Tactics Against a Vampire Blackguard


Advice


Hey, we just went through a fight today that was pretty interesting for our group tactically. None of the characters are particularly optimized, and for this particular fight it really showed--we were having a tough time. I couldn't really think of any great silver bullets (so to speak), so I wanted to float this here to see if there was anything that would have been particularly effective that I'm just not thinking about (aside from garlic, which would have been great).

Anyway, this is the thing:

Dwarf vampire, Antipaladin 11

Ring of protection +1, cloak of protection +2, gauntlets of spell storing (with a special ability-stealing spell, not super-important), and other kit. He's built as a brawler:

Crusader's Fist
Deflect Arrows (1/round)
Dispelling Fist
Improved Unarmed Strike
Stunning Fist (2/day, DC 17)
Weapon Focus (Spiked gauntlet)

Fiendish boon is at +3.

AC 30 (touch 15), CM Defense 32, Attacks are +19/+14/+9/+14 (three unarmed and a slam) at 1d4+7, with the unarmed getting stunning fist 2/day, touch of corruption (from crusader fist), and flaming burst (from fiendish boon). The slam does negative levels.

Fort/Ref/Will at +17/+14/+15. +2 vs spells.

To top it off, he had adamantine chainmail, so add DR 2/adamantium to the mix.

Tough to hit with regular weapons, resists almost everything that could be thrown at him, and packs a real wallop that can only be taken for so long before the negative levels start taking their toll.

So aside from cheesy things like, "everyone has a fly potion and just stays out of reach", or "everyone kites him with ranged weapons", how would you guys approach this fight, or add to a character build or kit to make it easier? Is there some amazing counter to this out there that I'm just missing? He eventually runs out of corrupting touch, but fiendish boon basically lasts forever, and he can do negative levels for days.


What are our assets?

Party level is the big one; how I'd approach this guy with a 7th-level four man team is very different from a six-man team of 9th levels.

Terrain too (Is kiting him even an option?)

Standard vampire weaknesses are the obvious of course, and the lack of range really does hurt him-- but it seems like you know both of those.

I see no energy resistances outside of what being Undead grants (Cold only), so any good elemental attack that doesn't grant a save will do a number on him.


From a Magus perspective, using the whole spell list a few ideas:

Well two simple thoughts are Web or grease combined with a few fire spells, done with the right team he couldn't dispel it quick enough before the fire caught and he would be in the center. DR or not fire damage every round can be quickly damaging. As low level spells you could have a few prepared so dispelling would be harder.

Sleet Storm as a early round spell making the ground icy on a dc 10 acrobatics ,heavy armor would hurt that save. Blade Snare from inner seas before he even draws his sword for an opening surprise round move, Armor lock from the same source as long as he doesn't make the reflex to stagger/entangle him. Anything that will hold the guy down shuts him down even for a round or two makes a big difference.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Offensive Healing is also an option.


Disrupt Undead
Searing Light
Vials of Holy Water

Are all ranged touch attacks with no save that love to give undead the smackdown


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kestral287 wrote:

What are our assets?

Sorry it must be said.

Your brains, fezzik's strength, my steel.

Regards
DRS


slitherrr wrote:
...Fort/Ref/Will at +17/+14/+15. +2 vs spells...

I'm guessing your DM allowed the undead antipaladin to double dip on CHA for fort saves?


His touch AC is weak. As such, any ranged touch attack will be a problem for him. Whether it's holy water, alchemist fire, or a disintegrate spell, it'll be an issue. Well, less so for the spell. Also, based on what you've written, denying his Dexterity to AC by any means would hurt his AC quite a bit I imagine, as his ring and chainmail only account for 7 pts. of AC. Not as much as a touch attack would.


Shoot the fool with revolvers. That's how Tyco "Cowboy" Revre solves his problems in fights against evil. 15 touch AC means a practical instahit.

In general, a SWAT takedown coukd work. 2 or 3 people aiding rhe one with the best cmb in tackling him, pinning him and the coup d' etat that vampire in the face.


Our specific party makeup is a highly unoptimized gaggle of six characters between levels 8 and 10 (one 10, the rest closer to 8 than not). Tanky diplomat with ok trip and good saves and a bard cohort, archetypical barbarian (cleave, power attack, etc), repeater crossbow rogue, rapidfire ranger, sorc with lots of fire spells, oracle as a healbot. Honestly, we only survived because we had enough levels and hitpoints to just tank his crap while the sorc and oracle whittled him down, but like I said, we're heavily unoptimized. I'm more interested in all the various options I hadn't thought of than how our specific party will be more effective against him (since we've already killed him).

Kestral287 wrote:

I see no energy resistances outside of what being Undead grants (Cold only), so any good elemental attack that doesn't grant a save will do a number on him.

Lightning also (vampire template), but yeah. The trick was finding one that didn't grant a save.

CrescentCrux wrote:
Blade Snare from inner seas before he even draws his sword for an opening surprise round move

No sword (brawler), but the other suggestions are great--it's nice that sleet storm forces an acro roll rather than a reflex save, that's a nice find.

Rathendar wrote:


Offensive Healing is also an option.

True as far as that goes, except that it allows a will save, and most things with great healing would be terrified to be adjacent to this guy. Still, definitely a thing.

CrescentCrux wrote:


Disrupt Undead
Searing Light
Vials of Holy Water

Are all ranged touch attacks with no save that love to give undead the smackdown

These are all great. Holy water was an obvious one (albeit underwhelming, damage-wise--still, 2d4 is better than zero!), but I didn't know about searing light or disrupt undead.

SPACEBALL12345 wrote:


I'm guessing your DM allowed the undead antipaladin to double dip on CHA for fort saves?

Yeah, that's interesting, I don't really know how those should stack. Maybe a good question for the rules subforum. It's moot, though, undead type is immune to pretty much any fort save that matters.

Also, love your nick.

Lathiira wrote:


Also, based on what you've written, denying his Dexterity to AC by any means would hurt his AC quite a bit I imagine, as his ring and chainmail only account for 7 pts.

I didn't fully describe this, so here's the full breakdown: +7 armor, +2 shield (+1 buckler), +3 dex, +6 natural (vampire template), +1 deflection (ring), +1 dodge feat. The cloak is actually a cloak of resistance. And yeah, we definitely could have used more ranged touch attacks (scorching ray), although our sorc is pretty terrible at hitting with those, unfortunately (not really built for it, he likes the AoE). And I do wish we had an alchemist, because they make life better in general (I play one in my other campaign and love him to death).


Yeah, you're going to have a bad day facing that guy. Vamps get a big Charisma bonus, which puts those saving throws through the roof. Anything you throw at him he's going to be immune to or shrug off. You're going to need to find debuffs that don't grant a save. Better yet, just buff yourself. Your goal is to mitigate his attacks in order to buy time.

Ill Omen comes to mind. Spam it like crazy.

Death Ward, Protection From Evil, and Mirror Image will help a lot.

Summon lots of Lantern Archons. They are great against Vampires.

Earth, and Air elementals are also effective. They make great meat shields and are great at hampering movement.

Do not engage in melee. He will ruin you. Negative levels plus Smite Good is super bad. If he has a Conductive weapon or amulet he's going to be dumping bonus damage from Corrupting Touch and Cruelties into his hits.

My advice would be to used Summoned creatures to tie him up while you drop as many movement hampering effects on him as possible and pepper him with ranged attacks.

A surprisingly good tactic is to use a Familiar to deliver big healing. Have your caster use Share Spells to cast True Strike on the familiar, and have the familiar use a wand of Cure Serious, or an Oil of Heal, or something like that. Just make sure the Familiar is defended with things like Mirror Image first or its going to die the next round.

Make sure everyone is outfitted with Wayfinders and Clear Spindle Ioun Stones. That will save you from being Dominated and having to fight off one of your own people. Its a cheap and effective combination.

My personal favorite anti-vampire (or demon) trick for an Alchemist or Cleric is to make a whole buttload of Holy Water. Then use Dust of Dryness to suck it all up into a little bead. Then you just need to throw it at them. Sploosh. Bonus points for combining this with a closed room, Create Pit, or any other way of containing the water to trap the vamp in it.


Doomed Hero wrote:

..lots of stuff..

Haha, these are all great, even for things that aren't vampire antipaladins.


slitherrr wrote:


SPACEBALL12345 wrote:


I'm guessing your DM allowed the undead antipaladin to double dip on CHA for fort saves?
Yeah, that's interesting, I don't really know (etc etc)

Just following up (for my benefit), the FAQ is pretty clear: http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9sgk, but there are still lots of published materials with the incorrect AC and the devs haven't responded specifically to it. Looks like we're house-ruling this.


Love Searing Light ... there's almost nothing, creature-wise it won't have some effect on (if, for example, you are up against something very unfamiliar whose resistances and immunities are unknown).

Doomed Hero's idea about holy water could also be used similarly with a large container full of holy water and Shrink Item.

And Consecrate deserves mention, a -1 penalty to undead, no vampire spawn can be created should the unfortunate happen to a party member and several other effects.


Whats the CR on that vampire? Because it sure doesnt look like it follows any guidelines for monster creation.

Raise an army of peasants 100 strong (rouse the rabble) and arm them with 3 vials of holy water each. Buff them with bless and any number of mercenary bards singing to cover the entire crowd with to hit bonuses.

Chase him outta town or burn him with righteous water


The CR was 12, according to Hero Lab. It's interesting that you bring up raising an army of peasants, because far from being an isolated outsider, he was actually an active participant in the government of the region (one of five capos who all had a loose detente with each other when they found out they couldn't rid themselves of any of the others outright). Also, it was a pretty war-torn region (which created the vacuum that allowed the cartel to get a foothold)--we've had trouble enough getting holy water at all, much less three hundred vials for a hundred peasants (if we could convince the peasants to follow us).

Of course, we didn't even know he was a vampire until we killed him, so the point was moot. This whole thread was about what we could have done, not what we're going to do, since (as mentioned), he's dust.


Unseen servants with holy symbols/mirrors also seem like an option if anyone has the spell (mostly to free up action economy of the party for a relatively simple defense- I would say grab a hireling, but this is a vampire- dominate wrecks hirelings).

He is a vampire paladin, but his will save still means it is a 50/50 chance he will be repelled by that weakness. Throw a couple of them in there and they can play defense by blocking up charge lanes with the items (ie- keeping your sorcerer from getting obliterated).

And sure, the unseen servants are easy to disarm/sunder against if he finds it annoying...but that is an action not used to hit you with unarmed strike+touch of corruption or slam+negative levels.

So it seems like a good use of a first level spell slot or two.

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