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Help me create a BBEG!


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ben and Galen, stop reading right now!

Spoiler:
Ok, here's the setting. The PCs are freelancing for a mercenary army that's just moved into a supposed cursed valley; the reason they're there is because the army they're fighting against won't march into that valley due to the supposed curse. The first session I ran the PCs were sent on ahead of the army to clear out any potential trouble / dangerous monsters. When I run the next session I'm going to advance the timeline forward a month or so to when the mercenary army has already settled down.

The scenario starts when individual soldiers start going missing. The PCs are tasked to investigate. Eventually they learn, one way or another, that there's a presence, for lack of a better term, that doesn't want them [the army] in the valley.

So the question is, what could that "presence" be? From a thematic standpoint a druid ghost is almost perfect what I imagine to be the angry presence; the ghost was a druid who was killed when a battle was fought in the valley long ago, and now watches over the valley and won't tolerate a new army moving in. The problem is mechanically I don't know how well that will work: for example would the ghost of a druid be able to Wild Shape? (RAW undead aren't immune to polymorph effects, but incorporeal creatures don't have strength scores and Wild Shape doesn't change your physical stats.)

So, I'm wondering if there are any other possibilities for the nature of the angry presence that I haven't thought of.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Oh crap, wrong forum =(

The Exchange Dedicated Voter 2013

Ooh.. I like the setup.

So, here's my take.

There is an idyllic woodland glen. Birds are chirping. Squirrels are rummaging for nuts. Fish jump in the pond.

Knowledge Nature: DC25
Survival: DC 30
Wild Empathy: DC 25

There's something.. weird about those squirrels, birds, fish...

Surprise round: Concealed ghost druid casts dispell magic and his baleful polymorphed little friends morph into a CR appropriate encounter.

Make the fish some kind of tentacle octopus that grabs spell casters and tries to bring them into the water. Have the incorporeal ghost druid start in the water as an additional impediment...


I think it would still be able to wild shape, but it would a ghost form. It looses all the creatures attacks, but you could still give it one of the ghost touch attacks.


Yes, you could wild shape. It doesn't actually change your type from undead to animal- it just lets you assume the shape of an animal type.

Incorporeal sets your strength to 0. If it were a instanenous effect, you might increase it beyond 0 after you became a ghost. Since it is a continuous effect, it continues to set you to 0, even after new gains.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
ClaimingLight wrote:

Yes, you could wild shape. It doesn't actually change your type from undead to animal- it just lets you assume the shape of an animal type.

Incorporeal sets your strength to 0. If it were a instanenous effect, you might increase it beyond 0 after you became a ghost. Since it is a continuous effect, it continues to set you to 0, even after new gains.

Here's where it gets interesting:

PRD wrote:

Polymorph: A polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature. While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature. Each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type, granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and a bonus to your natural armor. In addition, each polymorph spell can grant you a number of other benefits, including movement types, resistances, and senses. If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead. Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume. If the form grants a swim or burrow speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing. The DC for any of these abilities equals your DC for the polymorph spell used to change you into that form.

In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature, including proficiency in those attacks. These attacks are based on your base attack bonus, modified by your Strength or Dexterity as appropriate, and use your Strength modifier for determining damage bonuses.

If a polymorph spell causes you to change size, apply the size modifiers appropriately, changing your armor class, attack bonus, Combat Maneuver Bonus, and Stealth skill modifiers. Your ability scores are not modified by this change unless noted by the spell.

Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals. Although many of the fine details can be controlled, your appearance is always that of a generic member of that creature's type. Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature.

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon. Other polymorph spells might be subject to this restriction as well, if they change you into a form that is unlike your original form (subject to GM discretion). If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

Incorporeal is an extraordinary ability. Does incorporealness depend on your original form? If so then an incorporeal creature would lose its incorporealness when it polymorphed. So then what would it strength be?


Xexyz wrote:
While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

Well, Undead is a type. By polymorphing, you'd lose any undead special abilties. Ghost isn't a type and isn't reliant on the original form of the character (much like polymorph). You can be a ghost aberation, ghost animal or ghost elemental. So, I'm suggesting that 'ghost' is not your original form- but a template upon your original form.

I'd say that the ghost template is a 'top-level' effect. It could perhaps be argued in a different direction- but would that meet the goals you're looking to achieve? If this druid could shapeshift into a non-ghost and just leave, wouldn't she?


In this case, incorporeal is a subtype gained from becoming a ghost, not the incorporeal extraordinary ability. You should not be able to change from an incorporeal undead into a living animal.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ok, so as thematic as a druid ghost would be mechanically it seems a lot less appealing, as a lot of a druid's abilities would be rendered moot by being a ghost.

Is there another type of creature that would fit what I'm looking for? I remember the Genus Loci from the old 3.0 Epic Hanbook, but I really don't want to go there.


Druids are not a one trick pony. You can still have a ghost druid with some good spells and work up some wierd idea that happened to it's animal companion. Maybe it's an undead form of what it used to be? Maybe the army has been seeing a fast zombie tiger drag a few soldiers away? And again, pick some spells that could enhance the scaryness of these attacks like fog cloud, call lightning, mad monkeys, rain of frogs, or other scary/creepy things.


Also, there are some special rules for haunts.

You could drop a few of them on your players (I imagine, each haunt could be a different aspect of the druid's personality, maybe personalize them to reflect the various animals he turned into. Or maybe it's not one druid but a whole convent that died). That could keep them busy for a while...
Then you could presumably bring the druid ghost at the end, maybe clearing the various haunts forced him to crystalize into a single entity to attack the players...

And, if you still find your ghost druid lackluster in a single fight... Cheat. Give them abilities the rules don't say he should have... Maybe he can still turn incorporal in his animal form. Maybe his presence is so infused in the local surrounding that he can use summon animals at will, even in his animal form, as a free action and an unlimited number of times a day.
Maybe he is ambushing the players in the middle of a stone circle that gives him a regeneration as long as the stones are standing... It's your game, you are free to bend the rule, especially for the BBEG...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds a lot like "the Standing Stone", except that there was a ghost paladin riding his ghost mount.

Note to self: Add haunts to the standing stone.


Is it a Paizo scenario? My knowledge of such is shamefully spotty...

Star Voter 2013

Epic or Alternate Wolf-in-Sheep's Clothing, House Hunter Mimic, Trapper pack(or whatever a group of trappers is called) or similar would be my thought, not a shapechanging druid ghost.

Extra points for well-done red herrings & surprise twists though.

-TimD


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
SimonML wrote:
Is it a Paizo scenario? My knowledge of such is shamefully spotty...

Nope, homebrew game & world.

TimD wrote:

Epic or Alternate Wolf-in-Sheep's Clothing, House Hunter Mimic, Trapper pack(or whatever a group of trappers is called) or similar would be my thought, not a shapechanging druid ghost.

Extra points for well-done red herrings & surprise twists though.

-TimD

I don't know what any of those creatures are. Source?


About 3 years ago, I made a stupidly overpowered character that I justly named Cheesinator. (Like Terminator but purely made out of cheesey overpowered abilities and level combination). He was a Drow Noble. Maybe an imposter to this dead druid - someone who is a hermit and wants to be left alone in his swamp, and will kill those who trespass, more out of the thrill of the hunt than anything else.

Throwing a Ghost Template over top of him would be op.

Cheesinator is a L2 Master of Many Styles - Kirin Style/Kirin Strike) (arcane strike)(with Monk's Robes), Synthesist Summoner / Vivisectionist. He picks up flight at ss 5 and perfect flight when possible. Fly by attack = awesomesauce. I don't know how high of a level you want your BBEG (at level 10, he would be L2 moms, L5 ss, L3 vivi - my version of this: if hitting 50% of the time would do an average of 76 melee damage a round without magical weapons, power attack, or any extra ability/feat not listed in this paragraph)

Eidolons can look like whatever you want them to look like. They are always translucent like a ghost. Hats of disguise can make the person inside blend almost perfectly with the eidolon and a necklace of non-detection means the players wouldn't see the outline of magical items within the beasts stomach. Unnatural aura makes the animals skittish like in the description. And a wand of dispel magic with 1 charge does the trick with the octopus.

Cheesinator had scent and eversmoking bottle - one of the most broken combinations imho.

First round. Open the eversmoking bottle of I Win. (Scent - can detect anyone within 30 feet, when 5 feet away, can detect exactly where they are - they are F.F. if they cannot see you, sneak attack - fly by attack-sneak attack if you are high enough level, if they guess the right square, they have 50% chance to hit you, if they kill the eidolon, stealth away and resummon it. Vivisectionists can make cure potions for personal use and the synthesist can summon monsters to fight the party right before starting the resummoning of the eidolon.)


Ghost druid plus spells = lots of possibilities. There's also an animal companion (and its subsequent companions), charmed animals, awakened trees, etc, not to mention all the creatures allied with it when it was alive. But why just a ghost?

Presence = The First World

The fey made a pact in the ancient days of man long forgotten. They laid claim to this stretch of the Material, as a vacation spot to "decompress" after millenia in the roiling chaos of the First World. Recently the Shadow has begun seeping into both the First World and the Material here, tainting it with a subtle darkness.

Man has grown weary or ignorant of the pact and wish to seize back the valley, urged on in their pursuits by the hungry dark. The fey for their part no longer defend themselves with trickery and guile and instead the Invisible Glammer readies for war.

The party may well encounter both the fey and any number of natural creature "modified" by the energies of the valley, but they must ultimately find the migration of the Shadow and find a way to contain this taint.

Star Voter 2013

Xexyz wrote:
TimD wrote:

Epic or Alternate Wolf-in-Sheep's Clothing, House Hunter Mimic, Trapper pack(or whatever a group of trappers is called) or similar would be my thought, not a shapechanging druid ghost.

Extra points for well-done red herrings & surprise twists though.

-TimD

I don't know what any of those creatures are. Source?

Apologies for the delayed response. I lost track of the thread for a bit.

A Wolf-in-Sheeps Clothing is a subterranean monster that typically lures its victims close by either having some sort of illusionary prey or the animated body of its last victim as a means of attracting attention. When I said epic, I meant perhaps several working in concert or a ring of them or one with greater abilities to entice its victims or manipulate its former victims, not actually using Epic / Mythic rules.

A House Hunter Mimic is basically a building-sized mimic, which (if I recall correctly) is a bit more intelligent than a common mimic.

A trapper is a creature that specializes in disguising itself as the floor or ground and attempts to trap and attack those who step on it.

Hope that helps.

-TimD

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