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Pathfinder Cagematch #1: Cog vs. Blar

Hadoblado

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Welcome to the arena!!

Our two players today will be Blarraun starting in the top, and Cognisant in the bottom.

Blaurrun:
Little is known of this player other than his practiced grasp of the ruleset and his relentless pursuit of powerful builds.

Cognisant:
A less experienced, but highly creative player. Cog is known for his own in depth exploration into the lesser known regions of character creation.

Rules’n’stuff:
1) All pathfinder society rules apply unless specified otherwise.

Material not found in the following is disallowed:

- Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
- Pathfinder Society Field Guide
- Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary


First party materials only. Core races and core classes only.

2) There is no way out of the arena until the opponent is dead. Teleportation and dimensional shifting will fail if it takes you to a place outside of the arena.

3) Invisibility, fly, summons, illusions, and all that jazz is legal. Don’t make a team that can’t handle these things at all. Not a rule, but a strong suggestion.

4) You will be given three rounds to buff prior to the match commencing. All buffs used this way will have their duration begin from round one, but will have their durations halved and rounded down. A haste spell cast in this way will only last the first two rounds, for example (assuming fifth level).

5) Initiative order will not be rolled unless there is a tie for modifiers. +2 will beat +1 every single time. This is unlikely be too important however, since you won’t initially be able to see each other.

6) If you have a build or idea that is treading a fine line of legality, explain it to the DM first so that the match isn’t gimped by wishful thinking. There are plenty of exploits in pathfinder that are subject to DM interpretation.

7) The arena will have elements of a dungeon. I won’t be making it too complex, but don’t assume that there aren't traps or monsters or magic devices or potions hidden behind bushes or whatever. Both parties are being thrown into an environment that they know little about (and skills will help in taking advantage of these features, if you have them).

In future, if we end up doing this enough, I’ll think about randomising map features by die roll in order to provide replayability without creating a meta-fest. The map has been designed to provide the opportunity for exploration and posturing before battle is started for real.

8) Characters will enter the battlefield in any formation within the limitation of being in the first two ranks from your starting side wall: ranks 1 and 2 for bottom, ranks 22 and 23 for top.

9) Party characters will be treated as if they have a telepathic link with absolute information of anything anyone else on their side is doing, such as typical of an RTS. Summoned pets and whatnot will vary in controllability as per their description. Skills will not be useable through this link; your wizard can't use his knowledge skill to identify something through the eyes of the fighter.

10) Walls, floor, and ceiling are destructible up to 5 feet, at which point the arena is maintained by a powerful force field.

11) The match ends when a player no longer has a character on positive hitpoint. The winner is any the player with the last character standing. Summons, companions, and familiars do not count as characters for the purpose of determining victory.

12) Summon spells cannot be cast to summon an ally that has already been summoned and is still on the field. If I summon a goblin dog, I cannot summon another one until there are no goblin dogs left on the field. I can however use the same summon monster spell to summon a different creature.

Character creation specifics
Shop
You get 30,000 gold to spend on non-consumable items between your entire party. Ammunition is not considered consumable, but must be bought and equipped in lots of 50.

XP
You get 45,000 XP between your entire party. Enough for three level fives.

Races
Core races only, at least for now.

Classes
Core classes only, at least for now.

HP
Hitpoints are precisely the average hitpoints of each die roll, + any modifiers including con, feats, and favoured class, times HD, then rounded up. A fifth level fighter with 14 con would have (5.5+2con+1fc)*5=42.5 -> rounding -> 43hp.

Pointbuy
25 points.

Skills
I’m going to try to make some elements of the map interact with non-combat skills, such as survival, knowledge, disable device etc. Not all will be used, but you’ll receive an overhead representation of what the map looks like (provided below) before deciding your skills.

Traits
No traits. Unnecessary complication.

Map: Perilous Crossing

From the observer's lounge outside the arena you can see an arena split in half by a small body of water in the middle. A lone skeleton stands guard over a rope bridge in the center, while a wall of fog hovers over the water to either side of him, obscuring vision. To each side a door bordered by wall that disappears into the fog, preventing circumvention. Strewn around the open area are rows of hedge that are five feet tall providing cover and further obscuring vision.

The ceiling is 40 feet high. The map is 23x23 not including outer walls, each side measuring 115 feet. The ceiling magically emits lights covering the entire arena, enough to impede races with light sensitivity.

Housekeeping rules:
1) This iteration requires all players to be entirely honest. Actions, explanations, and resolutions will be given to specific people in spoilers, and only the people that are directed to are to read them.

2) The DM will be looking over each character sheet to ensure everything is legal.

3) The map will be represented using app.roll20.net, just as our campaigns have been. Each player will get one screenshot per character round representing everything they perceive. Observers will have also get an objective copy at the same time.

4) Your characters should come with basic descriptors. I will be describing/visually representing what you see/hear/smell each round.

For example: As you turn the corner you come face to face with a man standing 6’3 with cheeky brown eyes and a foppish demeanour. He is dressed in what appears to be high quality chainmail, and wields a shimmering staff in both hands.

You will not be told precisely what is happening at any time, though I will be summarising outcomes in a third spoiler for observers to see.

5) The DM will role all dice. AFAIK die rolling is not supported by the forum (anyone?), and so the DM will do it for all parties. Success of rolls where success is not obvious will not be reported to players (such as if your perception fails to see the rogue sneaking up behind you), though I’m yet to decide whether the die roll itself will be reported to players. If people have a preference tell me before the match.

6) All actions you don’t want known by your opponent need to be in spoilers addressed to the DM. When reporting actions, the DM needs to know what type of action it takes (move, swift, standard etc.), what order you do them in, what modifiers you’re using, what dice need to be rolled for consequences, and whether or not you’re ending your turn upon resolution of said actions. Before taking your turn, wait for DM to communicate anything you may need to know, such as if you've detected any enemies or noticed any abnormalities.

7) This is all going to be a lot of work for me. This is my first time using the majority of the tools (in addition to me being pretty poor with computers in general), so please be patient.

If you see anything I've missed please ask in thread or through PM -> your choice. I may update rules if I think of anything before the match starts, it's difficult to

Important:
Anyone not in the game who posts, could you please spoiler your post and direct the players away from it. It's crucial players are not given extra info, or heckled.
 
Last edited:

Hadoblado

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Waiting on Cog for team. The time for smacktalk is now. :cthulhu:
 

Blarraun

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I wonder if Cog went for aquatic combat if it's taking him this long to come up with a strategy.

Hell, I'm totally unprepared for aquatic combat, what do I do?
 

Cognisant

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I actually did try to go with mermen before I found out I couldn't.

Merfolk have +2 natural armour and very generous ability scores, their only weakness is being slow on land but they're only one 1st level spell away from being faster than everyone else so it's not much of a weakness, plus you can't drown them or trip them.

It actually had nothing to do with aquatic combat.
 

Cognisant

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Alright, I'm ready.

Image, anyone can view:
 

Hadoblado

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Okay the match begins!

Characters:

Observers only
Cognisant is using three sorcerers: all using the Sylvan bloodline to allow a tyrannosaurus animal companions. The tyranosaurus are equipped with breastplates, which is pretty fkn badass.

Blaurrun is using a caster druid, a combat druid, and a ranged fighter. He is also utilising two animal companions Io and Ur, who are apes dressed in chainmail.

Pregame buffs:

I'm counting anything with a duration longer than 30 rounds as permanent until removed. If we get to round 30 I'll retroactively calculate buff duration, but this is incredibly unlikely.

Blarraun + Observers only
Medea casts Longstrider on Gwyddien.

Medea casts Barkskin on Gwyddien and Artemis

Gwyddien casts Cat's Grace and Bull's Strength on himself.

Gwyddien casts Longstrider on Artemis.


Artemis:
- Barkskin: permanent unless removed
- Longstrider: permanent unless removed

Gwyddien:
- Barkskin (+2 AC) ~ permanent unless removed
- Cat's Grace (+4 dex), Bull's Strength (+4 strength) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)
- Longstrider: permanent unless removed

Medea:
- no buffs

Io:
- no buffs

Ur:
- no buffs

Cognisant + observers only:

1st round all three cast Mage Armor on themselves.
Duration is one hour per level so five hours divided by two is 2.5 hours or 150 minutes which is 1500 rounds if each combat round is six seconds.

2nd round all three cast Shield on themselves.
Duration is one minute per level so five minutes divided by two is 2.5 minutes or 25 rounds if each combat round is six seconds.

3rd round all three cast Eagle's Splendor on themselves.
Duration is one minute per level so five minutes divided by two is 2.5 minutes or 25 rounds if each combat round is six seconds.

Moe:
- mage armor (+4 armor bonus to AC) ~ permanent until removed
- shield (+4 deflection bonus to AC) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)
- Eagle's splendor (+4 charisma) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)

Curly:
- mage armor (+4 armor bonus to AC) ~ permanent until removed
- shield (+4 deflection bonus to AC) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)
- Eagle's splendor (+4 charisma) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)

Larry:
- mage armor (+4 armor bonus to AC) ~ permanent until removed
- shield (+4 deflection bonus to AC) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)
- Eagle's splendor (+4 charisma) ~ 25 rounds (ends round 26)

Moe Companion:
- no buffs

Curly Companion:
- no buffs

Larry Companion:
- no buffs

Initiative

Observers only:
Blarraun: Artemis ranged fighter – 9
Cognisant: Moe Companion – 3 - 20
Cognisant: Larry sorcerer – 3 - 15
Cognisant: Larry Companion – 3 - 15
Cognisant: Moe sorcerer necril – 3 - 14
Blarraun: Ur armored monkey – 3 - 13
Blaurrun: Gwyddien combat druid – 3 - 11
Blarraun: Medea caster druid – 3 - 10
Cognisant: Curly Companion – 3 - 05
Cognisant: Curly Sorceror – 3 - 3 - 17
Blaurrun: Io armored monkey – 3 - 3 - 09


So we have a ten way tie between every character but Artemis (all having +3 initiative). I resolved this by rolling for each character putting them in the above order, then rolled once more to resolve initiative Io and Curly.

There is a decent chance this order will be shifted by one or both players opting to delay initiative in order to coordinate actions.

Cog has opted to do just that. New initiative order is:

Blarraun: Artemis ranged fighter – 9
Cognisant: Larry sorcerer – 3 - 15
Cognisant: Larry Companion – 3 - 15
Cognisant: Moe Companion – 3 - 15
Cognisant: Moe sorcerer necril – 3 - 14
Blarraun: Ur armored monkey – 3 - 13
Blaurrun: Gwyddien combat druid – 3 - 11
Blarraun: Medea caster druid – 3 - 10
Cognisant: Curly Companion – 3 - 05
Cognisant: Curly Sorceror – 3 - 3 - 17
Blaurrun: Io armored monkey – 3 - 3 - 09

Character Placement - Observers only
 

Hadoblado

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Blarraun
It is Artemis' turn.

Your team can see the following:

You know that the hedges are harmless, but highly flammable. You also know that they are mostly leaves with barely any branches holding them together. (Knowledge nature check)

You don't know anything about the skeleton that stand on the bridge, other than it is humanoid shaped and stands six feet tall, and wields a scimitar and shield. (knowledge religion check).

You know the fog over the water to be the result of a fog cloud spell, but it is different in a few ways. It's black, and seems to take up space in a very ordered manner, hovering between the water and the ceiling. (Spellcraft check)

You see a man at the other side of the arena flanked by two large reptiles.

The man has a long face and dark hair with a simple bowl-cut. He wears a nondescript hat, and an unusual garb that has obviously been tailor cut.

You know the reptiles to be young tyrannosaurus. (Knowledge nature check)
 

Hadoblado

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Blarraun's actions:- Blarruan + observers only
Artemis uses a free action to give herself haste with her boots of speed

Artemis uses a full round action and rapid shot to fire three arrows at the only human opponent in sight - with her +1 bow of humanbane!
Attack roll:

rolling 1d20+14
(3)+14= 17
rolling 1d20+14
(17)+14= 31
rolling 1d20+14
(1)+14= 15

One hit!

Damage:
rolling 1d8+2d6+9
(7)+(3+5)+9
= 24

Moe, the human sorcerer goes down!

Artemis takes a five foot step to behind Gwyddien (tile L23).

Cognisant + Observers only
You enter the arena.

You see:

The hedges will provide cover, but you know little else. (knowledge nature check)

You don't know anything about the skeleton that stand on the bridge, other than it is humanoid shaped and stands six feet tall, and wields a scimitar and shield. (knowledge religion check).

You know the fog over the water to be impeding your vision, but you know little of its nature or origin. It is black, and reaches all the way to the ceiling. (Spellcraft check)



You see two people on the far side of the arena. One is a woman with amazonian physique and posture. She is wearing a simple green robe and wields a bow. The other is a large man with black curly hair wearing a breastplate of unusual origin, possibly carved from the scales of a reptile. He has a shield and bastard sword, and a feral look in his eyes.

Before you get a chance to move, the woman takes an odd stance kicking her heels together, then fires three shots at Moe with extraordinary speed.

Moe has shield active (+4 AC)
Moe has Armor active (+4 AC)
Moe has partial cover from the skeleton that impedes vision (+2 AC)
Moe is caught flat footed since he has not taken an action this combat, he loses his dex to AC (-3 AC)

Total AC: 20

While two of her three shots miss, the third takes Moe in the chest and seems to hit with impact disproportionate to anything you would expect. Moe takes 24 damage!

[Cog, you reported your hp as 20, but it should be 23 according to all the info I have. Either way Moe is down.]

Moe is on -1 HP and is bleeding out unconscious.

The last thing Moe sees is his assailant coolly slipping back behind her larger cohort.

It is now your turn. You get to take the actions of Larry, Larry's companion, Moe's companion, then Moe (Moe will just bleed out if he remains unconscious and unhealed).

You currently see:
 

Hadoblado

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Cognisant + Observers
- Larry casts vanish on himself and turns invisible. He then moved forward 30 feet.
- Larry's companion moves forward 30 feet.
- Moe's companion moves forward 30 feet.
- Moe bleeds all over the carpet (-1 hp, for a total of -2 hp).


Blarruan + Observers
It is now Ur's turn
Then Gwyddien's turn
Then Medea's turn

You can currently see this:
 

Hadoblado

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Blaurrun + Observers
- Ur moves to W13
- Gwyddien casts Bear's Endurance on self, and moves to R18
- Medea move t20, and casts entangle centred on the the skeleton in the middle.

You now see this:

Cog + Obs
You hear a female voice chanting in the distance, and suddenly roots spring forth from the ground, entangling you!

Dino B reflex save:
rolling 1d20+7
(6)+7= 13

Fail.

Dino C save:
rolling 1d20+7
(16)+7= 23

Success.

Dino B is entangled!
The character is ensnared. Being entangled impedes movement, but does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an immobile object or tethered by an opposing force. An entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –4 penalty to Dexterity. An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) or lose the spell.

For how to escape, see this.
Anyone still in the area will need to make another save each turn vs entangle.

The map now looks like:

It is now Curly's turn, followed by Curly's companion.
 

Jennywocky

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Humorous Comment #1

Can't Moe just stand up, pull the arrow out of his head, stick it in Curly's eye, and say, "Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk?" and get a morale boost?
 

redbaron

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Observer comment #B

This arena is pretty small. Might have been better that people start outside of LoS for such a small space.

Still I'm curious to see how these Tyrannosorcerous Rex go.
 

Hadoblado

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Cognisant + obs
Oops I forgot Larry is invisible. He's on square N7 btw.

He needs to make a reflex vs. entangle.

rolling 1d20+4
(15)+4
= 19

Success.
 

Cognisant

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I'm typing this at work so I've got to be quick, my internet at home isn't working so forgive me if I don't take my turn for a day or two, if it's taking me longer than that to get it fixed I'll use an internet café.
 

Hadoblado

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I'm well and truly chill regarding turn time.
 

Hadoblado

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Cog + Obs
Dino A moves forward into the entangling roots.

Reflex save vs. entangle:
rolling 1d20+7
(4)+7
= 11

fail T-T

Dino A is entangled and his movement ends immediately.

Curly moves up to just behind Dino A.

The map now looks like this:

With Larry invisible on N8.

Blarraun + obs
It's Io's turn, then Turn two begins again with Artemis.

The map looks like so:


I tried making the initial picture bigger, but couldn't figure it out T-T (I'm using the snip tool, and any bigger = it won't fit in my screen). Is there no way you can make it larger from the pic I give you?
 

Blarraun

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^
It's only that the squares are separated by the bright line which is difficult to see with all these bright green grass squares, having contrasting grid lines would be helpful imo.
 

Hadoblado

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It may screw with my already half-arsed layering, but I'll give it a go. It looks like it should work...
 

redbaron

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I'm fairly sure in the roll20 client you can choose the colour of the gridlines. Could try making them black.
 

Hadoblado

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RB I can't find that option anywhere.

Cog + Obs
Due to some shoddy GMing, I didn't realise Curly was meant to have cast vanish. As the game state hasn't really changed, I'm retroactively enacting invisibility on Curly. I did wonder why he didn't cast any spells last turn, but obviously didn't wonder hard enough.
 

redbaron

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In the drop down menu where you can select between pages, if you hover over a page it should pop up with an options icon next to it. Looks like a cogwheel. In that menu there's options to set various things like grid colour, outline etc.

It's been about 4 weeks since I used the client so I can't be specific, but I know I used different grid colours for the different maps depending on how they blended with the floor tiles in my own campaign.
 

Hadoblado

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Ah found it, I'd forgotten about that menu :)

Cheers bud!
 

Hadoblado

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Blarraun + Obs
Io moves to A19, he doesn't reveal anything unexpected behind the bush.

Artemis takes a shot at Dino A before moving to F19.

rolling 1d20+13
(4)+13 = 17

Miss!

The map now looks like this:

Cog + Obs
Dino A takes a shot from the ranged menace, before seeing them move out of view to the left. The attack misses however. You also see what looks like an armored gorilla move from the right side of your LoS to the left, back out of vision.

It is now Moe's companion's turn, then Larry's, then Larry's companion's, then Moe if he manages to come to.

The map currently looks like:

Ignore the hack job LoS
 

Hadoblado

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Cognisant + Obs
Moe's companion makes it to M4

Larry moves to B4

Larry's companion moves to B5

The map looks like

Blarraun + Obs
It is now Ur, Gwyddien, and Medea's turn.

The map looks like

On Medea's turn, I'll reroll all of the saves for people stuck in entangle.
 

Hadoblado

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Blarraun + Obs
Ur breaks the door down with ease using a full attack action.

Medea moves to square D20

Gwyddien moves to square W11 and sees a chap full of arrows bleeding out on the ground. He also catches sight of what he thinks might be something large and lizard like, but he can only see it partially.

The map now looks like:

After Cog's turn, it will be Io's, then Artemis'.

Cog + Obs
From behind his dinosaur, Curly glimpses a woman running from the right side of his field of vision to the left and out of sight, on the other side of the river. Larry's Dinosaur is acting as if he has detected someone coming in from the right of the map.

It is now Curly's companion's turn, and then Curly's.

The map looks like

As always, excuse shitty LoS. If there is a next time I will make it easier to update by running a separate map for each player. As is, fine tuning vision is hellish.
 

Hadoblado

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Cog + Obs


uneventful turn

Blar + obs
Io's turn, then Artemis.
 

Hadoblado

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That's up to Cog (Cog you can read that spoiler).

I'll continue to host the game if you're both keen, but honestly, losing a character on the first round for free makes it feel like a handicap rather than a fair game. I'd be more interested in restarting than continuing.
 

Blarraun

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I built that character specifically to do this. I don't think it should be surprising that turn 0 strategies can be viable.

There is no "fair" game in duel matches imo and I don't feel I need to defend that decision. That's up to Cog to think it was dirty or alright. And dirty is just another kind of good :).

edit:
so here is some background for the potential audience:

-one of the best strategies to go for is to develop the best build for a single character and copy it to the other characters.
-arguably, the best race is human
-arguably, the best class has familiars or companions and/or casts spells

One of the strongest builds I came up with was running 3 identical druids with the most powerful animal companions,
then I found that since my opponent is going to choose the strongest race and do something similar (which was educated guess on my part) I decided to build one odd character with bane equipment and stat boosts specifically to shoot down human opponents. I calculated my chances of success and in the worst case scenario I had a 60% chance of killing a human, which is a great result in a single round.

some theory:
Why familiar or companion classes?
Because they give 2 autonomous units for a single character slot, which translates to action advantage, additional meat and distractions. A 3v3 becomes a 6v6 essentially and animal companions are almost as powerful in combat as average fighters.

Why human race?
Additional feat and free choice of the primary attribute to boost. No disadvantages.

Why magic?
Magic is overpowered in pathfinder, a single flare or blind spell can incapacitate most fighters for the rest of the game. There are vast possibilities of summoning allies, controlling terrain, improving defence, healing, dissappearing etc. while a simple ranger or fighter can only hack away and hope for the best.
 

Jennywocky

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Makes sense to me; I would have considered something similar. I think the initial round gambit was well-planned and worth taking a chance on.
 

Cognisant

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No I'll concede, you got me good :D

Yeah my strategy was to send in the buffed up animal companions, they have a feat which lets them take an eidolon evolution which was to cause bleeding, the plan was to have my sorcerers spam vanish (yes not druids, they're using that archetype) while the companions attack. If the companions win then great, if not well as long as they go down fighting your guys would either die from the bleeding or be weak enough for my sorcerers to finish off, at least that was the theory.

Your tactics were no more dirty than mine :p

I think at this point neither one of us wants to cross the river, the middle is effectively closed and both doors are probably trapped so really whoever moves first is at a disadvantage, if you want to finish it Hado could remove the obstructions and we'll let the dice fall how they may.
 

Blarraun

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someplace windswept
Yeah my strategy was to send in the buffed up animal companions, they have a feat which lets them take an eidolon evolution which was to cause bleeding, the plan was to have my sorcerers spam vanish (yes not druids, they're using that archetype) while the companions attack. If the companions win then great, if not well as long as they go down fighting your guys would either die from the bleeding or be weak enough for my sorcerers to finish off, at least that was the theory.

I cast entangle in the middle to block any invisible opponents from attacking and running away, my expectations were, that if you are invisible you would reveal yourself and attack at some point. The idea with bleeding was brilliant.
That's nasty. I have to admit that I forewent detection on my druids, so I would spend most of the game trying to find you until your invisibility ended.
I think at this point neither one of us wants to cross the river, the middle is effectively closed and both doors are probably trapped so really whoever moves first is at a disadvantage, if you want to finish it Hado could remove the obstructions and we'll let the dice fall how they may.
I did cross the river right now, as I wanted to check on one of your characters that got hit to make sure they stay dead :twisteddevil:.

Anyway, you've proven yourself a respectable opponent with the way you created these sorcerers, I'm pretty sure you had a fair chance of winning. If you want a rematch, or to finish this game, we can see how that goes.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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I'll throw down some analysis and reveals later if you're both sure of ending it (heading to work now).

Cog could have won, but Blar read things incredibly well and already had the advantage of experience and know-how.

Blar I wasn't begrudging your tactics, I was saying that since your tactics payed for themselves in the first round (killing someone for free), the match was almost certainly concluded in your favour from the start. Anything that happened after that point was just going through the motions.

I advocate the dirtiest of tactics, I see it as the job of the game creator to ensure that metas don't stagnate into a pile of treacherous all-ins. The players are doing their job if they find ways to abuse their opponent ;)
 

Cognisant

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Had Moe started behind his companion things could have gone very differently.
 
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