View Full Version : Gestalt: challenging /fun ?

2009-06-10, 02:07 PM
ive played both normal and gestalt campaigns. Enough to say, I had a lot of fun whith both of them, even if I feel like a big piece of Gouda cheese in gestalt.

One of the players complained a lot about it (gestalt) because he said that the we had no challenges.

How do the normal gestalt DM make new challenges to their players. Our dm maxed the hit die to every enemy and made gestalt all the BBEGs. what about yours?

2009-06-10, 02:46 PM
No magic items.

2009-06-10, 02:50 PM
I do different things to each enemy:

I up regular joe enemies to PC classes
I up PC classed/squad leaders to Elite Array abilities
I up Elite Arrayed/Bosses to Gestalt
I up BBEGs to Gestalt with heavy strategy used

although for a fair bit of the time I just give the standard enemies strategy. You give them bonus power, so instead of testing that power, just make them use their power wisely.
The bonus with gestalt beyond just being more powerful is that there is a lot more combination and possibilities for new combat styles, for example the group's Monk//Fighter; 2 weak classes, but which help to cover each others weaknesses. He's still suboptimal, but he gets to have fun like it.

No magic items.You do that, and you practically ruin one of the key purposes of Gestalt. You aren't supposed to balance their power with more power, you're supposed to balance it with more versatile and organized enemies.

2009-06-10, 02:57 PM
You do that, and you practically ruin one of the key purposes of Gestalt. You aren't supposed to balance their power with more power, you're supposed to balance it with more versatile and organized enemies.

Oh, the enemies had plenty of magic items. The PCs didn't.

Sinfire Titan
2009-06-10, 09:44 PM
The easiest way? Throw things at them that are 4 CRs higher than their ECL. Multiple things, such as 3 Dragons or Lichs with about 6-7 minions between them and the PCs. Use casters optimally, and above all else, Gestalt the classed enemies so they at least stand a chance.

One-on-One encounters don't work in Gestalt unless Tome of Battle is mixed with Full Casting/Manifesting classes, but that ends in TPKs more often than not. You need at least 3 enemies per PC (assuming each enemy's CR is equal to the PC's ECL) to pose a threat to them.

2009-06-11, 12:11 AM
Well, in our game, when we were together and able to play off each other it was damn near impossible to make us even flinch no matter what we saw...other than a Shadow of the Void...

What did work well though slightly zany, was when we split up and were searching all over and ran into multiple encounters all over the place. When we were fighting a bunch of guys in pairs instead of one huge party it became alot more challenging. Even if most of the mooks can only hit on a 20, when they do hit it hurts...20-30hp a strike is nothing to laugh at when the cleric is 5 turns worth of move away and your best heal is 1d8 or a LoH...

As far as challenging them...mobs of 'normal' enemies is fun, lets the players feel like heroes while still posing a bit of a threat due to shear numbers. Mix monsters in interesting ways, terrain is sometimes a fun way to add spice to things...fight on a rope bridge or other precarious structure...or take to the skies and hope noone dispels you. Ooh....Have enemies use dispel magic...often...

For 'boss' style battles...yeah, they need to be gestalt...and no one big guy with some mooks...he has to have some guys with him on par or stronger than the party members individually and work well together.

It is important to try and shape the battlefield. A BBEG won't just stand there in the open blasting or fighting where everyone can get him, him or one of his minions should block line of action/sight, do whatever it takes with walls/traps, illusions, or even tackling people into another room to ensure they take people peicemeal in a big brawl. If every party member has a round or two to unload on the one BBEG, well, he is just flat out gonna die unless he is that much stronger than people. And gestalt can crank out damage like noone's business.

What works great in regular and will probably do well against gestalt are essentially clones of the PC's. Not stat for stat, gear for gear...but a party of NPC's just as strong and adequately geared who know how to compliment each other and use good tactics.

If your players up their game though, you need to raise the bar as DM and essentially bring out the kobolds...you know what I mean.

2009-06-11, 12:40 AM
When our party did gestalt, our dm usually made encounters a lot harder, enough to freak us out a bit. He also gave the BBEGs like double max hp, with some extra actions, or something along those lines.

We had a fight with a lich in his throne room, and he installed a bunch of laser crystals that randomly set off and hit alive things. Didn't effect his minions, effected us a lot! We ended up having to burst down the lich when our cleric went down to a critical laser hit. Fun times.

2009-06-11, 12:57 AM
Use the diminished challenge rating of monster to built encounter with mixed monsters.

Monsters and terrain must be used in a more smarter way. This is always true but in gestalt is mandatory.

Alway use PC class for NPC (sometimes I use gestalt with mooks too, as an example, Orcs are sometimes Barbarian//Fighters and Barbarian//Scout, even of level 1-2).

More enemies are better than a big one, and a big one used smart plus a lot of smaller ones is teh win (and teh fun).

Duke of URL
2009-06-11, 06:49 AM
Yeah, first and foremost, you need to be getting into encounters at least EL +2 over what a non-gestalt party would be dealing with.

Secondly, some/many opponents should also be gestalt. Especially gestalted to enhance their normal strengths and cover their typical weaknesses. (Can you picture a Dragon // Warblade?)

Basically, if playing gestalt, challenges need to be designed to compensate for the increased power level and available options for the players.