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Quote Originally Posted by Grobzok
The Ghost of Grobzok the Guardian



Quote Originally Posted by Monte Cook
You see an orc with a pie. The room is 10 feet by 10 feet.
Lawful Evil Orc Warrior 1/Dread Necromancer10/Tomb Warden2/Dread Witch 5
Medium Undead (Augmented Humanoid) (Incorporeal)

Spoiler: Abilities
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Str 12->16 (Orc)
Dex 14
Con 8-> null (Ghost template)
Int 13->11 (Orc)
Wis 10->8 (Orc)
Cha 15->13 (Orc) ->17 (Ghost Template)


Spoiler: Build Table
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CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1 Warrior 1 +1 +2 +0 +0 Intimidate 4, Craft (Pie) 2 Toughness -
3 Ghost template - - - - - - Special Attacks: Corrupting Gaze, Draining Touch, Malevolence
4 Dread Necromancer 1 +1 +2 +0 +2 Knowledge (Arcana) 1, Craft (Pie) (3) - Charnel Touch, Rebuke Undead
5 Dread Necromancer 2 +2 +2 +0 +3 Knowledge (Arcana) 2, Craft (Pie) 4 Ghostly Grasp Lich Body DR 2
6 Dread Necromancer 3 +2 +3 +1 +3 Knowledge (Arcana) 3, Craft (Pie) 5, Spellcraft 1 - Negative Energy Burst 1/day, +1 Intelligence
7 Dread Necromancer 4 +3 +3 +1 +4 Craft (Pie) 6, Spellcraft 3 - Advanced Learning (Kelgore’s Grave Mist), Mental Bastion +2
8 Dread Necromancer 5 +3 +3 +1 +4 Craft (Pie) 8, Spellcraft 4 Quicken Manifestation Fear Aura
9 Dread Necromancer 6 +4 +4 +2 +5 Craft (Pie) 10, Concentration 1 - Scabrous Touch 1/day
10 Tomb Warden 1 +5 +6 +2 +5 Craft (Pie) 11, Concentration 2.5 - Turn Immunity, +1 Charisma
11 Tomb Warden 2 +6 +7 +2 +5 Craft (Pie) 12, Concentration 5 Reach Spell Tomb Sense
12 Dread Witch 1 +6 +7 +2 +7 Craft (Pie) 13, Concentration 7 - Master of Terror, Unnatural Will
13 Dread Witch 2 +7 +7 +2 +8 Craft (Pie) 14, Concentration 9 - Absorb Fear, +1 Spellcasting
14 Dread Witch 3 +7 +8 +3 +8 Craft (Pie) 15, Concentration 11 Practiced Spellcaster Fearful Empowerment 1/day, +1 Spellcasting, +1 Charisma
15 Dread Witch 4 +8 +8 +3 +9 Craft (Pie) 16, Concentration 13 - Delay Fear, Greater Master of Terror, +1 Spellcasting
16 Dread Witch 5 +8 +8 +3 +9 Craft (Pie) 17, Concentration 15 - Fearful Empowerment 2/day, Horrific Aura, Reflective Fear, +1 Spellcasting
17 Dread Necromancer 7 +8 +8 +3 +9 Craft (Pie) 18, Concentration 16, Fell Frighten Lich Body DR 4, Summon Familiar
18 Dread Necromancer 8 +9 +8 +3 +10 Craft (Pie) 19, Intimidate 5 - Advanced Learning (Touch of Vecna), Negative Energy Burst 2/day, Undead Mastery, +1 Charisma
19 Dread Necromancer 9 +9 +9 +4 +10 Craft (Pie) 20, Intimidate 7 - Negative Energy Resistance
20 Dread Necromancer 10 +10 +9 +4 +11 Craft (Pie) 21, Intimidate 9 Positive Energy Resistance Light Fortification 25%


Spoiler: Spell Table
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Spells per Day/Spells Known
CR 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
4th 3 - - - - - - - -
5th 4 - - - - - - - -
6th 5 - - - - - - - -
7th 6 3 - - - - - - -
8th 6 4 - - - - - - -
9th 6 5 3 - - - - - -
13th 6 6 4 - - - - - -
14th 6 6 5 3 - - - - -
15th 6 6 6 4 - - - - -
16th 6 6 6 5 3 - - - -
17th 6 6 6 6 4 - - - -
18th 6 6 6 6 5 3 - - -
19th 6 6 6 6 6 4 - - -
20th 6 6 6 6 6 5 3 - -


Spoiler: Ghostly Equipment
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Masterwork Pie Tin, studded Leather Armor, falchion, javelin


Spoiler: Background
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Grobzok never intended to be a guard. But when the Orc tribe’s Master Piemaker left to deliver a shipment to a nearby pie distributor, Grobzok was given the task of guarding the master’s secret recipe (which had been taped to the bottom of a pie tin) as well as the pie he’d made for himself. Unfortunately for Grobzok, fate and a group of murderous adventurers intervened. On the first round, he was hit by a Cause Fear cast by the party’s Wizard. He cowered in the corner as the adventurers went in for the kill. They ransacked the room, swiping the recipe and devouring the pie. This was too much for his spirit to bear. He manifested as a ghost almost immediately, and destroyed the invaders as they tried to wait out their food comas. Now his spirit wanders the halls of the old bakery, slaying any who would steal its doughy secrets. His spirit will only rest when the Piemaker returns to relieve him of his duties.

Grobzok’s background would be an extremely obscure tale, equivalent to a DC 30 (or higher) Bardic Knowledge check. Piecing together clues to Grobzok’s origins could be an adventure in itself. The players might need to track down the Piemaker (or one of his descendants) to finally lay his spirit to rest.


Spoiler: CR Writeups
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Spoiler: CR 1
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CR 1: Grobzok, as he was before his untimely death. He wasn’t quite as strong or hardy as most Orcs, but was smarter and far more charismatic. (Maybe that’s how he landed a supposedly cushy pie-guarding job).


Spoiler: CR 5
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CR 5: Grobzok has changed into a Ghost, with all of the usual features that brings with it. Charnel Touch from Dread Necromancer allows him to heal at will. This synergizes extremely well with low-level ghostly tactics like retreating into a solid wall, or floating up where low-level groups can’t yet reach. Ghostly Grasp allows him to wield weapons and manipulate items normally on the Material Plane, giving him additional versatility (and removing the need for Ghost Touch ghostly equipment). His Ghost abilities are Corrupting Gaze, Draining Touch, and Malevolence.

At this level, Grobzok has been haunting the bakery for a few years. A friendly Cleric had buried his remains (including ghostly equipment) securely below the bakery’s basement, but since his task is not yet complete Grobzok's spirit is not at rest. The bakery taken on a reputation of being a haunted house, with rumors of buried treasure. This is fairly accurate; he’s tried to keep the bakery clean by moving the bodies of less-fortunate adventurers away from the ovens to the basement. The PCs might be hired by the new proprietor of the bakery, who’s trying to clear out the ghost.


Spoiler: CR 10
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CR 10: Grobzok has taken his first level of Tomb Warden, giving him immunity to being Turned. He is casting as a Dread Necromancer 6, which gives him 3rd-level spells like Summon Undead 3, Inflict Serious Wounds, and Ray of Exhaustion. While the Lich Body class feature’s description assumes a corporeal body to start with, there’s nothing preventing the bonuses from applying to a Ghost’s incorporeal body. Grobzok’s choice for Advanced Learning is “Kelgore’s Grave Mist,” a nice spell from Players’ Handbook 2 that deals automatic Cold damage to an area, plus the chance for Fatigue. Very nice for casting in hallways.

At this level, Grobzok has been haunting the bakery for several decades, and is now a regional legend. No one has even tried to set up shop in the bakery for years. The players might get word of the bakery through an Archivist who has taken an interest in the matter. The Archivist assumes there must be some tragic story behind the haunting; the rumor of long-lost lore hidden in his tomb provides the real motivation.


Spoiler: CR 15 (Sweet Spot)
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CR 15 (Sweet Spot): Grobzok has just taken his 4th level of Dread Witch, and is casting as a 9th level Dread Necromancer. Reach Spell is now online, helping him to avoid getting too close when delivering spells. He’s finally high enough level to use one of the classic Necromancy spells, Animate Dead, and Practiced Spellcaster helps make up for the caster levels lost from the template, Warrior level, dead level of Dread Witch, and two levels of Tomb Guardian. It also interacts very nicely with Greater Master of Terror. His caster level is now 13, meaning enemies with less than 17 hit dice are not immune to any of his Fear spells.

At this level, Grobzok’s Tomb has become a well-known place of paranormal activity. Dozens of adventurers have tried (and failed) to destroy him and gain the treasures that now fill the basement. The players might encounter the Tomb as part of an effort to secure peace between a nearby Orc tribe and a human kingdom. The Orc chieftain will consider peace if the party can lay Grobzok’s spirit to its final rest.


Spoiler: CR 20
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CR 20: Grobzok has reached the height of his spellcasting power, gaining the use of 7th-level spells like Create Undead, Destruction, and Finger of Death. Undead Mastery gives him a larger number of undead to be controlled. At 17th level, Grobzok summons a Vargouille familiar. At his option, he can use his Malevolence ability to inhabit the Vargouille and attack the party directly from the material plane. At 19th, he learns Touch of Vecna (a [Fear, Necromancy] spell from Complete Mage that can permanently paralyze on a failed save). Positive Energy Resistance can grant him a bit of protection against pesky Clerics and their Cure spells.

At this level, Grobzok is a truly legendary haunting presence. He has likely been haunting the bakery for centuries now, and the details of his origins are lost to the mists of time. He may have attracted the attention of a major Cleric of Gruumsh, who hopes to use the legend of Grobzok’s faithfulness beyond death as a rallying point in a war against humans. The PCs might need to destroy the ghost once and for all to thwart the Cleric’s plans. Or, the PCs might need to retrieve the Legendary Recipe of Grobzok from his burial place beneath the bakery as a component in an important ritual.



Spoiler: Tactics: Dealing with Death Ward
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One of the most common tactics players will use against a Ghost is Death Ward. It offers a fairly low-level (4th-level spell) method of protection against [Death] and negative energy spells and effects. If the players have Death Ward up, they will be immune to many of Grobzok’s nastiest Dread Necromancer spells. Fortunately, the spell does have a limited duration (minutes/level). Grobzok’s Tomb Sense ability from Tomb Guardian can help him detect the adventurers and delay their progress until the Ward is down.

If he’s forced to attack while the players are still warded, he does still have a few options. Fear effects will still work normally (especially after Dread Witch 5), Summoned or animated undead will still hit the party for physical damage as usual, and some of his Ghost abilities will help out too. Ghostly Grasp allows him to take up items from the material plane; weapons seized from previous invaders would be fair game. None of his ghostly attacks are tagged as Negative Energy. Corrupting Gaze will still work.

Draining Touch is more problematic. If you take the interpretation that the “drain” in the title means it’s an Energy Drain effect, it will not work on a Death Warded character. If you interpret “Energy Drain” to be a specific Special Ability that deals negative levels, Death Ward will not protect against Draining Touch.


Spoiler: Sources
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Reach Spell, Practiced Spellcaster: Complete Divine
Dread Necromancer, Dread Witch: Heroes of Horror
Orc, Ghost Template: Monster Manual 1
Tomb Warden, Quicken Manifestation, Ghostly Grasp, Fell Frighten, Positive Energy Resistance: Libris Mortis
Kelgore’s Grave Mist: Players’ Handbook II
Touch of Vecna: Complete Mage