View Full Version : [3.5] Help Make a Final Boss

2009-10-17, 04:33 PM
(Before anyone asks, yes I am fond of abusing videogame tropes.)

So basically, as I begin to approach the end of my campaign, I'd like someone to help stat up a homebrew for what I am planning to be the final conflict in the story. I'll describe the character and the events which will lead up to the climax, so something can be made up based upon that.

So basically, Franz (the guy in my avatar) is an Elan Psion (Telepath)/Illithid Psychic, who is a villainous NPC in the campaign. Loosely speaking, his plan is the inversion of the dimensional barrier of the setting, allowing him to siphon off the power of The Solitude, an extradimensional Cosmic Horror entity.

The idea is that this transforms him into a colossal sized monster, either an outsider or an aberration with extraplanar traits. Physically, it would look like an extremely warped version of Franz, mishmashed with various mind flayer and tarrasque traits (within the context of the setting, the tarrasque is an avatar of The Solitude.) It would be surrounded by various portal like structures which additional tentacles and limbs would extend through. I'm also thinking that it's two largest hands would be able to take turns independently, possibly for casting and making slam and grapple attacks. At it's side would extend two tarrasque-like heads, which it can rest the large hands on and are possibly capable of breath weapons.

Combat wise, in addition to the things previously mentioned, it would rely on a mixture of psionic powers and evil based divine magic. Some unique abilities would also be nice, if anyone can think of some.

Difficulty-wise, the party should be around level 15-17 by this point.

Certainly thanks, in advance.

2009-10-17, 04:41 PM
Is this an heroic or horrific campaign? That is to say, is this boss intended to be the same CR as the party, or be, as Lords of Madness recommends, 4-5 CRs over the PCs?

2009-10-17, 05:35 PM
It's a heroic campaign, although one thing I am considering is giving the players access to a few high level (previously) NPC's to join in the battle if they are having too much difficulty. I am not fully sure whether that is a good idea or not though.

Otherwise, the CR should be around the same as the party members.

2009-10-17, 05:47 PM
IIRC, players facing an encounter of their own CR +2 translates to "One party member may very well die". That's probably the level of hardcore you should be going for with any boss battle in a heroic campaign, given you'll be trying to seriously challenge the players, not steamroller them. Victory is much more satisfying when you've really paid for it (hence why IWBTG addicted me for so long) and level-appropriate random encounters should be quantifiably easier than boss fights. On the other hand, having level-appropriate NPCs ready for the party to take over would be helpful, because being dead isn't fun if the fight goes on too long.

2009-10-17, 07:25 PM
What level is Franz? Before the switch? If he's the same level, or higher, in regards to the party, there's not too much one can do to him.

2009-10-17, 08:12 PM
Don't have the players fight the boss directly. Make it obvious that he's become so powerful that they have no chance of hurting him significantly, and that trying is just going to waste time that he will spend destroying the city or somesuch. Instead, have the players need to do various things, like hold monsters off while some NPCs set up some kind of Doom-Weapon of Doom, (D-WoD) or try to distract him while said NPCs do their stuff, to limit the damage that he causes.

After the players have a nice fight with a mini-boss that comes to take down the D-WoD, the NPCs fire off the D-WoD, the boss is weakened, but only down to his previous power, which is still a challenge for the players. Make it known that, if they don't beat him in X amount of time, he'll be able to regain the power and become unstoppable again, and the D-WoD was destroyed as it fired, so they won't get a second chance. To make things worse, all the minions that the boss had are now streaming towards him, (possibly to merge with him and restore his health/power?) so the party also has to fight them off too. NPCs coming to help is also nice, but it'd probably be a good idea to have them be lower level than the party, if in larger numbers, and spend most of their time fighting the minions while the party focuses on taking down the biggest threat.

The most imporant thing to remember, though, is to make sure the battle isn't just a slugging match, where the boss is just a big bag of HP that the players have to whittle down.

2009-10-17, 09:59 PM
Hmm. Well Franz is the same level as the party. My thought process is that his giant monster form doesn't really have to be significantly stronger than he previously was, but made powerful enough to take on the entire party by himself and provide a challenge, and to have more variety and overall uniqueness to his abilities that he will seem like a significant threat to the party.

Additionally, relying on something that seems cool over something that is realistic is not something that I am above doing.

Kommisar Engel
2009-10-18, 01:17 AM
Take the page from FF6 and make him Kefka Jesus-ish

2009-10-18, 01:34 AM
Well, the name Franz is basically a roundabout reference to FF6 anyway (Kefka being named after Franz Kafka.) Please excuse my failed attempts at being clever.

Kommisar Engel
2009-10-18, 01:52 AM
When do you need the boss?

I can make one up, but I have homeschooling so my time is limited

2009-10-18, 09:17 AM
Heh. I'd take a page from the twin baboon headed demon's book and make him act either on multiple initiative counts, or after every character turn. Horrors from beyond should behave in a manner that's alien, and should be created in such a way that meta-games by messing with the players. If you've ever played Devil May Cry 3, a flavor akin to Arkham's 'Jester' persona should give you an idea as to the type of confusion he should bring to the table.

2009-10-18, 10:04 AM
Perhaps ou could give Franz a template, and remember: Make the environment a hazard too. It would be cool if the ground wrenched open and spat acid on the PC's, say, because the divine energy Franz was infused with also corruted the area around him.

Jair Barik
2009-10-18, 10:15 AM
Give him an effect whereby the players bleed simply by peing in his Psionic presence. Will save every round or take something like 1d8 damage (1d4 on a failed save, no Spell/psionic resistance or DR) this doesn't sound much but its more for being cool than anything else, plus every little helps and all. Long term anybody who watched firefly will know why you don't want to start bleeding from your eyes, ears, nose and so on

2009-10-18, 11:06 AM
Give him an effect whereby the players bleed simply by peing in his Psionic presence.

Which begs the question, "Why would the PCs pee in front of him?"

Unless, of course, he's physically vulnerable to urine...

2009-10-18, 11:38 AM
One thing to be careful of if you add NPCs, remember to keep them supporting characters. Few things are more anticlimactic for the players than to have the Big Bad Evil finally show up, only to get beat down by NPCs. However, NPCs can be really useful in three categories: heals, buffs and cannon fodder.

If you pick classes that can do a lot of healing and buffing, and the PCs know about it far enough in advance, then they can take a lot of the spell slots they would normally use for these abilities and use them for "blast down the boss" type spells. Which is often a fun change of pace.

As for cannon fodder, it's pretty straightforward. If you describe an ability as, for example, "Franz raises his arms, and a green portal appears above Cleric McNonplayer." and a round later Cleric McNonplayer is bathed in green light and melts away, you've established Franz to be an extremely powerful opponent, and demonstrated how one of his attacks works, without obliterating a PC. Then have Franz summon a green portal above a PC, and watch him panic and run :smallwink:

2009-10-18, 11:54 AM
Well, for terrain, one idea I had was that gravity inverts, so the PC's are standing on the convex side of a Ptolemaic Sphere, so they would have to deal with disorientation from the screwed around gravity, as well as the chunks of earth which are raining down on them.

I do have the HoH book, so I shall certainly look into implementing some sanity effects.

@Kommisar: I have plenty of time. Or next day to meet up and continue the game isn't for quite some time. I just wanted to be sure I had this statted up and ready by the time we get to it. (Thanks very much.)

2009-10-18, 01:00 PM
Yay! insanity!

I agree With Rolaran completely, if you use NPC's at all, let them buff/heal and die. besides that, if you want to change his type to monster, you must remember a couple things,
Monster HD and BAB are tied to type. and...
Monsters generally, not always, but 98% of the time, haveflat statistics.
of course, this is a boss, so all bets are off.:smalltongue:

2009-10-18, 05:21 PM
It was pretty much my intent for the monster form to have separate, flat statistics, anyway. I always felt like there was just a different feel to fighting monsters than to fighting npc's who are stated the same way pc's are, if that makes any sense.

2009-10-18, 05:36 PM
Possible Plan:

1) Have the players get disabled/severely hurt by the environment before they ever see him.

2) Have Regdar, Mialee, Lidda, and Jozan (all epic level) show up (greater teleport in).

3) Have the players get annoyed about deus ex machina (but relieved that they won't die)

4) Kill R, M, L, and J in a few rounds

5) After the PCs run away, have [random prophet/previous NPC] tell them that this has happened before. In the [cliched name for record that the PCs had heard mentioned before] a [complex device] is spoken of that can temporarily reverse the process.

6) Have them run around trying to find the pieces while the world goes to hell.

7) Once they assemble it, BBEG storms in, and messes it up just as it is activated.

8) Don't make it clear, but instead of making him normal it boosted them to his level.

9) They have x rounds to defeat him before it wears off/they are trapped there forever/the barrier breaks completely.

Btw, if they don't figure it out due to gravity obeying them etc. say "Oh, and you just stepped on [city they hung out in].

How does this sound?

Note: this conveniently removes the need to stat out the villain. Now he only has to be 2-3 levels above them. But make them obscure prestige-class levels or something.

2009-10-18, 06:06 PM
The most important thing for you to do is, once you have finished putting it together, is playtest it quickly on your own a couple times. Get the party's stats, get the boss, and do several fast rough playtests.

After I statted up one of the bosses for my campaign, an extremely sturdy heavily armored style encounter, I playtested it before running it and they dropped him in one-two rounds. Sometimes it can be very hard to get it right.

Make sure you don't buff the offensive too much, and make sure you buff the defensive enough. If a boss has too little health, he goes down fast and the fight is anti-climactic. If the boss has too much fighting power, then the party members begin to drop before they can finish the extensive epic fight.

I will also add a second vote towards environment effects. Have the area around them be scary and changing in a very wild chaotic way during the fight. Perhaps give him the power to change it occasionally so it doesn't get repetitive.

Requiem Star
2009-10-19, 07:54 AM
Oh.... final battles. My final battles never turn out to be final. For instance, after two years the party finally faces their nemesis for the last time. A guy who they had faced... and killed... probably twelve times before. Turns out all of them were telepathicly linked clones and the real boss was a gargantuan mutated mountain of flesh who had once been an actual human psion before coming in contact with the first Delkyr of Ebberon.

So for the first fight they get to battle 12 clones of him, each one a different lvl 20 character class. Fortunately I gave them an opportunity to get into position before the battle started and they splattered the mage, sorcerer, and warlock all in the first two rounds of combat. That made everything much easier on me. That battle took two roleplaying sessions.

Then a giant mutant monster of a human emerged from the tissue and we had boss fight II. This took one gaming session but it was about five hours. In that time people were polymorphed against their will and the priest had to use an epic true resurrection. Finally they took down the giant... annnnd...

It splits open to reveal the original and true Tottenhein, their nemesis, augmented by a goddess of the farplane. Wrapped in a telekinetic shield it's the final battle! But rather then fight in the depths of the Kyber, they are all teleported to major battlefields they'd fought in before in their own memories. Once or twice he utterly possesses the mind of a party member and the group of epics have to kill one of their epiced out own. Believe it or not the players had a lot of fun pitting their characters against each other. It was agreed upon that the 30th level rogue assassin was the worst of the lot. Fortunately the cleric and druid had an epic version of mass quickened true resurrection. Finally they killed Tottenhein. That one fight took 4 gaming sessions. To be honest, my players were kinda bummed about it.

And thhhhheeeennnn... they discover that the interior of ebberon is hollow and possesses the Prime Shard; the receptacle for all the souls of ebberon. And they all freefall towards it... and now must face the avatar of Kyber himself.

Final battles are never final so long as the players want to keep on playing.

2009-10-19, 06:48 PM
Final battles are never final so long as the players want to keep on playing.

That, Requiem Star, is an excellent view.....

2009-10-19, 07:14 PM
It was pretty much my intent for the monster form to have separate, flat statistics, anyway. I always felt like there was just a different feel to fighting monsters than to fighting npc's who are stated the same way pc's are, if that makes any sense.

Well then check out the temporary boss template at my sig, wich can actualy work quite well for a final boss if he's fighting solo! The template is still in development, but it should work well in such high levels.

2009-10-19, 10:39 PM
My "not-so-final" boss shall be a lich cleric/dungeon lord with a template I made up myself, however, first they must fight it in pit fiend form. Then after defeating the pit fiend, I'll read this:
As you strike the final blow on the fiend, it howls, then it's flesh falls off, beneath is a hideous skeleton, as it morphs into a mockery of human form, it begins uttering hideous incantations.
And they can watch, in horror, as they fight something CR 22 after thinking they managed to beat the pit fiend and it's minions (if they managed to kill the minions, that is.)

2009-10-20, 08:31 AM
Why don't you just take the stats of the this Franz guy and apply the half farspawn template and the kaiju template to him, then add on class levels or bonuses as needed to make him the appropriate challenge.