View Full Version : The other side of Min/Maxing

2009-12-21, 06:50 PM
Hey guys, my question is if a player builds a character to succeed at a few things, how often should the character succeed at those few things?

For example:

A fighter that hits 95% of the time and kills the target 100% of the time...
A Beguiler who Spells DCs are failed 95% of the time and produce a status effect that is akin to instant death (Sleep, paralyzed, etc...)
A stealth Rogue that can hide for his enemies and snipe them without worry because they would not reach his Hide roll on a 20...

The above are just some examples of things that unbalance combat and building encounters...

It would be easy to answer those problems by creating terrain that would

difficult terrain or situations where charging is difficult to do because of walls or weaker enimies in the way
Put more resistant enemies so the beguiler just does not have 40 I win buttons every day. (Ie:he would have to cast them more than once to ensure that they worked)
Add in badyguys with glitterdust & see invibility and include less things that can grant concealment like bookcases

But the problem shifts back to the player because he has built his character to do only a few things and now he fails 40-60% of the time?

I understand that characters need to be challenged otherwise things become to easy... but do you as a Gm penalize the character for being good at something?

2009-12-21, 07:00 PM
If someone's good at what they do, the answer isn't to make it impossible to do what they do well. IMO, it's best to introduce situations where that thing isn't ADVISABLE to do.

2009-12-21, 07:04 PM
If someone's good at what they do, the answer isn't to make it impossible to do what they do well. IMO, it's best to introduce situations where that thing isn't ADVISABLE to do.

This is a good idea. For instance, that rogue that wants to hide? Well, when he does, the assassins will target and kill the king. Or, at least capture him. After all, they see no opposition, and may not even notice their comrades going down. Now they have a morale bonus.

The fighter that wants to kill things? Well, now you get to capture them. Killing them will bring down the law on you, since he was only a jaywalker.

The beguiler? Make sure sleep/paralyze/etc will send the creature prone. Make sure when he goes prone, he has one of those "deadman triggers" on him, or something.

Or something like that.

2009-12-21, 07:06 PM
Your Fighter auto-hits and auto-kills? Put him against an enemy with concealment, now he has a miss chance same as anyone. Put him against a summoner: he can lop heads off all day and the enemy will just make more. Put him against a flying or incorporeal enemy that he can't reach.

The arcane caster with unbeatable DCs? Golems, spell resistance, plants, undead...immunities are easy to come by when you're the DM.

The Rogue that can't be caught? Task him with defending a position. Send things that are immune to Sneak Attack. Send Trolls that regenerate. Send Wizards with Wind Wall. Send a Swarm.

You don't have to arbitrarily pump saves, AC or spot modifiers. You just have to think laterally.

2009-12-21, 07:08 PM
Giving opponents with higher will saves shouldn't be a huge problem. The Beguiler will just have to try his spells a couple more times. Make the creatures able to fight the fighter at a distance, or a give him a nice chunk of DR or something. For the hiding rogue, there are plenty of spells/magic items that raise a creature's spot checks and listen checks. Actually, concealment or other miss chances would work pretty well against the fighter and rogue.

Really, all you need are a couple of illithids and/or wizards. They hopefully won't die instantly, and will probably not be instant death to the PCs as long as you don't uber optimize them.

2009-12-21, 08:01 PM
The trick is to make enemy's that are tough with out making every foe completely immune. Make some enemies like normal (it would make little sense for every enemy to specializes specifically in the players one weakness) some enemies resistant and some immune. Now for foes that the party can beat with little to no difficulty reduce the encounters cr to represent the fact that it was an easier fight and for the foes that are immune increase the cr to represent the fights are harder. The trick is to balance making the fights challenging with out making it seem like the world is Unfairly out to get them.

The fighter can one shot a target? Make lots of little guys that way hes getting to show off his powerful abbilities while still being in a deadly fight (aid another actions and flanking can help over come high ac as well as abbilities like a breath weapon that ignore armor)

The beguiler can reliably use instant win powers send a mixed force of undead and living soldiers the undead prevent him from just ending the encounter but the living troops give him something to use his powers on even turning them against the undead who he cant effect with his magic.

Against the high level rouge send creatures with alternate sense types that ignore stealth or better yet just foes who have an excellent spot and listen like say a band of rouges of slightly lower level their not going to be able to easily spot him while hes hiding but he wont be able to snipe so he can still use his tricks they just wont be an auto win.

Temet Nosce
2009-12-21, 08:56 PM
As I understand it you're asking "How often should they succeed?", correct? The answer is you're asking the wrong question. Your question should be more along the lines of "How do I challenge such a character?"

Which... Provides more interesting answers. One of them is as mentioned to make it inadvisable to carry out their usual tactics, another is to create a situation where action economy will force them to choose who to act against, a third would be to enact a plot where their abilities aren't useful in a traditional sense unless applied strangely.

Essentially, if a player envisions their character as hyper competent in a narrow area and builds towards that you should not use DM fiat to make them... less so. Instead, it's generally best to allow the player to be competent in that area but not allow it to provide every answer.