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

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    Default Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Feats, classes, races, wtf ever, you name it.

    In the sense that NPCs can be built with niche abilities because unless they're a recurring character, and sometimes even then, an encounter can be designed with their specific abilities in mind.

    All I can think of right now are two spelltouched feats from Unearthed Arcana, Live My Nightmare and False Pretenses, which I think would make great unique encounters.

    For Live My Nightmare:
    "Alright. I want to scry on the guy that's always following the vizier around. The rogue got ahold of a fingernail that's probably his."
    "Okay. Roll a will save and a fort save."
    "Huh?"
    "You heard me."
    "Okay... 12 and 14."
    "Okay, here's a note for you. The rest of you see him look into the mirror for a second. Then his eyes explode and he falls over dead. What do you do now?"


    For False Pretenses:
    "Dominate Person on the Warblade."
    <Turn goes by>
    "Okay. <Rolls>. You establish mental contact."
    "I order her to attack the caster."
    <On warblade's turn>
    "She charges at you and eats your face. What's your AC again?"

    tl;dr: What things go well on NPCs that are usually a waste of resources on PCs?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    I had a druid character set up who could eventually go garntuan snake with 32-36 str around lvl 7. It required a series of spells that meant I could only do it once a day and left me with nothing but a few wildshapes and a club for the rest. I was going to save it for some badass moment, like when the DM pulls a dragon on us. Thought it might be interesting to try toe to toe with it for a few rounds. But it got pk'ed at level 3, on the first day I had him. Probably a lot better for an enemy. (i don't have anything specific spell wise or feat wise or what not, I was keeping it going in my head and forgot about it when the character died.)
    Last edited by Arillius; 2011-01-27 at 11:15 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Pretty much anything with LA.

    Poisons. NPCs get it off-screen and generally target PCs (usually humanoids without special immunities).

    Anything that makes you explode.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Akal Saris's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Potions come to mind. Same for poisons without some character building for them. Building golems that go berserk in combat is probably another trick that should be left to the NPCs who never seem to worry about it.

    That 3-level master teleporter prestige class also comes to mind =P
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Well its not really something thats a waste of resources for PC's but too good.
    The Thrallherd Prestige class is easily one of the most rigged class in the game because it gives you so much versatility as a player that the DM can't challenge you anymore
    However it makes for a great BBEG because who cares if you kill his second in command, someone else will fill the roll in 24 hours.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazuki View Post
    ...Silva, you are a scary person.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    1/day resources, since the npc can spam them without worrying if they should save it for a later fight which never comes.

    Anything which needs prior knowledge, like favoured enemy or bane equipment, to use effectively.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    I always thought the Ghostwalker prestige class from Sword & Fist was great for a recurring villain warrior. It lets you add your class level to AC, attacks, and damage vs. anyone you have faced before who knocked you below half hit points. And they have multiple methods to make their escape via feigning death, turning ethereal, or shadow walking.

    Worth it for a PC? Probably not. Worth it for a fighter-type you want the PCs to tangle with over and over? I'd say so.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ernir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    NPC classes. Why are they actually good for NPCs? Because they increase CR at a slower rate, inflating their HD.
    Halfling healer avatar by Akrim.elf.

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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    NPC classes. Why are they actually good for NPCs? Because they increase CR at a slower rate, inflating their HD.
    Huh. I never thought of it that way before... and here I've been giving all the people who are supposed to be challenging PC class levels to make them stronger.

    Also, it's been said before, but I must reiterate: Poison. So much poison. Awesome for NPCs, sucks for PCs.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    I always thought the Ghostwalker prestige class from Sword & Fist was great for a recurring villain warrior. It lets you add your class level to AC, attacks, and damage vs. anyone you have faced before who knocked you below half hit points. And they have multiple methods to make their escape via feigning death, turning ethereal, or shadow walking.

    Worth it for a PC? Probably not. Worth it for a fighter-type you want the PCs to tangle with over and over? I'd say so.
    is sword and fist a similiar book to masters of the wild?
    I am intrigued by this...

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Bob View Post
    For Live My Nightmare:
    "Alright. I want to scry on the guy that's always following the vizier around. The rogue got ahold of a fingernail that's probably his."
    "Okay. Roll a will save and a fort save."
    "Huh?"
    "You heard me."
    "Okay... 12 and 14."
    "Okay, here's a note for you. The rest of you see him look into the mirror for a second. Then his eyes explode and he falls over dead. What do you do now?"
    You've got your Call of Cthulhu in my Dungeons & Dragons. And I like it.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    NPC classes. Why are they actually good for NPCs? Because they increase CR at a slower rate, inflating their HD.
    Yep. I often drop a level of expert or warrior onto NPCs, just to bump their HD and such. A rogue 5 and a rogue5/warrior 1 are both the same CR.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    The Sudden Metamagic feats can be pretty brutal, especially if you combine them with high-CL enemy casters.

    Wyrmlord Koth (TPK version, CR 7)

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    Bugbear with 6 levels of Sorcerer. Almost identical to the one in the Red Hand of Doom book, except you switch his feats to Sudden Extend, Sudden Maximise, Practised Spellcaster, Fiery Burst. Make his 3rd-level spell Fireball.

    On turn 1, he drops a Sudden Maximised Fireball into the middle of the party from up to 800 feet away, dealing 60 damage, save for half. Continue chucking 10d6 Fireballs for the rest of the combat. If the party are lucky they'll lose about half their number before killing him.
    I'm the author of the Alex Verus series of urban fantasy novels. Fated is the first, and Book #10 in the series, Fallen, is out as of September 2019. For updates, check my blog!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ernir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    On that note... Power Word Pain is very good when PCs use it, but when NPCs do, it's a virtual death sentence for a low-level PC (which would otherwise stop taking damage once the NPC is dead).

    Coupled with Sudden maximize (another of the "better for NPCs" things, as has already been mentioned), it just gets worse.

    A Sudden Maximized Power Word Pain deals 6*(4d4) points of damage with no saving throw to any character with 50 HP or less. An average of 60 damage, no saving throw. Available at level 1 to a human sorcerer or Wizard.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    The Sudden Metamagic feats can be pretty brutal, especially if you combine them with high-CL enemy casters.
    Hell, they're great for players, too, if you favor a nova solution to solving problem. Using a sudden metamagic heavy build is one of the best ways to approach any campaign in which the DM tends to have 1-2 combats per day, tops.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Hell, they're great for players, too, if you favor a nova solution to solving problem. Using a sudden metamagic heavy build is one of the best ways to approach any campaign in which the DM tends to have 1-2 combats per day, tops.
    Though a smart DM will soon see this and split those 1-2 combats into 4-5 smaller ones or something similar (I've been on both sides of the screen for that). Going nova is, in general, a lot more beneficial for one-off NPC's. But yeah, it's great to at least have the ability to go nova, even if you usually don't. It's especially funny when you never use that ability until what is supposed to be the hardest boss fight of the campaign.

    What's REALLY good for NPC's that is only sometimes (but in most cases not) useful for PC's are grafts. It's not so much they are more powerful (for the price) than magic items that do the same thing, in fact they are usually not, but they can't be looted. So if you want to create a challenging fight without having to worry about the PC's getting overpowered should they win, graft away!

    As for spells, one that is infinitely more useful for NPC's (in most cases) is AMF. Give an AMF to something that has mostly EX abilities and VERY good physical stats, and watch the fun.
    Been there, fought that, died horribly.

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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Cyrion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
    Anything that makes you explode.
    As soon as I read the OP, I thought Death Throes...
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    TheCountAlucard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Pretty much anything that's only beneficial in certain terrain types and such.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    How about Sundering? The party I'm with loathes sundering done by anyone. If sundering enemies are believed to be a possibility, they'll get adamantine weapons and/or have hardening cast on them. If a PC suggests sundering an opponent's weapon, they'll scream "You're Destroying Our Treasure!!!"

    Also, potions and scrolls, though then it's just a whine about "They're using OUR Treasure!!"
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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernir View Post
    On that note... Power Word Pain is very good when PCs use it, but when NPCs do, it's a virtual death sentence for a low-level PC (which would otherwise stop taking damage once the NPC is dead).

    Coupled with Sudden maximize (another of the "better for NPCs" things, as has already been mentioned), it just gets worse.

    A Sudden Maximized Power Word Pain deals 6*(4d4) points of damage with no saving throw to any character with 50 HP or less. An average of 60 damage, no saving throw. Available at level 1 to a human sorcerer or Wizard.
    Wouldn't the duration of the spell be mazimized as well, being that is a random varrable of the spell? If so that would be 96 damage over the course of 16 rounds.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Ernir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Volos View Post
    Wouldn't the duration of the spell be mazimized as well, being that is a random varrable of the spell? If so that would be 96 damage over the course of 16 rounds.
    Yep, "All variable, numeric effects of a spell modified by this feat are maximized." How did I miss that? =D

    So. 96 damage to those with 50 HP or less, 48 to those with 51-75 HP, 24 to those with 76-100 HP.

    Don't get caught with less than 50 HP.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Zherog View Post
    Yep. I often drop a level of expert or warrior onto NPCs, just to bump their HD and such. A rogue 5 and a rogue5/warrior 1 are both the same CR.
    An interesting thought experiment.

    Kobold warrior4 is cr1.

    Kobold warrior4/sorc17 with that ritual granting +1sorc spellcasting is cr18, and has sorc18 spellcasting ability.

    Since it possesses 21HD, it is eligible for epic feats. Give it epic spellcasting.

    You now have a cr18 spellcaster with epic spells.

    If a PC suggests sundering an opponent's weapon, they'll scream "You're Destroying Our Treasure!!!"
    Sundering can be situationally useful. I don't think anyone will moan the loss of a fire giant's mundane greatsword, for instance.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Bloodhound from Complete Adventurer.

    Are you just itching to send out an NPC who's entire build is geared towards hunting down and capturing one of your PCs?

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Anything with a uses per day limit is that much better on an NPC. After all, most NPCs are in only one encounter, while the PCs fight through multiple encounters at a time.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    I once ran Swarmfighting + Formation Expert on a bunch of Kobolds wielding Tiny longspears in one hand and shields in the other to bizarre levels of effectiveness.
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Spells with prohibitivly expensive components, since NPCs have exactly the resources that the DM says they have.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Fumbles and massive damage rules. NPC's die by the dozens anyway, but anything that increases the randomness of combat is likely to disadvantage the players.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Stuff that's bad for PCs but great for NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by big teej View Post
    is sword and fist a similiar book to masters of the wild?
    I am intrigued by this...
    Yes same series and 3.0 but that is one prestige class that was not updated so it is still good and valid.

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