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Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 05:16 AM
(Thanks to Lord_Gareth for the awesome new name!)

Okay, this is an attempt to give DMs(and occasionally players) help on how to use monsters in the 3.0MM(plus some stuff in the SRD, maybe). They will be written in alphabetical order, for ease of view. Enjoy!

Also, this is nothing but suggestions, and should not be taken as the only ways. Feedback, however, would be appreciated, as well as letting me know in the event that it works(since that is, ofcourse, why I'm writing this colossal waste of your time in the first place).

Note: no, I will not use the 3.5 MM as I don't have it. The SRD stuff is limited to a maybe because it is, by and large, fluffless. Psionic/epic monsters are beyond my experience, and so will be left alone. Feel free to write those up on a seperate thread though.

formatting: there will be the name, followed by OOC(out of combat) and IC( in combat).

This has been moved from its original place on the WotC bords, due to the possibility of it being stolen. Call it paranoia, but I say you can't have enough of the stuff.

The first half of this (up to the letter K or so) will be free. The second half, when it's released, will be Dirt Cheap. Since I do intend to sell it, however, all rights are reserved. Thank you.

Additionaly, dragons (barring Dragon Turtles) will be found in the paid version, regardless of alphabetical order, seeing as they're a lot of work. Finally, dire animals, animals, vermin and dinosaurs will be in a separate book.

Index (for fast accessing to the entry you need)

Aboleth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175563&postcount=2)
Achaierai (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175567&postcount=3)
Allip (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175615&postcount=4)
Animated Objects (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175623&postcount=5)
Ankheg (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175633&postcount=6)
Aranea (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175638&postcount=7)
Belker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175765&postcount=16)
Arrowhawk (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175649&postcount=8)
Assassin Vine (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175654&postcount=9)
Athach (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175658&postcount=10)
Azer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175665&postcount=11)
Barghest (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175672&postcount=12)
Basilisk (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175674&postcount=13)
Blink Dogs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175769&postcount=17)
Bodak (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175774&postcount=18)
Bugbear (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175781&postcount=19)
Bullette (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175795&postcount=20)
Carrion Crawler (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3179341&postcount=81)
Centaur (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175809&postcount=22)

Celestials

Lantern Archon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175812&postcount=23)
hound Archon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175814&postcount=24)
Avoral (guardinal) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175820&postcount=25)
Ghaele (Eladrin)
(http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175828&postcount=26)
Trumpet Archon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175841&postcount=27)
Astral Deva (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175847&postcount=28)
Planetar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175853&postcount=29)
Solar (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175861&postcount=30)

Shadows/Wraiths (by LivingShadow) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175870&postcount=31)
Chaos Beast (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175875&postcount=32)
Chimera (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175879&postcount=33)
Choker (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175883&postcount=34)
Chuul (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175895&postcount=35) (by Slagger the Chuul from the WotC boards)
Cloakers (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175901&postcount=36)
Cocatrice (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175798&postcount=21)
Couatl (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175907&postcount=37)
Darkmantle (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175915&postcount=38)
Delver (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175925&postcount=39)

Demons

Dretch (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175931&postcount=40)
Quasit (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175938&postcount=41)
Babau (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175945&postcount=42)
Vrock (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175952&postcount=43)
Bebilith (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175955&postcount=44)
Retriever (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175958&postcount=45)
hezrou (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3175964&postcount=46)
Glabrezu (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3176334&postcount=50)
Great suggestions for the glabrezu (courtesy of Lurkalot, WotC boards) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3176341&postcount=51)
Nalfeshnee (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3176356&postcount=52)
Marilith (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3176367&postcount=53)
Balor (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3176384&postcount=54)

Destrachan (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178539&postcount=56)

Devils

Lemure (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178554&postcount=57)
Imp (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178559&postcount=58)
Barbazu (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178572&postcount=59)
Kyton (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3179291&postcount=80)
hellcat (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178764&postcount=60)
Osyluth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178772&postcount=61)
hamatula (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178787&postcount=62)
Gelugon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178798&postcount=63)
Cornugon (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178819&postcount=64)
Pit fiend (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178832&postcount=65)

Devourer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178841&postcount=66)
Digester (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178852&postcount=67)
Doppleganger (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178859&postcount=68)
Dragon Turtle (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178865&postcount=69)
Dragonne (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178872&postcount=70)
Drider (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178883&postcount=71)
Elemental, Air (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178893&postcount=72)
Elemental, Earth (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178903&postcount=73)
Elemental, Fire (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178913&postcount=74)
Elemental, Water (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178933&postcount=75)
Ethereal Filcher (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178935&postcount=76)
Ethereal Marauder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178944&postcount=77)
Ettercap (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3178951&postcount=78)

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 05:17 AM
Aboleth

OOC: these are your quintessential aberration masterminds, quite similar to mind flayers in personality, amount of tentacles, amount of psionics and CR. It is best to have an Aboleth not immediately visible as the BBEG. Instead, have it control someone else as a puppet. They also make good "deal with the devil" type candidates, as they are hideously evil, but also very knowlegeable. The key is to play them subtle, and as crazy as possible mindset-wise. If a player or PC understands how they think, you should be very worried.


IC: Aboleths are not front-liners, and should not fight as such. Instead, have them stay in their pool and use dominate person from a point where they can't be seen(using, for example, their myriad of illusions.) to make them fight eachother, they won't even lift a finger unless they have to. You could also use dominate person and illusions to bring them into the "clean" water one at a time, before giving them the transformation. Once in a fight, they should take full advantage of the fact that they are more mobile in water than the average PC. Swimming just out of reach, tentacle slapping, and dominating to make them fight eachother, wasting valuable breath. You could even make an illusory wall over the pool to give it concealment against ranged attacks. if you give it wizard/sorc levels, bring em into the water before using a hold person/drown combo.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 05:19 AM
Achaierai

OOC: silly naming aside, the primary use for these guys is twofold. One: they could be released--just one or two, mind you, by a small rift, causing pretty major havoc. Another option is to have them as mounts for high-ranking devils in a fight, which is my preferred(but in no way the better)way to use them. Remember under all circumstances though, these guys are big and bad, but not smart. However, they do speak and understand infernal, giving some space for commands/negotiation.

IC: These guys are birds, that does not, in fact, mean that they can fly, and you'd do well to remember that. As mounts, they are very effective. The reasons are multiple, as shown below.

1: they are so enormous that they can actually provide cover(at your decision) for those riding them.(they sit on the head, more or less.)

2: you can pick things off with ranged attacks while mounted, and be immune to melee attacks yourself.

3: they get their own nasty attacks too.

4: the cloud of insanity affects (atleast, by my logic) those below it, and so the devil riding it is unaffected and laughing.

Lastly, you may wish to consider bringing back an old AD&D fiend folio thing, by giving it the insanity(or was it choking?) cloud every time a leg is broken. Lastly, battlefield control spells(such as darkness and wall spells) while mounted on one are very effective.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 05:53 AM
Allip

OOC: these guys are staple undead for three purposes: one of the first monsters that can A: be incorporeal, B: drain stats and C: generally be really scary. Seriously, these are your best bet at lower levels to terrify the PCs, both in terms of strength and atmosphere. You may want to, for extra effect, have them hear snatches of nearly coherent sentences from the Allip. Again, make them as far out there as possible, and you have a bunch of terrified players. (note: none of this works on those who have read through the entire MM and such.) Also, as a general note for scary stuff, it's even more effective if they refer to themselves in plural form (we, us, etc.).

IC: my favorite tactic is to give them levels in bluff. This way, they can fake being wounded with each blow, making the PCs try useless stuff for longer. However, this has the drawback of being too smart for an Allip. You could also wisdom drain them through the floor, they would not notice anything but simply grow more and more crazy (requires player cooperation and zero metagaming, making it a joke in all too many cases :smallfrown: ) until they finally fall to the floor. their wisdom drain is their only attack and, against certain characters(generally the tanks) can take them down real quick, so be sparing with it. It is also useful to debilitate monks,paladins, clerics, druids and any other wis dependant class.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 05:57 AM
Animated objects

OOC: the use for these buggers is so huge, but I will attempt to sort it out anyway. Lemme see... there's the usual animated furniture, which is good for a laugh, a surprise for beginners and an actual challenge for unprepared low level parties(hardness, anyone?). En masse they also make good armies(similar to warforged in a way, I suppose) or cannon fodder. Animated mounts are always good, as they never tire or need food/water. Animated weapons are good as they can fight by themselves, and animated boots...well, some DMs may consider giving AC bonuses for it. (can't dodge? No problem, have your footwear do it for you!) Finally, there's the colossus/moving statue route, which could either be an unstoppable juggernaut or a classical dungeon trap. The aforementioned boots/weps etc. can also serve as cursed equipment, by the way.

P.S. animated chairs for mages are also good(thanks you secrets untold[WotC boards]!)

IC: again, this depends on the type of AO. there are those who need to rely on their slam attacks, some have other methods (extra damage as fire from a lamp or spikes from other things etc.). Also, you could have those that are so gigantic that they can just step on you. Otherwise, you could try making them from different materials, such as silver/cold iron to bypass DR or adamantine to bypass/give DR. On top of this, there is also hardness, which is huge at low levels and insignificant later on. (hello, acid/sonic damage, goodbye, animated object.) Finally, AOs that grapple are good too. Partly from possible weight, which could reasonably crush the victim, and partly...well, you could grapple a PC and roll into water, but be ready to run. (you as the DM, not the monster)

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:04 AM
Ankhegs

OOC: these guys are actually fairly good as low-level monsters, which I didn't notice until recently, due to the fact that in BG(where I first saw them) they are near godlike. The most standard way to use them is as a "pest", I.E. save the cabbage fields from being mauled by Ankhegs.

Ofcourse, there are some ways of using them that doesn't involve too much cabbage for your own good, as shown below.

1: a colony of Ankhegs has come to the surface, descend into the hive, whack ankhegs a-plenty and beat the queen-ish thingy.

2: ankhegs suddenly arrive En masse from (insert direction here) for no apparent reason. You can either kill em and then have to deal with whatever drove them there, or kill the source and send em back.



IC: ankhegs can burrow. In the hands of a skilled DM, that can be a terrible thing. It means invisible movement, plus total cover and concealment. Have them pop up under a PC and surprise-grapple them, dragging them underground. even as a front-liner, the ankheg is fairly hunky and won't go down too easily, but scorching rays and such may take it off the initiative faster than expected. Consider giving them acid spit, making a burrow+acid breath hit and run tactic possible, ALA baldur's gate.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:06 AM
Araneas

OOC: rarely used and incredibly awesome, the aranea is probably the first shapechanger your party will encounter(good) as well as a potential spiderman ripoff(not good). Though the enviroment reads as temperate forests, don't confine yourself to that. They could easily be some shady underground leader in a city of your choice, a politician(similar, less rogue levels:smalltongue: ), a patron of the party or anything else! Just imagine their shock when someone they thought they knew turns out to have 6 more legs than they expected:smalltongue: . Remember, these guys are very smart, and pretty subtle. You may want to play up the fire aversion as well. Also, they are not actually evil, in the same way that dopplegangers aren't.


IC: use silent image and charm person to lure the party into the webs, after putting up buffs(mage armor comes to mind). Also, consider the sleep and daze spells to have the party at your mercy, dire spiders and such wouldn't be out of place, either. any aranea rogue is also amazingly effective, considering how many spells and such they have to deny a dex bonus to AC.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:10 AM
Arrowhawk

OOC: there are three types of these, but as they do not differ much(most importantly, they do not get any smarter), just use the appropriate CR one, and remember it's more interesting/realistic in most cases to have 1< arrowhawks. As for where to use them, you have the rift option(see achaierai) a mount (for, say, bralani), random encounters on the plane of air, summoned guardians, or possibly as spell components( you need 4 arrowhawk spleens and 2 violet fungi caps for spell x, will give 2000g, world of warcraft, anyone?) . In any case, to up the CR a little, consider terminating alertness for the arrowhawk for greater flyby, and otherwise generally changing it around.

IC: what you have to do here is play up two things: mobility(yup, one of the few things with fast flight and perfect maneuverability) and indestructibility(no DR, but excelent AC[atleast in the earlier versions, it's not as impressive later on] and multiple resistances/immunities to cover everything but sonic/force!). As a mount, it presents no amazing qualities barring the mobility, flight and taking a while to kill vs horses. What you want to do here is stay out of range, spitting rays and doing flyby attacks to close in, attack, and be far away again by the end of the round, you will drive your players crazy, if done right.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:11 AM
Assassin Vine

OOC: best used as a surprise attack, preferably one that the players won't know where it is even after it attacks, such as if it is in a jungleful of similar things. It may also be good in conjunction with other monsters, kind of like webs working well with ettercaps, though the vine won't discriminate at all, also good just for the initial shock value.

IC: again, have it be surprising and hard to detect. Entangle is a godsend in conjunction with other monsters, and constricting can take a PC out of the picture. However, it is not very good on its own, and is pretty easy to kill. however, its plant traits, zap immunity and fire/cold resistance will take out most sources of mega damage( flaming sphere, scorching ray and crits come to mind). Above all though, this is the important bit: never have it fight solo!

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:13 AM
Athach

OOC: these are what you use when you need a stupid giant and hill giants are too boring. Theyare also one of few monsters that are humanoid and have multiple arms (other example: xills come to mind). They really don't go much beyond "hulk smash!", but sometimes that's exactly what you need: something with no brain cells that hits like a truck.

IC: there are two ways to play a really nasty Athach. The first is to shove all tis feats into lessening the multiattack penalties, and making it a monk.(adds poison to the mix too!). The second is to do the same with feats, but put one in EWP(bastard sword), this should allow it to wreak some havoc, espeially with the addition of the insectile template. All in all though, these guys are just green, dumb and muscular, making them very simple to run.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:15 AM
Azer

OOC: if you want non-evil guys that are fire related, these are it. If you want nomads for the elemental plane of fire, these are it. If you want dwarves with a twist, these are it. If you want non-efreet/salamanders that are fire related and intelligent, these are it. Incidentally, if you want awesome pirates, these are it, but I digress. Like many fire-based creatures, these guys are lawful(funny really, you'd think fire would be chaotic). Unlike regular dwarves, these guys are not good, but they aren't evil either. In terms of culture, play em like regular dwarves-good=azers and you'll be fine.

IC: the thing that will impress some the most is the heat ability, but it's really not that major, only 1 point. A few of their major strengths are all-around high stats, fighitng in groups with effective tactics(atleast the way I see them, look at romans for tactical advice), their fire immunity(why am I not surprised?), their SR, and their outlandish AC, all for the low price of 2 CR! Granted, SR 13 is nothing impressive, but it will probably stop 25% or so of spells at level 3.I recommend spears for maximum use of heat, reach, and good tactics. Azer monks aren't bad, either. On a side note, consider 2 levels of fighter and full plate+tower shield for extra nastiness to up its CR, or just the full plate/tower shield bit. All in all, a solid monster.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:17 AM
Barghest(lumping them and the greater barghests into one)

OOC: A barghest can have several uses: it could serve as a "terror of the night" type monster, an important piece of goblin mythology(as goblins feature heavily in eberron, those of you who play it may want to keep it in mind), as a goblin leader (come on, if you had a guy who is basically a werewolf, can teleport, and eats people, wouldn't you do what he says?), or as shock troops (as per complete warrior, basically teleport, grab/kill someone/something and teleport back). It serves all of these roles rather well, and oyu may wish to mesh it with werewolves too. Do not forget that as is the case with any shapechanger, it is eligible for stealth/shock when the PCs realize that the thing they are fighitng/just plain around is not an ordinary goblin/wolf, as well as qualifying for the evil, evil warshaper PrC.

IC: The primary ability of the barghest lies not in straightforward fighting(though it's not half bad at that, either), but in deception. with spells like dimension door, charm person and (later on) invisibility sphere, these guys are gonna be hard to pin down, and even then, not an easy fight. If you give a barghest some elevated ground and a ranged weapon, it can be a terror, teleporting to high ground before lobbing arrows and charms galore. You may also wish to give it class levels, as it does have a humanoiod form. However, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, USE FEED!. *catches a breath* the reason is this, it kills a character, even wish/miracle/true res only has a 50% chance, and you likely won't have it if you're still fighting barghests, use only on inconsequential NPCs, as it will likely kill a character permanently, in which case you have more than earned the right to be shot with a hammer.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:18 AM
Basilisk

OOC: an iconic monster, and one of them examples that those who wrote greek mythology never heard of copyright. These are best used as guards, wandering monsters, or dumb not-quite-BBEGs (as in, bosses but not villains, if you know what I mean). However neat it may seem, do not place statues around its lair, or your players will know what's up, as well as hit you with a folding chair for the cliche scene. Besides, even with two int, the basilisk isn't stupid enough to do that, though it's a moron for all other purposes. the abyssal version(SRD and 3.5 MM) is good if you want a beefed up version of a simple fiendish basilisk, though its will save is strangely worse.

IC: I don't say this often, but this is a very badly built monster. It has a save-or-die that it can hurl around with impunity at such a low level (meaning low saves and limited ressurection methods), but otherwise has awful stats and AC, making it dog food as soon as the PCs get to it. To remedy this, I suggest making it do dex damage instead (turning part of them to stone), but upping its stats and AC/hp instead. Also, on a critical miss, you may want to treat the gaze as a fist of stone spell:smallbiggrin: .

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:21 AM
Behir

OOC:behirs are rarely used, and for that reason, they should not be expected or known of much by your players. You could have them as wandering monsters, an organized hunting pack, or, considering their intelligence, patrons for the PCs. (possibly as dragon slayers, maybe even blue ones)

IC: one behir can put many characters out of action, and two or more spell disaster. With their high amount of hit points, moderate armor class and zap immunity, they are relatively hard to kill, giving them time to breathe lightning(atrocious damage on that, by the way) and close in. With improved grab and cleave, they can easily swallow two PCs in one round. Consider giving them great cleave so they can grapple a third, too. Once a PC is grappled, get it out of the way before you move onto the next one, preferably pinning it to make auto-hits possible. (and, if you are feeling particularly sadistic, auto hits with power attack 20, on each of six claws). All in all, another underused, yet powerful monster. On another note, these guys are elegible for metabreath feats. Consider empowered/maximized breath for major splatter, or entangling breath for further debilitation.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:22 AM
Beholder

OOC: these guys are the trademark of D&D, and make some awesome BBEGs. They are lawful evil and smart, so you can expect them to act sentient, as opposed to, say, balors(I am evil. I kick puppies, therefore I am). Therefore, make them always have good plans (that they will stick to, possibly even when it is unreasonable to some extent), and know what to do in every situation. Also, play up the xenophobic thing, especially towards other beholders. (In a joke campaign, do what I did, have the beholder sing the "I feel pretty" song before disintegrating a different eye tyrant.)Remember that they are not terribly handicapped as they have decent nat. armor (instead of regular armor), can put belts/rings/amulets etc. on eyestalks, and use weapons/doors etc. with their telekinesis ray. If you wish to beef up this monstrosity even further, give it levels in beholder mage.

IC: Beholders are smart, so you should play them as such. They also (partly because they are smart) do not charge headlong into a fight, and also love to, well, have other things die for them, using both charmed and hired underlings. You should either have them high up in the air, or behind bars. By behind bars, I mean ideally a barred hole in the ground, giving them a clear view to shoot all their rays with, while blocking out most arrows and all melee attempts. Of course, that was before the unfortunate incidient of someone dumping a portable holeful of alchemist's fire in there, but it's generally a good idea. Also, be sure to change their save-or-die rays. Make disintegrate a simple mega-damage and insta-kill on objects, flesh to stone as shown under basilisks, and finger of death damage+con drain.
Another strategy that would apply rather well is to use a potion or something for water breathing and have them stay underwater. As the PCs pass near, have the beholder stick all of its eye stalks out(submarine-periscope style) and shoot its rays at the party, before bringing the eyes back down. This makes an amazing surprise attack, and will allow the beholder to stay out of melee, as well as give it total concealment. Any fighters stepping in will find out how inadequate full plate is for swimming.

Another effective tactic is to have the beholder chug down a potion of water breathing and hide underwater, poking its eyes out periscope style when the PCs pass by and unleashing them all at once. This will provide the beholder with a way to avoid melee, total concealment, and a shock to the fighter types when they find out how inappropriate full plate is for swimming.

special-beholder mages: now, there are very few requirements to this PrC, and essentially any beholder can enter it immediately, making it ideal for upping its CR, and the more levels you give it, the bigger the difference! Keep in mind that the CR does not increase on a 1-on-1 basis, as level 1 spells do little for a CR 14, but level 6 spells and 6 spell-rays are huge on a CR 19! Be sure never to kill the telekinesis ray, just say no to the additional level. Also, dropping the save-or-dies don't hurt as much post-nerf, and will still retain their power.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:14 AM
Belker

OOC: guess what? another underused monster! Honestly, why buy the MM if you're only gonna use liches, balors and red dragons?:smalltongue: While these guys are evil(for reasons that are beyond me, as they're elementals with little intelligence), they are, as I said, sadly lacking in brain cells and therefore unsuitable as a BBEG, but quite capable as a henchman, a random encounter(particularly a surprise one, see below), or a hunter(see the pest example under ankhegs, replace the word "cabbage" with "cow"), or as a..*ahem* plague en masse - locally, mind you. This would happen by the village being covered in a fog, the people within constantly inhaling Belker. On another note, this goes against the 20 rounds/day restriction, but that's a pretty silly restriction anyway, as they're pretty close to smoke all the time. Another option is to give an air elemental savant (PC or NPC) a belkar as an improved familiar option.


IC: Belkars have average ability scores, but are yet another low-mid CR monster with rather good armor class+gaseous form, making them a pain to hit, as there's only so many spells you can hurl before you run out. (those of you who are warlocks: yes, you can practice your evil laugh now). The best way to get the PCs with this guy is to surprise them, they walk into some innocous (and don't dwell on it for the description) fog, you start the combat with "roll fortitude saves, all of you. By the way, bwahahaha" or some such, it usually works. In a straight up fight, these guys are not very menacing, but seeing as there is no limit on how many "parts" of the Belkar can be inhaled, well... have fun! On a side note, a regular attack from these guys is unimpressive, but a full attack provides an absolutely unholy amount of attacks, try it and dodge all sorts of new and interesting blunt objects.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:16 AM
Blink dog

OOC: ahh yes, the ever popular blink dog. While they are meant to be (hell, they were designed for the sole purpose of being) archenemies of displacer beasts, I honestly don't see why, except for the cat vs dog thing, which is heavily exaggerated. Honestly, I can see lawful in dogs, but making cats LE? Anyway, I'm rambling here, so lets move on. If you don't want the "cats n dogs" approach, you could have them be on par with celestial dogs, intelligent hunters, guard dogs with a kick, or even the whole "defenders of justice" stuff. Personally, I prefer to keep them as the best mount option a halfling outrider can have in a non-eberron campaign. Finally, like barghests, they can be used as paratroopers of a sort(good trackers, blink and DD)

IC: well... these guys look fairly average on stats and AC, with a bite that is a little on the shabby side. The advantage is that they have blink and dimension door, fourth level spells, if memory serves, as SLAs to be used essentially as often as they like. This is huge for mobility, and will make them very hard to pin down, as well as allowing for hit and run tactics, need of ghost touch weapons to be effective, and generally messing with the PCs. As nice as this is, you may still want some muscle in the encounter, which is perfectly acceptable. In such a case, toss in some LG celestial. In fact, a good strategy may be to blink about disrupting spellcasting with the dogs, while a hound archon or two bursts out of hiding to take on the heavy fighters. The other option at such an EL would be a lantern archon, and they aren't dogs or muscle.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:18 AM
Bodak

OOC: there are several faults with this monster, a save-or-die to name one. I will write uses first and fixes later. Uses include terrors of the night(TM), shock troopers in an undead army (look, some guys stroll into a battlefield with save-or-dies coming outta their eyes, that's gonna cause a mess.), tomb guardians, actual owner of the tomb, ebil henchmen, or even artillery("stand here, look down."). Another use would be a sort of plague, one bodak comes to town, kills people, more bodaks, and more, and more, and more....... makes a good horror/zombie movie style adventure (Survive-Until-Sunrise). I recommend changing the low DC save-or-die ("well... there's this 1/10 chance that your character will be slain without true res/wish/miracle, but don't mind that!") with a high DC con drain. Also, bring flashback back from 3.0, it's not such a major difference, but it just seems awesome:smallsmile: .


IC: Basically, these guys shouldn't walk towards the party slowly and use their gaze attack like some kind of dramatic movie scene, they should stand on high ground and stare at everyone until they die. Their AC is not phenomenal, but it'll do. Their physical attacks are on the weak side, but... that's not what bodaks are for. Now, the zap immunity(seems to be common, no?) and the resistances to a few things (including acid! Yay!) are bound to catch nonmetagamers off guard, and even if that doesn't, the cold iron DR will surprise them, if they ever figure it out.

My absolute favorite strategy for these guys is what I like to call the "test tube Bodak". The Bodaks will be stored with their eyes closed in glass(or any other hard and transparent material) tubes, giving them total cover from all directions, and the tube is pretty hard to break (say... 15 inches thick?). Meanwhile, all the bodak has to do is stay inside, smile, wave and stare. This may seem rather over the top, however, once you think about disintegrate/shatter, it really isn't all that bad.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:21 AM
Bugbear-with a special bit for players!

OOC: Bugbears can work as raiders all by themselves, they can be hiring the adventurers for tribal wars(chaotic evil means lots of those), or they could be bossing goblins around. (hobgoblins? ...not so much, their alignments conflict and the strength gap isn't that huge) They could concievably be used as muscle(and alot of it at that) in a goblinoid army, a useful option for eberron campaigns. In such a case, arrange for the top hobgoblins to be way tougher than the average bugbear. Seeing as they are CE, brute force is the only way to keep them in line. Also, you really do want the hobgoblins to be in charge, as they are the ones who, while not necessarily smarter, are much more tactically minded. Plus LE is always smarter than CE(almost always, anyway.). Don't forget that while these guys are beefy, their only penalty on mental stats is 9 charisma, making them extraordinarily flexible with regards to class choice.


IC: These guys are alright on armor class and hp, and have the aforementioned good stats as well as decent saves. Now, the only crummy things about them that needs help is this: tactics (they come down to raising your big spiky thing, going "rraaagh!" a lot and charging) and feats. The tactics, as I mentioned before, can be helped by having hobgoblins as tacticians. For good tactics, look at roman ones. Remove honor, add poison and traps. Kick back and have a good laugh. As for feats... well, in large amounts these guys will have little trouble spotting something anyway(thus removing the need for alertness). Weapon focus adds up on a large army, so you may wish to keep it. Considering their large attack bonus, you may want to go power attack, as many small power attacks=huge extra, and even a penalty to hit can still hit low level PCs. The other option is toughness or some variant thereof, which will again add up hugely on an army.



Players!: As previously mentioned(though if you didn't look at the DM's section, I take my hat off to you ), bugbears have high physical stats, and virtually no mental stat penalties, making them incredibly versatile. Their starting 1 LA and 3 hit dice can be a problem, but you may be able to talk your DM into dropping one or two hit dice (more than that is a Bad Idea). Bugbears make particularly good melee characters, as well as clerics( no penalties to wis, minor cha penalty and good physical stats, though their main god is Hruggek, god of shrunken heads. honestly, need I say more?). Now, this isn't to say you can't play other classes with them, so really, go with what you feel like. Be sure to play up bossing other goblinoids around, as well as being less than popular in towns. The primary problem your DM is likely to have with you playing one is the alignment. In such a case, point him to the part that says "usually chaotic evil".

This isn't to say go out and get yourself a panther and two scimitars, but it should help you out of that straitjacket. If need be, feel free to play a bugbear paladin(strange, until you look at gideon_gideonson's [WotC boards, resident RP genius] rynce d'janas, google it some time). The point here is that they are interesting and incredibly versatile, one of few races that can really be anything, have fun!

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:24 AM
Bulette

OOC: okay, if any of you make jokes about dodging these guys, let it be known: it's not funny, it's ancient, and given its attack bonus, you will probably fail anyway. Now that that is out of the way, here are the five primary ways to use them.

1:The ever popular Pest Scenario(TM).

2: As mounts. They will not die easily, have a wealth of attacks to offer, can burrow(useful to some riders, stonelords come to mind), and are actually not all that dumb (2 int rather than 1, and an impressive 13 wisdom!). An extra bonus is that while large, they aren't very tall, making them yet another amazing mount choice for halfling outriders(which will make up for their none-too-impressive speed).

3: As usual, use them as guard dogs, preferably, show them as being invisible(burrowed) until someone gets too close. And then...chomp. On a side note, flying bulettes are pretty bad news:smallbiggrin: .

4: Terrors of the Early Afternoon. Have them move around with regeneration(optional, only use for the full movie efect) underground, pop up to eat someone and disappear instantly. If anyone has seen any of the tremors movies, you know what I mean.

5: These guys, though it is rarely mentioned, make some amazing Effigies. The only special things to them are tremorsense (nice, but not needed), dark/low-light vision (darkvision), scent( don't have it, but it's not critical) and leap (woot! The only important thing aside from burrow speed, and you get both!). Plus, you get some nasty attacks with big accuracy, good hp, large size and a very high AC(topped up with DR in Effigy state), now you can have your own little tankzilla!



IC: No matter how these guys are used, the key is stealth and surprise attacks. Now, this may sound odd, but consider this: A bulette travels right under the party until an inconvinient moment, with virtually no way to be detected. It then bursts out, uses leap on the nearest thing(or weakest, in which case you may take the target out), quite possibly lands all the claw attacks, and then(hey, leaping is part of the movement!) make a full attack on another creature. After that is finished, grapple something and drag it downstairs. However, don't forget that bulettes are not against the PCs in particular, they are against anything that moves and has a pulse.(though they don't mind undead...much.) It could, if necessary, be an effective and hillarious deus ex machina.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:26 AM
cocatrice

OOC: woohoo, Another badly designed petrification based monster! I will show how to fix them in the IC section, so be patient while I show you how they can be used. They have low int, so they could easily become rare hunters, figures of legends ("hey, there's a bird here that turns things to stone!" "yeah right." etc.), or even a circus attraction, as it has petrification, but not as a gaze attack. Other uses could be as a dumb guard, or even as a spell component of some sort (neverwinter nights, anyone?). Consider creating a lower level version of flesh to stone with a cocatrice beak as a component, no eschew materials or anything. Another funny way to use it would be to carry one around and use it as a weapon. (dead, preserved bird. Very weak bludgeoning plus petrification).

IC: there are a few faults with this monster: first of all, the usual low-DC-high-risk problem. Honestly, it's a CR 3 with a save-or-die! So, fix this by replacing the petrification with the basilisk variant, and taking the DC up with ability focus, thus negating the problem and making a decent CR 3. These guys are not social, don't fight in concert, and can do nothing to attack but peck, so I can't really give any advice on tactics, as it probably shouldn't be doing more than charging, peckinjg blindly and flying away when things get rough. If it were a gaze attack, the "test tube stare" (see bodaks) would be an option. Unfortunately, this is just one of those monsters that don't give much space for strategy.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:28 AM
Centaurs

OOC: Basically, the MM is full of woodsy stuff, this is what you want for low-level (though not quite dryad/elf level) tribes. They have slightly low int but high wis, making them perfect for the cunning hunters kind of role, or for a slightly more primal druid, rather more animalistic. As centaurs are rather weak, and for the sake of realism, don't have 'em alone in most cases. As they are good, you may want to have them ally the party, especially elves.

IC: Again, they are rather weak in combat, so have them in groups of two or three, plus a druid. This will make them a higher level encounter, but more realistic. The druid hands buffs out like candy on high ground while the centaurs shoot everything below. Then, the druid keeps the enemy away for a bit with summons (greenbound ones, if you feel nasty, coupled with plant growth.) while the centaur grunts shoot even more arrows. Finally, finish up with the centaurs all charging in with buffs and possibly sheillelagh(or whatever it's called) clubs, trample, smack, repeat (if you feel especially vicious, use dual lances).

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:29 AM
Celestials (ick )

Lantern archon

OOC: another case of, like couatls, non-stuck-up LG. They work well as a sort of zergling role(translation: hordes of weak stuff) for couatls and celestial armies, and one could be a companion for a paladin, a goblin ur-priest (sorry, joke from one of my games), or anyone else who is good or has some decent summoning ability. They could also be advisors or guards, as well as something impressive that occasionally drops by at a temple. Funnily enough, they A: have a strength score and B: are borderline retarded. I suggest that you drop the low int thing and crank it up to 10, as it doesn't really fit. Another thing, you can give them class levels but I don't recommend it as there isn't much they an do with it, and besides, it doesn't really make sense. Bear in mind that in the standard good party, they are more likely to be allies than enemies.

IC: The major thing that they have going for them, the aura of menace, is very easy to save against, so count yourself lucky if it connects, but don't depend on it. On the flipside, they are insanely difficult to kill as they can fly and have a ranged touch attack (thus messing up hte fighter-types completely), mega-DR(especially considering that magical weapons are nigh-nonexistant at level 2.),all good saves, effectively permanent aid(real nice buff at that level), which is bound to help out thier pathetic hp, a decent AC, teleport without error(Wow. I refuse to elaborate.), and various immunities/resistances. Now, that's an impressive array of defenses, along with a nasty full attack (two RTAs for 1d6 each?). So, your tactic should be to take to the air to avoid the grunts, before blasting the casters with rays ASAP to take them out. Don't forget the extra hit points from aid, but there's still a major loophole in their defenses: a couple magic missiles and it's all over. However, once that is finished, there isn't much more that level 1 spells can do. (barring the lesser orbs...ugh.). Overall, these guys should provide an interesting and challenging but not overpowering fight.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:30 AM
Hound archon

OOC: these guys take a rather different role from the other LA(lantern archon)s. They are much tougher, and can act as souped up paladins themselves. They also, through their message and teleport abilities, can make effective scouts. They stray slightly further in the over-righteous direction, and are also pretty big on the whole vengeance/no more mister nice guy thing. So, while these guys are LG, and that means good to innocents etc., feel free to make them vengeful and unforgiving at the right times. The greatest difference between them and LAs is that LAs help good people, where as hounds hunt down evil ones and give em a few helpings of transmute BBEG to dog-food(no pun intended).

IC: These guys are again highly defensive, but don't come without a kick. While their hps are still far from monumental, it is an improvement upon LAs, especially with aid. They should track an evil guy of their choice and, when the time is right, jump out with a surprise power attack(Which should replace imp. initiative.)Their polymorph ability is highly open to interpretation, so they could be a dire wolf or a barghest or many other canines that aren't necesarily normal. This will give quite possibly all of their physical stats a heavy bonus, helping them out in combat. Another thing you shouldn't be ignoring too soon is their SR, with a potential to fail one third-ish of spells. They have no flight, but are still hard enough to hit due to a DR of (admittedly less strong and/or relevant than LAs) 10/magic.They also boast an AC of 19, and with the addition of a level of fighter, can wear heavy armour. Overall though, your strategy should open up with a surprise attack after some tracking, and then general chopping mayhem.


Another option would be to have them group up with LAs and blink dogs, making for a nicely themed encounter for mid-levels (LG dogfight!). The deal would be to have blink dogs(rogue levels optional[for sneak attack]) DD to be right behind spellcasters, nipping away at them to possibly mess up spellcasting, while DDing momentarily away again when things get dicey(remember, DD movement gives no AoOs.). The hound archon(s) will be the tanks of the encounter, pretty much just charging and power attacking with greatswords or wrecking havoc in canine form.
All the while have the lantern archons up in the air, adding another aura or two to save against as well as another layer of aid (in case the HAs go down.) and ranged support wherever necessary.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:33 AM
Avoral(guardinal)

OOC: the fluff on these guys is exceedingly poor, so I can't say much on them, but I'll do what I can. They look more or less like the classical angels, if slightly more birdlike. They are waaay smarter than the last two celestials, and should be treated as such. I would suggest using them as leaders for celestials, but since they are NG rather than LG, they may not be very well suited to the role. Instead, use their various abilities such as DD, detection spells, true seeing, hold person and flight to make excellent scouts and infiltrators. Their amazing modifier on spot, plus good ones on move silently and hide, further contribute to this role. If they are to be given class levels, I suggest it is kept to scout or (god forbid, they're celestials!) rogue levels.

IC: combat, especially melee, is not an avoral's strong suit. While their AC is alright, it is barely above that of hound archons, and their hp, at CR9, is enough to make most cry. So, what to do? Add air elementals, giant eagles, or even a roc as muscle for the encounter. While they handle all things tanky, the Avoral will provide constant aid and various non-damaging spells (such as hold person) to support them, plus one lightning bolt. Gust of wind can be used to somewhat mess up PCs, such as by knocking them off a cliff. between animal telepathy and empathy, the avoral may be able to get some emergency help in some areas, but don't count on it. Another good ability is lay on hands, allowing the avoral 38 points of healing/day, which sounds shoddy, until you realize that it's a full heal for the avoral. It also has the usual small amount of SR, and DR/magic(useless by now), plus some resistances and such(always nice) and also has some nasty melee damage if it comes down to it, but it better not, due to the birdy's hp limit.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:36 AM
Ghaele (eladrin)

OOC: as the description says, these guys head off solo to deal with LE threats stealthily and quickly, not unlike some kind of souped up robin hood. Apart from providing a quick answer on how to convert navi to D&D (although you could go lantern archon, but I'm going off-topic here), their two forms give ample opportunities for stealth, and once they do find their target... my god, these guys are such bad news. They aren't CR 13, they're CR friday the 13th. You may well want to give these guys the CR they deserve(14-15, I think.), plus watch out with that greatsword. While it hasn't got the positive energy thing in the hands of any other than a ghaele, it is still a +4 greatsword the PCs just got. Then again, in light of how much of a lawnmower these guys are, maybe they deserve it. Also, consider changing some of their feats to metamagic due to their spellcasty nature.

IC: Ghaeles are bvrutally efficient in combat, and their good speed insures that their opponents don't get away. However, as seems to be the case with so many celestials, they are not tanks. While their AC(25) is acceptable for their CR, any full BAB class that gets their hands on a ghaele is going to have angelic kibbles by the end of the round. These guys (especially due to their role and CG nature) work solo, so don't add anything to them. Instead, have them start the fight in humanoid form, sweeping across the opposition with their gaze attack, and chopping up some random poor sap with their greatsword before taking to the air. Once there, put up your wall of force+ wind wall to stop a whole lot of stuff, and stay behind but above it. Then, let loose your chain lightning and prismatic spray, decimating the enemy (hopefully). After this is done, use a major image(box around you) for total concealment(doesn't matter if they disbelieve it or not, since it doesn't erase it from their views). After this is done, place your trust in spell resistance, healing yourself when necessary, and attack with a whole lot of summons, plus anything else that strikes your fancy. Afterwards, take a few hours off to clean the carpet.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:38 AM
Trumpet Archons

OOC: finally, the last (not to mention toughest) of the archons. As the flavor text says, they prefer a role as messengers, but don't mind getting in a fight. A messenger though? Personally, I don't see it. The only thing helping them with this is a flight speed for faster movement, and they don't even need it with infinite message as an SLA(message on both sides=comes down to an amount of words per message similar to most chatrooms.). So, as I said, these things work best as fighters, whatever the fluff may say. Though they already have 14th level casting and an insane amount of domains, they aren't that tough for their CR, so to crank it up a notch, add a level of cleric for 15th level CL/8th level spells, plus a nice ol' extra of turn undead, for divine metamagic cheese as you see fit. Another thing to watch out for is the trumpet: while powerful and turning to lead in any other hands in trumpet form, as a sword it is still a nice hunky cutting implement for the PCs, so watch out(espeially in level 12~15 evil campaigns, don't overuse them/ghaeles, your PCs (if they survive) will retire on +4 greatsword money.)

IC (this will assume no extra cleric level): The SLAs on these guys are pathetic, not even a constant aid, pretend they don't exist:smallfrown: . Also, don't count on the aura of menace as it is easy to save against at that level. What you should do is use the trumpet to paralyze the casters/rogues n such(low fort save people) before swooping in with CdG/plain old slashing. Once the casters are taken care of, fly back and help yourself to a wall of force or something to block attacks. Then, rip away with your 7th level spells, which I don't care to guide you through. Sorry, but that many spells gets to be too much, anything that would work with a regular cleric though, will work with these guys.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:40 AM
Astral Deva

OOC: these guys, as is, strangely enough, characteristic of the higher end celestials, can be any good alignment. This means they can be annoyingly righteous LG, It's-a-wonderful-life NG, or Robin hood CG. Their role, to be explained further on, is further enhanced by their natural abilites, unlike, for example, trumpet archons. Their role as suggested in the flavor text is actually quite appropriate, acting as a planar border guard of sorts, watching out for gates, whacking evil planar travelers and so on. For example, if there's demons pouring out through a gate or something, you can count on these guys to pop up and holy word the lot of them. Another thing is that, like lantern archons and a few others, they are actually helpful and take care of good rather than just smiting evil (personally, I like the idea of the former much better). As they are pretty fierce in combat, not to mention actually competent at it (decent HP!), a barbarian level or two would not be uncalled for. Similarly, ranger levels may also be good, allowing them to track planar travellers more efficiently and hunt them down. Change shape is also handy, as it allows them to track very stealthily.

IC: Finally, a celestial that isn't a glass cannon! No, instead, we get an adamantine cannon:smalltongue: . Anyways, their AC is again slightly improved, and their HP reaches triple figures, woot! So, let's go over their abilities...

celestial qualities: You will notice a bit of a difference here: they have fire resistance, though this isn't such a biggy with searing spell, it's pretty major otherwise. Especially as it now goes hand in hand with immunity not only to electricity and petri, but cold and acid! This is going to seriously stump some characters, namely warmages. Once they get orbs of force though, you can forget about this advantage.

stun: While it seems nice, you have to hit twice with the mace (likely but inconvinient) and pretty much pray they roll a one for their save, ho very much hum. Be happy if this connects, because it won't happen.

Uncanny dodge: while mildly out of place on a non-barb deva, this pretty much negates the need to worry over rogues.

skills: augments their tracking role nicely, but not much more.

SLAs: Hmm, let's see, what do we have here? Constant aid, we missed you! Otherwise, detect evil and discern lies help out the archetype, and the dispel spells are gonna mess up your resident CoDzilla. Holy aura/smite are awesome, but the aura is only moderately useful and holy smite will be useless gainst all but evil parties, which... well, they hardly ever happen, due to DM prejudice. Blade barrier is a nice spell in their melee role, and cures/heal are invaluable to keep it going. See invisibility/remove x are all, yet again, to mess with the party's buffs and debuffs. Invisibility sphere is good for tracking, but not much more, holy word at will is, basically, your cue to slaughter any evil guys with no questions asked. If anyone in your party is of an evil bent, spam this at will until they drop dead.

Their maces are primarily anti-undead, but +3 never hurts. Over all, you should just dump strategy and play these guys as the fierce tough guys they are. Put up all the precombat buffs while they track/close in on their quarry, and then surprise them, ignoring with UD/resistances/dispels anything that they throw at you. I guarantee that even sticking to simple tactics, these guys are a blast.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:42 AM
Planetar

OOC: apart from looking like some kind of angelic version of the incredible hulk, these guys have a (thankfully) well defined and appropriate role. They are the generals of celestial armies, as balors and pit fiends are for fiendish ones. However, they aren't as powerful as the others (mainly because soalrs, the celestial equivelant, seem to be above all this army stuff. Frankly, they probably don't need one.). They seem to have a deva-like take on combat (charge at 'em and make some fiendish kibbles), and seem to overall be the most martially inclined celestial. For this reason, I recommend making them LG. Not lawful good, but more lawful and good, if you know what I mean. This is because someone with a lawful alignment makes a much better leader, planner and general, as well as tactician. You will want to either replace its imp. initiative and alertness with feats such as leap attack, or go all the way and change it to metamagic (even divine metamagic, just add water...er, a cleric level).

IC: This is another celestial that is going to make a gory mess on the carpet if used the the correct CR. While it has its nice ol' extra hp and good AC, you may want to either upgrade the greatsword (it's less good than an eladrin's sword, for god's sake!) or botch it all together and go the caster route. Now, let's take a look at their abilities...shall we?

celestial qualities: see astral deva.

Spells: holy cow, they have 9th level cleric spells at CR 16! While this opens up a huge amount of strategy (particularly with the customary huge amount of domains). However, it also comes with some trouble, of a sort. You have access to hugely powerful spells, but don't get carried away- overusing this alone oculd easily lead to a TPK all by itself (especially considering its xp reserves are nto an issue, miracle, anyone?). Seriously, keep an eye on yourself at all times, as this could get out of hand all too easily.

SLAs: let's see... like the astral deva, these guys can use their globe of lesser invulnerability/dispels to negate a whole lot of spellcasting, and holy word at will pretty much seals the fate of any evil character. Effectively constant invis is nice, but most will probably make the spot checks by then. Raise dead is good if there's anyone else in the encounter, and flame strike is always good as there's no way to ompletely ignore it. Blade barrier is good in melee, earthquake...well, it's alright, I suppose, sort of...maybe. Greater restoration is a "forget about debuffs. NOW." style of thing, while shapechange is...well, game over. Finally, symbols of stunning and such make for a great pre-fight prep spell.

SR from hell: as extreme as this is, with high CLs, assay resistance, orb spells and others, it really doesn't mean anything anymore, best keep it lowered.

regen: look at it this way: you can't kill it without being evil or using evil stuff( quite possibly both) and the planetar will vaporize you if you are/do. This makes it an innocous looking but quite evil(sorry, good) ability.

DR: DR of 30, impressive, right? Wrong! This is bypassed by magic, and in all honesty, any DM that doesn't allow the PCs magic items by this point should be attacked by one of these guys. Thus, it is pointless. To up the CR, however, it could be made DR/evil.


On to the strategy!

Your prep should consist of putting the buffs up(a hideous amount by all accounts, as a 17th level cleric), and scribing a symbol of insanity, pain or some such. On what surface, you ask? Why, a wall of force, ofcourse! Then, cast a wind wall above it to prevent meteor swarms and such( that's pure evil, meteors come down and go "fping!" off a wind wall, flying back at the party). Use the holy aura/word series that will affect the general alignment of the party, as well as summoning shedloads of powerful cannon fodder. There's also death ward(a must), and spells such as harm/heal. Save or dies are always good (you can use those now really, since real excellent ressurections are available), as is spell immunity (mebbe even the greater version) to stop spells the PCs are likely to use. Gate and energy drain are awfully good, and implosion is off limits. Astral projection and such should provide a quick getaway, and mind-affecting spells can mean the planetar won't even have to lift a finger. After the party is down on its last leg, charge in with your largely unharmed but uber-buffed planetar and chop em up.


Note: Actually, you should only do some of that in practice, seeing as you most likely do not want a TPK, but I figured it would be better to provide the entire arsenal, which you can then pick your choices from.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:45 AM
Solars

OOC: Solars are the highest ranking celestials, and it shows. There are, by and large, three kinds of solars. Ones that are dedicated to being exemplars of a particular alignment(independent from but friendly towards adventurers and gods of that alignment), ones that are independent and dedicated to some good purpose (such as the eradication of demons, for instance, or the elimination of corruption), and ones that are dedicated as sort of divine sidekicks to a good deity. In the first case, there should be no more than one for each alignment, and one per purpose for the second(remember, powerful beings= not that many of them, use em sparingly lest you end up with an FR style "elminster is busy today” kind of start to every adventure). Finally, make the third variety extraordinarily loyal(yes, even CG ones) and have the amount of solars vary by the god, with no more than three each. For example, Kord (powerful enough to have a solar, but only just) gets only one, heironeous may have two, and pelor might have as many as three while gods such as corellon larethian or timmy, god of It's a wonderful life, while LG, will probably have none. In all cases, make them completely dedicated to their cause/alignment/god, as they are basically its living embodiment. However, feel free to make them rather blind to anything else, in a "that's not my job, someone else will take care of it" kind of way.

IC: In combat, solars, even for a CR of 19, are pretty much just a nicer way of saying “your character sheets, please.”, and also entail less injuries for the DM. While I find it very unlikely that anyone needs help with these guys, they do have a few weaknesses to be exploited, so we’ll go over their abilities and weaknesses, followed by a strategy (I.E. grab the character sheets and set fire to them while roaring “celestial burnination!” ). Right then, defenses first…(note: SLAs and spells, no matter what their nature, are counted under offensive abilities)

SR: Icing on the celestial cake, this kind of SR makes even assay resistance falter, though they can still get torn apart by some conjuration spells, More on that later.

DR: I honestly hope this is fixed in errata or something, ‘cause their DR, no matter how huge, is absolutely useless if it is bypassed by magic. If your PCs do not have magic at this point, you should not be hit like a truck, you should be hit with a truckful of DMGs.

HP: wow, I thought it was shoddy, but considering the nearest thing (balor) has half the HP, I suppose it’s passable, you can always advance it (as if it’s needed).

Good saves: Whatever the party throws at your solar, if it allows a save, it has a good chance of making it.

Energy: the solar’s saving grace(one of many) is that it is completely immune to three energy types, and highly resistant to another, this should keep it alive under fire from orb spells for quite a while.

Regeneration: while not normally incredible at this CR, this is awesome for a previously mentioned reason: if your party is using evil spells/equipment/characters to get past the regen, they are in even more trouble with the solar(holy word, anyone?), so this ends up being very useful(do be sure to give them a way to bypass it though).

AC: while it seems good at first glance, this has one glaring fault: almost all of the armour is natural, which is good against brilliant energy, but touch spells won't give it the short end of the stick by this point, there will be no stick.

Weaknesses

Orbs: possibly the greatest weakness, this bypasses saves and SR, accessing its hideously low touch AC, and dealing large damage to its low HP reserves. The globe of invulnerability(lesser, constant) may block it, though I’m a bit hazy there. If not, use spell immunity. Besides, the solar is immune to most energy types.

Low touch AC: there seem to be only a few ways to stop this: either give it concealment/cover somehow, or give it spell immunity to most nasty spells(finger of death, enervation, orbs n such).

Offensive

SLAs: hoo boy, what a huge list! Lets see… permanency is a great help in conjunction with symbols of various kinds to make the encounter in its lair more dangerous(“we walk in” “roll… never mind.”), as well as with spell immunity and some buffs (such as bulls strength), blade barrier, imp. invisibility, summon monster, shapechange and mass charm are also great candidates( you’re the DM, if the rules say you can’t, use wish!). Aid is pretty much constant anyway(and a minor difference, at this point), and the various remove/resists are great for foiling spellcasting plans. Speak with dead may be good for gathering information of the PCs(or for talking to them after the fight:smalltongue: ) while the power words/prismatic spray are powerful attack spells. Heal and resurrection (especially if somehow kept contingent)help prolong the battle, and shapechange is a very definite “I win” button. Do not use wish if you can avoid it at all, except possibly to up its ability scores over the years and justifying permanency, it and shapechange are not something to mess around with otherwise.

Spells: the same that I said for planetars, also applies here. However, you may also want permanent spell immunity to orbs, energy drain (think about it, greater rods of quicken, empower and maximize, two empowered maximized energy drains, bam! Dead solar, free xp), stat draining spells of various types and ofcourse deathward. Another thing: notice it says as a 20th level cleric? Well… add one level of cleric for heavy armor proficiency and…dare I say it? Well, in spellcasting terms, what does 20+1 equal? That’s right, epic feats and spells…… at CR 20.

Equipment: Oh. My. God. I nearly cried when I saw their equipment. The greatswords can fight by themselves and are equivalent in total buffs to the non-epic cap. The bows, as the flavor text says, are worse yet: a decent bow that shoots save or dies? Hello? Earth calling WotC! Alright, alright, rant over. Another problem here, however, is once the players miraculously kill the solar, they get its equipment, meaning they can replace your campaign setting quite efficiently with a smoking crater. I suggest you dump their current equipment and give em holy vorpals or something instead. As for the bows…nerf em, make em capable of multiple shots or whatever, but don’t make them a save-or-die machinegun.

Tactics(again, for my own convenience, I assume you make no changes to the original.): once all defenses are up, make sure you fight them in the solar’s territory. Have walls of force and all up, along with buffs, and get the greatsword dancing so it isn’t your problem. With everything ready, fly around the PCs utilizing your amazing speed, and lob spells of your choice at them. This, ofcourse, assumes they survive the myriad of permanent symbols simultaneously blowing up in their face when they enter the room. Once you feel you have weakened them enough (namely, focus on lowering their fort saves), move back and pick them off with the bow. I know it’s a short strategy section, but sadly, that’s all there is to it. Also, be absolutely sure that you leave some weaknesses around, or it just won’t be fair. If your group harbours hideously powerful characters and such, however, feel free to add the cleric level, night sticks, divine metamagic and the whole deal for a couple mushroom clouds a round.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:48 AM
(The following two entries are solely the work of LivingShadow from the WotC boards.)

Shadows

OOC:Shadows are the lowest CR creatures that create spawn. They work best in shadowy areas where their appearance helps to conceal them. A clever DM could even have one pretend to be a PCs shadow. A PC may not even notice them if played correctly.

Shadows also work well as a necromancer's minions, preferably as assassins, scouts, or spys.

IC:Shadows can easily outrun low level PCs and work well using hit-and-run tactics. They have turn resistance making it harder for the cleric to be helpful in a battle with them. However they have a rather low AC making them easy prey for attacks and spells that require attack rolls (if they can bypass the incopreality). The strength damage it deals can make it harder to hit and also causes major problems at low levels where casters are one of the few ways to damage it. Also when one manages to take out a PC it doubles the difficulty of the battle by creating spawn.

When using a shadow have it target spellcasters first as they will fall most quickly to its strength damage. After the spellcasters are done turn to the melee PC that has been damaging it the most or the PC wielding a Ghost touch weapon.

Wraiths

OOC:Wraiths are typically found most often in underground crypts which the sun never reaches as that minimizes the chances that it will be effected by sunlight. They are also another good choice for a necromancer's minions for the same reasons as the shadows and also because of their lethality.

IC:These undead are very deadly. They can speak and can be used to freak the players out before attacking. IE:"Turn Baack, Turn Baaaaack." However it is essential that they attack at night or underground because of their weakness of sunlight.

There is no way to run away short of teleporting as wraiths have a speed double that of the standard human. Any animals are useless against them due to the unnatural aura. Wraiths do con DRAIN when they hit making it very hard to recover from an encounter with one. Also when a wraith kills a PC their threat doubles due to create spawn. The dread wraith is just plain bad news and to me looks too strong for CR11 with AC and skill bonuses in the 20s.

A rather nasty tactic is to have wraiths hide in the walls of a corridor and suddenly jump out (or reach out of the floor), drain lots of Con, and then run away. Most PCs wouldn't be able to chase them and if you repeat this tactic they will die rather fast.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:50 AM
Chaos beast

OOC: First of all, this guy would fit right in with aberrations, so you may want to get some way to stick that and outsider together, or even replace outsider and just make it an extraplanar aberration or whatever. Now, this guy is another good monster for freaking out your (again, non-metagamer) players, as well as a staple in any cthulhu-esque game. One thing to remember is that these guys are, as the name suggests, chaos incarnate. By this, I mean the kind of chaos that would scare a Slaad. Also, their high skills in jump, tumble, some in tracking and so on makes them actually good at "you can run, but you can't hide" type scenarios. Since these guys are rather weak(assuming you throw them at a level 7+ party, otherwise they are very very bad.), try to scare the PCs off with description if possible. Another option is to make it seem lucky in a "whew, we're lucky to get out of that one alive, scooby!" kind of way. Just by the way, try to remember that these guys are scary, but not evil, they also aren't stupid, and have a wis of 10 (odd, considering your wis has to hit 0 to become a CB).



IC: basically, even though they have some immunities, their armor class is low, their hp is low, and SR 15 means next to nothing at level 7, making these guys look scarier than they are. Corporeal instability seems bad, until you realize that one easy charisma check is enough to keep it away for 10 rounds-- quite possibly the entire combat, until the cleric can toss a restoration at you(which any level 7 party should get immediately, it's a no brainer.). As mentioned in the OOC section, this makes your strategy come down to not trying to kill them, merely to scare them very seriously. This is best accomplished by having the beast accompanied by creative description, creepy music and a whole lot of wailing/gibbering. Make them charge at the PCs, randomly flailing at anything that they come by, and hope they don't have enough restorations to clear up later on:smalltongue: .

Another method, come to think of it, would be the chaos bomb. If someone steps on a pressure plate, the ceiling opens up, dropping a CB on them.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:51 AM
Chimeras

OOC: These guys are another example of why the ancient greeks wish they knew what copyright was, a countlessly ripped off monster. That aside, Chimeras are a useful mid-level monster that can have many roles. They could be a BBEG all by themselves, a substitute for dragons, a servant of a dragon, or a sort of tank("we don't have much of an army, but we do have... well, BEHIND YOU!"). They are not very intelligent, but not anjimalistic, and actually have an int score of 3< , meaning they can take class levels. A Chimera dragonfire adept is an obvious choice, as is a barbarian. What doesn't strike most people, however, is a Chimera cleric of Tiamat. with a wis bonus, passable charisma and good physical stats(plus three heads for spellcasting), the power of scaly Codzilla is right at your fingers! All in all, a moderately used and versatile monster. Finally, do not neglect the options that present themselves when using one of these as a mount.


IC: Chimeras have passable AC, as well as good saves and okay hit points, making them none too easy to kill. They also have a bonus to hide and decent dexterity scores, making them more suited to stealth than you might think. (especially with flight) As a minor buff, consider adding the corresponding energy immunity for the dragon head, as well as maybe rolling mental stats seperately for each head (besides, having the heads talk to eachother can be hillarious, just take a look at ogres from warcraft.). Another trick is to take away the feats of iron will, alertness and possibly hover, to be replaced by metabreath feats and flight type moves (fly-by attack and such). As said previously, they can be effective as mounts, possibly for half-dragons for maximum effect(cinematic, that is). Another way is to make them tougher is to have them hover near the ground for the debris cloud, maybe even granting a sort of shield for its allies with the dust. The best way to give them an extra kick though, as always, is to use stealth, feat changes (honestly, the MM choices are awful!) and class levels, have fun!


The short version: have them use the three heads( in case of spellcaster levels) to buff themselves at an insane speed, and hide. When the PCs come, take to the air and hover to create the debris cloud. The minions(if applicable) should then burst out and take on the PCs, while the chimera provides support fire via breath weapons and the occasional charge at a PC of its choice, followed up by an evil full attack.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:53 AM
Chokers

OOC: these guys are your bread and butter for evil underground humanoids. FR? They go in the underdark. Eberron? Chuck 'em in Khyber. They could serve either as tribes, or as lone hunters and stalkers. In any case, their low int and chaotic evil nature prevents them from being in most organizations, and if you give them class levels, it should be kept to stuff that doesn't require much study. (wizards are a no-no, monks are iffy, warlocks, sorcerers, druids, barbarians and the like are good.). They can make very effective player characters, but I definitely understand your DM's point of view if he says no.

IC: honestly, these guys lend themselves to hit and run tactics with their low HP and quickness. They are also effective at stealth, due to their generally dark enviroment, wall climbing, long reach and high dexterity. As long as the class they have is not int or cha-based, chokers are very effective in any class, as quickness is awesome for anyone. (more or less permanent 3.0 haste). It is, however, negated in an antimagic field. Also, their stats are all around rather good (even their wisdom!) except for intelligence, and their saves/AC/skill modifiers are insane, considering their CR. Overall, their feats lend themselves to the archetype and need no changing, and their low damage helps keep them within the CR. They are effective as hanging off the ceiling or wall, hitting some straggler quietly, constricting, pulling up and gagging their target. Above all, remember that any class levels make a huge difference in their CR, especially the first level.
In summary, have them stick to a wall and grab/pull away a PC at a time, without the rest noticing. Then, mop them up if they escape the constricting with a whole lot of slams/spells/ other move of your choice.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:57 AM
Chuul

Out of Combat
Usable wherever land meets water, chuuls are a perfect ambush predator that can also serve as muscle for groups of other aquatic creatures. A lone chuul is the lurking horror that terrorizes a small community or surges from the water to snatch up characters that stray within reach. For combination with other creatures they may fall under the control of beholders or mind flayers, but chuuls can also appear with any creature that allows them the opportunity to take prey and trophies; aboleths and their skum minions are ideal in underground locations, while sahuagin raiding parties and hag coveys may find them useful allies on the surface.
The chuul is a hunter by nature, regarding the creatures it targets as prey rather than worthy opponents. While chuuls have little interest in conversation, they possess the intelligence and insight to understand the behaviour of their victims, allowing them to set traps which are beyond the cunning of a simple beast. The coin sparkling in the water, the hanging bridge cut down across a river, the faint cries of an abducted child, and the stolen rowboat placed conveniently at the water's edge are all common snares laid by a chuul that seeks new decorations to adorn its lair.

In Combat
The waterline is a chuul's greatest ally, offering concealment before it attacks and protective cover as it retreats. A quick charge or lunge from hiding secures a surprised foe, which can then be paralyzed or dragged into the water. Once immersed, the chuul has little to fear from ranged attacks and can employ its attack routine of grabbing, constriction, and paralysis with impunity against those foolish enough to follow it, or just drag its prize off into the depths.
A chuul that surprises its enemies should ignore its improved grab ability in favour of a normal grapple against a flat-footed foe. With only a small reduction in initial damage, the hit is almost certain, and if the chuul is lucky enough to also win initiative, it may be able to carry its target back to the water before opponents even have a chance to act.
When accompanied by allies whose ranged support complements its melee prowess, the chuul gains more freedom to engage in open combat. For a particularly deadly combination, allies can finish off paralyzed creatures while the chuul keeps other opponents busy.


Courtesy of slagger the chuul

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:59 AM
Cloakers

OOC: these are more or less your run-of-the mill stealthy underground hunters, largely used as replacements for darkmantles after a CR adjustment is needed. I'm sorry to say that this is one of those monsters that only provides interesting options IC, not having much utility otherwise. I will give a special section after IC for how to use their illusions. Strange as it may seem, these guys are not stupid and (you guessed it) can take class levels. No, unlikely intelligence and class levels do not mean they are elegible for metabreath feats (sorry, I'm starting to see a pattern here). Any class is appropriate, as they have decent to good to insanely high stats in everything. Oh, and to continue the low CR monster pattern, they have a high AC, wheeeeee!

IC: These guys are probably best used as an ambush, using their illusions to stay out of sight until it's (theoretically) too late. You'd do well to take to the air and use the fear moan, scattering the party. Then, depending on the will saves, either engulf and chop up stragglers or (if you've had a bad day) spam out the stupor moan until it connects, before swooping down with a coup de grace. Engulf has the bonus of making the players hesitant to attack the thing as they would damage the character inside. I fail to see why inflict spells and such, however, should not be confined to the cloaker.

illusions: As the MM entry suggests, you could have them look like a cloak or even cover themselves with a silent image of a cloak, engulfing the wearer(done right, you can pass a cloaker offa s a cursed item for some time). Using the obscure vision and dancing images moves should take down the chance of hitting this guy by a couple of miles, while a silent image of a wall or some such can porovide total concealment. On another note, you can use the wall illusion in a cave complex to make it seem like a dead end. If the party camps there... well, it's your choice between a surprise attack and a CdG fest (I.E. "guys, what characters did you want to play next?"). Also, feel free to treat the shadow shifts as semi-permanent, since the cloaker can use them an infinite amount of times in the right conditions.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:00 AM
Couatl

OOC: Couatls are to good as mind flayers are to evil. Pretty much the iconics of it, plus they are both likely to be the masterminds, and both are quite tough and intelligent.Their change shape ability allows them quite a bit of stealth combined with detect thoughts, to the point that if you wish, you could sneak one into the party without them realizing. Also, remember that these are absolutely LG minus the self-righteousness, so be sure to make them act that way. They also rather be doing the LG equivelant of "mwahahaha" throughout something, and leave the real work to those who work for them. The feat selection, for once, is actually good, making them a decent caster. Bear in mind that being an outsider means opening up some... *ahem*, "interesting" alter self options.


IC: These guys (for a change) actually have a reasonable AC for their CR, and are a slightly tough(but they're meant to be) but well-designed monster, at last! Well, tactics for these guys, considering their HPs are on the low end, means keeping them in the air as artillery, while using celestials and summon monster spells as cannon fodder. Keep them in their bubble using hover, and shoot out of it. Also, you may want to give em improved invis, as well as replace dodge with transdimensional spell(ethereal jaunt, remember?). As things stand, their spell selection is large and spontaneous, giving you a rather large amount of versatility to tweak with as you please. All in all, it's a well designed monster and a pleasure to write up.

strategy in short: have the couatl EJ into the ethereal plane and start tossing transdimensional zaps, while its friend(if applicable) stave the PCs off from going to it back on the material plane. Back on the material plane, grab someone, hover for the dust cloud, and toss spells out of the cloud, constricting one PC at a time while you're at it. Don't forget to use summon monster as cannon fodder.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:01 AM
Darkmantle

OOC: these guys are your run-of-the-mill sneaky and mildly magical underground hunter, kinda like the cloaker but with a CR and int reduction. Though it is stupid, it really isn't that bad by animal standards(yes, I know it's a magical beast) and has a decent, if unimpressive, wisdom score. This means that they are more than capable of following what is going on, as well as coming up with a decent hunting tactic, if nothing more. It is best to have them hunt in packs for reasons that will be explained in the IC section.


IC: the best tactic for these guys is to hunt in packs and be stealthy, which may seem like a contradiction in terms now, but I will soon explain how. Also, despite their low damage output, in light of their stats, AC(amazing, at level 1), good initiative, awesome blindsight and an SLA, you may want to either tone em down or give the CR a kick up. Now, despite their stealthy style, these guys are not as flimsy as you might think, possesing decent HP and outlandish AC for their CR. The tactics for these guys is as follows(note: this is 3.0 rules, and thus pre-darkness nerf): have one for each party member and have them darkness the room one after the other to keep the duration going. If the magic missiles(assuming someone casts them) don't kill any (they will most likely not), the party won't suspect much. Keep em patient, make sure they don't attack when the missiles hit. When the party steps in, one drops down on each head, makes a slam attack, imp. grabs, and begins to constrict. This will mess up most, but may be shaken off by monks n such, as darkmantles are actually small-sized grapple monkeys.(which, come to think of it, may justify their CR, if still keeping them rather on the strong side of things.)

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:04 AM
Delver

OOC: quite an interesting monster, this. It's a bit in the "underground hunter" vein of cloakers and such, but not so much once you think of it. Well, an actual hostile one is a rare occurance, you see... What you could do is, say, have a miner hire the party to whack a delver (eating all the gems/metals would be a problem), or to bring one to help in the mine (kinda like a drill, they would be trained/tought to eat all the stone they like in a specific direction, and dodge important stuff).They are also rather well hated by any denizen of the elemental plane of earth, as they would eat through the entire plane and its inhabitants given half a chance (not out of being evil, just... "yum yum"), and the party could be hired by earth elementals or such to eliminate them. Their skills (survival and knowledge (geology) ) help them to pinpoint the location of gems/metals(or, in human terms: spices:smalltongue: ), find the way back up, and identify the strata. Also, they are one of few earth based creatures that are neither elementals nor stupid, be sure not to forget this, you never know when it'll come in handy.

IC: Like a bulette, your best bet is to track a party from underground, and burst out from under them, and grab one party member to take downstairs, sealing the tunnel with stone shape as you go. as there is no chance of them being spotted and their move silently checks are very good, it's unlikely that they will be noticed. for its CR, these guys have awful AC, but a good amount of HP to make up for it, which should help. Their acid helps them to destroy armor and weapons, making easy pickings of the fighter types, while their tremorsense foils rogues. Spellcasters are the problem here, and the one you should grab (the arcane ones mostly, clerics are still messed up badly by the lack of equipment). You could also use stone shape to drop characters into a shallow pit, where (when they lurch over the PC, and at your discretion) can feasably gain the engulf ability. Also, acid orbs and such are all too common these days, so the delver's immunity will come as a nasty surprise.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:06 AM
Demons

Dretch

OOC: Dretch is slang in abyssal for "meat shield". Okay, I made that up, but it should be. Dretches are unimaginitive, stupid, hard -to-kill cowardly demons, often found in large numbers. As the flavor text says, they will need a higher end demon to keep them in line. A good demon to use as the immediate commander of a group of dretches would be a babau, seeing as this is a demon that is of a higher CR, is smarter, and isn't too high-end on the brimstone spectrum. In general, they should be used in large numbers as part of a demonic army.

IC: Quite a toughie for a CR2, really. While they seem innocous, their SLAs(scare and stinking cloud?!) make them incredibly hard to kill, as do the elemental resistances/immunities and DR(all pretty much non-bypassable at this level). Their saves, HP and AC are also none too shoddy, though nothing to write home about. Finally, though their attacks are weak, the oft-neglected part is that they have a huge amount of them. Back in the pre-nerf days, stinking cloud would also bring about unconciousness, followed up by a coup de grace to PCs and DM alike.

Strategy(assumes several dretches): Start immediately with summoning, bringing in roughly a third more dretches. Follow up with casting scare on each PC, plus one with stiking cloud(which is replaced by another dretch as soon as it dissipates). This should have them messed up enough to even the scales. After this is done, charge them, concentrating on one (preferably low hp ones first) at a time. Trust in your resistances/immunities and DR, and clobber them until they go down, moving on to the next immediataly. This plan should be able to be communicated flawlessly among the dretches as it is simple and they have telepathy. Failing that, have the babau commander explain it to them.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:07 AM
Quasit

OOC: the quintessential weak demon, for me, atleast. They are best used as scouts and ambushers. Their disguise ability can make them look like a bat or some such, but diplo and such is useless, considering how they look (plus they ping on the paladin's evil radar). However, their small size, good initiative and astounding hide/move silently checks plus detection and invisibility lend themselves very well to this role, not to mention flight. They should probably work solo, gathering info as well as assasinating for an immediate superior(again, babau is good). They are also none too cowardly, just smart. In any case, they are quite stealthy and could be helped by some rogue or (god forbid) bard levels.

IC: If used in an ambush situation, these guys are surprisingly good. Their invisibility, skills and detect spells will mean they can hide exactly where the party will be, hidden to everything but a paladin. When the time is right, they can burst out and open the fight with cause fear(which atleast one or two will fail on average, likely the fighter type). Then, secure the first in line on initiative to target those with low dex and savage them with poison (works very well on those non-terrified casters).

They still do not have many of the immunities/resistances of demons, which makes them vulnerable to, among other things, warmages. However, their AC, DR(again, impassable at this point) and fast healing makes them insanely hard to kill. Their main weapon should not be damage, but their dex poison(vicious, I might add).

Keep clawing at all of the party members until they are all affected(or, if they have high dex, aim for a double dose). Once the poison has gone in, go invis and let the fast healing/secondary dex drain kick in. Once the poison is gone and you're on full hp, do it again. Rinse, wash, repeat until a large, pointy piece of metal intervenes. Also, one extra HD gives more hp and lets you boost their dex to 18, while not taking the CR up, try it if you feel the need, but these guys are bad enough already:smallsmile: .

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:09 AM
Babau

OOC: These guys are similar to quasits in many ways: devious, sneaky, stealthy, hard to kill, low CR demons that are tougher than their CRs indicate. They are the immediate superiors of groups of dretches/quasit scouts in your run-of-the-mill demonic army, and should in turn be commanded by hezrous. Rather smarter and more tactically minded than those below them, babaus are capable of formulating and passing on good strategies (though not to the extent of a hezrou), while remaining out of the action themselves. When forced into the line of fire, a babau will most likely be a scout, assasin or infiltrator, using its skill at stealth to get behind enemy lines. Their incredible strength should not be immediately obvious as they're, well...skinny :smalltongue:

IC: Hmm... quite an interesting and powerful monster, again. A babau can take class levels in pretty much anything, as their ability scores are well balanced. However, rogue levels will synergize well with their existing skill bonuses and sneak attack, as will barbarian/other tank levels(fighter is now a two level PrC), due to its outstanding strength and constitution. Alright, enough about that, let's look at what these guys bring to the table!

AC/HP: its HP is pretty good for a 6 CR outsider with other capabilities, but its AC is bad. It's not that it is particularly low, but it is almost all natural armor, meaning it gets the short end of the stick on touch spells (to those of you who read the solar entry: yes, there still is a stick at this stage).

Skills/feats: though they make very good rogues (or tanks, in the case of feats) as things stand, disable device and some others will hardly ever see the light of day.Thus, it is probably best to replace one of them with bluff, and cleave with improved feint, to make the best use of its sneak attack.

sneak attack: due to its multiple attacks and(possibly) imp. feint, the sneak attack damage can add up to be absolutely monstrous. To make a nice CR 9, add 3 levels of rogue and get evasion+a total of 4d6 sneak attack!

slime: A useful ability, though largely passive. This can serve both as a monk-killer and a watered down rust monster. For the sake of making sense, however, consider adding slime as extra damage to those that get grappled by/touched by/ hit with an unarmed attack by a Babau.

SR, DR and resistances/immunities: the ole warmage killer is back in the form of demon qualities. DR is still difficult, though not impossible, to bypass at this point. SR, however, can be bypassed quite easily even at this level, and you are best off ignoring it.

SLAs: see invisibility is always good, and given the babau's intelligence, it can pretend not to see the invisible PCs until...well, until it stabs them. Greater teleport is perfect for a quick getaway and dispel magic will mess up everyone's day, removing some enchants that may be of use against it (align weapon, anyone?) . Darkness is, ofcourse, an excellent spell for all occasions, barring tea parties.

Summon: not much to say here. A babau should be solo for stealth purposes, but if it can successfully summon one in combat, great! This will mean that they can both flank, and adds a whole lot more sneak attack damage.

strategy: cast darkness, and stay away from the PCs. Then use the summon, and (Assuming it works) have them both sneak toward the PCs (don't forget the hide bonus for darkness!) . Once there, dispel magic(area) and double sneak attack. Afterwards, have one grapple the spellcaster(if that wasn't the one targeted for sneak attacks), and the other constantly feint and SA someone. Once the spellcaster is down, pick someone without uncanny dodge, have them both flank the guy, and let the sneak attacks shred 'em.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:12 AM
Vrock

OOC: Vrocks are the shock troopers of ye olde demonic army. While they are quite good at stealth and scouting, their personality dictates that they have to run around turning paladins into gory kibbles. The best way to put them to use their teleports to pop up where needed, use their summons for a (literally) unholy amount of dretches, generally slaughter things, and disappear again. These guys, though the potential is great, are not used in stealth or commanding. Rather, they should be ordered by hezrous (using the classic "I'm bigger than you, so you better do what I say" rule of demonic armies) to either do the above, or simply charge into a fight and shred things. On the bright side, they are combat monsters, as I am about to show you.

IC: As always, we'll start by looking at what these guys have to offer.

AC/HP: quite extraordinary, their HP is astounding for a CR 9 outsider, and their AC is nothing to scoff at. They do have a miserable touch AC, but you can't have everything(only I can:smalltongue: ).

Special qualities: as usual, the tanar'ri qualities make them rather tough, though the DR will be ignored sometimes by this stage, and the SR is useless, the immunities will still help(resistances could use help).

dance of ruin: the time bomb ability. Once they start doing this, the PCs have to stop it within 3 rounds, or suffer a TPK. If you can do this, don't hesitate. The reason I say this is that there are several ways to prevent this, such as hold/charm monster, otiluke's resilient sphere( "go ahead, nuke your sphere") or even an antimagic field or stunning fist.

Spores: Basically, this is a decent ability to be used at the start of a fight and then again whenever you can. It would not be too terrible, but there are two things that make it much better: one is the "dancers", groups of three vrocks, which can do waaay more damage with it(and 3d4 per round...ouch). Another is that damage over time will completely ruin spellcasters of most kinds, making this rather useful.

stunning screech: this is OK with a solo vrock, but spells disaster in a dance group. As the save is very hard to make, one vrock can screech for each round of the dancing, leaving the PCs with nothing to do but tear their hair out as the full force of a 20d6 demonic ballet bomb flies toward them. (according to Aubri of the WotC forums, the screech is a standard action, and this tactic doesn't work, if you still use this, bear in mind that you're using rule 0.)

SLAs: telekinesis gives the utility it always does, but does not help vrocks in particular. Teleport, on the other hand, is a good getaway, as well as a way to ambush PCs very effectively and/or get to a good spot for dancin'. Heroism should just be a pre-fight buff, one for each vrock, and mirror image largely for making it (yet again) very hard to stop the dance(come on, atleast 12 images?).

summoning: again, this helps with the dance. In a dance group, you could summon more vrocks for screeches and spores, or (this is good in any case) summon a shedload of dretches as a meat shield while you dance/hack away.

strategy(assumes three, EL 12 ish, supposedly): have them each cast heroism on themselves pre-fight. Teleport in suitably far away from the PCs and summon the wall'o'dretches. After this is done, have them all cast mirror image on themselves and release spores. Then, start the dance. For every round of the dance, have one of the vrocks screech, if everyone saves for one of the rounds, they still might hit the wrong one/not kill it/ not even get there, so don't worry. After the dance finishes, get the popcorn as the party blows up, and proceed to clean up what remains...with a bucket.

Another method for a stealth attack is to have three invisible vrocks in a silence capsule, so the dance can't be seen or heard(the spells are most likely achieved by a scroll or two). When the dance ends, the PCs won't even know what happened barring that they took massive damage. After this is done, keep dancing. The survivor will die before even figuring out what happened.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:13 AM
Bebilith

OOC: The bebilith is can serve more roles than you might think, and is a personal favorite of mine. It could serve as a powerful mount for an even more powerful demon(as usual, the only way to keep CE types in control, such idiots, aren't they?:rolleyes: ), but this is up to the judgement of the DM, as they are specifically said to eat demons for breakfast(and lunch/dinner, but that's not the issue here). Another use could be a "drop them and run" tactic, such as myrkridia in myth 2, or, in a context more people will recognize, a frenzied berserker.

While they have the classical demon skill set, and an int score to match the an exceptionally bright dining table, they should be played more as ravenous (albeit cunning) beasts. The int should represent guile, as opposed to knowing the 91258th law of thermodynamics by heart or some such. As they are actually keen on eating demons above all else, the party could actually temporarily enlist it as an ally (assuming someone with telepathy or knowledge of abyssal is present), though they shouldn't expect it to stay that way for long(again, CE at work). A paladin could reasonably enlist one of them to help kill demons (bit hazy on whether a knight of the chalice would go for efficiency or "kill em all" though). However, this would make some DMs cause an auto-fall for the paladin in question, though I would rule it as "sure, it makes sense and it's a more efficient way to kill demons", but to each their own.


IC: As always, we will start by looking at what they bring to the table, and follow it up with a strategy.

AC/HP: while their AC is as good as a Vrock, it is less impressive at level 10, especially considering that even more of it is nat. armour, but it seems to be the case with most high CR monsters. Their HPs, however, are outstanding. Seriously, how often do you get to see so many D8s in the same place at level 10? For this reason, you should not worry much about it dying quickly. (if it does, put the fear back in them with power attack behirs and test tube bodaks:smalltongue: )

poison: eh, it isn't that good, unless used in conjunction with plane shift(see below)

demonic qualities: They have DR/good and nothing more, and that kind of DR is not very useful by now... especially vs. paladins (*smite* *fplat*). They lose everything else but telepathy, in exchange for....*drumroll* scent. While it's useful for tracking, it's pretty much useless besides.

web: would be good, were it not for the absence of ranged attacks. It's useful enough though, so be sure to toss it around often. If anyone in the encounter has ranged weapons though, web them against an immovable object of your choice. I actually had a pretty nasty encounter some time ago with a bebilith and four vrocks. The bebilith webbed the party to the side of a cliff which they were held to by telekinesis. After webbing them down, the vrocks took to the air and, right next to the helpless party, started dancing.


plane shift: this is what glues everything else together to make a monster evil enough to rank with the best of the quasits. It allows for your bebiliths to stay on some plane(the party won't even know which one) while their poison takes effect, keeping them entirely safe.

Rend armour: how to make the fighter types cry. This, while milder than rust monsters, will wreak total havoc with the party's AC, not to mention expensive magical armor, considering the claws almost always connect. However, you may want to watch out with it, as if the party is unable to fix the armour(dunno why it wouldn't be possible, but if it isn't, you as the DM would most likely know), it can mess with the wealth by level chart, underpowering them quite a bit even if they survive.


strategy(assumes the spider is solo, and that the armour is fixable): Plane shift behind the party, and stalk them (preferably from another plane) until they can safely be webbed to an immovable object of your choice. Once this is done, shred their armour if you have the time, and inject the poison, plane shifting away each time while the poison takes effect. If they break out, repeat it. It will take time, but it's quite effective.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:15 AM
Retriever

OOC: despite being a robot with eye rays, five bebiliths do not make a giant retriever.. Retrievers are useful for a number of things: they can be used for search and retrieve/destroy missions, as well as (technically not quite) living artillery. They are also absolutely awesome for scaring players and PCs alike. Think about it: a giant spider capable of leveling a city(yes, they do give that much XP:smalltongue: ) that will find you no matter where you find or how far you run...pretty scary, no? The key is in description, and possibly have it destroy irrelevant things in search for the PC. Another good way to use it would be to include a very obviously good magic item in a treasure horde, and then have the owner (a demon) sic a retriever at them. If the person or item that is being sought is handed over, however, the retriever should very definitely back off. Also, they are far more suited than bebiliths as a demonic mount, feel free to use them as such.

IC: followin' the usual format...

AC/HP: while it is not as high on HP, it compensates for this by having a bit of fast healing. However, you should watch out, as it can get killed all too easily. Its AC has the usual high-total-low-touch problem, which you will just have to get used to(honestly, it seems like WotC thinks that high dex on a monster is some kinda crime.)

special qualities: well, there's find target, which isn't much beyond a justification for metagaming, there's various visions, fast healing(see above) and construct traits, whoopee!:smallsigh: Seriously, the lack of tanar'ri traits/DR etc. just makes it easier to kill.

Special attacks: as if the insane strength isn't good enough for damage, there's even more stuff to the rescue! First, there's imp. grab, which is good for "retrieving" as well as a bird of prey-style pick and drop attack, doing quite a bit of falling damage. There's also the retriever's trademark attack: eye rays. These are what make the retriever useful in combat, each one dealing large amounts of damage (except for petri, a save or die). As there should be resistances, ressurections, and many other ways of dealing with it, there is no need to hold back.

strategy: keep the fighter types held in your claws, and use the petri rays on those with weak fort saves, while keeping the damage rays for fighters, clerics and the like. Grabbing and immediately dropping someone is also an option, albeit not a very good one. As a mount, the retriever offers no special bonuses barring high ground to shoot from.


P.S. I suggest you up the size on these things, along with the CR, if you use them. Why? Look at the picture, no way is that huge size.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:17 AM
Hezrou

OOC: you've heard alot about them, and here there are at last.... Anyways, hezrous are rather tactically minded, though not necessarily particularly intelligent or sneaky(by demon standards), they serve well as demon leaders right above babaus in the food chain, most likely second only to balors. (glabrezu and mariliths fall into different roles, and have to be commanded by a balor, but do not actually command the hezrous or any others as such). However, come combat, they're every bit as keen to tear things up, so don't downplay that bit. Because they command large amounts of demons, they make a suitable BBEG, in a "break the head and the body will follow" kind of way. Also, hezrous should never fight alone, but be accompanied by a regiment of (largely) dretches, possibly a babau or two, and maybe even riding a retriever.

IC:

AC/HP: So it's finally happened.. all of its armor is natural, and it actually has <10 for touch AC.... Ack, well, you'll just have to live with it, seeing as demons aren't as gifted with defensive cheese as celestials. The HP is the same(roughly) as a retriever, not bad, but don't expect it to last forever.

special qualities: Finally, all the demonic qualities back in one monster! Alas, most of them are no longer relevant, but it's better than nothing. The other ability of note is 19 SR, which, as usual, might as well be ignored:smallfrown: .

Summoning: Still not much extra chance of success, I'm afraid. However, just in case it works, make it a dretch summon. Even at this level, the potential wave of 22 (on average) dretches is too good to pass up. The alternative? Another hezrou, harhar.

Improved grab: Meh. While it's always nice, I don't see how it helps in particular, myself.

SLAs: greater teleport is, as always, ye olde getaway. Blasphemy is good to use once in a while during combat, but is not going to do all that much against the PCs. Gaseous form is somewhat redundant, as greater teleport is already available, but unholy blight and chaos hammer really take the cake here. The beauty of them lies not in the damage, but in affecting common PC alignments with awful status ailments(like lawful good...sorry, slow).

stench: it's nice, but doesn't exactly lend itself to strategy much. Don't forget to figure it in, but there isn't much to be done except let it do its thing.

feats: hang on...toughness? Okay, this should either be replaced by some other feat(for once, I have no idea what, perhaps ability focus of some sort), or replace blind-fight with improved toughness.

strategy: not much here, really. Have their entire regiment(hezrou included) summon dretches. Once this is done, have the dretches act as a meat shield as the hezrou sits back, just into stench range if possible, and smack them around with chaos hammer or, failing that, unholy blight. Blasphemy can and should be tossed around once in a while, but it's really overblown, to be honest.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:19 AM
Alright...that's all for now, I'm going to go to bed, and will continue the updates later on, feel free to toss some feedback my way in the mean time (remember, it doesn't need to be positive, but if it's criticism, make it constructive).

ChrisMcDee
2007-09-11, 10:24 AM
Awesome thread. I think there's a lot in the MM that goes unused by a huge number of DMs. I look forward to the next batch :smallsmile:

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:32 AM
Thank'ee. I've discovered that sleep is, in fact, for the weak, so I'll be putting some more stuff up here in a moment before I go and act weak for a few hours.:smalltongue:

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:36 AM
Glabrezu

OOC: One of a few slightly sad cases, glabrezus would work really well if it wasn't but for one flaw: They look like demons, and quite amazingly scary ones at that. I suggest that you add, at the very least, an alternate form ability to counter this, or it's pretty much a failed monster. Once properly disguised(I realize it has ranks in disguise, but come on, how much can that help on its own?), they work to great effet, using their various skills. Spot, listen and search are nice in pretty much any circumstances, but not terribly relevant, while survival is a bit of a puzzler. The modifiers on diplomacy and, more importantly, bluff/intimidate etc., are quite spectacular.

So, how does one go about corrupting an NPC or PC? The answers are DM fiat and guile, respectively. As you have probably guessed, I will be dealing with the PC side of things in this entry. One way is to set up the glabrezu as a quest giver, preferably making it sound appealing or possibly even like a good act. A good example is to send paladins on a totally unreasonable crusade to, for example, eliminate all lycanthropes, convert or whack a whole lot of people, or something along those lines(for those of you who play eberron, the demon in the silver flame is a good example). Not enough, you say? Well, for icing on the cake, hand out the rewards, such as magic items which are powerful and have a built in save-or-turn-evil effect(though you may want to just make it persuasion, as it can be quite the character killer otherwise). If you want to single out one character, set them aside somehow, and let them make a wish which the glabrezu will grant. The trick here is to convince them into making a wish that will have bad effects, while making it seem harmless, or possibly even a good deed. Try some undetectable alignment scrolls and the like, since the whole thing goes downhill if the demon just ends up pinging on the pally's evil radar.

Glabrezus are the lowest level monsters (barring efreeti) to have wish as an SLA. While this can be quite useful, it may well be abused by players. If they try to use domination, planar binding etc. to trick it into giving them wishes, either have it counter-trick them, allow it once if it is reasonable and give them a major warning, or (though this is heading in the direction of "because I said so") just say that it used its monthly wish. If they somehow get to bluff a glabrezu into using its wish for a good deed though (or evil, so that it does its job, but not how it would normally), then that is very good, and should be encouraged. Chances are that with the sense motive checks that a glabrezu can get, it will not happen, and they may even be counter-bluffed anyway. Also, if a paladin bluffs a glabrezu into using its wish for a good cause, they SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO FALL. True, the paladin made peaceful contact, did not attack it, and made use of its powers, but its for a good cause, which probably means the demon will get killed back at home anyway.

IC: now that I'm done droning on about evil mastermind stuff, time for combat! Bear in mind that while glabrezus are effective in combat, they are not too keen on it(despite being demons), and usually keep it as a fall back option in case their plans fall apart. With that in mind, lets take a look at their strengths and weaknesses.

AC/HP: very good, so long as no touch attacks are employed. Despite its obscene weakness to spells like that (an considering the existence of spells like finger of death, that's bad), the high AC compensates for that...almost. The demon's giant HP supply tops everything else thus far, and should keep it alive and well for a while.

defenses: As usual, the DR means nothing at this point, and the same is very nearly true for the SR. I say this because it is just baout possible for it to resist a spell, but you should not count on it at all. Immunities and resistances are little trouble even to warmages by now, as they will be used to demons, and simply chuck orbs of force and the like. Saves, as usual, are good on fort and rather mediocre on the other two, while reflex is downright awful. Still, there's not much to be done for this, though ironically, a paladin level would help a lot.

feats: Finally, the feat selection seems quite appropriate. You may want to drop great cleave for something else though, but I wouldn't know what. The only reason to drop it, in practice, is that it should never work on a party. If it does, you've got a bigger problem than feat selection.

other abilities: True seeing seems rather irrelevant, though it's always nice. Instead, try detect lies/zone of truth for dealings with PCs if you feel like it. Summoning is best set to dretches, as d2 vrocks are not enough for a dance, and getting another glab is unlikely, but dretches (assuming the summon is successful) will still help somewhat (assuming they all survive whatever gets thrown at them*cough*circle of death *cough*).Improved grab is rather appropriate, allows you to grapple half of an average party, and full power attack them.

SLAs:dispel magic is nice as a pre-fight debuff, preferably from far away, so that the party is totally unbuffed when they reach the demon. Reverse gravity is useful to get the party out of the picture while you escape or, alternatively, grab and power attack one. mirror image should be on at all times during combat, while power word stun should provide the time to dispel and confuse in. Unholy blight/choas hammer are useful spells in the right circumstances, but not always useful.

strategy: start the battle with a surprise round, as their initiative is really, truly awful. If at all possible, fight outdoors. The first thing you should do is power word stun, followed up with grabs, confusion, mirror image, and dispels. Once the much-weakened party is back on its 2 feet, cast reverse gravity, holding on to one or two pincered characters and power attacking with claws. When the party comes back down, they will take some damage, before milling about helplessly from confusion. Recast confusion and RG, while filling up any empty pincers. Rince, wash and repeat.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:37 AM
(The following post is taken word for word from Lurkalot's post on the WotC boards, all credit goes to him).

If I may make one suggestion on the issue of Glabrezus and temptation, you rightly point out the difficulties it has in tricking players, etc, but your response is to try and find ways to overcome this. Instead, I would suggest following it to its logical conclusion and realising that trickery isn't going to work for the big doggy crab one. The way that people with strict morals have always fallen throughout history is through making concessions for the "ends justify the means approach." Start small and bigger crimes will surely follow. One example, just to illustrate what I mean would be as follows:

The players are waging a small war against some enemy force. They need to chase one villain to stop him assembling the Rod of Ancient Plot Device or whatever, but they also need to stop the approaching orc clan from ravaging the village. Enter the demon, who presents himself as either having common cause (the villain once bound him and he wants revenge by foiling his plans), or he will offer to help in exchange for some minor service / gift that is wrong, but balanced against the deaths of the villagers is only little. It's a choice that 8/10 paladins will fail every time. Then you can change the scale. Maybe the orc clan got reinfocements and isn't wiped out but merely held off. Now the demon wants a little more in return for continued service. Or perhaps a visiting dignitary or high-ranking member of the party's religion shows up and the demon wants more in return for aid. Keep the players busy with one hand and weave a mesh of dependency about them. Before they know it, they'll find that neither of their choices are good ones, and the only way out is yet another underhand path. Just my thoughts, but that s how it seems to work in real life so I think it's a good approach for the game too.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:40 AM
Nalfeshnee

OOC: The nalfeshnee appears to be two things at first glance. First of all, it seems to be a creature with an incrediibly silly sounding name, this is correct. It also seems to be, as of 3.5, a demon suffering from unemployment. This is untrue, and is an idea usually caused by the addition of inevitables. Nalfeshnees(well alright, it says they enjoy it, but I reckon it's their job) "judge doomed souls", which seems like the territory of inevitables or devils, but not a demon. In any case, I don't see what there is to judge about someone that is doomed anyway, but we can build on that.

First of all, there's the trick mentioned under glabrezus. With a good enough bluff/diplomacy modifier, some enchantment spells, or a glibness spell, you can trick them into letting you go, but this will be very difficult(as it should be) due to high sense motive modifiers. They could also scare someone (or their soul) into confessing to whatever, via intimidate and, well, the fact that their existence gives you a very good excuse to be scared.

Another trick would be to have them judge souls in general, whether they are doomed or not. The nalfeshnee, however, being a demon, will be incredibly corrupt. It will take bribes, scare confessions out of people, and do pretty much anything, after which, true to its chaotic nature, it will follow its whims and nothing else to its conclusion.

An interesting twist would be to have the nalfeshnee fill in a justiciar-like role, chasing down souls or people to capture and bring to its trials. This is most likely how a party might end up in combat with one.

IC: The nalfeshnee is such a cheesily powerful creature that it seems almost pointless to write a strategy for it, but I will anyway.

Defenses: see glabrezu (sorry, the usual not quite copy and paste gets old after a while)

AC/HP: Nalfeshnees have the HP edge on glabrezus by a grand total of one. While this isn't much by comparison, it's still a respectable score, especially considering that there will be no attacking from the partry for the bulk of the fight(more on that later). AC is identical to glabrezus again, but with a slightly different distribution. Sadly, the dex bonus on touch AC is offset by huge size, but this demon won't need to avoid that many attacks anyway.

feats: Pretty good. I've never been very big on imp. bull rush, but considering huge size, it's decent. Weapon focus should be dropped in favour of ability focus (smite) and multiattack for a feat of your choice + a weapon. For instance, take monkey grip and a gargantuan unholy fullblade, or possibly a hammer-like weapon, for the "judge's gavel" effet. If you're feeling extra vengeful, swap out one of the above feats for maximize spell-like ability(summon demon)

stats: Dexterity is atrocious for all monsters(almost all, anyway), I've pretty much got used to that, and so have you all, I expect. Otherwise, all stats are in the 20s, making the nalfeshnee very powerful in any role that does not require dex.

Flight: this will allow an escape, a chase, movement to high ground(explained later) and, most importantly, stop those stupid flying spellcasters from negating the encounter (I.E. "Yay, I can fly but you can't! Disintegrate! Fireball! Power word kill! I'm so ube...*DMG slap*").

true seeing: This as is the case with glabrezus, is no more useful than it would normally be. negating a whole school of magic is nice though.

summon demon: This is as decent as the same ability on any other demon normally, but maximized, it can summon 4 vrocks. Yes, that's right, I said 4, have fun. And yes, that is atrocious.

SLAs:Greater dispel magic is useful, given time (I.E. given smite), for stripping the party of buffs. Unholy aura should be active at all times, greater teleport is like flight but, for all purposes but the last, far superior. Call lightning is good for doing damage to the party while they approach(more on that later) and slow for, well, slowing them down. Feeblemind is probably best left alone, as it will turn any caster into a useless sack of meat.

Smite: The most atrociously powerful ability this demon has. Notice the naming? not smite x, smite. That's right, it will work on anything but other tanar'ri, and not even all demons are tanar'ri(not sure if bebiliths are). This gives you time to do whatever you like and will be used to great effect in all the strategies for this monstrosity.All the options will be shown in the next section.Also, it's not radius, but burst. That means it goes downwards too, which is important.

Strategy: First, for optimum effect, get the demon on high ground or, better yet, a cliff, with a long walk up to it. Put up unholy aura and summon four vrocks. cast call lightning and remember to drop bolts when you can. Then, slow the party(at will, so spam it out until all or all but one are affected). The lightning bolts will fry them as they come up to the cliff. Basically call up lightning in your spare time. Do not forget to dispel any buffs off them on their way up. Once they reach the top, there are several options.

1,gibfest: cast smite, and have the vroks screech if any fail to be dazed. The nalf and a vrock will melee the dazed ones, and all vrocks use spores. Meanwhile, three of the vrocks should be dancing non-stop. Screech and smite as necessary to keep them stun-locked. After all, you do have a lot of charges on those abilities.

2, fear of heights: simply put, once they are smitten, have the vrocks screech to stun any remainders if need be. Then, get the nalf to bull rush them all off, but not before they've been properly spored. Once they fall(assuming they survive) repeat the slow/debuff/lightning routine as written above.

3, zergfest: Again, screech and smite the party into submission, then have the vrocks spore them and cast (possibly maximized, if you feel cruel) summon demon, for the largest army of dretches you have ever seen. Then, simply get the dretches, vrocks and nalf to tear them to pieces, stun-locking them as necessary. You may combine this with option #1 quite easily.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:43 AM
Marilith

OOC: Mariliths can serve well in two rather important, if behind the scene, roles. The first is as tacticians, and the second as advisors to balors, keep in mind that these two roles can be chucked into a blender, and work rather well together. I will go through these roles in the order of rumsfel...sorry, chaotic evil tactician, advisor and mixed, to prevent confusion.

tactician: This is the designated role for mars, and yet they don't fit it at all, which obviously needs fixing. First of all, they are out-intelligenced and out-wisdomed by some D&D equivelant of What Happens When Judge Dredd Gets Hooves (Nalfeshnees),and has, strangely enough, lots of str/con/cha (not bad, just better placed elsewhere), and amazing UMD/spellcraft(why?), while they possess no military knowledge whatsoever. Seriously, demonic armies are managed by a fusion of indian mythology and medusas who can't tell tactics from a hard boiled egg. While this explains quite a bit, it's also very wrong, and needs fixing. So, dump spellcraft/UMD(one of them, and not a diplomacy style skill, you'll need that) for knowledge (military) at a similar rank. Then, boost their intelligence and wisdom. This may be done with magic items, allocating their stat boosts differently(for a respectable 20/20), or just taking some off a few stats and shunting it elsewhere.

As for how to actually use them as tacticians, once again, use my tactics for hiearchy/who does what, and roman tactics for battle plans, seeing as they're good at it. Another option is to PM me with said army, location and objective+opposition, and wait for a reply, but this may take time. Mariliths are in for a tough job, as the only way to make their army work is to intimidate it, all of it, into doing what you say, and it's not easy to scare an army with a big stick, or six of them, for that matter.

As advisors, they reach their full potential. Using their vast reserve of diplomatic skills, large amounts of demon scout/spy/informers and charisma, they can know everything there is to know, tell the balor the bits they want him to know, and subtly manipulate the balor into doing what they want to. Ofcourse, one with a few class levels (preferably dervish, see below) can quite possibly try to kill the balor, or get some people to help it kill the balor, kill them, and cover up (hey, this is CE society we're talking about). Now, if you want your marilith to be playing word games with balors, you will notice that their bluff, intimidate and diplo mods are quite a bit lower than sense motive for balors. The solution lies in their excessive UMND skill. Give them a wand of glibness (or a potion, if you're feeling stingy) and they can walk into a phonebooth, come out resplendant in their blue suit and big "G", and tell the balorsw whateveer they want to. Also consider circumstance bonuses on bluff/intimidate, such as a "I know where the bodies are buried" thing, for example. If they actually do, it could be an intimidate bonus. Even if they are just making it up as a bluff roll, they might actually guess right.

To combine these, consider a marilith starting a war, and then relaying specific bits of it to the balor, shifting the whole thing to its advantage and readying it to take control, or possibly start a revolt against the balor, which the marilith would then succeed.

As an example, here's something I did: The marilith told the balor that it knew of an enemy of the state which was trying to ruin the balor's country and destroy its officers, and got permission to go after the guy and use whatever it thought necessary to take it down. Eventually, it said that it had discovered the traitor who was within the castle walls, and needed only the balor's written permission to execute him. The balor, influenced time and again by the trusty wand of glibness, consented and wrote the warrant. The next morning, it was revealed that said terrible enemy of the state was, in fact, the balor, who was duly executed, blowing up and killing the executioner, but that was just a dretch, so that's alright.


Also, remember that mariliths are terrrible showoffs, and will flaunt their wealth and power at every opportunity.

Finally, to raise a marilith to epic levels, chuck in ten levels of dervish or, failing that, 4 and 1 fighter after dervish(more on this later).

IC

Well well well, the marilith. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a behir gone bad,seriously. While it is overpowered on its own, it is even worse with some dervish/fighter levels chucked in, believe you me. I will leave that for the end, and show you the rest now.

HP/AC: HP may be slightly good for a demon of its CR, and AC is pretty average(and, ofcourse, almost all natural, though there's some dex in there. Seriously, druids are overpowered, but natural does not equal good!)

defenses: see glabrezus, bar one point. Their DR has taken an upgrade from, effectively, DR 10/harharyeahright to DR10/-. Basically, it's now cold iron and good, so unless there's a metalline aligned weapon or something like that, chances are slim. Ofcourse, artificers can do some weapon augmentation for a metalline holy weapon on the spot, but that's rare.

skills: see OOC

saves: all pretty good, no comment.

six weapons/feats: this is quite good, except that you may wish to gain greater multi-weapon fighting (all feats for two weapons in my games, have multi-weapon versions, not sure if they actually exist). This, plus some class levels if you want overkill, are one part of the two facts that overpower mariliths. Anyways, greater MWF would give five extra attacks for an extra 5d8+51, assuming they all hit and none are power attacked.


constrict: ouch, this is the other component for apocalyptic brokenation. While it's bad enough that it does amazing damage and leaves the target more or less open to kebabination at the demon's leisure, it also requires a tough fort save to stay concious. Unconcious foes are open to...that's right, CdG. Improved grab merely serves to make this easier.

summon demon: less impressive than on nalfeshnees. However, if you get your hands on Sudden Extend, you can get a two hour summon, get a nalf an hour before the fight, and it can smite/vrock as you like for the fight itself.

SLA:brutally nerfed in 3.5, 'm afraid. However, it still fits their love of tactics well, with battlefield control(blade barrier, telekinesis), being ready for all situations and countering your enemy's tricks(see invis, greater teleport, true seeing(not quite on the SLA list, I know), magic weapon and project image) and protection (aura).

strategy(assuming, unrealistically, that the marilith has one other summoned demon rather than an army): unholy aura prior to the battle, and an extended nalf summon an hour in advance if you like(see their entry on how they may be used).

fire up align weapon and magic weapon on all 6 swords to a convinient alignment, and you're set.


During the fight, you should greater teleport in(quicken SLA, mebbe) use blade barrier and slither out. Then wait for the party to come to you through the lawnmower you kindly positioned in between you and them, and hope that you don't trip over their kidneys. Once that is over, chop them up with AoOs, and god knows how many attacks a round. If you feel cruel, slap one of them a round, constrict until they fall unoncious, focus firing on them the whole while if they have good fort saves(IE unlikely to pass out), and drop them as soon as they lose coniousness. If you work fast, whatever bits of the party survive will be unconcious on the floor(2d4 round duration) and ready for mass CdG. The flaw in this plan is that the players will then kick you in the teeth, so don't try it at home.


class levels: to crank a marilith up to CR 22/27, do the following.

22: add 4 levels of dervish and one of fighter, change all weapons to scimitars. swap out a feat of your choice for imp. crit on scimitar, change wep focus to scimitar, and get at your second level of dervish monkey grip, followed up with, at your first fighter level, wield oversized weapon and perfect multi wep fighting(CW, two changed to multi) to get large amounts of attacks with colossal scimitars.

27: as above, but don't take the fighter level and do take all 10 dervish levels. This grants a thousand TPKs...er, sorry, cuts, for a mini-heca-wossname effect(roughly 60 attacks plus tail slap/constrict).

Edit- oversized TWF and monkey grip is also required to treat scimitars as light weapons.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:48 AM
Balor

Balor differences: 3.0 vs 3.5: Quite simply, the 3.5 verison(which I am writing up now) is a combat grunt stat-wise, while the 3.0 version, while certainly far weaker, has more subtle, manipulative powers. If I get enough requests, I will write up a 3.0 balor entry too.

OOC: Balors. If you're looking for a big demon, you've come to the right place (well, if you want literally big, try the nalfeshnee, but still). Balors rank at the top of the hierarchy for non-epic demons (also known as I'm-Bigger-Than-You-So-You-Better-Do-What-I-Say-Or-Else). It seems, however, that they have everything done for them, leaving them suffering from a case of unemployment. They have nalfeshnees for judges, hezrous for army management, marilith generals, quasit scouts/spies, and just about anything else you can think of. What, then, have they got to do?

Simply put, the Balor is a figurehead. It's someone that everyone that all the demons can look at and think "that's the one managing everything". Basically, their job is to sit around looking impressive and authoritative while everyone else scuttles around doing their job.

Another function is that, unique among demons, they can actually inspire their troops. This is quite different from terrifying them into doing what they're told to, though there may be some of that. We're talking inspiring speeches, pep talk, and whatever else they can scrape off the bottom of the bucket. This need not provide a morale bonus or anything, just keep all the gears running smoothly.

When all's said and done, however, the Balor is simply there for show, it's decoration, frill, or anything else you wish to call it. This does not, however, make them stupid. Other demons, mariliths and glabrezus especially, will be attempting to assassinate them and take over more or less around the clock. I might add here that if anyone is better at looking spiffy and talking to people (or demons, as the case may be), it's glabrezus, so don't rule them out on a CR basis. While the balor is smart enough (have you ever seen that much sense motive in one place?) and strong, not to mention having the support of considerable amounts of allies, nothing is concrete. These are demons we're talking about, after all. There may be revolutions (usually in the name of The People, population one:smalltongue:), changes in the balance of power, betrayal and assassination at any time.

This is where the PCs come in. Do not have them, unless they are the dumb unconvincable demons-are-xp paladins, kill all of the demons. Instead, present them with the situation, and let them do what they will. They could take a side for some kind of reward (but never, ever count on a demon), inspire the general population into a revolution, promptly followed by taking control of the new demon nation and living on a healthy diet of three meals and nine portions arsenic/day.

Alternatively, they could take a side and then turn on the demons, warn the balor, help them along so that they all destroy eachother etc. This type of campaign can be quite astoundingly good, but is hard to manage, so don't try unless you're sure you can pull it off and make it truely open-ended. Also, I have said this before, but it bears repeating: if the paladin helps the demons so they destroy eachother, DO NOT MAKE HIM A BLACKGUARD! It is, ultimately, destroying piles of chaotic evil demons, and is definitely a lawful good and well thought out act.

This type of campaign would likely be heavy RP, with much diplomacy and very little fighting (basically, it would be assassinations etc. only). Also, if you set the tone of it right, you could end up with it fitting very well into eberron or an eberron-like theme.

As I have mentioned before, when faced by enemies, the Balor can definitely hold its own, but will generally use hordes of underlings, possibly even for as cruel a purpose as "let 'em die, I'm out of here". Its ultimate defense is summoning another powerful demon. It must be wary of this, however, as the demon it summons will most likely be an enemy (marilith etc.), rival(balor) or soon-to-be enemy (look, if you got summoned out into the middle of a fight to save a stranger's life, would you be happy?). It is common practice for one to fight the other if they survive, attempting to finish off a weakened rival. Therefore, a balor may summon someone simply to let the party beat on them so they can finish the demon off.

Ofcourse, there comes a time when zerglings just aren't enough. The balor needs to roll up the red carpet, step down from the throne, and chop things up. The next section will be the instruction manual for the abyssal blender that is the Balor.

IC

Whew, who does that guy think he is, going on and on about things that don't even have numbers! Well, I have a refreshing lot of tactics that are not meant to be a TPK, have fun!
(Just in case anyone cares: the above came from scanning the first two sentences of the MM balor description. now
I'm looking at the statblock:smallbiggrin: )


HP/AC: By level 20, 300 HP is actually distressingly low. Or rather, it's not that it's low so much as that... how shall I put it? Rod of energy substitution(cold/acid), rod of quicken, rod of maximzie, rodney of empower, that's easily way over 300 damage that's bound to break through SR, and anyone that is using meteor swarm is going easy on you:smallsigh:. AC is very good. Still, the fighter type(assuming 30 str, which is a very mild assumption) will still hit with his 30 BAB 3/4 of the time. And the average sor/wiz will have a touch attack bonus of 10+dex mod, say, for example, three. So said arcanist may actually just about have a chance of missing if he tries really hard. Don't lose faith though, there's defenses coming up, and they've got some nice upgrades.

defenses: damage reduction that is, for all practical purposes, 15/-. Alright, it's cold iron and good, but who has both of those anyway? Alright, artificers with align weapon/metalline, but seriously, what are the chances? Anyway, 15 damage off all non-spells is huge, so it'll help the Balor survive. Also, there's the nice bonus that fire resistance has been upgraded to immunity, yay! I'm sorry to report that SR, as always, is hopeless. However, their saves are good, so they will get a decent chance to halve/ignore the messiness from all the spells thrown at them.

feats: Quite good. Improved initiative will actually be good, since having the first move means a lot. Quickened telekinesis is definitely not all it's cracked up to be. Extend SLA(summon demon), however, is good. The reason being that you can then summon a balor an hour before the fight. Since it's in the neighbourhood for two hours, it can summon another balor one hour in, for a total of three balors, that can do a lot. Finally, considering three balors, you may want maximize/empower/quicken SLA(fire storm) to soften up/burninate the opposition.

Equipment: The vorpal sword, atleast in 3.5, is definitely very tame, considering some other enchants it could have. Especially since heavy fortification, death ward and the like are common at level 20. The flaming whip opens up some strategy options (in essence, it's a flaming spiked chain with entangle), but neither is overpowered. Keep in mind that while the whip is kosher loot, it loses the entangle ability (a special skill Balors have, I think. Kind of like taking a fighter's axe would not grant you the whirlwind attack feat he had), that is, so long as they get it off the demon before it blows up. The vorpal sword, however, is part of a balor and should not, even with those clever disarming tricks I keep seeing, be taken off the balor. My interpretation of how it works can be summed up as being somewhat like a mindblade: the balor goes unconcious or lets go, and the sword is gone.

Flaming body/entangle: This is quite useful. The balor has a spectaular grapple modifier means that anyone stupid enough to try and grapple one (E.G. a monk) will get grappled, pinned and barbecued, in all likelyhood. In conjunction with the whip, this is also a solid caster killer.

Death throes: Basically the ultimate cheesy "mwahahaha you're dying with me etc." move. If the balor dies, the fighter types will get a solid hit in the face but most likely not die, clerics and druids will survive, but any arcane casters will not be so fortunate. Suffice to say that they will give the phrase "smoking crater" a whole new meaning. Rogues, monks, and anyone else with a good ref save and evasion has almost nothing to fear from this, especially with improved evasion.

Summon demon: always summon a balor. More under feats.

SLAs: Blasphemy is, by now, by and large useless. Still, dominate monster at will is amazing. You can get the fighter types to turn on the mages (guaranteed) and take them down before they know what hit them. Note that it does not say there is any sort of cap on how many you can dominate. With three balors, that means a fight that could be 6v1(assuming one per balor, which you needn't stick to). As soon as all of them are entirely dominated, "stand still"+coup de grace. greater dispel magic will tear up any buffs they may have, given time. Teleport will get the balor out of the fray (which, believe me, is not a good place to put one, they're spellcasters even in 3.5, not grunts). While insanity is a good spell, it's nothing compared to dominate monster, and can be safely ignored. The same, I'm afraid, can be said for the much hyped-over telekinesis. Unholy aura should simply be constantly on, while power word stun is a great way to take those with low hp(or arcanists) out of the picture. Triple implosion is quite nasty, as is quickened empowered maximized fire storm followed by empowered maximized fire storm, from three balors.(for reference, assuming no fire resistance, that's 1080 damage, overkill even for the tarrasque:D, uses the SLA metamagic feats )

Strategy(assumes balor trio): With three of em, this gets to be a fight to rival solars. Get them to start at a distance, and lob their nuclea...sorry, fire storms on the party. If any have survived (harhar), stun them, entangle them and burn them if they have little hit points left. Otherwise, dominate them and let them fight eachother. Oh, and if you feel sadistic, triple implosion is just around the corner. I feel bad for cutting the actual strategy this short, but it really is that simple.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 10:52 AM
Whew... okay, now I'm really going to bed. Tommorow (my time), if I can find the time, I will post about 23 more entries. After that, I will copy/paste it into Word for backup purposes, and delete it from the WotC boards, or rather, replace it with a link. It's going to be several days at the very least before I can actually write any more new entries, though, since september is a rather busy time of the year for me.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:53 PM
Destrachan (whew, finally something that doesn't stink of sulfur!)

OOC: Destrachans are the next stage up in the underground predator list, right after darkmantles, chuuls, cloakers and the like. Though the description says that they're very cunning, this does not mean a high int score. What i means is high wis, a good wis, and an int score that is actually realtively low for an aberration, reflecting its simple predatory nature. Destrachans will not work together, but recognize that a fight between the two of them is futile (as they are more or less immune to themselves) and will most likely leave eachother alone. Occasionally, mind flayers may choose to enslave them, using them as guard dogs and, occasionally, artillery, though using them as a mount could be interesting. They are generally not to be trusted, however, and should be kept under close supervision. Their best role, however, is still as a lone underground hunter. If they are to work with anything however, it should be some higher power forcing them to work with chuuls, in essence, using them as a meat shield.

IC

AC/HP: the destrachan gives rather uninspiring numbers in this respect, with a customary tendency to terrible touch AC. Still, it's not meant to be a tank in any way, and should be fine if used at a distance.

defences: protection from sonics is certainly unusual, though an immunity will be better. Simply put, however, they're already immune to the bulk of illusions, and everyone has orb of force at this level anyway, so it's not as helpful as you mihgt expect. Immunity to gaze attacks is redudant, as gaze attacks are a monster thing, but the equivelant of a true seeing spell at all times is quite useful. In conjunction with their high will saves, these guys will give beguilers an unexpectedly hard time.

Destructive harmonics: the destrachan is more or less a three-trick pony, but the third one of the options granted by this ability is so diverse that it makes up for the rest.

flesh: never use this. Simply put, the nerves version does more damage, and an unconcious opponent might as well be dead, so it's not exactly useful unless facing something immune to subdual.

nerves: the main weapon of a destrachan, this should be used from a considerable distance. It does large amounts of subdual damage, and coup de grace means that an unconcious opponent is as good as dead. Don't start raining deathblows until everyone is unconcious though.

material: there are two uses for this. The first is to lower damage by shattering holy symbols and weapons (no holy symbol=rather useless cleric), as well as spellbooks of unusual materials. The second, rather less common one is that by 7th level, stoneskin, barkskin and the like become common, and destrachans can therefore shatter the skin. Now, it may not be instant death, but personally I'd make it duplicate the effect of a flaying spell(complete arcane), possibly happening all at once.

Strategy: Either have a combat reflexes chuul or something tank ahead of the destrachan, or make it stand on high ground or something. Either way, keep it out of harm's way, and begin by destroying weapons(especially ranged ones) and holy symbols/mistletoe/holly, along with spellbooks if applicable. Then, start raining subdual on the party. Once everyone has dropped, walk down and coup de grace the lot of them. You wouldn't be out of bounds for ruling, however, that a destrachan can coup de grace at a range, considering how much control it has over the harmonics.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:55 PM
Lemure(is that sulfur?)

OOC:Lemures serve much the same role as dretches:meatshields. Ironically, despite being a devil rather than demon, they're far less intelligent. In fact, they're mindless. This means three things. First, devils are very smart, as this means that they have no chance of disobeying, seeing as they are, in essence, grotesque robots, not dissimilar to a flesh golem.

Secondly, it means that they should lose their alignment, whatever WotC's stance may be, as they haven't got the brain to decide about morals. The subtypes and alignment on attacks should probably be kept though, as this stems from what they are (baatezu), not what they think they are (they don't:smalltongue: ).

Thirdly, it means that their attacks are far better coordinated than that of dretches. This may seem strange, so I'll explain: not only do they have better tacticians to boss them around, but they are mindless and recieve commands telepathically, so tehre's no time for it to get scrambled in transit(the orders), and they don't have the intelligence to get it wrong(much like a computer can't misinterpret what you said).

Note also that they look, well, icky, and you should describe them in detail, as well as point them out to beginner arcane casters as a good summon(they need all the help they can get if they are new to the game and, more importantly, if you have read this).

In essence though, they are the front-liners, the meat shields, and the you-just-stand-here-while-I-escape-and-practice-my-evil-laughter bots. Therefore, they should be treated as such, with their main use being in combat. As you are about to discover, they do this quite well. (bear in mind that they can do smart tactics, as they are essentially directly controlled by things that do have a brain.

IC

AC/HP: touch AC isn't a big deal at level 1, and AC 14 is moderately good. 9HP is also solid, in that they may take a whole 2 hits from a tank, and a warmage only has a 1/3 ish chance at best of one shotting them. Ah, the joys of first level combat.

defenses: this is what keeps these blobs of...ebil stuff alive. It has lots of em to compensate for lack of damage output, and you can expect them to work rather well.

DR: this is basically 5/- at first level, unless facing a pally. If you are fighting a pally with one of these, they shouldn't live long anyway. As always, getting past DR at this level does not happen without a pally,someone with align weapon, or an artificer. Hang on, that's a big list...oh well.

mindless: nice n simple, this'll toast all them beguilers and the like.

elemental immunities/resistances: this is what's ruining your 1st level blasters. Basically, orb of electricity has a chance, but otherwise, well...there's magic missile, but most will end up going orbs or burning hands etc. for blasting, happy hunting!


saves: +3 on all means that if there is in fact something to save against, they will most likely make it, something to put the fear in your casters...again.

strategy: lemures work, even against 1st level parties, best in a group (against a 1st level party, use a pair for a semi-boss encounter). have a pair of them charge the resident arcane spellcaster, and watch his looks of terror as nothing seems to work. Whack 'im down (stop at the first hint of 0~) and repeat the same on the rogue. Then, it's your choice: either the divine caster or the tank. Either way, your lemures are going to die soon, but the damage is done, and your PCs(if beginners) will talk about it forever, congratulations.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:56 PM
Imp

OOC: In many ways, the imp is the devil equivelant of quasits. Cunning, resourceful, cowardly, and very good with a bit of pepper. But what, you ask, is the Imp's role? I'll answer that with another question: what use is a blind general? In essence, an Imp is the eyes, ears, and left nostril of the devil armies, scouting unseen whether by disguise or invisibility, and reporting back to their masters. Alternate form is a great ability for infiltration, as it could be disguised as a common forest/city vermin, something in a pet shop or the like (raven or, since it's basically the same thing as a rat, the world's first LE hamster, go for the eyes boo!). Alternatively, you could give the PCs a nasty surprise, as the wizard/sorc/hexblade/whathaveyou's familiar turns out to be an imp, spying on 'em and possibly even tossing a suggestion or two their way. (to fighter: axe-doken the scrawny guy, will ya? I'm sure it's a good idea, and I promise to be real subtle:smalltongue: ). Their SLAs are largely non-combat, however, which weakens them when it comes to fighting. The point is, though, that it never comes to that. Detect Good/Magic is largely a scouting thing, while invis/AF are for stealth purposes. Commune is a good way to get orders from their boss, and it would be rather sensible(as in, not over the top) to let the quasit reverse it, answering questions asked by its boss, if the devils can't be bothered to scry or something themselves. Suggestion is great to break a party up, or to place the Imp, and by extension, its master, in a "power behind the throne" position, preferably not visible, but dictating all important decisions all the same. Though this would be more of a chaotic act, the Imp may gamble a bit by casting suggestion on its immediate leader, improving its lot in the baatorian world. Though they try their best to avoid it, however, eventually combat may come to them. Luckily for the forces of ebil, when it does, you'll be ready for it.

IC

AC/HP: no comment, except to say that this is awesome. It has, I kid you not, 3d8 hp at CR 2,rivalling that of a barbarian of the same level (assuming no con bonus, that is). AC is, for a change, an even mix of size, dex and nat. armour, making it a tough target at the best of times. Also, dodge, if kept, boosts AC even further.


Defenses: surprisingly enough, these are inferior to that of the Lemure. It has the fire immunity nerfed to 5 resistance, and any resistances are gone with the wind. It, ofcourse, also loses the bonuses of being mindless. All this is worth it, however, as its combo of high HP, AC, and fast healing 2 make it more or less untouchable, keeping it alive for half a century at the correct CR.

SLA: see OOC

poison: this will get most clerics and the like quickly, as they have low dex, and the attack bonus on the sting is huge. Though it lacks the cheesu plane shift option of the Quasit, the damage alone should whack your average arcane caster (the D4 types) in no time, while it will cripple andeventually paralyze those that don't drop from the damage, as they progressively get easier to hit. A boost in DC for the fighter types may be in order though, by means of ability focus.


strategy: at the risk of making this bit seem like slacking, the strategy is really simple. Suggestion on the fighter type to whack someone else, and sting the wizard/sorc/wu jen etc. to death. Afterwards, fry the cleric with dex poison and CdG once the friendly neighbourhood holy guy is unconcious. Finally, dispose of whoever is left in a manner similar to the cleric, though by this point the quasit is probably (or rather, hopefully) dead. Also, invisibility in conjunction with poison is rather close to the trick that the quasit pulls off with plane shift, if not quite as potent. Try it, though, and face a rain of interestingly shaped blunt objects, starting with the DMG.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 06:58 PM
Barbazu

OOC: Yes, they're called Bearded Devils. No, it's not devilled beards. Yes, they do attack with said beard. Yes, it does drain your strength. Yes, it really is considered lawful evil, even though it's a beard.

*waits*

Oi, you at the back, now would be a good time to stop laughing:smalltongue: .

Ahem, anyway, back to the land of serious people, barbazus serve a role similar to that of babaus: passing the orders down to the troops, while at the same time fighting alongside them. This is one case where demons win the brain war, however. Where babaus are sneaky, stab-them-in-the-back types, barbazus are dyed-in-the-wool barbarians, charging into the thick of fighting and trailing limbs, generally belonging to other people, but they wouldn't notice in their rage if it was theirs. At least, not until they dropped their glaive on their foot or something. The good news is that they are very, very good at it, and seeing captain blender charging into the fight and, in fact, fulfilling his duty as LE blender of the day may well serve as a morale boost, though whether it comes from "wow, he's sooo awesome, gotta do that" or "my god, no way am I getting on the wrong side of that" is entirely up to you. Have no doubt, however, that they are not redundant in any way, though. The devil armies need someone to just stand there being hunky, and lemures are simply not enough sometimes. In the simplest terms, barbazus are efficient combat brutes, and you are about to see just how efficient they are.

The addition of frenzied berserker is a good and easy one, by the way,though I will not cover it under the IC section. Kensai may also be good for a laugh (corrosive flaming burst returning animatedbeard :smallbiggrin: )

IC

AC/HP: This, alas, bodes rather badly for a tank: less HP than the average fighter/d10er at level 5, and an AC both inferior to and less evenly spread out than that of the imp, tut tut.

defenses: We're back in full swing again here with all the lemure immunities/resistances back again, keeping those warmages very far away, especially when backed by the (now actually rather significant) addition of SR.

I.wound: A solid ability, though it entails much bookkeeping. This should mess spellcasters up nicely with damage over time, assuming they haven't already been composted with the initial glaive hit. Clerics will often try to use healing spells just for this, and only run about a 50% chance of success, meaning spell slot wastage in some cases.

battle frenzy: just turn it on, make the adjustments and forget about it. Useful, especially as it lets you qualify for bear warrior/frenzied berserker.

weps: While the glaive is a useful weapon, it's sadly redundant when enemies get nearby, this means it's time to claw them, getting some major damage in for an unarmed attack (more, if you add some monk levels) plus...beard.

feats: While good, you may want to dump it all for a spring attack set (may require fighter levels) so that you can make continous use of the glaive. Otherwise though, it's fine as is.

strategy: try to get the drop on the party, using blood frenzy and glaiving the mage once or twice and then leaving him with a bleeding wound (or lack of limbs, it's up to the rolls). Afterwards, summon another barbazu and hope it works. Than, assuming it does, have each one power attack double-claw its own target, bearding it if the attacks succeed. Now just try to kill them with power attacks and str drain before moving on to the last party member, who is now lunch. Even if they survive, the party now has many of its members with one of the nastiest diseases in the DMG, congrats.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:40 PM
Hellcat

OOC: Hellcats (AKA bezekiras) have two roles that are supported rather well by their abilities. Telepathy, invisibility (in light, that is), their skills, track and sent all lend themselves well to these roles: spying and assassination.

If one is on a spying mission, they'd do well to keep a handy invisible imp nearby. Track and scent to the place, person or object that needs watching, watch silently and invisibly for as long as necessary, and then head back to the imp, report silently with telepathy, and have the message relayed back to the boss via reversed commune (see imp).

For assassination, track them down as shown above, and have a few levels of rogue (optional, for sneak attack) plus injury (never contact) poison on fangs and claws. Walk up to them, and sneak (yeah, right) attack them in broad daylight . All that any spectators will see is that the target (most likely) keels over with a huge amount of big claw and bite marks, possibly becoming the subject of rumors, exaggeration, speculation, folk lore etc. for quite a while.

Do note that since they are LE and can speak with nearly everything, they could make a deal with anyone (yes, even a PC) if it would benefit them. Similarly, they may turn on their employer at some later time, but only if it benefits them.

IC

AC/HP: HP falls into the category of : It'll Have To Do. It's nothing impressive, but not too shabby, either. AC, on the other hand, is both high and well spread out between dex and natural. All this is aided by the fact that with their (unusually good) SR and invis in light, they should hardly be getting hit at all.

Defenses: DR and resistances can be safely ignored (this wouln't be true if it were as serious as those of the lemure, but such is not the case). Their SR, on the other hand, has a 1/3 chance of stopping a spell from a level 7 caster with 18-20 in their casting stat. Their greatest defence, however, is their invisibility.

Invisibility in light: This is the glue that sticks the monster together, and is its strongest defensive (and, in a way, offensive) ability. It is useful both in OOC(see above) and IC. By level 7, almost all characters should have an everburning torch, and the last thing they would do when under attack from an invisible creature is put it away. Finally, this allows for constant sneak attacking if you choose to add rogue levels.


strategy (assumes 5 rogue levels, CR 12. If they are not added, however, just remove anything that mentions sneak attack or evasion, and you're good to go.)

Once you close in on the party, stay in the light, and charge the arcane caster (least HP, can counter invis and uses area of effect spells), doing 2 rakes, 2 claws and 1 bite at a really good attack bonus, plus a total of 15d6 sneak attack damage, and if that doesn't kill the caster, I don't know what will (note: in practice, you should roll behind the screen, and nerf the damage rolls somewhat: you want them out of the picture, but not dead.) Proceed To 5-foot step back the next round if necessary, and charge-pounce on the rogue or divine caster. The divine caster should probably go down first, though, as they are going to prolong the fight with healing.

If they fail to be insta-killed, do an attack and a move action to step back 40 feet the next round, followed by another charge-pounce. Rince, wash and repeat on the rest of the party, after which you should drag the unconcious party back to the BBEG, so that they have to serve them for their lives, that's right, out of the frying pan and into the +5 vorpal flamethrower.

If the mage lobs a fireball (assuming they survive the surprise attack) or some equivelant thereof, your SR, amazing reflex save and evasion should see you through.

Have fun.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:41 PM
Osyluth/bone devil

OOC: as the MM is so kind as to point out, osyluths are informers. This role can be quite easily expanded to fill the shoes of a police officer/spy/informer combo, which may sound weird at first, but it's standard secret police for most devils. Fortunately, though somewhat surprisingly, the MM actually blesses them with sense motive/hide/move silently skills and SLAs to match their role, rather than messing up horribly and giving them fireball and detect magic or some such. So, score one for WotC! (unusual, I know). Their knowledge skill means each osyluth will know a fair bit about the job they have been assigned to, and a good intimidate skill is rather fitting too, both for appearance and a "bad cop, worse cop" style show.

Their somewhat low disguise and diplo checks can be helped somewhat with invisibility (less need to be disguised) and an impressive bluff skill. Another solution, would be to whack their unnecessary hide skill (just somewhat redundant, when they have invis at will) for equivelant ranks in UMD (9) and scrolls/wands of alter self/glibness. The useful thing about AS is that it is not, in fact an illusion. It's an actual change, which messes up most spells. In a pinch, they can call in some massive backup, and use their abilities to play divide-and-conquer. Quite how to go about doing this will be detailed in..


IC

Following the long-kept style that I've managed not to forget, we'll start by looking at what these guys bring to the table.

AC/hp: for a CR 9 outsider, osyluths may be leaning toward a good hp score, but it's still nothing impressive, just decent. On the bright side, they have quite the AC, and their touch AC is actually not too shabby, though by no means something you should get used to, sadly.

defenses: Unless your party fights evil outsiders frequently, or has either a paladin or artificer, they likely will not have a good weapon to go through its DR, and (presumably) arcane zappers will have a tough time punching through the combined force of their immunities, resistances and SR, though none of these are too impressive by themselves.

poison and SLAs: old ossie's SLAs are not exactly combat ones so much as spells to aid its OOC role, and as suc, I will cover the OOC uses of the spells that didn't already appear in that part.

fly: simple, combined with invis, it's easy, stealthy mobility and the ability to access more places.

Dim.anchor: When starting a fight, this should prevent most escape plans, meaning the party will have to stand and fight or be more creative with running away.

G.teleport: Even if your osyluth won't be a recurring character, chances are they aren't a big fan of dying. In light of that, teleporting away is a good way to stay alive.

poison: While certainly impressive, most fights (unless you use the cheesy poison-->invis-->poison trick like the imp, which can and should be bypassed at this level or another trick that may be used, detailed later on) won't last long enough for the secondary effect to kick in, making it rather less serious.

Strategy (assumes quite a few osyluths[about 4], which may be acquired atleast in part through summoning though one will work almost as well): First off, fire up the fear aura on all of the osyluths, who will wade into combat, forcing four will saves on all party members, enough to guarantee the fighter and rogue flee, and possibly even the casters. In any case, the party is now divided, at which point the osyluths start using wall of ice , first in plane form to slip up and damage the party as they run (not necessary), and then in hemisphere form to trap each character individually. Once all the cages are ready, feel free to cast dimensional anchor on each one if need be.

After this is done, you may cast invisibility and teleport into the ice sphere (dismiss the anchor effect for teleports, this gives the characters a chance to get away too). At this point, the osyluth may use a combo of diplomacy, intimidation and bluff/glibness to interrogate the characters as it sees fit, or just kill them. If it chooses the latter, than it can teleport in, bite invisibly, and port out until they are all unconcious and ready for the killing, recasting wall of ice whenever the hemisphere seems about to break. The solution for the PCs is anti-poison/invisibility, a way to get through the ice quickly, either with fire or an insane strength check (or something else I haven't thought of, like dispel magic:smalltongue: ). The other option I see is to get out of the cages in the short time that dimensional anchor isn't up, but that would require some way to tell when (most likely an educated guess, if they can tell that the osyluth ported in.)


(Dracodei has reminded me that dimensional anchor is not the same as dimensional lock - you'll have to cast it on everyone before the ice spheres, but you can teleport in and out freely.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:44 PM
Barbed devil (AKA hamatula)

OOC: the barbed devil has an uncharacteristically non-subtle role out of the devils: that of an elite guard, shock trooper and all-around tough guy. Though they have a high charisma score, this is best used to represent intimidation and looking like a fair warning to all who might consider fighting one. As for how to improve them, there are, as always, a myriad of ways to accomplish this. Since it offers itself so obviously as an unarmed fighter, take some monk levels. however, the MM states that they are aggressive and eager fighters, so if you care to represent that, the rage monk variant class from Dragon (also found in Crystal Keep) will serve quite nicely.

Another option is to rule (it seems reasonable to me, though that's just me) that barbed defense also deals damage when the hamatula makes an unarmed attack,bull rushes someone or is bull rushed, upping its damage output somewhat.

Ofcourse, you can always tear out some feats (and even use some fighter levels if you don't mind a CR increase), such as imp. grapple (somewhat redundant with improved grab) and replace them with powerful charge/G. powerful charge and shock trooper. (the former two are in the eberron campaign setting, the latter is in complete warrior, and throws in some nice bull rushing moves, if memory serves) Other feats, such as imp. bull rush , combat brute and leap attack (in PhB, Cwar and Cadv, respectively), while less useful, are still nice.
All of the feats detailed above can also be found in the SRD or crystal keep, depending on the feat.

IC

Since the uses of their abilities are fairly obvious, I'll cut to the chase for this one, and move on to the strategy (assumes that you atleast took powerful/greater powerful charge).

Begin the fight at a distance, and pick your targets off with unholy blight/order's wrath, according to the alignment, or the ever-popular scorching ray, teleporting away to gain distance when necessary. While a teleport/ray/alignment zap combo is probably enough to wipe out the party by itself, it's also not exactly fair (you and the hamatula presumably don't care, but the players are holding hardcover books and do care.)

So, after anyone with a dangerous combination of a high will save and more durability than the average light bulb has been weakened somewhat, start casting hold person on any bulky fighter-types, before charging the resident arcane or softened up divine caster (your choice). This should, between the charge feats, possibly barbed defense, tough attacks and the ensuing grapple, more or less be enough to grant the druid's life-long dream of becoming at one with the landscape, though quite possibly not in the way they hoped for. Anyone who miracolously doesn't get grappled should be feared, meaning an AoO and another chance at grappling. If even this attempt at grappling fails, than you can Charge them once they are at a suitable distance (say, 10 feet) and repeat the process, at which point it no longer matters if you grapple the character's leftovers or not. After this is done, CdG the held party members.

Incidentally, their resistances, immunities, hit points, AC and DR/SR are all quite good (especially AC) but play your cards right, and you will never need any of those.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:48 PM
Gelugon (AKA ice devil)

OOC: Gelugons serve two roles, that of an elite guard (say, the royal guard type for a pit fiend) and the devil equivelant of adventurers. What I mean is that they are sent out on missions that no one else can handle, pursue its completion single-mindedly until the task at hand is finished or they get slaughtered by some guy in suitably shiny armour. It's hard to say what kind of abilities would fit the latter role, but whatever it is, they seem to have it, as well as the one necessary spell for guard duty (wall of ice). In a fight or otherwise, they also have an astounding intimidate modifier, which is probably to be expected, seeing as they're meant to look fearsome and end up looking (to me) like something right out of the metroid games. One change you might want to make (purely to make sense) is to replace fire immunity with cold immunity and (this may take it down to CR12) fire vulnerability, though many DMs will dislike the latter addition.

Fire immunity and vulnerability can make a big difference for the same reason: if the party sees a frozen bug with a spear, they're either gonna metagame seriously or lob fireballs at it (in order of likelyhood). If the fireball deals extra damage, they won't be too surprised, and the fight will become considerably easier. If the thing is immune, you will be hit with all kinds of variations on "huh?". One solution would be to swap it around and give cold immunity/fire vulnerability and the half-red dragon template or something else to grant fire immunity.

Finally, you may wish to change their natural habitat to cania only, as that's the frozen layer.

IC

Since the application of the gelugon's abilities are far from glaringly obvious, we'll be reverting back to the traditional format and looking through its abilites one at a time.

hp/AC: For an outsider, the gelugon starts with an impressive amount of hit points. A number that wouldn't look too shabby on most fighters. AC is also amazingly high, not to mention it's coupled with a touch AC of 14.

defenses: all resistance/wonkiness aside, gelugons are the proud owners of standard issue DR 10/good, which is the usual deal of being easily bypassed with the right classes around (or weapons, and the chance of having a good weapon goes up at this level) or not at all. Anything that doesn't bypass DR is also subject to regeneration,yay! To top it all off, Their SR is actually large enough to matter.

For instance: a 13th level caster with 22~23 in their casting attribute, would need a 6 or better to punch through SR, though assay resistance and the like ( complete arcane, for those of you who don't already know) will help somewhat with the job, 25% of spells won't get through, and that's assuming your resident caster has such an enormous casting attribute score.

Fear aura: In this case, fear aura should not be activated right away, but kept until the area has been iced and anyone with a low fortitude slowed(the latter is optional) so that no one gets too far and they slip and take damage along the way.

Slow: see above and in the main strategy

summon devil: not a terribly good selection here, anything that's still useful at this level has a terribly low chance of being summoned successfully. Basically, shoot for another gelugon, and if it actually works, it's a bonus, but assume it doesn't (come on, 20% chance?)

SLAs: Unholy aura is nice, but not all it's cracked up to be, seeing as the gelly already has 25 SR, and anyone doing melee fighting (barring rogues) will have a good enough fortitude save to avoid the strength damage, though perhaps not consistently. What you can count on is the AC and save bonus (a nice extra, especially where touch AC is concerned), as well as blocking out some illusions and almost all enchantments.

ice storm and, more to the point, cone of cold are the ranged zaps for gelugons, fly and greater teleport are mostly for staying away from melee if there's a need. For uses of wall of ice, check the strategy (next up) and bone devils.

Strategy: Begin at some distance from the party, fire up unholy aura beforehand, and pave the road to the gelugon with sheet form walls of ice. As all but the rogue slip up on the ice, fire at them with ice storm or (preferably) cone of cold, depending on which catches more of them. Try to engage them on the ice, hemisphering in anyone with a high will save, and start up the fear aura. This will likely net you an AoO which may or may not slow. The choice of whether to chase them down and full attack or cone of cold is entirely up to you, but either should do nicely. Once they are taken care of, hop into an ice-cage of your choice with greater teleport, and whack them with cone of cold or a full attack as you see fit.

Be aware that at this level, there are a myriad of ways out of the cages that don't even require breaking it, especially as the gelugon lacks D.lock (even that isn't foolproof, but you can try slashing out any skill you deem unnecessary, replacing it with UMD, and giving them scrolls/a wand of DL). Mind you, this still isn't stopping them from blowing the cage apart, but if they try, say, a fireball in their little cage, it's their funeral.


Another, cheesier tactic is to cast wall of ice in its standard wall form and tip it over onto the party from a great height, which can deal standard falling damage, or possibly act as an ice storm spell (lame, unless you can spam it from a great height with incredible range).

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:53 PM
Cornugon (horned devil)

OOC: It's hard to single out a role for cornugons, mainly due to the fact that they are too high end to be tougher grunts. Still, I managed to cook up a (hopefully) interesting role for them, that of a commander. Though under the generals (pit fiends), they will still be high up the food chain. Though their forte is in conducting grand battle plans, they are still not averse from leaping into combat and carving up some demons or paladins (more or less the same thing, they both smell funny, too).

Funnily enough, the "commander that loves messy, close-up fighting" is rather similar to demons, but don't say that to their face (if you even have one after finishing your sentence). They will, in the finest devil tradition, command their armies mostly by fear and intimidation (exemplified by" Who are you more afraid of, them or me?"). They will also, devils being what they are, envy the power of their pit fiend bosses, but unless they are exceptional individuals (read:lots of character levels ), they will have absolutely no chance of beating solo. In light of that, they will try to gain their trust and trick them out of their own seat, or lead a coup against them, which would be quite the feat for a devil to accomplish, seeing as the army would basically have to fear the cornugon more than the pit fiend.

This may be used as something to suck the party into, as something where they may either pick a side for survival, work for one side or the other, or better yet, work for both sides, let them annihilate eachother, and walk away fat rich. Incidentally, if a paladin opts for the third option, they are only siding with a devil temporarily to help them destroy eachother, and thus should not instantly lose all paladin levels, but rather, should be praised for being a smart and flexible paladin.

IC

AC/hp: holy tankstein! The hp on this devil will easily (and quite fittingly, considering its role) dwarf that of a cleric of an equal level, and rival that of some fighters. AC comes in at an astounding 35, and a nice touch AC of 16. Considering the cornugon is a melee fighter (no, not that fighter, cornugons are better than that), you will need every ounce of toughness you can get (by no means does this mean you should take the feat, ofcourse).

defenses: Damage reduction and regeneration again, but something is very right here, it has to be a good spell or a good and silver weapons to get past either, making the cornugon insanely hard to kill, not to mention good material for a recurring villain ("Well yes, you thought you killed me...", though being ressurected as a brilliant energy longsword-wielding black suit of armor is not required). Ofcourse, the standard devil immunities and resistances are also present, though casters are still welcome to try their hand at blowing the thing up (attempting to cast a spell at all may get them in trouble, see the feat fun section below). Finally, SR will block out some spells, and will help somewhat against good spells, the closest thing to a weakness that the cornugon has.

infernal wound: quite a useful ability, this. It may interrupt std action casting (and certainly full-rounders) depending on your interpretation, and though you can't enough wounds for it to cause any serious damage, you can still spread it out between all the characters, just to stop healing (and making anyone holy feel a bit silly, that bit's always good).

SLAs and summoning: the two dispel spells are quite useful as a prep for the AC, and fireball/lightning bolt are quite useful in conjunction with G. teleport, keeping just oput of range and peppering the party with area zaps until you run out of shots. Another wonderfully evil trick when the party tackles the cornugon on its home plane is to force them back to the material plane by poking them (assuming that that is where they come from. If not, send them back home anyway, wherever it may be).
Summoning is most effective if combined with the maximize spell-like ability feat from complete arcane, but you may well prefer to keep this beastie's feat slots for more combat-oriented feats. Whatever the case, however, you would do best to shoot for barbed devils, seeing as your chances of getting another cornugon is rather low, and anything else is too lame to matter at this point.

Stun: the glue that takes a reasonably tough melee fighter and turns it into a ridicolous unkillable TPK machine, stun is best used in conjunction with tripping and combat reflexes (aided by the cornugon's crazily high dexterity). Trip someone, and chances are they will be stunned and in no hurry to get back up. Even if they do make their save, it's highly unlikely that they will avoid being tripped. When they finally get up, AoO them and get them stunned and at ground level...again. Also quite an effective caster-stopper, as they will generally have a weak fort save.

Strategy: Begin the battle with putting up the two dispel spells, and teleport to keep just out of reach, while lobbing fireballs and lightning bolts non-stop until you run out of shots. Then, continue by teleporting twenty feet away from the party, and trip/stunning them as they near. After the front-liners are taken care of, sunder their weapons (cruel, I know, but it should be repairable) and move over to the caster types, tripping and stunning them. After this, it's just a matter of hitting them as they come close/get up. After a while, they should stop getting up. This is your cue that you've gone too far. Feel free to hit them with a wound each, to prevent healing.

Feat fun: Combat reflexes is an obvious must, and improved trip is quite handy too. Some of the more exotic feats you may want to look at are in complete warrior. The first is called combat brute, and provides several maneuvers, not least of which is sundering cleave--essentially just what it sounds like. Another option is mage slayer. It takes your caster level down by 4 (though the spells that are really important--G.teleport and the dispels-- don't rely on CL much. ) and allows you to make AoOs against someone casting a spell, even when they are casting defensively. Finally, Arcane Strike, quite possibly the most exotic feat of them all provides you with a way to burn all the not terribly useful (especially after a CL drain) spells, such as fireball and lightning bolt. It's again in complete warrior, and lets you add damage to all of your attacks for a round (or maybe it was more) based on the level of the spell you sacrifice. All of the feats mentioned here (and maximize SLA) are also on crystalkeep (great site, you should all take a look at it).

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:56 PM
OOC: This is it. The boss. The Big Buff Devil. The general for any devil army. The serious over-use of full stops. Pit fiends have a whole lot of power, but it comes at a price. They command an army (sometimes two) at their fingertips. Though this grants a whole lot of power, but it comes with an equal amount of responsibility. In addition to this, they also have to deal with cornugons wanting to take their livelyhood (and life, more often than not). Finally, as if all their other problems weren't enough, they still have to answer to various devil uber-bosses. As you can expect, the job doesn't come without a certain level of paranoia.

On the bright side, they are CR20 devils, and have an army at their disposal (mostly theirs, anyway). Also, they may employ undead armies (via create undead and some magic item so that they directly control them) due to paranoia. After all, undead are expandable, tough, and utterly loyal. For the same reason, though less accessible, animated objects might work.

Devil guards, on the other hand, are for the (only slightly) less paranoid pit fiends. Though they aren't mindless (barring lemures, that is, which will no doubt be a popular choice), devil guards are usually smarter and tougher than the average mohrg. Chances are, the guard of choice will be gelugons.

Most PFs will also flaunt their wealth and power as much as possible, building grand palaces, with amazing furnishings, guarded by a huge amount of guards. For similar reasons, no undead guard will look like a shambling corpse. Rather, they will be dressed in a grand uniform like all other guards in the palace, and decked out in hats of disguiseso that they look somewhat better. This will also serve to catch your party off-guard, if the host of helpful paladins or some such turn out to be undead and a pit fiend.

Despite the decrease in strength, many pit fiends will opt to use mummies (make some of them mummy lords if you want a power increase), as they are lawful evil. hell forbid they let a chaotic evil Mohrg into their home!

Another possibility is to hire kobold trapsmiths to rig the place with defenses, which only pop out when needed, so that the place is nice and comfy the rest of the time. Kobolds are the perfect choice because they are talented trapsmiths, weak enough to pose no threat (not that a PF will let their guard down because of this, ofcourse), and Lawful Evil in a socially acceptable manner! (What would they look like if they had CE servants running around when big M pops over to pay a visit?)

Keep in mind that due to their paranoia, they will not use their summoning ability unless pressed into it, especially not for a cornugon. however, being attacked by the party probably counts as a pressing (if not downright crushing) situation.

IC

AC/hp: These are keeping up the high-end devil standards, with a decent touch AC, hp to match that of an equal-levelled fighter, and defenses to match.

Defenses: SR scaling is still in place, weighing in at the lofty height of 32. DR and regen equal to that of the cornugon are available for your (ab)use, and the DR has even been buffed up to 15, woohoo! Standard immunities are still useful (or fire is, at any rate), but resistances don't mean a whole lot with those numbers at that kind of level. Still, SR will provide enough of a challenge to most casters (hopefully).

Summoning and SLAs: Fireball, meteor swarm and G.teleport all have the same old roles, but do yourself a favour when using MS, don't just say "he casts meteor swarm, you take x damage", be descriptive, make it seem like the worst, yet most impressive thing that has ever hit the PCs, like something verging on 24d6 of raw apocalypse. This way, your players will get scared, make mistakes, and remember the battle for a very long time.

Blasphemy is, alas, no more useful than regular cursing. Considering the pit fiend's CL coupled with the likely level of the party, it will either do nothing or weaken them at worst.(but replace quicken SLA with maximize [blasphemy] and you have a mage killer) Still, there's the added "geroff my land!" effect in some situations, sending the PCs, all of them, back to their respective home planes. Blasphemy may, however, be rather nastier toward any low level summoned monsters and the like.

MC against good, create undead, and unholy aura all fall into the category of prep, with one exception: as soon as a character goes down, use create undead to Mohrg him. Not only will the party have to contend with another monster, they will have a whole lot of trouble ressurecting their friend.

Power word stun and M.hold monster is icing on the cake, allowing you to bite away with impunity and wait for the poison to take effect, not to mention saving your own skin. Anyone who makes the MhM save will likely have low hitpoints (read: a caster.), and so will get stunned in any case.

greater dispel magic: this is for removing buffs/debuffs, what else did you think it was for?

fireball: arcane strike fodder if you take the feat, 'm afraid, not much use at this level.

Wish: Now, this serves two uses. One is to, over the many years of the PF's life, bring up its stats to any amount you see fit (don't go for overkill), though this is more an excuse than anything. Another is to use it for some better-than-meteor-swarm made up uber-effect, with a suitably impressive description. Use something of your own invention, and keep it as a ditch attempt or when the PF dies. More than anything, make sure that it's worthy of having a wish spell spent on it, and that you describe it as something really, really bad.

summons: notice something unusual here? You can summon up to cornugons, that's good. You can summon and get an automated success, that's amazing. You can also summon twice, that's unprecedented amounts of raw awesome. So, go for two cornugons as pre-battle prep every time.

Strategy(assuming that cleave and great cleave are swapped out for quicken SLA[mass hold person or PWS] and maximize SLA[blasphemy] or arcane strike): start with summoning the cornugons and putting up magic circle against good/unholy aura/invisibility as pre-battle prep. Start the actual battle by remaining invisible and sending hordes of devils plus the cornugons in, plus ranged support from undead (or melee if you consider them expendable). After this is done, rain fire on them in the form of fireball and meteor swarm, which the devils will escape from unscathed (thank you fire immunity!). Once the initial attack is beaten (if, rather), move in and hit them from an invisible and suitably far off vantage point with an MhM immediately followed up by PWS on the toughest caster around.

Once they are stunned, several options exist.

A: CdG them and get hardbacked.

B: Bite those with a low fort save, and wait for the poison to take effect. Then arcane strike anyone with a high fort save into oblivion.

C: if they are low level enough to be affected by the weakening effect of blasphemy, spam them with maximized blasphemy (you may also use the plane shifting part of it if you feel merciful) and whack them/make them work for the PF once they make incorporeal creatures look like arnold schwartzenegger.

D: Start with anyone who is not stunned. Sacrifice blasphemy for arcane strike, and obliterate them. Afterwards, renew the stuns. Then, animate the dead one and set it on one of the remaining three, tail grab one (constrict allows max power attack, by the way), and blasphemy/AS another one.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:57 PM
Devourer

OOC

Quite possibly one of the scariest monsters in the MM (ofcourse, this depends on personal opinion), devourers are undead that cannot be created in any form, making it a wee bit of a mystery how there's still any around. One option would be to rule that the essence of anyone killed to fuel a devourer's spells (I.E. after they actually evaporate from overuse) rises on the astral plane as a devourer. Another would be that their energy drain attack, on the rare occasion that it kills, will turn them into a devourer, rather than a wight. Another point about devourers is that, unless controlled by some spell, they are intelligent and completely free, a dangerous combination in an NE monster.
Though they have rather large mental scores, it doesn't actually fit. The solution? Force it to fit, as usual. Devourers are hunters, stalkers, wandering the ethereal and astral planes and eating anyone they come across. This suggests a solution: don't treat their int/wis as actual, wizard-like intelligence. Instead of knowing the theory of relativity or some such, treat it as bestial cunning, giving you the excuse to make elaborate plans for them without it seeming out of place.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that the devourer itself needs souls to fuel itself, tying it in with incarnum, as well as giving an urgency to its hunt for prey (Think about it, the souls give it more power, but since it doesn't need to eat, there's no need to hunt, except as sport).

Finally, consider this: it roams the astral and ethereal plane. The ethereal overlaps with the material, and the astral plane leads to every concievable place, making for a good horror style "what's-going-on-here-disappearances" style game.

IC


Even if it had no special abilities, a devourer would be a terrible opponent, for its bony claws can flay enemies alive.

Oh yes, very funny. The devourer may be outrageously strong and large size, but it's claws still only do 1d6+9, so forget WotC ever said that.

In fact, the devourer is scary, but makes for a spectacularly weak monster, save for its trap essence attack, the second most badly worded ability in the game (after manipulate form). This leaves you with three choices: either go for a spiked chain fighter (char ops board for that, no need to get my help), a barbarian type monkey grip fullblade power attack deal (again, no need to explain), or change their spell selection so that it's actually useful. The IC section will be written for the third solution.

hp/AC: Ah, the ironic curse of all undead. Despite having 12d12 hit dice, the devourer only has 78 hp due to the lack of a con score, a score that is likely smaller than the cleric's at this point. AC is decent enough, but nothing to write home about, especially considering that it's touch AC is 9, almost as bad as the average celestial. (ofcourse, celestials are bad all around, just ask any demon)

defenses: 21 SR and spell deflection. 21 SR, against a caster with spell penetration and +4 casting stat mod (not much to assume, at that level) will only work 20% of the time, that's bad. Spell deflection, on the other hand, is laughable, allowing it to ignore spells that are either pathetic, or would not affect the devourer.

ho hum.

The solution is to add DR, regeneration (I'd be inclined to go with DR/good and regen/fire, acid, good, or any combination of the three, as you see fit), more SR, rakshasa-like spell immunity instead of spell deflection, more hp or AC, anything will do, so long as it's not a target dummy, waiting to be obliterated.

SLAs: Confusion is, quite conspicously, one of the most useful spells here. Still, anyone with a good will save, especially wisdom based casters, will definitely make the save for this. Control undead, while a good spell, is entirely wasted on the devourer unless you arrange to have lots of undead around that don't already belong to the devourer. Ghoul touch is basically a better hold person. The trouble is that the save DC is pitifully low, but it may still work on the party rogue or arcane caster. Lesser planar ally is just hugely irrelevant, since the devourer won't be making deals with anyone, and is better off replaced with a simple zap, or summon monster. Ray of enfeeblement is sadly too weak to be of any use at this level, while true seeing, though mildly handy in some cases, isn't good enough to give to a monster. Spectral hand and suggestion, despite the low save DC of the latter, will for the core of the devourer strategy, coupled with imp.invisibility and some zap (both added into the spell list, the latter is optional).

Trap essence: Only one problem here, and it may simply be an SRD typo, but it's a huge one, the lack of a save DC. Assuming it is actually in the MM itself, use what it says there, and I will work off the 3.0 DC (fort, 19). Killing the devourer frees the victim, meaning that whoever was trapped will be endebted to them, or they get a PC back, depending on who it ate for lunch. Considering that they should kill it in most cases, this basically makes it a control move, keeping one character out of the battle. Useful, but not actually deadly.

strategy: begin by approaching them under the effect of imp. invisibility. First, buy yourself some time by casting confusion. Then, eliminate any spellcasters (arcane, that is) capable of getting through invisibility, using ghoul touch. Proceed to CdG said caster, if you are feeling kind, use trap essence instead. Once this is done, cast suggestion on either the fighter or rogue, and get them to attack the divine caster. Meanwhile, dump whatever soul the devourer was carrying if appropriate, and trap any character, especially fighters, who have evaded the scheme thus far. If any survivors are left from this mess, stalk them after the fight, poking them from a distance with spectral hand until they drop dead.

If you are willing to exchange some effectiveness for a dramatic opener, there's nothing like the wizard getting strangled by an invisible monster to scare the party.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 07:59 PM
Digester

OOC: A bad name for a rather well made monster, the digester fits perfectly into the role of a hunter, a local but serious problem (like ankhegs and bulettes), or a guard. Its personality is curiously similar to that of an ooze, though it may have been unintended. (hunts, eats, and doesn't care about anything else? hmmmm...)
Basically, the only reason to use digesters over any other monster of the same sort is if it fits the area, or if it is the correct level for them and others aren't. As for improvements, the best thing you can do for it is to replace alertness/lightning reflexes with power/leap attack, and wonder how on earth it got such a jump modifier.

Digesters are equipped with scent, and so can track their quarry for a while, but likely won't have the patience.

Also, due to the advantage a surprise attack can provide, combined with darkvision, digesters would do well to attack at night.

IC

hp/AC: the digester sports a bizarrely huge pool of hit points, which will dwarf that of a 6th level d12 hit die character (even with 20 con, it only just equals the digester). AC is decent, but nothing special. Even so, the digester can take a beating, so there's no need to worry.

defenses: absolutely none, save for acid immunity. This is more useful than you might think, seeing as these are the levels when casters start flinging orbs of acid, melf's acid arrow, energy substituted scorching rays and the like, since acid is one of the less resisted elements.

Or not, but by the time they realize that, the digester's moved on to complaining about the taste of raw caster.

acid spray: This has two uses. You can either use the concentrated one at the start to take out the divine caster (probably, if anyone asks, I didn't promise anything), definitely an arcane caster, and almost always a d6er (unless they have evasion). It can also cause some serious pain for melee types, but won't be enough to kill them. Alternatively, you can pop the 4d8 spray at the start, and another one later on, but only if you think you will be lucky on the d4 roll, or survive long enough for another blast.

Also, the monster entry says nothing about the acid losing its potency, and so any PC trying to catch the acid in some acid-resistant bucket or take the acid sac out of the digester after the fight should be rewarded with a limited supply of strong acid.

It's also worth noting that acid spray is not a breath weapon, so you can put those metabreath feats back where you found them.

Strategy (assumes feat changes have been made): hide behind a bush and wait for the party, preferably at night. Begin by doing one of the spray plans shown above (I recommend concentrated spray on the divine caster, but that's just me), that's the surprise round. The following round, you will likely come up first on initiative, at which point you should leap attack the arcane caster (power attack as you see fit, full attack is two claws, whatever the SRD entry may say). After this is done, scratch the divine caster if they aren't dead already, and start running (a whole lot faster than either of the remaining two can). Once you get your acid spray back, use a concentrated spray on the fighter, leap attack the rogue, and finish off whatever's left of the party.

With mustard.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:00 PM
Doppleganger

OOC: Ah, the doppleganger. So incredibly good for plot purposes, yet so terrifyingly lame in combat. Still, if I'm not here to fix that, than I'm just wasting your time, aren't I? Well now, the doppleganger is blessed with an obvious application of its main ability (change shape), and an unbelievably large amount of applications for it. some options include setting our friend the doppler up as a crime lord (waterdeep, sharn, greyhawk, anywhere will do), and another is to set em up as some important noble or politician, the use that this entry will work for. (but ofcourse, if you have another use in mind, feel free to PM me) First, start from the crime lord step, but make it seem like a different one once in a while, via shapechanging. After you have enough helpers for the doppler, go in the night and kill the polititian of your choice, after which the doppler will assume the form of the dead guy, and no one will ever know what happened. (except for PCs, who will try to stop it).

IC: Really nothing to say here.. the doppleganger has absolutely nothing going for it, nothing special, or anything of the sort. Basically, give it character levels and lots of lackeys to make it any sort of challenge, or give up on using one in a proper fight. On the bright side, it has decent stats in everything, can almost immediately qualify for mindspy (though I'm at a loss as to why you might want to do that to yourself), and has an easy CR-raiser: since it has decent stats in everything, a natural attack, and a decent wisdom score, use a better stat array, tack on monk levels, and call it a day.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:02 PM
Dragon turtle

OOC: hunter of the seas, subject of legends, bane of anything with oars, one of very few core aquatic dragon, and insanely effective PC killer. That basically sums up the dragon turtle. An important thing to remember is that DTs are neutral, intelligent, and dragons. This means that at first they will be simple hunters, before figuring out that boats harbor the most food, and in their last stage, they would start demanding tribute to pass a certain area, and make long-term deals to that effect. Since they aren't evil, they may do the reverse (not more likely, but just as much): giving some harbor town excellent protection, in return for a suitable amount of shinies.

In the event that the party actually defeats one, check for loaded dice. If there are none, you should still remember that their treasure is probably in some underwater cave, stashed away, and will be very hard to find. As to the treasure itself, it will only contain stuff that doesn't degrade from salt water (so, no paintings, nothing that rusts, etc.) They may also ally themselves with/rule over some sahuagins, aquatic elves, or pretty much anyone else.

As for improvements, if you actually need them, replace blind-fight, cleave, and imp. bull rush with lingering, maximize, empower and recover breath. Also, increase hd by one (or just size) so that you can snatch medium-sized characters.

Finally, remember the aquatic kobolds from the SRD/Unearthed arcana? Well, for those of you that do, this is the perfect dragon for their culture to revolve around, if only because they don't have many other options.

IC

AC/hp: hoo boy, this is pretty serious. Not only is its AC (barring touch) at the lofty height of 25, but its hp is enough to make a 9th, or even a 12th level barbarian feel a bit silly. In short, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

defenses: immunity to fire, sleep and paralysis. Well, that rules out the obvious cast-and-CdG moves, but isn't all that great. Fire immunity may seem good at first glance, but take a moment to think about this: who in the abyss is going to cast a fire spell underwater?

...alright, you got me, an idiot might.

breath weapon: good grief, they nerf it so much from 3.0, and it's still at 12d6.. wow. If you feel like overkill, you can bring back the 3.0 rule that snatched creatures get no save against its breath weapon, but the 20d6 breath weapon of 3.0 is best left undisturbed. It's also worth noting that the DC is very high, and the area is enough to catch the whole party.

capsize: only a few things to note here: there is no size cap, nor anything preventing you from repeating the process until it works. Additionally, it shifts the fight to an area the dragon turtle is good in, and the PCs will never see it coming.

strategy: Wear a hard hat in anticipation of the rain of hardbacks. Oh, you meant a strategy to win? Well, begin by capsizing the boat. Once the PCs fall into the plate...er, sea, use a maximized, lingering breath weapon on them and back off. Use recover breath immediately if you see any need for another blast. At this point, you can choose to charge and full attack the party tank, but personally, I reckon they will simply sink like a stone if left alone. A better plan would be to snatch all other (surviving) party members, one in the mouth, and one in each claw. Once they are firmly grabbed, squeeze for a round or two on full power attack until the breath weapon recovers. When it does, fling them away and on a collision course with eachother. Once they're all nicely in one bunch, use a maximized steam blast.

happy nerfing!

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:03 PM
Dragonne

OOC: Another hard-to-place monster, oh joy. Anyway, the dragonne is a classic cut-price dragon mount, usually for the highest bidder. They also serve as a samrter-than-average hunter, with some diversity due to class levels being available. These should be left to ones that help with hunting though, such as fighter or barbarian. If you want a spellcaster, some appropriate ones include warlock and sorceror, both nicely explained away by their distant draconic heritage. The same heritage might make them favored servants of dragons, or revered by local kobolds, if no proper dragons are available. Whether they hoard treasure or not is entirely up to you and how strong you consider the dragon connection to be. Finally, half-dragons make a useful and very flavorful template to tack on to any dragonne.

IC
AC/hp: Though their AC, especially touch AC, is nothing special, their hp is enough to beat most fighters their level, and rival d12-ers.

defenses: None. There, wasn't that easy?

Pounce: Now there's a good ability! Combined with flight, flyby attack and leap attack, this is what will make the dragonne into a formidable encounter.

Roar: Though changed from 3.0, the dragonne's trademark move is still nothing more than so much garbage. The will save, even with ability focus, will not be anything to worry about, and the effect (fatigue/exhaust) is useful on those that can't hit air targets, and inconsequential to casters. Nice, innit?

Strategy (with flyby attack, leap attack and power attack replacing blind-fight, track and imp. initiative): begin by leap-flyby-power attack-pouncing the arcane caster (I.E. the one that might lob explosive nasties at you while you fly). If this doesn't kill it, repeat the process the next round. If you have half-dragon, all this is doing way more damage. Afterwards, breath weapon the divine caster if you can, and use the same trick on them until they drop. When you do this to the skill monkey and tank, who probably don't have an effective attack against you, roar first if the idea catches your fancy.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:04 PM
Driders

OOC: This is it, the sole bone thrown to drow fans in this book. Surprisingly enough, driders manage to be drow and interesting at the same time. Though they were very respected and powerful once upon a time, but flunked a test from lolth of some sort, though the MM isn't generous enough to mention what sort of test. I wouldn't be too surprised to find it in a drow sourcebook or something though. The ones that fail are turned from powerful, respected drow into driders and outcast, a process that leave most half-mad at best. After all this, they will just stick around in one place, haunting it, so to speak, brooding over the good ol' days. When someone passes by their "haunt", there's no way they will pass up the opportunity to take it all out on who/whatever it happens to be. Somewhat more calm driders will ally among themselves and with monstrous spiders, and whoever happens to be anti-drow. These bands will head out to whack drow, concentrating on anything remotely lolth-related, even clerics and the like. For this reason, the party may be able to get some drider help for whacking drow, though the alliance will likely disband once the goal is accomplished. Chances are, though, that they aren't the more friendly variety, this leads to...

IC

AC/hp: Well, it is an aberration, did you seriously expect it to have a serious amount of hit points? Its myriad of defenses, however, will buff up its AC to something formidable, and cover up its lack of hp too.

defenses: quite well stocked here for a CR 7. SR17 (not too shabby, about 25% block rate), and spells. If you want to go really nasty on the buffing, you may be better off with cleric. Otherwise though, shield and mage armor combined are going to suddenly make the drider one tough cookie. Also, darkness, being on the ceiling, levitate etc. all serves to make it a hard target.

SLAs: darkness goes some way to mess up the party and provide some measure of safety for the drider, and clairaudience/clairvoyance gives the drider a warning and time to prepare, making the encounter something actually worthwhile. The various detects aren't much use, but it can use targeted dispel magic to strip the party of various buffs before fighting proper. Faerie fire, suggestion and dancing lights all work to great effect to make the party fight. Finally, levitate is a nice combo with shooting and darkness to do safe damage if you don't like the idea of climbing the wall.

spells: quite the useful ability, there's three ways to take this. Either go wizard for utility(and 25 AC), cleric for buffing/healing and a prolonged fight, or go sorceror to blast from out of the party's view and reach. If you opt for either of the first two, it's only one more level of wizard/cleric to get 4th level spells.

strategy (after switching TWF/Wep focus for magic feats of your choice or point blank/rapid shot): Once the drider recieves its warning, scale the wall and hang on to the ceiling before filling the room up with a darkness spell. Now, buff up (atleast mage armor and shield, even if you're a sorceror), and lie in wait for the party. After they arrive, have both the entrance and exit close on them, and cast fairie fire on the arcane or divine caster (your choice). Then, use suggestion on the fighter to make them tear up the fairie-fire'd target (and then the other ones). Finally, cast dancing lights in one corner of the room, and all the party will flock there (no need for suggestions here:smallbiggrin: ). When they do, blast them to pieces if the drider is a sorceror, go in with something more impressive than two daggers, or levitate over them and splash a flask of oil or five around the room. After this, drop a torch on the oiled floor, and watch them try to escape.

The best part? Well, the best part is that they can't even see the fire!:smallbiggrin:

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:05 PM
Air elemental

OOC: Air elementals act more or less like any other elemental. They're present wherever they're summoned, on their home plane, and in any place that has a strong connection to their home plane. They aren't very talkative/sociable, and very homesick when away from their native plane. They aren't actually aggressive unless trapped (especially underground), in which case they will attack whoever they see. The rest of the time, they're merely unfriendly.

Most ways of using air elementals have been thouroughly explored in various additional books, including quite a few good ones in the eberron books, so I won't add much to that, as I will likely just badly repeat what was said elsewhere. Instead, here's an air elemental-based adventure...

A strange mist is filling up some small area, animating fire and earth into necromentals, and tainting the water. Anyone drinking the water dies/gets zombified. The culprit is, ofcourse, an air necromental, but this isn't too obvious due to the obscurity of the template. Either have the elemental in some hard-to-reach location, or have the mist (or a significant part there of) be the necromental, and a really big one at that. Once the air NM dies, everything is back to normal.

IC

AC/hp: A joy to read in both departments here. They have gigantic reserves of hitpoints for their CR, and quite impressive AC, which comes with what may be the best monster touch AC in the game, enjoy.

defenses: Dr/-, when you get it, is a true gem which will reduce most melee characters to tears, and destroys what little damage rogues still deal. Meanwhile, at low levels, it's hard enough for the party to even get a hit in if you give the elemental a ranged weapon. The various elemental traits are good too, especially flank and crit immunity, which is guaranteed to mess up lots of characters.

Air mastery: Flavorful, and can also be safely ignored. Even if the PCs do fight you in the air (unlikely), the penalty is far from big.

Whirlwind: Nice at first glance, but not too great. The reasons are that first of all, you cannot attack normally in whirlwind form. Second, fighter types are still quite nasty inside the whirlwind, and thus it's not too good a move. Ofcourse, if you want to be a munchkin, look to the bit that says no slam attacks, and give them a weapon.

Strategy: Air elemental strategy never changes very much. Go for a fly-by attack spam with "you can't kill me, nyah" stats, or give them a ranged weapon to avoid a lot of attacks (especially at low levels). I know it seems lame and sloppy of me to say this, but basically, they don't have anything useful besides flight that is particualrly special, so just use their abundant feats to make a fighting build of your choice. Personally, I recommend an archery tree of some sort. Also, don't forget to spend feats on weapon proficiency if need be. And remember, getting them heavy armor prof. lets them use all lighter armour too, plus shields.

Finally, considering they are quite well built for it (besides wisdom), you may want to consider monk levels. Otherwise, templates are the best way to power them up.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:07 PM
Earth elemental

OOC: Earth elementals are probably the least sociable of all elementals. however, their relatively high charisma (for an elemental) could mean that they would get along quite well with creatures on their home plane, except for xorns (guess why). They also feel an obligation to, if no primal earth elementals/elemental monoliths are up for the job, defend their plane from threats, though this doesn't extend to other elemental planes.

Now, here's an idea for an adventure, making use of those traits...

A certain mine (strong earth connection, so it's easy to cross over) has been overrun by, strangely enough, everything from the elemental plane of earth except xorns. You can slip them in too, but make sure to have them on unfriendly terms with any elementals at best. The reason for this is that a gate has opened up between the mine and the elemental plane of earth, due to the fact that the plane has moved closer to the material plane (I make the various planes moons, like in Eberron, though this bit isn't required). The ringleader is an earth elemental made from adamantine/diamond (added DR), with thoqquas, smaller elementals and the like to help it.

It believes quite firmly that the humans in the area are ready to attack the elemental plane of earth, and that, as such, it's its duty to protect the gate. Ofcourse, it wouldn't come up with this idea all by itself. The mastermind is an imp that lives under the lava in the slag pit next to the gate. It's been diplominating/bluffing the elemental for quite a while, with the occasional suggestion thrown in. The elemental itself has patches of missing memory from the suggestion spell, so a shrewd party can figure out what's going on. If they convince the elemental, than the imp will attack (personally, I used up the first round on a rule 0 auto-kill against the elemental). The imp is, obviously, a whole lot weaker than the elemental option, so there's a definite bonus for doing things this way, but you should make sure they still get the same amount of XP.

After the fight, they can quite easily either kill what's left (if they fought the ele) or convince them to go back through the gate (if they didn't). In any case, the gate must be destroyed afterwards, something that should be fairly easy.

Where's the treasure, you ask? Well, the elemental will die one way or another most of the time, so they get to pick up the pieces and sell it for a pretty penny. If it survived, than they can collect a hefty reward for saving the mine instead.

IC

hp/AC: hit points are quite impressive with the con bonus it has, but this is mostly offset by the hideous AC. Not only is it really quite low, but it comes as a set with one of the lowest touch ACs out there. Overall, it balances out, but it's nothing too special.

Defenses: In the finest tradition of all elementals, earth elementals of the correct size have DR/-, which should compensate for the AC and restore them to the status of nigh-on unstoppable tanks.

Earth mastery: Simply put, this is your cue to never use an earth elemental in an air or water fight, like you needed telling. Otherwise, it's a nice bonus.

Earth glide: Nice trick here, and allows for, against all chances, a surprise attack. Alternatively, you could choose to make a hole briefly for the sake of dragging someone in and pummeling them 50 ft. below ground level while the rest of the party looks at the sealed tunnel and wonders what to do.

Push: this lets you do a bull rush without getting carved up for it, setting you up for a bull rush build if you so choose. Additionally, size and strength modifiers will ensure that you win the opposed roll pretty much every time.

Strategy: One plan would be to use the simple drag in/pummel/repeat combo detailed under Earth glide. The other is to make a bull rush build (not too sure on how this would work, but I expect combat brute and shock trooper are involved). Once you have your build, pick a fight on a plateau or by a cliff. Make sure the party has no idea the elemental is present by using earth glide, and leap out briefly to shove one of them over the edge. Stay close to ground level, and with your reach, you can technically get AoOs against anyone who moves near you, too. Ofcourse, you should move to the exits from the area and bull rush/AoO them back in if they try to run.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:09 PM
Fire elementals

OOC: Ah yes, everyone's favorite elemental. At first glance, the fire elemental's description ("takes joy in burning creatures and objects of the material plane to ashes") may make it seem evil, but it isn't. Ever been around a pyromaniac or, failing that, someone playing a low wis evoker/sorcerer/warmage? If you have, you know what I mean.

The elemental doesn't consider it evil becasue A: it doesn't harm the elemental, and in its brilliant wisdom, the elemental assumes this is true for everyone, and B: it couldn't care less, seriously.

Now, for our customary elemental adventure, here's a short, simple one, leaving you with a whole lot of space for customization (translation: I'm lazy).

Start a forest fire, a city fire, or just a plain big fire in any one place of your choice. Preferably, make mention of the fact that that place (or just "a place near here") has a strong tie to the plane of fire. If you play Eberron, this works even better in a coterminous zone, or with the plane nearing Eberron on its orbit. Make this reference a while before the fire, see if they remember. If you play FR (ick), tie it in with the god of fire.

Ofcourse, people will try everything, and they will be able to keep the fire back, but not do more than slow it down. Eventually, fire elementals will start leaping out of the forest/city/whathaveyou fire and attacking people, so that they can no longer keep the fire back.

This, ofcourse, is where the PCs come in, if they haven't already.

The reason for the fire is a short-term gate in the heart of the fire. They will have to fight off salamanders, fire elementals, and more to get to the gate and shut it down. Precisely how they do this is, ofcourse, up to you.

If you have complete arcane and a higher level group, you amy want to make the fire itself a fire elemental monolith for a bit of a twist.

Also, you may want to make some fire damage transfer across if they attack or are attacked with metal weapons. C'mon, Azers can do it, salamanders can do it, why not fire elementals?

IC

AC/hp: Air elemental hp here, so it's pretty good, even later on. While they still retain a semi-decent touch AC, fire elementals get the worst AC of all elementals by quite a margin. So, it's not too hard to see where spring attack and co. come in.

defenses: fire subtype (immunity to fire, cold vulnerability) is both a strength and a weakness. No one will look at a fire elemental and try to hit it with a fire spell. If they have any cold spells, however, you can bet that it's the first thing they will use. (along the same vein, consider making them take extra damage from having water splashed on them) DR is as nice as ever, and particularly needed with the relatively low AC.

Burn: A killer at low levels. A party member that gets hit with burn, unless they are the d10/d12 type, is going to take serious damage, and may even need constant healing to stay upright at level 1~2. At higher levels, well... it's nice, thematically, but not actually all that deadly. Sure, it might burn (no pun intended) a few of the cleric's spell slots, but it's nothing major, especially with fire resistance...

Strategy: First, rip out alertness, iron will, and similar garbage you find. Proceed to add tripping and disarming feats, and possibly sunder if you're feeling extra nasty (as I have said a while ago, things should be repairable afterwards). Continue by adding a spiked chain. Remember the fire damage through metal rule I suggested above, and add it on if you wish.

As for the fight, if your elemental is small sized, just rush at the arcanist in the hope of setting them on fire before you go down, there isn't much more you can do, but it will kill the cleric's spell slots at that level, if not the actual arcanist, and make them more vulnerable for a later fight.

If the elemental is bigger, especially if it's large or even huge sized, do the standard trick. Make it dance circles around the party, take full advantage of its impressive speed, weapon finesse etc., and, at sizes large or huge, absolutely sickening reach. (go huge size go!) If you're feeling particularly vindicative, slap on whirlwind attack.

Ofcourse, if the party can fly, give it some way to fly too, or else the elemental is entirely hopeless. I've always given them flight, but if this bothers you, give it a fighter level (nice dip and yet another feat). This technically allows it wealth-by-level and such. Don't give in to the temptation to use its colossal hd and use epic level wealth. Instead, just get it wings of flying, and maybe something for cold resistance/immunity.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:12 PM
OOC: Ah, the water elemental, one of my favorites. There may well be more of these on the material than any other. Why, you ask? Well, elementals tend to show up on the material plane in places linked to their element, one of the reasons that air elementals aren't too common. As we all (hopefully) know, Earth has more water than land by a mile, and the same applies to, say, Eberron. So, there's lots of water elementals out there, but they aren't too obvious. This, ofcourse, is why you drag the PCs out into the sea. Now, here's some elemental adventures...

One is, ofcourse, applying the ever-awesome, if slightly illogical, necromental template. Basically, taint a river or lake with a water necromental, in a drink-this-and-get-zombified kind of way, starting a plague and possibly providing an excuse for any zombie apocalypse style adventure you may want to run. Ofcourse, that animals drink this water too...

Another is an influx of water elementals in the sea. The end result being that they get angry and homesick. So, they leave the sea in search of a gate back, which is conveniently located in the coastal town that the PCs are in. The end result? A very angry Tsunami (no, not tidal wave, go do your homework:smalltongue: ) which crashes into you, gets up, and punches you in the face. Cruel and unusual encounters? Most certainly. Epic? That depends on whether you make them fight all the elementals off or stop it before it happens, and whether you include elemental monoliths or not.

Third, have a really big one in the sea/ocean surrounding an island. Not only does it demand tribute from those that pass by (leaving the basic personality for a bit here, I know), but it demands some kind of tribute every month from the inhabitants of the island too. Also, those on the island (druids n such) may actually worship the elemental, but this is optional. Now, the adventurers come in when something is stopping the islanders from getting the specific stuff for the tribute, something that needs to be fixed. If they don't solve the problem fast enough, than be merciless, and have the entire island go under in a big flood. have the islanders (specifically druids, if there are any) repeatedly tell the party that fighting the creature will just get them killed, if they get such an idea. (yes, my group did, I don't think the party ever really got over the beating they got from it).

Lastly, never, ever have a water elemental fight above water. First, there's the big speed reduction (essentially, from Stupidly Fast to normal), and second, there's water mastery and the loss of vortex, need I say more?

If you feel like souping your elemental up, feel free to add a monk level if you can justify it, seeing as that will give a big pile of extra slams all of a sudden, plus flurry of blows, evasion and such make a wonderful dip (after all, you'll need one when the elemental eats the PCs alive).

IC

AC/hp: Second best overall AC here, though still way behind air elementals. Also, touch AC isn't that great, since by the time their dex starts going up, they're too big. Still, it's one of the better ones. As for hp, this department is on par with earth elementals, hitting a fairly hefty sum, like all elementals.

Defenses: Standard issue elemental deal here, pretty good DR, nothing much on other fronts.

Drench: Nice on paper, garbage in practice. Think about it, it's only going to help above water, and water elementald fon't go above water, remember?

Vortex: Quite good. A high hd water elemental can basically vortex at the beginning of the fight, and mow down all of the party with their insane speed. Plus, it says nothing of how many you can carry at once. Basically, catch the party in this, and the only one who may make the save is the rogue, who iskinda useless against elementals in any case. Continue tossing them about and dealing damage until vortex runs out.

Feats: It seems like the water elemental is built to be a tank, but of the power attack sort, rather than the earth elemental type. Improved sunder is nice if you plan to use it, but if you don't, dump it, along with alertness, cleave, great cleave and, if you need more space, lightning reflexes. Replace it with leap attack (with the appropriate number of ranks in jump), lady's gambit (you have a shedload of hitpoints, after all, treat hd as character level in this case) and awesome blow. The elder elemental gets imp. critical, but I recommend you add it on to smaller forms too, as soon as they qualify. Also, consider imp. natural attack, as well as brutal strike.

strategy: quick n simple, after the feat and plot prepping is done. Get them underwater, possibly even by knocking over the ship they're in, and proceed to vortex the lot of em. If you're at sea, however, anyone in heavy armour should be left to sink. You should concern yourself with anyone who can swim. After vortex runs out, back off a little way, and the next round, use a leap/power attack on whoever has the least hitpoints. Once you're down to a 1v1 situation, sick-lock them with brutal strike and power attack. Additionally, if you feel crowded, knock a few of em back with awesome blow, it will take ages for them to come back. Whenever you have hp to spare and feel the need for a little extra damage, use lady's gambit.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:13 PM
Ethereal Filcher

OOC: You know, try as I might, I can't seem to take this...this thing seriously, and I can't help but feel that you're not supposed to. Never the less, there are ways to use them. First, let's start with motivation. Ethereal filchers are born to be thieves. I won't take the time to explain why, since it makes no sense, but it's probably safe to assume A Wizard Did It. Now, filchers consider theft an art form, and with the kind of skill they display, it might as well be. They take a quiet, craftsman's pride in a well-executed theft (I.E. one that doesn't end in them being executed), despite not being terribly bright. Some actually consider the whole ethereal jaunt thing "cheating", and will go through thefts the traditional way. You know, hide, move silently, disable device, none of that supernatural nonsense, because they get a kick out of "doing things right". These are represented by individuals (rare ones, mind) with rogue levels, thus showing higher skill and giving them the skill points to chuck at all the thieving-related skills.

Ofcourse, showing off adds yet another dimension, but since filchers are all mute, they will instead deliver notes (again, without being spotted), saying what they will steal, and when, as a sort of challenge. They also respect someone who can either pull off, or, better yet, prevent a theft, if it's a hard/good one. For this reason, if they are thwarted through some smart plan and not merely brutal force or an AMF, than they will admit defeat and stay in prison, or wherever they are put, out of respect for their captor.

And naturally, there will be those who want to recruit them as capable thieves. Some may take this as an insult (after all, they're not in it for the money, it's an art). Others, however, will welcome the opportunity, as they are essentially getting payed for something they would do anyway. In such a case, the filcher and whoever hires them may use writing to communicate, or the filcher may invest in/steal a magic item of some sort that grants telepathy, if not speech.

More skilled filchers are likely to gain rogue levels rather than hit dice, which are simply attached to tougher/older ones (the former is less respected, due to their being hulkier and thus less good at stealing, while the latter gets a fair bit of respect for experience). Some, however, may take such a disciplined/artistic view of thievery that they take not only rogue levels, but monk levels. If this is the case, please consider the ascetic rogue feat (Complete Adventurer, I believe), it'll help a lot.

Another trick to remember is that thanks to ethereal jaunt, the filcher may have been there for a long time before the theft, incorporeal and waiting. Plus, no locked door is going to stop a filcher, so there isn't that much you can do.

The MM says that filchers just pick something out on the basis of "ooh, shiny!", steal it, and take it back home so they can stare at it. Ofcourse, this is an option, but for the style of filchers I mentioned, while they will in most cases still appreciate the object itself, the point of it is not the object, so much as it is the theft itself.

Also, ignore the thing in the MM saying any number of simple ruses will mess up a filcher. Come on, they may not be terribly bright, but they are definitely experts in their craft, and as such none too easy to trick in that respect. 'sides, their int may be low, but their wis is, for some odd reason, actually higher than the average human.

Ultimately, the filcher is a thief, and chances are, the party's job is to stop it. Ofcourse, the filcher will try to avoid combat (or much of it, anyway), but such things never stop bloodthirsty players, now do they? That's why we have...

IC

AC/hp: huh. 17 AC is nice, if not amazing, for this level, but...22 hp? I suppose it's okay for an aberration, but don't expect this one to last more than a few rounds. Then again, they're not really meant to be combat types.

Detect magic: Purely OOC use here. it'll just use it for three rounds before it jaunts in. The point here is that if it doesn't already know what it's going to steal, it'll know at the end of those three rounds exactly which objects are magical, how magical they are, and in what way.

Ethereal jaunt: though it may seem like an OOC thing, this is mean in early game combat. Tell me, have you considered the implications of a filcher finessing four ghost touch rapiers, with sneak attack, while ethereal? I didn't think so. I haven't tried it yet, but I believe the results would be best summarized as "your character sheets, please".

Strategy: let's start with changes, shall we? Give it four rapiers whatever you do, even if the filcher is too high level to have ghost touch ones. Then, swap its feats out for weapon finesse and multiweapon fighting. If you add rogue levels, it's probably rich enough (what with all the thefts) to be able to afford four keen, ghost touch rapiers. Put your feats into improved/cheesegrater multiweapon fighting, and let the fun begin.

...what, you still have more feats to burn? Lucky you. If this is the case, add in weapon focus (rapier) and anything else you can think of to lessen the penalty. In fact, don't hesitate to make a feat mimicking the Xill ability to use multiweapon fighting with no penalties, and take that. If you use third party sourcebooks, allow me to recommend sharp as a knife (+2 damage to all weapons you finesse with. It adds up with four weapons. A lot.)

Now that that's taken care of, the rest is simple. Try to steal the stuff, and if the party reacts, either have the filcher run away (this one may be good at fighting, but it doesn't like it), or if they really tick it off, go ethereal and stab them until all trace elements of a pulse are eliminated.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:15 PM
Ethereal Marauder

OOC: Uh huh, wow, another bizarre, scraping-the-bottom-of-the-bucket monster from WotC, it puts some rather scary pictures in my head of some of the designers after they Forgot To Take Their Pills ("Mad! They said I was mad! And they were right! Ahahaha!"). Ahem, anyway, moving on... the marauder, sadly, simply takes up a mixture of common roles, unlike the pleasant surprise that the filcher turned out to be. First, there's the obvious use as a hunter, kinda like the Ankheg, except that it's got something better to hide it: When it's not hunting, it's not underground, it's on the wrong. Planet. Yup, this is gonna be a hard one to track down... the other one is a guard dog-type creature, except that it has the element of surprise on its side (My MM never featured a Surprise Elemental, must be some kind of printing error...). Now, the one slightly unique role that the marauder gets is two-fold, as detailed below.

1: An assassin. It's not even there most of the time, and while it may be kinda thick, it's still definitely intelligent enough to take orders, and will do so for food and the possible addition of miscellaneous shinies. In this case, consider adding rogue levels, they help a lot.

2: A retriever of...stuff, basically. It's fast, moderately intelligent, and can walk through walls, plus it's on the wrong planet for most people to notice. Ofcourse, if you can get a filcher, you won't bother with these guys, but hey, they can still do it well.

(The following is mostly the work of harlequinhelsing and livingshadow, credit goes to them): Yet another option would be to use them as mounts. While it would make an appropriate, if bizarre, mount for a ghost hunter, you need to give the rider some way to become ethereal, such as a feat, item, class feature, or racial feature. For instance, my little token of munchkin-ness: a rogue/paladin of tyranny/cavalier Xill, wielding six lances, and charging.

Another, slightly more exotic option offered by Livingshadow would be to have the marauder work alongside one other creature, and give both rogue levels. The marauder jaunts behind the target, and both sneak attack it, dealing some big damage.

IC

hp/AC: I think I'm going to cry, someone fetch me musket, er...hankerchief, sorry. Anyway, 14 AC, most of which is natural armour. Additionally, they get 2d10 at CR 3, with no con bonus to back it up. No, just no.

Ethereal Jaunt: Unless you get em a level of thayan gladiator or kensai (equally unlikely, but go ahead and make me a marauder monk/kensai, I dare you) to give them a ghost touch bite, there's two ways to use this. One is to move from ethereal to material as a free action, attack as a standard action, and move back as a move action, which is cheap as hell unless the party has a ghost touch weapon, a force spell, or some distant memory of readied actions. The other is to haste them, and use the partial action to attack, while using the standard action to ready an action to jaunt when attacked, before it connects.

Fixes: There's haste, ofcourse, because it never hurts and for the use mentioned above. Otherwise, there's rogue levels if you want a higher CR. The real light at the end of the tunnel for this miserable little critter, though, is advancement. Add 2 hd, and it's already tougher and gets another feat, without a CR increase (just as well, since it doesn't deserve its current one). Add another one (two for good measure, since it won't change CR any more) and you have a large and rather more formidable creature. As for feats, there's plenty out there, but I suggest power/leap attack, as always. Picture this: the marauder goes ethereal and floats over the target, un-jaunts, and falls on em, mouth wide open, dealing unholy amounts of power attack damage. Good? The real treat is that at 6 hd, you even get another attack, should you choose to full attack.

Strategy: if you went for haste, look above, it says what to do. If you went the rogue route, than you can just jaunt in, stab, and jaunt out repeatedly until someone figures out a way to hit you/remembers readied actions. If you went for extra hd, go for the power/leap attack combo suggested above, except that you should probably avoid the silliness of falling on them. Yes, it's really that simple, a simple strategy for a surprisingly simple critter.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:16 PM
Ettercap

OOC: Ah, the 'cap, those ugly, short (okay, only in the 3.0 picture), fat, venomous, spider-y things. Don't say that while they're within earshot, mind. I'm going to start with something a little different from the usual this time. What are their motivations? What are they like? Well, looking at their int, wis and alignment, here's what I see...

they aren't smart, though they're intelligent enough to herd and rule spiders, and to command them. Their perception is very good, and they have a good mix of cunning and common sense. Their alignment ties in nicely with this - while they don't particularly want to do evil stuff, it's often the easiest way to achieve what they want, and so long as something gets the job done, they couldn't care less about the method. Necessary evil, so to speak, except that they don't actually mind, and more or less subscribe to the "yeah, whatever works" philosophy.

Another interesting thing, which ties them in with what inexplicably seems to be everyone's favorite race - Drow. how, you ask? Well, to be honest, I can't see how no one made the connection before (chances are, someone did and I just didn't notice), but here it is: Drow, for some reason, worship spiders. Ettercaps have all the qualities of a spider, are humanoids, and are faster, stronger, tougher, and wiser than the average drow (and maybe even clerics, in some cases).

Where does this lead? Quite simply, Drow don't respect the 'caps at all. No, they worship them, since from the Drow's point of view, they're pretty much some sort of spider-avatar. Feel free to make this actually the case or not, it doesn't matter that much, except that 'caps may or may not have slightly more favored souls because of it.

Incidentally, if anyone, DM or player, dares name an ettercap "spiderman", there will be a reckoning, quite possibly involving my orbital hammercannon of supreme wrath.

IC

AC/hp: Unimpressive on both sides here, I'm afraid (downright bad when it comes to AC). Then again, the ettercap isn't exactly meant to swing in with a big piece of metal, which is why it has the rest of its abilities...

Poison: ouch. Coupled with the low average dex of non-dex-type characters (never really goes above 10~14) and the web ability, this can make a mean killer. Once dex goes down to 0, the target falls unconcious, and in D&D, that means you're effectively dead.

Web: Nice. Basically, it's a web that you can toss around as you see fit, but doesn't take folding and completely immobilizes the target? Where do I sign up? Bear in mind that the arcane caster, especially if they are a warlock, will be the one doing the most ranged damage at this level, the rest may or may not have crossbows/bows/halflings for ranged attacks.

Better yet, you can cover an entire area in webs, snaring the entire party before they know what hit them, and effectively giving the 'cap tremorsense.

Feats: hmm... needs some work here, I'd say. If you pop a fighter level in there, you get armour proficiency if you want it, something to replace the claw attacks (any weapon will do, really, but a finessable weapon or a G.sword is recommended), more hit points, and two more feats. So, what to choose for these feats? Ditch great fortitude, and grab dodge, mobility, and spring attack. What does this add up to? You can skim past immobilized opponents, biting and possibly poisoning them, going back and forth without ever suffering so much as an attack of oppurtunity, all for the low, low price of a CR 4.

Strategy: first, dig a hole in the ground. Second, cover the hole, and cover the area outside it in webs, making sure that it goes inside the hole too (tremorsense, remember?). Third, when PCs come by and are all suitably sticky, burst out and repeatedly spring attack whoever has the biggest ranged damage (likely a ranged fighter, the rogue, or the arcane caster), poisoning and damaging them. Once they're down (no need to kill them, unconcious will do), move on to do the same to others. Layer with traps to taste (don't forget, they have a skill bonus that beats kobolds!). Fourth and last, hope that no angry funnel spider lawyers come up to your doorstep with copyright issues.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 08:17 PM
Whew! Okay, that concludes the greatest copy/pastefest of the century, thank you all for putting up with it. I'll go do the rest of the work now..

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 09:26 PM
Kyton

OOC: The one devil that no one recognizes, commonly thought to be undead when actually used against a party. You may, however, wish to pass them off as such, using them in an undead adventure as the leader and mastermind, who will be in charge of the undead and actually look the part. This will, apart from anything, be highly amusing as the party cleric blows a large amount of precious turn undead attempts on the seemingly hugely powerful spirit(no, I don't mean vodka). Also, this devil is rather precious as it's one of few monsters (especially since it is low level) that can really, really scare the players, especially with some good description and unnerving gaze (my favorite is to make it look like the target PC...dead). Dancing chains is also, in the hands of a good narrator, not only hugely powerful but rather creepy, making it seem as though the chains are alive (again, probably making the cleric try turn undead or some other stupidity:smallbiggrin: ). Unusually for devils, Kytons work alone, as they are misfits, unable to fit into any part of devil society, coming instead to the material plane to, as it were, seek their fortune (or, with the appropriate amount of rogue levels, someone else's fortune, which is invariably better). You may wish to play this up, by having all devils act toward them in an unfriendly manner at best, and look down on them regardless of their position. Kytons could also be the result of experiments to infuse chains with the spirits of dead devils, which then ran away, and have now become "something you don't talk about in polite society" (TM)

IC

Wow, this is a real treat, a truly powerful monster with some good flavor on the side, here goes!

AC/HP: it seems devil AC will never be quite as good as that of the imp: though the kyton's AC hits 20 at last, it's mostly natural, leaving you open to touch attacks (namely scorching ray, ghoul touch and orbs). HP is at the usual rather good standard for devils, being like a fighter of the same level with a decent con bonus.

defenses: DR is still here, though by now metalline weapons/paladins etc. negate it, but silver won't be too available if they expected undead:evillaugh . Fire immunity and resistances have been traded in for the rather less useful but still potent cold immunity (again, a party expecting undead won't have a whole lot of cold spells on hand, so it may be redundant). SR is quite good at this level, preventing quite a few spells (stops 1/4, even assuming an 18 casting stat, level 6 and spell penetration). That's only the tip of the iceberg, however. The truly amazing defense of the Kyton, and perhaps its best trick, is regeneration. Not fast healing,regeneration. While any amount of silver or good damage means the kyton is no longer invulnerable, it's rare, and the devil still has fast healing 2 (or its equivelant thereof). Besides, if such damage is unavailable, it makes for a nice recurring BBEG:D.

dancing chains: Because of this ability, which can be the kyton's best weapon if used right, the monster's lair should be in a forum...sorry, I mean any place filled with, or possibly built from, chains. All sprouted chains are essentially the famously broken spiked chain, which now has a huge BAB (for a CR 6, anyway) and imp. crit. Being spiked chains though, you should probably replace imp.initiative/alertness with imp. disarm/trip. Better yet, tack on some fighter levels for a tougher encounter, and go look at some of the spiked chain builds on the CO boards. Finally, it's worth noting that a lot of fighters have spiked chains, which will turn on them as they fail their pathetic will save, robbing them of their (most likely) only weapon and tripping them. Also, consider a level of monk, as this would allow the chains (hey, they aren't armed with anything!) to make stunning fist attacks.

unnerving gaze: it's debetable whether this is worth it as a standard action. You may want to make it a swift one to up the strength. Its main use, however, is thematic, as shown in the OOC section.

strategy: begin by using dancing chains and disarming/tripping all that enter the area, attacking them while they are down and re-tripping them as an AoO when they get back up. Throw in stunning fists and the occasional crit if you have it, while the chain devil gazes at any that stay upright and trips/beats them back into submission. Don't forget that if the fighter's weapon is inappropriate, it may turn on him.

Cogwheel
2007-09-11, 09:43 PM
I managed to find a carrion crawler write-up by homebrewedmonster of the WotC boards that is far better than anything I could hope to write, so I will be using it instead. The link is here (http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archive/index.php/t-364928).

Bear in mind that this is solely the work of homebrewed monster, and I in no way took part in it, all credit is his.

DracoDei
2007-09-12, 10:32 AM
Osyluth/bone devil

Once all the cages are ready, feel free to cast dimensional anchor on each one if need be. <Snip>

After this is done, you may cast invisibility and teleport into the ice sphere (dismiss the anchor effect for teleports, this gives the characters a chance to get away too). <Snip> The other option I see is to get out of the cages in the short time that dimensional anchor isn't up, but that would require some way to tell when (most likely an educated guess, if they can tell that the osyluth ported in.)
I think you got Dimensional Anchor confused with Dimension Lock. Dimensional Anchor is a ray spell, and doesn't stop anything AROUND the target from teleporting or whatever, just the target itself. Thus they have to throw it before the ice hemispheres, but they can Teleport in and out of them all day without having to dismiss anything. Also it causes the target to glow green, so it is very easy to tell when it is in effect or not.

Cogwheel
2007-09-12, 09:33 PM
Ouch, just another sign of my stupidity, I s'pose. Thanks for pointing it out, I'll fix it later.:smallsmile:

Harlequin
2007-09-13, 06:08 PM
Hello again, cog. Good to see this thread in a less, ah...hostile/spammy/Big Brother-esque/etc. environment. As before, I will be reading fanatically, can't wait for the ettin entry!

Lord_Gareth
2007-09-13, 06:17 PM
Har! Great to see you, man. I, too, read this thread, partially because it's teh awesomesauce, and mostly because Cog here is mah best friend ever ^_^

Cogwheel
2007-09-13, 06:18 PM
Hello again, cog. Good to see this thread in a less, ah...hostile/spammy/Big Brother-esque/etc. environment. As before, I will be reading fanatically, can't wait for the ettin entry!

Ah, my own little fanatic... sorry, I can't give you any spells just yet:smalltongue:. Believe me, I'm as relieved as you are to have finally moved the thread, and plan on writing up the Ettin entry as soon as possible. Also, look around these boards, there's plenty of my work that's been moved here, not to mention a few backstories over on the gaming boards, I'd appreciate any help you can give with them:smallsmile: .

Harlequin
2007-09-15, 02:30 PM
Gareth! It's been awhile, hasn't it? How've you been? (cog, Gareth was one of the major conspirators on the Master of Masks project I mentioned on the Wizards boards. But you two seem like you know each other, so you might already know that.)

Yeah, I saw your backstories and Shaman class. Haven't gotten a chance to read them in-depth, but today's my off-day so I'll see if I can't give you some feedback on them.

Cogwheel
2007-09-15, 05:43 PM
LG, what happened to not needing or reading this thread?:smallbiggrin: Oh well, thanks a lot for reading it.

Also, thank you harlequin, and no, I didn't know.

Cogwheel
2007-09-16, 03:53 AM
Ettin

OOC: Ah, Ettins, my favorite giants. Why? Well, first of all, I play far too much warcraft, and like ogre mages (an ettin sorcerer makes a very good representation of that, by the way, but I digress). Second, they make unlikely and very potent spellcasters. Third, they can be absolutely hillarious, what with two heads arguing with/contradicting eachother and such. Fourth, harlequin had an Idea, which I will detail shortly.

So... their roles? Well, they can be hunters in an area, taking up residence in a cave or some such, and generally terrorizing the local populace in the finest tradition of large, smelly, muscular monsters everywhere.

You can expand on this by giving them an overlord-esque role - they aren't very intelligent, but they're wiser and more charismatic than most...say, orcs, not to mention larger and stronger. So, they could have orc or even ogre bodyguards, or gather an army of generic grunts (orcs, ogres, you know the drill) to attack a certain area. Mind you, they would need serious motivation for this, as they place little to no value on wealth. This does not, in fact, give them a good reason to take Vow of Poverty, since they would only be doing something they do to some extent anyway. Kinda like taking a vow never to do backflips on roofs to a background tune of a LotR medley. Yeah, you can take and keep that vow, but wouldn't you be doing that anyway?

As for who they hire in such a case, that depends on how smart the Ettin is (relatively speaking). If they know what they are doing, than for a major attack, they'll get a hobgoblin for the job rather than do it themselves. For guarding, they might do away with bodyguards altogether, and arrange for kobolds to trap their lair.

Ofcourse, Ettins can be very silly monsters too, if you want. Talking to themselves, and thinking that whatever the characters say was actually said by the other head... the best bit is when they (predictably) get into an argument and start beating eachother up. The rest of the time, they're actually quite amiable toward eachother, considering they're CE. (chatter away to wile away the hours? Seems tame to me)


And now on to harlequin's most excellent idea... basically a re-hash of the "one of us lies and one tells the truth" encounter, but with them both as the same creature. If you want to make it sillier, than they forget which should be lying/telling the truth. My addition is that being CE and not actually lacking in cunning, both would lie, but tell different lies. One would be more plausible, as well as being a death trap. The other is merely useless.


As for class levels to add, there's the obvious ones (barbarian, fighter), any martial adept (yeah, it actually works. Maybe a crusader of Erythnul, or a swordsage for a laugh), you could also add sorcerer or warlock levels, or even cleric/monk/druid/paladin (the last one has to be the Paladin of Slaughter variant or come with a good excuse). I could've sworn that they could cast two spells a round 'cause of the two heads...oh well.



Now time for my second strange ettin idea. (The last one got capitalized, I was so proud!! :smallbiggrin:) The PCs are exploring a cave rumored to be inhabited my an ettin and his goons (I really like the idea of ettins bossing ogres around by the way), but as of yet all they have found are headless corpses. They get attacked by Vargouilles (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/vargouille.htm) from the upper shadows of the cave, which explains the bodies avec heads. Anyway, when they reach the ettin's lair, they're just in time to witness one of the heads, not both of them, turn into a vargouille. Now they have to fight one of those head-demons and an ettin without Superior TWF. Probably less of a challenge, but creepy, so it'd work well for low-level parties who can't take ettins yet.

Yeah, he had another idea, and I'm considering resigning:smalltongue:



IC

AC/hp: both less than stellar. hp is merely acceptable for a melee monster- odd, considering it's a giant. Do yourself a favour though, and swap out hide armour for something less horrible.

Superior TWF: Now that's more like it. This give you the potential to create a serious TWF beast, and opens up the possibility of an unlikely if deadly ettin Dervish. Ofcourse, the better option is to grab monkey grip and oversized TWF (optional) before picking up a pair of fullblades.

Feat changes: Iron will, alertness, imp. initiative.... oh, and a side order of Oh my god, the horror! Keep power attack, add lady's gambit if you're feeling lucky, as well as EWP (fullblade) and monkey grip, and you're ready to go.

Strategy: I hate to break it to you, but this is one of those times where the choices happen before the fight - choose your feats and wade in, that's all there is to it, 'm afraid. Add class levels if you will, which should spice things up, or add a dose or three of martial study/stance to make things slightly less dull, but that's about all you can do with this guy. Fun, but in combat, ultimately dull as-is.

Harlequin
2007-09-16, 12:43 PM
Cog, as always, you're amazing.

Now time for my second strange ettin idea. (The last one got capitalized, I was so proud!! :smallbiggrin:) The PCs are exploring a cave rumored to be inhabited my an ettin and his goons (I really like the idea of ettins bossing ogres around by the way), but as of yet all they have found are headless corpses. They get attacked by Vargouilles (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/vargouille.htm) from the upper shadows of the cave, which explains the bodies avec heads. Anyway, when they reach the ettin's lair, they're just in time to witness one of the heads, not both of them, turn into a vargouille. Now they have to fight one of those head-demons and an ettin without Superior TWF. Probably less of a challenge, but creepy, so it'd work well for low-level parties who can't take ettins yet.

Cogwheel
2007-09-16, 08:32 PM
You, sir, are a genius. Possibly a twisted one, but still a genius, I'm stealing that idea.:smallbiggrin:

Harlequin
2007-09-23, 02:18 PM
Not sure what the rules about bumping are here, but still...

Cog, I heard the power plant you live near caught fire a few days ago. Also heard that initial estimates of spilled waste were higher than the actual amount, though I'm inclined to believe this is more covering-up. Everything alright?

Cogwheel
2007-09-23, 06:07 PM
Amazing, I never heard it caught fire, but yeah, the IAEA dropped in to say that there was no leak, and that the plant's standards were so amazingly high, it should serve as an example to the whole world.

But yeah, I'm fine, just really, really busy. I promise I'll have the next entry up some time tommorow (my time), though (going on a forced day trip all day today. Thank you, parents).

EDIT - it's some plant way off from here, in hokkaido, no worries.

Harlequin
2007-09-23, 10:27 PM
Ah, parents. Never before has family fun been so, er...not fun.

Will formians be next, or are you gonna do the Fiendish template? Either way, can't wait.

Cogwheel
2007-09-24, 05:43 PM
Formians are next? Cool, they're one of my favorites, I can't wait ^_^

Katasi
2007-09-24, 06:46 PM
Formians are next? Cool, they're one of my favorites, I can't wait ^_^

Um, just wondering if you skipped over succubi and Eryines on purpose or if it was just an oversight, or if they'll be put in later.

Cogwheel
2007-09-24, 06:49 PM
On purpose. Those two offend me a lot, so I've skipped them.

Katasi
2007-09-24, 07:35 PM
Ah, I see. Was just wondering cause like the chain devil isn;t in with the devils, but is instead listed later on under the name Kyton

Cogwheel
2007-09-25, 01:58 AM
Ah, I see. Was just wondering cause like the chain devil isn;t in with the devils, but is instead listed later on under the name Kyton

...It is? Wow, I really did mess up, didn't I? I doubt I'll have time to fix up the index today, but with any luck, I can atleast post the formian entry within the day - extremely busy day here, sorry.

Cogwheel
2007-09-25, 04:20 AM
'Righty, harlequin, I edited your idea in, and I'm working on a rather unique take on the OOC section for formians... that section for each seperate formian will be minor, possibly even non-existant in a few cases. Instead, I'll make a formian "OOC overview" post for formian hives as a whole.

Cogwheel
2007-09-25, 04:57 AM
Formian Overview

For those of you who are getting here from the index (very lawful, mr. antsy would approve:smalltongue:), this is not for any particular formian. Rather, it's a post for the OOC role of formians as a whole. As compensation (for me, mostly), I will be going easy on the OOC bit for any particular formians. Now, on to the fluff!


OOC

So, they're lawful, they have far too many limbs for their own good (don't worry, the party may well be out to fix that), and they're outsiders. Yes, I can see that's all very nice, but what does it mean?

Well, from what little I scrounged up from the formian taskmaster entry, it seems that formians are crusaders. They don't sit around Mechanus all day being lawful, they take it as their personal duty(perhaps not the personal bit, but you get my drift) to get out there and rid the world of chaos by whatever means necessary. Well, except for drifting away into chaotic means, anyway. They have this aura of self-righteousness about them, kinda like far too many paladins, since they think that they are doing the world a great favor by removing the cancer in it that is chaos. While they regard most mortals (even lawful ones!) as imperfect, they will not be in any hurry to remove them, and will certainly spare the lawful ones, albeit with mild distaste. If they can work out some way that they can work together to rid the world of chaos faster, than so be it.

As an example of how they go about this, here's one, at the risk of tooting my own horn (I used it in my campaign setting). They are hired/summoned/bound as secret police of sorts for a city or even a country. The name I used was just "the hive", but any will do. If their controller/employer orders them to, or if someone is getting too chaotic... they're simply never seen again. They can communicate telepathically (sort of) through their hive mind, and the tougher ones can actually detect thoughts, detect chaos, cast order's wrath to smack only the chaotic ones (or whelm or some such - nonlethal may be better, if only so they can go through the proper, lawful procedures later), and more. So yeah, add in items for nondetection, invisibility, silence and such, and you have the perfect secret police, that is also creepy as hell. Bear in mind that the neat gear should only go to the actual, non-mook agents (mostly taskmasters, with a few myrmarchs [possibly]).

Why do they do that? Well, it gives them a way to work freely in an area, they're paid for it (this does actually mean something - it provides funds to get more gear for their cause, or possibly Cause), and probably more efficiently than they otherwise would. Ofcourse, you wouldn't want to be in the shoes of the first wizard to abuse that control... Incidentally, their hives would likely be right under the city.

On the subject of outsiders, they work well with Modrons, although they are likely too inflexible (not too lawful, there's no such thing - but lack of flexibility can mess with your capabilities), they are still looked at as role models and allies. Inevitables are likewise prized, and it's entirely possible that a formian artificer might actually make those things. Ofcourse, any axiomatic creature is very good, and an axiomatic formian gets a kind of "chosen one" type reception. Mind you, being different from the rest is generally bad, but it's okay in this one case. Lawful good or evil outsiders, while useful tools, are too tainted by other views that can get in the way of their Greater Cause, so they aren't to be trusted.

As for any minions they may have... unlikely with a huge standing army like most formian hives, but if they need any, they make inevitables, golems, or mindless undead. Mindless creatures directed by a lawful mind are perfect, as they make no decisions of their own.

On the subject of class levels, these should be given sparingly, and only to taskmasters and myrmarchs. Why? Well, it shows individuality - being seperate from the pack - and that's not encouraged, although it may be tolerated as part of "by whatever means necessary". Even then, the queen isn't exactly in the position to snap up some class levels, and that leaves the taskmasters and myrmarchs as the only non-mindless candidates.

As for choices, there's loads... a lawful neutral variant paladin (maybe with greyguard/shadowbane inquisitor), a rogue (for stealth missions as detailed above) with master inquisitive levels, a cleric of st. cuthbert (religion = individuality, and as such it is discouraged, but they make an exception for St .C, for obvious reasons), a psion (telepath)/thrallherd or an enchanter for taskmasters (beguiler also works), or, best of all, crusaders. Yes, lots of them, all with a big fat focus on White Raven maneuvers. No, it's not pretty.


One last note - remember to have all formians (exceptpossibly the queen) talk in plural form(I.E. "we"), to mark the collective mind thingy. The reason that I say the queen can be an exception is that she heads the entire hive, and therefore may or may not have a mind of her own.


That's all folks!

Harlequin
2007-09-25, 06:14 PM
Cool, thanks for editing my idea in.

And, as always, awesome entry. I actually kinda like the idea of formians with class levels. Workers obviously shouldn't have class levels, but I can totally picture formian monestaries mass-producing Warrior monks. A crusader academy would be pretty cool as well. I can see what you mean about class levels expressing individuality, but ten thousand formian monks doesn't seem like free thinking to me. Seems like ass-whuppin'. Taskmasters with levels in Mindspy and a Queen with levels in Mindbender would also soil more than a few of your PCs' shorts. The description of Myrmarch actually states that 'these creatures are individuals, with goals, desires, and creative thought.' Sounds like they're pretty good class level candidates; the Church of Cuthbert's a really good idea for these guys. The secret police is a freakin' awesome idea, I would've never thought of that.

Can't wait for the IC entry for these guys. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go design a hive population...:smallwink:

Cogwheel
2007-09-25, 06:27 PM
Design your own? Know you not that there is no need, knave? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3180178&postcount=4)

It makes more sense if you read about the rest of the city >.>

Also, good idea with the monks, but they don't work. Why? Because despite being lawful, they have a very personal, individualistic goal - personal, inner perfection. Yeah, doesn't really work. Mindbender for the queen is great, though, as if they aren't dearly in need of nerfage already.

Cogwheel
2007-09-26, 06:37 AM
Sorry, I won't be updating here today (my time, GMT +9 in case you forgot), since I'm really busy, Sukkot and all (if you don't know, ask Wikipedia). I'll try my best to update tommorow, though.

Harlequin
2007-09-26, 11:04 PM
Also, good idea with the monks, but they don't work. Why? Because despite being lawful, they have a very personal, individualistic goal - personal, inner perfection.

Ah. You do have a point there. I'm trying to think of how to work around that...possibly a 'lead by example' kind of deal, where the formians are trained to believe that their inner perfection will further the progress of the hive on their planar beachheads, and becoming perfect will set an example for the rest of the hive to do the same. I'm sure you could do better with an explanation than that, seeing as how it's rather late here and I haven't slept well in some time. But something along those lines.

Anywhoo, just something for all those reading the thread as religiously as I am to think about: Let's think for a minute about a formian bard. Anyone feel like guessing what their songs would be about?

Cogwheel
2007-09-26, 11:38 PM
No guesses. But I do keep getting mental images of formians yelling "Live for the swarm!" "For the Overmind!" Etc.

Yeah, it's wrong, but that's just me.

Also, harlequin, you're a genius, not that I didn't know that already. I'll try and hammer that idea out for the warrior entry, when I get to it.

Cogwheel
2007-09-27, 04:37 AM
Formian Worker

OOC: Formian workers are the lowest caste of any hive. They are the weakest, the most common, and the most treasured. Why? Because they are the lifeblood of every hive. They keep everything going - feed the larvae, gather food, build up the hive, everything. Sure, they might be common as muck, but without them, the entire hive collapses into chaos, disorder, and all sorts of other nasty things, and we wouldn't want that, would we? 'Course not, that bit's a job for the PCs! In any case, formian workers will try to run from a fight if they have any choice in the matter, will immediately call for help, and are likely to be well-protected.

IC

Don't. No, really. There's a reason why low-level conjurers don't summon these things.

...Persistent, aren't you? Fine...

AC/hp: Colour me impressed. For a CR of 1/2, they have acceptable hp and quite nice AC (17), about equal to the party fighter or (possibly) rogue at level 1, I should think.

Feats: Yeah, skill focus. For craft. It fits, fluff-wise, but...ouch. If you want to change it, I recommend improved natural attack, swarmfighting, or better yet, point blank shot/weapon focus (bow), you'll see why soon enough. If you're worried, pick skill focus (climb)

Special qualities: Nice! There is no way an arcane caster can touch this thing at 1st level, barring the all-powerful magic missile. high saves, immunities, and even sonic resistance! Yeah, it's insane. As for make whole/healing, that's mostly fluff. If they decide to attack a formian hive, the insane amount of workers can heal a boss or something, but otherwise...eh.

Strategy: Change the feat, or don't, it doesn't matter. No, what does matter is their climb check. Run them up a cliff and onto a previously constructed ledge (come on, formians would do that, admit it:smalltongue:). From that vantage point, pepper the PCs with uncomfortable projectiles, such as arrows or bolts. If you make the ledge low enough, even a glaive or something will do. Yes, it's cheesy. Yes, there are ways around it, and yes, it's challenging, so I think it qualifies. Ofcourse, in practice, they would just call in help (see also: formian air strike with Small Thermonuclear Device IX), but if you want a level-appropriate encounter, this is it.

Harlequin
2007-09-27, 05:46 PM
Aw, thanks cog, I really appreciate it.

Also, as the edit bar below my post states, I pulled a stupid in my last reply. What I meant to say, which makes much more sense than what I did, is what a formian Bard's songs would sound like. I can't even imagine.

Heh...workers. Useful if a single hive is intended to be used for a long-term game, and very useful if the PCs manage to befriend a hive, but otherwise a fluffball. Skill Focus: Craft almost made me laugh out loud when I remembered it. Swarmfighting's a good suggested replacement, I think. But, then again, sometimes the hive might need a lot of baskets...:smallsmile:

And one last thing I'd like your opinion on. Would using and/or exploiting chaos be beneath formians? I'm thinking that the hive I'm designing may have several areas of twisting, winding hallways throughout their lair, filled with dead-ends and other generally confusing elements. If attacked, a fake 'alarm crew' would take off into the chaotic hallways, hoping to draw the PCs. The tunnels would eventually empty out into a room with plenty of easy-access tunnels for formian ambush. So my question is, would any self-respecting hive actually do something like this? They seem like pretty inventive combatants, but they do have an anathema against chaos and I feel like their architecture would represent that throughout. What do you think, cog?

Cogwheel
2007-09-27, 06:06 PM
Good question...

Well, it depends on each queen's opinion (horrible thing, I know), I'd say. If she's of the "ends justify the means" persuasion, the hive you described is viable. Otherwise, it should be so ordered that you don't even need a map:smalltongue:.

puppyavenger
2007-09-28, 06:29 PM
so when you doing dragons?

Cogwheel
2007-09-28, 06:55 PM
Later. As I've said before, dragons are popular and obscene amounts of hard work to write up, so they will be in the actual paid half of the book, irrespective of actual alphabetical order, sorry.

DracoDei
2007-09-28, 09:17 PM
The Draconomicon spends a few pages on how to run a dragon in combat... surprisingly little about how to run them out of combat per se. They give personality traits, but not what an encounter FEELS like...

Cogwheel
2007-09-28, 09:40 PM
Simple: Start with "Yer all DEAD!" and work your way up from there.

Oh, wait, I do that with ethereal filchers, never mind...

DracoDei
2007-09-28, 11:49 PM
I meant OUTSIDE of combat...

Cogwheel
2007-09-29, 12:23 AM
Bah, humbug... You were asking about what an encounter should be like, so I gave you an idea, that's all:smalltongue:. Mind you, in or out of combat, if the dragon in question is CE, you can go back to my last post >.>

Cogwheel
2007-10-01, 12:28 AM
Formian Warrior

Warriors - the second most common, and most expendable part of a formian hive. Granted, they will try to minimize their losses, but if any go down, that's no biggie. After all, their sole purpose in life is to lay their lives down so that the more important parts of the hive survive. They aren't mindless, so they can make their own decisions if need be (though they're reluctant to do so), but in general, they take orders directly from the whichever myrmarch in the hive that is most suited to tactical planning. Note that since myrmarchs are incividuals, they have different areas of skills. Warriors might be mass-produced with a monk level or two in what is not as much of a monastery as a combat school, with one "teacher" myrmarch in charge. In fact, the ones in that hive may even be born with the abilities.

In battle, formians fight either unarmed, or with a shield and a spear, since the latter allows for more defensive fighting and tactics.

IC

AC/hp: hp is alright for the level, though perhaps not very impressive for a tank monster. AC is still nice, though not as amazing for its level as the workers.

Defenses: Quite plainly a caster's worst nightmare at this level. Resistances/immunities to virtually anything zappy you might use at this level, and a high SR (for a CR 3) makes them a serious pain to deal with, especially as an arcanist.

Poison: To be used with several formians that AoO some hapless passerby, killing them with Fat Strength Damage. A more reasonable way is to use it so it is simply debilitating - making the fighter too weak to walk in full plate, or the wizard too weak to deal with the terribly harsh air pressure.

Feats: Whatever happens, dodge needs to go. I recommend combat reflexes as the substitute, but all sorts of things work, like multi-weapon defense. If you go for the spear n shield approach, pick up feats like combat reflexes and hold the line to make an impassable "wall" of formians, thereby fitting the bill of protectors. Don't take Power Attack, as it's too chaotic. A reverse feat (lose damage, gain accuracy), while not as powerful, would be fitting, if you want.

Strategy: Not much to it, really. They don't go in for combat, so just charge (unless you feel it's too chaotic/reckless), maul 'em with all your natural attacks, and hope they go down fast, handing out poison as necessary. Alternatively, if you go for the spear n shield approach, the "wall" of formians can slowly advance toward them, attacking with their long reach, and hitting casters whenever they try something funny, not to mention a large amount of AoOs.

Feats to actually stop them advancing are quite useful, ones like Large And In Charge (Draconomicon, only if you advance them to Large size) or Stand Still (Psionics handbook, for some reason. Only one needs to use it, the rest can attack), so that you can keep them away, and force them to take the AoO and be shoved back each time, thus making the reverse power attack feat useful.

Additionally, Mage Slayer makes for a good feat if you can justify it, since that means that a caster can't even cast defensively without getting speared.

Did I mention that these guys can use a fighter level or two? Well, they can.

Harlequin
2007-10-03, 11:50 PM
Sorry it took me so long to reply cog, school just recently started piling on the work. For the warrior, there really isn't much that can be said, though, is there? They're, well, warriors. Well-written despite. Can't wait for the Taskmaster.

Cogwheel
2007-10-05, 04:06 AM
No problem. I'll try to have the Taskmaster up tonight (my time) if possible.

As for warriors... slightly dull, yes, but poison and stuff makes them more than, well, all those "lump of hit dice" style monsters.

Cogwheel
2007-10-06, 08:56 AM
Just got dragged out to some museum and a mind-numbingly dull shopping expedition. The update will happen, but it'll be really, really late, sorry.

Blame the parents, folks. Blame the parents.:smalltongue:

Cogwheel
2007-10-06, 10:07 AM
Formian Taskmasters

OOC: Although they aren't individuals yet, the taskmasters come pretty close. They are intelligent (and I mean intelligent, not "well, they aren't mindless"), and they have thrall following them around. The funny thing is, even though they're supposed to be dominated by the taskmasters, at the end of the day, they're entirely under the queen's control. They also have an incredible sense of righteousness about their job, believing that they are doing what must be done (note: they don't actually like it. Whether or not they dislike it is up to debate, but it doesn't really come into the equation). In other words, they're doing what they do for the sake of the world at large, because after all, what could be better than a world of absolute law and order? 1984, ofcourse, but since that would be too ambitious, they're shooting for a world of law and order.

Taskmasters are also invaluable in getting what the swarm can't - better or more specialized fighters for battles (could be both better and more specialized, such as a spiked chain fighter), creatures that can do better construction jobs than formian workers (like ogres for heavy lifting, salamanders for making weapons, etc.), and so on. Distasteful as it may seem to them, Slaadi and other chaotics are the first targets for domination if they are available, since they get rid of an archenemy and put them to work at the same time, killing two birds with one psychic.

In combat, they are actually stronger than warriors, albeit flimsy for their CR, but disdain combat, and rather let their numerous meat shields deal with all that. In a pinch or when commanded, though, they will not hesitate to do the dirty work themselves.

I feel it should be mentioned that quotes such as "for the overmind!" are entirely inappropriate for dominated creatures, and should be used at every opportunity.

For advancement, consider the mindbender PrC (Complete Arcane), or a modified Thrallherd (Expanded Psionics handbook/SRD)

IC

It's important to remember that a taskmaster is CR 7 together with the dominated monster, and as such, would be about a CR 6 by itself.

AC/hp: Bad bad bad bad bad BAD. These guys are made of magnetic paper, and fight as such. Do not expect them to survive in a fight for long, unless you're careful.

Defenses: Ye Olde Insane Formian Resistances have returned! Except that there's an SR increase this time, which should help.

Dominated monster: Just get a meat shield. Funny thing is, it's measured by CR... not bad, just unusual. Personally, I recommend an ogre with either fighter levels (spiked chain fighter), barbarian levels (lion totem variant?), barb/fighter, or the half-dragon template. Up to your taste, really. The best option, though, is a flier, preferably with high AC/SR.

Dominate monster: Definitely ditch dodge and get ability focus for this, ans possibly a cha-boost item, scroll, or something. Four targets? Thank you, WotC, I think I can take a hint.

Feats: Keep imp.initiative. Since you likely won't be fighting melee in any case, swap out multiattack/dodge for ability focus (dominate monster) and enlarge SLA.

Strategy: Get on your flier if you have one to stay out of range. Spam out dominate monster (enlarged for extra range at 75 feet... or was it 100?) at the party, starting with the low will save types. Get them to turn on the casters (whether you go for arcanists or healers first is up to you) while you pop dominates at the casters, random wildlife, summoned creatures, anything at all, until you hit your quote of four. Once you lose some, get more. If things get rough, you and your flier (or uber-ogre) wade in to wreck the day.

Harlequin
2007-10-10, 05:27 PM
Bad bad bad bad bad BAD. These guys are made of magnetic paper, and fight as such.

That actually made me laugh out loud.

Cogwheel
2007-10-10, 07:09 PM
hey, whatever works for you ^_^

In other news, I'll be posting the next entry within the next 24 hours, with any luck.

Harlequin
2007-10-10, 10:04 PM
Excellent. Can't wait.

Cogwheel
2007-10-11, 07:56 PM
Sorry, got delayed, piles of work yesterday. I'll try to have this up today...

Cogwheel
2007-10-11, 10:56 PM
Formian Myrmarch

OOC: These ants are endless fun. Why? They are the only brand of formians, aside from queens, that are actual individuals. What does this mean? Let me explain...

Now, the average Myrmarch - the majority - may have free will, but they are still fanatically devoted to the queen, and as such, only use their free will for stuff like choosing their path to their duties. In other words, they'd use it so they can think better, and perhaps pick up some class levels.

Some, however, are more devoted to an even greater source of law, such as st. cuthbert. In such a case, the Myrmarch would be a cleric or a Crusader (ToB), and utterly, fanatically devoted to their cause/god.

On a side note, a few may even become monks, as a "personal perfection" kind of thing, though this aspect of monkdom may be frowned upon.

And then, ofcourse, there's the rebel. Whether they're mad, a failed creation, or just lost faith in the belief that their queen knows what's best, they may escape and work solo, try to overthrow the queen (this would not actually work, as they aren't made to be queens, and as such, can't actually run a hive), or something else. In any case, such a Myrmarch would [/I]usually[/I] lose, due to being opposed by the entire hive.

As for their standard role, they're militaristic officers that rule over the warriors. The queen's orders are passed down to the highest ranking Myrmarch, who then creates a plan, and hands it down to the next in line, and so on, until it's split out among the various Myrmarchs in charge of each contingent. Ofcourse, they would be in charge of relaying non-combat orders, too.

It's worth noting that Myrmarchs and queens appear to be the only formians that can, in fact, speak formian. When the language is so limited, and all formians can communicate telepathically anyway, why use the language at all?

If you find a reason, let me know. For now, I suggest that you remove it.

IC

AC/hp: hit points range somewhere around Not Bad For An Outsider. AC, on the other hand, is world-class, and a good deal of it is from dexterity. Quite impressive for a Large creature, I'd say.

Defenses: Still keeping it up with the old formian defenses, but new and improved! The old resistances are still present, even if they aren't as devastating now. In addition, they come with an impressive 25 SR which is going to stop all sorts of spells. Finally, fast healing 2 is enough to annoy everyone.

SLAs: Charm Monster is huge fun if cast on, say, the party fighter/wizard/random person with low charisma. Make them regret their dump stat as they mess up the rest of the party, evening the tables. Detect chaos, detect thoughts and clairaudience/clairvoyance are all info-gathering spells, to see when, where and how the party is going to enter the hive, and relay the message to everyone. Magic circle against chaos is a great buff for all formians, and serves as a useful tool for battlefield control, as, if it's carefully used, it can seperate the party (especially if some are lawful and others aren't).

Greater Teleport is mostly useful as an escape, ofcourse. Dictum and Order's Wrath are things to pop at the start of the fight as a smart bomb of sorts - against a level 10 party, neither will target any formians (though it may not hit some of the PCs either, if they're lawful), Dictum weakens them with slowing and deafening (which can mess with spellcasting). Order's Wrath is just a one-shot area damage deal, but better than nothing.

Poison: hmmmm... 2d6 dexterity. If you have any low-dex characters in the party, you can probably down them with two bites. Ofcourse, characters with low dex and weak fortitude saves are a tad harder to find, but still far from impossible.

Feats: This can actually stay as-is, but be sure to give them a weapon of some sort and axe natural attack/imp. initiative in favor of more useful feats (power attack and leap attack are, as usual, good). With large size and spring attack, a Ranseur or Guisarme can make good choices. With a level of fighter, you can also add mithril platemail, for a total of 35 AC. In the event that you do take a polearm, consider Combat Reflexes and Short haft (the latter lets you attack adjacent opponents, and is from Complete Adventurer).

Strategy: Many ways to go here... whatever you do, start by blasting with Dictum, and possibly Order's Wrath. The first approach is to seperate the party, disarm/trip/confront them one at a time from within your cozy magic circle, staying out of attack range by virtue of size and reach. Another is to charm them all, and make them attack eachother, though this can be mixed in with other options. Alternatively, leap/spring attack one of them (arcanist first, I say), end up on the other side of the party in a premade magic circle, and trip/disarm/attack them as they approach. In any case, prepare two magic circles and you can do quite well.

Finally, you can also spring attack past them and, instead of making a polearm attack, bite for dexterity damage and hit them with C.reflexes as they try to get near you. Each time, you can jump past the same target and lower their dexterity, until all but the high fort (and, barring clerics, low will) parts of the party are down. At this point, just charm the meat shields, send them to attack those with high fortitude and will saves, and shred whatever is left.

Cogwheel
2007-10-13, 01:08 AM
Too busy for an update today, but I do have this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59670). As yet unoptimized, but really, really scary...I think. I'll try to get a picture of the original up there, for those of us who don't have Frostburn.

Harlequin
2007-10-13, 01:45 AM
:eek:
That is the most horrifying picture I've seen since the Hell-Shark on the Wizards boards quite awhile back. And it reminds me far, far too much of a certain nightmare-inducing conversation I had with my friend last summer about sharks with wings. There would be nowhere to hide.

Cogwheel
2007-10-13, 02:07 AM
Can't take any credit for it, 'm afraid. Really, really nice, though, like the rest of Frostburn.

And hey, you know I'm only here to give you nightmares, right? Okay, technically, I deal with players, but..:smalltongue:

Harlequin
2007-10-15, 12:11 AM
Oh, and about the Myrmarch entry: Outsiders are automatically proficient with simple and martial weapons, so they could pick up a guisarme or ranseur without adding class levels. They could still benefit from picking up a Fighter level or two by tacking on fullplate, as you suggested.

Hmm...What else...

Haha, I never actually noticed myrmarchs and queens being the only formians who can speak their own language. I would assume it's for absolutely secret battle tactics and contingency plans, but those tend to not do a bit of good if the entire hive doesn't know them. So you've got me beat on that one, cog; obviously formian is a freakin' useless language.

Cogwheel
2007-10-15, 12:34 AM
Personally, I propose adding using Formian (changing the name to Axiomatic, perhaps) as the lawful language. Devils have infernal, celestials have...celestial, demons have abyssal, chaotic outsiders presumably use Slaad... why not lawful creatures?

Otherwise, let the language be struck by lightning and buried in a nameless grave.

Bisected8
2007-10-15, 04:36 AM
:eek:
That is the most horrifying picture I've seen since the Hell-Shark on the Wizards boards quite awhile back. And it reminds me far, far too much of a certain nightmare-inducing conversation I had with my friend last summer about sharks with wings. There would be nowhere to hide.

What picture?

Cogwheel
2007-10-15, 04:54 AM
Go to this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59670) thread, scroll down until you see the spoiler block with the pictures - harlequin was talking about the Zeuglodon one.

In other news, the Formian Queen entry should be up within 6 hours:smallbiggrin:

Also, looking at sorcerer/wizard spells has shown me the utter trappy cheese that is Prismatic wall/sphere+Sympathy.

Cogwheel
2007-10-15, 07:45 AM
Formian Queen

OOC: Ah, the not-so-evil mastermind. So many ways to go with this one, where to begin...

For one, it's very likely that the queen will be the crusading sort, perhaps even worshipping or representing an LN deity (st. Cuthbert comes to mind. Scary deity in the right hands, that). By crusading, I don't mean the religious sort, but on a quest to spread absolute (or near-absolute) law across the material plane, and destroy any and all forces of chaos, especially Slaadi. While having them go about this to a degree that's completely crazy can be fun, I don't recommend it, as formians tend to be a rather more reasonable kind of LN than Modrons (by the time you're lawful enough to be a geometric shape, all bets are off). The occasional fanatical queen might do this, though, but some slightly more rebellious Myrmarch might just off her.

Ofcourse, the queen is also incredibly protective of her children/hive. She may not give her life to save them, but that's simply because they're lawful to a near-robotic degree - she's defensive of them because the hive needs protecting, but she will also logically weigh the pros and cons (not just of this, but every last action), and if it's not worth it, she won't do a heroic Bruce-Willis-leaps-out-of-the-flaming-building-holding-the-cat scene to save the hive. It goes without saying that warriors, at the very least, are entirely expendable.

As evidenced by NWN, formian queens will try to take a peaceful approach to situations if it is possible (Slaadi and such being an exception to this rule), if only because this results in less casualties. A peaceful solution can involve giving the party whatever they want to make them go away (if it's not too huge or conflicting with their ideals), convincing/bribing them to work with the formians (never turn down high-level mercs), or even charm/dominate/submittomywill. Naturally, the telepathy in a vast area is great for this, and personally, I would rule that suggestions can be sent through it.

If you go for mass domination/charming as the queen's crusading tactic of choice, add some levels of mindbender, it can help a lot. Finally, any traits possessed by the queens (unusual ones, like some innate SLA that most don't have) may well be passed down to all formians in the hive, albeit most likely in a watered-down form.

IC

AC/hp: None too shabby. Frankly, hp doesn't matter so much with wizards flinging save-or-dies around like madmen at this sort of level, and the AC is rather low, especially given the value of the queen's touch AC. Ofcourse, all this quaint hit point/armour class business is about to become obsolete before the queen's outrageous uberness...

Defenses: Picture, if you will, a Myrmarch's defensive arrays - enough to make any caster cry, with the addition of fast healing 2. Raise the SR by 5, and you have the spell-proof horror that is the formian queen, when coupled with the obscene fort/will this thing has. Reflex saves are non-existant, but then, SR and resistances should have you covered there.

Telepathy: Essentially fluff usage only, although it would be entirely feasible to rule that you can send some enchantment effects (such as suggestion) through the link.

Spell-like Abilities: Calm Emotions will sort out most bards and barbarians right away, so it's a nice debuff of sorts. Clairaudience/Clairvoyance doesn't really give you more awareness than an entire hive already does. Charm Monster is great (see Myrmarch entry for some details, and strategy for more), especially if used via a telepathic link. Dictum won't do much at the current caster level (if you find some way to boost it, that's a different matter), Detect Chaos doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know, in practice, and detect thoughts is just handy for fluff.

Divination gives you the little info you couldn't already easily obtain, while hold monster makes for an evil "get the tank out of here" type spell. In fact, some warrior could just stroll in and CdG anyone that was held. Magic Circle Against Chaos, Shield of Law, and True Seeing should be up at all times for some nice buffs.

Feats: Again, we see the atrocity that is Alertness, Great Fortitude and Iron Will. Grab Extend spell instead, add in some other stuff like sudden metamagic/arcane thesis and the like, and don't forget Craft Wondrous Item to justify some of that gear. Greater Spell Focus (Enchantment) is also good.

Gear: Anything that adds AC (especially with regards to improving that horrific touch AC) is good. Additionally, try to get some sort of charisma booster, as well as an item with constant Death Ward, and possibly Spell Immunity vs. Disintegrate.


Spells: "Casts spells as a 17th level sorcerer"...Art thou completely off thine rocker, book? Anyway... nix all the zapping spells, maybe keep one or two if you like. Dominate person and the like are essential, as is Prismatic Wall. For optimum cheese, grab Sympathy. Really, nothing more is needed. Still, consider upping the CR by one and adding a level of sorceror, as it will let you access 9th level spells, making way for gate, shapechange, and other horrifying weapons of mass cheesination.

how is nothing else needed? Well, there's the standard battlefield controlling awesomeness that is arcane magic (which I don't need to/won't bother with explaining here), there's the fact that you can reasonably send suggestions, if nothing else, through a mental link, and even that isn't needed. There's three ways to go here, all ultimately revolving around Prismatic Wall, detailed in the strategy section.


Strategy: Use Polymorph Any Object, Shapechange, or some such to become something more useful in combat. heck, even fly would give you some movement, and probably a dex score too (I recommend making this equal to cha for these purposes, as you can only move because of your magic). Once this is done, command your loyal antsy minions to dig a hole in the hive. A really deep one. Cast prismatic wall halfway down, and cast Sympathy (repeat castings, so as to affect all types in the party) on the wall, or if that's not legal in your game, the earth directly under it. The players will walk in, really want to poke the shiny wall, jump down the pit, and die horribly. If they survive, they probably still have to go back through the wall.

The second way is to dominate/charm/suggestion the entire party, and instead of making them fight eachother, just walk 'em through a handy prismatic wall in single file ("you all walk through the shiny wall and die. New characters?")

The third and last is to use dimensional lock on the queen's chamber, and block the entrance with a prismatic wall (formians can dig through, or she can temporarily dispel it). Now, they can get around this, but it would take some hefty dispelling or disintegrating their way through the walls.

Harlequin
2007-10-21, 11:56 PM
My apologies for tardiness. School, then more school, then windstorm, then no power, then school, then my dad's birthday.

Thoughts as they come:
-I'm not sure how up to holy crusades the queen would be. Seems to me like they'd be more for advancing formian ideals of absolute law, but wouldn't quash religion within the hive as long as it didn't lead to free thinking.
-What's NWN? Sounds interesting, I haven't seen a lot about formians except here.
-I'm a big fan of hiring the PCs as mercenaries. That would be a hell of a way to start a campaign if none of the PCs are chaotic, have them hired at low-level to wipe out orc tribes and negotiate with the lawful-evil savage races, then as they attain higher levels begin battling on planar beachheads. Then have them have to take out the hive from the inside once their home city/cities are attacked druing a planar invasion.
-Still working on a way to make telepathy less fluff, more crunch...
-Whoever's responsible for feat selection at the WotC Fortress of Solitude needs to be punched in the head. Apparently he/she decided to overlook the fact that formians have a freakin' HIVE MIND, so the queen could be deaf, dumb, and blind, and still play a mean pinball if there's so much as a worker in the same room! I'd actually probably go for Quicken Spell and Quicken Spell-Like Ability instead of Extend, since the queen won't benefit much from combat buffs.
-Prismatic Wall+Suggestion? You're an evil, evil person, cog, that's why I respect you. :smallamused:

Another excellent comprehensive entry. So...Frost Worm's next? Nice. I'm sure there's a way to abuse its death throes, if I find one I'll let you know.

Cogwheel
2007-10-22, 12:17 AM
Possibly, but there's more awesome to be accomplished with frosties than just that. Sorry I've been slow, I was busy, but posts will pick up in pace once more from now on.

As for NWN, NeverWinter Nights, a great D&D CRPG. The first expansion pack features a part with a dungeon which has slaadi and formians fighting in it, you're pretty much caught in the crossfire.

And no, not so much holy, a crusade in this case can be for any alignment - law here. So yeah, a crusade for absolute law.

Cogwheel
2007-10-22, 07:58 AM
Thanks to Lord_Gareth, this book now has a new name! (Pity I can't change the thread title) - By Fang And Claw: A Guide To Creative Encounters

DracoDei
2007-10-22, 08:43 AM
I do believe all that is necessary to accomplish that is to edit the first post in the thread... I have done such with my own threads frequently.

Cogwheel
2007-10-22, 10:26 PM
Ya know, that's what I would've thought too, doesn't seem to work. Thanks for the tip, though, I'll try again.

Lord_Gareth
2007-10-23, 04:41 AM
On the Homebrew page itself, double click next to the thread's name. Have fun with that ^_^

Cogwheel
2007-10-23, 05:15 AM
Gah, thread's too old to change the title... sorry folks.

Harlequin
2007-10-23, 05:32 PM
It shows By Fang and Claw for me...

Cogwheel
2007-10-24, 08:51 AM
Yep, Roland changed it on request. Three cheers for Roland!

In other news, I'm hopelessly busy, and none of you should expect an update before monday at the earliest, sorry.

Lavin
2007-10-25, 09:54 PM
Dankashun!!!
Massive, massive, holy crap massive thanks to you.
This such an unbeleivable help, you have no idea!
You rule, cog!

I would totaly love to nominate this for stickying, definetily!

Cogwheel
2007-10-25, 10:28 PM
And another fanatic joins the crowd... (cue maniacal laughter)

No, really, thank you. I'm writing this for sale at some point any way, so I'm just posting the first half along the way. Really not that much work for me, when I have the time.

Actually, a little secret... many people on the character development and optimization boards, respectively, can work with these monsters far better than I. The only reason that you're reading this book with my name on it is that it hasn't occured to anyone else/they couldn't be bothered to write a book about it, that's all.

Still, thanks a bunch. I'm taking a friend's advice and editing up the whole book now, mostly making it slightly more formal.

Oh, and as I have said before, if anyone needs specific monstrous help, PM me and I will do what I can.

Cogwheel
2007-10-30, 09:57 AM
Right... typing up the Frost Worm entry now, sorry I'm late, but I've been busy, exhausted, extremely depressed and various other wonderful things along those lines, which don't exactly lend themselves to efficient work. I may not have it up before I go to bed, but I'll have it done by noon at the latest (evening to 11 PM or so, U.S. time).

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2007-10-30, 04:52 PM
Yes! I kept hoping that this hadn't died.

Cogwheel
2007-10-30, 09:46 PM
Psh, it won't die any time before I do, just might go on hiatus if a slew of events (such as parents taking up my entire evening by making me watch various films) stop me from updating. I won't be able to make it for my noon estimate as I woke up late with a nasty cold, but I'll try to get it done as soon as I can.

Harlequin
2007-10-31, 12:06 AM
Ah. Nasty colds aren't much fun at all. Hope you feel better, cog.

Cogwheel
2007-10-31, 01:05 AM
Frost Worm

OOC: Plenty of good, fun roles here. They can be used as minor deities of sorts, mounts, dumb hunters or omens. Let's go through these roles one at a time...

Minor deities: No, they don't grant spells. The role here is more akin to totem animals - they would be revered as symbols of strength, endurance, cunning and general awesomeness. The candidates for a totem creature in a D&D tundra basically come down to white dragons, frost worms or remorhazes, so it's quite likely that frost worms will be chosen. Tribes revering them might have rings, necklaces, totems and more carved into the likeness of a frost worm (preferably from Blue Ice - the gist of it is that it's ice that melts... at the same temperature as steel, that is).

Mounts: Picture this - a row of dwarves, arctic dwarves, arctic kobolds or some similar arctic race, seated on the back of a frost worm that's trilling, charging and breathing a blizzard, all holding lances (maybe even two-weapon fighting with lances, if they have oversized TWF) and ripping through an army. That's impressive, that is. The reason for there being lots of them lined up is that it's a waste of good mount space otherwise, unless the worm is being ridden by one frost giant. All riders should have something to protect them from cold damage (technically, riding a worm doesn't deal damage to you, but it should), and if they get caught in the death throes... well, they knew about the risk, and if the opposition can kill a frost worm, they have bigger problems.

hunters: Dumb? Yes. Scary? Also yes. This version works best if you give Frost Worms Tremorsense - not gamebreaking or anything, but it makes a big thematic difference. If you ever watched Tremors, imagine an arctic version of that. If not, consider the following - a near-unkillable beast without either high-level characters or a sizable army, invisible for the most part, that can tell where you are without even seeing you, rip out of the ground, drag you in and kill you in seconds. Killed it? Great, you and the surrounding countryside get to enjoy 20d6 damage in its full glory. The PCs will have to figure out what's going on, track it down, walk through the tunnels it created, and finally fight it in its own element.

Omens: Mostly as a plot device, this. Picture an area that's cold, yes, but not too bad. When they see a Frost Worm, however, it's the sign of a very long and harsh winter coming around the corner. In this way, such an impressive, cold-associated monster can be used quite extensively on the omen front.

Note that as a creature with an int of 3+, you could actually give this thing class levels. Personally, I recommend druid, sorceror going into Frost Mage (Frostburn) or a Swordsage. The last one may seem odd, but not if you think of it simply as another way of representing its magical powers (I.E. replace with sorceror fluff). For maneuvers, pick Desert Wind (replace all instances of fire, including damage, with ice/cold), Stone Dragon and whatever else you see fit to add. Two levels of rogue or a level of monk is great, for evasion vs. those pesky area fire damage spells.

IC

AC/hp: When I saw this, my eyes almost bled. Whatever you do, do not send Frost Worms into battle like this - add more natural armour, arbitratily boost its dexterity, give it more hit dice... whatever you do, something this big should by no means be such a glass cannon. You may even want to add 8 hit dice (personally, I'd say this makes it a decent CR 13, or a weak CR 14) and make it Gargantuan, mostly so it's more impressive.

Defenses: Cold Subtype. Yes, it's nice, but most characters in a tundra setting will likely have fire damage easily on hand, making this quite possibly counter-productive.

Trill: Good for taking all non-casters out of the picture, since most can't make the save for Trill at this level, if you take the trouble to put Ability Focus in. Assume that casters will make the save (especially divine casters), and if they don't, well, that's a nice bonus. Note that if they aren't attacked or anything and just stand there slack-jawed and wait for the 1d4 rounds to blow over, you can stun them again with Trill.

Breath weapon: 15d6 area damage is nice, especially as a caster killer. Ofcourse, the really nice bit is that you get to use Metabreath feats, which we haven't seen in quite some time. Maximize and Empower should do the trick nicely, I think, but substituting any of those with quicken/recover breath wouldn't be such a bad idea either.

Death Throes: Not much optimizing to be done here, but if all goes as planned, this should deliver the deathblow to what remains of the ex-triumphant heroes. The best you can do to take advantage of this ability is to be close to the party when you see the worm getting low on hit points.

Feats: Rip them out. All of them. Substitute abilityi focus for Trill and even Breath Weapon if you want. Get lightning reflexes to dodge incoming fireballs and such, and fill up any remaining slots with metabreath.

Strategy (assumes fighting in the open): Come out of burrowing, and immediately hit the party with Trill. Once they are, for the most part, stunned , hit them with the nastiest metabreath-blizzard you can muster up, and follow up with Recover Breath, if you have it. This should make sure that everyone is hit with Big Damage, including those with evasion. With any luck, the fighters are still stunned, since another will save won't really help them.

Target the weaker survivors, especially casters and anyone who can do fire damage, and proceed to bite them up into little chunks. Afterwards, bite away at the fighters, using your breath weapon once more, along with Trill if they just waited for it to wear off, if you actually live long enough for your Breath Weapon to recharge. You most likely won't be able to take them down like that, but if you are near them when you get downed, than you get to turn them into little chunks of frozen hero.

Harlequin
2007-11-03, 12:43 PM
Well, hello again, cog and all the other lurkers who read this thread. Sorry for my absence. Today I'm in a rather analytical mood, so without further ramblings, let's get to it.

I'm a fan of the idea of using them as totem-deities, and not just because you used the word 'totem' and I'm an incarnum-freak. But we'll go down that road anyway. There's at least one soulmeld that I know of pertaining to frost worms specifically, and probably more having to deal with cold creatures. Maybe some frozen tribes consider their leaders' power over incarnum blessed by their frost worm deity. Maybe it actually is. Along a different line, what if the worm was actually a god-king of one or more tribes? Unfortunately they're not intelligent enough to form peace bargains, but I'm sure it would work if the tribes brought it sacrifices in return for not eating their village.

Never would've thought of two-weapon lancing. That's genius work. The one problem is, their trill would affect those mounted too. There's probably a way I'm not thinking of to work around that.

Hunters could be a lot of fun to work with. That would go on my list of 'Most Epic D&D Experiences Ever' if the PCs organized an army to march on the frost worms territory, then were attacked from below while en route. Or if one stayed underground by just a couple feet and trilled while another one charged the army from several hundred feet away, that would give the PCs plenty of time for an 'Oh, [Expletive], there's nowhere to run' realization. And then panic sets in, and then it's fightin' time.

You can't actually give worms class levels. I don't know if this is true or not in the 3.0 MM, but in the SRD it has the thing's Intelligence pegged at 2. Which is still scary, because then a druid of the tundra can actually train these things to hunt for him! And then have a polar bear animal companion or something.

The 18 AC is laughable. I'd definitely boost it's natural armor and Dexterity, and probably raise its speed as a result too. And then give it another +10 Plot Device bonus or something. Same goes for the HP.

The cold subtype is kind of a pain, since fire is the most common energy damage. I'd be willing to play god and just ignore the +50%.

Trill+Breath Weapon+Metabreath=Lots and lots of pain and suffering. I like it.

More monsters need death throes. It makes the PCs actually have to think about how they're going to kill the thing. Let's go back to my army example. Okay, so the worm is critically injured, one more Scorching Ray or a volley of arrows will be the death of it. So it charges back into the ranks of the army. What happens next? Well, after I drop the +10 Plot Device AC bonus, all of the uneducated soldiers without Knowledge (Death Throes) will be able to take their glory shots at the beast. And then it dies. And everything within a hundred feet dies. The army has just been put through a blender. There probably won't be much of anything left at all, not even gear. So now's a perfect time to send a second worm after the PCs...

Uh...feats. Let's look at the feats...Oh my goodness. This is, um, appalling. Since I'm always a fan of monsters fighting in pairs (not fair that the PCs get to do it and not their foes), I'd give one all the metabreath feats and Ability Focus (Trill), and then turn the other into a tank with Awesome Blow and Shock Trooper. And then you have, once again, your very own bestial mini-party. Who says the players get to have all the fun? :smallamused:

Awesome entry, excellent ideas. And I do believe the fungi are next. Are you actually gonna do an entry for the shrieker? Far as I can tell they don't really deserve to have a Challenge Rating, they're more support for other monsters. Either way, I await the next entry eagerly!

Cogwheel
2007-11-04, 11:47 PM
Thanks for the detailed review, harlequin - never even thought of most of that. Actually, the Incarnum tie-in is completely unintentional - I was talking about totems, shamans etc. in a more traditional sense, since I don't actually own MoI, oh well..

As for frost worms, yes, you could actually gain power from them. how? Well, this may seem more familiar for those of you who play Eberron, but clerics can get spells just from power of belief and faith alone, kinda like sorcerors, but in a different manner. Thus, that could be how they actually get their spells (a domain cleric, mechanically speaking), but they believe that it comes from the not-so-friendly neighbourhood frost worm.

Two-weapon lancing... I can't picture it looking that good, but really, it's just a byproduct of my inner munchkin. As for dealing with Trill... Well, you could say that they have training that allows them to get used to it, or alternatively... earmuffs. That's all it would take, in my book. If you're going by-the-book, feel free to just make them spend a bit of time back at home before they move out, with the worm spamming Trills until they all get their 24-hour immunity.

As for the hunter scenario, you could also force them to actually trudge through the worm's tunnels (it does say they're usable afterwards) to get to it. Replace "nowhere to run" with "nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, your village will burn like the heart of the sun!" and you're good.

And int 2... my MM says 3, but I guess that's 3.0. At 2, druids and rangers could be a good explanation for how tribes get their own frost worms to use as they see fit.

Great idea on the plot device AC, although natural armour is quite similar, in that it has as much as you say it does.

Good point, more monsters need Death Throes, if only because it's one of the best thematic abilities. Although I still think Frost Worms get the most impressive one out of core monsters.

The pair of Frost Worms.... okay, that's the best idea here, real good one there, thanks.

And yes, impossible as it may seem, I plan to do an entry for Shriekers. OOC, they're fine as-is. To be useful in combat, I'm going to have to gut them severely and present something that can actually fight.

Harlequin
2007-11-11, 11:27 PM
I think a week without a post is long enough to constitute a bump. Can we expect another entry soon, cog?

Cogwheel
2007-11-13, 08:59 AM
Today, yes. Sorry, been horribly busy, and that cold of mine is only getting worse. Plus, statting a 25th level gestalt is something that tends to take up a lot of your time.

Anyway... writing the shrieker entry now - there will be stuff for the regular MM shrieker, but the IC will be for my own version of the shrieker. That is, one that doesn't begin and end with "you're a shrieking pile of vegetable matter, so shriek. Rinse, shriek and repeat."

Cogwheel
2007-11-13, 09:26 AM
Shrieker

OOC: A mushroom that is utterly harmless, and shrieks alot... how charming. As you might have noticed (and as practically every evil D&D race seems to have noticed), they are entirely harmless, but make for great alarms. Why? Well, they cost less than a magical alarm trap, can't be disabled by some random rogue, and, assuming they act like any other mushroom sans the giantness and shrieking, will actually replicate. The biggest factor, however, is that they're cheap. Most underground races, regardless of whether they are evil or not, should be using Shriekers for alarms, barring the few rich ones that want a "cleaner" magical alarm trap.

A classic Drow tactic which, despite being a Drow tactic, I actually support, is this: do not put shriekers out in the open. Ever. Instead, make a large garden of mushrooms. Whether one is a shrieker, some are shriekers, if they are all shriekers, and whether or not violet fungi are mixed in there is up to you. In any case, it works wonders. The Drow, or whatever other race, feed the shriekers with whatever leftovers they end up with to keep them in good working order, the shriekers do what they would do anyway, alerting the ones that deployed them, and everyone's happy, barring a few firmly dead adventurers.

Now, there's three ways that shriekers could work. One is that they grow all over the place, but those without an owner, creatures living nearby or violet fungi companions simply die off. The second is that violet fungi are actually mutant shriekers, or that shriekers are designed to drop spores that grow into equal parts shriekers and violet fungi, ensuring survival of the species without outside aid. The third is that shriekers can hunt for themselves, to a certain degree.

To do this, start by deciding what CR you want. Once you've decided, give them a sonic area nonlethal damage attack built into their shriek. Additionally, add a save-or-be-deafened effect to the shriek if you want a higher CR shrieker. They have a mouth on the underside, but that's unwieldy for attacks, and so can only be used to CdG and devour unconcious opponents. Additionally, they should have str and dex scores (low, mind you) and a slow movement speed - look to violet fungi for ballpark figures.

IC

Original shrieker: Shriek. Shriek some more. Isn't this wonderful?

New shrieker: stats here are malleable, depending on the CR you're going for. however, the strategy remains the same - shriek a lot, you may get aid. Also, deal subdual to all characters at once, hopefully taking any arcane damage threat out quickly - the real problem here is clerics and other divine casters, with their various direct light damage spells (searing light, sunburst etc.), but it should be possible to inflict some damage, all the same. Best if you have someone else around to CdG the characters as they fall, since the shrieker takes too long over it. Be sure to pick up Ability Focus (shriek) if there's any save involved, as well as improved initiative, and any save-boosters/improved toughness, and similar things that will give you more rounds of shrieking. Really, there isn't much to it, but atleast you're combat-capable.

Harlequin
2007-11-17, 02:14 AM
Leave it to cog to make even the shrieker a total badass.

Sorry it took me so long to respond. I actually couldn't find the thread for awhile, for whatever reason. Hope your cold's gotten better. I don't have a lot of time right now, but I'll post more feedback soon.

Cogwheel
2007-11-17, 06:54 AM
Slightly better, yes. Thanks harlequin.

And it's nothing impressive - it's a bit of an all-or-nothing deal, damage-wise. Either you're knocked out/a bit tired, or you're dead. Still, it's viable solo, which is some of what matters. The flavor was definitely good enough from the get-go, it just needed to be more than "so... why didn't you just get an alarm trap?"

Harlequin
2007-11-24, 06:24 PM
Woah. Another week without a post. Everything alright, cog?

Cogwheel
2007-11-26, 07:27 AM
Not in the least, no. I will, however, try to get an entry up tommorow, sorry everyone.

Harlequin
2007-11-29, 10:39 PM
Oh, wow. I'm really sorry, cog. Please don't feel pressured to get an entry up if you have bigger issues to worry about. I know how hard it can be to focus on things when your life's falling apart around you (my uncle attempted suicide about a month ago, and I haven't spoken to anyone on my mother's side of the family since). If you need some time off, please take it. I hope everything works out for the better for you.

Cogwheel
2007-12-04, 04:03 AM
And another delay... sorry everyone. Things aren't very likely to improve. The good news is that in a few days, once the first day or two of Chanukkah pass, There Shall Be Additional Mushrooms, and after that, I should mostly be back on track.

Cogwheel
2007-12-05, 08:55 AM
O-kay... didn't quite get around to it today, but tommorow I should be able to do it, and if not, I have the day after off, so I'll certainly have it up by then. And to compensate, the issue after it will contain a template of my own invention - Lichenthrope (admittedly, it's silly and based off a Magic card, but still usable:smallbiggrin:)

Harlequin
2007-12-14, 12:55 AM
Eight-day bump. Who's excited for the lichenthrope??

*raises hand*

Yami
2007-12-14, 01:46 AM
Eh... seems a bit silly to me. Now granted, there are games this concept would fit beautifully in no doubt, they just don't happen to be the sort of world I game.

Cogwheel
2007-12-15, 07:57 AM
Violet Fungus

OOC: So... the violet fungus. It's listed together with Shriekers, and they often work together. So, how do you go about explaining this? Try any of the explanations/reasons/excuses below...

1 - They're a variant strain of shriekers. Or rather, shriekers are a variant of violet fungi. Whenever several spores land together, all but one will develop into violet fungi, while the last becomes a shrieker, thus giving the whole a better survival rate.

2 - they are entirely different species, and happen to work together if they are in the vicinity. Independent shriekers still survive, as they use the version presented in my Shrieker entry.

3 - they are the exact same thing. Violet fungi are the original, and in a colony, some may mutate into shriekers (going through a plant-chrysallis like state in the process) to suit the needs of the whole.

Aside from that... well, same as I said for shriekers. hide them among lots of mushrooms, flail away when something comes near. The PCs might have an incentive to hunt them if they could use bits as rare spell components, or perhaps rip the cap off to make an exotic hat.

IC

AC/hp: Oh yes, 2 plant hit dice, 13 AC and too slow to run away at CR 3... haha, very funny. Moving on... give it some decent speed, AC, and about 2 more hit dice. You aren't overpowering it, you're merely making it something that can survive in a fight beyond the first round.

Poison: Certainly a nice poison, I must say. Not only does it lower two stats, but those two will make a big difference to melee characters, and con damage hurts anyone, especially at such a low level. Add to that the fact that you can make 4 attacks a turn, and you have a chance at taking down a party member.

Feats: Nothing terribly interesting here. I suggest weapon focus (tentacle) and ability focus (poison), to help you land as many hits with your poison as possible.

Strategy: Move slowly and quietly, try to get the drop on the party in whatever way you can. Sneak up on the party member with the lowest hit points/AC/fort save (your choice) and flail away with big poison. If you luck out, they get one-shotted. Really, there isn't much to this guy... just flail away at the party in any order you see fit, and you'll go down quick, but inflict some major damage. If you're in a mushroom patch, just make attacks of opportunity, and try to look like just another mundane giant mushroom.

Harlequin
2007-12-18, 12:14 AM
Welcome back, cog.

SoD
2007-12-26, 12:15 PM
OK, it's been about 8ish days...is there more coming soon (no pressure, just a little bump)?

Harlequin
2007-12-27, 11:50 PM
OK, it's been about 8ish days...is there more coming soon?

I sincerely hope so. Like SoD said, there's no pressure to get the next entry up, cog, we're just here keeping the thread alive for your return. Hope everything's alright.

DracoDei
2008-01-14, 06:11 AM
BUMP! (For Great Justice!)

Cogwheel
2008-01-15, 06:02 AM
Against all the odds, yes, I am alive. This is where the bad news starts, though (unless you were trying to assassinate me, in which case that was the bad news).

For quite some time now, I've been extremely busy with all sorts of things. As I'm sure you've all noticed, even when I'm not sick or out of town, updates are pretty sparse. Unfortunately, things are only getting more hectic over here. As such, I'll be stopping any updates until I get things sorted out... if any updates crop up before that time, I just lucked out - in principle, don't expect any updates for a while.

I'm really sorry to cut things off like this, but it was happening anyway, so I figured I should atleast warn you all. Truth be told, I was actually thinking of discontinuing the whole thing permanently, but that isn't really an option.

So... I'll try to get back to this as soon as humanely possible, but until then, consider this dead.

- C&T

Cogwheel
2008-02-19, 03:24 AM
Thanks for your patience, everyone. It's been a month and as of today, I'm officially back! ^_^

Now, I have no idea how regular updates will be, so I'm not making any promises - odds are, the rate will change wildly depending on how much time I have. I can promise, however, that I'm working on the Lichenthrope template right now, and will hopefully have it up within a few hours.

Thanks again!

Cogwheel
2008-02-19, 04:39 AM
Lichenthropes

Lichenthropes are the result of a mutant strain of violet fungi, which spread by infection... in a manner of speaking. Occasionally, spores from a violet fungus will attach to a giant or humanoid and bury itself in their skin, slowly making its way toward their brain. Once there, it will begin to spread. After the fungi has become sufficiently large, it gains a sort of rudimentary intelligence, the ability to communicate telepathically with its host and a curious shape-changing quality. This is generally when the host first becomes aware of the fungi's existence. From this stage on, the fungi can exert its shapechanging powers to morph the host - if only temporarily - into a violet fungus or a human/fungus hybrid form.

In most cases, the fungi is parasitic, and alters the host's form as it sees fit, often becoming more violent when they are in another form, seeking to infect another creature. In some cases, however, both host and fungus achieve a symbiotic relationship.

These fungi primarily spread by tentacle lashes from a Lichenthrope in hybrid or fungus form, and are rather rare. The fungi in a new host do not share a mind with the host that infected their own, nor can they communicate with them.

Creating a Lichenthrope

"Lichenthrope" is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid or giant (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

Size and Type

The base creature’s type does not change, but the creature gains the shapechanger subtype. The lichenthrope takes on the characteristics of a violet fungi (referred to hereafter as the base plant). Occasionally, this may be another type of fungi (see below)

Lichenthropes can also adopt a hybrid shape that combines features of the base creature and the base plant. A lichenthrope’s hybrid form is the same size as the base plant or the base creature, whichever is larger.

A lichenthrope uses either the base creature’s or the base plant’s statistics and special abilities in addition to those described here.

Hit Dice and Hit Points

Same as the base creature plus those of the base plant. To calculate total hit points, apply Constitution modifiers according to the score the lichenthrope has in each form.

Speed

Same as the base creature or base plant, depending on which form the lichenthrope is using. Hybrids use the base creature’s speed.

Armor Class

The base creature’s natural armor bonus increases by +2 in all forms. In hybrid form, the lichenthrope’s natural armor bonus is equal to the natural armor bonus of the base animal or the base plant, whichever is better.

Base Attack/Grapple

Add the base attack bonus for the base plant to the base attack bonus for the base creature. The lichenthrope’s grapple bonus uses its attack bonus and modifiers for Strength and size depending on the lichenthrope’s form.

Attacks

Same as the base creature or base plant, depending on which form the lichenthrope is using. A lichenthrope in hybrid form gain tentacles in place of their arms as natural weapons. These tentacles may still do anything the arms could do. These weapons deal damage based on the hybrid form’s size.

Damage

Same as the base creature or base plant, depending on which form the lichenthrope is in.

Special Attacks

A lichenthrope retains the special attacks of the base creature or base animal, depending on which form it is using, and also gains the special attacks described below.

A lichenthrope’s hybrid form does not gain any special attacks of the base plant. A lichenthrope spellcaster cannot cast spells with verbal, somatic, or material components while in animal form, but may case spells normally while in hybrid form.

Curse of Lichenthropy (Su)

Any humanoid or giant hit by a natural lichenthrope’s bite attack in animal or hybrid form must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or contract lichenthropy. If the victim’s size is not within one size category of the lichenthrope the victim cannot contract lichenthropy from that lichenthrope. Symbiotic lichenthropes can choose whether or not to pass the curse/spores on with each hit.

Special Qualities

A lichenthrope retains all the special qualities of the base creature and the base plant, and also gains those described below.

Alternate Form (Su)

A lichenthrope can assume the form of a specific fungus (as indicated in its entry).

Changing to or from fungus or hybrid form is a standard action.

A slain lichenthrope reverts to its humanoid form, although it remains dead. Separated body parts retain their plant form, however.

Parasitic lichenthropes find this ability difficult to control (as afflicted Lycanthropes), but symbiotic lichenthropes have full control over this power.

Lichenthropic Empathy (Ex)

In any form, lichenthropes can communicate and empathize with plants. This gives them a +4 racial bonus on checks when influencing the plant’s attitude and allows the communication of simple concepts and (if the animal is friendly) commands, such as "friend," "foe," "flee," and "attack." They also may use the Animal Empathy skill on plants.

Darkvision (Ex)

A lichenthrope has darkvision 60' in any form.

Base Save Bonuses

Add the base save bonuses of the base plant to the base save bonuses of the base creature.

Abilities

When in animal form, a lichenthrope’s physical ability scores improve according to its kind. These adjustments are equal to the animal’s normal ability scores -10 or -11. A lichenthrope in hybrid form modifies its physical ability scores by the same amount.

In addition, a lichenthrope may also gain an additional ability score increase by virtue of its extra Hit Dice.

Skills

A lichenthrope gains skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die of its plant form, as if it had multiclassed into the plant type. (Plant is never its first Hit Die, though, and it does not gain quadruple skill points for any plant Hit Die.) Any skill given in the plant’s description is a class skill for the lichenthrope’s plant levels. In any form, a lichenthrope also has any racial skill bonuses of the base creature and of the base plant, although conditional skill bonuses only apply in the associated form.

Feats

Add the base plant’s feats to the base creature’s. If this results in a lichenthrope having the same feat twice, the lichenthrope gains no additional benefit unless the feat normally can be taken more once, in which case the duplicated feat works as noted in the feat description. This process may give the lichenthrope more feats than a character of its total Hit Dice would normally be entitled to; if this occurs, any "extra" feats are denoted as bonus feats.

It’s possible that a lichrnthrope cannot meet the prerequisites for all its feats when in humanoid form. If this occurs, the lichenthrope still has the feats, but cannot use them when in humanoid form. A lichenthrope receives Iron Will as a bonus feat.

Environment

Same as either the base creature or base plant.

Organization

Solitary.

Challenge Rating

By class level or base creature, modified according to the HD of the base plant: 1 HD or 2 HD, +2; 3 HD to 5 HD, +3; 6 HD to 10 HD, +4; 11 HD to 20 HD, +5; 21 or more HD, +6.

Treasure

Standard.

Alignment

Usually Neutral.

Advancement

By character class.

Level Adjustment

Same as the base creature +1 (parasitic) or +2 (symbiotic). In addition, a lichenthrope’s character level is increased by the number of racial Hit Dice the base plant has.

Curing Lichenthropy

A remove disease , neutralize poison or heal spell cast by a cleric or druid cures the affliction after 24 hours if the character makes a DC 20 fortitude save.

The fungus may also be convinced to transfer itself entirely to another creature, such as a nearby animal. Such events, however, are extremely rare, even in symbiotic cases.

Genton
2008-02-20, 09:40 AM
This rocks Cog. Even though it's meant to be a joke, I could find a million ways to use this in my campaigns. Thanks! :)

Cogwheel
2008-02-21, 08:38 AM
Thank'ee. Ended up being a bit Marvel-hero-esque... believe me, this is unintentional. Change the name, though, and it's actually usable in a serious campaign. :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: just noticed the name... hi and welcome to the forums, Gen! :smallsmile:

Cogwheel
2008-02-25, 10:21 AM
Gargoyles

OOC: in a slight change from the norm, this entry will look at the how and why of gargoyles. First off - they look exactly like something you would expect to see on top of a castle or cathedral, and take advantage of just that. Bizzare and mysteriously convenient, no? Coincidence? A Wizard Did It? Possibly, but humour me and my monologue, will you?

Theory 1 - they're mutated shapeshifters. Some dopplegangers, phasms or some such thing found a niche and tried as hard as they could to morph into that form. Said form improved over time, the drawback being that it's now their only form.

Theory 2 - They're elementals. Originally (perhaps even now) they were burrowers that had a spiffy look - they would fly through earth, much like the Earth Glide ability that elementals have. Eventually, they adapted their form to disguising themselves as... well, gargoyles, and can fly properly now.

Theory 3 - a wizard did it. They're originally living constructs, halfway between a live creature and an animated object. Said wizard used them as guards until they escaped/the wizard released them in the name of A Good Laugh.

IC

HP/AC: I could wish for a better AC, yes, but atleast the HP isn't too shoddy. Still makes melee undesirable, but not disastrous.

Freeze: pre-combat use only. Basically nets you a surprise round in most cases. Can actually be used in combat and most will think it's a statue, ridicolous as that sounds.

DR: VERY nice. Many actually won't have magic weapons at this stage, so it's better than you may think.

Strategy: sorry to disappoint, but this is a simple one. Ambush, attack with some sort of ranged weapon, and shoot up the casters, followed by anyone else with a ranged attack that can get past your DR. Taking Rapid Shot and such may be a good idea, or Far Shot, even. Basically, the sooner the caster is down, the better your chances are. If you are forced into melee some how, it's not good, but not a death sentence, either.

Cogwheel
2008-04-19, 12:39 AM
Genies - Djinn

OOC: Genies are one of the oldest mythical monsters out there, and were also one of the first to get drafted into D&D. They get stuck in lamps, wander around deserts, and grant wishes.

Djinns, on the other hand, skip on most of that. There is, as far as I know, no mechanic for sticking genies in a bottle (just the generic "capture" clause), they live on the elemental plane of air (definitely no deserts), and, yes, they grant wishes. From what I've seen, not much detail is given as to what they do on that plane. Seeing as 1% of the population seems to be able to use Wish spells at will, it's a wonder they haven't taken over the world yet, but I'd say they would atleast lord over the other Djinn.

Being CG, though, that won't happen - they probably live in small clusters, enough to get by, but not in particularly large, organized groups. The noble Djinn would be quite revered, and use their Wish SLAs to care for the rest of the group. Odds are, they're better off than anyone else on the plane, but don't interact with others much, as there's simply no need.

IC

HP/AC: High HP (for an outsider, anyway. Pity it's a d8) and low AC. Chain shirt or mithril breastplate/full plate, anyone?

Attacks: Slam for 1d8+5. At CR 5. Time the DMing world did them a favour, considering their BAB. Sword-and-shield or a big two-hander should work nicely.

Acid immunity: bizzare, I know. Electricity immunity or none at all would fit far better, in my opinion, but it had to be acid. Maybe because of the strange Acid=Earth connection that WotC makes. This is more useful than you might think, though - acid is the first answer for elemental damage as far as most blasters are concerned, so they might well waste a round or (with luck) two over this.

Plane Shift&Telepathy: Only good for fluff, in this case, and who cares about that?

Whirlwind: your primary attack - there's no limit to the amount of stuff a whirlwind can hold, apparently, and it does lots of damage to everyone at once. Note that the duration in practice seems to be equal to the Djinn's HD.

Overall strategy: flight-and-bow doesn't work quite as well by this level (you just get sniped with spells and ranged weapons), but might be viable depending on the party. In general, though, I suggest an uncomplicated tactic: whirlwind the lot of them, and if you/they are still upright when the duration runs out, start hitting them with any weapon you have handy.

Katasi
2008-07-10, 12:23 AM
So is that all?