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    ClericGuy

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    Default How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    So I'm running a game and my PC's have gotten too strong. By this I mean that there is no challenge that fits with the setting that I have created that can challenge them. The only fight that could be hard for them is the final boss, but they've essentially neutered the final boss and the final boss can't leave his tower without dying. He might be a decent fight for the party, but they get to choose when that fight happens, and nothing the final boss can do can interfere with the party.

    The thing is, the players are still interested in playing in this setting, and don't want to fight the final boss because then the game would be over, however they do feel the lack of a challenge. To my other GMs, how do you deal with such a situation? To be clear, I do have a second adventure prepped for when they leave this area, but they just don't want to because they are attached to it. I also don't want to have monsters from outside the area coming in, because that was the plot of the current campaign, and it feels silly to just keep repeating the same plot over and over. Especially because it keeps undoing their saving of the area. They saved it, and I want it to stay saved.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    How big is the "setting" you're talking about-- a small kingdom? A continent? A world?

    One potential option would be to have the PCs wind up as rulers of their favorite area. The characters would retire from active adventuring, while the players roll up new ones. You could continue to check in on the old guys every now and again, let the players take the reins of running their kingdom, while the new characters do active adventuring.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    How big is the "setting" you're talking about-- a small kingdom? A continent? A world?

    One potential option would be to have the PCs wind up as rulers of their favorite area. The characters would retire from active adventuring, while the players roll up new ones. You could continue to check in on the old guys every now and again, let the players take the reins of running their kingdom, while the new characters do active adventuring.
    A fantasy setting. They made the astral plane into their personal paradise and control all traffic through it, as well as made it a resting place for everyone that dies in the prim material. They are worshiped as gods throughout several kingdoms on the prime material and their religion is growing.

    The thing is the overarching game has multiple universes, so they can leave the fantasy setting and go somewhere else to have even grander adventures, however they keep dragging their heels on their final confrontation.

    Swapping back and forth between them and a band of their followers might be interesting. We could do real conflict with that, and then switch back to them running the setting for the end of the sessions till they finally want to challenge the big bad and move onto the next campaign. Just feels odd dropping the power scale that low.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    I would say it looks like the PCs have pretty much won and have come out on top.

    That's the time to bring the campaign to an end and start a new one with a new party.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Dragon rodeo. Lich pimping. Fixing the pantheon of dieties. Deep sea civilizations band together and decide to flood the world. Steal a layer of the Abyss. Genocide all undead. Remove necromancy as a magic.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    How exactly do they control all traffic going through the astral plane? Do you not know how huge it is? it is literally infinite, not even the gods can control it.

    Fair enough its your setting but if your players are too strong then you've done something wrong.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakinbandw View Post
    So I'm running a game and my PC's have gotten too strong. By this I mean that there is no challenge that fits with the setting that I have created that can challenge them. The only fight that could be hard for them is the final boss, but they've essentially neutered the final boss and the final boss can't leave his tower without dying. He might be a decent fight for the party, but they get to choose when that fight happens, and nothing the final boss can do can interfere with the party.

    The thing is, the players are still interested in playing in this setting, and don't want to fight the final boss because then the game would be over, however they do feel the lack of a challenge. To my other GMs, how do you deal with such a situation? To be clear, I do have a second adventure prepped for when they leave this area, but they just don't want to because they are attached to it. I also don't want to have monsters from outside the area coming in, because that was the plot of the current campaign, and it feels silly to just keep repeating the same plot over and over. Especially because it keeps undoing their saving of the area. They saved it, and I want it to stay saved.
    Secondary final boss who controlled the first one.

    Final boss makes deal with a devil to get free, now fight both.

    He switches bodies with a.... Anything to get free and continues his work

    Tell the players they win and start a new campaign

    Catastrophy! They get shunted through time and space, landing in an alternate version of this setting at lvl 1... Samurai Jack style
    Last edited by jintoya; 2019-06-01 at 02:19 PM.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_Saulot View Post
    How exactly do they control all traffic going through the astral plane? Do you not know how huge it is? it is literally infinite, not even the gods can control it.

    Fair enough its your setting but if your players are too strong then you've done something wrong.
    In my setting the astral plane is a hyper sphere with the diameter of the distance of Pluto. It connects all other other planes in the setting. The players claimed it as theirs fair and square using the rules in the game itself. They could have done so eventually no matter what, but I tend to be more on the generous side and dropped them some items that were intended to help them out in other areas that they pooled to pull it off.

    The rules said they could claim a plane and make 7 changes to it. The rules make it clear that as a GM I'm supposed to go by their intentions, and not do any rule lawyering of this. The players got together and this was what they came up with:

    Spoiler: The new astral plane
    Show
    1. Land and air spring forth from the consciousness of men, welcoming any who have once dreamt into what they can call their final dreamland.

    2.Legions uncountable of mighty tri-aspected angels are sprung forth from this new paradise, welcoming among their ranks any angel who lacks a God.

    3.Great cities of advanced technology provide home, shelter, education and defense to all of it's inhabitants, turning all those who mean to cause harm away and attacking those who insist on doing harm and who cannot be turned away.

    4. The connections to other planes are focused into a single point, causing passing travelers to be confined to a single easily locatable elevator/tower, accessible only if the travelers possess non-malicious intentions.

    5. The Shadows are banished by the light of the new gods, their cold breath being scorched away and those within the paradise being given divine providence to slay them.

    6. the greater enemies that threaten the paradise will first find themselves far from the mortals that inhabit the paradise, suffering a major disadvantages, individually tailored to that it would take massive amounts of effort on their part to overcome.

    7. All willing allies who die within the astral will be returned to life in good health within a days time, the offer never rescinded even if refused.

    For context the Shadows are the collective name of cthuthulian monsters. They destroy realities by passing by and they have lesser creatures that focus on eating them and their remnants hanging around.
    Last edited by Jakinbandw; 2019-06-01 at 02:45 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    All things must come to an end. Retire them, start over.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    There are only three ways to handle this:
    • Change the challenges to things the party isn't amazing at - if they excel at combat, give them social things.
    • If you can't vary the challenges because they're too godly, you can try changing the game - no longer are they concerned with adventuring, but now they're playing a game of gods and competing with other gods for worship. They are unable to directly act in the universe and have to move their pieces just as the other gods do to vie for power.
    • Retirement.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakinbandw View Post
    In my setting the astral plane is a hyper sphere with the diameter of the distance of Pluto. It connects all other other planes in the setting. The players claimed it as theirs fair and square using the rules in the game itself. They could have done so eventually no matter what, but I tend to be more on the generous side and dropped them some items that were intended to help them out in other areas that they pooled to pull it off.

    The rules said they could claim a plane and make 7 changes to it. The rules make it clear that as a GM I'm supposed to go by their intentions, and not do any rule lawyering of this. The players got together and this was what they came up with:

    Spoiler: The new astral plane
    Show
    1. Land and air spring forth from the consciousness of men, welcoming any who have once dreamt into what they can call their final dreamland.

    2.Legions uncountable of mighty tri-aspected angels are sprung forth from this new paradise, welcoming among their ranks any angel who lacks a God.

    3.Great cities of advanced technology provide home, shelter, education and defense to all of it's inhabitants, turning all those who mean to cause harm away and attacking those who insist on doing harm and who cannot be turned away.

    4. The connections to other planes are focused into a single point, causing passing travelers to be confined to a single easily locatable elevator/tower, accessible only if the travelers possess non-malicious intentions.

    5. The Shadows are banished by the light of the new gods, their cold breath being scorched away and those within the paradise being given divine providence to slay them.

    6. the greater enemies that threaten the paradise will first find themselves far from the mortals that inhabit the paradise, suffering a major disadvantages, individually tailored to that it would take massive amounts of effort on their part to overcome.

    7. All willing allies who die within the astral will be returned to life in good health within a days time, the offer never rescinded even if refused.

    For context the Shadows are the collective name of cthuthulian monsters. They destroy realities by passing by and they have lesser creatures that focus on eating them and their remnants hanging around.
    The rules being some homebrew rules you all agreed on? I have never heard of a "make seven changes to a plane" rule.

    Anyways, sounds like they won. GG, make a new campaign.

    Either that or have an opponent pull a Phyrexia and do the same thing to another plane, with a final rule that it fuses with the astral plane and so undoes their modifications.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    The rules being some homebrew rules you all agreed on? I have never heard of a "make seven changes to a plane" rule.

    Anyways, sounds like they won. GG, make a new campaign.

    Either that or have an opponent pull a Phyrexia and do the same thing to another plane, with a final rule that it fuses with the astral plane and so undoes their modifications.
    We're playing Godbound, which you can get like 90% of it for free. One of the things you get if you pay is rules for becoming god of a plane of existence. The first plane you claim becomes your paradise... So.. Yeah. That's where that rule comes from.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    My PC's are never godly, but the principle of "Summon Bigger Fish" probably still applies.

    Once they conclude their arc, move on to a newer, more clever, more powerful threat for the next story arc, possibly related to the fallout from their previous one. The PC's exist as part of the world, and it reacts to them and the things they do.
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Well, it looks like they chose “high order” changes to their plane. What is the plane made of? How does it work? What powers it? How are these wishes being provided for?

    Well and good to say “yep, there should be a single access point and any baddies land so far away they get auto-fried” but these are constructs. They aren’t base reality. And the same way you would let a player undermine, bypass, or otherwise mount an assault on the heavens by knowing a loophole, trick, or manipulating circumstance - so to can the enemy.

    Example: the old laws have power, far more power than young and upstart gods. The very stuff of creation desires to unite, to connect, to allow the Astral to serve its purpose as the connector of the dimensions. In your arrogance you thought your tower had controlled that. But you were ants in a forge; you plugged up the ant hole in the wall, but the masters are returning and they are coming via the door.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Honestly you might have burnout. Monsters can be improved just like PCs. If the PCs are leveling up, improving, learning new skills, tricks, feats, spells, etc., who says the BBEG has to be static? So he's trapped in his tower, maybe an underling escapes to bring him some new artifact that changes the balance of power. Maybe he recruits help from another plane. Maybe an NPC betrays the party, where a cakewalk boss fight turns into them running for their lives.

    Another thing could be that maybe the players are doing things with their characters they shouldn't be/can't be doing, because we can't remember all the rules all the time. I inherited a game where player characters are persisting spells that the feat description says can't be persisted, but since we skimmed over that line the party is overpowered. I'm expecting they'll have to re-evaluate some things when they lose five buffs.

    You're the DM. You're only pigeonholed if you accept it. If the players like the campaign, I believe you can do something. Heck, the BBEG can escape and now the party gets to play the planar D&D version of Carmen Sandiego. A Lord Ao figure can order the party to capture and not kill the BBEG to stand trial.

    If there's a player that's grown bored with their character, they can be the turncoat, and they can refresh with a newer character while playing a bad guy at the same time and ultimately going for redemption.

    There are side-quests, crusades to save other planes, then King Richard and his few remaining loyal knights have to reclaim their plane because those they left in charge abused their power...the list goes on. There's always a bigger fish.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakinbandw View Post
    We're playing Godbound, which you can get like 90% of it for free. One of the things you get if you pay is rules for becoming god of a plane of existence. The first plane you claim becomes your paradise... So.. Yeah. That's where that rule comes from.
    Are you using the normal Godbound cosmology? If so, have they fixed Hell yet? That's kind of a big thing, IIRC.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    When all else fails, theft and murder. Or, for big fun, The Mists.

    So, for theft and murder, steal some of their toys. Have them stolen and taken away, or stolen and destroyed. Have a plucky band of heroes with a wisecracking blink dog sidekick take one of their toys. Have the theives' guild steal a few more. Have folks flee to the elemental planes, or get swallowed by the Mists into Ravenloft.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    How big is the "setting" you're talking about-- a small kingdom? A continent? A world?

    One potential option would be to have the PCs wind up as rulers of their favorite area. The characters would retire from active adventuring, while the players roll up new ones. You could continue to check in on the old guys every now and again, let the players take the reins of running their kingdom, while the new characters do active adventuring.
    Option B) the same but the player doesn't retire the PC.
    This is now a grand strategy/empire management game
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    1. A Mirror of Opposition creates a legitimate encounter for any level of party.

    2. Rival adventurers on their own level that want the prizes that the PCs have.

    3. The boss villain cashes in a few favors and brings in help from another plane, or even just another continent.

    4. Magic-dead regions can really level the playing field if the PCs have too much high-powered magic.

    5. A major force, led by one or more Balrogs Balors, break through from the underground.

    6. The boss villain starts learning long-range magic spells. Not to use against the PCs, but to sink islands, destroy cities, etc. He can convince them that they need to take him down now.

    7. Whatever's keeping the boss villain from leaving his tower is eliminated by a wish.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    There's also the Anya Jenkins Option: an unrelated wish resets the universe to some point. Dude wishes "I wish you'd never been born" at his ex girlfriend and, suddenly, you're thrown 700 years into the past because she was a silver dragon slumming on the DL. All the wonderful power you've accumulated is still there, but conditions have changed... the Astral Plane is back to being home of the Gith, and so they wind up losing a bunch of power, and are in a new setting. It's not a complete "And you're meeting in a tavern again", but it's a bit Final Fantasy.

    (So, somewhat related: There's an old Knights of the Dinner Table where B.A., having been a GM for 20 years, decides to rerun his first adventure with his group. Two of the players were there for the first game, and react as someone who knows the adventure would, if they don't care about metagaming... they avoid traps, they know where dopplegangers are, etc. The other two are playing it fresh, and so make mistakes you make when you don't know the adventure. BA calls them on it, and Brian, the metagaming rules lawyer, reveals that EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of his characters for the past 20 years is part of a continuity of characters, each of whom has the journals of all the previous characters, and the genius-level intellect to have them all memorized.)
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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakinbandw View Post
    So I'm running a game and my PC's have gotten too strong. By this I mean that there is no challenge that fits with the setting that I have created that can challenge them. The only fight that could be hard for them is the final boss, but they've essentially neutered the final boss and the final boss can't leave his tower without dying. He might be a decent fight for the party, but they get to choose when that fight happens, and nothing the final boss can do can interfere with the party.

    The thing is, the players are still interested in playing in this setting, and don't want to fight the final boss because then the game would be over, however they do feel the lack of a challenge. To my other GMs, how do you deal with such a situation? To be clear, I do have a second adventure prepped for when they leave this area, but they just don't want to because they are attached to it. I also don't want to have monsters from outside the area coming in, because that was the plot of the current campaign, and it feels silly to just keep repeating the same plot over and over. Especially because it keeps undoing their saving of the area. They saved it, and I want it to stay saved.
    I haven't had this issue for more than 30 years. I like to play what my nephew calls "Vietnam D&D" because I'm stingy with both money AND Magic. I also restrict FEATS and require Characteristics be rolled for then only allow 3 1-point adjustments to Characteristics. I also DO NOT allow the 3 point Characteristic increase upon leveling up. You get to pick ONE CHARACTERISTIC at every new level to try and increase. To increase the score, you must ROLL OVER the current score on 1D20. A success increases the score by 1 point.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Give the characters a suitable epilogue. Nothing hurts more than a "well, I guess that is it, continuing on". People are already pretty touchy when it comes to finales of their favorite shows, they will be raging if their favorite character doesn't get a good ending (a player of mine cried because the old man cleric that just tried to help died to a roll in the final battle).

    And I would say, the villain still tries to make a desperate charge with every ally he made along the way. He knows waiting is a loosing game for him (and any sudden plot development you now pull out of our collective behinds feels just like that...****ty). Take any evil NPC you written at some point, put them on a heap, figure out how you can make an epic battle out of it.

    The only fight that could be hard for them is the final boss, but they've essentially neutered the final boss and the final boss can't leave his tower without dying.
    Dying as instantly dropping dead? Or dying as in quickly wasting away. Considering the power level of your world(s) is there a way to at least go to the second state from the first?

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Suggestion 1: Let them be architect of their fall

    Create a nemesis for each of your player. Make a special session where each of them play their nemesis.
    They are in a dire situation: the good guys can defeat their boss at any moment now. What plan can they find to change the course of fate? Help from another universe? Time travel? Super-artefact of omnipotence?
    If your players are into it, let them destroy their "perfect victory" can be quite fun.
    Then, they will have to find with their main characters a solution to the problems they created with their nemesis.

    Suggestion 2: "You must be desperate to come to beg for my help"

    (I assume here that the goal of the bad guy is not "destruction of the universe" or anything "pure evil")
    Find a problem which, for resolving it, NEED the bad guy as an ally (or at least, looks like it need the bad guy as an ally).
    From there, you have multiple implementations:
    1) The player learn the existence of the problem, and go negotiating with the bad guy
    2) The bad guy surrender and beg the players to listen him before killing him.
    3) After defeating the bad guy, they learn the problem and have to free him / find a way to undo its death
    4) During the final fight, they are stopped by a message from the future saying "DO NOT KILL HIM"
    (Note that obviously, the bad guy will try to trick the players as the Loki he is, and obviously, the players will doubt the sincerity of the bad guy)

    Suggestion 3: "Other failed before you"

    (I assume here you didn't go in too much details on the past of the universe)
    Make a special session, where a group of heroes a long time ago is pretty much in the same situation as your current heroes. Defeat is unimaginable. However, the situation is full of dramatic irony, as the players know they can't succeed (the world would have been too different if they succeed). Enjoy crushing the heroes of the past trough an Deus Ex Machina, while they try to find a way to communicate to their future self the nature of the threat and how to have a chance to defeat it with enough preparation.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Have all of the other planes united in opposition now that the steal plane that once connected everything now has a massive Visa issue?
    "You can only come here if you have no ill will against us, and you can only enter and exit at this one spot. The same spot as everyone from every plane you're at way with."
    That's going to put a crimp on a lot of people's plans, who may be willing to ally with your big evil to get things back to the way they were.

    Does coming to the plane with the intent of getting rid of the heroes count as ill intent of they honestly believe they are fixing the characters screw ups?
    Last edited by Aliess; 2019-06-06 at 04:02 AM.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Have the boss villain learn how to destroy villages from a distance. Then the PCs (if they aren't jerks) have to come fight him now.


    There's also the judo approach. Use their own strength and reputation against them. Whatever they try, it works. Easily. Remind them that there is only one challenge left for them.

    PC: We go to the next village to conquer them.
    DM: They bow down to you.
    PC: We go after the Giants in the northern mountains.
    DM: You find empty halls. The giants have fled.
    PC: Well, where can we find an adventure?
    DM: There's only one challenge for you left in this world. You know where it is.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Have the boss villain learn how to destroy villages from a distance. Then the PCs (if they aren't jerks) have to come fight him now.


    There's also the judo approach. Use their own strength and reputation against them. Whatever they try, it works. Easily. Remind them that there is only one challenge left for them.

    PC: We go to the next village to conquer them.
    DM: They bow down to you.
    PC: We go after the Giants in the northern mountains.
    DM: You find empty halls. The giants have fled.
    PC: Well, where can we find an adventure?
    DM: There's only one challenge for you left in this world. You know where it is.
    I might just try that. That's actually not a bad idea at all.

    That said there is a fair chance that the players might just spend time talking to npc's they've grown fond of. I like it, but man, I want to get around to wrapping up this campaign. I have a really cool way to continue it planned, but I need to complete the new system that we'll be using for it and I'd like to focus on that instead of prepping sessions.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Jay R's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    It's also worth pointing out that if the encounter isn't a challenge, then they get no experience points from it.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It's also worth pointing out that if the encounter isn't a challenge, then they get no experience points from it.
    I'm aware. Thankfully the system I'm using has a very simple xp system. 1 xp per session. 1 xp if they did anything befitting their stature. 1 xp if they faced a decent challenge. Right now it takes them about 15 xp to level. So if they sit and do nothing it could take them up to 15 sessions to level.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Friv's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    If the players really want to keep the campaign running, and you're interested in playing with them on this, the other alternative is a major opponent who is not evil.

    Put together a team of non-malicious folks from another plane who have a different idea of how the world should be run, and start socially interacting to convince other NPCs to join their cause. How do the PCs deal with enemies they can't punch to death, because they and their enemies don't actually want to kill each other?
    If you like my ideas, why not take a peek at my Patreon? New RPGs and campaigns on a constant drip!

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Oct 2014

    Default Re: How do you deal with PCs that have gotten too strong?

    Rust Monsters
    Beholder disintegration rays
    Mordenkainen's Disjunction
    Secret Vampires, Illithids, and other mind-slaving creatures

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