I have received word from the beyond, and we have a winner for our Rasputin Redesign Challenge! Look closely into my eyes, and I will share secrets with you...
Redesigning Rasputin presents a multitude of challenges for those that picked up the gauntlet—not only backwards engineering a base starting point with ability scores, but also rethinking tactics, equipment, and stylistic approach. (And having to re-engineer entries to pick a winner was also challenging for the judges!) In the end, there can be only one winner, and that winner is: Iammars, with Grigori Rasputin, cult master mesmerist!
Grigori Rasputin, cult master mesmerist:
Grigori Rasputin CR 17
Male middle-aged human mesmerist (cult master) 18
NE Medium humanoid (human) Init +0; Senses Perception +22 Aura unholy aura (DC 22)
AC 23, touch 18, flat-footed 23 (+5 armor, +4 deflection, +4 insight) hp 185 (18d8+92) Fort +15, Ref +16, Will +26; +4 vs. death effects, domination, mind-affecting effects, and possession Defensive Abilities fortification 50%, stitched soul; SR 25 vs. good
Before Combat Within the Thrice-Tenth presbytery (area H6), Rasputin enjoys the benefits of the World Engine’s unholy aura and insight bonus to his AC. Rasputin casts cloak of dreams, displacement, false life, freedom of movement, levitate and mirror image. Aside from false life, these effects are not factored into his statistics. During Combat Rasputin uses his stare to try to get his spells to stick on the PCs. He uses spells like confusion, overwhelming presence and primal regression to try to stop the PCs from acting properly. If a PC is being particularly troublesome, then they become the target of phantasmal killer. Morale On the precipice of claiming his mother’s mythic power, Rasputin relies on his stitched soul to preserve his life, and fights to the death again and again until slain permanently.
Str 7, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 28 Base Atk +13; CMB +11; CMD 29 Feats Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, DiehardB, Ectoplasmic SpellB, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Leadership, Quicken Spell, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Spell Focus (enchantment), Spell Specialization (ill omen), Toughness Skills Bluff +30, Diplomacy +45, Heal +19, Intimidate +30, Knowledge (arcana) +23, Perception +22, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +23, Use Magic Device +30 Languages Church Slavonic, Common, Russian SQ fanatical devotion, fanatical stare, glib lie (DC 33) Gear+1 moderate fortification chain shirt, mwk dagger, mwk Nagant M1895 revolver with 21 metal cartridges, belt of physical might +2 (Dex, Con), greater talisman of danger sense, greater talisman of healing power, greater talisman of warrior's courage, headband of alluring charisma +6, lucky horseshoe, mask of the mesmerist, ring of immolationAP 11
Stitched Soul (Su) Rasputin’s soul is stitched to his body with threads of fate, and he clings tenaciously to life. He gains Diehard as a bonus feat. In addition, when first reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to or greater than his current Con score, Rasputin dies, but he springs back to life 1d4 rounds later as if the target of a resurrection spell. If killed a second time, the Mad Monk again comes back to life 1d6 rounds later, as if the target of a raise dead spell (upon his return, he loses 50% of his remaining unused spell slots as if they had been used to cast spells). Only after Rasputin is slain for a third time do his soul’s stitches finally unravel from his corpse, releasing his malignant spirit into the ether.
Not only did Iammars swing for the fences in his entry, he nails it with choices that recreate the encounters in "Rasputin Must Die!" (like using project image to harass the PCs). To quote Brandon's commentary, "And just as I clung to historical accuracy to get to the germ of my Rasputin, this guy goes and uses the archetype's bonus Leadership feat to get a cohort, and pulls Anna-[redacted]-Vyrubova out of the history books and inserts HER into the action. Just awesome." Of course, it would be silly to not include Anna, so here you go!
Anna Vyurbova, biggest fan:
Female human psychic 16
N Medium humanoid (human) Init +0; Senses Perception +6
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +1 natural) hp 158 (16d6+100) Fort +15, Ref +12, Will +17 SR 28 Weaknesses wheelchair bound
Before Combat Anna casts heroism on both herself and Rasputin, while also casting displacement, false life, heightened awareness, life bubble, mirror image, and spell resistance. Displacement, life bubble, and mirror image are not factored into her statistics. During Combat Anna attempts to do as much damage to the PCs as possible, making liberal use of quickened explode head combined with horrid wilting and psychic crush. Morale Anna fights until her contingency whisks her away, her pain overcoming her and stopping her from doing anything else.
Str 8, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 23, Wis 14, Cha 13 Base Atk +8; CMB +9; CMD 18 Feats Combat Casting, Empower Spell, Fearsome Spell, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Quicken Spell, Spell Focus (necromancy), Spell Perfection (explode head), Toughness Skills Bluff +22, Diplomacy +22, Heal +16, Knowledge (arcana) +29, Knowledge (nobility) +29, Knowledge (religion) +29, Sense Motive +23, Spellcraft +27 Languages Common, Russian SQ live on (6d6, 7/day), mercies (dazed, nauseated, sickened, stunned), power from pain (max. 2) Combat Gearbead of force, lesser persistent metamagic rod, wand of cure light wounds, wand of enervation (22 charges); Other Gear+1 mithral chain shirt, cloak of resistance +3, headband of mental prowess +2 (Int, Wis), ring of protection +1
Contingency: When Anna is brought down to 25 hit points or less, she dimension doors away.
Wheelchair Bound: Anna can only move around in her wheelchair. Her speed is reduced by 10 feet unless both hands are free.
Iammars is the winner of a custom Paizo.com avatar selected from Occult Adventures, as well as $25 in store credit! But Iammars' entry wasn't the only one that got our attention. Milo v3's reanimated medium, Rannald's reanimated medium/formless adept psychic, Charlie Bell's mesmerist, and two interpretations of the occultist class from Meloriel and Corneleus Idaho were also among our favorite entries. Implement choices for the occultists, playing up the "why can't you just stay dead" for the medium, and solid tactical choices with Rasputin's new class made selecting our finalist a worthy encounter for our judges!
Thank you so much to everybody who entered—it was a (kinetic) blast to read through them all!
@Andrew L Klein: Definitely the most brutal entry, but I'm not sure how it stays a CR 17 fight with a level 16 cohort. I'd recommend buffing your group a bit before unleashing this couple on them.
Technically, the Leadership feat us included in the CR of the NPC who has it, thus the presence of a level 16 cohort is balanced by not being able to take, say, Lightning Reflexes.
And the CR is also included in the CR of you taking 10 levels in the Noble Scion PRC, and having a cohort of your level taking 10 levels in Noble Scion, who takes a cohort who takes 10 levels in Noble Scion, who takes a cohort who takes 10 levels in Noble Scion, ad infinitum*.
*Subject to GM discretion. I am not responsible for any injury or damages resulting from this, including but not limited to: pretzel wounds, dice concussions, rocks fall, everybody dies, instant ban from table, and slightly upset GMs. Don't do this at home, kids!