Roman Legion Skeletons


Advice


So I'm planning for my lvl4 PCs to go to a roman crypt full of the undead roman legion, in CRB it says giving creatures better equiptment eill raise the CR but by how much? This is the stat block for them I plan to put them in groups of 2-6 so tell me what you think the approprate CR is.

Roman Legionary Foot Soldier Skeleton
XP 400
NE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 22, touch 12, flat-footed 20 (+6 armor, +2 shield, +2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +2
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee Longspear +2 (1d8+2 x3), gladius +2 (1d6+2 19-20x2), claw –3 (1d4+1) or 2 claws +2 (1d4+2)
Ranged Pilum +2 (1d8+2) 20ft
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 14, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Improved Initiative, shield wall
Gear Lorica Segmentata (breastplate stats), long spear, gladius, Heavy wooden shield


Well, a much easier way of finding appropriate CR is simply stating up a normal NPC, then applying the skeleton template on top of it.

With what you have right there, i'm guessing they are fighters or warriors and that they are human skeletons. so give a human either 2-4 levels in fighter or 2-5 levels in warrior, subtract one because CR starts at 1/2, and then add the skeleton template

the equipment shouldn't be an issue then


King_Namazu wrote:
So I'm planning for my lvl4 PCs to go to a roman crypt full of the undead roman legion, in CRB it says giving creatures better equiptment eill raise the CR but by how much?

In general, a monster with PC wealth-by-level is one CR higher than a monster with NPC wealth-by-level, which is one CR higher than a monster with no signficant wealth-by-level.

It looks to me like you've given the CR 1/2 Romans wealth roughly NPC wealth, so I'd stat them at CR 1 instead of CR 1/2. In particular, they don't have any hit points to speak of, but they've got high AC and potentially do a lot of damage.


The main thing I'm seeing here if I recall correctly, is that your unintelligent undead don't get extra feats. So improved initiative because its listed in the entry for skeletons, but no shield wall.

I'd give them either CR 1/2 or maybe 1.


What's the party's level (EDIT: Nevermind, I'm blind)? From this, I'm assuming CR will go up by 1 or so, but can't judge fully. The higher AC and damage output will make it pretty hard on level 1s, but the 4 HP still makes them fairly squishy.

Also note that they can't wield the longspear or make two claw attacks when they're wearing their shield. Otherwise, this seems fine for a level 2-3 party, I think. But yeah, I'll add my voice to what Howlin said. Slap the template on humanoids, that way the CR will work out better, I think.

EDIT: I saw the party level after posting. They seem kinda weak for a level 4 party, especially with 4 HP. They're nice fodder enemies you throw in alongside the main threat, but unless you throw them at your party in huge numbers, I don't think they're a real challenge. A Burning Hands will take care of a lot of them.


I'd use Banded mail stats for the armour, personally.


I took the liberty of stating one up from the ground up for you, compare it to your own and go from there:

Roman Legionary Foot Soldier Skeleton CR 1
XP 400
Human skeleton warrior 2 ( Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 250)
NE Medium undead
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0

—————Defense —————
AC 23, touch 13, flat-footed 20 (+6 armor, +3 Dex, +2 natural, +2 shield)
hp 12 (2d8)
Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead traits

—————Offense —————
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
Melee gladius +3 (1d6+1/19-20) or
longspear +3 (1d8+1/×3) or
2 claws +3 (1d4+1)
Ranged pilum +5 (1d8+1)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with longspear)

—————Statistics —————
Str 13, Dex 16, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 16
Skills Acrobatics -3 (-7 to jump)
Feats Improved Initiative
Languages Common
Other Gear breastplate, heavy wooden shield, gladius UC, longspear, pilum APG

—————Special Abilities —————
Damage Reduction (5/bludgeoning) You have Damage Reduction against all except Bludgeoning attacks.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Immunity to Cold You are immune to cold damage.
Undead Traits Undead have many immunities.

This took me a couple of minutes, and i rushed it a little so somethings might be off, but it's a start


so these are just the base skeletons that i tacked on gear and the shield wall feat to replace improved initiative, the skeltons normally have cr 1/3 so if they have npc wealth it should be cr 1/2 according to the rules?


King_Namazu wrote:
so these are just the base skeletons that i tacked on gear and the shield wall feat to replace improved initiative, the skeltons normally have cr 1/3 so if they have npc wealth it should be cr 1/2 according to the rules?

Sounds roughly correct


They still pretty much only have NPC wealth. I honestly don't think a CR raise greater to 1/2 is merited. Giving them an extra weapon doesn't make them any more dangerous, as they won't be using shields with their long spears.

Now of course the NUMBER of skeletons can raise the CR of the encounter. or any other circumstance that makes the encounter more potentially lethal.

Dark Archive

They do have a high AC, so probably CR 1. A cleric or life oracle can crush these things with channel. Also note that unless they are skeletal champions or another type of intelligent skeleton, the only feat they can have is improved initiative. The ones you statted out from the ground up could easily be CR 2 with the high AC and decent hit points.


Don't change the feat from Improved Initiative to Shield Wall. While it's not against the rules since you're making a custom monster, shield wall is incredibly more powerful than Imp. Init.

To boot, you're creations already have an AC of 23.

Conservatively, you're full BAB characters have an 8 or 9 to attack at level 4.

They need to roll a 14 or 15 to hit the enemy. With Shield Wall in effect, they need to roll a 16 or 17. They miss the enemy over 75% of the time.

Combine that with the fact that they might not have the right weapons to bypass DR or the need to activate power attack to help power through it.

Now they lose 2 more points of to hit, but are probably sure to destroy the enemy if they do hit.

Meanwhile, your skeletons can use their reach weapon of make two claw attacks if they are using their shield.

This could make it kind of swingy.

The biggest deal here is that the enemy has a high AC, which could be problematic. And lead to the party being overwhelmed and death by 1000 papercuts.

Depending on party composition this is either incredible easy or could be incredibly hard.

A channel or two is likely to destroy them, as are any other magical attacks which wont suffer from DR. And if melee characters can hit them, there is a good chance of killing them outright.

But, I can imagine a low magic party that doesn't have someone with channel yet that these would be a nightmare for.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

They still pretty much only have NPC wealth. I honestly don't think a CR raise greater to 1/2 is merited. Giving them an extra weapon doesn't make them any more dangerous, as they won't be using shields with their long spears.

Now of course the NUMBER of skeletons can raise the CR of the encounter. or any other circumstance that makes the encounter more potentially lethal.

only just noticed that longspears were two handed, that's kind of annoying considering that's kind of what people did in that age was turtle behind sheilds and use long spears, anyone know a way around this problem besides using short spears in which case the skeletons at the back of the formation can't attack the front?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Charnel Soldiers can be used to legally give your legionnaires the shield wall feat. With that said, their AC is already high enough that further increases are kinda meaningless. With only 4 HP these guys pretty much automatically die if they're splashed with holy water or alchemist fire, and are easy prey to any form of area of effect damage. For instance, these legionnaires only survive a CL 4 Burning Hands spell if the damage roll is low and they make their reflex save. There are plenty of other common ways that classes might have to attack them, such as Cleric channeling or Alchemist bombs.

I'd personally say these guys are CR 1/3. Some PC's might match up poorly against that high AC, but others won't even care and the rest of the statblock is pretty unambiguously CR 1/3. I wouldn't inflate the CR of a monster just because it has one really high defensive stat.

King_Namazu wrote:
only just noticed that longspears were two handed, that's kind of annoying considering that's kind of what people did in that age was turtle behind sheildsand use long spears, anyone know a way around this problem besides using short spears un ehich case the skeletons at the back of the formation can't attack the front?

There are a few archetypes that let you wield two-handed weapons in one hand, but nothing that will work for a low CR monster. I agree it's kinda annoying that there's no one-handed version of the longspear as it's a pretty famous historical fighting style.

Personally I've houseruled this so that the longspear is a one-handed martial weapon that can be used as a two-handed simple weapon.


Dasrak wrote:
Personally I've houseruled this so that the longspear is a one-handed martial weapon that can be used as a two-handed simple weapon.

Sounds like an interesting house rule, my players really have no way of getting past AC except that this campaign is gun heavy but ofcourse nobody uses guns in my group or is a cleric or any kind of magic user, even our ranger has too low a WIS score to cast his spells. They are beginners and lack preperation skills so they won't be taking any holy water or alcjemist fire for that matter.


Don't forget to put a Leader :) roman's legions can't work without a leader who command em what to do XD!
I'd put also a wardrummer or something like that, welcome to the flavour zone!


An honest suggestion: either go with that longspear houserule OR give these skeletons a special ability to poke with a longspear from behind their shield.

The skeletons ready actions to strike at the PCs with their longspears when they approach. They use their AoOs to attack again. Then, the ones caught in melee drop their longspears on their turn, draw swords (provoking AoOs) and start hacking.

Skeletons near the back should hurl their pilums, obviously.

If your players have problems hitting high AC, maybe consider making this equipment of poor quality? Make their armor rusty and so only provide 4 instead of 6 AC. That brings them down to a more manageable 21. Again, ONLY do this if you need to. If your players can handle 23 AC, that's fine.

Also, if you're going to use these skeletons in other rooms, you may consider whether there are any auxilaries with these Roman skeletons. Slingers, perhaps? Those would have no armor (just ragged old clothes) and probably just be former warrior 1s or 2s using a pretty dinky weapon.

As for the leader: what about a skeleton that's also a Dirge Bird? Not raising more skeletons, but able to affect undead with its songs. Make it a Roman Signifer (standard bearer), potentially having it hold an actual battle standard, still in death trying to shout out commands but only letting out these weird gasping sounds as it points and motions at the party. Effectively, it's using Perform (Oratory) to rally its allies.

The Exchange

Shield Brace from Armor Master's Handbook should fit your needs, may even be able to ignore the feat requirements as a special to their roman training. It can actually help balance the issue for if you up them to Tower Shields. The skeletons will have mad high AC, but they will also take -10 to attack as the ACP applies to attack rolls. So both sides will be missing a lot, vs just the PC's missing a lot.

If you don't have AMH, shield brace basically lets you use a spear/polearm one handed by bracing it against the shield. And shield's ACP applies to attack roll even if you are proficient.

Just don't forget, they are 1handed weapons with the feat, so no 1.5x Str.

EDITED***
Oh, requirements are Shield Focus, (BAB+3 or Fighter 1), and proficient with shield type in use.


This Barbarian achetype gets to use two-handed weapons in one hand, with an attack penalty. While undead techincally can't rage, they can profit from the archetype. The two class levels will also make them a bit sturdier.

I've mentioned it before, and it's been said in this topic, but the AC is kinda on the tough side. Maybe downgrade their armour a bit? Giving them the broken condition still gives the right kind of armour, but will make them a lot easier to hit.

EDIT: There's also a Fighter archetype.


King_Namazu wrote:
Dasrak wrote:
Personally I've houseruled this so that the longspear is a one-handed martial weapon that can be used as a two-handed simple weapon.
Sounds like an interesting house rule, my players really have no way of getting past AC except that this campaign is gun heavy but ofcourse nobody uses guns in my group or is a cleric or any kind of magic user, even our ranger has too low a WIS score to cast his spells. They are beginners and lack preperation skills so they won't be taking any holy water or alcjemist fire for that matter.

So you plan to kill your party then?

Because you've just stated that they don't have items to use to get around high AC and don't have spells to use to get around high AC.

You're pretty much throwing something at them that they can't handle at all.

Also, it's a bad houserule. No offense to Dasrak, but with only 1 exception, reach weapons are two-handed. The exception are whips, which take several feats to be any good with at all. This game is not a realistic simulation. Or maybe it is. Reach weapons with shield were overpowered in real life, so that made it not possible in game.

Except then they added a feat to let you do it. Shield Brace.


Quote:
Also, it's a bad houserule. No offense to Dasrak, but with only 1 exception, reach weapons are two-handed. The exception are whips, which take several feats to be any good with at all. This game is not a realistic simulation. Or maybe it is. Reach weapons with shield were overpowered in real life, so that made it not possible in game.

Except that you can also use the Lunge feat to make any one-handed weapon a reach weapon OR a melee weapon as you need it. But I don't often hear people call that overpowered.

With that said...

Quote:

So you plan to kill your party then?

Because you've just stated that they don't have items to use to get around high AC and don't have spells to use to get around high AC.

You're pretty much throwing something at them that they can't handle at all.

Yeah, this.

If your party can't cope with high AC, seriously consider what you're throwing at them. IMO, give these NPCs broken tower shields (2 AC with a -2 attack penalty) and broken breastplates. That seems befitting the long-dead Roman Legion, and 4 less AC makes them far easier for this party to deal with.

But I still say you should use the tactics I mentioned above (staying in formation, thrusting with longspears before switching to other melee weapons, etc).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
You're pretty much throwing something at them that they can't handle at all.

More that they'll have an unnecessarily difficult time with this encounter than it being something they can't handle at all. The party is 4th level and these skeletons only have +2 to hit and 1d6+2 damage, so this isn't an excessively lethal situation and less problematic than ghouls in many respects. Short of getting completely swarmed and cut off I don't see anyone dying from this.

Still, this is the sort of situation you want to be cautious with. You want an enjoyable scenario for your players, and frustration isn't the feeling you should be going for. I'd definitely slip some alchemist fire and holy water into their possession ahead of time and remind them about it if/when they struggle.

Claxon wrote:
Also, it's a bad houserule. No offense to Dasrak, but with only 1 exception, reach weapons are two-handed. The exception are whips, which take several feats to be any good with at all.

Two exceptions, actually; the lance is also a one-handed reach weapon when used by mounted characters. Most mounted lance builds two-hand it anyways for maximum damage, but the option is there. In any case, I'm aware that my change breaks convention and establishes a new weapon configuration for reach attackers. I introduced it for a campaign I did several years back that had a bronze-age theme, never had any problems with it, and have just left it on the books ever since.

Inlaa wrote:
Except that you can also use the Lunge feat to make any one-handed weapon a reach weapon OR a melee weapon as you need it. But I don't often hear people call that overpowered.

You can't use Lunge to extend the range of your attacks of opportunity, so it's vastly inferior to a reach weapon. There's also a comparison with the Enlarge Person spell, which gives you natural reach, but that stacks with reach weapons (ridiculously well, I might add).

Reach is without a doubt the best weapon property you can get on a melee weapon in Pathfinder, and creating a one-handed reach weapon does open up a completely unprecedented niche. I personally don't find it overpowered at all compared to the standard two-handed reach weapons, but I can certainly understand the opposition to opening up new options to what is already one of the most powerful kinds of builds.


I suppose that's a fair point on reach weapons, Dasrak. Point conceded. Though I am of a similar mind: it's not OVERPOWERED, though it has its strengths. But so do a lot of quirky melee builds.


Inlaa wrote:
Quote:
Also, it's a bad houserule. No offense to Dasrak, but with only 1 exception, reach weapons are two-handed. The exception are whips, which take several feats to be any good with at all. This game is not a realistic simulation. Or maybe it is. Reach weapons with shield were overpowered in real life, so that made it not possible in game.
Except that you can also use the Lunge feat to make any one-handed weapon a reach weapon OR a melee weapon as you need it. But I don't often hear people call that overpowered.

That comes with penalties to your AC and requires a feat to do so. That's how it's balanced.

Giving it away for free is too good in my opinion.

Especially, when as I mentioned you can take the Shield Brace feat in order to use a spear and shield to perform the iconic image of the phalanx without being that fighter archetype.


Well looks like my idea is slightly boned (skeleton pun sorry not sorry) the only way I can make this work RAW wise it to make them all skeletal champions which is well beyond the CR I can use at this point , I could go with the house rule but that would make the shield brace feat and phalanx archtype rather pointless


The Greek phalanx used long spears. The Romans were noted for tower shields, short swords, and javelins, with auxiliaries for other things usually archers, slingers, and cavalry. Pathfinder combat doesn't worry about close-in weapon differences, so you could give your legionnaires long swords as an equivalent.

Mobs of skeletons with good gear instead of broken gear are very dangerous to a pure combat party. The Bestiary skeletal champion is a good commander for a group of skeletons.


What about a 1st level fighter with the sheild focus and sheild brace feats as well as the dread skeleton template? A 1st level fighter npc would be cr 1/2 bump that up to cr1 with dread skeleton template, sounds like they would keep their feats and such and just be slightly more difficult

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

It might be helpful if we knew your party's composition?

Do you want the monsters to be hard to hit, but easy to kill?

What are your goals for this encounter?

As the GM, feel free to tack on bonus feats and fun extra abilities to baseline monsters. It's a great way to surprise your players.


I like to do things raw as I can to be fair to my players so they don't feel as if my encounters are cheap, we have a tank fighter with a tower sheild and trident, a sniper archtype rogue with a heavy crossbow and her cohort with 2 double barrreled pistols, a fistfighting monk, a ranger with a bow but no spells, a weapon master specializing in harpoons and heavy armor,a warpreist with a great axe (if you wanna explain the sacred weapon feat to me on the side that would be appreciated), a halfling cavelier riding a monitor lizard with a homebrewed flame thrower (like burning hands but in a 20ft line) and a katana, and a skeletal champion half orc with a dire flail. Weird ass group I know but hopefully our 1 magic user will be playing


Dot.


Tacticslion wrote:
Dot.

Dot?


A Roman legionary would classically have, for its footmen, breastplate, heavy wooden shield, javelin, short sword. Actually the scutum is about halfway between the heavy shield and the tower shield in size; in use, it was often used to bash, and was generally considered an agile defense, so I fall in the direction of saying heavy shield. They would not use the UC gladius as that is the version used by gladiators; the legion's gladius (or semispatha) is the archetypal short sword. In fact, the legionary's sword was specialized for stabbing, and was the farthest thing form a performance weapon.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

King_Namazu wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Dot.
Dot?

It means he's saving this thread for later.

NINE PCS????? WOW!

At least the warpriest has some spells. Can warpriests channel energy to harm undead?


I don't think so I belive they can channel it through their weapons at lvl 5? I haven't done much reading on them

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Me neither. My group switched over the 5th Edition D&D just before the Book-O-Hybrids came out.

I think the warpriest is like the magus, but instead of going nova, they can self buff like crazy. Right?

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