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841 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Officially, I'm guessing at 13 or 14 with the red box set. I'd had it for quite a while and really thought I somehow was missing the game board. It took me a some time to wrap my mind around how it all worked, and then invite some friends over.

And the leader of my evil half-giant faction.

Perfection's Path Elder

Here is a half-giant psychic. I should point out that I was never a fan of half-giants with psionics, whenever that was introduced. However, in this world, half-giants are kind of a down-trodden race. Most believe they were artificially created by another race for use as slaves and war. Some free half-giants embrace the good of both their human and giant heritage. However, there are some who rebel against everything of the world that insults their pride; giants, humans, and even the gods. A growing political power is a group that seeks to establish half-giants as the dominant power, the next step in perfection if you will.

I planned on having this group be run by anti-clerical wizards, but then Occult Adventures came out, and well, this just seemed to fit for one of the villainous groups.

Perfection's Pupil, CR15

JosMartigan wrote:
Yup, right out of Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed. Interesting conversions.

Thanks. Yes, I like a lot of things in Arcana Unearthed. Many concepts fit rather well with character and race ideas that I'd had for years, and the crunch made more sense.

A half-giant champion, and chief body guard to the upcoming BBEG.

Half-giant Champion, CR17

A half-giant soldier, actually part of an elite guard. 16 of these guys will make up the personal bodyguard of a half-giant villain.

Half-Giant Soldier CR10

Just some things I might do if it were my game.

1. Make that final Boss at CR24. In my experience, CR at higher levels gets odd and favors the PCs enough that you want to go +4 on an epic fight. Add in the fact that you have 5 PCs rather than 4 and I’d add another to the APL. A Black Great Wyrm Ravener is CR21 if I figure correctly, so either add some class levels or another template to bring that up.
2. Do not end the campaign with just your BBEG alone. Solo monsters against a group of 5 18th PCs will be done in 1, maybe 2 rounds. Action economy is against you.
3. With #2 in mind, I’d structure something like the following as the total complex defense.
a. Great Wyrm Black Dragon Ravener +, CR24
b. Lizardman Scion, CR19
c. Lizardman Sorcerer, Level 17, CR18, (This guy is dragonblooded, but at the cap of power that the dragon will allow, lest the sorcerer get ideas of being the bog ruler)
d. Lizardman Sorcerer Followers, CR14 (x5), these are the top disciples, equal to a CR19 encounter.
e. Lizardman Warriors, CR15 each (x10), these are the elite warriors guarding the king, equals a CR20 if they are all present at once.
f. Lizardman Druid, CR18. This guy is a wildcard. He’s there to support, but my abandon ship as he’s not too loyal to the dragon.
4. You’ll notice this combination is way beyond a level 18 party. However, these forces will be spread out, and if the party does a good job scouting, they should deplete these resources with a few tactical strikes. If they just stumble in and start swinging, well then we’ll see if that bard/barbarian combo breaks the scene.
5. The great well: The final lair is this chamber with an immense pool of water stretching hundreds of feet down. This is a huge underwater battle field where the dragon will retreat if his minions are destroyed. Make the party spend resources to fight here.
6. Add in some megalanias at the well. They’re just giant lizards, and won’t do much, except soak up damage if the PC’s think they are a threat, and you may as well put the dragons’ Charm Reptiles ability to use.
7. Someone on these boards wrote that the best way to play a dragon is as if it were just a sorcerer. Use the same tactics. Keep at a distance and blast. When the melee guys get full attacks, you’re in trouble.
8. With that said, this guy should have some scrying ability set on his minions. He should be watching the PCs in the early battles and may be familiar with some tactics before the final confrontation.

Cuup wrote:

I'll be running an 18th level one-off, and the bulk of it will take place in a bog. The bog is notorious for being dense and hard to traverse. I was wondering how I could simply portray that through gameplay. What sort of natural obstacles could I include?

Be prepared for the group to simply ignore any natural obstacles you place there. Even with limited system mastery, if they look at the spells available to them, they will be flying, windwalking, or scouting out your bog from the ethereal plane. They won't be stepping in mud, or worrying about thickets, unless you completely nerf their abilities.

Immunity to poison and disease should also be easy for them.

Natural animals and predators aren't going to be a challenge either.

If it were me, I'd start with who the enemy is and how long you want this one shot to last (one four hour session? a couple weeks of game play?) With the BBEG in mind, you then figure out how he/she/it would defend it's lair from high level opponents. You have 5 18th level PCs, so I'd probably be looking at a final enemy at CR22 to 23.

When this spell activates, how quickly does the new form take place? The PRD says this.

PRD wrote:
If at any point within the duration of the spell you are reduced to fewer than 0 hit points or are slain by a death effect that is not mind-affecting, you can immediately let your current physical body die and assume the record of your physical body on your next turn.

Does "immediately" indicate that it is a swift action, and thus the caster can act normally for the rest of his/her round? In other words, the caster gets wacked by Mr. Fighter and sent into negative hit points, upon his round, Mr. Psychic, reappears and . . .

A: Twiddles his thumbs because his reappearance takes up his turn.
B: He takes a five foot step back and casts Telekinetic Storm, sending his enemies into oblivion.

I'm leaning towards option B.

I enjoy the entertainment that I give to my friends and family.

Sometimes there’s not much reward. Other times, I can see the excitement on their faces and it is worth all the effort.

I’ve been DMing for about 30 years now. I’ve been running the same homebrew world for almost 20. I love it when I hear people telling stories about my games or how intricate the setting is.

About two years ago, I somewhat reluctantly started a game for my daughter and her friends who were then juniors in high school. They enjoyed the first game and more showed up after hearing about it. When graduation came, I assumed we’d be done since most were going off to college. I was surprised that they wanted to keep going and some would play via skype when they could.

I enjoy seeing my players encounter interesting situations, conflicts, and characters.

I also love tactics and strategy. Since I usually have a good idea on what my PCs can do, and survive, I like to create epic battles.

And some of the best enjoyment is when a few players hang out after the game to talk about the game, what happened, and what might happen next.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

This is not a problem if castle and dungeons are properly defended against teleportation (which they would be in any world with teleportation).

As for in game, if you have multiple clerics, you can always offer them the travel domain which grants them access to teleport. Otherwise, you're kind of stuck from the viewpoint of rapid travel. You can buy items to make up for it. But really a cleric with the travel domain would be the ideal.

Yes, this is not a problem in my game. In fact, most lairs will have counter measures for even high level spells. Most of the rulers are CR 20+, and plan accordingly. I've got a scene coming up where the enemy is obviously begging for a scry and teleport sequence, of course it's a trap. Now, it may play out differently.

The travel domain is a good idea, but we're not going to re-write PC's that have been in play for over a year (it might be longer).

Ah, I meant to reference Wind Walk in my first post not Air Walk. That spell may do the trick. I think I was overlooking how fast they could move and the total distance they could cover. Thanks for all the feedback.

I know it may seem odd to want teleport back in the game, but I built the high level parts of the campaign to require some high level spells in order to accomplish the challenges.

The PC's are basically a special forces unit for an empire that is being attacked on several fronts. Political leader's are being assassinated, and several powerful enemy forces are converging on the region. There are several instances where they will need to defeat one force, and then very quickly get to the other side of the empire to quell another threat.

I'm currently running a campaign that is at 15th level, and we will no longer have a wizard in the group moving forward. Fortunately, the group has two clerics and an oracle (seer).

The problem I'm seeing is that the group relied heavily on teleport. I'm not seeing many options for clerics to quickly whisk the PC's around an empire until they get access to 9th level spells (Interplanetary Teleport).

Am I missing something? I don't even see any summoned monsters that can help (I'm guessing that is intentional).

Air Walk seems too slow, or maybe I'm reading it wrong. Control Winds would help that if it were a cleric spell or there was a druid in the group.

Any pointers would be helpful.

A tiaga giant leader, part of a scouting party for a large raiding group.

Giant Leader CR18

Here's a lunic (homebrew race) anti-paladin that came along with the assassin's strike team.

Lunic Blackguard, CR17

And the traitor who let the assassins into the home base.

Traitorous Cleric CR16

This enemy leads an assassination strike on the PC's home base.

Assassin Strike Leader CR18

Entering a new chapter, the PC's are confronted by a mutinous legate trying to seize control of the legion.

Mutinous Legate CR17

They either have to negotiate with him or remove him, while contending with the rather loyal legionnaires at his command.

We're entering a new chapter in my campaign, and the PC's are at 15th level. Here's a giant shaman they may encounter.

Giant Shaman CR16

CampinCarl9127 wrote:
I distinctly remember either an item or a class ability that allows an assassination to be made at range (up to 30 feet), but I can't seem to remember what it is now.

If you happen to recall what may allow a ranged death attack, I'd love to know. I was building an assassin for my homebrew, and wanted to have him shoot from a distance and then disappear. I was surprised to find that really wasn't an option. That and the DC isn't too hard to beat (at least against the martials he would be targeting the most).

Char-Gen addict wrote:

However the decision between ranger and fighter ends:

Do not take the archer fighter archetype

Why is this again? I know I've heard this before. While I'm not the biggest fan, I have one in my current campaign that destroys encounters that aren't prepared to counter her ranged attacks.

And closing out t current chapter is the BBEG, the Elder of the Hellfire Phoenix.
Elder of the Hellfire Phoenix CR17

Here is the Hellfire Order's second in command.

Hellfire 2nd in Command CR16

Here is the last summoner's eidolon, Nimia. Imagine a beast resembling an allosaurus in form, but with four long arms ending in cruel hook-like claws, a head lined with multiple black insect-like eyes, long teeth resembling a deep-sea predator, and a long spine-lined tail.

Nimia the Eidolon

Here is an enemy summoner, an ambassador to the enemy, and relative to the PC's primary antagonist.

Summoner CR16

Here is a sphinx sorcerer, who could be a potential enemy or ally, depending on the PC's actions.
Sphinx Sorcerer CR15

A harpy ranger filling a role as a bodyguard to a Phyrian leader.

Harpy Ranger CR14

Oye! Didn't notice that.

Headfirst wrote:
Wouldn't it be great if someone came out with a supplement that let you take just about any monster and turn it into a boss fight?

Unfortunately, that is almost the equivalent of asking "wouldn't it be great if someone gave me the recipe to writing a great novel or movie script?" Beyond the good advice of some posts in this thread, creative encounter design, and creative final boss encounter require, well, creativity to make them unique and memorable.

With that said, I fall into the camp of hating solo BBEG's. They are anti-climactic, and disappointing for all. I use a method similar to Mr. Hoover, almost. The average party can handle 4-5 APL encounters per day. My BBEG lairs tend to have that many encounters in them. And they tend to be in close proximity to the BBEG. Sometimes, the PC's can pick off one or two enemies at a time. Sometime they raise an alarm, and are facing the BBEG and all his minions at once.

Here is an assassin the PC's may run into.

Phyrian Assassin CR14

CampinCarl9127 wrote:

A very careful spellcaster can make it basically impossible to learn about his personal demiplane.

That being said, make it a plot hook. They have to go on an adventure, perhaps through the other planes, perhaps breaking into the wizard's tower to read his notes, perhaps talking to one of his trusted allies, in order to learn about it. This is probably best left as a campaign hook as opposed to a "Make X check to learn about his secret demiplane" kind of thing. IMHO.

I agree and I see that I should have been more clear.

There will be a couple demiplanes which belong to a family of casters (or an organization in another case), which have been permanent for generations. The planes exact location is fairly secret, but some research with the right people, may point them in the right direction on how to obtain the information on these hideouts.

The personal demiplanes will be much harder, and there may be few clues that they even exist. The PCs will need to find the right information through the adventure, in particular by capturing the enemies notes and documents, maybe interrogating the right captured enemies .

I agree that the rules aren't clear, but I also think it may be a good plot hook. Odd thing is, that in this particular campaign the BBEG is an arcane caster who has many spell casters under him, and is tied to a spy organization. So in my mind, the PC's could potentially run into many enemies with their own private planes. Working against them is the fact that they've had a real hard time fighting a spy organization that seems to have several people bought off in almost any populated area they need to work in. Someone will eventually see them disappearing (spellcraft check), or overhear about the planes existence. Then it's just a matter of the enemy casting enough divination spells.

I also agree on that idea that deities may not know everything. At least in my homebrew, I think the general attitude would align with "why would I ever look into what all the puny archmages are doing with minor demiplanes?"

As for the bad guys, I'm thinking that if they ever brought someone else to that demiplane, and that certain someone told someone else about it, and then maybe it is mentioned in a piece of correspondence that the PCs recover, that would also be a nice "mundane" way of giving them a clue.

My group has a Seer archetype oracle, so they don't have any problems with divination. However, sometimes the sheer power of being able to ask anything causes little to be asked at all.

Hmmm. I could have sworn I stumbled across something that would reveal the location of a personally created demi-plane somewhere. But I could be imagining it.

To be clear, I'm thinking on this from both the player's perspective and the DM. I'm running a homebrew where the PC's will have access to this spell soon, and they may run into a few enemies with their own demi-plane safe houses set up.

While I don't think I'll go with every focus fork is tuned to every plane ever, I may figure out some way in which the PC's or an enemy of the PC's may discover and locate said demiplane.

If an enemy's plane has been around for a while, I may allow some research to provide a knowledge check (DC 20+), or I may drop some clues where the enemy has been. Otherwise, it appears that divination spells would be required, and then the creation of the focus fork.

Say you have a PC or even an NPC, who created a permanent demi-plane, and he exhibits a habit of retreating to this demi-plane. How would his enemies eventually find it? A knowledge check? Commune?

The rules seem to be fairly silent, unless I've missed something. I'm also assuming that once the enemy knows the demi-plane exists, a planeshift spells will get them there.

spectrevk wrote:
2. "Unchain" (har har) melee characters from having to stand still to get all of their iterative attacks. A high level fighter should be able to clear a room with the greatest of ease, not stand in the doorway and have to wait for people to crowd him.

This. Why can't a high level fighter eventually make a double move for a vital strike, and then eventually a full run and end in a vital strike, or move between attacks up to his/her base speed, and later move between attacks up to double speed, and ultimately sprint at full speed making attacks all along the way? And he can even do it flying.

(I'm hoping someone tells me I've been missing some feat or rule that allows this.)

Ah, I stand corrected. I forget there are about three places you need to check for invisibility/stealth/perception. Thanks.

Crimeo wrote:
Don't forget moving has a penalty as well. -5 more for half speed (which would include stealthy movement, even though the stealth bonus overwhelms this it still stacks on) and -10 for full speed, which would include for a typical human a single move action of 30ft for instance. (he's standing still casting the spell, then jogging at full dash speed for 3 seconds).

Though the fight is over, I don't think this would have applied. The -5 penalty is IF the flying invisible sorcerers were trying to use stealth. They weren't. They were just relying on invisibility, and the great distances they could have put between them and the PCs.

Well, the players surprised me and changed tactics. The oracle used ethereal jaunt to scout ahead as much as she could. There were places she couldn't enter due to wards, but she got a decent layout of the area, and guard placement. After reporting back to the group, one of the clerics and two martials then entered from a weak point via wind walk, put up a silence spell. The trio pretty much rolled well enough on stealth to take out all of the guards, and a majority of the opponents in the first two towers.

They didn't know that a couple of the guards had a telepathic link to leadership back at the main battle, but it took them some time to investigate. Fortunately, the wizard just randomly cast true seeing and happened to be in the right place to see several invisible combatants teleport into the area. I forgot the oracle also had access to true seeing, which she cast on everyone, thus negating my need to worry about invisibility at all.

Splendor wrote:
Why are the PC's on foot? Shouldn't they be using Wind Walk and scouting from the air.

That's a great question. I think there are a few factors; the players are fairly new, and really don't optimize. They sometimes forget all the abilities that they have. Some of the players soured on scouting because it got them into trouble somewhere around 6th or 8th level. (Wizard scouted ahead, flying and invisible, and ran into an erinyes.

Thanks for the feedback. This is all helpful, and we'll see how it plays out in about an hour.

I've taken the fly skill into consideration, and they should have no problem hovering. These particular opponents aren't really trying to be stealthy, but their leadership does have an idea of who the PCs are. Once they realize it is the PCs, they will back up and try to separate the party, but there will also be multiple combatants on the battlefield. So we'll see how they react.

The group is APL 15, (7 14th level PCs)but they really aren't optimizers by any means. I do a lot of coaching.

Blakmane wrote:
Be aware that fireball creates a visible projectile which the players can presumably spot as it leaves the sorc's square and/or trace the general direction of once it hits- although at 100ft this may be somewhat difficult due to the perception penalties.

Very true. The sorcerers will be casting, then moving on their turn.

I'm not sure if I want to apply unfavorable or impossible conditions, however, the possibility is there to be at a much further range, especially with the fireballs. So yes, I could have the sorcerers fly out quite a distance to increase the DC to 40+. I just wanted to make sure I had a clear understanding.

Some of the PCs have +20 to +27 on their Perception checks. Others have under +15, so for them it is going to be tough no matter what.

Yes, I am the DM. The group is in a war scenario, where the bulk of their allies are engaging a large force of the enemy hundreds of miles away. The PCs are on a mission to destroy the home base of the enemies strongest arcane support. Imagine a set of four towers perched precariously high in some arid mountains. The PCs are marching up to this position and have been fairly stealthy. They do know that they are up against fire-happy sorcerers, whose basic tactic is to apply protection from fire (and not worry about hitting each other in fireballs) and out-blast the enemy. The sorcerers will have a skeleton crew guarding the base, but it will still be a tough fight.

Then the reinforcements will start teleporting back once they know the base is under attack, but I'll roll randomly for that.

In my next game, the group will be fighting several flying invisible sorcerers. The enemy's primary tactic is to stay at a distance of roughly 100ft and blast the group with fireballs.

I'm reviewing the invisibility rules and just thought I'd check if I'm reading everything correctly. The base DC to detect an invisible presence is 20. To pinpoint where the enemy is at is +20, so we're at 40. The distance adds another +10, so we're at 50. However, the noise of spellcasting gives a -20, so the total DC to pinpoint the enemy location for the PC's who don't have see invisibility is a 30. Sound right?

Just so people have an idea of how I’m structuring this, here is an example on how I’m setting up the most recent encounters. The group is raiding the remote towers of a sorcerer clan, while the bulk of them are involved in a battle elsewhere. The PC’s will encounter the following who are still guarding the towers.
1 Kongamato CR15
4 Regular Sorcerers CR9
2 Senior Sorcerers CR14 each
1 Athach
2 Iron Golems
1 Harpy Sorcerer CR13

These are spread around the towers, and will prepare spells before making their attack, making good use of Firebrand, and Greater Invisibility. They will also send word to their commanders at the battle that the towers are under attack.

Reinforcements will teleport to the towers in waves as communications begin to cease.

My PCs are currently 14th level, but there are 7 of them so I put them at APL 15. I expect them to make a couple raids on the towers before the leaders teleport back for the last battle.

Here is a dragonbred that the party will encounter while raiding the compound of the Hellfire Phoenix. He is an ambassador for a nearby dragon ruler.

Dragonbred Ambassador CR14

Here is a harpy sorcerer from the enemy army. This harpy has been trained to also serve as a scout, reporting through her telepathic bond.

Harpy Sorcerer CR13

That's it! Thank you!

And now I also see that one can find it if you go to the Guide to the Class Guides. Just go to the bottom, and click on The Comprehensive Pathfinder Guides Guide.

I don't think that was it, but it fits the bill. The one I saw had further comparisons between the different form spells, but maybe my memory is failing me. The link you gave is very helpful. Thank you.

In fact, linkified for others: Practical Guide to Polymorph

My search skills are failing me. A few days ago I someone posted a link to a guide that did an excellent job in comparing the various polymorph spells, beast shape, form of the dragon, etc, including recommendations.

Now I can't find it. I must have been reading while on my phone (which has a browser that does not allow me to log in), so I wasn't able to favorite the link. This guide is also not saved under Advice in the Guide to the Guides.

Does anyone have a link to this guide?

Here is a quasit sorcerer who is geared toward being a spy and informant, but who will be part of a retaliation squad facing off against the PCs.

Quasit Sorcerer CR13

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