help with dealing with untouchable monk(unchained) in campaign .


Advice

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Hey guys, I'm posting this because my friend is a running his second pathfinder campaign and is having trouble dealing with one of the more optimized party members in a pre-errat crane wing monk.(since it was fine, and the errata is garbage) anyway, the rules/gen are as follows-

We are using the feat tax rules (original, not the fully fleshed out PDF version)
rolled stats, everyone got fairly equal levels in the end. (focus foible)
a free feat at level 1.
full HD every odd level.

The issue thats come up is, the monk is nigh untouchable in fights, but can't be easily ignored due to his battlefield control capabilities. The following is a break down of the numbers-

we are currently level 7, the monk has the following.
Human
ability scores:
Str: 16 (+1'd)
Dex: 20
Con: 14
Int: 11
Wis: 20 (+2 at 6)
cha: 13

HP: ~60
AC: 32(before outside buffs, while fighting defensively) Touch ~28
CMD: 33
Saves:
Fort: +8
Ref: +11
Will: +9

to hit: +13
damage: 2d6+6(+10)

CMB: 13
Trip: +20 (after feat and weapon bonuses)
Grapple: +16

Feats:
Free: Power attack, combat expertise, weapon finesse
1- Deft Maneuvers, Crane Style, Combat reflexes, Vicious Stomp
2- Deflect Arrows
3- powerful maneuvers
5- Crane Wing
6- Greater Trip
7- Blind fight

Monk Powers:
Barkskin
???

Now, this all adds up to a rather hard to deal with fellow in combat. Since he has a 60ft move speed, 30ft of which can be made and still allow for use of flurry of blows (due to flying kick), and while if ignored his damage is lesser than the rest of the party, he can apply serious control via tripping. And, whenever the monk trips someone he gets three free AoOs against them (2 from greater trip and vicious stomp, one from them standing up).

So, as it stands, the monk can trip up to 4 enemies in a round if he spends a point of ki, can move 30ft and still FoB, and anyone he trips is in a really bad situation. Now, the tripping isn't particularly the worst aspect, he has been doing this since the start, the thing that is starting to wear on the GM is the combination of that, and the ridiculously high AC/saves the monk has as well.

Enemies that can reliably threaten the party, are rendered nigh useless against the monk as his ac allows him to move about as he pleases, and if anyone gets lucky and crits, he crane wings it away.

Now, outside of just straight up nerfing the character(say, by reverting to the errata'd version of the crane wing), do you guys have any advice on how to deal with the PC? I have ideas of own for advice, but I thought I might as well check here to get other highly learned perspectives.


He doesn’t meet prereq for Greater Trip, but I assume that got handwaved with everything else.

In practice, there are a lot of things that are very hard or impossible to trip. Trip builds are going to be strong against opponents that trip easily. If he’s sending waves of moderately sized humanoids, maybe give them crossbows.

Defensively, his main weakness is when he’s Flat-Footed; so he should use surprise rounds where appropriate.

Silver Crusade

This is a temporary problem. Were it a Wizard, rather than a Monk, the GM's problems would just be beginning. Given that it's a monk, this problem will taper off in a few levels.

The monk's player has strategically optimized all the extra out-of-standard-rules stuff he's been permitted. This result is unsurprising. This PC is super-optimized to face medium humanoids. This PC is not well equipped to handle large strong hexapeds, nor flying creatures, nor oozes, nor insubstantial undead.

It's mildly comical that a monk, one of the weaker classes, is causing this problem. I've seen Synthesist Summoners cause this same problem multiple times. Were it a Wizard then the GM's problems would be just beginning. Sounds like the other PCs are not as optimized, so the optimized monk is a standout. For now.

Suggestion: allow the monk to shine. This PC will continue to be awesome for a couple more levels, then will gradually become less useful as more and more foes are immune to trip.


So your GM is allowing the 3rd party feat Deft Maneuvers? Which is pretty broken to begin with. Sure you don't get the CMB bonus, but it's otherwise FIVE feats in one.

AND is allowing the Monk to take Great Trip instead of Improved Trip as a Monk Bonus Feat at level six. Or is allowing the Monk to retrain his Monk Bonus Feat... which I didn't think was allowed.

I don't have sympathy for the GM, he did this to himself.

As for dealing with the Monk...

Incorpreal creatures.
Creatures that can't be tripped.
Creatures too large to trip or grapple.
Intelligence damage.
Swallow Whole.


As a GM, even using pre-errata crane wing, I'd say you can't deflect a critical hit. That's the point of a critical hit.

Details about the Monk that seem weird:
1) Why do you have so many level 1 feats?
2) He can't have Crane Wing without Dodge
3) I assume the +2 to Wisdom is a belt. Stats seem absurdly high, which greatly helps the monk.
4) How is he getting +7 to trip? I know +4 from Deft Maneuvers/Greater Trip. I assume the +3 is from an amulet of mighty fist or magic weapon?
5) I actually don't see how he would have 13 CMB, since he would have only 10 from BAB + Str.

So things you can do. Keep throwing ranged attacks and spells at he monk. He will get hit sometime, and Crane Wing only helps him with melee attacks. Also make sure he is taking the -2 from fighting defensively to CMB.

Some things can't be tripped. 4 legged monsters gain a +4 bonus versus trip. Flying monsters can't be tripped in the air. Have the GM throw some flying mages and archers on horseback at him. Also bigger enemies have a higher CMD due to size and due to Strength bonuses from being large. A huge creature is also impossible for the monk to trip unless any ally buffs him with a size increase.

Also, is the monk having fun? Are other players having fun? Is one person (other than DM) complaining about him? Is it more than one?

If everyone is having fun, just let the monk do monk things man. If he is destroying the game, talk to the player one on one and ask about remaking his character.


UnMonks are the rulers of the terrain of levels between 4th and 9th level.

I don't think there's any stronger class than them during that time, when enemies are mostly categorized as medium humanoids that are susceptible to maneuvers.

Also, most enemies are unable to attack the weakest defence of the Monk: resource fatigue. As the Monk runs out of Ki, so does its power. If the day doesn't go long enough, the Monk will be a pummelling machine.

Quote:
It's mildly comical that a monk, one of the weaker classes, is causing this problem.

UnMonks are one of the strongest classes in the game.


His stats are a bit high. And there are a few things that don't make sense. Like why did he get a +2 stat bump at 6th level?

What are Deft Maneuvers and Powerful Maneuvers? Tried searching the d20 site for them and I got zero hits. Agile Maneuvers is there...

The AC need some explanation. From what I can see the monk has +5 dex +5 Wis +1 monk bonus + 3 natural armor when he uses Bark Skin. That is AC 24, and a touch AC of 21.

If he enters Crane Style and Fights Defensively (standard or full action) he gets +2 dodge bonus to AC, -2 to hit and an additional +4 dodge bonus to AC until something misses him by 4 or less. AC = 26 (+4 until something beats 25 and still misses).

I wouldn't be surprised if the monk has a few more defensive items that haven't been brought up, but what exactly is giving him +2 AC at level 7? He shouldn't have more than a +1 ring of protection. Necklace of Natural Armor won't stack with Barkskin. He can't use armor (or he loses the +5 wis bonus) Guess he could have a +2 ring of protection. Or did everyone get dodge for free?

And the only time Crane Wing gets to nullify an attack is if you are doing Total Defense maneuver.

If the GM isn't willing to admit he made a mistake and use the current version of Crane Wing then he should stop complaining about the Monk. The GM made the perfect breeding ground for a munchkin and if he isn't willing to fix it that is his problem.

One suggestion would be to move away from humanoid opponents. Quadrapeds get a +4 vs trip, and lots of other monsters are immune to trip. You could also mount some humanoid monsters. The rider can use mounted combat to prevent his mount from getting tripped, so make sure their ride skill is boosted.

But don't go around mounting every humanoid. That just gets weird and obviously anti-monk. But using Lamaia and Lamaia Monarchs as BGs in these levels would be just about right. Monarchs don't even have legs and the normal Lamaia are large sized quadrupeds (+4 and +4 to resist trip).


It looks like he took greater trip as a monk bonus feat. While improved trip can be chosen as a monk bonus feat, greater trip cannot. That mean he need to use on of his normal feats to do so.

You also only get one AoO from an action no matter how many ways it provokes. So even if he does have greater trip the initial trip only grants him a single AoO. That also means that vicious Stomp and greater trip do not stack.

One other thing is that you cannot trip someone with an AoO when they are standing up. This is because an AoO takes place before the action and you cannot trip someone who is prone. This was not mention but with the way the monk is built it would not surprise me if he was trying to do this.

He also does not have dodge so cannot take crane style. I could not find anywhere that feat taxes remove the prerequisite for crane style. So that is another feat he needs to take.

Honestly I think that the feat tax rules are what is creating the problem. Sure it is no fun to have to take a bunch of feats to get what you want, but it does limit abuses like this. On classes that don’t get a lot of feats to begin with it is not quite as bad. But on classes that get a lot of feats it has greater affect. In a normal game a build like this would not come online until a much higher level. By that time a lot of creatures are not affected by it so it would not have such a great affect.


Greater Trip (which he doesn’t qualify for and can’t take as a bonus feat) does stack with Vicious Stomp. The FAQ basically says “it takes like 10 feats and won’t work on anything by that level so who cares”.

I count this as a 50 point buy stat array. That type of basis is obviously going to be a big boost to traditionally MAD classes, so not really seeing this as lightning from a clear sky.


Will the OP please provide an AC breakdown?

That character had rolled stats (so not balanced to begin with), seems to have extra feats, and seems to be using feats without errata (such as Crane's Wing, which isn't being used properly).

Magda Luckbender wrote:
It's mildly comical that a monk, one of the weaker classes, is causing this problem.

I think the Unchained monk is pretty strong (not like a core monk). Unfortunately, the core monk was so weak that Paizo eventually created a mass of powerful feats, such as Crane's Wing, and when the reasonably strong Unchained monk came out, you get a powerful combo.


2 3rd party feats
Greater trip shouldn’t work here
His AC is inexplicably high. Is someone casting Mage armour on him? Cause that would add up

Also he’s ruined against anything that has flight and nerfed by anything with a lot of legs. If you just fight humanoids then yeah he’s a monster. But that’s like feeding fire vulnerable monsters to a draconian red Sorc and complaining that they dominate.

The Exchange

swarms


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Jeff Morse wrote:
swarms

I don't budge on this and I never will:

Swarms are the worst and they should never, ever be used unless your PCs have some method of dealing damage to them. There's nothing more annoying than getting your martials shut down because they can't deal damage, and your casters shut down because they don't have any AoE spells prepared/known.

As a boss encounter, I can see an intelligent swarm of some kind being fun and suitably difficult. But most swarms are just mindless creatures with no connection to the plot that just happened to be where the PCs are, and they still pose one of the largest threats to parties at low levels. They're not really a challenge in the traditional sense of the word- they're either impossible to deal with or far too easy to deal with.

Rant over. I hate swarms.


Various environments could make life hard for him. Narrow tunnels (squeezing), underwater (no trip & bludgeoning isn't ideal), climbing loses dex bonus which in turn denies dodge bonuses, at considerable range all he could do is fire a crossbow or something, in the air nothing can be tripped either.

There are a few monsters which have unusually high attack values for their CR, and of course it's easy to make NPCs with class levels with the same. A similar character was unpleasantly surprised by a dwarf crossbowman with vital strike in my game once.


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By level 7 people should probably have Swarmbane Clasps... and if they don't, you shouldn't feel bad that the party spent their money poorly.

Swarms of Leeches with the Aerial template... take that "untouchable" Monk!


VoodistMonk wrote:
By level 7 people should probably have Swarmbane Clasps...

This is literally the first I ever heard of that item. It's not in the core rules. It takes up a neck slot which some characters need to devote to other slots. (For instance, that monk might want to use their neck slot for an Amulet of Mighty Fists.) You cannot expect characters to have that.


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I do expect it, actually.

For one, the Deft Maneuvers feat is not in the CRB... so the CRB doesn't apply to this particular discussion, at all.

I don't expect the allowance of 3rd party feats, 50pt buy equivalent stats, and free bonus feats to have too big of a problem with swarms.

The tools exist to defeat swarms and those tools are not only available to characters of their level, but should be considered almost mandatory for at least one person in the party.

It's not like the Monk's current neck slot item is going to help against a swarm, so when the time comes, switch your necklace... or add the Swarmbane Clasp properties to your current necklace at 1.5x the normal cost.

Either way, it's very doable.

Sovereign Court

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VoodistMonk wrote:

By level 7 people should probably have Swarmbane Clasps... and if they don't, you shouldn't feel bad that the party spent their money poorly.

Swarms of Leeches with the Aerial template... take that "untouchable" Monk!

Awh! Our favorite swarms match!


avr wrote:
Various environments could make life hard for him. Narrow tunnels (squeezing), underwater (no trip & bludgeoning isn't ideal), climbing loses dex bonus which in turn denies dodge bonuses, at considerable range all he could do is fire a crossbow or something, in the air nothing can be tripped either.

IMHO that's when monks excel. Monks work very well at exploiting terrain to your advantage.

Also you should not have high dodge AC as a monk, it's why WIS > DEX usually.


Traps. The nasty kind you really want a dedicated Rogue to deal with.

Magical traps with Weird... too much? Probably at level 7, but soon...


First I want to say-
There was a lot of room given in the game, (not just on the monks part, everyone got nice things, like the TWFing fighter) so please know that.

Improved X has been removed due to the feat tax rules we are using, so the party allowed the improved versions in the monk list to be replaced with greater (only applicable at level 6+)

This is the feat tax ruleset we are using.

We also all agreed on using pre-errat crane wing/style, seeing as how the feat is fairly garbage as written now. (I supported this, I never saw it as a real problem feat, comparative to other things. Like inherit scaling feats... crane style was not a feat that needed "fixing". /rant over )

Also we are using automatic bonus progression, apologies for not mentioning that. (so the +2 to wis comes from that)

I also got the stat array a little wrong, he did put the 13 in INT, not Cha.

For a bit of context, I'll post the generic easy to notice things from other characters- Note, numbers may be a little off, its again just my best guess.
1. Its a fairly low magic campaign, Or was, recently things have started getting turned up with magical beasts and other things.
2. All characters (including me) have high stats comparative to point buys.
barbarian- has a 20 strength, 16 dex and 18 con- dishes out +14/+9 1d10+13, +9 1d6+13, +9 1d6+13 in a full attack with Power attack/rage and I THINK is going down the intimidate/beast totem feat/powers lines. Was allowed to use temp HP mechanic from unchained barbarian (with a per fight "cooldown")

Fighter has a 20 dex, 16 str. TWFer, with ~26-28? AC I think. Does 1d6+8 each hit at +14/+14/+14/+9/+9. ( I think he has just recently gotten a speed enchant on one wep)

and Me, a Switch hitting fighter with 20 (22 at 7)Str, 18 Dex, 16 Con. My melee attack is a +16 for 8d6+19 (impact butchering axe + vital strike) and if ranged is needed +12(+10) at 2d8+5(+9) or +10/+5 for 1d8+9. with an AC of 26

the Monk's full attack (without tripping) I THINK should look something like-
+12/+12/+7 for 2d6+6 each or so, fighting defensively and NOT power attacking

so please don't think poorly of the monk, its just the biggest aspect is that in 95% of combats, he has free reign to move about without fear, and even has proven a threat to large quadrupeds due to his high bonus of +18 to trip even when fighting defensively. Basically the GM can hit the rest of us, he can't really "fight back" against the monk most of the time.

As for a more thorough breakdown Here is what I can get, I don't have access to his sheet. But I talked to him and I was mistaken on a couple of things-

Feats-
level 1, he gets 1 feat from monk, 1 from level 1, 1 from human, and 1 for free (everyone got a free feat at level 1)
Deft maneuvers,Powerful maneuvers, combat reflexes, vicious stomp
2- Dodge
3- Crane Style
5- Crane Wing
6- Greater trip
7- Blind fight? (I thought he took it, but he may not have)

for AC, this is what I have gathered from play and my own assumptions-
he has 25 base AC (5(6*) dex, 5 wis, 1 armor attunement, 1 deflection, 3 from passive monk AC)
he gets an additional +3 from his barkskin power for 28
and another +4 when fighting defensively (from crane style and acrobatic ranks) for 32 "consistent" AC
at level 7 he put the +2 into dex, which bumped it up to 33.*
-note, this is just what I can summarize, there may or may not be something missing. I believe one of the very few items he has is a monk's robe.

SO there ARE things that require a bit of prep, but since you can take actions outside of combat he can start fights (other than ambushes) in total defense, and at 70 mins, barkskin is a reliable buff to keep up. So it wasn't his BASE AC, but his "effective" AC. Which has been fine since we haven't been surprised at all since about 3rd level.

the fact that he took greater trip at 6 isn't that big of an issue, considering he would have just taken it at 7, though perhaps it started it early.

Vicious stomp and greater trip are RAW two separate provokes

Greater trip- when you trip an opponent, that opponent provokes AoOs
vicious stomp- when a creature falls prone next to you, you may make an unarmed strike AoO. (the FAQ in the PFSRD reinforces this)


Secret Wizard wrote:
avr wrote:
Various environments could make life hard for him. Narrow tunnels (squeezing), underwater (no trip & bludgeoning isn't ideal), climbing loses dex bonus which in turn denies dodge bonuses, at considerable range all he could do is fire a crossbow or something, in the air nothing can be tripped either.

IMHO that's when monks excel. Monks work very well at exploiting terrain to your advantage.

Also you should not have high dodge AC as a monk, it's why WIS > DEX usually.

In this particular case the monk has high dex and the crane feat line. And for the reasons I listed this monk wouldn't especially enjoy those environments. There may well be other monks who'd love them but that's kind of outside the scope of this discussion, I think.


I played a Swashbuckler(?) from levels 8-12, and literally never got hit...

At the end of this I was:
Inspired Blade Swashbuckler 1
Hooded Champion Ranger 1
Kata Master/MoMS Monk 4
Kensai Magus 6

I had Panther Parry and Crane Riposte and Parry/Reposte... I had Panache and Ki and Magus Arcana, all of which are interchangeable...

If I had time to use a wand, I would likely be over 40AC, fighting defensively, with MULTIPLE ways to mitigate hits.

Swarms were still scary. I was not the person in the party who had the Swarmbane Clasp... I tiptoe/ran away from every swarm.

Know your place...

Or have the proper equipment.


Damage shields are not your friend...
Monk beating up on a barbed devil...

Grand Lodge

There's seeing what the character has against clouds, fogs, darknesses and other kinds of vision denial not involving a saving throw (or which have a big DC). The one weakness is the lower Will save, even with a high wisdom. And battlefield control can't be executed if one sees nothing. Aid-focused characters suffer from the same problem and I saw this a couple of times, not the same thing but the comparison is apt enough.


VoodistMonk wrote:

By level 7 people should probably have Swarmbane Clasps... and if they don't, you shouldn't feel bad that the party spent their money poorly.

Swarms of Leeches with the Aerial template... take that "untouchable" Monk!

I’ve been playing this game for 7 years and never heard of this item.

It’s not a reasonable expectation that every level 7 party will always carry this random niche item when there are literally thousands of items in the game. Plenty of which players will never have even seen the entry for.

Grand Lodge

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Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

[I’ve been playing this game for 7 years and never heard of this item.

It’s not a reasonable expectation that every level 7 party will always carry this random niche item when there are literally thousands of items in the game. Plenty of which players will never have even seen the entry for.

I don't think this is unreasonable myself. Even if not this item, there should be a way to be able to deal with, at that level, especially when the said swarms start to be super ugly (oh, ticks or vescavors). Everybody being able to throw the random alchemist's fire wouldn't be bad either. Level 7 is very different from level 1 in that aspect.


IME swarms get nasty at 3rd-level, when swarms of birds (the types that can peck out eyes, causing permanent blindness) can strike.

Waiting for 7th-level seems a bad idea.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

This is a silly predicament. The PC has WAY higher stats (on a class that benefits a lot from free stats), a giant pile of free feats due the feat tax rules, pre-errata Crane Wing (which was nerfed for a reason), and then some extra bonus 3rd party goodies on top of that.

The GM basically took the mathematical underpinnings of PF1E out behind the shed and shot them. The monk is a problem right now, but actually all the characters you've listed will be an issue soon enough. The various boons this party has probably are worth +1 or +2 APL if not more.

Want to challenge the monk and the rest of the party? The fairest and least extreme options are:

  • Flying enemies
  • Throwing enemies with appropriate CR for the strength of the party, rather than ones that would be appropriate for their supposed character level.
  • Spellcasters with reasonably adept strategy. The monk's saves are good, but they're not astronomical.


  • Philippe Lam wrote:
    Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

    [I’ve been playing this game for 7 years and never heard of this item.

    It’s not a reasonable expectation that every level 7 party will always carry this random niche item when there are literally thousands of items in the game. Plenty of which players will never have even seen the entry for.

    I don't think this is unreasonable myself. Even if not this item, there should be a way to be able to deal with, at that level, especially when the said swarms start to be super ugly (oh, ticks or vescavors). Everybody being able to throw the random alchemist's fire wouldn't be bad either. Level 7 is very different from level 1 in that aspect.

    To have a way of dealing with swarms, no

    To have that particular item, yes I would say so.

    As you say some flasks of alchemist fire or hopefully a caster with a couple blasts prepared would be probably be far more reasonable,


    Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
    VoodistMonk wrote:

    By level 7 people should probably have Swarmbane Clasps... and if they don't, you shouldn't feel bad that the party spent their money poorly.

    Swarms of Leeches with the Aerial template... take that "untouchable" Monk!

    I’ve been playing this game for 7 years and never heard of this item.

    It’s not a reasonable expectation that every level 7 party will always carry this random niche item when there are literally thousands of items in the game. Plenty of which players will never have even seen the entry for.

    I remember getting the item in several 3, 3.5 and 4th edition games. I seem to remember it being an item included in Return of the Runelords. I think my Kingmaker group also received one of these.

    Everybody seems to know what Mithril Plate Mail of Speed is. Lots of people know what a Goz Mask is. A Cyclopse Helm seems to be a very infamous item with most board posters. I've never seen any of these items actually included in the 4 APs I've played through. I don't think a Swarmbane Clasp is a rare item, just one you don't know about.

    And generally you find the first one after you defeat a bunch of swarms. Because, irony.


    Well to be fair, mithril armour is a call back to lord of the rings so I’d expect it to be well known. And a cyclops helm is a mix maxers paradise.

    I’ve never played an AP in my life. All home brew worlds, so niche items being inserted ironically into loote pools wasn’t really a thing for me.

    I take the point that it’s just an item I haven’t seen, but my point is, I’ve had a pretty decent amount f time in this game with a lot of groups and to have never seen it means it isn’t reasonable to expect every level 7 party to have it


    I still stick to my earlier assertion. If one of the only reliable ways to deal with a certain type of creature is a single item, and an apparently obscure one at that, it's a sucky encounter. There are certain things that are accepted as necessary- flight, ranged options, etc. But a swarmbane clasp? Most people won't think of that, especially considering how random swarms are. If an ultimately unimportant enemy poses such a challenge that you need a specific item to deal with it 90% of the time, then as the DM I'm probably going to replace that encounter with a different one.

    Maybe we should just start a thread arguing over swarms so OP's poor monk isn't buried.


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    Allowed pre errata and 3rd party. Has issues with outcome.

    I mean... ya?


    Quote:
    Everybody seems to know what Mithril Plate Mail of Speed is. Lots of people know what a Goz Mask is. A Cyclopse Helm seems to be a very infamous item with most board posters.

    I had only known of the first. I have to look up a Goz Mask and a Cyclops Helm.

    At best, the clasp in question sounds like an "item tax". That is not good game design.


    Swarms are only ever acceptable to throw at the party when they're actually capable of dealing with them, because nothing screams "fun" like having an invincible enemy with enormous hp killing everyone because they can't get away from it or hurt it.

    Tick swarms can all go to hell.

    Also the GM just has to toss higher numbers of enemies with different vision-related and CC related tactics and things should be alright.


    Aren't swarms part of, like, every single random encounter table, ever?

    In a cave, an abandoned mine, a DUNGEON, perhaps? Swarms of spiders are perfectly reasonable to expect. As are swarms of rats.

    Making camp in a particularly rotten part of an ancient forest? Those ticks want your nice warm blood, and they might jump swarm the camp as you sleep.

    Waist-deep in some nasty bog? Leeches! Swarms of them...

    But, since apparently nobody has of heard the Swarmbane Clasp, let's forget it exists.

    Alchemist Fire. This is the go-to anti-swarm weapon available to literally everyone at literally every level.

    If the party doesn't have a stash of Alchemist Fire SPECIFICALLY FOR SWARMS, then that is their own fault and it is their problem, not the GM's.

    By level 7, a wand of burning hands is probably sitting in someone's gear, all but forgotten about, unused and lonely. And if not, it's not the GM's fault or problem.

    Drink a mouthful of lamp oil, hold torch in front of face, spit oil at the swarm of flying leeches. Throw handfuls of salt at the flying leeches. Use your imagination, be creative with what you have if you haven't prepared to combat one of the most generic enemies in the game...


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    If the game ends in a miserable boring tpk to a random encounter because the Gm threw an enemy at the party he knew they couldn’t beat, that’s the GMs fault, not the players.


    VoodistMonk wrote:

    Aren't swarms part of, like, every single random encounter table, ever?

    In a cave, an abandoned mine, a DUNGEON, perhaps? Swarms of spiders are perfectly reasonable to expect. As are swarms of rats.

    Making camp in a particularly rotten part of an ancient forest? Those ticks want your nice warm blood, and they might jump swarm the camp as you sleep.

    Waist-deep in some nasty bog? Leeches! Swarms of them...

    But, since apparently nobody has of heard the Swarmbane Clasp, let's forget it exists.

    Alchemist Fire. This is the go-to anti-swarm weapon available to literally everyone at literally every level.

    If the party doesn't have a stash of Alchemist Fire SPECIFICALLY FOR SWARMS, then that is their own fault and it is their problem, not the GM's.

    By level 7, a wand of burning hands is probably sitting in someone's gear, all but forgotten about, unused and lonely. And if not, it's not the GM's fault or problem.

    Drink a mouthful of lamp oil, hold torch in front of face, spit oil at the swarm of flying leeches. Throw handfuls of salt at the flying leeches. Use your imagination, be creative with what you have if you haven't prepared to combat one of the most generic enemies in the game...

    are you trying to imply that there should be encounters or obstacles in pathfinder that CAN’T be resolved with a two handed weapon and a high strength score?

    Grand Lodge

    Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
    If the game ends in a miserable boring tpk to a random encounter because the Gm threw an enemy at the party he knew they couldn’t beat, that’s the GMs fault, not the players.

    If the GM gives the players a fair chance and still don't properly prep, it's on the players, not the GM. Why the GM should always accomodate the players. Combats are a mix of everything, shouldn't be always tailor-made.


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    If a random swarm TPK's a level 7 party that has access to 50pt buy equivalent stats, free feats, AND 3rd party feats...

    Time to reroll new characters!

    Let this be a lesson in overall preparedness.

    Parties seem to get tunnel vision for fighting dragons and giants, sometimes they need to be reminded about the little things.

    It's a swarm, they are manageable. They still provoke AoO. Some take half damage from weapons, some don't. They all take extra damage from area/splash weapons. You can blow some of them away with a strong fart.

    In one game that I am a part of, a party of three level 5 characters, just cleared a little dungeon that had three spider swarms in one tiny room. It was brutal, but we got through it. Would have been done sooner without a critical failure with one of my Alchemist Fires, that hit my friend instead of the swarm. There were more egg-sacks in the room with the giant black widow, too, but we used dynamite to deal with those before we fought the big spider. We don't have 50pt buy equivalent stats, or free feats, or access to 3rd party feats...

    Grand Lodge

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    VoodistMonk wrote:

    If a random swarm TPK's a level 7 party that has access to 50pt buy equivalent stats, free feats, AND 3rd party feats...

    ...

    That's precisely the point. They're stacking things in their favor, they shouldn't need extra help. If they do, there's a serious problem.


    If a party isn't prepared for an encounter, a usually unimportant and random one, I don't feel obligated as a GM to chuck it at them and let them die. My enjoyment of the game won't be lessened by not doing so- the players' enjoyment of the game will likely be lessened by having their characters nibbled to death. Not every party will prepare AoE spells- many don't, because blasting is so often looked down upon.

    3 spiders swarms is a CR 4 encounter- should be relatively easy for a party of level 5 characters. But you still describe it as "brutal", despite apparently having alchemist's fire to deal with them. I don't think they're impossible to fight, obviously, I think that such an insignificant enemy shouldn't pose as great a threat as it often does. As already said, most APs don't really prepare characters for fighting swarms, and the fact that a small selection of items are required to do so is an item tax- which I don't enjoy.

    And let me remind you that you can't throw alchemist's fire if you're getting stunlocked by the distraction ability.


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    TheGreatWot wrote:
    Swarms are the worst and they should never, ever be used unless your PCs have some method of dealing damage to them.

    I don't think it's so wrong to present players with obstacles that need to be overcome by something other than combat.

    Most swarms are, as you say, mindless. A cloud of bats or a carpet of rats is hardly going to hunt the PC's down at all costs, and it should be fairly easy to escape from/distract or protect yourself from it with some creative thinking. I mean, would a normal swarm even try crossing a flaming barricade, for example? I can't see why it would. A closed door is another solution. Or taking a detour.

    If I presented a swarm to my players in a Final Fantasy sort of way, where combat is explcitly implied and victory normally assumed, then I guess a swarm is a pretty rough opponent.
    But how many times do the heroes in action and fantasy movies end up running from the hazards before them, instead of just fighting through?

    In regards to the monk, as everyone else said: enemies that can't be tripped is a good one. Asking the player if they'd be willing to tone it down is also fair, if there's just no other option.


    Sure, if you can run away at all- most swarms are as fast as or faster than a character in heavy armor, and some are faster than an unburdened PC- or can fly, or climb, or swim. You don't need to chase someone at all costs when all it takes to damage someone every round is moving into their square after they try to run away. Unlike PCs, swarms don't have to spend a standard action to retaliate. They can do a double move or, if we're being mean, a run action and catch almost anything.


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    Philippe Lam wrote:
    Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
    If the game ends in a miserable boring tpk to a random encounter because the Gm threw an enemy at the party he knew they couldn’t beat, that’s the GMs fault, not the players.
    If the GM gives the players a fair chance and still don't properly prep, it's on the players, not the GM. Why the GM should always accomodate the players. Combats are a mix of everything, shouldn't be always tailor-made.

    Not forcing players into certain death situations is not the same and presenting them with tailor made encounters.

    Why should a GM accommodate players? Because it’s supposed to be fun.

    If you know your players can’t deal with a certain enemy there is no difference between presenting them with that and just something wildly beyond their CR.

    It’s just punishing players for not playing the game how you want them too.

    Grand Lodge

    Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

    Not forcing players into certain death situations is not the same and presenting them with tailor made encounters.

    Why should a GM accommodate players? Because it’s supposed to be fun.

    If you know your players can’t deal with a certain enemy there is no difference between presenting them with that and just something wildly beyond their CR.

    It’s just punishing players for not playing the game how you want them too.

    There's the fun of the GMs, which is separate of those of the players. There's always an opposition no matter what. And would the examples given be way beyond the average party level ? They're level 7, they should be able to beat CR10 encounters.

    While the GM shouldn't punish players on purpose, nor should they accomodate party deficiencies either.


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    3 spider swarms in a 15x15 room was brutal.

    It was a dungeon crawl.

    We had just finished fighting a bunch of giant spiders in the room before. We all had taken some ability score damage, and hadn't had a chance to heal/recover. But we were on a time crunch, so we pressed forward.

    Then we found the giant black widow, and killed it, too.

    Then we fought a big crab demon thing and her demon minions.

    Retrieved the artifact and emerged from the mine victorious... because we were prepared.


    Bully for you. If a group sent prepared for swarms they just die.

    It’s not fun, it’s not challenging isn’t, it’s punishing players for not playing how you want them to.

    If you as a GM can’t have fun without knowingly killing your players then you’re not a GM I want to play with.


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    Swarms show up in AP publishings, and are also on most random encounter tables, so you can simply roll the dice and there it is.

    If you roll the dice and the random encounter table says adult black dragon... do you not play a dragon encounter?

    What if they aren't high enough level? What if they aren't prepared?

    They run. They run for their lives, or they die.

    Sometimes you have to run.

    That is a good thing for a party to understand.

    If it comes from the random encounter table, the party gets the random encounter... or it isn't very random, and that defeats the purpose for the random encounter table to exist.

    If you are picking and choosing what you present, then it's not random anymore.

    Sure, if you PLAN an encounter to be exactly what they are not prepared for, that is pretty messed up.

    But a party of 50pt buy equivalent stats, free feats, and access to 3rd party feats SHOULD be prepared for anything within a few CR of their level.

    People act like swarms are on some universal blacklist.

    In my previous example of the party of three level 5 characters, we weren't prepared as swarm-busters, we were simply prepared.

    We had some Alchemist Fire. What a concept, I know. Nobody ever has that in their kit, right? Have people heard of Alchemist Fire? Does that show up, or is it another hidden gem like the Swarmbane Clasp?

    We also had Holy Water, which helped us with the demons. Standard freaking equipment... for me, at least.

    We also found dynamite, we were in a mine after all, but none of us knew exactly how powerful it was, so we were really hesitant to use it. However, we used it as soon as we realized that there were more egg-sacks in the large room with the giant black widow.

    We couldn't cure poison, only delay it. We didn't have potions or scrolls or wands that were capable of curing the ability score damage we had taken.

    We were not nearly prepared enough for the dungeon to be considered easy by any means. Every single one of us was a bad roll away from death at least once during our trip into the mine.

    Guess what. We all had a great time... even though we were fighting swarms.

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