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I have a PC who is playing as a level 14 hulking hurler who throws rocks that deal 40d6+34 damage [deals 171, 173, and 179 for an example] and is confused when people are thinking that he might be slightly overpowered. He then complains when the wizard he was fighting that witnessed his feats of damage immediately turned greater invisible and began flying, casting spells on him [ray of stupidity] and eventually becoming comatose [for reference, I have the spells set up before sessions start so I don't 'fudge' the spells that they have to make things harder/easier] and demands the CR of the enemy be raised by three. [This took place in a 2v2 arena where him and a rogue was up against 2 wizards and he threw a boulder, killing one instantly].

My bet is to have his adversaries try to cast a spell to ruin his boulders or disable his phoenix cloak, or get rid of his automatically-sizing returning bowling ball, but I need advice with how to go through with any of this. Should I just tell him that he might be too op, he just got the ability to deal this damage, but still, he deals on average 174 damage per throw with his returning bowling ball.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Without any indicator just how overpowered this is (what campaign do you play? Is this epic or level 3?) there is no way to tell. Who knows, maybe your campaign is just fine and he is cheating or you are misinterpreting rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 14:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ He have one-question-per-Question here. Please ask about the potential boulder-shattering spell in a separate question. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry. They are level 14. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 22:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ The character's "automatically-sizing returning bowling ball" could be the central problem (for instance, while an orcish shotput's legit, purely improvised weapons can't, by definition, also be masterwork weapons therefore can't be made magical). Could that be given a little more attention? (The bowling ball might end up meriting its own Is this allowed according to the rules? question.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 1:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Excuse me but I am intrigued, what is a "returning bowling ball"? Any reference? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:57

2 Answers 2

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You have out-of-character issues to deal with before you worry about this character at all.

The hulking hurler is a problematic build, and not just because of its power. It is a deeply one-trick pony kind of build. It does too much damage when that trick works, and nothing when it doesn’t. It has myriad weaknesses, such as low Intelligence making ray of stupidity a no-save-just-lose spell against him.

The player should have been aware of these problems and taken responsibility for them when he showed up with the character. But it seems likely he just read about the build on the internet somewhere and doesn’t actually understand it.

My approach would be to explain these problems to him, and state that enemies are going to ruthlessly exploit his many weaknesses as much as they can, and his reputation is likely to precede him because of his ability to one-shot foes. Not every enemy will know, not every enemy will have the best counters, but the hulking hurler has so many weaknesses that many will. His trick is devastating but he’s not going to be served opportunities to use it on a platter. And they do not get a CR bump just because he has a character with a lot of weaknesses.

I would then give the option of rebuilding or replacing the character. In reality, in most cases I would have nipped this in the bud, not allowing the character in the first place, but seeing as he has already started with the character, I would let him continue as long as he accepts how that is going to be, and decides for himself that will be the most fun. Because normally I would ban hulking hurler for the player’s own good.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "enemies are going to ruthlessly exploit his many weaknesses as much as they can." Any intelligent enemy should be expected to act intelligently. A smart squishy wizard that can fly and turn invisible will certainly do so to avoid blunt force trauma. That's the point of the NPC having those feats. Similarly, the hurler's build is likely to be as dumb as the bag of rocks he's throwing, and shouldn't be role-played with any guile whatsoever. That said, your problem is with the player. If they're unwilling to accept the above, then the low-INT may be more than simply role-playing. \$\endgroup\$
    – mwoodman
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:50
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Don't try to deal with this in-game. It's mean to alter the game world to thwart someone's character's ability (for example, by having the enemy wizards cast spells to disable his boulders) -- that will make the player frustrated.

Your first step is to give the player one or two sessions to be awesome. He built this character because he wanted to be awesome, so give him a chance to do that. If you're worried about him eclipsing the other players, you might have to run a separate session for just him, with "standard" enemies he can easily crush.

Then, take him aside and ask him to build a different character. Your player has shown aptitude for coming up with broken combinations of abilities by rummaging through sourcebooks, so you might want to ask him to play Core-only from now on.

A phrasing I've used in the past that has worked is: "Congratulations! You built an awesome character and won the campaign! I'm going to declare your character victorious, and if you like we can write an epilogue about all the awesome things he does after he leaves the party. Now you get to retire your character, and your new character has to use Core rules only, to add to the challenge."

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    \$\begingroup\$ The only thing that I can imagine is dragging this otherwise perfectly reasonable answer down is that it suggests the player stick to core-only as a way of reigning in the player's crazy designs. For an experienced player, core-only is one of the most broken ways to play the game. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the first half of the answer, but the "Congratulations!" passage, in conjunction with the core-only requirement, seems a bit condescending. If the player is already feeling punished (justly or unjustly), I don't think that unilaterally deleting his character and restricting him would help. I think that the answer would be better if it included some guidelines on reaching a mutual agreement instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 20:17

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