"They're just orcs, sir.


Advice


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Concept: an elite squad of orcs, built to take out much more powerful opponents. There are eight of them altogether. Six are 2nd level barbarians with identical stats. Each has the Amplified Rage teamwork feat. Check that one out:

Quote:

Prerequisites: Half-orc or orc, rage class feature.

Benefit: Whenever you are raging and adjacent to a raging ally who also has this feat or flanking the same opponent as a raging ally with this feat, your morale bonuses to Strength and Constitution increase by +4. This feat does not stack with itself (you only gain this bonus from one qualifying ally, regardless of how many are adjacent to you).

They have character levels, so they can use the elite stat array. That means they start with Str 18, so when not raging they swing at +6 for d12+6 damage. When raging as a group, though they swing at +11 for d12+12. (Alas, they don't have Power Attack. Yet.) They're bright enough to flank. Otherwise, their tactics are pretty straightforward: mass rage, charge, and bring the massive damage pain.

The other two are an orc bard drummer and an orc cleric. In combat, the bard drums to Inspire Courage (which, let's note, brings the barbs up to a +12 attack for d12+13) while the cleric throws low level buffs and cures.

Eight second level characters should be CL 7, but I think that these guys could be rather worse than that. They'd be useless at range, and a caster with the right mix of spells could mess them up pretty fast. But if they close to melee? They can dish out an astonishing amount of damage very, very quickly.

Thoughts?

Doug M.


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I certainly like the idea of orcs being a threat to higher level characters.

In one of the adventure paths the PCs face groups of much lower level soldiers, but each group is statted as if a huge creature with multiple attacks and high damage/hit points. They are very vulnerable to area effects (like swarms).

Something like that could work, as could making the squad leader slightly higher level - maybe 4th level?


Don't forget that the bard could cast moment of greatness on one orc to give them a +16 to Str and Con.

Liberty's Edge

Honestly, I think you're handicapping yourself by making there be 8 of them. Drop them down to 4 (3 barbarians and a drummer) and you'll have a more successful encounter, IMO. While having only 1 enemy is virtually impossible to balance against a party, having too many enemies is extremely difficult as well.


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balance shmalance, sometimes an encounter is meant to be run from!


They would know to close quickly and so choose a spot to ambush from - both Bards and Clerics have access to the Resistance Cantrip and spells like Protection From Good so saves can be buffed and having one enlarged or invisible/vanish spell'ed can get them into the pcs weaker characters too. The Cleric could also command the pcs to enable them to get into the pc formation or to set up a potential coup de grace.

Loads of options! But the key is getting them close to, and in amongst the party.


strayshift wrote:

They would know to close quickly and so choose a spot to ambush from - both Bards and Clerics have access to the Resistance Cantrip and spells like Protection From Good so saves can be buffed and having one enlarged or invisible/vanish spell'ed can get them into the pcs weaker characters too. The Cleric could also command the pcs to enable them to get into the pc formation or to set up a potential coup de grace.

Loads of options! But the key is getting them close to, and in amongst the party.

Well, given their lack of useful skills, spells, and feats, I don't think we can count on them getting a round to buff. (Unless it's an ambush scenario. In which case, wooo yeah, the PCs could be in real trouble. But note that the PCs will likely have high perceptions, making an ambush difficult.

Doug M.


Vanish is a 1st level spell for a Bard and Silence is 2nd level Cleric Spell. The pcs perception skills will probably detect the presence of the silence but they won't be able to warn the others (or cast verbal spells) before the follow up close range charge...

But these are just ideas using low level spells and character combo's - I'm sure lots of options are available to a creative DM.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

How does one charge from hiding during a surprise round?


Ravingdork wrote:
How does one charge from hiding during a surprise round?
The PRD wrote:
If you are able to take only a standard action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed) and you cannot draw a weapon unless you possess the Quick Draw feat. You can't use this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action on your turn.


Sounds good. A way to shake the PCs from their 'we're better than anyone else' preconceptions.

I'm a big fan of personalising enemies and giving them intelligent tactics. Mindless mooks are boring for both the GM and the players.


You can charge at your normal movement rate as a standard action if you only have a standard action.

Orcs hiding in the edge of the brush and taking 20 on their stealth check don't have difficult terrain to charge over.

Or they could be hidden behind/in a silent image of a hut/boulder/brush.

Or sneaking up in darkness.


You could give them some wealth too. Masterwork weapons seems fine. Maybe even the commander, the cleric or bard, could have full PC wealth.


Ravingdork wrote:
How does one charge from hiding during a surprise round?

Perhaps not in a game mechanic sense but to have half dozen orc barbarians with that level of strength amongst your party would be a real threat for the mages.


I don't think the CR7 is out of balance. This encounter has the potential for massive damage sure with that combination of attack, damage, and actions, but when fighting CR7's, you probably have a group of PCs with hard to resist battlefield control options for these guys. With a respectable PC party of 4, one caster controls, one buffs, and the other two can probably take down the 1-2 most threatening orcs in the first round. Then it's mop up time. Unless an orc or 2 gets in a lucky critical and drops somebody on a surprise round, and then you're looking at a possible party wipe.


The weapon choice of the orcs would be significant too - high crit multiplier weapons would pose a real threat of massive damage where as high crit range weapons would be more manageable in terms of the party being able to respond to a character that takes a crit to save them.

Shadow Lodge

These are an example of extreme class level encounters. They are also very specialised melee opponents.

The value of them will depend upon the party they encounter and the circumstances, as others have stated.

The damage is more in line with CR5 creatures, but the hp and saves will be lower, although still good for their level as they are barbarians raging.

If they face a melee based party, they will carve them up as they will effectively be facing a much higher threat. Colour spray can be effective against these creatures by comparison. As you say, against the right spell caster they could be finished pretty quickly.

Consider the group, consider the point of the encounter. The stats aren't consistent with CR1 creatures. There are several threads about how easy it is to break the CR system.

If you have 4 or 5 7th level characters facing them, then it could be fun. If its an "epic" encounter for 4 4th level characters such as a fighter, rogue, cleric and magus, don't be surprised if you strike up a TPK.

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