View Full Version : Low-Level Masterminds

2009-07-18, 04:59 PM
This is a contest to help with a minor problem.
Most masterminds are highish level, and almost all low-level monsters are humanoids with class levels, melee brutes, or both.
So, I challenge you to make a low-CR mastermind.

All entries must be in by August 8th, 3 weeks from now. Any posts made on august 9th or later will be diqualified. Anyone posting entries before July 18th will be disqualified for some form of time travel. :smalltongue:
You may edit your post at any point until voting begins.
Voting will be from August 9th to August 19th. Any votes after that point will be disqualified.
Votes made by contestants will be ignored.

+4 per vote
+2 for an ability that interacts with minions
-4 per point of CR above 2.
-10 if the creature lacks any special abilities.

2009-07-18, 05:07 PM
Now, this is a contest to my liking. Let's see what I can come up with. ^^

But what are special abilities?

2009-07-18, 09:50 PM
"Mastermind"? Also, what qualifies as "low-CR"? and are there any limits on type, can it have class levels, etc?

2009-07-18, 09:53 PM
"Mastermind"? Also, what qualifies as "low-CR"? and are there any limits on type, can it have class levels, etc?

The rules state that your entry receives a -2 penalty for every point of CR above 2 your creation has.

2009-07-18, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the clarifiaction, Vaynor. What makes a mastermind though, and i'm curious about what class level limits there are (if we can use them or not).

Well I take it to mean something like this:

Masterminds are introspective, pragmatic, directive, and attentive. As strategists, they are better than any other type at brainstorming approaches to situations. Masterminds are natural but not eager leaders, stepping forward only when it becomes obvious to them that they are the best for the job. Strong-willed and very self-assured, they may make this decision quickly, as they tend to make all decisions. But though they are decisive, they are open to new evidence and new ideas, flexible in their planning to accommodate changing situations. They tend to excel at judging the usefulness of ideas and will apply whatever seems most efficient to them in accomplishing their clearly envisioned goals. To Masterminds, what matters is getting it doneóbut also learning the principles of how to get it done efficiently and well, that is, at a professional level of quality. However, they may give little thought to the personal cost of getting there, "focusing so tightly on their own pursuits [that] they can ignore the points of view and wishes of others."[1]:200

Masterminds are highly pragmatic, and they will put forth a great deal of time and effort to implement effective ideas. They are driven to solve complex problems and to create organized, decided, and executed solutions. Masterminds tend to make positive statements instead of negative ones, focusing on how to make the organization more efficient in the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes.

Masterminds are also highly theoretical, and the most open-minded of the 16 role variants. Before Masterminds adopt a theoretical notion, they insist on researching all the available data and checking the idea against reality. Masterminds are suspicious of theories based on poor research and will discard ideas that cannot be effectively implemented.

As leaders, Masterminds are skilled in contingency planning and entailment organizing, which are directive activities that tell the planner what activities to do and in what order to do them. Once in a position of power, Masterminds are known for their efficiency and willingness to adopt useful ideas.

Essentially, the brains behind the operation. They guy that makes all the plans.

2009-07-18, 10:47 PM
So we have to make a monster, at CR 2, that is basically just a monster that controls others?

It seems like there would be problems with this; at low levels, it would be either too tough (you can't drop the monster quickly and it's followers kill you with it's bonuses) or too easy (you can drop it quickly). That doesn't seem that bad, but it's kind of a razors edge; at such low levels, getting swarmed can be a great way to kill off PCs.

Or maybe I'm just not good enough at making monsters.

2009-07-19, 03:37 AM
I thik the idea behind a low-level mastermind is not to make a strong enemy you have to overcome in battle. They don't just attack you and you can't just walk up to them and beat them with a sword until they die.
It's going to be more of a roleplaying encounter.
How do you get control and power when you are physically and magically weak and there are people who could simply kill you in a second if they get their hands on you? That's the idea here, so get creative.

2009-07-19, 06:50 AM

Small dragon
Hit dice: 1d12+2 (8 hp)
Inititative: +2
Speed: 0 ft
Armor class: 8 (10 + 1(size) - 5 (dex) + 2 natural)
Base Attack: +1
Saves: fort +3, ref -4, will +3
Abilities: 1 str, 1 dex, 14 con, 17 int, 15 wis, 16 cha
power points: 4
Challenge Rating: 2
Skills: 7 Perform (oratory),1 Listen,7 Bluff,7 Diplomacy,7 Intimidate,6 Autohypnosis,7 Psicraft,6 Concentration,7 Gather Information

Advancement: alternating by HD(2-7 small, 8-15 medium) and psion level.

Egglings are abandoned, unborn dragons. After what would have been their brooding time, most dragon feutuses will have died. The strongest ones however, survive. They devalop their mental abilities to gain some control over their environment, making the best of what they have. Over time, their eggshell grows thicker and leaves traces of the ectoplasmic legs. Over the course of centuries, an eggling will form it's shell to be shaped like a medium humanoid made of limestone.
They easily befriend reptilian wildlife, which gives them an edge when they start dealing with intelligent creatures such as kobolds. Typically, they start as an advisor to a small group, eventually becoming the power behind the throne of a large and thriving kobold tribe.

Egg (ex):
As an egg, the eggling cannot really move. the only strength and dexterity an eggling has is that of will. For the purpose of attacks and initiative, use charisma as strength and wisdom as dexterity. The egg form imposes a -5 penalty to listen, and disallows vision altogether.

Eggshell (ex):
The shell provides a damage reduction of 5/bludgeoning, and it has a 25% chance not to transmit spells to the creature within.

Telepathic Voice(su):
An Eggling can speak in the minds of creatures with a draconic heiritage. The creature spoken to instantly realises the voice is telepathic, and it can communicate back with emotions only.

Being a dragon, an eggling is immune to sleep and paralysis. The eggling does not get darkvision, because its eyes haven't been fully devaloped.

Speak with animals(sp):
An Eggling can use speak with animals at will, but with reptiles only. Such animals typically have a friendly attitude towards the Eggling.

An Eggling knows catfall, psionic daze and crystal shard.

Ectoplasmic legs(sp):
An Eggling can grow ectoplasmic legs at the cost of 1 power point. These give him a land speed of 10 ft.

Inspire Courage(Su):
An Eggling can use Inspire Courage at will as a level 1 bard.

2009-07-27, 06:19 AM
12 days until the end...nearly halfway through, and only one entry.

2009-07-27, 10:49 AM
Queen Lucrezia.

Human; female; Aristocrat 2/Sorceress 1; CR 2; Medium Humanoid; 12 hp; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 dex), touch 11, ff 10; BAB +1; Grapple +0;

Mwk Dagger +2 melee/+2 ranged (1d4-1/19-20, 1lb, light, range inc. 10', piercing or slashing).

LE; Fort -1, Ref +1, Will +5;

Str 8 Dex 12 Con 10 Int 15 Wis 11 Cha 16;

Special Abilities: Drow blood (faerie fire 1/day)

Bluff +11, Craft (calligraphy) +5, Diplomacy +12, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +7, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (arcana) +4, Perform (dance) +8, Perform (oratory) +6, Ride +4, Sleight of hand +6, Spellcraft +4.

Dodge, Persuasive, Weapon Finess.

Spells known (5/4): 0- detect magic, detect poison, ray of frost, mage hand, 1st- charm person, colour spray.

Possesions: Masterwork dagger, signet ring, poison ring, royal outfit, mirror of mental prowess, scroll of Geas, jewellery.

Special Abilities:
Drow Blood[sp]: Lucrezia can cast faerie fire as a spell-like ability once per day, due to her drow descent.

19 year old Queen Lucrezia has just ascended to the throne of her small kingdom after her father (a vicious tyrant) was killed in an abortive coup. After defeating the plotters with the help of her loyal supporters, she had their leader (a noted homosexual) killed by being skewered on an iron rod. Beautiful and devious, the raven haired queen lives a life of decadent luxury on the back of oppressive taxation of her downtrodden peasantry. She lives in her grim ancestoral castle on the bleak moors of her highland kingdom.

She is assisted by her, and her fathers before her, advisor and court magician; a LE wizard 2/ex-druid 1, a sinister, black-cowled figure armed with a staff. Her champion, a low intelligence warrior 5. And her foppish, cowardly and syncophantic cousin, an aristocrat 4 in his early 20s.

Lucrezia is in possession of a hollow poison ring that she is rumoured to used to poison drinks. She also has a powerful magic mirror. On her mothers side, Lucrezia is descended from drow and unseelie fay.

2009-07-27, 03:55 PM
Boss Marconi
The Marconi family are the hub of a small criminal empire in the nation's capitol. The secret to their success isn't their intelligence or even their resourcefulness. It certainly isn't brute force like some of the other cartels; they rely on their uncompromising willingness to murder and humilliate without respite to get their way.

Medium Humanoid (Human)
HD 3d8+6 (18)
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Init: +1
AC 16; touch 11; flat-footed 15
(+5 +1 Chain Shirt, +1 Dexterity)
BAB +2; Grp +3
Attack Dagger +3 (1d4+1, 19/x2)
Full-Attack Dagger +3 (1d4+1, 19/x2)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Harsh Commands
Special Qualities Bully, Meatshield
Saves Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +2
Abilities Str 12, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 17
Skills Appraise +7, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (Local) +8, Sense Motive +8
Feats Battlefield Inspiration [MHB], Skill Focus (Intimidate)
Environment Urban [Usually the less affluent parts]
Organization Gang (1 plus 3-9 1st level warriors)
Challenge Rating 3
Treasure 17 pp, Gold Necklace [35gp], Valuable coat [30gp]; +1 Chain Shirt
Alignment Lawful Evil
Advancement by Character Class

The leader of the Marconi group looks like a bulldog in a very nice, expensive suit. Like most Marconi members, he has a fur collar, though it looks much less out of place on him than on the collection of toughs around him.

Special Abilities:
Harsh Commands [Ex]: The way of crime leads to sacrifices. The fact is, however, that those that work for the Marconi are usually sufficiently greedy to be nearly suicidal if induced. As a Standard action, the Marconi Boss can grant a Morale bonus equal to their Charisma modifier [+3 in this case] to the attack rolls of one ally. Doing this requires offering at least 10gp to the individual. This is a language dependant, Mind-Affecting ability.
Bully [Ex]: The reputation of the Marconis comes before them. The weak are afraid to oppose them. All opponents with a total HD of half or less that of the Boss [2 HD or less here] suffer a -2 Morale penalty on Attack rolls against them. This penalty remains only until they successfully hit the boss.
Meatshield [Ex]: Cowardice is a unique talent amongst those in the leadership of the Marconi. Marconi count as having cover when adjacent to an ally of lower HD and total cover when adjacent to three. When they use this, the attack is resolved against the ally.
Battlefield Inspiration [Ex]: As a Free action, the Boss grants a +2 Circumstance bonus on Fear saves to all allies within 30ft for 1 round.

Designers Notes:
This isn't a 'mastermind' by strictest definition, but it certainly fits the requested creature type. I designed this for a 'Midboss' character for a level 1 or 2 adventure. The agrigate score on this so far is +2 [3x +2 for 3 minion abilities, -4 for the CR of three].

2009-08-01, 07:08 PM
One week to go...Give or take.

2009-08-06, 08:48 PM
This is sad. Two days to deadline and only the first-placer will get a trophy because I prefer not to give out trophies to more than half of the participents.

2009-08-08, 06:49 PM
Entries...over! Voting...starting!

2009-08-08, 08:35 PM
Oh, man, I didn't notice this thread until it was too late. :smallfrown: I love me some masterminds. Well...Queen Lucrezia gets my vote.

2009-08-10, 09:39 PM
I love the image of a tribe of Kobolds seeking guidance from what amounts to an egg. Even if it is a psychic unborn dragon egg.

I cast my vote for the Eggling, especially if/when the party thinks they've figured out who's the cunning behind the throne, and the Eggling plays innocent and helpless...

2009-08-10, 10:01 PM
I'm with Bigbrother; the Eggling gets my vote. That's an awesome idea.

2009-08-23, 07:43 AM
Stooop yooour voooting!
(Oh, wait, you did.)


+2 for minion-interaction ability
+8 for 2 votes
TOtaL: 10

Queen Lucrezia
+4 for 1 vote

Boss Marconi
+2 for minion-interaction ability
-4 for CR 3

Winner: The Eggling!