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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Tomer, Itay, Alon, Guy and Ariel, stay out! seriously!

    hello folks, if you are reading my campaign log, the following might be a spoiler, however, i would appreciate the help!

    the short story is this: my campaign has 6 main villains (on the theme of the Eberron dark six gods, but that doesn't matter). they were all supposed to be quite tougher than the party, and become repeating villains. however... on the second meeting the party killed the first villain due to me playing her badly (i tried not to hurt the party too much this early in the campaign, while they pommeled away at her)/

    the second one got utterly butchered in the last meeting (bad design, and action economy, combined with the party being faster on horses than the villains- no escape)

    shorter story- i SUCK at designing and fighting as villains, (i do not exaggerate) and i need your help! the party will start on their way to meet the third villain, and he is supposed to be one of the toughest 2. he NEEDS to survive this, and hopefully, put the fear into the players. you know, someone impressive to remember?

    so what are we dealing with? first, the party:
    1) Kalashtar Wiz 4/ Sorc 1 (going for ultimate magus). works sort of like a batman. VERY resourceful. favorite spell: balefull trasportation
    2) orc Dragon shaman 4 (fire)/ Barb 1. LOTS of hp, hard to hit as well.
    3) Half giant psychic warrior 4. the glass cannon- gets hit a lot, but when he hit- he hits for A LOT.
    4) poisondusk lizrdman swordsage 4 (focuses on tiger and shadow disciplines) uses lots of poisons.
    5) half elf duskblade 3/ rog 2 back up caster/ fighter, mostly acts as a face/ manipulator.

    the party has about 150% more than their due WBL resources. and are built using 32 point buy. they work very well as a team.

    the bad guy: the bad guy is based on the Keeper- one of Eberron's gods of death and undeath. the elements that should go into his building: mastery of undeath, reasonable- good melee fighter, uses of necromancy, durable (either hard to hit or high hp, or restorative powers), if possible, some connection to being an army commander (related to his background)

    besides that- he is going to have lots of minions, first and foremost are a small group of Karrnathi undead (for those who don't know Eberron- a sort of elite intelligent undead, keep their feats, CR 3), but maybe a few other "special" undead, and maybe a few living guys either. this does not mean the guy is going to lay back- sure, he may buff himself, and may debuff, but then i want him in combat, as most of my group are heavy melee oriented, i want them to face someone to challenge them as well.

    note: i am not a stickler for the rules. i do prefer to build him close to them, but if you can think of something that might be cool, feel free to suggest. i mainly take this liberty with magical items.

    here is the way i see it so far (all open to change):
    0) he's a human.
    1) build- Clr 4, Ftr 1 (for tower shield, extra feat, and attack bonus. it feels natural for his background), and bone knight 7 (PRC from five nations. almost full spell progresion, full rebuke undead progression, a few cool abilities) this should put him at CR 12 (perhaps more due to magic items and such). that's a lot, but the party have proven resourceful. plus, i want them to run (at the end)
    2) decay domain. i like the spells, (especially enervation) and the decaying touch piower. still haven't decided on the second domain. suggestions?
    3) i'm not using the "divine metamagic persist" cheese. i really dislike it.
    4) other feats i'm considering: divine spell power (CoD), weapon focus (in my campaign the feat improves with level. at his level it's a +3 to hit!), perhaps empower and divine metamagic empower for Enervation and flame strike? (not sure) i really need soe good feats.
    5) no leadership feat- house rule: we roleplay for our leadership. lets say he got one.
    6) main magic items: cloak of resistance +3, periaphet of wisdom +4, belt of health +2 bone magic full plate +2, bone magic tower shield +2, bone long sword of the keeper +1, boots of striding (the bone doesn't matter much, a few extra perks due to the PRC, and good for the looks). also, a few utility potions- fly, restoration (i know it's 4th level, we have them in my campaign) and gaseous form. too much? too little?

    any advice on spell selection? note i do not have the spell compendium

    lastly, available books:
    - PHB 1+2
    - complete series
    - races of series
    - most eberron books
    - ToB

    thanks in advance people!

    1. Special projects:
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    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    too much? have i gone overboard?

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    You could give him high damage reduction, that will make it much harder to damage him making him survive longer.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Wings of Peace's Avatar

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    You should give him the Troll-Blooded feat.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    The Bone Knight's strength is that it has huge immunities and almost full clerical casting. Use the clerical casting to buff itself to make it more of a challenge. The Troll Blooded feat is good, but I just can't bring myself to include it in my builds because it's well... regeneration. At level 1.

    As for the undead theme, the Bone Knight has 2 pools of controlled undead, giving it more HD of undead controlled. This has the potential to give it better bruisers as opposed to simple skeletons/zombies.

    Also, awaken his mount. It gives it feats and opens up huge potential for his melee capability. His mount can gain good feats like Knockback. Combine it with Calvary Charger from CW and you can trample/bullrush chain PCs for as long as your knight's mount can charge. Even if he's not riding it, use the mount as a flanker etc etc...

    You could also use some Fear effects, it makes solo bosses tougher if at least a few PCs are running away from him screaming and soiling their armor.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Deathbound domain, I believe, is standard for more powerful undead minions. hmm, unfortunately it appears to be Libris Mortis material, though I believe the Blood of Vol has it as a domain...

    And do you want the other domain for spells or for granted power? I'm thinking granted power because you seem to want to use the domain you've already picked for its spells. Some further thoughts on the subject. And K's (or was it Frank's) stance.

    Magic is always a good one, and Spell isn't half-bad for the Anyspell lines for a spell in reserve for in a pinch situations, and Knowledge would open up Knowledge Devotion...

    Are his followers undead followers or living or a mix? And does he have a cohort or is it entirely divorced from the leadership feat mechanics and basically power of plot driven how many he has and how many lieutenants/cohorts he has? Because then you can eyeball it aside from some immediately controlled undead that he hasn't awakened and keeps as bodyguards/transportation/other. Maybe a skeletal or zombie hydra for a mobile wall

    Also, what sort of terrain were you thinking for the initial encounter and how do you want it to go down? And what is the reaction and outcome you want versus what your party's standard response usually is?
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2010-12-29 at 06:00 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    first of all, thanks for the responses!

    @ poignant123
    As for the undead theme, the Bone Knight has 2 pools of controlled undead, giving it more HD of undead controlled. This has the potential to give it better bruisers as opposed to simple skeletons/zombies.
    the Bone knight in question was a military commander in the Karrnathi armies, and maintains that mind set and theme. most of his undead should be Karrnathi skeletons/ zombies (who are a better class of undead then regular zombies and undead, mostly due to being intelligent, having skills and feats, and far better equipment, i may make a few even low level casters)

    Also, awaken his mount.
    hmmm... his mount is a skeletal warhorse, but i guess it could be done, might even add to the atmosphere of "anti paladin" the bone knight has going for it. thanks!

    @ Coidzor
    Deathbound domain, I believe, is standard for more powerful undead minions. hmm, unfortunately it appears to be Libris Mortis material, though I believe the Blood of Vol has it as a domain...
    I don't have it. sounds interesting though.

    Magic is always a good one, and Spell isn't half-bad for the Anyspell lines for a spell in reserve for in a pinch situations, and Knowledge would open up Knowledge Devotion...
    as much as these would give nifty ideas, they don't fit the theme of the character well. this guy ain't an expert of magic. the power he gets comes from pure hardcore faith of the power of death and undeath and his rightfull place in it. there are other villains for the other roles.

    Are his followers undead followers or living or a mix? And does he have a cohort or is it entirely divorced from the leadership feat mechanics and basically power of plot driven how many he has and how many lieutenants/cohorts he has? Because then you can eyeball it aside from some immediately controlled undead that he hasn't awakened and keeps as bodyguards/transportation/other. Maybe a skeletal or zombie hydra for a mobile wall

    Also, what sort of terrain were you thinking for the initial encounter
    i do not work under the leadership rules for controlled undead and allies/ cohorts- assume he has enough influence to have a sizeable retinue. THAT said, the situation in which the party encounter him is a conflict between two small yet complex forces:
    - on the PCs side: a uardian naga who leads a small tirbe of psionic half giants and a small group of stone giants (the main concern for the other group). they are defending/ half entrenched in jungle ruins of an old giant city, who's streets and skies are partially protected by psionic barriers, which the other side tries to break down.
    - on the other side there is a small clan of Yuan Ti, led by a Venom Lord Naga (think more physical naga, specializing in poisons), and a fairly large tribe of drow, who try to find a way underneath. allied to these guys, and carrying the main magical power (considering the magic levels present), is the bone knight, with his retinue of undead (the unexpected advantage as some, at least the unintelligent ones aren't affected by the psychic barriers).

    he may well have other allies that are not undead, but i'd like these to be a few, the situation is complicated as it is (each small group has their "notables" as well).

    and how do you want it to go down? And what is the reaction and outcome you want versus what your party's standard response usually is?
    As to how i'd like it to go down. well, the party allready learned inklings about this guy, and they expect him to be major trouble. my intitial thought is that while protecting the ruins they will meet some of the other forces, have an encounter or two, when at one of the other encounters, an importent, he will arrive on the scene for support of his troops.

    i expect that at least some of them will try and engage him. my hope is that he won't be easily defeated, but rather prove to be a tough pill to chew. at first he may prefer to help his troops rather than chase the PCs, but after an encounter or two more where they give trouble, he may take things more personally.

    at all of these i prefer the party to either escape, or find another way of achieving their tasks without being straight able to defeat this guy. and if at all possible, i want him not to escape. later one, when the PCs gain levels and so does he (but at a slower rate), they may meet again. this is at least how i wish things to happen. as i may have mentioned at the OP, i have failed in the past. hence- this thread.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Well, Karrnathi skeletons aren't that good, since they're an actual creature as opposed to a template. An awakened skeleton ogre (awakened in the same casting as the mount) would far outdamage them and it will have feats and intelligence as well.

    But it's you decision, but even Karrnathi skeletons probably won't stand a chance against PCs. It's not really a huge improvement from normal skeletons IMO.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Well, they're at least not going to be pushovers as the party only has 2 HD over them, especially since they come in groups and fight as a unit (meaning their ability to fight tactically is one of the more appropriate areas, esp. with a commander, to consider altering the CR for good tactics in fighting).

    The undead he creates with animate dead are going to have far more potential threat to the party anyway. Though he may hold those in reserve or have them square off against any stone giants in the area if he encounters the PCs and their stone giant allies simultaneously.

    He also has some potential for things he could be controlling by virtue of rebuking as well if he's a bone knight. Depending upon how nasty the DM feels like being, the slaymate, for instance, basically buffs all of the necromancy spells and undead in the area, even if it's a shrunk object trapped inside a gem. Which was an interesting idea for a magic item that wasn't a magic item I ran into.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    It sounds like perhaps unconventional tactics are needed to transform this into a memorable battle. I mean if the party is indeed great at working together in battles than merely throwing another high level boss isn't going to work. So you have to transform this encounter into something thematically awesome and difficult.

    So what could you do with an undead general type of boss?

    Environment: A massive grave yard with tunnels of tombs underneath could offer up both a gloomy atmosphere as well as an opportunity to separate the party. Empty graves could offer difficult terrain and tombstones could act as barrels of negative energy ready to be shot & triggered. If it looks like the boss is getting weakened he escapes into the tunnels and here is where the real surprise comes, the graveyard is inescapable.

    If the party attempts to leave (after they believe they have won) they just keep wondering in the graveyard (going past reoccurring objects). You than can turn the encounter into a survival-style session where the party has to survive until sunrise against a near unlimited horde of the undead or they can head into the tunnels to track down & slay the boss.

    Enemies: Skeletons & Zombies can be made much more vicious if the Destructive Retribution is applied to them, thus turning them into kamikaze troops who through death heal their comrades. Ghosts with levels of Warlock can spam Summon Swarm against a party while playing hard to keep. A really impressive template that you could apply (although much like Destructive Retribution isn't in your books) is the Mob template from Dungeon Master's Guide 2, which really creates the iconic undead horde.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Here's my thought - this guy is a general. He's supposed to be a tactical genius, not a nuke or a one man powerhouse. Also, you don't want him to be killed. With that in mind, I'd suggest the following:

    1: Have him separated physically from the party, using Spell Immunity to protect him from baleful transposition. He's a tactician, he would be sure to know their common tactics, and it's a very useful cleric spell if you know what you'll be facing.

    2: Have most of the battle be taking out his zombies and his lieutenants. Use his own spells as more of a backup, buffing his zombies and debuffing the party. The idea is to make this guy frustrating for the party, because they can't get to him but he's causing such havoc for them.

    3: Have the zombies fight using good tactics. Use a phalanx of zombies (for the DR) wearing hide armor with tower shields taking the full defense action, preferably with something like sickening fog over them granting them cover and allowing them to safely retreat if they start to take heavy losses. Behind them, ranks of low HD skeletons with reach weapons and ranged weapons. If the wizard uses fireballs, be prepared to either counterspell him or have the zombies/skellies at least have a little fire resistance. Again, the guy is a tactician, if he knew his tactic would fall to a simple fireball spell he would be prepared. Also, fill his list with buff and utility spells capable of shifting the battle if it starts to look too easy. You want this guy to seem very strong, even without actually fighting the party, and nothing says badass like a guy who can almost kill you without even engaging you.

    4: Have the battle end when the party kills his lieutenant, have him swear revenge or something and then leave via a method they can't follow (preferably, say, teleport or plane shift). Best way to ensure he survives until a later battle.

    Edit: but that's just how I would do it. I admit, I'm heavily biased from my WoW days, this reminds me of one of the Naxx bosses that was way too much fun (though way too easy when they brought it back).
    Last edited by Grendus; 2010-12-29 at 10:06 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    Not to take this in a different direction.. But how attached are you to the class choices.. Like what if someone was to present a completely different build? Pending your openness to homebrew, I'm sure people who don't mind making fearsome npc's wouldn't mind making you one.. I'm one such person.
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    Neutral Evil Human Sorcerer/Rogue (1st/1st Level)
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    Dexterity-12
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    Wisdom-11
    Charisma-13

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: help building a bone knight villain! (3.5)

    First: Don't take fighter, there's no point. You gain nothing. Go for crusader instead, and give him the Faith Unswerving tactical feat.

    Equip suggestions: +1 Animated Heavy Shield, Deity's favored weapon, maybe +1 armor with some property attached to it. Give him a darkskull if you want the fight to be more challenging.

    Spells:
    Greater Magic Vestment
    Greater Magic Weapon
    Resist Energy
    Status

    Feats:
    Power Attack
    That

    Also let's just say that he has commanded one or two necropolitan clerics/dread necromancers of low level.

    The clerics can support the main badguy or he can support his minions as the situation calls for it. The weaker clerics can be turned, but at great difficulty (you could probably give him a lower charisma if you have a cleric in the party to oppose his rebuking).

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