LOL I built level 4 and level 9 versions of Sparrow the Halfling Investigator. Here’s her level 9 stats. 
Sparrow Female Halfling Investigator 9 NG Small humanoid (halfling)Init +10; Senses Perception +24
Defense
AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +4 Dex, +1 size, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)hp 66 (9d8+18)Fort +6, Ref +11 (+3 bonus vs. traps), Will +7; +6 bonus vs. poison, +2 resistance bonus vs. poison, +2 vs. fearDefensive Abilities trap sense +3; Resist poison resistance
Offense
Speed 35 ft.Melee cold iron dagger +8/+3 (1d3+1/19-20) and    dagger +8/+3 (1d3+1/19-20) and    masterwork morningstar +9/+4 (1d6+1) and    silver dagger +8/+3 (1d3/19-20)Ranged light crossbow +11 (1d6/19-20)Special Attacks studied combat, studied strike +0d6Investigator Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +13):    3rd—cure serious wounds, haste, heroism, vomit twinARG    2nd—acute sensesUM (DC 16), blur, invisibility, spider climb, vomit swarmAPG    1st—comprehend languages, cure light wounds (2), detect secret doors, keen sensesAPG (DC 15), targeted bomb admixtureUC
Statistics
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 11Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD 22Feats Dodge, Fleet, Improved Initiative, Sharp SensesAPG, Skill Focus (Perception)Traits lettered, reactionarySkills Acrobatics +18 (+23 to jump), Appraise +8, Climb +7, Craft (alchemy) +16 (+25 to create alchemical items), Craft (locks) +13, Craft (traps) +13, Diplomacy +12, Disable Device +22, Disguise +4, Escape Artist +8, Handle Animal +1, Heal +4, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +8, Knowledge (engineering) +9, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (local) +9, Knowledge (nature) +9, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Knowledge (religion) +8, Linguistics +16, Perception +24, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +9 (+11 to oppose the Perception check of someone observing or frisking you regarding items in the sheath, +11 to oppose the Perception check of someone observing or frisking you regarding items in the sheath), Stealth +25, Survival +6 (+11 when tracking), Swim +2; Racial Modifiers +2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +4 PerceptionLanguages Abyssal, Boggard, Celestial, Common, Daemonic, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Halfling, Infernal, Necril, Sylvan, ThassilonianSQ alchemy, inspiration, investigator talents (amazing inspiration, expanded inspiration, fast stealth, mutagen), mutagen, poison lore, poison use, swift alchemy, trapfinding +4Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (4), alchemist’s fire (10), antiplague (5), antitoxin (5); Other Gear +1 studded leather, cold iron dagger, crossbow bolts (50), dagger (2), light crossbow, masterwork morningstar, silver dagger, bag of holding i, belt of physical perfection +2, boots of striding and springing, cloak of elvenkind, lenses of detection, ring of protection +1, snakeskin tunic, alchemy crafting kit, masterwork artisan’s tools, masterwork artisan’s tools, breaker’s kit, hip flask, survival kit, masterwork, thieves’ tools, masterwork, trail rations (10), wrist sheath, wrist sheath, small cut emerald (worth 1,000 gp), small cut ruby (worth 1,000 gp), small cut sapphire (worth 1,000 gp), small uncut ruby (worth 500 gp), 401 gp
Special Abilities
Alchemy +9 (Su) +9 to Craft (Alchemy) to create alchemical items, can Id potions by touch.Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour. Alchemical Power Component Like antiplague, this substance can augment certain healing spells. Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.Expanded Inspiration (Ex) Use Inspiration with Diplomacy, Perception, Profession, Sense Motive at no cost (if trained).Fast Stealth (Ex) You may move at full speed while using the Stealth skill without penalty.Fearless +2 racial bonus vs Fear saves.Inspiration (+1d8, 8/day) (Ex) Use 1 point, +1d6 to skill or ability check. Use 2 points, to add to attack or save.Lenses of detection +5 to track with SurvivalLettered +1 trait bonus to Linguistics to decipher language, never false conclusion.Mutagen This discovery gives the alchemist the mutagen class ability, as described in the Advanced Player’s Guide. (This discovery exists so alchemist archetypes who have variant mutagens, such as the mindchemist, can learn how to make standard mutageMutagen (DC 18) (Su) Mutagen adds +4 to a physical & -2 to a mental attribute, and +2 nat. armor for 90 min.Poison Lore (Ex) An investigator has a deep understanding and appreciation for poisons. Starting at 2nd level, he cannot accidentally poison himself when applying poison to a weapon. If the investigator takes minute and physical examine the poison, he can make a KnowPoison Resistance +2 (Ex) +6 to save vs. Poison.Poison Use You do not risk poisoning yourself accidentally while poisoning a weapon.Potion of cure light wounds Add this item to create a potion of a chosen spell.Snakeskin tunic +2 save vs. poisonStudied Combat (+4, 4 rounds) (Ex) Standard action to study target, granting attack bonus.Studied Strike +0d6 (Ex) Use up Studied Combat bonus for +3d6 damage to one attack.Swift Alchemy (Ex) You can construct alchemical items in half the normal time.Trap Sense +3 (Ex) +3 bonus on reflex saves and AC against traps.Trapfinding +4 Gain a bonus to find or disable traps, including magical ones.

(Image is of Betty from Rat Queens, who has somewhat inspired Sparrow.)

LOL I built level 4 and level 9 versions of Sparrow the Halfling Investigator. Here’s her level 9 stats. 

Sparrow
Female Halfling Investigator 9
NG Small humanoid (halfling)
Init +10; Senses Perception +24


Defense


AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +4 Dex, +1 size, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 66 (9d8+18)
Fort +6, Ref +11 (+3 bonus vs. traps), Will +7; +6 bonus vs. poison, +2 resistance bonus vs. poison, +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities trap sense +3; Resist poison resistance


Offense


Speed 35 ft.
Melee cold iron dagger +8/+3 (1d3+1/19-20) and
   dagger +8/+3 (1d3+1/19-20) and
   masterwork morningstar +9/+4 (1d6+1) and
   silver dagger +8/+3 (1d3/19-20)
Ranged light crossbow +11 (1d6/19-20)
Special Attacks studied combat, studied strike +0d6
Investigator Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +13):
   3rd—cure serious wounds, haste, heroism, vomit twinARG
   2nd—acute sensesUM (DC 16), blur, invisibility, spider climb, vomit swarmAPG
   1st—comprehend languages, cure light wounds (2), detect secret doors, keen sensesAPG (DC 15), targeted bomb admixtureUC


Statistics


Str 13, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 11
Base Atk +6; CMB +6; CMD 22
Feats Dodge, Fleet, Improved Initiative, Sharp SensesAPG, Skill Focus (Perception)
Traits lettered, reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +18 (+23 to jump), Appraise +8, Climb +7, Craft (alchemy) +16 (+25 to create alchemical items), Craft (locks) +13, Craft (traps) +13, Diplomacy +12, Disable Device +22, Disguise +4, Escape Artist +8, Handle Animal +1, Heal +4, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +8, Knowledge (engineering) +9, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (local) +9, Knowledge (nature) +9, Knowledge (nobility) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Knowledge (religion) +8, Linguistics +16, Perception +24, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +9 (+11 to oppose the Perception check of someone observing or frisking you regarding items in the sheath, +11 to oppose the Perception check of someone observing or frisking you regarding items in the sheath), Stealth +25, Survival +6 (+11 when tracking), Swim +2; Racial Modifiers +2 Acrobatics, +2 Climb, +4 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Boggard, Celestial, Common, Daemonic, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Halfling, Infernal, Necril, Sylvan, Thassilonian
SQ alchemy, inspiration, investigator talents (amazing inspiration, expanded inspiration, fast stealth, mutagen), mutagen, poison lore, poison use, swift alchemy, trapfinding +4
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (4), alchemist’s fire (10), antiplague (5), antitoxin (5); Other Gear +1 studded leather, cold iron dagger, crossbow bolts (50), dagger (2), light crossbow, masterwork morningstar, silver dagger, bag of holding i, belt of physical perfection +2, boots of striding and springing, cloak of elvenkind, lenses of detection, ring of protection +1, snakeskin tunic, alchemy crafting kit, masterwork artisan’s tools, masterwork artisan’s tools, breaker’s kit, hip flask, survival kit, masterwork, thieves’ tools, masterwork, trail rations (10), wrist sheath, wrist sheath, small cut emerald (worth 1,000 gp), small cut ruby (worth 1,000 gp), small cut sapphire (worth 1,000 gp), small uncut ruby (worth 500 gp), 401 gp


Special Abilities


Alchemy +9 (Su) +9 to Craft (Alchemy) to create alchemical items, can Id potions by touch.
Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour. Alchemical Power Component Like antiplague, this substance can augment certain healing spells. Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.
Expanded Inspiration (Ex) Use Inspiration with Diplomacy, Perception, Profession, Sense Motive at no cost (if trained).
Fast Stealth (Ex) You may move at full speed while using the Stealth skill without penalty.
Fearless +2 racial bonus vs Fear saves.
Inspiration (+1d8, 8/day) (Ex) Use 1 point, +1d6 to skill or ability check. Use 2 points, to add to attack or save.
Lenses of detection +5 to track with Survival
Lettered +1 trait bonus to Linguistics to decipher language, never false conclusion.
Mutagen This discovery gives the alchemist the mutagen class ability, as described in the Advanced Player’s Guide. (This discovery exists so alchemist archetypes who have variant mutagens, such as the mindchemist, can learn how to make standard mutage
Mutagen (DC 18) (Su) Mutagen adds +4 to a physical & -2 to a mental attribute, and +2 nat. armor for 90 min.
Poison Lore (Ex) An investigator has a deep understanding and appreciation for poisons. Starting at 2nd level, he cannot accidentally poison himself when applying poison to a weapon. If the investigator takes minute and physical examine the poison, he can make a Know
Poison Resistance +2 (Ex) +6 to save vs. Poison.
Poison Use You do not risk poisoning yourself accidentally while poisoning a weapon.
Potion of cure light wounds Add this item to create a potion of a chosen spell.
Snakeskin tunic +2 save vs. poison
Studied Combat (+4, 4 rounds) (Ex) Standard action to study target, granting attack bonus.
Studied Strike +0d6 (Ex) Use up Studied Combat bonus for +3d6 damage to one attack.
Swift Alchemy (Ex) You can construct alchemical items in half the normal time.
Trap Sense +3 (Ex) +3 bonus on reflex saves and AC against traps.
Trapfinding +4 Gain a bonus to find or disable traps, including magical ones.

(Image is of Betty from Rat Queens, who has somewhat inspired Sparrow.)

doncoyote

doncoyote:

adventureang:

And also RE: new character not finding their gear for 2 sessions now. I even felt compelled to ask the GM, like if he planned our stuff to be somewhere and we never come across that room, do we just not ever get our gear? The starting gold we used to buy all that, are we just screwed out of? He said no and that we will find it. But I still feel very wary.

The other new character that was found with me is a paladin. So he also has been running around with insufficient gear (mostly from my dead barbarian/alchemist). Just chainmail and an earthbreaker. But him with the earthbreaker and me with my fists, OF COURSE we had a boss fight with something that wasn’t bothered by bludgeoning. So the paladin and the witch were sharing a great axe while I was wielding a little silver short sword.(We also have a cleric and a bard. And a cavalier who wasn’t there.) With that one, I finally decided as my attacks were laughable at best, I would work on disarming the creature instead of trying to hurt it. We were just screwed an absurd amount at every turn.

I hope I’m not “complaining” too much. It just really felt like a horrible session made worse by keeping 2 out of 5 of us neutered without gear.

Pathfinder’s CR system only works when the party has gear, specifically gear that roughly fits with the wealth by level guidelines, and it really falls apart when you have no gear at all.

Yep! Very aggravating.

nerdgamery

nerdgamery:

adventureang:

And also RE: new character not finding their gear for 2 sessions now. I even felt compelled to ask the GM, like if he planned our stuff to be somewhere and we never come across that room, do we just not ever get our gear? The starting gold we used to buy all that, are we just screwed out of? He said no and that we will find it. But I still feel very wary.

The other new character that was found with me is a paladin. So he also has been running around with insufficient gear (mostly from my dead barbarian/alchemist). Just chainmail and an earthbreaker. But him with the earthbreaker and me with my fists, OF COURSE we had a boss fight with something that wasn’t bothered by bludgeoning. So the paladin and the witch were sharing a great axe while I was wielding a little silver short sword.(We also have a cleric and a bard. And a cavalier who wasn’t there.) With that one, I finally decided as my attacks were laughable at best, I would work on disarming the creature instead of trying to hurt it. We were just screwed an absurd amount at every turn.

I hope I’m not “complaining” too much. It just really felt like a horrible session made worse by keeping 2 out of 5 of us neutered without gear.

There are ‘expectations’ when a DM runs a published adventure.  That the characters are of an appropriate level.  They they have gear that is appropriate.  

I know that in Rise of the Runelords, there are some villains that have “PC Gear” (A much larger gear-value budget than normal NPCs would have) and this increases their Challenge Rating.  One could assume that the opposite is true for Player Characters who are woefully under-equipped.

Additionally, you have to look at average party level when considering the Challenge Rating of a creature/encounter.  A Party with a level 6 character, 2 level 5 characters, and 2 level 4 characters has an average party level of 4.  Going against a pair of creatures with a CR of 7 is a very significant encounter!  (According to the Encounter design table, that is an EPIC encounter!  In fact, on that same page, 2 CR7 creatures would have an encounter Challenge Rating of 9.  Which a group with an Average Party Level of 4 SHOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED

I like a challenging encounter just as much as the next guy, but when the DM is obviously fudging things so he doesn’t TPK in three consecutive encounters (and then is smug enough to tell the party that he did it… like some manner of benevolent dictator)… it makes it very difficult to feel like you are doing anything other than going through the motions.  

What worries me more, is that the DM has no options in place to ‘catch up’ if you miss a session, or a character dies.  And as the Adventure path keeps chugging along, those who are behind will continue to fall further behind… and that’s not fun for anyone.  

Some input from my fiance, who is also playing a PC in the Shattered Star campaign. 

carthagian-chronicle replied to your post “And also RE: new character not finding their gear for 2 sessions now….”

Who did you just fight, what gear you got between you & the party, and is this behavior common to your GM? I might be able to help you out with some of this if you want some advice.

There was a seugathi wormy thing that had a bite attack, and 2 tentacles on its opposite end. One had a sword in it and the other was a wand it was using to heal itself (in addition to having fast healing). That was the CR7 thing we couldn’t use bludgeoning on. And I think good-aligned weapons were the only thing that would give it their full damage, so that was the one great-axe the paladin and witch were sharing (and hooray that the cleric was able to good-align it). 

There were also undead skavelings, giant monitor lizards, a giant, several gray maidens, aquatic ghouls. 

I luckily had gotten a found Amulet of Mighty Fists +1 from the party (I think a dhampir dropped it), and there was an extra silver shortsword which I took just to have an option other than my fists. I had been given 2 potions of Cure Light which went fast. All of this was supplied to my character from the party. I’m not kidding when I say literally all I had was some rags I was wearing. For 2 sessions now. 

This does seem to be how this GM likes to bring in new characters. Usually though he lets us find our stuff just a room or two away from where the new character is found. So I am really perplexed as to why it’s taken this long and he still hasn’t let us find it. Which is what prompted me to ask if we don’t find the area he’s decided it is all in, do we just never get the stuff we spent all our starting money on? (He said no, we will find it.)

ANOTHER THING that is grr-worthy is the GM doesn’t let us level up until we have rested, even if we have the XP. And we ended the session only 1 fight into a new day before he calculated the XP. So if he still doesn’t give me my stuff, that is yet another day in the game I’m going to be in rags and only 4th level, while most everyone else is 5th and 6th levels. (The GM has new characters come in a half level below I think the lowest level character in the game. My fiance then said if Kaija dies before she gets to level, does that mean I’m going to have to bring in a 3rd level character? Like how far does this fuckery go?)

I told my fiance that maybe until the GM lets us find our stuff and/or rest, I’ll just stay out of the way and “delay” during everything. 

And also RE: new character not finding their gear for 2 sessions now. I even felt compelled to ask the GM, like if he planned our stuff to be somewhere and we never come across that room, do we just not ever get our gear? The starting gold we used to buy all that, are we just screwed out of? He said no and that we will find it. But I still feel very wary.

The other new character that was found with me is a paladin. So he also has been running around with insufficient gear (mostly from my dead barbarian/alchemist). Just chainmail and an earthbreaker. But him with the earthbreaker and me with my fists, OF COURSE we had a boss fight with something that wasn’t bothered by bludgeoning. So the paladin and the witch were sharing a great axe while I was wielding a little silver short sword.(We also have a cleric and a bard. And a cavalier who wasn’t there.) With that one, I finally decided as my attacks were laughable at best, I would work on disarming the creature instead of trying to hurt it. We were just screwed an absurd amount at every turn.

I hope I’m not “complaining” too much. It just really felt like a horrible session made worse by keeping 2 out of 5 of us neutered without gear.