Is Menace Under Otari boss actually level 5?

Pathfinder Beginner Box

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I've heard people point to the final battle in Menace Under Otari saying, "See? The party level +2 creature is treated as worth 120 XP, so Paizo is admitting that party level +2 solo creatures are severe instead of moderate!" But there's an earlier fight against a party level +2 creature that the game treats as 80 XP, so that doesn't make sense.

I took a closer look at the final boss's stat block, which has a listed level of 4 and is meant to be used against level 2 PCs. Most Breath Weapons I've seen in this game use the on-level limited use area damage and high spell DC for that level. The Breath Weapon dealing 5d6 damage is expected for a level 4 creature, but the DC of 24 is 1 point shy of extreme. That is ridiculously high, and there aren't proper low statistics here to offset it.

But that's only if you look at it as a level 4 creature. As a level 5 creature, its Breath DC sits halfway between high and extreme, and it's offset by lower level breath weapon damage.

Could the monster actually be level 5, and the level provided on page 60 is actually a typo?

That would not surprise me if it was level 5. Simply because Party Level +3 is 120 XP, a severe encounter while Party level +2 is 80 XP. So really it is a level 5 creature listed as a level 4.

You might be right, but Paizo will from time to time give you more XP than a fight is worth. I cannot rule that out. That said though this does seem fair to me, Ive never seen as many TPKs as the final fight in Menace Under Otari. Its WILD how this one dragon can tear a party apart. Its attack is so good Draconic Frenzy into recharged breath weapon tears level 2 parties apart. It could be level +3

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If played as written it isn't so bad. It's certainly not easy and I've usually had someone go down during the fight. But no TPKs.

The dragon doesn’t try to catch all the heroes with this attack, but focuses on just the nearest opponent. Once the dragon uses the breath weapon ability, they can’t use it again for 1d4 rounds or until they get a critical hit on a Strike.

The dragon can't use draconic frenzy and the breath weapon in the same round. So more likely it will breath weapon and blast one PC then strike, possibly recharging the breath weapon. The second round it could repeat or do draconic frenzy.

I have the dragon using all its abilities, so I tend to fit in a draconic frenzy rather than just repeatedly breath weapon. It will make three attacks, at best at +14, +7, +6 or thereabouts. Using all its abilities seems intended, meaning the breath weapon will be available every other round.

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