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DrummingDM
2007-02-27, 11:54 AM
So, my PCs are creeping up in levels, and will soon be ready to confront the campaign's BBEG - a cleric of an evil God (War & Death domains), who has recently embraced Lichdom.

I'm aiming for CR 16 -18 for the guy, and I was hoping for some tips building him. The way I see him, he's going to be a terrifying combination of brute force, and painful, damaging spells. I've got my own ideas, but I'm interested to see what some people more geared towards "optimization" might come up with. :smallbiggrin:

its_all_ogre
2007-02-27, 02:39 PM
use rebuke undead on himself, or a greater turning could just fry him!
failing which surround him with useless low hd minions, even skeletal rats would be useful because turning always affects the closest undead.
for actual build i will walk away now as i have never made a good cleric.

daggaz
2007-02-27, 04:19 PM
I thought higher level undead were basically immune to turning for all intensive purposes.. thats what everybody here has told me.

Woot Spitum
2007-02-27, 04:28 PM
use rebuke undead on himself, or a greater turning could just fry him!
failing which surround him with useless low hd minions, even skeletal rats would be useful because turning always affects the closest undead.
for actual build i will walk away now as i have never made a good cleric.

There are ways to deal with that, the spells Desecrate and Unhallow come to mind. If the fight happens in the temple of the lich's deity, it might count as a shrine of unholy power. All that combines to put turning into the "don't even bother" range of futility.

SpiderBrigade
2007-02-27, 04:28 PM
Ogre, i think you mean "bolster undead," rather than rebuke? Otherwise you have a situation where the lich is somehow...commmanding himself, or else is cowering in terror...of himself...

and, edit: daggaz, that tends to be true for monster-type undead, but is much less so for the class-levelled BBEG kind. This is because their HD are more directly tied to their CR in the form of caster levels. Whereas a skeleton or zombie will have hugely more HD than it's CR, if I'm not mistaken.

ishi
2007-02-27, 04:32 PM
I thought higher level undead were basically immune to turning for all intensive purposes.. thats what everybody here has told me.

They tend to either have a lot of HD, or some turn resistance. Liches have +4 Turn Resistance, so a cleric would need to be only slightly above his level to turn him (or destroy him with a Greater Turning). Bolstering (NOT rebuking) could give him an extra few effective HD,

broderickdruce
2007-02-27, 04:45 PM
well, I don't have access to my books right now but if you want to add a little to the brute force part you couls always look into Battle Cleric (or something like that) from the Complete Divine. Its Basically a 10 level Prestige that gives 1/2 Casting progression with some other abilities. I know the people in the groups I play in who usually want to go Pally but don't want the alignment restictions and better casting usually go this route.

PinkysBrain
2007-02-27, 06:04 PM
It has a different name, which I am not even going to mention in the hope of avoiding further discussion about it ... all anyone needs to know is that the prestige class broderickdruce is alluding to is a complete waste of pages and should be ignored.

DrummingDM, books? For core only I'd go for a cleric 13/hierophant 1 with Gift of the Divine, get a high charisma flunky to give your turn attempts to and give that flunky a phylactery of undead turning and keep him safe so he can bolster and dispel turning if necessary. Also keep a high HD zombie close by, to soak turn attempts from the PCs.

Thrawn183
2007-02-27, 09:31 PM
I think the most important thing about a BBEG is that he can't be similar to your everyday encounter. Points to be addressed:

1) He has to be very hard to kill in just one or two rounds. Who wants their final battle to be finished with a save or die spell? He/She needs constantly active freedom of movement, magic circle against good (maybe just protection against good, its up to you) and death ward. That's just a start of course, but it will go a long ways towards negating most of the ways to one shot a foe.

2) He has to be annoying as be all. If you're making it difficult to kill him, don't have him throwing out save or die spells of his own. Have him temporarily incapacitate pc's rather than use attacks that are incredibly lethal.

3) Decide whether or not he knows anything about the pc's before they fight him. Decide whether or not they fight him on his terms if he knows about them. Remember, he's going to be very smart: he'll be prepared for most possible eventualities. You might want to go light on this as he's only recently embraced lichdom...

4) (Optional) Ring of spell turning. I don't know anything about your campaign so this might be inappropriate etc... but it's always nice to give the wizard a taste of his own medicine. And he can't even complain about how high the saving DC throw is!

5) Research cleric spells! He has access to every single one of them and probably has many scrolls as well (This is particularly important if he has a heroes handy haversack and can use any one of them as desired). Also, you need to decide if he's going to be a combat cleric or a caster cleric. I assume you're going to put a lot of time into him/her, make sure that he isn't a random assortment of feats and abilities.

6) Try and give him style. Give him some defining characteristic: maybe he uses lots of low hd undead that he rebukes into fighting for him, maybe he has a few high CR incorporeal undead that just harrass his eneimies. Make him come "alive."

Hope this helps some. And good luck! :smallwink:

Edit: Upon reading the post about the "unspeakable" PrC, another piece of advice: a cleric can cast divine power and get full BAB. A cleric should never lose spellcasting to get full BAB progression, ever. If anything, look at a class that gives 1/2 and gives nice class abilities (like access to another domain or two). This will end up being better in terms of flexibility and give the pc's that rewarding feeling when they try and dispel whatever magic's on him.

DrummingDM
2007-02-28, 07:32 AM
DrummingDM, books? For core only I'd go for a cleric 13/hierophant 1 with Gift of the Divine, get a high charisma flunky to give your turn attempts to and give that flunky a phylactery of undead turning and keep him safe so he can bolster and dispel turning if necessary. Also keep a high HD zombie close by, to soak turn attempts from the PCs. As for books, anything 3.5 is available. I've given my PCs the ability to approach me with anything from any 3.5 book, and use it if I approve it/modify it. So, the same rule applies for me.

As for worrying about the PCs turning my BBEG - the ONLY party cleric is a multiclassed Human fighter/cleric (heavier on the fighter). The previous party "full" cleric's player decided he didn't want to continue with the healbot route, and went ranger. So, unless the party make-up changes again in the next 2-3 levels, I shouldn't have anything to worry about from turning attempts. Additionaly, undead are highly uncommon in my world, so MOST clerics use their turn attempts for other things (i.e. divine feats).


1) He has to be very hard to kill in just one or two rounds. Who wants their final battle to be finished with a save or die spell? He/She needs constantly active freedom of movement, magic circle against good (maybe just protection against good, its up to you) and death ward. That's just a start of course, but it will go a long ways towards negating most of the ways to one shot a foe. Agreed. I'm going to be outfitting this guy appropriately. He's also the high priest of the nation the PC's are directly opposed to, so he's got resources aplenty available to him.


2) He has to be annoying as be all. If you're making it difficult to kill him, don't have him throwing out save or die spells of his own. Have him temporarily incapacitate pc's rather than use attacks that are incredibly lethal. I like this...I'm going to let him use the Death domain's "death touch" ability on one of the PCs if possible, just to demonstrate his power, and I'm going to harass the heck out of the other PCs.


3) Decide whether or not he knows anything about the pc's before they fight him. Decide whether or not they fight him on his terms if he knows about them. Remember, he's going to be very smart: he'll be prepared for most possible eventualities. You might want to go light on this as he's only recently embraced lichdom... He's going to know OF them, but not know much about them personally. The PCs have been a thorn in the side of the BBEG's underlings (one specifically) for a very long time, so he's aware of them. He's not going to be suspecting the PCs arrival, but he's going to be prepared for as much as possible.


4) (Optional) Ring of spell turning. I don't know anything about your campaign so this might be inappropriate etc... but it's always nice to give the wizard a taste of his own medicine. And he can't even complain about how high the saving DC throw is! Along with the party not having a true cleric, they don't have an arcane spellcaster either. They had one, but he left the gaming group for family issues.


5) Research cleric spells! He has access to every single one of them and probably has many scrolls as well (This is particularly important if he has a heroes handy haversack and can use any one of them as desired). Also, you need to decide if he's going to be a combat cleric or a caster cleric. I assume you're going to put a lot of time into him/her, make sure that he isn't a random assortment of feats and abilities. Excellent points. I'm leaning combat cleric, using his spells to supplement as needed.


6) Try and give him style. Give him some defining characteristic: maybe he uses lots of low hd undead that he rebukes into fighting for him, maybe he has a few high CR incorporeal undead that just harrass his eneimies. Make him come "alive." Lackies ahoy. I want the PCs to fight through a nice horde before they can get their hands on my precious BBEG.

Thanks for all your help, folks!

Roderick_BR
2007-02-28, 08:58 AM
And don't forget that he can convert spells into Harm spells, and being a undead, he can heal himself with it.
Okay, Unhallow and Desecrate spells. Add to it a "trap" that continuously throws a poison gas that reduces Strenght or Dexterity. He'll be immune! Just be careful with his henchmen. If they are alive, they'll be affected by the poison.
Give him a heavy set of armor, and maybe a weapon he can use to trip enemies.

And train some impressive speechs, and those "cript voice" to make him more impressive to the players ;)

Belkarseviltwin
2007-02-28, 04:37 PM
And don't forget that he can convert spells into Harm spells, and being a undead, he can heal himself with it.

Not Harm.

An evil cleric (or a neutral cleric of an evil deity), canít convert prepared spells to cure spells but can convert them to inflict spells (an inflict spell is one with "inflict" in its name).
Inflict Critical Wounds is fine though...
And at that sort of level, you could have his lair be a small, negative-dominant demiplane (creatable with a 9th-level spell by a Sorceror/Wizard).

For a "last laugh", have him carry Inflict potions labelled Cure. After all, they act as Cure spells for Him...

BCOVertigo
2007-02-28, 04:49 PM
Not Harm.

Most definitely. I was about to say, "Damn, what PrC are you taking levels in cause I need me some of that!"

Also, on the idea of being annoying, you might consider playing with arbitrarily large amounts of poison that cause various effects. He is undead after all and can bathe in contact poison. This would definitely deter grapplers from jumping him if he loses his buffs, plus you get to describe him as 'still juicy'.

Thrawn183
2007-02-28, 04:51 PM
Again, this may not be appropriate for your campaign, or what you're trying to do but I'm going to throw this out there.

I've found that the encounters that were the most fun and the most memorable were the ones where I was trying to figure out what was actually going on: the enemy that refuses to die (turned out just to have boatloads of hp), the enemy that took a turn every time a pc got one (that was rediculously awesome btw) anything could work really. An enemy that keeps resurrecting itself until you find some way to keep it down permanently.

I feel that your pc's are probably reaching the level where a BBEG might be in possession of a minor artifact of some type that lets him do things that wouldn't be considered normal RAW.

I've tried to give some advice on how to make the cleric survive long enough to be memorable. Now you just need to come up with something wild enough that the players will regale their friends with tales of it for years to come (okay, so I like to wax on poetically, it's what I do) otherwise he still just ends up being a really powerful cleric, woopee (sarcasm alert powers, activate!)

PinkysBrain
2007-02-28, 09:37 PM
Some random thoughts ...

Aren't you afraid of pissing off the fighter/cleric by showing him the errors of his ways?

Starting the battle with anti life shell pretty much much guarantees your lich will get the time to buff himself and throw out some spells. Allows no save, his DR will protect him from arrows and most reach weapons ... unless your players enlarge themselves to get reach they can't touch him since the party doesn't seem able to dispel it. Take the sudden widen feat to make it even more effective.

Are they fighting him in his lair? If so forbiddance and unhallow should be in place.

Without real casters they are going to have lots of trouble with an EL appropriate encounter unless they really know what they are doing ...

Jack Mann
2007-02-28, 10:36 PM
Not that it matters in this case, but as a general rule: Liches tend to be BBEGs. That means a CR above the party level, generally at least two, maybe three. That means that their effective hit dice for turning is four more than any likely cleric in the party, which makes them impossible to turn.

If they aren't BBEGs, then it doesn't matter as much if the cleric can turn them.

TheOOB
2007-02-28, 11:03 PM
The biggest thing to make a BBEG memoriable is to have them prepare to specifically foil the PCs abilities. A generic enemy may be difficult or hard based on how good they are agienst your group, but a BBEG should acually plan to be as good as possible agienst your group, requiring the party to modify their tactics accordingly.

This can be as simple as casting protection from elements agienst the wizards favorite damage type, or prepared a few instances of dimension door to break out of grapples.

Fawsto
2007-03-01, 01:20 AM
Hmmm.. Brute force + Magic... I wonder if there was a divine spells eldritch knight... That would juice both attack and magical prowess...

Do you plan to confrontate the PJs in direct hand to hand combat? If yes consider getting some very nasty feats like improved trip and sunder. They are not the best combat feats but if you are able to destroy the fighters main weapon and/or his armor it will increase the chalenge for the PJs. Also being triped is very anoying... My DM stated that when I spent a whole fight triping the enemy while my rogue companion feasted with the attacks of oportunity.

Yes, bring a powerful combat directed cohort with you to the battle. A Vampire Fighter/Rogue would do a great job flanking the fighter for you.

If you said Brute force, I assume some lvls in the Fighter class, so your BAB will be good enought to hit anything the Fighter can have on the defense. If you think they will shoot the Vilain from distance, consider the Improved Combat Expertise feat, so you can buff your AC. You can also get a Tower shield to cover from the arrows till the PJs are out of ammon or bored to never hit you...

Use the minions well... If you are a Lich coming from the cleric state, you are more than able to bring to undeath some useful minions. Use them so they will burn the Wizard's spells or/and the Cleric's Turn Undead's

Hmm... Use that Idea of a personalized den for you vilain. It helps a lot to make a final encounter more chalenging when you fight over a lava/acid pool :smallbiggrin:.

ast piece of avice: Choose the spells well... Try to study what the casters among the PJs can do, so you can counter it in a more effective way, forcing them to think about new strategies to beat you.

Just don't overabuse your DM power so your villain becomes invincible. That is always a thing to be avoided.

Nebo_
2007-03-01, 03:32 AM
I just skimmed trough the thread, so I don't know if anyone has suggested the dry lich template from Sandstorm and/or the Walker in the Waster PrC. Walker in the Waste requires divine spell casting to get into and becomes a dry lich at level 10. the template grants some nice abilities including adding your Cha bonus x HD as bonus HP.

Roderick_BR
2007-03-01, 04:53 AM
Not Harm.

Inflict Critical Wounds is fine though...
And at that sort of level, you could have his lair be a small, negative-dominant demiplane (creatable with a 9th-level spell by a Sorceror/Wizard).

For a "last laugh", have him carry Inflict potions labelled Cure. After all, they act as Cure spells for Him...

Oops, I always mistake the names. Inflict is what I meant.