Best solo undead for a 3rd level party of 6


Advice


Hi

The adventures my players are in is set in a mages tower, in the library level to retrieve the key they have to read certain books, these books will teleport them to a demiplane, where they will fight a denizen to retrieve a fragment of the key.

I'm sending them to a graveyard in one of the demiplanes and would like a good solo undead beastie for them to fight, what are your recommendations?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well, this all depends on their level and how many players you have. As well as how tough of a fight you want it to be.

I'll walk you through an example of how I would do it. I'm making some assumptions to fill in the blanks here - your specifics of party level and all of that are likely different, so you'll have to adjust according to level and number of players, but I think you'll get my method even with my assumptions.

Let's say for instance that you want this to be a Moderate challenge. I'm assuming there are multiple of these demiplane fights, and perhaps some hazards in the mage tower, so these aren't climax fights and they'll have to survive many of them. Thus Moderate seems to work.

Let's assume, I dunno, 3rd level? The XP budget for a moderate encounter is 80 XP. Let's also assume 4 PCs, so you wouldn't adjust those numbers. That means you're looking for a monster at Party Level +2 (You can find the charts that I'm getting these numbers from on page 489 of the core book).

Now, to the bestiary. We want an undead that is level 5. Bestiary page 350 has a huge chart with creatures by level. Page 353 has the level 5 monsters. And it looks like the Poltergeist is the only level 5 undead, so there you go!

But you could also use a level 4 undead with the Elite adjustment (bestiary page 6) which gives Ghost Commoner, Shadow and Vampire Spawn as possibilities. And you could also use a level 6 undead with the Weak adjustment (also bestiary page 6) which gives you Mummy Guardian, Vampire Count, Wraith and Zombie Hulk as options.

Make sense? I can be more specific to your particular needs if you post and let us know what level your players are and how many of them there are, as well as how challenging you want the fight to be.

Dark Archive

jdripley wrote:

Well, this all depends on their level and how many players you have. As well as how tough of a fight you want it to be.

I'll walk you through an example of how I would do it. I'm making some assumptions to fill in the blanks here - your specifics of party level and all of that are likely different, so you'll have to adjust according to level and number of players, but I think you'll get my method even with my assumptions.

Let's say for instance that you want this to be a Moderate challenge. I'm assuming there are multiple of these demiplane fights, and perhaps some hazards in the mage tower, so these aren't climax fights and they'll have to survive many of them. Thus Moderate seems to work.

Let's assume, I dunno, 3rd level? The XP budget for a moderate encounter is 80 XP. Let's also assume 4 PCs, so you wouldn't adjust those numbers. That means you're looking for a monster at Party Level +2 (You can find the charts that I'm getting these numbers from on page 489 of the core book).

Now, to the bestiary. We want an undead that is level 5. Bestiary page 350 has a huge chart with creatures by level. Page 353 has the level 5 monsters. And it looks like the Poltergeist is the only level 5 undead, so there you go!

But you could also use a level 4 undead with the Elite adjustment (bestiary page 6) which gives Ghost Commoner, Shadow and Vampire Spawn as possibilities. And you could also use a level 6 undead with the Weak adjustment (also bestiary page 6) which gives you Mummy Guardian, Vampire Count, Wraith and Zombie Hulk as options.

Make sense? I can be more specific to your particular needs if you post and let us know what level your players are and how many of them there are, as well as how challenging you want the fight to be.

The party is posted in the title: There are six level 3 characters.


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I would do it as a zombie hulk with 6 zombie shamblers. Position a few extra corpses around the battlefield for his corpse throwing ability, and throw some shamblers instead for some fun combat dynamics, showing off that he's a Mindless brute (the shamblers are mostly there to make the fight more engaging than standing around a big guy and healing melee as they fall, which is very important for the hulk who is not very mobile and dynamic on his own).

When scaling up a boss encounter for a bigger group its usually better to add a few weaker enemies than to make the big guy stronger. The reason is that the fight can be frustrating if you have 6 characters but nobody can hit the big guy's AC even with debuffs, which can happen if you have one super strong creature. It also makes certain tactics, like spamming slow spell, go from a good idea to basically required to prevent the boss from killing your team.


Could you also say their classes to have a better idea that 6 ppl?

Maybe knowing their classes something different could come up!

I say 2x zombie hulk, and over time some little zombie spawning out of Nowhere until the fight is on going. Like 2 new at the beginning of each round.

Zombie hulk

https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=426

They are slow and can be kited if needed.

Zombie shambler

https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=423

They probably won't deal too much damage, but the players will have to fast deal with em, or they will outnumber the heroes.

Also there will be less space to move into, and the hulks could kill easily people.

Ps: eventually, you could consider the spawning places objects or structures which can be also destroyed, but requires time.

Giving the players another choice.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Narxiso wrote:
The party is posted in the title: There are six level 3 characters.

That's really funny, I had that in mind but as I read and re-read the post I kept asking myself "why do I think it's 3rd level 6 party members?? and I didn't scroll up high enough to see the title :P

Ok, so more or less everything stays the same except it gets upped a bit.

The page 489 chart says 6 level 3 characters get 120 xp for a moderate encounter, which is party level +3, or 6th level enemies.

So level 5 with the Elite adjustment is a Poltergeist.
Level 6 is a Mummy Guardian, Vampire Count, Wraith or Zombie Hulk
Level 7 with the weak adjustment is a Dullahan and a Skeletal Hulk.

As I'm looking at that list, there are some terrifying fights there...

Perhaps it would be wiser to go with a Low threat encounter. I'm not sure how many of these keys the party needs to face, but I'm assuming there will be a climax fight after all the keys are assembled.

For low:
Level 4 with elite adjustment: Ghost Commoner, Shadow
Level 5 as-is: Poltergeist
Level 6 with weak adjustment: Mummy Guardian, Vampire Count, Wraith, Zombie Hulk

And my favorites there are Poltergeist and Weak Zombie Hulk.

Mummy Guardian is, in my opinion, too much at level 3. It will certainly infect a few of your PCs with Mummy Rot, and they can't remove curses at this level.
Ghost, Poltergeist, Shadow and Wraith would be tricky if the party doesn't have much magical damage (spells or magic weapons). If they have plenty of that, then they would make for fun encounters.
Vampires, in my opinion, work best as slow burn type enemies.. you know you're dealing with one, you spend time dealing with their plots and learning about their weaknesses, then you confront them and get to stake them. But will a party randomly getting teleported to a demi plane have garlic, a crucifix and a stake?


Thanks for the advice so far, some frightening encounters there (pun intended :) )

The group consists of:
Halfling Rogue Thief
Dwarf Cloistered Cleric
Dwarf Fighter
Human Spirit Barbarian
Human Evoker Wizard
Gnome Divine Sorcerer

I was leaning towards the Shadow, but I'm not convinced it would make a great Solo fight, maybe if I leaned into its stealth elements it could be fun.

I'm trying to avoid Zombies as the first fight they had in my campaign was against a zombie horde

*Edit* Just to add I'd prefer a moderate encounter, as they still have a few other demiplanes to visit, and the end boss to fight and I don't want the party too beaten up,


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My previous advice was for a severe encounter, so if you want to go moderate it should be toned down a little accordingly.

If their first fight was zombies I actually think that makes zombie shamblers a better choice for an addition here (assuming they haven't seen them since, don't want to overdo it). They'll smoke the level -1 zombie shamblers they had troubles with before, and it will show them how much their characters have improved already (of course I don't know what your game schedule is like and how long it's been since then, so you'll use your own judgment here).

One elite shadow and one weak shadow would work as well for a moderate encounter.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have an idea for a bespoke skeleton encounter that involves a single enemy in a room littered with bones. Its shtick will be dismantling itself and travelling through the bones before reforming elsewhere, giving a mobile challenge that might not be expected from a skeleton encounter. To stop it being individually to powerful I'd probably build it as a level 5 enemy and then use the rest of the xp budget on hazards in the room to get it to a Moderate encounter for 6. Or if you don't mind it not being a true solo fight, some other skeletons can be hiding in the bone piles.

If you like the sound of that I can fiddle with it tonight (6 or so hours from now) and have it finished fairly quickly.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Be careful using the Wraith

I ran it in the test game for a 3rd level party with six people and it was a great boss fight, but also very nearly a TPK- The nasty thing is it's resistances, as you can see it's resistance 5 to all damage with a few exceptions, but notably resistance 10 to non-magical damage- which is what low level martial PCs tend to do less than unless they roll really well.

It's less severe if they have access to magical weapons with a basic potency rune(which in fairness, they should have by now by table, since you can get them as low as level 1) or even better a striking rune (which is a level 4 item, they could have just gotten that this level, you could make it a point to get them one or two if you haven't given them all their treasure this level.)

That was the fight in our test game where my players learned how powerful magic missile is against enemies three levels above them, XD.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I went ahead and spend half an hour anyway. Boneyard Encounter


Cool.

What tool do you use to create maps?

Ps: giving resistance to fire, Electric, frost ( and no vulnerabilities ) isn't too much for casters?

Combatants could use B weapons so the resistances will be 0 ( since they are fighting undeads, they will probably use B weapons even without knowing what lies ahead ), but casters couls deal even no damage.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HumbleGamer wrote:

Cool.

What tool do you use to create maps?

Ps: giving resistance to fire, Electric, frost ( and no vulnerabilities ) isn't too much for casters?

Combatants could use B weapons so the resistances will be 0 ( since they are fighting undeads, they will probably use B weapons even without knowing what lies ahead ), but casters couls deal even no damage.

Dungeon Painter Studio is what I used on Steam. Mostly because it handles exporting to all the various virtual tabletops (not sure how google docs mess with image resolutions but hopefully those images just port direct to roll20) and it has nice searchable art packs.

I followed the standard resistances for skeletons (its core stats are more less the Skeleton Champions upped to the level 5 equivalents.) To compensate they have low health for a level 5 monster. If the casters have access to telekinetic projectile they should be able to find plenty of femurs to throw bludgeoning attacks with. But yeah it can be rough for folks without the means to bypass the resistance.


Malk_Content wrote:
So I went ahead and spend half an hour anyway. Boneyard Encounter

Wow, that is amazing!!

I will definitely be using that, thank you so so much :)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dan_Dare74 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
So I went ahead and spend half an hour anyway. Boneyard Encounter

Wow, that is amazing!!

I will definitely be using that, thank you so so much :)

If you need better res versions of the map image I can upload one.


Malk_Content wrote:
Dan_Dare74 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
So I went ahead and spend half an hour anyway. Boneyard Encounter

Wow, that is amazing!!

I will definitely be using that, thank you so so much :)
If you need better res versions of the map image I can upload one.

That would awesome, again a massive thank you


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hi Rez (140px per square) HERE

It was fun to do and it gives me an encounter for my folder if I ever need anything like that myself (undead are a pretty big thing in my homebrew so I'm sure it will eventually.)


Malk_Content wrote:

Hi Rez (140px per square) HERE

It was fun to do and it gives me an encounter for my folder if I ever need anything like that myself (undead are a pretty big thing in my homebrew so I'm sure it will eventually.)

You sir, are a star :)


Malk_Content wrote:

Hi Rez (140px per square) HERE

It was fun to do and it gives me an encounter for my folder if I ever need anything like that myself (undead are a pretty big thing in my homebrew so I'm sure it will eventually.)

I ran this encounter last night and it got a massive thumbs up, thank you very much


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dan_Dare74 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

Hi Rez (140px per square) HERE

It was fun to do and it gives me an encounter for my folder if I ever need anything like that myself (undead are a pretty big thing in my homebrew so I'm sure it will eventually.)

I ran this encounter last night and it got a massive thumbs up, thank you very much

Thats really great to hear! I had to skip a week of pf this week so its good to know someone enjoyed my work.

If my PMs worked on here I'd say PM me if you ever have any other interesting parameter encounters to make. As they don't I'll just keep an eye out on the forums.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dan_Dare74 wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

Hi Rez (140px per square) HERE

It was fun to do and it gives me an encounter for my folder if I ever need anything like that myself (undead are a pretty big thing in my homebrew so I'm sure it will eventually.)

I ran this encounter last night and it got a massive thumbs up, thank you very much

Also if you have any notes on what could be improved in the monster and level design that would be great!

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