He Must Die—Again!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The arrival of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures with its host of psychic magic and class options means new ways to tell stories for the world of Golarion (and beyond). But what about some of our older adventures, particularly one about a Very Infamous Monk? Are you ready for a Design Challenge?

When Occult Adventures first made its way through playtesting, one question I often thought was, "How could our older adventures be retold with these new options?" Being a rather large fan of Russian fairy tales and folk lore, I am quite fond of the Reign of Winter Adventure Path, so of course, I immediately gravitated towards that one to pick for this Design Challenge.

What does this mean to you? It means I have thrown the gauntlet to everybody who loves creating stat blocks, whether you're they type who spends hours poring over new archetypes, class combinations, and gear selection, or just like putting together a fun NPC for your group to face. "Pray tell, Liz, what is the rules of this duel?" you might ask.

You get to make this guy, Grigori Rasputin, but this time, using one of the new character classes from Occult Adventures.


Grigori Rasputin returns—but as what? You get to decide!

For reference, here's his original stat block, as it appeared in "Rasputin Must Die!":

Spoilers for Reign of Winter AP:

Grigori Rasputin  CR 17

XP 102,400
Male middle-aged human oracle 18
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses true seeing; Perception +13
Aura unholy aura (DC 22)

Defense

AC 32, touch 22, flat-footed 32 (+10 armor, +4 deflection, +4 insight, +4 luck [touch only], +4 natural)
hp 192 (18d8+108)
Fort +16, Ref +12, Will +20; +4 vs. death effects, domination, mind-affecting effects, and possession
Defensive Abilities stitched soul; SR 25 vs. good

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk dagger +13/+8/+3 (1d4–1/19–20)
Ranged mwk Nagant M1895 revolver +14/+9/+4 (1d8/×4)
Oracle Spells Known (CL 18th; concentration +26)
9th (3/day)—astral projection, miracle (DC 27)
8th (6/day)—fire storm (DC 26), mass cure critical wounds, moment of prescience, stormbolts (DC 26)
7th (7/day)—blasphemy (DC 25), destruction (DC 25), ethereal jaunt, mass cure serious wounds, regenerate, reverse gravity (DC 25), vision, waves of ecstasy (DC 25)
6th (7/day)—antilife shell, blade barrier (DC 24), harm (DC 24), heal, mass cure moderate wounds, project image
5th (7/day)—contact other plane, flame strike (DC 23), greater forbid action (DC 23), mass cure light wounds, slay living (DC 23), telekinesis, true seeing
4th (8/day)—cure critical wounds, divine power, freedom of movement, scrying, sending, terrible remorse (DC 22), unholy blight (DC 22)
3rd (8/day)—bestow curse (DC 21), blindness/deafness (DC 21), clairaudience/clairvoyance, cure serious wounds, dispel magic, searing light
2nd (8/day)—cure moderate wounds, death knell (DC 20), dread bolt (DC 20), enthrall (DC 20), hold person (DC 20), levitate, minor image (DC 20), silence (DC 20), spectral hand
1st (8/day)—command (DC 19), cure light wounds, entropic shield, forbid action (DC 19), murderous command (DC 19), remove sickness (DC 19), unseen servant
0 (at will)—bleed (DC 18), detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 18), guidance, light, mage hand, read magic, resistance, stabilize, virtue
Mystery occult

TACTICS

Before Combat Within the Thrice-Tenth presbytery (area H6), Rasputin enjoys the benefits of the World Engine’s unholy aura and insight bonus to his AC. When faced with combat, Rasputin activates his ectoplasmic armor revelation and casts entropic shield, freedom of movement, levitate, moment of prescience, and true seeing. Once enemies are in sight, he casts antilife shell and spectral hand to enable him to use touch attacks beyond the field’s perimeter.
During Combat Under the protection of his antilife shell, Rasputin attempts to hinder opponents with reverse gravity and waves of ecstasy and turn foes against each other with terrible remorse and murderous command, before laying waste with such deadly effects as blade barrier, blasphemy, destruction, harm, stormbolts, and unholy blight. If wounded, Rasputin casts quickened cure spells while continuing to target enemies with offensive spells.
Morale On the precipice of claiming his mother’s mythic power, Rasputin relies on his stitched soul to preserve his life, and fights to the death again and again until slain permanently.

STATISTICS

Str 9, Dex 11, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 26
Base Atk +13; CMB +12; CMD 30
Feats Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, DiehardB, Ectoplasmic SpellB, Expanded Arcana (2), Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Persuasive, Quicken Spell, Toughness
Skills Bluff +25, Diplomacy +30, Intimidate +25, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (nobility) +10, Knowledge (planes) +12, Knowledge (religion) +20, Perception +13, Sense Motive +16, Spellcraft +15, Use Magic Device +25
Languages Church Slavonic, Common, Russian
SQ oracle’s curse (haunted), revelations (ectoplasmic armor [+10, 18 hours/day], project psyche, shroud of retribution [3/day, 1d8+9], spectral spells [4/day], spirit walk [2/day, 18 rounds], sure soul [+4])
Gear mwk dagger, mwk Nagant M1895 revolver with 21 metal cartridges, amulet of natural armor +4, belt of physical perfection +2, cassock of the Black Monk, headband of mental prowess +4 (Wis, Cha)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Stitched Soul (Su) Rasputin’s soul is stitched to his body with threads of fate, and he clings tenaciously to life. He gains Diehard as a bonus feat. In addition, when first reduced to a number of negative hit points equal to or greater than his current Con score, Rasputin dies, but he springs back to life 1d4 rounds later as if the target of a resurrection spell. If killed a second time, the Mad Monk again comes back to life 1d6 rounds later, as if the target of a raise dead spell (upon his return, he loses 50% of his remaining unused spell slots as if they had been used to cast spells). Only after Rasputin is slain for a third time do his soul’s stitches finally unravel from his corpse, releasing his malignant spirit into the ether.

Your entry will be judged on presentation and adherence to theme, and to help me with that, I've brought in the man responsible not only for the original Pathfinder version of the Mad Monk, but was also one of the lead consultants on Occult Adventures as well: Brandon Hodge!

But what is the reward for all of your hard work? Something we've never offered before: A custom Paizo.com avatar with art selected from Occult Adventures, along with $25 in store credit. On Paizo.com, a custom avatar means either being a Paizo employee (or the subject of whim by a Paizo employee), so this is a rare opportunity for a unique avatar that nobody else has!

Now, onto the rules:

  • One entry per poster. Employees of Paizo, their immediate family members, and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are ineligible. Anyone who is currently employed full-time as a designer for a game company is ineligible. Anyone with a cover credit on a hardcover RPG book is ineligible. Anyone who has a design credit in 3 or more of Paizo's Pathfinder products is ineligible.
  • You must post your entries in this blog's discussion thread.
  • All entries due Midnight, September 13th, 2015, Paizo time.
  • Entries must be in the following format:
    Stat Block Format:

    [b]Grigori Rasputin  CR 17[/b]
    [b]XP 102,400[/b]
    zzAlignment zzSize zzType
    [b]Init[/b] +##; [b]Senses[/b] zz, zz,; Perception +##
    [b]Aura[/b] zz (## ft., DC ##)

    [b]----- Defense -----[/b]
    [b]AC[/b] ##, touch ##, flat-footed # (+## zzModifier, +##zzModifier)
    [b]hp[/b] ## (##d##+##); fast healing ##
    [b]Fort[/b] +##, [b]Ref[/b] +##, [b]Will[/b] +##
    [b]Defensive Abilities[/b] ##/zzAbility; [b]DR[/b] ##/zzMaterial; [b]Immune[/b] zz; [b]Resist[/b] zz ##, zz ##; [b]SR[/b] ##
    [b]Weaknesses[/b] zz, zz

    [b]----- Offense -----[/b]
    [b]Speed[/b] ## ft., fly ## ft. (zzManeuverability)
    [b]Melee[/b] zzAttacktype +## (zzDamage plus zzOthereffect), zzAttacktype +## (zzDamage)
    [b]Ranged[/b] zzAttacktype +## (zzDamage)
    [b]Space[/b] ## ft.; [b]Reach[/b] ## ft.
    [b]Special Attacks[/b] zz, zz
    [b]Spell-Like Abilities[/b] (CL ##zz; concentration +##)
    At will—[i]zz[/i], [i]zz[/i]
    1/day—[i]zz[/i], [i]zz[/i]

    [b]----- Tactics -----[/b]
    [b]Before Combat[/b] zzBeforeCombat
    [b]During Combat[/b] zzDuringCombat
    [b]Morale[/b] On the precipice of claiming his mother’s mythic power, Rasputin relies on his stitched soul to preserve his life, and fights to the death again and again until slain permanently.

    [b]----- Statistics -----[/b]
    [b]Str[/b] ##, [b]Dex[/b] ##, [b]Con[/b] ##, [b]Int[/b] ##, [b]Wis[/b] ##, [b]Cha[/b] ##
    [b]Base Atk[/b] +##; [b]CMB[/b] +## (+## zzConditionalmaneuverbonus); [b]CMD[/b] ## (## vs. zzManeuvername)
    [b]Feats[/b] zzFeatname, zzFeatname
    [b]Skills[/b] zzSkillname +##, zzSkillname +## (+## zzCondition); [b]Racial Modifiers[/b] +## zzSkillname, +## zzSkillname when zzCondition
    [b]Languages[/b] zzLanguage
    [b]SQ[/b] zz

    [b]----- Ecology -----[/b]
    [b]Environment[/b] zzClimate zzTerrain
    [b]Organization[/b] zz, zz, or zz
    [b]Treasure[/b] zzCategory

    [b]----- Special Abilities -----[/b]
    [b]zzName (Ex/Sp/Su)[/b] zzDescription

  • Entry must be CR 17, must use a character class from Occult Adventures, and must include the stitched soul special ability.
  • You may use any Paizo-published material, but you must cite your sources.
  • Selection of avatar art is subject to Paizo.com's Community Guidelines.

Remember, all entries must be in by September 13th, 2015. Good luck in designing the Mad Monk Rasputin, and letting us kill him again—or try to!

Liz Courts
Community Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Brandon Hodge Craig J Spearing Design Challenge Occult Adventures Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder RPG Reign of Winter
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one thing to consider when testing however is whether the party faces him fresh with full resources or whether they have expended a bunch of resources getting to him - makes a huge difference (some buffs may already be running which will help the party with action economy but many other once a day abilities or spells or other resources may have already been expended). Particularly with an enemy that will keep coming back the party's play style and composition may make a big difference.

If they are glass cannons used to a 15 min adventuring day it may be very challenging for them.

But yes, at high level a party will have a lot of resources and ability to whether seeming dangerous effects and abilities


Turin the Mad wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:
However, I thought that a Save or Die caster with DCs in the 30's was not a fun encounter to face, despite it being thematic for Rasputin.

People seem to consistently underestimate the durability of high-level PCs (in this case, 14th level PCs) that take some care before booting open that last set of doors. Even running the semi-tolerable iconic group (Feiya, Imrijka, Lini and Valeros) against my submission they pulled off a victory half of the time.

A better-optimized group shouldn't have as much trouble with him.

It's more of like, if you make him a save or die Caster combat just devolves into him either winning the fight entirely or the PCs getting another turn to smack him up side the head.


Deadkitten wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Deadkitten wrote:
However, I thought that a Save or Die caster with DCs in the 30's was not a fun encounter to face, despite it being thematic for Rasputin.

People seem to consistently underestimate the durability of high-level PCs (in this case, 14th level PCs) that take some care before booting open that last set of doors. Even running the semi-tolerable iconic group (Feiya, Imrijka, Lini and Valeros) against my submission they pulled off a victory half of the time.

A better-optimized group shouldn't have as much trouble with him.

It's more of like, if you make him a save or die Caster combat just devolves into him either winning the fight entirely or the PCs getting another turn to smack him up side the head.

Mostly the PCs get to smack him upside the noodle. The average test fights lasted a minute, narrow victories by either party. Good fun!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

He is in a big open room with like 3-4 other roughly CR=APL encounters. If you add all that up, because it is extremely likely that the PCs will have to deal with all of it at once, I wouldn't be surprised if it was CR 20.


Charlie Bell wrote:
He is in a big open room with like 3-4 other roughly CR=APL encounters. If you add all that up, because it is extremely likely that the PCs will have to deal with all of it at once, I wouldn't be surprised if it was CR 20.

The PCs aren't often lacking options in that regard at 14th level. They can usually manage to divide and conquer on rounds 1 and 2. ;)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:
He is in a big open room with like 3-4 other roughly CR=APL encounters. If you add all that up, because it is extremely likely that the PCs will have to deal with all of it at once, I wouldn't be surprised if it was CR 20.

Keep in mind that this isn't a Society adventure and the GM isn't required to play everything by the book. If things start to go really badly, the GM can adjust things down on the fly a lot easier than he can adjust things up without things feeling fishy to the players. I'd rather throw more than the party can handle at them and dock some hit points from an NPC or two to make them feel like they have accomplished something than have them on a path to wipe the end boss in three rounds and be forced to keep adding hit points to him on the fly to make a bad encounter last longer. Nobody likes an encounter like that, and most players see through that kind of manipulation in a second flat.

I took that into account when I designed my version with his opening moves to disable the entire party. The DC 45+ Coup De Grace that I have him doing to a PC the second round after he manages it is a blow that will get the player's attention and build a lot of tension. They get new saves every round, and I would rather fudge someone's success on round 4 just before he kills a second PC (is the party can't handle the DC26 + Mind Fog save) than watch the fighter walk up and pop ol' Ras in the noggin for a third of his hit points on the first round of combat.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Turin the Mad wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
He is in a big open room with like 3-4 other roughly CR=APL encounters. If you add all that up, because it is extremely likely that the PCs will have to deal with all of it at once, I wouldn't be surprised if it was CR 20.
The PCs aren't often lacking options in that regard at 14th level. They can usually manage to divide and conquer on rounds 1 and 2. ;)

Absolutely true, but it does tend to even out the action economy differential somewhat. Also, lockdown tactics (sleet storm, walls, etc.) used by the PCs tend to help the boss last longer, too, which enhances the epic feel of a fight.

@Illrigger: Also true. That's one reason I like Brandon Hodge's high-level encounter spacing/pacing; it gives GMs options as to how many encounters PCs pull at once. That kind of flexible pacing is a really good way of acknowledging, and mitigating, the way CR as a difficulty metric tends to break down at high levels.

Lantern Lodge

The one thing I am hoping to accomplish with this battle is the big reveal. This is the big bad before the big bad. I want as much time for monologue-ing during the course of the combat as possible. Enough time to drop big reveals that have been building since the party left Taldor and I can't pass up the chance to role play the Mad Monk until the PCs wipe the floor with him.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Corneleus Idaho wrote:
The one thing I am hoping to accomplish with this battle is the big reveal. This is the big bad before the big bad. I want as much time for monologue-ing during the course of the combat as possible. Enough time to drop big reveals that have been building since the party left Taldor and I can't pass up the chance to role play the Mad Monk until the PCs wipe the floor with him.

Another thing I was thinking about with my build. Incapping the whole party gives a wonderful opportunity to monologue and insult them for being puppets the whole time. :)


So who won? Are the results out yet?

Silver Crusade Contributor

Natan Linggod 327 wrote:
So who won? Are the results out yet?

Here you go.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kalindlara wrote:
Natan Linggod 327 wrote:
So who won? Are the results out yet?
Here you go.

thank you

Silver Crusade Contributor

You're welcome! ^_^

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