My party is way too weak

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I'm currently playing Encounters with a group of 8 people, and it's a whole lot of fun and a lot more roleplaying than I thought it would be. However, there is a slight problem. Our DM doubles the monster's hitpoints because our group is so large, but only two people in it really put any thought into designing their characters. We have two halfling thieves that never do anything but steal from the monsters and shoplift, a knight with 10 Strength, a human swordmage who is a skill monkey and is completely ineffective in anything outside of skill challenges, a wizard that is just content to spam Magic Missile, a player who will never play anything outside of Essentials even though I and a friend have offered to let him borrow any book from our huge 4e library, a vampire who does nothing but roleplay and runs away from every encounter, and a monk who actually has a devloped backstory and is our primary damage dealer, and me, a human invoker that optimized with my monk friend so that we are an unstoppable duo. The bad thing is, despite what we've planned, we pretty much hold the entire party together with wonderglue and duct tape.

I know that not everyone is into optimization like me and my friend are, but I would at least want a party that isn't horribly inbalanced. This happens every season, and although I still have fun, we've had several TPKs (one that killed off a character that everyone really enjoyed because of my RPing.) Every time I bring it up with them, they say that they don't want to be munchkins and that I should just have fun with the game.

In short, how do I get my group to actually function as a party rather than having to carry the weight of the encounters with one other PC?
That sounds terrible. 4e has super high hit point bloat on monsters even after the erratta to cut it down.

Ask your DM to double the number of monsters instead of the HP.  

Alternativley, ask the others to let you help optimize them. Or lastly still, post your build and let someone here tweak it to the max for you so you can carry the party even more. The last option might draw some resentment your way.  

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I'm going to assume 'finding a better group' is not an option?
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I'm going to assume 'finding a better group' is not an option?



It's not that they're bad, I have fun with them. But they just have no motivation to improve really.

That sounds terrible. 4e has super high hit point bloat on monsters even after the erratta to cut it down.

Ask your DM to double the number of monsters instead of the HP.  

Alternativley, ask the others to let you help optimize them. Or lastly still, post your build and let someone here tweak it to the max for you so you can carry the party even more. The last option might draw some resentment your way.  



Doubling the monsters might work.

Also, no resentment. I've been using lordduskblade and his guides for a lot of my characters ever since I discovered them, but I do choose some odd features sometimes. Laughing
No Krusk meant resentment from the other players.

The DM needs to know that he's not actually allowed, at a public play event, to houserule that all monsters have double HP because of group size. He's allowed to limit group size, and he's allowed to adjust the size of encounters to match the size of the group, but he's not allowed to just modify their stats like that.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

I'm going to assume 'finding a better group' is not an option?



It's not that they're bad, I have fun with them. But they just have no motivation to improve really.


...Right, so is finding a better group not an option? I.e., a group motivated to improve.
More minions is always the answer.

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The DM needs to know that he's not actually allowed, at a public play event, to houserule that all monsters have double HP because of group size. He's allowed to limit group size, and he's allowed to adjust the size of encounters to match the size of the group, but he's not allowed to just modify their stats like that.

Actually, a DM is allowed to do exactly that with Encounters as long as the table is having fun. Just as he is allowed to half the hit points if that increases the fun of those at the table. Just take a look at the Encounter forums where DMs do these kind of things and are told to do so by WotC to ensure the players have a more fun time. The adventures are designed for a balanced group (if not slightly weak group in case of Encounters) with a reasonably skilled DM - as always the deviation from the average is pretty big. Of course, when the DM gets multiple TPKs, it is time for that DM to reassess and correct. Just as the DM is allowed to increase the challenge, the DM is also expected to lower the challenge if the group is weaker than expected.

My advice to the OP, talk with your DM in private and point out the various TPKs and the adverse effect it is having on your fun. Ask him to try run the encounters unadjusted and see whether things are really too easy. If that does not work, there are not many options open though except for finding another group.

As for the used mechanic, increasing hit points as opposed to the number of monsters is not wrong per definition. It allows all PCs to act without actually making the fight more dangerous, although doubling seems a bit excessive unless the extra number of players are heavy strikers. Adding more monsters after all means more attacks that can be directed at the PCs. Of course, as others have pointed out, fights will take longer which can certainly increases the risk of it becoming stale.
More minions is always the answer.

Depends on the group ;) Minions can be lethal if the PCs have no area attacks as we recently learned in our home game ;)

Purchase the DM a Dungeon Masters Guide.  Teach him other ways he can make the fights difficult without simply doubling the monster HP.
Increasing hit points without doing anything about monster output is liable to turn it into a grind more than make it challenging.

In any case, an 8-character party would warrant a 60% increase, not a 100% increase. (The baseline is a 5-character party, not a 4-character one.)

If it's an Encounters event then there's already an established procedure for scaling encounters: add an additional creature from among the creatures already present in the encounter for each PC over 5. If it's a low-optimized group and/or inexperienced players then it should be whichever of those creature is the lowest level.
For level one XP budget for team monster is 100xp per player so he just needs to add monsters till the xp total is around 800.
For level one XP budget for team monster is 100xp per player so he just needs to add monsters till the xp total is around 800.



This is what I would do.

Of course, in order to keep it from becoming a grind....what is it, double monster damage and half hit points? Though, with your....unique group, that might not work. Increasing the number of monsters should do it.

Also, as others have said, minions. The road to victory is paved with the bones of minions. 

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