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View Full Version : Help Me Stat My Mega Villain (3.5/PF)



Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-26, 12:43 AM
So my group is currently in the middle of running a 1-20 campaign. We are currently level 5. We have a nebulously established mega villain named Manath. Manath is/has reunited the ancient evil empire through force, cunning and a liberal use of evil.

The only major things we have established about him right now are that he carries an artifact which controls the bearers of 12 other artifacts (think Sauron and the rings) which are wielded by former (now corrupted) heroes. They now do his bidding.

Also, he has pacts with several powerful devils, some of which are generals in his army.

So here's my problem, we are eventually going to fight him and I need him to be better built than anything I can manage. Double bonus points for a handy notebook on how to play him.

I had thoughts of making him a summoner of devils (re-flavored Nar Demonbinder) so things along that line are preferred.

Kol Korran
2009-11-26, 05:28 AM
i've never been any good at statings villains of that high a level (i assume you plan for them to battle him at levels 18-20 or the like?). but here might be a few ideas:

1) read Rich guide to making villains (in the gaming section). it might be quite helpfull. it helped me. especially think of the followings: resources (items, spells, underlings, contacts and allies), and meeting the villain at lower levels (maybe while he personally comes to conquer a place, or the party stumbles on a great battle where he is at). this will let them realise his power, and maybe observe changes in him as time passes.

2) what exactly is the power and effects of the artifact? might they slowly corrupt and change him? i suggest you put on a time scale. every some time, the artifact affects Manath in some manner, maybe granting him powers, but also taking something from him (pieces of his soul? his free will? or maybe something more tangible- a volnerability or such?) this way, he changes through time. the party may get info on this in various ways (divinations, scrying, meeting personally as mentioned, tales from people who met him, high ranking prisoners and such). make the changes obvious, and let the party feel they are on a time limit of a sort. i also suggest you beging him at something like 12-14 CR and every change makes him tougher and more difficult to beat. that way he may not utterly massacre them if they meet previously.

3) having (or acquiring through the artifact) the half devil template seems reasonable and "in theme" to me.

that all i have for now. do you have any ideas as to his race, style, class or whatever?

i know this wasn't much help, not good at statting as mentioned. hope you'll do well,
Kol.

P.S. if he isn't a caster, have a trio of caster hags working for him. his MYSTIC advisors sort to speak. i just like hags.

Wings of Peace
2009-11-26, 05:41 AM
My stereotypical man-o-evil usually goes

Warlock 5/Hellfire Warlock 3/Ur-Priest 2/Eldritch Disciple 8 (Not in order)

Items: Night Sticks

Soulmelds: Strongheart Vest (Gained via feats)

Meta-Magics: Extend Spell, Persistent Spell (This will let you rationalize him always being buffed)


Notes: If you want more detection I'd swap either a Hellfire Warlock level or an Eldritch Disciple level for a dip of Mindbender. This will grant him telepathy out to 120ft. which lets him qualify for the Mindsight feat from Lord's of Madness which will make it VERY difficult for the PCs to get the drop on him. There's more powerful things of course but flavor wise I like the combination of Warlock Powers (Probably gained via a demon/devil pact), Hellfire, and Blasphemy.

Edwin
2009-11-26, 11:04 AM
Maybe a Cleric/malconvoker?

Of course, it's non-evil, but then there's DM fiat to take care of that. 'Sides, you don't have to show his sheet to the PC's.


Edit: Or, alternatively, do Archivist/malconvoker/thaumaturgist.

Awesome summoning, a bunch of free metamagic on your summoning spells, and absolutely ridiculously good Planar Binding spells.

Darcand
2009-11-26, 01:57 PM
How about aristocrat 4? And when the PCs battle past his dozen hereos, summoned fiends, and vile undead they slay him in one blow. After he falls they learn the true nature of his pact with the underworld. Devilish support now in exchange for inheritance of his empire at death. Sometimes the villian should be a puppet.

Edwin
2009-11-26, 02:24 PM
How about aristocrat 4? And when the PCs battle past his dozen hereos, summoned fiends, and vile undead they slay him in one blow. After he falls they learn the true nature of his pact with the underworld. Devilish support now in exchange for inheritance of his empire at death. Sometimes the villian should be a puppet.

While not really mechanically appropriate, except through use of Candles of Invocations etc., I have to say, this sounds awesome.

He would have to possess a bunch of really expensive magic items though, otherwise he'd be subject to a large enough lynching mob.

Toliudar
2009-11-26, 02:36 PM
I would recommend establishing a basic MO for his personal appearances (is he a battlefield control freak? a summoner? Does he teleport out in the first round of any combat?), and leave the statting to the last possible moment, because it'll be hard to know now whether he needs to be a CR 12 or CR 22 challenge for the group.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-26, 02:58 PM
He's going to be a summoner/controller. That much is pretty well established by the fluff that the characters already know about him. As for his effective CR, he is our final villain, which we (7-8 players) will fight at level 20. I expect that he will likely need to be a CR25+ on his own.

One of the abilities his artifact gives him (one more thing that has been established) is to give him a "belt of battle"-like effect for each good hero he has control over through the artifact. We needed something for him to overcome the action deficit that a 7-on-2 scenario creates.

Cleric/Malconvoker or Abyssal Sorcerer/Nar Demonbinder or something like that seems to be the most suited for him.

So...can anyone help me optimize either/both of those builds?

He is likely to be a (bronze) elf, so stat him as a Pathfinder Elf.

Edwin
2009-11-26, 03:02 PM
He's going to be a summoner/controller. That much is pretty well established by the fluff that the characters already know about him. As for his effective CR, he is our final villain, which we (7-8 players) will fight at level 20. I expect that he will likely need to be a CR25+ on his own.

One of the abilities his artifact gives him (one more thing that has been established) is to give him a "belt of battle"-like effect for each good hero he has control over through the artifact. We needed something for him to overcome the action deficit that a 7-on-2 scenario creates.

Cleric/Malconvoker or Abyssal Sorcerer/Nar Demonbinder or something like that seems to be the most suited for him.

So...can anyone help me optimize either/both of those builds?

He is likely to be a (bronze) elf, so stat him as a Pathfinder Elf.

I may be able to help you with the Cleric/Malconvoker, though I must stress that my experience with Pathfinder is limited, so with the odd quirk, I would need some guidance. Other than that, I am quite capable at 3.5e.

Also, as far as summoners goes, my experience says that Nar Demonbinder is, while not exactly worthless, a bit iffy. Some of the mechanics doesn't scale particularly well. Nice fluff though.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-27, 12:17 AM
Let's go with Cleric/Malconvoker (which I will just call "Demonbinider") then. The only significant differences between the 3.5 cleric and the PF cleric (that should be relevant to this build) are feats every odd level (rather than every third) and turn undead has been swapped for "channel energy" (with feats making it work against various outsiders and turning/rebuking undead) so DMM doesn't really work anymore.

You can also check it out here (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/classes/cleric.html#cleric).

Also...thanks.

Thurbane
2009-11-27, 02:27 AM
OK, here's my humble offering (built more for flavor than any attempt at optimizing)...

Human Binder 2/Sorcerer 4/Anima Mage 10/Fiend Blooded 4

Feats: Blood Calls to Blood, Devil's Aura, Devil's Favor, Devil's Flesh, Devil's Stamina, Eschew Materials, Improved Binding, Rapid Spell

Favorite vestiges: Geryon, Balam

Hook: he claims to be a disciple of Asmodeus, but secretly plots to restore Geryon...

Ganurath
2009-11-27, 02:49 AM
Let's go with Cleric/Malconvoker (which I will just call "Demonbinider") then. The only significant differences between the 3.5 cleric and the PF cleric (that should be relevant to this build) are feats every odd level (rather than every third) and turn undead has been swapped for "channel energy" (with feats making it work against various outsiders and turning/rebuking undead) so DMM doesn't really work anymore.

You can also check it out here (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/classes/cleric.html#cleric).

Also...thanks.If you're going the Malconvoker route for one uniting the Evil Empire, might I suggest you copy the Master Plan out of the book of Lelouch from Code Geass? Spoilered below:Ultimately, his goal was to take all of the world's hate on to himself, then have a figurehead hero kill him so the world would know peace. It works in the series, and it fits the Malconvoker mindset. Think about it:

After Manath is killed, the Evil Empire is united under is 12 subordinates, who are no longer corrupted but are Good again. The fiendish generals have been defeated by the heroic warriors who defeated the great evil himself, and the land will no peace rather than the infighting of the divided empire.

In any event, you'll want his domains to be Trickery and Knowledge. This makes the Malconvoker skills class skills, and also gives two Diplomacy synergy skills (one of which is a Malconvoker requirement, huzzah!) Complete Divine provides the Rapid Spell feat, which allows one to get a Full Round Action summon with a standard action. More importantly, it allows you to combine those Summon Monster spells with the Twin Spell and Repeat Spell metamagic feats from Complete Arcane. It's pricey, but with cost reducers like Divine Metamagic or Metamagic School Focus (You're taking SF: Conjuration for Malconvoker anyhow) it's a viable tactic, especially at the high levels.

Also: Can't you just reflavor Divine feats to expend uses of channel energy rather than turns/rebukes?

arguskos
2009-11-27, 02:55 AM
Also: Can't you just reflavor Divine feats to expend uses of channel energy rather than turns/rebukes?
I do this in my games. It works fine. Just sayin'.

arguskos
2009-11-27, 03:18 AM
Nice to meet you.http://www.pictureshareworld.com/img/BM/BF.gif
...you too? :smallconfused:

Anyways, to be a touch more on topic, Divine Feats probably wouldn't be a terrible idea for this dude. A Summoner might benefit from DMM (Extend), which is a pretty reasonable use of DMM in my opinion, and damn useful for casting summons during combat, especially if he's got dudes to run interference while he produces critters to kill the PCs.

On a related note, if they kill the enthralled heroes, he loses his action advantage, yes? That's... problematic, isn't it? You may wish to consider that they may do such a thing.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-27, 03:28 AM
Also: Can't you just reflavor Divine feats to expend uses of channel energy rather than turns/rebukes?

I'm sure we could, but it would require vetting by the whole crew. If I were the only DM, then I would just declare it as a houserule, but since we all DM (trading off between adventure arcs) all houserules have to be discussed and voted on.

As for the action advantage, the dominated heroes were turned into ghosts which can't be fully killed until the gem they are tied to in the crown is destroyed or the artifact they wield is destroyed. Neither is very simple. Also, if they manage to pull it off, then I think they should be rewarded for it.

EDIT: Thoughts on this build?

Cleric 6/Malcovoker 2/Thaumaturgist 4/Malconvoker +7/Thaumaturgist +1

Feats: 1-Spell Focus: Conjuration, 3-Alignment Channel (Evil), 5-Extend Spell, 7-Fiendish Summoning Specialist, 9-Rapid Spell, 11-DMM Extend Spell, 13-DMM Rapid Spell, 15-Extra Channel, 17-Extra Channel, 19-Metamagic School: Conjuration

Str 10 Dex 14 Con 11 Int 18 Wis 19 Cha 18 (table array plus racial and level boosts)

Edwin
2009-11-27, 09:01 AM
Don't bother with DMM: Extend. Malconvoker gives you that for the cost of a single bluff check. :smallsmile: And if you go Thaumaturgist 3, and have a lenient DM, I.E you, you could rule that the Thaumaturgist's free extend stacks with the Malconvoker one, since technically:


Extended Summoning
At 3rd level and higher, all spells from the summoning subschool that the thaumaturgist casts have their durations doubled, as if the Extend Spell feat had been applied to them. The levels of the summoning spells donít change, however. This ability stacks with the effect of the Extend Spell feat, which does change the spellís level.

Also, you can save a feat if you go Cleric7/thaumaturgist2/MalcovokerX bla bla bla.

Specifically, Augment summoning.

jiriku
2009-11-27, 12:35 PM
Feat Choice
Drop DMM extend. Heck, drop extend too unless you need it for a prerequisite or plan to extend some spells with 1-round durations. Thaumaturgist will be extending all his summons for free as it is.

Survivability
As the main villain, he has a huge target painted on his back. He'll need 400-500 hit points just to avoid folding in the first round or two; more if you can get them. Put his highest stat in Con, second-highest in Wis; he needs hit points more than anything else. Take Improved Toughness and a +6 Con item. Precast fortunate fate and heroes' feast, plus any other spells from the pact domain (he won't have time to cast healing spells during combat). If using traits, give him the slow trait for more hp (use a flying mount for mobility).

Get a miss chance through spells, gear, or SLAs from his devils. A ring of spell turning or a ring of counterspells would help too.

His saves need to be insane, so definitely invest in a cloak of resistance +5, and cast heroes' feast, freedom of movement, form of undeath and death ward or something to become immune to fear, disease, poison, grapples, slow, paralysis, entanglement, ability damage, stun, exhaustion, suffocation, and death effects. Drop a whole bunch of resist energy spells to get resist 30 vs. all energy types.

Summoning
Definitely get a ring of mighty summons to improve his summons, and a greater rod of maximize. Use the rod to cast maximized rapid summon monster VIII spells from your 9th level spell slots to summon a brace of three fiendish tyrannosaurs per spell. I hear they swallow whole, and that's pretty good lockdown, eh?

Action Economy
To solve your action economy issue, fill the encounter with lots of bound devils. Eight bearded devils advanced to 18 HD are only EL 18 and make very sturdy melee brutes, while a pack of six invisible flying bone devils can cast six walls of ice every turn to assist with battlefield control for the low low price of EL 12. A squad of four flying erinyes archers with true seeing, advanced to 18 HD, sets you back another EL 17 and does very well focusing fire on characters thwarted by the ice. Throw in a pair of hellcat lurkers to pounce on any cowardly spellcasters or lurking thieves (advanced to 24 HD, of course) for another EL 17. Give your BBEG two horned devil bodyguards advanced to huge size (21 hD) for an additional EL 22. Mount your CR 20 BBEG on a CR 11 cauchemar.

Now, combine all that junk into a single encounter and you have something in the range of an EL 24-25 encounter (as you asked for), but you have 24 characters acting each turn, compared to a probable 6-8 player-controlled characters. And that's before your BBEG starts chain-summoning augmented fiendish tyrannosaurs with maximum hit points. Now who's worried about the ***** action economy???

The above example may be a little excessive for your tastes, as it's difficult to manage this many monsters in a reasonable amount of time (although it can be done with extensive preparation). But hopefully this will illustrate the point for you. EL 25 gives you an immense creature budget, and you needn't (and shouldn't!) spend it all on your BBEG, especially if he's intended to be a controller. To use some 4e lingo, controllers need brutes to deal damage and draw aggro away from them, soldiers to protect them, and blasters and lurkers to pick off targets after the controller locks them down.

Edwin
2009-11-27, 04:41 PM
Between my own and Jiriku's advice, which was pretty much the same, I would say you've got your bases well covered. One last pearl of wisdom though:

Once you start burning those 9th level summons;

Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal, Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal, and more Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-27, 04:58 PM
jiriku... that was awesome. That is a little bit bigger of a battlefield than I think I can handle, but it definitely helps me go in the right direction.

As for the first proposed build, I went Clr6/Mal2/Thau4 because it gets me into Malconvoker pretty quick and I didn't bother with augment summoning because I saw that Thaumaturgist 2 gave me that. I didn't want to bother with a fourth class so that's why I ended up taking the last level of Thaumaturgist and an extra level of Cleric.

I had considered stacking the half-fiend template (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/halfFiend.html#half-fiend) on him with the +4s in Con, Wis and Cha. It takes him to CR22 on his own.

Action economy, I'm not too worried about. As long as the advantage isn't heavily in the favor of the party, things should be just fine. 7 on 5 or 6 should be good. Manath will likely be using his brutes and soldiers (I did play a good deal of 4e before switching to Pathfinder) to hold the melees at bay while he summons and controls from the back lines. Have him flanked with a couple of archers (those erinyes are a great idea) and I'll call it a good encounter.

Keep in mind that they won't be getting to Manath fresh and ready to go. They will have to go through one or two encounters before getting to him.

I'll drop extend and DMM extend for toughness (which is the same as improved toughness from 3.5) and find something to fill that floating feat with.

Edwin
2009-11-27, 05:06 PM
Actually Malconvoker has Augment Summoning as a prerequisite. So you would need to either take the feat, or take Thaumaturgist 3 before going in to Malconvoker.

Edit: I'm sorry, that's Thaumaturgist 2, not 3.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-27, 05:16 PM
Ah...somehow I must have missed that. Or neglected to remember it.

Okay, so Cleric 7/Thaumaturgist 4/Malconvoker 9 it is then.

jiriku
2009-11-27, 06:04 PM
Sounds good! Man, now I want to run an encounter like that. Bwahahaha!

Hmm, If you're interested in another feat to improve durability, perhaps
Augment Healing. That provides about a 9-10% increase in effectiveness of spells like close wounds, heal, fortunate fate, and mass heal.

Gnorman
2009-11-27, 06:59 PM
Between my own and Jiriku's advice, which was pretty much the same, I would say you've got your bases well covered. One last pearl of wisdom though:

Once you start burning those 9th level summons;

Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal, Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal, and more Fiendish monstrous spider, Colossal.

Or: Aspect of Asmodeus, Aspect of Asmodeus, and more Aspect of Asmodeus.

Vile Hellfire Storms rule.

Edwin
2009-11-27, 07:18 PM
Or: Aspect of Asmodeus, Aspect of Asmodeus, and more Aspect of Asmodeus.

Vile Hellfire Storms rule.

True, but a colossal friggin' fiendish spider just spells ZOMG for any PC.

And it's got some nasty poison, too.

Mauril Everleaf
2009-11-27, 07:28 PM
I rather like colossal demon spiders. They will likely be going from facing some colossal red dragons so a couple colossal creatures in a single encounter ought to put the fear of the gods in them.

jiriku
2009-11-27, 10:47 PM
Spiders won't be especially effective. Any party with a good cleric has been immune to poison since level 11 (heroes' feast). Although if the spiders are web-spinning the web ability has some potential, and could be used to hinder even flying PCs.