Plaguestone Finale


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My group just finished plaguestone, and they were "mostly" successful.

In general, we found the adventure to pretty darn challenging and it got me curious as to how many groups actually successfully completed the adventure and saved the town.

For example, my group managed to defeat the end boss but it was an extremely close fight.

By the time they eventually chased down the construct, they failed to stop it from reaching the well before it detonated. So, mostly successful except for a bunch of gassed villagers LOL

Sovereign Court

What level was your group when you had the final fight?


My group hasn't finished, but we're entering the final chapter tomorrow. And I can confirm it's been challenging for them, especially since I tend to roll really well as a GM. We did have one character death, though it could have been avoided. They generally found the main dungeon of chapter 2 to be the easiest part of the module so far, everything else has been a challenge to defeat. My group does have 5 players, so they have that advantage, but one player isn't always there.


My group got through it all pretty successfully.

Spoiler::
We even managed to save the town, but only because we had spent time earlier on helping the caravan take care of the flee problem, so we had 2 horse and a relatively small/light party to carry.

The hardest fight for us was actually the break in to the final camp, but we got really lucky with a calm emotions and the Barbarian Orc critically failed his save. Yes, the critical failure downgraded to a regular failure, but keeping him out of the big fight was well worth one action per turn by the sorcerer (who also got a second orc) and not attacking him until we had cleared the camp. I know everyone writes off incapacitation, but our sorcerer used that spell to control the battlefield beautifully for the last third of the module. We were only 3rd level until the very end of book, after we had saved the town.


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Be interesting to see what the PC death toll is.

First party intentionally left town before any murders when read there was backgrounds with quests specific to adventure.

Second party sole survivor after facing two severe encounters in chapter two opener.

Gained a scoundrel replacement in first half of last chapter (from the initial party), she later found melee with an alchemist rogue BBEG was a bad idea. I forget why she had to replace someone.

By GM grace and hero points the entire party did not wipe from the orc gang, because how do you pick up with a new party in the final dungeon. Despite being short handed and bloodied, they all had long range attacks and was able to drop the final bad just in time

A combination of overly severe adventure not following encounter guidelines, combined with first adventure learning how system math works and that it is very different in play than D&D 5e.

It would be interesting to run it again rebalancing encounters so only the level boss is severe, or with five experienced players.

On the other hand at last party level of HellKnight Hill and just had one PC go down finally.


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I hear a lot of people talking about the lethality of combat in PF2, and throwing a bunch of alchemists at the party in the first module is the best way to reinforce that stereotype, because persistent damage is the fastest way to kill players who drop in combat, but hearing people talk about all the "almost" TPKs makes me think the system is working as intended.

Making encounters that really push so many parties to the edge feels like it is exactly the right place to be. The death and dying mechanical change play a massive role in that. In PF1, you couldn't have monsters do too much massive damage, especially at the lower levels of the game, because getting hit for 25-30 points of damage was often a killer.

In PF2, with Hero points and the way magic healing works, it should be expected that one or two characters will drop with some frequency in major combats. For some, that is a big shift that feels "extra lethal," and will result in some occasional deaths that are less predictable than they were in PF1.

But look at how everyone talks about these epic encounters. At least at my table, the realization that no character is tough enough to recklessly rush forward into every combat without considering who it is against or the environment it is taking place in is a wonderful improvement to role playing game combats.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My group should be finishing this week. I had 2 player deaths vs the blind wolves in the first blight and I was only giving them 2 actions a turn instead of 3.

Outside of spite's cradle the party had to use most of their daily resources to handle the orcs. They had to make camp outside before they even when in. The whole first floor drained a lot of their resources because they triggered the falling ice trap and the water elementals did good damage. They still have the the 4 dredges and all 3 fights on the bottom floor to deal with. I am pretty much going to give everything but the last fight the weak adjustment otherwise it will be a tpk. My players for the most part like pf2 but don't like this adventure because of how grueling it has been.

The party is Goblin Bard(meistro), Human Alchemist(bomber), Half-Dwarf Druid(wild shape, barbarian dedication), Lizardfolk Barbarian(Dragon)[replacement for half-orc barbarian that died], Leshy Sorcerer(Dragon blood)[replacement for Goblin ranger(animal companion/flurry) that died]

The 10 above crit rule and the fact that almost all encounters in the module are +1 or +2 above apl means there are lots of crits on the party so pretty much every other encounter at least one player is dropping to dieing 1 or higher and than taking 10-40 after every combat to heal up with medicine.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My group succeeded and I agree it was a challenging adventure - which made it great! We learned so much about the system and dangers along the way and I am hoping the lessons learned will make for a fun Age of Ashes campaign.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group of 5 players finished with one overall casualty - the ooze killed my Warpriest of Iomedae.

We found that ooze the toughest fight, thanks to the bleed, but we also had to pull back and take a long rest after clearing out the top floor of the final stronghold.

The challenge level seemed significantly higher than most of the PFS scenarios we've played.


My grp was level 3 at the start and for the finale of the final chapter. Barbarian (lvl 3): +1 striking Greatsword
Ranger (lvl 3): +1 striking bastard sword
Cleric (lvl3): +1 striking Greataxe
Wizard Universalist (lvl 3)

In the finale fight the ranger went to dying 4 twice. If he didn't have Diehard he would have died a couple of times.

Both the cleric & wizard had cast all their spells and the cleric had used all his bonus heals.

If it wasn't for the Ranger & Cleric having 10 minute Treat Wounds they would have been in big trouble by the end of the fight.

They spent an hour healing up. Went back upstairs and ran into the orcs which they had previously sneaked past. Battle ensued and after the fight they spent another hour healing up.

They found tracks of 3 orcs and a construct heading to town and pursued (forced march).

They failed to kill the golem in the 2 rounds it needed to reach the town square and self destruct.

Most of the villages fled to safety from the PCs yelling to flee, but a few perished.


I think the thing my grp (or at least the ranger anyways LOL) disliked the most was persistent acid damage. He kept melting :)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm running a group through. Cliff notes are that yes, this group has found it to be quite challenging.

5 PCs, no true veterans of RPGs, though 3 have had at least some experience with either PF1 or D&D5e.

We got through all of chapter 1 and the first few fights in chapter 2 with me scaling the fights up to account for the 5th PC. By the middle of Chapter 2, though, there was some grumbling around the table because of the difficulty.

I handled this in two ways.

One, I did a lot of research, in the books and on these boards, and I came to a similar conclusion to many here: Fall of Plaguestone has too many Severe encounters. So, I stopped scaling the encounters up to account for the 5th player. That has helped quite a bit. Note that I did not TELL my players I was scaling back the difficulty.

Two, I addressed the expectation of danger. We talked about the difference between "Dying Condition" and "dead" and how Dying is an expected part of the game. We talked about how Dying and Wounded are ways to show your character is seriously injured, but you're not really in true danger of losing your character until you're getting to Dying 2 or 3 without a Hero Point. We talked about how this is a game where you go in, both give and take big hits, and try to use solid tactics to pull off a win. We talked about how it's expected that Treat Wounds is used liberally after most fights, and they're not doing anything "wrong" that results in Treat Wounds being used basically all the time. I think those conversations helped as well.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
jdripley wrote:

but you're not really in true danger of losing your character until you're getting to Dying 2 or 3 without a Hero Point.

And that is a problem with excessive severe encounters.

Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4. The hero point not causing wounds just buys you more time, but if the boss is on a rampage you are going down again without hero points and now suffer a wound to get back up.

If you are wounded and get crit downed, now you are at dying 3. Since some bosses can only miss on a 1 or 2, you are likely dead even if they have bad luck. And sometimes the boss can kill you when they are dead, because of persistent bleeding or acid damage.

That is what the plants/wolf combo resulted in. Everyone saved themselves with hero points, but it did not matter as they all melted or bled out, either the survivor or the NPC tries to save friends only to die themselves or leave and let party die. Did not help that it was a custom monster with stackable persistent damage.

So even a graceful GM not focus firing the downed can TPK.

It really should only be the end level boss of each dungeon is severe. But for some reason I think the designer is chortling in glee reading this thread lurking for his next victim...


orphias wrote:

My grp was level 3 at the start and for the finale of the final chapter. Barbarian (lvl 3): +1 striking Greatsword

Ranger (lvl 3): +1 striking bastard sword
Cleric (lvl3): +1 striking Greataxe
Wizard Universalist (lvl 3)

Where did you get 3 striking runes? There's only one in the module, and it's in the possession of the final boss, and if you somehow got a formula for it you can't craft an item that's a higher level than your own.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

my home game did great but had a couple of close calls


I actually ran the PCs through "Crypt of the Everflame" as their introductory 1st lvl Pathfinder 2 module.

I converted it to P2 (not that difficult) because none of the PCs had run the adventure and I thought the module was had a cool way of introducing a bunch of fresh new PCs together.

As such, they started Plaguestone with enough Loot (I was perhaps little generous with the rewards LOL) - but it was enough for them to pool resources and buy the runes for 3 +1 striking weapons.

I had pre-read Plaguestone and was tad apprehensive concerning some of the encounters. I figured if the weapons become a concern and made them OP for Plaguestone I could address it later.

Given the encounters in Plaguestone, I ended up thinking it was a good call as the added dps let them survive encounters I think that without they likely would have died.

Given how much trouble they still had, and that most groups going into Plaguestone wouldn't have had their resources, I was curious how other groups preformed in the adventure Path. From the responses it seems Plaguestone is a bit of a bloodbath ... LOL


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber

another head start way is running Torment and Legacy demo adventure first (you are townies and the BBEG takes the mayor, then you are just going out of town rather than into town on the supply wagons), this at least helps with the level bosses if you are using XP rather than milestones as you would be a level up just before the last fight (assuming you allow level up without downtime). Not so much help when the level opens with multiple severes, so maybe starting at lvl2 to begin with is a good idea.

Sovereign Court

krazmuze wrote:
jdripley wrote:

but you're not really in true danger of losing your character until you're getting to Dying 2 or 3 without a Hero Point.

And that is a problem with excessive severe encounters.

Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4.

But why would he? Why is he continuing to attack an unconscious character, instead of using remaining actions to focus on the other characters?

This is one of the ways that the three-action system is a big improvement. In PF1, you couldn't walk away halfway through a full attack. If the BBEG drops player A on the second attack in his full attack routine, he can't then walk over to player B. Since the only one he can attack is the unconscious player A, then he might do that.

But in PF2, that's almost never the case. If the BBEG's action drops a PC, then why continue attacking that PC who isn't much of a threat anymore? Why not spend the actions more usefully to move on to the next PC?


Ascalaphus wrote:
krazmuze wrote:
jdripley wrote:

but you're not really in true danger of losing your character until you're getting to Dying 2 or 3 without a Hero Point.

And that is a problem with excessive severe encounters.

Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4.

But why would he? Why is he continuing to attack an unconscious character, instead of using remaining actions to focus on the other characters?

This is one of the ways that the three-action system is a big improvement. In PF1, you couldn't walk away halfway through a full attack. If the BBEG drops player A on the second attack in his full attack routine, he can't then walk over to player B. Since the only one he can attack is the unconscious player A, then he might do that.

But in PF2, that's almost never the case. If the BBEG's action drops a PC, then why continue attacking that PC who isn't much of a threat anymore? Why not spend the actions more usefully to move on to the next PC?

If the BBEG knows that the party has healing magic (assuming they do) it's very worthwhile to make sure the dead stay dead.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber

An evil smart BBEG knows dying does not mean dead and they are still a threat. Especially if it happened already in this combat with popup ranged healer.

A dumb beast tearing into his dinner.

The druid in beast forum letting the animal instinct take over.

A barbarian in a swinging rage.

The soldier trained to always double twist the knife. (double tap, slit throats, stake to the heart, etc.)

The flurry ranger already hunting prey on that target and lined up for the pew, pew, pew, pew who does not realize until they lose that focus zone that they just overkilled the PC.

Spending actions more usefully and focus firing the standing PC is a min-max decision the GM is making using their own intel, and they should let their NPC make these decisions for themselves. This is not a wargame, this is an RPG.


Ascalaphus wrote:

And that is a problem with excessive severe encounters.

Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4.

But why would he? Why is he continuing to attack an unconscious character, instead of using remaining actions to focus on the other characters?

This is one of the ways that the three-action system is a big improvement. In PF1, you couldn't walk away halfway through a full attack. If the BBEG drops player A on the second attack in his full attack routine, he can't then walk over to player B. Since the only one he can attack is the unconscious player A, then he might do that.

But in PF2, that's almost never the case. If the BBEG's action drops a PC, then why continue attacking that PC who isn't much of a threat anymore? Why not spend the actions more usefully to move on to the next PC?

Because when someone goes down you want to make sure they stay down and a character isn't going to know the mechanics of "their HP has reached zero and they are unconscious now"

Same as a the real world, someone goes down, you don't check their vitals you make sure they stay down. This is emphasised in a life or death confrontation.


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Attacking downed PCs while others still stand should be very rare, only occurring when a creature has an all-encompassing drive that supersedes its own sense of preservation (e.g. mindless undead might be driven to create more undead).

It's not like PCs can just pop back up without repercussion, either: even with some healing they are wounded, prone, dropped all their held items, and probably low on HP.

Any intelligent enemy would understand that conscious PCs represent a much greater and more immediate threat. Any animal who wants a meal will use actions to start dragging the creature away to a safe place to eat.

It's not only realistic but part of GMing a good game: your players should trust you not to kick them while they're down unless there's a really good cause — otherwise, you will create a boring and extremely risk-averse culture at your table.


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Thinking on it a bit more, I think my line of thought about making sure the dead stay dead is my 5e brain talking. In that system, healing someone up from 0 at range is cheap and risk-free. That isn't really the case in PF2, since you always need at least two actions to heal at range and the wounded condition makes whack-a-moling people dangerous.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber

The problem is that the wounded mechanic is the only thing the GM can use to truly threaten the players. low on HP is just a threat of being wounded and is easily canceled out at break and during combat. Being low on HP otherwise has no mechanical impact. Being prone and dropped items is loosing actions but the party still has 9/12 of their actions, so all it does is increase difficulty a step - which again is just a risk of loosing HP which is really the risk of getting wounded.

So what if players avoid risk because they are afraid of getting wounded. Then bad things start happening in the world and innocents start dying because of their inaction when they are not stepping up and being the hero and taking that risk. This happened on Critical Role and it made for a great story when they finally decided to step up and stop avoiding risks after a PC died. The GM killed a downed player as had already committed to the BBEG second strike because that PC had the highest damage potential, a choice the player made from their character option that increased their chances of death despite being in a bad position. High risk High reward. The GM could have proceeded to TPK, but instead accepted surrender, because that was the path to a better story.


Bosses are better off letting the party fumble around wasting actions getting downed PCs back up then finishing them off. If a melee character dropped next to the boss, they are going to have to pick up their weapon and stand up, plus the 1, but probably 2 or 3 actions to get healed. If the boss has a good reaction, it will probably be set off when the player tries to stand up. Once the boss has a second pc down then the balance has really flipped and the party is in real trouble, which a boss monster can usually manage if the healer moved closer to the downed character. Whack a mole takes pretty serious resources from the party to keep up that they aren’t spending on bringing the boss down. Sure anyone can get annoyed when the enemy keeps getting up, but focusing on the source of the healing probably makes more sense than finishing off a foe to leave yourself open to an inspired and angry counter attack.


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krazmuze wrote:

The problem is that the wounded mechanic is the only thing the GM can use to truly threaten the players. low on HP is just a threat of being wounded and is easily canceled out at break and during combat. Being low on HP otherwise has no mechanical impact. Being prone and dropped items is loosing actions but the party still has 9/12 of their actions, so all it does is increase difficulty a step - which again is just a risk of loosing HP which is really the risk of getting wounded.

So what if players avoid risk because they are afraid of getting wounded. Then bad things start happening in the world and innocents start dying because of their inaction when they are not stepping up and being the hero and taking that risk. This happened on Critical Role and it made for a great story when they finally decided to step up and stop avoiding risks after a PC died. The GM killed a downed player as had already committed to the BBEG second strike because that PC had the highest damage potential, a choice the player made from their character option that increased their chances of death despite being in a bad position. High risk High reward. The GM could have proceeded to TPK, but instead accepted surrender, because that was the path to a better story.

Attacking a downed PC almost never makes tactical sense, nor does it represent how animals/people behave in the real world.

So what you ultimately end up with is a combative GM-vs-PC environment where players know that if they ever hit Dying 1, the GM will outright try to kill them even if it makes no narrative or tactical sense because they want to "challenge" their players. It's a good way to end up with a party focused only on defense, and afraid to play the game or take even small risks.

This isn't to say that attacking a Dying PC never makes sense, just that you should have good a reason to do so.

Also, if you think Wounded is the only way to threaten players, it might be a better idea to examine your tactics as a GM before trying to outright murder your players with immersion-breaking tactics. That ain't fun for anyone at the table.

Sovereign Court

GM Doug H wrote:

Attacking a downed PC almost never makes tactical sense, nor does it represent how animals/people behave in the real world.

So what you ultimately end up with is a combative GM-vs-PC environment where players know that if they ever hit Dying 1, the GM will outright try to kill them even if it makes no narrative or tactical sense because they want to "challenge" their players. It's a good way to end up with a party focused only on defense, and afraid to play the game or take even small risks.

This isn't to say that attacking a Dying PC never makes sense, just that you should have good a reason to do so.

Also, if you think Wounded is the only way to threaten players, it might be a better idea to examine your tactics as a GM before trying to outright murder your players with immersion-breaking tactics. That ain't fun for anyone at the table.

Attacking a downed PC almost -always- makes tactical sense, though you are correct in that it doesn't represent the real world. The real world doesn't have magical healing that turns the unconscious PC back into a fully capable threat in just a few seconds. If anything is 'immersion-breaking' it's the NPC ignoring the fact that the opponents keep just standing back up to attack it again.

As GMs, we rarely do it because players often consider it a GM vs Player attack (even when it's not, and is clearly the most tactical option.)

Now, obviously, there are times when it doesn't make tactical sense. Such as when there no obvious healers in the party.

But if I am taking MAP, and are choosing between a 3rd attack that will likely miss an active opponent or hitting a downed one? Hit the downed one. Did I just drop a spellcaster who couldn't care less about being prone, if I use my last action to move away. Hit them again instead.

Now, this doesn't mean I'm advocating hitting the PCs when they are down. It's almost always the proper -tactical- decision, but it's rarely the most 'fun' decision, or the healthiest decision for the GM-Player relationship. Used sparingly and thematically, however, it can be a great tension building option for those 'final fight of the level' encounters.

Also, having a party focused on defense isn't a bad thing. It's just a thing. Some players and groups prefer to play that way, others care more about how much damage they do.


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The King In Yellow wrote:
But if I am taking MAP, and are choosing between a 3rd attack that will likely miss an active opponent or hitting a downed one? Hit the downed one. Did I just drop a spellcaster who couldn't care less about being prone, if I use my last action to move away. Hit them again instead.

But the choice isn't binary (attack at MaP -10 or not); PF2 is a more mobile game. If I'm a bad guy and I'm that worried about healing, I will use my last action to move and get in a healer's face. Or, position myself more optimally so as to not eat a full attack when the PCs are up / take cover, raise shield, etc.

There's a lot more you can do than "stand there and full attack" the downed PC.

Again: not to say that will never happen, but it's RARELY the optimal strategy when you have other living threats on the field.

Quote:
Also, having a party focused on defense isn't a bad thing. It's just a thing. Some players and groups prefer to play that way, others care more about how much damage they do.

No, that's not what I'm talking about at all.

I'm positing that if you always kick your players when they are down you teach them an unhealthily risk-averse playstyle because they are more worried about getting killed than enjoying the game. This is something you see a lot with GMs who care more about killing PCs than about sound tactics.

Sometimes you get knocked out in Pathfinder — that's a normal part of the game and it shouldn't default to becoming the ideal target for attacks.


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Obviously Paizo thinks you should kick a player when they are down.

Why?

Because the only mechanical purpose for being wounded is so that you can hit them when they are down. Wounds has zero mechanical impact to the game beyond increasing dying value, and increased dying value only means you do not want to get hit when you are down as it decreases the number of hits to kill you.

In other editions do you risk temporary difficulty from action economy loss to do popup healing, or do you leave them and hope they stabilize>. Clearly because action economy was not enough harm to a party (like it is for the solo boss), popup healing was a problem Paizo thought needed to be solved.

The solution was wounded, sure fine do all the popup healing you want, but it comes at a seriously diminishing return due to greatly increased risk of being dead. Ignoring it and saying you should not attack the downed, just takes you right back to popup healing being a problem looking for a solution. Players should not feel safe when they are down, they should feel like what they are...which is dying.

The most optimal strategy for a NPC is indeed hit, hit, hit. They cannot afford to lose actions not hitting like the players can. Their level boost and higher accuracy means they can actually succeed on that third hit, and still often crit the downed, by design.

Sure animals are going to drag their victim to a safe place to finish eating later. How do you think the do that but with their jaws. The have to bite you to drag you, and you are not going to die in their food pile in their lair, you will be dead before you get there. Saying that it is unnatural that they are not trying to kill their food is just nonsense. Even dogs will get a death grip on their victim and they will not let go.

Wolf packs will absolutely ignore the living and dogpile onto the wounded. It is the smartest thing for them to do, fight the weak that are less able to fight back.

Go watch some nature documentaries, it is not even remotely OK you are sleeping now so we will come back again when you are ready to play again.


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krazmuze wrote:

Obviously Paizo thinks you should kick a player when they are down.

Why?

Because the only mechanical purpose for being wounded is so that you can hit them when they are down. Wounds has zero mechanical impact to the game beyond increasing dying value, and increased dying value only means you do not want to get hit when you are down as it decreases the number of hits to kill you.

In other editions do you risk temporary difficulty from action economy loss to do popup healing, or do you leave them and hope they stabilize>. Clearly because action economy was not enough harm to a party (like it is for the solo boss), popup healing was a problem Paizo thought needed to be solved.

The solution was wounded, sure fine do all the popup healing you want, but it comes at a seriously diminishing return due to greatly increased risk of being dead. Ignoring it and saying you should not attack the downed, just takes you right back to popup healing being a problem.

Attacking a downed PC doesn't affect their wounded value at all, their wounded value only increases when they get stabilized/healed. Someone can only pop up so many times.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber

Attacking the downed does not add to wounds, of course only popup healing does. But attacking the downed increases the dying value, which is increased already by wounds. So attacking the wounded does mean they will die in fewer hits.


krazmuze wrote:
The most optimal strategy for a NPC is indeed hit, hit, hit. They cannot afford to lose actions not hitting like the players can. Their level boost and higher accuracy means they can actually succeed on that third hit, and still often crit the downed, by design.

So you're saying it's by design enemies take a Dying 1 PC to Dying 3 (or outright kill a PC who started at dying 2)? okay…

Also, whether you're dying 1 or dying 3 you will heal the same. So it doesn't really make sense for an enemy to attack you while you're down unless they they want to kill you above all other tactical options (take cover, move, demoralize, raise shield, hurt living enemies attacking them, etc).

krazmuze wrote:
How do you think the do that but with their jaws. The have to bite you to drag you, and you are not going to die in their food pile in their lair, you will be dead before you get there.

This is why we have Dragging rules and Forced Movement rules in Pathfinder. And they don't do damage to creatures.

Sovereign Court

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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
JDRipley wrote:

And that is a problem with excessive severe encounters.

Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4.

But why would he? Why is he continuing to attack an unconscious character, instead of using remaining actions to focus on the other characters?

This is one of the ways that the three-action system is a big improvement. In PF1, you couldn't walk away halfway through a full attack. If the BBEG drops player A on the second attack in his full attack routine, he can't then walk over to player B. Since the only one he can attack is the unconscious player A, then he might do that.

But in PF2, that's almost never the case. If the BBEG's action drops a PC, then why continue attacking that PC who isn't much of a threat anymore? Why not spend the actions more usefully to move on to the next PC?

Because when someone goes down you want to make sure they stay down and a character isn't going to know the mechanics of "their HP has reached zero and they are unconscious now"

Same as a the real world, someone goes down, you don't check their vitals you make sure they stay down. This is emphasised in a life or death confrontation.

In the real world, when you drop one person but other people are still coming at you with swords and bows (and spells), are you really going to ignore them to make sure this person isn't getting up?

Every action you spend attacking an unconscious person on the ground is an action you're not spending dealing with the people that are still up.

I don't buy the "the monster doesn't know the mechanics" argument. If the monster doesn't know these mechanics then why should it assume the PC is still alive when it's unconscious? 99.99% of all creatures are dead at 0HP.

Sovereign Court

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@Krazmuse: I think a lot of what you're saying as "rational" isn't actually all that reasonable.

It sounds like your monsters are trying to inflict maximum grief on the party before they die, not actually win. Spending actions kicking a downed PC when those actions could also have been spent trying to win against the other PCs. Each action spent on a downed PC is more time for the ones still standing, but your players will be pretty unhappy even when they kill the monster.

It doesn't make sense from the monster's perspective (unless it's a mindless undead or a daemon with a self-annihilation desire). It only makes sense from an adversarial "I'm the GM and I'm going to use all these monsters to try to kill the party" perspective.


GM Doug H wrote:
krazmuze wrote:
The most optimal strategy for a NPC is indeed hit, hit, hit. They cannot afford to lose actions not hitting like the players can. Their level boost and higher accuracy means they can actually succeed on that third hit, and still often crit the downed, by design.

So you're saying it's by design enemies take a Dying 1 PC to Dying 3 (or outright kill a PC who started at dying 2)? okay…

Also, whether you're dying 1 or dying 3 you will heal the same. So it doesn't really make sense for an enemy to attack you while you're down unless they they want to kill you above all other tactical options (take cover, move, demoralize, raise shield, hurt living enemies attacking them, etc).

krazmuze wrote:
How do you think the do that but with their jaws. The have to bite you to drag you, and you are not going to die in their food pile in their lair, you will be dead before you get there.
This is why we have Dragging rules and Forced Movement rules in Pathfinder. And they don't do damage to creatures.

Where are the dragging rules? We have ran into this and I just figured it was based on the bulk of the creature being moved and the encumbrance of the one doing the moving.


Dragging rules are on page 272. They’re part of the carry capacity and bulk section.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=193


GM Doug H wrote:

Dragging rules are on page 272. They’re part of the carry capacity and bulk section.

https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=193

Thank you, not the greatest for combat dragging, saying use 2 hands and can go about 50feet per minute. That's almost like saying 5 feet per round since that is 6 seconds, so all 3 actions?


We had a group go through this adventure path. It has had big swings of devastation and comfort. The encounters were adjusted for 6 players (1 GMPC) and added a couple mechanics for the final boss.

The only death was the GMPC at the very end, risking his life by grappling the creature with his outrageous speed and Athletics (but failing the initial fortitude save because the creature was infused with the plague for added hardness) to prevent it from reaching the stone.


Kennethray wrote:
Thank you, not the greatest for combat dragging, saying use 2 hands and can go about 50feet per minute. That's almost like saying 5 feet per round since that is 6 seconds, so all 3 actions?

Yeah. Unlike 1E there is no combat maneuver for repositioning (Grapple in 2E specifically states you lose the grapple if you move), so we're stuck with this and house ruling whatever seems reasonable for now.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My two cents on the whole wounded/dying thing...

It is NOT in there to be a means for the GM to easily kill a downed PC.

It is there to make a dramatic moment at the table.

Bob the Fighter is down and bleeding out. The party can do several things...
1) do nothing, hope Bob stabilizes on his own, and focus down the enemy
2) use Stabilize to save Bob but leave him out of the fight
3) use Heal or similar to bring Bob back into the fight, but now Bob is Wounded and is at higher personal risk; now Bob has some interesting choices!
A) play dead and avoid as much risk as he can
B) get up and keep fighting, risking going down and being in a very precarious place
C) get up and flee to safety

To me, all of that is far more interesting and meaningful than:
Bob the Fighter goes down, and a few enemies kick him a few times ‘till he's well and truly dead; nobody had any chances to make tough decisions on how to act in light of poor injured Bob.

If Bob's party elects to give him a chance to keep fighting, and Bob's player elects to push it, knowing the risk, and THEN Bob dies, then Bob's player made conscious choices, faced the risk, and feels like HE had agency in the fate of his character. And that is a great moment that will be talked about for a good long time. Long live the memory of Bob the Brave, who put his life on the line to fight for Etran's Folly! Maybe they make a statue of him to replace the Plaguestone, and Etran's Folly becomes known as Bob's Stand, not Plaguestone.

Or.. you know... he could have gotten a merciless double tap by an orc and been completely forgotten.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Salamileg wrote:
I can confirm it's been challenging for them, especially since I tend to roll really well as a GM.

Give yourself a minus 2 circumstance penalty. If that's not enough, make it minus 4. :-)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
krazmuze wrote:
Bosses are likely to crit because NPC are OP by design and have leveled stats, which takes you down to dying 2 without any wounds. Then once you are down the next hit will actually be more accurate (AC-6 vs MAP -5) and is even more likely to crit you to dying 4.

I can't always remember all these three letter acronyms you folks throw around here. What the heck is MAP?


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Ed Reppert wrote:
I can't always remember all these three letter acronyms you folks throw around here. What the heck is MAP?

A map is obviously something that you can use to determine a route from your current position to your desired destination!

Spoiler:
For other meanings also see: Multi-Attack-Penalty. ;)


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Thanks.

"The MAP is not the territory" -- Glibert Gosseyn


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:

@Krazmuse: I think a lot of what you're saying as "rational" isn't actually all that reasonable.

It sounds like your monsters are trying to inflict maximum grief on the party before they die, not actually win. Spending actions kicking a downed PC when those actions could also have been spent trying to win against the other PCs. Each action spent on a downed PC is more time for the ones still standing, but your players will be pretty unhappy even when they kill the monster.

It doesn't make sense from the monster's perspective (unless it's a mindless undead or a daemon with a self-annihilation desire). It only makes sense from an adversarial "I'm the GM and I'm going to use all these monsters to try to kill the party" perspective.

Not at all, what I am saying is that these rules exist so that players fear dying rather than treat it as a temporary state of lost actions, just another slight variant of stunned. That by fearing dying they will expend their healing efforts BEFORE they go down, that they will spend time getting intel on what they are facing. The only reason it exists is because min-max popup healing was considered by the devs to be a problem in other editions. (minimizing your heals by using them at the last possible second so as to maximize your attack actions) If you want to ignore wounded then you are just creating the same problem it was trying to fix.

You can ignore the nature channel all you want, but beasts kill to eat, once they got something dying they will not leave the dying to go after another kill. That is a basic survival instict, the dying thing cannot fight back it is now your dinner, defend it but do not leave it. Acting beyond instinct (using your int/wis) is when you leave the dying to go fight the rest of the party, and should certainly be done when it makes sense for that NPC.

But twisting the knife is also acting intelligent evil alignment. So I guess Matt Mercer is also a bad adversarial GM when he did it to his player? Or did he do it because he is a great storyteller? His players fear death even worse than most games because he houserules rez as a skill challenges, and does not handwave spell components away. His party knows that he will twist the knife, so when someone is in that position they need to change their tactics and save their friend somehow, and not just let him lay in the GM 'safety zone' while they finish off the rest of the lackeys MMO style before finally taking out the boss.

I suppose then that Jason is a bad designer for giving his NPCs in this adventure stacking persistent damage whose most significant contribution to the adventure was killing the dying - taking the storytelling out of the GMs hands and letting the designer twist the knife. Or would you say actions have consequences, that he gave the players a knowledgeable NPC ranger that knew all about their abilities and had they scouted for intel and consulted her they would have known how to avoid getting persistent damage?


You keep citing well-known GMs who kill PCs when it matters contextually or for the narrative, but none of that supports an argument to always grief players when their PCs are unconscious.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
jdripley wrote:
Or.. you know... he could have gotten a merciless double tap by an orc and been completely forgotten.

Being forgotten is not at all what happened on Critical Role after the double tap. The party changed their tactics of farting around and it had a major shift in the arc of the monk who adopted his philosophy of leave a town better than it was before the circus came to town, and the party eventually stopped being neutral mercenaries and started doing things because it was the good right thing to do. And in recent episodes the trickster cleric rediscovered his tarot cards, and you know that is going to be a goldmine of story telling.

Or look at last campaign when the elven twin got greedy and stuck her hand into the lootbox (because her character was greedy). Her twin bargained with that god to take me instead and he became a revenant champion for the god, once his task for the god was completed he was taken in her place. A very memorable story and that was not even a double tap - it was a dumb greedy player mistake that got them single tapped.

So leaving someone completely forgotten is where the GM went wrong, not because they twisted the knife. It was a great opportunity to tell a great story that they missed. The game is a story telling game controlled by fate of the dice. If a GM cannot figure out how to tell a story when somebody dies, then that makes them a bad storyteller.


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If your immediate response to a player going down, every time, is to finish them off, you are a bad GM. There is no arguing this, you are intentionally entering into a purely adversarial stance with your players. At that point, as a player, I would probably retire my character or become so defensively minded that it would effectively derail your campaign.

Before you even bring up Critical Role or Jason’s campaign, they both made it clear that it was an unusual circumstance that lead to the character dying without any chance of being saved. Molly did an incredibly stupid thing, and died because of it.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber
GM Doug H wrote:

You keep citing well-known GMs who kill PCs when it matters contextually or for the narrative, but none of that supports an argument to always grief players when their PCs are unconscious.

And I never said it always should be done and certainly is not griefing to use game mechanics that are designed into the game for this very reason. I have always said do it when it makes sense for that NPC to do it, there is a lot of NPC where it makes no sense at all.

There is zero purpose for wounded other than killing players when they are down. If you never attack a downed player, then wounded has zero mechanical impact to the game is my point. If devs did not want to happen they would do a BS video game respawn mechanic instead of wounded. 'your body shimmers as your god takes your spirit and teleports your dying body to a safe zone at the edge of the map and reinfuses you into a your sleeping body"

I do it when it is part of the greater storytelling. So stop with the bad adversarial GM labeling, this is BS and also a personal attack.

Everyone has different styles of GMing and the game gives mechanics to enable these stories to be told.

If you read my posts elsewhere in the forum, I have saved the entire party from TPK with the orc gang (after the writer put in a combined encounter that was beyond extreme and very deadly) with some serious BS only because that was the better way to tell the story. "OK.. the hunter sees you all sleeping and assumes you are dead so she takes a nap only so you can wake up 10m after that hero point I just gave you for that heroic last stand so you can sneak around and heal and awake your party so you can sneak up her tower to kill her - totally unrealistic and ridiculous. But it was a much better story than "OK a month goes by and another wagon rolls into town"

And when the alchemist fled from the bloodlashed and acid melting corpses because the designer of the module twisted my hand with BS stacking persistent damage - it made for a great story for her arc as she survived the entire campaign and not by avoiding risks. She realized she has to take risks to try to save her friends, and she garnered the most hero points for the rest of the adventure.


I think the point being disputed is whether or not the GM should take every opportunity to kill players. I, for one, agree with those suggesting it should occur infrequently rather than every time the GM can find a reason to justify it. A player death should not require explanation or justification to any of the players IMO.

Think about the superbly told story (imo) of the Marvel Infinity saga. How many heroes actually died in it throughout the story? I can only remember 3 permanent deaths, all of which were important parts of the story and occurred after long and successful careers where it made sense for them to 'retire'. That's 3 permanent hero deaths in 23 movies. And considering that each movie contains many adventures, I'd say that translates to pretty rare hero deaths.

PCs being the heros of Pathfinder, to me it makes sense their deaths would be similarly rare.

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