassins." Does that sound like someone who is going to run from a fight just because some mortals got in a good shot? Maybe. Or, maybe it sounds like someone that will stay in the fight a little too long because an eternity of shame for losing is worse than dying.

It sounds like someone that would only teleport out so it can get enough distance to try to pull off a dance of ruin for lightning based AoE on the party.

Which is more like a continuation of the fight than anything. And that is a very, very excellent use of teleportation tactics. Few will argue against the decision to have the outsider fall back for a safer ranged attack strategy.


lemeres wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
Vrocks for example "embody all the rage, hatred, and violence of that despicable realm" and "generally form from the evil souls of hateful and wrathful mortals, particularly those who were career criminals, mercenaries, or assassins." Does that sound like someone who is going to run from a fight just because some mortals got in a good shot? Maybe. Or, maybe it sounds like someone that will stay in the fight a little too long because an eternity of shame for losing is worse than dying.

It sounds like someone that would only teleport out so it can get enough distance to try to pull off a dance of ruin for lightning based AoE on the party.

Which is more like a continuation of the fight than anything. And that is a very, very excellent use of teleportation tactics. Few will argue against the decision to have the outsider fall back for a safer ranged attack strategy.

Vrock has 14 int. That's pretty smart (much smarter than the average human at 10 int). As with the balor,just because they are chaotic evil doesn't make them chaotic stupid, or mean they have no sense of self-preservation.


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Watery Soup wrote:
Does their frustration advance the story?

I am all for focusing on narrative over mechanics, but this comment feels dangerously close to so-called wisdom suggesting that you let your players "fail forward" when their plans don't work or the dice are against them.

Frustration (and failure) is an important part of any dramatic story. Without either frustration or fear, obstacles are no longer obstacles and conflict ceases to exist.

With that said, frustration is one of those elements that needs to be handled delicately. Not enough and the game is no longer a challenge. Too much and the stress it causes outweighs the fun it provides.
Still, I can't imagine a group of players worth their salt running into this problem more than a couple times. After the physical manifestation of sin that's been corrupting the local governments behind the scenes for the past 30 years slips from the heroes grasp via instantaneous magical Transportation, I would expect said he rose to look into ways to thwart such escape plans. Just like I'd expect the villain to come up with away to thwart the hero's thwarting.


Yqatuba wrote:
or mean they have no sense of self-preservation.

Interesting point, the sense of self-preservation, the survival instinct, is a product of evolution. It's lack is just too big liability for most complex organisms to survive the natural selection.

However, vrocks, as other demons, are not a product of evolution. There's no evolutionary reason for them to have a sense of self-[reservation. Their instincts and psychology are what Abyss made them to be, and that may mean some very unitintuitive and unrational behavior.


Quixote wrote:

...so-called wisdom suggesting that you let your players "fail forward" when their plans don't work or the dice are against them.

Frustration (and failure) is an important part of any dramatic story. Without either frustration or fear, obstacles are no longer obstacles and conflict ceases to exist...

Going to have to dispute your claims here:

1) I play tabletop games to have fun, not to be frustrated. Life is frustrating enough as is, my hobbies don't need to be also.

2) Failing forward =/= removing consequences. It's still failing, but the game doesn't grind to a halt. Blades in the Dark does an excellent job of incorporating this into its core ruleset.

3) Fear of failure (and consquences) is actually increased, because you have to live with them.

4) Failing forward isn't really compatible with railroading. That's just illusion of choice. Real failure should come with real, game and narrative changing consequences.

5) Failing forward doesn't preclude PC death or TPKs. Sometimes the consequence is a character's story ends prematurely. That's okay, if it doesn't happen so often that the players lose their connection to their characters. I probably kill or maim too many PCs, if I'm honest.

6) Failing forward isn't always appropriate for every game. But spending hours frustrated and arguing, or paranoid planning every last detail is a waste of time on my opinion. At least if everyone isn't having fun.

7) To be fair, I've seen games where consequences are basically nonexistent and the group still has fun. That doesn't interest me but to each their own.


Adjoint wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
or mean they have no sense of self-preservation.

Interesting point, the sense of self-preservation, the survival instinct, is a product of evolution. It's lack is just too big liability for most complex organisms to survive the natural selection.

However, vrocks, as other demons, are not a product of evolution. There's no evolutionary reason for them to have a sense of self-[reservation. Their instincts and psychology are what Abyss made them to be, and that may mean some very unitintuitive and unrational behavior.

I would guess they have at least some sense of self-preservation mainly for one reason: they still exist.


Yqatuba wrote:
I would guess they have at least some sense of self-preservation mainly for one reason: they still exist.

But their existence is fundamentally different from that of mortals, and it's a fallacy to assign them purely human motivations or define their intelligence in human terms.

Demons are, first and foremost, immortal beings. They are created and they exist until they are destroyed. "Forever" is a very, very long time. And, on top of that, they are static beings, who do not change, evolve, or grow. They don't level, they don't gain new abilities, don't gain new skills, don't learn new spells, and so on. Aside from differences in personality, they are carbon-copies of one another.

They can be promoted to a new form, but that takes the intervention of a higher power. In order to achieve that, they must set themselves apart from the hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of demons that are just like them in every way. The way you do that is by excelling at being what demons value: you don't become a stronger demon by undergoing a journey of personal discovery.

In this environment, failure is a stench that lasts for eternity. Not hundreds of years or thousands of years or even millions of years. On the scale of "forever", these are meaningless measurements. And given that demons delight in torturing souls, the best fate for a demon that fails is to exist with that humiliation until time ends. That is the fate every demon faces if it fails in its tasks: eternal humiliation and isolation. The old adage applies that there are fates worse than death.

Now, transpose that environment to an encounter with PCs. Every demon that exists is one that has survived strife with other demons, the forces of good, puny mortals, etc. That means every demon the party comes up against is a demon that is used to winning. If they've encountered humanoids before, then those are probably humanoids that lost the fight. Why should the next batch be any different?

Then ask yourself, as the GM, what is their purpose for being where they are? What is the consequence of running away from the fight to heal and regroup the next day? Even the next hour? Will being "out of the way" even for a few minutes allow the PC's to make some crucial discovery, or weaken whatever plot is in place? How will their higher-ups react?

The local demon in charge of whatever is going on may have the luxury of falling back, or salvaging their plans, but the grunts below them? Maybe, if the plans are particularly intricate, or upper management is feeling generous, they may be allowed to fall back to other demons to form a stronger resistance deeper in...but in general? Seems unlikely. They may be expected to stay in the fight until they are destroyed. Because if they don't, they earn an eternity of isolation, suffering, humiliation, or things much worse then we can imagine.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Mechalas wrote:


Demons are, first and foremost, immortal beings. They are created and they exist until they are destroyed. "Forever" is a very, very long time. And, on top of that, they are static beings, who do not change, evolve, or grow. They don't level, they don't gain new abilities, don't gain new skills, don't learn new spells, and so on. Aside from differences in personality, they are carbon-copies of one another.

Say that to all the demons et al with class levels or templates you meet in Paizo adventures.

Most outsiders have the stats we find in the printed Bestiaries, but that is because it is hard for GM and writers to make each of them different.
They aren't a carbon copy of each other forever. They are made from a common template when created, but after that, they start to change. Simply they need way more work as they aren't 0 HD creatures.


Artofregicide wrote:
Going to have to dispute your claims here:

I think you are operating under different definitions for the terms of frustration and failing forward than I am.

as to the prior, yes, too much frustration is indeed a bad thing. but letting my players Plan A succeed every time is also a bad thing. Maybe not as grievous, but still a mistake.
and as to the latter, I am referring to the practice of counting a failure as a success, but with unforeseen conditionals. "you failed on your diplomacy check to convince the guard to let you in. He'll let you in, but he wants a favor." -- success with conditionals is not failure.

At any rate, I said that your comment seemed like it could be the beginnings of a slippery slope down into fallacy, but obviously I have no real idea about your storytelling or your stances regarding such.

And while I will certainly concede to the old adage, to each their own, I have seen too often The resources and the opportunities that this hobby provides squandered by people who simply don't know what to do with it and would most likely be better served playing a video game.
True, everyone has their own definition of fun. But some people have fun wrong.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Say that to all the demons et al with class levels or templates you meet in Paizo adventures.

Most outsiders have the stats we find in the printed Bestiaries, but that is because it is hard for GM and writers to make each of them different.

And those would be the exceptions to the rule, the ones who stand out from the crowd. Does it contradict what's in the bestiary about demons? Yes. But it's a game and players need high-level opponents with class levels to challenge them. Think about it too hard and the game breaks down.

Same goes for Greater Teleport as an at-will ability. It's a throwback from the old days where monsters had abilities to make them challenging in combat, but there was little or no consideration for how those abilities would work in the world at large. The best way for a demon to do combat is to wait until you turn in for the night during your between-adventure downtime, teleport into your room, and murder you in your sleep. But that's not a lot of fun. Not for the PC's, anyway.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Mechalas wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Say that to all the demons et al with class levels or templates you meet in Paizo adventures.

Most outsiders have the stats we find in the printed Bestiaries, but that is because it is hard for GM and writers to make each of them different.

And those would be the exceptions to the rule, the ones who stand out from the crowd. Does it contradict what's in the bestiary about demons? Yes. But it's a game and players need high-level opponents with class levels to challenge them. Think about it too hard and the game breaks down.

Same goes for Greater Teleport as an at-will ability. It's a throwback from the old days where monsters had abilities to make them challenging in combat, but there was little or no consideration for how those abilities would work in the world at large. The best way for a demon to do combat is to wait until you turn in for the night during your between-adventure downtime, teleport into your room, and murder you in your sleep. But that's not a lot of fun. Not for the PC's, anyway.

If the demon knows where you go to sleep and if he knows the layout of the room. Even with greater teleport, you need to know that.

Summoned monsters can't teleport, so it leaves only called outsiders, but those aren't protected from death.

Characters with a level high enough that they can become targets of outsiders should take defensive measures. Earlier versions of the game had "simple" measures against teleportation (mortar mixed with gorgon blood, permanent circles against evil, etc.). Now the main books don't list them, but you can find stuff in the different supplements.

A simple solution is to be on a moving ship. Unless they localize you and teleport within minutes, you aren't in the same location anymore.


The truly motivated demon can use Greater Teleport to follow you home. All they need is a reliable description of the inside so I don't see that as much of a barrier to entry. Literally.

Diego Rossi wrote:
A simple solution is to be on a moving ship. Unless they localize you and teleport within minutes, you aren't in the same location anymore.

Unless they have line-of-sight to the ship. :) Truly paranoid adventurers will hide on another plane.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Mechalas wrote:

The truly motivated demon can use Greater Teleport to follow you home. All they need is a reliable description of the inside so I don't see that as much of a barrier to entry. Literally.

Diego Rossi wrote:
A simple solution is to be on a moving ship. Unless they localize you and teleport within minutes, you aren't in the same location anymore.
Unless they have line-of-sight to the ship. :) Truly paranoid adventurers will hide on another plane.

The location of the destination is needed, not only a reliable description. If you have a photo of a room but don't know in what city it is you can't teleport.

You can search for the relevant rules in Ultimate intrigue.

Yes, an extraplanar location or an extradimensional space is better as you can't teleport between dimensions and you can't plane shift in an extradimensional space.

Rope trick is a 2nd level spell and it last 1 hour/level. A simple way to get a secure hideout even at a relatively low level.
You can even bring in some pets to make the number of "residents" 8 so that no one can enter it.


Diego Rossi wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
The truly motivated demon can use Greater Teleport to follow you home.
The location of the destination is needed, not only a reliable description.

I think knowing the location is implied if they follow you home. :)


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Diego Rossi wrote:
The location of the destination is needed, not only a reliable description. If you have a photo of a room but don't know in what city it is you can't teleport.

CRB-only, a reliable description is enough. What that means is pretty open to interpretation, though, which I suspect is why UI "clarifies" it.


Quixote wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
Going to have to dispute your claims here:

I think you are operating under different definitions for the terms of frustration and failing forward than I am.

as to the prior, yes, too much frustration is indeed a bad thing. but letting my players Plan A succeed every time is also a bad thing. Maybe not as grievous, but still a mistake.
and as to the latter, I am referring to the practice of counting a failure as a success, but with unforeseen conditionals. "you failed on your diplomacy check to convince the guard to let you in. He'll let you in, but he wants a favor." -- success with conditionals is not failure.

At any rate, I said that your comment seemed like it could be the beginnings of a slippery slope down into fallacy, but obviously I have no real idea about your storytelling or your stances regarding such.

And while I will certainly concede to the old adage, to each their own, I have seen too often The resources and the opportunities that this hobby provides squandered by people who simply don't know what to do with it and would most likely be better served playing a video game.
True, everyone has their own definition of fun. But some people have fun wrong.

Hold your horsefeathers there partner! A couple of things:

-You clearly don't know what "failing forward" means. Since I've defined it and even given you a strong example of it written into a game (Blades in the Dark) derived from what is a very popular ruleset (Powered by the Apocalypse), not sure I can help you. You're just making up your own terms and redefining existing ones at this point.

-You're really not in charge of whose "fun" is right or wrong. Neither am I. I'd say that as long as everyone at a table is enjoying themselves, they're winning at this hobby. I don't think that the "resources" of this hobby are "squandered" when all involved walk away happier than when they showed up.

-To each their own is the point. I don't enjoy wish fulfillment simulators or beer and chips gaming (my campaigns almost always devolve into horror regardless of the original premise). But who am I to tell someone that they should leave the hobby and go play video games? You're walking dangerously close to gatekeeping.

PS: I don't appreciate the vague accusations of logical fallacy or deeply dismissive statements. If your points are worth making, they're worth making sans ad hominem attacks.


There has been nothing I've read in any of the posts that has given a valid reason for not teleporting away. The justifications have all centered on the fear of failure being greater the fear of death. But none have considered teleport to escape from a tactically inferior position to move to a safe position, heal and buff and then reengage from a tactically superior position.


BENSLAYER wrote:
* Fear of what will happen if they fail yet survive, (perhaps going "all out" is a success if they live or die, as long as they do not have to endure punishment from even higher echelons/Archdevils/Demon Lords/their Profane Deity). Especially if they are already down on their Evil Act and Soul Collection quotas for the quarter ...

Alternatively, utter lack of said fear.

~ ~ ~

Balthar: "You have failed me, again."

Kag'th: "Shockers. Me versus a half-dozen, and you had me run straight at the fighter with the stringy hair and meat devoid of flavor. What were the odds? Better than zero, to be sure, if not favorable. --So send me again. And again. And again. And again. You know how probability works. Or are you out of spells with no material cost, or days of your life, for that matter, you pathetic creature? 'Failure'? You failed when you were born the thing that you are. You decay before me."


Quixote wrote:
Watery Soup wrote:
Does their frustration advance the story?

I am all for focusing on narrative over mechanics, but this comment feels dangerously close to so-called wisdom suggesting that you let your players "fail forward" when their plans don't work or the dice are against them.

Frustration (and failure) is an important part of any dramatic story. Without either frustration or fear, obstacles are no longer obstacles and conflict ceases to exist.

I think the topic of this thread, outsiders teleporting away, is no where close to the slippery slope of 'failing forward'. Unless you are suggesting the GM is preserving a bad guy to keep the plot moving?

A certain amount of that sort of thing is good. Facing a reoccurring bad guy builds motivation. And you can be sure that the party will take measures to make sure the next encounter is the last encounter. A grudge match can be a lot of fun.

But when every outsider tries to teleport away and not return, that doesn't advance the story. That doesn't build dramatic tension. As a GM, why are you doing it? You really should have a reason and a plan when minor monsters abandon the encounter.

Tactical use of teleport is natural. This is the same as using flight. As long as a creature has unlimited use of teleport they should be cleaver about it. Teleporting away to use spells and items is great. But if an outsider is getting overwhelmed, had some of its fellows killed, and is relying on fast healing to recover, returning isn't tactical anymore. That is just suicide for the weakened encounter to engage the party after they have had a chance to heal and recover as well.

If you want that sort of thing to happen in your game, give the outsiders appropriate equipment. Give every minion 2-4 healing potions and 1-2 buffing potions. That way after the first encounter the party probably manages to kill an outsider before they can teleport away and they start to realize that the monsters treasure is spent on consumable items that the DM is using against them during the fight. If that doesn't motivate them I don't know what will.


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Meirril wrote:
But when every outsider tries to teleport away and not return, that doesn't advance the story. That doesn't build dramatic tension. As a GM, why are you doing it? You really should have a reason and a plan when minor monsters abandon the encounter.

Reason: Because they'd be dumb not to.

Plan: Either reengage sooner, reengage later, or "forget this, those guys are hard". Not all combats have to end in one side being dead.


Hugo Rune wrote:
There has been nothing I've read in any of the posts that has given a valid reason for not teleporting away.

Balor: Guard the entrance. Don't let anyone in under any circumstances.

Vrocks #1-4: Yes, sir!

Vrocks 1-3 destroyed by PCs, Vrock 4 teleports away to heal and come back tomorrow. PC's break in and kill everyone.

The next day...

Vrock 4 teleports back

Vrock #4: Um, guys...? Hello...?


blahpers wrote:
Plan: Either reengage sooner, reengage later, or "forget this, those guys are hard". Not all combats have to end in one side being dead.

With demons, they kind of do. Unless the party is sitting on dimensional travel of their own (and is in a position to use it on everyone), there is no retreating or running away from an enemy that can unerringly teleport at will. Demons are one of the few creatures in the Bestiary that can press a TPK by taking "escape" off the table.


John Mechalas wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Plan: Either reengage sooner, reengage later, or "forget this, those guys are hard". Not all combats have to end in one side being dead.
With demons, they kind of do. Unless the party is sitting on dimensional travel of their own (and is in a position to use it on everyone), there is no retreating or running away from an enemy that can unerringly teleport at will. Demons are one of the few creatures in the Bestiary that can press a TPK by taking "escape" off the table.

We were talking about the demon escaping, not the party. Lots of things can prevent a party from escaping, but that's a whole different can of worms.


Aboleth Sticks wrote:
Hugo Rune wrote:
There has been nothing I've read in any of the posts that has given a valid reason for not teleporting away.

Balor: Guard the entrance. Don't let anyone in under any circumstances.

Vrocks #1-4: Yes, sir!

Vrocks 1-3 destroyed by PCs, Vrock 4 teleports away to heal and come back tomorrow. PC's break in and kill everyone.

The next day...

Vrock 4 teleports back

Vrock #4: Um, guys...? Hello...?

(a moment later)

Vrock #4: Huh. Oh well, I always hated that guy anyway. I hear Cassomir is nice this time of year....


blahpers wrote:
We were talking about the demon escaping, not the party. Lots of things can prevent a party from escaping, but that's a whole different can of worms.

I know what the discussion is about. But I find statements like "Not all combats have to end in one side being dead" to be overly broad, especially in this exact scenario. Fights with demons are pretty high-stakes.

On a side note, I am not a big fan of unlimited use teleport-at-will as an ability. Thematically cool and interesting? Yes. Exciting game play? Not to me. When tactics don't matter, positioning doesn't matter, and distance doesn't matter, I don't get much out of it. This ability has been with us since the 1E AD&D days. IMHO, it should have been ejected long ago.


Artofregicide wrote:
-You clearly don't know what "failing forward" means. Since I've defined it and even given you a strong example of it written into a game...You're really not in charge of whose "fun" is right or wrong...You're walking dangerously close to gatekeeping...I don't appreciate the vague accusations of logical fallacy...

1. I have seen the term defined before. Something along the lines of "failure still moves the game forward in a similar way, with unforseen consequences." But terms change over time and from region to region.

I am not familiar with the game you mentioned, so I am unable to see what you're referring to.
I also didn't see anything that appeared to be a definition of the concept in your earlier posts, but I may have misread.

2. No, I'm not in charge of it. But I think many people are missing out, which is unfortunate, and giving others the wrong idea about what this game can be, which if worse.

3. I'm not familiar with the term "gatekeeping" either, but I can guess as to it's general meaning.
I've been called an elitist before and I can't really deny it and don't offer apology for it. I've run games for two types of people: the ones who, once they've played at my table, no longer wish to go back to what they used to do, and the people who don't understand what I'm doing and want nothing to do with it. I've only seen the latter once, but I was more than happy to let them go and enjoy what I believed was an obviously inferior product while they believed I was weird.

4. Let me be clear: I *thought* you *might* have been making an erroneous statement, though I could not be sure. That's what made me comment in the first place.
I felt like, if you meant what I thought you meant, I disagreed, and gave reasons to why. But since you didn't quite seem to mean what I had initially suspected, my qualms remained hypothetical. I never meant to offend, only challenge. But it seems like I've struck more than one nerve. I offer apologies for that; it was not my intent.


Fanaticism is a pretty simple answer - as paragons of ruthless, violent, evil, many high end outsiders are simply willing to fight to the death for their cause, whatever it may be.

It's also worth keeping in mind that mortals who can actually fight high level outsiders are relatively rare.

A balor that's losing to a planetar will recognize that it's facing a peer, accept that things are going south, and retreat. After all, it knows that while the balor is technically stronger, a planetar is no push-over at all.

A balor that's losing to a group of mortal heroes may well be in denial about the entire thing right until its explosive death, because humans are 1 to 5 HD prey that it kills en masse with blasphemy, not things that can shrugs off all its attacks and slice it to ribbons.

High end Fey probably have the same issue - a sort of blind spot when it comes to realizing "oh, this mortal can actually take me down."

Dragons less so, since dragons usually get to experience being relatively weak hatchlings and whatnot, and so usually develop a much finer tuned sense of danger.

Of course, there's also always the issue that was brought up much earlier - damage spikes from a well-coordinated or lucky party means an outsider or dragon or whatever might go from being completely fine to dead in a single round.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
blahpers wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
The location of the destination is needed, not only a reliable description. If you have a photo of a room but don't know in what city it is you can't teleport.
CRB-only, a reliable description is enough. What that means is pretty open to interpretation, though, which I suspect is why UI "clarifies" it.
Quote:

TELEPORT, GREATER

School conjuration (teleportation); Level sorcerer/wizard 7
This spell functions like teleport, except that there is no range limit and there is no chance you arrive off target. In addition, you need not have seen the destination, but in that case you must have at least a reliable description of the place to which you are teleporting. If you attempt to teleport with insufficient information (or with misleading information), you disappear and simply reappear in your original location. Interplanar travel is not possible.

Greater teleport remove the range limit, remove the limitation of having seen the destination and replace it with a reliable description.

Don't remove: "You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination."
So the reliable description must give you both the location and layout.
Seeing a room with Scrying will give you the layout, not the location. You need other means to get the location.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aboleth Sticks wrote:
Hugo Rune wrote:
There has been nothing I've read in any of the posts that has given a valid reason for not teleporting away.

Balor: Guard the entrance. Don't let anyone in under any circumstances.

Vrocks #1-4: Yes, sir!

Vrocks 1-3 destroyed by PCs, Vrock 4 teleports away to heal and come back tomorrow. PC's break in and kill everyone.

The next day...

Vrock 4 teleports back

Vrock #4: Um, guys...? Hello...?

Vrock #4: Bhhaaahha, it seems I was the lucky guy this time.

Generally demons, devils and co. don't care much about their fellow life. I don't think the Vrock will fell bad for fleeing.

Generally, in my games, the opponents will try to flee and survive, unless the creature description gives it a reason to fight to the death.

Often they fall in fleeing, as the margin between 50 hp and death is small after a few levels, and fleeing when they are at full hp (unless they are the last guys standing of a large group) is weird.

Some highly intelligent monster will flee as soon as they see the PCs groups if they have a good idea of the difference in power.
If your forte is "surprise attacks", you don't stay for a slugfest with tanks and damage dealers.


Zhangar wrote:

Fanaticism is a pretty simple answer - as paragons of ruthless, violent, evil, many high end outsiders are simply willing to fight to the death for their cause, whatever it may be.

It's also worth keeping in mind that mortals who can actually fight high level outsiders are relatively rare.

A balor that's losing to a planetar will recognize that it's facing a peer, accept that things are going south, and retreat. After all, it knows that while the balor is technically stronger, a planetar is no push-over at all.

A balor that's losing to a group of mortal heroes may well be in denial about the entire thing right until its explosive death, because humans are 1 to 5 HD prey that it kills en masse with blasphemy, not things that can shrugs off all its attacks and slice it to ribbons.

Bestiary wrote:
In combat, a balor relies upon its spell-like abilities to fight foes wise enough to avoid melee range, favoring destructive powers like fire storm or implosion and saving dominate monster for use against the rare foe it would prefer to capture alive. A balor usually uses telekinesis to disarm ranged weapons or pull foes into melee—with the use of a quickened telekinesis, a balor can use the latter tactic and still inflict a full-round attack on a hapless foe. A balor reduced to fewer than 50 hit points almost always seeks to flee via teleportation, but if that and flight prove impossible it seeks to position itself such that, if it is slain, its death throes are as devastating as possible to the enemy host.

I don't see anything about a balor, a demon that has probably survived millenia of moving up the ranks through as much cunning as martial prowess, picking up the Idiot Ball just because it happens to be humans that are kicking its demonic backside. Such a being would probably know from experience that some humans are stronger than others. But maybe balor are morons in your game, and that's okay too!


blahpers wrote:
I don't see anything about a balor, a demon that has probably survived millenia of moving up the ranks through as much cunning as martial prowess, picking up the Idiot Ball just because it happens to be humans that are kicking its demonic backside. Such a being would probably know from experience that some humans are stronger than others.

Think about it from the demons' perspective. What do they know about humans?

The Balor probably has broad knowledge, but that's not the same as specific knowledge. Even the Balor doesn't know the PCs' individual capabilities, and those are what matter. The Balor is not the GM, and is experiencing first-hand that the PC's are shrugging off attacks that should be killing them and trying to make sense of what it's up against. Now, given that, the Balor is probably going to do exactly what the party does when faced with an unknown foe: 1) press the attack and try to figure out the opponents' capabilities and weaknesses, then 2) use those weaknesses to strike, while also 3) defending against their strengths.

That takes several combat rounds. At what point does the Balor say, "Something weird is going on here, time to retreat" instead of "Well, maybe this will work"? Being even one round too late on that can get you killed.

The GM has to work harder than anyone to not metagame, because the GM knows the party capabilities inside and out (or should). The monsters they are running, however, are learning these specifics for the first time, one round at a time.

Shadow Lodge

It's kind of funny that the Balor expects to always be in a situation where it is favoured to win...When this is actually almost always the case for PCs.


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Given the CR of a Balor, it might assume that any mortal capable of taking it on is going to have been in the newspapers a bit, and the Balor would recognise them. So if it doesn't recognise the bunch of bizarro dweebs that just blundered through the door, they're obviously nobody to worry about.

OTOH, the Balor has never met PCs before and doesn't realise that they're on the Fast XP track. So while they were 1st level 4 months ago, they're now 19th level, 25 point builds with PC wealth.


John Mechalas wrote:
[At what point does the Balor say, "Something weird is going on here, time to retreat" instead of "Well, maybe this will work"? Being even one round too late on that can get you killed.

According to the Bestiary quote above, at about 50 hit points. That's not metagaming, that's ages of hard-earned sense.

(Granted, against optimized heroes that's probably too late, but it's still a thing.)


blahpers wrote:

According to the Bestiary quote above, at about 50 hit points. That's not metagaming, that's ages of hard-earned sense.

(Granted, against optimized heroes that's probably too late, but it's still a thing.)

Agreed...on both counts.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Balor wrote:
Skills Acrobatics +27, Bluff +31, Diplomacy +31, Fly +32, Intimidate +31, Knowledge (history) +27, Knowledge (nobility) +27, Knowledge (planes) +30, Knowledge (religion) +27, Perception +38, Sense Motive +30, Stealth +26, Use Magic Device +31

With +30 in sense motive, it probably can notice if the PCs feel confident or not. Add a nice CL 20 Blasphemy. If none drop, it is time for it to get out of Dodge and rethink its tactic, a group of level 16+ aren't pushovers.

Various Knowledge at +27, it probably can recognize famous paladins, clerics, inquisitors, and other religious figures, cavaliers, and nobles, coat of arms of famous families, and even some famous weapon or armor.
So if the PCs have an artifact or historically relevant weapon or armor it is probable he will recognize it on sight.
If the players haven't played a 15 in 15 days kind of adventure probably they have some fame.
Unless the Balor was there for unrelated matters it probably has some prior information about the situation and, probably, the PCs have already thwarted some of its schemes, so having this guy with intelligence 24 and wisdom 24 act as it was clueless is a bit strange.

Naturally, if it was summoned as a minion of someone it will be different, but generally, if you are fighting something that uses a Balor as a minion, probably you are capable to kill it in a couple of rounds before it teleport anywhere.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you force a Balor to flee with teleport and rethink its schemes you deserve some XP.
If it is forced to drop them it has been defeated, so full XP.
If it was stopped for some time or has to change them it is a partial victory, still worth a reward.


@Blaphers Considering that their flee condition is "under 50 HP", they are way more likely to be taken from "I'm fine" to outright dead than to be beat up just enough to trigger their retreat.

Also, keep in mind that demons don't promote up from lower demons, but rather spontaneously arise from the correct larvae.

You can meet a balor that's only a day old, it's just fantastically unlikely.

Balors that actually have been around for millennia should probably be upgraded in some way, rather than being the "generic" type you see in the Bestiary.


My outsiders regularly flee if they are capable. Most monsters aren't capable of fleeing like this, so I use it to highlight how dangerous things like demons and devils are. Even if their CR isn't that high, they are trouble makers. It also reinforces the idea of why summoning/calling such monsters into the prime material plane is a bad idea. Once they are loose into the world it can get really hard to force them back out.

If an outsider has a specific goal, the players get the chance to set a trap for it. If the outsider has a generic goal, the players either need to find a way to lure it back, or track it down. Also, if the players don't have access to Dimensional Anchor, I let them find alternate methods (I especially like arrows enchanted to do the same, but of limited duration... like a round or two per arrow).

Scarab Sages

John Mechalas wrote:


Playing a villain intelligently also means stepping into their shoes. Mortals besting a demon in combat? The very idea is laughable!

That strikes me as a simplistic view of Demons. Most demons will be hundreds, if not thousands of years old, and almost all spend the vast majority of their time in the outer planes. Mortals who can make their way to the outer planes and survive there will not be pushovers even for a Vrock. And even just counting the Material Plane, it doesn’t seem likely that in centuries of working evil the PC party are the first mortals the demon has met that can challenge it.

If a demon is defined as newly born then I can see running it this way. But otherwise they are more likely to be old and canny, and well aware of how dangerous some mortals can be.

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