GMing and clever, dirty bastardry


Lantern Lodge

How should I aspire to have my BBEG keep tabs on the party? How should he seek to assess their strong and weak points? Is there a way he can counter the creative uses of stone-shape or elemental body within the dungeon?

Long and short, he's a full lich with 15 class levels in Wizard. Undead minion of a powerful demon lord of the undead. Wealth isn't an issue for him. Has Leadership, high Charisma and many of the local monstrous races in his back pocket as well as a very large dungeon at his disposal. Personality is he's a bit of a sadist and prefers to toy with his victims.

He plans to harass the party through usage of evil clerics, outsiders, legions of undead and the local muscle (mostly Orcs and Ogres) whom he has bought out.

Edit: The settings is a sealed dungeon.

Liberty's Edge

When the party fights, have at least one of the opponents (or a stealthy/magic observer) escape, so that he can give the BBEG a good idea of the PCs' usual abilities and tactics.

The BBEG can then prepare his final confrontation with the PCs knowing almost everything about them and them almost nothing about him.

bob_the_monster wrote:

Long and short, he's a full lich with 15 class levels in Wizard.

I would use Divination and Scrying spells (and items) to keep tabs on the PCs.

Short of making the dungeons walls out of 10' thick adamnatine and suppressing all travel spells, I'm not sure how you can stop spells and abilities that allow tmovement through walls.

Silver Crusade

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As far as keeping tabs on the party. The lich disguises himself and finds an up and coming bard and tells them the party's exploits have been legendary and phenomenal and he should follow them.

The lich in this case is taking advantage of the heroes' pride, the bard will write songs of how they accomplish things and spread them. Giving a good word of mouth method for their methodology.

No scrying, no will saves, and if they fall for it, they kick themselves for their hubris.

That mostly gets you their strong points. The lich likely has some living minions, hopefully some who are kind of sneaky. Maybe he has one who's snuck into one of the good aligned temples or a reasonably non-evil government official.

He pulls a few cords and there's an investigator following them around. the lich then gets to sit back and read a formal report from a guy who does reports like this for a living, on government letter head.

And the dude following them might be someone they'd be less likely to drop the hammer on. ("Why are you following us?!" "You're powerful people, the Andoran Government just wanted more information on you.")

And again. The pride angle.

He's evil, let him embrace that evil in how he uses minion.

have his spies be watching the party in polymorphed forms, possibly invisible as well.

if they are in a fight, it would take a vicious sense motive check to recognize that the mockingbird on a branch 200ft away is acting a little sketchy.

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bob_the_monster wrote:
...How should he seek to assess their strong and weak points? Is there a way he can counter the creative uses of stone-shape or elemental body within the dungeon?

Answering elemental body: Strategically placed antimagic fields. If he has been watching the party and how they operate, then the lich should have a decent idea where he can place a few of them in such a way as to handily disrupt the party. Block off a tantalizing treasure room with Wall of Force, then the hero with elemental body tries to bypass using the wall, he winds up trapped in the stone and dies a few inches in.

Answering stone shape: If they're stone shaping doors into solid walls, don't forget that there is a 30% chance moving parts just don't work. The spell does specify stone or a stone object, so if you want to be a real bastard, say that they have to stone shape each individual stone block/brick in the wall or find a wall made of one solid piece of stone in order for the spell to work the way they want.

Alternatively, face them with some rooms lined with iron plates.

Or an illusionary wall placed 6 inches in front of the real wall. Let them blow a spell on stone that's not even there. Once you've messed with them a few times, they'll be more cautious about expending spells in that manner.

And the absolute WORST thing you can do, is to make a very short direct hallway to their goal. When they bypass, they find themselves just digging deeper and deeper into a pointless maze that would have been avoided had they walked 100 ft in a straight line. I've done this. I took great joy in laughing at them.


1) Plain old scrying. Are your PCs defending themselves against it? If not, this alone will get the job done.

2) A spy in the party. A friendly NPC: works great. The NPC could be dominated or Suggested, and so may not even know that s/he is a spy. Alternately, kidnapping said NPC and squeezing the information out of him or her. (And then reanimating him/her as an undead.)

3) Invisible minions with good Stealth following the party around. The low-level Accuser Devil is very good in this role.

4) Stone shape and earth glide... ugh. Well, here's a thought. The rock around the lich's dungeon is rich in semiprecious stones. The lich cuts a deal with a crew of xorn: they can have half the gems, they give the lich the other half, and they chase any interlopers away and/or report them to the lich. (The lich doesn't actually care about getting half the gems; he just wants the xorn around as watchdogs, against exactly this tactic.) Give the xorn some class levels if necessary to toughen them up. Any PC (or anything else) that starts moving through rock around the dungeon attracts their immediate and hostile interest... possibly the lich has bolstered the deal with some Suggestions that outsiders are coming to poach the gems. A peaceful resolution should be possible with clever play and good diplomacy, but it shouldn't be easy.

Also: incorporeal undead. PCs are swimming through the rock... boom, a dozen spectres show up. If you really are feeling brutal, give one of the spectres some ranks in UMD and a scroll of Dispel Magic.

Doug M.

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Check out the Enter Image spell.

Fill the lair with statues and paintings of the BBEG. The party will think it is simply hubris - but instead it is a way for him to directly observe the party's progress.

Lantern Lodge

Mechanically speaking, does anything prevent BBEG from casting permanency greater invisibility on a severed toe, then using permanency with Spherescry to spy on the party through the severed digit? If I'm reading this right, it would allow no save and no SR. Major mind screw might be using flesh sculpt to have the lich's toe itself (with permancency'd Spherescry) added to a sleeping PC without his knowledge hehe

I like Enter Image idea, but don't want the min-maxer players calling BS on the BBEG's spying mechanisms in the event he's found out. Looking for a RAW way to really catch the party off-guard.

He has an artifact that he's already used to cast a heightened Forbiddance on the entire dungeon, effectively disallowing any non-evil PCs from ever using teleport or any other plane shifting mechanisms to leave.

Regarding the stone shape, I particularly like the idea of incorporeal undead servants, raised and subsequently enslaved. Might throw in a Druid lackey with elemental body.

If you're open for non-Pathfinder options, are you familiar with the 3rd edition PrC Dungeon Lord? It's a great reminiscence of the old Dungon Keeper PC game, and it gives your evil overlord a bag of new tricks within his realm.

There's also the Minders Coin, if you're looking for a mechanical no/save GPS system.

This concept could reasonably be re-flavored into pretty much anything, if you can come up with a tricky enough way to get some sort of 24-hour bond with a PC (or follower, or a mount, or that bard that's stalking them)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

As a 15th level caster, he could have Prying Eyes cast (or even Greater Prying Eyes!).

Granted, they'll have to return to the caster to report, but if the BBEG has been properly handling his lair design, he'll have tiny little eye-sized tunnels linking everything up, so that his eyes can make it back to him.

At 15th level, they'll be out there for 15 hours. More than enough time (assuming he has something spotting the entry way).

Summon Accuser is also a great one for this... though the duration is shorter (only 150 minutes for your lich), the accuser can find the "good guys", spy on them a while (with greater invis, etc... the lich can always supplement the SLAs of the accuser as well). The accuser can then greater teleport back to the lich (assuming they have that ability still when summoned... if not, it could be given an item that d-doors it back, or something).

As for the elemental forms, etc.... this is a 15th level caster... he should have tricks. He also should never be facing the party alone. Counter elemental forms with elementals!

As for the stone shapes to get through doors... if this is a truly bastardly BBEG, maybe some of his doors have environmental traps behind them.... like a door with a room filled with fetid water (disease infestation of your choice)! Or perhaps a door that is holding back a lava flow.

Oh, and how about this... what if the wall surrounding the door had a binding circle inscribed on it, so that when it was disrupted (or the door opened), it let out a bound Glabrezu, or something?

Oh, the ideas are coming... BWAH AHA HA HA HA!!!

Digital Products Assistant

Removed an unhelpful post.

Summon an imp, it can watch invisibly. Threaten a trusted person the pcs know in order to 'turn' them to spy for him, scrying, hiring people, oh there's loads of options.

I have fun with this idea-

Shadow Projection

Lasts hours per level, you can coast along inside the walls or such. Combine with invisibility and a stealth item and you're nearly completely unseen. Even if they kill your shade you merely return to your body.

In the meantime, just have your lich follow them around the dungeon and if they try to merge through walls.

1) Earth elementals cannot see inside of walls.
2) Your shade can go in there as well.
3) You have negative energy damage touch attacks.

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Start having them roll a stupidly high perception roll as well.
a) gives them a chance to find the hidden creature
b) since they'll likely usually fail, they'll go insane wanting to know what they're missing.

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