How do I challenge my player's super paladin?


Advice


So my group is about to start chapter six, and I have an aasimar paladin that can't be touched. His AC runs near 60 when he is buffed out, and his saves are high enough I only ever catch him with anything when he rolls exceedingly low, if not a natural one. When I DO hit him for anything, he uses Absorb Blow and suddenly damage is a distant fancy. The only way to actually hurt him is generally to attack anyone else in the party, where he uses Paladin's Sacrifice (technically Radiance uses it through the Legendary Item intelligent spellcasting, but rather than deal with the headache of how to figure that out, we just have it harm him instead) and takes the damage. If I deal enough, he just heals himself as a swift and pretty much laughs the whole thing off while he eviscerates the demons he fights.
Asking him to nerf his character is no good, especially since the other players just laugh at how rediculous it is anyway. One player has becomes disillusioned about it all though, and isn't really interested in playing anymore because there isn't any real point if every fight is a forgone conclusion of the enemy swinging again and again, only to miss with every attack and then have the paladin hit with almost every attack after cannibalising Radiance's enhancement bonus to give it speed and whatever other properties seem handy at the time.
Our game won't be going on for much longer, the paladin's player moving away in a few weeks, so I want to make the final fight memorable, and the last chapter a challenge just because, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get past the paladin's defence without making the monsters so powerful they steamroll the rest of the party.

The paladin's AC, off the top of my head: 14 armor (from +5 full plate) + another 5 armor from Armored Might + 8 shield (+5 heavy steel shield and shield focus) + 6 natural armor (1 from his metallic skin and 5 from bark skin) + 5 sacred (from augmented mythic sanctify armor) + 8 deflection bonus (charisma from smite) + 2 dodge + 3 dex (don't have the sheet handy, but I think this is close... Armored Master a few times ignores that full plate penalty) +10

As far as I can tell, everything is legitimate, but adds up to be rediculous. So, what can I do to challenge that? Right now he can probably solo the entire chapter, pausing just to renew spells from time to time.


From what you've said, I'm going to assume you're playing Wrath of the Righteous. An Antimagic Field would probably go a long way towards canceling out some of his bonuses. You can also have support casters using mythic spells of their own - not save-or-die stuff, 'cuz Paladins have great saves anyway, but things to control the battlefield and such.

From there, maybe modify a Mythic Red Dragon. Slap the Beyond Morality ability on it, say, so it's unaffected by Smite, and tweak its numbers a bit more if need be.

Alternatively, slap a different name on an Elder Influence to make it demonic instead of eldritch and roll from there. A Demon Lord version of Great Cthulhu could be pretty epic. Most of these are way harder to beat than just swinging a sword - for one thing, they'll have to reach him.

Also, I'm pretty sure this is the wrong forum. I believe it should be in the Advice forum instead, and I'm flagging it for that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems like swarms and trampling creatures would both come in handy against him. You can summon creatures via Summon Swarm or various Summon Monster spells to summon creatures like multiple auroches.

Neither swarms nor trample attacks need to roll to hit a creature. Swarms of Fine or Diminutive creatures are immune to all weapon damage.

Climbing and flying creatures may also be a problem since he wears full plate so likely has a big armor check penalty. Just having to climb over a barricade may be a challenge for him. If he has flight, the Fly skill still has ACP.

Liberty's Edge

Wrong forum, you need the Advice forum or the forum dedicated to the specific AP.

Paizo Employee Software Developer

Moved to Pathfinder > Advice


Just go with the Goblin baby trap.


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April Henderson 283 wrote:
So my group is about to start chapter six, and I have an aasimar paladin that can't be touched.

Oh, he can totally be touched - by touch attacks. If I counted correctly, 33 points of his AC are from armor, shield and natural - so they are gone against any foe with touch attacks. Up to you whether you want firearms, brilliant energy melee weapons*, nasty monster touches, touch spells or some other class ability.

* For this one natural armor still counts, but that might be ok.

The healing from Lay on Hands can be halved or stopped by a few options, but I don't have them at hand right now.

Sovereign Court

Dave Justus wrote:
Just go with the Goblin baby trap.

That was going to be my advice.

Another option, if you want to be evil, is to introduce a high level Wizard who casts Mage's Disjunction before teleporting away.

There is only one thing worse than a PC death. And that's having a PC with no magic gear.


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Neutral gunslingers he won't be too fond of. Time to send in the pirates.

Shadow Lodge

April Henderson 283 wrote:
...As far as I can tell, everything is legitimate, but adds up to be rediculous. So, what can I do to challenge that? Right now he can probably solo the entire chapter, pausing just to renew spells from time to time.

Well, he should be 18th character level and 9th mythic tier at this point, so yes, everything should have been rather silly for a module or two now...

At this point, you shouldn't need to roll more than initiative and maybe a few saving throws for your NPCs, as the 'rocket tag' nature of combat means they will probably die before their first action (My GM claimed when he ran this AP with full Mythic rules, he maybe rolled for NPCs twice in the entirety of the last two modules).

Even if your NPC survives long enough to take an action, your party should have Mass Heal and similar effects available (Quicken Metamagic Rod Breath of Life + Mass Heal can even get the 'slightly dead' back in the fight), so your only hope of having a real impact is to obliterate one or more PCs, which will probably not be too fun for the players (again, this is the nature of 'rocket tag').

If you want a real challenge, I suppose isolating the Paladin and having him run into an unbreakable Mirror of Opposition might be cathartic, but you might just be left with a fight where neither combatant can actually hit the other (neither is evil, so no smite bonus).

Best advice I can give?
'Forget it, Jake: It's Rocket Tag...'


Well, there's always just giving them so many targets they can't bring them down in one turn. XD The players will feel epic as they mow down a horde of evil, while the GM can be happy that the completely disposable mooks are serving their purpose of distracting from targets that make things more interesting.


Indeed, adding hordes of underlings would probably be fun for the players at least. Just be mindful of AoEs.

I have a friend in PFS and a few home games that enjoys massively overpowered characters. His father is one of our top GMs, and often slips in extra monsters to give the paladin their own fight, so to say, while the rest of the party fights the rest of the battle. You could have a badass demon challenge your player to a duel to the death while the other players fight the remaining enemies. Try playing to his ego or something.


Doesn't good characters suffer negative effects while in a desecrated area? Wouldn't part of the adventure if not all of it at this point be in a technical Desecrated area? Ok Desecrate helps Evil creatures, but add in circle of protection from good, a few targeted dispel good effects, and a few unholy blights, all in an obvious Unhallowed area, that should off set quite a few bonus effects


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I don't have useful advice unfortunately...except this is why I don't recommend mythic or Wrath of the Righteous campaign to anyone.

If normal Pathfinder is rocket tag, mythic is nuclear rocket tag.


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So we're at like, level 16-20 and high mythic tier it sounds like, yeah? Does he have evasion? Make a mythic wizard and spam mythic fireballs. He can only Absorb Blow once per round, where a mythic wizard can potentially toss off... three? Yeah, three maximized, selective, lingering, disruptive, mythic fireballs in a round (just my favourite metamagics to stick on at high level, YMMV). At tier 6, your mage can make it bypass energy resist and immunity, which will cover just about anything except the absorb blow, and even if he saves, he's taking 190 - 250 damage for the round (depending on where in that 16-20 range the mage falls).

A mythic dragon specced out with full mythic vital strike and mythic power attack on their bite and as high a fly speed as they can get is pretty horrifying too. Flyby attack for stupid damage and then be a mile away from anything the Paladin can actually hit. Do it at night and buy an extra standard action at the end of the dragon's movement to turn invisible - true seeing caps at 120 feet (at least per the spell, not sure if every true seeing ability is the same), and see invisible caps at your normal visual range, so now the dragon is a stealth bomber.


Drop the straight up fight and go for intelligence and opportunity.

Ranged attacks, natural hazards, cover and places to hide, swarms of smaller minions, anti-magic, handful of flyers, and a single non-evil fighter or monk who gives him a hit on a 10+ at best and can take him apart while his team is distracted.


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So, what came to mind with this problem is a story I heard of an epic showdown where a Paladin (similar to yours, but lower level and non-mythic) squared-off one on one with an iron golem to buy the party time while they completed their objective.

That in turn got me thinking about Adamantine Golems, and how fun it would be to make one into a Mythic Tiered monstrosity, and I came up with this. It has attacks sufficient to face down your Paladin, and will likely require a group effort and provide a somewhat interesting challenge.

Pandemonium Incarnate the Mythic Adamantine Golem:

Pandemonium Incarnate, Mythic Adamantine Golem CR 24, MR 9
XP 1,228,800
N Huge construct (mythic)
Init +16/-4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
---
Defense
---
AC 41, touch 11, flat-footed 38 (+3 Dex, +30 natural, –2 size)
hp 295 (30d10+130); fast healing 10
Fort +10, Ref +13, Will +10; second save
Defensive Abilities indestructible; DR 15/epic; Immune construct traits, magic; block attack; fortification (50%)
---
Offense
---
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +5 Vorpal Adamantine Greatsword +48 (4d6+24/19-20) or 2 slams +43 (6d10+13/19–20)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks destructive strike, trample (6d10+25, DC 38), mythic power (15/day, surge +1d10+1);
---
Statistics
---
Str 36, Dex 17, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +30; CMB +45; CMD 58
Feats Extra Mythic Power (x3), Maximize Surge, Potent Surge
Treasure Worldgash (+5 Vorpal Adamantine Greatsword)

Special Abilities

Destructive Strike (Ex) Pandemonium's slam attacks threaten a critical hit on a 19 or 20. In addition, whenever Pandemonium scores a critical hit, it deals 6d10+17 points of damage to the target's armor or shield in addition to the normal damage, as if it had also made a successful sunder combat maneuver.

Indestructible (Ex) Pandemonium is nearly impossible to destroy. Even if reduced below 0 hit points, its fast healing continues to restore hit points, though the golem is helpless unless above 0 hit points. It can only be permanently destroyed if reduced to negative hit points and then decapitated using an adamantine vorpal weapon—alternatively, miracle or wish can be used to slay it while it is at negative hit points. If Worldgash is within 30 feet of Pandemonium and unbroken, it absorbs any attempt to destroy Pandemonium using magic into itself, and Worldgash gains the broken condition.

Consume (Su) Once per a round, Pandemonium can spend a full-round action consuming the essence of not only living things, but the very essence of the stability of a mortal plane in a whirling vortex of terrifying shadows and eerie lights. If it does so, Pandemonium inflicts 10d6 points of negative energy damage in a 30 ft radius, and restores 20 hit points to itself, and gains concealment for 1 round. This ability deals damage to even creatures ordinarily immune to healed by negative energy, and deals full damage against unattended objects (no save). Creatures and magic items in this area may attempt a DC 24 Fortitude save to half this damage. Pandemonium can use this ability even when considered helpless, such as while below 0 hit points. This save is Charisma based.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) Pandemonium is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance, except as noted below.

• Transmute metal to wood slows Pandemonium for 1d4 rounds, during which time its damage reduction is reduced to 15/adamantine (no save).

Merciless Strength (Ex) Pandemonium Incarnate adds it's strength modifier to it's initiative in addition to it's dexterity modifier. It also gains dual intitiative (as the universal monster ability)

Rush (Ex) Once per minute for 1 round, Pandemonium can move at a speed of 140 feet. This grants Pandemoium a total of a +43 bonus to Acrobatics checks to jump.

Weapon of Dread (Ex) Pandemonium Incarnate wields a huge +5 vorpal adamantine greatsword, known as Worldgash. This weapon is as resilient to magic as Pandemonium Incarnate itself, and cannot be destroyed or broken except by a separate casting of Wish or Miracle spell. Pandemonium is treated as proficient with this particular greatsword only.

Forged from the star metal of countless arms and armors of countless warriors from endless wars, Pandemonium was created as a final answer to the Aasimar that leads the 5th crusade's vanguard force. Pandemonium is a twisted form, a towering behemoth in which the conglomeration of blades, shields, spikes, helms, and plates are interspersed with sinews of molten adamantine cords. Though lacking in the beauty of his adamantine brethren, Pandemonium is no less deadly, and capable of striking with startling speed. Armed with the vorpal blade, Worldgash, Pandemonium may prove unstoppable.

Without knowing to much about the final act of WotR, I'd suggest tacking this on to whatever the party was already facing. Should be a sufficient but straightforward challenge.


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My personal favorite for “God’s holy warrior” is enervation. No save, touch attack, slap Empowered and Maximized on there and it's 6 negative levels. Rinse and repeat until the problem goes away. Just be sure to say “looks like someone doesn’t have your back, anymore” each time you cast it. You’ll probably need three or four wizards (or a pair of mythic wizards) acting together to pull it off due to rocket tag...

Works great at lower levels (without metamagic) for those groups whose answer to traps is “send in the pally”.

ray of exhaustion is another good one. There is a save, but hit them twice (ranged touch) and you get the full effect. Not very applicable for level 18 + 9 mythic tiers, but is an example of the kind of thing that works.


You need spells with no save, save for half, and mobs that can bypass armor with brilliant energy weapons; and beat them up a bit before the main BBEG fight with a few negative levels and ability score drains. His Touch AC is probably his weakest AC, so you can give your mob spellcasters Reach Spell and they can at least cast Touch Spells on him from Close range, like a Mythic Enervation. Also, you can use Limited Wish to debuff his saves to land something particularly nasty, like Waves of Exhaustion (unless he has the exhausted mercy), or Heightened Bestow Curse (if he doesn't have remove curse mercy). If you think you can land an Acid Pit on him, it will destroy a lot of his gear before he can get out.

Since he is leaving soon, don't feel bad about using a Mage's Disjunction on one of his awesome items.

Another thing you can do is drain his LoH's by afflicting the group members with debuffs that his LoH can remove, but do this earlier before the big BBEG fight happens.

You can even have them come across an Anti-Paladin. Their Touch of Corruption can affect you even if you're normally immune to the effects.

Once they encounter the BBEG, you can control the Paladin with Maze, Imprisonment, etc. You can also use the Gate spell underneath his feet to make him fall into a Wall of Suppression spell that the demon has waiting in a different plane, as a trap of sorts.

Edit: as far as damaging the Paladin, you're going to have to rely on hitting him with save for half spells, so maximize/empower some Chain Lightnings, Firesnakes and Delayed Blast Fireballs.


Well, lets be a little insulting here. Take a base Succubus, advance it by giving it 2 levels of Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) raises its CR 1 to a total of 8. For their bonus stats add 4 to Dex and Cha. Take the focused aim deed. The Succubus gets 15 grit points that can be used to add their cha bonus to damage. For feats take Rapid Reload and Weapon Focus: Riffle. This means the Succubus Gunslinger can reload their advanced firearm as a free action.

Equip the Succubus squad with +2 (paladin) Bane Riffle, ranged +18/+13(1d10+2d6+2, +15 more if they use Focused Aim deed to increase damage for 1 round, +2 to it and damage vs the Paladin's race due to Bane) If the paladin has more than 15 DR use a bullet that will cut through it. The bad guys should know exactly what the entire party is about by now, right? This is only a +3 weapon!

And this is just a CR 8 creature, that hits on Touch out to 5 range increments. But lets face it, the Succubus should be flying or teleporting to exactly 80' from the Paladin and unloading every round.

If you felt like increasing the Gunslinger level just a bit, to say 4th that would give an extra feat and I'd suggest ditching Weapon Focus for Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot so they don't take the -4 for shooting into melee. Allow the Scubbus to retrain one of its racial feats and pick up Clustered Shots to help penetrate DR.

Anyways, get enough succubus to equal out the xp for an easy encounter and add that to the big fight. That should make the Paladin break out in a little sweat. Don't put so many in that if they all hit they would kill the paladin in a single round. Or have them spread their targets out to the rest of the party too, but most concentrate on the Paladin.


Sorc, Witch or Wizard can pull this off nicely.

Quickened True Strike + Maximized Empowered Reach Mythic Enervation = 9 negative levels. If lvl 18, 70ft range Touch Attack with a +20 to hit.
Prepare this as a lvl 7 spell.
You'll have to have this as a Spell Perfection spell to pull this off.

Quickened True Strike + Maximized Empowered Reach Touch of Idiocy = -9 Int, Wis and Cha. If lvl 18, 70ft range Touch Attack with a +20 to hit.
Prepare this as a lvl 9 spell.

Good luck shrugging that off. That Paladin is going to be sweating the whole fight.


Death Ward is a 4th level paladin spell which will negate Enervation completely. Also keep in mind that at 5th tier you take no damage on a successful save unless it is from a mythic source.


high stealth\invisibile\trap that drop this on them. while they are on a metal grid that far below is a pack of rust mosters (or something similar). failed and they are 3d6 con down. even those who save are 5d4 rounds stunned = drop what ever they hold (down hte grid and by bye holy weapons.
back in 3.5 i had a group of vamppire spawn fey (those with improved invisibility) use that then go for 3 on one grapple + blow up a force bead around them and the target (so no1 interfere while they drain away the target.)

but that is just overkill...

Sczarni

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Suggestions:

- Fish for natural 20s. Have a horde of low level monsters. Some will hit eventually. It's what I and my GM buddy always do. No AC is too high.

- Use Army or Swarm templates for large amounts of enemies. They ignore AC.

- Fish for natural 1s. Damage is never received through AC alone. Get rid of this thinking. A low level bad of goblins could cause an small rock slide for example (DC 15 Reflex Save to avoid 3d6 dmg). Set 20x of these small bands for below average encounter and someone will roll natural 1.

- 20x bodaks in ambush solve most of problems.

- Have 9x low level NPCs gank up on paladin and Aid Another to the big brute.

- Hazard + average type of fight can guarantee the dmg done. Fire Elementals in hot environment for example.

- 50x Harpy archers.

- Go insane. Add a monster beyond any PF charts that ignores all damage received until certain condition is met inside combat. For example, lich has 5x magical pillars which provide him immunity to everything. Pillars need to be destroyed first.

Long story short. Conventional ideas probably wouldn't work on High Level Mythic. You have to brutal, above brutal. Insane above insane. At least, I suspect so. I haven't luckily played or GMed Mythic.

Adam


Meirril wrote:

Well, lets be a little insulting here. Take a base Succubus, advance it by giving it 2 levels of Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) raises its CR 1 to a total of 8. For their bonus stats add 4 to Dex and Cha. Take the focused aim deed. The Succubus gets 15 grit points that can be used to add their cha bonus to damage. For feats take Rapid Reload and Weapon Focus: Riffle. This means the Succubus Gunslinger can reload their advanced firearm as a free action.

Equip the Succubus squad with +2 (paladin) Bane Riffle, ranged +18/+13(1d10+2d6+2, +15 more if they use Focused Aim deed to increase damage for 1 round, +2 to it and damage vs the Paladin's race due to Bane) If the paladin has more than 15 DR use a bullet that will cut through it. The bad guys should know exactly what the entire party is about by now, right? This is only a +3 weapon!

And this is just a CR 8 creature, that hits on Touch out to 5 range increments. But lets face it, the Succubus should be flying or teleporting to exactly 80' from the Paladin and unloading every round.

If you felt like increasing the Gunslinger level just a bit, to say 4th that would give an extra feat and I'd suggest ditching Weapon Focus for Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot so they don't take the -4 for shooting into melee. Allow the Scubbus to retrain one of its racial feats and pick up Clustered Shots to help penetrate DR.

Anyways, get enough succubus to equal out the xp for an easy encounter and add that to the big fight. That should make the Paladin break out in a little sweat. Don't put so many in that if they all hit they would kill the paladin in a single round. Or have them spread their targets out to the rest of the party too, but most concentrate on the Paladin.

To add to the idea of Gun-based deadliness, take a pale stranger, advance to taste, and give them access to the spell named bullet. Automatic *4 crit touch attack, any range, +6d6+CL of named bullet (2*CL for greater named bullet).


I'm a player in a Mythic Wrath of the Righteous game (we just finished Book 3), and our GM has told us that from here on out he's going to be multiplying enemy HP anywhere from 2 to 10 times, depending on the enemy and its regular HP. You could do that. It won't change how much damage the paladin does, but the enemies will live longer so the other players get to do something.

As for hitting him, I'd suggest modifying encounters to find ways to bring in some dispel magic - get rid of his buffs, suppress his magic items for a bit. Have all of the enemies gang up on him with Aid Another actions. They'll get the attack roll high enough that one of them hits him. Touch attacks and touch spells are another good option.

Of course, the one solution that hasn't been suggested yet is that you ask the player to change some things with his build. Since you said this was specifically affecting another player's enjoyment of the game, I would sit down with him and tell him that another player has said the game isn't fun anymore for them, and try to work with him to bring his character more in line with the rest of the party's power level.

Even only half-way through the AP, I can tell that Mythic is making a mess of things that will only get worse without the GM actively changing the encounters. It sucks, since one of the reasons people run an AP is to avoid having to make too many changes, but Wrath of the Righteous and Mythic kind of require it.


I also have a super Paladin in my campaign. He's butchering every encounters but it's not really a problem in my opinion. Sure, he's an unstoppable war machine, but that's all he is.
Drop him some hard puzzles that he can't figure out alone. The paladin only have 2 skill points + int. Find a way to add skill checks that are going to put him at a disadvantage. You need to show him that if he wants to optimize his martial abilities, he's going to miss on other things.


Shining

I would use maybe like 10 of these and make them mythic.

Give them some levels of sorcerer. See if you can somehow cast true strike as a swift action. I'm sure mythic can do that...

Focus fire on the paladin with the range touch attacks.

With true strike on a roll of a two that is 41 vs touch ac.

Or find some other creature with better touch AC attacks and do the same thing. If they are not evil even better.

Air Kineticist?

On another note have you thought of just battle field controlling the paladin? Force walls, flying monsters, teleporting enemies, underwater battles...

Sovereign Court

If the OP doesn't mind incorporating D&D 3.5 rule elements into the game, lookup the spell Wraithstrike (I forget which book it was from; might be in the 3.5 Spell Compendium?). Swift action 2nd level spell, lasts for 1 round, and all melee attacks are treated as touch attacks.

Make a Dragon with lots of natural attacks (maybe even throw in manufactored weapons into the mix, like Armor Spikes or that spell that grows spikes? I forget the name). Make him high enough to cast as a Sorcerer of an appropriate level. Power Attack/Mythic Power Attack.

Granted, it works better using the D&D 3.5 version of Power Attack...

Alternatively, make an evil version of the Paladin (using Anti-Paladin). High AC, High Saves, etc. Watch as Rocket-Tag gets turned into Whiff-Tag...


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Doppleman wrote:
I also have a super Paladin in my campaign. He's butchering every encounters but it's not really a problem in my opinion. Sure, he's an unstoppable war machine, but that's all he is. Drop him some hard puzzles that he can't figure out alone. The paladin only have 2 skill points + int. Find a way to add skill checks that are going to put him at a disadvantage. You need to show him that if he wants to optimize his martial abilities, he's going to miss on other things.

If you really want to mess with a super paladin, give him a dragon mount.

* Enjoy listening to him grouse because he took Weapon Bond.

* After he retrains that class-feature for Mount, coyly inquire if he has any ranks in Ride or feats slots set aside for Mounted Combat and Indomitable Mount. (Dual Talent Int-7 humans will definitely whine the loudest here.)

* And that dragon is a sarcastic cuss that speaks its mind constantly to a rider who's likely 5 or so lower in both Int and Wis scores.

--The super paladin can only upset your combats during combat, but his own dragon can mess with him full time!


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at least a 13th level Magus with Ghost Blade (gives brilliant energy as a blade enchantment) and Arcane Accuracy (resolve all attacks for the round as touch attacks), then spell combat to cast Vanish at the end of the round for longevity. Scale up for appropriate fun. If you want to make them mythic, add in a minor legendary weapon and give it Foe Biting, give them Beyond Morality and make them an Archmage with Wild Arcana and Coupled Arcana, so when they activate Arcane Accuracy, they can throw off a Shocking Grasp or Corrosive Consumption and spellstrike with it as well

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