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View Full Version : [3.5] Optimizing an enemy assassin (New and improved without "Confusing" fluff!)



Ormagoden
2010-06-01, 03:15 PM
HI boards!

I need some help. I have recently been blessed with a AWESOME group of players in a home game I am running. After a few sessions I have realized that my players are REALLY SMART! I'm seriously impressed (and its been a while since I have been) I don't mind optimization in my games and most are moderately optimized characters with awesome fluff.

Most of my challenges and combats have been fun but I haven't really made them sweat. I have a few ideas but I want to get opinions and suggestions from all of you.

The party is 6th level They each have about 12,500 in gear so far. Since I don't want to custom tailor a player killer I won't say more than that they are a well rounded group.

I want to make a ghost of around an equal level 6 to face them all. I ended up using the Savage species ghost progression here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sp/20040117a) to make the character be X 5/Ghost 1. (Don't feel locked in to giving X 5/ghost 1 suggestions though, let it rip!)

I'm just having trouble with the X. I'll give the ghost an equal amount of GP to work with 12,500-13,000. I have also been looking at the ghostwalk setting and I trying to figure out some fun with that. The NPC will basically face the PCs and attempt to kill an NPC they have decided to guard (the lovely princess LOL)

So help me deal with the PCs and kill the princess so I can have the ghost appear later as a returning villain.

I basically need a strong Ghost character that can handle 3-5 PCs (If that can't be managed I'll settle for some sort of ghost assassin that specializes in focusing on only the target. I'd just prefer to make them all sweat with one NPC)

I can use any books because my players can use any books. I'm not looking for theoretical stuff here. (no pun-pun, no 200 nightsticks)

I've contemplated
Druid 5/ ghost 1
Druid 3/ghost 3
Endilon 6 +Ghost template from Ghostwalk
Don't ask me why I wanted a druid ghost I was just chuckling at the idea of animals popping in out of nowhere (you don't have to stick with that for your suggestions.)

Let me also say thanks in advance for any time you spend helping me out!


(Please: For the love of sanity DO NOT POST USELESS COMMENTS! It's annoying as hell when someone is actually looking for valid options. I don't need "You should use something of ECL9 or higher" I don't need "The party will cream the assassin." I need valid optimized comments. and FFS READ THE POST BEFORE YOU RESPOND.)

Post edited so it's easier to "understand"

Mark Hall
2010-06-01, 03:22 PM
While I don't have specific builds, a 6th level assassin v. 6th level party = dead assassin, in most cases. I'd look to kicking him up to 9th or 10th level, at the outset.

Ormagoden
2010-06-01, 04:22 PM
While I don't have specific builds, a 6th level assassin v. 6th level party = dead assassin, in most cases. I'd look to kicking him up to 9th or 10th level, at the outset.

I'd really rather have suggestions that involve the specifications that I set out.


Also




I basically need a strong Ghost character that can handle 3-5 PCs (If that can't be managed I'll settle for some sort of ghost assassin that specializes in focusing on only the target. I'd just prefer to make them all sweat with one NPC)

Prodan
2010-06-01, 04:23 PM
While I don't have specific builds, a 6th level assassin v. 6th level party = dead assassin, in most cases.

He's already dead.

TroubleBrewing
2010-06-01, 04:46 PM
3-5 6th level PC's are a serious threat to any one foe of their level unless he has a huge pool of HP's to draw from or a MONSTROUS AC. Luckily, the Ghost Template provides us with both: D12 HD and a 50% miss chance against attacks! Though the thread initially started as a "build an assassin" type thing, I'm throwing my vote behind another option: The Vengeful Spirit! The build I suggest requires bit more ju-ju than X 5/ Ghost 1. (Ends up being ECL 9 instead of 6, but with 5 6th-level PCs, this should be a hard fight, as I believe was the intention.)

Half-Minotaur Barbarian 3/Gatecrasher Fighter 2/War Hulk 2/Ghost 1

Grab up spirit lion totem from UA, the gatecrasher fighter variant, the half minotaur template allows Large size for entry into war hulk (which gets you Great Swing for multi-bullrush nonsense), shake-and-bake, and VOILA! A nigh-unhittable ghost monster that will rip your limbs from your body and then kill your friends with them!

JaronK
2010-06-01, 04:48 PM
Factotum 3/Swordsage 2 with Imperious Command, Never Outnumbered, and Darkstalker would work. He'd be EXTREMELY difficult to locate, and if he can pick off individual party members he can hit them quite hard, then disappear again. Plus making everyone cower for a round is really nasty. If he waits until the party is fighting something else, drops in, makes them all cower for a round, then vanishes again, he's going to be extremely annoying and dangerous.

JaronK

arguskos
2010-06-01, 04:51 PM
I'd really rather have suggestions that involve the specifications that I set out.
That's nice. However, your Ghost is gonna be shafted if you do that. 3-5 PCs of level 6 against a single level 6 enemy=that enemy is pasted along the walls, even with the very strong ghost class. Make the ghost level 8 or 9, and you get something much more capable of holding its own against a party like that.

Alternatively, your Ghost could focus entirely on evasion and ignoring the PCs, and just assassinate the princess. That'd be annoying, since you can make stuff with Ghost that will just blow away a single target.

Also, you can do what Jaron suggested, which is decent, though in a straight-up fight, he's still gonna die.

Nero24200
2010-06-01, 04:59 PM
If the party don't have much in the way of ranged offense, you might consider taking the Telekinesiss ability and setting up a fight from a distance. Use the ability to strip the part of things like component pounches and weapons - might not sound like much, but it'll make the fight more difficult than a straight-up brawl.

Besides, theres always an air of satisfaction when you beat-down a fighter with his own greatsword - even moreso if it's the ghost of a child shouting "Stop hitting yourself!".

jiriku
2010-06-01, 05:06 PM
That's nice. However, your Ghost is gonna be shafted if you do that. 3-5 PCs of level 6 against a single level 6 enemy=that enemy is pasted along the walls, even with the very strong ghost class. Make the ghost level 8 or 9, and you get something much more capable of holding its own against a party like that.

Alternatively, your Ghost could focus entirely on evasion and ignoring the PCs, and just assassinate the princess. That'd be annoying, since you can make stuff with Ghost that will just blow away a single target.

Also, you can do what Jaron suggested, which is decent, though in a straight-up fight, he's still gonna die.

Agreed. On average, a level 6 party can defeat a level 6 opponent while expending only 20% of its resources. To be a credible threat and force the players to work hard, your monster needs to be level 8-10. I would suggest you lean towards the high side of that range, because solo monsters tend to be less effective than their level would suggest when pitted against players who use teamwork effectively.

If you MUST use a level 6 opponent, his tactics will have to involve assaulting lone players while they're away from the group, then fleeing before the rest of the party arrives. A barbarian or swordsage ghost is well-suited to the role of delivering a quick clout and then running away.

AslanCross
2010-06-01, 06:41 PM
If the party don't have much in the way of ranged offense, you might consider taking the Telekinesiss ability and setting up a fight from a distance. Use the ability to strip the part of things like component pounches and weapons - might not sound like much, but it'll make the fight more difficult than a straight-up brawl.

Besides, theres always an air of satisfaction when you beat-down a fighter with his own greatsword - even moreso if it's the ghost of a child shouting "Stop hitting yourself!".

I'd go with this. Assassins should typically avoid letting the party take the fight to them. This is a lot creepier, and a lot harder to deal with.

Personally I'd make the assassin a swordsage. I know the Druid's crazy powerful, but I just like the feel of a poltergeist assassin who can attack with blades of negative energy.

mabriss lethe
2010-06-01, 09:01 PM
Your best bet for a challenging encounter might be instead to create a mortal assassin-like character that would be on par with the power level of the average party member. then just dump the full ghost template on him. He'll use a variety of tactics to mess with the players. You have up to 3 ghost powers you can add.

1. Malevolence: No one can be trusted to keep the princess safe when the assassin can simply puppeteer anyone from an otherwise loyal guard, to the palace cook, to one of the PCs themselves. Play him like Azazel from Fallen. Sing creepy songs, or better yet, nursery rhymes, as you pass from one body to another. Taunt them. Keep them off balance. When that gets boring come out into the open for stage 2.

2. Other Ghost powers: Ghosts can easily be walking/hovering debuffs. Just being around them if they have Horrific Appearance saps your physical stats and their Draining Touch can drain any ability score the ghost chooses. Frightful moan can have your pcs running for their lives for several rounds.

3. Now comes the class abilities. Once you've made them spend their resources fighting each other and then reduced their effectiveness through ability debuffs and fear effects, then you start working on the job of killing the target with your class abilities. I'd vote for a Swordsage, really. They're just that fun.

dextercorvia
2010-06-01, 10:07 PM
May I recommend Warlock4/Ghost4. Have him ethereal through walls and focus on UMD'ing scrolls and wands. Sword of Deception is a nice pick, since it can attack while he is impervious. Pick a couple of nice invocations that make him harder to hit. Also your charisma is high, so a blast essence that forces them to make saves is good. Just remember to hit and run glide.

Ormagoden
2010-06-01, 10:07 PM
Alternatively, your Ghost could focus entirely on evasion and ignoring the PCs, and just assassinate the princess. That'd be annoying, since you can make stuff with Ghost that will just blow away a single target.


I wonder how many more time's I'll have to point it out...




So help me deal with the PCs and kill the princess so I can have the ghost appear later as a returning villain.

I basically need a strong Ghost character that can handle 3-5 PCs (If that can't be managed I'll settle for some sort of ghost assassin that specializes in focusing on only the target. I'd just prefer to make them all sweat with one NPC)







I'd go with this. Assassins should typically avoid letting the party take the fight to them. This is a lot creepier, and a lot harder to deal with.

Personally I'd make the assassin a swordsage. I know the Druid's crazy powerful, but I just like the feel of a poltergeist assassin who can attack with blades of negative energy.

Yes I dig this along with the other ToB suggestions.

The warhulk minotaur sounds fun but just doesn't fit.

To reiterate the ghost doesn't NEED to take on all the PCs but someone with a suggestion to do it would be much appreciated.

A swordsage or warblade seems like a pretty good (and annoying) "assassin" type character... I'll give ti some more thought. Any other suggestions following the guidelines in the OP would be awesome!

Runestar
2010-06-01, 10:27 PM
There is a ghost medusa somewhere on the wotc elite opponents website. Can be fairly challenging at cr9 though, since its tactics involve peppering the PCs with save-or-sucks every round:smallsmile:

Ormagoden
2010-06-01, 10:32 PM
There is a ghost medusa somewhere on the wotc elite opponents website. Can be fairly challenging at cr9 though, since its tactics involve peppering the PCs with save-or-sucks every round:smallsmile:

Sadly not what I'm looking for...

Ormagoden
2010-06-02, 08:31 AM
Any other suggestions?

J.Gellert
2010-06-02, 08:47 AM
I don't know much about ghosts, but I've always found it hard to challenge a party with only one character, even if he is very optimized... Any chance for mooks/minions? Even a few summoned monsters, called 1-2 rounds before the fight can help a bit.

Ormagoden
2010-06-02, 08:50 AM
Why do people feel the consistent need to post non-helpful information?
Do they just not read the whole post...or what?...Editing OP

Aharon
2010-06-02, 08:59 AM
Make it a Sharn ghost? That way, it will at least have enough actions to deal with 3 PCs. It's still lacking HP, though...

Ormagoden
2010-06-02, 09:18 AM
That edit should do the trick! I'm not familiar with Ebberon but I'll check out the sharn ghost.

Aharon
2010-06-02, 09:30 AM
It's actually an aberration, found in the adventure Anauroch: The Empire of Shades.

I guess you shouldn't look at it, as after posting, I looked at the stats again and saw that it doesn't mesh well with your limitations. It has 4 HD, but is CR 8 (completely reasonable, considering its abilities). When I posted, I misremembered, I thought WoTC had put that aberration at CR 5 (this would have put it at exactly what you wanted - CR 6).

If you want to use it regardless, the monstrous looks could be explained as part of the curse/whatever that made this BBEG a ghost.

Ormagoden
2010-06-02, 09:33 AM
Nuts! Oh well saves me the trouble of tracking down my buddy with all the ebberon books! TY anyhow.