Because you and anyone within ten feet of you should suffer whenever you take an action.
Originally Posted by Boney BonnieBoney Bonnie
Awakened Skeleton 12-headed Pyrohydra
Warhulk 10/Warlock 4
Str 15 +12 27
Dex 14 +4 18
Con 08 -- --
Int 10 -8 02
Wis 12 -0 12
Cha 13 -10 03
Spoiler: Character BackgroundShow
Bonnie was an animated pet of Kl'Ide, a very powerful Archlich. Fearing the complete corruption of the world, Luna (a strong and valiant Paladin) set out to destroy Kl'Ide. They fought a battle of the ages. A battle that echoed through history in the songs and tales of the greatest bards the realms have known.
But still, the final outcome of that battle is nothing but rumor. Some say that Luna followed Kl'Ide to another plane and destroyed him there. Others believe they fought to their deaths, each destroying the other. Still others tell the tale of Luna using her final breath in prayer, causing a prison of positive energy to contain Kl'Ide in his lair, trapped away from the world.
The reality is, most of the world has either forgotten Bonnie, or never knew she existed. The only surviving witness of that Greatest Battle, Bonnie harbors Vincula, Luna's greatsword. She believes that the soul-essence of both Luna and Kl'Ide reside with it, locked together in an ongoing duel where only the victor can emerge back into the world. Her pea-sized brain working overtime, Bonnie seeks to find a manner to unlock the sword's barriers to free her master and leave Luna trapped alone.
Can Bonnie find a way to do so? Will the PCs discover her intent? (Uhmm, yes, or we don't have a campaign.) Can they stop her...or will she succeed in returning Kl'Ide to the realm? (Hmmm...epic expansion to the campaign?)
Spoiler: Build TableShow
CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 6 12 RHD +6/1 +4 +4 +8 Concentration 7.5 B: Improved Initiative; B: Combat Reflexes; 1st: Power Attack; 3rd: Cleave; 6th: Supernatural Instincts; 9th: Improved Scent; 12th: Martial Study (Foehammer) NA +3; Immunity to Cold; DR 5/bludgeoning; Darkvision 60'; Fast Healing 22; Low-light Vision; Scent; +2 profane bonus to resist Control Undead; +2 turn resistance 7 Warhulk 1 +6/1 +6 +4 +8 Concentration 8 -- No Time to Think; Str +2 (to 29) 8 Warhulk 2 +6/1 +7 +4 +8 Concentration 8.5 -- Great Swing; Str +2 (to 31) 9 Warhulk 3 +6/1 +7 +5 +9 Concentration 9 15th: Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades) Mighty Rock Throwing; Str +2 (to 33) 10 Warhulk 4 +6/1 +8 +5 +9 Concentration 9.5 -- Mighty Swing; Str +2 (to 35) 11 Warhulk 5 +6/1 +8 +5 +9 Concentration 10 -- Str +2 (to 37) 12 Warhulk 6 +6/1 +9 +6 +10 Concentration 10.5 18th: Uncanny Scent Sweeping Boulder; Str +2 (to 39) 13 Warhulk 7 +6/1 +9 +6 +10 Concentration 11 -- Str +2 (to 41) 14 Warhulk 8 +6/1 +10 +6 +10 Concentration 11.5 B: Toughness Massive Sweeping Boulder; Str +2 (to 43) 15th Warhulk 9 +6/1 (+1) +10 +6 +10 Concentration 12 21st: Spellcasting Harrier; B: Toughness Str +2 (to 45) 16 Warhulk 10 +6/1 (+1) +11 (+1) +7 (+1) +11 (+1) Concentration 12; Intimidate 1 B: Toughness Massive Swing; Str +2 (to 47) 17 Warlock 1 +6/1 (+2) +11 (+1) +7 (+1) +11 (+1) Concentration 13; Intimidate 1 -- Eldritch Blast 1d6; Invocation (Summon Swarm) 18 Warlock 2 +6/1 (+2) +11 (+2) +7 (+2) +11 (+2) Concentration 14; Intimidate 1 24th: Improved Combat Reflexes Detect Magic; Invocation (Swimming the Styx) 19 Warlock 3 +6/1 (+3) +11 (+2) +7 (+2) +11 (+2) Concentration 15; Intimidate 1 -- DR 1/Cold Iron; Eldritch Blast 2d6 20 Warlock 4 +6/1 (+3) +11 (+3) +7 (+3) +11 (+3) Concentration 16; Intimidate 1 -- Deceive Item; Invocation (See the Unseen)
Spoiler: CR 6 (RHD)Show
The Racial Hit Dice of this build come with a lot of goodies. And goodies that work pretty well together.
Hydrae (it's greek, people!) have an interesting kill mechanic. Slicing off heads via the sunder rules, then burning the neck stump is an unusual tactic in D&D. The damage to the neck/head must be done with a slashing weapon, but the Skeleton template offers DR/bludgeoning. Also, pyrohydrae (still greek!) have immunity to fire, so the after-damage to close the neck must be done with either cold or acid. And Skeletons have immunity to cold. So that works fairly well.
Being Awakened (which, I think, was an absolute necessity way back when in these contests as having an INT score was a requirement -- Is that still the case now?) is huge as it returns (EX) abilities (Fast Healing will certainly be helpful to this villain and Scent is of great use) and gives an INT score to the Skeleton. In this case, that Int score is 2, but low as it is, it's enough to give back feat progression for the build!
Speaking of feats, there are six granted by these RHD (five from levels, one bonus.):
- Improved Initiative -- The bonus feat. Helpful for most everyone, really.
- Combat Reflexes -- A typical feat for hydrae of all kinds, it will be a major focus of the build.
Spoiler: A note about Hydrae and Combat ReflexesShow
There seems to be some question about how Hydrae use AOOs (and, thus, Combat Reflexes). The confusion circulating on the 'net about it seems to come from some people just not wanting to believe the RAW, even though they don't have any specific reasons to believe that RAI is different. It isn't broken, it isn't unrealistic (relative to the realism of D&D), and it isn't really all that confusing.
When a creature is in a situation where it gets an Attack of Opportunity, it makes an attack. (This is typically listed in the monster stat block under "Attack".) The linemeans that a hydra can do just that. Use all of it's heads for an AOO. Just as it appears in it's "Attack" line in the stat block. One attack, multiple bites. Though it isn't specifically stated anywhere that I can find, volley rules should apply.Originally Posted by SRDA hydra’s Combat Reflexes feat allows it to use all its heads for attacks of opportunity.
- Power Attack -- A requirement for Cleave.
- Cleave -- A requirement for the next section. This monster will make a lot of attacks, so it's likely that it'll get a kill every now and then
- Supernatural Instincts -- Yeeessss.... Do remember that Turn Undead is a (SU) ability!
- Improved Scent -- To find the hidden rascals better. It gets uncanny later on.
- Martial Study (Foehammer) -- With this, we can bypass DR. Again, all heads should get to attack, but I would only apply the extra damage once (as per the volley rules.) This is, really, mostly a prerequisite feat, though.
Spoiler: CR 7-16 (WH)Show
(Did your brain just say "Warhulk smash!!"? Seriously??)
Warhulk is a fun PrC that doesn't advance BAB at all, but adds to STR instead. So, fighting ability is basically a full BAB class but without the iteratives. Which is fine for us, because we're using natural attacks and don't get iteratives, anyway. But the damage.... Whoo-hoo!
The great fun with the PrC, though, is in Great Swing (3rd level). Mighty Swing (4th) opens movement in the round, too. And Massive Swing (10th) is just downright awesome!
A 12-headed pyrohydra can attack 12 times against a single target. With Great Swing, each of those heads can attack 3 targets in a row. Mighty Swing works on AOOs. And Massive Swing lets those 12 heads attack everyone within reach with every attack, including AOOs.
Let's just take a moment to appreciate that:
A cleric tries to use Turn Undead against this villain. The Supernatural Instincts feat kicks in for an attack of opportunity. Twelve heads get to make an attack against the cleric. And then attack the fighter, too. And the rogue. And the wizard if s/he's in range. And, frankly, anyone else who happens to be standing around watching. And if one of those foes falls, Cleave applies, and all twelve heads make another attack against everyone within reach.
Feats added through these levels:
- Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades) -- Is there something better for a Combat Reflexer?
- Uncanny Scent -- Invisible? Not within my reach, you're not.
- Toughness (x3) -- Yeah, well, they're free, at least.
- Spellcasting Harrier -- The feat that answers the previous question. Yes. Yes, there is something better than Thicket of Blades.
Spoiler: CR 17-20 (WL)Show
Warlock? Why warlock? For one very simple tactic.
The build is set up to make devastating AOO attacks against everybody. But first, someone has to provoke those attacks. Supernatural Instincts + Thicket of Blades + Spellcasting Harrier means that, most likely, someone will eventually. But now, with Warlock, we can provoke our own AOOs.
With Summon Swarm. All day, every day. A standard action to cast (all invocations are) and suddenly there's a swarm of whatever in our threat range. And it will move, which sets off the AOO. We have no control over it, but we know that it will move. Somewhere. Toward someone. We really don't care who. (It won't be at us. We're undead. Swarms only care about living targets.) The swarm isn't under our control, so it doesn't need to be considered an ally. We can consider it to be a foe, and thus, it can provoke AOOs from us. Which, with Massive Swing, get to attack everybody.
Uhmm...Swimming the Styx...why? I understand your confusion. As an undead creature, we don't need to breathe. But in order to use Scent underwater, you need the ability to breathe underwater. The same goes for spellcasting, so I assume it does for using invocations and other SLAs, too. We might as well put that swim speed to use and have a lair underwater. It just adds that extra layer of defense from those pesky adventurers!
The feat at these levels:
- Improved Combat Reflexes -- The feat that answers the question of whether or not there's anything better for a Combat Reflexer than Spellcasting Harrier. 'All day, every day' just became 'all round, every round'.
- Pyrohydra: Monster Manual p.155-157
- Skeleton Template: Monster Manual p.225-227
- Awaken Undead spell: Spell Compendium p. 21
- Supernatural Instincts feat: Fiendish Codex II p.85
- Improved Scent feat: Savage Species p.36
- Martial Study feat: Tome of Battle (Bo9S) p.31
- Foehammer maneuver: Tome of Battle (Bo9S) p.59
- Warhulk PrC: Miniatures Handbook p.22-24 (Remember your errata!)
- Martial Stance feat: Tome of Battle (Bo9S) p.31
- Thicket of Blades stance: Tome of Battle (Bo9S) p.61
- Uncanny Scent feat: Savage Species p.40
- Spellcasting Harrier feat: Draconomicon p.74
- Warlock class: Complete Arcane p.5-10
- Improved Combat Reflexes feat: Epic Level Handbook p.57 (Please refer to the 3.5 Accessory Update p.7)