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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

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    Default Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    I came across a thread titled Villains of Mechanical Cheese some time ago, and thought it was neat. It's full of suggestions for how to make famous theoretical-optimization builds and/or weird rules tricks work as villains, some ordinarily optimized villain builds from people who almost got the point, and the uprising of the poleariat. But above all, I like the idea of turning ridiculous mechanical concepts into characters. (I don't know why, it just seems neat to me.)

    I'm curious if anything like that could be made for 5e. It's designed much more tightly, which means fewer loose ends that could get pulled out and tied into fun shapes (and/or used to unravel the entire system), but it also means that even small deviations stand out more. I don't follow the charop community that much, so I wanted to ask you guys if you could think of any such interesting exploits in 5e.
    I know about the coffeelock, which seems like a prime candidate for this sort of thing. A sorcerer who made a deal with a fiend for forbidden power and something that lets him function without sleep (maybe infernal coffee beans?), who has abused his natural gifts and pact boons to gain unlimited magical power. Of course, even if he can function without sleep, sleep deprivation probably has a negative effect on his psyche...

    Does anyone else know of some cheesily powerful tricks in 5e? Something that lets you boost numbers beyond their intended bounds, or get advantage ridiculously easily, or use something-or-other levels ahead of time, or anything silly like that which few DMs would allow at a table?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Greywander's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    PAM and Sentinel, with the Tunnel Fighter fighting style from UA. Combine with a reach weapon. You literally can't get close enough to do most melee attacks, unless you are also using a reach weapon. Combine with a bodyguard who is an Ancients paladin (at least 7th level) and uses the Protection fighting style to shield their master and keep him healed.

    Devil's Sight + Darkness combo. There are a lot of ways to turn that into cheese. Maybe make them a grappler with levels in rogue; cast Darkness on your victim, grapple them, then repeatedly sneak attack them. Make it a half-elf and get Elven Accuracy for some crit-fishing goodness.

    Eh, that's all I can think of off the top of my head. In general, if you want some real cheese, look at UA content. Or DanDWiki; after all, you're the DM so you have the say on what homebrew gets allowed.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Its a very light cheese, but one that a villain can have great fun with: the Friends cantrip turn people hostile to you. If you can use it and disappear within a minute, you can do it disguised as someone else (both disguise self and the Actor feat help here), to make your victim hostile to them.

    If your DM rules that Charm Person always makes the target hostile afterwards, this trick is even more powerful, because the longer duration allows for a lot of usable situations.

    Go subtle sorcerer so no one has a clue of what you are doing.
    Last edited by diplomancer; 2019-05-19 at 07:51 AM.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    PAM and Sentinel, with the Tunnel Fighter fighting style from UA. Combine with a reach weapon. You literally can't get close enough to do most melee attacks, unless you are also using a reach weapon.
    Make it a level 7+ Vengeance paladin to make jaws drop.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    @Greywander
    I failed to find Tunnel Fighting style in the WotC UA.

    If you would be so kind as to post what that does, I'd appreciate it.
    (Link for those that want it?)

    ******
    While Darkness and Warlock with Devil's Sight is ok: By RAW, it's not needed against foes outside the area, if cast on yourself.

    Shadow Sorcerer's Darkness is another way to do that "I see you, while you can't see me" trick.

    Or anyone with a Familiar, and the person using a Familiar with Blindsight (echolocation for Bat) while "seeing" through the Familiar's senses. This works even with Fog Cloud, etc.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-05-19 at 01:13 PM.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    @Greywander
    I failed to find Tunnel Fighting style in the WotC UA.

    If you would be so kind as to post what that does, I'd appreciate it.
    (Link for those that want it?)

    ******
    While Darkness and Warlock with Devil's Sight is ok: By RAW, it's not needed against foes outside the area, if cast on yourself.

    Shadow Sorcerer's Darkness is another way to do that "I see you, while you can't see me" trick.

    Or anyone with a Familiar, and the person using a Familiar with Blindsight (echolocation for Bat) while "seeing" through the Familiar's senses. This works even with Fog Cloud, etc.
    Link: https://media.wizards.com/2015/downl...Characters.pdf
    Here ya go, it's an old one, so it makes some sense you'd have trouble finding it.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    @Dungeon-noob "Link: (snip)
    Here ya go, it's an old one, so it makes some sense you'd have trouble finding it.

    Thanks!!!
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-05-19 at 03:26 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    @Greywander
    I failed to find Tunnel Fighting style in the WotC UA.

    If you would be so kind as to post what that does, I'd appreciate it.
    You can use a bonus action to make opportunity attacks without using your reaction until the start of your next turn. In other words, unlimited OAs. Combined with PAM, and you get an OA against everyone who approaches you. Combined with Sentinel, and their speed drops to 0 when you hit them with an OA. Since you're already out of their reach, you can just step back 5 feet and repeat the process on the next turn. This build does suffer from a weakness to spells and ranged attacks, so maybe find a way to counter those (or don't, and let the players figure it out so they can beat this villain).

    Or anyone with a Familiar, and the person using a Familiar with Blindsight (echolocation for Bat) while "seeing" through the Familiar's senses. This works even with Fog Cloud, etc.
    IIRC, seeing through your familiar's senses requires an action every round, which prevents you from doing almost anything else at the same time.

    Another build that's more suitable for a villain and less powergamer-oriented would be a GOOlock (probably Chain pact) with at-will Disguise Self and Silent Image. Layer on disguise kit proficiency (for those who can see through illusions) and the Actor feat (for doing different voices for each persona). Have the villain also take on the role of various quest givers sending the PCs out to do his work for him with them none the wiser. That's right, he's sending the PCs out to stop himself by getting the macguffin before he does, so that they can turn around and give it to him. This sort of villain would best be played as a character that is physically weak and can't put up a fight once he gets cornered, but always has an escape plan and lots of powerful minions to defend him.

    Maybe when the players do eventually kill him, he comes back as a lich, killing him being the final step to trigger the transformation. Still fairly weak, but now much harder to kill permanently.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Simulacrum/wish could be some lazy wizard who just wants someone else to do their work for them, but ends up frustrated when he creates a horde of equally lazy snow-wizards.

    "Next time I'll just summon some fiends."

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    GreatWyrmGold's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Quote Originally Posted by XmonkTad View Post
    Simulacrum/wish could be some lazy wizard who just wants someone else to do their work for them, but ends up frustrated when he creates a horde of equally lazy snow-wizards.

    "Next time I'll just summon some fiends."
    I think Calvin and Hobbes had an arc like that. Minus the snow and fiends, plus a cardboard box.
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Mechanical Cheese for Villainy

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I think Calvin and Hobbes had an arc like that. Minus the snow and fiends, plus a cardboard box.
    Calvin would make an excellent villain. As long as he had a cardboard box anyway.

    I forgot my favorite mechanical cheese! The Arcane Programmer! By using colossal amounts of repeating Magic Mouths in a number of complicated arrangements with various trigger conditions you can have greatly enhanced senses, communication, and an anti magic field detector.

    The kind of villain using this cheese would likely be a a gnome of some sort. A bard, wizard, or anyone with ritual casting can get it, so your villain could well be an insane barbarian who's mouths are all programmed with various screams that only he understands.

    In my mind, the arcane programmer is an inquisitive rogue who hunts the party and can track them through any sort of deception, likely to try and punish the party for some crime or other.

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