Even if the thing about Hide bonuses is wrong, the Ice Devil auto spots you at 100 feet.
You know I never disagreed with you right? Whoops, typo on the CR and the fact that both me and snakeman got confused by you talking about two parties and the same encounter might mean we are paying attention, but things are sometimes confusing and people make mistakes!
Mindsight fucks with everything. Once you get to the level where Mindsight becomes commonplace sneaking stops working. Mindsight is too perfect and fucking retarded and I think everyone knows that. That's not to say you're wrong, afterall, we're playing 3.5 and Mindsight exists. The only countermeasures are Telepathic Static from that once shitty class in FCII(which only creates a hole in the telepathy) and Telepathic Block from BoED. A high level sneaky character should either play with house rules that make Mindsight less stupid or have an item of permanent Telepathic Black. But I do understand that pushing the arms race further serves little purpose.
Mindsight does shut stealth down. But then, that's a sign stealth isn't a very high level ability, otherwise it wouldn't be so easy to negate. I mean fuck, even blindness immunity (Glitterdust) is pretty fucking rare. And that's a level 3 ability.
But really, if Mindsight exists at all, people will have it. In game 1 one person took Mindbender just to get Mindsight (though it doesn't have a cost, and does have other benefits, that was the main reason). Another took Improved Familiar just to have a Pseudodragon with Mindsight. Point is, if it exists, fucking deal with it. And I don't care that it exists.
You're pretty much right about everything that you say. A CR 13 creature who sets the terms of the fight and has time to prepare will destroy a single level 10 character. Easily. ...so? I'm asking what you're point is. Sunic, what is the point you are trying to make?
That is precisely my point. A single level 10 character, even a good one will get slaughtered by a level 13 encounter... and likely by a 12, or 11, or 10 for that matter, simply because of focus fire + can't escape. Most scouting classes of course do not qualify as a good character. Most of them are CAP bait, in fact. A party of level 10 characters however can deal with such a fight. Which means the solution is to not split the party, and send some scout off to accomplish nothing but get slaughtered. The solution is to do your recon with Divinations (wouldn't have worked well here) or something that does not involve splitting the party for the slaughter which means you do not scout, you do not waste a party slot on scouting, and you head into combat together.
I am only using "the same situation" if you define the same situation as "an ambush". Seeing as they were, indeed presented as two different examples of a party being ambushed, and each were followed up by hypotheticals as to what a level appropriate scout would have done here to prevent it (answer: nothing)... If you look at it in any more specific terms, they are obviously not the same thing, as there is an obvious difference between a mid level situation with one main guy, 4 obvious guards, and 2 not obvious guards, and a mid-high level situation with a single, Evil Outsider waiting in ambush. And this was also clearly described ahead of time.
The only situation I've seen you discussing was an ice Devil hiding in the snow, so I think I can be excused for being confused on this. Players won't act on a time limit if they don't know one exists, so that point is irrelevant if the players don't know of any time limit.
No, I have also discussed a situation regarding picking a fight with visible humanoids, and being jumped by some hidden ones. That was presented as example 1 in fact, whereas example 2 was the Ice Devil. Check back and see.
As for being having stealth be "unbeatable", I don't want that. However, I also don't want "auto-fail". That is the problem with Mindsight: it beats out all but a couple of well-hidden countermeasures from often banned books. There is just no way to sneak up on a creature with Mindsight without those countermeasures.
Scry and fry. Mindsight doesn't help against that. Even without auto win abilities though, the Ice Devil is sitting there with a check to spot it around 50, (1d20+38, assuming 100 feet) and a Spot modifier about 10 higher than yours. And unlike it, you can't benefit from the +10 for Improved Cover, because you have to move, and he doesn't.
So remove both Mindsight and Lifesight from the equation, the enemy still wins.
My argument, Midnight, is that scouts don't get auto-raped in every game unless the DM spends extra time and NPC wealth, etc making sure to add things to the enemies so that every encounter auto-rapes scouts. Sunic is trying to say that no matter what, in every game, a Scout of any level is equivalent to a corpse. He says that they can in no way ever detect opposition before it detects him and that the Scout gets murdered by traps and/or ambush every single time. Which is a bold statement indicative of his games and his games alone and thus isn't contributing much of anything in the way of valuable information to this thread.
It's not a coincidence such a character is referred to as "the Corpse". Now traps don't kill anyone unless they really suck, because only gimps die to traps. But ambushes? Yes, he gets slaughtered by them, because he's alone. Perhaps if his party was with him they could deal with the encounter.
Even in a shitty situation at low levels the Rogue can scout ahead, run into a trap, leave it be and return to the party. He's still provided valuable intel to his allies in the form of, "hey, there's a trap to the left." At which point the party can decide how best to handle the trap.
But since you keep bringing up traps, it is worth mentioning he will likely find it with his face. And while only gimps die to traps still remains true, it isn't as if the situation is different than someone else finding the trap with their face, and he is unlikely to be able to disable the trap. In fact, he's likely the worst person to find traps with his face, as Rogue type characters tend to have the worst defenses in the game, particularly Fort and Will saves.
...Y'know, not every foe with Telepathy and their psicrystal is going to have Mindsight. Likewise, not every undead foe is going to have Lifesight. A cleric's spell preparation is a tactical decision on the cleric's part, a monster's feat selection is much more arbitrary, and most monsters aren't by-default equipped with those two.
Most monsters aren't equipped with those two because sample statblocks assume only core + non core book they are in. Which means non LoM statblocks don't have Mindsight. Obviously though, no PC will be limited to core, or core + one book (and if they are, well those things aren't in the game now are they?) so why would the enemies? More than that, why would all enemies of the same type have the same feats?
When it is that fucking obvious, mostly because any genuinely good feat glows like a fucking Colossal+ creature under Lifesight yeah, they will indeed take such things early and often.
Next you will try and argue beatsticks won't take Power Attack.
Fact of the matter is, Ice Devils get 5 feats. They need not necessarily be lolAlertness, lolCleave, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, and Weapon Focus: Spear. Though it would probably be a good idea to leave Combat Reflexes and Power Attack alone, both because those feats are actually worth half a fuck, and because those feats say something about the nature of the creature. An Ice Devil with those two feats, Mindsight, and two other feats is still recognizable as an Ice Devil. Remove one of those two, and not so much anymore.
fwiw, my ideal is for a scout should be good at hiding, meaning that she will be able to sneak past level appropriate foes reliably except if they are geared towards spotting (e.g., beholders or Sunic's gelugon guardsman). In those cases they should typically have some chance, just less of one. That's my general rubric for any character build or archetype.
Neither a Beholder nor a Gelugon is an especially good guard. The former really fails at doing anything about enemies it detects.
If encounters CR 3 over party's ECL are the norm, and you are giving them the conditional advantage as well, it is not hard to screw up a scout. In fact, it's not hard to screw up anything. Want me to draw a hyperbole of this...? You are level 1. You are faced with Kobold Expert 1 / Sorcerer 6. He is casting as 7th level sorcerer. He ambushes you by using scroll of improved invisibility. If the campaign is heavy optimization, let's make him venerable and give him loredrake too, allright?
That's 6 levels higher, not 3. And who said CR + 3 was the norm? I just said it was the case here. Not to mention 1st level characters have a lot less ability to deal with harder than routine fights than 10th level characters.
Hell, even using Ice Devil as an example, let's give one the Quicken SLA and Maximize SLA, allright? Ability Focus: Cone of Cold for lulz. Now, assume the coldsuperenvironment for free empower. Now let's take a reasonably optimized party. For this one, I'll use the CantripN's game. It's ECL 10, but you get 3 free LA or bonus feats, so it's a fair margin above the norm, but let's just use it as a baseline. Now, barring use of clever divinations, no one in that team has a chance of seeing the devil, so we are just going to assume that it gets to the surprise round and opens up with move action and two cones of cold, maximized and empowered, for 78+(13d6)/2 damage each. That averages to 100 damage each, rounding down.
Ok, you give it Quicken SLA and Maximize SLA. It can now... Quicken a 2nd level SLA or lower, and Maximize a 3rd level SLA or lower. Of course, Cone of Cold, being 5th level is an illegal target for either of these. So no, no you fucking don't, because that is an illegal move. And before you say it, Sudden Maximize is also illegal for the Ice Devil for multiple reasons. And applying Ability Focus to Cone of Cold is a somewhat dubious ruling, but let's say that's allowed. Anyways, the environment, which was a Risia manifest zone by the way, and the party did detect this in advance and went in anyways. So instead of doing 13d3+78, it does 13d6 + 13d3. Which turned out to be 74, by the way. And for what it's worth, the whole party saved (one person would have failed if he didn't AP it) taking either 0, 27, or 37 damage (the Druid's AC had Evasion, the undead Cleric had cold resist 10, everyone else had nothing).
Kirill: 124 HP, +11 Reflex.
Kalon: 75 HP, +5 Reflex.
Dann: 136 HP, +6 Reflex.
Ailil: 94 HP, +5 Reflex.
Kale: 114 HP, +5 Reflex.
You guys have better HP, but you have terrible saves. Someone doesn't believe in IP proofing, I see. This party has:
Animal companion: 111, +15 Ref
Leshrac: 95, +13 Ref.
Mit: 77, +11 Ref.
Rodion: 68, +12 Ref normally (+15 with current short term buff).
Tanika: 83, +18 Ref.
And a random 10 headed hydra zombie: 147, +7 Ref.
Now, no one of them has Evasion or Improved Evasion, as far as I can tell. So..
Kalon is dead, no matter what. Ailil needs to succeed on two DC 22 reflex saves, giving him 4% chance of only falling unconscious, but he's out of the combat anyway. Dann has to succeed on both saves, 6.25% chance, to remain alive. Kale has to succeed in both, too, and only has 4%. Kirill is a bit better off, since succeeding on 11 gives him 25% chance of survival for the initial attack.
Now, we can quite reliably count Kale and Dann off, and let's just give it to a Kirill. The surprise round is over. Assuming the Ice Devil wasn't stupid and used flight beforehand as an SLA, and used it to position himself, the Psychic Warrior/Swiftclaw is a bit out of luck. Either way, he has +7 to initiative against the Devil's +5, assuming we didn't swap another one of the bad feats for Improved Init. Loss in this initiative means automatic death since the devil will just throw more cone of colds at him. Success means that he can take his turn, which better be running away, since he has zero ways of attacking the flying Devil. Of course, the devil has greater teleport at will, so his attempts at escape are probably cut short sooner or later, despite his impressive 50ft movement speed.
No Improved Initiative. The rest is invalid, as the Ice Devil does not have the prerequisite CL 16 for Maximize SLA: CoC and does not have the prerequisite CL 18 for Quicken SLA: CoC.
What we have here, is very probable TPK against a party composed of solid optimizers with a lot of beneficial houserules added to them, playing mostly tier 1/2/3 classes. Very. Probable. TPK. Also, certain player death. Your argument at using encounter such as this to counter a scout who is running a tier 4 class, and claiming that he cannot solo something of this magnitude, does not make any real sense. Against most parties sending one of these in these conditions is a big "fuck you" sign. Most ECL 10 parties are not encountering something like this. You might, sure, and if you enjoy really heavy optimization games, scouting role probably WILL end up in death of the scout. In fact, the game will probably end up in death of anything below tier 1 or 2. And no one claimed that a dedicated scout was either one of these.
It's a good thing the actual rules of the actual game do not work that way now isn't it?
If you play by the actual rules of the actual game it gets Empowered Cone of Colds, and that's it. A Mass Resist Energy, and saving cuts the same to about a quarter, if that high. You guys might have problems due to your very obvious lack of IP proofing measures, but winning should not be a problem.
And what do you know, because it does only benefit from the location trait, it's not optimized towards cold at all. It has only its innate abilities, and location, location, location. Not to mention, one of the PCs makes every fucking spell he casts [Cold], so he gets auto Empower and Enlarge on everything... the Ice Devil just gets better blasting. That's hardly favoring the enemy.
As for the rest:
Large, 23 Str without buffs, magical flight speed. It busts out of the snowbank and flies over like something out of DBZ. It uses a move action to close to Cone of Cold range, and a Standard to use it. It could auto attack instead, but why?
Ok, you make a ranged touch attack with your 3 PP Entangling Ectoplasm Dorje. What's your + to hit? Because it's most likely not auto hit material. If it does hit, it takes some minor penalties to auto attacking and touch AC, but it auto passes the check to keep using its SLAs, so you wasted your turn.
It, meanwhile gets two turns on you, so that's two Empowered Cone of Colds to the face. Even if you pass both saves, that's an average of 68.25 points of damage. And he only has 75 HP, or 70.5 without house rules. Slightly above average damage, or failing either save means he's dead.
So let's say the party is waiting, and he says Dimension Door, xxx feet ahead. Ok, party arrives. They find their scout slaughtered, and the Ice Devil looking rather amused. At this point he has several options:
1: Nuke the fucking fuckers, since they nicely clustered for him.
2: Greater Teleport, about 800 feet straight up, and be a dick with Empowered Ice Storm (which by the way, has a max range of 1,020 feet when Enlarged at CL 13). Not very high damage, but it's also well out of range of most anything. This also lets the minor debuff wear off.
3: Grab slaughtered scout (being Small size, this should not result in exceeding the 50 pounds of objects clause) and leave. So much for raising him. He can come back later to work on the rest of the party.
The solution, again is to not split the fucking party, because if you don't split the party, you can take down the Ice Devil before it takes you down, instead of doing the dividing for it, leaving it to conquer.