Confused about poltergeist


Monsters and Hazards


Hi all,

I'm confused about how much damage the "Telekinetic Storm" ability of the poltergeist actually does. Does it do 1d6+4 dmg to targeted creature up to 4d6+4 damage if targeting a single creature? Then how does it do a minimum of 8 damage unless it critically fails its attack roll?
I'm preparing for part 3 of the adventure path and ran in to this problem and can't seem to find an answer.


Here is what I understand of it. Maybe we can get some kind of confirmation later.

If the poltergeist targets multiple people (all creatures within 30 feet), it does its telekinetic objects Strike (its basic Strike, noted at the top of the offensive black, at "Ranged") with a -2 penalty to hit. So it would attack with a +11 bonus (or +6 if it already attacked), dealing its normal telekinetic object Strike damage to each target it successfully hits, which is 2d12. If it misses on a target, it does no damage.

If you take two actions to hit a single target a single time, you want some advantage. So if you do throw many objects at one creature, you get your full to-hit (+13), and do more damage, going up to 4d6+4. You also get the added bonus that if you miss, it still deals minimum damage (8), which I guess means one of the many objects managed to hit.


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So looking at the poltergeist in preparation for my own game I have a larger question. Unless the poltergeist uses frighten--and just flies around at chandelier height hucking things telekinetically at PCs, how would they even know they're being attacked by a separate creature? Like even if they see the wight in the dining room summon him (which is kind of a weird ability anyway) all they would see would be a flash of some kind of spell effect and an invisible creature get summoned...which would kind of look like nothing. I could honestly see the poltergeist sticking around for the rest of the adventure, sniping characters for 4d6+4 damage a round without any of the PCs ever having any hint as to its location or nature...

That feels like trouble. I don't want to play my badguys dumb, but that feels like a fairly cheap monster ability combo.

If I were to suggest edits to the monster, I'd argue that in its normal state it creates a nimbus of glowing energy around itself that makes it concealed rather than invisible. It can manifest as an incorporeal creature if angered sufficiently (usually done by confronting it with uncomfortable truths from its former life), or willing itself to become completely invisible. In its fully manifested state it induces fright in those that see it and its attack powers become stronger. When completely invisible its powers are diminished and it must spend an action concentrating to maintain its invisibility.


Grimcleaver wrote:

So looking at the poltergeist in preparation for my own game I have a larger question. Unless the poltergeist uses frighten--and just flies around at chandelier height hucking things telekinetically at PCs, how would they even know they're being attacked by a separate creature? Like even if they see the wight in the dining room summon him (which is kind of a weird ability anyway) all they would see would be a flash of some kind of spell effect and an invisible creature get summoned...which would kind of look like nothing. I could honestly see the poltergeist sticking around for the rest of the adventure, sniping characters for 4d6+4 damage a round without any of the PCs ever having any hint as to its location or nature...

That feels like trouble. I don't want to play my badguys dumb, but that feels like a fairly cheap monster ability combo.

If I were to suggest edits to the monster, I'd argue that in its normal state it creates a nimbus of glowing energy around itself that makes it concealed rather than invisible. It can manifest as an incorporeal creature if angered sufficiently (usually done by confronting it with uncomfortable truths from its former life), or willing itself to become completely invisible. In its fully manifested state it induces fright in those that see it and its attack powers become stronger. When completely invisible its powers are diminished and it must spend an action concentrating to maintain its invisibility.

The edit sounds pretty interesting, but as to the current monster if the players figured out there was an invisible presence attacking them (should be pretty clear before long) the smart thing to do would be to use the Seek action to try to pick it out, once you've made it Sensed via that you can Try to deal with it. If you have actions to spare once sensing it you could even use the Point Out action to help your pals spot it too. Then even if you don't have See Invisibikity or the like a volley of ranged attacks and/or save-targeting spells should do the job. Not to mention once it's sensed it would make sense for it to try and use its Fright ability since it doesn't have the full benefits of stealth anymore.


On the previous comment, Recall Knowledge (Religion) also seems a good way to determine the likely cause of flying furniture.


right, I just played that fight, we had 4 people in the room apparently all next to him doing 3 seek actions a round with him in the radius and we couldn't find him. I don't know if the GM was doing it wrong or what but seeking like 12 times and not finding the ghost standing still doesn't imply that seeking worked well.


So I found out some of the rules are wrong when we did it.
If the ghost does anything but hide or sneak then it becomes sensed to the players and they know something is there and which square it is. So every time it attacks it would be seen. Still annoying because a stealth can auto succeed to rehide but it allows for readied actions and stuff.

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