It'd Make a Cool NPC, Though...


Advice


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There are a lot of Classes and Archetypes that just aren't destined to go off and save the world; they were made to excel at a handful of very specific tasks, usually under very specific circumstances, or else requiring the entire party to come with very specific gear, feats, etc. in order to make their function effective. These Classes/Archetypes are usually really cool on paper, but when you actually try to use them (on paper, still, I guess), it becomes apparent that they're only fun to play while inside their tiny conceptual bubble they were designed for.

I'd like to crowd source a bunch of these thoroughbred NPC's for a campaign I'm preparing, which will focus on elements from the Occult Adventures, Ultimate Intrigue, and Horror Adventures books (it's going to be an Occult-horror game with heavy focus on Intrigue elements).

I've already made an Elf Occultist with the Secret Broker archetype from UI. She's not supposed to be in combat, ever. She's the one who comes to see you after the bad guys have captured you and have you in the interrogation room. She does her thing and extracts as much information from your mind as she can. Cool concept; obviously never intended as a PC.

The Cult Totem line of Rage Powers from HA are OK by themselves, but say you have an entire tribe of Kobold Barbarians taking the same Rage Powers? Attacks of Opportunity for days!

Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some of these archetypes are so cool they deserve to see play, and they are not great for players, agreed.

The Vizier Mesmerist is a prime example. The entire point is to shift notice and blame. It's pointless for an adventuring PC in a four man party, it's amazing for an evil adviser. Patio got it right here because it's an NPC class which is easily as powerful as a PC class (and a good one at that, the Mesmerist is no slouch).

Others:

Serial Killer Vigilante. Very good at what they do, but a PC doesn't often need to hide his goblin genocides.

Siege Mage Wizard. A cripplingly impractical class for a wandering adventurer, but becomes transformed for the right NPC. Ragnar Thundermouth is Dwarf siege Wizard who
Is captain of artillery defending his king's castle. He is very very good at his job.


The majority of witch archetypes appear to be for NPC enemies. The same for a Bloody Jake or Family Hunter slayer or a Devolutionist druid.

A Cleaner slayer isn't necessarily crazy evil but the abilities aren't much use to a PC. Certainly useful to a criminal or spy organisation though. Many rogue archetypes are similar, or a Code Runner ranger, or a Geisha bard.

Then there's the odd archetype which appears to be for a cohort or other servant only. A Weapon Bearer Squire fighter, a Gunner Squire gunslinger, a Blazing Torchbearer alchemist.

Some archetypes are focused on skills in a way or to an extent which'd make them poor PCs. Negotiator bards or Phantom Thief rogues qualify.

Finally there's the weird stuff. A Phrenologist or Hoaxer bard, a Gravedigger investigator or a Reanimated Medium.

I'm sure there's more examples of all these possible.

Shadow Lodge

Cuup wrote:
The Cult Totem line of Rage Powers from HA are OK by themselves, but say you have an entire tribe of Kobold Barbarians taking the same Rage Powers? Attacks of Opportunity for days!

Those kobolds would be even scarier backed up by a skald who could grant them linnorm death curse rage powers.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
zefig wrote:
Cuup wrote:
The Cult Totem line of Rage Powers from HA are OK by themselves, but say you have an entire tribe of Kobold Barbarians taking the same Rage Powers? Attacks of Opportunity for days!
Those kobolds would be even scarier backed up by a skald who could grant them linnorm death curse rage powers.

Why don't we give them elemental damage corresponding to the linnorm curse while we're at it?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

All amazing stuff! Vizier Mesmerist and Siege Mage Wizard are definitely on top of my list now! I'll look into the other suggestions when I have the time. Any others?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

One trick you might try for low level 'canon fodder' NPCs is to have a Ranger take the usually ignored 'bond with group' option. Doesn't make much sense for a PC party of 4... but if an NPC Ranger (maybe an ally of the Kobold Skald) were to share his 'Favored Enemy (Humans)' with 20+ of his closest friends? Look out.


Stalwart Defender I would imagine. It takes a lot of positioning but if you're the GM you can just place them in a doorway. It'd be pretty hard for PC's to get through.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Kineticists with Parting Blast. PCs get twitchy around on-death effects.

Serial Killer Vigilante is great at higher levels. The divination protection is great for not being trivialized by the party caster, and you can get a creepy calling card, and maybe some theme music.

I also like the OP baker build for Vigilante. Put all the social talents into maximizing Profession (Baker), or another similar job. Decrease the time it takes to do a day's work, then still work the full length of time. Regular talents should include Inspired Vigilante to boost Profession further. Take the Rough and Ready trait just to round things off, and focus feats on boosting Profession even further.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A lot of the trapmaking archetypes aren't very useful to PC's, who make more use out of disarming traps then setting them. But one of my favorite ideas for a short adventure is a cavern with no enemies, only a ton of traps. Maybe it could work for that kobold tribe as well.
Wait a minute. Is this thread just about us creating an army of kobolds to kill all the PC's?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'll second the bloody jake Slayer as really cool. Though for that matter horror adventures in general is a pretty great 'but it would make a good NPC' book.


Dot.


That monk archetypes that literally erases its existence from the universe to bring people back from the dead.

I've always thought it would be cool to see an NPC do it, but can't think of a way that doesn't come out as heavy handed for the party and is a rather worthless ability (for the most part) to a high level party that will have contingencies for dealing with death, even a TPK. (Wizard with a clone, and true res scrolls, or just make a clone of everyone).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The Geisha Bard comes to mind.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love the gravedigger archetype for the Investigator in Horror Adventures. Such an odd mishmash of abilities that I can't judge how effective she is, but the theme is so cool.


Dot


Squiggit wrote:
Though for that matter horror adventures in general is a pretty great 'but it would make a good NPC' book.

Agreed. IMO The devolutionist druid is a perfect example of this. It's too weird and horrifying for a PC, but it's a great tool for freaking out the PCs with an antagonist (just have them devolve some other NPC the PCs are familiar with and use them as their "animal" companion.) Possible subplot if the PCs decide they need to track down an "Awaken" spell to return them to sentience.


Claxon wrote:
That monk archetypes that literally erases its existence from the universe to bring people back from the dead.

It just erases their name.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wasn't aware of the Devolutionist before. It seems almost like a reverse Dr. Moreau. Besides classes and archetypes there are a lot of feats and spells which might be pretty cool in specific situations. Teamwork feats come to mind.

Facing kobolds with a bunch of teamwork feats who live in caves full of traps and curse you when they die sounds like a fun adventure to me. If they've got some draconic heritage which allows them to resist certain types of energy damage that could also set up some interesting options for AoE spells and traps. It occurs to me that light shields can be used with Weapon Finesse, small creatures get a bonus on attack rolls, and using Shield Slam to deftly knock PCs into diabolical death traps could be lots of fun. Chaotic black or red draconic kobold Rangers who worship Gorum, can use heavy shields as light weapons, take the Shield Wall feat, and have common PC races as favored enemies might be pretty tough.

I guess that's almost diverging into a different thread, but I'll have to check back on this one for more NPC archetype ideas...maybe I'll even come up with a few...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't see the issue with the Devolutionist as a PC besides it being very narrow.

I still have a Devolutionist Druid devoted to Barbatos planned for an eventual Hell's Vengeance (or similar) game. An ex-slave who now uses his former owner as a pet.

I do agree though that there are many archetypes that are very narrow when it comes to PCs and are more generally applicable to NPCs. Which is mostly because most players and GMs prefer the goody goodies over the bad or even the neutral.
That is the beauty of the archetype system in my opinion, you can create these narrow options without harming the usefulness of the base class.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for all the feedback! Here's our list so far:

Secret Broker // Occultist // UI
Vizier // Mesmerist // UI
Serial Killer // Vigilante // HA
Siege Mage // Wizard // UC
Bloody Jake // Slayer // HA
Family Hunter // Slayer // HA
Devolutionist // Druid // HA
Cleaner // Slayer // ACG
Code Runner // Ranger // UI
Geisha // Bard // UM
Weapon Bearer Squire // Fighter // KotIS
Gunner Squire // Gunslinger // KotIS
Blazing Torchbearer // Alchemist // DH
Negotiator // Bard // CoB
Phantom Thief // Rogue // UI
Phrenologist // Bard // OA
Hoaxer // Bard // BM
Gravedigger // Investigator // HA
Reanimated Medium // Medium // OA
Monk of the Healing Hand // Monk // APG
Stalwart Defender // Prestige Class // APG
Parting Blast // Kineticist Feat // OA
.
.
.

Army of Kobolds that I'm NOT secretly here for:

Cult Totem Rage Powers
Skald grants them Linnorm Death Curse Rage Powers (usually imposing energy vulnerabilities)
Kobolds have energy attacks corresponding to the energy type of the Death Curse
Ranger grants Kobolds Favored Enemy bonuses with his Bond with Group ability
Add traps to Kobold lair; Chaotic Black/Red Kobold Rangers who worship Gorum can use Heavy Shields as light weapons for Weapon Finesse (Take the Shield Wall feat) and Shield Bash PC's into death traps
Add Teamwork feats
Grant Energy Resistances (preferably one corresponding to the Death Curse), and nuke battlefield indiscriminately with said energy type


Dark Elementalist from Horror Adventures. Stealing souls so that you can burn (or freeze or electrocute or... gravity?) things better sounds kind of evil to me. I dunno, YMMV.


As much as I'm loving the idea of the Kobold Army, I am going to rain on it a bit. Based on my reading of the Skald's Inspired Rage ability, if the Kobolds use the Skald's Inspired Rage to gain the Linnorm Death Curse powers, they can't use the Cult Totem powers at the same time, because a creature must activate their own rage ability to use their own rage powers. If they use their own rage ability, they aren't benefiting from Inspired Rage, and thus the Linnorm Death Curse powers can't be transferred to them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Phntm888 wrote:
As much as I'm loving the idea of the Kobold Army, I am going to rain on it a bit. Based on my reading of the Skald's Inspired Rage ability, if the Kobolds use the Skald's Inspired Rage to gain the Linnorm Death Curse powers, they can't use the Cult Totem powers at the same time, because a creature must activate their own rage ability to use their own rage powers. If they use their own rage ability, they aren't benefiting from Inspired Rage, and thus the Linnorm Death Curse powers can't be transferred to them.

The Skald provides the Cult Totem Rage powers, too, then. You WON'T take this away from us!


Cuup wrote:
Phntm888 wrote:
As much as I'm loving the idea of the Kobold Army, I am going to rain on it a bit. Based on my reading of the Skald's Inspired Rage ability, if the Kobolds use the Skald's Inspired Rage to gain the Linnorm Death Curse powers, they can't use the Cult Totem powers at the same time, because a creature must activate their own rage ability to use their own rage powers. If they use their own rage ability, they aren't benefiting from Inspired Rage, and thus the Linnorm Death Curse powers can't be transferred to them.
The Skald provides the Cult Totem Rage powers, too, then. You WON'T take this away from us!

If the Skald provides the Cult Totem powers, too, then by all means, Kobold army away! Long as nothing takes a standard action, since the Skald can't take those.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
zefig wrote:
Cuup wrote:
The Cult Totem line of Rage Powers from HA are OK by themselves, but say you have an entire tribe of Kobold Barbarians taking the same Rage Powers? Attacks of Opportunity for days!
Those kobolds would be even scarier backed up by a skald who could grant them linnorm death curse rage powers.

Oh, you killed a single kobold? HOW ABOUT YOU'RE STAGGERED!? 'How long?', you ask? FOREVER, MORON!


Cuàn wrote:
I don't see the issue with the Devolutionist as a PC besides it being very narrow.

It's the classic "Druids have a problem in social situations because people are freaked out by the tiger" issue times a million, since it's more "unnerved by the tiger" and more "eager to reach for torches and pitchforks because you're standing next to a feral human that serves you, and that ain't right."


I'm glad to see that the kobold army is overcoming some potential challenges. I could imagine an entire adventure based on them. It might be fun to have multiple skalds who the kobold Rangers could pick between so that the PCs never know quite what to expect.

I also see that the Hoaxer Bard is on the list here, and I remember trying to build a "snake oil salesman" PC based on it once since I have a few of this mini. Getting PCs to drink various weird substances might be fun, especially if it could be done in a setting where they might not be able to immediately figure out what was going on and attack the Bard. Getting people to accept debuffing soda and snacks at a carnival might work. I guess that a more formal dinner feast could also be a reasonable spot for Beguiling Gift or similar powers. The idea of an illusion powered movie projector also just came to mind, and it might be kind of weird to have the PCs in a horror themed campaign go to see a horror movie. Of course being attacked by the performers and "freaks" at a terrifying carnival is always good too (though perhaps in a twist the actual carnival/circus crew could be OK but there might be an evil presence which follows their troupe around preying off the audience and making it look like the entertainers are to blame)

I guess some of the weird NPCs could also be allies or neutral parties instead of all being enemies. Somebody like a Gravedigger could be good for taking the PCs on a quest which goes terribly wrong and perhaps traps them overnight in some catacombs.

For the Devolutionist I wonder how different groups would envision the devolved humanoids looking. If they're not obviously bestial you might be able to maintain some in the guise of servants who don't talk (also a potential use for properly disguised undead). On the other hand, if they're quite different from regular humans, orcs, etc you might be able to claim they were wild creatures from Garund or some tropical island, perhaps ancient ancestors of today's humans who you are studying for scholarly purposes. A Devolutionist could probably fit into an Evil Circus pretty easily too. I guess one could also be in kind of a competition with a Vivisectionist who is trying to turn animals into sentient beings.


Generally I've been pretty flexible with the devolution's appearance. One might look pretty much like a regular human but decidedly more feral while another Druid's might look closer to a werebeast than a human. If you play a little loose with the fluff you can convey a lot of different variations with it pretty easily and I like that.

Shadow Lodge

Cuup wrote:


Army of Kobolds that I'm NOT secretly here for:

Cult Totem Rage Powers
Skald grants them Linnorm Death Curse Rage Powers (usually imposing energy vulnerabilities)
Kobolds have energy attacks corresponding to the energy type of the Death Curse
Ranger grants Kobolds Favored Enemy bonuses with his Bond with Group ability
Add traps to Kobold lair; Chaotic Black/Red Kobold Rangers who worship Gorum can use Heavy Shields as light weapons for Weapon Finesse (Take the Shield Wall feat) and Shield Bash PC's into death traps
Add Teamwork feats
Grant Energy Resistances (preferably one corresponding to the Death Curse), and nuke battlefield indiscriminately with said energy type

If you really want to have fun with this, the tribe needs an alchemist or three who can implant bombs into everyone in the tribe too. Bombs that do the preferred energy type, of course.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
zefig wrote:
Cuup wrote:


Army of Kobolds that I'm NOT secretly here for:

Cult Totem Rage Powers
Skald grants them Linnorm Death Curse Rage Powers (usually imposing energy vulnerabilities)
Kobolds have energy attacks corresponding to the energy type of the Death Curse
Ranger grants Kobolds Favored Enemy bonuses with his Bond with Group ability
Add traps to Kobold lair; Chaotic Black/Red Kobold Rangers who worship Gorum can use Heavy Shields as light weapons for Weapon Finesse (Take the Shield Wall feat) and Shield Bash PC's into death traps
Add Teamwork feats
Grant Energy Resistances (preferably one corresponding to the Death Curse), and nuke battlefield indiscriminately with said energy type

If you really want to have fun with this, the tribe needs an alchemist or three who can implant bombs into everyone in the tribe too. Bombs that do the preferred energy type, of course.

Those Alchemists could also be the ones splashing AoE's around the battlefield.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Is it wrong that I am dotting this for the kobold party? Because I'm totally dotting this for the kobold party.


I really like the cardinal cleric archetype. For a PC, it's terrible-- you give up virtually all your cleric abilities for some extra skill points. But it's full of flavor. High-ranking members of a church hierarchy don't really expect to see combat, ever, so they focus instead on skills: extra Knowledges, influencing people, etc.


As a DM, I'm dotting this and saving it as a bookmark because Kobold Army of Doom is all kinds of nasty


I think most of this kobold stuff would work better for DMs than players since getting the most out of Linnorm Death Curse requires dying, which is something most PCs try to avoid. I guess you could use the LDCs on summoned monsters as easily as kobold minions though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Devilkiller wrote:
I think most of this kobold stuff would work better for DMs than players since getting the most out of Linnorm Death Curse requires dying, which is something most PCs try to avoid. I guess you could use the LDCs on summoned monsters as easily as kobold minions though.

You only need to be knocked out for it to work (or killed).


Blight Druid is one I wanted to do because death domain would make a druid necromancer possible, but the miasma was too gross for a PC. Good villain though. Bunch of animate dead animals around, 'but I missed my petses! And now they don't mind me stench!'

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / It'd Make a Cool NPC, Though... All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.