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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Ravenloft party too strong

    Hello.

    I'm currently DMing an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft campaign, shortened version, using a few Pathfinder rules in addition to 3.5. I have a party of two currently running through the castle- A wizard built to blast everything into oblivion, mostly using fire, and a Fighter 1/Cleric 8 designed to never die. According to the module, the party was supposed to be 8th level... Seeing as it was only a party of two, I gave them both 9th level. The paladin in the party then got eaten by a hag due to a foolish error on his part, and the cleric leveled up, so now we have a Wizard 5/Master Specialist 4 and a Fighter 1/Cleric 9.

    They'll be facing Strahd shortly, but due to the amount of optimization they've got going on, Strahd won't stand a chance. They both have very high armor class (28 for the Wizard and 40 something for the Cleric) as well as absurd save bonuses and decent defenses against most everything. Their touch ACs are considerably lower, somewhere in the 20s for both of them.

    I've changed Strahd's spell list a little... Roughly half of his spells have a save DC that's below 30, making it virtually impossible for the party to fail a save... So I've removed those. Anything that requires a non-touch attack (or to a lesser extent, a melee attack) will be mostly useless. I've made Strahd's list compost of mostly Fell-Draining Magic Missiles and Enervates, because as far as I'm aware, they don't have an easy way to deal with negative levels... Aside from Restoration, which the cleric may or may not prepare regularly (I don't know.) I believe it is also essential for him to stay hidden, so I've added several castings of Invis and Greater Invis... But I don't think it'll be enough.

    So... If anyone more experienced has ideas on how I could make the fight more of a challenge, but not impossibly difficult, sharing of said ideas would be very much appreciated. :)

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Have Strahd cast Dispel Magic, or give him a caster cohort who does it for him?

    Also, give Strahd a few more class levels and/or beef up his ability scores. That usually helps.
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    I'm confused. why exactly does strahd, a 10th level vampire wizard, consider fighting the PCs by himself if they're level 9 and t1 (mostly) classes? he's survived adventuring parties before, and when you encounter him, he's not supposed to be by himself, there's gonna be a stone giant, or another vampire, or some werewolves backing him up.

    he's been scrying on them the whole time, he'd know how beefy they are.
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Put a permanent Wall of Dispel Magic in the entrance, no more buffs.

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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    Put a permanent Wall of Dispel Magic in the entrance, no more buffs.
    Lol yeah, and then watch as the powergamers throw a fit and ragequit the adventure. Seriously Dispel Magic and anti-magic fields are the quickest way to make a player hate you, especially if you do it frequently. The second quickest way would be to mind control or fear them for longer than a single round without saves, but that's really more the dice's fault than yours (also players will WHINE about it alot more in my experience).

    My suggestion is throw more encounters at them, get the cleric to use up his buffs and the wizard to use up his deadliest spells. By the time they get to Strahd (who most definitely has backup), they should have less than half of their available spells left to use.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Quote Originally Posted by whisperwind1 View Post
    Lol yeah, and then watch as the powergamers throw a fit and ragequit the adventure. Seriously Dispel Magic and anti-magic fields are the quickest way to make a player hate you, especially if you do it frequently. The second quickest way would be to mind control or fear them for longer than a single round without saves, but that's really more the dice's fault than yours (also players will WHINE about it alot more in my experience).
    Guess your players are a lot more childish than the ones I'm used to. Sure, some of us (probably me most of all) will bitch a bit at the time but we get over it quickly because a smart opponent isn't expected to play fair.

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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Guess your players are a lot more childish than the ones I'm used to. Sure, some of us (probably me most of all) will bitch a bit at the time but we get over it quickly because a smart opponent isn't expected to play fair.
    Obviously, and my players understand that actually. But some of them have had bad experiences with DMs who pull anti-magic bull**** just because they don't want to deal with caster nonsense. One of them is actually in a game where his DM frequently throws in such tactics, because he can't compensate for the spellcasters. What's that? Your fireball causes 50 damage to my monsters? Well it turns out they have anti-magic amulets so your spell fizzles!.

    Also for the fear and mind control stuff. we recently had a session where two players were sidelined for basically the entire fight because they were fleeing in terror. I definitely understand that it sucks to be on the receiving end of that.

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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    A few negative levels, if they haven't defended against that, should do the job. They do have a Cleric so this may not work though.
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Make the room they are fighting in a death trap for living things? Permanent Solid Fog and Stinking Cloud spells to cripple the party, some beefy grapplers to pull down the wizard, just keep chucking dominates until one of them is possessed.
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    Hello.

    I'm currently DMing an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft campaign, shortened version, using a few Pathfinder rules in addition to 3.5. I have a party of two currently running through the castle- A wizard built to blast everything into oblivion, mostly using fire, and a Fighter 1/Cleric 8 designed to never die. According to the module, the party was supposed to be 8th level... Seeing as it was only a party of two, I gave them both 9th level. The paladin in the party then got eaten by a hag due to a foolish error on his part, and the cleric leveled up, so now we have a Wizard 5/Master Specialist 4 and a Fighter 1/Cleric 9.

    They'll be facing Strahd shortly, but due to the amount of optimization they've got going on, Strahd won't stand a chance. They both have very high armor class (28 for the Wizard and 40 something for the Cleric) as well as absurd save bonuses and decent defenses against most everything. Their touch ACs are considerably lower, somewhere in the 20s for both of them.

    I've changed Strahd's spell list a little... Roughly half of his spells have a save DC that's below 30, making it virtually impossible for the party to fail a save... So I've removed those. Anything that requires a non-touch attack (or to a lesser extent, a melee attack) will be mostly useless. I've made Strahd's list compost of mostly Fell-Draining Magic Missiles and Enervates, because as far as I'm aware, they don't have an easy way to deal with negative levels... Aside from Restoration, which the cleric may or may not prepare regularly (I don't know.) I believe it is also essential for him to stay hidden, so I've added several castings of Invis and Greater Invis... But I don't think it'll be enough.

    So... If anyone more experienced has ideas on how I could make the fight more of a challenge, but not impossibly difficult, sharing of said ideas would be very much appreciated. :)


    Probably late to the party.
    Give Strahd like an amulet of fire immunity or something, and inflict negative levels on the Cleric prior to the encounter. Should finish it up decently.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    Hello.

    I'm currently DMing an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft campaign, shortened version, using a few Pathfinder rules in addition to 3.5. I have a party of two currently running through the castle- A wizard built to blast everything into oblivion, mostly using fire, and a Fighter 1/Cleric 8 designed to never die. According to the module, the party was supposed to be 8th level... Seeing as it was only a party of two, I gave them both 9th level. The paladin in the party then got eaten by a hag due to a foolish error on his part, and the cleric leveled up, so now we have a Wizard 5/Master Specialist 4 and a Fighter 1/Cleric 9.

    They'll be facing Strahd shortly, but due to the amount of optimization they've got going on, Strahd won't stand a chance. They both have very high armor class (28 for the Wizard and 40 something for the Cleric) as well as absurd save bonuses and decent defenses against most everything. Their touch ACs are considerably lower, somewhere in the 20s for both of them.

    I've changed Strahd's spell list a little... Roughly half of his spells have a save DC that's below 30, making it virtually impossible for the party to fail a save... So I've removed those. Anything that requires a non-touch attack (or to a lesser extent, a melee attack) will be mostly useless. I've made Strahd's list compost of mostly Fell-Draining Magic Missiles and Enervates, because as far as I'm aware, they don't have an easy way to deal with negative levels... Aside from Restoration, which the cleric may or may not prepare regularly (I don't know.) I believe it is also essential for him to stay hidden, so I've added several castings of Invis and Greater Invis... But I don't think it'll be enough.

    So... If anyone more experienced has ideas on how I could make the fight more of a challenge, but not impossibly difficult, sharing of said ideas would be very much appreciated. :)
    If your party is that optimized, then I suggest upgrading Strahd to a full Vampire Lord and perhaps even give him the Evolved Undead template several times.
    Last edited by jedipilot24; 2015-05-27 at 05:20 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Also probably late to the party, but...

    (1) If most of the casters' AC is derived from spells -- and I'm guessing a lot of it would have to be given those numbers -- consider giving Strahd a bruiser or two with Pierce Magical Protection. Someone who's got this feat attacks ignoring all buffs that add to AC and for an encore, if the attack does damage, it then dispels all AC-boosting spells. This is wider than it seems: Polymorph, even Haste is busted by this effect. I've used this on level 10 clerics in the past with a level 6 hobgoblin type and it worked beautifully for that purpose.

    (2) Shivering Touch. No save.

    (3) Summon, summon, summon, and grapple. If they can't move their hands, they can't cast.

    (4) Wings of Cover. Cheesy as all hell, but a very cool raised middle finger to the average caster for at least one round.

    More generally, yeah: your PCs have now accessed fifth level magic, which is a quantum leap in damage, debuff, manipulation of action economy and information. Doesn't even require going outside the SRD for some of the best spells in the game.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ravenloft party too strong

    Thanks all. I've got some interesting ideas.

    @Saintheart: Nope. They have no spells active on them most of the time (With the exception of an Alter Self (wings) for the wizard, and an Air Walk for the cleric.)

    The cleric wears full plate (+8 armor bonus in PF, fairly sure it's +2, so 8 armor bonus total), has a Dex bonus (+1), carries a tower shield (Also +2), and has Bracers of Armor (Or some similar item granting a deflection bonus.) I think he has a few other effects as well, he has a total of 38 AC and 18 touch. The wizard has some kind of cheesy kit to give him a +6 armor bonus to AC with 0 ACP and 0 ASF (it consists of mithral feycraft chainmail or something, with a few addons that are either from OA or A&EG, not sure.) His AC is like 28, with 16 touch. Their numbers are slightly below what I had given, but they're still kind of crazy. They focused mostly on being nigh-unkillable

    Their save bonuses are so high that anything below DC 25 is really unlikely to succeed, and the cleric has a ridiculous bonus to Perception, regularly rolling in the 20s and 30s.

    Next time I run a campaign that they're in, it'll be low-magic and they'll start at first level. :P

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