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Dren of the Dark Tapestry wrote:
It's a fun thought, but I don't think Wall of Stone can be used in that way.
Everyone else -- go with the Judge's idea, and dig him out like a badger from his hole? Or roll your collective eyes and move on?
Cуровую зиму wrote:
Canon is that the redcaps are the fey who are the embodiment of brutal, senseless violence for its own sake. In OOG terms, their legend is based on stories from northern England and Scotland. Put those two things together and "soccer fan" pretty much pops right out, I think. (Glasgow Rangers fan, if you want to be specific. Yeah, don't even. Just bad.)
Unless you are willing to crawl down there in single file to confront him in his lair, it looks like stalemate. Oh, for a scroll of Cloudkill.
What's with the singing, anyway?:
Many of the nastier fey play a version of Celtic Rules Football, using the severed head of an enemy as the ball. Of all of them, the redcaps are by far the most ardent fans. They don't play so much, but they love gathering into crowds to drink, chant, break glass, chant, drink, and stomp in the heads of rival fans. In fact, the game is really just a prelude for the beloved postgame brawl -- the bigger, bloodier and more brutal, the better. The more civilized fey tolerate this because it distracts the redcaps and keeps their numbers down.
Then you may wait a while. He's sitting in a little cave or something deep inside that pile of rocks, laughing to himself, swilling something nasty from a bottle and singing.
"Though the streets be BROAD and NARROW,
Morsum takes 3d4 + 36 ⇒ (3, 1, 4) + 36 = 44 points of damage from being scythed and then kicked in the face, hard, with a spiked iron boot.
Hooting with happy laughter, he drops back into the cairn and steps backwards into the crack between the rocks. "Ah hoo hoo hoo a whoo hoo hoo! Seeyerawlater, yer daft pukin' gleets! Haawww hahahahahhaaa!" And then he's gone.
Yes, he jumped, attacked, and then moved. An item? Spring Attack? Something else? You don't know, but you can hear him giggling to himself somewhere deep inside his rockpile.
The little man jumps up into the air to attack Morsum (who, since he was holding up the Judge, can't be too high off the ground). Jump check 1d20 ⇒ 15 and attack rolls 1d20 ⇒ 14 1d20 ⇒ 11.
Meanwhile, he's continuing to sing, in his horrible screeching grating voice:
"We're up to our knees in reeking gore
He really, really seems to be enjoying himself.
Okay. Waiting on Jax (to roll init) and the Judge (to say what he's doing with his high init).
-- Judge, you said that you were supported by Morsum. I think that rules out taking a 5' step. (Also, the pile of rubble is difficult terrain anyway.) I'll allow a "withdraw" action if that's what you want to do. The alternatives would be melee or casting defensively.
No, wait a moment -- the Judge got a 23? I could have sworn I saw that differently. But, okay. If you beat him on init, then yes, you can take a withdraw action. That's a FRA, and you can't do anything else, but it keeps you safe.
Alternately, you could take a 5' step and cast.
Wow, looks like nobody can roll init today. As he swings his scythe, he's singing in a horrible shrill grating voice:
Nope -- he got a surprise round, then beat you (and everyone else) on init. It's a nice position to be in.
The Judge takes 2d4 + 20 ⇒ (4, 2) + 20 = 26 points of damage. Whoops, and there's a kick attack too: 1d20 ⇒ 8 that misses.
That was a surprise round. Anyone who can beat his initiative of 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22 can take a shot at him before he disappears back into his mound -- although, since nobody but the Judge and Morsum are adjacent, you'll have to either attack with a spell or charge up the side of the mound.
One last thought. If your PCs are based in a particular town or city, your core motivation could be revenge upon the entire city -- by summoning an Immolator Devil, or something equally powerful, and burning the whole place down.
Why do you hate the city so much? I could think of various ideas. If you haven't read the book _The Lies of Locke Lamora_, let me recommend it. It's a fine fantasy novel in its own right -- and the villain, Capa Raza, is an interesting character who could serve as inspiration for a revenge-motivated PC. Of course, if the paladin finds out what you really want, he'll have to kill you. But that would be true anyway!
The Worst Of The Plagues wrote:
The Worst Of The Plagues wrote:
Lawful Evil characters are often motivated by things like domination, conquest, control, and revenge. You're planning to become a Diabolist, someone who summons devils -- maybe lots of devils. What will you do with them?
Here are some lists that my provide some inspiration: the creatures (mostly devils) that you might want to call with the Planar Binding spells. Each creature is given with its CR, Spell Resistance, Will save, and Cha score. Maybe skimming them will give you an idea. Perhaps you're working towards the distant day when you can conjure a deimavigga devil to corrupt the entire kingdom...
Lesser Planar Binding:
Lemure [CR 1, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 5] -- The lemure is feeble, stupid, can't teleport, and has no useful skills or SLAs. Summon one of these at your initiation to start your career as a Diabolist and then never bother again.
Imp [CR 2, SR 0, Will+4, Cha 14] -- These little guys have their uses, but for a creature of their CR they're actually pretty hard to call and bind. Anyway, you already have an imp companion -- and zebub devils are easier to conjure and make better scouts.
Gaav (Host Devil) [Cr 3, SR 0, Will +0, Cha 8] -- These guys are pretty easy to call and bind, but for combat purposes the bearded devil is just going to give you much more bang for your buck.
Zebub (Accuser Devil) [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 12] -- The zebub isn't terribly bright, but it has at-will invisibility, at-will teleport, +15 stealth (the imp, for all its other fine qualities, has no stealth), whispering wind for reporting back, and a variety of useful SLAs including that weird Infernal Eye thing. Summon these guys regularly for use as spies and scouts -- in particular, if your party doesn't have a rogue, you want one of these flybabies bobbing invisibly down the dungeon corridor in front of you. Despite their low CR, they'll stay at least occasionally handy well into higher levels.
Hell Hound* [CR 3, SR 0, Will +1, Cha 6] -- Despite not being a devil, these guys are fairly easy to summon, and their low Int means they're not too hard to please -- if you regularly give them meat and stuff to burn, they should be happy. If you're just getting started with planar binding, or you need to call up a lot of monsters fast with a high chance of success, go with these guys. A pack of them can be fun, but their low CR and lack of useful skills or SLAs means that before long you'll be moving on to bigger and better monsters.
Ukobach [Cr 4, SR 15,Will +7, Cha 13] -- These little pyromaniacs are Paizo, but 3.5, not PFRPG -- they showed up in Pathfinder #25 (Bastards of Erebus) and have never been converted. Check whether your DM will allow them. A specialized tool, call these if you want to burn stuff down. Note that they're unusually "friendly" for devils, and may show up with gifts or information.
Barghest* [CR 4, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 14] -- Call one of these guys when you need to get rid of a body.
Barbazu (Bearded Devil) [CR 5, SR 16, Will +3, Cha 10] -- These guys are your go-to, meat and potatoes devils for your first few levels of conjuring. They're relatively easy to conjure and bind: once you overcome their SR, their lowish Will save and weak Cha are unlikely to present problems, and you can raise the odds still higher by giving them something to kill (+2 on the Cha check). A single bearded devil is only CR 5, but four of them are CR 9 and a group of six is CR 10, so you can have squads of them running around into the low teen levels. They have respectable hp, AC 19, and the ability to dish out large amounts of damage quite fast. At-will teleportation means that they're tactically incredibly flexible; they can pop up next to enemy casters, swarm opponents who think they're safely distant across a chasm, your party rogue will always have a flank buddy, you name it. Once you're able to cast LPB regularly, you should always have a few of these guys hanging around. Print out a copy of their stat block... you're going to be using it a lot.
Planar Binding (long, there are a lot of monsters under this spell):
This is where the "Don't Summon Anything with CR Equal To or Over Your Level" rule really kicks in. A wizard or witch can start casting this at 11th level, but the most powerful monsters on this list should be avoided for another level or two. There's no equivalent to the Bearded Devil on this list -- that is, there's not a single creature that's obviously your go-to across several levels, though the ceustodaeomon comes close. Instead, there are a bunch of specialized tools. Planar Binding is a spell that rewards doing your homework.
Note that you can use this spell to call creatures totalling up to 12 HD, so if you need a bunch of low level mooks you can conjure up two barbazus, several imps, etc.
Nightmare* [CR 5, SR 0, Will +3, Cha 12] -- There are two reasons to call up a nightmare. One is if you want to travel to the Outer Planes, as the nightmare can Plane Shift itself and one rider once/day. This is quite risky, since you have to travel alone and you can't come back home for a full day. But if for some reason you really need to go, this is the fastest way to get there. The other reason is, of course, to lend it to the party antipaladin, cavalier, or other steed-crazy fighter type. It's a great way to thank the party tank for standing next to you all those times. A few levels later you can offer him the chance to trade up to a cauchemar -- see below.
Ceustodaemon* [CR 6, SR 0, Will +8, Cha 15] -- Go and look at the ceustodaemon's monster description. What, too busy? Okay, here's the good bit: "When brought to another plane with a [planar binding spell], ceustodaemons take a –5 penalty on the initial Will save and on their Charisma check to refuse service. Ceustodaemons also take a –5 penalty on saves against binding, planar binding, and other spells designed to bind a creature to a particular plane as long as the daemon is commanded to serve as a guardian for a single area or small complex." So there you go... for your purposes, the ceustodaemon has Will +3 and a Cha around 4 or so. And, oh yes, no SR. It's a CR 6 creature that's easier to summon and bind than an imp. These guys are going to be your melee shock troops for a level or two, and even at higher levels you'll occasionally be calling one up to mind the store while you're out of town. Don't forget to read the full flavor text, though: "Ceustodaemons find themselves on the Material Plane more often than any other daemon, as they are easily pressured into service—many call these creatures “guardian daemons” as a result. Yet in the back of their wicked minds, ceustodaemons always think about escaping their bonds and ripping to shreds the ones who summoned them."
Erinyes [CR 6, SR 19, Will +7, Cha 21] -- With flight and her +1 flaming long bow and feats, the erinyes is one of the few devils built for dishing out long-range hurt. Call up a couple of these angry ladies to provide air cover on an overland trek or other outdoors adventure. Note that you can get a +2 on your charisma check relatively cheaply (200 gp a pop) by giving them a holy symbol or some nice religious art to destroy.
Kyton* (Chain Devil) [CR 6, SR 17, Will +3, Cha 12] -- Despite the name, kytons are not true devils; mechanically, they don't have the "devil" subtype. So your Infernal Charisma won't work on them. Slightly more powerful in melee than the magaav or ceustodaemon, but still probably not worth the trouble unless you happen to have some very specific task involving sadism and lots and lots of chains. (Which, given your chosen career path, is certainly possible.)
Magaav (Greater Host Devil) [CR 6, SR 17, Will +3, Cha 11] -- The Magaav is only just a bit more powerful than the Barbazu. (They do about the same amount of damage, but the Magaav can fly and has a better AC.) Probably not worth the higher level spell, especially since the ceustodaemon is about as powerful and much easier to call and bind.
Huge Fire Elemental* [CR 7, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 11] -- "Burn everything. Leave no witnesses." Foul-tempered and not too bright, call this guy up when you just want to burn it all down.
Hellcat* [CR 7, Will +5, SR 18, Cha 10] -- The Hellcat is not actually a devil, so your Infernal Charisma won't help with it. Fortunately, it has lowish Will and Charisma, so this need not be a serious problem. Sky-high Perception and Stealth + near-invisibility in light + pounce/rake make this cat your assassin in broad daylight. It's a very good melee combatant that's even better when the lights are on. The RAW makes a big deal about how this creature will plot revenge on you if slighted. This is a rare case where I think you can ignore the RAW if you want to, as the Hellcat is an Int 10 creature that can neither fly nor teleport nor plane shift and has no mind control powers or other alarming SLAs. I mean, you don't /want/ an invisible pouncing hell-feline running around with a grudge against you. But compared to some of the other creatures on this list -- at the same CR, consider the Shadow Demon or the Succubus -- the Hellcat's ability to deliver horrible surprises is pretty limited. This is one of the rare called outsiders you can hold off with a sturdy locked door while you contact the local paladins.
Levaloch (Warmonger Devil) [CR 7, SR 12, Will +5, Cha 15] -- The Levaloch is a strange construct-devil hybrid, but it does have the devil subtype so you can use Infernal Charisma. It's a pure combat brute with no SLAs at all, and its presence gives +1 on attacks and AC to adjacent devils. When you're tired of pushing ceustodaemons around, this guy is probably your next step up.
Shadow Demon* [CR 7, SR 17, Will +7, Cha 19] -- You call up a shadow demon when you want to have something possessed by a demon. It's a challenging summons for a creature of its CR (remember, you don't get Infernal Charisma against it), but you can get +2 by offering it "the shell of a beautiful person to wear". Demons are chaotic and shadow demons are pretty much creatures of pure jealous malice, so don't count on exercising fine-tuned or lasting control.
Succubus* [CR 7, SR 18, Will +10, Cha 27] -- No no no. Bad idea. Look at that Will save. Now look at that Charisma... the number, look at the number. Succubi are incredibly hard to call and bind for a creature of their CR. They're also very smart and very chaotic. Yes, if you can bind her she has all sorts of incredible SLAs, and you can use her to wreak havoc in various interesting ways. They can also be used by a clever DM to mess with you very, very easily. It's just not worth the risk. I strongly suggest you find yourself a girlfriend and conjure something that won't end up laughing its way back to the Abyss.
Nessian Hell Hound* [CR 9, SR 0, Will +5, Cha 6] -- There's nothing complicated about the Nessian Hell Hound. It's a fire-breathing wolf the size of a horse. No SLAs, no teleportation -- this is a totally straightforward combat monster. And for a creature of its CR, it's ridiculously easy to call and bind. The only drawback is that they have Int 4, meaning you can only give them simple and clear commands. If you think tactical complexity is going to be needed, look somewhere else. But if all you need is a pack of brutes you can unleash to breath fire and rip stuff up, these guys are solid.
Night Hag* [CR 9, SR 24, Will +11, Cha 17] -- There are only three reasons to call up a night hag. One is to discuss trading in soul gems -- say, if you've just successfully ambushed a Souldrinker and are trying to fence his hoard. The second would be sic her on someone to Dream Haunt them to death. And the third is because you're planning to murder someone and want to cast Soul Bind -- normally a 9th level spell. It won't be easy: the hag's crazy high SR makes her hard to bind, and you don't get your Infernal Charisma either. Also, a night hag is exactly the sort of creature that will carry a grudge forever and look to get revenge. Not that any of these other creatures are full of sweet forgiveness, but the night hag is a creepy, malevolent loner who's optimized for sneaking and murder. So, don't mess with the night hag unless you have some really compelling reason, or are confident you can kill the hag fast before she can go ethereal and escape.
Osyluth (Bone Devil) [CR 9, SR 20, Will +7, Cha 18] -- The osyluth is a strange duck. It's slightly underpowered in melee for its CR. Its mix of SLAs goes back to first edition... which means, they don't make a lot of sense. It probably works best as an ambush specialist, using invisibility and major image to line up on its victim. It does have Dimensional Anchor as a SLA, which means it's useful to have around if you're fighting things that like to teleport (like, say, other outsiders).
Vrock* [CR 9, SR 20, Will +6, Cha 16] -- The vrock is an odd choice, but it has its points. It's a combat brute, noticeably more powerful in melee than the osyluth. If you summon more than one, you can get some serious Dance of Ruin action going. And it's relatively easy to get that +2 Cha bonus against it -- "The vrock loves to despoil and befoul things of great beauty. Artwork worth at least 250 gp or a living, intelligent creature to destroy are equally desirable sacrifices." Call up a vrock when you want to inflict swift destruction on masses of low or middle-level enemies, or kill an army. Just don't let the other diabolists see you do it, because vrocks are disgusting and gross.
Zelekhut Inevitable* [CR 9, SR 20, Will +10, Cha 17] -- The zelekhut is another good choice for melee; it does less raw damage than the vrocke, but has more useful SLAs. Unfortunately, it's RAW that inevitables can simply refuse to serve if ordered to do things against their nature. (They're the only outsiders with this option, thank goodness.) So you only want to call up a zelekhut if you're doing something that serves the cause of Law -- and if your party goes off message and starts acting chaotically, be prepared for the creature to simply shut down. Ideally, you'd want to summon one or more of these guys for going after someone who is trying to escape punishment, since that's their particular area of expertise. This could be a perfect fit for some particular adventures -- "The Whispering Tyrant was justly imprisoned. Now his minions seek to end his punishment by freeing him. We work to stop them, that his lawful punishment may continue forever." -- but probably not for most "kill the monsters and take their stuff" type dungeons.
Phistophilus (Contract Devil) [CR 10. SR 21, Will +16, Cha 22] -- Mechanically, the phistophilus' high Will save makes it hard to call up. However, once you get it, you have a potentially very interesting encounter. The phistophilus is a surprisingly competent melee fighter, but that's probably not what you want it for. No, you call up a phistophilus to talk about making deals. You already have your own arrangement with Hell, so unless you desperately need three wishes, you probably don't want to sign an infernal contract. But there's no reason you can't act as a go-between or broker, connecting the contract devil to mortals who are greedy or foolish enough to accept a deal. Obviously, if this works out, you'd be within your rights to negotiate a reasonable commission... The phistophilus also gives you a rare opportunity to deal with a devil who is intelligent, well connected, and at least potentially friendly. If you want to work out some sort of special deal with Hell, summoning one of these guys is a good starting point.
Cauchemar* (Nightmare) [CR 11, SR 0, Will +7, Cha 12] -- See the entry on the nightmare, because this is just a bigger, meaner nightmare. (In fact, it's a Huge size creature. Make sure your circle is big enough.) Very easy to summon and bind for a creature of its CR. It has so-so Will and no SR, so you have a decent chance of zapping it with enchantments and other spells.
Hamatula (Barbed Devil) [CR 11, SR 22, Will +8, Cha 18] -- At first glance the hamatula looks like the high-level version of the bearded devil: a tough combat fighter, and with a bunch of useful (if somewhat random) SLAs. Unfortunately, we're getting up to the levels where devils have distinct personalities and agendas, and the hamatula is kind of a jerk even by the standards of Hell. "Hamatulas despise being summoned away from their duties in Hell for any reason. A devil summoner who offers a hamatula rare treasures and exotic gems valued at more than 2,000 gp gains a +2 bonus on all Charisma checks made to compel the devil to service, but only if the task takes less than 24 hours to complete. Those who try to compel hamatulas to longer terms of service, whatever the service might be, take a -2 penalty on their charisma checks." Well la dee dah. The hamatula is a special snowflake. If you have the firepower to enforce your will upon it, it makes a fine bodyguard, but given the flavor text your DM would be justified in making it a grudge-holding long-term enemy if you keep it away from Hell for more than a day.
Akhana Aeon* [CR 12, SR 23, Will +14, Cha 18] -- It's RAW that the neutral Aeons are difficult to understand or control (though the flavor text doesn't explain how that works mechanically). Still, the Akhana makes this list for one reason: it can cast Raise Dead and Restoration. So if you have a dead PC and no 9th+ level cleric on hand, you conjure up one of these guys. Note that what one Aeon knows, every Aeon knows, so think twice before you bully, abuse or kill a conjured Aeon. It's not clear that the guardians of neutrality would hold grudges, but on the other hand it's not clear that they wouldn't.
Kolyarut Inevitable* [CR 12, SR 23, Will +11, Cha 16] -- High Will makes this a tough summons, and the kolyarut, like the zelekhut, can shut itself down if ordered to act against its nature. But if you have an adventure goal that fits with the particular obsessions of the kolyarut -- punishing oath-breakers and seeing that contracts are kept -- then this becomes a very attractive option. "The Queen swore before the gods to protect and serve the city, but instead she has unleashed pestilence and monsters upon her blameless people!" If you can make the rolls to call and bind it, you might gain a CR 12 ally who not only is a very powerful melee combatant but can throw enervation at will.
Greater Planar Binding:
This list is shorter, because I'm concentrating mostly on devils. At these levels you're no longer calling mooks. These creatures are powers in their own right, with minions -- in some cases entire armies -- at their beck and call. Your DM would be perfectly within his rights to give these creatures unexpected resources, including the ability to strike at you even on your home plane. Handle with care.
Elder Fire Elemental* [CR 11, Will +7, SR 0, Cha 11] -- These guys are very easy to call for a creature of their CR. Of course, by the time you can conjure them, a CR 11 creature may not be all that useful. Potentially useful as a terror weapon, especially if you call them in groups.
Malbolgian Cerberi [CR 12, Will +6, SR 0, Cha 8] -- These are Paizo creatures, but 3.5 (from the Council of Thieves AP, Pathfinder #28), never converted to Pathfinder. If you can convince your DM to allow them anyway, they are wonderful. Not only are they ridiculously easy to conjure for a creature of their CR, but they have the Cerberus' Jaws ability, which prevents bitten creatures from leaving the plane as a curse effect with no save or SR. Otherwise they're a decent melee creature, basically the next step up from a Nessian Hell Hound.
Glabrezu* [CR 13, Will +11, SR 24, Cha 20] -- While the glabrezu is a fine melee combatant with a bunch of useful SLAs, you're probably conjuring this fellow for one reason: to get that Wish. Under the RAW, you ought to be able to compel the demon to use its Wish, just as you can compel any other summoned creature to use an SLA. This is obviously potentially game-breaking; you'd be getting the benefit of a 9th level spell by casting a 7th level spell, and avoiding the 25,000 gp material component to boot. Furthermore, you could call a new glabrezu every day, piling Wish on Wish. Under these circumstances, the DM is entirely justified in giving your Wishes nasty, unforeseen side effects. So, if you wish for +1 Intelligence, the demon snaps its fingers -- and your brain expands dramatically, causing your face and cranium to become grotesquely deformed, costing you -4 Cha. You get the idea. After all, it says right in the text that the demon is "nothing if not creative in addressing a mortal's desires." Seriously, this is just asking for the DM to mess with you.
Ice Devil (Gelugon) [CR 13, Will +12, SR 24, Cha 20] -- Am I the only one who thinks the Paizo illustration looks like Jiminy Cricket? Anyway. The Gelugon's SLAs are no great shakes, but AC 32 and that nice slow-spell debuff make it very respectable in melee. Interestingly, the ice devil is immune to both fire and cold -- it's a devil, after all, and it does not have the "cold" subtype. So it walks right through fireballs and such, just like every other devil. Its 25 Int means that it can probably out-think you, so be careful. But note that this also means it has a bunch of crazy-high skill bonuses. So if you've got one of these guys around, you can totally to use it to google things.
Marut Inevitable* [CR 13, Will +13, SR 26, Cha 24] -- A solid melee brute, and one of the few outsiders to use a sonic attack. Like all inevitables, the marut has that annoying "can't be forced to act against its nature" thing. The marut's particular obsessions is "eliminating those who have unnaturally extended their lives". So if you're going up against a lich or a vampire, the marut should cheerfully cooperate. Well, "cheerfully" by the standards of a giant stomping lawful neutral death robot. Like all the inevitables, a specialized tool.
Handmaiden Devil (Gylou) [CR 14, Will +10, SR 25, Cha 20] -- Although the Handmaiden has a higher CR than the Ice Devil, it's just about as easy to call and bind. In terms of combat power it's perhaps half a step behind -- but then, the Gyllou isn't really a combat monster. It's a spy, excellent at deception, diplomacy, and disguise. And its weird tentacle cage makes it an excellent kidnapper, too.
Divine Heralds: Heralds are unique servants of deities (Basileus for Asmodeus, the Stabbing Beast for Norgorber, the Old Man for Irori, etc.). They are all CR 15. Unfortunately, they can't be summoned by Planar Binding, ever -- only by Greater Planar Ally, and then only by a worshipper of that particular deity. One of the very rare cases in which Planar Ally is better than Planar Binding.
Astradaemon [CR 16, Will +14, SR 27, Cha 24] -- "Astradaemons can only be bribed into service by two things — a feast of souls and the promise to spread death." Since this thing is really only useful as a melee brute, that shouldn't be a problem. Note that its Soul Siphon ability stacks with itself, meaning that if enough creatures die within 10' of it there's almost no limit to how much its Str can increase. Seriously, that's RAW. If it plunges into battle and kills six low-level warriors? It immediately gains 6d8 hp and +12 Str for the next 10 minutes. And it can keep doing that. And if you feed it a 5 HD creature soon after it arrives -- a warhorse or a grizzly bear or something -- it gets +1 on all attacks, saves and checks for the next 24 hours. (Obviously you do this after it's bound.) Call this guy when you expect lots and lots of combat against living foes, especially against piles of low-level mooks.
Horned Devil (Cornugon) [CR 16, Will +13, SR 27, Cha 23] -- The cornugon is another pure melee brute. You call it up to smash things and commit carnage. It's not terribly bright for a creature of its raw power (14 Int) so it's less likely than some other devils to come up with a viciously cunning scheme to entrap you. The astradaemon is somewhat better in combat thanks to its soul siphon and energy drain, but Infernal Charisma makes the cornugon a much easier creature to bind.
Belier Devil (Bdellavitra) [CR 16, Will +20, SR 28, Cha 24] -- The Belier's sky-high Will save makes it a difficult fiend to catch. And when you do catch it, you have a 3,000 pound leech-slug with three human heads growing out of its backside. Okay, well. You would use the Bdellavitra to possess someone with its magic jar ability. Sure, you could possess them yourself -- but the Bdellavitra is a face monster, with around +27 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Perception and Sense Motive. Use the Gyllou to kidnap the prince, then use the Belier to replace the prince. Note that this is another super-genius Int 25 devil, though, so handle with extreme care.
Apostate Devil (Deimavigga) [CR 17, Will +20, SR 27, Cha 28] -- Emphatically not a combat monster (its attacks are quite weak for a creature of its CR), the Deimavigga has an array of strange powers that can be used for all kinds of creative effects. Most notably, given a few days to work, it can permanently change creatures' alignments! Call up this guy if you want to destroy the kingdom; he murders the vizier and takes his place, then with a few words in the king's ear gradually and permanently changes the kindly monarch into a raging tyrant. But have a care -- this devil can directly and physically attack you all the way from Hell. Unless you want to spend the rest of your career cowering inside your Forbiddance-protected private apartments, don't piss off the deimavigga. Only call it up if you can offer it something it would reasonably want, like turning an entire kingdom Lawful Evil or wiping out the local churches of the good gods.
Immolator Devil (Puragaus) [CR19, Will +14, SR 30, Cha 24] -- This is the biggest, baddest devil you can get with any Planar Binding spell. And guess what? It has (for a creature of its CR) a mediocre Will save and unimpressive Charisma. It's only a bit harder to call up and bind than a cornugon, but it's much more powerful. I think its official CR of 19 is a bit high, but even at CR 18 this is a pretty good deal. Note, though, that the Immolator has a 24 Int, and it's RAW that they're often commanders of legions of lesser devils. So if you make an enemy of it, the Puragaus is definitely capable of making long-term problems for you.
Meanwhile, a question for those of you who have run this already: do most PCs pile straight in through the cave mouth at the bottom? I have the impression that's the most common route. Did anyone fly up and enter through any of the other routes? The module doesn't say whether they are concealed under the vegetation or not.
"Up ahead, the road passes between two piles of stone rubble."
"The left-hand pile of rocks was once some sort of tower, but it has been completely destroyed -- there's nothing left but rubble. You can't even tell what it might have looked like."
"You whirl. A small, wizened humanoid -- a gnome? -- is sitting on the opposite, right-hand pile of stones. You're pretty sure he wasn't there a second ago."
Nobody reads my flavor text.
@Kevin Video: ISTM you have two options. One, play it straight. In that case, the Verdants go down hard. Nothing wrong with that. "The toughest party yet, and... they're all dead within a few minutes. Well done."
Two, make it interesting. Give the Verdants another character or two. Give them more levels. Give them templates. Do whatever it takes to make them challenging. Let the PCs' paranoia play a role in weakening them, but play it so that it's a real fight.
Either can work just fine. Apply the Rule of Cool and carry on from there.
Now the less good news: he doesn't care for Edmin's tone very much. At all. He turns pale in the face, then flushes deep red. Then he makes a nasty sound in the back of his throat, and...
...disappears into the ruins behind him, like a rat ducking into a pile of stones.
Okay, first the good news. He liked the Judge's verse! He was intrigued and willing to switch back to neutral. (Because he and Booger, they hated that feckin' tree.) So, well done Judge.
Actually, you'll sometimes see a "divemaster" build that is... well, not fat, and not with a paunch. But more like a very fit normal person with an extra inch of fat all around. Long time surfers, same. Its like spending thousands of hours in the water causes your body to start trying to grow a layer of blubber. Spending thousands of hours surfing or scuba diving also makes you incredibly fit, so this results in a pretty distinctive body type.
I'd say, discuss it with your DM. But it shouldn't be easy.
If you're starting at 4th level, BTW, don't forget to take Web and Glitterdust. They're fine spells, and with SF: Conjuration and an 18 Int, they'll have save DCs of 16 -- which is very good for battlefield control spells at 4th level. In three or four levels they'll be less useful, but by that time you will have many other toys to play with.
Everybody argues about builds, but with 20 points I'd suggest:
Str 8 <- because at low levels 7 Str means you can't carry your own backpack
This is rather MADdy for a wizard character, but Diabolists are kind of MADdy -- you need a good Cha score. Also, you'll have a perfectly okay 18 Int at 4th level. Getting a better Int modifier requires Int 20, which means putting 13 BP into Int. Cha needs at least 5 BP, so that would leave you just 2 BP for everything else. Doesn't seem worth it to me -- especially with a build that will do a lot of summoning. (Because summoning spells don't care about your Int. No spell DCs!) Take your 8th level bump on Cha, because you'll need it and also because it's cool... how often do you play a wizard with 16 Cha?
Again, I'm sure other people will disagree -- that's the nature of these things -- but that would be my suggestion.
Okay, a paladin is a problem. A serious problem.
1) If you're evil, he will detect it, because he has Detect Evil at will. Once you hit 6th level, you radiate mild evil all the time. You can invest in a device that blocks alignment, but still -- if you're evil, he will eventually figure it out.
2) Even if you block alignment detection, you still ARE evil, and you'll still be inclined to behave evilly and do evil things. You can invest ranks in Bluff and lie to the paladin, but eventually he'll figure it out. (Also, you have an imp companion who radiates evil. And you're constantly conjuring devils.)
3) Paladins CANNOT knowingly be in a party with an evil character. If they do, they lose their paladin abilities! So once he knows you are evil, one of you will have to leave the party.
4) In theory, you can solve the problem by being Lawful Neutral -- that's an allowable alignment for a Diabolist. However, the whole point of being a Diabolist is to conjure devils to serve you. A paladin is not going to like that, especially if you have the devils traveling around with the party. (Which you should if you want to get best advantage from the Diabolist class.)
TLDR: playing a Diabolist in the same party will be very difficult. Are you sure you want to try this?
Cуровую зиму wrote:
They're very time-consuming.
What does anyone think about anytime? I never was much into music while running -- too much hassle fiddling with the earplugs and whatnot. Running with a group is good, especially if you find a group that's about at your level.
The Worst Of The Plagues wrote:
Role-playing is personal, what works for me may not for you, and so forth. Still, here are some ideas.
-- Play it hard. If you're going to be a diabolist, be a DIABOLIST. Grow a pointy little goatee and wear red and black. Worship Asmodeus. Have minions. Say things like "Fools!" and "How dare you!" and "I shall destroy you all!" Gloat.
-- "Evil" is a slippery concept, but in game terms it means you have a lot of freedom. _You don't have to be the good guy_. You don't care if the princess is rescued or the hostages are freed. You may sometimes *act* like a good guy... but you're killing the dragon to gain its treasure, not to save the poor villagers from its fiery breath.
-- On the other hand, "evil" doesn't mean "sick bastard". Most of us are not looking for graphic descriptions of rape and torture at our gaming table. Most people do not want to game with King Joffrey or Hannibal Lecter. There are many different kinds of evil. You're looking for the cool pulp evil, not the creepy sick evil. You should aim for "I find your lack of faith disturbing" instead of "Leave her face... I like her pretty".
-- Also, evil does not mean COMPLETELY evil. You may be perfectly willing to torture captives for information, sacrifice minions for your own safety, lie, cheat, steal, and worship an infernal god of darkness... but you may have lines you won't cross. Maybe you don't hurt children. Or cats.
-- Finally, don't use evil as an excuse for PvP. (Playing a Lawful Evil character helps here. LE characters are natural team players!) I
Are these the sorts of things you're looking for?
Gregory Connolly wrote:
I would agree with this. A diabolist makes a good blaster because of Hellfire substitution, but if you have a lot of conjured minions you'll want to use spells buffing and defending them too.
There is no "best" build for a wizard diabolist, but here's one possible list of feats for your consideration.
1 Scribe Scroll (Wizard bonus feat)
Okay, going to post some excerpts from my guides here. You can find the different pieces by searching, like so.
Entering the Diabolist class:
Entering this class after 5th level, while legal, is not as easy as it might seem. You'll need to buy a scroll of Lesser Planar Binding and probably a scroll of Magic Circle Against Evil as well. Assuming the scroll was cast at 9th level, you'll need to make a DC 10 caster level check, meaning you'll make it on a 5 or higher -- 80% of the time. But then the conjured devil must fail its Will save; must also fail a special Cha check (DC 15 + 1/2 your level + your Cha modifier); and then lose to you on an opposed Cha check to be forced into service. For this reason, you should swallow your pride and summon a lemure (+0 Will save, 5 Cha) instead of something like an imp (+4 Will save, 14 Cha). Yes, the imp is much cooler. But the lemure is much less likely to make its Will save or Cha check and disappear amidst a cloud of brimstone and a peal of mocking laughter, leaving you with a botched conjuration and a couple of painfully expensive wasted scrolls. So go with the lemure -- you'll be calling up cool things soon enough.
If you think you can hack it, go for it at 6th level. But starting the class at 7th is also okay. If you're going to wait until 8th, then -- as a wizard -- you might as well wait until 9th, since 8th level will give you a wizard school power.
Building towards a Diabolist:
Skills: Like most Paizo PrCs, the Diabolist is skill-starved, with a miserable 2+Int points per level. So if you're not an Int-based caster, and not human, you're going to be placing every skill rank with exquisite care. Here are some of the skills you may want to consider.
Spellcraft -- You need three ranks of this to enter the class. But keep piling on the ranks, because you have to make that DC 20 Spellcraft check every time you conjure something. (You can take 20, but then you're on your knees with that stupid powdered silver all the dang morning.) Once you hit 12th or 13th level and can consistently get +19 before buffs, you can ignore this.
Knowledge (Planes) -- You need five ranks of this to enter the class. After that... well, technically, you need this in order to make Knowledge checks about the creatures you conjure. As a practical matter, let's face it, you're going to have the stats for bearded devils memorized PDQ once you start running around with them. But this still gets a thumbs up, because you never know when the DM is going to throw you a curve with some bizarre new sort of outsider. Also, you can use it to research true names, which is a thing you should do.
Knowledge (Religion) -- You need five ranks of this to enter the class. Once you've got that, unless you're a cleric, walk away and never look back.
Diplomacy -- This skill works on evil outsiders just like everything else. And after all, you don't WANT to fill up the Outer Planes with creatures who nurse festering hatred and resentment towards you. As a practical matter, at the end of their service you want them reasonably content -- or dead. So dropping a rank or two in this isn't a waste, especially if you don't have a "face" character around to help you. And, hey, it's a class skill for Diabolists.
Intimidate -- The way this skill is structured makes it less useful to you than Diplomacy. Avoid.
Ride -- What is this doing here? It's not a class skill for diabolist, nor for any class that's likely to become a diabolist. On the other hand, there are a few conjurable outsiders that can be ridden. If you like the idea of commanding your fiendish minions from the back of a rearing nightmare, throw a rank or two at this.
Sense Motive -- Believe it or not, evil outsiders are not always perfectly forthright and honest when dealing with the spellcasters who are binding them to service. Catching one of your devils in a dangerous half-truth could be a literal lifesaver. Put some ranks into this, and use it regularly.
Bluff -- Lying to devils is probably not a great long-term strategy; at higher levels, too many of these guys have sky-high Sense Motive skills. But you may conjure up things other than devils, after all. Elementals, for instance, have zero Sense Motive, which means that even powerful ones are painfully easy to fool. And at midlevels, this can actually be quite useful even with devils. "Yes, I conjured you up to be my bodyguard going into the Temple of Horrendous Doom. A formality, really -- it's almost certainly entirely safe." If you manage to fool the creature, you should get be able to lie your way to a better check DC. (Of course, if you fail, you should get the worst DC possible.) This skill is also very useful if the campaign takes you into regions where devil-summoning is viewed askance. "No, I'm an optometrist actually."
If you can cover these and still have ranks left over, spend on skills as for a normal PC -- Perception, Knowledges, what have you.
Feats: If you're playing a blast-y Diabolist, then go and look at some of the guides for blasters. No rush, we'll wait. Meanwhile, here are some other feats you'll want to consider.
Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration -- Is this even a question? Not only will you regularly be dealing with evil outsiders, but you'll inevitably sometimes be giving some of them reason to hate you. And spell resistance is one way a called creature can break out of your circle. You absolutely must have these feats. The only question is when to take them. I'd recommend taking SP at either 7th or 9th level, and GSP no later than 13th.
Spell Focus (Conjuration) -- You want this to crank up the Will save DCs on your Planar Bindings, especially at higher levels. And at middle levels there are lots of perfectly excellent spells that it works with, including web, glitterdust, sleet storm, hungry pit, and cloudkill. Take this at 3rd or 5th level and you'll get lots of use out of it.
Leadership -- If the other PCs aren't forthcoming with help in your conjuring rituals, go and get it yourself. See below for discussion of how this can play out.
Craft Wand -- Take this if you're doing the "wand-wielding imp companion" thing; you'll save a lot of money.
Extend Spell -- Consider either this feat or a Rod of Lesser Metamagic (Extend). The Rod is less of an investment and is probably your better bet, but OTOH this is one of the better metamagic feats... anyway: you want this at levels below 11th, so that you can cast buff spells with a duration that's longer than the casting time of your Planar Binding (10 minutes). Cast Extended Eagle's Splendor at 9th level, and you now have another +2 on your opposed Charisma checks (and on your Bluff and Diplomacy rolls, too, if you're going that route) all through the casting and for 8 minutes beyond. And then cast Extended Protection From Evil and Extended Shield on yourself and any helpers, just in case things go terribly wrong.
Wizard Schools and Spells:
If you're a wizard, what schools are good, and what spells should you take?
Abjuration -- This is a weak school for most purposes, but for a Diabolist it's actually okay. You're going to be taking a lot of abjuration spells anyway. And if you take the banishment subschool, at 8th level you get the Aura of Banishment, which from your POV is a highly desirable safety buff. (Of course, this means you have to be a wizard for eight levels before starting on Diabolist.)
Conjurer -- Obvious, right? The Infernal Binder subschool, while not as great as you might hope, is pretty good for you... +3 to Knowledge (Planes), the chance to grab other peoples' summoned monsters, and an imp familiar. (Once you get the imp companion you end up with an imp on each shoulder. One serves you, the other serves Hell.) The teleportation subschool is also fine, though limited by the fact that it uses wizard levels, so your dimension door power will probably never get beyond 15'.
Divination -- This is almost worth taking just for the Prescience power of the Foresight subschool. You get to double-roll every Cha check, and things like rolls to overcome SR as well. This is huge. Throw in the ability to act in a surprise round and a nice little Init bonus, and this school is surprisingly strong for you. Of course, now you have to be a Diviner and take a bunch of Divination spells. Nothing's perfect.
Enchantment -- Not a strong school for a class that's blasting a lot and dealing with creatures with SR and high Will saves. Still, unlike most wizards you actually use Bluff and Diplomacy.
Evocation -- A fine school for you. The Admixture subschool is great for a blaster, and you'll end up with five types instead of four.
Illusion -- Thematic, but not a good choice mechanically. None of the school or subschool powers will help you do what you do best.
Necromancy -- See Illusion.
Transmutation -- +2 to Con or Dex by the time you become a Diabolist is pretty sweet. Then you take the Enhancement subschool and use Augment to buff your minions. If you take 8 levels of wizard, then the Perfection of Self power -- +4 to any stat for one round -- has all kinds of uses; check if your DM will allow it to affect opposed Cha checks.
Spells -- This is a partial list of spells that are likely to be of interest to you.
Protection from Evil/whatever -- Kind of a no-brainer.
Eagle's Splendor -- Once you're 11th level (or 6th with Extend Spell) you can cast this before casting Planar Binding and get the benefit of it on Cha checks.
Agonize -- A spell to punish outsiders that... allows SR and a Fort save, which is most outsiders' best save. Still, worth a try, especially as it's the only spell that specifically addresses this need for you.
Enervation -- A fine spell for dealing with difficult outsiders. You did take Spell Penetration, right?
Planar Adaptation -- If you're planning to visit Hell at some point.
Banishment -- More powerful version of Dismissal.
Binding -- A powerful bargaining tool. I'd rule that the demonstrated ability to bind outsiders of a particular type would give you a bonus on your Cha checks against outsiders of that same type -- "Do you want to end up like Bob here?" Check whether your DM agrees.
Your Imp Companion:
The imp companion is one of the most popular class features of the Diabolist class, and with good reason. The imp is a useful tool to begin with – it can fly, turn invisible at will, is telepathic, has constant detect good and detect magic, and a number of useful SLAs including augury once/day and commune (6 questions) once/week. This alone makes it an excellent companion for low and mid-level PCs. But the diabolist’s imp scales with level – it gains HD, feats, skills, and new SLAs as you level up. And it advances according to your combined caster + diabolist levels. (Under the RAW, you could argue that it your diabolist levels count double, since diabolist is a caster class -- in other words, that a wizard 5 / diabolist 5 would get a level 15 imp familiar. But this seems to be one of the rare cases where sloppy language made it past Paizo editing. A companion who advances with your level is plenty good enough. Don't be greedy.)
One popular option is to give the imp a wand and useit to make wand attacks. Activating a wand is a DC 20 Use Magic Device check, with +2 on the check if the user has activated that particular device before. UMD is not a class skill for imps, and the creature’s Cha is only 14. So, if you want your imp to fly around delivering wand attacks, it may be worth investing one of the creature’s feats in Skill Focus: Use Magical Device. The DC does not scale with the power of the wand, so you can equip the imp with a “golf bag” of wands of various levels (fireball, grease, etc.) for use as needed. If you’re going this route, investing a feat of your own in Craft Wand is recommended.
Whether you go this route or not, make sure you have your imp cast augury and commune regularly – knowledge is power, and these are very useful spells.
CAUTION: Do not use your imp as a wand platform until its UMD bonus is up to at least +10, as otherwise you are in danger of a wand mishap – i.e., the imp fireballing your party instead of the enemy.
NOTE: If you lose your imp companion, the ritual to get a new one takes 24 hours of your time, but costs NO money. That’s right – replacing your imp is absolutely free! So unless you’re up against a clock with no chance to take a day off, don’t be shy about putting your little buddy in harm’s way… he’s expendable. Hard cheese for him but, hey, that’s life in Hell. And, really, what's more fun than greeting your new companion with a friendly, "I hope you don't fail me as pathetically as your late predecessor"?
As to the job market, oh yeah. I'm currently employed and making a decent wage, I've spent four of the last six years as a freelancer. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to make that work, but it wasn't easy, and it was very stressful on my family. I was freelancing (and actively looking for work) when I started this campaign. Who knows where we'll all be when it ends?
Anyway, congratulations Jax!
Don't forget that feat is from a 3PP campaign, Way of the Wicked. I like WotW a lot, but some of its feats are (quite deliberately) overpowered.
Demons and devils are about equally powerful for the same CR. Maybe demons are slightly more powerful in melee because they tend to have higher Str and more destructive SLAs. Devils tend to have higher Int and more skills. But the difference, at any given CR, is small -- a CR 9 vrock demon is not much more powerful than a CR 9 bone devil.
The big differences are in role-playing and tactics. Devils are lawful; they are organized, they work as a team or dominating a group of minions, they have plans. You can make a deal with a devil and it will honor its part of the agreement -- although, of course, it will always try to honor the letter instead of the spirit, pervert the agreement to its advantage, etc. Demons are chaotic; they love destruction for its own sake. They can have minions and plans and even crude organizations, but those things will usually be secondary. Demons are individualists and inherently unpredictable.
A devil disguised as the King's minister? Wants to corrupt the King and turn the kingdom into a brutal tyranny, a place of cruel oppression and slavery, with himself as the secret ruler manipulating the King that he has tempted and corrupted into evil. A demon in the same disguise? Wants to bring war, civil war, fire and riots and chaos, with the final goal of standing laughing on the balcony while the capital city burns and the royal family are bludgeoned to death with clubs in the courtyard below.
Ipslore the Red wrote:
"Some attacks or special abilities cause ability damage or drain, reducing the designated ability score by the listed amount. Ability damage can be healed naturally. Ability drain is permanent and can only be restored through magic."
Am I missing something?
Wait now -- is that the one that everyone uses Lesser Restoration to recover from, or is it the one that everyone uses Lesser Restoration to recover from?
How is the succubus communicating telepathically while she is unconscious (as per the Flesh to Stone spell)?
As noted upthread, she got rescued and un-stoned by another, more senior succubus.
Also -- does he have a bound object? If yes, then you need to find a way for the succubus (or someone under her influence) to steal it. And at the worst possible moment. If he has a familiar instead, then right after the big reveal, you should have the familiar's voice speak in his head. "Master! Help me, Master! Something is -- " And then it's cut off. And then a moment later, the stone statue that is the familiar -- petrified, of course -- falls out of the air to land at the Magister's feet... crash.
Actually, now that I think of it, petrifying people close to the Magister and then smashing them could be a recurring theme.
Good point about using the Profane Gift to give Suggestions from a distance. So you could totally work this as "every night he makes three saves, and if one is failed, he writes in his diary". That's fair under RAW and it's also nice and simple.
But I think it's more fun (if more complicated!) if the succubus can get close to him and become someone he likes and trusts. It's not necessary, but it will crank up the drama for the big reveal. (And it also means she can be privy to all sorts of other secrets.)
As always, season to taste.
If you are playing a character below 9th level, then summon. If you're summoning, play a Summoner or a Conjuration specialist wizard.
If you're playing 9th level or higher, then you want to play a Diabolist. Trust me. Search this forum for "DMDM's Guide to the Diabolist" (several entries) and "DMDM's Guide to Planar Binding". If you play the Diabolist right, it is both flavorful and *very* powerful.
Don't forget that the wizard gets a saving throw. Now, if she casts it on him while he's sleeping, you could reasonably say she just zaps him two or three times until it gets through. (And IMO a sleeping character wouldn't notice something being cast on him.)
You'll need a good cover ID for the succubus. "Lady So-and-so is an ambitious, intelligent young woman. She's the widow of a knight who got killed doing something or other, leaving her a modest estate. Make her short and blonde. (Nobody suspects a petite blonde of evil.)
You'll have to season the approach to fit your player and his PC, but I'd do it like this: (1) introduce her in some way that will make the PC like her... she brings him evidence of a minor but obnoxious conspiracy against him, or some such. (2) Emphasize that she's attractive, intelligent, ambitious, and poor-ish. (3) Give him the opportunity to hit that. (4) Have her make him a business proposition -- in character -- that goes something like this: "Last night was great, Bob. Now listen. You'll need a Queen; that's not me, I'm not high enough nobility. But you'll also need a Royal Mistress, and I'd be absolutely outstanding at that. I'm good at reading people, and I'm loyal. Courts can be snake pits. Take me on, and I'll watch your back." Or something like that -- you know best what will appeal to your PC.
A couple of tips. One, introduce her gradually (if time allows). If you throw this NPC at the PCs and spend a LOT of time with her all at once, it could be suspicious, so try to spin it out a bit. Two, give her a clear persona _in game terms_ -- like, she's an Aristocrat 3 / Rogue 3, or something like that. Have her act into that, visibly making skill checks on Bluff or Sense Motive or Knowledge, so that the PCs can interpret her actions that way. Three, note that the sex is great, but don't dwell too much on that -- you want the PC smug and happy, but you don't want him thinking Super Freaky, because that might turn his thoughts towards "succubus". Pitch the great sex as one part of an overall excellent package.
Finally, give her a chance to prove herself in a way that emphasizes that she's around the PC all night most nights. Have the PC offend some minor but self-important knight or noble. (Do this in a way that makes it the noble's fault, not the PC's -- Sir So-and-so is a pompous buffoon who believes his blue blood makes him superior, the kingdom is better off once he's dismissed.) Then set up a crude assassination attempt, with a couple of low-level rogues sneaking into the PC's bedchamber. Have him suddenly awaken to find himself under attack -- and his near-naked mistress (who woke up before him, so gets to act on the surprise round) throwing herself in front of him to take the assassin's sneak attack! Blood everywhere, but she's alive and screaming and has pulled out a dagger from somewhere to defend him, and -- now be a jerk and, if he tries to spellcast, ask him nastily if he takes his spell components to bed; you have a pouch of bat guano around your neck while you're making love to your mistress? I don't think so, Bob. Okay, it's on the night table, that's a standard action to pick it up, that's your move, now their turn, they're trying to flank you -- and you run a little combat, but of course in the end the assassins are easily fended off. And there she is, wrapped in a bloody sheet, tottering from loss of blood (poor thing, a hit that did just 12 points of damage left her hardly able to stand) -- but triumphant. "I said I would... watch your back... my King."
Of course she set the whole thing up with clever Suggestions and slander, but she's bright enough to have hidden her tracks. And while the PC is busy setting up defenses around his sleeping quarters, he's going to make sure that she's inside it with him...
@Skaldi, great list of bonus items! Thank you! How did you put that together?
@TLO3, I see the attraction of the brutal pugilist, but the point is to build around the strangler feat. Dipping a level or two of something, okay. Dipping five levels... well, at 12th level doing 4d6 damage is nothing special. The character might as well grab a battleaxe and start hacking.
@Koujow, I could see a level or two in Tetori. Of course, the problem with dipping monk is that it's so damn MADdy. Also, if you're dipping two, the temptation to dip up to four for the ki pool is hard to resist...
Note that the whole point of the Strangler feat is that it lets you get sneak attack damage while grappling even if the target still has his Dex bonus. That's what makes it interesting!
And by "decent" I'll settle for "doesn't actually suck, and could make an interesting NPC". I'm not looking for something that can take on the Beastmass, here. -- So, the Strangler feat:
This is flavorful as hell, but some obvious problems arise. In order to get any mileage out of this, you need to be a rogue, or something that's based on a rogue. And then you need to burn two feat slots on feats that rogues don't usually bother with, and that aren't terribly useful. And *then* you need to find ways to raise your CMB, because rogues tend to have pretty crap CMBs.
That said, there are a couple of interesting directions you could go with this. (1) Take Greater Grapple; this gives you another +2 on your grappling CMB check, and lets you maintain the grapple as a move action. So you can do your SA damage twice per round. (2) Take the Body Shield feat; this lets you attempt, as an immediate action, to use a grappled foe as cover. (3) Consider the Thug archetype, which lets you give up 1d6 of SA damage to sicken your victim. (A sickened opponent is at -2 on rolls to escape your grapple.)
So, a possible build might look something like, human rogue (thug), 15 point build -> Str 14. In theory you could dump Str, throw everything at Dex and take the Agile Maneuvers feat (use Dex for CMB) but I suspect this is suboptimal -- you're burning a feat for a rather modest gain, and Str still counts for CMD.
1 Improved Unarmed Strike (might as well get it out of the way)
You could also throw the Chokehold feat in there, but Chokehold is kind of a crap feat -- it's really something you should be able to do without a feat IMO. I guess it's thematic for a strangler character, and it does let you completely shut down casters, which is nice. "Ha ha, Dimension Door is verbal only, HURK" But it's awfully situational and probably not worth a feat slot.
Anyway, a 9th level rogue with a 14 Str and the two feats is going to have a base CMB of +13. That's pretty weaksauce. Are there any ways to improve on this? More generally, can we make this build interesting?
Thanks in advance,
Well, when rolling diplomacy you should generally say something, yes. (Or at least say what you're saying -- "I'll make some genial insults" -- if you don't feel like spelling it out.) It's more like, is the rest of the party good with this approach?