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So, Apparently NPCs Suck


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Andoran

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I've seen a lot of posts from various people regarding how underpowered NPCs are for their CR. I, personally, think that's a load of crap. At least for PC class NPCs, and even for NPC class ones at low levels.

I've stated this a few times, but nobody's ever responded in any meaningful fashion. Their contempt seems unassailable, and I feel like proving a point. Also, I'm a little bored.

So, I'm putting a challenge out here:

Ask for an NPC of a particular class and level, and I'll build a CR appropriate version of it. You can even specify things (like 'finesse Fighter' or 'Pirate Captain') as long as they aren't completely unreasonable.

Well as long as it's not over 8th level as NPC classes, and doesn't have completely horrible multiclassing on it, anyway (and I'm talking really horrible here, not just less than ideal). I probably won't be working out full spellbooks or anything for these, but at least a fair selection of their current spells will be done.


Unhittable, uncharmeable havy damage dealer CR 10 mobile fighter :P

Andoran

Nicos wrote:
Unhittable, uncharmeable havy damage dealer CR 10 mobile fighter :P

I'm talking characters who, by the rules, are on par for their CR, not unstoppable super-people.

That said, if you're at all serious, I can do a CR 10 Save and AC focused fighter with decent mobility. In fact, I'll build that right now.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

I've seen a lot of posts from various people regarding how underpowered NPCs are for their CR. I, personally, think that's a load of crap. At least for PC class NPCs, and even for NPC class ones at low levels.

I've stated this a few times, but nobody's ever responded in any meaningful fashion. Their contempt seems unassailable, and I feel like proving a point. Also, I'm a little bored.

So, I'm putting a challenge out here:

Ask for an NPC of a particular class and level, and I'll build a CR appropriate version of it. You can even specify things (like 'finesse Fighter' or 'Pirate Captain') as long as they aren't completely unreasonable.

Well as long as it's not over 8th level as NPC classes, and doesn't have completely horrible multiclassing on it, anyway (and I'm talking really horrible here, not just less than ideal). I probably won't be working out full spellbooks or anything for these, but at least a fair selection of their current spells will be done.

I'm almost astounded, actually. NPCs are brutal if you follow the bestiary rules for determining CR (and you should). The only time I've found humanoid NPCs to be weaksauce is if you follow the core suggestion of having NPC-classed NPCs only be 1 CR below PC-classed NPCs, which causes a load of problems (which I've pointed out in some other threads) because NPC classes were never meant to work like that (+1 CR every 2 levels produces something much more reasonable).

That being said, it's amazingly easy to TPK a party with NPCs. "NPC gear" is possessed even by bestiary entry mooks, though it is left for the GM to decide. Since NPCs have access to the same potions, alchemical items, scrolls, wands, and more; NPCs can be every bit as dangerous as other monsters. Ever see a bunch of CR 1/3 orcs running around enlarged, blessed, and wielding glaives?

Most anything that casts spells can be a dangerous NPC, and NPCs with a combination of PC and NPC class levels can be both varied and in some cases and very sturdy.

So...I actually agree with you! But in spirit of your thread, here is one for you (I'm curious how you'll stat them out): Build a CR 8 mystic theurge and make it look gnarly. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Ask for an NPC of a particular class and level, and I'll build a CR appropriate version of it. You can even specify things (like 'finesse Fighter' or 'Pirate Captain') as long as they aren't completely unreasonable.

Umm... CR6 commoner? (*ducks for cover*)

On a more serious note... what about an adequately challenging CR6 adept? (I must admit I find the official 3-point buy for NPC class only NPCs quite... toxic.)

Edit: Ah, I thought you were referring to the official CR = NPC Level +2 rule (which I find, admittedly, annoying to the brim).

Ashiel wrote:
NPCs are brutal if you follow the bestiary rules for determining CR (and you should).

I hear you. Frankly, when looking up what I can throw at my group, I look at the bestiary table, and not the advencement rules.

However, this goes both ways. A Nabasu demon (CR8) with six levels of antipaladin ranking at CR 11, while its cousin with the same amount of fighter levels is CR14? Don't make me laugh!

Build the monster, look at its capabilities, and take a look at the bestiary table to determine where to put it. Don't hide behind 'but the rules said class XXX is okay, so I am totally fair if I create a monster at CR YY (with the output of a beastie three CRs higher) and pit it against my players!

(sorry for the rant)


Deadmanwalking wrote:


That said, if you're at all serious, I can do a CR 10 Save and AC focused fighter with decent mobility. In fact, I'll build that right now.

yes, maybe he is the bodyguard of a wizard, s hes primary roles is to not die and to mantains the enemies far from the wiz.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, I think the naysayers are right.

Here's why.

First, CR equal (where the CR is equal to the APL) encounters are meant to be easy and not challenging. This is a design goal of PF.

Second, you match the party's APL to CR. Incidentally, this is the most important reason. The CR of an NPC is their level -1. So a human fighter 6 has a CR of 5.

A group of 4 level 5 adventurers? They're APL is 5, so that fighter 6 is a CR equal fight. Each one of these PCs are worth 1,200 XP in the CR system, where they are pegged as CR 4. This makes their CR as a group, not their APL, 8.

The math is against you for creating CR equal solo NPCs.

Make that NPC a level 9 fighter, and suddenly it's going to be more interesting.

Andoran

Okay, that was harder than I thought. Making straight fighters really high AC, mobile, and still hard hitting is more difficult than it looks. His AC is high and his HP is low for his CR, his damage is also low...unless he has time to prep. with Bull's Strength and Enlarge Person, his offense goes to +20, and his damage to 2d6+18. His AC remains the same due to Cat's Grace.

He'd probably be better as an archer...but they are not ideal when mobile.

CR 10
Human Fighter 11
CN Medium Humanoid
Init +7; Senses Perception +14

DEFENSE
AC 29, touch 14, flat-footed 26 (+10 Armor, +4 Shield, +2 Dex, +1 Dodge, +1 Deflection, +1 Natural Armor)
HP 98 (11d10+33)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +10 (+3 vs. fear)

OFFENSE
Spd 35 ft.
Melee Longsword w/Power Attack +17/+12/+7 (1d8+15/17-20)
Ranged Longbow +15/+10/+5 (1d8+5/×3)

STATISTICS
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8
BAB +11; CMB +15 (+20 w/ sword); CMD 29
Feats Dodge, Fleet, Greater Weapon Focus (Longsword), Improved Critical (Longsword), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Nimble Moves, Shield Focus, Step Up, Toughness, Weapon Focus (Longsword), Weapon Specialization (Longsword),
Skills: Climb +5, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +6, Perception +14, Profession (Soldier) +7, Sense Motive +7, Survival +7, Swim +5,
Languages Common,
Special Armor Training 3, Bravery +3, Weapon Training (Heavy Blades) 2, Weapon Training (Bow) 1
Combat Gear potions of cure moderate wounds (2), potions of cat's grace (2), potions of bull's strength (2), potions of enlarge person (3), potions of protection from energy (3), probably some other stuff,
Gear Cloak of Resistance +2, Full Plate +1, Heavy Shield +1, Longsword +1, Ring of Protection +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Dagger, Masterwork Composite Longbow (+4 Str Mod) with 40 arrows,

EDIT:

Nicos wrote:
yes, maybe he is the bodyguard of a wizard, s hes primary roles is to not die and to mantains the enemies far from the wiz.

Hmmm. For this specifically he might be better off going with a more polearm/combat reflexes build. But on the other hand, he's currently very good at getting in someone's face and staying there, so this build should probably work okay at keeping one guy specifically off the Wizard, and probably at focusing attention too.

Maybe drop Improved Initiative for Combat Reflexes and make him always go for the enlarge Person. Yeah, that's probably what you should go with. If used in a real game, I'd jack up his Cloak to +4 or so. It violates the NPC rules technically, but the Pcs aren't gonna object, and it makes him a lot more durable. Take if from the Wizard's gold allotment maybe.

Andoran

@Ashiel: One Mystic Theurge coming right up. Probably a self-buff focused melee character, just for the hell of it, and because I can.

@Midnight Angel: Sure, Adept request noted and on deck. Maybe I'll see what I can do with Commoner 8, too.

And the rules for adding Class Levels to monsters are fine as long as you ignore the chart for which classes are key and base that on the actual class and creature.

Not ignoring that chart results in stupidity and silliness.

@Cheapy: I'm not saying one NPC can take on a party, I'm responding to complaints that they're worse than equivalent CR monsters.

Andoran

@Cheapy: PCs are CR = level (not level - 1). NPCs are CR = level - 2 (npc wealth & npc class), level - 1 (npc wealth or npc class only) or level = cr (pc wealth & pc class).

But honestly, I fully agree with deadmanwalking, npcs can be brutal, especially at lower level and with elite npc stats (which, IMO, all npcs who aren't meant to be just fodder should have). A level 3 orc warrior is only CR 1.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ah right, forgot NPC Gear Adjustment.

Andoran

Okay, this is a unique little build that would never work in a party or as a PC, but has the potential to rain death on an entire party of PCs. He goes Invisible (or lurks in ambush that way) and casts all his bufs on himself. All of them (or as many as he can arrange). Then he kills everything. Even without the opportunity to do more than a couple, he's pretty hardcore.

CR 7
Half-Elf Wizard (Transmuter) 3/Cleric (Nethys) 3/Mystic Theurge 2
N Medium Humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 14/26, touch 10/15, flat-footed 14/24 (+4 Armor, +2 Dex, +4 Shield, +3 Deflection, +3 Natural Armor)
HP 56/72 (3d8+5d6+22/38) + False Life
Fort +8/10, Ref +5/7, Will +11

OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft
Melee Greatsword +10 (2d6+15/19-20)
Ranged Hand of the Acolyte +7 (2d6+9/19-20)

WIZARD SPELLS
3rd: Haste, Blink,
2nd: Invisibility, False Life, Mirror Image, Cat's Grace,
1st: Mage Armor, Shield, Enlarge Person, Expeditious Retreat, True Strike,
0th: Acid Splash, Read Magic, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation,

CLERIC SPELLS
3rd: Prayer, Protection From Energy*,
2nd: Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Resist Energy, Barkskin*
1st: Shielsd of Faith, Bless, Divine Favor, Entropic Shield, Shield*
0th: Detect Magic, Stabilize, Light, Purify Food and Drink,

STATISTICS
Str 20, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 8
BAB +4; CMB +1; CMD 13
Feats Martial Weapon Proficiency (Greatsword) - Ancestral Arms, Power Attack, Arcane Strike, Furious Focus, Toughness,
Skills: Knowledge (Arcana)+8, Knowledge (Planes) +6, Knowledge (Religion) +8, Perception +10, Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +13, Stealth +8
Languages Common, Hallit, Elven, Draconic,
Special Prohibited Schools (Evocation and Enchantment), Bonded Item (Amulet), Physical Enhancement (+2 Str), Telekinetic Fist (5/day), Domains (Protection-Defense, Magic), Hand of the Acolyte (5/day), Channel Positive energy 2d6 2/day, Deflection Aura (5 rds/day)
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (2), Various scrolls,
Gear Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance +2, Greatsword +1, some mundane stuff,

Note: Has See Invisibility in spellbook, and will use it with Bonded Item (or off a scroll) if needed. Ditto Dispel Magic.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Deadman, what's the total cost on that fighter's gear? Eyeballing it, it looks like it might be a little over NPC wealth.

Andoran

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Deadman, what's the total cost on that fighter's gear? Eyeballing it, it looks like it might be a little over NPC wealth.

An 11th level NPC Fighter gets 16,350 GP for gear.

He's got 4k + a bit over 2k + over 1k + 2300 + 2k + 2k Or about 14k plus bow and potions. It might be a little over, since I was eyeballing it, but if so it's only because of multiple copies of the same potions. Protection From Energy's a 1st level one, remember.


I like using npc's as enemies. One of the roughest fights (aside from a lone dragon) I threw at my PC's was against a same-sized group of npc's 1 level lower than the PC's.

Group of 6 PC's all level 8 (APL 9) vs Group of 6 NPC's all level 7 (EL 11). Note that my PC's use a 25-point buy and have above-average WBL.

One of the main differences was the npc's were able to nova since it was their one encounter whereas the PC's had gone through 1 encounter already and had another coming up (and legitimately knew it was coming).

When the npc's have time to buff up and use their WBL npc gear to their advantage, they can be quite the handful. I wound up having one of the npc's refuse to fight (due to rp reasons) or it could have very likely been a TPK.

Count me as a fan of using npc's. They can take some time to build, though, unlike grabbing a stat block from the Bestiary.


Building solo NPC casters worthy of their CR is easier than doing it with martial build past level 7 at the latest for most groups. That is the highest CR I generally use for boss fight anyway if the class is not a caster class.

Example of what I mean just to be clear
CR 10 fighter vs level 6 or 7 party gets his butt kicked thoroughly unless I cheese the CR system. As an example if I take a monster with natural armor such as lizardfolk, throw full plate on him, and give him a few potions to boost AC I am sure I can get his AC above 30.

A level 6 fighter most likely won't have over a +13(guestimating) to hit.

If I use a core race he lose 5 point of AC, and I had better hope he can get those potions applied before the PC's show up. <--Assumes I don't use GM Fiat to just say it happened which I don't normally do.

A CR 10 caster is level 11. If I use a class that prepares spells that is level 6 spells against a 6th or 7th level party. I would avoid using a monster his the CR counts against caster level.

PS:I generally use a APL+4 for boss fights after level 7 or 8 when I GM. Mini-bosses are normally APL+3.

PS2:Back to that "cheese the CR" comment. I do squeeze more out of it when the group is better, but a monster that could count as 5 CR's higher, as an example, is not an accurate depiction of an appropriate challenge. The CR information is a guideline more than anything else.
There was a thread recently on how to do such things though, and it probably had some good ideas on how to mix class levels and monster level to get the most out of it.

Andoran

Okay, Adept prepped. His Saves are good, as is his offense, his HP and AC are a little low sans buff spells, but go up quite a bit if he can buff himself beforehand.

CR 6
Human Adept 8
NE Medium Humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +4

DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+6 Armor, +1 Dex +1 Shield)
HP 52 (8d6+24)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +11

OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft
Melee dagger +3 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged light crossbow +5 (1d8/19-20)

SPELLS
3rd: Lightning Bolt (DC 18)
2nd: Mirror Image, Scorching Ray (2 Rays), Scorching Ray (2 Rays),
1st: Bless, Protection From Good, Burning Hands (DC 16), Burning Hands (DC 16)
0th: Detect Magic, Read Magic, Light,

STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 18*, Cha 9
BAB +4; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feats Combat Casting, Light Armor Proficiency, Medium Armor Proficiency, Spell Focus (Evocation), Toughness,
Skills: Craft (Alchemy) +8, Heal +8, Knowledge (Local) +7, Knowlege (Religion) +7, Survival +8, Profession (Herbalist) +8, Spellcraft +11,
Languages Common, Hallit,
Special Familiar (Greensting Scorpion)
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (6 charges), wand of cat's grace (1 charge), wand of bear's endurance (2 charges),
Gear Lesser Headband of Wisdom +2, Masterwork Breastplate, Masterwork Buckler, Cloak of Resistance +1, Dagger, Light crossbow w/ 20 bolts,

Andoran

wraithstrike wrote:

Building solo NPC casters worthy of their CR is easier than doing it with martial build past level 7 at the latest for most groups. That is the highest CR I generally use for boss fight anyway if the class is not a caster class.

Example of what I mean just to be clear
CR 10 fighter vs level 6 or 7 party gets his butt kicked thoroughly unless I cheese the CR system. As an example if I take a monster with natural armor such as lizardfolk, throw full plate on him, and give him a few potions to boost AC I am sure I can get his AC above 30.

I disagree to some extent. It's a bit more difficult, but you don't need to 'cheese the CR system' to make it work.

It is, admittedly, a lot easier with casters, though.

Andoran

Well, here's a Commoner, as jokingly asked for. He's the first who really doesn't live up to his CR without prep, though he can manage it if takes his host of potions. Any other requests, ideas or questions?

Big Tom CR 6
Human Commoner 8
LN Medium Humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +11

DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 19 (+9 Armor, +1 Dex)
HP 44 (8d6+16)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +4

OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft
Melee scythe +8 (2d4+10/x4)

STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
BAB +4; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feats Light Armor Proficiency, Medium Armor Proficiency, Heavy Armor Proficiency, Power Attack, Furious Focus,
Skills: Climb +3, Handle Animal +5, Perception +11, Profession (Farmer) +6, Swim +3
Languages Common, Hallit,
Combat Gear potion of bull's strength (1), potion of bear's endurance (1), potion of barkskin (1), potion of enlarge person (2), potion of shield of faith (2), potion of cure light wounds (2),
Gear Cloak of Resistance +2, Masterwork Scythe, Full Plate,


I would love a LVL 11 Evil Cleric (channels negative, but can channel positivee as well with variant channelling)

Also would love some LVL 7 gunslingers

And I have alrady snagged that adept build you made

Andoran

Vuvu wrote:
I would love a LVL 11 Evil Cleric (channels negative, but can channel positivee as well with variant channelling)

Okay. Any preference as to God or type of Cleris (melee, buffer, whatever).

Vuvu wrote:
Also would love some LVL 7 gunslingers

What kind? Pistol or rifle users? How many different ones?

Vuvu wrote:
And I have alrady snagged that adept build you made

Cool, glad it's gonna see use, it was surprisingly fun and workable. :)


Cleric would be great if he was melee capable.

His main tactic will be the channel negative while excluding his main cronies (at least 2), or healing them, but he can lay the smack down on the pcs.

the gunslingers would be great to have 1 that uses a blunderbuss, and the other would be a rifle user

Andoran

Okay, up close and personal Gunslinger made. He's pretty nasty for a CR 6 since he targets Touch AC and has three attacks per turn. If he gets Cat's Grace, he gets vastly worse.

CR 6
Human Gunslinger (Pistolero) 7
CN Medium Humanoid
Init +6; Senses Perception +12

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+5 Armor, +4 Dex, +2 Dodge)
HP 57 (7d10+14)
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +5

OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee dagger +6/+1 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged +1 Pistol w/Point Blank shot, Rapid Shot, and Deadly Aim +9/+9/+4 (1d8+10/×4)

STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 10
BAB +7; CMB +6; CMD 23
Feats Gunsmith, Extra Grit, Rapid Reload (Pistol), Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot, Rapid shot, Precise Shot,
Skills: Acrobatics +14, Climb +3, Bluff +5, Handle Animal +5, Heal +6, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (Local) +8, Perception +12, Ride +8, Sleight of Hand +11, Stealth +11, Survival +8, Swim +3,
Languages Common, Osiriani, Kelish,
Special Grit Pool 4, Nimble +2, Pistol Training 1, Deeds (Up Close and Deadly, Gunslinger's Dodge, Quick Clear, Gunslinger's Initiative, Pistol Whip, Utility Shot, Dead Shot, Deadeye, Targeting)
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (2), potion of cat's grace (1),
Gear Cloak of Resistance +1, +1 Mithral Chain Shirt, +1 Pistol, 10 bullets, 10 doses black powder, 30 paper cartridges,

EDIT:

Ah, too late! :(

Hopefully this will do instead of a blunderbuss guy. Musket specialist coming shortly, followed by Cleric.


I will have to see if I can dig them out. I made some CR 5 Musket men that I was using as mooks that were giving my APL 13 party a heck of a time from their fortifications. I had them making use of Rapid Reload and Vital Strike.


A Druid that wildshapes in Tiny animals and goes into melee like that. Turn into a cat and tear the party apart!

Qadira

I want to see a druid ment for turning into plants for offensive reasons. CR doesn't matter, if its too low, I have multiple druids. If its too high, I'll wait patiently.


NPCs suck? What about the Magus NPCs when you see them? They crit, your good as gone... or darn close to it

Andoran

Here's a musket version. He does less damage...but can do it well outside melee range.

CR 6
Dwarf Gunslinger (Musket Master) 7
N Medium Humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +13, Darkvision 60 ft.

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 16, flat-footed 15 (+5 Armor, +3 Dex, +3 Dodge)
HP 64 (7d10+21)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +6

OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee dagger +6/+1 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged +1 Pistol w/Rapid Shot, and Deadly Aim +7/+7/+2 (1d12+8/×4)

STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 6
BAB +7; CMB +7; CMD 23
Feats Gunsmith, Dodge, Rapid Reload (Pistol), Deadly Aim, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Precise Shot,
Skills: Acrobatics +13, Climb +4, Heal +7, Knowledge (Local) +8, Perception +13, Sleight of Hand +10, Stealth +10, Survival +9, Swim +4,
Languages Common, Osiriani, Dwarven,
Special Grit Pool 3, Nimble +2, Musket Training 1, Deeds (Steady Aim, Deadeye, Quick Clear, Gunslinger's Initiative, Pistol Whip, Fast Musket, Dead Shot, Startling Shot, Targeting), Dwarven traits,
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (2), potion of cat's grace (1),
Gear Cloak of Resistance +1, +1 Mithral Chain Shirt, +1 Musket, 10 bullets, 10 doses black powder, 30 paper cartridges,


CR level encounters are supposed to be "easy" because they are designed to wear down the PCs resources, not to really put the PCs at risk.

Andoran

@Azten: Sure. Easy enough with an Agile AoMF. Damage will suffer as compared to a more standard Druid, but AC should be phenomenal.

@Tirq: Also sure. You want me to steal the Plant companions from the ARG review and do a theme?

@Marthian: Preaching to the choir, man. Preaching to the choir. :)

@Adamantine Dragon: Oh, absolutely. The people I'm referring to were claiming NPCs were weaker than Bestiary creatures of similar CR.


thanks deadman! Blunderbuss was just a fun idea that popped into my head when you asked what kind. These gunslingers will go into my "mook" pool for a encounter I am working on.

EDIT: Really will be a nasty surprise i think from what the are expecting :)

Qadira

They have Plant Companions? I must find this book...

Andoran

Vuvu wrote:

thanks deadman! Blunderbuss was just a fun idea that popped into my head when you asked what kind. These gunslingers will go into my "mook" pool for a encounter I am working on.

EDIT: Really will be a nasty surprise i think from what the are expecting :)

Glad to be of assistance. Cleric coming up...sometime later today. I'm taking a break for the next little while. It will then be followed by the two atypical Druids.

Tirq wrote:
They have Plant Companions? I must find this book...

They are found here at the moment, and will be in the Advanced Race Guide.

I don't have the archetype that's got 'em, but I can easily do an Elven Druid with a Treant companion, suitable for quick modification when that does become avilable.


Deadman I like your builds. I will disagree with you just so you keep pumping out NPCs I can steal... errr look at objectivly in the context of this discussion! :P

Andoran

Dragonamedrake wrote:
Deadman I like your builds. I will disagree with you just so you keep pumping out NPCs I can steal... errr look at objectivly in the context of this discussion! :P

No need for that, I'm happy to do them whether people agree with me or not, Ijustthought I'd kill multiple birds with one stone.

And thank you for the compliment. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I just thought I'd kill multiple birds with one stone.

Sling masters, away!

I might make that one, actually.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Whew, alright, here's an Undead Lord Cleric of Urgathoa. He's a little low on AC and HP, and has a really low Reflex Save, but with a couple of turns to buff (and Sanctuary might help with that), HP and AC go up quite a bit. His undead should buy him those turns. And his offensive Save DCs are actually high.

CR 10
Human Cleric (Undead Lord - Urgathoa) 11
NE Medium Humanoid
Init -1; Senses Perception +9

DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 9, flat-footed 20 (+10 Armor, -1 Dex, +1 Natural Armor)
HP 75 (11d8+22)
Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +14

OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee scythe +14/+6 (2d4+13/x4)
Ranged sling +7/+2 (1d4+2)

SPELLS

6th: Harm, Create Undead*,
5th: Righteous Might, Plane Shift, Contagion, Greater (DC 21), Slay Living* (DC 21),
4th: Air Walk, Blessing of Fervor, Freedom of Movement, Enervation*, Spiritual Ally,
3rd: Animate Dead*, Bestow Curse (DC 19), Blindness/Deafness (DC 19), Contagion (DC 19), Dispel Magic, Invisibility Purge,
2nd: Bear's Endurance, Hold Person (DC 17), Silence, Spiritual Weapon, Resist Energy, Ghoul Touch (DC 18*)
1st: Bless, Command (DC 16), Divine Favor, Sanctuary (DC 16), Shield of Faith, Cause Fear (DC 17)*,
0th: Detect Magic, Stabilize, Light, Purify Food and Drink,

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 20*, Cha 14
BAB +8; CMB +10; CMD 20/21
Feats Channel Smite, Command Undead, Furious Focus, Guided Hand, Power Attack, Heavy Armor Proficiency, Quick Channel, Spell Focus (Necromancy), Undead Master,
Skills: Craft (Cooking) +5, Diplomacy +9, Heal +9, Knowledge (Arcana) +4, Knowledge (History) +4, Knowledge (Planes) +4, Knowledge (Religion) +12, Perception +9 Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +12,
Languages Common, Osiriani,
Special Domain (Death - Undeath), Death's Embrace (Heals when effected by Negative Energy), Channel Negative Energy 6d6 (DC 17) 5/day, Death's Kiss 8/day, Undead Companion,
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds (1), other gear as you wish,
Gear Full Plate +1, Scythe +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance +2, Headband of Wisdom +2*, Sling w/ 10 bullets,

Pet Undead: One 11 HD Skeleton Undad Companion, 60 HD of other zombies and skeletons, 11 HD of Commanded Undead (Ghasts are a good choice),


I've found that most melee NPC's are worthless. They can't hit for crap, which is due to them needing to be underfunded ( because elsewise after the encounter the PC's have their stuff and what then? ).

Caster NPC's can be brutal, however, depending on their spell selection. Poor equipment values are much less relevant for them, as they would be for PC casters.

Andoran

magnuskn wrote:
I've found that most melee NPC's are worthless. They can't hit for crap, which is due to them needing to be underfunded ( because elsewise after the encounter the PC's have their stuff and what then? ).

I disagree. The Fighter above hits pretty well (+17-20, right on par with CR 10s), and would do so even better with a less defensive build. I actually can't think of a melee class who shouldn't be hitting pretty well due to inherent capabilities, now that I think on it.

magnuskn wrote:
Caster NPC's can be brutal, however, depending on their spell selection. Poor equipment values are much less relevant for them, as they would be for PC casters.

This is true to some extent, but i think you're really underseling melee NPCs.

If you don't think it can be done, give me a class and level you think impossible, and I'll demonstrate how it might work. :)

Druids up later. Spell selection plus Animal Companions are gonna make that chargen sadly long. Please no more Druids for a while after these two, okay folks?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay, so are these NPCs of yours the ones being used? Are these people you're talking about bashing hand-generated NPCs, or the standard ones that show up in modules and bestiaries? How do they compare to each other, and to non-humanoid NPCs?


The CR system makes my head hurt...

So what is a 1st level Barbarian Orc with NPC wealth as far as CR?

Are we adding whole numbers or shifting steps? Does CR1/3 become 1/2 if I add +1 or is it 1 1/3?...ugh.

Andoran

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Okay, so are these NPCs of yours the ones being used? Are these people you're talking about bashing hand-generated NPCs, or the standard ones that show up in modules and bestiaries?

Dunno. I've been involved in various threads dealing with low Touch ACs and high CMDs on high CR monsters, and I've brought up NPCs as something to help with those problems somewhat. The response in many cases was "Oh, but NPCs suck.' With the implication that they couldn't use them.

I've run into the attitude in a few other threads as well.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
How do they compare to each other, and to non-humanoid NPCs?

Dunno. Spellcasters are gonna inevitably do better if given some time to buff, but aside from that...*shrugs*

If you mean are the Paizo-published NPCs CR equivalent...that varies a lot. Many are clearly not intended as combat encounters per se. Those that are are olften somewhat hit-or-miss. Some good, some bad.

As for non-humanoid NPCs that's starting to devaite from the purpose of this thread ("Normal NPCs are effective for their CR.")...but I suspect things will balance okay barring the occasional broken combination (Nymph Paladin!)

Shifty wrote:

The CR system makes my head hurt...

So what is a 1st level Barbarian Orc with NPC wealth as far as CR?

Are we adding whole numbers or shifting steps? Does CR1/3 become 1/2 if I add +1 or is it 1 1/3?...ugh.

It just goes down one step on the chart. So 1 -1 step is 1/2. 1/2 -1 step is 1/3 etc.

Really simple.

The Barbarian in question is a PC classed NPC of 1st Level, so CR 1/2 (1-1). "PC wealth" isn't really an available option for 1st level NPCs (though it starts to be as of 2nd level).


Thanks, I was just overcomplicating the wheel then :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
I've found that most melee NPC's are worthless. They can't hit for crap, which is due to them needing to be underfunded ( because elsewise after the encounter the PC's have their stuff and what then? ).
I disagree. The Fighter above hits pretty well (+17-20, right on par with CR 10s), and would do so even better with a less defensive build. I actually can't think of a melee class who shouldn't be hitting pretty well due to inherent capabilities, now that I think on it.

Yeah. I also think that most CRs of the same level hit for crap, so that isn't a good measure. The real measure should be how easy players can build up an AC which is very, very difficult to hit for CR-appropiate monsters/NPC's... but those are actually problems with the system itself.

Andoran

magnuskn wrote:
Yeah. I also think that most CRs of the same level hit for crap, so that isn't a good measure. The real measure should be how easy players can build up an AC which is very, very difficult to hit for CR-appropiate monsters/NPC's... but those are actually problems with the system itself.

Well, by 10th level, you can have an almost unassailable AC (I come up with about 37 for a Fighter)...if you happen to be using a shield. And have a high Dexterity. And invest some Feats into it. And invest more than 2/3 of your GP on it.

That's an awfully specific build. I mean, just ditching the shield drops AC to 31 which is vastly more hittable, never mind how defensive that build is otherwise.

Most character's AC by that point is more like 26-30, which is pretty hittable by the Attack Bonuses in question.

Some examples:

Defensive Cleric: Dex 10, Full Plate +3, Light Shield +3 Ring +1, Amulet +2, Ioun Stone, 33k, AC 30, May go to 32 or so when buffed. And that's over half his GP just on AC.

Greatsword Fighter: Dex 14, Full Plate +3, Ring +1, Amulet +1, Ioun Stone, 18k (needed +3 weapon and Gloves of Dueling, and a Cloak +2, and a Str booster) AC 27. Maybe 28 if he's burned a Feat.

And so on.

Andoran

Turns into a house cat and rips people apart while they're busy focusing on his pet tiger, which he often enlarges. If given time to buff he uses Cat's Grace as it gives him +2 to basically everything. Then Barkskin, then Bull's strength on his companion. Animal Growth he usually saves for the first round of combat when it's an unpleasant surprise.

Without buffing he's a bit weak for CR 8, but with even just Cat's Grace he's nasty, and then there's the Tiger, which, while weak offensively, has 6 AC over the CR expectations, and should draw some fire pretty well (especially if buffed with Animal Growth and Bull's Strength).

CR 8
Human Druid 9
CN Medium Humanoid
Init +4/6; Senses Perception +13,

DEFENSE
AC 18/21, touch 16/20, flat-footed 13/14 (+2/0 Armor, +4/6 Dex, +1 Dodge, +0/2 Size +0/1 Natural Armor, +1 Deflection)
HP 62 (9d8+18)
Fort +8, Ref +8/10, Will +9

OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee sickle +8 (1d6+4/x2) or +12 bite (1d3+10), 2 claws +12 (1d2+10) (all using Piranha Strike)
Ranged sling +10 (1d4)

SPELLS
5th: Animal Growth,
4th: Air Walk, Freedom of Movement,
3rd: Greater Magic Fang, Greater Magic Fang, Mad Monkeys,
2nd: Barkskin, Barkskin, Bull's Strength, Cat’s Grace, Resist Energy,
1st: Cure Light Wounds, Cure Light Wounds, Faerie Fire, Faerie Fire, Keen Senses,
0th: Detect Magic, Light, Purify Food and Drink, Stabilize,

STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 8
BAB +6; CMB +6; CMD 21/19
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Natural Spell, Piranha Strike, Weapon Finesse,
Skills: Climb +4, Fly +9/11 Handle Animal +11, Heal +6, Knowledge (Geography) +5, Knowledge (Nature) +13, Perception +13, Spellcraft +13, Stealth +13/23, Survival +13, Swim +4,
Languages Common, Hallit,
Special Woodland Stride, Wild Shape 3/day (9 hours each), Resist Nature’s Lure, Trackless Step, Wild Empathy +8, Venom Immunity
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (1),
Gear Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists, Cloak of Resistance +1, Ring of Protection +1, Leather Armor, sickle, sling w/10 bullets,

N Large Animal (Tiger)
Init +4; Senses Perception +8, low light vision, scent
DEFENSE
AC 27, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+6 Armor, +3 Dex, +9 Natural, -1 Size)
HP 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +6
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Bite +12 (1d8+7), 2 claws +12 (1d6+7)
Special Pounce, Grab, Rake (1d6+10)
STATISTICS
Str 24, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 3, Wis 15, Cha 10
BAB +6; CMB +14; CMD 20
Feats Power Attack, Light Armor Proficiency, Medium Armor Proficiency, Iron Will, Multiattack,
Skills: Acrobatics +8, Perception +8, Stealth +6, Survival +6,
Gear Masterwork Breastplate Barding, Cloak of Resistance +1,

Andoran

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Alright, here's Big Daddy Treant. He fights in the form of a Treant, has a Treant Companion, and summons (and has on hand) an additional Treant with Liveoak He also summons large numbers of, say, Grizzly Bears, Dire Wolves, or Tigers to harrass his opponents.

His AC and HP are awful for his CR, but Barkskin helps that a lot, and stacking Cat's Grace on top doesn't hurt either. He also comes with a free Treant, a Treant Companion, and a backup Treant. And Greater Magic Fang and Bull's Strength. Fully buffed he's good to go, and his potential host of critters help give him time to do that. Stoneskin also helps his defenses a lot.

If given a few rounds to buff (Barkskin and Bear's Endurance, plus Greater Magic Fang each on him and his Companion) he's a lot nastier, and can then summon and buff a few things.

CR 11
Human Druid 12
N Medium Humanoid
Init +4/6; Senses Perception +13,

DEFENSE
AC 16/20, touch 11/9, flat-footed 14/17 (+5 Armor, +1/0 Dex, +0/-2 Size +0/6 Natural Armor)
HP 93/117 (12d8+36/60)
Fort +10/12, Ref +6/5, Will +12
Gets DR 10/slashing when he's a Treant.

OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft.
Melee scythe +10 (2d4+15/x4) or 2 slams +11 (2d6+14/19-20),
Ranged sling +10 (1d4+4/20) or rock +9 (2d6+8)

SPELLS
6th: Mass Bull's Strength, Mass Cat's Grace,
5th: Baleful Polymorph (DC 18), Death Ward, Stoneskin,
4th: Air Walk, Freedom of Movement, Cure Serious Wounds,
3rd: Cloak of Winds, Greater Magic Fang, Greater Magic Fang, Mad Monkeys, Mass Featherstep,
2nd: Barkskin, Barkskin, Resist Energy, Resist Energy, Resist Energy,
1st: Cure Light Wounds, Cure Light Wounds, Faerie Fire, Faerie Fire, Keen Senses,
0th: Detect Magic, Light, Purify Food and Drink, Stabilize,

STATISTICS
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8
BAB +9; CMB +14; CMD 21/19
Feats Augment Summoning, Combat Casting, Natural Spell, Power Attack, Toughness, Spell Focus (Conjuration), Superior Summoning,
Skills: Climb +8, Fly +6 Handle Animal +14, Heal +7, Knowledge (Geography) +6, Knowledge (Nature) +14, Perception +17, Spellcraft +14, Survival +17, Swim +8,
Languages Common, Hallit,
Special Woodland Stride, Wild Shape 5/day (12 hours each), Resist Nature’s Lure, Trackless Step, Wild Empathy +11, Venom Immunity
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds (1), spellstaff (Liveoak, for when his treant dies), wand of bear's endurance (12 charges),

Gear +1 Wild Hide Armor, Cloak of Resistance +1, scythe, sling w/10 bullets,

Note: Has a Treant made with Liveoak following him around.

N Large Plant
Init +1; Senses Perception +13, low light vision,
DEFENSE
AC 27, touch 10, flat-footed 26 (+6 Armor, +1 Dex, +11 Natural, -1 Size)
HP 75 (10d8+30)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +7
OFFENSE
Spd 20 ft. Climb 20 ft
Melee 2 slams +13 (1d8+13) w/Power Attack
Special Double damage against objects
STATISTICS
Str 28, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 7
BAB +7; CMB +17; CMD 28
Feats Power Attack, Improved Sunder, Light Armor Proficiency, Medium Armor Proficiency, Iron Will,
Skills: Perception +13, Survival +5,
Gear Masterwork Breastplate Barding, Cloak of Resistance +1,


Deadmanwalking wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Yeah. I also think that most CRs of the same level hit for crap, so that isn't a good measure. The real measure should be how easy players can build up an AC which is very, very difficult to hit for CR-appropiate monsters/NPC's... but those are actually problems with the system itself.

Well, by 10th level, you can have an almost unassailable AC (I come up with about 37 for a Fighter)...if you happen to be using a shield. And have a high Dexterity. And invest some Feats into it. And invest more than 2/3 of your GP on it.

That's an awfully specific build. I mean, just ditching the shield drops AC to 31 which is vastly more hittable, never mind how defensive that build is otherwise.

Most character's AC by that point is more like 26-30, which is pretty hittable by the Attack Bonuses in question.

Some examples:

Defensive Cleric: Dex 10, Full Plate +3, Light Shield +3 Ring +1, Amulet +2, Ioun Stone, 33k, AC 30, May go to 32 or so when buffed. And that's over half his GP just on AC.

Greatsword Fighter: Dex 14, Full Plate +3, Ring +1, Amulet +1, Ioun Stone, 18k (needed +3 weapon and Gloves of Dueling, and a Cloak +2, and a Str booster) AC 27. Maybe 28 if he's burned a Feat.

And so on.

First off, you can get such AC's easily by seventh or eight level. Secondly, the typical monsters/NPC's which rely on melee attacks from the official AP modules themselves have very small chances of hitting you and that keeps up throughout the whole career of a character. That's my practical experience from GM'ing several Pathfinder campaigns now.

Andoran

magnuskn wrote:
First off, you can get such AC's easily by seventh or eight level.

Depends on how much treasure's available, point-buy, and other assorted things of that nature.

Using 15-20 PB, and the PC WBL table, that's theoretically doable, yes, but it's a hell of an investment in AC specifically.

I mean, at level 7, with Dex 16, the highest you can get AC as a shield-using Fighter is 31 (+3 Full Plate, +2 Shield, +1 Ring, +1 Amulet) and that barely leaves the GP for a +1 weapon and cloak. And is 6 AC less than the equivalent 10th level build (which was AC 37).

A smilar guy who spends more like 1/2 his wealth on AC (he actually wants a +2 weapon and Cloak, say) is only gonna have AC 29, and that only as a Fighter with Dex 16.

Assuming you're really having problems with this, where are your PCs getting all that AC from?

magnuskn wrote:
Secondly, the typical monsters/NPC's which rely on melee attacks from the official AP modules themselves have very small chances of hitting you and that keeps up throughout the whole career of a character. That's my practical experience from GM'ing several Pathfinder campaigns now.

Interesting. I can't claim several completed Pathfinder campaigns run in the same way, but I've never noticed problems with CR appropriate foes being unable to hit (well, CR 1 and less foes suck a little at hitting as a rule, but it gets better real quick) in the games I have played and run (including the first two books of Legacy of Fire).

And, amusingly, I just got done arguing the exact opposite point in another thread (where the claim was made that Monster Attack Bonuses rapidly outpaced AC, making it worthless at mid-high levels). I think that it varies a lot depending on how much of the party are optimizers, what classes they play, and most importantly to what degree they focus on AC.

A group who mostly burn 2/3 of their GP on offensive items will have a very different AC than one who spend 2/3 of their GP on AC alone.

Andoran

So, tangent aside, I've built everything requested thus far, without too much complaint from people that I'm not living up to monster CRs. Anyone got any other challenges?

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