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Help me wipe out a bunch of PCs with a red great wyrm...


Advice

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Missing fundamental data: where will the fight occur, and how?
Starting at the center of a 10,000 x 10,000 ft. of flatland with everyone just rolling initiative is different than a Dragon den inside an active volcano with all sort of traps, hazards and impedements (with the Dragon actively maneuvering them) to overcome before having the Dragon in front of you.


The key (I suspect) will be around getting rid of the 10 minute adventuring day and forcing the PCs to keep going somehow and have them be careful about their resources. IF they have their vision on 1 overall combo to blow on the dragon, then the key will be to have them either unable to execute it, or blow it early.

On that basis, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Simulacrum.

What better for a living, breathing incarnation of tyranny to have as it's servants than clones of itself? I think we've established somewhere prior that the said Red will have minions, these are the Red's special forces or whatever you want to assign them as.

Simulacrums also can cast (if the original can). Dragons cast as their HD so.... 29... half that 14HD casters for each of them. 14 nets you 7th level spells, most importantly including wall of force.... depending on your interp Anti-magic probably should be able to be cast by a simulacrum without issue (Sim is an instantaneous spell, so the creature now exists... AMF doesn't destroy a wall of stone that's already been cast from my understanding). I'm not good with rules lawyering though.

Set up a 'fake' lair with a slightly buffed simu in it, then watch them blow their combo's on and force a waste of resources on AND gain the dragon information about what he's facing. Below this is the true lair with more simulacrums in it.

From here, the key becomes forcing the party not to sleep. Get a timer of some description in play somehow. Eg it's death has triggered a slow lava flow that will bury the party if they sleep. Lava trumps pretty much everything from what I remember.

The other 2 things that I'd encourage have much less in the way of rules to support it that are practical.

1) Some breed of magic / object that denies dimensional travel in the whole lair. They can't just mages mansion when things get hairy. No rope trick trick resting. No "It's gone a bit south, so we'll just teleport out and come back later." No scry and die. If your in, your in for the long haul.... Oh... that'll mean no summons too, have a nice day. Yes, we'e been in a place that was an out of the book adventure (I think) that had the above over the whole thing, so there is at least some precedent (don't know what it was off the top of my head. I suspect 3.5 though).

1a) If you DON'T do that, contingency + greater teleport on the dragon. On death, teleport to local kobold cleric who has been given a scroll of true res and fairly explicit instructions on what to do. Congratulations. You killed a dragon. Now do it again.

2) As per Armag's tomb in Kingmaker, if you re-shape his lair, make a DC <<nigh impossible>> caster check (DC 30 in kingmaker... at the time you should be 12 level). Failure inflicts backlash damage on whoever cast it that scales depending on what you cast.


So a couple of reactions to the idea posted here:

1. The dead magic zone is diabolical, but just not very fun. As a DM, I won't want players to show up and not be able to use their abilities. I want to "win," but mostly I want to give a good gaming experience. So...it's a great, wicked idea in theory, but I'm going to pass on that one.

2. I think I'll adopt the idea that the setting will be the caldera of a volcano -- sort of a fire planet type setting, with lots of moving parts and random belching geysers of lava.

3. The ideas about making the dragon invisible or difficult to detect are (again) awesome and diabolical. Unfortunately, part of the table effect I'm going for is that I'll finally be using that massive red dragon "mini" that Wizards put out years ago. And I want it front and center on the table...

4. I've decided against teleportation. This is going to be the Pathfinder equivalent of a minis battle. No retreat, no extreme mobility. Everyone has to fight it out to the death. I know, that negates a lot of good ideas here, but this is supposed to be a final confrontation, a Mount Doom moment. I'll "story element" this somehow, making it clear that on this day, at this hour, there are no second chances...for the dragon or the PCs.

5. So...in addition to using a lot of the buffing ideas offered here, I plan to do two additional things: First, I'll use golems of some sort (as suggested) to harass the magic users. Second, I'm going to give my red dragon a harem: his mates will be a CR17 black dragon and a CR 17 blue dragon. (I have pretty awesome minis for these...)

The PCs (I now have 5 coming to the table) will know in advance that the dragon has two mates. So...no cheating intended. But my plan is to have the red dragon fully visible, while his mates are either invisible and mind shielded, or use elements like burrow to avoid immediate detection.

Thanks for all the ideas and advice.

-Capt. Marsh

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Dragon Breath is explictly called out as something blocked by an A-M shell, it's magical.

likewise, it's DR is magical and suppressed in an AM shell. DR /x, and /blud-slash-pierce and /adamantine are the only non-supernatural DR's.

==Aelryinth

Andoran

Fun fact...Leadership tops out at 135 1st level followers, not to mention the other 38 followers of progressively higher levels.

1st level kobold sorcerers all scattered around, 15 to 20 feet apart from each other...

Think: 173 magic missiles (plus a couple for the 3rd level + characters)

Sure they are 1 hit, AOE chum...but who has time to do that when fighting a dragon... Just don't target the wizard. I would aim for the Paladin. The chances of the Paladin having a shield spell or a brooch or shielding will be thin. 173 d4 + 173 = 605 avg dmg... I wouldn't even stat them. No one will miss. If they attack one it dies. If they are caught in an AOE they die...

I would use the projected image in the Center of a large (and I mean bigger than your board large) cavern. Ledges running along the walls every 10' or so up with caves everywhere. The caves are where the kobold minions are. Image is on an island in a lava lake. There is a crust of land jutting out over the lake. Party pops in there is the image of the dragon and once the fight starts the kobolds all fire for effect.

Sure the party will probably figure out the image is not real right out of the gate, that doesn't tell them where the dragon is though. Meanwhile they are being pelted.

The dragon is indeed in the lava, but he is under the crust of land the party is standing on. Then you just melt the ground they are standing on dropping them into the Lava. Bonus points if you get AOO's on them as they sink by you.

They will know you are in the lava then, but they won't be able to see you. True Seeing isn't going to let you see through lava...Great you can see through my invis but um can you see through liquid rock? oh wait you no longer have any eyes!!! ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

135 followers, they all have to be commoners, experts, or warriors. So, no mass sorcery shenanigans.

Note: A similar tactic was done in Dungeon magazine, The Return of Flame. He took over a kobold tribe and equipped them with the missiles from 20 Necklaces of Fireballs. Suicide kobolds for the win!

==Aelryinth


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
135 followers, they all have to be commoners, experts, or warriors. So, no mass sorcery shenanigans.

Umm... where can I find that in writing? Didn't find any of it when looking at the Leadership Feat in the PRD.

(If the catch is that all Followers have to have NPC classes, why not take a couple dozen Adepts?)


Aelryinth wrote:

Dragon Breath is explictly called out as something blocked by an A-M shell, it's magical.

likewise, it's DR is magical and suppressed in an AM shell. DR /x, and /blud-slash-pierce and /adamantine are the only non-supernatural DR's.

==Aelryinth

Sorry you're right, I had to dig deeper into the rules to find it

And note to the OP,
Your saying you will go with some type of golem, iron golems are cr13, immune to magic, AND healed by fire, sick one on the caster and have the dragon breathe on the whole lot of them, hurt the pc's and heal the golem 1point for every 3 points of damage that would normally be done

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You don't have to go far to be truly nasty.

Remember that the Dragon in question is really really big with the really big CMB score attached to it.

Then refer to the ability known as "Crush". Time it right, and you can put at least one, possibly a couple of PC's out of action in one maneuver.

Osirion

Joegoat wrote:
Your saying you will go with some type of golem, iron golems are cr13, immune to magic, ....

They are not immune to magic, just spells that allow spell resistance.

Iron Golems flop like fish inside a Grease spell.

I would still take a couple though. People creating high level wizards from scratch often overlook low level spells.


Midnight_Angel wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
135 followers, they all have to be commoners, experts, or warriors. So, no mass sorcery shenanigans.

Umm... where can I find that in writing? Didn't find any of it when looking at the Leadership Feat in the PRD.

(If the catch is that all Followers have to have NPC classes, why not take a couple dozen Adepts?)

Nah, some people interpret "they are NPCs" as having NPC classes.

If we're going by the feat description,

1) followers are just like the cohort, but never progress in levels.
2) Cohort is an NPC with class levels.

Therefore the MM trick would work.

Adepts don't have MM on their list. However:
Human adepts or experts
Level 1 feats: Extra traits (get dangerously curious) or expert as a class skill and get magical aptitude, Skill Focus: UMD
Gives UMD +7 or (+8)+attribute bonus

Scrolls of Magic Missile.


Dragon could have leadership and a cohort (kobold cleric of dahak, domains [dragon, trickery]) that set up and maintains a hallowed area around the lair (preventing teleport for the good guys), along with a boatload of glyphs, symbols (have some symbols of healing ready) and some greater planar allies.

Plus a nasty surprise of being able to hide the dragon and its allies instantly, shapchanging in to a dragon and spamming seperate time stops.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

hmm, they took out the language on NPC classes only, interesting.

I'd still like to know how you managed to attract 135 kobolds who all have at least Cha 11!

The thing with Commoners, Warriors and Experts is that there are no ability score requirements, so anyone qualifies. Not so sorcs!

=+Aelryinth


It's a great wyrm, it's had time to perfect the breeding program.


Aelryinth wrote:
I'd still like to know how you managed to attract 135 kobolds who all have at least Cha 11!

Red dragon, white kobold breeding program?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Take the dimension dervish feat chain. Teleporting full attacks on a Dragon(reminds me of the giant spider boss in darksiders 1).

If you do decide do take class levels, consider a few magus levels and the Broad study magus arcana(it does require magus 6 though).

I don't have any other suggestions.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Belazoar wrote:
First, raise the dex to over 18, then prepare the dragon using it's incredible resources. All stats should be wished to permanent +5, add another +5 from magical books. Always max hps for dragons.

Minor quibble, but Wishes and books both give INHERANT bonuses which do not stack.


Ughbash wrote:
Belazoar wrote:
First, raise the dex to over 18, then prepare the dragon using it's incredible resources. All stats should be wished to permanent +5, add another +5 from magical books. Always max hps for dragons.
Minor quibble, but Wishes and books both give INHERANT bonuses which do not stack.

Thanks for the catch, Ughbash.


Aelryinth wrote:

Yes, your Red Dragon DOES have to be a sorceror/19. It's as natural to him as his breath weapon. Hell, sorcery was originally put forward as coming from having the bloodline of dragons.

If you're going to make it a Witch/19, you're creating a Dragon with class levels. There's a Black Dragon Great Wyrm in FR that is a Wizard/20, goes around creating dragon-only gates and portals and stuff, and except for the extra HD from Con, is only pegged a couple CR higher.
==Aelryinth

If we were talking about anything that wasn't a dragon, sure. Take into consideration that sorcerers were originally presented as humanoids with a 'trace' of dragon-blood. That in no way means that an actual dragon need be pidgeon-holed into the humanoid class that stems from humanoids have a trace of draconic heritage. A dragon of a forest, for example, may be rocking druid spells and abilites, instead of sorcerer spells. And let them pull it off just because they are dragons. Doesn't mean the dragon is a wannabe druid either. He's still a dragon. And if sorcerers don't like it, they can take it up with a dragon. :P

One could easily give a dragon the spells of a druid, witch, etc. in place of sorcerer spells and not give it 19 additional levels to pull it off. Just swap sorcerer spells out for witch spells, remove some special abilities for hexes and you are good to go.

Nothing wrong getting creative with the greatest adversary in the fantasy genre.


Invisible, mind blank, blinking, deathwarded dragon flying. Iron golems on the floor.. which btw is lava, 5' deep! (20d6 fire/round + drowning) Walls are covered in hallucinogenic acid. Ofcourse illusions make it look like any old boring cave.
Lair rigged smockfull of traps, symbols of stun, pain etc etc etc.. about 30-40 spells per round.

Maybe its a DarkRed Dragon. As in a half-Black, Red. Thus immune to the acid on the walls. Perhaps even capable of switching its breath weapon (too bad the players invested in immunity against fire..)

Dragon ofourse has a wand of shrink item and has turned a zillion big rocks into tiny pebbles. Just ready to be droopped. Worth another 40d6 of impact?

Wanna go all nasty, then awakened demi lich/dracolich. And all of the cave is also unhallowed & fear causing.

The dragon ofcourse has a demiplane up at the celing, up there 300' above the lava sea. A hideaway for treasure and rest.

Elements. Death, pain, fear, stunnings. Soulsucking AND Fire/Acid breath. Immune naturally to just about anything and everything.

Make it airless & energy draining & negative fast heal as per negative plane just makes it ever more fun. There is ofcourse an ILLUSION that makes you think you can breathe. Bwuahhha!


Belazoar wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Yes, your Red Dragon DOES have to be a sorceror/19. It's as natural to him as his breath weapon. Hell, sorcery was originally put forward as coming from having the bloodline of dragons.

If you're going to make it a Witch/19, you're creating a Dragon with class levels. There's a Black Dragon Great Wyrm in FR that is a Wizard/20, goes around creating dragon-only gates and portals and stuff, and except for the extra HD from Con, is only pegged a couple CR higher.
==Aelryinth

If we were talking about anything that wasn't a dragon, sure. Take into consideration that sorcerers were originally presented as humanoids with a 'trace' of dragon-blood. That in no way means that an actual dragon need be pidgeon-holed into the humanoid class that stems from humanoids have a trace of draconic heritage. A dragon of a forest, for example, may be rocking druid spells and abilites, instead of sorcerer spells. And let them pull it off just because they are dragons. Doesn't mean the dragon is a wannabe druid either. He's still a dragon. And if sorcerers don't like it, they can take it up with a dragon. :P

One could easily give a dragon the spells of a druid, witch, etc. in place of sorcerer spells and not give it 19 additional levels to pull it off. Just swap sorcerer spells out for witch spells, remove some special abilities for hexes and you are good to go.

Nothing wrong getting creative with the greatest adversary in the fantasy genre.

You are both right. Some dragons cast cleric spells in 2e.

CR 20-something dragons with a single level in a full casting class can do many things.


A highly regarded expert wrote:
Belazoar wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Yes, your Red Dragon DOES have to be a sorceror/19. It's as natural to him as his breath weapon. Hell, sorcery was originally put forward as coming from having the bloodline of dragons.

If you're going to make it a Witch/19, you're creating a Dragon with class levels. There's a Black Dragon Great Wyrm in FR that is a Wizard/20, goes around creating dragon-only gates and portals and stuff, and except for the extra HD from Con, is only pegged a couple CR higher.
==Aelryinth

If we were talking about anything that wasn't a dragon, sure. Take into consideration that sorcerers were originally presented as humanoids with a 'trace' of dragon-blood. That in no way means that an actual dragon need be pidgeon-holed into the humanoid class that stems from humanoids have a trace of draconic heritage. A dragon of a forest, for example, may be rocking druid spells and abilites, instead of sorcerer spells. And let them pull it off just because they are dragons. Doesn't mean the dragon is a wannabe druid either. He's still a dragon. And if sorcerers don't like it, they can take it up with a dragon. :P

One could easily give a dragon the spells of a druid, witch, etc. in place of sorcerer spells and not give it 19 additional levels to pull it off. Just swap sorcerer spells out for witch spells, remove some special abilities for hexes and you are good to go.

Nothing wrong getting creative with the greatest adversary in the fantasy genre.

You are both right. Some dragons cast cleric spells in 2e.

CR 20-something dragons with a single level in a full casting class can do many things.

and with this i will take out the really obvious lazy suggestion and just say dragon summoner. maybe the only reason he lived this long was due to his pact. not too mention eidolons make great backup.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You are fighting on your home territory and you are setting up for an epic battle so you need to go out. I like the idea of the dragon making its layer in a volcano but volcanoes just aren't great places to store treasure, things get messy with eruptions. Now where do you want your dragon to roost? You need a place that is not only hot but also a place that you can depend on acting the way you want it to. The solution? A dead volcano whose upper portions are actually a demi-plane that has the same traits as the plane of fire.

This really gives you a home field advantage against those pesky ice spells that you are weak too.

You should watch out for builds that are designed to Nova you down. A paladin and magus are both very deadly but what could really kill you from a distance is an Alchemist designed to ice bomb the @#$! out of you. Even more so than archers they can do hundreds of damage to you a turn with ice bombs against your abysmally low touch AC. So make sure you have some of the defense mentioned by others up from the beginning.


Artanthos wrote:
Joegoat wrote:
Your saying you will go with some type of golem, iron golems are cr13, immune to magic, ....

They are not immune to magic, just spells that allow spell resistance.

Iron Golems flop like fish inside a Grease spell.

I would still take a couple though. People creating high level wizards from scratch often overlook low level spells.

Iron golems are great servitors - they don't need feeding, they don't make little whiny or burbbling noises, they don't die in far off corners of the lair every couple years and leave corpses or other messes behind, they do exactly what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Perfect for keeping the place clean and keeping uppity rabble out during a decade-long nap.


Shadowdweller wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Joegoat wrote:
Your saying you will go with some type of golem, iron golems are cr13, immune to magic, ....

They are not immune to magic, just spells that allow spell resistance.

Iron Golems flop like fish inside a Grease spell.

I would still take a couple though. People creating high level wizards from scratch often overlook low level spells.

Iron golems are great servitors - they don't need feeding, they don't make little whiny or burbbling noises, they don't die in far off corners of the lair every couple years and leave corpses or other messes behind, they do exactly what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Perfect for keeping the place clean and keeping uppity rabble out during a decade-long nap.

And to cap it all off, when you catch them in your fire breath, they heal instead of dying.


Undead synthesist summoner dragon. I've thought of it before, and it makes me lose sleep.

Shadow Lodge

I'm loving the iron golem thing. When they start moving towards being about to die, they could retreat into the lava to heal.

Mage's Disjunction is absolutely your friend, if you're willing to use it. They would lose all their buffs and all magic items would be suppressed for the likely duration of the combat. Actually, with it being that powerful, I can see why you wouldn't want to use it.

Be sure to have plenty of quickened spells and some Time Stops of your own. Action economy is going to be big.

Having some undead would also be fun. A couple shadows rising out of the ground could very possibly put the wizard out of commission until somebody can get him some Restoration- and if they don't have any potions, Lesser Restoration is a 3 round cast time for a measly 1d4 return.

You might want to execute a scene change at some point. If you've already been using Gate for summoning, you could also use it as a method of travel to the dragon's emergency demiplane. When he gets wounded, he could retreat there, and when the PCs follow him, they discover that time is different there, so if they took too long to follow him, he could be rested with all his spells refreshed. (You'll have to leave the Gate open, which isn't strictly RAW, but I think your players will forgive you.)

Finally- the death scene. For an epic battle like this, it should be really good. My preference would be to have him somehow have him possess some form of the 20th level Monk of the Healing Hand's True Sacrifice ability. Maybe when he's about to die, he takes one of them with him, so that neither of them can ever come back. Ever. Everybody loves a good PC death story, and I feel like that would make a good one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A good option for an undead minion would be a grave knight. You can make them immune to fire, and they can pack a wallop. Of course, you have to build one, but it could make for an excellent way to tie up some of the parties resources.


Actually - if one is inherently a 19th level sorcerer, why keep a findable lair at all? Construct some complex in a decent hunting ground somewhere to teleport into so you can be seeing flying in and out of it. The place is just a trap-filled diversion, lacking any real loot. Essentially a way to draw would-be heroes away from anything important. And possibly kill a few of them off in entertaining ways for fun and profit.

The dragon's true lair is some place completely inaccessible to those who don't know exactly where it is - perhaps an isolated, warded, lead-lined cavern miles beneath the surface.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Captain Marsh wrote:

3. The ideas about making the dragon invisible or difficult to detect are (again) awesome and diabolical. Unfortunately, part of the table effect I'm going for is that I'll finally be using that massive red dragon "mini" that Wizards put out years ago. And I want it front and center on the table...

Sorry, but this seems like such a mistake. If these are experience players who build 5 PCs specifically for this encounter, then you need to play some cat and mouse. If you put the boss dragon on the battlefield, right away, he will be dead in less than 3 rounds. I'm betting good optimizers will have it down in 1 round.

Set that miniature on the side of the table for everyone to look at, while they try to figure out where he is in the lair.

It's funny that your players mentioned Time Stop. My players would do that just to see if I prepped against spell casters, only to show up with 5 dragonslaying archers.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If it were me, I would design it like as follows.

First, I really need to take advantage of two things, Smoke Vision and the dragon’s immunity to fire. A thick smoky environment is actually hard to deal with. Force the PCs to find this dragon in a scary hellish environment. Make this a fight to remember. Also make the environment extremely hot. Yes, the PCs will be smart enough to counter fire damage, but make them do it. It’s free for you, and makes them use a resource. If they bought rings of fire resistance, that’s ok too. They still had to burn resources. You only needed to provide a comfortable environment for our red monstrosity.

The Lair
1. The lair is smoke filled and immense. The players can’t see anything. They can’t even see walls because the cavern is so big. True Seeing does not work. Ranged attacks are gimped. Sneak attacks don’t work due to concealment. But most importantly, the dragon(s) can see the group.
2. The lair is also riddled with lava lakes, and fire. The environment itself deals a decent amount of heat damage just to be in the room. The PCs will most likely have Protection from Fire and some form of flight. Make them use it.
3. I would keep the lair design simple beyond that. One big chamber, maybe an antechamber near the entrance, and some alcove where the slave sleep.

I know the OP listed that he wants this to be a one shot encounter. Discern Location ensures this. If the dragon has any chance to observe the group, which he should either through scrying, or through the smoke-filled chambers, the PCs can flee but they will not find any rest until the dragon’s dead. If they were to flee, I’d have the dragon using Discern Location to pursue them relentlessly.

Minions

If it were me, the powerful minions would be other red dragons. This guy is a king among dragons. His servants are a reflection of his power and as such they are among the most feared things on the planet. Perhaps a mate (Wyrm) and a few enslaved mature adults (I’m feeling like 4 of them, but they have 5 pcs, maybe 6 slave dragons). Now we have an epic battle for 4 to 5 20th level PCs.

The PCs enter the dragons lair, and encounter an environment in which they can’t see. They most likely have protective spells to ward off the dangers of the environment. However, if they are using Protection from Fire for example, I would start tracking the fire damage immediately. That spell protects from 120 pts of damage at most. Depending on the groups actions, this will be like a timer ticking down to more vulnerability.

The dragons stay in the lava for the most part. Yes the PCs can mostly fly, but we don’t need to let the fighters have an easy time of things. The PCs see vague giant shapes in the smoke, and find they are fighting several mature adult reds. All the while the big red and his mate are looking for ways to contribute. They are NOT sitting back and watching, but he is staying behind his smoke screen. He’s dropping spells that divide or debuff the party while the slaves pick at the party from a distance.

As for spells and re-writing the dragon’s statisitic, I’m a bit lazy on that. I’d keep the stats as-is for the most part, though I might swap out a few spells from his list. Mind blank for example.


Not only should the place be extremely hot, there should also be a good number of Disjunctions and Dispel Magics floating around against their resistances (and other stuff)...

Also, just because you're immune to fire damage does not mean you can see while under lava.

Some undead minions are also wonderful. Skeletal Champions of Dragons are very threatening - having loads of immunities, great hit points and get to keep all their spell-like abilities. And their CR drops a LOT, though that's more of a bug of the system.


What about this ally:

Bone Siblings
Her siblings never got as old as she got, but they where well into their 3rd century when they died by the hands of their mother, who had been possessed by a great devil, at a family reunion. Nearly a millenia later, the Wyrm killed her deranged mother and reclaimed the corpses of her siblings, raising them as skeletal champions to guard her home against intruders.

Generally, they keep using clairvoyance/clairaudiance to detect any possible intruders, as well as a lot of alarms here and there, and helping with the day-to-day doings in the Wyrm's home. If they think a real threat is on the way, they alarm the Wyrm and buff up with eagle's splendor, protection from energy, see invisibility, improved invisibility, haste and fly - their wings won't hold them anymore, but magic still can. When helping the Wyrm, they harass the threat with Enervations, Quickened Pyrotechnics which they themselves see through without issues, using spectral hands to deliver Touches of Idiocy on any casters and pesky paladins, and generally trying to be a pain in the but.

Use as many of these as you want. Note that they are far more dangerous than their CR shows, so think about how a half-dozen of those will affect the fight.

Spoiler:
Skeletal Champion Mature Adult Red Dragon Monk 1 (CR 9 (lol, CR system frakkup)
XP 51,200
CE Huge dragon (fire)
Init +4; Senses dragon senses, smoke vision; Perception +25
Aura fire aura (5-ft., 1d6 fire), frightful presence (210-ft., DC 25)

DEFENSE
AC 43, touch 14, flat-footed 40 (+27 natural, +3 dex, +3 wis, -2 size)
hp 213 (22d8+110)
Fort +14, Ref +15, Will +19 (1/day reroll will)
DR 10/magic; DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune fire, cold, paralysis, sleep; undead immunities; SR 20
Weaknesses vulnerability to cold (note: immunity or vulnerability, don't know which overrides which)

OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft. (if getting a round of preparation, also Fly 90 (perfect))
Melee bite +27 (2d8+18/19-20), 2 claws +27 (2d6+12), 2 wings +25 (1d8+6), tail slap +25 (2d6+18)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with bite)

Special Attacks breath weapon (50-ft. cone, 14d10 fire damage, Reflex DC 25 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), crush (Small creatures, DC 25, 2d8+16)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 19th; concentration +22)
At will—detect magic, pyrotechnics (DC 15), suggestion (DC 16); 3/day - Quickened Pyrotechnics

Spells Known (CL 9th; concentration +12)
4th (4/day)—greater invisibility, enervation
3rd (7/day)—dispel magic, fly, haste, protection from energy, clairaudiance/clairvoyance
2nd (7/day)—touch of idiocy, eagle's splendor, see invisibility, spectral hand, fog cloud
1st (7/day)—alarm, grease (DC 16), hydraulic push, shield, true strike
0th (at will)—arcane mark, bleed, light, magehand, mending, message, prestidigitation, read magic

STATISTICS
Str 35, Dex 16, Con -, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 20
Base Atk +19; CMB +32; CMD 42 (46 vs. trip)

Feats Deflect Arrows, Toughness, Improved Initiative, Extend Spell, Multiattack, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Iron Will, Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, Expanded Arcana, Quicken Spell-like Ability (Pyrotechnics), Intimidating Prowess.

Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +23, Jump +27, Climb +26, Fly +24, Intimidate +40, Knowledge (arcana) +28, Perception +28, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +24, Stealth +4
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Orc, Elven, Infernal.

Equipment: I won't bother writing everything down, but basically a phat bunch of scrolls, potions, and probably one or two has lesser rods of quicken spell to do some quickened hydraulic pushes on anyone close to some dangerous terrain.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I recommend a couple feats from The Genius Guide to Horrifically Overpower Feats. Gestalt with either barbarian, fighter, or rogue would be fun. Perfect Blow, Quicken Attack, and Widen Attack would also be very useful. Just make sure you adjust CR appropriately.

Sczarni

Just like I told the last dude that had the opposite problem...all it takes to take down a Dragon is a Portable Hole and a Bag of Holding.

Place Portable Hole in Bag of Holding while standing next to Dragon. Taa daa bye bye Dragon.

Or in this situation the dragon is rich and powerful...cast Greater Invisibility on lots of his Kobold minions (or rely on the smoke and hope they don't have a Mask of Gahz) and have them sneak up on different party members and drop the Portable Hole in the Bag of Holding. Boom! "Hey where did the Wizard go?"


ossian666 wrote:

Just like I told the last dude that had the opposite problem...all it takes to take down a Dragon is a Portable Hole and a Bag of Holding.

Place Portable Hole in Bag of Holding while standing next to Dragon. Taa daa bye bye Dragon.

Or in this situation the dragon is rich and powerful...cast Greater Invisibility on lots of his Kobold minions (or rely on the smoke and hope they don't have a Mask of Gahz) and have them sneak up on different party members and drop the Portable Hole in the Bag of Holding. Boom! "Hey where did the Wizard go?"

Eeexcept...

1. You need to be next to a flying creature with a speed of 200 ft./round and Time Stop.
2. Antimagic field.
3. The fight might very well take place in an extradimensional space; in such places, it's very vague what would happen.


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Captain Marsh wrote:

3. The ideas about making the dragon invisible or difficult to detect are (again) awesome and diabolical. Unfortunately, part of the table effect I'm going for is that I'll finally be using that massive red dragon "mini" that Wizards put out years ago. And I want it front and center on the table...

I see this as a perfect time for at least one simulcrum. Put the mini on the table and scare the party, while the dragon itself keeps hidden, buffs and supports. When they kill the simulcrum, take the mini off. Then it them with fire breath and put the mini back, this time as the real dragon.

ossian666 wrote:

Place Portable Hole in Bag of Holding while standing next to Dragon. Taa daa bye bye Dragon.

This gives the same thing. A few rounds later, when the party buffs are running out, the dragon plane shifts back, fully healed and buffed from it's short break on the astral plane. Re-Enter the mini

Sczarni

No one said anything about killing the dragon...the players can't plane shift so just take them one at a time out with that tactic.

And you act like its impossible to walk up next to the dragon...if that were the case melee characters would be completely useless against a dragon...you will eat AoOs but you can walk up and do it.


I thought the OPoster decided on what he was doing already? My two points would be:

1. Play the great red wyrm as built. No fancy feats or class levels. There's enough there to provide challenge and fun.

2. Environment matters, and the home field should have advantages. Build up the suspense before that big red mini hits the table. Play the music to Jaws if you need mood music.

Bottomline, it would be great for the OPoster to provide play-by-play on what happened or at least a brief after action report.

cheers


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ossian666 wrote:

No one said anything about killing the dragon...the players can't plane shift so just take them one at a time out with that tactic.

And you act like its impossible to walk up next to the dragon...if that were the case melee characters would be completely useless against a dragon...you will eat AoOs but you can walk up and do it.

You fail to mention that the poor sucker who does this trick is now alone, in astral space, after sucking up attacks of opportunity, right next to a great wyrm red dragon whose turn it now is. Yes, this sounds like a brilliant tactic to use if your looking to die.

Sczarni

Did the point of the thread change? I thought we were taking out PCs?

And for the dragon you obviously don't do the portable hole in bag of holding trick yourself...you get an unseen servant to do it. Not every dragon knows Plane Shift the spell, and even if he does its wildly inaccurate and gives the players a decent amount of time to Heal, Rebuff, Raid the Horde and leave, or whatever. Remember you get Experience for overcoming an obstacle...not killing things. So, all you have to do is evade the dragon and raid the horde to successfully get experience, and at level 20 who gives a flying pig fetus about experience.

And in the other thread the guy specifically says that the GM went from all the players being level 10 to being level 20 in one session and said they are fighting a dragon next week. It was pretty clear he was setting the party up to all die by the great and powerful hand of GM...so I told him...suck it up and save the party by using that trick. Its not a complete TPK and you can proudly go out a hero to your friends.


So, a dragon of this age and power is a likely place to have accumulated some pretty amazing things. If I wanted to teach my PCs that really powerful dragons were really powerful, I'd give the dragon two items in addition to his treasure. A talisman of the sphere and a sphere of annihilation. I would then make liberal use of illusion spells. This would be a very short lived experience for the PCs.


ossian666 wrote:
And you act like its impossible to walk up next to the dragon...if that were the case melee characters would be completely useless against a dragon...you will eat AoOs but you can walk up and do it.

Not impossible, but not easy - and if you do get within melee reach of a dragon, you've got a pretty good thing going anyway :)

Dragons should nearly always try to stay away from enemies. Their main strength is spellcasting.

There's another easy way to protect against such a specific scenario, if you have reason to believe it might happen (for example from scrying the opposition, knowing they have both a portable hole and bag of holding). Contingency.


Also, with such a fat treasury, wherever the fight takes place should be filled with permanent Prismatic Walls. It's only like 25k each.

I'd suggest making the floor out of lava (obvious for red dragons), but the wyrm has a prismatic wall like an inch below the surface of the lava. The PC's, who are of course immune to fire damage, will think the lava isn't dangerous at all - and there's a good possibility of them going into it (for cover through being submerged, because the wyrm's allies bull rushed them into it, or whatever).

Even just covering the rest of the ground in some medium-risk effect like a few stinking clouds can cause them to prefer going into the lava if they're not able to fly (disjunction, winds, whatever).

Sczarni

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If they fly I suggest tossing out a few Air Elemental Gems. Take advantage of the Large Elementals to just be pains in the butt using Whirlwind all over the place. Its not much but it forces saves and the dice gods know that the more you roll the more likely you will fail and be stuck in a Whirlwind wasting a turn.


On using Astral Rift vs dragon:

Spoiler:

ossian666 wrote:
And for the dragon you obviously don't do the portable hole in bag of holding trick yourself...you get an unseen servant to do it.

Wait, a speed 10 unseen servant (which, you know, is very visible when you've got permanent arcane sight) which runs at 30 ft to catch up with a dragon that moves at 250 and runs at 1000? How's that going to work out? (note that an unseen servant is heavily burdened from even the lightest of bags of holding)

Quote:
Not every dragon knows Plane Shift the spell

No, but they do have scrolls. And a standard red dragon has Limited Wish that can be used for that. And teleport.

Quote:
and even if he does its wildly inaccurate and gives the players a decent amount of time to Heal, Rebuff, Raid the Horde and leave,

Wait, so you've gone from "all it takes to take down a red dragon is a bag of holding and a portable hole" to "all it takes to get (max) two rounds of buffing is incredible frakkin' luck, a stupid dragon and these items"

You know, even IF you manage to get that thing within reach of the dragon - which'll take like 4 turns of you getting pummeled and the dragon deciding not to move away from the obvious reality-tearing trap that is slowly creeping closer to it - even IF that works, you know what happens? Red Dragon is like "oh well, Timestop, Limited Wish, Quickened Teleport, and (supposing you roll at least 2 on the timestop) a prismatic wall or wall of force placed in a nice location. Hi adventurers! Guess you got half a turn, good job!"

No. It won't work. A great wyrm does not fall for an unseen servant.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

If they are in a volcano it is likely to have a natural stinking cloud or even cloudkill effects due to the huge amounts of sulfur in the air. Not only do they need to combat the heat they have to breathe too. Also non magical so not to be dispelled.

This will also limit the companions of the dragon though. The Iron Golem's are a good idea.

Experiment with different dragon options. Half Shadow red dragon would be a horror to fight against. Make it undead, a mummified dragon would be something they were not expecting. Everyone expects a dracolich ... Dragon wraith or something along the lines of a death knight ... Being undead might be a hindrance though, this would depend on the party.

Pro Energy is soon used up in a field of Lava. Make sure to keep track of the damage and their swiftly dwindling protections.

A mated pair of Dragons is always amusing, with their children added in to make it all the more interesting. So several young dragons and maybe a visiting child or two over for summer vacation from dragon University.

Possible kobold helpers with a few low level sorcerers to throw minor spells around to test their defenses (getting hit by some 6HD lightning bolts may not seem like much but several is another matter). Remember Kobolds are great trap makers. Have them ruled by more children of the dragon, half dragon kobolds could be amusing with class levels with their offspring being the bulk of the clan. A kobold cleric would be nice being able to summon and control undead.

I would definitely go with the shadows or wraiths idea that is just mean; stripping levels from the spellcasters will happily take away some of their higher level spells. Hope they didn't forget to cast their protections from negative energy today. Stripping con from the party also makes them worry. Gives the cleric of the party (if there is one) a chance to shine apart from healing everyone.

Fire Giants in service to the dragons makes for good fodder at this level; plus they are master smiths so make use of this is you can. Fire Giant forged iron golems created by a Fire Giant Shaman would be fun and effective. Especially backed up by several sword wielding giants.

Don't discount other effects, summon water onto lava makes for more concealment and scalding steam is unpleasant to the face.

Anyway a few thoughts to think on. ....


Killing most dragons (and most any other creature) is really easy. Just throw some dust of choking and sneezing in their face, then coup de grace them with Dastardly Finish. The ultimate one-two combo.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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