How to deal with weak party?

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There 3 Dms in this group and this time it was my turn. I threw a balance dungeon to test out the 6lv group. Result? 3 dead players out of 8. Cause of death?

1. My cousin's character. He is the strongest members of the group. He died from a crt of a power attack battleaxe from the tribe leader. Reason for death? Bad luck and teleport behind enemy line therefor cut off from our support. 

2. The ninja of the party. He charged in and died before he reach them. Reason for death? Poor AC and hit points. Didn't ninja his way pass the AoO, mostly because he was a 4lv and they were CR 6.

3. The other ninja(monk) of the party. Put himself at risk and drop. Reason for death? Poor AC, he only had 12. 

Me and my cousin are pretty much doing the most work in the party. He deals flat 40 damage per turn while I burn healing, summon, buff and debuff spells like it's going out of style. The other 6 do piss poor dps and support while only being good cannon fodders. I look at their sheets and realize some of them still using 1st level gear regardless of how much gold they had through the campaign. 

 The party problems
1. Poor dps (One is simpley not enough)
2. Poor equipment (mundane items while lv 6? Unacceptable!)
3. Poor tactics ( If you charge in blindly, you must survive long enough to be heal.)

My solution is to bring up a menu to encourage players to buy things they need to the next adventure. Also look at their character to see if there a way to improve it so they can play them at the best of their abilities. Create two seperate encounter in one battle until they improve. One part is the big bads for My cleric and my cousin's fighter while the rest fights off minions since they just have trouble dealing with them. When I saw 3 lv1 minions drop one of them, I laugh and died a little inside. 

If you got any advise or like to share some stories similiar to this, feel free to share them here. ^.^ 
Create two seperate encounter in one battle until they improve. One part is the big bads for My cleric and my cousin's fighter while the rest fights off minions since they just have trouble dealing with them. When I saw 3 lv1 minions drop one of them, I laugh and died a little inside.

I think you're on the right track here. Along those same lines, not everyone needs to be involved in fighting. There could be other things going on that need to be taken care of while the fight is on, such as rescuin hostages, grabbing an item or gaining information before reinforcements come, disrupting a ritual or some other enemy action, etc. Those tasks don't require good combat ability and might be just the thing for a ninja or monk to work on while the cleric and the fighter deal with the enemies.

Other than that, though, as long as no one is taking the deaths too personally, it's ok not to be great at all aspects of the game up front and need practice. I'm not a fan of optimization, but there are probably reasonable things these players can do to improve both their strategy and their numbers. At the same time, the DM doesn't always have to be going for the kill. Imagine an encounter in which the enemies' goal was just to get past the PCs, or to assassinate an NPC. When the monsters complete this, the combat is over. This way the players can see where their characters are lacking without losing the character, but there are still consequences for their decisions.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Brilliant, using the other party members for side battles. Maybe to even turn the tides!

Already thinking the next adventure and this time, they might even save the world! 
You and Centauri have a good dialog going on, and I think it is a great thing to eavesdrop on. However, some aspects of  your post can only be remedied by an out-of-game discussion.

The party problems

  1. Poor dps (One is simply not enough)

  2. Poor equipment (mundane items while level 6? Unacceptable!)

  3. Poor tactics (If you charge in blindly, you must survive long enough to be heal.)

  4. [The ninja of the party is level 4]

I added the 4th point from earlier in your post.

My comments:


  • Point 1. The amount of damage the party can deliver is probably related directly to point 2.

  • Point 2a. If the party does not have decent equipment by 6th level, the DMs need to step it up to correct this. The parcel system does a really good job of keeping things balanced. Compare what the party has to what the parcel system suggests. And correct the deficiencies before the next session. Even if it means handwaiving the story component, fix it. Everyone should have at least a +1 weapon, +1 armor, and +1 neck item by now. It is built into the math of the game. And at least three members of an eight-member-party should have at least one +2 item in this group or items. If your table doesn't want to micromanage this type of stuff, I recommend using the inherent bonus system (I hate the +X item requirment, so this is my default choice in all of my games). The Character Builder already accounts for it when this option is checked, making it even easier.

  • Point 2b. This might require a DM-only conversation as well. Why does an eight-player group have such poor equipment? Assuming the other two DMs have intentionally kept magic item access minimal, what are they doing to offset this deviation from the baseline assumptions of the game?

  • Point 3. This conversation is player-based. Talk through this encounter so that each *player* can learn what was done "wrong" in terms of tactics. I would even suggest that the group replay through this encounter to learn from it. The party would learn a lot, and the DMs would gain the confidence that the players could handle a balanced encounter. The *player* need to learn how to do things better. And if "in character" poor tactics is intentional, then at least the rest of the group needs to be prepared to account for this.

  • Point 4a. I would suggest that we should NEVER play a game as balanced as 4e with disparate level PCs. A two-level difference is enough to be an encounter changer at ANY level of the game, but even moreso in the heroic tier. Level this ninja to 6th and keep the entire party the same level always. Even if a player does not make it to a session, keep that character the same level as the rest of the party.

  • Point 4b. Note: In heroic tier, the crit of a Brute two levels above the party (a normal encounter component) can kill any PC two levels below the party that has received average damage from any one other hit. PCs should not be two-hit minions.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
@Seeker95:  I could be wrong, but I think the OP might be playing 3e, not 4e.  Mostly from the terms they are using (Namely AoO and CR), but also from some of the numbers and examples not adding up.  For example, there's simply no way a monk a can have 12 AC in 4e at 6th level unless they were doing absolutely everything wrong (half level bonus would bump AC to at least 13).  But otherwise seconding everything you said.

@OP: Your group might want to also consider splitting into two separate groups.  Challenges made for 8 players are going to be huge and swingy in general.  Combining that with a group that's not to par with both tactics and equipment increases the problems exponentially.

Some tactical advise would also be warranted.  It sounds like a big problem is the party not playing to their strengths, covering their weaknesses, and working as a team.  Stuff like "don't charge the front lines when you're as tough as tissue paper" should be pretty basic.

And, yes, it's definitely time to update equipment.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I play 3.5e

I won't be dming until 3 weeks later, maybe sooner if the ball is rolling. I'll bring up the problem to the next DM and hopefully encourage some spending or risk dying. 

Now that I'm back to a player, I keep thinking of this video.

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB5Kg9qWHn0

Should I heal them or make them reroll better characters? I got a monk who does nothing but punch, a paladin with no CHA, and a rogue who thinks he is a ranger( focus on range and no sneak attack). 

I think it easier to rebuild them, teach them how to use the characters, and learn how to work together. The monk and rogue should work together to get sneak attacks while the paladin work as a second dps.  
...a paladin with no CHA, and a rogue who thinks he is a ranger( focus on range and no sneak attack)...



For some reason, those characters seem very refreshing and interesting to me... I'd trade them for any number of characters built by-the-books for optimal combat efficiency....

[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
...a paladin with no CHA, and a rogue who thinks he is a ranger( focus on range and no sneak attack)...



For some reason, those characters seem very refreshing and interesting to me... I'd trade them for any number of characters built by-the-books for optimal combat efficiency....




Depends really, a class pretending to be something it's not can be a large hinderance if they don't know what they are doing. I saw one guy hybrid with a spellcasting class with rogue (never going into assissin) really effectively because he had the experience to craft the character as a well rounded enitity, that became the wizard advisor of the king dispite not being pure wizard, and all the quailitys of a rogue.

I also intend to be a matchlock wielding fighter styled as a oldie British millitent bloke, while fighters can't do shooting as good as a specialist class in 3.5, I have the experience to make the judgement call, so I can do this while keeping enough invested in the good old fastioned fistycuffs, beating the old toffs with the busness end of my beating weapon so that I invest enough to shoot decent (or poorly, but at least not distract from the business end too much). The only issues occur is if the guy doing this isn't experienced, he merely makes a weak, unfun character that doesn't do what he intended to do, like archer paladins or something. XD
Should I heal them or make them reroll better characters? I got a monk who does nothing but punch, a paladin with no CHA, and a rogue who thinks he is a ranger( focus on range and no sneak attack).


From the sounds of it, it would probably be easier to have them roll new characters.  Besides the fact that multiple Raise Dead's are going to be extremely expensive at your level, there are more effective ways for your fellow players to realize their concepts.

I got a monk who does nothing but punch


In short, monks suck.  No really.  They suffer from serious MAD (multiple attribute dependancy) and usually end up spreading themselves too thin to be effective unless you know exactly what you're doing and the dice (or point buy) are with you.

If this player simply wants to play an unarmed brawler, the simplest fix is to take the Superior Unarmed Strike feat from the Tomb of Battle.  This feat grants you a scaling unarmed strike damage with similar progression to the monk's.  Then combine said feat with, really, any other melee class.  Even a straight fighter would be better, and I would almost never suggest playing a straight fighter.  Though since you're looking at the ToB anyway, one of the book's suggested variants for its Swordsage class is to remove it's light armor and give it the monk's unarmed strike progression, which basically turns the class into a monk that works.

a paladin with no CHA



Which is actually not as bad as you might think.  The main benefit paladins get from charisma is the save bonuses granted by divine grace.  And while its a great bonus, it's nothing the paladin can't live without. 

Though really, your paladin would be far better playing a cleric, which can do everything the paladin can do and more, and do it better.  That includes fighting in melee.  All it takes is the right buffs and optionally the war domain or a weapon proficiency feat.  And it sounds like your party could use more clerical support anyway.

and a rogue who thinks he is a ranger( focus on range and no sneak attack).


While ranged rogue can work, but its hard to work around all the restrictions to ranged sneak attacks.  The easiest method to playing a ranged rogue is to be ready to switch to melee when necessary.  And it sounds like this player wants to be primarily ranged.  So unless this player is actually taking advantage the rouge's features, he'd probably be better off switching to a ranger for the better BaB and extra damage feature that actually works at long range.


Then again, their current builds may very well be salvageable.  But it's hard to tell without knowing more about both their current builds and their preferred playstyles.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Wystenv2, thanks for that post. You just remind me of Dragon Ball Z. I was thinking of a barbarian/wizard combo. It can shoot fireball, fly, and rage. :D

 I'm ok with a character as long it can carry it's own wieght in battle. A CHA rogue can change the outcome of the battle before it starts with his silver togue and can use magic items. A paladin with no CHA? He is basically a fighter, but missing a few feats. :/
Hehehe, yeah. Not sure whether that would work though, since isn't there a restriction on skill tests? Either way, mage armour can nagate a lot of classes's inability to use armour, even if it's only a dip into wizard/sorc

  Aye, one thing you might want to make clear is the ability to reflavour classes subject to ones needs. If he wants to be a streight up fighter crusaiding in the name of his lord, then he can be a Paladin in all senses but the title. A holy crusaider that believes his work to be of the gods without direct influence. A ranger can be a rogue again by simply having the correct mindset going into it, since if he has the sliver tongue and a sliver arrow, though a stealthing rogue this isn't so importent compared to what he can do outside of the battle and the intital ambush.

I had a quick look at the Ninja class, and to me it seems the larger number of party members, the less useful a rogue/ninja/subtle class is in a combat situation. More combatants result in higher threat levels that in turn results in much less surviability compared to the rest of the party, meaning they either drop in together, or not at all. It's not impossible, but it's hard to survive without a clearly defined role or a solid class in such a large party, that even trival mistakes can build up to mean very bad things for isolated members. Just so happens one got unlucky, and the other two fell pray to such numbers. 
I personally hate metagamers and much prefer players to develop good strong character personalities. However I think sometimes your players need to do a bit of metagaming to make the characters a bit heroic within the games mechanics or the characters can be pretty lame and weak due to poor stat positions and feats.

The ninja I understand has an AC of 12 which tells me either he's got no armour and a +2 Dex bonus or no Dex bonus and leather armour. For a ninja character who wears light or no armour a Dex bonus of +2 is poor and leaves the character very vulnerable for a 6th level character. Consider that your average CR 1/2 orc has an attack bonus of +4 which means that it'll hit on a roll of 8 which means your ninja will probably get his backside handed to him by a common low level orc.

I'd say that IMHO with 3rd ed the magical items need to be balanced to keep you PCs AC, attack bonus's in line with their level. However I found that their were some nasty imbalances with 3rd ed classes and multiclass combinations, some could be rediculously overpowered and others were always fragile so the choices may need looking at.
I also used to let my players trade out poor feat choices in 3rd ed especially if the player hardly ever used the feat (Ride was a very common one). Swapping out feats for 3rd ed is a definite recommendation that I'll give. 
If I really want to metagame, I could let everybody be druids raining down lightening as their familars and summon animals swarm everybody down below. 

I have seen a 9lv druid single handly take a 7lv party encounter by herself.

This is how I see a party. 

Everybody got a CR. It's usually their level, but some classes(or character) are weaker then others. Classes like The Bard I usually give a -1 CR, because well bards are spoony in 3.5e. Strong spellcasters like druids, wizards, and clerics get +1 CR because they can be overpower at a certain level or situation. I'm thinking of making a CR test to see how strong the character is in combat.  

A Brute Test: How strong is your character against a barbarian or two-handed fighter. If you did really good then +1. If you can take on two then +2. If you did poor then -1. If you die, then reduce the level until you can kill it.

A Spell Caster Test: How strong is your character against a spellcaster? The result is the same as brute, but you can take on two CR wizard at your own level then WOW. 

A Monster Test: You have to fight a monster that is popular in the campaign. So if you do good here then you are set for a while. 

Sometimes a retest might happen if the party move to a new part of the world. The players don't need to take the test, but it gives good measurement of their character and helps the DM to balance the next encounter. 

 
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