Scare to Death: Is it odd that a skill is better at killing things than a spell?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

51 to 100 of 198 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wait. Look at people and they die. Because they are....scared. To...death. On the regular. As a by your leave. And folks are arguing about the relative merits of this and death effect/damaging spells.

Seems really, really freakishly anticlimactic - the concept has no merits beyond being really, really rare and almost imposdible to achieve. Unless you signed up for Advanced Eyebrows and Eyeballs. “We walk in and unleash our eyes of deep loathing and disdain”. In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed are toast. No wait, does it have a visual prereq? Because I know some mornings my eyelid crust can cut like a iceman’s knife made out of poop.

Regardless of resistances, saves, feat investment - none of that takes away from the ridonkularity of the subject. And I thought the mathing of the superdeathcapitalcruiser Starfinder thread was extraneous. New winner.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:

Wait. Look at people and they die. Because they are....scared. To...death. On the regular. As a by your leave. And folks are arguing about the relative merits of this and death effect/damaging spells.

Seems really, really freakishly anticlimactic - the concept has no merits beyond being really, really rare and almost imposdible to achieve. Unless you signed up for Advanced Eyebrows and Eyeballs. “We walk in and unleash our eyes of deep loathing and disdain”. In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed are toast. No wait, does it have a visual prereq? Because I know some mornings my eyelid crust can cut like a iceman’s knife made out of poop.

Regardless of resistances, saves, feat investment - none of that takes away from the ridonkularity of the subject. And I thought the mathing of the superdeathcapitalcruiser Starfinder thread was extraneous. New winner.

Legendary skill feats are indeed supposed to be the stuff of... Legends.

You scare to death someone with just a look.

You rob someone literally the pants he's wearing.

You fall from an aeroplane and land on your feat unharmed.

You hide behind your finger and it actually works.

You can create a language any creature understands, if you just know how it communicates, in just 1 second.

And etc


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Legendary. I get it. I’m sorry to be dismissive, but wandering into encounters and literally brow-beating opponents to death over and over as a commonplace method of overcoming challenges is not the stuff of legends. Not even the Irish sagas. Not on the daily. It’s...tabloid fodder.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Legendary. I get it. I’m sorry to be dismissive, but wandering into encounters and literally brow-beating opponents to death over and over as a commonplace method of overcoming challenges is not the stuff of legends. Not even the Irish sagas. Not on the daily. It’s...tabloid fodder.

If you don't agree on the legendary part (neither do I) how about: High level skill feats are supposed to be the mechanical equivalent of high level spells?

In former editions we had feat chains that always ended up short as a means to challenge caster power. Nowadays feat chains are mostly gone and especially high level feats have been upped in power in order to challenge spells.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
citricking wrote:
I really disagree with this assessment. At high levels minions are threatening. Especially since this works against equal level foes...

I mean, works in what sense? It'll almost universally make them Frightened but the odds of actually killing on-level opponents aren't great. At 15th, vs. on-level Moderate Will and Fortitude Saves, you need a 16 to force the Save, and they then need to roll a 13 or less, for just over a 16% chance to kill.

Versus foes you don't share a language with, that chance goes to almost zero.

citricking wrote:
A well build fighter is going to do <20% an equal level foes hp a round. <30% a level-2 foes hp a round. Sure AoE will help a lot, a high level blast will do a similar amount to as many as you can target, but that's so much worse than the huge chance with 1 action to take out a target completely...

I'm not sure 'huge chance' is quite right here. It's certainly a higher chance than attacking is in isolation, but the odds are low vs. each individual creature, and you can only try it once on each. In most fights, even those with lots of minions, it will take out only one or two.

citricking wrote:
It's such a relatively minor investment compared to the sorcerers blasting or the fighters striking, but it is much more effective against equal level below targets.

Is it a relatively minor investment, though? In practice, to get the kind of odds we're talking about you must do the following:

1. Invest heavily in Charisma. That's often a big investment, since it's neither a Save stat nor an attack stat outside of this usage.

2. Max out your Intimidation Skill. Given that most characters get a maximum of 3 Skills maxed out ever, and Intimidation is the least useful social skill outside combat, this is no small thing.

3. Buy an item for Intimidation and spend the Skill Feat. This one (or these two) are admittedly minor.

I think two of the three of those are pretty big deals. Investing in Charisma is a price, and so is investing one of your only three Legendary Skills.

citricking wrote:
The minons don't need to by themselves either, they can be supporting a higher level foe, and scare to death will be broken in how effective it is in those situations too.

It'll pare the fight down quicker, certainly.

citricking wrote:
It's broken.

I think that really depends on how much your game values the things you need to give up to be good at this (like other Skills), as well as whether casters feel like they can rest often enough (if they can, then their spells are relatively more valuable).

citricking wrote:
I think a good fix would be to give frightened 4, and if they are your level-5 or lower save or die.

Personally, If I was going to errata this (and that might even happen, I do agree that it's very powerful), I'd just make it two actions rather than one. That really limits the ability to use it for sweeping multiple minions while leaving the fun part (ie: how it actually works).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Legendary. I get it. I’m sorry to be dismissive, but wandering into encounters and literally brow-beating opponents to death over and over as a commonplace method of overcoming challenges is not the stuff of legends. Not even the Irish sagas. Not on the daily. It’s...tabloid fodder.

Monsters having this power is the stuff of legends.

I am OK with the existence of this feat but I think it is not balanced correctly against spells.

Dark Archive

OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:
Legendary. I get it. I’m sorry to be dismissive, but

Are you really though if you do one of the "sorry, but" sentences? ;D

...Yeah I really had to comment on that because its funny to me xD


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yep. Sorry. Because I’m often curt and terse. And it bugs me. I’m not a fan of criticizing, but am definitely critical. So I’m apologizing ahead of time to alert folks that this is meant in earnest and in service of finding compromise and solutions.

Laugh all you like. I really don’t mind. ;}

%^>


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
citricking wrote:
I really disagree with this assessment. At high levels minions are threatening. Especially since this works against equal level foes...

I mean, works in what sense? It'll almost universally make them Frightened but the odds of actually killing on-level opponents aren't great. At 15th, vs. on-level Moderate Will and Fortitude Saves, you need a 16 to force the Save, and they then need to roll a 13 or less, for just over a 16% chance to kill.

Versus foes you don't share a language with, that chance goes to almost zero.

citricking wrote:
A well build fighter is going to do <20% an equal level foes hp a round. <30% a level-2 foes hp a round. Sure AoE will help a lot, a high level blast will do a similar amount to as many as you can target, but that's so much worse than the huge chance with 1 action to take out a target completely...

I'm not sure 'huge chance' is quite right here. It's certainly a higher chance than attacking is in isolation, but the odds are low vs. each individual creature, and you can only try it once on each. In most fights, even those with lots of minions, it will take out only one or two.

citricking wrote:
It's such a relatively minor investment compared to the sorcerers blasting or the fighters striking, but it is much more effective against equal level below targets.

Is it a relatively minor investment, though? In practice, to get the kind of odds we're talking about you must do the following:

1. Invest heavily in Charisma. That's often a big investment, since it's neither a Save stat nor an attack stat outside of this usage.

2. Max out your Intimidation Skill. Given that most characters get a maximum of 3 Skills maxed out ever, and Intimidation is the least useful social skill outside combat, this is no small thing.

3. Buy an item for Intimidation and spend the Skill Feat. This one (or these two) are admittedly minor.

I think two of the three of those are pretty big deals. Investing in Charisma is a price, and...

The paladin question at lvl 16 killed 2 elite calikangs a round. They are only CR 13, but he outright killed them at full hit points at 2 per round. Only a lvl 9 power word kill could accomplish that with an equal level of effectiveness and you can't have power word kill at lvl 16.

I'm not sure where you are getting your percentages from.

A fighter at lvl 18 has a will save of 18 (level) +6 master (with canny acumen on will save) +3 major resilient (which he may not have, but I'm being nice) + 4 (18 wisdom) = +31 Will save.

That is a DC 41 check.

A lvl 20 creature has a +38 intimidate.

Assuming no use of an ability in advance to reduce will saves, the +38 intimidate has to roll a 13 or better to force a DC 48 Fortitude save. That is a 35% chance to force a DC 48 death save.

The same fighter will have a fort save of +18 (level) +5 Con + 3 item (assuming maxed resilient which isn't always assured) +6 master = +32.

The fighter has to roll a 16 or better to survive Scare to Death. That is a 75% chance of failure.

So a +38 intimidate skill assuming maximum defensive items and stats has 35% chance to force a 75% chance of failure leading to death.

Now let's add in say the Phantasmal Killer at DC 47 which he needs a 16 or better to avoid being frightened 2 and you just increased the chance of success for a critical intimidate to 45% with a 85% chance of failure.

I think that is an incredibly good use of 3 actions.

Even as a player character you could build around Bon Mot and Intimidate using 2 skill actions to set up kills on a variety of equal or lower level creatures. A DM could set up the same against he PCs, though I think they would be pretty unhappy myself.

Make some annoying goblin rogue with lots of languages who insults you, then scares you to death. Could be funny, but not if going against the PCs.

Now I don't want to completely eliminate this feat. I may modify it some to be more in line with a 9th level spell or some other limiter if it gets too easy for my tastes. It is a pretty nice ability for a sorcerer, bard, or oracle who are very charisma focused as it would be a skill option as good or better than one of their spells. A bard could get some real nasty use out of it with dirge of doom.

They are going into a fight against a bunch of Challenge 15 to 17 creatures this ability will be used against. A combination of demons and humanoids. I will get a real good look at it in play.


Worth to note that in the original example (the 2 kills per round) the rules used were wrong and he had +2 - +6 more bonus than he should have though, that's a massive difference akin to using it to creatures 2-5 levels lower

As you noted later on, using the correct numbers IF they also share a language (that's certainly not a given) it wouldn't have those %s

Dark Archive

OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:

Yep. Sorry. Because I’m often curt and terse. And it bugs me. I’m not a fan of criticizing, but am definitely critical. So I’m apologizing ahead of time to alert folks that this is meant in earnest and in service of finding compromise and solutions.

Laugh all you like. I really don’t mind. ;}

%^>

Well I hope so because I now feel bad due to unexpected sincerity ^^;


2 people marked this as a favorite.
shroudb wrote:

Worth to note that in the original example (the 2 kills per round) the rules used were wrong and he had +2 - +6 more bonus than he should have though, that's a massive difference akin to using it to creatures 2-5 levels lower

As you noted later on, using the correct numbers IF they also share a language (that's certainly not a given) it wouldn't have those %s

Yes. Reason to test it some more as Intimidating Prowess does not work with Scare to Death and lvl 15 to 17 creatures will be at that -2 to +0 range I want to see in action rather than Challenge-3 creatures, which are particularly susceptible to Scare to Death.

In play as a DM, I had real trouble seeing it in my mind's eye. The paladin just uttered some threat and these large elite calikang died unwounded at the rate of 2 per round. It was more powerful than many death gazes or what not.

It's basically like Scare to Death makes the PC into Sadako from The Ring. It's a little odd for a skill to be that powerful like a death spell.

A high level Scare to Death character could walk around randomly killing people. You could make a serial killer with this skill that was quite terrible.


CorvusMask wrote:
OCEANSHIELDWOLPF 2.0 wrote:

Yep. Sorry. Because I’m often curt and terse. And it bugs me. I’m not a fan of criticizing, but am definitely critical. So I’m apologizing ahead of time to alert folks that this is meant in earnest and in service of finding compromise and solutions.

Laugh all you like. I really don’t mind. ;}

%^>

Well I hope so because I now feel bad due to unexpected sincerity ^^;

Heh. All good. I understand, and yes, I agree the “sorry, but” is a thing. Don’t feel bad! I can do that enough for both of us!!!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Worth to note that in the original example (the 2 kills per round) the rules used were wrong and he had +2 - +6 more bonus than he should have though, that's a massive difference akin to using it to creatures 2-5 levels lower

As you noted later on, using the correct numbers IF they also share a language (that's certainly not a given) it wouldn't have those %s

Yes. Reason to test it some more as Intimidating Prowess does not work with Scare to Death and lvl 15 to 17 creatures will be at that -2 to +0 range I want to see in action rather than Challenge-3 creatures, which are particularly susceptible to Scare to Death.

In play as a DM, I had real trouble seeing it in my mind's eye. The paladin just uttered some threat and these large elite calikang died unwounded at the rate of 2 per round. It was more powerful than many death gazes or what not.

It's basically like Scare to Death makes the PC into Sadako from The Ring. It's a little odd for a skill to be that powerful like a death spell.

A high level Scare to Death character could walk around randomly killing people. You could make a serial killer with this skill that was quite terrible.

A high level character could easily become a serial killer anyway, because most people are low level and therefore easy to one shot. You don't even to be a monk to decapitate a level 0 character with a casual backhand.

Also, at 17th level a bard can drop a single spell that does this to an entire village, or uses a spell that kills without rolling any dice.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Worth to note that in the original example (the 2 kills per round) the rules used were wrong and he had +2 - +6 more bonus than he should have though, that's a massive difference akin to using it to creatures 2-5 levels lower

As you noted later on, using the correct numbers IF they also share a language (that's certainly not a given) it wouldn't have those %s

Yes. Reason to test it some more as Intimidating Prowess does not work with Scare to Death and lvl 15 to 17 creatures will be at that -2 to +0 range I want to see in action rather than Challenge-3 creatures, which are particularly susceptible to Scare to Death.

In play as a DM, I had real trouble seeing it in my mind's eye. The paladin just uttered some threat and these large elite calikang died unwounded at the rate of 2 per round. It was more powerful than many death gazes or what not.

It's basically like Scare to Death makes the PC into Sadako from The Ring. It's a little odd for a skill to be that powerful like a death spell.

A high level Scare to Death character could walk around randomly killing people. You could make a serial killer with this skill that was quite terrible.

A high level character could easily become a serial killer anyway, because most people are low level and therefore easy to one shot. You don't even to be a monk to decapitate a level 0 character with a casual backhand.

Also, at 17th level a bard can drop a single spell that does this to an entire village, or uses a spell that kills without rolling any dice.

True, but that is different than walking around town tossing out threats.

If some druid drops a cataclysm or storm of vengeance on an army of orcs or an evil wizard fireballs a crowd, it's expected they would die. Some guy walking around town making threats that drop people dead in their tracks is something else. Almost makes them seem like they are some kind of undead creature. I imagine from a story standpoint you could make the Scare to Death character have learned some Intimidation method that scares the soul out of the body.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you're giving the intimidator too much bonus, then it'll definitely work better than intended. Given the easiest way to get the feat is 'level one barbarian feat', I'm guessing the intent was for something that a traditionally low Charisma class might have on hand. And keep in mind the property damage Barbie's going to do if she gets a once-per-ten-minute Earthquake spell at level 20.

As far as mass murder, it's kind'a inefficient. Remember, you're also dealing with what others do. And if you're a level one commoner forty-five feet away from the barbarian who literally scared the life out of three of your coworkers, are you going to hang around or are you going to start spending actions on Run?


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Worth to note that in the original example (the 2 kills per round) the rules used were wrong and he had +2 - +6 more bonus than he should have though, that's a massive difference akin to using it to creatures 2-5 levels lower

As you noted later on, using the correct numbers IF they also share a language (that's certainly not a given) it wouldn't have those %s

Yes. Reason to test it some more as Intimidating Prowess does not work with Scare to Death and lvl 15 to 17 creatures will be at that -2 to +0 range I want to see in action rather than Challenge-3 creatures, which are particularly susceptible to Scare to Death.

In play as a DM, I had real trouble seeing it in my mind's eye. The paladin just uttered some threat and these large elite calikang died unwounded at the rate of 2 per round. It was more powerful than many death gazes or what not.

It's basically like Scare to Death makes the PC into Sadako from The Ring. It's a little odd for a skill to be that powerful like a death spell.

A high level Scare to Death character could walk around randomly killing people. You could make a serial killer with this skill that was quite terrible.

A high level character could easily become a serial killer anyway, because most people are low level and therefore easy to one shot. You don't even to be a monk to decapitate a level 0 character with a casual backhand.

Also, at 17th level a bard can drop a single spell that does this to an entire village, or uses a spell that kills without rolling any dice.

True, but that is different than walking around town tossing out threats.

If some druid drops a cataclysm or storm of vengeance on an army of orcs or an evil wizard fireballs a crowd, it's expected they would die. Some guy walking around town making threats that drop people dead in their tracks is something else. Almost makes them seem like they are some kind of undead creature. I...

It's not like it's a passive effect.

It's a deliberate action that you go above and beyond mere threats (it's not part of a normal demoralise attempt) actively trying to have someone have a heart attack.

In effect, it's more like stabbing them with a dagger rather than casually walk by and them dropping.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

For the "realism" part I don't see why it's less realist than finding enough water in the plane of fire to sustain yourself indefinitively (survival), fall at terminal velocity and make a perfect landing (acrobatics), etc...

When you have +30 in intimidation you don't " just make threats", you basically use words of power on your opponent. Words so violents they can shatter the determination of anyone.Yup those words don't exist in real life but that's not the point.

You don't give a bad stare to the enemy you show them death directly with a few carfully chosen words.
The same as with survival you extract water from pure fire, the same as with thivery you distract someone while sealing their whole set of heavy armor, etc...
Legendary is not mundane. It's basically physical magic. You break reality when making a legendary check the same way a mage casually breaks it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I witnessed Scared to Death used against lower level monsters and it is devastating. Much better at killing things than a spell for 1 action.

The high charisma paladin at lvl 16 was able to annihilate some level 13 elite Calikangs with ease using Scare to Death.

16th level + 5 charisma + 8 Legendary Charisma + 2 Circumstance intimidating Prowess +2 item Demon mask = +33 Intimidation.

Will save Elite Calikangs +22.

9 or better on dice roll a critical success on intimidation.

DC 43 Fortitude save or die.

+25 fortitude save elite Calikangs.

So a skill is far better than magic at killing things than a spell like finger of death. That seems odd.

Anyone have experience with this skill feat?

What I'm seeing at lvl 20 with a fully developed intimidate character, you could Scare to Death balors. Your Intimidate skill would be +39 against a DC 44. So on a 15 or better you can Scare to Death a Balor and force them to make a DC 49 Fort save or die. They have a 45% chance of outright dying.

Pretty nasty. Much more dangerous than a spell.

After having removed all the mistakes, we are at:

11 to critically succeed, 16 to succeed at the save. So 37.5% chance to kill a 235 hp Elite Calikang = 96 damage per action.

At that level, a Chain Lightning 6 is a basic spell, not much of a resource cost. It deals 51 damage, save DC 37. 42 points of damage on average per Calikang, 21 per action. As you are supposed to meet at least 4 of these creatures, we are speaking of 84 damage per action.
Considering the low range of Scare to Death and the language dependence, I don't find Scare to Death to be completely out of line. It's clearly an excellent feat, though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperBidi wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:

I witnessed Scared to Death used against lower level monsters and it is devastating. Much better at killing things than a spell for 1 action.

The high charisma paladin at lvl 16 was able to annihilate some level 13 elite Calikangs with ease using Scare to Death.

16th level + 5 charisma + 8 Legendary Charisma + 2 Circumstance intimidating Prowess +2 item Demon mask = +33 Intimidation.

Will save Elite Calikangs +22.

9 or better on dice roll a critical success on intimidation.

DC 43 Fortitude save or die.

+25 fortitude save elite Calikangs.

So a skill is far better than magic at killing things than a spell like finger of death. That seems odd.

Anyone have experience with this skill feat?

What I'm seeing at lvl 20 with a fully developed intimidate character, you could Scare to Death balors. Your Intimidate skill would be +39 against a DC 44. So on a 15 or better you can Scare to Death a Balor and force them to make a DC 49 Fort save or die. They have a 45% chance of outright dying.

Pretty nasty. Much more dangerous than a spell.

After having removed all the mistakes, we are at:

11 to critically succeed, 16 to succeed at the save. So 37.5% chance to kill a 235 hp Elite Calikang = 96 damage per action.

At that level, a Chain Lightning 6 is a basic spell, not much of a resource cost. It deals 51 damage, save DC 37. 42 points of damage on average per Calikang, 21 per action. As you are supposed to meet at least 4 of these creatures, we are speaking of 84 damage per action.
Considering the low range of Scare to Death and the language dependence, I don't find Scare to Death to be completely out of line. It's clearly an excellent feat, though.

Except Elite Calikang are immune to electricity and a 6th level spell is a limited resource, while Scare to Death is unlimited. 84 damage per action spread over 4 creatures versus 265 hit points gone if successful in one action, it isn't very comparable.

Your use of averages tends to skew what happens in real play. Averages are what occur over a long time, not in finite short-term combats with lots of d20s getting rolled with shifting modifiers.

In this particular fight where he succeeded 4 times, his damage per action was 265 at the rate of 530 damage per round. Quite impressive.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deriven Firelion wrote:

Except Elite Calikang are immune to electricity and a 6th level spell is a limited resource, while Scare to Death is unlimited. 84 damage per action spread over 4 creatures versus 265 hit points gone if successful in one action, it isn't very comparable.

Your use of averages tends to skew what happens in real play. Averages are what occur over a long time, not in finite short-term combats with lots of d20s getting rolled with shifting modifiers.

In this particular fight where he succeeded 4 times, his damage per action was 265 at the rate of 530 damage per round. Quite impressive.

At level 16, 6th level spells are far from being a "limited" resource.

And averages are the only thing we have to compare Scare to Death. As it's 0 or all, not many mathematical numbers allow to grasp it.

About your paladin, we all know you made the calculation wrong and gave him a big advantage.
Also, Calikangs are like the ideal creatures to use Scare to Death on. Not all monsters will understand your language (actually, most won't) and not all monsters have low will save.

Anyway, Scare to Death is strong, I'm not arguing against that. It's just not "better at killing things that spells". It's very good at killing things in a very specific scenario. The rest of the time, it won't just work.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperBidi wrote:
At level 16, 6th level spells are far from being a "limited" resource.

You still only have 4 of them, even if you have 7ths and 8ths available.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deriven Firelion wrote:


Your use of averages tends to skew what happens in real play. Averages are what occur over a long time, not in finite short-term combats with lots of d20s getting rolled with shifting modifiers.

Honestly, looking at averages is FAR more useful than considering one specific run of one specific encounter at one specific table.

In my table's last session, our cleric cast Heroism on our Rogue. By happenstance, this turned each of 5 hits into crits, nearly doubling the amount of damage the character did. This additional damage was also more than was done by any other character in the party. So a 2-action spell resulted in more damage than all the actions of a Druid across 2 fights. Should Heroism be nerfed because it was so effective with the specific rolls in this specific example? Or was this case just an extreme case?

Averages help us understand the actual strength and balance of various options.


Draco18s wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
At level 16, 6th level spells are far from being a "limited" resource.
You still only have 4 of them, even if you have 7ths and 8ths available.

Spell 3 levels under your maximum are no resource. A click of a finger and you have a dozen of them. So, if you need them, you have them, which is another way of saying they're not limited.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
SuperBidi wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
At level 16, 6th level spells are far from being a "limited" resource.
You still only have 4 of them, even if you have 7ths and 8ths available.
Spell 3 levels under your maximum are no resource.

Two levels*

You don't get 9ths until 17th.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Even a success is fine.

It's 100% more effective than any demoralize check which gives frightened 1.

It's not even affected by map, so it can be the either the best opening or ending move, depends the situation you are into.


Draco18s wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
At level 16, 6th level spells are far from being a "limited" resource.
You still only have 4 of them, even if you have 7ths and 8ths available.
Spell 3 levels under your maximum are no resource.

Two levels*

You don't get 9ths until 17th.

3rd higher level spells, yes.

Anyway, it doesn't change what I say, at that level, you shouldn't care much about them.

Actually, in my opinion, Scare to Death is worse for martials than for casters. Martials are specialized in single target damage and will have hard time dealing that many damage. Casters, on the other hand, may grab it (as many casters have high Charisma) to supplement their casting when facing low level foes. It's a good way for casters to save up on spell slots.

Edit: Also, there's one important point: You can use Scare to Death only once per enemy, even if multiple characters have it. It looks to me that Scare to Death is like Continual Recovery. You need one character to have it and that's all. The only drawback is that this character combat sequence is mostly stuck with Scare to Death during the first rounds...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Sapient wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:


Your use of averages tends to skew what happens in real play. Averages are what occur over a long time, not in finite short-term combats with lots of d20s getting rolled with shifting modifiers.

Honestly, looking at averages is FAR more useful than considering one specific run of one specific encounter at one specific table.

In my table's last session, our cleric cast Heroism on our Rogue. By happenstance, this turned each of 5 hits into crits, nearly doubling the amount of damage the character did. This additional damage was also more than was done by any other character in the party. So a 2-action spell resulted in more damage than all the actions of a Druid across 2 fights. Should Heroism be nerfed because it was so effective with the specific rolls in this specific example? Or was this case just an extreme case?

Averages help us understand the actual strength and balance of various options.

Averages are only a small part of the picture. And data from real games is much better. The five crit fight using heroism helps more unless the rolls were also lucky, which can be viewed from the data. For example, we know the bard is far superior to other caster classes because of his ability to shift the probability of fights greatly enhancing damage across the board when used in conjunction with other optimal abilities. Thus if you put a giant instinct barbarian in a group with a bard versus a group with a wizard, you will see enhanced performance across the board for every encounter where the bard uses certain abilities to alter the math that make them superior to other classes. Optimization is not about averages, it's about enhancing combat in short, finite fights using various available resources.

Averaging what an ability can do on its own leads to a skewed idea of strength or weakness. Whereas looking at abilities in finite short-term fights in groups provides better data points for analysis of the strength and weakness of abilities.

That is why I'm waiting to make adjustments to Scare to Death until I see it more in game. I could care less about averages or white room math. I am looking at various ways it can be enhanced and targets reduced within a group environment.

What happens if a Charisma character has Bon Mot and Scare to Death? Then they can reduce the will save by 2 and Scare to Death with 2 actions. Then if bard uses something like Dirge of Doom with a personal heroism which adds a +2 status bonus to skill checks. Then we have 3 point shift in effectiveness of Scare to Death for a bard, who can now use 1 action to Dirge of Doom affecting multiple targets boosted by a heroism for a +2 status bonus to skills, then can use 2 actions to Scare to Death. Then he can toss on a tongues to ensure he is always able to speak the language. This creates a very powerful death machine.

I rarely look at abilities by themselves. The interaction of abilities and group performance is how I look at abilities. See how well it can be optimized and see if it creates a problem in my games.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
Averaging what an ability can do on its own leads to a skewed idea of strength or weakness. Whereas looking at abilities in finite short-term fights in groups provides better data points for analysis of the strength and weakness of abilities.

It is, of course, important to consider how abilities interact, and the outer bounds of abilities in addition to averages. But averages give you the best point of reference when considering balance.

When I consider the value of Heroism, I consider its expected utility over time, not that one time when it was perfect. Likewise, that one specific example of Scare to Death with the Calikangs is not illustrative of whether the ability is actually balanced. Unless you expect the typical usage to be against those same opponents in the same situation using the same dice rolls.

In our current campaign, my fellow adventurer killed a level-1 creature by pushing it off a cliff using a weapon with the Shove trait. It would have taken at LEAST 4 successful hits with the same weapon to kill the creature. Do we conclude that the shove trait on a weapon is way over-powered, since it essentially caused 4-6 times the damage as the weapon itself? How can the game proceed if he can 1-shot creatures like that? Well, we don't worry about it, because on average, Shove doesn't do much damage at all. In fact, it rarely has enough apparent value to even be used. The average value of having the shove trait on the weapon is actually quite low. And that is FAR more useful to consider in terms of balance than a singular event.


Sapient wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Averaging what an ability can do on its own leads to a skewed idea of strength or weakness. Whereas looking at abilities in finite short-term fights in groups provides better data points for analysis of the strength and weakness of abilities.
It is, of course, important to consider how abilities interact, and the outer bounds of abilities in addition to averages. But averages give you the best point of reference when considering balance.

While I usually agree that averages are a very, very good meter for almost everything they usually do not take into consideration other circumstances because averages by their very nature tend to not take into account the specific effects of burst or range.

If I can choose in between an ability that does 265 damage at once, taking out one enemy completely and thus reducing the number of enemy actions, and one ability that does 4 times 70 damage on 4 different targets I will usually rate the former as stronger, even if the later does more average damage if - and this is a big if - the ability can be pulled off consistently.

Same if I have to use an ability that does a fixed 55 damage versus enemies that have 60 hit points versus an ability that does 40 to 70 damage. Both abilities have exactly the same average, however the later also has a chance to take out the enemy in just one action which is a huge benefit.

So what Deriven is trying to tell us is that it is the combination of consistency (success chance), averages, burst and range versus your respective in game environment that you need to take into account in order to rate any spell or ability, not just the plain average figures.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sapient wrote:

It is, of course, important to consider how abilities interact, and the outer bounds of abilities in addition to averages. But averages give you the best point of reference when considering balance.

When I consider the value of Heroism, I consider its expected utility over time, not that one time when it was perfect. Likewise, that one specific example of Scare to Death with the Calikangs is not illustrative of whether the ability is actually balanced. Unless you expect the typical usage to be against those same opponents in the same situation using the same dice rolls.

In our current campaign, my fellow adventurer killed a level-1 creature by pushing it off a cliff using a weapon with the Shove trait. It would have taken at LEAST 4 successful hits with the same weapon to kill the creature. Do we conclude that the shove trait on a weapon is way over-powered, since it essentially caused 4-6 times the damage as the weapon itself? How can the game proceed if he can 1-shot creatures like that? Well, we don't worry about it, because on average, Shove doesn't do much damage at all. In fact, it rarely has enough apparent value to even be used. The average value of having the shove trait on the weapon is actually quite low. And that is FAR more useful to consider in terms of balance than a singular event.

I do not believe that is comparable. A situation next to a cliff is rare. Whereas Scare to Death is usable against any living creature of equal or lower level challenge. We can exclude anyone of higher level because you can't get a critical success against them and any non-living enemies like undead or constructs. It is reduced effectiveness against creatures who don't share a language or can't speak like animals.

So it would be nearly useless in a game with all undead or constructs. It would be reduced effectiveness if a player did not have a means to bypass language. You have to take this into account.

But Paizo does make a lot of humanoid based APs. There are a lot of living creatures that can speak common or understand it. It's especially effective against minions, which are often present to make Challenge+0 to +2 fights more challenging. Eliminating them easily with a 1 action cost unlimited resource that can be enhanced with group tactics needs some investigation.

So far I am not pleased with it as the Calikangs being eliminated reduced the encounter to a trivial encounter. I don't want to jump the gun either, especially after learning Scare to Death does not benefit from Intimidating Prowess and requires the language be known. And Elite Calikangs were 3 lower than the party rather than 2. As we all know in PF2 being substantially lower level than what you're fighting is a huge weakness.

So though I'm wary. I am not yet ready to regard this ability as over-powered. I put it in the needs to be watched as I don't want something like this easily derailing encounters that are supposed to be tough.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ubertron_X wrote:


While I usually agree that averages are a very, very good meter for almost everything they usually do not take into consideration other circumstances because averages by their very nature tend to not take into account the specific effects of burst or range.

Sure, I agree with your entire post. I was trying, maybe poorly, to get at that with my Shove example. This rough models should compare abilities with similar application. But given similar applicability across typical encounters, as a common damage spell and Scare to Death have, looking at average damage levels tells you a lot about balance, where as the specific results of a specific encounter for one single group does not.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


I do not believe that is comparable. A situation next to a cliff is rare...

Agreed that it is rare. The point I was trying to make is that the results of a specific singular encounter can't be treated as representative. My Heroism encounter was notable for having a series of rolls that made heroism basically perfect for the encounter. But that is not representative of the actual utility of the spell. Your Calikang had the right rolls against the right opponents as well. Lots of abilities are incredible when rolls and circumstances are right. But that is not predicative of future utility.

Anyway, I don't think you and I are actually all that far apart. I do think Scare to Death is strong, and is comparable to other strong options. Add Legendary Linguist to the mix, and you can get around the language barrier penalty (for creatures with language).

It is certainly among the more appealing of the Legendary Skill Feats.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yep, it's better than a spell. But that doesn't mean the Wizard can't pick it up. :)

"I would like to Scare To Death the minion by informing it that I have prepared Power Word Kill"


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Most undead specially at higher level where there are more intelligent undead know Necril. Bam, Scare to Death now works on undead. Or you know get an item that lets you use the Tongues spells.

Even then most campaigns feature something like 4 creature types. Which means with only 4 languages you can kill most enemies.

Also, the best way to handle comparisons is using quartile. That gives you the crit fail, fail, median, success, and crit success percentages. Combined with DPR/DPA which tells you the average of those numbers.

If we compare the numbers.

Scare to death is the best attack you can possibly make. Even if you use it once a turn to see if you get lucky, the amount of damage it can do blows away any other damaging ability.

The only things I know do more damage are: Power Word Kill (9th level) cast on a level 15 creature; Fatal Aria (10th level) cast on a level 17 creature; a Vorpal Blade (level 17 rune) on a creature that has 1 head it needs; And finally Phantasmal Killer (4th level) that needs 2 saves.

The only ones that can be reused infinitely are Vorpal (that needs many other conditions), Scare to Death (trivial to get), and Fatal Aria (level 20 Bard).


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Scare to Death specifically says a living creature, so no undead or constructs. No worries there. No scaring to death a vampire or lich.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sadly the dev creating the Scare to Death feat made a way too crude mechanism.

The Scare to Death feat is entirely incompatible with the idea of a one-on-one gladiator duel.

1) the very notion of facing a monster alone pretty much eliminates the idea the monster is higher level than you
2) gladiators facing monsters is fair game, but when it comes to gladiator vs gladiator very few humanoids would be immune to fear, mental, or death effects.

Since scare to death is one of the best effects in the game (you can easily eliminate 300 hp in a single action) the result is that pretty much every high-level player gladiator will just attempt to one-shot their humanoid foes.

And in my experience it would happen so often it kills the entire idea.

While you do need a critical success, this isn't as hard as you might think when you build for it. For one thing, there's no better use of a Fortune Point (or other reroll ability).

And the subsequent save-or-die is just a formality - I would say once the critical has been scored, the NPC is much more likely to die than not.

I'm not saying it will happen always, and in a duel, you are now forced to play out the combat as intended. I am saying that it negates the idea of one-on-one gladiator duels - unless you're perfectly happy with one or two heroes just insta-winning their respective duel.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Eh, let Charisma have the great skill feat. Anything that actually gives value to taking something other than Dex/Con/Wis is ok with me. Maybe they should give a few things like this to int!

In other words, this skill feat rewards investing in what is often considered a dump stat. Consider it a reward for having a dump stat as your main stat:)

If it were tied to dex/wis/con/str I would say it is too good, but in context? No.


You say that now, but give it a few years when they start expanding what the different stats can do.

Charisma is a stat that a lot of people undervalue, but that Paizo has often made incredibly strong to focus on.


I don't want to deny the fighters their incredibly useful feat.

I am saying that it unfortunately has a lot of wrecking potential to destroy story progress.

(Used against nameless tentacle-things it's fine, since they're there to die anyway. Whether you deal 250 damage in one action or just 25 doesn't matter)

But any time you're facing an intelligent humanoid it becomes very disconcerting - does no NPC know of this feat? Are you really meant to be able to surprise (and drop) every NPC over your level or lower for five whole levels?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Apart from any roleplaying arguments, and apart from the question if feats like those are overpowered or not, isn't the existance of such game altering feats an absolute nightmare in regards to the encounter building guidelines?

So, once a player has aquired the feat as a GM:

...do we skip low level enemy encounters, as spending additional time mopping up the remaining low level enemies does not sound like fun?

...do we increase the number of low level enemies (with or without assigning extra xp) in anticipation of some of them dying early and without providing much of a fight?

...do we increase the number of high level enemy battles (level+2) as those can not as easily be decided by chance?

etc


Yep its an encounter nightmare in a way that power word kill is not. The fact it has infinite uses a day is probably the worst part about the whole thing.

A caster has maybe 4 uses of power word kill, which are much harder to land. While the Bard's instant death ability is a level 20 class feat.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Really the only thing the feat needs to bring it into balance is that it should only be usable against a creature 1 time by any specific enemy. Or at least 1 time per day. The idea of someone spending 3 actions trying to scare the same target is really rather comical and silly. Otherwise to compare it to power word kill is disingenuous. You have to critically succeed against Will and the Target gets a Fort save.

It is clearly a feat designed to be as every bit as over the top as being able to fall off a mountain and take no damage. With all of the legendary skill feats, a GM should feel completely within their rights to dial in the end game spells, feats, and abilities as much as is necessary for their campaigns, but PF2 is designed to get pretty Gonzo at higher levels. If the Party is going around and scaring random NPCs to death, just because they can, that sounds like the kind of behavior that will bring divine wrath down upon them pretty quickly.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Unicore wrote:
Really the only thing the feat needs to bring it into balance is that it should only be usable against a creature 1 time by any specific enemy. Or at least 1 time per day. The idea of someone spending 3 actions trying to scare the same target is really rather comical and silly.

If 3 actions trying to scare the same target is your only concern, how does the 1 minute immunity not resolve it for you?


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I really haven't had any problems with balancing encounters for Scare to Death. Sure, it is a nice minion sweeper, but the thing about minions is if you're trying to build a challenging encounter out of them there will be a lot. Potentially removing them at a rate of 1 per action is nice compared to martial damage, but a couple AoE spells will often sweep the board faster.

Also, the feat has a lot of weaknesses you can work around. Language barrier, mindless enemies, and distance namely. People underestimate how big level maps can get. Scare to Death really shined when my players were dungeon crawling in cramped quarters and trying to conserve resources during a gauntlet. It was less helpful when they tackled an enemy fortress and archers started raining down arrows from the towers.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, it's important to note that you're supposed to bump encounters up at high level if you want to challenge a properly built party. Not as much as in PF1 but still, Severe and Extreme encounters should be more common. And as such the Incapacitation tag is more annoying.

Overall, I agree with the Captain. Scare to Death is absolutely excellent but not to the point of completely imbalancing the game.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HammerJack wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Really the only thing the feat needs to bring it into balance is that it should only be usable against a creature 1 time by any specific enemy. Or at least 1 time per day. The idea of someone spending 3 actions trying to scare the same target is really rather comical and silly.
If 3 actions trying to scare the same target is your only concern, how does the 1 minute immunity not resolve it for you?

No that is enough for me. I am renown for missing things like that when they are sneakily hidden in the descriptive text, right where one would expect to find them.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Mopping up minions is already easy. A level -2 enemy is already gonna die in one or two hits, all you're actually doing is saving a couple actions.

And why this obsession with the Finger of Death comparison? Phantasmal Killer and Weird are much more obvious comparisons, and they're both more powerful imo since they actually do something on a successful save and Weird can hit any number of targets


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Still not convinced it's a problem. I can see it's strong, but having struggled over which skills to make legendary, I'm really going to be cautious of nerfing it.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree. It is good, yes. But it requires you to critically succeed and then the target has to fail a fort save. Also it's a death/emotion/fear/incapacitation effect, is language dependent, has a range of only 30 feet AND has to target a living creature. That's a lot of opportunities for the target to not be killed.


Captain Morgan wrote:

I really haven't had any problems with balancing encounters for Scare to Death. Sure, it is a nice minion sweeper, but the thing about minions is if you're trying to build a challenging encounter out of them there will be a lot. Potentially removing them at a rate of 1 per action is nice compared to martial damage, but a couple AoE spells will often sweep the board faster.

Also, the feat has a lot of weaknesses you can work around. Language barrier, mindless enemies, and distance namely. People underestimate how big level maps can get. Scare to Death really shined when my players were dungeon crawling in cramped quarters and trying to conserve resources during a gauntlet. It was less helpful when they tackled an enemy fortress and archers started raining down arrows from the towers.

Ah the old "you CAN work around it so it can't be problematic" chestnut.

The exact same argument once had about Detect Evil spells. Why not just give the BBEG a Hat of Non-Detection and problem solved?

No, the proper way of fixing this is to... not allow automatic error-free Detect Alignment spells. And it took several decades before this was finally implemented in D&D games...! This entire line of reasoning is entirely ridiculous. If the feat is too powerful then just let us say so.

And against monstrous monsters it just isn't that overpowering. Yes, it is better than using your actual weapon, which is wonky for somebody focusing on the weapon for your entire life, but again, enough monsters are just straight-up immune.

But that leaves NPCs. Humanoids. That's hardly an insignificant category.

For the BBEG no prob since he's at least one level higher than you.

But for world-building absolutely devastating. There's a way to instakill a fellow human just with a quick "boo"? Say what?

This cheapens and devalues the entire game experience. The feat comes across as if your fellow humans are just monster tokens on a battlegame, there to be killed - so who cares if you even have to draw your weapon?!?!

Again, official comment from the team would be nice here.

51 to 100 of 198 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Scare to Death: Is it odd that a skill is better at killing things than a spell? All Messageboards