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    Default The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    For a while I've been noticing that it's very hard to develop a credible single-creature threat for high-level players without turning the battle into a game of rocket tag (who kills who fastest). So with that in mind, I've begun designing a complex, multifaceted creature that, given a simple, plain playing field, will create a challenging, tactical, and rewarding fight for mid-high-level players. From that idea, I created the panelemental construct.

    Panelemental Construct, Earth Form
    Huge Construct (Earth)
    Hit Dice 20d10 (200 HP)
    Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
    Initiative +0
    Armor Class 32 (-2 size, +24 natural); touch 8; flat-footed 32
    Base Attack/Grapple +15/+33
    Attack Slam +25 melee (2d6+10)
    Full Attack 2 slams +25 melee (2d6+10)
    Space 15 ft; Reach 15 ft.
    Special Attacks Stone Pillar, Shockwave
    Special Qualities Extreme toughness, Solid Stone, fast healing 5, darkvision 60 ft., earth glide, unstable core, spell resistance 25, construct traits
    Saves Fort +8 Ref +8 Will +9
    Abilities Str 30, Dex 10, Con -, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills
    Feats Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Awesome Blow, Snatch, Ability Focus (Stone Pillar)
    Environment Underground, caves
    Organization Solitary
    Challenge Rating 16
    Alignment Always neutral
    Advancement -
    Level Adjustment -
    A monolith of stone easily two stories high rises from the earth beneath you. Crags of metals and harder rocks bulge from its brutish, humanoid body. Thin cracks in its earthen body emit a scintillating light, as if it were glowing from within.

    Panelemental constructs are enormous beings made by hollowing the insides of an elder earth elemental and binding each of the other three types of elementals to its interior. They are immensely powerful, but devote much of their energy to keeping the vast energy source within them contained.
    Panelemental constructs do not speak, but understand Common, Terran, Aquan, Auran, and Ignan.

    Combat

    While its earthen shell is intact, panelemental constructs use their strength and control over earth to its best effect. They are unsubtle combatants, but smart enough to recognize spellcasters and break formations. Whenever possible, they summon a stone pillar below any enemy out of melee range and then proceed to use Shockwave or Snatch to break melee formations. They have no sense of self-preservation and will fight to the death in all cases.

    Stone Pillar (Su): Any time the panelemental construct is in an area composed mostly of stone, he can summon a 10'x10' stone pillar within 100 feet as a free action once per round. This pillar appears from the ground and extends to the ceiling or 50 feet into the air, whichever is smaller. If summoned below a creature, they must make a DC 22 reflex save or take 10d6 crushing damage as the pillar rams into them. This save is dexterity-based. A successful save reduces the damage by half. Regardless of their save result, the player is then shunted to the closest possible square outside of the pillar. The pillar has 250 HP and hardness 8, and is permanent unless destroyed.

    Shockwave (Ex): As a standard action, a panelemental construct may slam their fists into the ground below. This knocks back any creatures in a threatened square, dealing 5d4 sonic damage (DC 30 fortitude save half, strength based) and initiating a bull rush against them. The construct makes a single bull rush check against all targets and pushes them back as far as possible. Any players who successfully saved against the sonic damage are not bull rushed. It does not have to follow any targets successfully bull rushed.

    Extreme Toughness (Ex): Panelemental constructs receive the maximum possible hit points for each of their hit dice.

    Solid Stone (Ex): A panelemental construct's rocky shell is magically hardened to the point that it takes half damage from piercing and slashing weapons. However, it is so unyielding that it takes 50% more damage from bludgeoning weapons due to its brittleness.
    Unstable Core (Ex): Upon reaching 0 hit points, a panelemental construct's earthen shell crumbles, revealing its energized interior and changing the construct to its Tempest Core form. It begins in this form at full HP.

    Spoiler
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    I designed the first phase of the Panelemental Construct fight to last a fairly long time but not deal much damage. It exists mostly to wear the players down and create pillars, an important part of the battlefield in the next phase. It is, overall, designed to keep the party scattered and the melee out of range. The two-phase design in general also nullifies "encounter winners" like maximized disintegrates or save-or-lose spells.


    Panelemental Construct, Tempest Core
    Huge Elemental (Air)
    Hit Dice 20d8+40 (200 HP)
    Speed Fly 60 ft. perfect (12 squares)
    Initiative +10
    Armor Class 18 (-2 size, +10 dex); touch 18; flat-footed 8
    Base Attack/Grapple -/-
    Attack None
    Full Attack None
    Space 15 ft; Reach -
    Special Attacks Explosion, Air Control, Electric Discharge, Spell-like Abilities
    Special Qualities Extreme toughness, spell immunity, fast healing 15, death throes, gaseous, firestorm, elemental traits
    Saves Fort +10 Ref +18 Will +9
    Abilities Str 6, Dex 30, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills
    Feats Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Flyby Attack, [three more TBA]
    Environment Underground, caves
    Organization Solitary
    Challenge Rating 16
    Alignment Always neutral
    Advancement -
    Level Adjustment -
    Pieces of the construct begin to crumble, sending shafts of light piercing through the dust. As its stony body falls away, it reveals a brightly glowing, amorphous sphere within it, crackling with electricity, pulsating with fire, and hissing with steam.

    The energized core of the panelemental construct takes the form of a 15-foot sphere of neverending storms. The energy it contains, without a shell to hold it, explodes forth constantly and forcefully.


    Combat

    Without its earthen shell, the construct has no attacks to use, instead falling back on its powerful special attacks, using them at every opportunity to incite chaos and keep its foes under control.

    Extreme Toughness (Ex): Panelemental constructs receive the maximum possible hit points for each of their hit dice.

    Explosion (Su): The core explodes with a massive burst of energy as a standard action, dealing 10d6 fire damage in a 100-foot burst centered around itself. A DC 25 reflex save reduces this damage by half. This save is intelligence-based and includes a +2 racial bonus. Anything that blocks line of effect to a target allows it to ignore the effects of the explosion, but the object blocking the explosion takes full damage from it.

    Spell-like Abilities (Sp): At will - Heat Metal, Chill Metal

    Air Control (Sp): As a free action once per round, the core can create a gust of wind effect as the spell with a caster level of 15. However, the effect may originate from any point to which the core has line of sight.

    Electric Discharge (Sp): As a free action, the core can create a lightning bolt effect as the spell with a caster level of 10 and a save DC of 23 (intelligence-based). After using this ability, the construct may not use it again for 1d4 rounds.

    Gaseous (Ex): The construct, at this point, has no solid elements, and thus threatens no squares and has no physical attacks.

    Spell Immunity (Ex): The core is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows for spell resistance, except any fire or electricity spell, for which it automatically fails its save and is healed of any damage the spell would normally do. Any healing above its regular hit points is added as temporary hit points with a duration of one hour. In addition, several spells affect it differently, as noted below:
    A control weather spell deals 25 damage without a save and disables the construct's damaging attacks for 1d4 rounds.
    A dismissal spell deals 50 damage without a save.
    A control water spell slows the construct, as the spell.
    A banishment spell kills the construct instantly if it fails its save.

    Firestorm (Su): The core is constantly surrounded by a massive, whirling storm of flame. When hit by a melee attack, the attacker takes 1d6+5 fire damage. Reach weapons avoid this damage.

    Death Throes (Su): When reduced to 0 hit points, all energy remaining in the core is released, dealing 5d6 fire, 5d6 electricity, and 5d6 cold damage in a 30 foot burst. There is no save against this damage.

    Spoiler
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    This segment of the fight falls to a traditional "rocket tag" strategy. The construct is fairly fragile and has none of the defenses its shell did, but is bristling with heavy damage-dealing and battlefield control effects. The players will quickly be routed by this phase if they don't kill the construct quickly. The explosion, of course, makes use of the pillars created by the first phase to keep the players safe, giving the fight a heavy tactical element and rewarding players with the Shot on the Run or Spring Attack feats.


    If you guys could evaluate the assigned CR of this boss monster as well as any issues with its abilities or points of imbalance, it'd be much appreciated. I'm also looking for recommendations on the second form's three remaining feats.
    Last edited by Cheesy74; 2011-08-18 at 10:01 AM.
    HOMEBREW
    The Panelemental Construct - A memorable boss encounter for characters levels 14-17
    The Projector - A class capable of punching people from across a room. Among other things.
    The Card Shark - A chance-based PrC that wields a Deck of Battle to fill any role in a party.
    The Fury - A tank fueled by madness that's incredibly easy to hit but incredibly hard to hurt.
    The Phase Dancer - A spellsword who has learned to use teleportation to stab people.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    I hate to bump, but I'd deeply appreciate some feedback before my players face this thing next weekend.
    HOMEBREW
    The Panelemental Construct - A memorable boss encounter for characters levels 14-17
    The Projector - A class capable of punching people from across a room. Among other things.
    The Card Shark - A chance-based PrC that wields a Deck of Battle to fill any role in a party.
    The Fury - A tank fueled by madness that's incredibly easy to hit but incredibly hard to hurt.
    The Phase Dancer - A spellsword who has learned to use teleportation to stab people.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    The first form is well protected against melee (except that its dreadful AC opens it up to some heavy PA), but doesn't have any defenses against casters (beyond construct type).

    Also needs a range on the Stone Pillar ability unless the only limit is range of sight.

    The tempest core has some much better anti-magic and can't be attacked except by fliers and is all and all a lot stronger. Also does gaseous make it immune to non-magical weapons?
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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    For a while I've been noticing that it's very hard to develop a credible single-creature threat for high-level players without turning the battle into a game of rocket tag (who kills who fastest).
    The problem is your premise -- a creature doesn't always have to be a threat. In fact, the best monsters are ones that the players encounter more than once and often aren't a threat in the beginning.

    It helps if you put blank lines between your paragraphs. The wall of text is a bit much to get through.

    Also, I'm not sure that you understand what giving a Creature a subtype actually does.

    Here's the Run down:
    Spoiler
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    Air Subtype

    This subtype usually is used for elementals and outsiders with a connection to the Elemental Plane Air. Air creatures always have fly speeds and usually have perfect maneuverability.

    Cold Subtype

    A creature with the cold subtype has immunity to cold. It has vulnerability to fire, which means it takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from fire, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

    Fire Subtype

    A creature with the fire subtype has immunity to fire. It has vulnerability to cold, which means it takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from cold, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

    Water Subtype

    This subtype usually is used for elementals and outsiders with a connection to the Elemental Plane of Water. Creatures with the water subtype always have swim speeds and can move in water without making Swim checks. A water creature can breathe underwater and usually can breathe air as well.


    It can have both Fire and Cold but then it is simply immune to both Fire and Cold. The Air and Water subtypes make no sense in this context. It can be made of all elements but it's clearly not from the Plane of Water or the Plane of Air. It doesn't breath water or swim but it does fly. The Water Subtype doesn't fit but Air sorta does. Still, I don't think you correctly applied the subtypes in your creation.


    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-09-30 at 05:53 PM.
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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    I had assumed subtypes were just designations. I'll toss those and fix up the formatting.

    As for the "threat" issue, I understand the value of plot-based recurring foes, but the intent here is to make a "miniboss" sort of creature, independent of a storyline. I tried to keep its origins nonspecific so it can be inserted into campaigns with relative ease, as a side quest of sorts.

    @Zaydos: I like to think of its gaseousness as a bit like an air elemental's form. Sure, it's not physical in any way, but the gas is still part of it, so separating parts of it, even with nonmagical weaponry, will cause damage. Also, in response to your comments on the earthen form, I agree that it's pretty weak to magic, even for a construct. I gave it some average spell resistance, buffed its AC up slightly to compensate for power attacking, and gave its Stone Pillar ability a range.
    Last edited by Cheesy74; 2010-09-30 at 07:29 PM.
    HOMEBREW
    The Panelemental Construct - A memorable boss encounter for characters levels 14-17
    The Projector - A class capable of punching people from across a room. Among other things.
    The Card Shark - A chance-based PrC that wields a Deck of Battle to fill any role in a party.
    The Fury - A tank fueled by madness that's incredibly easy to hit but incredibly hard to hurt.
    The Phase Dancer - A spellsword who has learned to use teleportation to stab people.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    Constructs get bonus hit dice based on their size. The Panelemental Construct, Earth Form HD should read 20d10+40 (240 hp).

    The core should still have a Str score, otherwise it can't exert force. Other air elementals have a Strength score. See online SRD or MM.

    A creature with no Strength score can’t exert force, usually because it has no physical body or because it doesn’t move. The creature automatically fails Strength checks. If the creature can attack, it applies its Dexterity modifier to its base attack bonus instead of a Strength modifier.
    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-10-01 at 09:13 AM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either.

    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.

    I've got a red pen and I'm not afraid to use it.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    The core should still have a Str score, otherwise it can't exert force. Other air elementals have a Strength score. See online SRD or MM.
    I'm aware, but it's not an air elemental, and it specifically states it doesn't have a strength score. I understand you're trying to keep this consistent, but I'm changing this for a reason.
    HOMEBREW
    The Panelemental Construct - A memorable boss encounter for characters levels 14-17
    The Projector - A class capable of punching people from across a room. Among other things.
    The Card Shark - A chance-based PrC that wields a Deck of Battle to fill any role in a party.
    The Fury - A tank fueled by madness that's incredibly easy to hit but incredibly hard to hurt.
    The Phase Dancer - A spellsword who has learned to use teleportation to stab people.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Constructs get bonus hit dice based on their size. The Panelemental Construct, Earth Form HD should read 20d10+40 (240 hp).
    It's usually average hit points that are given, not maximum, so it would be more like 140 hp. 150 if you consider that first level is full hit points.

    Also in reply to the last post, the rules are that if you have no strength score you cannot move.
    Last edited by DireSockPuppet; 2010-10-02 at 11:05 AM.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSockPuppet View Post
    It's usually average hit points that are given, not maximum, so it would be more like 140 hp. 150 if you consider that first level is full hit points.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesy74 View Post
    Extreme Toughness (Ex): Panelemental constructs receive the maximum possible hit points for each of their hit dice.


    EDIT: Seems a rather odd rule, but alright. Given a strength score, though they still won't threaten squares or have attacks.
    Last edited by Cheesy74; 2010-10-02 at 11:09 AM.
    HOMEBREW
    The Panelemental Construct - A memorable boss encounter for characters levels 14-17
    The Projector - A class capable of punching people from across a room. Among other things.
    The Card Shark - A chance-based PrC that wields a Deck of Battle to fill any role in a party.
    The Fury - A tank fueled by madness that's incredibly easy to hit but incredibly hard to hurt.
    The Phase Dancer - A spellsword who has learned to use teleportation to stab people.

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    Default Re: The Panelemental Construct [Creature] (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSockPuppet View Post
    Also in reply to the last post, the rules are that if you have no strength score you cannot move.
    Not quite true, if you use nonabilities for it. From the SRD:

    Quote Originally Posted by Nonabilities
    Some creatures lack certain ability scores. These creatures do not have an ability score of 0—they lack the ability altogether. The modifier for a nonability is +0. Other effects of nonabilities are detailed below.

    Strength
    Any creature that can physically manipulate other objects has at least 1 point of Strength. A creature with no Strength score can’t exert force, usually because it has no physical body or because it doesn’t move. The creature automatically fails Strength checks. If the creature can attack, it applies its Dexterity modifier to its base attack bonus instead of a Strength modifier.
    So a creature can have Str -- if it has no ability to exert physical force, such as a Ghost manifesting on the Material Plane.
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