View Full Version : How to build a better mid-boss:

2013-01-16, 03:13 PM
Hey guys! I'm looking to pick some brains today. I've been running a Pathfinder Campaign going on 6 months now and I'm admittedly too lazy today to actually design a mid-boss for my party to fight upon emerging from the catacombs they're currently in. Considering the final adversary of my campaign is going to be a dragon, I'd like to avoid using that template. Anything else is acceptable. Here are the party specs:

Level 6 Rogue (Human)
Level 5 Rogue / Level 1 Fighter (Half-Elf)
Level 5 Wizard / Level 1 Ranger (Human)
Level 3 Cleric / Level 3 Fighter (Dwarven)
Level 6 Fighter (Human)

The wizard prefers to use his Heavy Crossbow and has dumped a number of feats into it to turn himself into an "Action Wizard" and the Cleric defaults to Grappling whenever the opportunity arises. If at all possible, I'd like to force them to seek out alternative options.

In their possession are a number of magical items that I've granted them on various occasions. Most notable is a single 1 foot wide Immovable Rod that the Human Rogue regularly makes use of... and intelligently I might add.

Lastly: The entire party (save for the Cleric) is armed with some variety of ranged weapon and has taken at least proficiency in.

I'm thinking Semi-intelligent large-scale beast. Likely free roaming and in no way dispatched by any of the parties enemies. I'd like them to "stumble upon" it upon exiting the catacombs... but far enough out that they don't consider the tunnels to be their go-to bottleneck strategy as they've done in the past.

Keeping all that in mind, fling your ideas at me. Nothing is outrageous. This is a high fantasy / High Magic campaign with dangerously adaptive PCs. The more detail and the more impenetrable the better.

2013-01-16, 03:29 PM
Variety is always important in any boss. Bosses that just claw claw wing wing bite tail every turn aren't a lot of fun. And the point is to make it a struggle.

Consider using a large humanoid monster (minotaur?). Something that you really wouldn't want to grapple. I like the sound of using a minotaur. And not just a BSF, someone with brains. Throw in a half dragon template for scales.

Some magic orbs or artifact somewhere in the room with the fight may be ideal. Something they have to think their way through. Two of them, I suggest, one that provides him with formidable DR/SR and another that provides him with healing/AC bonus (mix and match how you choose).

Don't make the orbs obvious, but have them figure out that spells/successful hits are hitting an invisible barrier. If the wizard casts arcane sight he should be able to figure out the rest from there.

Also give him some fun other abilities, like stomping the ground to cause an earthquake like effect or roaring to give them debilitating effects.

I think that works for an enemy they can't just bash to death.

You can optionally give him a few potions in the case the wizard decides to get smart and start buffing his grappler with bull's strength/enlarge. So if the wizard casts enlarge on the grappler, have the minotaur drink a potion of enlarge.

The general idea is to make it seem as though you're fighting someone who is adapting to your tactics and not just another pinata full of loot and xp.

2013-01-16, 10:09 PM
I approve.

2013-01-16, 10:22 PM
I did an enctouner like this once a -mini-boss; my players stumbled into ( they just felt like not listening to the tale of the crazy old woman of the grey skinned bat-winged creatures that steals horses during the new moon..

anywasy all it was, was an advanced grey render at 12 HD with the half-fiend template applied.

my initial CR estimation of 15, proved very accurate, only the party's marshal was knocked out and thats becuase he tried to engage the beast before the rest of the party was ready ( party of 6 12th level btw) so the render managed ot get 2 rounds of attacks on the guy.