View Full Version : D&D 3.5 Single Bad Guy help! ***need help***

2010-06-02, 05:20 PM
So, Even though my life is so curve ball and left field lately... I put back together a game and now I am facing a challenge... I need help with a bad guy! I am kind of a soft DM... Rarely will a PC die in any adventure... But it happens. Through stupid actions of course, but it happens... So here it is...

I have a re-occurring (several but this is the one I need help with) Arch-Nemesis. He is the plane's first Lich, and has taken over the body of a powerful war general. I want him to be strong enough to defeat the party with some lucky rolls and strong effort, but not too strong that he just wipes the floor with them. How do I FAIRLY dunce him down for party sake?

I considered keeping his wizards BAB, maybe even his HP (just run away when his HP is too low to fight), maybe halving his spell damage... I dunno... All I know is it has been forever since I've had the party fight a single bad guy that could hold his own and then some without being a tarresque... I mean, ya know, kill them all first round. Anyway, any help would be so much happy to me!!!

backstory: party consists of a pure shapeshifting druid, a barbarian, a rogue, a bard who deals damage with bardic music instead of buff, and a defensive buffing cleric. all level 4. I am going to make the first appearence sunday after next... June 13th... They will be level 5 and there are no magic weapons in my campaign.... just mundane, masterwork, and basic wondrous items. Low gold campaign but epic style ability rolls, I.E. 14/16/18/14/15/13.....

I wanna make him tough but not too bad. Am I crazy?

here is his stuff so far: A fairly powerful (level 16) venerable human wizard, on the brink of discovering immortality without the standard undead lich way, makes a deal with a powerful fiend who cannot enter the material plane (gods had a big fight about that and banhammered them) to take on a new body (that of the general) if he picks up a few long forgotten artifacts and relics. The PCs are stumbling around the world acquiring these so they will bump into him at some point soon, and I want there to be an actual fight with them, just not destroy them. So the undead minions, or minions at all for that matter are out of the picture...

2010-06-02, 05:30 PM
Don't dunce him down - Just don't have him fight the PCs so early. Instead, have him mess with them a little, throw down some battlefield control spells and then have his undead minions charge them. Or give the PC's some faux DMPC help for one adventure that gets killed in round 1 with a single spell so that they get the hint to run the hell away.

2010-06-02, 05:51 PM
Don't dunce him down - Just don't have him fight the PCs so early. Instead, have him mess with them a little, throw down some battlefield control spells and then have his undead minions charge them. Or give the PC's some faux DMPC help for one adventure that gets killed in round 1 with a single spell so that they get the hint to run the hell away.

they will be in a hidden temple out in BFE, trying to retrieve a relic, surprise surprise so is he. Im wondering what to do with this! In this guys mind he could care less about the party, like, walking down the aisle, picking up the relic, walk out the front door, all while the party hacks away at him, then teleports *poof*!

I dont like the idea of him being completely wizard however, i dont know about any cool prestige, flavor kind of classes... maybe some seeker/keeper of forbidden knowledge, nothing all together too powerful on its own... ill take a look into controlling spells, I am having him get stronger as the party encounters him more often... i was thinking that he himself isnt all THAT powerful, but as he gains more relics and artifacts, his powers increase or the fiend grants him more strength.

thank you for that by the way, i need to dive into some books :)

2010-06-02, 05:54 PM
So is he a 16th level wizard and the party is 5th level? I would recommend no interaction directly with him for now or he will destroy them. Let him monologue while his minions are fighting the party. If the party comes after him directly, use walls and other hindering magic to stop or slow them. Let him telekinetically grapple one of the tougher party members and leave him on the brink. With enough lower level minions and henchmen, the party can be challenged and the bad guy will leave and the tension will increase until they are truly epic enough to bring down this threat to the world.

2010-06-02, 05:55 PM
Casting spells that only inhibit the players instead of killing them should get the message across. Dealing nonlethal damage would accomplish the same thing. If you want a good reason why he should do that, instead of just killing them, you could make sadism a character trait - leave them helpless, to be cruelly finished off by lesser minions (summoned monsters, perhaps?) while he takes the artifact and leaves. Then the players recover just in time to fight the minions, which could be a difficult but doable fight.

By the end of that, they should have no illusions about how powerful their foe is.

Also, I read the threat title and immediately thought it was going to be asking for dating advice for evil overlords. I was mildly disappointed.

2010-06-02, 06:16 PM
Sounds good... Im worried about minions though... what would this guy use for minions??? Should he summon monsters? I am having him hate humanity... well all the races for that matter... he sees them as nothing more than a nuisance.. vermin really. maybe the fiend gives him control of a flock or two of lesser demons??? hmm i want to reward them for the encounter with some sort of material bonuses... maybe he grabs a fake relic, the rogue has the real one something of that nature... but more on the rewards, i dont want them to face this guy, get tossed like rag dolls then mope through the rest of the game... i guess thats my job as a DM though... grrr

2010-06-02, 07:53 PM
Just a thought -- because having the lich face the party directly (possessed body or not) is pretty much a scripted party loss, you may wish to consider to have the lich instead using dominate person (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/dominatePerson.htm) instead -- it has a long duration, would allow the lich to get the general's impression of the party, would allow the lich to give his Evil Monologue and then drop immediate control and let the general fight the PCs while he goes and does something else.

This would allow for your main villain to exert his personality without you having to figure out how to twist the fight -- the fight itself could be a regular combat of EL 7-8 (depending how tough your party is). ...note that even a lone "powerful war general" is likely to have a higher lone CR than this, depending on the average level of soldiers in your world -- and very few high ranking military officers of any stripe are likely to ever be encountered alone. If you can retroactively demote this guy's rank for flavor purposes, it might be advisable, unless the general is more of a *political* power than a personal one, i.e. the guy himself is nothing special (Aristocrat 6) but has powerful connections and influence due to his family/position/etc.

The other thing you will want to consider down the road, as well as now, is exactly why the lich will toy with the PCs. It might be simple sadism or whatever, especially now when he so outclasses them, but how will he respond if the heroes successfully depose his pet general/upset his plans? If they keep making nuisances of themselves, when does he get fed up and just kill them while he still outclasses them? When they are 8th level? 10th level? 12th level and beginning to pose an actual personal threat to him?

There are possible reasons for this (one classic one that he wants/needs the heroes for some gambit of his, either because they are Warriors of Destiny or because he really wants someone Good-aligned to extract the Widget of Hope from the McGuffin Dungeon which no Evil hands may plunder), but make sure you have some idea of what it is and stay consistent to it. After all, your PCs' job will presumably be to cheese this guy off a number of times by foiling his plans over the course of the campaign -- you should have a reason why, if he is personally aware of them, he doesn't crush them like tiny bugs as their successes and power grow.

2010-06-13, 10:31 PM
im going to pretend I didnt see this so that i dont spoil the game for myself lol

2010-06-13, 10:53 PM
My first thought is to have the lich possessing a human (or perhaps undead) general of a more reasonable level. That way, you have someone fairly dangerous in melee while still possessing (heh) reasonable spellcasting backup. You also don't care if he dies, since he's just a minion.

You'll want to limit the spellcasting he can throw around, though. A 16th level spellcaster will destroy a 4th level party, primarily because the PCs won't be able to save against anything he throws out. Perhaps limit what he can cast to the level of his "host."

Another option is simply to not fight alone. Lone casters have a habit of dying quickly, after all. A lich wizard surrounded by animated ogre skeletons, for example, doesn't need to worry much about the party attacking him directly. You'll still want a reason for him to leave after the party has trashed his skeletons, though - perhaps he has business elsewhere.

What is this BBEG doing in the game world? You are probably better off giving a reason for him not squashing the PCs like bugs than creating stats for a fight where he just lets them live. Having a BBEG knock the entire party into negatives and simply leave is just plain annoying, to be frank.

2010-06-14, 09:34 AM
Ah, yes. I do indeed like the idea of possessing the general... I think the big reason to keep them alive is, the party has all blessed with a marking. I don't want to be a steal idea guy but I thought it would look nice... er um like the triforce that is. But with lots of sides. 8 to be exact. BBEG has 1 piece, from recovering some artifacts, and there are 7 more out there. In order to actually recover the artifact, said person must be marked by it. It's a destiny thing. It ties in with what was a 4 page synopsis of the heroes of destiny... Anyway, yes i do indeed like that idea very much.

I will give a few paragraphs on BBEG later today, i need to gets to work! Big thanks to Erikun, Tiercel,Gametime, and Hendel. Also to caewil for being right on top of it!

And yeah josh, itd be nice :) lol i want to run it for at least another 45ish 8 hour sessions... haha

2010-06-14, 09:57 AM
I agree, 16th level bad gguy is too much for a 5th level party. They shouldm't be able to meet him in person/fight him till they are 13th level or so.

Either have him possess lesser bad guys along their way (7th level commander?) or have him address them only remotely e.gg. in visions, sending spells, by sending minions at them, etc.

2010-06-14, 10:10 AM
Simulacra of the BBEG could be useful here.

Imagine the joy of killing a FREAKING LICH at 5th level, only to find out that it's an 8th level construct that's fueled by now exposed alchemist's fire.

2010-06-14, 07:31 PM
I know he is wayyy too much for them... So like I said, here is some background on the guy.
Name: Adamaun.

Adamaun's personal history is completely unknown to really anyone. He studied for a more than a lifetime in a wizardry school, also traveling the world in search for the darkest and forgotten secrets of Arcane lore. He has what we know today as anemia and has paranoia schizophrenia. He's not all there.
Anyway, aside from these things, he has virtually no immune system. On a daily basis, he casts buffing spells just so he can get by, and is constantly in search of more ways to keep himself strong. Eventually it came to pass, he had all of his power/authority/knowledge stripped of him when it was discovered he had tried to open a gateway from the material plane to the levels of Hell.* Unfortunately he had succeeded in his efforts before they found him. A devil of higher status made his way through before the gateway was destroyed. He's been in hiding ever since.
There is one way to create a new gateway... There was once a true hero, who battled the gods themselves in a great war that nearly ended the universe. In the end he was defeated and suffering severe losses, the gods sealed off the mortal realm from all other realms to prevent this from ever happening again. Fast forward a few dozen millenniums... skipping lots of details and mysteries...

A young man is born, skin and bones all throughout his childhood. Did I mention he has a tail and small horns hidden by his hairline? So, this guy goes through life, gets a job, learns about magic, studies at a certain school, gets the worst room, etc etc, stumbles upon a book. reads it. learns it. (spoiler) he is the wayyyy down the line descendant of Adamaun. His name? Adam. He fills out the shoes and goes about the work so long forgotten. He finds out there is one way, and one way only to open this gate... The gods took the body and possessions of that ancient hero and turned them into keys. Only problem is... Only a truly worthy hero can take these relics.

For it is written that one day, when the gods have turned their backs on the world, a hero will rise up and once more fight the gods. Adams problem? not a hero. not even close. He spends his lifetime hunting down this Devil. Finds what is left of him, and makes a deal. This devil cannot truly exist on this plane of existence, so he melds into Adam, and now he needs to find worthy heroes to get him these relics. Adam's will is so much stronger than the devils, that he all but completely destroys the devils mind and has all the benefits of his new powers with none of the restrictions that the devil set up.

So here comes the party, and they have found the first temple and the first relic. What am I to do?

*The gods, in a combined effort, closed off any way for the abyss or hell to gain access to the mortal planes. The only way for them to get to the material plane, is to unlock the gates in the mortal plane. IE they can't.

2010-06-14, 08:10 PM
Also, I read the threat title and immediately thought it was going to be asking for dating advice for evil overlords. I was mildly disappointed.

Someone needs to make this thread.

Anyway, OP, since he's a caster, he's going to vaporize the party in short order if they're facing him directly. Have him use nasty disabling spells like Forcecage, Glitterdust, Phantasmal Assailants (NOT PHANTASMAL KILLER), or Maze. Protect him with Stoneskin, Wall of Force, and make him fly over the battlefield.

Leave it up to the minions to fight.

Safety Sword
2010-06-14, 08:28 PM
May I suggest that the BBEG be on the other side of a wall of force, and when the PCs charge him they find they can't get to him... he then calmly finishes whatever terribly unspeakably horrible ritual before looking at each PC, summoning his minions and teleporting away as the wall drops?

2010-06-14, 09:26 PM
Have him use low level spells only. Few wizards would waste thier high level +****load spell of firey instakilling on what is to them no more a threat then a bunch of kobolds.

2010-06-14, 09:28 PM
Also, I read the threat title and immediately thought it was going to be asking for dating advice for evil overlords. I was mildly disappointed.

Have you tried summoning succubi yet? Just don't get into a relationship with do-gooders, because they're all the same, trying to redeem you through the power of their banging.

Also, dress nicely on the first date. Full plate is generally a no-no.

2010-06-16, 12:27 PM
Thanks again for the ideas :) He's definitely taking the generals body (hes older and weaker now than his younger years, and recently usurped, the party just had a whole session roleplaying it all) after a bit of a power struggle with the general and wizard, the wizard wins and uses him to obtain keys to a hidden dungeon with a few captives that have knowledge as to a relics site. up to the party to stop the general! Rarrr and since they have all the story of whats going on with the current situation (but not about the wizard, they dont even know he exists) they may just help the general obtain this key! haha and then even help break the prisoners out of the fort... lol this could get ugly!