View Full Version : A great CR 11 encounter for 3.x?

2011-06-16, 02:25 PM
Deadline for running a game is coming up. I'm looking for some suggestions on how to run a group through a fun and challenging encounter.

Ideally I'm looking for something that involves monsters and environment being a challenge.

Any suggestions from the playground would be great.

Thanks in advance,

2011-06-16, 02:52 PM
Let's see...

Well, having three Wraiths attack the party in a tornado could be a challenging fight. It's about the correct CR, the Wraiths (being incorporeal) should be unaffected by the wind and be able to move freely, and the tornado will make the whole thing more challenging and interesting than a straight-up fight.

2011-06-16, 03:24 PM
Look into including a lot of terrain which impedes the PC's but not necessarily the baddies. Like Lateral said, terrain and weather contribute to a more interesting and challenging encounter than ever more powerful monsters. To adjust to the style of using this terrain to your advantage, you could include a straight fight with a bit of a disadvantage, such as having your PC's fight a battle while moving up to ever higher ground. Your monsters will get the bonuses of higher ground, and you can include snipers at the top to gradually diminish PC health. If you need to deal with a pesky caster's "Protection from Arrows" spell or the like, you can always include enemy casters prepared to counterspell the troublesome PC. :smalltongue:

2011-06-16, 03:35 PM
The Tarrasque, as the PCs are stuck on a dried-magma island in a field of flowing lava.

I got nothing...

2011-06-16, 03:39 PM
What is the party composition? What is the optimization level at your table? Are you looking for a CR 11 encounter (which will be challenging for a lower-level party), or are you looking for an encounter to challenge a group of ECL 11 players?

2011-06-16, 03:54 PM
Composition of party:

Arcanist(DMPC, still has yet to be created)

Optimization is pretty good. Internet builds and the like. All of them are at level 10 and none of them make bonehead mistakes (At least not common ones).

The big thing that I am trying to do is make it fun AND challenging. And my inspiration is tapped out at the moment.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, keep them coming.

Keld Denar
2011-06-16, 03:54 PM
Behold, Stankbeard, the CR 10 Bearded Bearded Devil (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11130575&postcount=4).

Uses a little bit of homebrew, which is all linked, but is pretty awesome if you ask em. CR10, so you'll have to add in a few minions, maybe an unadvanced Bearded Devil lieutenant and a pair of Kytons flunkies.

Otherwise, you could also just throw on a level of Barbarian or Fighter on Stankbeard to bump him up to CR11.

2011-06-16, 04:10 PM
The Tarrasque, as the PCs are stuck on a dried-magma island in a field of flowing lava.

I got nothing...

Ooh, this gives me an idea. Note to self: Having a tornado be blasting lava at PCs probably warrants a couple extra points of CR.

2011-06-16, 04:57 PM
Ooh, this gives me an idea. Note to self: Having a tornado be blasting lava at PCs probably warrants a couple extra points of CR.


Glad I could help someone after all.

2011-06-16, 11:28 PM
Kobolds. Lots of kobolds, and their chief named Tucker.

2011-06-17, 01:20 AM
K'tchis, Male Drider, Mindbender 1/ Arachnomancer 1 (CR 9)
K'tchis, Male Drider (MM), Mindbender (CA) 1/ Arachnomancer (DotU) 1
Size/Type: Large Aberration
Hit Dice: 6d8+1d6+1d4+32 (77 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 15 ft.
Armor Class: 23 (-1 size, +4 Dex, +6 natural, +4 Mage Armor), touch 13, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+11
Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d4+3 plus poison) or Composite Shortbow +8 ranged (1d8+3, 20/x3)
Full Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d4+3 plus poison) or Composite Shortbow +8 ranged (1d8+3, 20/x3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spells, spell-like abilities, poison, rebuke/command spiders 9/day.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., spell resistance 19, Telepathy 100 ft., poison save bonus, handle spiders.
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +9
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 18, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 22
Skills: Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Intimidate +10, Sense Motive +6, Kn: Nature +6, Kn: Religion +10, Climb +15, Concentration +15, Hide +4, Listen +2, Move Silently +8, Spot +2, Handle Animal +7 (+12 when dealing with spiders)
Feats: Magic in the Blood (PGtF), Improved Initiative, Verminfriend (DotU)
Environment: Underground
Organization: Troupe (himself plus 2 advanced warbeast sword spiders)
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: Large Masterwork Composite Shortbow (Str +3), Spell Component Pouch, Circlet of Rapid Casting (MIC), Lesser Metamagic Rod of Extend, double coins, double goods.
Alignment: chaotic evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +4

K'tchis speaks Elven, Common, and Undercommon.

K'tchis seldom passes up an opportunity to attack other creatures, especially from ambush. He usually begins with a spell assault and often levitates out of the enemy’s reach.

Poison (Ex)
Injury, Fortitude DC 18, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution based.

Spell-Like Abilities
3/day—dancing lights (DC 16), clairaudience/clairvoyance, darkness, detect good, detect law, detect magic, dispel magic (+8), faerie fire, levitate, suggestion (DC 19). Caster level 6th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

K'tchis cast spells as an 8th-level sorcerer.
Typical Sorcerer Spells Known (6/5/8/6/4 remaining, base save DC 16 + spell level)
0—Mending, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Stick (SC), Ghost Sound, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Arcane Mark; 1st—Magic Missile, Benign Transposition (SC), Shield, Mage Armor, Charm Person; 2nd—Web, Glitterdust, Wings of Cover (RotD); 3rd—Engulfing Terror (DotU), Stinking Cloud; 4th—Confusion.

K'tchis has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks. He has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened.

K'tchis will typically be clinging to a high ceiling with his sword spider pets nearby doing the same. They wait in frequently traveled tunnels for prey, dropping down onto their unsuspecting victims. He typically spins a web to hide behind, sprinkle with dust so it's even less noticeable, thus he and his pets should have near-total concealment relative to any passers by. He has trained his spiders to alert him to anyone's presence knowing they have keen vision. He waits until opponents are passing directly below to strike.

Prior to combat: Rod of Extended Mage Armor on himself and his spiders.

Surprise Round: Cast Shield with the Circlet (swift), cast Confusion if opponents appear to be mostly warriors or cast Stinking Cloud if opponents appear to be mostly unarmored and/or are carrying spell component pouches. The spiders have been trained to attack anyone he engages.

First Round: Cast Web with the Circlet (swift), cast Stinking Cloud or Confusion whichever wasn't cast the previous round. Direct the spiders to attack opponent(s) who are yet unaffected by his spells.

Second Round: Cast Glitterdust with the Circlet (swift), cast Engulfing Terror to conjure a Gelatinous Cube above any opponents who are keeping their distance or likely to escape, they would likely be engulfed as it lands on them unless they made a Reflex save at the spell's DC. Note that this is a conjuration (creation) and does not suffer the same limitations as conjuration (summoning) spells, i.e. it can be summoned overhead to fall on opponents.

Third and subsequent rounds: Continue casting Web, Glitterdust, Confusion, Engulfing Terror, and Stinking Cloud to block opponents' escape and keep them from harming the spiders. Use readied Magic Missiles or bow shots to disrupt enemy spellcasting, Benign Transposition to save a spider from danger by switching it places with a gelatinous cube or even himself, and Wings of Cover to keep himself save from harm.

Minnisse and Liggent, advanced Warbeast Sword Spiders (CR 7 each)
Just to note, while Sword Spiders are Vermin and not a creature type to which Warbeast can normally be applied, Drow are specifically allowed to use Handle Animal to train spiders and Warbeast is added to a creature via the Handle Animal skill.

Advanced Warbeast Sword Spider
Size/Type: Large Vermin
Hit Dice: 10d8+40 (102 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Armor Class: 21 (-1 size, +8 natural, +4 mage armor), touch 9, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+17
Attack: Leg +12 melee (1d6+6) or bite +12 melee (1d8+6 plus poison)
Full Attack: Eight legs +12 melee (1d6+6) and bite +7 melee (1d8+3 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Impalement, Poison
Special Qualities: —
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +3, Will +4
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 10, Con 18, Int Ø, Wis 13, Cha 3
Skills: Climb +14, Hide +0, Jump +12, Listen +2, Spot +14
Feats: —
Environment: Warm forest and underground
Organization: Solitary or Brood (2-5 in Drow pens)
Challenge Rating: 7
Advancement: —
Level Adjustment: +3 (cohort)

Sword spiders lash out with the swordlike blades on each leg in melee combat. They can direct their attacks against creatures on all sides, but usually cannot bring more than four legs to bear against a single enemy.

Impalement (Ex)
Against formidable prey, a sword spider jumps high into the air to land atop an opponent, with all eight legs together in a tight mesh of blades. It makes only a single attack roll (+11 melee), but if the attack is successful, the opponent takes damage from three leg blades if size Small or smaller, four blades if Medium-size, five blades if Large, six blades if Huge, and all eight if Gargantuan or larger. If the spider descends more than 20 ft. to make this attack, it adds +1 point of damage to each leg.

Poison (Ex)
Injury, Fortitude DC 19, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution based.

2011-06-17, 01:34 AM
Naztharune Rakachasa? (probably mangled one of the spellings). They are like a slightly nerfed rogue/shadowdance.

2011-06-17, 02:41 AM
64 5th level barbarians

Deth Muncher
2011-06-17, 04:01 AM
64 5th level barbarians

This. I'm just saying, taking on an entire barbarian horde is pretty freaking awesome.

2011-06-17, 02:31 PM
Ideally I'm looking for something that involves monsters and environment being a challenge.

Monsters + Environment? Let's see.

White Dragon (srd) + Frost Giants (srd or frostburn p133) / Ice Golems (frostburn p138) + Ice Bridge (DMG2 p52)
The dragon's cold-immune minions engage the PCs in melee, perhaps trying to bullrush them off the bridge, while the dragon uses its breath attack on everyone.

Kraken (srd) + Boat
I'm on a boat + omnomonom!

Mind Flayers (srd) + Ogre Guard Thralls (MMIV p110) + Spelljammer
You're on a boat... in space! Thralls move in for melee while the mind flayers channel their mind blasts through their minions. Escape through a portal before the spelljammer crashes into a planet!

Duergar Barbarians + Half-Dragon Brown Bear Mounts + Precarious, High-Altitude Bridge
Large half-dragons have wings. Brown bears are large. The duergar are barbarians flying on flame-breathing bears. The PCs are on a crappy bridge / cliffside. Yeeeeeah!

Duergar Barbarian 4:
*Note: stats while raging

Dwarf, Duegar CR 5
Lawful evil Medium Humanoid
Barbarian level 4 (skill points 35) Animal Handler
Init 0; Senses Darkvision 120

AC 10, Touch 8, flat footed 10 (+ Leather, - Rage)
hp 46 (0d8+4d12+12+8);
Fort +9, Ref +1, Will +4
Immunity to poison, paralysis, phantasms, Resistance to spells +2 save vrs spells and spell like abilities, Sensitivity to light, dazzled in bright light

Speed 30
Single Attack Warhammer +10 (1d8+7 X3)
Full Attack
Warhammer +10 (1d8+7 X3)
Space 5ft.; Reach 5ft.

Special Attacks
Spell-like Abilities 1/day enlarge person, invisibility,
Spell-like Abilities as wizard CL = 2X level
Rage +4 con +4 Str +2 +2 will save -2 AC per day 2

Str 20, Dex 11, Con 20, Int 12, Wis 13, Chr 5
Base Attack 4 Grapple 7

Armour prof light,
Armour prof medium,
Martial Weap Prof,
Power Attack: Subtract from to hit add to damage,
Shield Proficiency: Can use shields,
Simple Weapon Proficiency,
Weapon Focus: +1 to attack rolls

Skills Climb 9, Craft Armourer 3, Craft goldsmith 3, Craft Weapons smith 3, Handle Animal 3, Hide 0, Intimidate 4, Jump 9, Listen 7, Move Silently 8, Ride 2, Spot 2, Survival 6, Swim 3
Languages Common, Dwarven, Undercommon

Environment Underground
Organization Team 2-4, Clan 20-80, Squad 9-16
Treasure CoinsGoods times 2Items

Other +4 AC vrs Giant type creatures
Fast movement Land Movement raised by 10
Illiteracy Cannot Read/Write
Trap Sense Reflex save and AC when dealing with traps bonus 1
Uncanny Dodge Retains Dex bonus if flat footed

MAGIC ITEMS (max value 4300)

Half-Dragon (White) Brown Bear:
Bear, brown Half-dragon, White CR 6
Neutral Large Animal
Init +1; Senses Low-light Vision, Scent, Darkvision 60, Low-light Vision

AC 19, Touch 10, flat footed 18 (+ No Armour, + Shield, none)
(+1 Dex, +9 Natural, -1 size)
hp 63 (6d10+30);
Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +3
Immunity to Cold, sleep, paralasys

Speed 40, fly 80ft.
Single Attack Claw +15 (1d4+12)
Full Attack
2 Claw +15 (1d4+12)
Bite +10 (1d6+6)
Space 10ft.; Reach 5ft.
Special Attacks
Improved Grab If hits with claw can start a grapple,
Breath Weapon DC(18) 1/day 6d8 damage 30ft cone of Cold

Str 35, Dex 13, Con 21, Int 4, Wis 12, Chr 8
Base Attack 4 Grapple 20
Endurance: +4 on checks to resist non-lethal damage,
Run: Can run at 5 times normal speed,
Track: Track with survival check
Skills Listen 10, Spot 10, Swim 21
MAGIC ITEMS (max value 5600)

Salamanders (srd) + Lava (DMG2 p53)
The salamanders fight from the safety of the lava, perhaps even dragging PCs into it with spiked chains.

2011-06-17, 02:36 PM
Kobolds. Lots of kobolds, and their chief named Tucker.


Oh my, my...the Tarrasque and lava is being a nicer DM...