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Author Topic: Need Help with Powerful PCs  (Read 10319 times)
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Endarire
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« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2011, 07:48:30 PM »

Quantity matters.  Your group can take a lot omre punishment than it may seem.

A group of ~10 characters and however many summons means very long combats or very short combats, depending who goes first and the general power level of that side.
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Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"
Tenebrus
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« Reply #41 on: October 29, 2011, 01:41:36 PM »

EDIT: Well I just got an interesting little e-mail. Three of them are buying amulets of huge monstrous vermin. Extra creatures to soak up damage when they're facing off against their BBEG. They're going to pay double for them so that they'll get extra times per day. Even if I don't allow it, they'll just buy extras. The scorpion and spider are the main ones they're getting. Guess I know what I'm giving my BBEG to compensate.

Again, you realize that nothing is for sale unless you say it is, right?  What, did they go into the Wal-Mart and find them in the Amulet Section?  How many people in the town can make this object?  What if they have enough money and want a service instead?  There are plenty of good reasons to say no.
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kevin_video
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« Reply #42 on: October 29, 2011, 02:23:51 PM »

Again, you realize that nothing is for sale unless you say it is, right?  What, did they go into the Wal-Mart and find them in the Amulet Section?  How many people in the town can make this object?  What if they have enough money and want a service instead?  There are plenty of good reasons to say no.
Not when they're talking to a mercane. They had just finished a service for him, and now he's letting them buy whatever they want.
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kitep
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« Reply #43 on: October 29, 2011, 05:37:45 PM »

Sounds like you've hit the Monty Haul spiral.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  But learn and do the next campaign different.

Also sounds like you let your players run roughshod over you.  It'll get better with experience Smile

Having said that, I say run with it.  Monty Haul campaigns can be a lot of fun.  If you need to run games where the CR's are way higher than what they're supposed to be, then so be it.  If everyone's having fun, that's what's important.

You can challenge them with kobold sorcerors.  30 or so each firing even 1 magic missile - all at the same target - can ruin someone's day.  Or casting True Strike and the next round attacking.

Beholders are fun.  Use their anti-magic eye to turn off the party's toys, but team the beholder up with some ogres/giants/melee monsters and go to town.

Good luck!

(But I can't let this pass - did I understand it correctly that your players can buy something and then turn around and sell it back for more?  ie, I think you said they get full price for selling, but can buy at a discount)
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kevin_video
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« Reply #44 on: October 29, 2011, 05:48:02 PM »

(But I can't let this pass - did I understand it correctly that your players can buy something and then turn around and sell it back for more?  ie, I think you said they get full price for selling, but can buy at a discount)
No, I don't believe so. I know that's what they wanted, and they're looking to get feats from either FR or Eb to do so, but since it's a combat style campaign, they know that that'd be a pretty stupid idea at this stage. Surviving and killing things before they kill you is more important than getting that extra 1000g out of the local merchants.

I've already told them that they're only getting what they're getting because of the mercane. He wasn't going to let them diplomacy him for more than 50% of the cost of the stuff. They tried to all gang up on me and say "Fine then. You don't get our business. We'll just hold out for someone who will give us 75% on the gold piece." I just laughed at them and told them "good luck". It's a new homebrew world, and the average town not only has barely 1000-5000 people on this continent, but the maximum wealth is barely any higher. So if you want to wait to sell that 14k chain metamagic rod for 10k from a local merchant or wizard, you're going to be waiting until you're able to planar travel. I can definitely wait.

I'm going to let the haul go for a bit longer before I really send the assassins after them. Namely a headless horseman dullahan dreadknight fey from Fey Folio and Legend of the Headless Horseman. It's about a CR 12 that can make any slashing weapon it picks up into a +1 keen unholy vorpal weapon.
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Tenebrus
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« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2011, 06:07:11 PM »

Again, you realize that nothing is for sale unless you say it is, right?  What, did they go into the Wal-Mart and find them in the Amulet Section?  How many people in the town can make this object?  What if they have enough money and want a service instead?  There are plenty of good reasons to say no.
Not when they're talking to a mercane. They had just finished a service for him, and now he's letting them buy whatever they want.

Sigh.  No, with the Mercane too.  He can't possibly have every single thing ever conceivably made by anyone anywhere.  You want X?  I can bring it around next time I'm here -- in 4 months.  But I do have a sale on Y.

I'd ask you to reconsider my reboot scenario.  Your party's problems may be unfixable.
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kevin_video
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« Reply #46 on: October 29, 2011, 06:13:22 PM »

Sigh.  No, with the Mercane too.  He can't possibly have every single thing ever conceivably made by anyone anywhere.  You want X?  I can bring it around next time I'm here -- in 4 months.  But I do have a sale on Y.

I'd ask you to reconsider my reboot scenario.  Your party's problems may be unfixable.
One problem is that a mercane always has access to things when you have a mercane box. They've come across a village that has one. It can only be used so many times a year though. That's the catch. The other problem is that half of the group I'm playing with are from the Friday night, and we all know how that goes. I ended up bringing a few things over from that game, including the mercane box. The difference being that it's harder to come across, and you can only have access to it so many times a year, and you have to have done a great service to the town. Hence the previous scenario where they were supposed to fail.

I don't want to reboot if I don't have to. I have an assassin that can pretty much kill them all should I feel things are getting really bad. It's that dullahan. If I max him out, he'll be a CR 13 with everything, and does unholy damage with each hit, and can make any slashing weapon into a keen vorpal one. Only one of them is immune to criticals, but I can deal with that person other ways if necessary.

I'm also considering on making a couple of them lose their divine abilities because they're starting to go against their alignment with all of their greed. Have that happen with the dullahan, and they're fubarred.
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Monotremeancer
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« Reply #47 on: October 29, 2011, 06:36:24 PM »

1. Kill the characters
2. Loot the corpsetm
3. Have someone who owes them big time revive them.

The PC's are alive and kicking and you have taken away some of that incredible wealth.

Next mission: regain all of the money that the BBEG did not spend on alcohol, pretty ladies and belly rubs.

Perhaps?
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kevin_video
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« Reply #48 on: October 29, 2011, 06:40:09 PM »

That was a consideration, but a little different. They would be killed off, but they wouldn't be looted. They'd be found by those they'd helped before, but they didn't have true resurrections, nor the cash to do so. So, they'd take the bodies back, sell the gear that could be sold to pay for the scrolls (if they were short then the finders would pay the difference but make the PCs pay them back somehow), and they'd start anew that way.

As it is, they're going to be attacked by slavers, and stripped of their stuff. They'll have to escape and get it back before the three vampires who are also in the hold, escape from their binded coffins. Chances are some of the stuff won't be taken. However, other stuff will be.
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Sjappo
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« Reply #49 on: October 29, 2011, 06:47:46 PM »

I think you're walking a fine line here. It has been said before but it needs repeating. It's the action economy that's you're problem. Balancing that out with more mooks and more bosses is (pretty) easy. Balancing that with a single boss is very hard. Aim a bit to low and it'll get swarmed and they'll curbstomp it. Aim a bit to high and they cannot touch it and ... TPK. I've been there.

Throw in all this wealth that they have, free LA's, cohort and it's even harder to guess their powerlevel.

What caught my eye was that your players said something like that they found the battle they were almost killed in annoying. If some of your players have the pleasure of playing with your DM-from-hell I can imagine that they long for an easy going campaign. Lots of loot, low mortality. Monty Haul. If they're having fun and you are having fun, I say ride this train into Epic and let them replace your Pantheon.

BTW, DON'T take away their stuff without their consent. Bad idea. Pisses players off no end.
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Nachofan99
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« Reply #50 on: October 29, 2011, 06:53:29 PM »

Not that I disagree with the idea, but a lot of players take umbrage at "They are going to be captured and lose their stuff..."

A lot of people will probably say it smells of "Rocks Fall, everyone dies."  I don't think you're coming down hard on them like that and I wanted to give a suggestion.

For many players, they would rather their character be killed than captured.  For many other players, they would rather their character be killed than stripped of gear.  If they are captured *and* stripped of gear, they would rather die. (I know, I know.  How are you going to capture someone and not strip their gear. I get it.)

What I would suggest, if it's possible, is to have some of the party get captured and some not.  It's awkward for a bit but, if you introduce an NPC that relays information from the captured PCs to the free PCs, you can make the situation less cumbersome.  Also, make the situation more timely so they have to expend consumable resources - like that the captured PCs are going on a slave ship tomorrow and will never been seen again if they make it out of port.

One idea to kind of tie everything together is to have another group of NPCs meet the free PCs and say that they are there to free all the slaves, can we super team up?  Then I would hand the captured PCs the sheets for the NPCs.  They work together and free anyone, and then the NPCs lament how it's going to take an awful lot of resources to get everyone back home.  If the party would donate some items/gold (thus reducing their WBL overage) it would help all the innocent people make it back safely.  This also ties into the divine PC's - if they refuse to help, well guess what? Several of the free slaves are worshippers of their deities, and their deities are not happy with their greedy actions.  That way you gave them a chance to NOT be douches.

Also, you can say that SOME of their items were not found, so they don't have to lose EVERYTHING - just a couple of things to put them back in line with WBL.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 07:05:39 PM by Nachofan99 » Logged
kevin_video
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« Reply #51 on: October 29, 2011, 07:00:57 PM »

Tbh, it's because of the Friday game that this group even exists. A couple of the players wanted to play a PF version of the core classes (and core psionic classes) because they found that the 3.5 ones were too weak, and couldn't hold up very well in the game that we were playing. I offered, and they jumped at it. This is why I said that they were playing the dream characters they've always wanted.

As for the capturing, and stripping, it's part of the next scenario. They've already met a group of freedom fighters who are led by a dwarf cleric. When he had met the PCs, they had just rescued a bunch of slaves. He's just cast a sending to one of the PCs saying that the slavers have found out where they're located, and are going into hiding until further notice. The slavers are going to coax the city into giving up the information of the PCs knowing about the freedom fighters, whether they want to or not. The PCs will arrive only to find out that there's an elaborate plot to capture them and get them to give up the information. However, they don't know where everyone's hiding. As compensation for their losses, the crew takes them as slaves instead. This puts them in the next adventure where they have to escape the sinking ship that was attacked by the Cursed Brethren.

I'm not doing it out of spite, it's just working out in a way that it's how the adventure's set up anyways. A few things might end up going missing is all. None of them has underwater breathing, so if they want to go get their stuff later, they are more than welcome to. They'll just need to get the proper equipment first.
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Sjappo
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« Reply #52 on: October 29, 2011, 07:08:24 PM »

Suit yourself. But be prepared for some pissed off players. Maybe a comparison or 2 with asshole DM.

Also, as Nacho pointed out. Players rather die than be captured. By slavers non the less. They may fight to the death. The might even win or avoid capture. Then what?
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Risada
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« Reply #53 on: October 29, 2011, 07:37:30 PM »

Here are some tips that worked with me...

-Combine Mass Curse of Impending Blades (-2 AC over an area, no save- SpC) and Inspire Courage, with each ability on a different monster. Then swarm your players with weak mobs that, thanks for your round of buffing, are much more threatening. Bonus points if you can manage to get a Wizard at another area and use Regroup (PHBII, IIRC) to move around the monsters and attack with 2 fronts.

-People already pointed this, but you could use summons. Not only summons from Summon Monster or SNA spells. Get those baatezu and tanar'ri calling their friends to the party!


Regarding your money problem: I suggest you cut the amount of equipment your monsters carry for a while, so the players can gain levels without gaining even more money. Masterwork weapons and consumables (potions, scrolls...) are your friends!
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kevin_video
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« Reply #54 on: October 29, 2011, 08:37:14 PM »

Suit yourself. But be prepared for some pissed off players. Maybe a comparison or 2 with asshole DM.

Also, as Nacho pointed out. Players rather die than be captured. By slavers non the less. They may fight to the death. The might even win or avoid capture. Then what?
Oh I'm more than prepared. If they're made I'll just tell them that they should learn to pick better adventure hooks (I give them a list and they choose).

And they won't avoid capture. No teleportation, and there's going to be more than enough enemies to take them out, at CR 12-15. With merciful weapons no less so they can't die.

@ Risada -- I've looked ahead and am minimizing the equipment for a while. I'm changing bracers of armor to potions of mage armor, and gloves of Dex to manuals/tomes.
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veekie
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« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2011, 03:07:57 AM »

Quote
What caught my eye was that your players said something like that they found the battle they were almost killed in annoying. If some of your players have the pleasure of playing with your DM-from-hell I can imagine that they long for an easy going campaign. Lots of loot, low mortality. Monty Haul. If they're having fun and you are having fun, I say ride this train into Epic and let them replace your Pantheon.
Definitely a factor I think, its a pleasant change of pace to be riding herd all over the game, and thats fun too.

So solutions in terms of severity:
Least severe
-More equipment-less, magical foes. This lets their XP catch up with their wealth somewhat, and allows some of the monsters to actually go before the players. Outsiders do great for this, they work just fine naked.
-More foes, lots more foes. You need to match your PCs at least 1 to 1 to give them a challenge, and being able to oneshot enemies doesn't matter as much when theres more where they came from. A good bet is X enemies of your PCs level-1(you mentioned they all have some kind of templates etc).
-Buffed foes. Have intelligent enemies come prebuffed using potions. No need to vary it, fighting a mob is very different when the whole lot of them come Hasted.

Severe
-Equipment destruction. Given your former DM, this might have some backlash, but its one way to remove the loot.
-Cut them off. The mercane? Blow it up. Without contacts, they cannot trade favorably for goods.
-Capture/murder. See equipment destruction.
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"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
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kevin_video
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« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2011, 03:40:32 AM »

Well they know that this will be the last time for the mercane for a while. I'm treating the mercane box like a bracelet of friends. If you're not on the same plane, you can't access him. If anything, you'll get an answering machine.

They're working their way up to defeat a god of the apocalypse. I saw a template for the apocalypse swarm from the 3rd party book, Advanced Bestiary, and am adding it to a raven swarm. It's going to be a very annoying CR 7 for them. I know it sounds low, but they're currently without much healing because of the last battle. The splitting ability that basically mimics that of a black pudding, and the fact that they only take half from slashing and piercing (which most of them have), is probably going to nickel and dime them more. Later that night they'll be taking on two goblin mobs. I figure that it's probably the best way to let them realize that it doesn't matter that they have an AC of 28 when you can get hit so easily anyways. The vampires should do the same thing with their rat swarms in the later adventure.

I should probably explain the last battle. They were fighting evolved soldier skeletons that had cones of cold, and blew up when you beat them. The reason why it was "annoying" was because the PCs kept getting nickeled and dimed by their foes. Slowing lowering them to almost 0 hp, but not quite. Then they'd fast heal, and nickel and dime them more. That was until they had them blow up for good.

Part of my problem is that not all of my players show up all of the time. Right now the cleric shows up once every fourth session, if he's not dealing with exams. Another guy's got two jobs, and a third's got two part time jobs (one's practicum) and full time school. We're only ever guaranteed to have three PCs, and an NPC at any given time. Most of the stuff I have planned is based on the fact that I'll only have four people that day. However, sometimes there's days when everyone shows up and we have all seven. So how this becomes a problem is when I see everyone, I immediately try to adjust for them, and add in more bad guys, but somehow it doesn't always seem to be enough. There was one time where it was way too much, and I nearly did a TPK, and ended up getting local NPCs to join in as if it was a bar room brawl. A little bit of divine intervention on that one. And it's not like I don't know the rules for what I should be adding. It goes into that whole realm of whether or not the CR is accurate for that particular party. One CR 6 might be as easy as a CR 3 if they've got the right kind of gear and spells, but another CR 6 might as well be a CR 10 to that same party.
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veekie
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« Reply #57 on: October 30, 2011, 04:18:21 AM »

Ah, thats where large numbers of enemies vs powerful solos help again, you can remove some to make the numbers even more easily than depowering a single powerful solo.

As an added idea, for fighting really powerful solo enemies, one trick I used before is to give the enemy multiple initiatives. On a sufficiently tough opponent(high hp, saves and AC, relatively low attack, lots of status effect attacks), it can be pretty hard to deal with. Only used it once, on the depowered remains of a god my players got to beat up.
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The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."
kevin_video
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« Reply #58 on: October 30, 2011, 04:51:32 AM »

One thing I like adding to my bad guys is a belt of battle. It's come in handy a few times.
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« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2011, 09:31:48 AM »

One thing I like adding to my bad guys is a belt of battle. It's come in handy a few times.
You sure you want your players to have a belt of battle? White Raven Tactics through martial study or a level of Crusader might be better.

Thanx for the clarification. So basically your problem is challenging a very variable group of players, not just the sheer size of them.

How do you manage PCs from absent players? Do they just disappear into the void, reappearing when the player joins a session? Do you end each session in a populated area? Is it an option to let players play PCs form absent players as cohorts? That way the powerlevel of the group is more predictable.

On swarms. You are aware that things like shocking and flaming do max damage against swarms?

From your description they seem to be a very specialised lot. Geared to one kind of threat. It shouldn't be to hard to find out where their vulnerabilities lie. Saves and AC are good you say. How about touch AC? Are saves good across the board? Maybe for the Paladin. For others not so much. Can they handle flying enemies? Simple Gargoyles with improved flyby can be very annoying.

Still not sure what kind of advice you're looking for.
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