PDA

View Full Version : Surviving Rocket tag



quiet1mi
2011-01-19, 02:16 PM
I am currently in a game where all the players are effectively playing rocket tag with all their characters. IE: They can deal more damage then they have hit points in a single round.

Is there anything that I can suggest to the GM that will mitigate the effects of rocket tag? More HD IMHO is not a sound plan as it would just undo the parties build...

The 4-5th level Party consist of:
Goliath Warblade
Human Crusader
Ogre Sword Sage (The GM aloud me to switch RHD for Character Levels)
Human Duskblade

Warlawk
2011-01-19, 02:37 PM
Bog them down in mooks. Playing with rockets is less amusing when your targets are mosquitoes. Have some important targets that are sneak heavy or use invisibility or something to keep out of sight until they wade into combat and get bogged down in waves of little targets.

Cyrion
2011-01-19, 02:44 PM
Are these characters built specifically to deliver one kind of rocket, or are they versatile? Changing the conditions of the fight could change the dynamics for you.

If, for example, all of those characters have specialized in melee options, a group of archers across the river can be a challenge because the party can't get to them quickly.

Kansaschaser
2011-01-19, 02:45 PM
Minor and Major Images, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Blur, Darkness, etc...

There are a ton of low level spells that make it more difficult for "Rocket Tag".

It seems like your group is super heavy when it comes to melee builds. So scouts with fast movement would be difficult to take on. Any ranged characters with a lot of movement can keep themselves away from the melee characters.

Warlawk
2011-01-19, 03:02 PM
Minor and Major Images, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Blur, Darkness, etc...

There are a ton of low level spells that make it more difficult for "Rocket Tag".

It seems like your group is super heavy when it comes to melee builds. So scouts with fast movement would be difficult to take on. Any ranged characters with a lot of movement can keep themselves away from the melee characters.

I would add on grease, web and slow as things that can be brutal on heavy melee. Difficult terrain as well can prevent some charging. Terrain also tends to separate a group out a bit where the swordsage might have an easy way to just pass it, the warblade might have the leap maneuver or something while the others move around/through and this lets you isolate targets.

Godskook
2011-01-19, 03:12 PM
1.Use NPC classes, which get more 'chassis' for the CR(2 levels of warrior is +1 CR, but gives 2d8+2*Con HP. This is not only RAW, but is also how most monsters get their CR figured. Class-leveled humanoid NPCs and outsiders are an exception, not the rule.

2.Temp HD is surprisingly easy to come by for a lot of the good tier classes. Vigor+Share Pain+Psicrystal(hidden) transforms a manifester into a really big tank(A level 4 psion would have an effective temp HP of 80)

3.The primary word you're looking for is 'ablative armor', and the operative word is 'ablative'. Things like abrupt jaunt, counter charge, diamond mind counters, etc, are all ablative armor. The user of such resources can stave off dying by instead expending uses of one or more of these things. HP is also a form of ablative armor, but is typically too easy for a PC to reduce to the boolean "has HP vs. doesn't" case. Other ablative armors:

-Minions. They prevent direct movement towards the primary threat, and draw attention towards themselves.
-"lives". As early as level 5(at least), you can have boss-monsters coming back with a well-placed(and timed) animated dead spell. And while that's not too dangerous against humanoids, the party is going to blank a brick when the dragon they just slayed is now a flying skeleton. At later levels, raise dead, revivify, clone, simulacrum and other thoughts come to mind.

4.Tactics. A tower shield provides full cover. Fighting defensively with combat expertise grants at least a +6 bonus to AC. Murder Holes. Flight and invisibility are ruthless. Your party *SUCKS* at ranged and anti-caster options at the moment.

5.Durability enhancers. DR is hard to overcome at this level, since you've *JUST* been able to afford magic weapons. Stacking multiple types, such as magic+silver, makes it really hard for most parties to overcome. Protection from Arrows makes ranged options difficult to use. Heart of X spells add fortification(25% available at level 5). Regeneration or fast healing are great here too.

6.Longer work days will drain the duskblade. Longer combats will drain the warblade+swordsage a bit, morse-so slow them down. The Crusader's healing can only go so far, and then, typically not really.

Templarkommando
2011-01-19, 03:21 PM
If you're looking for an encounter that challenges them, consider this.

Intelligent monsters hobgoblins, orcs and the like are in a situation of knowing that they can be seriously injured by anyone entering their domain. So what they do, is they build a catwalk that runs across a deep pit with spikes at the bottom. Then they tunnel behind the walls at the sides of the cavern and place arrow loops at either side of the cavern through which the catwalk runs. At the end of the catwalk is heavy iron door with several locks(trapped maybe?) on it.

At this point they have a tactical problem. If they rely primarily on melee weapons to fight in combat then the Orcs have a decided advantage and can basically shoot at them as they cross the catwalk without having to worry about much return fire. The party can't rely on their melee weapons because they would have to jump across a 30 foot pit that is quite deep and through a three inch wide arrow loop to hit the orcs with whatever melee weapons they're holding.

So, they have to get through the door. I don't know if any of those characters have the ability to pick locks or find traps, but you can slow them down for a while depending on how hard the locks are to break or whether there are traps on them. They could always retreat, but that would mean that they are no longer playing rocket tag and are thinking about how to approach the challenge.

gbprime
2011-01-19, 03:23 PM
How about flying opponents? A party of aarackocra or raptorans with javelins could completely avoid their melee powers.

Or just mooks on the other side of a chasm with shortbows.

Personally, as a DM, i'd let them go nuts and one-shot all the bad guys they like. But then around level 6 I'd hit them with a bad guy who casts Confusion. what, attack nearest creature? Ooo... the warblade just one-shotted the duskblade... :smallamused:

Do that ONCE and the campaign changes.

Chilingsworth
2011-01-19, 03:50 PM
Use ranged weapons with poisons: The str and dex poisons will reduce their to-hit, I'm guessing that at least some of the characters have low mental stats? If so, mental-stat poisons will potentially render them comatose.

In a similiar vein, use spells like rav of stupidity, ray of enfeeblement, or ray of entropy should give them some trouble... Also, ray of dizziness. (from the spell compendium.)

Mando Knight
2011-01-19, 04:03 PM
The only real winning move in Rocket Tag is not to play.

Kansaschaser
2011-01-19, 04:15 PM
You eventually get to the point where they cannot "Rocket Tag" someone. Then they would need to figure out a way to defeat someone without doing damage. Like grappling and pinning or trapping the enemy in an adamantine box.

EXAMPLE 1: Frenzied Bezerker with Deathless Frenzy cannot be killed no matter how much damage they take. It's best to avoid them or disable them somehow.

Warlawk
2011-01-19, 04:28 PM
6.Longer work days will drain the duskblade. Longer combats will drain the warblade+swordsage a bit, morse-so slow them down. The Crusader's healing can only go so far, and then, typically not really.

Just wanted to take issue with this part. The duskblade is the only one being really punished there. Any swordsage with a clue will have Adaptive Style. So a long combat will inconvenience him for 1 round out of 10 or so. The warblade, not so much, it's not that tough to manage a full round attack and reset all the maneuvers. How far the Crusaders healing goes is directly proportional to the defenses/mitigation of the party. High mitigation parties can go a long ways on very little healing while big damage sponge types will drop quickly, that's true for everything except extremely short battles though.

Godskook
2011-01-19, 04:48 PM
Just wanted to take issue with this part. The duskblade is the only one being really punished there. Any swordsage with a clue will have Adaptive Style. So a long combat will inconvenience him for 1 round out of 10 or so. The warblade, not so much, it's not that tough to manage a full round attack and reset all the maneuvers. How far the Crusaders healing goes is directly proportional to the defenses/mitigation of the party. High mitigation parties can go a long ways on very little healing while big damage sponge types will drop quickly, that's true for everything except extremely short battles though.

True, but out of the 4 of them, its a fair guess that the Duskblade is the primary damage problem. They haven't hit +6/+1 BAB yet, but have started to max out CL on duskblade spells. +5d6 damage is going to be hard for the others to keep up with. On the flipside, he's also the only one with a decent ranged-weapon proficiency, so he's the hardest to negate by flight.

Notice I didn't list 'longer days/fights' as the only or even the primary method of challenging such a party, but rather the last of a 6 point list.

Person_Man
2011-01-19, 05:23 PM
1) Big Bad Evil Guy with hundreds (or thousands) of hit points, regardless of hit dice. Remember - you are the DM. You are the god of your world. Your creations need not follow the rules for monster creation and hit die progression. You are simply trying to create fun and challenging encounters.

2) The best defense is more defense: Miss Change, Spell Resistance, Damage Reduction, Fast Healing, Regeneration, Energy Resistance, etc. It's fairly easy to add layers of defenses to your creations through DM fiat or templates.

3) Reinforcements: This is one of my favorite tactics, though I try not to use it more then once every few weeks. If the players mow through your 10 enemies in 1 round, have 10 more enemies pour in from off the board, and then 10 more after that, and 10 more after that, etc. (A fun scenario idea: Have one or more portals to another plane of existence open up and more enemies crawl out of it every turn until the players find and use/destroy a McGuffin hidden somewhere in the dungeon).

Warlawk
2011-01-19, 05:37 PM
True, but out of the 4 of them, its a fair guess that the Duskblade is the primary damage problem. They haven't hit +6/+1 BAB yet, but have started to max out CL on duskblade spells. +5d6 damage is going to be hard for the others to keep up with. On the flipside, he's also the only one with a decent ranged-weapon proficiency, so he's the hardest to negate by flight.

Notice I didn't list 'longer days/fights' as the only or even the primary method of challenging such a party, but rather the last of a 6 point list.

That's why I specified I wanted to take issue "with this part". I know what you were saying, and wanted to address that specifically.

Though, the warblade could be as much a damage issue as the duskblade. He's a goliath, so likely wielding a large sized 2 handed weapon and likely dealing a minimum of 3d6 base with punishing stance for everything including AoOs. Punishing stance for an extra d6 on everything. Emerald Razor for touch attack/power attack synergy. Bonecrusher for an extra 4d6 standard action hit. Steel wind for nailing two targets. Powerful defensive options as well with Wall of Steel, diamond mind counters and iron heart surge.

I'm not saying the duskblade might not be a problem, but if he knows what he is doing the warblade should be pushing just as hard.

Mark Hall
2011-01-19, 06:19 PM
Mettle, Evasion, and Defensive Roll. They turn everyone from 1 hit mooks to 2 hit mooks.

Elric VIII
2011-01-19, 06:35 PM
Playing with rockets is less amusing when your targets are mosquitoes.

or is it? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKlkD-D20OI)

I had this same problem when I DM'd my first game (it was a fiasco since I didn't know what was OP and allowed anything they wanted).

I went for things like compulsions, etc. If there is any intra-party conflict you can capitalize on suggestion by planting the seed that one character is going to backstab the party and the affected person should take preemptive actions. Warblades have poor Will saves and Wis is a dump stat for them; consider using this to your advantage.

You can also split the party with a trap such as a falling bridge or heavy, quick-closing door that has three degrees of DC (land on close side, land on far side, fall).

quiet1mi
2011-01-19, 10:59 PM
Ironically that the party has an average wisdom of 10ish while the Ogre has 15 wisdom and 10 Intelligence.

Longer fights that challenge our ability to keep fight as a team could be interesting as only the Crusader has access to healing and that is only to himself, the Ogre as some ranks in heal and an item that heals 2d8/3d8/4d8, so we can recover from the fight given enough time...

My only concern would be the duskblade, as she would be unable to continue after the "juggernaut" encounter... Any suggestion for that?


3) Reinforcements: This is one of my favorite tactics, though I try not to use it more then once every few weeks. If the players mow through your 10 enemies in 1 round, have 10 more enemies pour in from off the board, and then 10 more after that, and 10 more after that, etc. (A fun scenario idea: Have one or more portals to another plane of existence open up and more enemies crawl out of it every turn until the players find and use/destroy a McGuffin hidden somewhere in the dungeon).

I could see this happening given how prevalent magic is in this universe... A necromancer turns a bag of holding inside out and out pops 20 CR 1 skeletons that were folded together, B-1 Battle Droid Style.

Mando Knight
2011-01-19, 11:37 PM
Potions are your friend. That, or UMD scrolls, which are cheaper if you can make the UMD checks.

Hanuman
2011-01-20, 12:27 AM
Balanced pressure.

Damage, NL Damage, Ab Damage, Level Drain, Fort/Ref/Will Saves.

Suggest to the DM that there's more than one way to skin a cat, and that with a low HP group it may be better to try to incapacitate the players more often than flat out kill them.

Warlawk
2011-01-20, 01:53 AM
Longer fights that challenge our ability to keep fight as a team could be interesting as only the Crusader has access to healing and that is only to himself

Minor nitpick. The crusader maneuvers can heal himself or a nearby ally. The range is either 10 or 30 feet depending on specifically which maneuver.

Hanuman
2011-01-20, 08:25 AM
Don't take long fights lightly, it's rare than 100% of your table WANTS a long fight, even if some of them may be indifferent.

panaikhan
2011-01-20, 08:42 AM
There's a monster in 3.5, but I don't know if it made it to 4e, and i can't remember it's name. All I do remember is it's in the Ravenloft hardback adventure.
Basically, if you do enough damage to 'kill' it, it gets a saving throw. If it makes the save, you missed it.
They got rather annoying (from a PC's point of view) but made good mooks (from a DM's point of view)

Myth
2011-01-20, 08:52 AM
A flying, invisible wizard who casts Stinking Cloud and summons a bunch of Undead to mop the floor with them after they've been Nauseated. Seriously Rocket Tag does not apply for non-caster classes. Wait until Celerity comes, that's what real Rocket Tag is.

quiet1mi
2011-01-20, 12:03 PM
Right now everyone is sitting comfortably in the realm of T3... I would not like to see the problem "martial Rocket tag" being solved by fighting T1 class...

Besides we are level 4-5 right now...

Earlier discussion on how to design encounters helps more then a single opponent that is just a higher Tier...

What we have is: Terrain, More bad guys/reinforcements, Other forms of damage (Stat, Level Drain, NL damage), setting up a "chasm"...

Quick question on chasms, are there any rules on throwing a fellow player character across something, or is it better for them to hold on while another player leaps across? I ask this because of the Goliath and the Ogre having 20 Str and being counted as Large. The Ogre in particular as he has Easy travel armor, making his light load 400 lbs, and carries very little.

grimbold
2011-01-20, 12:36 PM
from what i understand the best way to challenge these guys is with magic, if they are paralyzed meleers they can not attack

Kansaschaser
2011-01-20, 01:23 PM
Quick question on chasms, are there any rules on throwing a fellow player character across something, or is it better for them to hold on while another player leaps across? I ask this because of the Goliath and the Ogre having 20 Str and being counted as Large. The Ogre in particular as he has Easy travel armor, making his light load 400 lbs, and carries very little.

If someone can carry someone else on their back, the person being carried might be considered flat footed, but other than that, I think it's a valid way of helping someone across a "chasm" that they cannot cross otherwise.

But, the "chasm" I would suggest would be one where it's at least 50ft across, so it really wouldn't be smart to try to jump it.:smallwink:

Your best bet would be to take cover or run away if you encountered archers on the other side of a 50ft+ chasm.

quiet1mi
2011-01-20, 01:55 PM
The Ogre has the Run Feat from an item, Leap of the Heavens, a 45 move speed, maximized jump, 18 Strength (has not "fully grown"), and 5 rank in tumble...

The result is 7 (ranks)+ 4 (speed)+ 4 (run)+ 2 (Tumble)+ 5 (Leap of the Heavens)+ 4 (strength) and we have +26 before touching the die...

A 50 foot chasm seems like a good "impassible barrier" for now...

Other than causing the players to "Run Away!" what else can we do with the "archers across the chasm" scenario?

An Idea popped into my head, we are getting on a ship to another country and we can be attacked by pirates with fire support. Barrels could provide us with cover, total cover, or concealment against the enemy archers but it would limit where we end up...

Cyrion
2011-01-20, 01:55 PM
Quick question on chasms, are there any rules on throwing a fellow player character across something, or is it better for them to hold on while another player leaps across? I ask this because of the Goliath and the Ogre having 20 Str and being counted as Large. The Ogre in particular as he has Easy travel armor, making his light load 400 lbs, and carries very little.


Tossing fellow party members is typically forbidden by the Anti-Dwarf Tossing League, and everyone except the Goliath is a dwarf relative to the ogre.

Asheram
2011-01-20, 03:25 PM
Two words.

Tuckers Kobolds