Building a Medium


Advice


I'm designing a module and one of the enemies is a medium. He's a gnoll, 4th level, and will be encountered along with a 5th level gnoll cleric and a 3rd level gnoll inquisitor. That's a CR 7 encounter- right in the range that I need. He has the Voice of the Void archetype for thematic reasons.

The only problem is that I have no idea how to build a medium!

I wanted to use this module as a way to push myself and build with some things that I've never used before. After a look at the medium class, I decided on having him channel a champion and focus on melee combat. The cleric is also a melee combatant, while the inquisitor is ranged. They've got time to buff up, and they've already shared his seance.

I need general build advice... feats, spells (though his champion spirit will limit those pretty significantly), ability scores to focus on, etc.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Champion spirit is the right start if you want an easy medium - at 4th level it's a fairly easy comparison; you're BAB 3 with an untyped +2 bonus to attack and damage, and a further +2 damage from their seance, with proficiency in any one exotic weapon of your choice. You also have access to a 1st level spell - if the cleric is a caster cleric, something like Ill Omen might be appropriate, otherwise there are some useful buffs there too. If you're using the ARG gnoll race, +2 str/+2 con plays quite nicely into a one-big-hit build - the bonuses to attack/damage being per hit work well for archers/two weapon fighters, but that'll be difficult to pull off at level 4 to be honest. One thing I'd advise for all possible builds here is the Spirit Focus feat - +1 to hit, damage, fort saves, and some other misc stuff is very nice for a feat.

Presuming a 20-point buy, here's the easy basic one:

Two-Handed Brute:

STR 16+2
DEX 14
CON 12+2
INT 8
WIS 10
CHA 14+2

Feats:
1: Spirit Focus (Champion)
3: Power Attack

Offence:
Masterwork Falcata with +10 to hit (+4 str + 3 bab + 3 spirit + 1 masterwork weapon - 1 power attack) for 1d8+14 damage(6 str + 3 spirit + 2 seance + 3 power attack) with a 19-20/x3 crit range

Defence:
AC 20 (10 + 2 dex + 6 breastplate + 2 natural armour)
HP 35 (8 (max at 1st level) + 5*3 (d8 HD) + 2*4 (CON mod) + 1*4 (FCB))
FORT +6 (1 base + 3 spirit + 2 con)
REF +3 (1 base + 2 dex)
WILL +4 (4 base + 0 wis)

Spells:
Could take Ill Omen if you've got a caster in the enemy party
Enlarge Person (change to 2d6+15 damage, 10ft reach, -2 AC)
Heightened Awareness (+4 on initiative, more chance to spot the party)
Long Arm (10ft reach)

If you're going a bit more weird, can go for a dexterity-based TWF buidL

TWFing:

STR 12+2
DEX 16
CON 12+2
INT 8
WIS 12
CHA 14+2

Feats:
1: Weapon Finesse
3: Spirit Focus (Champion)

Offence:
Masterwork Wakazashi with +8 to hit (+3 dex + 3 bab + 3 spirit + 1 masterwork weapon - 2 two weapon fighting) for 1d6+7 damage(2 str + 3 spirit + 2 seance) with a 18-20/x2 crit range

Defence:
AC 21 (10 + 3 dex + 6 breastplate + 2 natural armour)
HP 35 (8 (max at 1st level) + 5*3 (d8 HD) + 2*4 (CON mod) + 1*4 (FCB))
FORT +6 (1 base + 3 spirit + 2 con)
REF +4 (1 base + 3 dex)
WILL +5 (4 base + 1 wis)

Spells:
Could take Ill Omen if you've got a caster in the enemy party
Reduce Person (change to +10(1d4+6) damage, +2 AC)
Heightened Awareness (+4 on initiative, more chance to spot the party)
Long Arm (10ft reach)

The dex build is a little more survivable, especially with reduce person + long arm, but is going to be a lower EDV without a way to get dex to damage. Level 4 is a pretty easy level for mediums to be honest - they don't have much going on as champions, they just get some extra attack/damage and some decent 1st level spells + an exotic weapon.


Thanks for the help.

The champion spirit at 4th level (assuming that I take Spirit Focus) will reduce his caster level to 1. Doesn't that cut out 1st level spells?

Also, point buy is out. I'm using the gnoll stat block, not the gnoll race. That's 2 racial hd and the +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, -2 array on top of that. I'll still be able to use your ability scores to build that, though. As much as I want to make a dual-wielding gnoll medium, the dex just isn't high enough for that. :(

Unrelatedly, what do you think kineticist counts as for the purpose of determining CR? I'm planning on adding an ogre kineticist called the Mudfather later in the module, but I dunno if it'll add 1/2 CR like casting classes, or 1 CR like martials.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On an ogre I'd expect a kineticist to add 1/2 CR/level at first, since there's little synergy between a kinetic blast and being a big hulking ogre.

The influence penalty strikes when a medium gets 3 points of influence from the spirit. At 1-2 points of influence it does not apply.

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, avr got in ahead of me there - the influence penalty isn't going to apply unless you're burning through Spirit Surge uses. If you're using the gnoll race it's likely to be better stats for the one big hit - their 15 str goes to 19, then their 4th level ASI can bump that to 20. Something like 20/12/15/6/11/12 should be sufficient? Do agree that a dex-based one is going to be a bit hard here, but the one-big-hit build will certainly be effective :)

Also in agreement with avr that kineticist should be 1/2 CR/level for quite some time - the kinetic blast damage is very weak for quite some time until it's roughly caught up with other options :)

Liberty's Edge

Arcaian wrote:

Champion spirit is the right start if you want an easy medium - at 4th level it's a fairly easy comparison; you're BAB 3 with an untyped +2 bonus to attack and damage, and a further +2 damage from their seance, with proficiency in any one exotic weapon of your choice. You also have access to a 1st level spell - if the cleric is a caster cleric, something like Ill Omen might be appropriate, otherwise there are some useful buffs there too. If you're using the ARG gnoll race, +2 str/+2 con plays quite nicely into a one-big-hit build - the bonuses to attack/damage being per hit work well for archers/two weapon fighters, but that'll be difficult to pull off at level 4 to be honest. One thing I'd advise for all possible builds here is the Spirit Focus feat - +1 to hit, damage, fort saves, and some other misc stuff is very nice for a feat.

Presuming a 20-point buy, here's the easy basic one:
** spoiler omitted **

If you're going a bit more weird, can go for a dexterity-based TWF buidL

** spoiler omitted **...

Sorry to double post, but just noticed a typo in the first build - the CHA should be 14, not 14+2 :)

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Level 4 medium focused on melee really only needs two feats: Spirit Focus (Champion) and Power Attack. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Unless you expect this medium to survive and become a recurring character I wouldn’t worry about feats like Legendary Influence.

If you’re giving the medium at least 7k worth of wealth consider also giving him a +1 Spirit-Bonded Breastplate. Now their spirit bonus can be as high as +4 as a 4th level medium, when you include Spirit Focus feat too.

Liberty's Edge

Syries wrote:

Level 4 medium focused on melee really only needs two feats: Spirit Focus (Champion) and Power Attack. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Unless you expect this medium to survive and become a recurring character I wouldn’t worry about feats like Legendary Influence.

If you’re giving the medium at least 7k worth of wealth consider also giving him a +1 Spirit-Bonded Breastplate. Now their spirit bonus can be as high as +4 as a 4th level medium, when you include Spirit Focus feat too.

I would advise avoiding introducing spirit-bonded armour to a campaign to be honest - 6k for a +1 to hit, damage, and fort saves that stacks with everything is pretty ridiculous at any medium to high levels.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

NPC wealth for all of these guys. The inquisitor and medium are one-shots, while the cleric nopes out with meld into stone if he's injured too much or if his buddies are killed.

How's this look? Note that I don't always include every single feature in the stat blocks, either because I've forgotten about it or because it's not relevant for combat.

Shaggat- CR 4
Male gnoll medium (voice of the void) 4
CE medium humanoid (gnoll)
Init +1
Senses darkvision 60 ft., perception +9

DEFENSE
AC 18 (+6 armor, +1 dex, +1 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 17
hp 55
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +4

OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft.
Melee +1 nodachi +10 (1d10+18)
Ranged composite longbow +10 (1d8+9)
Special Attacks spirit surge +1d6, surge of the void, void channeller
Medium Spells Known (CL 4th, concentraiton +5, DC 11+spell level)
1st (1/day): expeditious retreat, decompose corpse
0 (at-will): mage hand, read magic, detect magic, dancing lights

STATISTICS
Str 19 (+4), Dex 12 (+1), Con 15 (+2), Int 8 (-1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
Base Atk +4, CMB +8, CMD 19
Feats Power Attack, Toughness, Spirit Focus (champion)
Skills perception +9, intimidate +10, use magic device +10, perform (oratory) +10
Languages Gnoll
Gear breastplate, +1 nodachi, potion of cure moderate wounds, composite longbow (+4 str), 20 arrows

TACTICS
Before Combat

Shaggat shares his seance bonus with his companions each day. He channels the champion spirit of a bloodthirsty dweller in darkness known as Ximentetocl, and accepts its taboo- he cannot refuse a personal challenge. Before enemies enter the ritual chamber, he casts expeditious retreat.
During Combat
Shaggat is a fierce combatant, always using Power Attack and charging into combat with great energy. He lacks tactical acumen, but knows to flank with Utobi and stay out of Ya’neross’ line of fire. He targets strong enemies first. If he drops an enemy, he spends a round gloating and roaring at their allies to flee and spread the fear of the Dark Tapestry. He uses his free uses of spirit surge to modify missed attacks, but is loath to give his spirit influence over him.
Morale
Shaggat fights to the death.

Liberty's Edge

Looks pretty good - a pretty scary melee combatant. For what it's worth, I might put him at CR 5 - medium combines pretty well with the base creature, and using the Monster Creation stats he's almost exactly a CR 5 creature; the same HP, the same AC, the same good attack bonus, with a higher than expected damage. Not sure if it matters too much - I know I ignore CR fairly commonly in my games, it's too variable. I must say, it's rather expertly formatted too!


Looks good. The main trick in using him would be to show that he's not just a barbarian with a one-level dip in something which has expeditious retreat on its spell list. For that he probably needs to roar out something about the spirit Ximentetocl, and if the PCs are to understand him then he needs to do it in Common not Gnoll. Speaking Common would help when using intimidate too.

Minor nitpicks: I wonder a little why he has the use magic device skill with nothing to use it on. Maybe get at least 1 rank in linguistics instead? And decompose corpse is the most specialised of all special-purpose spells. Neither of those matters to an NPC whose life on screen will be measured in combat rounds of course.

Grand Lodge

Double check ranged attack bonus. BAB 4, Dex +1, spirit bonus +3 would only put the composite longbow at +8 to hit.

And the nodachi Attack/dmg bonus is correct for using Power Attack. I’d just recommend keeping a note of what the bonuses are without power attack, just in case. Which would be +12 att, 1d10+12 dmg

That does sound like a pretty scary fight. Consider, given the archetype, the type of champion the gnoll has. What happens if the gnoll ends up with 5 influence? My suggestion so you can pull your punches a bit if need be would be to have in his tactics that he makes liberal use of spirit surge on his attack rolls, to ensure he hit, to the point where he accumulates influence quickly. At 5 influence, the esoteric champion fully possesses the gnoll and begins challenging anyone and everyone- he does not consider anyone, including the other gnolls, his ally and randomly determines who to attack each round, moving and provoking AoOs if need be and possibly even attacking the other gnolls.

Just a thought, so you could have an out if the fight looks like it will end with a TPK. It doesn’t neutralize the threat, but definitely can relieve the pressure on a single player who might be getting slammed hard by this medium.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pick a small race, like halfling or gnome.

Select the medium class.

Pick up a wand of enlarge person.

Congratulations! You're a Small Medium Enlarged!


Syries wrote:

Double check ranged attack bonus. BAB 4, Dex +1, spirit bonus +3 would only put the composite longbow at +8 to hit.

And the nodachi Attack/dmg bonus is correct for using Power Attack. I’d just recommend keeping a note of what the bonuses are without power attack, just in case. Which would be +12 att, 1d10+12 dmg

That does sound like a pretty scary fight. Consider, given the archetype, the type of champion the gnoll has. What happens if the gnoll ends up with 5 influence? My suggestion so you can pull your punches a bit if need be would be to have in his tactics that he makes liberal use of spirit surge on his attack rolls, to ensure he hit, to the point where he accumulates influence quickly. At 5 influence, the esoteric champion fully possesses the gnoll and begins challenging anyone and everyone- he does not consider anyone, including the other gnolls, his ally and randomly determines who to attack each round, moving and provoking AoOs if need be and possibly even attacking the other gnolls.

Just a thought, so you could have an out if the fight looks like it will end with a TPK. It doesn’t neutralize the threat, but definitely can relieve the pressure on a single player who might be getting slammed hard by this medium.

He's prideful and full of RAEG so I'll probably run him as attacking whoever's the biggest and baddest. The CR adjustment would work, in which case I can remove the inquisitor to keep it at CR 7 overall.

Ximentetocl, if it takes over (I do like the idea of him being reckless with his influence, now that I think of it), will probably be much more reckless in its tactics. That could give the PCs an edge. Provoking AoOs, charging and sundering, etc.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The narrative power of being a medium makes for great characters. For the voice of the void, the bonus spirit surge uses and increased die size works well with the marshal spirit.
Looks like you are going another way, champion is definitely a good choice and benefits from the archetype as well.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / Building a Medium All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.