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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Whats the best 3 man team.

    I need help. I have this VIP in my campaign that would be VERY inconvenient if they should die. So I need help figuring out what the best 3 man team would be to help protect them.
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    Red Fel's Avatar

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    I need help. I have this VIP in my campaign that would be VERY inconvenient if they should die. So I need help figuring out what the best 3 man team would be to help protect them.
    Well, setting-independent, I would say that your best combo is a Brute, a Brain, and a Face.

    Your Brain is a mastermind and technician. He maps out the routes, determining vulnerable points and areas to avoid. He checks security, hacks feeds, overrides communications, disarms traps, and manages logistics and communications. In tech games, he might be a decker or hacker; in high fantasy, he would be some sort of caster.

    Your Face is a people-person. He runs reconnaissance on the route. He meets the locals. He blends in well. He's also a skilled people-spotter, and is quick to notice when folks are behaving "off" - a likely sign of an ambush. In tech games, he would be a face or master of disguise; in high fantasy, he would be a Charisma-based class, or some sort of caster.

    Your Brute is the muscle. He's the heavy artillery if a fight breaks out. He's also ex-military, which means he has a knowledge of weaponry, a knack for spotting a combat-ready individual in a crowd, and a keen grasp of tactics (which he uses to help the Brain plan). In tech games, he might be a cyborg, ex-military, or street samurai-type; in high fantasy, he would be some sort of fighter, or some sort of caster. (Being able to blow up an entire building is very useful in a combat situation.)

    If you can use these three - one to make the plan and run the skill checks, one to spot and control people, and one to crush enemies - you should have a fairly solid setting-independent guard team.

    Two asides: First, if you want advice specific to a given setting or system, you should probably mention that in your post. This is the general roleplaying forum, so it could be anything. Second, what happens if the PCs fail to protect this guy? Does "very inconvenient" mean the campaign will be tougher, or that the campaign will end?
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Sorry first post.

    It's 3.5 and if the NPC dies then they loose quite a bit of fire power and the underdark becomes the overdark.

    Also this 3 man team will consist of NPC so that the PCs don't kill the VIP.
    Last edited by NightsSong; 2015-01-04 at 02:06 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    What's the setting- Space with lasers, medieval fantasy, urban fantasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    It's 3.5 and if the NPC dies then they loose quite a bit of fire power and the underdark becomes the overdark.

    Also this 3 man team will consist of NPC so that the PCs don't kill the VIP.
    Are you the DM trying to make sure this VIP (an NPC I assume) doesn't die to the PCs? This looks like a warning flag...
    Last edited by goto124; 2015-01-04 at 05:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Should probably get moved to the 3.5 sub-forum.

    For general RPG advice, don't make the story of your campaign dependent on the actions or survival of an NPC.

    I assume the answer you'll get from the 3.5 forums is Go with 3 wizards and then someone will spawn a casters v. martials debate.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    For general RPG advice, don't make the story of your campaign dependent on the actions or survival of an NPC.
    Seconding this. Because if your players find a way to kill the VIP, and you resort to saying stuff like 'the VIP somehow dodges the dagger and runs away', they're not going to be happy. Not much better if the bodyguards and VIP had 9999 DR or something.

    Instead, go by what your players do. You said that 'if the NPC dies then they loose quite a bit of fire power and the underdark becomes the overdark'. If your players kill the VIP, why not go with it? Another option: why did the NPC expose himself to the PCs in the first place?

    Without telling us more about what's going on in the story, it's hard to advice you.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    The people who say that an all wizard team is the best obviously aren't using casting times.

    The campaign starts out with a few missions in which time they gain the respect of the king got their prowess as heroes. Then somehow they find out the the under-dark is in the process of being united under one banner being lead by an avatar of the under-dark. So it falls to the PCs to convince and unite the surface people so that they may mount an effective defense/offense against what will come boiling out from beneath the earth. Their job is to unite as many of the bandit clans with the kingdom as possible. failing that they need to be able to mount an effective defense or be able to wage a war if they should lose their first encounter.

    The VIP is a leader of what can only be called an independent city state that she carved out of the country herself. She spends her tine researching the finer parts of necromancy in hopes of one day finding a way to bring her parents back in a non conventional way. As such she has combined the best of her knowledge into 3 beings, that she had created to defend her so that she may better do her research in peace.
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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    Also this 3 man team will consist of NPC so that the PCs don't kill the VIP.
    Hoo boy. You're in trouble. Lemme 'splain.

    First off, you have a story-important NPC. Now, I get that the story can change depending on what the PCs do. I get that, and agree with it - PC actions deserve consequences. But you, as DM, have to be prepared for the PCs to do something stupid and self-destructive, because they will. They can't help it. They're like adorable homicidal children with pennies near a light socket, except that the pennies are chainsaws and the light socket is your plot. Also, the chainsaws are on fire.

    Clearly, you anticipate that your PCs will do something stupid. That's why your NPC has bodyguards. I get that. It's possible you gave the NPC bodyguards specifically because you know your PCs will attack. But here's the thing - adding bodyguards probably won't deter them; in fact, if anything, it makes your NPC look like an even bigger and more valuable target. (You know how it is - the more secure the vault, the more valuable the treasure, right?)

    What this means is that your PCs will be motivated to murder this NPC, and her minions, and either (1) they will succeed, despite your preparations, or (2) you will have prepared too well, resulting in your choice of a TPK or a railroading.

    Frankly, under the circumstances, I wouldn't waste too much effort on these NPCs. Give them enough of a build to say, "Yes, she has reasonably competent guards," and move on; don't bother trying to optimize them.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    The people who say that an all wizard team is the best obviously aren't using casting times.
    This is 3.5, right? Quicken Spell is a thing. So is Craft Contingent Spell. So are a dozen other tricks casters can do that allow them to utterly trump non-casters, irrespective of casting times. And even if the casters need time to cast their spells, know what happens when they do? Stuff dies. Primary casters in 3.5 are a major trump card, and having three of them on your payroll puts you in a pretty strong defensive position. Don't knock it.

    Also, yeah, this needs to be moved to 3.5 subforum.
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    biggrin Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    But you, as DM, have to be prepared for the PCs to do something stupid and self-destructive, because they will. They can't help it. They're like adorable homicidal children with pennies near a light socket, except that the pennies are chainsaws and the light socket is your plot. Also, the chainsaws are on fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    But you, as DM, have to be prepared for the PCs to do something stupid and self-destructive, because they will. They can't help it. They're like adorable homicidal children with pennies near a light socket, except that the pennies are chainsaws and the light socket is your plot. Also, the chainsaws are on fire.

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by LokiRagnarok View Post
    May I sig this?
    By all means.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    The thing is I am completely prepared for the PCs to get up to all kinds of encounter breaking shenanigans becasue that's what they do best. I simply doing this because that is what the NPC would do herself anyway.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    ...some sort of caster.
    I'll say this is kinda funny. On the otherhand, depending on what source books are allowed or if you include Pathfinder back porting, the term "caster" is very vague and applies to so much. So many classes involve magical abilities of some sort, that I think when one really gets down to it, casters types outnumber martial types.

    Regardless, as stated, you need a rounded party. Brute, Face, and Smarts are a good combination to work with, but there's other complications in D&D.


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    Other considerations include:

    Getting people who are tough and can heal, to absorb damage and tank while dishing some of it out (Casters admitedly can do this too, but I know plenty of people who would refuse to let a wizard do everything better than a fighter). Healing and tanking are kind of important in every game.

    You need skill monkeys. Because as powerful as casters are, there needs to be people who can do somethings outside of cast. Especially when said something is say disable a trap when which is covered by a detect magic alarm while in a fortress rigged up with enough explosives to self destruct and an army.

    Aside from the choices of Wizard, Druid, and Cleric, which in the right hands can be quite powerful:

    I believe Paladins can do well as a suggestion, provided the guy playing it can abide by the code of conduct (or use a modified code of conduct that is more specific to his diety than traditional Lawful Good). They can heal, tank, and do a fair bit of damage.

    Rogues in base D&D are a favorite of mine. They can also deal really high damage, especially if given invisibility or flanking by some other means. Stealth, and skill monkey. Can act as a bit of a face if jacking up Charisma.

    Barbarian is also good for spanking and tanking. Despite not wearing full plate, they get lots of hitpoints, rage which ups strength, and other things.

    Other classes include:

    Binders who are one of my favorites. Their key selling ability is they can change up their build every day because they can choose different spirits to augment themselves. Not weak by any means, but they do require some thinking to play well. They aren't gamebreaking as other choices

    Warlock, if you have a player who just wants to keep spamming a blast attack all day. Also, can make magic items despite not technically having spells.


    Another consideration is to treat the campaign as though the players are aware of how "undermanned" they are. Make most missions about side stepping, avoiding, or breaking and entering than it is about facing your foes directly. Reward avoidance.

    Also do not allow teleporting unless it's to specially prepared sites set up before hand. That'll just make things way more complicated as then you have to worry about them teleporting everywhere.


    Bearing all above in mind. I'd recomend Rogue, Wizard, and Paladin as it covers all of the bases

    Rogue for damage and stealth and skills.

    Wizard for magic and knowledge

    Paladin as tank and face.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-01-04 at 10:26 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    The thing is I am completely prepared for the PCs to get up to all kinds of encounter breaking shenanigans becasue that's what they do best. I simply doing this because that is what the NPC would do herself anyway.
    Didn't you say that the PCs are trying to unite the surface? Why would they consider attacking a major leader like that? All it would do is spark infighting amongst the surface, which would be counter productive. I second the idea of just giving the bodyguards a generic kind of idea (just a theme for each one, rather than a fully fledged character), and only bother statting them out if events require it, since it seems like an unlikely scenario.
    Last edited by Crake; 2015-01-05 at 08:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Quote Originally Posted by NightsSong View Post
    The people who say that an all wizard team is the best obviously aren't using casting times.
    I'm not really sure what this sentence means. Spells generally take a standard action. I somehow doubt that proponents of an all wizard team, which would include myself (or something similarly chock full of casters), have all spells take a swift action. Red Fel mentioned ways to screw casting times over completely, and that's very valid, but it's not exactly necessary. Casters get more out of their actions, without any casting time modification, than just about any other class in existence. Compared to something like a fighter, which is often action screwed by the nature of full attacks, casters are just in a whole other league.

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Seriously, cleric/wizard/druid.

    The druid can be muscle (animal companion, wildshape, buffs), scout (divinations and wildshape) and support (heal/buff).

    Cleric can be muscle (divine power and righteous might) and support (heal buff) as well as scout with divinations. Divine metamagics can give you persisted buffs, or lots of quickened spells (less popular but can be really good for a NPC that gets limited face time - they can burn all their quickened spells in one encounter).

    Wizard can be the brain, the mobility, the ranged support, the scout (familiari, divinations), and the high int lets them them be decent skill monkies (if you really want to maximize skills, maybe one level of rogue or factotum, with able learner).

    For NPCs this gang is even more powerful than for PCs because unlike PCs, these guys don't have to make their spells last for 4 encounters per day. They can spend everything on gaining an edge for one or two encounters. And even without quickened spells, contingencies, and all other caster shenanigans, they are quite capable. Both the druid and cleric can actually fight decently well - enough to make for a delaying action while the NPC gets away, anyway.
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    This? This isn't a slice of brilliance. This is the whole freaking pie.

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    smile Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    I always wanted to play in a party consisting of Factotum, StP Erudite, and Archivist (with Academic Priest). Taking Faerie Mysteries initiate, they all become dependent on only Int as long as they keep having sex with each other. They also know any spell and psionic power in the game that they can get their hands on.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    If/when the pcs attack do you want the npc group to attack to kill the pc or just make sure the important npc survives?

    If the latter are the guards then gonna hunt down and kill or capture the pcs?

    can we have any flavor/theme/personality for the important npc. would help us come up with thematically appropriate suggestions :D

    never mind just saw the undead theme. meaning the guards should all be undead created by her correct? (maybe put this in the top post with an edit?)

    Am I correct in assuming that its a kill the pcs in that encounter then? necromancers are usually played vindictively.

    (dracolich/zombie or skeletal dragon)
    Last edited by gawwy; 2015-01-05 at 05:02 PM. Reason: im a **** up

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Whats the best 3 man team.

    Someone who invests in protection and safety in the way your VIP does wouldn't just get 3 powerful combatants. They'd make a proper effort to be hard to get to.

    If you want to properly play up a paranoid wizard, you'll need several lines of defense based around spells, and several based on terrain and your stronghold itself.

    You'll want
    - Advance warning of what's coming and several layers of scouting.
    - Wards against divination or a means of supplying false information. Or both.
    - Wards against teleportation.
    - A means of discouraging anyone from flying or using any forms of fast travel towards your keep.
    - A mobile base, preferably with a mode of movement your PCs don't have. (Strongholds that can burrow and tunnel are usually adequate. If you can find a copy, check out the Stronghold Builder's Guide for some suggestions)


    Your stronghold
    Should have several layers of smokes and mirrors. Make it a wizards tower, with permanencied passwalls between levels. Make the top a dummy tower. Make the bottom the actual tower, under the effects of reverse gravity (houserule that it can be permanencied.)
    Use illusions on the windows to make the bottom tower appear above ground, and make a habit of entertaining harmless guests from your local town. The guests will swear the tower is above ground when pressured. For added effect, put dummy furniture in the top tower and make sure the stoves are lit every day et cetera. A bit of fire and some food will only cost you coppers a day. The puzzled look on your players faces is priceless.
    Make the bottom end of the tower detachable and take off at the first sign of real danger.

    Warding Teleportation
    - The 6th level cleric spell Forbiddance from SRD
    - The 9th level sorc/wiz spell Halastar's Teleport Cage from City of Splendors: Waterdeep. It's a 9th level spell so this probably isn't an option.
    - A weirdstone. Blocks teleportation and divination into (but not out of) a 6 mile radius. Costs 230k. Keep in mind that your PCs will probably want to loot this at some point.

    Warding Divination
    - A weirdstone
    - The 3rd level spell Nondetection (wiz/sorc, but also on trickery domain)
    - The 4th level spell Detect Scrying (wiz/sorc, bard)
    - The 5th level spell False Vision (wiz/sorc, bard, also trickery domain)
    - The 8th level spell Mind Blank (Wiz and several domains)

    Now this takes a tiny bit of creative reading, but the 5th level cleric spell Unhallow allows other spells to piggyback on it for a year and for them to apply to creatures and objects in it.
    It states Spell effects that may be tied to an unhallowed site include and doesn't state any spells that are excluded. So I interpret that as being suggestions, which makes the above spells legal uses. To keep things fair I'd go with nondetection, and put up a Detect Scrying + False Vision combo when traveling or when purposefully allowing a scrying attempt. Personally I'd rule the unhallow moves with the stronghold, but that's open for debate.

    The area you ward from divination doesn't have to be huge, but the teleportation ward should be several miles at least.

    Identifying threats at long range.
    There's a few options here guard wise, but your necromancer can easily do this by herself. A commune once a week goes a long way and can be used by any caster with 5ths if she has the Raiments of the Four set from MIC. That should also help with the research.
    If you're worried about the XP cost, build an Ambrosia or Liquid Pain farm and use Mark of the Enlightened Soul or Touch of the Blackened soul, depending on your alignment preferences. Be careful with the floodgates that opens though.

    Tracking targets at long range.
    Scrying seems obvious and is fairly accessible to a lot of casters. The 2nd level Seer power Clairvoyant Sense is a good alternative. Planar Binding/Ally works miracles.

    Specifically if you bind lantern archons. Lantern archons have 1hd and at will teleport, which makes them amazing scouts because they can report back just outside of your warded area. Also, Lantern Archons don't look evil (because they aren't) so your PCs aren't as likely to shoot them down if they spot them and make the knowledge roll.

    If you need more social scouting, get a bard or beguiler as one of your guards and sell your PCs (false) information while gaining some intel yourself. Or alternatively bind a succubus and slap her with spectral hand bestow curse until she submits.

    Tracking and identifying threats at medium range (up to 10 miles)
    Get a few pretty commoners (they need at least 13 Charisma, see below), give them all an item with the Linked ability. (MIC, costs 6k, gives 10 minutes of telepathy 3/day up to 10 miles away).
    Kill them in a way that makes sure they can't quite let go of their mortal lives, so they come back as ghosts. Rebuke them. If you're not the killing sort, figure out a way to do this non-evil. Shouldn't be too hard.
    The 13 charisma is important because it lets them qualify for the Lifesense feat from Libris Mortis. If you have a guard with access to psionics, use Psychic Reformation on the ghosts so they can have this at 1HD. If they were human the other feat really doesn't matter that much, but I'd go with Darkstalker just in case.

    Now spread these ghosts out around your place of residence. Ghosts make great scouts and with the linked item they can report back as needed. The life sense gives off light, period. Invisibility won't fool it. Neither will hide checks. But if you feel that's not enough, you could give them scout's headbands as well. These ghosts come at 1HD, so you can have quite a few of these if you rebuke them.

    Monitoring threats at short range.
    There's a few spells that can help you with this, notably:

    - Guards and wards (6th level spell) Wiz, Greed domain, Court herald. One cast a day and you should be good here.
    - Aerial Alarm - You need 1 cast of this a day. Have your VIP do it if she's a wizard.
    - Alarm, Psionic or a ton of arcane classes. The psionic version is more flexible, so I'd go with that if it's available to you.
    - Listening Coin (bard 3, MIC) and Spymaster's Coin (bard 2, wiz 2, CS) are also both great spells.

    Also, use your best scouting guard. If you built him well it should be doable to keep tabs on the PCs without being seen.

    Pre-emptive needlestings
    You should have a scouting advantage. Escalate that. All of your guards should be good at hiding. Cut a few locks of hair from your PCs in the middle of the night to make scrying on them trivially easy.
    Send in your most social guard in a disguise to obtain any information you can't otherwise get. Feed them false information if that helps you. Glibness is your friend here. Make sure you do not create bad feelings towards your VIP here. The VIP should be portrayed as misunderstood, not evil.

    Once they're within a day's reach, replace their wands with twigs and their scrolls with scribbles on paper. Use Magic Aura spells on the replacements. Take off things like a ring of sustenance and put that back on. Use up all daily charges on their belts of healing. Don't take too many risks with this. Stealth is the main goal here. You do not want your PCs to know this has happened! It's just for safety. Give their stuff back if they turn out to be civil.

    Difficult terrain
    Difficult terrain can be a swamp, but it's not just that.
    The idea behind difficult terrain is that it forces potential invaders to approach your base on your terms, and at a manageable speed.

    One important thing to remember here is that you should already have a forbiddance effect up if you went with the spell instead of the weirdstone.
    Freely sharing the password to areas you want to be used for approaches makes defending a lot easier. And perhaps more importantly, it keeps your grounded minions on relevant. More on that below.

    Also keep in mind that social encounters can cost time ánd can drain resources. And these things are easy to set up. Have a child run off into an alligator swamp. For added effect, have zombies protect the kid, so your VIP seems nicer. Of course your face guard can stage all of this. Or have a local girl who greatly admires the VIP get a crush on your Barbarian PC. As long as it stalls and preferably makes your VIP look good, it's a win for you.
    And remember to use caster level boosters for your forbiddance to make nice big blocks. Saves every 60 feet are no fun for anyone, and besides it makes the effect vulnerable to dispelling.

    Minions
    I already touched on the ghosts and the lantern archons for scouting.
    But you're a necromancer. Template your stuff liberally. The winged, chameleon, dark and shadow templates are especially nice. The cold subtype combined with Algid Enhancement can also work great if you don't have access to Ectoplasmic Enhancement for whatever reason.
    Don't just raise skeletons and zombies. Use Ghosts, Shadows and Allips. Chameleon zombies are a personal favorite of mine.

    Your VIP forged a city state. To have any right of existance, she needs to be able to repel invading armies, not just PCs. The forbiddance goes a long with with that, but she'd need an actual army of her own.
    I'd suggest a few lower level (compared to the guards) necropolitan clerics, who each control a batch of undead.
    You shouldn't attack the PCs with this. Not the first time they come into your city state anyway. If they show hostile intent and come back a second time, then by all means. In that case fight with guerrilla tactics until they rest up. Once they're resting, mess with their gear, and then attack them with full overkill force. Don't be a wuss about couping. They brought that on themselves, and anything less would be immersion breaking. Wizards fight smart.
    They shouldn't be able to rope trick, buf if for some reason they can, use every caster level booster you can manage on your cleric and put another forbiddance over the ropetrick. My best guess is that this would land your PCs somewhere outside of all the planes. So to get out of that they'd have to wander the far realm until they get high enough to plane shift. That should buy your VIP some time.

    Warded swampland will give your undead a massive advantage terrain wise. Add a few sinkholes, use the trees. Bring out an acid breathing zombie dragon or 2 (those aren't actually good for the HD but so very cool.)

    Keep in mind that you can keep undead you haven't rebuked or controlled around as well. Just make sure they don't eat your commoners.

    Always negotiate on your terms
    You can use two listening coins for this. Do not meet face to face unless you absolutely have to. If you do, use a body double + telepathic link.

    My suggested guards would be
    A Vampire Bard off a Changeling base. Give him the Requiem feat and fight from the back with bardic music if forced. More importantly, manipulate the living glibness out of everyone and everything. Make sure you rank stealth, social skills and UMD.

    A Cleric with the Trickery and Greed domain. The form of undead template doesn't matter much, but keep in mind you want him to have flight somehow. Could be through a template, a mount, or a class feature (like a warlock dip and eldritch disciple). Just make sure you get 6th level spells. If you go down the DMM route, persist Life Ward on all 3 of your guards daily. If you want things like Ectoplasmic Enhancement, consider dropping a domain for the Divine Magician ACF. PRCs don't really matter. Divine oracle might make sense. Refluffed Winterhaunt of Iborighu is just cool for an undead cleric imho.

    A Psion. Human ghost. Probably a Telepath going into the psionic adapatation of Mindbender for one level. Pick up Clairvoyant Sense and Astral construct through feats. Get the mindsight and lifesense feats on this one. I'd probably go into Slayer after. Make sure you pick up keen intellect feat at 1. (This is why it's a human base.) This is your best scout, as well as a good summoner through Astral Construct spam while he hides inside walls. You'll probably want Darkstalker too.

    Remember that if you raise your undead properly they get d12+6 hit point per level, and a whole host of other goodies.

    Edit: Forgot about Mage’s Private Sanctum and Shadesteel Golems. You'll probably want some form of both.
    Last edited by Breakfast; 2015-01-06 at 10:32 AM.

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