If your name is Larry stop reading this now! I know you watch my posts, and I don't want you spoiling this for yourself.
That being said...
Greetings and Salutations, fellow adventurers.
At the beginning of my homebrew campaign I had the PCs square off against one another in a PvP tournament. The session was a prequel to the actual storyline so all PCs were level 1, age 15 (there is a reason for that, but I don't want to lay down all the lore here). The victor between them went on to fight Cifer, the 15 year old prince of the nation... and the soon to be antagonist. I wasn't expecting the Barb to slay him so horribly (even WITH a layer of terracotta armor under his robes that pretty much negated all damage the first few rounds) so juuuuuust before the final non-lethal blow is delt... the wall to the courtyard blows, the castle is under seige, Cifer disapears in the chaos.
Fast forward 10 years. The King and Queen die in a tragic "accident" that only Cifer witnesses and he assumes the throne. They already hate the guy for cheating in the tournament, moreso when he picks the Barbarian "the second greatest warrior of my generation" to lead the PCs in a quest to collect a mysterious artifact outside of the kingdom walls.
In the prequel he was a lvl 1 Samurai, we can call him a Ronin in that, but even though he is going to be the villain, he believes his cause is for the greater good, so I don't want to rule out any Orders. I really don't care for mounted combat, so I will be treating his "mount" more like a Druid's companion... thinking Foo Dog (nevermind the lore behind them being Good only). He is not opposed to fighting dirty. He is HIGHLY charismatic. He holds vast amounts of knowledge in history.
I'll custom tool his weapon a bit, because I am not impressed with Pathfinder's Katana, but it IS Unholy and only his bloodline can properly wield it. The sword has the ability to drink the souls of those it slays and becomes more powerful, transforming once it has 1000. During the final fight (part one), it will have 999.
So that's pretty much the background, without giving too much for the sneaky peering eye of my players. I wanted to try and go for a Sephirothy type character. Level dips into other classes are perfectly okay. He is Human, but I allow the Racial Heritage feat. And, Larry I swear to all the powers that be that if you read this I will have your PC permanently turned into a newt, he can be loosely typed as "Undead" with a VERY high Will Save.
Looking for a level 10, 15, and possibly 20 build. Also, as levels ascend his Massiah Complex will increase exponentially, so the higher, the less he needs to conform to "codes" as his own becomes more corrupt... though he sees it as right.
|Cory Stafford 29|
I would make him a samurai (sword saint) 8/antipaladin 7. You will want power attack, cleave, furious focus, dazzling display, antagonize, channel smite, vital strike, and improved channel as feats for starters. I don't know what kind of point buy you are using or what type of equipment you have planned for him. I would probably give him some skeletal warrior or juju zombie samurai for minions.
After I posted this I found the Sword Saint archetype and it sounds great. Your basic Samurai has a lot of buffs that make him great as a member of the team, but as a Lone Wolf type the Sword Saint trades those in for raw badassery.
I had thought of Anti-Paladin... but just because I skimmed over it once and I recall liking the flavor of it. I'll give it a more thorough read through.
If he is arrogant and prone to fits of rage, 1 level of barbarian can be useful. Just make him rage when he is a 25% or 50% HP, him yelling something like: "You miserable fools, you dare oppose me! ME!"
He will also get a bit of speed from that level even when not raging, and he will get a HP boost when he starts raging.
Give him a furious weapon and the rage will be even more potent.
I'm going to give the Barb thing a by as our PC Barb would've beaten him in the tournament had the castle not come under siege. I want him to be the exact opposite, calm and collected, right up to the end where he commits harikari to add his own soul to the blade and transform.
We've only done one session so far and they ended at lvl 4. They'll level again before they return with the artifact... get teleported away when he uses it. Go through a few trials and sub quests... I want them around 10, but I will scale him a bit when they get there, or add more For Dogs/Lions. If everyone shows he'll be going against five PCs, so I do need him to be higher.
human samurai (SS, order of the cockatrice) 8-10 / antipaladin 2-10 (with levels 2 and 3 in antipaladin)?
(consider Magical Knack (antipaladin) and Unnatural Presence as traits)
1 power attack
1r noble scion (scion of war) - gives CHA to initiative instead of dex
3 furious focus
5 weapon focus (katana)
7 cornugon smash
9 dazzling display (even with order of the cockatrice, NEVER USE THIS)
11 shatter defenses
13 dreadful carnage
15 strike back
17 critical focus (katana) (or) intimidating prowess
19 bleeding critical (or) ???
prioritize high strength/charisma, then con, dex/wis, and int.
3rd he gets CHA to initiative and all saves
12th level he gets iaijutsu strike as a standard action, greater resolve, and an extra challenge.
from there on he gets standard antipaladin goodness (spells, channel to heal his skeletons, ToC to heal himself if he's undead). lunge and strike back are to keep him from getting completely swamped (you should have him with an entourage of minions/skeleton knights later to prevent this anyway)
remember: NEVER USE DAZZLING DISPLAY. even with cockatrice it eats a standard action, when you have two options to get the same effect for FREE when you power attack (cornugon smash), when you drop an enemy (dreadful carnage), and when you use your iaijutsu trike (terrifying iaijutsu, costs a standard action).
consider swapping in osyluth's guile in somewhere if you want him to be even better against single targets (smite + fight defensively for 2+(2xCHA) to AC against one target)
also remember that smite and challenge stack, but you cant activate both at once (they're both swift actions) in a single turn unless you eat your move action or something.
give him mithral full plate, an ominous/cruel/unholy weapon (probably katana) and a scabbard of keen edges and go to town. tack on a mithral buckler (heavy fortification) if you're worried about defense since it has no attack/armor check penalties and keeps your hand free.
The way I play the Tournament is on an open dirt square similar to a large volleyball court. Where the net would be, there is a red line painted in the sand. Combatants cannot take offensive actions until one or the other crosses said line, defining a clear attacker and defender. If my Sammy gets the initiative, then that is the one and only time I would have him use Dazzling Display. The Barb is going to Bull Rush anyway. I'll have to look into how challenge plays out action wise... but I love the flavor of DD.
Whipping out the sword and resheathing it so fast that the air itself cuts a slash across the field right up to the red line...
For further play, I do like Strike Back(?) Giving a free attack in response to all melee damage.
|Alex Smith 908|
I'll look into it. I want him to be a major pain to kill but still beatable. The second fight where he takes on a Ravener template will be even worse. Third fight is the last of the campaign, and that is the 'ah-ha' moment were all the weird little seemingly unimportant details will all come together.
Build wise, I'm digging the Sephirothy ideas you guys have given. For personality I would refer you to Seymore from FFX.
may be worth looking into that lunging whirlwind attack/dazing assault build here, tweaked to take into account the lack of retraining (so avoid the initial cleave feat and grab something else instead).
great crowd control while kicking the snot out of everyone within 15ft. (effectively 20 if you 5-foot step towards them during whirlwind attack) works great with the free naginata proficiency, but you can't use iaijutsu strike with a 2-handed weapon (it must be sheathed and you must have one hand free to use it), so keep a minor katana on-hand for when you wanna use it--a +1 anchoring adamantine katana is great to lunge + iaijutsu + swift action anchor to lock one guy down (literally), and it's hard to break too!
you'd want a naginata over a nodachi since you can select it for that samurai power that lets you take fighter feats like weapon spec for it.
to expand on the iaijutsu thing:
you'd regularly use:
-challenge the wizard (swift action) and approach (move action), hold an action with strike back (standard action) if you have the feat.
-eat the enemy turn (with your minions covering you) with free retaliations with the naginata (DO NOT attack the wizard yet, even if he provokes AoOs!)
on your next turn:
-quickdraw class ability thing to put naginata away (free action)
-lunge (free action) + iaijutsu strike (standard action at 10th but not required, also activates terrifying/thundering iaijutsu if you have them) with katana (the ability draws the katana as part of the action), activate anchoring when you hit the wizard (swift action), let go of the katana (free action), quickdraw naginata with class ability (free action).
-resume killing the rest of the party while the wizard is dealing with the sword on your following rounds.
it's perfectly acceptable with a katana as well--the only difference is 5 feet less reach (whoop-dee-doo). it also makes the anchoring katana (it's meant as a sidearm along with your main weapon of stabby death, not to replace it) trick even better since your feats and the quickdraw class feature thing would affect it as well.
all you'd need to change in the thing posted above is swap "naginata" with "main katana" and it works the same
I have an 18th level CR 18 samurai build I have laying around from Jade Regent. It might be helpful to you.
I had his iaijutsu inflict "hopelessness" that turned off the bard's inspire courage instead of deafened, so I could still monologue villainously at them.
Hoshimaru no Kensei
Male oni spawn tiefling samurai 18
LE Medium outsider (native)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
AC 30, touch 15, flat-footed 28 (+12 armor, +3 deflection, +2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 330 (18d10+126+100)
Fort +21, Ref +14, Will +12
Defensive Abilities evasion, greater resolve, honorable stand 1/day, resolve 8/day; DR 3/—; Resist cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5
Speed 20 ft.
Melee Karusetsu +27/+22/+17/+12 (1d8+10/15-20) or with power attack +22/+15/+12/+7 (1d8+25/15-20) or with challenge/power attack +26/+19/+16/+11 (1d8+38/15-20)
Special Attacks challenge (+18, +4, 5/day), demanding challenge
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th; concentration +18)
1/day – alter self
Str 20, Dex 18, Con 22, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +18; CMB +23; CMD 40
Feats Blind-Fight, Blinding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Fiendish Façade (human), Improved Critical (katana), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Toughness, Weapon Focus (katana), Step Up, Power Attack
Skills Bluff +13, Disguise +20 (+23 to appear human), Intimidate +15, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (nobility) +5, Perception +10, Ride +6
Languages Giant, Minkaian, Tien
Combat Gear potions of cure serious wounds (3); Other Gear o-yoroi of imperial rule (+4 adamantine glamered o-yoroi), Karusetsu (+3 katana), +1 composite longbow (+5 str) with 20 arrows, amulet of natural armor +3, belt of physical perfection +4, cloak of resistance +4, lavender and green ioun stone (27 spell levels remaining), ring of evasion, ring of protection +3, gold bracelet
Fiendish Façade Unlike most tieflings, Hoshimaru appears
Mostly human. As a result, he gains a +5 racial bonus on disguise
Checks to appear as a normal human.
Iaijutsu Strike (Ex): As a full round action after challenging, the sword saint may use his iaijutsu strike as a standard action to deal +9d6 damage. This is not multipled on a critical. The samurai gains -2 to AC as a result.
Brutal Slash (Ex): If the sword saint threatens a critical with his iaijutsu strike, he adds a +9 to critical confirm.
Terrifying Iaijutsu (Ex): When the sword saint successfully hits with iaijutsu strike, all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a DC19 Will save or become shaken for 1d4+1 rounds.
Roaring Iaijutsu (Ex): When a sword saint successfully hits with iaijutsu strike all foes within 30 feet must succeed at a DC24 Fortitude save or be afflicted with hopelessness for 1d4 minutes.
The issue is that he is going to have crap for saves, so he will probably go down to a save or die/suck.
Give him a 35 pb, some sweet templates or whatever, and give him some minions that he uses.
One fighter alone is kind of a joke, even if they get a good swing off, your party will beat him through action economy. I know of a couple solutions to this.
One is to give him sweet minions, which I think is fine. Another is to give him multiple initiatives, so he isn't just overwhelmed.
Having him go as if he rolled a 20, a 12, and a 7 on initiative would be cool or something, you could probably finangle a good story reason
Here is a half fiend version:
Half-Fiend Human Samurai 10
CE Medium Outsider ((humanoid), human, native)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13
AC 28, touch 14, flat-footed 26 (+11 armor, +2 Dex, +3 natural, +2 deflection)
hp 144 (10d10+80)
Fort +17, Ref +8, Will +11; +3 Morale bonus vs. fear when beneath banner
Defensive Abilities greater resolve (5/day); DR 5/magic; Immune poison; Resist cockatrice's skills, acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 22
Speed 20 ft., flight (60 feet, good)
Melee +2 Furyborn Katana +17/+12 (1d8+23/18-20/x2) and
Bite (Half-Fiend) +9 (1d6+6/x2) and
Claw x2 (Half-Fiend) +9 x2 (1d4+6/x2)
Special Attacks braggart, cockatrice's challenge +10 (4/day), smite good (1/day), steal glory
Spell-Like Abilities Contagion (1/day), Darkness (3/day), Desecrate (1/day), Poison (3/day), Unholy Blight (1/day)
Str 24, Dex 14, Con 24, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +10; CMB +17; CMD 31
Feats Following Step, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack -3/+6, Step Up, Weapon Focus (Katana), Weapon Specialization (Katana)
Skills Acrobatics -1 (-5 jump), Appraise +6, Bluff +17, Climb +8, Diplomacy +12, Escape Artist -1, Fly +3, Handle Animal +8, Intimidate +17, Perception +13, Ride +12, Sense Motive +16, Stealth -1, Swim +8; Racial Modifiers +3 ride while riding your bonded mount.
SQ animal companion link, banner +3/+2, furyborn, mounted archer, orders (order of the cockatrice), weapon expertise (katana)
Other Gear +2 Mithral Full plate, +2 Furyborn Katana, Amulet of natural armor +2, Belt of physical might (Str & Con +2), Cloak of resistance +3, Headband of alluring charisma +2, Ring of protection +2, You have no money!
+3 Ride while riding your bonded mount. (Ex) Cancel your armor check penalty of -3 while riding your mount.
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Banner +3/+2 (Ex) Allies who can see your banner gain +3 save vs. fear & +2 to hit while charging.
Braggart (Ex) Demoralize as a standard action, +2 to hit demoralized targets.
Cockatrice's Challenge +10 (4/day) (Ex) +10 to damage target, -2 AC vs. others when used, +3 damage when you are the only one threatening the target.
Cockatrice's Skills +4 (Ex) +4 to DC vs. demoralization.
Contagion (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.
Infects subject with chosen disease.
Damage Reduction (5/magic) You have Damage Reduction against all except Magic attacks.
Damage Resistance, Acid (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Acid attacks.
Damage Resistance, Cold (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Cold attacks.
Damage Resistance, Electricity (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Electricity attacks.
Damage Resistance, Fire (10) You have the specified Damage Resistance against Fire attacks.
Darkness (3/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.
20-ft. radius of supernatural shadow.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Desecrate (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.
Fills area with negative energy, making undead stronger.
Flight (60 feet, Good) You can fly!
Following Step You may move 10' with Step Up, and still get a 5' step on your next turn.
Furyborn Increase enhancement bonus by +1 every time you damage opponent (max of +5)
Greater Resolve (5/day) (Ex) Starting at 1st level, the samurai gains resolve that he can call upon to endure even the most devastating wounds and afflictions. He can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day for every two samurai levels beyond
Immunity to Poison You are immune to poison.
Mounted Archer (Ex) At 4th level, the samurai becomes skilled at firing ranged weapons while mounted. A samurai only takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls with ranged weapons while his mount takes a double move. This penalty increases to –4 while his mount is running.
Poison (3/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.
Touch deals 1d10 Con damage, repeats in 1 min.
Power Attack -3/+6 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Smite Good (1/day) (Su) +4 to hit, +10 to damage, +4 deflection bonus to AC when used.
Spell Resistance (22) You have Spell Resistance.
Steal Glory (Ex) You may make an AoO against a target who recieves a critical hit.
Step Up When a foe makes a 5 ft step away from you, you can move 5 ft to follow them.
Unholy Blight (1/day) (Sp) Granted by Half-Fiend heritage.
Harms and sickens good creatures (1d8 damage/2 levels).
Weapon Expertise (Katana) (Ex) You can quick draw the chosen weapon, and gain +2 to confirm critical hits.
It gives him smite good, without having antipaladin levels
When it comes to the katana I don't see why you couldn't just say it changes size. It is a katana when he draws it but he can change focus and it grows to the size of a naginata. I am not aware of a written magical effect in the books that does this but you're the GM after all. ;)
For balance purposes say it takes a swift action to perform the change or maybe even a move action. This also prevents the cheese of him constantly switching the size of the weapon to suit whatever already badass thing he is doing in a round.
I just got the idea also that perhaps he can also shrink the katana down to the size of a wakizashi when he performs hari kari to become the uber badass.
Also, I'd max out his HP so the party doesn't wipe him out before he can make his transformation. I max the HP on all my bosses because otherwise they die right off and the fights aren't terribly memorable.
As far as bosses go, there are some things from DM'ing that I've learned just don't work like they do when you're a player.
1) Don't try and crit them all day, it's really not cool when the DM crits and takes out a PC way too early.
2) Optimizing on the same level as a PC leads to angry dead PCs, don't be afraid to give him something subpar, like taking EWP (kitana) so he doesn't dwarf the damage the PC's do.
3) Make him tough, but don't try and kill the PC's, make it a fair fight.
4) If you haven't gathered yet, killing the PC's is a bad idea. At least, don't plan on killing them and don't throw in a bunch of cheap ways to kill them, SoD spells especially lead to people not coming back to your table, optimizing the crit range of your weapon can also lead to too much death.
5) No for real, don't plan on killing the PC's, don't create a character that exploits their weaknesses, and don't give him ways to survive the fight. As a DM, it's easy to get too attached to your creations, and not want them to die, but they are all designed to be killed, you want the PC's to win.
Personally, I think keeping him single classed is the best route and the least amount of work. Guy sounds LE as hell to me, so I would say have him be a LE Ronin Sword Saint.
what were his stats at the beginning of the game? We should probably use the same ones so it isn't like creating a whole new character.
The issue is that he is going to have crap for saves, so he will probably go down to a save or die/suck.
hello, have you met the samurai class' resolve features, and the antipaladin's (depending on if the build takes AP levels) cha-to-all-saves ability? i'd think the saves would be much less of a worry.also wizards have crappy saves for everything other than will as well, so suggesting it on those grounds doesn't make much sense.
and as the supersitious spell sunder barbarian shows, spells aren't necessarily the end-all be-all of power (they are powerful dont get me wrong, but 'wizards da best' doesn't necessarily hold true in all cases).
having a group of minions to mitigate getting swarmed has been suggested a few times, though the multi-initiative thing is a nice idea (basically making him like a 'solo' encounter in 4e, which is fine).
I'm thinking I'll be good to go with the Samurai/Anti pal build mentioned earlier. As for the bigger sword... already planned ;). I have two topics up, this one ad Temple Trials that pretty much some him up.
Basicly the katana grows slightly more powerful with each soul it absorbs. When the face him it will have 999. I am going with a Final Fantasy style marathon battle, where once they defeat him, he will commit harikari, adding his own soul to the sword, and transforming into an Oni. That will be the second of three fights. As for the getting swarmed, there was a feat (Strike Back?) That allows counter attacks to melee damage, so he should be able to hold his own a bit. Two For Dogs, possibly one Imperial For Lion. And it's a wash. If he is slain the dogs turn back to stone, so they are really just a distraction.
Between fights, the party will be completely healed by the third Boss. I direct you to the previously mentioned other post for that.
|Cory Stafford 29|
If I recall it also has a greater range for crits, so perhaps I am being a bit critical (pun horribly intended). I'm still not impressed with the base damage though, thus the extended reach, and why I'll definatly be using the Cleave Feats.
At this level, base damage means nothing anyway. It's the static bonuses from str, power attack, etc. that matter. You can go no-dachi which is a d10 instead of d8, but it really won't make any difference at all.