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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default What level should this be? (3.5)

    (view for details -- I was pretty general there and nobody responded, so now I'm asking a specific question instead)

    One off adventure with the goal of killing two powerful characters, both of whom believe themselves to be avatars of gods, on their home turf, in a magic-boosted setting.

    The two:

    Favoured Soul 12, Avatar of the Sun. High base Str + Righteous Might + Visage of the Deity for melee combat using an uber-powerful gauntlet weapon (clasps hands together, issues a command word and they glow like the sun, can assume a Brilliant Energy form, and deal damage as if they were multiple size categories larger than they are). Has an artificial eye that he can use to generate ranged attacks -- was Scorching Ray when the character originally appeared in a campaign, but I might amp it up a little for this.

    Monk//Warlock, Avatar of the Black Flame. Houseruled to combine Eldritch Glaive and Flurry of Blows, and using sublime but nonmagical mobility (ie, insane bonuses in jump, climb, etc). Invocations pretty much all passive/subtle, so that her ability to create black fire at will and wield it as a weapon is the only really obviously magical power she has.

    What I need help deciding is what level to have the Avatar of the Black Flame (I want her to be roughly as powerful as the Favoured Soul, but it's unclear how to go about doing that, as she's less optimized on the one hand but gestalt on the other), and what level to have the PCs. I'm not yet sure on the party size... probably three or four.

    I'm thinking of having them fight the two Avatars separately, rather than together, although if they bungle it up too much it may strain credulity for them not to come to each other's defence, in which case meh, it's a one-off, TPKs are acceptable.
    Last edited by unimaginable; 2010-07-30 at 04:13 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    BooNL's Avatar

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    Sep 2007

    Default Re: What level should this be? (3.5)

    I never make my BBEGs in advance, at least not in full detail. I might know 'he's going to be a Favoured Soul', but I'm not sure on the level yet.

    This allows me flexibility when the players eventually meet the boss. Say you started at level 7, but they get more sidetracked than you planned for and you end up giving them more XP. Now you have to rework the boss to make him more powerful and some of his spells/abilities are a lot more/less powerful than you thought before.
    I'd rather make the boss when I get a good feel of the party's strengths and weaknesses, classes and gear.

    As for the Avatar of the Black Flame, gestalt is usually considered to be roughly 2 CR above regular characters. Sticking two classes together doesn't double its strength and while you have a decent character, it's still a Monk//Warlock. A wizard or druid of equal level should finish it off without problems 9 times out of 10.

    In other words, I'd keep her around the same level as the other avatar, if not a higher level even (she probably needs all the help she can get).

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground

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    Jul 2010

    Default Re: What level should this be? (3.5)

    Well, it's a one-off, so the rules around what I should or shouldn't do in advance are kind of different. Also, a big part of the point of this is to revisit these two specific characters and the setting they're from, because they didn't get as much game time as they deserved in the original campaign. Plus, this means I've got most of the concept work pretty much done for me.

    Digging through the old character sheet for Emmalina, Avatar of the Black Flame, we're looking at something like:

    Str 14
    Dex 18
    Con 14
    Int 8
    Wis 17
    Cha 12

    Flurry: +11/+11/+11/+6 [[melee touch (10 foot reach) 6d6 untyped magic] or [melee 2d8+2, Fort DC 18 or stunned]]

    AC probably 29, hitpoints probably around 100. Excellent mobility; if I scatter a couple antimagic fields or similar around, she should be able to easily get places the PCs can't.

    The FS, on the other hand, when in Divine Power/Righteous Might/Visage mode, would probably have something like...

    32 Str

    +23/+18/+13 melee (3d6+21 bludgeoning), capable of doing a brilliant energy mode temporarily.

    Definitely seems a good deal more badass. On the other hand, the FS is pretty much ONLY a melee powerhouse, and lacks the mobility to prevent the PCs from just outranging him. He is on his home turf, though, so their ability to do that will be limited. She, on the other hand, can probably run circles around the PCs, chase them down easily, and is effective even from range (though not as brutal as in melee). Both have really high saves and a handful of resistances/DR/immunities thanks to Vestige of the Deity and assorted monk/warlock abilities.

    Hm... I dunno. Any ideas?
    Last edited by unimaginable; 2010-07-30 at 09:19 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
    sonofzeal's Avatar

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    Jan 2008

    Default Re: What level should this be? (3.5)

    I assume both intend to be in melee?

    Honestly, in Brilliant Energy Mode the FS can probably tear through most equal-level melee PCs pretty darn quickly, as all three attacks would likely hit for 31.5 x3 = 94.5 damage. That's before Power Attack or any other boosters, and it's still enough to reliably drop a PC. PCs generally have higher AC and lower HP than monsters, so anything that does good damage and beats AC tends to demolish them.

    As for Emmalina, Quicken/Empower/Maximize Spell-Like Ability will give her extra power on those blasts, and make for a good opening scare. Personally, I'd also consider rebuilding her as a Warlock // Monk/Scout. Warlock and Scout are both low-tier classes generally, but get great synergy off eachother. She'd keep the same flavour, get more mobility, more power, and more options. Highly recommended.

    In any case, I'd try to keep them both at the same ECL, just for general elegance.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground

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    Jul 2010

    Default Re: What level should this be? (3.5)

    Okay. Working the symbolism...

    Entering melee combat with the Sun is just simply a stupid thing to do: even standing at distance from it will burn you, but what the Sun gains in power it loses in subtlety and guile. It can, therefore, be outsmarted -- attacking it directly ought not to be the best choice.

    The Black Flame on the other hand ought to be the lashing tongue of fire, dancing out from the shadows and pounding against its enemies, stunning them, but just as it licks it melts back into nothingness.

    In game terms that means that both will be nigh unbeatable at their game, and can be beaten mainly by figuring out how to avoid playing their game at all. The Sun's game is open confrontation, and the Black Flame's game is shock tactics from the shadows. I ought to make the Black Flame's game easier to break somehow, and use that to implant the suggestion that going outside the normal rules is what's necessary. Even explicitly recommend lateral thinking in the briefing at the beginning of the one-off: wise/intelligent NPC warns them that they cannot be beaten at their games, and so you'll need to come up with something different.

    Question then becomes... what are good lateral solutions to sublime mobility and overwhelming combat prowess? To allow the killing to run as a puzzle rather than a normal combat, although backed up with the combat rules.

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