Feeling a little useless in my group.


Advice


Afternoon Everyone,

I am currently playing a 2 handed paladin 10. My question is, is it common for there to be monsters that can't be hit with a natural 19? I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB/STR/Weapon for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate. At that point I kind of checked out of the fight, If I can only hit things on a nat20 it doesn't feel good.

I am planning on talking to my DM at some point, but I also wanted to get other opinions.

Thanks!


Was it maybe concealment or mirror image?

42 is definily on the high side for a level 10 group.
A Balor has AC36 and while weak for a CR20, 42 is nascent demon lord tier.

32 AC is reasonable at that point, perhaps a really unfortunate error?


orric897 wrote:

Afternoon Everyone,

I am currently playing a 2 handed paladin 10. My question is, is it common for there to be monsters that can't be hit with a natural 19? I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB/STR/Weapon for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate. At that point I kind of checked out of the fight, If I can only hit things on a nat20 it doesn't feel good.

I am planning on talking to my DM at some point, but I also wanted to get other opinions.

Thanks!

I wouldn't take it personally. After all if the enemy isnt hit on a 42 then that applies to anyone.


orric897 wrote:

Afternoon Everyone,

I am currently playing a 2 handed paladin 10 {level=10?}. My question is, is it common for there to be monsters that can't be hit with a natural 19? I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB{+10}/STR{1.5*+4}/Weapon{+3?} for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate. At that point I kind of checked out of the fight, If I can only hit things on a nat20 it doesn't feel good.

I am planning on talking to my DM at some point, but I also wanted to get other opinions.

Thanks!

{ed}

excellent, your character noticed that an excellent attack missed.
What did you do next round?

If you feel your Paladin is only good at smacking things with his sword then I can see why you might feel out of your league or feeling things are unfair. Paladins can do more than swing a sword. Did you play this character up to Level 10 or just start at Level 10?
I think the proper tactical response if the creature is very difficult to hit is (for The Group) to go defensive, gather what information you can, retreat and regroup covering your withdrawal. Consider other strategies.
Does your character have any skills related to combat? tactics? Anybody Detect Alignment? Detect Magic? Cast Prayer? Circle of Protection vs Evil?

How will you roleplay your character's self reflection after the combat (GM conversation)? New strategy? How to overcome things you can't easily martially overcome?
I'd consider the GM may have made a mistake, or the thing is purposefully hard to hit, or could be immune to your attack and this was just a simple description, magic may be involved. Maybe it's a non-combat challenge? There are many possible reasons.

median AC(by CR) ≈ 1.25*CR +11.75, thus <AC(13)>=28. (there may be a more accurate formula, does not consider spellcasting/magic, APL+3 is considered difficult)


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Playing only Core rules with modest optimization, the average CR10 monster is expected to have a 24 AC. If you're fighting a "boss", the monster might be a CR of APL (Avg Party Level)+4, or an average CR of 29. Let's say though that your party is exceptionally well optimized and has more than 4 PCs, so the GM takes the "boss" to APL +6; that's still only an average of 31 AC.

Your paladin missed with a SMITE, their signature attack boost, against a 42 AC meaning the monster has a 43 or higher AC. That feels ludicrous to me. My immediate questions are what does the rest of the party look like, are they hitting more often/doing more damage than you, and would your GM have any sort of beef with you or your PC.

Higher level play is an arms race and I'm guilty of this myself. I design a fight that challenges 3 of the four L11 PCs in the party, but unfortunately this yields a CR 16 monster with exceptional defenses and lots of attacks. Unfortunately the 4th PC, in my case a Ratfolk Investigator 6/Wizard (Universalist)5 focused on ranged attacks with either Poison or Fire damage attached has their PC doing nothing except casting haste and Enlarge Person on the others.

GMs are human and sometimes they design poorly for the PCs in the game. This might be down to the GM intending that their foe get away no matter how high the players roll, or wanting to "punish" one PC, or even that GM having personal feelings that conflict with the success of the characters.


Might he have been a Swashbuckling pirate?


He probably Opportune Parry and Riposted you and rolled high enough to parry your attack. I'd ask your DM why you missed, it's a simple Knowledge Local (Recall Intrigues) to identify a class feature from a non-spellcaster and it would be 'DC: 10+ class level when the feature is granted', so for OP&R, it would be DC 11.


Since paladins don't get knowledge local, ask a group member to do this check for you.


Did you try to:

1: debuffing\dispelling his buffs?

2: fighting with your eye closed?
-in some cases, such as mirror image, it is better to attack while closing your eyes after you know which space to attack.

3: look up information about the target, might be a case of plot armor invincibility?
-back in 2ed in a campaign there was a big boss who was impromptus to everything as long as his Mcguffin was intact.

4: disbelieve the illusion?

5: grapple him?
-some ridiculous high ac builds have a lot less CMD. ac of 42~ is not that hard to get when building right. my monk\swashbuckler\sorcerer had ac of 44 and 48 vs melee at level 7 (crane style build). his CMD was less.

Shadow Lodge

Arkham Joker wrote:
orric897 wrote:

Afternoon Everyone,

I am currently playing a 2 handed paladin 10. My question is, is it common for there to be monsters that can't be hit with a natural 19? I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB/STR/Weapon for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate. At that point I kind of checked out of the fight, If I can only hit things on a nat20 it doesn't feel good.

I am planning on talking to my DM at some point, but I also wanted to get other opinions.

Thanks!

I wouldn't take it personally. After all if the enemy isnt hit on a 42 then that applies to anyone.

Well, there are the "Gunslinger's Dream" foes (Combine Very Big, Very Heavily Armored, and Very Clumsy together and you get a huge AC + tiny Touch AC combination that Gunslingers can't miss while many other martials struggle) but that doesn't sound like the case here: Assuming it was a legitimate AC 43+ foe, it sounds like it might be a fight you aren't intended to win...

Follow up questions:

  • a) What is the composition of the rest of your party? Is everyone level 10, or are you significantly behind the rest of the party somehow?
  • b) Was everyone else in the party having issues hitting?
  • c) Are you playing an AP or other published adventure? If so, someone in the forum is probably familiar with the fight.
  • d) Are you playing with a lot of 'house rules'? On occasions, it's impossible for the forums to give decent advice because you aren't really playing the same game as the rest of us...


orric897 wrote:
I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB/STR/Weapon for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate.

No monster or NPC with a CR that you're supposed to fight with a 10th level party exists in all of Pathfinder.

So unless your GM was using some totally unbalanced custom monster or totally unbalanced custom build NPC, or there was a defense other than AC involved.

Talk to your GM.


Nothing you should be facing at that level should have an AC that high. So, I suspect something else is going on. If your GM is the type who sometimes rolls saving throws for the player, I would suspect some illusion or other magic may be the reason. If the undead pirate used something like Opportune Parry and Riposted, it should be obvious what happened. At minimum the GM should have at least said something like the pirate blocked your attack. This should not require a knowledge check any more than it would to figure out that the person who knocked your sword out of your hand is using disarm. When someone blocks your attack you know it, you may not fully understand how he did it, but you know he did.


Ryze Kuja wrote:
He probably Opportune Parry and Riposted you and rolled high enough to parry your attack.

This is my guess, or something similar.

One tip if yoh ARE fighting an enemy with rediculously high AC: use Bless Weapon. The last paragraph makes this spell amazing against evil enemies.

In addition, all critical hit rolls against evil foes are automatically successful, so every threat is a critical hit. This last effect does not apply to any weapon that already has a magical effect related to critical hits, such as a keen weapon or a vorpal sword.

(Of course if you're missing on a Nat-19 while Smiting it's probably GM shenanigans. Either the GM is trying to tell you that this isn't a fight you can win or they're just pulling some nonsense on you.)


MrCharisma wrote:


(Of course if you're missing on a Nat-19 while Smiting it's probably GM shenanigans. Either the GM is trying to tell you that this isn't a fight you can win or they're just pulling some nonsense on you.)

^---- This is probably the most likely scenario: GM Shenanigans.

Level 10 monster avg AC is 24, so even with a beefed up AC for a custom monster, his AC *should* be within Avg AC +/-25%, so max AC of 30. <--- this is my own metric for monster creation.

The only other conceivable means to miss on a 42 is that you're not using a magic weapon and this guy was incorporeal, or this guy was possibly an illusion, and you didn't realize it, or, it's possible he was blurred or displaced or had mirror images, and the DM made the 20%/50% roll in secret rather than letting you as the PC make the 20%/50% roll, or the DM granted Cover from something adjacent. Or, perhaps the DM created this particular undead as non-evil alignment and then didn't tell you that your smite failed. Maybe a mix of these.

Tbh, as a level 10 4/4 BAB class, you should be hitting on every attack that is roughly ~7-8 or higher on the d20 roll even without Smite Evil. The Swashbuckler would've had to make some insane roll like a nat 20 to OP&R a 42.

Tbh though, if none of these conditions existed: incorporeal/illusion, blur/displace/images, non-evil, insane OP&R roll, etc., then this reeks of DM stinky cheese shenanigans. Like others have suggested, it's possible that this was a fight you weren't intended to win, and this swashbuckler vastly outlevels you.


When a melee character uses a two-handed weapon, they can deal quite a bit of damage, sometimes making combat encounters very easy. So some GMs look for ways to reduce that damage. Very high AC for opponents is a straight-forward and very effective option.

Of course it could be any of the other things mentioned here. If a GM doesn't tell where the failure comes from, many explanations are possible.

A talk with your GM should be the most helpful route. Ideally both sides tell their point of view separately, then you both work on how to improve.


orric897 wrote:

Afternoon Everyone,

I am currently playing a 2 handed paladin 10. My question is, is it common for there to be monsters that can't be hit with a natural 19? I rolled a 19 + 4 for smite to hit + 19 from BAB/STR/Weapon for a total of 42 and did not hit the AC of some undead pirate. At that point I kind of checked out of the fight, If I can only hit things on a nat20 it doesn't feel good.

I am planning on talking to my DM at some point, but I also wanted to get other opinions.

Thanks!

I'm curious about what happened in the fight to the undead pirate?


Knowledge Check <------

Here's something you can do when your GM says you miss on a 42 (or any other suspected DM cheese in the future), go to this ----^ page and scroll down to the Monster Lore and Recall Intrigues sections, and start making every conceivable Knowledge Check you can about the monster. He's undead, so make a Religion check for Monster Lore to identify any vulnerabilities. It's possible that he's a Swashbuckler and just used an ability, so make a Recall Intrigues to Identify a Class Feature being used. Was it a combat feat that the creature used?-- Knowledge Local again, but this time your Knowledge Local check is to identify a combat feat. It's possible that he's using a Teamwork feat, make Knowledge Nobility check to identify any teamwork feats being used. Knowledge checks are no action whatsoever, so you can make 1000 of these checks the exact second that you miss on a 42.

This is a two-fold strategy you can use vs. your DM, because if you miss on a 42, you as the player need to know WHY, and you need to know WHY right that second so you can adjust your strategy. The second part of this strategy is so your GM gets "Pavlovianly" trained into: "If I pull DM Shenanigans ---> there will be 1000 knowledge checks in the middle of my combat encounter". Get your party involved for the Knowledge checks that your character can't make. Most of these knowledge checks are EASY, they're DC10-19 for almost everything at your level. And give your DM the DC's of these things before you make the roll, because when you absolutely crush a knowledge check and everyone knows it, your DM can't metagame you.

Monster Lore wrote:


You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities.

Check: In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.

Undead are common monsters, so any Monster Lore check against them is going to be 5 + their CR (probably CR10). As a Paladin, you get Knowledge Religion, so crush this check and get the deets.


I can hear grognard GMs everywhere, in response to RK's post and this use of the Knowledge skill: you missed him because I SAID SO! Seriously, how many GMs just decide stuff like that in their heads?


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I can hear grognard GMs everywhere, in response to RK's post and this use of the Knowledge skill: you missed him because I SAID SO! Seriously, how many GMs just decide stuff like that in their heads?

I don't like playing with GM's like that. That's power trippy authoritarian nonsense that sucks the fun right out of the room.

If my players miss due to something that could be solved with a strategy change, I'll even offer them the idea of making an Int check appropriate to w/e they need to know.


Not everything in the game needs a roll. When something obvious is done to your character they should be able to recognize that is has been done. They may not know the exact game mechanic, but they will have a basic idea of what happened. When the druid cast flame strike on my character, I know that I just got burned by a massive fire. I may not know what the spell is, or if it is even a spell, but I know I was had a huge explosion that burned me. This does not require a spell craft or knowledge arcane roll. Those skills would allow me to know that it was a flame strike and probably a divine spell instead of an arcane or a spell like ability

The same thing also applies to other things like a swashbuckler using Opportune Parry and Riposted. I might now know how the swashbuckler blocked my sword, but I saw and felt it happen. A knowledge local check would give me further details on how he did it, and probably give me an idea of other things he could do. But to realize what he did should not require a knowledge check.

Undead is a broad classification so not all of them will be common. A skeleton or zombie will be fairly common, but not every undead will be. Most undead with class levels are going to be less common than skeletons or zombies.


Ryze Kuja wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I can hear grognard GMs everywhere, in response to RK's post and this use of the Knowledge skill: you missed him because I SAID SO! Seriously, how many GMs just decide stuff like that in their heads?

I don't like playing with GM's like that. That's power trippy authoritarian nonsense that sucks the fun right out of the room.

If my players miss due to something that could be solved with a strategy change, I'll even offer them the idea of making an Int check appropriate to w/e they need to know.

It comforts me when folks reaffirm this. I had a GM for a while that I clashed with and I tried to have an honest conversation about how rulings like this were "power trippy" as you say. Dude gaslit me about how he's a GREAT GM and I just can't stand playing "the right way." He also pointed out several times how Gygax used to sit far away from the players, sometimes in another room, and dictate the game like some distant god.

Anyway, back to the thread... I still would love to get some feedback from the OP. It seems like they've abandoned the thread or something, hopefully all is well w/them. Their initial example has been pointed out as out of the norm by several of us now.

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