View Full Version : Gestault Campaign

2008-03-17, 11:42 PM
Does anybody have any good methods for creating appropriate challenges to 4 gestault characters?

The situation I'm in is I have 4 gestault characters, who are the "I'm especially powerful for whatever reason" Kind that happen one in a thousand... and yet 4 meet up happenstance like. But anyway, They are stuck in a city of undead and are just trying to get out of the city.

The problem so far is that everytime I toss encounters that I think will make a dent and make a battle, They finish it in 4 rounds. if that. I tried making the encounters higher, but it doesn't seem to be working, or maybe I'm just doing it wrong. I dont' want to make it too high, otherwise I kill them/they have to rest after one lousy battle. But I seem to be making some that are too low.

I had a group or two of 1 Cr 3, 2 cr 2's and 1 cr 5 encounter. A level 5 cleric and a bunch of undead. They wiped the floor with them.. they are level 5 themselves. How high should I jump it? several level 5 monsters? cr9 monsters? Should I just adjust monster stats to better fit hurting my players?

2008-03-17, 11:55 PM
Challenge Ratings

Gestalt characters can obviously handle more opposition than standard characters. The simplest way to compensate for this is to use adventures with tougher monsters. In general, a party of four gestalt characters can handle multiple encounters with a single monster of a Challenge Rating equal to their average level + 1. If the monster poses a challenge because it forces the characters to succeed on life-threatening saving throws (such as with a medusa or a wyvern), itís even weaker against gestalt characters, who have few or no weak saves. Characters can handle multiple encounters with such monsters at a Challenge Rating equal to their average level + 2. A shambling mound (CR 6) or a medusa (CR 7) would be appropriate average encounters for four 5th-level gestalt characters. If you take this approach, realize that characters gain levels faster than in a typical campaign, because theyíre gaining experience points as if those encounters were harder than they actually are. Youíre obviously comfortable with a high-powered game, so faster advancement may be an additional benefit, not a problem. if you rely on published adventures, this is the easiest option.

If you want to keep level advancement at the standard average of thirteen encounters per level, reduce the Challenge Ratings of all the monsters and NPCs in your campaign by 1 (or by 2 if they rely on failed PC saving throws to pose a challenge). The shambling mound and the medusa would both become CR 5 monsters, and the gestalt characters gain levels at the usual rate. Monsters with a Challenge Rating of 1 become CR 1/2, and other monsters with fractional Challenge Ratings have their CRs cut in half (kobolds become CR 1/6, in other words). Many staple low-CR monsters donít work well against a party of gestalt characters, even 1st-level gestalts.


2008-03-18, 12:03 AM
You could always simply let them plow through the mook fights, and then just ad hoc the boss fights.

I've tried this out once, and it worked very well, though I've never met a single other DM in my entire life who isn't so utterly appalled by the idea that he doesn't immediately change the subject and refuse to ever speak of it again.

What I mean is, don't write any stats for the boss. Have a description. He looks like *this*, and he's essentially like *this*. For instance, "He's a 15 foot tall ogre in black robes. He's a necromancer and has decent melee". Then, before the fight starts, take a look at the attack bonuses and armor class of the players. Make it so that he'll hit, on average, the melee people a certain % of the time (I used 60-65% in my trial. Remember that a number on a d20 is 5%) and will avoid melee damage a certain percent of them (I picked around 55%, I believe). Adjust his attack bonus and AC so that the percents work out.

Then, as the fight goes on, just do whatever you want. Have him always resist the save or suck spells, so that it doesn't end in anticlimax. Have his hits do enough damage to be impressive but not kill them. Give him random awesome abilities on the fly. Maybe, in a single round, he hits one melee character with his club for X damage, punts a second one across the room with a kick dealing Y damage and stunning them for a round if they fail a fort save against an arbitrary DC, and also summon 12 closely-grouped non-statted skeletons that all die in one hit and deal next to no damage but make the caster feel good when he fireballs the lot into paste. Then, the next round, have him make a great leap up some stairs to a raised dais upon which he begins channeling a spell. You don't have to know what spell, because the PCs will stop him. Etc...

Then, when your PCs are battered and broken, maybe a couple are unconscious, they think they're going to lose, BAM, someone deals the final blow. The Ogre goes down, screaming curses as he does so. Everyone thinks it was epic. You didn't have to do any work at all, and it all went down exactly how you wanted it to with no worries about an accidental TPK.

Just a suggestion. I've only done it once, out of fear that my players would find out and feel cheated somehow, but damn it was nice to not have to spend 2 hours statting out a BBEG just to have him Glitterdusted in the first round and beat into the dust in 3 without ever getting a shot off.

2008-03-18, 12:11 AM
Four rounds is pretty impressive. My regular party usually mashes monsters 1-2CR above them in two.

Miles Invictus
2008-03-18, 12:14 AM
You spelled "gestalt" wrong. And now that my compulsive anal-retentiveness is satisfied...

One level 5 cleric and a heap of mook undead should get stomped by a party of level 5 gestalt players. It's a CR 8 encounter, by the numbers...which is considered "very difficult" by the Encounter Calculator at d20srd. Now, I'd almost trust that if it was a single CR 8 foe, but that's not the case here.

The difference is that a single CR 8 enemy retains full combat effectiveness until killed. Your CR 8 encounter, however...each player can stomp a CR 2 or CR 3 enemy in a round or two, and your encounter loses potency every time a creature dies. If your players win initiative, they can wipe out most of your mooks before they react, and then they're facing a CR 5 and some pocket change. Nothing a gestalt party will have any trouble with.

d20srd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/gestaltCharacters.htm) has a resource that might be helpful. In fact, my gut reaction -- increase your creature CRs by 1 -- is exactly what d20srd recommends. You can also even things up a bit by making your boss creatures gestalt. Or, if you'd rather keep things simple, give them all good saves and a minimum d8 hit die.

2008-03-18, 12:25 AM
Xefas, if you were my DM I would feel so cheated.

I would have no problem with the DM on the fly before the encounter setting up the stats of the BBEG so that you will hit X amount of the times, and be hit Y. But to adjust the stats on the fly, saying you do X damage when in reality you did Y just irks me.

What is the point of rolling if the dice are going to be changed.

2008-03-18, 12:43 AM
One thing you should consider, especially if you've got spare time, is making all BBEGs as Gestalt characters - it's much easier to challenge PCs if you're playing by their own high-powered rules.

2008-03-18, 12:48 AM
Maybe so, but the point is that There aren't High powered people all over the place. There are a bunch... but it's not exactly as if you find them in every town and city.

2008-03-18, 12:54 AM
Maybe so, but the point is that There aren't High powered people all over the place. There are a bunch... but it's not exactly as if you find them in every town and city.

Even if there aren't a ton of them, naturally some of them are going to be Evil, and your PCs, also being that powerful, are naturally the ones to take them out. It's not that PCs fight them because there are a lot of them, it's just because those are the people they'd gravitate towards fighting, especially at higher levels. They're free to fight weaker (non-gestalt) people, but those are going to seem like mooks to them.

Just my opinion, though; you're free to use non-gestalt BBEGs, but it'd be easier on game balance (and verisimilitude) if some (if not all) of the major baddies were gestalt.

2008-03-18, 02:08 AM
*snip*At that point, the outcome's predetermined. Both the players' rolls and choices become meaningless. Yeah, they might feel cheated.

2008-03-18, 05:47 AM
what iv found is that throwing multipule groups at the party helps split them up so they cant focus fire.

have walls/barriars so the group is physically seperated.

Throw harder monsters at them. However be carefull that you dont throw say something with level drain and they cant get a resto.

2008-03-18, 06:03 AM
At that point, the outcome's predetermined. Both the players' rolls and choices become meaningless. Yeah, they might feel cheated.

The outcome is more or less predetermined anyway in a game of D&D- just the way that it is achieved is variable.

Seriously, you have two choices:

1) The PCs succeed and continue until the final climax.
2) The PCs fail. The campaign is over.

Either the PCs were going to defeat the Ogre or they were going to be defeated by him. If they succeed, the game continues. If they fail, the game is over. Ergo, if I want the game to continue, it is already a forgone conclusion that they were going to win against the Ogre.

Sure, they can run away if they get in over their heads, but then the Ogre raises his army of undead and marches to annihilate all sentient life in the PC's home country. Eventually they're going to have to face him and win, or die, or keep running. One of those options means the game is over, one D&D wasn't designed for and isn't exactly heroic fantasy. That leaves- winning.

It's the sad truth, but unless you're running something like Burning Wheel, there isn't much way to keep a heroic campaign going when the PCs are pathetic screw ups and/or dead.