Inner Sea Gods change to Tarrasque


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Scarab Sages

The Mighty Chocobo wrote:
Nope,
Ultimate Equipment wrote:
A sphere of annihilation is a globe of absolute blackness 2 ft. In diameter. Any matter that comes in contact with a sphere is instantly sucked into the void and utterly destroyed. Only the direct intervention of a diety can restore an annihilated character.
The Tarrasque is not a diety and I don't think Rovagug is that interested in his spawn.

No, and I agree you destroyed his physical body.

The Tarrasque can grow a new physical body.

Tarrasque wrote:


No form of attack can suppress the tarrasque's regeneration—it regenerates even if disintegrated


Disintegrating leaves behind pieces. The sphere does not.

Quote:

dis·in·te·grate verb \(ˌ)dis-ˈin-tə-ˌgrāt\

: to break apart into many small parts or pieces

Full Definition of DISINTEGRATE

transitive verb
1
: to break or decompose into constituent elements, parts, or small particles
2
: to destroy the unity or integrity of
intransitive verb
1
: to break or separate into constituent elements or parts
2
: to lose unity or integrity by or as if by breaking into parts
3
: to undergo a change in composition <an atomic nucleus that disintegrates because of radioactivity>

All of those leave pieces.


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The Mighty Chocobo wrote:
Latrecis wrote:

I would suggest on alternate RAI interpretation about the "no method to kill it has yet been discovered" line. It is not a poor phrasing of "the Terrasque is unkillable" but rather intended to foil Knowledge Checks. If you look at the Vampire Bestiary entry, there are explicit instructions on how to kill one. That information can be discovered via Knowledge - Religion checks and pc's that have enough ranks don't have to trial and error to figure it out. The line in the Tarrasque description forces players to kill it over and over until they figure out a way to destroy it for themselves. No "I have +50 in Knowledge <whatever> - tell me how to kill it so I can make a campaign defining challenge go away in nanoseconds" problems for the DM.

This is also an effective defense against players that own the requisite books - "But it says on page such-n-such that you can kill it by doing thing-a-ma-jig! What do you mean that doesn't work?!?" This way the DM can have his/her own answer(s) for how to deal with it.

And he/she had better have a plan or otherwise have his/her own unsuppressible regeneration ability :)

This works for my reasoning as well, how many spheres of annihilation do you see lying around.

One at minimum, at least according to Classic Treasures Revisited:

- There's one in the Sodden Lands, in the abandoned ruins of the city of Hyrantam, hovering ten feet above one of the astronomical towers and venerated by a cult of Groetus there.
- In a deep hole on the western edge of the Axan Wood, miles down. (This one is speculative.)
- Pharaoh An-Hepsu XI of Osirion used multiple spheres in a war with the Shory Aeromancers, and are presumably still in Shiman-Sekh or his lost tomb. (No reference to exactly where, though.)
- The Maharaja of Vudra had several spheres sealed away in a trio of windowless blue iron towers. (No reference to where these towers are.)

The one in the Sodden Lands is the easiest to get to, since it's right out in the open and is confirmed to be there.


Nice find!

Still, I would suspect Groetus worshipers are not exactly out to stop that which will end everything...


And how many people have easy access to these spheres hm? Not enough to be able to
Take out the Tarrasque


Correct me if I'm wrong here, but wouldn't a creature with regeneration lose said regeneration if they die? The Tarrasque's regeneration specifically states that it doesn't just keep it from dying, it actively brings it back to life if it somehow does die. I believe this firmly places the Tarrasque's regeneration in a catagory by itself; you can't treat it like the standard ability because it is it's own beast.

Also, as a side note, you can't coup de grace the Tarrasque as the damage to be dealt by a coup de grace must be lethal damage; and since the Tarrasque's regeneration cannot be suppressed, all damage the Tarrasque receives is automatically non-lethal regardless of the source.

P.S. All this talk about animate dead is just going to make them alter the Tarrasque again to make it immune to necromancy effects.

Grand Lodge

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Tacticslion wrote:

Nice find!

Still, I would suspect Groetus worshipers are not exactly out to stop that which will end everything...

The janitor of the gods does not seek to get to work early. Only the most deranged of his followers would empty the building to get the cleanup happening sooner.


Deadbeat Doom wrote:

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but wouldn't a creature with regeneration lose said regeneration if they die? The Tarrasque's regeneration specifically states that it doesn't just keep it from dying, it actively brings it back to life if it somehow does die. I believe this firmly places the Tarrasque's regeneration in a catagory by itself; you can't treat it like the standard ability because it is it's own beast.

Also, as a side note, you can't coup de grace the Tarrasque as the damage to be dealt by a coup de grace must be lethal damage; and since the Tarrasque's regeneration cannot be suppressed, all damage the Tarrasque receives is automatically non-lethal regardless of the source.

P.S. All this talk about animate dead is just going to make them alter the Tarrasque again to make it immune to necromancy effects.

The PF version of regeneration lacks the "non lethal damage" clause of the 3.5 version. Instead it simply can't die while its regeneration is functioning and gets better quickly. Otherwise, it functions like fast healing of its own value.

And if they make it immune to necromancy effects because a few people have come up with a clever idea, it would probably be taken badly: it would make the designers look petulant, really. Not that great of an idea to my mind, especially since it eliminates another whole spell-school the Tarrasque can be targeted with, and edges ever-closer to "here is a thing you hit with a really big thing you hit in a boring fashion over and over until it stops moving; then it starts moving again, so you can hit it over and over until it stops moving again; enjoy your boring encounter" which is one of the design problems that the early 4E products ran into (later iterations worked much better by reducing the hit points creatures received).

I suspect it's more likely that they'd clarify the regeneration ability instead, but that's just a guess.

Natalya wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:

Nice find!

Still, I would suspect Groetus worshipers are not exactly out to stop that which will end everything...

The janitor of the gods does not seek to get to work early. Only the most deranged of his followers would empty the building to get the cleanup happening sooner.

...

...

...

Knowledge (Religion) ranks required are too high:
Pharasma actively fends off Groetus' attempts to consume the omniverse by feeding him souls that would otherwise be permanently lost or too hard to place for <reasons>.

Ahem.

More "in-character", allow me to note that the preponderance of the followers of Groetus are, in fact, deranged. :)

EDIT: toddlers make coding or concentrating difficult


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's something to think about. It didn't come to mind to me when I was making my other posts, but now that I have gone back and looked at Inner Sea Gods again and read that all Spawn have regeneration that no attack and get past.

That's interesting to note as by information already given in the setting we know that at least two spawn have been defeated. Those are Ulunat and Xotani. Ulunat might be completely dead and if Xotani isn't then at least his unbeatable regeneration was obviously suppressed somehow. It would seem to suggest that despite what was written there is a way to kill them.

True, Xotani was stated up under 3.5 rules that unlike all the other Spawn listed specifically called out a way to get around that his regeneration, but I wonder if that now has been reconned as it's been stated all Spawn of Rovagug have unbeatable regeneration and come back, and as been pointed out non-lethal damage works differently with regeneration now.

Perhaps it's that all Spawn have conditions like Xotani's and can be killed, but only the methods for two of them have had that discovered.

Another possibility as a date for Xotani appearance hasn't been stated is that Ulunat and Xotani were Rovagug's first Spawn and Rovagug hadn't perfected them like later ones and there regeneration isn't as good hence why they are the ones that dies.

Or maybe the Paizo developers messed up with the settings continuity.


I really want to say that animating the Tarrasque should do something. Something spectacular if you can reach the hit dice amount required. It would be campaign shaping and ultimately horrible, and definitely not just a big zombie. It'd be one of those corner case things that a GM or specific adventure module would have to answer like what happens when a deity enter Sigil.

In my personal campaign it would be something fundamentally wrong. Something that poisons the earth around it because such a huge sponge of positive energy was reanimated. It would start paying out all the energy it absorbed through years of regeneration as field of negative energy animating everything near it. Meanwhile Rovagug is given a glut of life energy that had previously been directed at the Tarrasque. As a result it births a new Armaggedon Engine and dozens of lesser spawn. The PCs are now stuck between an undead Tarrasque and its army of the reanimated and new born Rovagug spawn leading its worshipers on a warpath.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

One thing to point out is that the instructions for applying templates such as zombie are mean to help you produce the stat block for the new creature: not necessarily a transformation the creature experiences. They are not really the same creature they were before. Saying it 'loses abilities' is a way of saying the new stat block doesn't have them but the old one did.

For instance, the Clockwork Creature template applied to say a horse isn't a horse transformed into clockwork. It is a clockwork machine built in the shape of a horse.

So a zombie might not be the same creature: It might be a new creature built out of a corpse. That doesn't mean the corpse itself loses weird corner abilities like a regeneration that persists when dead. It just means the zombie doesn't regenerate.


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Ross Byers wrote:

One thing to point out is that the instructions for applying templates such as zombie are mean to help you produce the stat block for the new creature: not necessarily a transformation the creature experiences. They are not really the same creature they were before. Saying it 'loses abilities' is a way of saying the new stat block doesn't have them but the old one did.

For instance, the Clockwork Creature template applied to say a horse isn't a horse transformed into clockwork. It is a clockwork machine built in the shape of a horse.

So a zombie might not be the same creature: It might be a new creature built out of a corpse. That doesn't mean the corpse itself loses weird corner abilities like a regeneration that persists when dead. It just means the zombie doesn't regenerate.

I can see that.

That's a really fine line to walk, though.

"I'm not making a zombie out of the body that has Regeneration, I'm making a zombie out of the body that has Regeneration while leaving the body still having Regeneration but removing the Regeneration from the body that I'm making the zombie out of."

I mean, compare magic jar. (Which, incidentally, looks like it still works on Big T, considering it's none of the effects listed in his immunities.)

While that's a specific spell instead of a general rule, it's interesting that it notes, "The body retains its Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, hit points, natural abilities, and automatic abilities."

This is what happens when you remove the soul from something - the body retains.

While it notes that you can't choose to activate it's extraordinary abilities, if they are automatic, which is what regeneration certainly is, than it stays with the body.

If the body undergoes a fundamental shift, it's going to be very difficult to argue that it's not the body (the part of the creature that possesses the Regeneration) that's undergoing the transformation.

"What does it come back from?"
"Nothing."
"?"

I mean, first, let's presume you have a vampire who was a magical beast.

Quote:
“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature's stats and abilities except as noted here.

Okay. So, that works.

Now, the "traditional" way to make a new vampire doesn't function.

Given their history it seems unlikely to be any direct way of doing so.

But would you argue that the person hasn't "become" a vampire?
That the vampire is a different creature altogether?

It's certainly evil, but if there is nothing of the original person left, than creating new vampires isn't, itself, so terrible, and a redeemed vampire can and should use their powers to turn dyed-in-the-wool villains (who are already evil) into their spawn, and then work on redeeming them when they can no longer act out against their new master's will - this allows the creature's power to persist and do good for the world while destroying a villain. Win/win!

But that's not how canon has played it - at all.

Within Golarion, at least, a vampire is the original creature corrupted into undeath. This is signified by something important in the template itself:

Quote:
“Vampire” is an acquired template

"Acquired" is a word that means "added to" - something the creature did not have before, but now does.

Quote:
“Zombie” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal creature (other than an undead), referred to hereafter as the base creature.

The Clockwork Creature template you used for comparison lacks that wording entirely:

Quote:
“Clockwork creature” is a created template that can be added to any living, corporeal creature that is not an ooze (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A clockwork creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hence, they're fundamentally different.

Now, might the soul progress without the ability?

Sure.

Is a GM within their right to argue that it comes back anyway?

Yes.

But:
1) the Tarrasque can be slain
2) the corpse of the Tarrasque (it's body) which is what retains automatic - in this case (Ex) - abilities according to the only case I know of in which the two are separated is the target of a spell
3) ... which changes (not transmutes, which it would be immune to) it into a creature that no longer retains those abilities

Hence it seems exceedingly shaky to argue that it fails on the grounds that the zombie is a different creature from everything else printed. It's not that the zombie retains the soul (like a vampire), but rather the zombie is, for magic, templates, and similar purposes, made from the creature - the part of the creature that explicitly retains its automatic abilities, including things like regeneration.

Dark Archive

Are we making the tarrasque into a zombie now?


ARGH! wrote:
Are we making the tarrasque into a zombie now?

Been the conversation since the fourth post of page 2: how to overcome (not "suppress") Big T's regeneration.

Or a skeleton. Either way, really.


Oh, hey. The Tarrasque isn't immune to death effects, negative levels, and energy drain anymore.


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Yeah, Tacticslion is right, magic jar has been a rather solid method of dealing with the Tarrasque for a while. The Tarrasque is pretty vulnerable to most necromancy type effects, including magic jar, waves of fatigue, and of course the now infamous animate dead.

I'm a bit surprised that it is a surprise that the school of magic specifically governing life and death would be the key to cutting off the Tarrasque's repeated resurrecting.

I'm sad to say that I'm not surprised that people are fighting the idea that there is a strategy for killing an otherwise boring monster. The Tarrasque has never really been cool, or fun. Just irritating. It has no real means of challenging players other than saying "you can't use your cool powers on me".

It is the epitome of everything that was wrong with the Epic Level Handbook from 3.0. Here you finally get to a level where you have all kinds of cool toys. Martials have cool stuff, even if that cool stuff is just nice equipment selections like life-drinker weapons allowing them to inflict negative levels with each hit. Combat is mobile, and you can bounce people around, engage in battles on multiple planes or inside different bodies at the same time, call flaming hailstorms down on your enemies, poison, disease, negative levels, transform things into frogs, vanish from sight and then smash enemies for big damage, etc.

Then instead of actually getting to use those abilities, and having enemies who have ways of reacting to them, instead you just fight a boring enemy who is just immune to 90% of anything that you can do, which just means it's no more interesting than fighting some orcs at low levels. In fact, the orcs were more interesting.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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The tarrasque could be interesting if players never read the Monster Manual or Bestiary (ever). Because the battle becomes the martials trying to slow the thing down while the spellcasters go through their toolbox trying to find the thing that actually affects it, via Knowledge checks and trial and error.

But lots of players are also GMs and vice versa, so the idea of the Bestiary being secret is terrible. And its indicative of an old-school GM/player arms race way of thinking that I don't think is fun. (This school includes 'Gotcha' monsters like the remoraz that deal energy types opposite what the PCs might have prepared for in a given environment, or that thing in the Faerun Bestiary that reflected magic missles while looking like a monster you wanted to shoot magic missles at.)

Edit: I'm not saying metagaming is good or should be expected, but there are degrees. It's easier to forget, or put out of your mind, that the element devils are vulnerable to is electricity, and to refuse to look it up during the game. It something else altogether to forget the tarrasque is immune to many things and requires a wish to stay down.


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Ross Byers wrote:
The tarrasque could be interesting if players never read the Monster Manual or Bestiary (ever).

It's been around for so long - and is by now so well known - that everybody who's been playing long enough to be out of their RPG-diapers knows what it is and how to kill it.

That it's a big boring melee beatstick compounds the problem.


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Ross Byers wrote:

The tarrasque could be interesting if players never read the Monster Manual or Bestiary (ever). Because the battle becomes the martials trying to slow the thing down while the spellcasters go through their toolbox trying to find the thing that actually affects it, via Knowledge checks and trial and error.

But lots of players are also GMs and vice versa, so the idea of the Bestiary being secret is terrible. And its indicative of an old-school GM/player arms race way of thinking that I don't think is fun. (This school includes 'Gotcha' monsters like the remoraz that deal energy types opposite what the PCs might have prepared for in a given environment, or that thing in the Faerun Bestiary that reflected magic missles while looking like a monster you wanted to shoot magic missles at.)

Edit: I'm not saying metagaming is good or should be expected, but there are degrees. It's easier to forget, or put out of your mind, that the element devils are vulnerable to is electricity, and to refuse to look it up during the game. It something else altogether to forget the tarrasque is immune to many things and requires a wish to stay down.

I don't know if you have ever played a game using monsters from the epic level handbook (or immortals handbook), which were similar to the Tarrasque in a lot of ways. There are too many for players to memorize their weaknesses and immunities, so combats end up with players not knowing the monsters abilities are common, as are monsters with a ton of immunities.

It doesn't work very well. You end up cycling through different abilities playing a guessing game. "Are they immune to X?" If yes, try something else. If no, they are dead. Keep guessing different values of X. There is no logic to how you could "deduce" what they aren't immune to, you just keep guessing possible weaknesses until the monster insta-dies from something the designer forgot to include as an immunity. And it happens the same way every fight.
The well-written epic and high level monsters have ablative defense. The default should be something between 'total immunity to whatever you try' and 'instantly dies when you use [class ability/attack].'

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I think that's a problem with high level play (and exceeding the cap), and not those monsters in particular. There are too many duelling absolutes at those levels: If the barbarian has an 'unstoppable force' ability and the monster has an 'immovable object' ability, what happens?


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The unstoppable force continues its unstoppable rampage without slowing down either through the immovable object as if it weren't there or by changing direction without losing any speed or energy (hence accelerating instead of stopping).

... oh, you meant the Barbarian and the Monster.

I dunno, I didn't spend semesters of my life puzzling over that one just to make no less than four professors roll their eyes and tell me "it's not that easy" with no explanation of why not.


I'm beginning to feel like Paizo should kill off the Tarrasque in an AP or some other event and replace it with an all new creature. It could be one with powers and abilities more befitting a living embodiment and herald of Destruction (with a capital D); powers with names like "Constrict World" or "Force of Annihilation".


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Ross Byers wrote:
I think that's a problem with high level play (and exceeding the cap), and not those monsters in particular. There are too many duelling absolutes at those levels: If the barbarian has an 'unstoppable force' ability and the monster has an 'immovable object' ability, what happens?

I can say from experience that it is NOT an absolute of high level play unless you make it so. Unfortunately, in 3.x the go-to-design method was just throwing big numbers and immunity to all but X, but that's not required for a good high level game. In fact, I feel like it hinders it.

Pros of High Levels
1. You're powerful relative to everything else (or should be), allowing you to take on more impressive challenges (ideally lots of encounters build with lower CR enemies).

2. You have a wide variety of abilities that make fights more dynamic. There are many different ways that you can act and react to things, including (but not limited to) HP damage, ability damage, negative levels, status crippling, armor class, saving throws, resistances, spell resistances, etc. It's more convoluted, but can be so in a good way.

3. This goes for encounters as well. You can plan high level encounters much like an orchestration of things working in tandem against the party and their epic struggles to overcome it. I posted some examples of solid epic-level play a few times. Once with my example of a CR 20 Encounter, and once again when I was explaining how I would handle the statistics of deities.

CR 20 Demon Encounter:
I think the biggest detriment to gaining levels past 20th is simply the sheer difficulty vs reward of extremely high level encounters. I posted a CR 20 encounter on the boards a while back. I've spoilered a copy of it below:

CR 20 Demon Horde
The few individual monsters who can actually take on a party do so because they have the means to prepare, and many of them have powerful summons. For example, solars are excessively powerful and could take on an entire party, but they can also gate more solars, chain-spam summon monster VII to call in celestial Tyrannosaurs to swallow PCs and their minions whole, etc, etc, etc, etc.

High level combat is NOT like low level combat. It is a tactical game of dropping nukes and bio-weapons on your enemies while shielding yourself with your star-wars program and hazmat teams. A high level encounter where enemies are using their full resources is a terrifying ordeal. A 20th level party vs a Solar for example is akin to the freakin' Ragnarok on the scale of extreme terror that it would incite in normal humans, as on this scale you are literally hurling meteors at people, calling upon earth shattering storms, and cracking the land and sundering buildings, while the legions of heaven and hell descend or crawl up from their realms to join the battle.

For example...

CR 20 encounter = 307,200 XP
Succubus x 4 (CR 7) = 12,800 XP
Shadow Demon x 4 (CR 7) = 12,800 XP
Nabasu x 6 (CR 8) = 28,800 XP
Glabrezu x 2 (CR 13) = 51,200 XP
Marilith x 1 (CR 17) = 102,400 XP
Vrock x 15 (CR 9) = 96,000 XP
Dretch x 5 (CR 2) = 3,000 XP

This is a demon horde led by a Marilith, who commands their fiendish legions. The entire horde can greater teleport at will, and works together. Most of them can summon more demons as spell-like abilities. Here is a quick rundown of the types of things these demons might do.

Marilith uses telekinesis at range to hurl objects or even other demons at the party, or uses it to grapple an enemy magician. If she sees an opening, she will get in and attack an opponent with her tail and constrict them. Anyone who is constricted must make a DC 25 fortitude save or fall unconscious for 1d8 rounds. At this point she moves on to the next foe, as one of the succubi coup de grace the unconscious character with a caster level 12 vampiric touch, likely killing the victim and buffing the succubus to hell and back with temporary HP. Blade barrier controls the battlefield and makes moving around a pain for those without teleportation.

The Nebasu wander around spamming enervation at targets, especially those in heavy armor, inflicting 1d4 negative levels with each ray that hits, no save. There are 6 of them, so that's a potential for 6-24 negative levels. Every negative level inflicts a -1 penalty to all saving throws. When they are out of rays, they will spam telekinesis to hurl objects at the party, or force DC 19 will saves or be hurled about like a rag doll.

The shadow demons seep through the floor and attack anyone who is on land using their blind-fight feat to ignore the miss %, and since they have cover you can't make AoOs against them, and retaliating against them is something of a pain, since you can't ready a full-attack against them. Your best bet is to take to the air. Each shadow demon of course attempts to summon another shadow demon with a 50% success rate, so 4 demons becomes 6 more than likely. They too can also stand back and spam telekinesis.

The succubi screech about the battlefield charm-bombing enemies and taking pot-shots at downed foes with vampiric touch when they're down. Of course, they all attempt to summon Babau demons with a 50% chance, so that adds another 2 acid-coated demons into the mix as cannon fodder. They also will not hesitate to dominate animal companions, mounts, and similar creatures. They're not difficult to kill, but they will generally spread out and distract the party, and can turn ethereal at-will, allowing them very good tactics. If desired, they can fly around and drop nets on the party to entangle them, as they can comfortably carry plenty of them and still greater teleport around the field.

The vrocks all begin a dance of ruin, spreading out into groups of 4 vrocks for maximum effectiveness. Every 3rd round, each group unleashes a 20d6 blast of lightning in a 100 ft. radius, which all of the demons are immune to. So if you don't break up or crowd control the vrocks, you will be eating up to 4 instances of 20d6 electricity damage, which is an average of 280 damage anywhere the radius's overlap. Alternatively, they can keep flying around the party screeching hellishly, forcing DC 21 saves vs stun for 1 round. Becoming stunned can easily mean death in this battle, and you can get hit by up to 15 of these at once, making saving a harry business. That's not counting the auto-damaging spores they can shake every 3 rounds.

The Glabrezu play hell with the party's counters. They possess at-will mirror image, making taking them out difficult, and they can function as spotters for the team, utilizing their constant true-seeing ability. Each can cast power word stun to screw over any foe with 150 HP or less. All can cast reverse gravity and dispel magic, and won't hesitate to shut down the magic items of the party, since a CL 16 dispel magic can shut down the vast majority of magic items easily. Finally they can drop unholy blight every round without fail, dealing 8d8 damage to all good creatures in an area and forcing saves vs nausea. If pushed into combat, they have a 15 ft. reach and decent natural attacks.

Dretch simply skulk about the battlefield dropping stinking clouds into the fray. All the demons are immune to the cloud, but it forces a 5% chance per round to become nauseated for 1d4 rounds, potentially causing some PCs to lose several rounds worth of actions. They also use it because the 20% concealment it provides to people inside the cloud completely negates sneak attack, and thus ruins any chance a rogue has to sneak attack their bosses. With five of them, they should also be able to summon an additional dretch, allowing up to 5-6 stinking clouds throughout the battle.

All of the above is assuming, of course, that none of them are using any of their treasures themselves (such as the marilith using any superior weapons, or clad in armor, or any of them wearing rings or cloaks or anything cool like that, which may indeed be part of their treasure and thus added to their statblock by the GM).
A CR 25 encounter would be a truly heinous thing to behold. The difference between a 20th level character and a 25th level character is not so large in the core rules (you've gained about 2-5 points of BAB, some more HP, +2 to good saves, +1 to poor saves, 10-40 more skill points, up to 14th level spells (hooray metamagic), and some new feats feats. Some class abilities have gotten marginally better. But a CR equivalent encounter at this point will likely wipe your party, unless you were fighting really, really dirty.

Hecate, Goddess of Witchcraft:
*In Response to the 3.0 Deities & Demigods Hecate*
Really, her statistics are inflated and for seemingly no reason. She's not scary, she's not interesting, and she's not very special, except she has big numbers. Big numbers mean very little in the grand scheme of things. I'd much rather see a CR 25 deity that was competent and could shirk such paltry attempts at deicide as laughable (in much the same way that a carpet bombing of shadows is not a serious threat to a good party of high level PCs). The shadow scheme wouldn't function vs a Solar (a creature that would assuredly be worshiped as a god in reality), yet it would force that "Hecate" into fleeing the scene at least to keep from dying to a buncha CR 3 enemies. It's "lolzy". :P

If you're going to give deities deity-specific powers, at least make them interesting. Not much is more boring than "Harhar, I haz more numbers than j00". I'd much rather see a "Hecate" that was more along the lines of a CR 25 creature, except perhaps with more interesting abilities such as:

Trivia Form (Su): As a move action Hecate can create two copies of herself: Hecate of the Past and Hecate of the Future. These copies are identical to Hecate except that they lack this ability and have two negative levels (these negative levels cannot be removed in any way). While the copies exist Hecate gains two negative levels which cannot be removed until the copies are destroyed or she dismisses them (as a free action). Hecate and her copies all share the same mind. Mind-affecting effects that affect one affects the others, though this state grants a +6 bonus on Will saving throws against mind-affecting effects. At any time (even when it is not her turn) Hecate can choose one of her copies to become the real Hecate (instead of a copy) and her original body to be treated as a copy instead (allowing her to dismiss it as desired). Though this ability is a supernatural one, the copies are not (nor is the option to allow a copy to become the real Hecate) and thus they continue to exist where supernatural abilities do not function (such as in an antimagic field).

Hounds of Hecate (Su): Once per round as a free action, Hecate can summon a pack of hounds to her aid as if by a summon monster spell except that the range is long (400 ft. +40 ft. / level) and she may summon as many as she likes as long as their combined experience value is CR 16 or less (for example, Hecate could summon eight CR 9 Nessian Hell Hounds or one CR 16 26 HD huge nessian hell hound). The type of hounds that Hecate can summon with this ability are Hell Hounds, dogs, riding dogs, wolves, dire wolves, worgs, and winter wolves (and advanced versions of any of these). She typically favors calling two CR 14 22 HD nessian hell hounds each round.

Paired Torches (Su): Hecate has two torches that hover around her. One a white flame casting a powerful light radius and another a black flame that fills an area with darkness. The light torch functions as if under the effects of a 9th level continual flame spell while the darkness torch functions as if under the effects of a 9th level deeper darkness spell. Once each round as a free action Hecate can decide which of the two torches is dominant (light or dark). In either case Hecate can see in the radius of these torches as if under the effects of true seeing. Hecate may dismiss or recall these torches as a free action (even if the torches have been destroyed).

Robe of Spells (Su): Hecate is empowered by her magic in ways that others cannot fully comprehend. Hecate gains a circumstance bonus to all attacks, saves, and checks equal to the highest level spell she can cast (typically a +9 bonus, included in her statblock). If Hecate would fail a saving throw she may expend a spell or unused spell slot to re-roll the saving throw with a bonus equal to the level of the expended spell or spell slot.

Limitless Magic (Ex): Hecate can any 1st through 6th level spell she has prepared at-will as a spell-like ability, and any 7th-9th level spell she has prepared 3/day as a spell-like ability. Hecate may apply the benefits of feats that modify spell-like abilities (such as Quicken Spell-like Ability) to new spell-like abilities each day.

^ The above special powers on a CR 23-25 creature would be WAAAAAAY more interesting (both from a stylistic perspective and for a battle) than bigger numbers. Assuming she had theurgic casting between druid and wizard spells (which would be appropriate for Hecate) then she would be wickedly versatile, flood the field with minions each round on the round (possibly requiring people to continue to dismiss or wipe her trash mobs each round to avoid getting overcrowded), and she has some powerful defensive abilities, and can split herself into three of her (literally tripling her action economy at the cost of 2 negative levels).

If you don't add any new crazy rules into the mix, epic level D&D actually progresses significantly more slowly than the 1-20 range. Each level thereafter your stats increase a little, you gain a few more spell slots, some of your abilities get a little stronger, but that's about it. You're not gaining new spell levels (in the sense you're still using 9th level spells, just you have more of them or you can use metamagic in-class without rods). Martials continue getting stronger because the excess BAB vs slowed AC growth means that their epic-level Power Attack and Combat Expertise abilities are more appreciable, and you're more likely to hit with iterative attacks.

Now it's entirely possible to create creatures that are capable of taking on 20th+ level party solo, without resorting to tons of immunities, but you'll definitely want some resistances and big ones at that. I had good success in the end of the my Forgotten Realms game where the party faced off against a gargantuan-sized homebrewed demon lord. He was built from the ground up to be a sort of boss-monster, which meant he had lots of hit dice, HD-linked spell resistance, good saves, big regeneration, substantial DR, and some abilities that allowed him to get in more action economy (such as quickened SLAs).

It was a grueling battle for the party, but they wore him down. The way they managed to bring him down involved the cleric casting death ward on the party's warblade and having him full-attack the big bad with a life-drinker the party found as random loot a few sessions prior (the warblade actually had a twinked out demon-bashing sword that he dropped in combat to use this as a tactical decision). When he inflicted the negative levels (and the big bad had lots of racial HD he didn't keel over quickly as a result) it was making it easier for the party to survive, and was weakining his defenses. Eventually they managed to lower his effective SR and saves enough that the casters began debuff-bombing him, before pretrifying him, blasting him to itsy bits, and banishing him back to the depths.

It was a big fight and one I got many thanks for, so I know that high level combat doesn't need to just fall into the same old trap of "is it immune to X" thing. Resistance and understanding action economy is just fine.


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Ashiel wrote:

Now it's entirely possible to create creatures that are capable of taking on 20th+ level party solo, without resorting to tons of immunities, but you'll definitely want some resistances and big ones at that. I had good success in the end of the my Forgotten Realms game where the party faced off against a gargantuan-sized homebrewed demon lord. He was built from the ground up to be a sort of boss-monster, which meant he had lots of hit dice, HD-linked spell resistance, good saves, big regeneration, substantial DR, and some abilities that allowed him to get in more action economy (such as quickened SLAs).

It was a grueling battle for the party, but they wore him down. The way they managed to bring him down involved the cleric casting death ward on the party's warblade and having him full-attack the big bad with a life-drinker the party found as random loot a few sessions prior (the warblade actually had a twinked out demon-bashing sword that he dropped in combat to use this as a tactical decision). When he inflicted the negative levels (and the big bad had lots of racial HD he didn't keel over quickly as a result) it was making it easier for the party to survive, and was weakining his defenses. Eventually they managed to lower his effective SR and saves enough that the casters began debuff-bombing him, before pretrifying him, blasting him to itsy bits, and banishing him back to the depths.

It was a big fight and one I got many thanks for, so I know that high level combat doesn't need to just fall into the same old trap of "is it immune to X" thing. Resistance and understanding action economy is just fine.

To go more indepth into the above story, you could visit the best thread on the forums.

Behold the masters magnificence!


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I feel so loved! (^.^)


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Ashiel wrote:
I feel so loved! (^.^)

*swoon*

WE LOVE YOU MASTER!!!


Can I just note how much this change is going to suck for my group if we ever play on Golarion? Especially since I have a tendency to accidentally unleash the Tarrasque?


137ben wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

The tarrasque could be interesting if players never read the Monster Manual or Bestiary (ever). Because the battle becomes the martials trying to slow the thing down while the spellcasters go through their toolbox trying to find the thing that actually affects it, via Knowledge checks and trial and error.

But lots of players are also GMs and vice versa, so the idea of the Bestiary being secret is terrible. And its indicative of an old-school GM/player arms race way of thinking that I don't think is fun. (This school includes 'Gotcha' monsters like the remoraz that deal energy types opposite what the PCs might have prepared for in a given environment, or that thing in the Faerun Bestiary that reflected magic missles while looking like a monster you wanted to shoot magic missles at.)

Edit: I'm not saying metagaming is good or should be expected, but there are degrees. It's easier to forget, or put out of your mind, that the element devils are vulnerable to is electricity, and to refuse to look it up during the game. It something else altogether to forget the tarrasque is immune to many things and requires a wish to stay down.

I don't know if you have ever played a game using monsters from the epic level handbook (or immortals handbook), which were similar to the Tarrasque in a lot of ways. There are too many for players to memorize their weaknesses and immunities, so combats end up with players not knowing the monsters abilities are common, as are monsters with a ton of immunities.

It doesn't work very well. You end up cycling through different abilities playing a guessing game. "Are they immune to X?" If yes, try something else. If no, they are dead. Keep guessing different values of X. There is no logic to how you could "deduce" what they aren't immune to, you just keep guessing possible weaknesses until the monster insta-dies from something the designer forgot to include as an immunity. And it happens the same way every fight.
The...

Wouldn't making appropriate knowledge checks give you some knowledge on the weaknesses and immunities of a creature?


Odraude wrote:
...

You'd be surprised at how many GMs don't know how to use knowledge checks. Hell, many players are even unaware that you can even use knowledge skills to identify creatures. I met a group that has been playing 3E/Pathfinder for ~10 years and had never known that knowledge checks could be used to identify monsters until I mentioned it to them.

I know I, personally, have a GM that, if you make a DC 50 Knowledge check (against a DC of 20ish) will tell you, 'It's a demon'. In his games, Knowledge checks are nearly worthless. Another GM tends to give way too much information (he's also kind of a push over all things considered). I try and pepper knowledge checks with info if I can, unless the players are trying to remember something specifically. Then I increase the DC by an amount depending on what they're trying to remember. For example, a creature's highly specific weakness, like a Jabberwocks Vorpal weakness, would add +10 to the DC or more.


Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
...

You'd be surprised at how many GMs don't know how to use knowledge checks. Hell, many players are even unaware that you can even use knowledge skills to identify creatures. I met a group that has been playing 3E/Pathfinder for ~10 years and had never known that knowledge checks could be used to identify monsters until I mentioned it to them.

I know I, personally, have a GM that, if you make a DC 50 Knowledge check (against a DC of 20ish) will tell you, 'It's a demon'. In his games, Knowledge checks are nearly worthless. Another GM tends to give way too much information (he's also kind of a push over all things considered). I try and pepper knowledge checks with info if I can, unless the players are trying to remember something specifically. Then I increase the DC by an amount depending on what they're trying to remember. For example, a creature's highly specific weakness, like a Jabberwocks Vorpal weakness, would add +10 to the DC or more.

Fair points. I'm a huge fan of players using knowledge skills, so I tend to encourage it by giving a bit more info than usual.

Also, unsure of a good example of ablative defenses for epic level creatures. Any examples.


Odraude wrote:
Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
...

You'd be surprised at how many GMs don't know how to use knowledge checks. Hell, many players are even unaware that you can even use knowledge skills to identify creatures. I met a group that has been playing 3E/Pathfinder for ~10 years and had never known that knowledge checks could be used to identify monsters until I mentioned it to them.

I know I, personally, have a GM that, if you make a DC 50 Knowledge check (against a DC of 20ish) will tell you, 'It's a demon'. In his games, Knowledge checks are nearly worthless. Another GM tends to give way too much information (he's also kind of a push over all things considered). I try and pepper knowledge checks with info if I can, unless the players are trying to remember something specifically. Then I increase the DC by an amount depending on what they're trying to remember. For example, a creature's highly specific weakness, like a Jabberwocks Vorpal weakness, would add +10 to the DC or more.

Fair points. I'm a huge fan of players using knowledge skills, so I tend to encourage it by giving a bit more info than usual.

Also, unsure of a good example of ablative defenses for epic level creatures. Any examples.

Yeah, it's frustrating playing a Knowledge character with GMs who tend to just ignore the whole knowledge part of the game.


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Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
...

You'd be surprised at how many GMs don't know how to use knowledge checks. Hell, many players are even unaware that you can even use knowledge skills to identify creatures. I met a group that has been playing 3E/Pathfinder for ~10 years and had never known that knowledge checks could be used to identify monsters until I mentioned it to them.

I know I, personally, have a GM that, if you make a DC 50 Knowledge check (against a DC of 20ish) will tell you, 'It's a demon'. In his games, Knowledge checks are nearly worthless. Another GM tends to give way too much information (he's also kind of a push over all things considered). I try and pepper knowledge checks with info if I can, unless the players are trying to remember something specifically. Then I increase the DC by an amount depending on what they're trying to remember. For example, a creature's highly specific weakness, like a Jabberwocks Vorpal weakness, would add +10 to the DC or more.

Fair points. I'm a huge fan of players using knowledge skills, so I tend to encourage it by giving a bit more info than usual.

Also, unsure of a good example of ablative defenses for epic level creatures. Any examples.

Yeah, it's frustrating playing a Knowledge character with GMs who tend to just ignore the whole knowledge part of the game.

Recently I've simplified my policy on knowledge checks because honestly it's difficult to decide exactly which pieces of information are worth what, and as a result, in the name of being consistent, I've been using the following method.

1. Hitting the associated DC gets you basic details and 1 block of information of your choice. Basic details include the monster's types, initiative, and senses (the stuff that doesn't have a block of its own). A "block" is either the monsters "defense block" (AC, HP, Saves, special defenses, special vulnerabilities, immunities, resistances, etc), "offense block" (speeds, attack routines, special attacks, spellcasting, etc), "statistics block" (ability scores, BAB, CMB, CMD, feats, skills, special qualities, etc).

2. Every 5 points by which the check exceeds the DC, you get +1 block of information. For example, if the DC to identify a creature is 18, then a result of 18 gets you 1 block of information, 23 gets 2, and 28 gets all 3.

3. Unique individuals (such as creatures with class levels) always use a starting DC of 15 + CR. Thus if you want to know something about a 6th level Barbarian (CR 5) (such as if he's an invulnerable rager and thus has sexy damage reduction) you'd need to make a DC 20 Knowledge Local check, a DC 25 to get 2 blocks, and DC 30 to completely ID all of his or her capabilities.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Odraude wrote:
Also, unsure of a good example of ablative defenses for epic level creatures. Any examples.

HP are the archetypal ablative defense.


Ashiel wrote:
Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Tels wrote:
Odraude wrote:
...

You'd be surprised at how many GMs don't know how to use knowledge checks. Hell, many players are even unaware that you can even use knowledge skills to identify creatures. I met a group that has been playing 3E/Pathfinder for ~10 years and had never known that knowledge checks could be used to identify monsters until I mentioned it to them.

I know I, personally, have a GM that, if you make a DC 50 Knowledge check (against a DC of 20ish) will tell you, 'It's a demon'. In his games, Knowledge checks are nearly worthless. Another GM tends to give way too much information (he's also kind of a push over all things considered). I try and pepper knowledge checks with info if I can, unless the players are trying to remember something specifically. Then I increase the DC by an amount depending on what they're trying to remember. For example, a creature's highly specific weakness, like a Jabberwocks Vorpal weakness, would add +10 to the DC or more.

Fair points. I'm a huge fan of players using knowledge skills, so I tend to encourage it by giving a bit more info than usual.

Also, unsure of a good example of ablative defenses for epic level creatures. Any examples.

Yeah, it's frustrating playing a Knowledge character with GMs who tend to just ignore the whole knowledge part of the game.

Recently I've simplified my policy on knowledge checks because honestly it's difficult to decide exactly which pieces of information are worth what, and as a result, in the name of being consistent, I've been using the following method.

1. Hitting the associated DC gets you basic details and 1 block of information of your choice. Basic details include the monster's types, initiative, and senses (the stuff that doesn't have a block of its own). A "block" is either the monsters "defense block" (AC, HP, Saves, special defenses, special vulnerabilities, immunities, resistances, etc), "offense block" (speeds, attack...

I'll probably have to forward that onto my GMs. Playing a Wizard with nearly a 30 in most of the knowledge skills and all I can tell is that is a cacodaemon? Pfft.. try pulling the other leg.


I ripped off the 3.5 Knowledge Devotion feat and just shoved the benefits it gives into knowledge checks in my campaign. If you identify the creature, you get a +1 to attack & damage rolls, and an extra +1 for each 5 your roll exceeds the DC. That sort of encourages ranks in knowledges, and helps reward identification with in-game benefits.


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Tels wrote:
I'll probably have to forward that onto my GMs. Playing a Wizard with nearly a 30 in most of the knowledge skills and all I can tell is that is a cacodaemon? Pfft.. try pulling the other leg.

I came to this conclusion when a friend of mine who GMs as well, and I, were talking about Knowledge checks and how it was kind of a pain to adjudicate them. Especially with creatures that have lots of abilities, since who knows what's actually going to be useful information?

I mean if you ask about a demon's defenses, well just for being a demon they're immune to several things, resistant to a few others, etc. So do you list a defense that's not normally on the demon-type? What if the players don't know the demon type? Etc.

It's a fine line between "here's all the info you'd ever want" and "this skill is completely useless". With this method, the skill is legitimately useful, and it encourages you to try to get high results (to obtain more and more useful information), though 1-2 blocks of info is usually enough for most encounters (getting an idea of what it's AC/HP/Saves/immunities are is usually good enough to try to kill it, and asking about offense is good for trying to guard against it).

The only criticism I've seen is that someone I know called it metagaming (I don't think they know what that word means), but IMHO it's the player being given information that he or she can process that his or her character already knows.

It also gives a really effective mechanic for "sizing up" other individuals. Who hasn't seen some form of media where someone who is experienced in the world recognizes the danger that someone else posed by what appeared to be intuition or expert analysis?

"That man, the way he walks, the look in his eyes. That's a hardened gunfighter..."


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Also, a bit more info...

I generally ensure that Knowledge checks don't ruin things like Disguises by requiring someone to see through the disguise before attempting to ID them (otherwise they get misinformation because they're IDing what the person or thing is disguised as).

For example, if you have an assassin who has a DC 26 disguise check, and that assassin is disguised as an ordinary butler or maid, then just rolling Knowledge will get you information about a relatively mundane butler or maid, unless you're also perceptive enough to see through the disguise to realize that the butler/maid is a bit more than he/she seems. This is to combat an issue that can arise in normal Pathfinder, since technically if you rolled Knowledge checks vs a Succubus disguised as a butler, you'd end up recognizing something like "the butler is vulnerable to banishment" or "knowledge (planes) ID'd the butler" or "the butler is oddly immune to poisons but is dying of syphilis".


Another thing that they changed is that the first Tarrasque, though nigh indestructible, had no immunity to petrification effects..... This meant that even though you couldn't kill it (and affect it with many other things), you could turn it to stone and be done with it.

Now the new and improved Tarrasque has this immunity also.

I laughed so much when I saw this because I thought the old one was truly indestructible just to find out (when inner sea gods came out and comparing the two) that making it into giant terrifying stone statue was actually a feasible way of defeating it.

This also made one of my players, a big rules lawyer, start yanking hair out of his when I told him this revelation. He had already found out this loop hole and was going to use it in my next campaign that features the Tarrasque.


The question of animating the tarrasque from the dead is second only to the question of animating the thread discussing the animation of the tarrasque.

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