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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    In a campaign, I want the party to face a kobold unarmed swordsage, but since I have only limited experience with ToB in particular and it would be my first time DMing, I'm not sure how to build it. The encounter should beat them up pretty badly, but not kill any of them barring very bad rolls on their part and very good rolls on my part.

    Environment is a 40ft X 40ft X 40ft room with a 10ft wide catwalk 20ft up and spears covering the floor. The adventurers enter one side, the Kobold guards a locked door on the other. The walls are unworked rock that should be easy for anyone to climb.

    So: What kobold unarmed swordsage build(Including gear) would, barring bad rolls, threaten a group of third level adventurers in this environment? Any official source goes.

    The party hasn't actually formed yet, so I'm assuming the party makeup to be generic at this point. Buffbot cleric, controller wizard, two melee guys, and a rogue or factotum.

    And yes, the encounted is designed mainly to see the look on their faces when they start getting thrown around by a kobold.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PId6's Avatar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    Five 3rd level characters? You'll definitely want him to be at least 5th level, and preferably with the environment set up so that there's only room for one or two PCs attacking him at the same time. Some minions would be extraordinarily helpful, but can be skipped if desired. Given the environment, Setting Sun would be wonderful, letting him throw PCs down into the pit. Let's see...

    Race: Kobold (with Web Enhancement for natural weapons)
    Class: Unarmed Swordsage 5
    Abilities (32 PB): Str 6, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 8
    Skills: Balance 8, Listen 8, Sense Motive 8, Tumble 8
    Class Features: Weapon Focus (Tiger Claw), Insightful Strike (Desert Wind)
    Flaws: Shaky, Murky-Eyed
    Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Adaptive Style, Multiattack, Weapon Finesse
    Maneuvers: Shadow Blade Technique, Wolf Fang Strike, Distracting Ember, Burning Blade, Counter Charge, Mighty Throw, Fire Riposte, Shadow Jaunt, Flashing Sun, Death Mark
    Stances: Stance of Clarity, Hunter's Sense, Giant Killing Style
    Items: Masterwork Chain Shirt (250), Potion of Magic Fang (50), Anklet of Translocation [MIC] (1,400), Ring of Protection +1 (2,000), Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker [MIC] (500), 100 gp.

    His AC will be quite good. 10 + 1 size + 1 natural armor + 1 deflection + 4 Dex + 3 Wis + 4 armor = 24, making him fairly survivable against 3rd level PCs. Most of his saves should be fairly decent as well. Counter Charge protects against any attempts to charge him (sending them into the pit), while Fire Riposte avenges other attacks that hit. Shadow Jaunt can get him out of grapples or out of the pit if he falls in, as can Anklet of Translocation (which can also teleport him past the melee guys to get to the caster). Tumbling works well to avoid AoOs.

    Offensively, Giant Killing Style is awesome since he's probably smaller than most of the PCs, especially if you count Slight Build for that. Death Mark is best used when the PCs are clumped together so you can blast multiple PCs at once. Mighty Throw takes advantage of the environment, letting him throw weaker and smaller PCs (like wizards or halfling rogues) into the pit, though his own -4 size penalty to the check is regrettable.

    Most of his damage is done via a full attack. Burning Blade + Flashing Sun + Giant Killing Style + Discipline Focus means that he does 7 extra damage and 1d6+5 extra fire damage on each attack, for 5 attacks in one round (two from Flashing Sun, three from claw claw bite). Distracting Ember helps his to-hit, and don't forget that unarmed strike and claws (though not bite) are discipline weapons of Tiger Claw (so you get Weapon Focus with them). If you run out of maneuvers, just take a full-round action to get them all back via Adaptive Style.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    +1 to PId6's post, with some possible changes. Since you're already going to be focused on Dex, it's not a bad idea to consider Shadow Blade feat, most likely with Child of Shadow for the miss chance. It won't work with natural weapons, but your unarmed strike will now deal Dex mod damage.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Frosty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    If he has minions, he might trade Giant Killing Style for Assassin's Stance. Then, combined with Shadow blade, adding Dex to damage AND 2d6 SA damage to every attack is awesome.
    NS2...it's time to evolve again.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PId6's Avatar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Rahl22 View Post
    +1 to PId6's post, with some possible changes. Since you're already going to be focused on Dex, it's not a bad idea to consider Shadow Blade feat, most likely with Child of Shadow for the miss chance. It won't work with natural weapons, but your unarmed strike will now deal Dex mod damage.
    I did consider it, but there are a few drawbacks to Shadow Blade:
    • First, it costs a feat, which are extremely tight already. Losing armor proficiency costs you 4 AC. Adaptive Style is irreplaceable if you intend the combat to go for more than 2-3 rounds. Multiattack makes the natural weapons actually useful, and there are more natural weapons than regular unarmed attacks. Weapon Finesse is obviously a necessity.
    • Secondly, it locks you into Shadow Hand stances. While you can pick Assassin's Stance for nice damage, his damage is already quite good, and Giant Killing Style provides a much needed accuracy boost along with almost as nice damage and no need to worry about getting Sneak Attacks. Child of Shadow doesn't really compare, especially since using full attacks will make it very hard to trigger the miss chance.
    • Finally, it doesn't actually provide that great a boost. +4 to damage is nice and all, but it only applies to one or two attacks per round. Since the majority of your attacks are natural weapons, something like Multiattack will end up giving better damage output overall because it benefits more of your hits. The difference Shadow Blade brings isn't huge, while the costs are large enough that it's probably not worth it on this character.

    But yeah, if he has minions, the option becomes a lot better since Assassin's Stance's Sneak Attack can reliably go off now. It's still hard to pick a feat to switch out though. Perhaps Armor Proficiency can be traded for a Potion of Mage Armor.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    For sheer hilarity's sake, give him a setting sun maneuver to let him toss a PC off the bridge and in to the pit.

    If you do it at the very beginning and have him toss the character with the highest AC and health, he'll totally live. It will give the PCs an "Oh ****" moment and that character will have to spend a few rounds climbing back up to the bridge.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Maxios's Avatar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    If every PC is on the bridge, let the kobold cut the ropes or whatever holds the bride up, (+5 att. vs Reflex save) if the players make the reflex roll, they get to either side of the bridge of their choice. If they don't, they fall with the bridge into the pit. The swordsage will not be on the bridge if this is done.
    Last edited by Maxios; 2010-08-25 at 01:53 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    You might consider giving him a few minions - say, 2-3 Arctic Kobolds with 2-3 levels in Barbarian would beef up the encounter considerably. As is, there's a big chance of the party spellcasters just using their 2nd level spell slots to screw over the lonely swordsage, or the one of the melee guys getting a lucky critical and one shotting him.

    Another choice might be giving the swordsage a few more levels - perhaps in Fighter, for bonus feats and extra sturdiness.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    Remember that the party is only level 3. Throwing 2 or 3 level threes and one level 5 optimized Swordsage might be a Deadly or even Overwhelming encounter depending on the terrain.
    NS2...it's time to evolve again.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PId6's Avatar

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    Remember that the party is only level 3. Throwing 2 or 3 level threes and one level 5 optimized Swordsage might be a Deadly or even Overwhelming encounter depending on the terrain.
    Yeah, honestly, with the given terrain and assuming a not too optimized party, that 5th level swordsage should be challenging enough on his own. With 4/5 characters relying on attack rolls, that 24 AC should be a pretty nice obstacle. A lucky Glitterdust may take him out, so maybe swap out something for Moment of Perfect Mind and get 8 ranks in Concentration (along with a Masterwork Tools of Concentration possibly). Beyond that, it should be a pretty good challenge even without minions (though it never hurts to weaken the PCs with a few earlier encounters beforehand).
    Last edited by PId6; 2010-08-25 at 07:00 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Building an enemy kobold swordsage.

    Sweet ideas so far. I especially appreciate PId6's input.

    If every PC is on the bridge, let the kobold cut the ropes or whatever holds the bride up, (+5 att. vs Reflex save) if the players make the reflex roll, they get to either side of the bridge of their choice. If they don't, they fall with the bridge into the pit. The swordsage will not be on the bridge if this is done.
    The bridge is a rough stone bridge carved out of the rock. But knowing kobolds, I may redesign the chamber to make it collapsible.

    For sheer hilarity's sake, give him a setting sun maneuver to let him toss a PC off the bridge and in to the pit.
    That's precisely what was intended.

    Beyond that, it should be a pretty good challenge even without minions (though it never hurts to weaken the PCs with a few earlier encounters beforehand).
    Actually, the party should be at almost full power when they fight this guy. He should be the first real threat in the kobold lair that they face. They'll have encountered maybe some squads of spearkobolds that harass and then flee(or get eviscerated horribly), maybe some anklebiter or tripwire traps, but the real difficulty will be getting out. On the way out, all of the kobolds' traps and killzones will have been armed and manned. And then there will be blood. Oh yes. There will be blood. Ever been locked in a 10 X 10 Room on your own with half your spell slots gone with a minotaur with class levels for company?

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