need a 'Big Bad' for my adventure


Advice

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Hey all, first time posting, so here goes...

Starting my first Pathfinder campaign soon with family. Seven pc's total, all 1st level: human female barbarian, elf male magus, gnome male sorcerer, human male cleric, half-orc male barbarian, half-elf female druid & goblin male rogue.

Found a nice free module online called "Goblin's Tooth" that I think will work very well - essentially, the group has to help prevent another goblin/human war by destroying the creature that is hunting/killing the local goblin tribe (forcing them to raid humans for food to survive). Campaign will start in more sub-tropical climate, similar to South America.

Having difficulty deciding on what to use as the 'main' enemy of the encounter that's been attacking the goblins. Here are my favorite options so far:

amphisbaena, CR4 (BEST II, 25) - young template (CR-1)?
owlbear, CR4 (BEST, 224) - young template?
girallon, CR6 (BEST, 154) - young template for sure
ogre, CR3 (BEST, 220) - maybe a pair?
mite, CR1/4 (BEST, 207) - pair/group? - vermin companions?

I would appreciate any/all thoughts & comments, both on the suggestions above, or if you think of an option I might have overlooked. The girallon is appealing due to the environment, but may be too powerful. The mite(s) could be seeking revenge on the goblins for past mockery (read in the creature description).

Thanks very much, & I look forward to your thoughts!


If you are dealing with competent players, the BBEG pretty much HAS to be able to cast some decent spells or at least have a nicely leveled crony that can.

If you want there to be a conspiracy or deeper reason that the goblins are being attacked then go with a more intelligent race or creature. Otherwise, my vote goes for the Mite, they can be shaped the easiest into what you need to throw at the PC's in a given situation (they will surprise you). They can even coax some ogres into helping them if they need the extra muscle.


I like the girallon. I know is to much for first level characters at least in a straigt fight, but it should not be neceary a straight fight.

I would make sure the PCs knows that the monster is imposible to beat in a straight fight (a tribe of goblind could not beat it after all), so they need to plan another tactic (traps, ambush, hit and run tactics, poisoning the food...)


I like the idea of weak vengeance-seekers, and in that vein, I would suggest kobolds. They get a rap as fodder and comic relief, but in many respects that role is filled by goblins in PF. Classic Monsters Revisited has a cool take on kobolds, playing them up as creatures accutely aware of their own weakness, but skilled at traps and manipulation.

Consider a group of embittered kobolds who have some reason to hate the goblins, or, even better, then humans. Knowing that they cannot stand against humans, they manipulate the goblins, using them as a proxy to lash out at their real targets. When the PCs finally do learn of this, there's room for a small dungeon crawl, and even though individual enemies might be weak, you can make heavy use of clever traps and tactics, which is a good way to get players in the habit of doing the same.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ogres. Read Classic Monsters Revisited. These things are like running into the hicks from Deliverance on a giant scale. That is frightening, especially if you play up the horrible inbreed rapist part.
Seriously, pathfinder ogres are terrifying.


To me nothing says big bad like the Big Bad Wolf.

A cunning Worg with his own wolf pack wants to claim the goblin's territory for it's own.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seriously, no one likes the idea of being raped by an ogre.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seriously, no one likes the idea of being raped by an ogre.

"I hear banjos! PADDLE FASTER!"


1 person marked this as a favorite.
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seriously, no one likes the idea of being raped by an ogre.

Of course, they may not like the idea of rape so much that they don't want to deal with it in their game at all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HappyDaze wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seriously, no one likes the idea of being raped by an ogre.
Of course, they may not like the idea of rape so much that they don't want to deal with it in their game at all.

True, the only reason I mention it is that there are several references to it in the ogre lore. Still, even if left in the background, very scary thing. In fact, just having the knowledge of the said lore, should be more than enough to scare the crap out of PCs.


Can't use the rape angle, as kids are playing in the game. But with ogre depravity, didn't seem unreasonable a small clan might develop a taste for goblin flesh...

Kobolds are being saved for a later session, with the idea of running as a serious, yet greatly under-rated, opponent. Have seen it done before, to nice effect...

Wouldn't a worg just take over the goblin tribe? The creature description comments that the 2 races frequently work together, although it's usually the worg that's in charge...

OK, so if I go with an intelligent enemy, the mite(s) seeking revenge with vermin companions looks most appealingso far. If I go with 'hungry predator', I'm liking the girallon (still concerned about CR, but the suggestions noted above that pc's won't survive head-on fight, & need strategy were helpful) or the amphisbaena. The half-orc is likely wielding a big axe, & the ranger is using a falcata (martial weapon due to locale), so I can easily envision someone cutting the thing in 1/2 - group's ready to celebrate, but no, we're not done yet...

Also, there will be some minor encounters in the wilderness to help keep things interesting, maybe a wild boar or two, etc.... I'll post what I decide on, but if anyone has any other ideas or opinions, please keep them coming! Thanks!!


I think I might go with a demented dwarven ranger with favored enemy goblins.

3rd or 4th level maybe.

The whole idea is to play him intelligently and have him be a hider and ambusher who only fights on his own terms, and runs away if the odds aren't in his favor.

I want the party to really get a workout on tracking and forest skills. The enemy might not be that tough head to head, but he uses traps and pitfalls.

The kind of thing the PC's have to use tactics and think their way through.


Bugbear with Class levels


I would second or third the idea of the dwarf ranger. But really any intellegent normally "good" race. Throw in the intrigue. Perhap a merchant house in the human lands wants the war for profiteering reasons. Maybe a nearby competeing power wants the war to diminish their rivals. They might be very sneaky types who send any of the creatures you listed as agents or weapons against the goblins in the hopes the war will start. This sets up the next round of adventures. Maybe next time they will harrass the humans trying to goad them.


Tom S 820 wrote:
Bugbear with Class levels

I did this once, my players won't let me use bugbears anymore.


pipedreamsam wrote:
Tom S 820 wrote:
Bugbear with Class levels
I did this once, my players won't let me use bugbears anymore.

I did it once too, although my class-levelled bugbear was also a half-fiend. They barely got out alive and then complained for days. :P


Gluttony wrote:
pipedreamsam wrote:
Tom S 820 wrote:
Bugbear with Class levels
I did this once, my players won't let me use bugbears anymore.
I did it once too, although my class-levelled bugbear was also a half-fiend. They barely got out alive and then complained for days. :P

Same here, w/o the half fiendish, but add a Goblin Clr 3 for buffs and heals.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Seriously, no one likes the idea of being raped by an ogre.

Come on, leave it alone. It is in bad taste to say the least.


Sow Terror
Source Classic Monsters Revisited 7
Bugbears are stealthy, and sometimes they use their skill at furtiveness to inspire dread in their prey.

Prerequisites: Stealthy.

Benefit: Anytime you win an opposed Stealth check by 5 or more you might sow terror as a standard action. You do so by scraping your nails slightly on a solid surface, causing a board to creak ever so lightly, or rapping on a window pane. The victim cannot detect the source of the sound and dismisses it as the wind or some other mundane source, but the idea that something might be lurking nearby festers in the victim�s subconscious. The victim must roll a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Charisma modifier) or become shaken for 1d4 rounds.

Some type of serial kill or lunatic. With 2 rouge levels and 1 Barbian.


Half fiend bug bear. I've got to steal that one day

Liberty's Edge

I would do a Bugbear (or a goblin hating Elf) with 2-3 levels of Ninja and the Vanish trick. They are sadistic, and though it would be a tough fight I think with 7 PCs it would be doable. Especially since you have two Barbarians and a Magus to put out damage. He could be looking to take over their territory for himself, so that he can be close enough to the human settlement to dine on one whenever he pleases. The Elf just let his hatred for Goblinkind grow too bitter to care about the consequences of his murder sprees.


The deranged dwarf is a good idea, but just doesn't feel right this time... my gut says too many of the locals might not consider him 'deranged' with goblins as his favored enemy (even if they don't want another war). Plus, with a couple of my pc's new to roleplaying, I really want to avoid starting the campaign with moral ambiguities.


Got looking through the Bestiaries again. I've decided if I go with an intelligent enemy, it'll be the revenge-seeking mite(s).

Here is my modified list of 'hunter/predator' options:
* Owlbear, CR4
* Dire Ape(s), CR3 (instead of Girallon)
* Tiger, CR4

Any of these could have moved into the area & started killing the goblins for territorial/ easy meal reasons. I'm thinking the goblins' lair is just far enough away from the human settlements that the creature hasn't begun attacking them - yet (although perhaps a local or 2 has mysteriously gone missing recently).

Given the 'South American' style flavor of the campaign, I'm curious on anyone's thoughts/preferences on these choices. Muchas gracias. :)


I think you have to respect the ape a little more.

The Tiger is bad enough, odds are he can probably kill one pc a round.

The ape might just wipe them out.

Out of those I'd rather fight the owlbear.


Fair point, should mention all pc's get max hp at 1st level - that ought to help some.

If I play the tiger the way it should be played (ie, as it would be in nature), they'll never see it coming. Probably too lethal... caught my eye because tigers are known to develop a taste for certain prey, especially if it's easy to catch (like a goblin). Maybe use the young template, drop the CR to 3??

The dire ape & the owlbear seem to be less about stealth, more of a straight on assault - which could be deadly enough, but at least they'll be able to prepare more for it. I picture both of these being more about territory, although the goblins would then make a tasty snack as well (yummy!)

As I'm writing this (which helps me organize my thoughts), the owlbear or dire ape seem most likely - as I want a bit more of a fantasy spin on my 1st adventure, for the newbies in the group.

And so the list grows a little shorter...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Derro are pretty dang scary. A derro antipaladin is really scary.


Just wanted to take a minute before I trundle off to bed to say thank you for all the comments & input so far. It's been much more thanI expected, and has been greatly appreciated. I think I'm going to start looking around the message boards more, see what else I can find that might be of interest/inspiration.

Thanks, and keep it coming!


Another vote for an ogre or 2. You don't have to play up the rape aspect, just the murderous psycho part. They'll be doing the world a favor by killing them, and it'll be a tough fight.

Give them a fair chance at getting an advantage by playing smart; plotting an ambush, separating them, or something to make it easier. An ogre would splatter them in a straight toe-to-toe.

A couple of insane hobgoblins with class levels would make sense, too, and be just about as scary.


How about the bugbear with hobgoblin minions trying to rid of the goblins that refuse to pay tribute that force the goblins to survive and the humans to rid of thier problem for the bugbear.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are feats to ignore size penalties to stealth. Combine those with a pair of leering ogres and really scare the hell out of players.

Sczarni

The mastermind behind it all should be a druid. You never see druid villains, but the idea of an evil genius who can turn the natural world against you is a scary thought. Weather, animals, plants, swarms of insects, you name it. Maybe this druid is lashing out at the goblins because he or she thinks they're committing crimes against nature or some such.

Plus, druids tend to have animal companions and summon nature's ally, so you could easily turn this into one big encounter with several different monster types at once, to really get the idea that "everything nature has to offer" is attacking the players.

Maybe an ogre with druid levels, along with some mite henchmen, a low-CR magical beast and a monstrous plant?


Several of us play in another campaign that just used a druid villain, so I don't want to 'go to the well' again on it right now. I know, what are the odds?!

However, I was planning on using an assassin's vine & possibly a wild boar or two for additional encounters.

Maybe I should rethink the ogres - they would definitely have that 'classic fantasy' feel I'm looking for (so much for "Ogres... that won't be so bad, I've seen Shrek"!!!).


I would think most of the humanoids (bugbears, ogres, and hobgoblins) would just ally with or take over the goblins. I would include the worgs in that.

I would do the girillon or a small nest of owlbears. Just give the players a lot of hints that they will have to be very careful. If they are inexperienced you might have an old hunter suggest things like: hit and retreat into a cave the owl bears can't fit into, shooting from a high hill then riding away on horses, lure them into a swamp that will slow the big creatures more, trick them into a pit trap, etc...


I was thinking along the same lines, but wasn't sure if I was putting too much LotR influence on it (although I don't mind my game having that kind of feel). I'm also starting to think I may want to save them for later...


After more reading, I think I've pretty much decided to go with a hungry/territorial-based predator, rather than an intelligent, planning enemy. It just seems like a better fit for this particular adventure.

Also, I've narrowed the list down to the following couple of creatures for the primary challenge: dire ape, owlbear & amphisbaena. My APL is 2 due to the # of players, so the owlbear or amphisbaena (each CR4) would be a hard encounter, while the dire ape (CR3) is challenging.

With the dire ape & owlbear especially, I like the idea that if the party seems to be winning the battle too easily, I can always have another join the fray - the amphisbaena doesn't strike me so much as a pack/family type creature. My plan is for the creature(s) to have taken over the caverns the goblins were using as new territory, & to have developed a taste for goblin flesh in the process. The lair will be a sufficient distance from the human settlements that the creature(s) will not yet be a known threat. There will be remains of a traveller/adventurer who didn't survive their random encounter with the creature(s) & were brought back to the lair - thus providing the incidental treasure.

There will be some roleplaying opportunities, both with the townsfolk & the surviving goblins, for the group (the goblin rogue has agreed to join the adventure partway in as part of the story arc).

The not-as-random-as-they-may-seem encounters are likely to include the wild boar mentioned above, as well as an assassin vine (CR2 & 3, respectively). I may throw in another minor encounter if it seems to be needed.

Now, all I have to do is decide which predator........

Scarab Sages

I just wanted to second the suggestion of the Worg. Maybe a worg with class levels! :) Big Bad Wolf indeed...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Following the Girallon to Dire Ape regression, how about Rock Baboons? They're only CR1/2, but a small group of them could threaten and frighten the goblins what with their whooping and poo-flinging, especially with an alpha baboon (i.e. a gorilla) leading them. They're ill-tempered, strong and big enough to be mistaken for monstrous humanoids of some type so the party might get confliciting information about what's causing the goblin attacks.

It'd be a little like In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro.


May just be me, but I wouldn't thinka snake-thing would have enough territory to really push out a whole goblin tribe. But it is still workable.

I would suggest the small nest of owlbears maybe 2-4 young ones and an adult (or 2 if they seem to be trouncing them)


I recommend the owlbear personally. Got a fantasy spin, and the right predatory feel. The owlbear also could be balanced by tactics, they would be less cunning then a tiger, but still able to ambush. So after the battle begins, smart thinking would give a player an advantage, as after beginning to fight, an owlbear traditionally is very direct.

The boar would make good training. I recently used a boar vs lv 1-2 group in a jungle setting. It was challenging, and prompted the group out of the Leeroy Jenkins mentality.


Brambleman wrote:
It was challenging, and prompted the group out of the Leeroy Jenkins mentality.

Sorry, not familiar with the reference...

I'm eliminating the amphisbaena, largely for the reason referenced above. The module I'm using for inspiration/reference originally used a grizzly bear, but I wanted something more fantasy-oriented as I said above. The predator isn't attacking the whole tribe at once - rather, it attacked small groups of goblins (while out hunting/scavenging, etc) at first. The goblins tried setting traps & sent out war/hunt parties after the beast, to no avail. They fled the caves, since most of their best warriors have already been killed - the creature then moved in. It has since taken up hunting the goblins as it has developed a taste for their flesh.

My problems with the amphisbaena are:

1) even though it's a magical beast, I still see it as a reptile, & reptiles just don't feed that frequently;

2) the creature doesn't strike me as cunning enough to avoid the goblin's traps (not so much a problem for the owlbear or dire ape);

3) territory size wouldn't be that big, I think (agreeing with post above)

And then there were two....


I know you settled on a animal but I wanted to through out one. Advanced imp with one level of sorcerer.


Tagion wrote:
I know you settled on a animal but I wanted to through out one. Advanced imp with one level of sorcerer.

Imps have DR5 (good/silver), which would be a major problem for the group, as no one has silver or good-aligned weapons.

Have to tuck that one away for future reference, though......


I honestly think your owlbear is the best option to replace the bear bear.

It does a few things.

1. Ups the fantasy level of the encounter.
2. Stays similar to the original premise, which makes sense
3. LETS YOU USE OWLBEARS!!


Weables wrote:

I honestly think your owlbear is the best option to replace the bear bear.

It does a few things.

1. Ups the fantasy level of the encounter.
2. Stays similar to the original premise, which makes sense
3. LETS YOU USE OWLBEARS!!

Yeah, I'm thinking that's what I'm probly going to go with. Can't overstate the value of #3!! :)

Again, I really appreciate all the feedback I've received on this - it's been very helpful & is immensely appreciated!


ahem LEEEEROOOY JEEEEENKIIIIINSSSSSS!!!!!!


If you haven't already, just give the entry on bugbears a read: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/bugbear.html#bugbear

In DnD they may have been likely to work with goblins. In pathfinder that's a possibility but their sadistic loner vibe makes them just as likely to be a menace to goblins as anyone else.

Cannibal bugbear (eats other goblinoids)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I love pathfinder bugbears way more than 3.5 ones. In 3.5 they were some kind of down syndrome wookies, while pathfinder bugbear are like jason voorhees in gobliniod form.


I'll check it out when I get a chance later. I'll admit I kinda skimmed past it, what with it being goblinoid as well - didn't figure it would turn on the goblins, probly just take over. But I'll look again, just for fun.


Beebs wrote:

If you haven't already, just give the entry on bugbears a read: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/bugbear.html#bugbear

In DnD they may have been likely to work with goblins. In pathfinder that's a possibility but their sadistic loner vibe makes them just as likely to be a menace to goblins as anyone else.

Cannibal bugbear (eats other goblinoids)

Even though they have the sadistic loner vibe, the Bestiary still comments that they frequently work with goblins as henchmen/mercenaries. The idea's not impossibly, but it doesn't seem as likely to me.

However, this did get me to thinking... and I wonder if orcs may not be a decent possibility? They're definitely an appropriate enemy for a low-level scenario, have the classic D&D fantasy feel I want, & I can throw whatever number I need to make it a challenge for the party. As far as I know, they're not categorized as goblinoid, so moving in on the goblin tribe shouldn't be as problematic. Any thoughts?


Yeah, orcs would work.

I would say they were more likely to kill or enslave the goblins. But if you keep the numbers down, you could say they didn't feel strong enough for that. They just kill the patrols and hunting parties.

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