View Full Version : balancing a new demonic creation [d&d 3.5]

Darth Stabber
2012-11-18, 11:40 PM
I've been working on a homebrew monster for my bi-weekly game, and I am unsure of exactly where I am for balance. I have most of the creatures capabilities where I want them, I am more looking for an approximate CR, skill and feat tinkering, and numeric tweaking. The monster uses disparate power sources (psionics, incarnum, ToB), mostly because it follows my internal logic of how the ritual, described in the first spoiler, works, and to keep players guessing about what this monster is doing.

If you are in my D&D game, I would recommend you leave this thread immediately, though reading the first spoiler is not reccommended, it is okay, reading the second spoiler is absolutely NOT OKAY!

Heartened by the success of ashalardon's replacement of his heart with a demon, and the continued efficacy of the rites of the acolytes of the skin, a group of demonologists found a new and profoundly powerful way of corrupting the mortal form. Demons are created from souls of the dead and damned transformed into manes, then promoted into higher forms from there. But what happens if a soul is promoted while still tied to it's mortal coil?

That was the question of Gorlen, dark priest of orcus. He found that while the soul is within it's body, it impossible for even the most debased and wicked to be transformed, indeed the crude flesh of the mortal body offers a very powerful protection against this particular corruption. But what about that those that utilize their very soul and mind as a weapon? Indeed he almost reached success when he began the ritual with a willing soulknife, but the ritual snapped the link between the soul and the body, leaving him with a very intelligent dretch (in full possession of his mortal memories), but nothing more. Obviously a greater measure of spiritual fortification was in order. A soul knife who is also practiced in the ways of incarnum would be better tied together, using those wicked souls of past demonologists, and other worshippers of the foul to hold the pieces together for the duration of the rite.

The favor of a balor or higher ranking demon was needed to enact the rite, how this favor is achieved it a thought best not dwelled upon. The subject presents his mindblade, incarnum folded in, to the ritemaster. Profane prayers and dark invocations ply the demonic patron with tales of the subjects wickedness and dedication to the corruption and destruction of all mortal life. Upon the patron's foul blessing, the subject transforms, his soul now thoroughly debased and truely demonic. Each creature created in this way is unique in many ways. Instead of becoming one of the regular breeds of demons (which happens in the case of a failed rite), they retain their mortality, though their form is twisted by the corruption now inherent in their souls. Their powers are derived from their skills in life, and since they all have at least started out with some skill in psionics and incarnum, often these are enhanced.

Carnath is one such corrupted warrior who has undergone this dread rite. He served as Gorlen's bodyguard and marshal of his living warriors. He was known for his favoritism for sonic attacks and his skill with blades, and these only became more fearsome after the dread transformation. After Gorlen's defeat at the hands of the demilich Keled, Carnath wandered the zombie infested swamps of Mortosia until he was contacted by the cult of the stillborn terror, and swore his blade to the undead infant's crusade against all mortal life.

Carnath the screaming blade

medium outsider(native, chaotic, evil, tanar'i, psionic, incarnum)
HP: 200(15hd)
reach: 5ft (10ft for tentacles)
intiative: +6
base attack/grapple: +13/+18
AC: 28(10base,+6armor,+3naturalarmor,+3deflection,+3de x,+3dodge)(ff:21,touch:20)
Attack: +21 greatsword 2d6 + 11 slashing + 1d4 sonic OR +18 tentacle 1d6 + 5 bludgeoning or +19 thrown greatsword 2d6 +11 slashing +1d4 sonic OR +17 splitting longbow 1d8+1
Full Attack: +21/+16/+11 greatsword 2d6 + 11 slashing +1d4 sonic and 2* +18 tentacles 1d6 +5
Special attacks: martial manuevers, throw mind blade, psionic powers, scream of the abyss, slas.
Other special:dr 10/cold iron or good, +3 to confirm crits, 25% fortification, uncanny dodge, stances, incarnum
Saves: fort+14, ref+12, will+12
Abilities str 20, dex 16, con 20, int 16, wis16, cha20
skills: spot:+10, listen+12, balance+8, tumble+10, martial lore +10, know:arcana! +5, know: planes +5, know:psionics+5, know: religion +5, spellcraft+8, concentration+23, jump+20
Feats:Power Attack, combat expertise, combat reflexes, improved trip, shape soulmeld(thunderstep boots), open least chakra (feet), martial study(crusader's strike), martial stance(thicket of blades), mental resistance, cleave, mageslayer, knockdown

psionics:pp25, ml: 7, powers known: Expansion, call weaponry, prowess, hustle, vampiric blade

incarnum as totemist2
essentia pool:2
melds shaped:displacer cloak (totem bound), thunderstep boots (bound to feet), yrthak mask (throat)

martial manuevers as warblade
initiator level:10
stances: punishing stances, thicket of blades, pearl of black doubt
maneuvers readied: wolf fang strike, sudden leap, iron heart surge, mithril tornado, moment of perfect mind, action before thought, mind over body

SLAs effective caster level 10, saves based on charisma.
1/day: truestrike, trueseeing, scrying, unholy blight(dc19), summon tanar'i (1 vrock 50%)
@will: detect good, detect magic, comprehend languages

Scream of the Abyss: standard action, 30ft cone, shaken(cha based dc22 will negates), 8d4 sonic + 1d6 fire(con based dc22 reflex halves), 1d4 round cooldown

summon mindblade creates a +3 collision greatsword.

throw mindblade thrown mindblade has a range increment of 10'.

free draw may draw mindblade as a free action.

Stuff:+2 light fortification chainshirt, 3 potions of cure serious wounds, 1 signet ring of the stillborn terror (commune with stillborn terror 1/day, as per commune spell), abyssal gate key (create a gate to the abyss as per the spell gate 1/week), ring of deflection +3, +1 splitting longbow, 10 arrows, 5 cold iron arrows, 5 silver arrows, 5 adamantine arrows, 5 +2 human bane arrows.

Thoughts, advice, mockery?

Darth Stabber
2012-11-20, 09:00 PM
Forgot save DCs.

I realize the numbers need some tweaking, and probaby feats as well. Maybe even powers and soulmelds being rearanged (though I think that displacer cloak totem bound is staying). He's currently set up as a tripper/controller, but changing the feats around is fine (just no ubercharging, he has thunderstep boots and hustle, adding shocktrooper and leap attack and suddenly we are looking at oneshotting PCs, and I'd rather not go down that route). Also I don't know where to CR this guy, since technically which feats, melds shaped and powers known wouldn't affect that. The base creature if you are curious is human psywar7/fighter1/totemist2/warblade5, it's not a template, just the charater I had in mind while demonifying, and just roughly estimating stats from there.

He will likely be used along side a trio or quartet of babau, though if anyone has any good ideas about undead minions to add to the fight without making it unbeatable would be nice.

2012-11-20, 10:34 PM
First of all, I'd like to say nice work, sir. You have created a veritable badass. Nicely done. Now, into the meat of things:

Consider the POINT of this guy in your campaign. Is this nasty piece of work going to be a recurring villain, or a one-off massive battle for the ages? Should the PCs be genuinely terrified of this monster, with plenty of rumors about its power being foreshadowed? Or will they see it and be like, "Hey, you. Yeah, YOU. You look tough. Let's take this outside."

If you are already playing with a group, surely you could take into account the number of players/the intended level of them when they face this beast, right? So if you DO already know that, it shouldn't be to hard to gauge the party's power and figure out how tough this baddie needs to be. If you're, say, looking at the current party of 4 level 10s, they're gonna be BUTCHERED if you leave Carnath as he is now (not even counting his entourage of demons...).

If you're looking to get a group together and decide what level you want them to start at beforehand, again, I'd say you'd want to figure how tough you want this guy to be for them. For all the work you put into him, I'm guessing quite a struggle.

So... My guess at a CR would be... 15-16. I got to that just by comparing his stats to the stats of other tough demons in the monster manual (3.5). This Carnath here lacks the spell resistance, size, and energy resistances of a Nalfeshnee (p. 45 of the MM, CR 14), but Carnath has a bit more health, 1 higher AC, and can deal some serious damage. The reason I might bump him up to 16 is his special attacks and abilities, so... I guess you'd have to play that by ear. Give him a couple more PC levels and I'd easily say he'd be on an equal playing field with a Marilith (p. 44 MM-- challenge rating 17).

Speaking of CR though, keep in mind that his entourage could boost his encounter EL by... a lot. As you're probably well aware, if he has babaus (CR 6) with him, and the ability to summon a vrock (once per day? 50%, CR of 9), and these demons all have the ability to summon more demons, plus he can contact the BBEG (the stillborn terror) for reinforcements... Things will be looking pretty grim for the PCs pretty fast. Also, you suggested having some nasty undead accompany Carneth as well? YEESH :smalleek:. An encounter of that size could easily creep up to an EL of 18 or 19, I'd guess.

So there you have some stuff to maybe think on. This was my first post on this forum, and it was... pretty verbose, so I apologize for that, but I had a lot I wanted to say.

One more thing to add, something you may have missed:
You have a bow accounted for in the entry called 'stuff,' but there is no stat block given for it in the 'attack' section. I guess it wouldn't be difficult to figure out the bow's attack and damage, but just curious why you left that out.

Darth Stabber
2012-11-21, 04:31 AM
I added the bow as an afterthought, will math that up before too long, but it's mostly there as loot drop (since he obviously isn't dropping his sword). I've sat down snd worked out a full template to create other similar beasties. There are a few things i am already going to have to change to fit the template (including dropping the outsider hd).

The party he is up against is currently level 11 and has 5 members, a dread necromancer, an unarmed swordsage, an assassin, a psion, and a sorcerer, and they're going to be lvl12 before facing this monstrosity. I figure this guy will chew through the undead pretty easily, but the babau and possible vrock might be needed to keep them fom just drowning him in summons and controlled undead, while raining down pain at range. That seems to be their usual strategy, the three casters hammer battle field control and debuffs, while the swordsage and assassin flank and annihilate anything that escapes the the crapstorm in the middle of the battlefield. This guy can escape from black tentacles, eat an enervation, and save vs. baleful polymorph. Plus with vampiric blade up he can heal off the summon's chip damage. And with uncanny dodge he isn't going to fear sneak attack as much. They have fought undead alot, so i thought something living would be a nice change of pace.

Unless the've read this thread they haven't heard of "the stillborn terror" yet, even though they created it, and will realize pretty quickly just what it is.

Darth Stabber
2012-11-21, 12:39 PM
Updated.still working out some kinks in the sword demon template