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Thread: BBEG help

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    Default BBEG help

    So I'm DMing a game with a deliberately low-magic party in a not-particularly low-magic world. It's a group of 5 (currently) level 2 PCs, one of which has an attached NPC who has been kidnapped. I'm not wanting this to be a HUGE deal, but it needs to be memorable.

    Any suggestions making a level 5 (is that too much?) wizard (diviner), who will be memorable and challenging without being way OP? I nearly always play martial characters, so I'm completely out of my element, even making a wizard, much less making a good one.

    It had occurred to me that dropping it to level 4 and optimizing the heck out of his choices (as a diviner, he really should see this fight coming) might be a better idea? Any help from more experienced DMs would be GREATLY appreciated.

    (BTW, this is Pathfinder. The players are: Monk, Slayer, Rogue, Bard, Magus)

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    Default Re: BBEG help

    bumped. C'mon, nearly 30 views and no one has an idea?

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    Default Re: BBEG help

    The diviner's hired on a group of evil opposites to thwart the party when they burst into his chambers?

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    Default Re: BBEG help

    I'm really no expert on builds, especially caster ones, but there are a few important questions that can help us, help you:
    1) How optimized is the party?
    2) What exactly is the situation there: The wizard doesn't exist in a vacuum- where is he located? Any possible allies in the vicinity? WHY is he there? Tell us a bit about the personality of the wizard, it might help us get into his frame of mind. Also- what is his race?
    3) Who is the attached NPC? it is related to which of the PCs? Is it related to the wizard in ANY way?
    Can you tell us more about the players (characters too, but less important)- How experiences are they in the game, what sort of encounters/ game do they find fun?
    4) Any special decisions you've already made for the Diviner? Such as does he has a familiar or a bonded item? any feats you've chosen? Any spells you really like? Magic items?
    5) How does your group feel about death in the game? Do they never do it, do it only in special encoutners, or whatever comes, comes? In short, how lethal do you want this to be?
    6) Do you expect the party to meet the wizard at full strength (Or nearly so) or after a few encounters through a dungeon or so?
    7) It just occurred to me- you DO mean they'll encounter t at 2nd level, right? If it's higher, than we need to know.

    An encounter is far more than just a build, even though that is an important part.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-12-19 at 01:40 AM.

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    Default Re: BBEG help

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    I'm really no expert on builds, especially caster ones, but there are a few important questions that can help us, help you:
    1) How optimized is the party?
    2) What exactly is the situation there: The wizard doesn't exist in a vacuum- where is he located? Any possible allies in the vicinity? WHY is he there? Tell us a bit about the personality of the wizard, it might help us get into his frame of mind. Also- what is his race?
    3) Who is the attached NPC? it is related to which of the PCs? Is it related to the wizard in ANY way?
    Can you tell us more about the players (characters too, but less important)- How experiences are they in the game, what sort of encounters/ game do they find fun?
    4) Any special decisions you've already made for the Diviner? Such as does he has a familiar or a bonded item? any feats you've chosen? Any spells you really like? Magic items?
    5) How does your group feel about death in the game? Do they never do it, do it only in special encoutners, or whatever comes, comes? In short, how lethal do you want this to be?
    6) Do you expect the party to meet the wizard at full strength (Or nearly so) or after a few encounters through a dungeon or so?
    7) It just occurred to me- you DO mean they'll encounter t at 2nd level, right? If it's higher, than we need to know.

    An encounter is far more than just a build, even though that is an important part.
    1: The party is fairly optimized, but with low-tier classes deliberately.

    2: The setting is quasi-post magical apocalypse (think Wheel of Time-ish). Magic users are uncommon, but not unheard of. The wizard has been tasked with finding who is responsible for the theft of a certain spellbook. He is human, kind of a jerk, but mostly out trying to do his job. Think of him as a deputy for a corrupt sheriff. The party will find him (and his cadre of defenders) in a rough campsite out on the road.

    3: The NPC is the sweetheart of our rogue. She has been taken largely in order to get to him. He (along with 3 others in the group) are considered persons of interest regarding the theft of the aforementioned spellbook. Other than her connection to the rogue, she is unimportant.

    The PCs run the gamut from one guy who has never played before, to two of my friends who have DMed semi-extensively over the years. 2 more in the middle that even out the spread even more. I can't really get away with fudging any rules (not that I typically want to, anyway), but I could write this guy as optimized as humanly possible, and the two more experienced players wouldn't be surprised.

    4: not really? I had expected that he will have several scrolls at his disposal, and at least one wand of CLW (mostly for the sake of a reward for a low-magic party)

    5: I'd rather not get anyone killed, though I had considered either the attached girlfriend or an NPC dying as part of a way to make it feel more serious. Leaning away from the girl, too much heavy-handedness on a PC, IMO.

    6: Near full strength. I might split the encounter into two smaller fights- one for the guards/scouts/lookouts, and one for the wizard and perhaps 2 or 3 bodyguards (instead of 6 or 7).

    7: yes, this is intended, partially, to be what gets them over the edge to level 3; Significant without being a full-fledged dungeon.

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    Default Re: BBEG help

    Ok, so some thoughts:
    1) We're talking about a level 5-ish ecnoutner (1,600XP), but for 5 players, so an extra 25% (Around 2,000 XP) to play with.
    2) For big fights I like to have the boss, 1-2 lieutenants, and some mooks. Plus, You'll need challenging terrain/ area, and some sort of a twist.

    Here is What I think of so far:
    - The wizard is 4th level (CR 3). Diviner spells mostly suck for combat, but you can use them to explain some of the things this guy knows. His main role is battlefield control, and some ranged magical damage (I'll get to him later). Other than that, he has a bodyguard, perhaps a Sargent of the corrupt chief? This guy I imagine as heavy melee, Fighter or cavalier of 3rd level (CR 2). Other than that, several warriors that act as sort of meat shields/ barrier/ harassers. I'm thinking 4 human warrior 1 (CR 1/3)- total so far of 1,960 XP. (I suggest the mooks to be humans, so as to have two feats- point blank+ precise shot) for two archers, or two simple melee feat such as weapon focus and power attack for the melee ones). If you feel this is too little, you can add warriors,

    - A camp site is not an easily defensible place, especially since you can come at it from a few angles. I suggest to make this an old abanadoned inn/ warehouse/ grainhouse or such. You can allow for alternate entry poins for skill ful and stealthy enough characters. I suggest to have a few raised walkways or such, both for the warrior shooters, and for the rogue/ monk and such. Players love to utilize the battlefield.

    - Speaking of utilizing the battlefield: Have ltos of stuff in it- some cover for shooters. Some doifficult terrain to make movement interesting. Maybe some things that can be toppled, or set on fire (If you're in a granery or a barn for example). You know the place better, I'll let you decide. Have the defenders use the terrain as well and plan some stuff (Like hay fire soaked with oil?), but don't go overboard. 2-3 surprises will be enough, and leave enough for the party themselves to exploit. Yes, they have a genius wizard, but he is no super tactics experts, and he's been spending most of his time trying to gather info anyway.

    -The battle plan: The wizard has some way to be forewarned (some mooks the party fight close b, an Alarm spell far enough, a blocked door, a familiar scouting). This enables him to prepare a few defensive spells. As the party comes in, the wizard start casting battlefield control spells (Web., glitterdust, create pit, grease). As some characters are having difficulties, the underlings take shots at them, and then move to block as the party advances. The wizard either continues with crowd control, or goes to damaging spells (wand of MM lvl 3, Shcoking grasp if close, or burning hands if a few gets close.

    3) The twist: You use the sweetheart, in one of two ways, as best fits your party:
    - The decoy: As the party gets too close, the wizard reveals her, in some sort of a danger (He sets fire near a small pyre she's on? A pit quickly fillign with water/ acid, hanging high from a rope that's loosening. The party needs to choose to focus their efforts saving her, or on the wizard. I suggest treating this as a CR 1 or 2 challenge, whihc is VERY time dependent)
    - There is an extra opponent against the party- the sweetheart! The wizard either charmed her then persuaded her, or used some secrets of her lover to turn her against him (Possibly, lies, but very convincing lies). As I assume she doesn't have a combatant class, she could affect the party either by throwing alchemical items (alchmist fire?), or by operating some sort of a simple trap/ mechnism (A babrbed ball at the end of a rope?), The party needs to deal with her (Nonlehtaly) in combat, perhaps even opening a conversation challenge. (Again, a CR 1 or 2 challenge)

    Anyway, don't reveal her right away, but after a few rounds, springs the surprise. With it you come to about 2,400-2,600XP.

    The Details:
    Mr. Wizard: 4th level diviner, spells: 4/3+1/2+1
    (I don't know what you use to generate ability scores, hp or NPC health, so the following are suggestions)
    Spells:
    2nd- Create Pit, Web (Tries to get characters stuck at it's edge, to enable "free targets" for his shooters) Div: detect thoughts.
    1st- Burning hands, grease (x2) shocking grasp+ True strike (Either for himself or the lieutenant)
    Cantrips- Daze, detect magic, read magic, Jolt.
    Scrolls- Mirror image, mage armor, shield (All three should be used as preparatory spells) hideous laughter, shatter (If you're nasty) Possibly Blur lieutenant.
    Other magic items:
    - Wand of MM 5th level, 15 charges (uses it to cause small damage to many memebers, and hit them regularily. The main damage attack)
    - Potion of CLW, potion of CMW
    - The wand of CLW you wanted (He has high UMD?)
    - Perhaps a cloak of resistance or a ring of protection +1? both can help his defenses a bit.
    Feats:
    - Combat casting (1st)
    - Spell focus conjuring (Human bonus- increase DC by 1)
    - Scribe scroll (Bonus)
    - 3rd level? According to character, maybe dual skill boosting feat?

    Mr. Lieutenant 2nd level fighter, 1st level barbarian
    I assume you'd like to make his weapon one that the players use, but my idea for a build assumes he is a halberd fighter, focusing on tripping his opponents so his mooks can hit easier, plus he can hit nice himself. The idea is that he can exchange styles in combat. (Note that in PF Halberd does not have reach!)
    Feats:
    1st: Weapon expertise.
    Human bonus: power attack (for -1/+3)
    1st fighter: Improved trip
    2nd fighter: cleave
    3rd level: ?
    Various equipment: MW weapons (including ranged) and armor (Breast plate for barbarian, though I think you can go fullplate here). Potion of CMW, potion of enlarge potion of shield of faith (Last two drank before the combat), 2 tanglefoot bags (to throw at anyone getting too close to Mr. Wizard.

    I hope this helps. Good luck to you!

    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!

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