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185 posts. Alias of Greg Rogers 19.


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Probably the best way to do a drop bear would be to stat up a thylacoleo and have 'drop bear' mentioned very quietly as an alternate name for them. According to more recent research they were very dangerous, very heavily built wrestler-type predators that could climb - they'd probably fit the bill nicely.

Other Australian-type stuff - hmm. We've already got megalanias, kangaroos and thylacines. The bunyip has already been done (though imho it was a rather uninspiring adaptation, sadly), min-min lights can just be will'o'the'wisps, and yowies are just variant yetis. Bullockornis (assuming that it's a predator on the paleontologically shaky grounds of 'it's cooler that way') is a terror bird. Many shapechanger-type legendary figures in aboriginal myth can be implemented as animal lords.

Quinkana (the long-legged land crocodile that got named after the above, you might have to call it Baru to avoid confusion!)
The Rainbow Serpent (now THAT'S an epic critter!)
Yara-mya-ya-who (they drink your blood with their tentacles, then eat you, then throw you up later to do it all over again - and again and again until you become one of them)
Perhaps some of the other megafauna like procoptodon or diprotodon
An 'extremely poisonous' simple template! Just to make regular snakes, spiders, jellyfish etc more interesting... ;)

James Jacobs wrote:
Damon Griffin wrote:

Somehow we need to break the cycle of escalation that demands the Big Six magic items in order to make a character viable in terms of AC, saving throws and damage potential. Darned if I know how to do it, though.

I can think of plenty of ways to fix that... but none of them are appropriate without them being part of a 2nd edition of the game.

Strongly agree. And this is one of the reasons there will need to be a 2nd edition of the game at some point. High-level maths breakdown being on of the other conspicuous issues.

But that's a discussion for another forum...

For what it's worth, I'm a very sporadic paizo blog-reader and I had no idea this product even existed until I got the email yesterday, by which time they were long since sold out. I'll certainly buy one of the second printing (reprinted edition, non-limited plebian version or whatever!) though...

From memory wasn't it a bit inaccurate when it came to the later adventures though? Probably a hazard of writing up a summary before the adventure manuscripts have been finalised.

I haven't got the article in front of me, I've just got this vague recollection of it mentioning an assault on a retriever factory which never appeared in the actual AP.

Name: Jakara (NPC)
Race/Class/Level: Human Ranger 5/Totemic Demonslayer 7
Catalyst: Giant crocodile in Broken Lake

The Deinosuchus has been doing well recently it seems!

Jakara, the shapeshifter (in troll form) and the scout/totemic demonslayers took the canoe across the lake, while the mage and cleric flew and air walked respectively.

The croc made a single overrun and everone ended up in the water. The PC shapeshifter was grabbed and reduced to single figure hp within two rounds of munching while everyone fought to get away (and provoked tail-slap attacks of opportunity all over the place). The shapeshifter eventually escaped by using her entire stock of our homebrew hero points for a 'plot twist', but this still left Jakara in the water. One crunch and he was a gone, and the basically unscathed croc subsided to the bottom of the lake to digest while the enormously powerful PCs variously flew, air walked, or water walked (/ran) the hell out of there as fast as they could go.

Not bad for an animal! The scout wants to come back prepared, kill the croc and make a trophy of its hide (if he escapes the distinctly unpleasant position he's in right now), so I'll have to think of some nasty surprise to spring on him if we get that far...

Name: Clarissa
Race/Class/Level: 14th level human cleric
Adventure: City of Broken Idols
Catalyst: being altruistic, and the GM using Spell Compendium spells for the bad guys

Onailati's ambush went off perfectly (much to my surprise, since one of the PCs has detect evil at will and another has detect demons at will!) and the skinwalker acolyte dropped a vitriolic sphere on the party in the surprise round, and then another on the first round of combat. Clarissa managed to use a Heal on herself, but the damage continues for two rounds, and in the second round she chose to use her second Heal on the mage (who was down to 2hp and had only survived because Onailati rolled a natural 1 on his attack that round!) rather than herself, and a pouncing charge by Onailati wiped her out in the next round.

She is probably destined to be resurrected - mostly because the PCs want her as a balancing factor to the OTHER PC cleric, who is on the verge of triggering a religious war agains the sea goddess, which is an unhealthy position for an isolated island colony to be in...

It's not too bad. Early in the game when the casters are relatively weak the ranger will just be a ranger, so can wade in with melee weapons and be almost as good as the paladin. You might have some party coherence issues later on though, tactically. The paladin will want to be up close, the warlock and archer will want to keep their distance, the arcane trickster will probably want to be at short-medium range (but NOT in melee), and the cleric will be needed everywhere but will have a very low movement rate (especially if he's acting as a backup melee guy and wearing heavy armour!) There's a good selection of long-distance and close-up combats in the AP, so everyone will get their chance to shine, but coordination will be a problem.

Later on in the game a full arcane caster is generally called for, but the cleric can probably cover most of the non-combat utility needs (plane shift, sending, wind walk for long distance movement). Warlock is not as good a zap guy as a wizard, but is better than nothing.

Don't weaken the warlock too much. As a class they're not the most powerful anyway. Stuff like the continual see invisibility sounds powerful, but in-game it comes at the cost of a massive flexibility hit. If anything, you're more likely to have the player coming to you and asking to re-do the invocation selection because his options are too limited.

What I'm starting to think about doing is have some Demogorgon cultist sneak into Farshore under orders from the Big D in order to recover Vanthus's body for Death Knight-ifying. Though in the case of my campaign that might require a dustpan and brush (or possibly some sort of 'recover mortal remains' spell) But there's nothing about a Hallow that is ever going to stop a cultist sneaking into a graveyard with a spade and a big sack, and scurrying off back to a handy temple of Demogorgon with a bagful of Vanthus over their shoulder.

The time required to make this happen is actually something of a plus as well - gives us a bit more time for downtime and subplot activities. Cos otherwise Serpents of Scuttlecove is triggered pretty much straight after City of Broken Idols, and then it's full steam ahead until Into the Maw, with not much time for other stuff.

More of a way to vent concern rather than a particular question - feel free to let fly with commiserations or cries of "harden the #$^@% up!" as well as helpful advice!

I like sandboxes, and my players hate railroading, and I hate one-stop magic shops, and everyone likes subplots. So I've been throwing in all sorts of additional stuff to the STAP. There's Farshore's rather fraught relationship with Xiureksior, an insane recurring death knight NPC who seems to remembers the PCs from ages ago, a Sasserine aristocrat who may or may not be a vampire, the mysterious parentage of the half-orc PC and the question of why someone's sending him gifts of expensive magic items, Lirith's devil-worshipping family (who have become considerably more relevant since she got engaged to the wizard), and the wizard's ongoing quest to free his homeland from slavery under the efreeti, and everyone's desire to strengthen and expand Farshore itself. And stuff like that. Right now, for instance, they're mad keen to go hunt down a black dragon (one of Xiureksior's xorvintaal rivals, who has an item in its horde that Xiureksior has promised a nifty reward for)

Currently we're doing downtime - we've just finished a sidequest to the Lost Citadel, and basically I can embark the PCs on CoBI whenever I decide Jakara recieves Father Noltus's letter. The issue I'm seeing is that after CoBI there's very little time to take a breath or attend to recurring plots until after Into The Maw. Lavinia's kidnapping is triggered by the defeat of Khala, and then it's pretty much full steam ahead til she's rescued.

I'm sure that once Lavinia gets kidnapped, my PCs will chase her. they'll probably groan about it OOC (Lavinia IMC is brave to the point of recklessness in combat, which doesn't always make things comfortable, and she's put herself in tight spots more than once). But there's so much else happening, some of which they're far more interested in than Father Noltus, and this is going to monopolise their attention for three whole adventures.

Add to that the way that the group is heading somewhat off-theme. First of all, one of the original PCs (a dwarf dragon shaman) went mildly evil and was basically banished from the party. His player generated a new PC (while the dragon shaman 'went looking for redemption') who he seems to be happy with. But the dragon shaman a) was the captain of the Sea Wvyern and the only PC with significant seamanship skills, and b) has Azahu's tooth. Add to that the fact that the cleric (war god) has recently provoked something of a religious war-in-waiting by blithely and deliberately dumping a flame strike on Farshore's shrine to the legendarily vengeful sea god (and then talking his superiors into at least partially backing him up), and this is not a group of PCs that will be travelling ANYWHERE by sea any time soon. I assume that most parties would have travelled to Scuttlecove magically rather than by sailing, but that still leaves me in a problematic situation once the campaign moves to the Styx.

I kind of assumed that the campaign would start to go wildly off-track somewhere around Wells of Darkness (my PCs are already balking at all the alliances with evil that they've been pushed into - not a chance in hell are they going to start dickering with Orcus and Malcanthet) but it's all starting to happen a bit faster than I planned. And of course since I run so many sidetreks, my PCs are probably 1-2 levels above where the AP expects them to be, which presents its own set of problems.

I figure that Demogorgon isn't going anywhere, and that his plot to trigger the Savage Tide will happen regardless of what subplots we get tied up in. I figure that Iggwilv's suggestions regarding who to ally with are only suggestions and if they disagree (or never even approach her to ask) then they can just take on the responsibility of forming an interplanar anti-Demogorgon coalition WITHOUT her help. So the general thrust of the campaign will continue, if perhaps at a slower pace than the adventure path expects. But I very much doubt that pretty much anything after Into the Maw will be run as written. High-level PCs have ridiculous levels of freedom of action and strategic options, and any attempt to railroad is doomed to failure - particularly since I've deliberately made sure that the players know there's a bigger world out there beyond the bounds of the Sea Wyvern, Sasserine, and the Isle of Dread. I can steal setpieces (the beach assault scene, plus I really want to run some sort of visit to Malcanthet's palace even if the PCs don't want to go there...) and some ideas but that'll probably be about all.

Has anyone else had this happen? Has the campaign gotten so much bigger than the written bounds of the AP that you found yourself throwing out the rulebook and flying by the seat of your pants? How have you handled it? There's a certain necessary railroading in the nature of pre-written adventure paths - has anyone else found their PCs chafing at the bounds? And what do you do when they're finding the main plot much less interesting than building a wizards tower in Farshore, and visiting the Great Library in the City of Brass, and trying to work out the cause of the curse on the throne of Kennington, and trying to purchase back a fiance's soul from a pitfiend, and starting major religious schisms? Sure I can just drop Jakara's letter into things and give them a good whack with the plot stick to get them back on track again and into CoBI, but they're having so much fun as it is!

carborundum wrote:

<necrothreadery>Resurrect Thread</necrothreadery>

We've finally made it this far!

Now, when Lavinia said she wanted to bury Vanthus my players immediately screamed,

"NOOOOO!!! He'll definitely come back, he's done it before and he'll do it again."

Their proposal is anything along the lines of 'dismember him, bless the pieces and drop each into a different volcano'. If Lavinia won't go for that, then at least cremation, followed by Disintegrate, a Bless on the ashes, then scattering them in Hallowed ground.

Now, the whole graveyard being ravaged is the coolest but possibly the cheesiest/ most railroady to my paranoid players! Nothing the Big D can't handle, but I'm wary of bringing back V this way. I'm leaning towards Big D just using the larva to make his Death Knight, so when they protest I can say that his body has definitely been safely disposed of. Any other ideas since 2007? I can't think of any other worthy candidates for Death Knighthood, so it will have to be V.

PS: Anyone want my CR14 very buff Vanthus the Fighter/Knight of Vengeance? He kicked butt in my game :-)

My players did exactly the same! Cremate, disintegrate, then scatter the ashes in seven widely spaced locations all over the Isle (no Blessing or Hallowing though)

We're still not up to the point where he comes back, but I've really got to decide what to do. I was considering restatting him as a variant undead rather than a death knight a) to reflect the state of his body, I've got a precedent with this via another death knight in the campaign, and b) because Death Knight Vanthus, as has been repeatedly stated, is a big wuss.

I'll probably go with a regular Death Knight (because Death Knights are what Demogorgon *does*), arbitrarily drop his CR by a couple of points (call it the multi-template discount...), give him Unholy Toughness or whatever it's called to boost his HP, and then mess with his class mix/spell like abilities to reflect the fact that he was burnt and disintegrated. Maybe some ash, dust, or fire-related abilities might add some extra flavour as well as punch to him...

Name: Dralmar
Race/Class/Level: 13th level human cleric/divine inquisitor
Adventure: Bride of Skyscar (sidequest between Lightless Depths and City of Broken Idols)
Catalyst: being in a hurry, and not paying enough attention during previous sessions...

Previously in the adventure, when exploring the Lost Citadel, the PCs discovered a trap in the main hall, in which the whole ceiling swung in like a gigantic pair of clapping hands when a pressure plate on the floor was triggered. They carefully stepped over it and went on their way.

Much later, and with the PCs caught up in a 5 way battle between themselves, a powerful hag, two sidhe nobles and a 19th level spirit shaman, the cleric finds himself at the wrong end of the Citadel to where the action is. He starts to run as fast as he can, and makes the mistake of running straight through the main hall.

I gave him a DC5 intelligence check to remember the trap. 3.
There was a DC 18 reflex save for half damage. He rolled a 2, for a total of 14.
Then he used a reroll from a luck feat. 3, for a total of 15.

74 points of damage, and to gather his remains for burial they're going to have to borrow a spatula...

Stat block files (very belatedly) sent...

Name: Aramil
Race/Class/Level: 13th level human fighter/divine champion
Adventure: Bride of Skyscar (sidequest between Lightless Depths and City of Broken Idols)
Catalyst: succeeding in a grapple check at an inconvenient moment

Party is exploring the Lost Citadel, when they got attacked by Forsaken Jaguar, an Awakened Legendary Tiger servant of Tezcatlipoca who failed his save vs the original Savage Tide all those years ago.

Aramil had gotten pretty shredded by the initial pouncing charge, but forsaken Jaguar was really starting to hurt from some accurate bow fire, so it grabbed and grappled Aramil (the most wounded prey creature around...) and fled with him up the wall. Aramil struggled frantically to free himself rather than be dragged off and devoured, and predictably failed his grapple check four times in a row. Fifth time though, was the lucky(?) one - he rolled high, Forsaken Jaguar rolled low, and Aramil was free - only to realise he was 70ft up and unable to fly. Fell straight to the ground, failed Jump and Tumble checks and a Reflex safe to mitigate the damage, hit the ground, and died of falling damage.

Unfortunately the Lost Citadel and the party are marooned in time at the moment and unable to bring a new PC in, so Aramil has been briefly resurrected by mysterious means (ie, the GM knows and is not telling!) until we get out of here and the player can replace Aramil (who was rather ineffective anyway) with a new character.

Files sent...

JustTim wrote:

So who owns the copyright? Is it Wizards? And do they care? What would be the restrictions (thou shall not ... what?)?

Don't think it matters who owns the copyright to be honest! The same principles apply. Probably the golden rule would be 'don't be a prick' rather than any hard-and-fast adherence to copyright law. As long as the magazines are still required to run the campaign (ie, the wiki isn't detailed enough to actually allow anyone to run the AP without buying the magazines) we're probably safe enough. Anything posted on these boards is probably fine for instance.

But you'd need to set up guidelines. For example: Rowyn will need a wiki page. There's piles of threads on here here - how she's supposed to fight effectively in that tiny little office of hers, re-stats to make her more dangerous on the Sea Wyvern, what to do in SWW if the PCs kill her in TiNH etc, dealing with PC romances with her, etc. But how much detail do you go into? If the wiki talks about her personality/role in the story in detail, that's a large percentage of the plot of TINH covered. Obviously stat blocks from the mag would be a no-no, but there's bound to be alternate stat blocks posted. Story plus stat blocks - add dungeon maps and that's basically the entirety of the module.

To be honest I don't think it'd be a major issue, but I kinda LIKE Paizo and I don't want this to be a headache for them in any way. And I don't want them cranky at me! ;)

I started setting up an STAP campaign wiki on wikispaces at [url]http://the-savage-tide.wikispaces.com/[/url], though job, health and personal stuff meant it fell by the wayside even before I'd put enough material in there to share it usefully with my players.

It's still there if anyone wants to check it out, though it's definitely more of a specific campaign resource than it is a general reference as discussed in this thread.

Wikispaces is a nice wiki host though, if anyone wants to set anything up there. Obviously we'd have to be careful with copyright infringment, but I've got a LOT of STAP expansion material scattered over my hard drive and various threads on this board, and would be more than happy to post it on a general wiki.

When I say 'tweak' the inhabitants, it would probably be more accurate to say 'entirely replace'.

I've decided that there's plenty of minions of Demogorgon and carnivorous plants in STAP as it is. I'm going for a bit of a change of pace. Elementals and fey and perhaps a giant or two. I'm a big fan of the multiple-factions-fighting-over-the-monastery thing though, so I'm keeping that, plus there still does need to be a solid Isle of Dread feel.

I'm actually getting really excited about this. Going away on business for a few days, so I'm going to bring my books and work on it in the plane, and maybe post it when I get back...

carborundum wrote:
JollyDoc (Savage Tide Story Hour on enworld) used The Coming Storm from Dungeon 136 to great effect.

Thanks for the reference!

I'm going to use the Coming Storm map, which is amazing, but tweak the inhabitants fairly heavily to make it a bit more Isle of Dreadish. Will post the resultant adventure on here when I'm done.

(Kinda inspired by this one actually!)

Anyone done anything with this place?

According to the Isle of Dread 'place guide' in Dungeon #143, it was the last retreat for those who survived the destruction of Thanaclan. Locked in time, mystic fountains, sleeping Olman princes etc.

My PCs are 13th level (between Lightless Depths and CoBI) and have decided they want to look for it.

I've decided to run with that (one player will miss the next two sessions and I don't want to start CoBI til he gets back), but I'm not really sure what to do. They just had a nice looting session at a ruined temple of Huitzilopochtli, so I don't really want to do another dungeon crawl. And I'm not sure two sessions will be enough to do something like the Lost Citadel justice anyway. And I don't want to get too distracted from the main plot, so just a sidetrek of sorts is in order.

Maybe the Citadel only exists one day in the year, sort of a Brigadoon type thing? Maybe the PCs find a place where it once was, or a place where it might one day be again?

And whay's in there? Wealth and sleeping princes, as advertised? Or are the 'sleeping' Olmans actually dormant vampires, or maybe the place got shuffled into some other plane and was taken over by the denizens, or maybe the inhabitants are dead and gone and only their magic traps and constructs remain?

Something short and sweet and a little weird. I'm just drawing a bit of a blank on this at the moment...

PC: Khai (12th level wizard/1st level Initiate of Seven Veils)
Adventure: Side trek between Lightless Depths and City of Broken Idols
Location of Death: the lost temple of Huitzilopochtli
Catalyst: a poor will save, being too effective, and an impulsive party member who doesn't like him very much

Party was exploring a lost temple (see my modified/additional stat block thread for details), and barricaded inside after the custodian of the temple, Huitzilopochtli's herald, was considerably too tough a nut to crack.

Unfortunately, the party awoke a powerful Caller in Darkness formed from the sacrificial victims who met their deaths in the temple. The Caller used Maddening Whispers (spell compendium), and Khai rolled a 2 on his save, and started suffering homicidal hallucinations.

He knocked down the scout and the divine champion with a Radiant Assault, then took out the cleric (and *nearly* the enormously tough dwarven dragon shaman) with an empowered lightning bolt. Then, having most of his defenses stripped by a dispel magic from the cleric (which unfortunately didn't dispel the Maddening Whispers...) he teleported to the other side of a locked door to lie in wait with a readied cone of cold.

That's when the Whispers wore off, and he started to feel a bit worried and even more isolated, particularly since the Dragon Shaman and he don't get along very well (both are a bit indiscriminate with area effects)

He newvously returned to his comrades, saying 'um, guys, sorry about that...', only to find a) they were locked in combat with a mob of savage ghouls, and b) that he made the mistake of getting in the line of sight of the Herald on the way through, and so was deposited in a shredded sub-0hp heap at his ex-friends feet. Then ensued a brief tug-o-war between a ghoul and the dragon shaman over his body, before the dragon shaman got sick of that silliness, let go of Khai's feet, and chopped up the ghoul with his waraxe. However, then the bloodlust got the better of him, and he Cleaved straight into Khai's fallen body, because he could and because he never liked Khai very much anyway.

-55 hp leaves you pretty damn dead. Not sure what's going to happen next...

spikadelia wrote:

Aloha Humble Minion.

If you could send me your marvellous STAT block handiwork it would be greatly appreciated.


Done. Sorry about the delay, hadn't checked this thread in a while!

This one was a sidequest. Cleric player was missing, and I didn't want to head to Thanaclan without him, so set up this little one-session thing. Just a laugh, I thought.

Yeah, right.

Setup was based around a new PC, a Divine Crusader of the sea goddess. He's taking over the burnt-out, grounded hulk of the Stygian Shark as his new home on arriving in Sasserine (her followers always live in shipwrecks). And I figured that despite the yuan-ti dying in the battle, other inhabitants of the ship might still have been on board...

Damn near a TPK on an 13th level party with 2 CR11 monsters (and a couple of negligible-CR lesser swarms brought in to up the numbers), who only wanted to be left alone to eat the yuan-ti's leftover ships rations. Lucky I forgot the SR, and didn't use the cranium rats' swarm regeneration rule cos it was getting too late at night. Use with care. Lots of Will saves and lasting effects (mind blast, sensory deprivation) makes this a dangerous encounter if the PCs dice are misbehaving.

CR 11

NE Large magical beast (swarm of tiny creatures)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; low-light vision, scent, Listen +31, Spot +31

AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 11
hp 180 (24 HD) DR half weapon dmg from slashing/piercing
immune cold
Fort +16, Ref +19, Will +12; SR26
Spd 40 ft. climb 20ft

Melee swarm 5d8
Base Atk +24; Grp –

Special Abilities mind blast (60ft cone, Will DC23 or stunned 3d4 rounds), distraction (Will DC26 or nauseated while starting turn in swarm’s space, spellcasting requires Concentration DC20+spell level)

Spells CL10th, +27 ranged touch, DC 14+spell level (DC16+spell level for illusion)
5th (3/day) nightmare
4th (6/day) phantasmal killer, bloodstar
3rd (7/day) major image, ray of exhaustion, prickling torment
2nd (7/day) death armour, belker claws, mindless rage, phantasmal assailants
1st (7/day) greater mage hand, disguise self, mage armour, magic missile, animate rope
0th (6/day) acid splash, detect magic, ghost sound, mending, prestidigitation, ray of frost, touch of fatigue, read magic, resistance

SQ replaced with average pack when destroyed

Abilities Str 2, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 19, Wis 14, Cha 19

Feats Eschew Materials, Improved Init, Lightning Reflexes, Iron Will, Alertness, Imp Natural Attack (swarm), Ability Focus (distract), Spell Focus (illusion), Greater Spell Focus (illusion)

Skills Hide +29, Move Silently +29, Concentration +29, Listen +31, Sense Motive +31, Spot +31

Alternate Spell Loadout (for swarm #2)

5th (3/day) telekinesis
4th (6/day) sensory deprivation, bloodstar
3rd (7/day) dispel magic, major image, prickling torment
2nd (7/day) invisibility, death armour, ghoul glyph, phantasmal assailants
1st (7/day) alarm, disguise self, arcane lock, charm person, animate rope
0th (6/day) detect magic, dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, ray of frost, touch of fatigue, read magic, resistance

Tactics/tricks are as follows:

Try to set it up to make the PCs believe there's an undead presence on board.

Disguise self disguises the cranium rats as normal rats (PCs assume they're vampire's minions or something)
Bloodstars used in pairs, resemble red-glowing eyes, and make swarm attacks harder to resist - they take ages to set up and move though, so position them carefully. Not a powerful spell, but the when you describe what's happening it creeps the players out brilliantly.
Belkers Claws look like undead touch attacks.
Greater Mage Hand to move ropes around, and Animate Rope to make entangle attacks.
Only break out the Death Armour and Magic Missile later on, when the PCs have realised there's no undead critter and that the rats are the real problem.
Stun or Sensory Deprive fighters, then have a lesser swarm eat them slowly. Or just telekinesis them overboard. Swarm the mages repeatedly until they die - you'll never fail a reflex save and have good SR. Forcecage is about the only thing that will work.
Nightmare spellcasters if they try to run away and regain spells overnight.
Dancing lights and Major images to directly simulate an undead critter if you need to.
Arcane Lock doors behind PCs who have gone below decks into the dark - works especially well if the PCs fail their Sensory Deprivation save and don't realise the doors are closed...

Don't use Ghoul Glyph - the spell description is VERY unclear (as I realised mid-game), and makes it a game-killer if read literally. Maybe Ghoul Touch instead.


I didn't say it was smart, I just think it was the author's intention.

Besides, Paizo's generally preferred to use PHB spells for their NPCs for the main (saves page count and means that DMs without splatbooks can still run the module), and T'sT is probably the best wizard-melee spell in the PHB, barring Polymorph abuse that requires massive and complicated stat blocks...

Yeah, I think that Kedward's Dire Scythe stuff was designed assuming he'd cast tenser's transformation at first opportunity - that makes him an ok (if hp-deprived) melee combatant.

But seriously, if you want to design an NPC to fight in melee, why not just use a fighter?

Give him some backup - the action economy makes fights featuring a group vs a single caster a bit of an all-or-nothing proposition. Maybe a golem? Alchemical or brass, to fit with the drug/mammon vibe? Devils also a good idea, with the whole Mammon thing.

Legion devils en masse are a pretty nasty idea. The stacking effect of their special rules means that even at CR3 or whatever they are, they can be dangerous.

Agree about making him a full caster to get the 9th level spells. Would also be worth looking into Improved Counterspell and Reactive Counterspell, so he's got more chance of doing interesting offensive things on his turn rather than just defending himself. The Dire Scythe stuff is a big waste of feats, obviously enough.

Improved Natural Attack only affects damage - it shouldn't make any difference to Redfang's attack rolls at all.

Scatter a few of these around the place in Hummingbird's temple. They're not all that imposing by themselves, but if the PCs have been messed with by the Caller, then they can be very nastily inconvenient. A bit of the glass cannon about them, but hey, at party level 13ish they're worth next to no XP anyway, so go wild without fear of giving your PCs cheap levels...

CR 7

Feral corpsecrafted advanced elite ghoul barbarian 4
CE Medium undead

Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; scent, Spot +9
AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16
hp 65 (7 HD) turn resistance +2, fast healing 3
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +10;
Immunities poison, stunning, crits, ability damage, disease, negative levels, fear, mind-affecting, sleep, paralysis, fatigue
Spd 50 ft

Melee bite +13 (1d6+8 + paralysis + ghoul fever) and 2 claws +13 (2d6+4 + paralysis) or
bite +15 (1d6+10 + paralysis + ghoul fever) and 2 claws +15 (2d6+5 + paralysis) – raging or
bite +13/+13 (1d6+10 + paralysis + ghoul fever) and 2 claws +13 (2d6+5 + paralysis) – raging and flurrying

Base Atk +5; Grp +13
Space/Reach 5ft/5ft
Special attacks paralysis (DC17, 1d4+1 rounds, elves immune), ghoul fever (disease DC12, incubation 1 day, 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex, victims who die rise as ghouls next midnight), pounce, improved grab (claw, Small or smaller creatures only), rage (whirling frenzy, 1/day, +4 Str, +4 Dex, flurry of blows, evasion, 3 rounds duration)

Abilities Str 26, Dex 17, Con -, Int 9, Wis 18, Cha 14

Feats Multiattack, Improved Multiattack, Improved Natural Attack (claw), Ability Focus (paralysis)

Skills Climb +12, Hide +10, Jump +12, Move silently +10, Spot +9, Survival +10

City of Broken Idols sent.

Serpents of Scuttlecove is probably a fair way off (we only just started CoBI, and I've got a sizeable side-trip planned back in time to the original Savage Tide...) but if I feel inspired I might get around to it soonish. Bear in mind that from here on in things will likely get decidedly less by-the-book, as my party's average level might be considerably different to the modules' assumed levels, and I fully expect my PCs to head determinedly off the beaten plot-track sometime around Wells of Darkness....

And here's the Caller in Darkness to go with him. I'm going to shove a bunch of ghouls, vermin etc into the guts of the pyramid as well, to feed on the bodies of the sacrificed creatures just as this thing feeds on their souls. Not much of a challenge for my party, but atmospheric, ecologically plausible and adding nicely to the creepy vibe...

CR 13
Advanced modified caller in darkness
CE Large undead (incorporeal)

Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +27, Spot +27
Aura despair (60ft, Will DC27, -2 to all attacks, saves, checks)
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 13
hp 142 (22 HD)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +15;
Spd 30 ft. fly 60ft (perfect)

Melee 4 incorporeal touches +13 melee (2d8)
Base Atk +5; Grp -

Special Abilities consume essence (+12 temp hp when kills with touch, can use to auto-coup de grace within 30ft as a std action)

Spell-like Abilities CL14th, at will: clairvoyance, dancing lights, bladeweave (DC18), 3/day: quickened suggestion (DC19), telekinesis (DC21), confusion, 1/day: maddening scream, maddening whispers (DC24), wrack (DC21)

Abilities Str -, Dex 16, Con -, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 22
SQ sunlight vulnerability, undead traits, incorporeal traits

Feats Blindfight, Combat Reflexes, Alertness, Improved Init, Improved Natural Attack (incorporeal touch), Ghostly Grasp, Snatch Trophy, Quicken Spell-like Ability (suggestion)

Skills Hide +20, Intimidate +23, Listen +27, Search +23, Sense Motive +23, Spot +27

Something a bit less my-campaign-specific.

This bloke is a bit of a sad, pathetic leftover. Once the herald of his god, but now Huitzilopochtli is a dead and almost-forgotten deity. Hummingbird has gone a bit mad from that - he lurks on top of a ruined pyramid temple, bloodily sacrificing anyone who comes near in the hopes of somehow bringing his master back.

Mind you, his sanity hasn't been helped by the maddening whisperings of the monstrously huge caller in darkness that's coalesced from the spirits of his sacrificial victims. It shrieks and gibbers in the man-sized passages of the temple and the dank hole of the bone pit, where Hummingbird is too big to go.

He appears as a gigantic, glowing, golden hummingbird, with blood dripping from his cruelly sharp beak, talons, and razored feathers.

CR 16

Solaric steelwing modified master of radiance 5
LE Huge magical beast (extraplanar)
Init +12; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; low-light vision, Listen +9, Spot +20
Languages Olman
Aura razorfeather shield (5ft, 5d6 slashing damage)

AC 28, touch 16, flat-footed 20, 20% miss chance, DR 15/adamantine, fast healing 15
hp 249 (20 HD)
immune light effects, searing light resist fire 20
Fort +20, Ref +18, Will +14;
Spd 50 ft. fly 120ft (good)

Melee bite +25 (2d6+9) and 2 wings +23 (1d8+4/17-20) and 2 claws +23 (1d8+4) or
bite +20 (2d6+14) and 2 wings +18 (1d8+9/17-20) and 2 claws +18 (1d8+9) – 5pts power attack
Ranged 3 razorfeathers +24 (1d8+9/17-20) or ranged touch +24
Base Atk +18; Grp +32
Space/Reach 15ft/15ft

Special Abilities hail of razorfeathers (60ft cone, 20d6 slashing, Reflex 26, 1/1d4 rounds), sunbeam (1/rnd while radiant aura active, DC23)
Spell-like Abilities CL 13th 1/rnd while radiant aura active: searing light (usable as swift action 3/day), 3/day: blades of fire; at will: light, death knell

Abilities Str 28, Dex 26, Con 25, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 22

SQ sun savior (+10 to all speeds, +2 morale bonus to attacks, saves, checks when in daylight or equivalent), radiant aura (3/day, free action, lasts 1 minute, shed 30ft radius bright light, light effects used inside area are at +2 CL, undead at -2 to everything)

Feats Flyby Attack, Wingover, Improved Maneuverability, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Multiattack, Quicken Spell-like Ability (searing light), Supernatural Transformation (sunbeam), Power Attack

Skills Listen +9, Spot +20, Knowledge (religion) +12, Intimidate +17

Matthew Vincent wrote:

The 3e Fiend Folio (p.54) lists four in the Skulvyn's full attack line:

"Full Attack: Bite +7 melee and 2 claws +5 melee, or 4 tail lashes +7 melee"

Ah, light begins to dawn! That's what happens when one reads the 'attack' line rather than the 'full attack' one...

Resurrecting a long-gone thread here, but are Khala's pets really mean to have 4 tail lashes each? The standard-issue Fiend Folio skulvyn only has one, not sure if this is a deliberate modification to make these blokes tougher, or whether it was a typo...

The way I looked at it, the Vanderborens were generally nice people, and didn't want to scatter lethal traps everywhere.

The iron cobra is a compromise - its poison reservoir can be filled with non-lethal venom, so it can capture (rather than just flat-out kill) any intruders. And it (rather than a bigger nastier construct) was chosen because of its capacity for stealth. Remember that while when the PCs get there, the vault was a big open empty space, the Vanderborens probably expected it to be full of chests, souvenirs, great big sculptures and paintings, and other curiosities from their adventures. Lots of cover for something small and sneaky like an iron cobra, but conversely not the sort of place where you'd want a stone golem stomping around in (doesn't help you much if the golem kills your would-be thief but crushes all your valuables in the process!)

Xuireksior's third exarch. The mage that goes 'boom'.

Sriraja was the beautiful daughter of a concubine of one of the mighty princes of the wealthy, rakshasa-ruled land of Vudra. But when her mother was poisoned, victim of one of the interminable intra-harem rivalries, she found that she had few resources and few real friends, despite all her magical power. Her prospects were bleak - staring down the barrel of a life spent exiled in a monastery as a contemplative holy woman, she was down to her last few gold coins when a smitten prince from a foreign land invited her to enrich his court. She graciously accepted, and even though the prince turned out to be a dragon and her magic valued more than her body, she remains content.

Sriraja is spectacularly gorgeous, and has the arrogance to go with it. She insists on being treated as a princess at all times and will respond violently (though not necessarily immediately) if she feels slighted - Xuireksior outwardly treats her as an honoured guest and equal, but she knows the real score and has never bridled against one of his delicately phrased 'requests' or 'suggestions'. She loves wealth and comfort - she drips with jewellery and brilliants silks, while in her lavishly furnished chambers, permanent unseen servants wait on her every whim. She has the instincts of a harem catfighter - her capacity for deception, cattiness and vindictiveness is incredible.

In combat she'll use Guards and Wards to protect Xiureksior's lair, then throw metamagicked fire spells around. She has a contingent Tenser's transformation (cast via her tiara) active at all times, set to go off 'when I cast Bite of the Weretiger'. If cornered in combat (or if facing adversaries who she has a grudge against), combining Bite of the Weretiger, Tenser's Transformation, and the Blood Rage ability of the instruments of the blood gift make her an incredibly dangerous melee opponent.

The Rakshasa Heritage feats are modifications of the Dragon Heritage feats from Dragon Magic - Sriraja is descended from rakshasas on her father's side, and has inherited some of their cat-like characteristics and resistance to magic. All sorcerors get Eschew Materials as a bonus feat in my campaign.

CR 16
Female human sorcerer 16
LE medium humanoid

Init +4; Senses: Spot +2
Language Common, Vudran, Infernal, Draconic
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 15
HP 85 (16d4+45 HD)
Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +12 (+2 vs spells, spell-like abilities)
Spd 30 ft
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Melee claw +7 (1d6-1)
Base Atk +8; Grp +7

Spells (CL 16th, DC17+spell level, fire spells at +1 CL, T = thematic spell +1 CL)
8th – (3/day) greater arcane fusion
7th – (6/day) greater teleport, energy absorption (T)
6th – (7/day) guards and wards (T), probe thoughts, bite of the weretiger, project image, tenser’s transformation
5th – (7/day) persistent image, mordenkainen’s private sanctum, greater dimension door, firebrand (T)
4th – (7/day) fire shield, greater invisibility, charm monster, rain of spines (T)
3rd – (8/day) major image, fireball, anticipate teleportation, karmic backlash (T)
2nd – (8/day) false life, invisibility, detect thoughts, web (T), balor nimbus
1st – (8/day) shield, disguise self, charm person (T), burning rage, unseen servant
0 – (6/day) detect magic, read magic, mage hand, arcane mark, message, ghost sound, dancing lights, daze, prestidigitation

Special Abilities Metamagic Specialist

Abilities Str 8, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 25

Feats Rakshasa Heritage, Rakshasa Claws, Eschew Materials, Spell Thematics (tigers and palaces), Empower Spell, Quicken Spell, Searing Spell, Extra Spell

Skills Bluff +28, Spellcraft +15, Diplomacy +13, Sense Motive +11, Knowledge (nobility) +9

Possessions cloak of charisma +6, bracers of armour +5, ring of protection +3, vest of resistance +2, topaz tiara of wariness (+2 spot, +2 init, contingency 1/week), instruments of the blood gift (complete set), winged anklets, ring of mystic fire, amulet of wordtwisting

Lightless Depths sent.

A couple of simple maxims:

1) There should never be only one thing happening at once. Fighting pirates is just a fight. Fighting pirates IN A HURRICANE while desperately trying to keep the ship afloat and a DIRE SHARK is cicling under the keel waiting for anyone who falls overboard and an INVISIBLE PIRATE NINJA is stalking around hunting the wizard and there's a pirate informer fomenting mutiny among the passengers is *memorable*.

2) Sometimes there must be things that are too big to fight. The AP as written is full of level-appropriate challenges until you hit somewhere around EoME, and so a meathead group can chop cheerfully through everything they come across if they're tactically formidable enough. This is the wrong vibe for the 'exploring the mysterious Isle' type campaign - there's no tension or fear of the unknown if the players are ooc confident that they can smack anything they come across if it comes down to it. PCs (and players) should sometimes be scared. The unknown has no power if you're always sure that you can take out whatever comes at you. Zotzilaha is a good example here.

3) If a PC tries something spectacular and cinematic, give it a chance of working. But more importantly, ensure that if it DOESN'T work, the failure is spectacular and cinematic and makes the situation more interesting, rather than being discouragingly, crushingly deadly - even at the expense of 'realism'. Refer to rule #1 - a PC trying and failing to do something outrageous can often be a great way to introduce a complication into an otherwise one-dimensional situation.

Anyone who'd like a copy of my stat files for later adventures (.doc format, incomplete in places, and heavily modified in other places...) post your requests here.

I have Lightless Depths available now, City of Broken Idols probably in a week or two.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Problem my group had was that they didn't have Knowledge (Dungeoneering), so no one knew about the Split ability... barbarian won initiative, full attacked, all suddenly all four of them are getting attacked by separate puddings.

Neither did mine, but they learnt all about Split under Dark Mountain Pass in Here There Be Monsters...

Yeah, my PCs breezed past the pudding too.

The scout/barbarian (with boots of striding & springing, base move 70ft...) got past the ooze, and then pelted down the corridor heading away from it, just keeping far enough ahead to keep it following him. Pudding is mindless, so just kept chasing him even as the rest of the PCs followed along behind it and fireballed it into a little spot of grease.

Didn't lose even a single hit point in the encounter.

d20 Star Wars would give the title a fair nudge. I ran a complete, epic campaign with that piece of garbage, and it almost drove me spare and came awful close to breaking up my group. Stupid ruleset, and everybody involved should be ashamed of themselves. Would give a long, loooong rant on the subject, but it's late and I want to go to bed.

Second exarch (and last one I'm posting for the day)

Dreg is a goblin, who worships the ancestral god of the dwarves IMC. Good reason for that - he was once a dwarf. A dwarf crown prince in fact.

Vordreg Ironcrown was an war-priest, who somewhat against his better judgement ended up 'adventuring' with a group containing, among others, a frequently inebriated human druid. In defeating a nasty plot by a circle of devil cultists, Vordreg was slain, heroically, in battle against a conjured horned devil. His body was borne home in mourning by his clanmates, and his father the king wept long over him. However, the druid had other ideas, and snuck in and reincarnated Vordreg - as a goblin. Thats when it all started to go wrong. Vordreg was retrieving his ancestral armour from 'his' corpse when his father walked in. Thelam Ironcrown wasn't listening to any explanations from the filthy goblin robbing his son's corpse, and went for his axe. Vordreg fled into the stone, his father's vow to slay him no matter what the cost ringing in his ears.

Dwarves don't break vows, even if they're made under false pretences or spoken rashly. Vordreg became an exile, and was stuck a goblin. He sought death against Xiureksior, but the dragon offered him purpose instead.

Dreg's job is to do all the boring stuff. He casts wards, buffs, heals etc on Xiureksior and the other exarchs, he scribes scrolls, and he dispels stuff. He was also the one who cast most of the various permanent protective spells that ward Xiureksior's lair. He'll generally try and stay out of the way and fight either indirectly (by supporting his allies) or at a distance using touch spells via his Reach Spell Rod, or his rod of force - he'll use earth glide and meld into stone to avoid melee if necesary, since he left his axe back on 'his' body in his father's stronghold, and he will use no other weapaon. He casts extended magic vestments on his shield and armour on alternate days, so most of the time these will both be acting as +3 items (his armour isn't everyday wear though - he carries his shield everywhere, but his armour stays safely back in his rooms at Xiureksior's lair until he summons it if things look ugly).

CR 15
Male goblin cleric 10 (First and Eldest)/Earth dreamer 5
LN Small humanoid (goblin)

Init +5; Senses darkvision 60ft, Earth sight 30ft (std action, 7 round duration), tremorsense 10ft, Listen +12, Spot +7
Language Common, Dwarven, Terran, Draconic
AC 29, touch 11, flat-footed 29
HP 136 (10d8+5d4+75 HD) DR 3/-
Fort +16, Ref +5, Will +18 (+2 vs poison, spells, spell-like abilities)
Spd 20 ft. (30 without armour)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Melee -
Base Atk +9; Grp +4

Spells (CL 15th, DC17+spell level)
Domains Cavern, Time
8th – foresight, mass death ward
7th – maw of stone, withering palm, fortunate fate
6th – contingency, heal, greater dispel magic x2
5th – passwall, revivify, slay living, wall of stone, break enchantment
4th – freedom of movement, mass shield of faith, recitation, extended magic vestment
3rd – haste, dispel magic x2, prayer, meld into stone, protection from energy
2nd – darkness, iron silence, silence, status, lesser restoration x2, resist energy x2
1st – true strike, resurgence x2, bless, blood wind, nightshield, obscuring mist
0 – detect magic x2, resistance x2, guidance x2

Spell-like Abilities Earth Dream 1/day

Special Abilities Earth Glide (std action, 7 round duration), Earth Friend, Turn Undead, Spontaneous Healing, Stonecunning

Abilities Str 8, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 12, Wis 24, Cha 15

Feats Earth Sense, Scribe Scroll, Dwarven Armour Proficiency, Extend spell, Divine Spell Power, Craft Wondrous Item, Improved Initiative

Skills Knowledge (nature) +6, Spellcraft +12, Knowledge (religion) +20, Concentration +22, Diplomacy +11, Listen +12

Possessions +1 called adamantine mountain plate armour, +1 large steel shield, Periapt of Wisdom +4, Metamagic Rod of Reach Spell, Ring of Spell-Battle, Rod of Force, Belt of Dwarvenkind, loads of scrolls

The first of Xiureksiors' exarchs. Again, not really a power build. This guy mostly exists because a) his huge array of divination SLA's mean that I can justify Xiureksior knowing pretty much anything I want him to, and b) because I wanted a swordsmith the PCs could commission weapons from, rather than having to go to the Sasserine magic shop (a process I find a bit distasteful)

His survivability is only ok (he relies a fair bit on his Scarab and various buffs from Dreg and Skaggerak) and he relies a lot on his maneuvers (and hopefully iaijutsu) to inflict significant damage. Still wondering whether I shouldn't swap out Rapid Counter for Ruby Nightmare Blade or another strike maneuver for more damage output...

A few mechanical notes - IMC hengeyokai lose their -2 wis penalty but only have two forms - human and animal, no hybrid form. All the rest as written in Dragon 318. Samurai can take martial study/stance as bonus feats, martial schools depending on their clan. Weeping Heron is a Crane Clan samurai, so he can take Diamond Mind stuff as bonus feats. Also, there is no Iaijutsu Focus skill - that is wound into Concentration.

Weeping Heron's background is a bit tragic. He was a respected warrior of the Chrysanthemum Empire, with a wife and two fine sons. But late one autumn his Daimyo provoked the emnity of a ninja clan, and the clan's witch laid the evil eye on him, bringing his beast nature to the fore. He became the crane, completely, and flew south for the winter. Once he recovered his senses, he had been away for a full season and all knew what had becoem of him. Hengeyokai are not permitted to be samurai, and rather than disgrace his family by attempting to return, he allowed his eldest son to continue as master of the household. Blinding himself so that he might not fall victim to the witch's evil eye once more, he infiltrated the ninja stronghold and, with the help of a traveller met along the way, cut the clan down in a single night.

Once vengeance was satisfied, the traveller revealed himself to be Xiureksior, and Weeping Heron took service with the dragon, as his new exarch.

(Heron, and the rest of the exarchs, each have 5 favour tokens. These tokens can be exchanged for a once-off +4 on any d20 roll, immunity to acid for 10 minutes, teleportation back to Xiureksior's lair, or various other benefits as defined in MMV)

CR 16
Male blind oracle hengeyokai (crane) samurai 12/monk 1/iaijutsu master 2
LN medium humanoid (shapechanger)

Init +9; Senses Blindsight 150ft (blind otherwise), Listen +16
Language Common, Mikatese, Draconic
AC 33, touch 28, flat-footed 21
HP 131 (14d10+1d8+45 HD)
Fort +13, Ref +15, Will +14
Spd 30 ft. (6 squares)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Melee katana +24/+19/+14 (1d10+6/19-20 +2d6 cold) or
Katana +19/+14/+9 (1d10+16/19-20 +2d6 cold)
Base Atk +14; Grp +2

Spell-like abilities at will: augury, sanctuary; 3/day speak with animals, speak with plants, divination; 1/day speak with dead, scrying, true seeing; 1/month commune, commune with nature, find the path

Pearl of Black Doubt – stance, +2 AC per missed attack, cumulative until you are hit or until your turn
Emerald Razor – strike, single melee attack is touch attack
Rapid Counter – counter, use to gain attack when opponent provokes AoO. Doesn’t count as an AoO
Greater Insightful Strike – strike, replace normal melee damage with double the result of a Concentration check

Abilities Str 14, Dex 22, Con 16, Int 15, Wis 18, Cha 13
SQ Immune to gaze attacks and all effects that rely on vision, alternate form (crane) 16/day

Feats Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (katana), Weapon finesse, Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Combat Reflexes, Expertise, Master Craftsman (weaponsmithing), Martial Study (Emerald Razor), Martial Study(Rapid Counter), Craft Magic Arms and Armour, Power Attack, Martial Study (Greater Insightful Strike), Martial Stance (Pearl of Black Doubt), Close-Quarters Fighting

Skills Listen +16, Concentration +21, Craft (weaponsmithing) +20, Sense Motive +22, Perform (poetry) +10, Craft (calligraphy) +20, Diplomacy +15

Possessions +5 bracers of armour, +3 doublefrost katana, ring of protection +2, gloves of dex +4, potion of cure critical x2, potion of bull’s strength, scabbard of keen edges, scarab of invulnerability, amulet of health +2

Here's Xiureksior.

I could probably build a more RBDM-y dragon, but that's not what I really wanted. First, I wanted Xiureksior to be an old-fashioned dragon - claws and teeth and breath weapon, rather than a high-level sorcerer with loads of AC and hp like big dragons tend to be. Second, I wanted him to be a potential non-enemy. I went with the Xorvintaal template from MMV - it's a bit underpowered, but it did everything I wanted and all his weakness I can cover with his exarchs (who are coming soon)

Xiureksior is very old, and has all three mental stats in the 20s. He acts accordingly. He plans long term, he calculates brilliantly and ruthlessly, and he never surrenders to impatience or allows anger to overwhelm his better judgement.

IMC he's extorted his way onto the Farshore council with status equal to that of Manthalay or pre-Mayor Lavinia. He's concluded a military alliance of sorts with Farshore, which is obviously enormously in their favour right now, but he's taking the longer term view and believes that now the colony is growing, it will inevitably develop into a town, then a city, then a nation, and he's best off being seen as an established power and authority in that nation rather than as a ravening beast on the frontier. To this end, he put one of his sons, a half-dragon girallon, in the way of the PCs. PCs killed him, after which Xiureksior descended on them and in mock-rage demanded retribution, justice, etc. He then allowed them to convince him to let the offense slide, but they (and the council) were so cowed by his rage that they leapt on his proposal of alliance without thinking too long about it. Since then, he's been making himself consipicuously useful around the place - he's given Lavinia one of his pair of sending stones, so that Farshore can contact him in case of an emergency, he's had his exarch Dreg regenerate Tavey Nesks fingers, after Olangru ate them back in HTBM, and he's indulging the PCs in their desire to trade magic items or excess loot for certain items he's got in his hoard (incidentally convincing them to go and steal a ring of wishes - 1 wish remaining - from a minor Xorvintaal rival of his in the meantime) or having his exarchs (or himself) craft them. He may end up fathering a half-dragon or two along the way, just to establish more of a powerbase.

My general goal with him is to reinforce that agreements can be reached with Evil if they're in everybody's interests, in the hope the PCs will learn the lesson by the time EomE comes around, and to provide Farshore with a big nasty defender so that the PCs won't feel the need to hang around protecting the place all the time and can go off and do plot stuff with a clearish conscience.

Xorvintaal-wise he plays for keeps, and his taxidermy skill and Master Craftsman feat mean he likes to make minor magic items from bits of his defeated foes and keep them around as trophies.. The figurehead of the Sea Wyvern is in fact one of those items - a defeated Xorvintaal gold dragon trapped in figurehead form forever. The PCs haven't yet realised this (one of them is a gold-totem dragon shaman...) and it amuses him greatly.

Combat-wise I've tried to give him some options to use as swift and immediate actions, cos acting 1/turn vs a whole PC group is boring. His ring's spell loadout I'm still not sure about - I probably need a dim-door of some description.

His lair is a vast, well-lit series of caverns carved into a vein of pure frosty quartz in a mountain in the north-east corner of the Isle. His hoard is displayed more as trophies or exhibits in a museum rather than a big random pile of stuff he sleeps on. His main chamber is dominated by a large pool - 30ft by 30ft, 4ft deep and full of crystal clear acid. At the bottom in the centre is a platform of healing (Draconomicon), but anyone not immune to acid (Xiureksior is and his exarchs can be) is on to a big loser trying to use it.

CR 21
Male Xorvintaal Ancient Green Dragon
LE gargantuan dragon (air)

Init +0; Senses darkvision 120 ft.; blindsense 60ft, Spot +4
Languages Draconic, Common, Olman, Sylvan, Mikatese, Vudran, telepathy 10 miles (exarchs only)
AC 39, touch 8, flat-footed 39
hp 496 (32d12+286 HD) DR 15/magic
Fort +32, Ref +23, Will +28;
Spd 40 ft., swim 40ft, fly 200ft (clumsy)
Face/reach 20 ft./15 ft. (20 ft. with bite)

Melee Bite +44 (4d6+12+dragon toxin) and 2 claws +42 (2d8+6+dragon toxin) and claw +37 (2d8+6+dragon toxin) and 2 wings +42 (2d6+6) and tail +42 (2d8+18) or
Bite +34 (4d6+22+dragon toxin) and 2 claws +32 (2d8+16+dragon toxin) and claw +27 (2d8+16+dragon toxin) and 2 wings +32 (2d6+16) and tail +32 (2d8+28) or
Crush 4d8+18, 20ftx20ft area, Reflex DC31 or pinned
Base Atk +32; Grp +56

Special Actions breath weapon 60ft cone of acid, 20d6 Ref DC 35 for half, frightful presence 300ft radius DC31, dragon toxin (25 damage on dragon’s turn to anyone affected, noncumulative from multiple hits, magical healing removes), rend 4d8+18 if two claws hit same target

Twist of fate
• spell disruption (+10 on one save, immediate action, -5 to all saves for 1d4 rounds afterwards
• area avoidance (immediate action to move up to 30ft out of area effect template by shortest route, AoOs as normal, can’t move next round),
• wing blast (immediate action to replace attack of opportunity with wingflap that blows wind at target – functions as bull rush except dragon doesn’t move), can’t make wing attacks next round, doesn’t count as an AoO

Spell-like Abilities (CL 13th, DC 15+ spell level) suggestion 3/day, dominate person 3/day, scrying 3/day (exarchs only), charm monster 3/day (exarchs only), plant growth 1/day

Abilities Str 35, Dex 10, Con 29, Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 20
SQ Immune sleep & paralysis, water breathing, immune to divinations re future xorvintaal moves, create exarchs, alternate form (any medium or smaller animal or humanoid 3/day), SR32

Feats Awaken Spell Resistance, Multiattack, Power Attack, Hover, Wingover, Rapidstrike (claw), Rend, Quicken Breath, Flyby Attack, Entangling Exhalation, Master Craftsman (taxidermy), Craft Wondrous Item

Skills Listen +40, Search +15, Spot +40, Bluff +40, Hide +21, Move Silently +20, Intimidate +40, Concentration +22, Diplomacy +40, Use Magic Device +35, Sense Motive +40, Knowledge (local) +28, Knowledge (arcana) +20, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +25, Craft (taxidermy) +21

Possessions (carried stuff only – much more in the hoard…) major ring of spell storing (heal, blood wind, dispel magic), heart of flames (amulet, fire resist 10, +4 con, fire shield 1/day, +1 AoO/round, use additional swift/immediate action in a round 3/day), ring of protection +2

Hoard: crystal ball, healing platform, censer of air elementals, hand of the mage, greater stone of alarm, sending stone, stone golem manual, horn of good/evil, horseshoes of the zephyr, horn of plenty, much, much else.

I second Tammeraut's Fate. I thought hard about including it myself, but I already had War of the Wielded going and two bridging adventures would have been too much. Really nice adventure, though I like the first half much better than the second half. You might want to be a bit careful about how much underwater-type treasure you give out though, just to keep things interesting through SWW.

Thanks for the feedback!

Good catch on the Hover thing, Dark Roland - I missed that the Deep Screamer's increased maneuverability would make it redundant. I wouldn't go with Improved Natural Armour as a replacement though - level 11ish PCs will hit his AC 20 just as easily as they'll his AC19 - ie, pretty much all the time. I'd maybe go with Improved Flyby Attack or Improved Natural Attack (bite) instead.

For those how wanted more of the Infamous Seven - I'll be posting Xiureksior and his little friends some time in the next couple of days...

Another one of the Infamous Seven. A bit tougher this time! Cerratakatha was a servitor of an Olman noble family back before the fall of the empire - the family had secretly fallen into the worship Obox-ob, in order to placate him and his children as the island domain granted to them by the emperor was beset with vermin and effectively uninhabitable.

Cerratakatha was Obox-ob's messenger to the family. He survived the fall of the empire, and has been lurking on Scorpion Isle, growing older and huger and more terrible ever since. I'm going to surround him with a bunch of other giant vermin and a few chasmes, just to make things interesting.

Note that his spell selection includes a bunch of nasty cleric buffs at a very high caster level, and if he's got time to prepare he's going to be a LOT tougher than presented. He might be under-CRed to be honest, though his feat selection isn't quite as horrendous as it could have been...

CR 16
Male Colossal Awakened Monstrous Scorpion of Legend cleric 4 (Obox-ob)
CE colossal outsider (native, augmented vermin)

Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Tremorsense 60ft, Spot +4
Languages Abyssal, Olman
AC 34, touch 4, flat-footed 34
hp 550 (44d8+352 HD)
Fort +37, Ref +19, Will +19;
Spd 50 ft.
Face/reach 40ft/30ft

Melee 2 claws +42 (4d8+17) and sting +40 (4d6+8+poison DC38 1d10 Con/1d10 Con) or
2 claws +32 (4d8+27) and sting +30 (4d6+18+poison DC38 1d10 Con/1d10 Con) (10 points power attack)
Base Atk +33; Grp +63

Special Actions constrict 4d8+17, improved grab, poison, rebuke undead, rebuke spiders, clarity of madness 1/day

Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 17th)
Domains Madness, Spider
5th bolts of bedevilment (SC), insect plague
4th giant vermin, air walk, divine power, wrack (SC)
3rd rage, dispel magic x2, chain of eyes (SC), downdraft (SC)
2nd touch of madness, cure moderate wounds x2, silence, dark way (SC), infernal wound (SC)
1st spider climb, entropic shield, blood wind x2, shield of faith, divine favour
0 detect magic x2, guidance, resistance x2, read magic

Abilities Str 45, Dex 14, Con 26, Int 15, Wis 18, Cha 14
SQ Immune acid, mind-affecting

Feats Practised spellcaster x2 (CD), Power Attack, Improved Natural Attack (claw), Multiattack, Eyes in the Back of your Head (CW), Extend Spell, Divine Metamagic (Extend spell) (CD), Improved Initiative

Skills Climb +21, Hide -9, Spot +7, Knowledge (religion) +6, Concentration +12, Spellcraft +6

Rowyn as she was on the Sea Wyvern. She was going to get butchered if she faced the PCs as witten, so I restatted her as a swashbuckler-type swordsage. I ran War of the Wielded before SWW, and Rowyn ended up being the wielder of the Czarina, so I ran with that. Her permanent Blink effect is due to a handwaved weird magical effect, and was absolutely necessary to give her more survivability.

Her maneuvers and abilities and magic items are designed to give her a chance against large groups. Comet throw and repelling gauntlets can be used to push people overboard (I had a dire shark following the Wyvern through most of its voyage...), and Fortuitious Tumble helps her use the PCs numbers against them.

Female human swordsage 10
CN Medium humanoid

Init +7; Senses Listen +2, Spot +2
Languages Common
AC 22, touch 16, flat-footed 16; permanent blink: 50% miss chance from physical attacks (20% if attacker can see invis), own attacks have 20% miss chance, 50% chance to avoid individually targeted spells, half damage from area effects, strike as invisible
HP 58 (10 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +11 (Evasion), Will +9; +2 to all if in Diamond Mind stance
Spd 30 ft.
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Melee Czarina Valora +14/+9 (1d6+2/18-20 + 2hp if Diamond Mind maneuver used)
Base Atk +7; Grp +7

Atk Options Fortuitous Tumble – if hit by opponent, may make Bluff check as a move action, if successful, opponent’s next attack hits adjacent creature other than you
Repelling Gauntlets – 3/day, force creature moving adjacent to you to make Reflex DC17 or be moved 5ft back and lose the rest of their action.

Comet Throw (melee touch then trip w/ +4, then can throw 10ft + 5ft/5 points you won check by. Target takes 4d6 and is prone, target in end square the same unless Ref DC14)
Strike of the Broken Shield (+4d6 damage, Ref DC 14 or flatfooted for 1 round)
Mind Over Body (use Concentration check for Fort save)
Flashing Sun (flurry of blows for 1 round)
Sapphire Nightmare Blade (Concentration check DC foes AC to get +1d6 damage and foe flatfooted)
Insightful Strike (roll to hit normally, Concentration check for damage)
Pearl of Black Doubt (+2 AC each time missed by an opponent, resets on your init)
Stance of Clarity (+2 AC vs one enemy, -2 vs all others)
Hearing the Air (gain blindsense and +5 to Listen checks)

Abilities Str 10, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 14
Feats Combat Panache, Expertise, Einhander, Skill focus (Concentration), Weapon Focus (any Diamond Mind weapon), Weapon Finesse
Skills Balance +17, Bluff +9, Concentration +18, Hide +9, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (nobility) +14, Perform +7, Sense Motive +13, Tumble +15,
Possessions combat gear, +1 mithril chain shirt, masterwork buckler, repelling gauntlets, potion of cure serious wounds, Ring of the Darkhidden, potion of darkvision, blast disk (5d6 fire within 10ft, Ref DC14 for half), Mirror of suggestion (DC 14, 2/day, target must see mirror)

Mithril rapier of puncturing
AL NE; Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 17; telepathy, 120ft darkvision, All saves +8, Ego 15.
Lesser powers hypnotism 3/day (DC 14), Bluff +13, Diplomacy +13
Greater Powers detect Oquons within 60ft at will
3/day make a touch attack for 1d6 Con damage

This one of the Imfamous Seven needed a bit of a boost. Shambling Mound advanced to 20HD, plus a modified version of the half-fiend template. Didn't want him throwing around CL20 Horrid Wiltings at a level 9 party, so I reduced the CR a bit, lost the higher-level spell-like abilities, and gave him a couple of extra movement abilities.

In my campaign, he was used on ToD to foreshadow Father Noltus. A group of lizardfolk who Noltus had converted had later been subverted by Burbalarg, (Noltus worshipped the sun, Burbalarg presented himself as the favoured child of the sun - plants need the sun to grow, after all!) who now ruled them with an iron fist(/branch). Add a few lizard rangers and a load of venomous plants and fungi to this guy, and you've got an interesting encounter.

CR 12
Size/Type: Huge Plant
Hit Dice: 20d8+120 (210 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft., climb 20ft, swim 30 ft, pass without trace, woodland stride.
Armor Class: 23 (-2 size, +15 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 23

Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+34
Attack: Slam +26 melee (2d8+11)
Full Attack: 2 slams +26 melee (2d8+11) bite +24 melee (2d6+5)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.

Special Attacks: Improved grab, constrict 2d6+16 smite good 1/day (+20), spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft. low-light vision, immunity to electricity, low-light vision, immune to mind-effecting, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, critical hits, polymorph, resistance to fire, acid, cold 10, DR10/magic, SR30
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +2, Will +4

Abilities: Str 33, Dex 12, Con 23, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11
Skills: Hide +3*, Listen +8, Move Silently +8 Feats: Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam) Ability Focus (unholy blight)
Challenge Rating: 6
Spell-like abilities (CL20): Darkness 3/day, Desecrate, Unholy Blight, Poison 3/day

Last of the Golismorga mob. Standard devourer as written is a bit of a glass, cannon - 78hp at for level ~12 PCs is a joke. He migt live through 2 hits, if he's lucky. Spellstitching to the rescue! DR10/magic & silver, plus False Life, Veil of Shadow makes a bit of a difference, and gives him a few extra options (Blacklight and Translocation trick) for getting out of there if things go bad. Quickened spell-like abilites mean he can whittle down fighter-types a bit in the first combat round, too.

There was a later version of him too, after he gained the Monster of Legend template. That one was much more scary...

CR 12
NE Large undead

Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +18, Spot +18
AC 24, touch 9, flat-footed 24
hp 78 (12 HD) DR 10/magic & silver
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +13; SR21
Spd 30 ft.

Melee 2 claws +15 (1d6+9 + negative level)
Base Atk +6; Grp +19

Special Actions Energy drain DC19, trap essence

Spell-like Abilities caster level 18, 35 total uses: confusion (DC17), control undead (DC20), ghoul touch (DC15), lesser planar ally, ray of enfeeblement, spectral hand, true seeing, suggestion (DC16)

Other Spell like Abilities (from spellstiched template):
4/day: Backbiter (Will DC14, SC23)
2/day: Veil of Shadow (SC228), False life
1/day: Translocation Trick (Will 17, SC222), Skull Watch (SC191), Blacklight (SC30)

Abilities Str 28, Dex 10, Con -, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 17
SQ spell deflection
Feats Expertise, Improved initiative, Weapon Focus (claw), Quicken spell-like ability (confusion), Quicken spell-like ability (ray of enfeeblement)
Skills Climb +24, Concentration +18, Diplomacy +5, Move Silently +15, Search +10, sense motive +11, Survival +3, Use Magic Device +18

Possessions: +1 dagger that casts inflict critical wounds 3/day (used for self-healing)

Another Golismorga denizen. This bloke was designed to be a shadowy threat 'up there', so the PCs would stay on the ground a bit more and get the full, icky Golismorga experience rather than simply bung on some fly spells and get in and out of the place in 5 minutes.

CR 12
Two-headed yrthak
CE huge magical beast (reptilian)

Init +6; Senses Blindsight 120ft, Listen +16
AC 19, touch 10, flat-footed 19
hp 133 (14 HD)
Fort +13, Ref +11 Will +5;
Spd 20 ft. fly 60ft (good)

Melee 2 bites + 17 (2d8+5) or 2 sonic lance +14 ranged touch (6d8)
Base Atk +14; Grp +27

Abilities Str 20, Dex 14, Con 19, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 11
SQ immune visual effects, gaze attacks, visual illusions. Vulnerable sonic.
Feats Improved Initiative, Flyby Attack, Multiattack, Improved Maneuverability, Improved Natural Attack (sonic lance), Combat Reflexes, Hover
Skills Move Silently +12

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