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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Jergmo's Avatar

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    Default [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Wow, this is the third thread on beholders I've created in a two-day span. But I just realized something - pretty much every tactic for fighting beholders is useless.

    Turn in Place

    A creature with good or average maneuverability can use some of its speed to turn in place.

    +90°/-5 ft.

    A beholder's eye rays are free actions, meaning it can Hustle and simply turn in place, rotating out used stalks and then settling on you again at the end of its turn with its Antimagic Cone. Clumping together to reduce the number of rays a beholder can use against you is useless.

    Main tactic #2: Force the beholder to focus on you with its Antimagic Cone by being too much of a threat otherwise, then pepper it with ranged weapons.

    The beholder still has Telekinesis and Disintegrate - with the Monster Makeover for Beholders, they can use Disintegrate twice per round and Telekinesis four times per round. The beholder can proceed to Disintegrate the ceiling/etc. terrain feature onto you from above, or Telekinesis far more effective projectiles into the Antimagic field onto your squishy, magic-free hides. It can easily fly out of reach from your puny mundane melee weapons.

    Putting you right back at square one - vulnerable people exiting the Antimagic Cone if they want to do something, opening them up to rays that target their weaknesses.

    What do you do?

    Edit: The Monster Makeover gives Beholders a +4 racial bonus to the save DCs of their eye rays, to handle the issue of save DCs being laughably low.
    Last edited by Jergmo; 2010-04-03 at 08:37 PM.


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    OK, I don't know if it'd been discussed before, but a warblade Iron Heart Surging the AMF off and charge-grappling a beholder sounds fun. Maybe the DM would be happy to have the warblade grappling the eye stalks to keep it off of the party even, for dramatic effects?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salt_Crow View Post
    OK, I don't know if it'd been discussed before, but a warblade Iron Heart Surging the AMF off and charge-grappling a beholder sounds fun. Maybe the DM would be happy to have the warblade grappling the eye stalks to keep it off of the party even, for dramatic effects?
    Beholder: *Floating above range of any melee characters if it's not an idiot, which it isn't*


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

    My Homebrew

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    Beholder: *Floating above range of any melee characters if it's not an idiot, which it isn't*
    OK, silly me for forgetting that beholders can fly. Yeah... a creature with no legs or other viable means of transportation that cannot fly...

    How about taking a potion of fly prior to/at the beginning of the battle, so he could charge the thing? Since the AMF does not affect the warblade, it should be able to fly now. But then again, the beholder may be smart enough to have a wand of greater dispel magic or something similar handy...

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    don't suppose i could say ring of jump?
    Monk sucks, but you know, it's not actually worth negative LA.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salt_Crow View Post
    OK, silly me for forgetting that beholders can fly. Yeah... a creature with no legs or other viable means of transportation that cannot fly...

    How about taking a potion of fly prior to/at the beginning of the battle, so he could charge the thing? Since the AMF does not affect the warblade, it should be able to fly now. But then again, the beholder may be smart enough to have a wand of greater dispel magic or something similar handy...
    Well, it depends - does the Iron Heart Surge merely apply to the Warblade's Supernatural maneuvers, or does it regain all of its magical effects?


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

    My Homebrew

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    No one has mentioned that even bunching together is no use, as a beholder can simply hover directly overhead and still use all 10 of its eye rays by quad-secting the PCs?

    But I assume that is why the beholder has so little hp. Plus, if you think its DCs are too low, you can always advance it, since 4 abberation HD improve its cr by just 1 (but its DCs improve by 2), and SoDs remain useful at any lv (since their effects are independent of hp). Then slap on the dungeonbred template to make it large again. Your party won't suspect a thing!

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    I once had my fighter leap off a tower, grab onto a beholder with a grapple and force it to the ground. I was far stronger then the beholder giving me the grapple advantage despite its larger size.
    The beholder could not stay a float with 300lbs of reptilian fighter clinging to him

    Personally I say putting the 90° degree arc line between the party members is cheating where ever the first eye ray fires should be the center of the 90° degree arc, as is any of that move nonsense, That limitation was created for reason and is part of his CR.
    If you can make a 90° arc at any point that had more then 3 eye rays shot through it, its cheating.

    A few things that can help, darkness, mirror image, displacement, anything that gives concealment or an outright miss chance. Greater Invisibility would work well to.

    If the DM is going to use the best cheese he can when facing a beholder do the same in return.

    Here is one way to fight a beholder, cast ray deflection. The spell makes you immune to all ranged touch attacks, including ray spells and ray attacks made by creatures. ANY ray directed at you is automatically reflected harmlessly away.
    Spell Compendium page 166
    The problem its range is personal and its a 4th level spell so no potions.

    However for that wizard or bard he is immune to any direct assault laid upon him by the beholder as his ray assaults bounce away. Which means you only need worry about telekinesis, but some displacement+mirror image can buy time with that.

    From there I'd advise something simple like Flesh to Stone it has the range and would be instant death on a failed save, stuff like stinking cloud also works.

    Other tactics include the Dimension door drop, the caster may be unable to take more actions the same can not be said for those he brought along. Dimension door your biggest strongest friend directly over the beholder with say a Protection vs alignment up and maybe an enlarge person for extra weight and grapple bonus.
    Bring the beholder to the ground and you can just move in.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-04-03 at 09:15 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Use a smokestick and spam some AoE's and it should go down just fine. If necessary, a contingent wall of ice (dome) could be an effective one-shot countermeasure against its disintigrate, eye rays and antimagic field.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Not to burst any bubbles, but the tactics listed above require that you not be smack dab in the middle of a 150 ft. cone of antimagic.


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

    My Homebrew

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    In addition, lords of madness introduces feats which make the beholder more challenging.

    Agile tyrant lets it aim an extra ray into each arc, focused antimagic lets it affect a single foe, so it can now suppress the magic of a PC while continuing to spam its rays, while skilled telekinetic lets it activate wands, giving it something to do with its standard action.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    Not to burst any bubbles, but the tactics listed above require that you not be smack dab in the middle of a 150 ft. cone of antimagic.
    Not to bust any bubbles but any mage worth his salt isn't going to stand around in one.
    Antimagic fields are useful, except when they aren't. One round is all a good evoker needs to put a beholder down. Catching the beholder off guard, moving behind cover, and even blinding the thing are all effective strategies against one.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    Well, it depends - does the Iron Heart Surge merely apply to the Warblade's Supernatural maneuvers, or does it regain all of its magical effects?
    RAW, it removes all baaad effects that are currently affecting you. AMF? Gone! You're a drow and the sunlight's too bright for you? Gone! Depending on the DM though, the beholder can just blink its central eye and thus resetting the condition (one big ouch for the fighter).

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    Not to burst any bubbles, but the tactics listed above require that you not be smack dab in the middle of a 150 ft. cone of antimagic.
    If your smack in the middle the beholder can't do crap,
    Remember its telekinesis is a ray so that should limit it to hurling ONE object a round, now his effective caster level is 13, which means he can hurl an object more then 130ft, if your smack in the middle of the cone. He can't hit you with telekinetically hurled object as he has to pick it up outside the cone, so just fire away with ranged attacks.

    Now from the FAQ
    "Magical attacks that fill areas (bursts, cones, cylinders, lines, emanations, and spreads) are subject to all the rules for cover on page 151 of the Player’s Handbook. Such attacks are completely blocked if line of effect between you and the attack’s point of origin passes through the side of your space the shield blocks."

    Now what does this mean? You can use a tower shield to block the anti-magic cone. Or you can run for cover yourself, say from one of the 10ft holes the beholder made with his disintegrate then dimension door away and regroup later.

    But lets look at the tower shield, the fighter uses it to grant himself total cover, blocking the anti magic cone. He then drinks a potion of fly.
    He then fly's up to the beholder as by RAW the shield blocks the cone. Or perhaps use one of those nifty short range teleportation items. Probably throw in a portion of circle of protection vs alignment to.

    Now once he gets behind the beholder he can stop taking advantage of the cover and attack the beholder. Now sure the eyeball could turn the cone against the fighter, but that means giving up stopping the rest of the party.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-04-03 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    I am curious as how anyone may have modified the beholder to make it more challenging?

    I haven't personally tried this, but I am a huge fan of the dungeonbred template. It makes the beholder medium, which nets it +2 to-hit and +2AC, as well as grant it endurance, which paves the way for die-hard. Ability focus is another great feat, though this also depends if you allow it to benefit all eye rays, or just 1 per feat. Working out how its firing arcs work while medium is going to be a headache though.

    And because abberation HD is so cheap, it can be readily advanced to make it more durable and less likely to die to an alpha strike (more hp, better saves). Since touch ACs scale so poorly, all those excess bab can be channeled into combat expertise and fighting defensively, giving it a healthy does of AC (up to +8AC at expense of -9 to-hit).

    Basically, the beholder keeps moving every round to break LoS with the party, since its eye rays are free actions, so it can easily manage this with flyby attack.

    Do you think a 33HD dungeonbred beholder makes for a viable cr20 foe? Remember to outfit it accordingly with magic gear.

    The beholder mage prc looks intriguing, but I personally don't like abilities which essentially revamp a monster into yet another spellcaster with more hp.
    Last edited by Runestar; 2010-04-03 at 09:56 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    The Beholder Mage is also widely considered to be one of the most broken things in the game, and that's saying something!


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

    My Homebrew

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    The beholder itself is essentially a spellcaster with more HP though.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    The Beholder Mage is also widely considered to be one of the most broken things in the game, and that's saying something!
    Only when combined with polymorph. Sure, he is powerful in that he can potentially cast up to 10 spells/round (ranging from cantrips to 9th lv spells) if the party is spread out enough, but that seems more or less in line with what is expected of a cr23 foe.

    This makes me wonder though, if it later gets epic spellcasting or improved spell capacity, how does it cast those spells, since they are technically not tied to any stalk? Does it use a normal standard action to cast them?
    Last edited by Runestar; 2010-04-03 at 10:13 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    The Beholder Mage is also widely considered to be one of the most broken things in the game, and that's saying something!
    I did this to my PC's once they walked into this cavern and saw an aged beholder who central eye was pure white, clearly blind.
    They freaked out it was hilarious how they panicked, especially when the beholder and reared back making its threats. So sure a beholder mage was about to annihilate them before its eye ray fizzled.

    It wasn't a beholder mage, just a venerable beholder near the end of its life it failed to evolve to a higher form, it lost its central eye due to old age and its eye rays didn't always work.

    They thought it a poor wretched thing and by pity they stayed their hands.
    Quote Originally Posted by Runestar View Post
    Only when combined with polymorph. Sure, he is powerful in that he can potentially cast up to 10 spells/round if the party is spread out enough, but that seems more or less in line with what is expected of a cr23 foe.
    Imagine a wizard who casts his spells spontaneously.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2010-04-03 at 10:13 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    I one manned an advanced (equal CR) beholder as a kobold spirit shaman once.

    The kobold part wasn't terribly important, just a means of getting an EX flight mode and flavor at the time. The Spirit Shaman part was pretty awesome though as I was able to enact my dastardly plan only thanks to one of its class abilities (while it can be done out of other classes, the shaman made it triflingly easy).

    I began by casting a Summon Elemental Monolith (Earth) and a quickened ray deflection. The Beholder took its turn beaming me, whereupon it discovered I had ray deflection up. Elemental Monolith #1 lands, takes its full attack. I begin casting a second Summon Elemental Monolith, shifting my concentration to my spirit guide to do so. Beholder orients its antimagic cone on monolith 1, suppressing its summons.

    Elemental Monolith #2 lands behind it. Full attack. This starts a fun game where the beholder spins and moves, trying to get both monoliths into its antimagic cone while keeping me in range for the few rounds it takes for my summoned monoliths to crush it, aided by the occasional quickened Snake's Swiftness from me.

    Antimagic cone: it only gets one of the summonings if you do it right.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    In Shackled City,
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    one of the main bad guys, Lord Vhalantru, is a Beholder. He's a recurring villain, and acquires a few templates over the course of the adventure.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Cloudkill is a crowd pleaser. Since the DCs are con based, knocking those numbers down a bit with the HP as well is nice. @ 10ft speed they can't escape too swiftly.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Last time one of my pc fought a Beholder i just prepared an action to blast it with a empowered scorcher as soon as it turned its antimagic field away from me.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Helped defeat a Beholder Lich by crash tackling it from above - grappling its disintegrate stalk and directing it at its self while blocking a lot of the other stalks with my shield (a fire attack was the only one left to attack me and it missed a lot)

    Eventually the combined actions of my PC and a Halfling Paladin (who was also "on board") destroyed it - resulting in a long drop with a hard stop.

    Paladin went splat and my Archivist was saved the bonus hit points from raging
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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    @Telonius: That's exactly the beholder from my tale, above.

    It was awesome.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Beholders are mostly offensive. The trick isn't to defend against them, it's to hit them so hard and fast they can't possibly turn that offense on you. That means a flying charger, a serious hail of arrows from a decent archer, or some other similar trick.

    JaronK

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    I like the Ray Deflection tactic. Similarly, getting an Antimagic bubble permanancied on yourself pretty much kills all of its attacks.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher View Post
    I like the Ray Deflection tactic. Similarly, getting an Antimagic bubble permanancied on yourself pretty much kills all of its attacks.
    ..At the cost of making you a joke in terms of fighting basically anything else in existence. And the beholder can still hover out of melee reach and chuck things at you with telekinesis, because now he doesn't even need his AMF cone, you've supplied it for him.

    Personally, I like giving beholders Improved Manuverability to upgrade their speed to (perfect), which lets them rotate their facing. They can shoot all 10 rays directly above them, which normally means they need to be below the party somehow...unless they just flip to face down to the floor at no movement loss, unload 10 rays on the party that's now "above" them, and then flip back up.
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    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Last time one of my pc fought a Beholder i just prepared an action to blast it with a empowered scorcher as soon as it turned its antimagic field away from me.
    That's not always effective. I tried a similar tactic last time, and the DM kept the AMF on me, so I wasted three rounds of action before finally just switching to my bow.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Yet Another Beholder Topic - Beholder-fighting Tactics Useless?

    If the beholder's keeping you in its AMF, it's doing so for a specific reason. In these cases, it's probably best to use ranged weapons against it.

    However, if the beholder is using its other eye rays, there's a few defenses that increase your odds of survival:

    Miss chances: blur, displacement, a swiftblade using haste, blink/greater blink, or mirror image are all great at preventing those pesky touch attacks from hitting.

    Distractions: summoned monsters, illusions, or weak undead all provide more targets. A good tactic, if you've got a decent necromancer along, is to bring a bunch of skeletons or zombies with bows. The beholder can't ignore them for long: they don't care about the AMF, and will get some lucky hits in.

    AMF: Oddly, an AMF of your own, and a dedicated archer, are pretty good against beholders. This works best in an area where the beholder's telekinesis and disintegrate rays aren't as useful, such as outdoor areas (unlikely when fighting beholders, but still...)

    Other good defenses: Mind Blank and Death Ward (immunity to the charm rays, the sleep ray, and the finger of death ray).

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