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@Patrick C - I don't completely disagree with your assessment, but I also don't see why Chaos being basically bad and Law being basically good was a particularly bad system compared to 9 shades of alignment which it seems people can rarely agree on. However, I was mostly just commemorating the influence of the Stormbringer stories since I've been reading them lately.
As lemeres mentioned, buying more powerful animals out of the book might be something some DMs object to for game balance reasons.
Getting an animal companion via feats could be a good choice. If it is just a pet rather than a mount it might be cheaper to pick up a Mauler familiar. Either way, your raging songs should help increase the creature's combat effectiveness.
Depending on how your DM feels about summoned animals you might be able to get a lot of use out of Handle Animal and possibly even Ride with your Summon Monster spells. This starts out kind of weak, but some of the higher level summons could be great allies or mounts, especially with raging song.
I think it would be cool if high level PCs could grant temporary HP to their mounts, perhaps with something based on your Handle Animal and or Ride skills. That way even somebody who hasn't played a special class or taken 3 feats could still participate in mounted combat at higher levels without having their horse shot out from under them almost immediately. I guess being able to use Mounted Combat to substitute a Ride check for the mount's Reflex save might help too. Of course anybody with that feat likely has a class feature mount too.
I'd tend to see a guy who decides by flipping a coin or rolling a die as an embodiment of Chaos. One of the other players in today's campaign (unfortunately out for this session) extracted the d20 "answer die" from a magic 8-Ball and uses it to make many decisions for his CN Barbarian. My CN Viking PC's personal theme song is "Snake Eyes" by Amon Amarth, and I often roll dice to decide which hallway we'll explore and make other choices.
I think Chaos is a fine path for the essentially heroic killer who sometimes makes tragically bad decisions or lets emotion, revenge, etc cause him to perform acts most would call Evil. Which side of CN/CE you end up on is probably up to the DM.
Some martials can already gain saving throw based abilities. One game I run has a greatsword Paladin who threatens on 17-20 and has some critical hit feats. A couple of my own PCs have Terrifying Howl, which can potentially affect multiple foes with a pretty high DC fear effect.
If you really want to develop area effect attacks maybe you could consider having them do half damage on a failed saving throw and no damage on a successful one. It would probably be good enough for wiping out waves of mooks without replacing regular attacks against tougher foes.
If you really want to be an alchemist on a bat you could consider the Winged Marauder archetype for goblins. Sure, it loses Mutagen, but if you're focused on bombs that might not be so bad, especially with good mobility and a melee pet you can buff.
A mount with Bodyguard and perhaps some Benevolent barding can be pretty helpful. I've also always liked the idea of a mounted Sylvan Sorcerer who uses Share Spells for True Strike a lot. The Paired Opportunists feat plus Broken Wing Gambit and maybe a little multi-classing could make even the Sorcerer somewhat of a melee threat in the right circumstances.
Paired Opportunists would also be a strong choice with Come and Get Me or Taunting Stance. Any Large mount should probably at least consider the Narrow Frame feat.
I guess that "get more players" might not be the advice you're looking for. A Wizard in a one player party might as well "go nuts" with stuff like familiars and cohorts though. It would be kind of cool if he were actually a 1 PC party in technical terms.
Anyhow, it looks like there are plenty more "1 on 1" adventures by the same publisher. Check this link. One of them is even called "The Pleasure Prison of the B'thuvian Demon Whore". Whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you!
Regardless of which adventures you play some things you could consider are:
We once had a Barbarian archer. She had a high Charisma and was somewhat focused on intimidation such as using Dazzling Display and then Terrifying Howl to send enemies running and then shoot them as they fled.
If you want a reason to play as a certain race I suggest looking at the various racial archetypes and favored class bonuses. I have an Orc Dirty Fighter who is a master of Dirty Tricks and a Goblin Feral Gnasher who defeats enemies by eating them. Playing a goblin who runs around talking kind of like Beavis, setting stuff on fire, and eating people alive has been a lot of fun. The fact that he's a 16th level martial PC who rarely uses the full attack action also makes him unusual mechanically.
If you'd like to be a tough halfling who acts like Joe Pesci I suggest using the name Harold Balzano.
A while back I thought about limiting the number of buffs PCs can have just to avoid math delays, but there actually seems to be a weird sort of fun which forms around trying to remember all the bonuses in play and squeeze out that last plus which turns a miss into a hit.
Even if you don't decide to limit the number of buffs a PC can have in play I guess you could consider limiting the duration of more of them to a round per level so that the value of the buff has to be weighed against the cost in action economy. This could particularly cut into the effectiveness of spells like Communal Resist Energy, especially if smart monsters would be likely to know that the resistance won't last long.
I’ve been running a few sessions for level 15-16 PCs lately, and I don't find their buffs nearly as bothersome as the debuffs some of them apply to the monsters. It is really tough tracking the math for Str damage. Since all 3 of my current PCs use debuffs too I probably deserve it though.
I'm kind of neutral on psionics in a thematic sense. There have been balance problems with some of the latter day psionic stuff as well though. Of course there are balance problems with magic and other stuff too, but since psionics isn't used as much often all people see of it is the unbalanced thing "that one guy" did one time. For instance, we had a guy in 3.5 who would summon an Astral Construct as a Swift action <insert most gripe threads about the APG Summoner>
What makes it memorable is that first time he summoned one somebody handed him a cow mini, and it was dubbed "The Astral Cow" (even though in game terms the creature was probably more humanoid). Years later people still laugh out loud and complain bitterly about the psionic PC and his Astral Cows. Ever since the player moved away nobody I play with has tried psionics as a PC again though DMs throw in psionic monsters from time to time.
If Todd asks to use Perception to look for traps and you insist on rolling the d20 for him that sounds a little oppressive, but I don't see how it would reduce DM and player interaction. I mean, Todd is asking, and you're rolling and giving him a result. That's interaction, right?
I guess if at other times you're secretly rolling d20 Perception checks for the PCs without the players asking that could reduce interaction, but it seems like you could simply ask a player to roll a d20 without telling him or her what it is for. After they roll low you look thoughtful, say, "Hmm" or "ahh", and nod a little, perhaps while tapping something in your notes with your index finger.
It is my belief that DMs should roll all of their dice out upon the open table for all the world to fear. If you're worried about meta-gaming I'd suggest some humorous chiding rather than taking away people's dice.
I've always thought it was odd that it is easier to end the influence of Dominate Person than Charm Person.
Dominating Vampire: Kill your wife and eat her flesh!
Charming Bard: Kill your wife and eat her flesh!
Do folks who take the Star Stone Challenge but fail die? If so then I guess the bets could start to get pretty risky after a while.
#19. Calistria's Kiss - Let's take turns injecting doses of giant wasp poison until one of us is immobilized!
Since a character with a Dex of 0 is immobile but not unconscious this could lead to hilarity and or horror.
At least one DM we play with seems to "make treasure special again" by making big treasures less common. We still get some coins and basic magic gear off enemies, but once in a while we'll find out about a quest which leads to some really big treasure or reward, and most of our WBL tends to come from those. This makes my PC and at least one of the others willing to do risky stuff and work with questionable NPCs in the hope of scoring another big treasure.
@Bandw2 - I've seen suggestions like mojo before. I think a system like that would be most interesting if the DM made an effort to keep actual gold based WBL low. That way it would be tough to buy enough magic items to use up all your mojo, and the PCs might end up relatively broke sometimes so that getting more gold or magic items would be a good inspiration to go adventure even if the amounts of wealth involved aren't constantly skyrocketing.
On the other hand, I also kind of like the idea of PCs being able to invest some resource (maybe mojo instead of gold) to gain permanent bonuses not dependent on equipment. This would be kind of like buying slotless items which can't be lost, and while expensive it might be fun for a PC who doesn't want to be laden down with lots of magic trinkets - say an esoteric warrior-monk or a sorcerer whose power "comes from within".
When I was a kid I ran a game for a group of friends. Their PCs were trekking across the wilderness and decided to investigate some ruins they spotted. Soon after they entered the kobolds guarding the entrance from a side room ran out and slammed the doors shut. That's when it became clear that none of the PCs had bothered to buy a light source, and with the massive doors closed the windowless room was completely dark.
With no way to see the PCs were easily defeated, stripped of their possessions, and taken in chains before the kobold leader, who had servants stoking a big bonfire. There was definitely an implication that the PCs might end up getting cooked on the bonfire, but I figured that it at least gave them light so they could see and try to stage an escape. One of my friends announced that his PC committed suicide though, bashing his brains out against the wall or whatever. I learned that maybe the thrill (to a 10 year old) of a clever, "Aha, you forgot torches and lanterns!" wasn't worth the acrimony of the resulting battle in darkness and its aftermath. At worst maybe I could have let a little light stream in and rule there was a 20% miss chance, but I didn't know about such rules at the time.
It has been many years since I was in a game which tracked rations. In the last one the party ended up knocking on farmhouse doors begging for food and my PC went off chasing a sheep with his falchion.
I've seen people play various alignments including Lawful Good in a "The DM didn't let me be Evil, but I'm doing it anyhow" manner.
One of my current PCs started out as CG but over time "slipped" to CN partially due to the influence of an Evil magic item. He still performs a lot of heroic acts, but he's greedy, boastful, and prone to fits of rage. He's got an ongoing struggle between being a hero or giving in to the temptation of the daemonic powers which have been offered to him. Some see a villain where others see a hero. He's saved towns from terrible monsters, but he's also sacrificed foes to Evil magic for a thrill while in the throes of rage. The same campaign has another CN character who acts more like CG most of the time since he usually agrees to help folks out, rarely asks about rewards, and seems to chafe at dealing with Evil NPCs.
I guess I'm just offering some examples contrary to the usual reputation of CN. Anyhow, I seem to remember a time before all the complications of Good and Evil, back when Chaos was just Chaos - "Blood and souls for Lord Arioch!!!"
I like the idea of letting enemies come to the party, potentially suffering AoOs and generally getting in just single melee attacks before PCs get full attacks on them. There's almost always another PC who wants to charge in and attack though. Not infrequently that PC has a low AC and ends up needing some healing to stay alive. I'm told that's what "fun" is.
I'm not a fan of PVP but notice that a fair number of DMs like using stuff like Confusion and Dominate Person to encourage the PCs to fight each other. This can be a tough situation since a lot of PCs focus heavily on offense, and suffering an unexpected attack from them can be deadly.
In one game my girlfriend and I have often discussed how to survive an attack from the greatly invisible, swift feinting, claw pouncing Ninja with a Will save of +6. It is the sort of situation which can come up pretty easily if the DM wants.
For the purposes of the Raging Throw feat would a Skald count as having the rage class feature? Could he spend a round of raging song for inspired rage instead of a round of rage to activate the feat's ability? I know Skalds can't share rage powers which require spending rounds of rage, but Raging Throw is a feat rather than a rage power and wouldn't be shared.
I think that by RAW it looks like this probably wouldn't work, but I'm not sure if some rulings might have been made about Skalds and rage which might let it work after all.
@taks - You're the one who said my comment made no sense, prompting my further response to explain it. I've never claimed that you aren't entitled to your opinion, just that enforcing the rule doesn't require any rationalization and creating the rule doesn't seem to either. It sounds like you agree with the first point, so I'll apologize for any misunderstanding about that part.
@Orfamay Quest - I think that going from "You need a hand free to use Spell Combat, so I'm ruling that Spell Combat uses that hand" to "You can't wear metal armor, so I'm ruling that leather armor is made of metal" is a pretty big leap.
I guess technically the requirement to threaten an enemy when you want to improve your ally's AC against that enemy wouldn't apply to increasing your ally's saving throw against a spell. I mean, being in position to attack an enemy clearly doesn't apply to using Aid Another to boost an ally's skill check, which is probably the most common use of Aid Another in many games.
As an aside, I always found it odd that the Aid Another action seemed to imply you could help boost an ally's saving throw against a spell (perhaps helping to break the effect of Hold Person, Dominate Person, etc?) but didn't offer any details on how that boost worked. I mean, even for Vanguard Style, do you make an attack roll against AC 10 to boost your ally's Reflex save, or do you make a Reflex save against DC 10? I'd guess the latter, but it doesn't seem clear. I've yet to find a DM who would allow Aid Another for saving throws anyhow, but maybe if I could explain how it works somebody be more likely to allow it.
I wonder if a "happy medium" might have been achieved by a ruling that no matter what happens you can't get more than a +4 total boost on anything from Aid Another no matter how many allies help you or how great their Aid Another abilities are. I'm not sure if only 2 allies being able to assist on a skill check is a house rule or a real rule, but I've seen it as a general assumption at a lot of tables (maybe it is a relic of 3.5?)
Yeah, you "should" be able to get Blinkback Belt on a Belt of Dex for 2500gp more. I guess some DMs might not allow combining enchantments, but I don't think banning it is common practice. Maybe I'd be surprised...
Anyhow, paying 7500gp to basically get Ricochet Toss without spending a feat while bypassing the Martial Focus prerequisite doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.
A Core Monk actually wouldn't be able to pick up Ricochet Toss until 9th level due to the BAB requirement. I'm not sure if Far Strike Monk works with Unchained Monk or not.
That Rhino Charge feat looks pretty great. The fact it requires the sometimes less than useful Improved Bull Rush feat means you're paying a pretty good price for it though. I suspect you also might encounter table variation regarding whether DMs will let you blatantly use it as a way to get around charging restrictions
Player: I circle around the enemy and ready an action to charge him from behind as soon as anybody else does anything at all! (or for caster suppression maybe "if he tries to cast")
Player: I circle around the enemy and ready an action to charge him from behind as soon as anybody else does anything at all!
If a rationalization is a lot like an excuse or cover up I don't see how a DM enforcing the actual rule is a rationalization. I guess you're saying that Paizo making the rule was a rationalization though. It sounds to me more like it was just a ruling you don't like.
I think "rationalization" often carries a negative connotation of illegitimacy, delusion, or dishonesty whereas Paizo's ruling here seems legitimate and fairly reasonable at least to me. I mean, if you need a hand free to use Spell Combat and Paizo rules that means Spell Combat uses that hand I don't see why that's illogical or requires a defense mechanism.
I think that having meaningful differences between races, classes, and other sorts of options is a good thing. I also think DMs should be more open to allowing mounts on adventures. Most dungeons I've seen are big enough for Large mounts if you follow the rules, especially with the Narrow Frame feat.
When it comes to other people's builds I'm not really tired of any builds in particular though I think it would be nice if level 10+ Ninjas had something to do other than turn invisible all the time. I guess there also is a certain "sameness" about many Barbarians. We honestly have been involved in two campaigns in a row (with different groups) which had a Barbarian named Butcher who had Superstition and 300+ HP. The second one doesn't have Beast Totem like the first one, but he's Mythic and has 60+ speed and an ability which allows him to move and still full attack (basically superior to Pounce)
For my own PCs I tend to make the craziest most complicated builds I can, so I never really get bored. For the next campaign cycle I might have to make at least one PC with low AC though since I've probably been relying too much on AC as my primary defense.
I think that the cat kicking Barbarian should really be a Bloodrager with a cat bloodline familiar, perhaps a Figment who he regularly kicks to death each day before it reappears the next day.
The fact you can't ready actions even when you're pretty sure combat will start soon has been a source of frustration and amusement in many games. Sometimes you "just know" that the pile of bones will turn into a skeleton or the statue will attack you when you get near. Somehow that damned statue still gets the drop on you though. It is the same with the animated rugs...alas...
If you just can't wait until 6th or 7th level to be Warrior from Gauntlet maybe you could buy a Blinkback Belt.
I've got a "throwing build" of sorts in a Mythic game and have found that Mythic Vital Strike can make throwing a light hammer at least viable. Full attacking with a bow and Clustered Shots would result in better damage, but I'm ready to switch hit at any time, and I get to keep my shield out, so it isn't all bad - of course this cost me 2 regular feats and a Mythic Feat.
@Qaianna - I thought pilum were usually designed to bend or break when they hit so that they couldn't be thrown back and would be harder to pull out of shields. That didn't stop the Romans from having legends of +1 Animal Bane pilums though. They allegedly threw some at Hannibal's elephants, not realizing that an enemy caster had Awakened them into Magical Beasts.
Getting a couple more players is a good idea.
I've often ended up running a campaign kind of like what you're describing "by mistake" for a few levels when I had to insert published adventures since I didn't have enough material ready for my homebrew game. If you can find any old issues of Dungeon magazine they have a lot of adventures intended for PCs of a certain level, and each one generally includes advice on how to run it for parties a few levels higher or lower. Monster templates can also help a lot with adjusting adventures by a level or two.
Even if you don't have Dungeon I'd consider grouping the adventures into rough categories by level, say 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, etc. Any adventures the party doesn't follow up on by the time they reach the next XP band might "expire". Maybe some other adventurers dealt with the situation or the threat has grown and is now represented by some other adventure.
As for presenting the hooks, maybe there could be different NPCs who offer different adventures.
I agree you can move and then ready an action (or draw a weapon and then ready an action, etc)
What I don't think you're allowed to do is ready an action to charge (since you had more than a standard action available on your turn). If this were allowed it would let you play all sorts of tricks like moving into charging position and readying an action to charge when some likely trigger occurs (when the party's Wizard says, "Charge!")
In the past I've often started out my homebrew adventures with too much focus on a small area like a town and the surrounding countryside. I then tended to let them wander too much until the crisscrossing plot lines and sidequests had thoroughly confused us all. Finally the whole thing would tend to run out of steam as the higher level sessions became too tough to consistently prepare during a week when I might unexpectedly need to work 60+ hours and play in another game or two.
One step I'm considering to remedy that would be to write the high level portion of the adventure first. I could also try to write the entire campaign in advance though I'm concerned that might make my adventure railroad a little too restrictive. Folks don't seem to mind with APs, but when they know it is homebrew I think they like to challenge the DM a little and poke around to see what you are or aren't prepped for. Another way to implement that might be to use an AP for the early part of an adventure and then cap it off with some homebrewed stuff or just bastardize an AP so that worst case you'll always have something to run when game time comes. I've had some experience with "winging it", but while it can sometimes be fun it can also easily go wrong.
We had one DM who would delay our progress with random wilderness encounters and then kind of apologize for it. The funny thing was that we actually enjoyed those mindless battles. Maybe they would have grown dull at some point, but it wasn't a bad way to spend a session once in a while.
@Bwang - I started an online project similar to your notes a while back for a campaign where the DM offered us way too many adventure hooks. The main document has grown to 17 pages and also uses color coding:
When I arrived for the last session the other players had printed out the document and were poring over it to determine which quest the party should go on next. That made me feel like maybe it wasn't a wasted effort!
The fact you have to be threatening the enemy isn't my favorite ruling, but I actually like the clarification that Paired Opportunists won't work since I'd seen some proposed builds of that sort popping up and didn't think "Come and Get Me Plus" should be that easy to achieve.
If there were balance problems with Bodyguard I think they were mostly around bonus boosters such as the Benevolent enchantment for armor, which Paizo nerfed slightly a while back. I guess Paizo could have felt that something which gives you a bonus against melee attacks shouldn't work against ranged attacks too though. That's unfortunate since I think stopping ranged attacks seems very thematic for a "Bodyguard".
My PC with Bodyguard rode an eidolon who had it too, so generally they were both threatening the same stuff. My Viking will be pretty sad that the shieldmaiden he travels with can no longer block ranged attacks for him though. Still, I agree with DM Livgin that it is better to have a firm answer here.
I'm just about like Ravingdork - well - in terms of this survey...
Maybe I deserve 2 stars for 3rd party though since one of our DMs uses Mystara as a setting and I guess TSR is "3rd party" if you're playing Pathfinder. He also uses some 3rd party monsters. The other night we had to fight a "Xxyth", which was so obscure I had to visit Inner Circle's website to find a picture of the darned thing for our adventure log.
Does that make me level 17?
Besides the fact that the Magus can take Weapon Specialization I’ve actually seen Arcane Strike mostly on Bards. I'd imagine that an Arcane Duelist with TWF who uses Arcane Strike with Inspire Courage and Dance of a Hundred Cuts could be pretty effective though I haven't seen such a PC in play yet. Perhaps I'll build an NPC like that for use as a monster.
Besides the Ricochet Shot feat folks there’s also the Blinkback Belt so long as the DM will agree that a chakram could be held with a sheath or strap.
I don’t think that spending one feat for Martial Focus to qualify for Ricochet Shot is that big of a feat tax if you’d rather play another class instead of Fighter, especially since some of those other classes might give you bonus feats too. For instance, the Far Strike Monk gets several useful bonus feats along with a bunch of potentially fun Monk abilities. You’d get EWP(chakram), Quick Draw, and Shot on the Run along with bonus feats at levels 1, 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18. So, a Fighter gets 10 bonus feats which could be used for thrown weapons whereas this Monk gains 9.
That’s not a big difference in feats, plus the Monk is actually more front loaded. The Far Strike Monk’s Far Shot is superior since you can make extra attacks (one at 8th level, two at 15th) . Finally, the Monk also gets Improved Unarmed Strike, which could be useful for style feats and maybe some grappling. Being able to achieve a decent AC without armor also might be well suited to the OP’s character concept.
That’s not to say that the Fighter is bad, just that maybe the Monk could be fun too.
I'll list a few things I think are relevant
It is arguable whether most familiars can speak. Ravens clearly can. Some folks feel that the Speak With Master ability most familiars gain should count too, but others don't. If you're in a home game ask your DM. If you're in PFS you'll need an Improved Familiar. I suspect they made it that way at least partially to prevent such questions from coming up so often.
I thought there was a rule that aquatic creatures could do normal damage with their natural weapons while underwater even if those weapons deal bludgeoning or slashing damage. This seems sensible to me since otherwise a giant octopus might only do half damage with its tentacles. Then again, maybe the fact that you get to do full bludgeoning damage while grappling is why an octopus likes grappling so much.
A lot of aquatic creatures use Bites, and those would do full damage due to the piercing component. It is the tentacles and claws I'm worried about though it was a draugr's slam which made me think of all this. With Improved Natural Attack it does 2d8 base damage, which might still be pretty decent even after it gets halved.
Now it makes me wonder about Water Elementals too though. They only have slam attacks and don't seem to concentrate on grappling, so do they inflict half damage in their native environment? Should creatures with the Water subtype do full damage underwater? Are there rules on any of this anywhere?
I think that the rule against dragging foes into dangerous areas are a major drag (and now the source of a terrible pun). I’m also not sure why Drag and Reposition deserve to be separate maneuvers. Is there a doctrine of “Separate but Useless” in play?
If the Trip weapon property gave you a +2 on Trip attempts that would not only make you less likely to fall down but more likely to succeed. I guess maybe somebody was concerned that Trip was too powerful though. Maybe that's the same reason you can't Trip flying creatures in Pathfinder. Grapple is another combat maneuver that tends towards "Dominant or Useless", but I'm forgetting this is actually a thread about improvised weapons...
@Artfix - The fact that there are a few class abilities which make improvised weapons a bit better doesn’t change my opinion of how they are “in general”. I’m not sure that making improvised weapons as useful as “regular” weapons is something every table would want although Sean K Reynolds’ opinion on water balloon based PCs has apparently changed a bit over the years.
@Fig - I may indeed have seen a movie featuring such a character! My PC was a from an Asian themed nation around Tian Xia and ate with chopsticks but found a use for forks too.
Why is it so difficult to determine what has Lawful and / or Chaotic alignments, but so easy to determine Good and Evil alignments?
I choose "C": Succeed at a Knowledge check. I think that's the way PCs are supposed to know about stuff like a creature's DR. Depending on the situation options B or D might garner the creature's alignment and allow you to guess about DR. As an aside, I've seen a lot of DMs house rule away the ability to overcome metal and alignment based DR using a weapon's enhancement bonus. I'm not sure if that would ameliorate or exacerbate your concerns though.
I do agree that the Law vs Chaos axis seems a little ill defined for roleplaying purposes. I sometimes wonder if being Chaotic is more about not making plans or if making plans is fine but you won't necessarily stick to them if something else strikes your fancy. I've been kind of taking the latter approach lately.
Dark Creepers being wrapped in layers of dirty cloth and smelling like spoiled food makes me think that maybe bugs could live on their person. Besides centipedes I guess another sort of bug known to dislike light is the roach. Dirty little dark creepers infested with roaches could probably make an adventurer sickened if not downright nauseated (perhaps with a swarm-like aura)
If there were baby giant centipedes eating the roaches I guess you could end up with a whole ecosystem in a dark creeper's clothing. Maybe there would be big, fat dark folk be called Filth Wardens or something. They could be infested with maggots and surrounded by clouds of flies, kind of a final Herod-like bloated stage of the dark creeper life cycle which lives for a while in a "royal" state before bursting open to release something nasty - maybe lots of horrible grubs with humanoid faces which slowly grow and molt into new dark creepers?
I guess another pet/mount dark creepers might keep would be giant cave crickets (aka "sprickets" since they look like a cross between spiders and crickets). Somehow that also reminds me of rust monsters though I guess dark folks who want to ally with those would need to use weapons made of bone, stone, etc.