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big teej
2011-02-10, 02:37 PM
hey playgrounders, I was cruising the forums and in the "is dnd hard" thread

I posted the following




CR (or rather encounter level) is a rule of thumb.

It's rather trivial to go both ways on the difficulty curve at the same EL ... generally an archer ambush can quite efficiently kill PCs for instance.

uhm.... how effeciently?:smalleek:
my question was sadly ignored (though rightly so being off topic)

but given that I'm having some orc rogues and a bugbear ambush my party sometime in the near, near future....

this is sort of an important question

party composition
level 3

human paladin
dwarf fighter
half-elf ranger
human barbarian
human ranger
elf druid
human ranger


op level

the druid is being consistently outperformed by melee,
nobody really has experience with the game (outside of what we've played so far)


encounter set up

4 orcs and a bugbear (all with 2 levels in rogue) are going to ambush the party from cover of the forest (2 on either side of the road) with light repeating crossbows.

the bugbear will also open fire as the party scatters


do not make the following assumptions
- anyone knows what they're doing
- the above does not apply to melee
- that I don't want to kill my players
- that I do want to kill my players


other potentially (not likely) relevant information
we rolled 4d6 drop the lowest not point buy
the group has access to a grand total of 5 magic weapons
2 of which the group may or may not believe to be cursed
the druid is the only healing they have access to, they are 2 weeks away from the nearest town.


oh
and they're hunting a dragon.

Diarmuid
2011-02-10, 02:39 PM
So what's your question?

arguskos
2011-02-10, 02:42 PM
So what's your question?
Well, reading his own quote: how efficiently can archers kill PCs of around their level?

nightwyrm
2011-02-10, 02:44 PM
killing players effeciently

Poison their pizzas.

Kaww
2011-02-10, 02:48 PM
Guns for the win.

Bonus points if you take pictures of their expressions as you pull the trigger...

I know I'm being swordsaged, most likely several times...

DMfromTheAbyss
2011-02-10, 02:52 PM
In my experience I'd say the encounter will not be that big a deal unless some truely hideous rolling is involved. As in the PC's can't roll any hits or the enemies roll chain crits.

The PC's have both level and numbers.

The enemy has surprise and ranged atacks.

If you want to kill a PC or two you could have them totally concentrate fire. Without this the initial attack will result in some spread out damage, the PC's might think it's going bad for a few moments.. then all the actions from the larger number of party members takes it's toll and not a lot of trouble later they mop up.

Though remember that PC's can theoretically make any encounter a slaughter by a few intelligent actions (well timed grease /wall of fog, party thief ambushing the ambushers) or they could panic, act like idiots and die complaining you made the encounter too hard.. Usualy thankfully they tend to go more middle of the road.. so my best guess is not a bad encounter, not terribly challenging.

CigarPete
2011-02-10, 02:53 PM
At third level, all it will take is a few bolts to kill any one of them. With a party of all melee/bow types, it will largely depend on how quickly the party can close with the ambushers. If you put the ambushers in the trees, it will just be a slaughter with the party firing arrows up into concealment and a few trying to climb the trees to get at them. Put the ambushers on the ground and the party will have more of a chance.

Sillycomic
2011-02-10, 02:53 PM
The orcs and bugbear all have 2 levels in rogue? So they're pretty quiet which means your group won't really see the ambush coming.

First round means they're all flatfooted and presumably close enough so sneak attack applies.

Ouch.

Good thing there are no squishies in your group (why do you have 3 rangers and no arcane magic at all?)

Still, if all four of the baddies hit, that will take down half their hit points.

And if any of the rogues decide to target the same person they might just be dead before anyone can do anything.

After that, I would say it's about 50/50. If the rogues took up decent hiding spots in trees, then decidedly less so.

If the rogues use decent tactics and plan out this encounter, I can see a party wipe. Although, this is also assuming that your players don't know much about tactics or planning as well, and you said they really didn't.

Half-Orc Rage
2011-02-10, 02:58 PM
Well, since it's an ambush they will probably get off sneak attacks in the first round. Maybe some in the second, but two rogue levels only really means an extra d6 of damage each, and you've got enough characters in there that the damage gets spread around. With sneak attacks only working within 30ft, they should close that gap pretty quickly and take it into melee. 3rd level characters who have d8s or higher with decent con should not go down from that. Once in melee, the bugbear is the only one that will be any challenge and they should still not have any major problems. Maybe one ranger goes down into negative hp if he gets critted or something. On the flip side, with all those rangers, maybe they notice the ambush before it springs anyway. Either way I don't see that encounter being a major challenge for that group.

Why so many rangers? The skills are useful, but I can't imagine ever really needing more than one in a party. It would be better if one of those players played a wizard or cleric and could buff all that melee. A rogue might be nice too, if you ever head into a dungeon. I would throw them some healing potions or a wand of cure moderate or something, I'm sure the druid did not want to play a healbot.

At 3rd level, even with such a big party, that must be a really young dragon. That's the encounter that might kill them, not the freaking orc rogues.

Chen
2011-02-10, 02:59 PM
The opponents need to be within 30 ft to sneak attack so it seems unlikely they'd get there unnoticed unless its a REALLY dense forest right by the road. If the enemies can get surprise and they win initiative I could see some characters dropping but its unlikely to actually kill anyone (they'll probably be in the negatives if the fire is reasonably concentrated).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-02-10, 03:12 PM
The Druid's animal companion should be able to smell them coming, so the PCs could ruin the surprise round. I'd say it should be a good encounter, especially if the ambushers are atop some sort of bluff overlooking the road so that the PCs wouldn't be able to just charge straight at them.

Repeating Crossbows would require an exotic weapon proficiency feat, and they're expensive. Orcs get high Strength scores anyway, so Composite Shortbows (Str +2) with Rapid Shot would be a more likely scenario. You could go all-out Strength and give them Brutal Throw (CV) with Javelins, but that would be a little bit too mean.

As for dangerous archer encounters in general, consider a Human Fighter 4 with a Composite Longbow, Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. He would be on a Light Warhorse in studded barding, with a few potions like Protection from Arrows and Cat's Grace, wearing Breastplate armor. (I always give opponents at least three of any potion I would expect them to use against the PCs, they don't expect this to be their last fight and if they only have one they may save it.) He can attack 2/round for something like 1d8+5, his horse can single move 60 ft. per round and he takes no penalties to shoot, or it can double move 120 ft. and he takes only a -2 to hit, so if he's in an open field there's little chance of the PCs catching up to him. He'd have a high AC along with Protection from Arrows, and Mounted Combat can keep his horse relatively safe, plus at that level the PCs aren't likely to have sufficient spells/day to take him out. Something like Entangle could ruin his day, but if it's on a sandy beach or in an arid setting without sufficient plants to tangle him up they wouldn't stand much of a chance against him. It would make a decent killer-for-hire to be sent against them, or just a robber who expects to kill them and loot their corpses.

Stegyre
2011-02-10, 03:56 PM
As for dangerous archer encounters in general, consider a Human Fighter 4 with a Composite Longbow, Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. He would be on a Light Warhorse in studded barding, with a few potions like Protection from Arrows and Cat's Grace, wearing Breastplate armor. (I always give opponents at least three of any potion I would expect them to use against the PCs, they don't expect this to be their last fight and if they only have one they may save it.) He can attack 2/round for something like 1d8+5, his horse can single move 60 ft. per round and he takes no penalties to shoot, or it can double move 120 ft. and he takes only a -2 to hit, so if he's in an open field there's little chance of the PCs catching up to him. He'd have a high AC along with Protection from Arrows, and Mounted Combat can keep his horse relatively safe, plus at that level the PCs aren't likely to have sufficient spells/day to take him out. Something like Entangle could ruin his day, but if it's on a sandy beach or in an arid setting without sufficient plants to tangle him up they wouldn't stand much of a chance against him. It would make a decent killer-for-hire to be sent against them, or just a robber who expects to kill them and loot their corpses.
An interesting challenge.
Some possible additional responses:
Grease, if he gets close enough; although with a +4 reflex save, the LWH will keep its feet more often than not.
Sleep still works wonders, and it targets the weak (will) save of both the horse and the rider. I'd target the horse.
Color Spray, if they really get to close, may do for both mount and rider.
Glitterdust does have the range for this, and once either horse or rider is blinded, the attacker's in trouble.
A telepath would Brain Lock the rider, which would be a quick SoL.

Sillycomic
2011-02-10, 05:25 PM
An interesting challenge.
Some possible additional responses:
Grease, if he gets close enough; although with a +4 reflex save, the LWH will keep its feet more often than not.
Sleep still works wonders, and it targets the weak (will) save of both the horse and the rider. I'd target the horse.
Color Spray, if they really get to close, may do for both mount and rider.
Glitterdust does have the range for this, and once either horse or rider is blinded, the attacker's in trouble.
A telepath would Brain Lock the rider, which would be a quick SoL.

Did you read the OP?

There's 3 rangers, a fighter, a paladin, a barbarian and a druid. How are they going to cast sleep, color spray or glitterdust?

Yes... the obvious answer if a mounter archer starts fighting them is to run away and find a wizard that will solve all their problems.:smalltongue:

Human Paragon 3
2011-02-10, 05:44 PM
Did you read the OP?

There's 3 rangers, a fighter, a paladin, a barbarian and a druid. How are they going to cast sleep, color spray or glitterdust?

Yes... the obvious answer if a mounter archer starts fighting them is to run away and find a wizard that will solve all their problems.:smalltongue:

The real answer is to scatter and take cover, then ambush the fighter when he comes looking for them! Rangers should be able to pull this manuever off through stealth and survival rolls.

EDIT: To the OP: make sure you give your players a spot check to notice the enemies. I'm sure somebody has good spot, so they should at least have a chance to prevent the ambush, i.e. some people might be able to act in the surprise round.

I ran a similar encounter not long ago that had more enemies in it. They started by triggering a trap that blocked off the road, then sealed the party in by jumping out of hiding behind them. Melee types hit them with nets in order to limit their mobility and possibly incapacitate them while archers in trees shot off arrows with dex damage injury poison, attempting to get their Dex down to 0 with the help of the nets. Any player that went down to dex damage could look forward to a coup de gras on the melee types' next action. Fortunately all my players survived--the ambush was meant to kill normal people and put the party in danger, with death as a possibility.

Marnath
2011-02-10, 05:46 PM
Did you read the OP?

There's 3 rangers, a fighter, a paladin, a barbarian and a druid. How are they going to cast sleep, color spray or glitterdust?

Yes... the obvious answer if a mounter archer starts fighting them is to run away and find a wizard that will solve all their problems.:smalltongue:

Something they could do versus the mounted rider is use entangle, even if the horse saves it still is slowed by half within the area of effect. Then it's a matter of shooting him full of arrows, assuming that the rangers at least have bows.

Human Paragon 3
2011-02-10, 05:50 PM
Something they could do versus the mounted rider is use entangle, even if the horse saves it still is slowed by half within the area of effect. Then it's a matter of shooting him full of arrows, assuming that the rangers at least have bows.

He's got protection from arrows up, and the horse can just leave the area of entanglement eventually. You'll need to unhorse him and engage in melee.

randomhero00
2011-02-10, 05:56 PM
With terrain advantage archer/artillery NPCs can destroy someone. Key words there terrain advantage. Don't give them that. And spread the strikers out among several party members.

The RP reason/how I look at is that if they're ambushing, the NPCs must be pretty confident of taking out the PCs or having an escape route. So they'd probably try to kill as many as possible as quickly as possible. Which, thinking in real life roleplay terms would mean man to man. Like for instance if an army is ambushing a group they don't focus fire one individual.

Marnath
2011-02-10, 05:57 PM
He's got protection from arrows up, and the horse can just leave the area of entanglement eventually. You'll need to unhorse him and engage in melee.

At the minimum CL, that potion only blocks like 30 points. That shouldn't be too hard, especially if the horse fails a save or two. Not to mention the possibilty of noticing he's protected and just shooting the horse, or starting with that.

arguskos
2011-02-10, 06:01 PM
Man, this thread makes me reminisce about my player-killer super archer I built a year or so ago. He cheated a little (had a weapon that was kinda not amazingly fair, given that it's projectiles could phase through solid objects), but was mostly just abuse of the Champions of Ruin archery spells.

I love archery. Too bad 3.5 doesn't. :smallfrown:

Also, to be semi-useful to the OP, have you looked at Champions of Ruin? It's archery spells are really amazing, and synergize very well with shooting to kill. Not that I recommend killing players or anything. :smallcool:

EccentricCircle
2011-02-10, 06:05 PM
Killing Players in generally frowned upon,
so i'd kill the characters instead if I were you.

traps are fun.

Cerlis
2011-02-10, 06:20 PM
Well, based on the words in the quote and OP, i'd say he's worried about killing his players, not worried about not killing them. So no suggesting how to kill them better.

i know that CR is basically a guidline (i'd say it isnt, since anything that would alter the CR of a creature, such as tacticial or terrain advantage, the DMG says to increase the CR) but isnt it moreso at low level. I thought CR was suppose to be a strong challenge for a player and the rest of the session is filled with things 1-4 levels bellow the party. My point is if i remember right, if those goblins do have 2 levels in rogue, then each one of those ambushers is a CR3 encounter by itself. meaning the whole thing is probably a CR 5 or 6 encounter, increased by another 1 CR based on the fact that they have no true healer or arcane caster, but mitigated some by the large party.

again this is a question. I dont have enough experience to say, but it sounds like a TPK. 2 lvls of a PC class, racial bonuses to hide with full skillpoints in hiding, most of em having a PC ability that specifially takes advantage of the situation. A single NPC wont one shot any character by itself without a critical hit, but i doupt anyone sneaked attacked in the suprise round can take more than one or two more hits.

-------
this is all made worse from you suggesting the party is fairly new and unoptimized.


Have fun killing your players.

(if you want to fix it, take away a few NPCs, and maybe make only 2 rogues and the bugbear increased, the rest should be fodder IMO)

Sillycomic
2011-02-10, 06:28 PM
Honestly, this sounds like a bandit situation.

You have a bunch of orc rogues hanging out with a bugbear rogue. So what are they doing on the road?

Easy! They're taxing people who use the road. They're being bandits. They stop people and ask them to pay a toll, and then anyone who doesn't pay gets a dose of rogue sneak attack!

So, you set up the encounter with at least one orc (and perhaps the bugbear as well standing behind the orc and looking very intimidating) asking the fellow adventurers to pay if they want to cross the road.

The rest are in hiding with repeater crossbows at the ready.

Let them all have spot checks, including the familiar, to see if they notice there's other bandits in the surrounding forest.

This makes the adventurers not as flat footed, and gives them obvious outs to the situation (the first being... to pay the toll)

Then you don't have as many archers because the orc and bugbear on the road will probably switch to melee (which you already said your team is good at)

So, then it just becomes a question of how many losses this bandit group will acceptable take before they all start to run? I know they're orcs, but they're also rogues. I imagine when it's down to 2 or so left, they'll just want to run away.

That makes this a much more manageable encounter.

DragonBaneDM
2011-02-10, 06:32 PM
Explosive dice!!!

big teej
2011-02-11, 12:44 AM
a few clarifying things (lookin back over my hastily typed OP I noticed some missing things)

the orcs are fighter2/rogue2

and our group has a standing houserule that no exotic anything (armor nor weapons) are worth a feat

coupled with the ever present statement "don't abuse this"


and the reason we have so many rangers is because
a) this is a teaching campaign.
b) I instructed the players not to consult each other on what they're playing
I did this to promote
c) play what YOU WANT to play, and 'screw what the party needs'

which is my personal philosophy on pickin class/race.

but this thread isn't about that, so I digress.

the orcs and the bugbear will likely be out of range for sneak attack, (haven't worked out the numbers on that yet)

also
the orcs ARE on the ground, not up in the trees.

and last, about the dragon
that is several sessions (and at least 1 level) in the future.

they are currently en route to the mountians to track down the dragon (which is indeed quite young)

in addition to the dragon (final boss of this segment of the campaign)
the dragon has accumumlated a small horde of minions
including.....
(this is what we'll be left by the time the party makes it to the right cave complex)


The blue dragon Sun-ai-charkun
2 mages of 2nd level
1 mage of 4th level
60 goblins
16 orcs 2nd level fighters
4 bugbears -
6 ogres



I seriously might tweak those numbers, but I doubt it.

and the dragon fight will take place under ground, with just enough space for it to leap up and fly a bit aways (so no strafing the party to death)


but that's all largely irrelevant to this thread,

I'm just making sure my orc scout/snipers are about to pwn the party (since apparently archerambush is really effecient at killing PCS)

candycorn
2011-02-11, 09:00 AM
How firm are you on orcs? Goblins are often commanded by orcs, so using them as scouts isn't out of character... and they make better archers.

Take the following:
4x (Goblin Rogue 2)
1x (Goblin Ranger 3/Rogue 1)

With the higher Dex and smaller size, they'll be more accurate and better at hiding until sneak attack range. They'll do a couple less damage per hit, but there should be more hits.

From there, give the commander a dose of poison. Nothing too major, say, any injury poison in the DMG with a cost of under 100g. Give the ranger the archery combat style (netting rapid shot), and add in improved initiative and point blank shot.

Now, the enemy group should likely get surprise round (hide in the foliage at ground level).

4 attacks with shortbows at +7 (+4 dex, +1 BAB, +2 for being undetected) vs flat footed AC for 1d4+1d6 damage (average 6), and 1 attack with longbow at +9 (+4 dex, +3 BAB, +2 for being undetected) for 2d6 damage (average 7) + poison.

Ranger will likely win initiative, getting a rapid shot (2 attacks, +5 to hit, 2d6 damage each) vs Flat footed AC.

If you focus on the front player until he's unconscious, then the 2nd character, and so on, you can likely have 2 people unconscious before the party even gets to act. From there, a demand to surrender "We don't want to kill you, but we can, and will, unless...", drop weapons, and to hand over valuables as a price for "the lives of you and your bleeding friends"...

And there's a bandit archer encounter. Ambush, let them know you mean business, demoralize the opponent, then try to extort the cash without your own group getting hurt.

Sillycomic
2011-02-11, 09:52 AM
Does the bugbear only have 2 levels of rogue or does he also have some other class levels?

How optimized are these orcs? With 4 class levels (two of them in fighter) you have got 4 feats to work with.

They can't be very optimized if you have them fighting with repeating crossbows from a range that makes their sneak attack useless. These are dumb tactics for orc rogues for 2 reasons.

1. You have a character with an 18 Strength using a crossbow. His Dex is 11 (possibly 12 if you put the 4th level Ability increase in Dex)

2. You have characters built around sneak attack... not sneak attacking. They purposely try to shoot at the party outside of their Sneak Attack range, and once the party sees this and aren't flat footed, the poor orcs won't get to use it again until they're flanking.

They should at least have Strength bows to utilize their awesome strength.

Since they're all 4th level characters, they could all have 4th WBL, which means they can have Strength bows, perhaps even magically enhanced ones. Although, leaving behind all of that lewts for your own adventurers would be dangerous.

If you just want random bad guys with rogue levels using repeating crossbows, I would suggest another race. You could use orcs, but they would not be optimal for the situation, you are negating an orc's strength score, you are negating half of their class levels and you are also hand waving away normal orc tactics.

Goblins, humans, elves, halflings or gnolls would use these kinds of tactics and be better at doing whatever it is you want the orc rogues to be doing.

Orcs would want melee. Or... smart orcs would be up in the trees with strength bows taking out these peons no problem.

Actually, since orcs get the orc double axe as a martial weapon, they could easily go the TWF route to utilize both strength and sneak attack damage. That would be a brutal encounter, and would likely wipe your party.

Now, if you want to throw away decent tactics and optimal use of the race/class you chose for this encounter... then the orcs will lose pretty handily. They'll still take a chunk of HP from your party, but nothing significant. I would be surprised if any of the adventurers get down to less than half their HP (unless the rogues are specifically targeting one ranger over another)

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 09:57 AM
Well, reading his own quote: how efficiently can archers kill PCs of around their level?

Not terribly, in most circumstances. They are not immense one round damage dealers, so it's unlikely they'll be able to kill 1+ chars in the opening round.

Then, arcanists usually own them.

I have some very specific, very long range archery builds that are incredibly lethal, but those are very focused builds that center on sniping for moderate damage, then repositioning long before anyone can respond to them. Interesting for certain encounters, but not especially lethal.

valadil
2011-02-11, 10:23 AM
With terrain advantage archer/artillery NPCs can destroy someone. Key words there terrain advantage. Don't give them that. And spread the strikers out among several party members.


Here's something to keep in mind about terrain. You're running an ambush. That means the bad guys get to choose the terrain. They're not picking something at random, they're picking a place that works best for what they have. The archers will be safely tucked away 20 yards away, on a building, or in the trees. Getting to them will take several rounds. The rogues will have hiding places near each other so that they can pop out of hiding, flank someone, and double sneak attack. They'll probably get to choose when they pop out of the ambush. If they assume someone is getting sneak attacked several times, pick someone they think they can drop.

Lamech
2011-02-11, 11:34 AM
You know those ridiculous spot/listen penalties for being 590ft away? You can probably snipe them at that distance and they will never be able to see it. Wait for twilight, so everything is shadowy, have your hidden people open fire. The PC's probably shouldn't have a chance of actually finding them, and they can't hide because its in combat.

Insta-TPK. Well very slow TPK but you get the point.

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 11:37 AM
Oh, it's very easy to make an efficient sniper. It's much harder for said sniper to be able to trap the characters. Especially if the party has a wizard.

Sillycomic
2011-02-11, 11:39 AM
True.

If they have far shot and use their darkvision, they could wait until nightfall and just destroy the adventurers.

With a decent longbow they could be a good 300 feet away. Wait for people to fall asleep with just one person up and taking watching. Everyone snipe him at once....

And then go into the camp and coup de gracey the rest.

Ahh, now I see why they are rogue/fighter orcs now. Very clever.

DeltaEmil
2011-02-11, 11:58 AM
Stuff like this will only lead to people sleeping in rope tricked pocket dimensions, walking around almost permanently invisible, divining all day along about what sort of dangers awaits the group, and walking with a swarm of ablative hit points in the form of mooks and animal companions the size of seismosaurus. Or in other words, not fun.

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 12:05 PM
Darkvision typically has very explicit range limitations. Longer than 60 ft is unusual.

Sillycomic
2011-02-11, 12:33 PM
Unless the party has no campfire or light sources whatsoever, the half orcs should be able to target from 300 feet away.

It's been mentioned several times, the party has no wizard. The party consists of a bunch of beat sticks (3 rangers, fighter, paladin, barbarian) and a druid (that is new to the game).

The fact that there's no wizard only makes this whole thing easier. I don't know why so many of you keep going, "Nope that won't work because a wizard will just do this."

I think it's sad that the only advice for this group of adventuring beatsticks when they come across a couple of rogue orcs is, "Go back to town and find a wizard to come help you."

Part of the exercise for this is to prove how awesome ranged combat can be in D&D. Since we've found several ways to wipe this party with a minimal shuffling of tactics and planning, I consider it a success.

Should the orcs do this? Nope. It wouldn't be fun for anyone (except for the GM if he gets his kicks out of wiping his party, I guess)

But, it's nice to know the thought exercise worked pretty well.

TheCountAlucard
2011-02-11, 01:37 PM
What's with people thinking orcs can see so far in the dark? :smallconfused:

Orcish darkvision only goes out to 60 feet. Heck, the vast majority of darkvision only goes out to 60 feet. Beyond that 60 feet, they're just as blind as anyone else... :smalleek:

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 01:44 PM
Yup. In fact, Im pretty sure I pointed out the 60ft cutoff before.

And the fact that you can wipe an unprepared, mostly sleeping party of beatsticks with a tactic does not make it good. People walking in and hitting them would also work.

Note that by RAW, sleeping characters still get listen checks, btw. Sure, it's at a nasty penalty, but a battle is a DC -10 listen check. So, success on DC 0.

TheCountAlucard
2011-02-11, 01:45 PM
Note that by RAW, sleeping characters still get listen checks, btw. Sure, it's at a nasty penalty, but a battle is a DC -10 listen check. So, success on DC 0.Note that there's no penalty to Spot checks for being asleep. :smallamused: Learn to sleep with your eyes open, and you're good.

Vknight
2011-02-11, 01:50 PM
The light from the campfire goes a good distance, then after that darkness in those 60ft of darkness the Orcs hide there darkvision letting them see till were the campfire light ends. The distance imposes an additional -2penatly on the listen checks. They then target 1guy dropping him. Moving in the Orcs begin to slowly drag 1memeber into the shadows and kill him there were the other party members cannot see him. Repeat process.

This lets them realize. Maybe we need a wizard, especially if they all die.

Chen
2011-02-11, 02:16 PM
The light from the campfire goes a good distance, then after that darkness in those 60ft of darkness the Orcs hide there darkvision letting them see till were the campfire light ends. The distance imposes an additional -2penatly on the listen checks. They then target 1guy dropping him. Moving in the Orcs begin to slowly drag 1memeber into the shadows and kill him there were the other party members cannot see him. Repeat process.

This lets them realize. Maybe we need a wizard, especially if they all die.

Considering none of them are likely to one shot the guy on watch he'd probably be able to make enough noise to wake people up. And even if they all hit its what 5d6 damage? That might not even drop the person depending on the HP rolls and Con. A d8 hit point class with average HP and no con bonus still has 17 Hp and the 5d6 average is 17.5. A 12 Con and the person doesn't drop unless there are other feats and/or crits that come into play.

Vknight
2011-02-11, 02:47 PM
Ah but we frogot the fun of you Dex mod along with other bonuses including sneak attack if they are closer.

Chen
2011-02-11, 03:36 PM
Ah but we frogot the fun of you Dex mod along with other bonuses including sneak attack if they are closer.

Since when do you get to add your dex mod to damage dealt by a crossbow? If they can get close enough to sneak sure. But that kind of negates the whole "kill them from super far off" bit.

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 03:41 PM
The light from the campfire goes a good distance, then after that darkness in those 60ft of darkness the Orcs hide there darkvision letting them see till were the campfire light ends. The distance imposes an additional -2penatly on the listen checks. They then target 1guy dropping him. Moving in the Orcs begin to slowly drag 1memeber into the shadows and kill him there were the other party members cannot see him. Repeat process.

This lets them realize. Maybe we need a wizard, especially if they all die.

That's not how darkvision works. If there is light, darkvision does not function. You instead use normal vision. You don't stack your vision lengths...each only works to it's maximum range, when it's applicable.

I'm going to point out that a -2 penalty to a listen check means that, even asleep, they need to make a DC 2 check to hear battle. Note that even this distance modifier is heavily arguable, since the target is pretty much next to them.

If you are close enough to sneak attack, you're almost certainly close enough for people on watch to get a spot check. Also, you don't get to add dex to damage. There is a feat for that, called crossbow sniper, yes, but you'll notice that the range is limited.

Sillycomic
2011-02-11, 04:09 PM
If there's light they dont need the darkvision.

If the group sleeps for the night and sets up a campfire the half orcs don't need their darkvision to see the group.

The darkvision is for their own hiding spots. They don't need any light sources where they are, which means even if the party gets up or makes a spot check or whatever, they'll still be surrounded by darkness. No enemy torches or lanterns to help them figure out what's going on.

If the orcs are using Far shat, and strength bows (which I put in my scenario) not only are the penalties minimal, but the damage they are dealing is much more substantial.

Even with only +2 Strength Longbows and no sneak attacks and only 3 of them hit against a flat footed character, you're looking at around 20 damage in the first round. I would say that would drop all except the fighter, paladin and the barbarian, but even they would be hurting after that.

+2 Strength Longbow is 300 gold, a light repeater crossbow is 250 gold. So they can easily trade in their insignificant repeaters for a weapon that will actually do some damage.

If that doesn't drop him, try again the second round. If the orcs roll decent initiative, they might be able to get off a second volley before anyone yells out for help.

If he wakes up his friends... just be quiet for a while. With 2 levels in rogue they should be able to be pretty sneaky and quiet being over 200 feet away.

Plus if they are 4th level equivalent orcs, they could easily have enough money to afford some sort of poison or sleep arrow that makes this thing a heck of a lot easier.

Tyndmyr
2011-02-11, 04:15 PM
If the orcs are using Far shat,

Worst feat ever.

On a more serious note, a fire would likely be not a ton of light. You add a bunch of distance on to that, and spot checks for the archers to see the players actually become problematic. You're not even guaranteed that the campsite will have clear LOS to a firing position a great deal of distance away.

And yes, if you have enough advanced orcs with poison, expensive weapons, and positioning specifically geared to screw over the party while they sleep...you can. So, lets look at it...4 level 4 orcs with substantial advantages is, by RAW, what, a CR 10 encounter?

Sillycomic
2011-02-11, 04:49 PM
The orcs have all night to find a place where they can see and feel comfortable hiding. I wouldn't say this part of the scenario is easy, but that's the point. The orc rogues are being smart and putting themselves at a tactically sound position to greater improve their own odds. 2 hours of planning and setting up for 6 seconds of perfect execution sounds like the thinking of a rogue to me.

Yeah, I would say this thought exercise would be around a CR 10. That makes sense.

Again, one wizard totally destroys it... but I think the general consensus all along has been for the beatsticks to go back to town and get a wizard to help them.

Especially from the far shatting orcs! :smallbiggrin: