13th level one shot against a CR21 - how can I counter?


Advice

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Melkiador wrote:
I'm not aware of a way to get your CMB high enough at level 13 to reliably overcome that CMD.

The only way I can think of off the top of my head to do it reliably is with a character that has Quickened True Strike, for instance:

Bloodrager 1 / Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight 7

+10 BAB
+1 size (enlarge person)
+9 strength
+7 Int (Knowledge is Power gives Int to CMB in addition to Str)
+2 Improved Combat Maneuver feat
+4 Heroism
+3 Inspire Competence (Bard)
+20 Quickened True Strike

= +56

Note you will need the Mad Magic feat to cast while in a Bloodrage, and will probably need Combat Casting to consistently cast 5th level spells defensively.


Melkiador wrote:
I considered offering a dirty tricks build too, but his CMD is 58. I'm not aware of a way to get your CMB high enough at level 13 to reliably overcome that CMD.

Lv 13 Mutation Warrior Fighter using the Warrior Spirit AWT.

+1 Dueling (PSFG) Weapon, Gloves of Dueling, Belt of Physical Perfection +2.
Warrior Spirit is used to add Bane and a +4 enhancement bonus. Mutagen goes to Strength or Dex.

13 (BAB) + 7 (Strength/Dex) +7 (Enhancement) +14 (Dueling, Luck) +5 (Weapon Training) +4 (Imp/Greater Dirty Trick)
= 50

====

Then add Haste, Heirloom Weapon, and a Cracked Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone and we're at 54. If the Bard uses Inspire Courage (doesn't stack with the Ioun Stone) we're at minimum 56.


And that boys and girls is how you get people to do your homework for you. Mwahahaha!


Half-Orc Brawler 13
This build can take two dips and still be completely viable, you don't need Brawler 13 for this, only Brawler 11, but anything you dip into needs to have Full BAB or your CMB will suffer. So feel free to experiment.

Str 30 (15 base, +2 racial, +3 Level4/8/12, +4 Bull's Str, +6 Beast Shape III)
Dex 15
Con 13
Int 11
Wis 9
Cha 8

Racial Traits:
Swap Sacred Tattoo (+1 Luck bonus to all saves) for Orc Ferocity.

Traits:
Fate's Favored (+1 to any Luck Bonus)
Bred for War (+1 CMB)

Spiked Gauntlet (or any weapon you can do a Dirty Trick with, but I would suggest a Spiked Gauntlet-- but this is totally up to you) +4
Dueling (Dirty Trick)

lvl1 Dirty Fighting
lvl2 Bonus Combat Feat: Power Attack
lvl3 Improved Dirty Trick, Maneuver Training: DirtyTrick +1
lvl4
lvl5 Combat Reflexes, Bonus Combat Feat: Pummeling Style
lvl6
lvl7 Quick Dirty Trick, Maneuver Training: DT +2, Trip +1
lvl8 Bonus Combat Feat: Pummeling Charge
lvl9 Greater Dirty Trick
lvl10
lvl11 Any Feat (Suggested: Vicious Stomp), Bonus Combat Feat: Dirty Trick Master, Maneuver Training: DT +3, Trip +2, BullRush +1
lvl12
lvl13 Any Feat

Combat Maneuver Bonus wrote:

When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver. The DC of this maneuver is your target's Combat Maneuver Defense. Combat maneuvers are attack rolls, so you must roll for concealment and take any other penalties that would normally apply to an attack roll.

So anything that would boost your attack roll with the weapon you're using to perform the Dirty Trick will also increase your CMB. You can get Weapon Focus, or w/e you want.

.

Items/Spells to get:

Any Weapon (you can even choose a gauntlet if you want) you can do Dirty Tricks with, give it a +4 enchant and Dueling enchant, and now that's a +8 Luck bonus to Dirty Tricks that allows Fate's Favored provide +1 more. So +9 CMB to Dirty Tricks.

Boots of Speed: HASTE! +1 Attacks, and extra attack at full BAB.

Beast Shape III: Get this from your friendly neighborhood Alchemist to become Huge Size (+2 CMB) and gain a +6 Size bonus to Strength

Potion of Bull's Strength; +4 Strength

Potion of Greater Heroism: +4 Morale to Attack Rolls

Belt of Superior Maneuvers +4: +4 to Dirty Trick CMB for 1 round, 3/day

Gauntlets of the Skilled Maneuver: +2 Dirty Tricks

Dusty Rose Prism/Wayfinder: +1 Insight Bonus to CMB checks

Inspire Courage: +3 Competence to Attack rolls

If you can't afford all this, then figure out a way to access alternatives as a group, for example, Boots of Speed can easily be replaced with a caster who can cast Haste on you, same for Bull's Strength and Greater Heroism, etc. Because you're not going to be able to affect him with your DT's without all this stuff.

CMB:
+13 BAB
+10 Str (5 base, +2 Bull's Strength, +3 Size bonus form Beast Shape III)
+2 Size bonus (Huge -- Beast Shape III
+2 Improved Dirty Trick
+2 Greater Dirty Trick
+3 Maneuver Training (DT+3)
+9 Dirty Trick Dueling Gauntlet (any weapon)
+1 Dusty Rose (Insight bonus to CMB)
+1 Bred for War (Trait bonus)
+4 Greater Heroism (Morale bonus)
+3 Inspire Courage (Competence bonus)
+1 Haste

+48 CMB to Dirty Trick

+4 Belt of Superior Maneuvers (3/day)
+4 (Flanking) Dirty Fighting Feat

Strat for Krampus:

Krampus's CMD is 58, so your Dirty Tricks would hit on a 10 or higher, but you can put some umph on your DT's by flanking and/or using your Belt as a free action 3/day.

Your Primary Goal should be to Blind and Nauseate him as fast as possible, because "Creatures with the nauseated condition experience stomach distress. Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention. The only action such a character can take is a single move action per turn" and Blindness because if he somehow ever removes the Nauseate Condition, he still cannot do anything scary while blind, meanwhile you're re-attempting to get him back to Nauseated condition. So you're going to probably want to use Martial Flexibility to give yourself Kitsune Style, Kitsune Tricks, and Kitsune Vengeance. Kitsune Tricks allows you to put two conditions on the target with one DT maneuver. So, Blind/Sicken him, and then if he doesn't clear it, next round Nauseate him, and the fight is all but over at that point. If he does try to move away from you and provokes an AoO, Kitsune Vengence will let you do a Dirty Trick in lieu of the attack. Once he's Blinded/Nauseated, no more at-will Dimension Door either, but your ranged guy should still probably have a Phase Locking weapon to prevent any Dimension Door shenanigans when/if he removes the Nauseate.

Krampus has a dex of 28, so 9 Modifier, so if you can catch him Flatfooted, his CMD becomes 49. So get him Flat-footed any way you can.

Pummeling Style and Charge are your friend because of his DR. With Pummeling Style, you calculate all your damage first, and THEN apply the -15 from DR, so your individual hits will do full damage before any DR is considered. Pummeling Charge allows you to get a Full Attack at the end of a charge. These two feats will all but assure that every round is a full attack action and that you're doing max damage as possible considering his redorkulous DR.

Every time you do a Full Attack action, do your first attack as a Quick Dirty Trick and then use the rest of your attacks to cause damage.


TBH, you could take a bit of both Wonderstell's and my build. I didn't see his until after I posted.

Especially the +14 to Luck..... How do you get that btw?


Wonderstell wrote:
+1 Dueling (PSFG) Weapon

Worth noting that the weapon bonuses to CMB only apply if you use the weapon to perform the maneuver, which limits your options severely with Dirty Trick. You can definitely still go for Sickened/Nauseated, though, so it should still work even if you can't get anything past your GM.

Ryze Kuja wrote:
Especially the +14 to Luck..... How do you get that btw?

Dueling Weapon grants double your weapon's enhancement bonus as a luck bonus on CMB. It's a +5 weapon, and he spontaneously adds the Bane property via Warrior Spirit which causes it to be treated as a +7 weapon against the enemy type he chooses. Thus the dueling property grants a +14 luck bonus on combat maneuvers against that enemy type.


Dasrak wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
+1 Dueling (PSFG) Weapon

Worth noting that the weapon bonuses to CMB only apply if you use the weapon to perform the maneuver, which limits your options severely with Dirty Trick. You can definitely still go for Sickened/Nauseated, though, so it should still work even if you can't get anything past your GM.

Ryze Kuja wrote:
Especially the +14 to Luck..... How do you get that btw?
Dueling Weapon grants double your weapon's enhancement bonus as a luck bonus on CMB. It's a +5 weapon, and he spontaneously adds the Bane property via Warrior Spirit which causes it to be treated as a +7 weapon against the enemy type he chooses. Thus the dueling property grants a +14 luck bonus on combat maneuvers against that enemy type.

Wonderstell did a +7 enhancement AND +14 luck, so 1) is that correct that they stack? and 2) if it does stack, does that mean my build is +4 enhancement + 8 luck + 1 Fate's Favored = +13 bonus instead of +9 ?


Ryze Kuja wrote:
Wonderstell did a +7 enhancement AND +14 luck, so 1) is that correct that they stack? and 2) if it does stack, does that mean my build is +4 enhancement + 8 luck + 1 Fate's Favored = +13 bonus instead of +9 ?

Yes and yes. Read the last sentence of the description of the Dueling (PSFG) property.

Dasrak wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
+1 Dueling (PSFG) Weapon
Worth noting that the weapon bonuses to CMB only apply if you use the weapon to perform the maneuver, which limits your options severely with Dirty Trick. You can definitely still go for Sickened/Nauseated, though, so it should still work even if you can't get anything past your GM.

Feels like it wouldn't be too hard with a little imagination.

Blinded - small cuts around the eyes to cloud their vision.
Dazzled - reflect light on your blade into their eyes.
Deafened - slam your weapon into something near their ears.
Entangled - can't think of anything that isn't a sunder maneuver.
Shaken - eeeh...
Sickened - obvious.


Wonderstell wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Wonderstell did a +7 enhancement AND +14 luck, so 1) is that correct that they stack? and 2) if it does stack, does that mean my build is +4 enhancement + 8 luck + 1 Fate's Favored = +13 bonus instead of +9 ?

Yes and yes. Read the last sentence of the description of the Dueling (PSFG) property.

Ok cool :)

CMB:
+13 BAB
+10 Str (5 base, +2 Bull's Strength, +3 Size bonus form Beast Shape III)
+2 Size bonus (Huge -- Beast Shape III
+2 Improved Dirty Trick
+2 Greater Dirty Trick
+3 Maneuver Training (DT+3)
+4 Enhancement <----- new
+9 Dirty Trick Dueling Gauntlet (any weapon)
+1 Dusty Rose (Insight bonus to CMB)
+2 Heirloom Weapon (Trait bonus) <----- new, switched for Bred for War
+4 Greater Heroism (Morale bonus)
+3 Inspire Courage (Competence bonus)
+1 Haste

+53 CMB to Dirty Trick, +55 while Charging
+57 While Flanking
+57 Use Belt (3/day)
+61 Use Belt while Flanking (3/day)

.

So you'd hit on a 5 or higher no matter what, or on a roll of 3 or higher while using Pummeling Charge, and then you can Flank him and/or activate the Belt and then just don't roll a 1.

So that means you could hit 63.5 CMD on average, or 71.5 on average while Flanking/Belt, and it would last 1d4 rounds +1 round for every 5 you defeat the CMD by.


Instead of a Gauntlet +4, get some Brass Knuckles +4 because they have the "Monk" special weapon property, allowing you to Brawler's Flurry.

I think it's safe to say that Krampus will be Blinded with your first Dirty Tricks you do, so that's a -2 to AC and -9 Dex from his AC, so now you're talking about hitting a measly 26 AC.

+ to Attack:

+13 BAB
+10 Str (5 base, +2 Bull's Strength, +3 Size bonus form Beast Shape III)
-2 Size bonus (Huge -- Beast Shape III
+4 Enhancement
+4 Greater Heroism (Morale bonus)
+3 Inspire Courage (Competence bonus)
+1 Weapon Focus (Brass Knuckles)
+1 Haste
-4 Power Attack
-2 TWF

+28/+28/+28/+23/+23/+18 <--- this is how many attacks you get normally
+53 DT/+28/+28/+23/+23/+18 <--- with Quick Dirty Trick substituted for your first attack in the round. You will almost always have Full Attacks because of Pummeling Charge.

Even on your last iterative attack, you still hit a 26 AC with a roll of 8 or higher.

Damage

Mainhand: 4d6 (huge brawler) + 10 str + 8 PA + 4 Ench + 3 Inspire = 4d6+25 = 39 avg.
Offhand: 4d6 (huge brawler) + 10 str + 4 PA + 4 Ench + 3 Inspire = 4d6+21 = 35 avg.

So if you hit with all 5 attacks, assuming no crits, that's 187 avg dmg minus 15 dmg for DR = 172 dmg, plus a Quick Dirty Trick. Krampus has 396 health, so I'd say just tell your group to bring lawn chairs and popcorn :P


Wonderstell wrote:
Blinded - small cuts around the eyes to cloud their vision.

I'd disagree; that's not a Dirty Trick, but rather a direct attack on a vital area.

Wonderstell wrote:
Dazzled - reflect light on your blade into their eyes.

Agreed, but dependent on bright lighting conditions so unreliable.

Wonderstell wrote:
Deafened - slam your weapon into something near their ears.

Sure, although against a non-caster like Krampus that's not really a relevant condition.


A little extra cheese. Take Leadership and throw in a buffing wizard cohort. Make sure the cohort has the void school.

Since you're 13th level the cohort should be 11th. Equip the cohort with an Orange Ioun Stone so they have CL 12 and their reveal weakness ability is -6 AC/Saves for 3+int mod rounds. Generally that is enough of an edge to let the entire party contribute.


@OP

If you do decide to go with the Dirty Tricks Brawler, I would recommend NOT revealing how high your Dirty Tricks can get until the actual Krampus encounter.

Because honestly, if I was your DM and there was a player who came in for a Holiday One-shot and starts putting out rolls on the Pre-Krampus Encounters like "I'm hasted, so I charge Random Bad Guy 120ft away with Pummeling Charge, and roll a 75 to Blind and then roll 45 to hit, 42 to hit, 41 to hit, 37 to hit, and 31 to hit, and I'm using Pummeling Style, so I deal a total of.... <checks math> ...190 damage before any DR is considered", then first, I'm going to look at your sheets to make sure your math is good, then if it is, my Krampus Encounter is going to get a quick buff before you ever get there, probably an additional 5AC, 10-12 CMD, 300-350 HP, and I'll probably add a small platoon of Demon Sorcerers wearing Santa Hats with Greater Dispel Focus, and although I can't speak for every DM, I bet yours and others would do something similar.


What’s the point of running a Christmas one shot 8 levels above CR if you’re going to further buff your 8 levels over creature if the party has an answer for it.


I would assume that the GM is expecting these kinds of builds, if he's already telegraphing how powerful the monster will be.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
What’s the point of running a Christmas one shot 8 levels above CR if you’re going to further buff your 8 levels over creature if the party has an answer for it.

So the BBEG doesn't die in round 2 without putting up at least a little bit of a fight. The players would look at you like ".... that's it? Nice one-shot buddy, someone else is DMing next time."


Melkiador wrote:
I would assume that the GM is expecting these kinds of builds, if he's already telegraphing how powerful the monster will be.

Yeah, he probably is, but he's probably not expecting his BBEG to completely nullified by Blind/Nauseates that land on everything but a 1 roll.

Just because of the Brawler, Krampus's Standard Actions are completely spoken for. The DM essentially has two choices, trade his Standard Action to remove Blindness or Sickness every single round that the Brawler doesn't get a 1 roll, or use 1 single Standard Action to either use an ability or make one attack (while Blind) and then become Nauseated the following round and the fight is over.

The DM cannot use a single ability or make a single attack the entire encounter, because if he does, he's going to do it while Blinded, and the next round he'll be permanently Nauseated. He can only make Move Actions until the Brawler is dealt with.

So... if I found out that one of the players did a build like this, then you're absolutely right that I would 1) buff him before they got there, and 2) give the BBEG minions that can provide support.

And TBH, this is JUST considering the Brawler. God knows what the other 5 have up their sleeves.


Ryze Kuja wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
What’s the point of running a Christmas one shot 8 levels above CR if you’re going to further buff your 8 levels over creature if the party has an answer for it.

So the BBEG doesn't die in round 2 without putting up at least a little bit of a fight. The players would look at you like ".... that's it? Nice one-shot buddy, someone else is DMing next time."

Now, to be fair, there are some groups where everyone might say "Wow, that was hilarious, great work" and everyone might like it.

...but there's definitely a lot of groups that would be disappointed at best.

...also, even if the players love it, the DM might not enjoy it one bit and a lot of players seem to forget the DM's enjoyment matters as well. This isn't a video game run by an AI that doesn't care, this is something the DM spends time putting together and then has to actually take the time to run.


If you tell players to prepare for an overtly difficult encounter and then don’t enjoy it when they do, you dug your own grave.

And if you start artificially buffing your monsters cause you think your players might actually win I’m not convinced you want them to have fun either.

Prepare for X
Oh you actually prepared for X

Well make that X squared.

I’d wonder why I even bothered preparing if my GM did that.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
And if you start artificially buffing your monsters cause you think your players might actually win I’m not convinced you want them to have fun either.

Are you actually incapable of seeing a distinction between "The players will win after a challenging fight" and "the BBEG is completely nullified by Blind/Nauseates that land on everything but a 1 roll?"


For 1-shotting single BBEGs, I love Grappling. Get Greater Grapple and Expert Captor, and you can Initiate a Grapple as a Standard Action and Tie Up your opponent as a Move Action.

Lots of CR20+ creatures have Freedom of Movement, so I think this means taking 9 levels in Tetori. Expert Captor requires 2 levels in Cavalier, Order of the Penitent.

If you take 2 levels in Alchemist, you can get your Mutagen, your King Crab Tumor Familiar, Infusion, a Wand of Touch Injection, and your other Buffs like Bull Strength and Enlarge Person. That's your 13 levels.

Feats and Class Abilities:
Improved and Greater grapple: +4
Grab Tetori: +4
Familiar: +2
Coordinated Maneuvers: +2

Magic Items:
Armbands of the Brawler: +1
Gauntlets of the Skilled Maneuver: +2
Adhesive Armor Enchantment: +2
Brawling Armor Enchantment: +2
Belt of Giant Strength: +1 or more, depending on budget

So, your BAB is +9 at level 13: +6 from 9 levels in Tetori, +1 from 2 levels in Alchemist, and +2 from 2 levels in Cavalier. It's actually +11 for Grappling though because Monks get to add their Class Level instead of BAB from Class when it comes to Combat Maneuvers. +22 from Feats, Class Abilities, and Magic Items. I figure you put one of your 15s in Strength, and one of your ability bonuses every 4 levels into Strenght, so that's +3.

So your Full-time Grapple Mod is +35

Basic Buffs
Mutagen: +2
Enlarge Person: +2

+39

So, here's another idea.

You cast Touch Injection or give Assassin's Gloves to your Familiar. You give your Familiar an Infusion of True Strike. You cast True Strike on yourself and run up to your opponent, or get DimDoored there. When it's your turn again, you Intiate a Grapple as a Standard Action and get an extra +20. Your Familiar injects you with True Strike as a Readied Action, then you Tie Up your opponent as a Move Action.

So you get those 2 attacks, which, if successful, will Tie Up your opponent, and you get a +59 on your Attack Roll, and you negate Freedom of Movement.

Your chance of taking out the BBEG in 1 round, done and dusted is high.

Quick survey of CR 21 monsters:

An Eleysian Titan: CMD 59

Iron Colossus: 62

Clockwork Reliquary: 62

Baaphel, Duke of Hell: 55

Demon Lord Stonechard: 61

Great Wyrm Blue Dragon: 58

Tor Linnorm: CMD: 70

Stygian Leviathan: 71

If your party has a Cleric with Touch of Law, you automatically roll an 11, so you automatically can defeat even the Stygian Leviathan.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

If you tell players to prepare for an overtly difficult encounter and then don’t enjoy it when they do, you dug your own grave.

And if you start artificially buffing your monsters cause you think your players might actually win I’m not convinced you want them to have fun either.

Prepare for X
Oh you actually prepared for X

Well make that X squared.

I’d wonder why I even bothered preparing if my GM did that.

Well, the GM probably didn't anticipate that his player would come to the forums for an episode of "pimp-my-oneshot-character" where 1) the forums' collective knowledge of the Bestiary would divine the exact monster the DM chose, and 2) the forums' collective knowledge would figure out how to completely nullify that exact monster with a single character (with 4 different viable classes/builds for the OP to choose from, no less).

And if I was the DM and found out about this, I wouldn't buff Krampus to the point that he couldn't be beaten, I'd buff him to the point where the players actually have warm fuzzies when they DO beat him. I personally see nothing wrong with that.

I agree with Balkoth. The DM's fun is just as important as the players' fun. So if the DM is just making Move Actions until he dies, where's the fun in that? And honestly, the players would have more fun if they were in a challenging fight, not a fight where the monster gets wtfpwned in 2 rounds. I think it's the best of both worlds.


I never denied that GMs should have fun.

I just think it’s a dick move to set a challenge for your players then move the goal posts when they meet the challenge.

The OP didn’t need me to tell them it was krampus to know the AC and SR of the monster they were facing. The Dm wants them to know that information they got given it.

So why when the OP meets those figures would it be okay to just buff them, why even tell them that in the first place.

I can only think of one reason I can see why you’d tell someone the target they were aiming to hit if you were planning to move the goal posts if they hit it anyway.
That would be you assumed it would be impossible for them to hit that target to begin with.

For all we know the DM was pretty confident there players couldn’t do this, the fact they turned to forums supports that theory.

I personally think DMs setting goals they assume are impossible and then moving the goal posts when it turns out they’re not is not great

And really if you set a +CR8 target for your party and gave them prep time, would you expect them not to do some research?


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

I never denied that GMs should have fun.

I just think it’s a dick move to set a challenge for your players then move the goal posts when they meet the challenge.

The OP didn’t need me to tell them it was krampus to know the AC and SR of the monster they were facing. The Dm wants them to know that information they got given it.

So why when the OP meets those figures would it be okay to just buff them, why even tell them that in the first place.

I can only think of one reason I can see why you’d tell someone the target they were aiming to hit if you were planning to move the goal posts if they hit it anyway.
That would be you assumed it would be impossible for them to hit that target to begin with.

For all we know the DM was pretty confident there players couldn’t do this, the fact they turned to forums supports that theory.

I personally think DMs setting goals they assume are impossible and then moving the goal posts when it turns out they’re not is not great

And really if you set a +CR8 target for your party and gave them prep time, would you expect them not to do some research?

I totally get what you're saying, and I agree that moving the goalposts would be a "breach of trust" between the DM and the players, especially after giving out that kind of information beforehand.

The DM didn't give out the CMD of the monster though, he only gave the AC, SR, and DR. I would assume that the DM gave that information out because he wanted the players to come up with their best builds to counter a monster like that without even considering that the CMD could be beaten, let alone completely abused by a DT Master build.

That being said, I think I would like to rescind my previous comment that I would beef up the encounter's AC/CMD/HP, but I think I would probably add some support minions. I think that would be fair and not breaching the trust of the players, while still providing an adequate challenge to the party.


But he did give Cr and Krampus CMD isn’t remarkable for his CR. Most the average CMD for CR21 falls roughly between 55-62 range. So knowing it was Krampus doesn’t give us a specially low or high CMD to aim for. This build would beat the CMD of every pretty much CR21 creature reliably.

I would agree. A bunch of evil santa’s little helper type opponents would be fun.


So how did it go?


In the spirit of the new year, I'm going to assume you're arguing in good faith here.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I just think it’s a dick move to set a challenge for your players then move the goal posts when they meet the challenge.

There's a significant difference between "meeting a challenge" and "blowing past the challenge so hard it ceases to be a challenge."

If a group came to the DM and said "Okay, here's our 5 round plan for the group to work together to beat Krampus with a 99.9% chance of success" I think every sane GM would say "Great, let's see it."

But instead we're looking at "Here's how a SINGLE party member neutralizes the encounter on the first round except on a natural 1."

Those are two vastly different scenarios.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I would agree. A bunch of evil santa’s little helper type opponents would be fun.

Just to make sure I'm understanding you here:

Saying "Okay, it seems we need to crank up Krampus's stats because you're completely stomping the encounter" is a jerk move.

Saying "Okay I'm going to add 8 CR 17 helpers to make it a CR24 encounter because you're completely stomping the encounter" is fun.

Both of those are making the encounter harder because the PCs are vastly more powerful than anticipated.


I would assume the difference is in how things are made more difficult. Increasing the power of the creature is kind of boring, and makes it harder for everyone to succeed at anything when they have to fight him. Adding extra NPCs can add to the depth of the encounter. The too strong character is contributing his abilities well to the fight, but those abilities now no longer thwart the entire encounter, but merely a piece of it.


Melkiador wrote:
Increasing the power of the creature is kind of boring

Why? Numbers matter.

A level 7 party fighting a pair of ogres vs a pair of hill giants vs a pair of fire giants prompt very different tactics (or rather, force the party to play better as the fights get harder).

Or look at a basilisk: a basilisk with a petrification DC of 5 can basically be stared at in a group setting, a basilisk with a petrification DC of 25 forces gaze avoidance.

Or how about an example in one of my campaigns -- I'm maximizing HP for all characters/creatures. This led to a new player at level 4 being very surprised when his reach build "only" did like 70% of enemy HP and they actually reached him and managed to make some attacks.

Why do you think players obsess over things like maximizing casting stat, (Greater) Spell Focus, Spell Perfection, etc? Those are basically equivalent to weakening enemy saving throws (ie making enemies less powerful).

Melkiador wrote:
The too strong character is contributing his abilities well to the fight, but those abilities now no longer thwart the entire encounter, but merely a piece of it.

But the encounter has now shifted from "You're fighting Krampus" to "The party minus the Brawler is fighting whatever is with Krampus."


It’s a problem of scaling. If you ramp the creature up too high for the optimized character to hit, then no one can hit it. And a table full of people rolling miss after miss gets boring really fast. Flurry of misses is the major problem of the core monk, and you do not want a table full of that. It’s not fun.

Quote:
But the encounter has now shifted from "You're fighting Krampus" to "The party minus the Brawler is fighting whatever is with Krampus."

It might turn out that way. But at least then everyone is contributing and having a good time. But the more likely result is that there will be characters weaving in and out of the boss and his minions. It’s unlikely the rest of the party would just leave the boss alone.


Melkiador had the right of it; in ANY encounter, one combatant is less interesting and dynamic than multiple. And increasing one guy's numbers is way less interesting than adding additional elements.

Also, I know it's not a popular opinion, but: the GM's fun isn't "as important" as the player's. It's more.
If I spend 10 times the hours in prep work and take on 5 times the cognative load during the game than the players...yeah. I'm gonna kinda expect them to give me my due. Respect and appreciation.


How did things go?

Without looking at the creature in question or what others advised, overall I reckon:

Things with high DR: focus on two-handed melee combattants if you know you can't dodge the DR

Things with high AC: focus on buffs

Things with high saves: focus on buffs and indirect crowd control or whatever doesn't target saves

Things with high SR: focus on what doesn't care about SR

With level-appropriate enemies, saves and SR can be overcome relatively reliably. With a much stronger opponent, it's basically a waste of time. Buffs work 100% of the time and are almost always the same as the equivalent debuff, when not even stronger. Spells like Stone Call (and the later versions), Grease, and such create difficult terrain that can help tip the scales in your favor, regardless of SR and saves. Same with Wall spells, summons, and a bunch of other field control options.

IMO, stuff to avoid in such things are those that spread damage over too many attacks (two-handed fighters and archers) or that target SR/saves too much (blasters).


Melkiador wrote:
But at least then everyone is contributing and having a good time....It’s unlikely the rest of the party would just leave the boss alone.

I've had the reverse experience, both as a player and as a GM, where this kind of power disparity you're advocating for just left multiple players and/or the GM feeling like they might as well not be there. Perhaps you've had different experiences.


Im not advocating for power disparities. I’m just offering the best solution for dealing with this case. Scaling the boss monster up would just make the other characters even less important. Adding minions at least gives the other characters something to do.

This was just a one shot where the GM seemingly expected crazy builds. If this were a real campaign, then a session zero should make it clear what is and is not expected of characters and optimization.

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