13
\$\begingroup\$

I have a wizard and a psion blaster type that keep flinging grenades, light sabers, and over sized swords at everything. The swords are not magical, so fly through spell resistance, anti-magic anything, sanctuary spells, and a dozen other spells that are supposed to curb this. The wizard got over wind wall by flinging really heavy stuff instead.

At first I was all "Haha guys, so creative" but now I'm getting frustrated and other players don't even get to do anything in combat.

What should I do?

background information: A star wars mission adapted for pathfinder. Party is level 13. Party is psion, wizard, paladin, and druid. A quickie mission not a whole campaign. And yes, the stupid telekinesis abuse keeps happening regardless of setting (were doing mostly shorter adventures and taking turns being dm). I am completely open to third party stuff or homebrew.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Is there some way for them to get around the normal spells per day restriction? A 13th level wizard isn't going to have more than 5 5th level spells per day, and the Violent Thrust use of telekinesis takes an entire casting of the spell to use. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jan 4 '15 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you doing close to 4 encounters per day? That's the recommended amount, and I find that psionics does become OP at mid and high levels if you don't stay very close to it. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Epsz Jan 4 '15 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ user52889 was close but most of the answers weren't terrible helpful. After a long book search with a friend I've decided instead of punishing them with custom monsters I'm going to apply penalties for no having proficiency with the items, them being oversize, and non weapon items will do fixed 1D6 damage. If they get proficiency, then they can go back to flinging stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Julia Jan 4 '15 at 17:49
27
\$\begingroup\$

Are you sure there's a problem?

It sounds like the things that your players are doing are pretty legit, and not really overpowered. Remember that using the Violent Thrust option for Telekinesis consumes the spell all at once, and doesn't let you use either of the other options at the same time. The things that you're talking about all sound like sort of underpowered uses of a 5th level spell. I think if might help if I enumerated why each of these uses isn't actually that powerful.

I'll go through the list:

Throwing grenades

There are two ways I can think of to 'throw' grenades with Telekinesis. Either you can use Violent Thrust to quickly toss a grenade up to 130 feet (which would likely ignore any AMFs in the way), or use Sustained Force to move the grenade 20 feet per round for 13 rounds (260 ft). How good these options are depends on how powerful your grenades are. If your grenades are something like a non-magical version of fireball, and do something like 10d6 damage, then the first option is just a short range fireball that ignores AMF, and the second is a short-range fireball that takes up to 13 rounds to land. Neither is particularly impressive, especially since it takes a 5th level spell to do either effect.

Throwing Swords

Again, the power of this option will depend on how powerful lightsabers are in your setting. If lightsabers do 3d8 damage and make all attacks into touch attacks, then this option will be quite a bit better. The calculations that I'm doing here are assuming that you're throwing upsized longswords.

So, a longsword does 1d8 damage, and weighs 4 lbs. You can throw up to 13 objects with a total weight of 325 lbs at CL 13, so your best bet is to throw objects that weigh as close to 25 lbs as possible. Gargantuan longswords are 32 lbs, so you could throw 10 of them and stay in your weight limit.

Now, the table for increased damage based on size stops at 3d6, but we can extrapolate to get the damage value for a Gargantuan longsword: 1d8 -> 2d6 -> 3d6 -> 4d6. Assuming you can somehow get these ten swords out of your pack in time to use them, a 40d6 damage attack is certainly nothing to laugh at.

However, the wizard is going to have a rough time actually hitting with those swords. In order to hit with a Violent Thrust, you need to make a normal attack roll with each object, substituting your casting stat for Strength. Since full casters get 1/2 BAB, that means that a 13th level caster likely has something like a +12 attack bonus for each weapon.

The Monster Creation page says that CR 13 monsters generally have an AC of 28, which means that only two of those swords is likely to hit. With a higher to-hit or a lower AC, you'll hit more often, but it'll be pretty unlikely to hit more than 4 or 5 times with a single attack. A 16-20d6 attack is still pretty awesome, but that's totally in line with what a 5th level spell can do. For example, on a failed save, a level 13 Acidic Spray will do 19d6 damage in an area.

Also remember that these weapons are likely nonmagical, and don't bypass DR. DR 5 or 10 is not very uncommon in the low teens, and would have a large effect on the damage this tactic would do. DR 5 would make a 4-sword hit attack deal 36 damage instead of 56. DR 10 would drop it down to 16.

Breaking through Sanctuary

Telekinesis can't get through sanctuary. The spell description states:

Any opponent attempting to directly attack the warded creature, even with a targeted spell, must attempt a Will save.

Emphasis mine. Since you need to target an enemy in order to use Violent Thrust or Combat Maneuver, you need to make a will save in order to use Telekinesis on a target affected by sanctuary.

Breaking through Wind Wall

Wind Wall isn't really supposed to counter Telekinesis. Wind Wall is basically intended to stop regular ranged attacks and gases, and smaller flying creatures when that comes up. Wind Wall is a third level spell; it's totally normal for a 5th level spell to be able to bypass or ignore the effects of a 3rd level spell. This is especially true since the use of Telekinesis doesn't stop the Wind Wall entirely, it just lets you ignore the wall for one attack. It might even be more helpful to just use Telekinesis on the guy inside the wall, and pull him out with a Violent Thrust.

It would actually probably be more useful to use Teleport, another 5th level spell, to just teleport your whole party past the Wind Wall rather than using that spell slot to make a single attack through it.

Conclusion

5th level spells are really powerful things. It's pretty difficult to come up with a simple obstacle (and anything that can be made with a single spell is a simple obstacle) that a 13th level party can't bypass by using another spell. There are a lot more broken things that your party could be doing with their 5th level spell slots than throwing things with Telekinesis.

If you really don't like what your party is doing with Telekinesis, then there are some things that could help.

  1. Make the giant swords harder to use. One giant sword isn't really a threat, and drawing ten of them from whatever extradimensional storage they're kept in is going to take some time. So is putting them back.
  2. Make their enemies use the same tricks. If you throw a dozen huge swords at a spellcaster, the caster can easily throw them right back.
  3. Set up non-telekinesis-friendly terrain. Maybe the enemy has a source of concealment or cover that isn't easily bypassed at a distance, like Obscuring Mist, or some bushes. Adding a 20% miss chance to those sword attacks is a helpful thing.
\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

It sounds like you have two characters who are used to blitzing enemies with ranged abilities and two who are better at hand-to-hand, sustained combat. The short answer is therefore that you shouldn't just give them predictable encounters which play to the strengths of half the party. Think about situations in which the other characters are likely to be able to put their skills to good use.

More close-range encounters (e.g. indoors, ambushes, face-to-face negotiations going wrong) and more encounters per day (so they have to be more careful with their spell slot uses) should make your other players feel more useful and force the two blitzers out of their rut. Also, check that your opponents are tough enough that the paladin has time to spend a few rounds in combat dealing consistent damage (alongside any companion/summoned creatures/shapeshifted druid). Are there environmental hazards which the paladin and druid can more easily shrug off but which the others need to think about to ensure their own safety before acting as artillery?

Alternatively, give the enemy overpowering advantages at range (e.g. siege equipment, cover) that the party decides against ranged assault (make this fact apparent and give them reasonably obvious clues as to at least one way of avoiding the ranged option).

If the party has to deal with multiple simultaneous threats (which may not simply be 'enemies' but could be hostages or quest items being taken away or destroyed, alarms being raised, superweapons activated, etc.), they may have to think more tactically and perhaps use telekinesis for other things.

If the party is operating undercover among enemies, those spells or spell slots might be needed for hiding evidence, muffling sounds, disguises, distractions, etc. They may also be limited in the amount of ammunition they can carry. Take heed of DuckTapeAl's advice about how impractical it is to lug swords around.

\$\endgroup\$
-2
\$\begingroup\$

What to do?

1. Ask them politely out of game not to use this tactic as it is too powerful for your game's power level.

2. Modify Telekinesis' 'Violent Thrust' option to fire 1 projectile per 3 caster levels, not one projectile per caster level.

3. Use ambushes, multiple foes with cover, and other encounters that mean a 'volley of projectiles' won't instantly end it. Alternatively, up the scale and number of fights to 'overwhelm' the casting capabilities of the psion and wizard, and leave smaller fights, sudden assassination attempts, etc, for the other two characters to deal with. This is a poor option for a number of reasons.

What not to do?

1. Keep running the game as it is with combat encounters that are swept up by the psion and wizard with no capability for the other two players to contribute.

2. Get into an argument with the wizard or psion player. It won't help matters, and if they refuse to allow you to change the way a spell works in the game when you are running it, it doesn't exactly bode well for having fun games in the future with this group or these players.

3. DM fiat a powerful foe who kills the offending players. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons. At worst, you might throw a enemy who uses Telekinesis against the party, as sort of an object lesson or if everyone is super keen to play rocket tag and doesn't like the idea of scaling down. But 'killing off players in a snit' is pretty much the no1 sign of a bad GM, so don't do it.

\$\endgroup\$
-4
\$\begingroup\$

Telekinesis and Jedi force movements, although not a spell, ARE a spell-like ability (depending on the source) last I checked, therefore, anti-magic fields and such, although they wouldn't stop the item being thrown, would stop the telekinesis. That means once it hits those anti-magic barriers, the telekenisis should cease to function, and whatever item they're throwing around should act merely like a grenade throw from the start of the barrier (and the physical objects can be countered by mundane means (a magic shield and physical barriar would block a telekinesised grenade just as much as a normal barrier would block a normally thrown grenade.

A Sith or Psion should be able to use their own abilities to similarly grab & move the items. Also, generally, telekensis is some line-of-sight issues. Imagaine it working as a really long stick with a hand attached on the end. If an anti-magic barriar would touch that "stick," it would "break" that stick. So they can't even come in along the side of a one-sided magic barrier. Further, telekensis doesn't impart knowledge of what's in the area. As such, trying to reach into an area they can't see, they'd be flailing in the the dark. So just having them being unable to see their target would work as well. So if their ally can see the target but they can't, their telekinesis is effectively useless.

Additional note: Further, it should be noted that as the players get more high level, the more their exploits become known. That means more likely they are to face enemies that actually are built specifically to counter them, as well as other people learning how to do equivalents to their tricks. Heroes don't adventure in a vacuum after-all. Especially if they fight the same organization time after time. If that organization gets foiled by the heroes multiple times, they're going to make sure their troops are equipped with stuff to counter them. For example, start having them invest in Ysylamari breeders (pardon my spelling... they're a species in the extended star wars universe that makes an anti-force bubble). At which point, your force users can't do anything until the other players manage to break through those defenses. (Although some players will get annoyed if they feel like they're being targeted... unless you give an in-story reason they're being targeted. Finding a note on the first group defeated talking about how "That Jedi has been tearing up our troops, as such, we're deploying a Ysalamari specialist to each team as an additional measure" would make them feel more proud they're forcing the enemy to take drastic action as well as feel like the ante is being upped.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You appear to have missed part of the question: the asker says the various objects are being flung. The telekinesis is just being used to put them in motion. Once those objects hit the AMF they're just following causality, not being levitated. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 4 '15 at 11:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The OP didn't cover for how much distance the telekinesis was being enacted on the object. If it's just from the caster's location, there's little difference between them using telekineses and throwing it with their own hands other than the physical force behind it, at which point normal thrown object rules would apply. I was assuming the problem was due to the degree of control the users were enacting, in which case it's more than just being flung and causality. \$\endgroup\$ – liljoshu Jan 4 '15 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Telekinesis lets you hurl CL/level objects as a standard action. No fighter can do the same, especially if some of those objects are Huge greatswords. This is also a Pathfinder game, not a Star Wars game. It's a repurposed star wars adventure, but uses the pathfinder ruleset not.. whatever you are talking about. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Jan 4 '15 at 17:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.