Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ghoul problems

So apparently, if I had bothered to look around before designing my intro adventure, I would have learned that ghouls, a pretty standard low-level undead creature, are entirely broken and have been so since playtesting.  There are a gazillion forum posts and blog posts about this, but I'll encapsulate the problem.

  • Ghouls have three attacks, a claw/claw/bite combination at +4/+4/+2
  • Which the attacks are low-level in power, each attack can paralyze an opponent for a full minute if they fail a DC 10 Constitution save.  Being paralyzed means are effectively hors de combat.
  • AC's for PC's are fairly low, and do not improve with PC level advancement, but strictly through equipment.
  • PC's only get a bonus to attribute saving throws if they are proficient in that attribute.  Each class only has two attribute proficiences, usually.  Otherwise, it is just a straight up d20+attribute modifier (usually low because its not the favored one of the class).  That means there's no difference between a 1st and a 5th level PC in this regard (barring magic items that increase AC).
So with three bites at the apple (the apple being a d20 roll of rough 9 or less), ghouls can one-hit KO a PC pretty often.

It's a weird loophole in their "proficiency bonus" rule, which replaced the "half your level" rule from 4E that caused everything to accelerate quickly into very high numbers.

Anyways, just an in-game observation (and apology to my players for hitting them with ghouls and a carrion crawler, which has the exact same mechanic).

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