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So, Apparently NPCs Suck


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

201 to 250 of 265 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Andoran

tonyz wrote:
Much appreciated, though I think if I were a dwarven shield wall I'd have some teamwork feats to start with. Maybe a cavalier sergeant handing one or two of them out... Ooh, I have ideas.

A Cavalier (Standard Bearer) 4 is indeed a pretty good addition to the group. Raise the Lieutenant (or sergeant, or chaplain) to level 5 and drop the warriors numbers to 10 and you can throw him in and still have it CR 10.

And I could've gone with Teamwork Feats, but it seemed to me that offensive stat increases would be more effective and useful as compared to them against a higher level party.

A lot of those also rely on their being adjacent, which foregoes flanking. Flanking definitely seems to me like a tactic they should be using.


DM: not neccessarily. Consider the dwarven phalanx as used in their native underground. Find or make a choke point and then hold the line...you wouldn't need either flanking OR adjacent on that one and DEFENSE would be the name of the game. I think it depends on what the extra circumstances would be. Frankly for high level though I favor initiative increases and higher damage output for single attacks if you want your NPC/Monster/villain-de-jour to have a fighting chance.

Andoran

Mark Hoover wrote:
DM: not neccessarily. Consider the dwarven phalanx as used in their native underground. Find or make a choke point and then hold the line...you wouldn't need either flanking OR adjacent on that one and DEFENSE would be the name of the game. I think it depends on what the extra circumstances would be.

That's true, but the problem with that tactic has a name: Fireball. A single caster only a level higher than them can easily have three of those a day to use on them. A character their level can use Color Spray similarly. Better saves (from Shake It Off) would ameliorate the problem somewhat but it's still there.

In a world where such spells are relatively common (and especially when up against PCs) spreading out and using somewhat more skirmish-based tactics would seem to be the way to go.

Mark Hoover wrote:
Frankly for high level though I favor initiative increases and higher damage output for single attacks if you want your NPC/Monster/villain-de-jour to have a fighting chance.

Definitely a priority. Improved Initiative instead of Weapon Focus wouldn't necessarily be a bad way to go with these guys for that very reason...but I was (and am) somewhat worried about their ability to hit 9th level characters at all, and I thought that took precedence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

With a bunch of tower shields you can get a pretty decent cover bonus to your Reflex save vs fireball. Of course, there are plenty of other AOE spells to use. Gang Up is a good teamwork feat for a shield wal, though -- if three of them line up they're considered flanking. Add Precise Strike and that's a dangerous shield wall to be next to.


Great ideas, guys. Cheers.


Y'know what I'd use against the dwarven phalanx? Cold spells. Sleet Storm; make 'em all fall down at once. Ice Storm; AOE damage. Wall of Ice dome style; keep 'em all in place. OMG that would be awesome if it all worked: round 1 sleet storm to make em fall; follow that on round 2 with the wall of ice; round 3 while they're enclosed and trying to chip out while NOT falling down you drop 5d6 damage on all of 'em! Then when the ice dome finally fails...Hungry Pit and then everyone else in the party drops alchemist fire on them. That is an ANGRY scene in my head!


In the spirit of the dwarves, give me a unit of gnomes. With a cleric, and arcane type in there. Whatever level blows wind up your skirt!


@Azten and DMW: I have taken some great liberties with Shara Mooncrazed, but I think I've got a cool little side quest with her that I thought I'd post as a thank you and to get your input (if you feel like it):

The PC's come to a town holding a spring festival and one of the folks they meet in the crowd is an old crone giving away apples. This is Shara in disguise and the apples carry lycanthropy, turning you into a wererat. The party is actually in town to meet w/an inquisitor that knows about some local ruins and that is the main quest. Shara is an optional side quest.

So the PC's meet her and she offers them an apple. Whether they take and eat the poisoned fruit (requiring a minor fort save) or just ignore her and move on with their main quest is up to them. However with or without them an outbreak of wererats will infest the town over the next couple of days.

The story is: Shara was one of the pretty girls in town but she was the poor daughter of a local woodcutter. Despite her good looks she was mercilously teased. To seek solace she often made her way into the woods where she just spent nights sleeping under the moon in a faerie ring. When she did this "woodland spirits" woulud whisper to her in her dreams. Her bullies found out and started calling her Mooncrazed.

Her dream-friends convinced her that to deal w/her oppressors she should spend the night of a full moon in the circle. When she awoke the wicked faeries had stolen her beauty but given her lycanthropy as a "gift". Her spirit friends (mites) showed her how to prepare the apples to infect others and also taught her how to cast spells as an adept.

She's been missing now for a month and her father the woodcutter is extremely worried. Shara's oppressors (wealthy and "beautiful" teens in town) have all been infected with the disease and without ANY intervention whatsoever will be her minions.

The PC's can get involved either by 1) accepting an apple, 2) meeting the old woodcutter, or 3) being around in town when the outbreak occurs. Clues will lead the PCs through a mini-dungeon in the sewers and then eventually to the faerie ring. They will have to retrieve Shara's beauty from the real villain: a forlarren sorceress who wears the extra charisma as a locket around her neck. Once returned to the adept the curse is broken and all are saved.

Villans; Shara (as written but with the Wererat template added), a dozen or so mites but I'm going to re-skin them to change the vermin empathy specifically to rats, Dire Rats and finally a forlarren sorceress (probably with more mites at her disposal). I'll follow up with the stats on the sorceress if you don't mind DMW. Your thoughts?


Here's one for ya, And If I like it I will use it in my campaign. (UPDATE)

A CR 10 Richman Man (at least +15 in appraise skill, magical or not) (we use it to negotite price in our game, and he won't fight them right away) who sells jewelry and is fond of it.

To help you :

- You can use PC level wealth
- He knows he will get it by an electric specialised Magus
- The player group of pc he will fight have very high melee touch and damage.
- I removed the 4 level expert requirement

Thanks again in advance if you can make it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's a little challenge from me - build two support characters for black ops team. Kindly read the background section first.

THIS IS SCARN!

There is an environment-friendly group of seriously minded folk. Composed mostly of humans and high gorgons (think humans with sorcerer talents until they decide to split their bellies and let snake swarms pour forth), they like their meals to be roasted alive and to come from sentient stock (humans and elves mostly). Ritualistic, shamanistic, conservative with access to legacy of ancient culture.

Their preferred classes are druids, sorcerers and bards. There are no clerics (or any straight divine classes) among their ilk (the gods are anathema to them). Witches and Oracles may be also thematically appropriate, however, Oracles especially, they should have strong ties to the nature (and one true way of doing things).

When they infiltrate settlements of nascent human nations, they tend to use variety of guises (the policy of burning druids being still often practiced, as out of 10 druids, only 1 is likely to be only neutral).

THE PCS TO CHALLENGE

6 characters, 14 - 15 level, mix of neutrals and good. Survivors (don't mind choosing lesser evil if their lives are at stake). Some of them highly proficient in class specialty skills. Some of them distinctly favored by gods (read: they may be hard to surprise). Sometimes have problems with acting as a team due to highly individualist attitudes.

THE CHARACTERS NEEDED

I am requesting creation of two great support characters (any level you deem suitable), a druid and a bard. These guys are likely to be leaders acting from safety of mid-line, with a crowd of disposable (charmed, hired, dominated, threatened) mooks. They are not going to sacrifice themselves (they are survivors, too), but they are fanatics and do not expect any mercy.
They need to be able to turn rabble, monsters or anyone else they control into veritable engines of destruction, to inflict resource damage (to make PCs bleed their resources - wands, potions, scrolls) and to disappear (expect divinations spells).
They need to be reasonably adept at stalking the PCs.

A LITTLE MORE BACKGROUND

The PCs have destroyed a crew of high gorgons attempting to sway a whole region of orc tribes back to old ways (through fear) - thanks to semi-peaceful coexistence with humans, the orcs were slowly settling becoming more civilized. What's worse, the orcs were adopting worship of gods.
A group of high gorgons in their artifactic purple worm construct (think nuclear submarine, armed with disease-and-undeath-spreading nukes, only running underground with its crew in deep hibernation) was unleashed, spreading fear and terror (i.e. the nature reasserting its dominion over civilized orcish settlements).
The PCs prevailed. Now, 4-5 levels laters it is payback time.

Regards,
Ruemere

Andoran

@Vuvu: Added to the list. :) Actually, I may have some of these already statted for an old game...

@Mark Hoover: Go for it! I'll probably critique and advise, for the record.

@Malhagor: Very workable. Will do.

@ruemere: Also added to the list. Probably both 14th-15th level so as to keep up with your PCs. I'll build them as humans...you can make any necessaryb alterations.

@Everyone: Been busy this weekend, may continue to be. I'll start back on my list of things to do (Familiar Wizard, Bodyguard, Rich Guy, Gnomish Troops, High Gorgon Druid and Bard) tomorrow or so if not before.


Please critique; let me know if the math is sound and if you'd change the build at all. What I was going for was a mastermind-type villain. Also please note: she will have stolen 2 people's "beauty" and be adorned with special jewelry on her courtier's outfit which then give her an effective +2 to all Charisma based rolls. Without further ado, my first posted build ever on these boards:

Fabelina

Forlarren sorcerer 2 (fey bloodline)

CR 3

Xp 800

NE Medium fey

Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 29 (6d6+6)
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +8
DR 5/cold iron
Weaknesses remorse

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+1)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +3)
3/day—heat metal (DC 14)
5/day – laughing touch

STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +3; CMD 17
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Spell Focus (enchantment), Weapon Finesse

Skills Acrobatics +9, Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Perception +11, Stealth +9
Languages Common, Sylvan

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Remorse (Ex)
Whenever a forlarren kills a living creature, it must make a DC 15 Will save to avoid becoming overwhelmed with remorse. If it fails this save, the forlarren becomes nauseated for 1d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Bloodline Arcana: Whenever you cast a spell of the compulsion subschool, increase the spell's DC by +2.

Bloodline Powers
Laughing Touch (Sp): At 1st level, you can cause a creature to burst out laughing for 1 round as a melee touch attack. A laughing creature can only take a move action but can defend itself normally. Once a creature has been affected by laughing touch, it is immune to its effects for 24 hours. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Spells
0 level: Daze (DC 15), Ray of Frost, Resistance, Spark, Touch of Fatigue (DC 13)
1st level: Hypnotism (DC 16), Sleep (DC 16)

Gear: wand of Mage Armor (27 charges), potion: Disguise Self, scroll: Vanish, 3 smokesticks, masterwork courtier’s outfit

Andoran

The big issue with Fabelina seems to me to be thematic, not mechanical. She seems singularly low in Int for a mastermind type. I'm aware that's to some degree unavoidable...but still. Maybe tack on the Advanced Simple Template?

I think her claws should also only do 1d6 damage.

And more character builds go up today...my last few days were busy.


DM: thanks for the critique. I figured her for more cunning than knowledgeable; she hasn't left her wood, traveled the world much, or studdied many subjects to soak in knowledge other than what she needs to survive; however she can charm a lit torch out of a goblin's hand. When she needs knowledge of some kind (the purview of the Int stat) she simply diguises herself, finds some hapless human, hypnotizes them and then asks her question...before knocking them unconscious or worse.

The claws damage: I missed that plus 1; a holdover from her original strength score. I'll get that cleaned up on her final statblock.

Thanks again for all the help with this and the whole thread. I've learned more from reading this thread than in all the hours slaving over the core book and the SRD trying to sculpt really cool NPCs!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:


[...]
@ruemere: Also added to the list. Probably both 14th-15th level so as to keep up with your PCs. I'll build them as humans...you can make any necessaryb alterations.
[...]

Do your worst. I'm curious as to the way you're going to build them - so far most of the NPCs presented here were of rather direct type.

If you need more info on PCs, just ask.

Regards,
Ruemere


Mark Hoover wrote:
@Azten and DMW: I have taken some great liberties with Shara Mooncrazed, but I think I've got a cool little side quest with her that I thought I'd post as a thank you and to get your input (if you feel like it):

I nice way to reinforce the "Never take candy from strangers." advice. I like it much better than my idea for knives covered in lycan saliva/venom. Wreck havoc with her!


Deadmanwalking,like so many others I am enjoying this thread. Not just the builds, the commentary is very instructive and enjoyable.

Andoran

I'm glad folks are enjoying the thread. :)

I'll probably have a build or two up tonight, just FYI.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

I'm glad folks are enjoying the thread. :)

I'll probably have a build or two up tonight, just FYI.

Is it nerdy of me that I can't wait to see what the Man-Who-Walks-Deadly comes up with for the familiar-using wizard?


Quote:
Is it nerdy of me that I can't wait to see what the Man-Who-Walks-Deadly comes up with for the familiar-using wizard?

I am waiting for it too as I am currently playing something like that :).

In the meantime here's mine (currently lvl9):

Spoiler:

LN half elf wizard

spec: transmutation (enhancement)
forbidden: evocation, necromancy
14/10/14/17/10/13(20pts buy)

familiar : compsognathus

1 - toughness, ancestral arms : bastard sword(large)
3 - improved familiar (celestial compsognathus)
5 - eschew materials, still spell
7 - extend spell, familiar: inevitable,arbiter
9 - evolved familiar (skilled: UMD)
10 - quicken spell
11 - improved share spells
15 - spell perfection (true strike)

He focuses on polymorph spells to inscrease his familiar size and flank with him. He gets a peak in power @lvl11 when he can tag battle with his familiar as 2 giant flying minotaurs with battlemind link and transformation (familiar only).
Compsognathus is my favorite starting familiar, good strength and bonus to init. Then arbiter is the best front liner familiar, he has regeneration, a buckload immunities, and martial proficiency being an outsider.


Why take Improved Familiar though? That's one of the key points I'm making in my challenge to DMW; build a wizard (not a witch) that uses their familiar as part of the threat they pose, and have it NOT be an improved familiar.

My contention with my buddy and other gamers is: I feel you can have an original animal familiar and STILL be dangerous.

Yes, levels 1 & 2 will be a challenge; yo don't really have any spells to reliably protect your familiar from damage and one hit from even a minion takes it out. But at 3rd level you could p/up alter self, share spells, and now you've got a 2nd wand wielder. At 5th level you could make an owl (Tiny) into a Great Horned Owl (Small) and now you've eliminated the need for it to enter an enemy's space to attack and given it the ability to flank if needed.

I just feel like, back in 1, 2, and 3e versions of the game familiars were always a great idea but never worked unless you took a feat to permanently change them into something else. But with PF I have this sense that there's FINALLY a way to be a wizard with a basic animal familiar (cake) and also have a proper helper for ALL aspects of your career (eating it too).

Let's just think first level for another example: your wizard takes a couple knowledge skills, spellcraft, and readies detect magic as one of his cantrips for the day. With PF making cantrips unlimited use now your 1st level owl familiar can fly around the dungeon in the dark (good perception, senses and stealth) returning to you from time to time for a re-fresh of its detect magic, and scout out all the potential sources in the area. Then when you actually go THROUGH the area it scouted, it sits on your shoulder and gives you an automatic 2 rolls for knowledge/spellcraft checks to analyze any such magic sources. It's not a huge utility, but a far cry from my 3.0 sorcerer who used her owl twice in total through first level.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How is the owl getting detect magic? It does not fit the criteria of share spells.

And can you really have it scout to any degree with just general emotions? Sure, it can say "danger", but it can't say "Danger in 3 rooms down, on the left side."


Cheapy wrote:
How is the owl getting detect magic? It does not fit the criteria of share spells.

I may have mis interpreted; Det Magic in the description says "you detect magic..." and I thought that meant you cast it on yourself, thus you could share it w/your familiar.

Cheapy wrote:

And can you really have it scout to any degree with just general emotions? Sure, it can say "danger", but it can't say "Danger in 3 rooms down, on the left side."

No you can't make it an effective scout in that respect, but you can have it sense magical auras, passing the emotion of confirmation (you're asking it is there magic down that side passage, it flies, it returns with a positive emotional response to your query - gray area I'd ask my GM about if need be) on to you upon discovery. Remember, it may only give you emotional grunts, but at first level it's already got a 6 Int; 1 point lower than some munchkined fighters I've seen...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Unfortunately, Share Spell actually only works on spells with "Target: You" in them.

And it's not just it that can communicate with you in general emotions. The wizard also can only communicate with it in general emotions.


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@ cheapy: without turning this into a familiar thread, how do you use the familiar for ANYTHING until 3rd level if there's virtually no articulate communication between you?

@ DMW: either you've got WAY too much on your plate to keep this thread going or the 10th level wizard w/a usable base familiar finally broke the creative bank. Either way I think threads like this are too useful to just fade out.

If ANYONE wants to stat out a CR 5 bugbear I'm billing as the Nightmare King please feel free. He's blind, relying on the bugbear feat Scent of Fear. He should also have Sow Terror as a feat from the bugbear selection as well.

Here's the scenario: he's the villain in a re-telling of The Boy Who Wanted to Learn to Shudder (a Grimm Fairy Tale). A hunter's son is somehow immune to fear and has never been afraid. In his quest to make his father proud by knowing fear he's come across this bugbear who in turn has (somehow) cursed the young man that, since he can't make the boy afraid the lad will instead make everyone else who sees his face afraid (cause fear gaze effect).

The PC's meet the lad as a traveling puppeteer at a faire; he's retelling his own story through the marionettes. After getting to know him the PC's undertake the quest to head into the wood, destroy the nightmare king and retrieve for the boy his father's axe to end the curse.

When not cursing the sons of woodsmen this bugbear and his goblin minions eke out an existence hunting and trapping fey in the nearby wood to torture, kill and eat.


I guess this is as good a place as any to post this:

I can't seem to get NPC spellcasters to challenge the PCs. Between their recommended ability score arrays and low starting funds, I can't get the DCs of their spells to be anything better than a joke when compared to the PC's saves (which have better ability scores and gear to put into them). Even using things like potions to save money and increase the NPCs' spellcasting stats only goes so far. Even using clever tactics can be real tricky if you can't get any of the magic to stick.

Hoping for some advice.


If you gear every feat they have toward upping the DC that doesn't do it? a wizard enchanter using charm person w/a 17 Int is already a DC14; tack on Spell Focus that's 15; a human NPC at level 1 could already push it to 16 with Greater Spell Focus. If said first level had an intimidating bodyguard anyone so intimidated technically has a DC 18 from being Shaken. A cleric with an 18 wis would fail that save slightly over half the time.

I think I see your challenge though R D; there's no easy way for the villan spell slinger to pull this off on their own. They need SOME kind of bodyguard or minion to run interference and intimidate to get FULL benefit of their spells.


I've had entire military squads supporting my spellcasters. Short of using no save spells like enervation, the spellcasters still usually end up as a joke in direct confrontations.


I either have bad optimizers for players or yours are exceptional. I had a throw-away encounter w/a 3pp skeleton variant called a Danse Macabre in a ghostly ballroom scene. The DC of their special Ability to make people dance is only a 13; had it not been for 1 evil cleric in turn controlling a skeletal champion with a shield bash attack an CR 3 worth of base skellies and Danse skellies would've TPK'd the party.

That being said in my current game rebooted at level 1 I have an enchantress with similar stats as in the example above, except that she's Fey so she doesn't get the Greater Spell Focus. Even if her mite minions DON'T succeed w/their doom power and cause Shaken conditions she STILL has a DC 15 on her hypnotism spells. I figured that would take out the entire party...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I guess this is as good a place as any to post this:

I can't seem to get NPC spellcasters to challenge the PCs. Between their recommended ability score arrays and low starting funds, I can't get the DCs of their spells to be anything better than a joke when compared to the PC's saves (which have better ability scores and gear to put into them). Even using things like potions to save money and increase the NPCs' spellcasting stats only goes so far. Even using clever tactics can be real tricky if you can't get any of the magic to stick.

Hoping for some advice.

Don't do this directly. This is a game of rock, paper and scissors now, and the party usually can provide all three, while a lone spellcaster is just this: alone.

Specific advice for a spellcaster:
1. Multiple saves per round are your friend. For example, a band of summoned Dretches can use multiple Stinking Clouds. Add Solid Fog to this, and you have 2 rounds of pure unmitigated panic among PCs. All for the price of a single medium level summon (Summon Monster V should be good enough) and a single support spell.

2. Always reduce visibility first. If they can pinpoint your location, or worse, if they can pinpoint you with ranged attacks, you're a goner. Invisibility is the most often countered spell in game, so take care to research alternatives:
- illusions of terrain features
- illusionary doubles or illusionary spell effects
- fog spells, with Solid Fog being the staple of battlefield control

3. Multiple saves, part two. Toxic fumes, poisoned weapons and caltrops. Target Strength ability to paralyze the casters. A group of friendly shadows (or controlled shadows) will do the trick nicely. A large group of kobolds with strength sapping darts will do good, too.

4. Invest in +Stealth items. Make Stealth your primary skill. Use darkness spells a lot.

5. Fireball sniping. Fireball is a long range spell. Cleric's worst save is Reflex. Bonus points if you can get several fireballs to go simultaneously. If you kill, or at least scare their healer, they will flee, too.

Regards,
Ruemere


Ravingdork wrote:
I've had entire military squads supporting my spellcasters. Short of using no save spells like enervation, the spellcasters still usually end up as a joke in direct confrontations.

What level range are we looking at here. I would imagine the discrepancy is greater at high levels.

Also, another technique might be to throw a larger number of low level casters. 20 saves means there's a fair chance someone wiffs and rolls poorly. It is not a catch all, but it could help some encounters. By probability, knocking a few levels off, and than increasing the number of enemies will get similar CR, and greater chance of getting a good hit in.


Your NPCs sound really fun, Mark. Also ruemere has some great ideas. Glad to see this thread is still full of goodies.


Set up contingency planes. Clones, Similacrum, a phylactery so he comes back as a lich after death.


Brambleman wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I've had entire military squads supporting my spellcasters. Short of using no save spells like enervation, the spellcasters still usually end up as a joke in direct confrontations.

What level range are we looking at here. I would imagine the discrepancy is greater at high levels.

Also, another technique might be to throw a larger number of low level casters. 20 saves means there's a fair chance someone wiffs and rolls poorly. It is not a catch all, but it could help some encounters. By probability, knocking a few levels off, and than increasing the number of enemies will get similar CR, and greater chance of getting a good hit in.

My players all have 11th-level characters, and we've been playing most of them practically from 1st-level.


R.D: other ways around your problem: ranged touch attacks, witches in a Coven to boost caster level, and did you know that many of the sorcerer base powers come w/no save, like Laughing Touch from the Fey bloodline? I'm not being sarcastic; I honestly had no idea until I created a sorcerer NPC for this very thread.

Imagine a sorcerer/witch with a flying familar, fey bloodline and a forest setting. The party sees a raven on a branch. From surprise it descends and causes one party member to begin laughing hysterically, then flies away while the invisible mistress drops a Mind Fog over the area with a DC 25 Will save attached plus it blankets them all in fog. If the party makes the save and leaves the fog...more laughter (unless they've previously been affected) wheras if they stay in it their vision is hindered. If they fail the save...

Round 1 of initiatives: if the sorceress is still alive and the party is relatively close to one another, a simple confusion tossed into the mix should liven things up; carrying a healthy DC 24 will save (-10 for anyone actually affected by the mind fog) that has the party slobbering all over themselves. If they are scattering or she needs to deal some damage...a fireball boosted by her witch sisters (all 1st level so they don't affect the CR of the encounter very much) so it's maxed out in potential damage.

Any additional rounds can be spent on individual compulsions, fleeing, or commanding dominated PCs to attack their friends. Good times...


So DMW: in the immortal words of Sean Connery in the Untouchables...

"Is that IT then? Are we DONE here?"

Well I really like this thread and have learned a lot. I didn't even knkow there WERE arrays for NPC's til now. I've posted my first stat block here.

I open the challenge up to all of you: post your NPC's. Deadman: if you're just taking some time off I hope all is well. I also hope you take no disrespect at all, for I mean none with this post.

I seriously have learned a lot about building NPC's here and would love to see more threads like this one. I have a game starting over from 1st level and will need lots of NPC's since the prime villains will be sentient humanoids and fey.

I don't think I'll be able to pull it together til tomorrow night but I intend to have another NPC to post; the brutal bugbear known to his enemies as the Nightmare King.


I'm sticking around, regardless. I too have learned a lot. If anyone has any requests, I'd be happy to pitch in. I'll try to keep to the baselines that Deadman was following.


I have had an idea for an interesting group of villains... this could be fun.


Do share! (Still waiting on that bugbear, Mark)


I've actually had another, just as fun one.

1: Necromancers.

2: A group of of lieutenants for the Four Horseman.


Ravingdork wrote:

I guess this is as good a place as any to post this:

I can't seem to get NPC spellcasters to challenge the PCs. Between their recommended ability score arrays and low starting funds, I can't get the DCs of their spells to be anything better than a joke when compared to the PC's saves (which have better ability scores and gear to put into them). Even using things like potions to save money and increase the NPCs' spellcasting stats only goes so far. Even using clever tactics can be real tricky if you can't get any of the magic to stick.

Hoping for some advice.

Well, you're a pretty creative guy, RD. And I don't have stat blocks here, but maybe the following might help:

1) NPC stat arrangements: Consider that balance around the whole elite array thing is based upon the concept that the PCs start with more or less the same value of stats. The elite array IS a 15 point buy. If the PCs started with significantly better stats and you don't want the challenge rating system to be hugely out of wack, you might consider adding a +1 to one or two of the enemies' stats to compensate. Alternately you might consider rearranging the elite array to give a slightly better casting stat in exchange for lower stats in other places within the 15 point buy. This is a LITTLE shady in that NPCs serve only specialized purposes within a game, so don't ordinarily face the difficulities that the PCs would for, say, having a low charisma.

2) Adding class levels to monsters: Some monsters have abilities or innate bonuses that synergize well with added caster levels. This can be used to push DCs up. For example: Serpentfolk, satyrs, vampires. If you want to delve into the dark side of unholy cheese, give caster levels to a pugwampi.

3) Buffs: You seem to have gotten the potion thing down (presume Fox's cunning, Owl's wisdom, etc), but just putting the enemy casters in situations where they have a chance to buff themselves first can make a big difference. Example: Casters placed within a complex. If they hear guards outside their door dying, presume a serious threat is near then prepare themselves to nova. NPC spell lists should probably contain a variety of options anyway - buffs, summons, etc.

4) Conditions - The following result in penalties to saves: Shaken, Frightened, Panicked, Sickened, "Energy drained". Consider that the shaken condition can be imposed upon a PC via Intimidate without allowing them a save. Most helpful when used by bodyguards, etc, to supplement the caster.

Fairness Caveat: Just make sure that "challenge the PCs" doesn't become "cause problems for the PCs regardless of their actions". If the PCs have devoted significant wealth and character resources toward pumping their saves, they deserve to reap the benefits of that investment. Don't simply throw in enemies with more potent spells all of the time to compensate.


Ok, so here goes:

The Nightmare King
CR 5
XP 1600
Male bugbear ranger (falconer; infiltrator) 3
CE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +13
DEFENSES
AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, +4 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 55 (3d8+10+2d10+3 favored class+18)
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +3
Weakness blind (auto fail any sight-based activities)
OFFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee hand axe +9 (1d6+4), dagger +9 (1d4 +3)
Ranged javelin +9 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks favored enemy (human +2)
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Double Slice, Endurance, Scent of Fear, Skill Focus: Perception, Sow Terror, Two Weapon Fighting
Skills Intimidate +15, Perception +13, Stealth +17; Racial Modifiers +4 Intimidate, +4 Stealth
SQ adaptation, feathered companion, stalker
Languages Common, Goblin
Combat Gear +1 hand axe, masterwork dagger, Mistmail; Other Gear 2 javelins, 4 thunderstones
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Stalker (Ex)
Perception and Stealth are always class skills for bugbears.
Adaptation (Ex)
Select one ability or feat from the adaptation list for one type of favored enemy.
Feathered Companion (Ex)
Select a bird animal companion; it functions as the Druid ability Animal Companion except the bird has ½ normal HP.
Vilebeak
Bird (vulture)
Starting Statistics
3HD (8HP); BAB +2; Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +3; Skills Fly +7, Perception +6, Stealth +7; Feats Dodge, Weapon Finesse; Size Small; Speed 10 ft., fly 80 ft. (average); AC 16 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural armor); Attack bite +5 (1d4), 2 talons +5 (1d4); Ability Scores Str 11, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6; Special Qualities evasion, link, low-light vision, share spells.

He's a bit weak on defense but he's meant as a menacing figure in the shadows for a handful of 2nd level PC's. The idea is that he should, if at all possible, be in the shadows. By winning the opposed stealth check he spends the surprise round freaking out the party causing Shaken. He then leaps out and attacks dealing as much damage as possible, using Vilebeak for Aid Another, and fleeing using the mistmail as needed.


If he's blind, how does he know when he is and isn't in the shadows???


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
[...]My players all have 11th-level characters, and we've been playing most of them practically from 1st-level.

Ah, no 7th level spells yet, then. Goodie.

Humble Bundle of Indie Advice, part deux:

1. Prolonged hostile conditions. Let your spellcaster charm goons (wear a mask or make a Disguise check to make sure that goons spill no beans). The goons are to stage an attack when the PCs go to sleep. The goons are supposed to lose... they just need to keep the PCs awake.

While the goons capture PC's attention, use this (several times, they will fail the save eventually), preferably on the characters capable of casting Remove Curse:
- Blindness (2nd level spell, permanent)
- Spectral Hand + Bestow Curse - unable to rest (3rd level spell, permanent)

2. Feeblemind from 100 feet. Probably the most evil spell in game since if cast at party arcanists - it practically removes the PC from game. Yes, the heal is an option. That's why you should pack two or three Feebleminds (bonded object + scroll).

3. Sleeping characters. Cast confusion until it takes hold. Actually, any take over spell cast repeatedly on an unaware character is going to do wonders, err, horrors, when your goons attack.

Regards,
Ruemere


Ravingdork wrote:
If he's blind, how does he know when he is and isn't in the shadows???

Temperature difference?

Who cares? How does a thing called a "bugbear" exist? How does stealth work? Why aren't 0-level spells EVER useful after your first adventure?

My point is... he does it. If you were HONESTLY asking RD, my only explanation would be his vulture tells him somehow.

Your sardonic question doesn't tell me though if 1) he's cool, 2) he's broken, or 3) he should get changed for optimization.


Dot.


Mark Hoover wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
If he's blind, how does he know when he is and isn't in the shadows???

Temperature difference?

Who cares? How does a thing called a "bugbear" exist? How does stealth work? Why aren't 0-level spells EVER useful after your first adventure?

My point is... he does it. If you were HONESTLY asking RD, my only explanation would be his vulture tells him somehow.

Your sardonic question doesn't tell me though if 1) he's cool, 2) he's broken, or 3) he should get changed for optimization.

I would not play in a game run by a GM that broke the rules like that. If he doesn't have an ability to back up his new power, then he either shouldn't have the new power or, at the very least, he should have a higher CR (and commiserate XP value) to account for it. How messed up would a GM have to be to say he's "normal" when he is anything but, then to pit him against the PCs as an inappropriate encounter?


So...remove blind.

This change having been made, is he a good CR 5 challenge?


Here's a challenge: keep this thread alive.

Here's another: build a viable NPC classed character around the Agile Maneuver's feat. 6th level. Anything else is up to you.


The Lieutenants are more difficult to make than I originally though...

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