A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Titan in the Playground
    Venger's Avatar

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    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Quote Originally Posted by Strigon View Post
    Really nothing to do with the post at hand, I just wanted to thank you for your sig; that may be among my favourite internet discussions of all time.
    That's awfully nice of you. It was a lot of fun.
    I've got a new fantasy TTRPG about running your own fencing school in a 3 musketeers pastiche setting. Book coming soon.

    Check out my new sci-fi TTRPG about first contact. Cool alien races, murderous AIs, and more. New book coming soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Venger, can you be my full-time memory aid please?
    Iron Chef Medals!
    Amazing Princess Mononoke avatar by Dispozition

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Ogre in the Playground
    remetagross's Avatar

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    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    It has taken me waaaaay more time than I thought, but it's done : build submitted ! It's my first participation in a CharOp building contest, so I'm still giggling from having pressed the Send button

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    I just submitted too, and I have only one comment to make on the whole build process. I [edited out because I realise it might give my build away].
    Last edited by Tiri; 2016-10-09 at 12:44 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Reveal is due is just over 4 hours, by my reckoning.

    However, since I'm not going to be able to do it until after I get home from work, effectively it should be in about 10-11 hrs.

    A pleasing number of builds received so far.

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Ettin in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

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    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Very excited for this reveal. I'm sure we got all sorts of ideas.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Telonius's Avatar

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    May 2006
    Wandering in Harrekh

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    I leave you guys alone for one week...

    (For the record, I'm sure that the minor bit of bad weather in Florida had nothing whatsoever to do with my being in Orlando).

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Darn, I totally lost track of time due to visiting my family, and don't have nearly enough time to put together my build ideas. I'm happy to offer my services as a Judge if people don't mind it.
    Last edited by One Step Two; 2016-10-09 at 11:23 PM.
    Longtime lurker, Infrequent poster.

    Avalanche in Hell of the Improbability Drive Fan Club

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Inevitability's Avatar

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    Feb 2014
    Planes of Law

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Didn't make a build, but I'm eager to see what others have come up with.
    Creator of the LA-assignment thread.

    Extended signature!

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Troll in the Playground
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    Dec 2013

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    and I am officially resigning from judge job because we have some one as judge

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Exclamation Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    OK, posting the entry reveal - please refrain from posting until I say that I'm finished!

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default The Angel of the Seals

    The Angel of the Seals

    "Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

    The Angel of the Seals is the creature who entrusted the Lamb with breaking the seals which would release the seven omens of the apocalypse: a rider who went out to conquer, a rider who went to destroy peace, a rider who made necessities scarce while leaving luxuries, a rider whose name was death and was given a quarter of the earth to put to the sword, the souls of those whose testimony had doomed them to be slain, an earthquake that moved mountains, and a storm that set the world on fire.

    Of course, I'm going to give the angel all of these abilities.

    Spoiler: A Note
    I asked the chair and he said that it was okay to do all the four horsemen so long as I used a single build. This is that build.
    Spoiler: Build
    LG Lesser Aasimar Wizard (Necromancer Undead Companion/Enhanced Undead variant Ban Illusion and Enchantment) 17/Druid (Unnamed UA variant) 2/Beastmaster 1

    Base ability scores are 10/12/14/15/13/8 before race, so 10/12/14/15/15/10 afterwards. All ability gains go to intelligence except the last, which goes to wisdom. At caster level 15 (character level 18) the character uses polymorph any object to assume the form of a planetar angel permanently. Skill and save bonuses given on the table are only from levels.

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Wizard 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Concentration 4, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 4, Scribe ScrollB, Wild Cohort Undead Companion, Enhanced Undead
    2nd Wizard 2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Concentration 5, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 5,
    3rd Wizard 3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Concentration 6, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 6 Practiced Spellcaster
    4th Wizard 3/Druid 1 +1 +3 +1 +5 Concentration 7, Handle Animal 6, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 6 TrackB Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy, AC bonus, Favoured Enemy (Human)
    5th Wizard 3/Druid 2 +2 +4 +1 +6 Concentration 8, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 6, Survival 4 Woodland Stride
    6th Wizard 3/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +3 +6 +3 +6 Concentration 8, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 6, Ride 7, Survival 4 Natural Bond Animal Companion (Level +3)
    7th Wizard 4/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +4 +6 +3 +7 Concentration 10, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 7, Ride 7, Survival 4
    8th Wizard 5/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +4 +6 +3 +7 Concentration 9, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 9, Ride 7, Survival 4 Empower SpellB
    9th Wizard 6/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +5 +7 +4 +8 Concentration 12, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 10, Ride 7, Survival 4 Extra Spell: Restoration
    10th Wizard 7/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +5 +7 +4 +8 Concentration 13, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 11, Ride 7, Spellcraft 1, Survival 4
    11th Wizard 8/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +6 +7 +4 +9 Concentration 14, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 12, Ride 7, Spellcraft 2, Survival 4
    12th Wizard 9/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +6 +8 +5 +9 Concentration 15, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 12, Ride 7, Spellcraft 3, Survival 4 Extra Spell: Spark of Life
    13th Wizard 10/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +7 +8 +5 +10 Concentration 16, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 13, Ride 7, Spellcraft 5, Survival 4 Maximise SpellB
    14th Wizard 11/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +7 +8 +5 +10 Concentration 17, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 14, Ride 7, Spellcraft 7, Survival 4
    15th Wizard 12/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +8 +9 +6 +11 Concentration 18, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 15, Ride 7, Spellcraft 9, Survival 4 Corpsecrafter
    16th Wizard 13/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +8 +9 +6 +11 Concentration 19, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 16, Ride 7, Spellcraft 11, Survival 4
    17th Wizard 14/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +9 +9 +6 +12 Concentration 20, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 17, Ride 7, Spellcraft 13, Survival 4
    18th Wizard 15/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +9 +10 +7 +12 Concentration 21, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 18, Ride 7, Spellcraft 15, Survival 4 Deadly Chill, Quicken SpellB
    19th Wizard 16/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +10 +10 +7 +13 Concentration 22, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 20, Ride 7, Spellcraft 16, Survival 4
    20th Wizard 17/Druid 2/Beastmaster 1 +10 +10 +7 +13 Concentration 23, Handle Animal 8, Knowledge (Arcana, Religion, The Planes) 22, Ride 7, Spellcraft 17, Survival 4
    Spoiler: Spells Per Day
    Table includes all spells from a high ability score, but not from the ability score bonus of any item of intelligence or other spells per day boosting item.

    Wizard Spellcasting:
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st 3 2 - - - - - - - -
    2nd 4 3 - - - - - - - -
    3rd-6th 4 3 2 - - - - - - -
    7th 4 4 3 - - - - - - -
    8th 4 4 3 2 - - - - - -
    9th 4 4 4 3 - - - - - -
    10th 4 5 4 3 1 - - - - -
    11th 4 5 4 4 2 - - - - -
    12th 4 5 5 4 3 1 - - - -
    13th 4 5 5 4 4 2 - - - -
    14th 4 5 5 5 4 2 1 - - -
    15th 4 5 5 5 4 3 2 - - -
    16th 4 5 5 5 5 3 2 1 - -
    17th 4 5 5 5 5 3 3 2 - -
    18th 4 6 6 5 5 5 4 2 1 -
    19th 4 6 6 5 5 5 4 3 2 -
    20th 4 6 6 5 5 5 5 3 2 1

    Druid Spellcasting
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st-4th - - - - - - - - - -
    5th 3 2 - - - - - - - -
    6th-17th 4 3 - - - - - - - -

    Cleric Spellcasting (Destruction and Good domains)
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st-17th - - - - - - - - - -
    18th-20th 6 7+1 7+1 6+1 6+1 5+1 5+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
    Spoiler: A Note on Horsemen
    Restoration and the use of negative levels allows creatures to retrain all of their hit dice into class levels, as restoration can restore a level to those who have had a negative level result in permanent drain. By using Spark of Life on undead creatures, then draining the living and the dead of all but one level, then restoring them, then draining that last level and restoring it again, they can retrain into a real class. This means that, although these creatures are part of the Angel of the Seals' build, they are somewhat competent in their own right.

    This means they have their own build tables. Because companions never have their own CR, the CR given on the table refers to the CR of the Angel of the Seals.
    Spoiler: The First Seal
    I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

    Conquest is a bit of a black sheep (or perhaps white horse) among the herd of horsemen. But, it plays a part, of sorts. Today, its part is played by a dinosaur.

    I'm not kidding.

    Among the list of possible animal companions, and the only one that can ride a horse, is the strange and wonderful deinonychus. It's relatively humanoid, and dinosaurs have this lovely apocalypse connection that I just couldn't pass up, especially not since revelation ends with meteors getting thrown around with reckless abandon.

    So, how are we getting this interesting being? Simply enough, the wild cohort feat - explicitly allowed in the contest rules - flat-out hands you an animal companion. Neat, huh? Unfortunately, you can't get your deinonychus until level 10 normally, but there's a way around that: beastmaster and natural bond both increase your effective druid level for your animal companion by 3, and because of stupid wording that makes a wild cohort count as an animal companion, sorta, this means that Conquest can show up from the moment I take my first beastmaster level (though I can't retrain him until level 9), and ends up at a somewhat impressive 15 hit dice.

    Oh, Conquest isn't really defined in the rules. I'm going to say that Conquest's ability to set traps of his own and thereby build up an area counts as conquering places, or he can share War's criterion of high base attack bonus, which he would have by the time he, personally, reached CR 20 (if he had a CR. Companions are weird).

    The first advancement is going to go in intelligence, so that he's, say, more intelligent than a dinosaur, then the rest go in wisdom. Oh, Conquest has his own animal companion, a heavy horse (which he then war trains himself). He wields a longbow into battle and apparently wears some kind of crown. And goes out as a conquerer and bent on conquest.

    Sit back and enjoy the dinosaur:

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    9th-11th Ranger 9 +9 +6 +6 +3 Handle Animal 12, Ride 12 Point Blank Shot Swift Tracker, Evasion
    12-14th Ranger 11 +11 +7 +7 +3 Handle Animal 14, Ride 14 Improved Precise ShotB Favoured Enemy (Undead)
    15th-17th Ranger 13 +13 +8 +8 +4 Handle Animal 16, Ride 16 Far Shot Camouflage
    18th-20 Ranger 15 +15 +9 +9 +3 Handle Animal 18, Ride 18 Diehard Favoured Enemy (Vermin)
    Spoiler: The Second Seal
    Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

    War is the next of our unlikely antiheroes. Obviously, War has to be a fighter, and Blackguard seems to be a good enough prestige class for him.

    War is our skeleton cohort; a little more impressive than Conquest in that he reaches 17th level. Oh, and his strength and dexterity go up like rockets: they start at 17 each and then go up 1 for each three wizard levels we have, topping out at 22. Not bad. He also gets a bonus 2 hit points per hit die.

    War meets our base attack bonus prerequesites handily, as he's able to hit 17 base attack bonus at 17th level. His mount is the blackguard's fiendish servant horse mount.

    All his ability score boosts go into wisdom.

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    9th Fighter 6 +6 +5 +2 +2 Handle Animal 9, Ride 9 Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Sunder, Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Fullblade, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge
    10th Fighter 6/Blackguard 1 +7 +7 +2 +2 Handle Animal 10, Ride 10 Aura of Evil, Detect Good, Poison Use
    11th Fighter 6/Blackguard 2 +8 +8 +2 +2 Handle Animal 11, Ride 11 Dark Blessing, Smite Good 1/day
    12th Fighter 6/Blackguard 3 +9 +9 +3 +3 Handle Animal 12, Ride 12 Trample Command Undead, Aura of Despair
    13th Fighter 6/Blackguard 4 +10 +10 +3 +3 Handle Animal 13, Ride 13 Sneak Attack 1d6
    14th Fighter 6/Blackguard 5 +11 +9 +3 +3 Handle Animal 14, Ride 14 Fiendish Servant, Smite Good 2/day
    15th Fighter 6/Blackguard 6 +12 +10 +4 +4 Handle Animal 15, Ride 15 Weapon Specialisation: Fullblade
    16th Fighter 6/Blackguard 7 +13 +10 +4 +4 Handle Animal 16, Ride 16 Sneak Attack 2d6
    17th Fighter 6/Blackguard 8 +14 +11 +4 +4 Handle Animal 17, Ride 17
    18th Fighter 6/Blackguard 9 +15 +11 +5 +5 Handle Animal 18, Ride 18 Weapon Focus: Fullblade
    19th Fighter 6/Blackguard 10 +16 +12 +5 +5 Handle Animal 19, Ride 19 Sneak Attack 3d6, Smite Good 3/day
    20th Fighter 7/Blackguard 10 +17 +12 +5 +5 Handle Animal 20, Ride 20
    Spoiler: The Third Seal
    I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!"

    Famine gets to be another dinosaur. This time, the dinosaur is my real animal companion, obtained over the course of three levels, it's bumped up to ninth effective level and then back down to 3rd, meaning that it ends up with 6 actual hit dice. That's okay; famine never actually did much. His own Wild Cohort is used as a mount, as he hasn't any better way to get one. Famine is a cleric with the fire and weather domains. He doesn't bother wielding a weapon, because he has spells. He puts his single point into wisdom to cast all his spells - he doesn't need to have above-animal intelligence: he can't talk! The voice is among the four living creatures, not said by Famine himself. Clearly, this is because he simply cannot speak.

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    9th Cleric 6 +4 +5 +2 +5 Ride 7 Open Minded, Improved Initiative, Wild Cohort Rebuke Undead
    Spoiler: The Fourth Seal
    I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

    Then, there's Death. By this point, I had run out of companions that I could reasonably stack on a single character, and so the obvious solution is: animate dead. So, another "Normal" human skeleton, only with class levels. And because he's death, of course he's generally better than all the others. He's a paladin of slaughter, and uses his scythe to enhance the save-or-die power of his coups de grace (the scythe also ends up with a rather mean 17-20) as well as using poison, a near-enough save or die against many creatures. He rides his special paladin of slaughter mount. He's stronger because of Corpsecrafter, and also because of your alternate class feature that buffs undead. His level is twice your caster level, maximum 20. Behold Death, destroyer of worlds.

    All of the level bonuses go to wisdom.

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    9th Paladin of Slaughter 10/Disciple of Dispater 8 +18 +13 +9 +9 Ride 21 Battle Blessing, Improved Critical (Scythe), Power Attack, Cleave, Mounted Combat, Ride-by attack, Spirited Charge[td]
    [td]Aura of Evil, Detect Good, Smite Good 3/day, Divine Grace, Deadly Touch, Debilitating Aura, Divine Health, Rebuke Undead, Special Mount, Cause Disease 2/week
    10th-20th Paladin of Slaughter 10/Disciple of Dispater 8/Fighter 2 +20 +15 +9 +9 Ride 23 Great Cleave, Trample
    Spoiler: The Fifth Seal
    When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

    These seem to be as good a use as any for the rest of the Angel of the Seals' Animate Dead hit dice. You could give them levels in some kind of support class to buff the angel and the dinosaurs (and the horses, even), or even go the extra mile to grab Requiem to help War and Death. All I know is I'm not statting them all out for you.
    Spoiler: The Sixth Seal
    I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

    Unfortunately, Eclipse is an epic spell. But I can cast this Earthquake for you.
    Spoiler: The Seventh Seal
    When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

    And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

    Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

    Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

    The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

    The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

    The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water - the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

    The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

    As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

    The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

    The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

    The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

    The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.

    The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.


    The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and[...] Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

    There's a lot of stuff going on here. Most of it I can replicate. I can get the Trumpet Archons as Greater Planar Allies, I can burn a third of the earth with a buttload of evocations, send "something like a huge mountain, all ablaze" into the sea with Meteor Swarm if I want to. Same with the great star. I can't do the eclipse, though I could just put something in the way. The fifth trumpet I can replicate with summon swarm and creeping doom. Sending four angels to kill people should be possible with gate, or even planar ally of some calibre. Lightning and hail is easy mode with evocations.
    Spoiler: Putting it All Together
    By 20th level, you have a 17th level cleric 17th level wizard combination, with a few bruisers to make things interesting, and the souls of those who were killed because of their testimony can, well, get in the heroes' way. Oh, and you should get a zombie dragon, to represent the dragon that shows up afterwards. Revelation is weird.

    At earlier levels, say, 10th level, you're still obscenely powerful, but having a 20th-level beatstick with a scythe and crazy criticals is a little more to write home about (If death power attacks for full on a charge and critically hits, he adds 360 to his damage, and then gets to cleave!). Irrespective of level, you have at least two competent allies, which quickly becomes 4, and at ninth level everyone starts to get class levels and everything goes to hell.

    Perhaps literally.

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Savaoth [War]

    Wherever my voice reaches, there is chaos. I stretch out my hand, there is strife. I can make a mother despise her young, I can make a priest curse his god, when I rise, no bond is holds and all war against all. I am the destiny of the world. I am War.
    - Savaoth, the Horseman of War

    Spoiler: Stats & Build
    Savaoth (Pronounced Sah-vah-oth), the Horseman of War, starter Stats
    Incubus 7/Marshal 3/Hexblade 4/Battle Dancer (Dragon Compendium p26) 3/Warblade 3

    STR 16 (base 14, +2 racial), Dex 15 (base 13, +2 Racial), Con 12 (Base 10, +2 Racial), Int 18 (base 12, +6 racial), Wis 12 (Base 8, +4 racial), Cha 31 (base 15, +16 racial) (+1 at CR 9, CR 13, CR 17)
    CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    7 6 Outsider HD +6 +6 +7 +6 Bluff +19 (9 Ranks, 10 Stat); Concentration +10 (9 r, 1 s); Disguise +19 (9 rs, 10 s, +21 when acting); Diplomacy +23 (9 rs, +10 s, +4 synergy); Escape Artist +11 (9 Rs, +2 s); Hide +6 (4 Rs, +2 s); Move Silently +6 (4 R, +2 s); Ride +6 (4 r, +2 s); Sense Motive +10 (9 rs, +1 s); Intimidate +21 (9 r, +10 s, +2 syn); Use Magic Device +14 (4.5 R, +10 s); Skill Trick (Never Outnumbered) Mounted Combat, Ride by Attack, Spirited Charge Spell Like Abilities (at will- Charm Monster (DC 24) Detect Good, Detect Thoughts (DC 22), Ethereal Jaunt (50 pounds of gear and self only), Suggestion (DC 23), Greater Teleport (self and 50 pounds of gear only). Caster level 12th); Change Shape (Humanoid, Small or Medium); Dark Vision, Damage Reducetion 10/Good or Cold Iron, Energy Drain, Immunity (Electric and Poison), Resistance (Acid, Cold, Fire 10) Spell Resistance 18, Telepathy 100 ft. Tongues, Summon Demon (Vrock, 30%, 1/day)
    8 Marshal 1 +6 +8 +7 +8 Bluff +20 (10 r, 10 s); Diplomacy +26 (9 r, +10 s, +4 syn, +3 Feat); Ride +11 (9 r, +2 s); Intimidate +22 (9 r, +10 s, +2 syn); Use Magic Device +14 (5 R, +10 s); Skill Focus (Diplomacy) Minor Aura (Over the Top)
    9 Hexblade 1 +7 +8 +7 +10 Concentration +12 (11 r, +1 S); Ride +12 (10 r, +2); UMD 16 (5.5 r, 11 s); Disguise +21 (10 r; +11 s) Null Hexblade's Curse (DC 21)
    10 Hexblade 2 +8 +8 +7 +11 Concentration +13 (12 r, +1 s); Use Magic Device +17 (6 r, +11 s); Disguise +22 (11 r, +11 s); Intimidate +24 (11 r, +11 s, +2 syn) Imperious Command Arcane Resistance (+11 to saves versus spell and spell-like effects)
    11 Battle Dancer 1 +9 +8 +9 +11 Tumble 10 (8 r, 2 S) Improved Unarmed Strike AC Bonus (+11 to Armor Class when unarmored, including flatfooted)
    12 Hexblade 3 +10 +9 +10 +11 Concentration +13 (12 r, 1 s); Use Magic Device +17 (6.5 R, 11 s); Intimidate +26 (13 r, 11 s, 2 syn); Ride +14 (12 r, 2 s) Null Mettle
    13 Marshal 2 +11 +10 +10 +12 Perform (Dancing) 16 (5 r, 11 s); Intimidate +27 (14 r, 11 s, 2 syn); Use Magic Device +18 (7 r, 11 s) Power Attack Major Aura (Resistance)
    14 Battle Dancer 2 +12 +10 +11 +12 Tumble +18 (16 r, +2 s) Null Dance of Reckless Bravery
    15 Marshal 3 +13 +10 +12 +12 Bluff +21 (11 r, 11 s); Diplomacy +27 (10 r, +10 s, +4 syn, +3 Feat); Ride +18 (16 r, +2 s); Intimidate +28 (15 r, +11 s, +2 syn); Use Magic Device +18 (7.5 R, +11 s) Null Minor Aura (Motivate Charisma)
    16 Battle Dancer 3 +14 +11 +12 +13 Tumble +20 (18 r, +2 s); Hide +9 (7 r, +2 s); Move Silently +9 (7 r, +2 s) Mindsight Null
    17 Hexblade 4 +15 +11 +12 +14 Intimidate +31 (17 r, +12 s, +2 syn), Concentration +18 (17 r, 1 s) - Dark Companion (ACF, PHBII)
    18 Warblade 1 +16 +13 +12 +14 Jump +10 (8 Ranks) Null Weapon Apptitude, Battle Clarity, Stance (Leading the Charge), White Raven Tactics, Soaring Raptor Attack, Rabid Wolf Attack
    19 Warblade 2 +17 +14 +12 +14 Jump +15 (13 Ranks), Balance 5 Two Weapon Fighting/TD]
    [TD]Uncanny Dodge, Dancing Mongoose
    20 Warblade +17 +14 +13 +15 Jump +23 (21 r, +2 s) - Battle Ardor, Pouncing Charge

    Spoiler: Spells

    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 0lvl 1st
    17th - 3/2
    18th - 3/2
    19th - 3/2
    20th - 3/2

    Spoiler: Maneuvers
    Level Maneuvers Stances
    18th 3 1
    19th 4 1
    20th 5 1

    Spoiler: Level-by-Level Breakdown
    7: Intimidate, Charm Monster, Use a Lance to Charge. Teleport.
    8. Over the Top adds +11 damage to a charge – But Savaoth has Spirited Charge, a Lance, and a Valenar Riding Horse trained for war (bought with WBL). This is a damage outpouring – 42 damage minimum, 51 low average, 54 high average, 63 max. Limited here is your ability to hit – Savaoth solves this by harrying the edge of the group, spending a turn using the Valenar Horse’s superior speed to set up a angle free of AoA, and then charging the side if he’s fighting solo. In wartime scenarios, he leads a cavalry squad of up to eleven other riders and impart on them nearly the same level of damage.
    9: Hexblade’s curse makes the harrying process easier (it can be lain as a free action) and the bonus to attack makes hitting easier.
    10: Arcane Resistance makes Savaoth highly resistant to magic (Reflex +18 is the lowest of your options). Imperious Command is useful, absolutely lethal when combined with Fearsome. Fearsome will enables you to force everyone around a square to cower as a move action – But because you’re the rider, you can use it at any point in your ride, for instance after the target you hit with your charge and have to go straight or while you plow through their lines to get to pre-stated character.
    11 Battle Dancer 1. +11 to Armor class, flatfooted or touch, is to be treasured under every circumstance. Improved Unarmed Strike sets Savaoth up to pick up Improved Grapple later. We pick up Tumble +10, making us less useless on foot. And we get a class with Good progression for Reflex. This is the sweet spot in the build – Savaoth’s spell resistance isn’t useless, Savaoth’s saves are great, Savaoth has good margins on most of his skill checks.
    12: Hexblade 3 gives us Mettle. Spell-based Will Saves have a 5% success rate from pretty much here on out.
    13: Marshal 2 gives us Major Aura (Resistance ) continuing our theme of Not Failing Saves. Power Attack appears to save you from your ****ty damage.
    14: Battle Dancer 2 is here to max that Tumble score, to inspire the team, and to provide us with a bonus to our Reflex save.
    15: Marshal 3 gives us Motivate Charisma. Savaoth can now happily disguise as a naked human without shape change, which is fantastic because giving up your natural AC is crap. Don’t do that if you can avoid it.
    16: Battle Dancer 3. Slippers of Battle Dance are almost certainly available at this point, so if he’s ever dismounted, Savaoth has a chance to be just as deadly as any fighter. Mindsight is invaluable to prevent being ambushed or pelted by invisible fools.
    17: Hexblade 4 gives us Dark Companion who has your flight speed and thus can cause all kinds of problems. If the horse gets out of range, it teleports to your side. If it doesn’t, you can leave it to harass your opponents while you take a lap for another charge. Entropic Shield is fabulous as a spell.
    18: Warblade 1: Ah, Warblade, we've saved the best for last. Lead the Charge gives another +9 to damage rolls with charge attacks, which will go up for the remainder of the levels. White Raven Tactics need no introduction, but even if the DM would like to avoid utter cheese usages, it can still be very helpful (use it on your mount to get out of range of casters.). Soaring Raptor and Rabid Wolf Strike are both strong maneuvers in their own right.
    19: War Blade 2: This where the rules lawyer trick that makes you an unstoppable warrior comes in. Dancing Mongoose gives you two attacks (one with your lance, one with your second lance. There's no penalty for this, so why not?) as a swift action, which means you can put them in, say, at the end of the charge (follow me here). The rules state an attack at the end of a mounted charge gain the bonus of a charge. (To be fair, the same quirk means no charge maneuvers) That means they receive the x3 modifier on the attack. Both are at full attack so if you have Over the Top up, you've got a good chance to hit with three attacks for a minimum of (no magic items boosting any relevant stats or damage) 243 damage. If you have players who like miss chances and concealment, you can instead deal 156 and throw a torch fire bug bag. Splash no save faerie fire for everyone! Also, you pick up two weapon fighting, making your melee character substantially more powerful on the ground.
    20: Warblade 3: Pouncing Charge! Now, equipped with Slippers of Battle Dance, you can make 36 damage minimum attack a maximum of 7 times in a single round. If you invest mildly in an attack bonus, this number goes up.

    Spoiler: CR 11
    Savaoth (War), Incubus Marshal 1/Hexblade 2/Battle Dancer 1: CR 11; Size Outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil); HD 8d8+2d10+11; hp 47; Init +2; Spd 30 ft., fly 50 ft. (average); AC 32, touch 23, flat-footed 30 [[+9 Natural Armor, +2 Dex, +11 AC Bonus]]; Atk +13 melee [[+9 BAB, +3 Str, +1 enchantment bonus]] (1d8+3, regular) or (1d8+15 x 3, spirited charge)*; SA Energy Drain, Hexblade’s Curse 1/day, Spell-Like Abilities, Summon Demon; SQ Arcane Resistance, AC Bonus, Damage Reduction 10/good or cold iron, Darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and poison, Minor Aura (Over the Top), Resistance acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, SR 18, Telepathy 100 ft., Tongues; AL CE; SV Fort +10 (+21 v. Spells/Spell-Like Effects), Ref +11 (+22 v. Spells/Spell-Like Effects), Will +12 (+23 v. Spells/Spell-Like Effects); Str 16, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 12, Cha 32.
    Fluent Languages: Common, Infernal, Abyssal, Undercommon, Celestial
    Skills and Feats: Bluff +20, Concentration +13, Diplomacy +24, Disguise +22 (+23 when Acting), Escape Artist +11, Hide +6, Intimidate +24, Move Silently +6, Ride +12, Sense Motive +10, Tumble +10, Use Magic Device +15; Mounted Combat, Ride by Attack, Spirited Charge, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Imperious Command
    Energy Drain (Su): Savaoth drains energy from a mortal it lures into some act of passion, or by simply planting a kiss on the victim. If the target is not willing to be kissed, Savaoth must start a grapple, which provokes an attack of opportunity. Savaoth’s kiss or embrace bestows one negative level. The kiss also has the effect of a suggestion spell, asking the victim to accept another kiss from the succubus. The victim must succeed on a DC 23 Will save to negate the effect of the suggestion. The DC is 23 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. These save DCs are Charisma-based.
    Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): At will—charm monster (DC 24), detect good, detect thoughts (DC 22), ethereal jaunt (self plus 50 pounds of objects only), suggestion (DC 23), greater teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only). Caster level 12th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.
    Summon Demon (sp) Once per day, Savaoth can attempt to summon one Vrock with a 30% chance of success. This ability is equivalent to a 3rd level spell.
    Change Shape (Su) Savaoth can assume the form of any medium or small humanoid at will.
    Minor Aura (Over the Top) (Ex)[/url]
    AC Bonus See Dragon Compendium, pg. 16
    Hexblade’s Curse See complete Warrior pg. 6
    Arcane Resistance See complete warrior pg. 6
    Possessions: +1 Lance, Masterwork Greatsword, Fearsome Ring (8000 GP), Cloak of Resistance +2, Valenar Riding Horse (Horseshoes of Speed).
    * Takes into account Over the Top

    The above stat block, and only the above stat block, is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.

    Spoiler: War - A Theme By The Numbers
    Savaoth has many important aspects
    • From a purely social standpoint, I suppose there will may be some other ridiculously well appointed character. At low levels, Savaoth has the insane charisma of a Succubus and strong skills even without magic. Nonetheless, at level 15 and following, Savaoth can have a +22 on all charisma checks WITHOUT his skill ranks (which are not insubstantial). He can glide into any court with nothing but a smile, win over every occupant of a room with a glance and a sly word, and all that without dipping into his magical stores.
    • From the all important realm of not dying, Savaoth is pretty good. And magic. He is very much resistant to magic (usually approximately 20-25% chance of failure without magic items, not counting SR) and by fifteen, with reasonable item investment, he's nearly immune. (Ring of Evasion + Cloak of Resistance +4 + 12 CHA Bonus = +25, +2 for non-natural one rolls puts you at 27 and success stops all effects. A specialized 18 CHA Human straight wizard gets about 28 for a DC.) Armor class leaves nothing to complain about at any level after 11, when your touch AC is higher than a Solar's and your flatfooted is the same. You're about ten CR up on armor and, depending on WBL, there's little reason for you not to continue such a trend or improve on it. His HD and HP is mediocre, I won't lie - Less skill centric players could pick up another 11 or so for a skill point per level. Holy Word is your first serious threat. If someone uses such a no save, just suck spell on Savaoth that's what Greater Teleport at will is for. Flight will get you out of most areas that lock you down - If the players Forcecage AND Dimensional Anchor/Lock Savaoth in one round, they deserve the win if they can take him out.
    • Murderous skill in battle atop a horse is important as is the ability to lead an army. Marshal 1 gives you much of what you need for that - +11 to damage, multiplied by two or three from lances, on horseback is devastating cavalry. Imperious command means terrifying the people at the end of the charge for you and your buddies to overhwelm them with massive helpings of damage. Power attack comes in right as this is getting less effective. Hitting can present a problem, but you're not much worse off than other on level foes and you can alter the field much more dramatically at need.
    • I didn’t expend a substantial amount of character power acquiring a mount. However, most of the reason I didn’t do it is how pathetically easy it is to get a Nightmare mount IC for this character and I just couldn’t bring myself to expend any of my very limited feats. Nightmares are obviously superior to any other mount, because they can cast Astral Projection at will (the benefits of this cannot be overstated.), they grant total concealment at over 10 ft., etherealness at will, have better armor class, better saves, and are generally in all ways superior to anything I could get (except perhaps a Wild Cohort at the highest levels – But at that point, Savaoth can summon a Cauchemar with a scroll and do close to the same set up. So… why bother?)
    Spoiler: ”Nightmare Mount”
    Hire two spellcasters, a wizard to cast Planar Binding, Lesser and a cleric to cast Eagle’s Splendor and Guidance of the Avatar on Savaoth (summative gold expenditure 400 + 120 + 120 = 640). Summon a Nightmare. Standing in a circle that looks identical to the one the Nightmare is in (to satisfy “apparent ally” threat avoidance), use a readied Charm Monster (save dc 26 – only fail on a natural 20) on the nightmare, pop over with it to the ethereal, use Diplomacy to increase your standing from Friendly to Helpful or potentially Fanatical, expending Guidance of the Avatar. Meet your new, devoted ally – Who you can order around with Charisma checks. At 15 with Motivate Charisma, your orders never fail and your Diplomacy check is high enough to inspire Fanaticism by default. But you should still succeed by default at getting a Nightmare mount by 8. You can do all this with scrolls and by yourself if you must. But it is modestly more expensive and you give the Nightmare a chance to succeed at its saves before level 15.

    • Most importantly, however, Savaoth can start wars. That's not an exaggeration. Charm Monster, bluffing advisors, and setting a court against itself is almost passe. Savaoth can mechanically destroy a city, as below outlined, beginning really at CR 7, but becoming very hard to stop at CR 15.
    Spoiler: Five Steps To Destroying a City
    • Charm Monster at will is a save DC of 24 and a standard action to cast. Put him in a crossroad in a city and have him hit everything he can (masquerading as a child passing out pamphlets would be a standard option). The failure rate on that save is going to be very high, but even if you only get one per minute of your sleepless days, that'll add up to 14,400. 14,400 is all of a "small city" and most of most "large city"s according to the DMG. So, most of the time, 14,400 is TOO MUCH, but it can still be functional in a city like Sharn (wherein Savaoth will target some group) assume that he collects about 30% of the population or 14,400 people, whichever is less. Savaoth prefers to focus on able-bodied males.
    • Charm Monster means you can make orders. First, order that people come meet together at some pre-arranged meeting place on the eleventh. They MAY get some pathetic CHA vs. Check if they would not ordinarily go to a meeting when invited by a friend. I mean, if you lose those at any level that's embarrassing, but at 15 it is impossible in almost every instance (Motivate Charisma - People didn't think this through ability.). Still, you have spares.
    • On the eleventh day find all the guards in town, charm them and give them the imminently reasonable order, "If there's a riot, put it down hard."
    • At the meet up give a rousing speech stirring up anger against the local lords, take ten. That will either give you a great performance or (at 15) an extraordinary performance. Now you've got their blood boiling.
    • Give the now reasonable suggestion, "Riot." Win the vast majority of the Charisma contests. Now there's a super-massive riot and the guards will put it down as hard as they possibly can. City Destroyed.

    This is a useful sequence to put the players into - Savaoth is smart and will avoid double casting Charm Monster on a single person, but it might tip off the players. Usually this scheme means too much shapechanging to be able to do it with disguise, so True Seeing is reasonable. And if the party fighter suddenly decides that going to a meeting in a city ten days from now is very important when your ship is going out in three... Well, it bears investigating. Gather information will put out info about the level of non-stop activity going on, the sudden appearance of the pamphleteers, and might lead the players towards using True Sight or similar on a child. But if the players don't appear, keep in mind that Savaoth is a herald of the end of the world - He's supposed to succeed at this kind of stuff. Assume he spent some time scouting the city, don't let him get ambushed by the local wizard/cleric.

    Savaoth can use a very similar method to raise armies, collecting the able bodied men and dragging them off to war over trumped up bluff created grievances. This is another moment the players can interact with Savaoth, Horseman of War, without putting them right at odds with him.

    You can kind of produce the same effects with just a hurried diplomacy check per person at 15, and that's less vulnerable to magical confounding. But the above is basically irresistible without intervention. At fifteen and up, he can be even crueler - Charm Person and then drive them to fanatic with Diplomacy (+41 bonus) and then use them to kill their own town. He particularly relishes driving good people to evil acts.

    Spoiler: Savaoth – War and Strife made Flesh
    Strife is the basis for much of human existence. Savaoth is the incarnation of that principle, the division and broken promises that come with war, the lust to destroy and conquer and hate. Used as an instrument in a war long since passed, Savaoth grew in prominence and power, growing to nearly god-like stature as he fed on the constant warfare and grew into a furious whirlwind of hatred and pain. He betrayed his masters, collapsed cities and nations, brought civilization to the brink of destruction. Eventually Savaoth was bound before he could destroy the world, locking him in a gem in an altar in a holy church.

    The seal, once steadfast, has been broken. Some say Savaoth’s emergence is a sign of the end times and that when he again rides, he will destroy the heavens themselves. But first he must sup on war and devastation, as is his nature. He prefers to creates riots and then raise armies. He is something of a ham if people know about him - He spends a lot of time working undercover and he likes to be appreciated. Flattery helps get his guard down, though only if he knows it is sincere. He is singularly paranoid and a vicious war leader, encouraging his armies to rape and pillage, occasionally sowing the collapse of one army. One thing he loves is leading one army into the field, starting a ruckus and abandoning them to be destroyed as the charm monster effects wear off and they are faced with brutal retaliation for their crimes.

    If you're looking for a high level game capper, Savaoth makes a strong option - He's vicious, good in most situations, difficult to kill, fiercely territorial and if the players have grown attached to a nation or a king (or become rulers themselves), he can threaten to uproot the nation in an instant. At lower levels, potential uses include frenzied towns trying to lynch the PCs, a demon warrior on horseback menaces the land, the war leader of a savage horde, and replacing a formerly peaceful general to pervert a peace negotiation are all ways Savaoth could be encountered. In the field, Savaoth always calls himself "War" if discovered. He hides his true name, but since he has been bound before, it is probably on record... somewhere. Where is really up to you. Ancient tombs or the local library, whichever you deem most appropriate.

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Titan in the Playground
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Alexander Kuraklik: Famine!

    Alexander Kuraklik: Famine

    The farmer fell to his knees. Not long ago, his lands had been lush and green, wit a good harvest well on the way. The irrigation canals kept the farm going – a necessity, this close to the great desert. But last week, the canals turned foul, the water as salty as the sea. And last evening, the sandstorm came. His crops were buried under a thick layer of sand. His family had survived, taking shelter in the basement. But now, his farm was an unbroken dune. He tried to dig, shifting the sand in a futile attempt to find one last vegetable for this night’s meal.

    The bray of a camel interrupted his sorrow. Above the dune, he saw an approaching caravan bearing what looked like jugs full of water. His knees started to quake as he saw the lead rider. White robes, fat frame, and the unmistakable black camel. He knelt as the man approached.

    The rider smiled cruelly. “You know who I am, wetlander?”

    “Yes, lord. Bringer of the sand, breath of the desert, famine’s harbinger.”

    “No need for the titles. I am merely a servant of our Lord Azul, bringer of the rains. My name is Alexander Kuraklik. And you know why I am here. You have taken from our Lord long enough. The water you have stolen is forfeit.”

    “But we will starve!”

    “Yes. Yes, you will, as is just. But our Lord Azul is merciful. You spoke of a family. Pick one of them as sacrifice and just payment to Azul, and we will give you enough water to live. Refuse, and fend for yourselves. Azul has spoken.”

    Spoiler: Goals and Tactics
    Alexander Kuraklik is a Cleric of Azul. His ultimate goal is to spread the desert, bringing everyone into the power of Azul. Alexander started his career as a desert nomad, but became enamored with Azul after seeing firsthand the sublime power of thirst and water. He will usually find the most fertile farm in the region, and strip the land of all vegetation. Various methods exist for this; at low levels, simple sabotage of irrigation canals and judicious application of fire. At mid-levels, Flaywind Burst, Desiccate, or even Control Water (to make water overflow its channels and spill uselessly onto the ground). Alexander might conjure one or several Walls of Salt directly over a reservoir or canal to ruin the water. At higher levels, Control Weather, Horrid Wilting, Befoul, Despoil, Evil Weather: Plague of Nettles, or (perversely) Flashflood can be used to ruin larger tracts of farmland.

    Alexander is nearly always seen riding on his black camel. At lower levels, it’s a normal camel mount. As he grows in power, it might be a Warbeast, or (once he can cast the Planar Ally spell line) a Fiendish creature sent directly from Azul to aid in his conquest of the wet lands. Other templates (Monster of Legend, undead, spellstitched) are also possible, but the mount should always be black.

    Spoiler: Ability Scores
    Str 10
    Dex 8
    Con 13
    Int 14
    Wis 15
    Cha 12
    +1 Wisdom at level 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20

    Spoiler: Build and Spell Tables
    Ranger1/Cleric10/Walker in the Waste 9
    Domains: Water, Thirst
    Alignment Lawful Evil

    Spoiler: Build Table
    CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Ranger 1 +1 +2 +2 +0 Concentration 4, Handle Animal 4, Heal 4, Knowledge (Geography) 4, Knowledge (Nature) 4, Profession (Merchant) 4, Ride 4, Survival 4, Swim Heat Endurance, Able Learner, Track 1st Favored Enemy (Humanoid: Human), Track, Wild Empathy
    2nd Cleric 1 +1 +4 +2 +2 Concentration 5, Knowledge (Local) 1, Ride 5, Knowledge (Religion) 1, Handle Animal 5 - Turn or Rebuke Undead, Water and Thirst domains
    3rd Cleric 2 +2 +5 +2 +3 Concentration 6, Know (Local) 2, Ride 6, Know (Religion) 2, Appraise 1 Mounted Combat -
    4th Cleric 3 +3 +5 +3 +3 Concentration 7, Know (Local) 3, Ride 7, Know (Religion) 3, Intimidate 1 - -
    5th Cleric 4 +4 +6 +3 +4 Concentration 8, Know (Local) 4, Ride 8, Know (Religion) 4, Survival 5 - -
    6th Cleric 5 +4 +6 +3 +4 Concentration 9, Ride 9, Know (Religion) 5, Know (Nature) 5, Know (Geography) 5 Mounted Spellcasting -
    7th Cleric 6 +5 +7 +4 +5 Concentration 10, Ride 10, Know (Religion) 6, Spellcraft 2 - -
    8th Cleric 7 +6 +7 +4 +5 Concentration 11, Ride 11, Know (Religion) 7, Spellcraft 4 - -
    9th Cleric 8 +7 +8 +4 +6 Concentration 12, Ride 12, Know (Religion) 8, Spellcraft 6 Drift Magic -
    10th Cleric 9 +7 +8 +5 +6 Concentration 13, Ride 13, Know (Religion) 9, Spellcraft 8 - -
    11th Cleric 10 +8 +9 +5 +7 Concentration 14, Ride 14, Know (Religion) 10, Spellcraft 10 - -
    12th Walker in the Waste 1 +8 +9 +5 +9 Concentration 15, Ride 15, Spellcraft 12, Knowledge (Religion) 11 Extend Spell, Improved Heat Endurance Desiccating Touch 1d6, Improved Heat Endurance
    13th WiW2 +9 +9 +5 +10 Concentration 16, Ride 16, Spellcraft 14, Knowledge (Religion) 12 - The wasting
    14th WiW3 +9 +10 +6 +10 Concentration 17, Ride 17, Spellcraft 16, Knowledge (Religion) 13 - Desiccating Touch 2d6, local drought
    15th WiW4 +10 +10 +6 +11 Concentration 18, Ride 18, Spellcraft 18, Knowledge (Religion) 14 Persistent Spell Withered toughness
    16th WiW5 +10 +10 +6 +11 Concentration 19, Ride 19, Spellcraft 19, Knowledge (Religion) 15, Intimidate 2 - Desiccating Touch 3d6, Pillar of Salt
    17th WiW6 +11 +11 +7 +12 Concentration 20, Ride 20, Spellcraft 20, Knowledge (Religion) 16, Intimidate 3 - Create Sand Golem
    18th WiW7 +11 +11 +7 +12 Concentration 21, Ride 21, Spellcraft 21, Knowledge (Religion) 17, Intimidate 4 Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell) Desiccating Touch 4d6
    19th WiW8 +12 +11 +7 +13 Concentration 22, Ride 22, Spellcraft 22, Knowledge (Religion) 18, Intimidate 5 - Create Salt Mummy
    20th WiW9 +12 +12 +8 +13 Concentration 23, Ride 23, Spellcraft 23, Knowledge (Religion) 19, Intimidate 6 - Desiccating Touch 5d6, Greater Drought

    Spoiler: Spell Table
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st - - - - - - - - - -
    2nd 3 1+1 - - - - - - - -
    3rd 4 2+1 - - - - - - - -
    4th 4 2+1 1+1 - - - - - - -
    5th 5 3+1 2+1 - - - - - - -
    6th 5 3+1 2+1 1+1 - - - - - -
    7th 5 3+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - - -
    8th 6 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1 - - - - -
    9th 6 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - -
    10th 6 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1 - - - -
    11th 6 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 - - - -
    12th 6 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 - - - -
    13th 6 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1 - - -
    14th 6 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 - - -
    15th 6 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1 - -
    16th 6 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 - -
    17th 6 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1 -
    18th 6 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1 -
    19th 6 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 1+1
    20th 6 5+1 5+1 5+1 5+1 4+1 4+1 3+1 3+1 2+1

    Spoiler: Level Writeups

    Spoiler: CR 1
    Alexander has just started out his career. He is a simple ranger, ready to defend his caravan against raiders. He would most likely be encountered as part of a larger caravan, possibly defending another Cleric of Azul. He definitely has a cruel streak even now.

    Spoiler: CR 5
    Alexander has taken four levels of Cleric by this point. His spellcasting is a bit behind the standard Cleric, and he’s still more comfortable fighting from the back of a Camel than getting down into melee. At this level, the PCs might encounter him leading a raid on some outlying farms.

    Spoiler: CR 10
    Alexander has mastered the art of casting from the back of a camel. He will not dismount unless forced to, preferring to hit and run rather than engage the enemy directly. He is able to cast fifth level spells now. The PCs might encounter him as a major bandit in the region.

    Spoiler: CR 15
    Alexander is a potent threat at this point. Drought has just turned on, making his mere presence in an area a cause for concern. He’s just gotten 7th-level casting, so Control Weather is an option. While he is a less powerful spellcaster than equal-level Clerics, his powers from Walker in the Waste allow him to pursue his goal more single-mindedly. At this level, Alexander might be encountered leading a major attack on local farms, or as the feared lord of a local oasis he uses as a base of operations.

    Spoiler: CR 20
    This is the build’s sweet spot. Alexander now has 9th-level spells, making him a major threat to the region, if not the whole world. He has likely begun creating Salt Mummies and Sand Golems to help in his raids and terrorize the common folk. He gained Divine Metamagic at 18th, opening up the usual Cleric options for persisting spells. At this level, PCs might encounter him as the feared ruler and high priest of a nomad nation. Or, he might be researching an obscure set of ruins to learn of an unspeakable ritual that might bring the wetlands to their knees once and for all.

    Spoiler: Beyond CR 20
    For an Epic challenge, Alexander has become a Dry Lich after taking the last level of Walker in the Waste. (Unfortunately the Dry Lich template comes with a +3 CR, making it impossible to include in the regular build without sacrificing three more levels of spellcasting). He may need to take an extra level or two to gain enough ranks in Knowledge (Religion) to qualify for Epic Spellcasting. As soon as he can, he will research the “Global Warming” epic spell in Sandstorm, hoping to choke off hundreds of miles of farmland at a single strike.

    Spoiler: Sources
    Able Learner: Races of Destiny
    Mounted Spellcasting: Wizards website (http://archive.wizards.com/default.a...d/re/20031125a)
    Heat Endurance, Drift Magic, Walker in the Waste, various spells and abilities: Sandstorm
    Divine Metamagic feat: Complete Divine
    Persistent Spell feat: Complete Arcane
    Warbeast and Monster of Legend templates: Monster Manual 2
    Befoul, Despoil, and Evil Weather spells: Book of Vile Darkness

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Kursak the Marauder (War)

    Kursak the Marauder, Horseman of War

    Lawful Evil Unholy Scion Human Duskblade 17
    Abilities: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 14

    Kursak knew that he was destined to be different, even before the day he was born. His mother was a member of a part of a doomsday cult dedicated to Kossuth, who plotted to scour the world clean of “unworthy” life. They were driven out of their stronghold by a band of adventurers, and enacted a plan to seek terrible vengeance. Over the course of terrible summoning rituals that lasted for days, his mother conceived a child that was to be groomed to become their enforcer to carry out their revenge, and guard against future incursions by the forces of good.

    Instantly aware at the moment of conception, Kursak (through his mother) directed the cult further into the wastes, where he would not be disturbed. After a difficult birth, in which his mother perished, he spent the next two decades mastering the arts of battle, weaving spell and sword together, while simultaneously honing the abilities granted to him by his home plane of Hades.

    Upon reaching his twenty-fifth year, he opened his first portal between the Prime Material plane and his world of origin and stepped through. Once on the other side, he was shocked to find himself standing in the Nine Hells. Then he began to hear a call. It was no more than a whisper in the back of his mind, but it was too strong to ignore. Soon it brought him before his true father, and informed him of his real purpose. He was destined to be more than just an instrument of petty human revenge. The cult was all a means to an end; a plan to bring Kursak into the Prime Material. He was to return and gather to him three other dark riders heralding the arrival of the end of all days.

    Spoiler: Character build table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Duskblade 1 +1 +2 +0 +2 Concentration 4, Ride 4, Knowledge: arcana 4, Spellcraft 4, Spot 2, Listen 2 Power Attack, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain)(H) Arcane Attunement, Armored Mage (Light)
    2nd Duskblade 2 +2 +3 +0 +3 Concentration 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5, Spellcraft 5, Spot 2.5, Listen 2.5 Combat Casting(B)
    3rd Duskblade 3 +3 +3 +1 +3 Concentration 6, Ride 6, Knowledge: arcana 6, Spellcraft 6, Spot 3, Listen 3 Arcane Strike Arcane Channeling
    4th Duskblade 4 +4 +4 +1 +4 Concentration 7, Ride 7, Knowledge: arcana 7, Spellcraft 7, Spot 3.5, Listen 3.5 Armored Mage (Medium)
    5th Duskblade 5 +5 +4 +1 +4 Concentration 8, Ride 8, Knowledge: arcana 8, Spellcraft 8, Spot 4, Listen 4 Quick Cast 1/day
    6th Duskblade 6 +6 +5 +2 +5 Concentration 9, Ride 9, Knowledge: arcana 9, Spellcraft 9, Spot 4.5, Listen 4.5 Versatile Spellcaster Spell Power +2
    7th Duskblade 7 +7 +5 +2 +5 Concentration 10, Ride 10, Knowledge: arcana 10, Spellcraft 10, Spot 5, Listen 5 Armored Mage (Heavy Shield)
    8th Duskblade 8 +8 +6 +2 +6 Concentration 11, Ride 11, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 1, Spellcraft 11, Spot 5.5, Listen 5.5
    9th Duskblade 9 +9 +6 +3 +6 Concentration 12, Ride 12, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 2, Spellcraft 12, Spot 6, Listen 6 Mounted Combat
    10th Duskblade 10 +10 +7 +3 +7 Concentration 13, Ride 13, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 3, Spellcraft 13, Spot 6.5, Listen 6.5 Quick Cast 2/day
    11th Duskblade 11 +11 +7 +3 +7 Concentration 14, Ride 14, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 4, Spellcraft 14, Spot 7, Listen 7 Spell Power +3
    12th Duskblade 12 +12 +8 +4 +8 Concentration 15, Ride 15, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 5, Spellcraft 15, Spot 7.5, Listen 7.5 Arcane Disciple: Wrath
    13th Duskblade 13 +13 +8 +4 +8 Concentration 16, Ride 16, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 5, Knowledge: the planes 1, Spellcraft 16, Spot 8, Listen 8 Arcane Channeling (Full Attack)
    14th Duskblade 14 +14 +9 +4 +9 Concentration 17, Ride 17, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 5, Knowledge: the planes 2, Spellcraft 16, Spot 8.5, Listen 8.5
    15th Duskblade 15 +15 +9 +5 +9 Concentration 18, Ride 18, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 5, Knowledge: the planes 3, Spellcraft 18, Spot 9, Listen 9 Mounted Spellcasting Quick Cast 3/day
    16th Duskblade 16 +16 +10 +5 +10 Concentration 19, Ride 19, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge, religion 5, Knowledge: the planes 4, Spellcraft 19, Spot 9.5, Listen 9.5 Spell Power +4
    17th Duskblade 17 +17 +10 +5 +10 Concentration 20, Ride 20, Knowledge: arcana 10, Knowledge: religion 5, Knowledge: the planes 5, Spellcraft 20, Spot 10, Listen 10

    Spoiler: Spell Table
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
    1st 3/5 3/2 - - - -
    2nd 4/5 4/3 - - - -
    3rd 5/5 5/4 - - - -
    4th 6/5 6/5 - - - -
    5th 6/5 6/5 3/1 - - -
    6th 6/5 7/5 4/2 - - -
    7th 6/5 7/5 6/3 - - -
    8th 6/5 8/5 7/4 - - -
    9th 6/5 8/5 7/4 3/1 - -
    10th 6/5 9/5 8/4 4/2 - -
    11th 6/5 9/5 8/4 6/3 - -
    12th 6/5 9/5 9/4 7/4 - -
    13th 6/5 10/5 9/4 7/4 2/1 -
    14th 6/5 10/5 9/4 8/4 3/2 -
    15th 6/5 10/6 9/5 8/5 5/5 -
    16th 6/5 10/6 10/5 9/5 6/5 -
    17th 6/5 11/6 10/5 9/5 6/5 2/2

    Spoiler: Possible stat block
    Kursak the Marauder
    CR 20
    HP: 17d8+51 (128); fast healing 4; DR 10/good or magic
    LE Medium Outsider (augmented humanoid, evil, native)
    Initiative: +2; Senses: Darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +13, Spot +13
    Languages: Common, Undercommon, Infernal, Abyssal
    AC: 23, touch 17, flat-footed 16
    Immune: poisons, mind-affecting
    Resist: acid 5, cold 5 , electricity 5, fire 5, 75% ignore critical hit
    SR: 27
    Fort: +14, Ref: +7, Will: +13
    Speed: 30 ft (6 squares)
    Melee: spiked chain +26 (2d4+13 +2d6 vs good/x2) or claw (1d4+8 +2d6 vs good/x2)
    Full Attack: spiked chain +26/+21/+16/+11 (2d4+13 +2d6 vs good/x2)
    BAB: +17, Grp: +23
    Attack Options: Arcane Strike, Arcane Channeling, Power Attack, Whirling (3/day, strike all opponents within reach on a full attack), Quick Cast 3/day, Unholy Strike, Wraith Strike (Wand Chamber)
    Duskblade Spells Known (CL 17th)
    5th (2/day)-- Waves of Fatigue, Righteous Might
    4th (6/day)-- Dimension Door, Enervation, Dispel Magic, Shout (DC 17)
    3rd (9/day)-- Greater Magic Weapon, Vampiric Touch, Dispelling Touch, Regroup, Ray of Exhaustion (DC 16 Fort), Rage
    2nd (10/day)-- Dimension Hop (DC 15 Will), Bear’s Endurance, Touch of Idiocy, Spider Climb, Bull’s Strength
    1st (21/day)-- Chill Touch (DC 14 Fort or Will), Shocking Grasp, True Strike, Resist Energy, Obscuring Mist, Rhino’s Rush
    0 (6/day)-- Touch of Fatigue (DC 13), Ray of Frost, Disrupt Undead, Acid Splash
    Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th)
    Combined total of 6/day-- dancing lights, detect magic, flare (DC 13), ghost sound (DC 13), read magic
    3/day-- charm person (DC 17), protection from good, major image (DC 19), poison (DC 23), unholy aura (DC 23)
    1/day-- desecrate, enervation, dominate person (DC 20), baleful polymorph (DC 20), animate dead, unhallow, harm (DC 21), gate
    Abilities(with buffs): Str 26, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 20
    Special Qualities: Arcane Attunement, Armored Mage (Medium, heavy shield), Familial Charm, Instant Knowledge, Spell Power +4
    Feats: Arcane Disciple: Wrath, Arcane Strike, Combat Casting(B), Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain, Mounted Combat, Mounted Spellcasting, Power Attack, Ride-By Attack(B), Versatile Spellcaster
    Skills: Concentration +24 (+28 to cast defensively), Ride +27, Knowledge: arcana +13, Knowledge: religion +8, Knowledge: the planes +8, Spellcraft +25, Spot +13, Listen +13
    Possessions: Belt of Battle, +1 Breastplate of Speed and Fortification (moderate), +1, Whirling Bloodstone spiked chain, Riding Boots, Ring of Wizardry I, Armbands of Might, Cloak of Charisma +2, Periapt of Wisdom +6, Eternal Wand of Wraith Strike (Wand Chamber)

    Spoiler: Mount

    Upon returning to the Prime Material and dispatching the now useless cult, Kursak again used his Gate spell-like ability to summon Abraxas to the world, and negotiated for his extended service as a personal mount.

    Abraxas is a standard cauchemar nightmare that does his best to support his master in battle. He will typically use his Astral Projection ability to scout potential battlefields with Kursak for appropriate threats, before bringing them both through at the most strategically advantageous point. The “flaming horse” is a bit of a cliche, but it’s hard to argue with a classic. Especially when Kursak has such a convenient way of acquiring one.

    Spoiler: CR 20:
    In my opinion, the only appropriate time to encounter an agent of the apocalypse is at the height of their power, so here it is.
    When anticipating combat, he will buff himself with Bull’s Strength, Bear’s Endurance, and Unholy Aura, and, if appropriate Bull’s Strength on Abraxas as well. If during his scouting he noted any opponent favoring a particular energy type, he will also cast Resist Energy of that type to buffer himself. On the first round he will cast Righteous Might before ordering Abraxas to charge. He will target obvious spellcasters first, channeling Dispelling Touch to remove any buffs they might have followed by Quick Casting Enervation while trying to keep them within massive reach. While mounted on Abraxas, he can take advantage of the extra mobility to make full attacks with his spiked chain which reaches up to 20 feet away when he is buffed with Righteous Might (Abraxas is of huge size, so he has no trouble with a large rider). Or he can Quick Cast Waves of Fatigue on foes that can keep up with him and then simply pummel them with Ride-By Attack (granted by his boots) without giving them a chance to respond. Thanks to Mounted Spellcasting, he need not make concentration checks while riding. Versatile Spellcasting allows him to make use of lower level spell slots for additional higher level spells per day in the even he himself is dispelled.

    Even without his mount, he remains a formidable opponent, Using the Speed enhancement on his armor he can quickly close the gap between himself and enemies, or generate extra attacks to use with Arcane Channeling. Twice per day, he may use his wand of Wraith Strike in order to resolve his attacks for the round as touch attacks, enabling him to Power Attack for very high amounts of damage (given that the eternal wands only require you to be an arcane spellcaster in order to activate them). He can also channel Vampiric Touch for a hit point buffer (which can be automatically empowered once per day with his Bloodstone enhancement), or simply dump his unnecessary spell slots into Arcane Strike for massive melee damage. While he cannot use Arcane Channeling on his other innate spell-like abilities, the option to cast Harm on an adjacent opponent also presents a tremendous threat, and the possible exploitations of Gate are too numerous to list, even if it is limited to only one plane.

    Spoiler: Sources
    Core (PHB, DMG, MM)- Race and mount
    Player's Handbook II- Class and spells
    Heroes of Horror- Template
    Spell Compendium- Domain and spells
    Magic Item Compendium- Equipment
    Races of the Dragon- Versatile Spellcaster feat
    Complete Divine- Arcane Disciple feat
    Complete Warrior- Arcane Strike feat
    Wild Life web article- Mounted Spellcasting feat

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Vierna Zalyl (Death)

    Vierna Zalyl, Horseman of Death

    OnMyOwnStudios - Ricardo Guimaraes

    Neutral Evil Phantom Drow Rogue 3/Fighter 2/Swordsage 2/Assassin 10
    Abilities: Abilities: Str 10, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 8

    Nearly everything about the drow woman known as Vierna Zalyl (vee-air-na za-leel) is an anomaly. Born to a powerful and respected noble house of assassins, she comfortably made a life plying the family trade by selling her services to the highest bidder. Death fascinated her, and relished the sensation of staring into the eyes of her victims as they struggled in vain to survive her fatal strike. Eventually her house fell to a combination of betrayal and political infighting, and she was forced to flee from the city she once called home. Relentlessly pursued by agents of rival houses, she wandered the wastes of the Underdark and accidentally stumbled into an unstable portal to the Plane of Shadow. The energies of the gateway twisted her body, leaving her a ghostly shell of her former self.

    Her arrival did not go unnoticed by the nearby denizens of the city of Chaulssin, and she was quickly captured by a patrol. Reviled by the city natives for her non-draconic heritage, she was put to work tending to the young wyrmlings in the stables, as her corporeal instability made her unsuitable to be a concubine. Vierna spent decades fostering her hatred for the drow society that she blamed for her lot in life. Her years of devotion and service had earned her nothing but betrayal; cast aside as soon as it was convenient. She grew to admire the cause of the assassin guild Jaezred Chaulssin: the only way the drow would survive as a race would be to depose Lolth, and bring her matriarchy of treachery down with her.

    After finally gaining full control over her condition, she pleaded with her overseers for a chance to prove her worth, to no avail. It wasn’t until she uncovered, and promptly disposed of, an infiltrator in the highest ranks of the order that she was given any consideration at all. With the guild’s numbers greatly diminished by their recent losses, the Patron Grandfather reluctantly accepted Vierna into his ranks, routinely dispatching her on missions that took her well away from the city for months at a time. Aided only by her stalwart companion, Oloth, a wyvern she raised herself from an egg, she carved a bloody swath across her former home city. Dozens of high-ranking nobles died mysterious deaths or simply vanished. Many of them were attributed to a terrible ghost of House Zalyl that even the clerics of Lolth were powerless to stop. Her campaign took her farther and farther away from the Underdark, as she did everything in her power to stymie the city's plans for surface expansion.

    Spoiler: Character build table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Rogue 1 +0 +0 +2 +0 Hide 4, Move Silently 4, Intimidate 4, Tumble 4, Use Magice Device 4, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 2, Handle Animal 2, Jump 4, Ride 2 Darkstalker Trapfinding, Sneak Attack +1d6
    2nd Rogue 2 +1 +0 +3 +0 Hide 5, Move Silently 5, Intimidate 5, Tumble 5, Use Magice Device 5, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 2.5, Handle Animal 2.5, Jump 5, Ride 2.5, Knowledge: arcana 2 Evasion
    3rd Rogue 3 +2 +1 +3 +1 Hide 6, Move Silently 6, Intimidate 6, Tumble 6, Use Magice Device 6, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 3, Handle Animal 3, Jump 5, Ride 3, Knowledge: arcana 5 Two-Weapon Fighting Penetrating Strike, Sneak Attack +2d6
    4th Fighter 1 +3 +3 +3 +1 Hide 6, Move Silently 6, Intimidate 6, Tumble 6, Use Magice Device 6, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 3, Handle Animal 6, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Weapon Finesse Hit and Run Tactics
    5th Swordsage 1 +3 +3 +5 +3 Hide 8, Move Silently 8, Intimidate 8, Tumble 8, Use Magice Device 6, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 4, Handle Animal 6, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus): Shadow Hand, Child of Shadow (stance), Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Flashing Sun, Distracting Ember, Cloak of Deception, Counter Charge, Moment of the Perfect Mind
    6th Assassin 1 +3 +3 +7 +3 Hide 9, Move Silently 9, Intimidate 9, Tumble 9, Use Magice Device 9, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 4, Handle Animal 6, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Shadow Blade Sneak Attack +3d6, Death Attack, Poison Use, Spells
    7th Assassin 2 +4 +3 +8 +3 Hide 10, Move Silently 10, Intimidate 10, Tumble 10, Use Magice Device 10, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 4, Handle Animal 7, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 +1 Save vs Poison, Uncanny Dodge
    8th Swordsage 2 +5 +3 +9 +4 Hide 11, Move Silently 11, Intimidate 11, Tumble 11, Use Magice Device 10, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 7.5, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 AC Bonus, Assassin's Stance, Mind Over Body
    9th Assassin 3 +6/+1 +4 +9 +5 Hide 12, Move Silently 12, Intimidate 12, Tumble 12, Use Magice Device 12, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 8, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Aleval School Sneak Attack +4d6
    10th Fighter 2 +7/+2 +5 +9 +5 Hide 12, Move Silently 12, Intimidate 12, Tumble 12, Use Magice Device 12, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 13, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
    11th Assassin 4 +8/+3 +5 +10 +5 Hide 14, Move Silently 14, Intimidate 14, Tumble 13, Use Magice Device 12, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 13, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 +2 Save vs Poison
    12th Assassin 5 +8/+3 +5 +10 +5 Hide 15, Move Silently 15, Intimidate 15, Tumble 15, Use Magice Device 15, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 13, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Favored in Guild: Jaezred Chaulssin Improved Uncanny Dodge, Sneak Attack +5d6
    13th Assassin 6 +9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Hide 16, Move Silently 16, Intimidate 16, Tumble 16, Use Magice Device 16, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 14, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 +3 Save vs Poison
    14th Assassin 7 +10/+5 +6 +11 +6 Hide 17, Move Silently 17, Intimidate 17, Tumble 17, Use Magice Device 17, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 8, Handle Animal 15, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Sneak Attack +6d6
    15th Assassin 8 +11/+6/+1 +6 +12 +6 Hide 18, Move Silently 18, Intimidate 18, Tumble 18, Use Magice Device 18, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 9, Handle Animal 15, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Ability Focus: Death Attack +4 Save vs Poison, Hide in Plain Sight
    16th Assassin 9 +11/+6/+1 +7 +12 +7 Hide 19, Move Silently 19, Intimidate 19, Tumble 19, Use Magice Device 19, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 10, Handle Animal 15, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 Sneak Attack +7d6
    17th Assassin 10 +12/+7/+2 +7 +13 +7 Hide 20, Move Silently 20, Intimidate 20, Tumble 20, Use Magice Device 20, Disguise 4, Spellcraft 2, Concentration 11, Handle Animal 15, Jump 5, Ride 5, Knowledge: arcana 5 +5 Save vs Poison

    Spoiler: Spell Table
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st - - - -
    2nd - - - -
    3rd - - - -
    4th - - - -
    5th - - - -
    6th 0/2 - - -
    7th 1/3 - - -
    8th 1/3 - - -
    9th 2/3 0/2 - -
    10th 2/3 0/2 - -
    11th 3/4 1/3 - -
    12th 3/4 2/3 0/2 -
    13th 3/4 3/4 1/3 -
    14th 3/4 3/4 2/3 0/2
    15th 3/4 3/4 3/4 1/3
    16th 3/4 3/4 3/4 2/3
    17th 3/4 3/4 3/4 3/4

    Spoiler: Stat block
    HP: 13d6+2d8+2d10+17 (83)
    NE phantom drow (humanoid)
    Initiative +9; Senses: Darkvision 120 ft., Spot +2, Listen +2
    Languages Common, Elven, Undercommon, Drow Sign Language, Draconic, Abyssal
    AC 26, touch 18, flat-footed 26, improved uncanny dodge
    Miss Chance: 50% (Incorporeal)
    Immune: sleep, death effects, negative energy
    Resist: evasion
    SR 28
    Vulnerabilities: ghost touch, light blindness
    Fort: +8 (+5 against poison), Ref: +21, Will: +8, +2 vs spells and SLA
    Speed: 30 ft (6 squares)
    Melee: +23 assassin’s dagger (1d4+10, 19-20/x2) or sword of subtlety +22 (1d6+9, 19-20/x2)
    Full Attack: +21/+16+11 (1d6+9, 19-20/x2) and +20/+20/+15 (1d4+10, 19-20/x2)
    BAB: +12, Grp: -
    Attack Options: sneak attack +7d6, death attack, aleval school, hit and run tactics, poison use
    Assassin Spells Known (CL 10th):
    4th (4/day, DC 20)-- Deathsight, Greater Invisibility, Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature
    3rd (4/day, DC 19)-- Deeper Darkness, Nondetection, Magic Circle Against Good, Wraithstrike
    2nd (5/day, DC 18)-- Alter Self, Fell the Greatest Foe, Swift Invisibility, Spider Climb
    1st (5/day, DC 17)-- Distract Assailant, Ebon Eyes, Feather Fall, Shadow Double
    Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th):
    (each 1/day, DC 19)-- Dancing Lights, Darkness, Faerie Fire
    Maneuvers and Stances (IL 10th):
    Stances-- Child of Shadows (1st), Assassin’s Stance (3rd)
    Strikes-- Sapphire Nightmare Blade (1st), Flashing Sun (2nd)*
    Boosts-- Distracting Ember (1st)*, Cloak of Deception (1st)
    Counters-- Moment of the Perfect Mind (1st)*, Counter Charge (1st), Mind Over Body (3rd)*
    Abilities: Str: 10, Dex: 26, Con: 12, Int: 22, Wis: 12, Cha: 10
    Special Qualities: Phantom Defense, Phantom Strike, Incorporeal Jaunt, Trapfinding, Penetrating Strike, Quick to Act +1, AC Bonus, Discipline Focus (Shadow Hand), Hide in Plain Sight
    Feats: Ability Focus: Death Attack, Aleval School, Darkstalker, Favored in Guild (Jaezred Chaulssin), Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Shadow Blade, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
    Skills: Concentration +17, Disguise +4, Handle Animal +15, Hide +28, Intimidate +20, Jump +7, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Move Silently +28, Ride +15, Spellcraft +10, Tumble +30, Use Magic Device +20
    Possessions: Bracers of Murder, Deadly Precision Assassin’s Dagger, Headband of Intellect and Rapid Casting, Gloves of Dexterity +6, Tunic of Steady Spellcasting, Deadly Precision Sword of Subtlety and Speed, Ring of the Darkhidden, Shadow Cloak, Sundark Goggles, +4 Soulfire Mithril Shirt
    *Readied Maneuver

    Phantom Defense (Su): Vierna adds her Charisma bonus, or +1, to her armor class as a deflection bonus (whichever is higher). This bonus has already been factored into her block above.

    Phantom Strike (Ex): For the purposes of resolving spells, melee attacks, ranged attacks, and any other attack that requires only momentary contact with the target, Vierna is treated as both incorporeal and corporeal whenever she is incorporeal. Thus, she receives her normal Strength bonus on attack and damage rolls, and can use material components to cast spells.

    Incorporeal Jaunt (Su): Vierna can become incorporeal as a swift action. She can become corporeal again as a swift action or a standard action.

    Vulnerability to Ghost Touch (Ex): If damaged by a ghost touch attack, Vierna takes half again (+50%) as much damage from the attack, regardless of whether it allows a saving throw or whether that saving throw succeeds.

    Spoiler: Mount:

    Adalfyre - DeviantArt
    Abilities: Str 14, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 10

    Oloth, CR 11
    CE Huge Advanced Half-Shadow Dragon Wyvern
    HP: 10d12+48 (125)
    Initiative: +3; Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, Spot +19, Listen +16
    Languages Draconic
    AC: 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22
    Immune: sleep, paralysis, energy drain
    Fort: +13, Ref: +10, Will: +8
    Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 60 ft (average)
    Melee: Sting +18 (1d8+10 plus poison) or claw +18 (2d6+10) or bite +18 (2d8+10)
    Full Attack: 2 claws +18 (2d6+10), bite +16 (2d8+5), 2 wings +16 (1d8+5), and sting +16 (1d8+5 plus poison)
    BAB: +10, Grp: +28
    Attack Options: Flyby Attack, Improved Grab, Breath Weapon (1/day, 60 ft. cone, 1 negative level, DC 21 Ref negates), Poison (Initial/secondary 2d6 Con, DC 21 Fort negates)
    Abilities: Str 30, Dex 16, Con 22, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Feats: Ability Focus: Poison, Alertness, Flyby Attack, Multiattack (B), Hover
    Skills: Hide +8, Listen +16, Move Silently +16, Spot +19

    This once-pitiable creature was initially cast off as a flawed inferior specimen due to the unusual circumstances of its conception. Vierna saved the egg from destruction and tended to it until it hatched. Named for the drow word for darkness, he is utterly devoted to his master, and aids her in her battles as best she can.

    Spoiler: CR 20:
    Vierna has two main goals in combat; first, neutralize the most dangerous combatant on the field with her Death Attack, and second, put herself in a position to dish out as much sneak attack damage as possible to remaining enemies. Though she is capable of functioning on her own, she is far more effective when around other allies that can draw the fire of enemies. As Oloth shares her proclivities for stealth and surprise, the two of them will generally approach their targets at night while they are resting. He circles overhead while she studies her first victim, and when she is ready she orders him to strike the second most desirable target. Vierna’s Darkstalker feat combined with Hide in Plain Sight renders her immune to most forms of detection, even if Oloth is spotted.

    Oloth will use Flyby Attack with his claws, followed by Improved Grab with a free sting if he hits, while carrying the victim into the air. As he does this, Vierna will dismount with a jump (while hidden) landing next to her target and launch her death attack. Her Fortitude save DC after modifiers is a 35, and she can impose a -2 on the target with Aleval School, further modified by any applicable poison if necessary. If the target dies, she orders Oloth to return with his victim, casting Deathsight during the round he does so in preparation for death attack on the second victim. If her initial target survives, she orders Oloth to drop his current victim to the ground, and assist her with the first. Even without Death Attack, she can dish out impressive damage on a full attack, scooping 10d6 of sneak attack dice with six attacks per round on a full attack in addition to adding her Dexterity modifier to damage rolls twice against flat-footed opponents (via the Hit and Run fighter ACF and Shadow Blade feat).

    When threatened by a ghost touch weapon, she can use her Shadow Cloak’s ability to teleport away from the attack as an immediate action, and then order Oloth to grapple that target. That foe then becomes her number one priority and the target of Oloth’s breath weapon, which can result in a negative level, and his Con draining poison sting can lower her opponent’s Fortitude save for the inevitable death attack even further. Since Vierna is immune to his breath weapon, he can use it around her with impunity. She also has the Deeper Darkness spell ready to counter any attempts to use Daylight to foil her HiPS (which she can see through thanks to her Ebon Eyes spell). The sundark goggles cannot prevent her 1 round of blindness, but they can negate the dazzled effect that follows. She also has Diamond Mind counters to buff her weak saves, and Freedom of Movement to guard against anything that might limit her mobility. With her Phantom Strike ability she uses her regular stats when resolving melee attacks even when incorporeal, and given her high amounts of stealth she will frequently be targeting an opponent’s flat-footed touch AC with her sneak attacks. The Penetrating Strike ACF allows her half her sneak attack dice against any target that would normally be immune (note that the ability does not care why the target it immune. It just sneak attacks anyway). She can also use her Faerie Fire spell-like ability to negate any forms of miss chance and concealment, thus permitting Death Attack against nearly any conceivable target. In the event that she finds herself alone, the Distracting Ember maneuver and Shadow Double spell both provide a flanker to enable Penetrating Strike.

    Spoiler: Rules considerations
    Chasing the dragon: Rules for raising dragons to serve as mounts are found in the Draconomicon on pages 13 and 136. Immediately after hatching, Vierna must succeed at either a Diplomacy or Intimidate check against the wyvern’s Sense Motive with a +1 racial modifier (after relevant circumstance bonuses and penalties). Unless Vierna rolls a 1 on this check, the dragon doesn’t even get to roll. Once she gets the dragon to accept her, and after a rearing period of five years, she rolls a Handle Animal Check against the 20+dragon’s HD at very young stage (likely 7, in this case). Ponying up 3,000 gp (of her 11,700+ remaining) for a scroll of Moment of Prescience makes this a sure thing. After that, it's a simple matter to train him as a Combat Mount by Taking 10, which teaches him the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel. His unusually high intelligence permits even more tactical combat.

    Phantom Strike and things that aren't precisely Strength: The phantom template states that a creature higher than CR 5 uses his normal strength bonus on attack and damage rolls when calculating attack rolls while incorporeal. The Weapon Finesse feat permits you to substitute your Dexterity bonus for your Strength bonus on attack rolls, and the Shadow Blade feat states you add your Dexterity bonus to Strength bonus when calculating damage. As there is nothing in the incorporeal subtype entry that would suggest it cannot benefit from Hit and Run tactics anyway, there shouldn't be an issue. I believe the interactions between these abilities enable the character to function as intended.

    Riding the dragon: Here's where things start to get a little murky. The phantom template does not change creature types at all, unless it is applied to an animal or vermin. The sidebar in MM5 that discusses the incorporeal-ity (-ness?) provided by the template states that while the creature chooses to be incorporeal it has all the traits and immunities provided by the subtype. However, there is no word on whether it grants an innate fly speed, like every other incorporeal creature listed anywhere else. Furthermore, with all of the language explicitly stating "no attacks that require prolonged contact" with a target (and indeed when incorporeal, they cannot grapple), it's highly questionable of whether or not they are capable of riding a mount. By RAW, there doesn't seem to be anything explicit that prevents it, but it's also possible it's one of those cases where the designers felt it was so obviously not allowed that they shouldn't have to be explicit. In the end it is also a minor hang-up since a phantom is only incorporeal when it wants to be.

    Spoiler: Sources
    Core (PHB, DMG, MM)- Race, classes, mount, equipment
    Drow of the Underdark- alternate class features, feats, equipment
    Monster Manual V5- Template
    Draconomicon- Mount's template, dragon taming
    Tome of Battle- class, Shadow Blade Feat
    Magic Item Compendium- additional gear
    Spell Compendium- spells
    Dungeonscape- Penetrating Strike ACF
    Dungeon Master's Guide II- Favored in Guild feat
    Dragon's of Faerun Web Enhancement- character inspiration, Jaezered Chaulssin guild benefits.
    Races of the Dragon- Sundark Goggles

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default War: The Great Deceiver

    Spoiler: Tables

    Spoiler: Class Levels

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    3rd Doppelganger +4 +5 +4 +7 Bluff +12 (7, +4 racial, +1 Cha), disguise +12 (7, +4 racial, +1 Cha), diplomacy +8 (7, +1 Cha) Forgery +5 (3.5, +2 Int) Spell Focus (Conjuration), Augment Summoning Darkvision (60 ft), Detect Thoughts, Change Shape, Immunity to Sleep and charm effects.
    4th Cleric 1 (War, Domination) +4 +6 +4 +8 Spellcraft +4 --- Rebuke Undead 3/day
    5th Barbarian 1 (Lion Spiritual Totem) +5 +7 +4 +8 Ride +5, Jump +1 Practiced Spellcaster Rage 1/day, Pounce
    6th Warblade 1 +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Jump +6 --- Battle Clarity (Reflex Saves), Weapon Aptitude, Maneuvers (Leading the Attack, Douse the Flames, Steel Wind), Stance (Leading the Charge)
    7th Warblade 2 +7/+2 +5 +4 +8 Jump +5, Bluff +1 --- Uncanny Dodge, Maneuver (Steely Strike), Ability Score Increase (Wisdom)
    8th Cleric 2 +8/+3 +6 +4 +9 Jump +1, Bluff +3 Power Attack ---
    9th Warblade 3 +9/+4 +6 +5 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +4 --- Battle Ardor (Critical Confirmation), Maneuver (Claw at the Moon)
    10th Warblade 4 +10/+5 +6 +6 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +2, Diplomacy +2 --- Maneuver Swap (Steel Wind -> Sudden Leap), Stance (Blood in the Water)
    11th Cleric 3 +11/+6/+1 +6 +7 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1 Leap Attack Ability Score Increase (Strength)
    12th Cleric 4 +12/+7/+2 +7 +7 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1 ---,
    13th Warblade 5 +13/+8/+3 +7 +7 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1, Intimidate +2 Warblade Bonus Feat (White Raven Defense) Maneuver (Lion's Roar)
    14th Warblade 6 +14/+9/+4 +7 +7 +10 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1, Intimidate +2 Adaptive Style Improved Uncanny Dodge, Maneuver Swap (Steely Strike -> Flesh Ripper)
    15th Warblade 7 +15/+10/+5 +8 +8 +11 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1, Intimidate +2 --- Battle Cunning (Damage), Maneuver (Covering Strike), Ability Score Increase (Strength)
    16th Cleric 5 +15/+10/+5 +8 +8 +11 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1 --- ---
    17th Cleric 6 +16/+11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +12 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1 Vital Recovery ---
    18th Cleric 7 +17/+12/+7/+2 +9 +9 +12 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1 --- ---
    19th Warblade 8 +18/+13/+8/+3 +10 +9 +12 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1, Intimidate +2 --- Ability Score Increase (Strength)
    20th Warblade 9 +19/+14/+9/+4 +10 +10 +13 Jump +1, Bluff +1, Disguise +1, Diplomacy +1, Intimidate +2 Sudden Recovery, Warblade Bonus Feat (Improved Initiative) Maneuver (White Raven Strike)

    Spoiler: SPELLS

    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    4th 3 2+1 - - - - - - - -
    5th 3 2+1 - - - - - - - -
    6th 3 2+1 - - - - - - - -
    7th 3 2+1 - - - - - - - -
    8th 4 3+1 - - - - - - - -
    9th 4 3+1 - - - - - - - -
    10th 4 3+1 - - - - - - - -
    11th 4 3+1 2+1 - - - - - - -
    12th 5 4+1 3+1 - - - - - - -
    13th 5 4+1 3+1 - - - - - - -
    14th 5 4+1 3+1 - - - - - - -
    15th 5 4+1 3+1 - - - - - - -
    16th 5 4+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - - -
    17th 5 4+1 4+1 3+1 - - - - - -
    18th 6 5+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - -
    19th 6 5+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - -
    20th 6 5+1 4+1 3+1 2+1 - - - - -

    Spoiler: Write Up

    War - The Great Deceiver
    CE Doppelganger Cleric 9/Warblade 7/Barbarian 1

    "All warfare is based on deception."
    Nice, isn't it? You can quote me on that, if you like. The name's War. Some folks call me The Great Deceiver, or other equally dramatic names, but I like War. I had another
    name, once, but none of that matters; War is my name, life, and goal now. When I'm not in battle, I'm planning my next battle, and when I have no more battles to fight I'm
    finding a new opponent.
    I'd bet that sounds like a shallow way to live to someone like you. What can I say? I found my calling in life. Turns out I'm a literal agent of the apocalypse - pretty cool,
    and all, but in truth I don't like the politics that come along with the whole end-of-the-world gig. So I stick to what I do best - pitting people against one another, until
    I'm the only one left standing.

    The Great Deceiver is a Doppelganger, raised in a small, quiet village, until one day he is discovered and kills a citizen. He uses the opportunity to spread havoc, until
    everyone in the village has died, at which point he moves on to another one, and repeats his actions. He does this until he eventually grows bold, when he moves into a larger
    city and begins working toward a rebellion, inciting the commoners and making the lord believe they seek to dethrone him. When the fighting eventually breaks out, he assists
    the rebels to destabilize the region, and once the lord is overthrown, spreads his work across the neighbouring lands.

    He uses his Cleric levels mostly to summon allies in a fight, and his White Raven maneuvers to synergize with them. Outside of combat, he uses his shapechanging abilities,
    bluff ranks and Domination domain to manipulate people into fighting. He'll use his shapeshifting power and disguise skill to get in close with the party before they fight -
    a particularly vicious GM can even have him replace one of the party members for extra surprise.

    Spoiler: CR 5

    CR 5:

    CE Doppelganger Cleric 1/Barbarian 1

    5D8 + 1D12 + 24 HP

    Str: 16
    Dex: 10
    Con: 18
    Int: 14
    Wis: 17
    Cha: 12

    Until now, I had led a fairly simple, quiet life in the village. Oh, I'd have my fun, changing form into Veronica to get free goodies from that baker who's so fond of her,
    or into a guard to harass neighbours when they're being annoying, but I tried to keep my head down. That's all over now, though, thanks to Old Man Jetter; I got sloppy and he saw
    me change into the butcher's son. When he started swinging at me with the cleaver, shouting for help from anyone who could hear, Ernest - that's our butcher - came running
    over. Now, Jetter's always been considered a bit of an oddball, and I was supposed to be this fellow's son - so it wasn't hard to convince him I was innocent and the old man
    had finally cracked. Ernest came running in swinging like an animal, with fists the size of a horse's head. When Jetter swung his cleaver at him, I saw my opening and pounced.
    I hadn't felt anything like the rush I got when I felt his neck snap in my hands before; it was glorious! I immediately grabbed the cleaver and turned on Ernest, much to his
    surprise. When I was done, I put the weapon back in Old Man Jetter's hands, turned into a guard, and reported this strange attack. I can't really explain it, but I've never
    felt more at home than I was in that fight.
    Maybe I should do this more often...

    At this level, tactics are fairly straightfoward - though he's still tough. The Deceiver will use his spell slots largely for summoning, but will use his domain
    slot to manipulate people he has trouble bluffing. He should ideally be equipped with a greatsword, and possess a heavy warhorse that he rides around - but in combat,
    he should be on foot.
    If encountered now, it should be in a village of 60 - 80 people, but only 40 - 50 should still be alive, spread into a few "factions" largely based around family. The Deceiver
    has been killing, and instigating killings, in an attempt to turn the village into a warzone. Whenever someone tries too hard to bring back peace, he'll fade into the
    background, and out of nowhere someone from one of the other factions will strike and kill them! The PC's can encounter the village either by hearing that contact has been
    lost or just by passing through, but either way they should encounter a group that will question them, and - based on their reactions - attack, tell them to leave, or take
    them back to their safe house to explain the situation; that, over the past week, people have been going insane and just killing their friends, fracturing the community and
    causing fights to break out. The exact circumstances are left up to the reader, but the entire town should be paranoid, and convinced they're the only ones who haven't lost
    their minds.

    Spoiler: CR 10

    CR 10:

    CE Doppelganger Cleric 2/Warblade 4/Barbarian 1

    6D8 + 5D12 + 44 HP

    Str: 16
    Dex: 10
    Con: 18
    Int: 14
    Wis: 18
    Cha: 12

    Wow, a lot's happened since we last talked, huh? I tore through that town in a couple weeks - not a soul left! Well, maybe one or two managed to slip away, but nobody's
    living there anymore. So I moved onto another town and did the same thing. Then another, and another, until I grew bolder, packed up, and moved to a big city. After a few
    days there, I disguised myself as the lord's tax collector, and started taking punitive taxes from the locals - so much they barely kept enough to survive. Next, I turned
    into one of the more influencial citizens, and incited riots outside the lord's manor - then, taking the form of one of his advisors, told him I had learned of a plot to
    overthrow him, and that a show of force was necessary. I kept escalating things from there - the peasants were angry and the lord was scared, so this wasn't hard - until,
    inevitably, blood was shed. One of the guards lost his nerve and struck one of the rioters, and from there a full-on rebellion was easy to provoke. Naturally, I'm their
    leader - they don't stand a chance without me!

    At this point, War has some extra punch and utility, as well as pretty solid mobility on the battlefield. His tactics remain the same, using summoned creatures and melee
    combat to keep things going, but with his White Raven maneuvers he can better support his summoned creatures. He should be equipped with full plate, and a Keen greatsword
    to make best use of Blood in the Water, but aside from that his gear is up to you.
    When encountered, it should be in the middle of a full-fledged rebellion in the streets of a city. Having convinced the lord that he can't afford the loss of prestige he'd
    suffer if word of this got out, and the citizens that they can't afford to let the lord ask for help, mundane transportation out of the city is shut down by both sides. They
    can still go in, but will quickly be confronted by one side or another.

    Spoiler: CR 15

    CR 15 (Sweet Spot)

    CE Doppelganger Cleric 4/Warblade 7/Barbarian 1

    8D8 + 8D12 + 64 HP

    Str: 18
    Dex: 10
    Con: 18
    Int: 14
    Wis: 18
    Cha: 12

    Well, the rebels won. Shocker, I know. But then something funny happened; it turns out, lots of people are unhappy with the way things are. I've already spread the rebellion to
    three other cities, and the rest of the royals are getting scared. Last place I started a rebellion, one of the neighbouring lords sent soldiers to clean up the mess. Let me
    tell you, I've never been more exhilarated; 2 armies clashing, with me and my rebels in the middle. By the end of the day, the death toll was over 1,000!
    Everyone's running scared, and it's becoming easier and easier to do this.

    At this level, War has enough tricks up his sleeve to convince just about anyone to fight. He uses his Diplomacy skill to gather Fanatic followers, and his Cleric levels to
    summon creatures to summon them, then uses his maneuvers and stances to lead the charge (literally). The entire countryside should see the effects of the growing rebellion,
    and War should be more than capable of remaining hidden either by mundane disguise checks or his racial abilities.

    Spoiler: CR 20

    CR 20

    CE Doppelganger Cleric 7/Warblade 9/Barbarian 1

    11D8 + 10D12 + 84HP

    Str: 19
    Dex: 10
    Con: 18
    Int: 14
    Wis: 18
    Cha: 12

    Well, the whole country's dissolved into civil war. Whole cities have been razed, and even the capital's barely maintaning control! Hundreds of thousands have died, either in
    battle or from starvation - what little's left of the aristocracy have been burning the crops wherever they expect a rebellion. This entire place seems to have lost its mind,
    and I don't think it'll last much longer - if I survive all this, maybe I'll take my little show on the road.

    War's tactics and strategies at CR 20 are roughly the same as they have been; use deception to pit people against one another, summon creatures to help the fight, and jump in
    head first. Not much more to say, really.

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Violet Speller-Yow-d'Jorasco (part 1 of 2)

    Violet Speller-Yow-d’Jorasco

    Spoiler: Old Dog

    King Hubert sat in his war room, alone with his vizier. His generals had already given their expert advice, but they’d all found themselves uncharacteristically silent when he’d asked if they had any plans to bring the war with Bjelle to a definitive end. Hubert knew better by now than to ask if they had any thoughts on minimizing casualties.

    “Loath though I am to suggest it, majesty, I think we need to consider our other options,” Indigo said. He rested his hand atop his staff, its tip crowned with a scarab, preserved in a perfect sphere of amber. Though Hubert would never admit it, the damn thing always unnerved him.

    It was Indigo’s characteristic way of saying without speaking. Other options meant breaking the agreement Endia and Bjelle had signed all those years ago, long before Hubert was ever on the throne. Like the reason for the war in the first place, it was long since forgotten by anyone involved, but that only made seeing it through all the more important.

    Whatever else the kingdoms may do to each other in the course of war, there could be no foreign intervention. Some ill-remembered prophecy from one side or the other, probably Bjelle, though.

    Hubert swallowed. He picked up one of the discarded miniatures on the table before him, each clay soldier a battalion, each horseman a platoon of cavalry that had given their lives for the kingdom. For him.

    “It would have to be handled with the utmost care,” Hubert said, trying to speak his vizier’s language.

    “I am always careful, majesty.”

    “No one could know about it,” Hubert said. He turned the soldier in his palm over, rubbing his thumb against the tiny sword in its hand.

    “I will keep you as informed as need be, majesty.”

    “How soon can you take care of it?”

    “As soon as you give the word.” Indigo covered the head of his staff with his hand. It meant he was going to stand up. One learned things about a man after twenty years of service.

    “It’s given.” Hubert stood first as custom dictated. Indigo followed.

    “Then join me in the throne room, majesty. I’ve already made arrangements.”

    Hubert sighed and they began their walk through the halls. He knew there were affairs of state he didn’t care to sully his hands with, but sometimes it chafed knowing how much Indigo did behind his back.

    “What do I need to know about this sellsword?” Hubert asked.

    “An ex-member of an elite mercenary group known as the four horsemen.” Indigo was careful not to let his measured stride outpace Hubert’s. Tiresome as the rule was, no man was allowed to show his back to the king, no matter how slowly he walked.

    “And they did what, exactly? Some band of cutpurses? Disgraced soldiers who got drummed out of their home countries?” Hubert didn’t like to think what that could mean, given what he’d heard of men doing on the battlefield.

    “They specialized in precisely what we’re searching for, majesty. Destroying kingdoms.”

    Hubert swallowed. It was the only way to ensure the safety of Endia. He knew no matter what concessions he made, no matter what threats he decreed, Bjelle was just as unlikely to surrender as he was.

    “How many men did they command in their heyday?” he asked.

    “None, majesty.”

    “What?” They were nearing the throne room.

    “I am told they would make it a game between themselves, see who among the four could topple their targets first,” Indigo said.

    “What the hell is it these people did to take down a kingdom singlehandedly?” Hubert demanded. He was nearly at the doorway. The pair of guards there performed the mandated show of respect and opened the doors.

    “I am afraid I can’t say, majesty. I have been unable to contact any confirmed survivors from places where the horsemen were seen.”

    “That’s asinine. Where would this information have come from otherwise? For all you know, these malcontents are just trying to make a name for themselves. Did you hear this in some drinking hall?” Hubert knew the answer. The image of Indigo enjoying a pint of beer in some homely tavern was like a pig wearing human clothes.

    “Majesty, please trust me. It’s what you employ me for,” Indigo whispered as the herald announced Hubert. He took his seat on the throne. Whatever their personal disagreements, the two of them had to put up a united front for people seeking audience. Hubert banished the irritation from his face.

    The herald held a scroll before him, blew a trumpet, and began his announcement.

    “Presenting Violet Speller-Yow-d’Jorasco,” he said and dutifully left the room. Indigo must’ve given him the signal from behind Hubert’s throne. Some nigh-imperceptible motion with his thumb. Hubert never could figure out his myriad codes and other bits of nonsense.

    Hubert looked down the stairs before his throne at the supplicant. An old halfling woman with a gnarled, wooden cane in her hand. Her wrinkled face hid the black tendrils of a dragonmark, unmistakably of healing, as Hubert remembered from his lessons on the houses back when he was a boy.

    She was dressed all in black, a long-sleeved dress with a high collar buttoned to her neck. A widow. She squinted up at him through a pair of pince-nez on a thin gold chain attached to a brooch at her throat bearing the Jorasco crest, a griffon wreathed in laurels, a healing pair of hands atop it.

    “I am honored by your presence, your majesty,” she said with a shaky curtsy. By her side was a small, flea-bitten dog with a saddle on its back.

    With everything he had to concern himself, matters of his health sometimes escaped Hubert. He’d thought his appointment to have his gout treated was tomorrow. It must have slipped his mind.

    “A pleasure as always, and I thank your house, Dame d’Jorasco. Is my usual physician needed elsewhere?” Hubert asked, slightly annoyed. It wasn’t as though a healer could be too sick to go to work.

    “Oh, Violet’s more than enough for the likes of me,” she said. “I haven’t been d’Jorasco in quite a while. But the name sticks with you, just like my two dear husbands.” She took off her glasses and turned them in her tiny hand. They caught the light and Hubert saw thin gold rings around them.

    “The left’s from Mr. Speller, and the right’s from Mr. Yow. Just another part of my life I’ve left behind.”

    Hubert nodded as patiently as he could.

    “Yes, that’s very interesting,” he lied. “I don’t mean to be rude, but if you could get on with it, it would be most appreciated. I’m expecting someone soon.” Hubert gestured for his footman to come remove his shoes and remembered a second later he’d cleared the room to meet the damnable assassin Indigo had arranged.

    Indigo leaned in over his shoulder and whispered. “Begging your pardon, majesty, but you aren’t. This is our sellsword.”

    Hubert couldn’t help but laugh.

    “Excuse me, Violet, my advisor’s just told me a most amusing joke.”

    Violet hobbled up the stairs and pulled off Hubert’s shoes. He winced at the pressure on his feet. She touched her fingers to his skin and at once, the pain abated. Her dragonmark glowed for an instant, and just as soon its light ebbed.

    “No need to apologize. I trust you have spies in Bjelle,” she said bluntly.

    Hubert was thrown, but had to defend himself. What kind of king would he be otherwise.

    “Rest assured, we’re doing everything we can to contain the Bjellish menace.”

    “Good. Then you’ll know when I’m done with it.” She put his shoes back on.

    Hubert swallowed.


    Violet drew herself up to her full height, which wasn’t much. “Yes, me.”

    “I see. Well, you can draw on our armory for whatever you need: swords, spears, knives,” Hubert hoped she didn’t need him to go on. He’d seen little of the battlefield firsthand during his reign.

    “I certainly appreciate the gesture, but I couldn’t lay a hand on a weapon. It’s against my beliefs,” she said.

    That fool Indigo recruited a crippled pacifistic widow as his assassin.

    “Must have been awkward amongst the other three horsemen,” Hubert said with a pointed look at her dog.

    “Oh, is that what they called us here? You know the intricacies of translation aren’t an exact science, I’m sure,” she said.

    “If there’s anything else you need, let Indigo know. I want to wash my hands of this,” Hubert said, referring both to the war and his present circumstances.

    “Your generosity is noted, but that shouldn’t be necessary. You’ll hear from me soon enough.” With that, Violet climbed slowly atop her mutt and took her leave.

    “Indigo, I swear-“Hubert started once the two of them were alone.

    “Patience, majesty. After all, we’ve tried soldiers and it hasn’t worked. What’s the harm in this?” he said.

    Hubert wasn’t nearly so quick with words as his vizier. He reached for some turn of phrase as response. “I hope there’s plenty of harm in this.”

    “Well said, majesty.”

    Spoiler: New Tricks

    Captain Swyfte shouted down from the castle wall.

    “Halt! Who goes there?” he demanded as he did many times a day.

    An old halfling widow stood low before him, a servant carrying her bags. She held up her healer’s brooch in her wrinkled hand.

    “I’d heard there was a war on here. As a member of house Jorasco, I’d like to offer my services,” she said.

    Swyfte sighed. While he was in no position to turn down help, he didn’t wish the consequences of war on this old woman. As much as he wanted to tell her to turn back, he reluctantly opened the gate and let her and her dwarven manservant in.

    “It’s ugly in the medical tent, but nothing you ain’t seen before,” Swyfte said.

    “You’re probably right about that.” She introduced herself as Violet Speller-Yow-d’Jorasco, but blessedly went by her given name.

    “What about you, pal?” Swyfte asked the dwarf.

    “Oh, that’s Wren,” Violet said.

    “How come he doesn’t tell me himself?” Swyfte asked.

    “Mute. Nothing I can do about that, I’m afraid,” Violet said.

    Swyfte led the two of them into the medical tent. Violet got to work setting broken bones and stitching up wounds by hand once her magic was exhausted. She dictated some incomprehensible medical jargon every now and again and Wren took it down in a ledger.

    “Devil chills. Advanced stages. Check if we’ve got a reference, if not we can always come back to this one.” She gave the soldier a drink of some greenish potion and he fell asleep.

    “I’ll put him on the docket for first tomorrow. I think I’ve seen it one before in Endia,” Violet said.

    Swyfte spat on the floor. “Could’ve fooled me. Never had a single case of it here before they started this damn war.”

    Violet made sympathetic noises. “Well, frustrating as it is, captain, disease doesn’t take a side. It would almost be easier if it did, sometimes. At least then we’d know when we were safe.”

    They performed triage as best they could and eventually called it a night.

    She surprised him by agreeing to join the men who were well enough to drink at the tavern. Wren stayed behind to unpack Violet’s things.

    “Do Bjellish widows abstain?” Violet asked.

    “They abstain from a lot,” Swyfte said.

    The barmaid served them their drinks. Violet, to her credit, matched him one for one.

    “Thought Jorasco called the stuff poison,” Swyfte said as she finished her pint and ordered another.

    Violet belched and didn’t cover her mouth with her hand. “Oh, if you drink enough water it’ll kill you. Life’s too short to try and live forever.”

    Hard to argue with that.

    Spoiler: Shooting the Moon

    “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Violet said in the tent.

    Swyfte had found one of his men naked in a chicken coop, blood and entrails smeared across his mouth when he didn’t report for duty in the morning. When Swyfte demanded an explanation, he had none.

    “What the hell’s the matter with him?” Swyfte paced in the tent. He eyed the leather straps holding the soldier to his cot.

    “Nothing physical, I can tell you that much now.” Violet lowered a magnifying glass she’d been peering into the soldier’s mouth with.

    “So what? He’s unfit for duty?” Swyfte asked.

    “Not necessarily. Like the patient with devil chills, it might be something metaphysical in nature. I’ll have to do more research. Maybe there’s some description of it in the library. If I can get in, that is,” Violet said.

    “It shouldn’t be a problem,” Swyfte said. Anyone who did this much for the war effort shouldn’t have any trouble being allowed in. Not that he could say so. No sense in letting it go to her head. “What’s to be done with him in the meantime?”

    Violet put her hand on the soldier’s arm. “Bed rest. Doctor’s orders.”

    Swyfte shrugged. “Guess you’re off the hook.”

    Violet left soon enough to go to her research.

    “What do you figure she’s doing here? I thought Jorasco was an Endian thing,” the soldier said.

    “Guess it’s like she said. Disease doesn’t take a side, so I guess they can’t afford to either,” Swyfte said.

    “So do they need to pay her later or what?” he asked. “I thought we were spread too thin. Now we can afford them? Not that I’m complaining.”

    “I guess they reconsidered. She hasn’t said anything to me about it, so I figure she’s taken care of one way or another. You got enough on your mind, so rest up, soldier.” Swyfte patted him on the shoulder and left.

    Spoiler: Sick as a Dog

    Violet lowered a mask over her face, its long griffon’s beak stuffed with cloth soaked in peppermint oil so strong Swyfte could smell it paces away.

    “You didn’t think it was important to mention that you’d been bitten by some kind of animal?” Swyfte paced around the tent, careful not to get close to the soldier on the cot before him, still lying restrained. Violet had told him not to get too close, in case it spread.

    “I didn’t think it was important, sir,” he said.

    “Please, captain,” Violet said, gesturing gently with her hand. “You’re not in any trouble, I just need to know as much as I can so I can treat you. I’m sure none of us want this happening again.”

    She lowered her beak, her face hidden. “Were you bitten by something small? A squirrel? A cat? Disease can come from anything.”

    The soldier looked away. “It was just a dog. Some mutt in the street.”

    Swyfte cursed under his breath. “Do you have any idea what you could’ve cost us?” Violet held up her hand.

    “Let me see the wound,” she said.

    It wasn’t much of a wound. It’d barely broken the skin. Violet touched the exposed flesh with her thumb, but pulled back when the wound didn’t close up on its own.

    “It’s as I feared.” She submerged her hands in a bowl of steaming water Wren held steady by her side. “I can’t use my magic to cure this.”

    Swyfte stopped his pacing and held fast. “And why the hell not?”

    “It’s complicated-“ Violet began.

    “It’s not,” Swyfte finished.

    “I can only use my gift to cure something I’ve already cured before on my own,” Violet said.

    Swyfte murmured. “What is it? What’s he got? What do you want us to do about it?”

    Violet dried her hands on Wren’s cloak and drew a circle around the soldier’s cot in chalk.

    “No one but me is to set foot inside that ring. I don’t want it spreading,” she said. “I don’t want to say what I suspect. Call it an old wives tale, but I don’t want to jinx it. Make sure no one else is put at risk.”

    “What about you?” Swyfte asked.

    “Don’t worry about me. You take care of your men on the field. I’ll take care of the ones off it,” she said.

    Again, he didn’t have it in him to argue.

    Spoiler: Heir of the Dog

    His men on the field weren’t doing much better. Endia was pushing them back on the battlefield more and more every day.

    They made camp and set a man on watch. Not long after Swyfte had bedded down, he heard a scream.

    Outside his tent, his men were fighting off a wolf. They’d gotten ropes around it and were moving in for the kill.

    Swyfte shouted out to them and drew his sword.

    “Who the hell was on watch?” he shouted.

    “Winters, sir,” one of them shouted back, pulling on his rope as the beast struggled.

    “Where the hell is he?”

    “Can’t find him.”

    Swyfte moved in to kill the thing when something caught the moonlight. He squinted.

    The wolf had a single golden tooth.

    “Stop!” Swyfte looked to the moon.

    It was full.

    Spoiler: Plague Dogs

    Swyfte woke up Violet. To hell with how late it was. They fashioned together a cage to throw the wolf in. It was a while until daybreak, but until he got a straight answer, Swyfte knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep either way.

    When the sun’s first rays came, sure enough, they both watched as the wolf’s fur melted away and Winters lay naked before them. His skin was unblemished.

    He claimed no memory of the night, and the soldiers who subdued him hadn’t been bitten.

    Violet quarantined him with the first man. There was no more doubt about what was going around.

    “It’s got to be those Endians,” Swyfte said. “They’re trying to get us to kill our own men. Weaken us somehow.”

    “That might not be it,” Violet said. Swyfte’s patience was running out, and he knew she could tell.

    “Look, I know when all you’ve got is a sword, every problem looks like an enemy to be cut down, but it could be a coincidence,” Violet said. Experience had taught Swyfte not to believe in coincidences.

    She looked Winters over in her detached way. “If he wasn’t bitten, then I have no idea how he was infected. It could’ve been through someone else he came into contact with. I mean it’s not like you’ve encountered any Endian soldiers who turned into wolves. I’m sure you would have mentioned. You know I’m trying to figure this out just as hard as you are.”

    Could’ve fooled him. “I’ll leave you to your research then. But if I see this in any Endians, you’ll be the first to know,” he said. He dismissed her.

    Swyfte walked around Winters’s cage, glimpsing him through the bars. It had taken five of his men to bring him in. Certainly a greater feat of strength than he’d ever seen Winters perform.

    Violet might’ve been right about how Winters got sick, but now wasn’t the time to admit she may have had a point about diseases not taking sides.

    Maybe it was time they did.
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2016-10-10 at 01:56 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Titan in the Playground
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Violet Speller-Yow-d'Jorasco (part 2 of 2)

    Spoiler: Dogs of War

    It wasn’t long before people were finding wolves in town.

    They came in people’s houses, businesses, and churches more and more often every day.

    Wolves being wolves, they did bite occasionally, but when people would turn up to get their wounds treated at the closest thing Bjelle had to an expert at the moment, few of them showed any marks.

    But that didn’t matter.

    Swyfte’s superiors had approved his idea and anyone who was found to be infected was considered too much of an asset to the war effort to be left to languish in a hospital bed.

    It was to be done in secret, of course. It wouldn’t do to let Violet know he was breaking her quarantine.

    The tide was turning on the battlefield.

    During his own midnight runs, Swyfte found that the Endians his soldiers bit didn’t turn on their own. A wounded prisoner, a cage, plenty of time, and an equal amount of discretion proved that when the new moon came.

    Bjelle would turn this curse into a blessing yet.

    Before long, Swyfte had enough wolves to make going on the offensive a valid tactic. He received approval from his superiors. It was time to move forward.

    His men seldom encountered Endian scouts anymore outside the confines of the kingdom. Probably holed up inside their own where it was safe.

    He was finalizing plans in his tent when Violet stormed in.

    Normally he would complain it was against protocol, but he was riding far too high on his current spate of good luck to care.

    He greeted her, but she was in no mood.

    She threw the head of an Endian arrow onto his table, upsetting his map and jostling aside the figurines that represented his battalions.

    “I’m afraid it won’t be worth much to an antique dealer. They’re not exactly hard to find,” he joked.

    “I found this inside the baker. He came to me and told me he’d fallen on it,” Violet said.

    “You don’t know how clumsy he can be,” Swyfte said.

    “You’ve been taking them outside the walls, haven’t you?” Violet demanded.

    It was pointless to lie. “So what if I have?”

    “These people are sick. I don’t know what you could be exposing people out there to.”

    Swyfte didn’t bother to suppress a sneer. “People. You mean Endians. The enemy. Who the hell cares what I expose them to? They’re not taking this boon for themselves. Trust me. I checked. It seems the gods are finally favoring Bjelle.”

    “Trust you? I know I’ve been helping your men here, but I have a duty to keep this thing from spreading any further. It’s already in one kingdom, we don’t know how bad it would be in two. Let these people stay here. Please.”

    Swyfte slammed his hands on the table. He winced as his palm touched the arrowhead, cutting his skin.

    “After tonight, they can get as much bed rest as you want. After tonight there will only be one kingdom. When the Endians see what we can do, they’ll have no choice but to surrender. They’ll come under our banner and you can treat everyone as you see fit. But until then, they’re not your patients, they’re still my soldiers.” He clenched his fist and turned up his palm, trying not to get any more blood on the map, a handprint spread between both kingdoms.

    Violet climbed onto the map with difficulty to look him in the eye, a foot in either kingdom.

    She unfolded his hand and raised it to her lips. She kissed his wound and it knit before his eyes.

    “I know better than to try to change your mind by now. All I can ask is that you try not to get killed. When you’re done with all this, I only hope you’re within my power to help,” she said.

    He wiped the blood from his hands. “I won’t be long. We attack at moonrise.”

    Spoiler: Thrown to the Wolves

    Swyfte marshaled his troops and waited outside Endia’s gate. There were no men on the walls. Odd. All he had to do was wait for moonrise and release his dogs of war.

    His men stood ready, the infected in their cages, already disrobing. Waiting for his command to point them at the enemy.

    The moon’s first beams began to shine. Swyfte raised his hand to give the command, but before he could, he fell to his knees, wracked with terrible pain.

    His hands melted to paws, his back snapped to a curve. He tried to tell his men to let loose, but all that he could let slip was a howl as his face grew into a muzzle.

    Spoiler: Bad Moon Rising

    King Hubert gripped his sword unsteadily as he stood at the front of what remained of his armies.

    As promised, his assassin hadn’t contacted him. She’d told him he would know when the time was right and Bjelle was ripe for the plucking. It sure as hell hadn’t come yet.

    Not long after he’d sent the old crone on her way, people had turned up in his court complaining of their friends and loved ones turning into wolves and killing their livestock, breaking into their houses, and rifling through their larders.

    Indigo had advised him to tell people to stay inside until the wolf problem could be taken care of. Heaven knows where they’d come from.

    He could hardly have the royal guard walk through the streets and kill his own subjects. Tensions were high enough with this neverending war. The last thing he needed was to push his luck, especially when his forces were being beaten back by Bjelle worse every day.

    His subjects weren’t so cautious, unfortunately. Word traveled slowly in a kingdom this size. It wasn’t long before in a panic, a farmer had pitchforked a wolf tearing into his sheep that had turned out to be his wife.

    The law was silent in such an area. Obviously a man killing his wife was cause for him to be hanged. But a man was doing his duty to his homestead by killing a pest that threatened his livestock.

    Hubert was paralyzed by indecision. He would’ve asked Indigo, but shortly after he received the news, a page informed him Indigo himself had transformed under the light of a full moon, was kicked in the head by a horse while in the throes of change, and died.

    Hubert had the farmer placed under guard until further notice. If he locked up everyone who had killed a wolf, he’d soon find he had no one left. Due to tensions running high, people who were afflicted were obviously less than forthcoming about their status. The last thing he needed to do was force them deeper into hiding. Obviously, this complicated things.

    He heard news from the front lines that the Bjelles had wolves of their own working for them and they were making mincemeat of his soldiers.

    He remembered hearing something about wolves and silver. He issued a decree informing his people silver could kill the beasts more easily than an iron blade. His helpful advice hadn’t gone over as well as he’d expected. He overheard his servants grumbling about how it was all well and good for a king to say that, but it wasn’t as though the rest of them had spare silver lying around they could sharpen into a blade.

    Indigo usually stopped him before he’d had a chance to say things like this in front of people.

    And now he found himself bracing against a Bjellish attack. He never thought he’d see the day.

    The moon had risen. He heard the howls of the beasts from the other side of the castle’s walls. Hubert tested the edge of his blade with his thumb for the thousandth time. His smith had melted down his best cup for this. It had better work.

    Their gate gave way and the battle began. Though his men outnumbered the Bjelles two to one, their wolves gave them a distinct advantage.

    Hubert did his best to avoid being bitten. A wolf broke its teeth on his armor and he shook it off once he could. As fine as his sword was, he hadn’t had much in the way of formal training since his youth, so it was all he could do to keep the beast at bay while his men clubbed it to death.

    “I’ll knight you both if you keep this to yourselves,” he said, catching his breath.

    “If we live that long, we’ll take you up on it,” one of them said.

    The battle raged on for hours, the streets littered with the corpses of man and wolf alike. The commoners broke their curfew and lent a hand with their brooms and rakes and torches. They did as much harm as good, getting in the soldiers’ way and drawing the wolves past the line, but there was nothing Hubert or anyone else could do now to stop them.

    Hubert staggered forward and pulled off his helmet so he could breathe. He fell to his knees, the heavy metal around him all that had let him make it this far. There was no one alive around him on either side, though he heard the sounds of fighting in the distance. He wasn’t sure if it was really happening or if it was just an echo, all he’d heard in so long.

    Outside the gate, Hubert stalked the battlefield, wary for any still-breathing Bjelles. He didn’t know the first thing about checking for signs of life. Without squires to do it for him, he nudged the a wolf with the tatters of a Bjellish captain’s uniform on his shoulders. It remained still and he walked on.

    Once his back was turned, the wolf leapt upon him and knocked him off his feet. It had its teeth in his neck from behind before Hubert could blink.

    He fumbled for his sword, but dropped it, his hands trembling as he struggled to get the wolf off him. Hubert groped around the ground for his helmet. He found it as the wolf chewed into him and swung it into the creature’s face.

    Hubert rolled onto his side until he could get on top of the wolf and smashed its head in.

    He rolled off its corpse, panting. Hubert clutched at his bleeding neck and pressed hard at it to keep everything inside. He coughed bits of blood and fur out of his face.

    Standing, unbothered on the battlefield, was Violet Speller-Yow-d’Jorasco.

    “Bjelles get to you first?” Hubert croaked. No point in bothering with formalities now. Not anymore.

    Violet stood with her back to him, looking at the cloudy sky.

    “Because that would explain it all, wouldn’t it? I’m afraid not, majesty. You assume I’ve taken a side. Disease doesn’t take a side. Neither do I.”

    Violet’s damned mongrel was nosing at Hubert’s wound. He batted it away and it keened for its mistress.

    “Oh, it is around that time, isn’t it, Wren? You’ll find your clothes in the spare bag as usual, dear.” Violet set down her pack.

    “I needed a natural born one as my patient zero, you see, and Wren is perfectly accommodating, if a little simple. No one who’s merely been infected can pass it on, or we’d all have been wolves a long time ago. There is one other way to pass it on aside from Wren’s bite, but I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.” She knelt by Hubert’s side, stepping carefully over the dead wolf captain by him, as though she wanted to avoid treading on him.

    “No, please.” Hubert had no strength left to raise his metal-clad arms. “Please don’t kill me.”

    Violet looked genuinely hurt in the first light of dawn.

    Her mongrel stretched itself out until it stood on its hind legs, its fur sliding back inside its body until pale skin glistened in its place. It was equally unimpressive as a dwarf and clumsily began dressing.

    “It’s as though he doesn’t know me at all,” she said to it.

    She leaned down low and kissed the sliver of Hubert’s neck that showed outside his armor.

    “Enjoy the sunrise, majesty. Bjelle is no more.”

    With that, she and her dog, or whatever he was, were off. Hubert watched the sun rise, dreading the time when it would leave him again and he would be bathed once more in moonlight.

    Spoiler: stub
    LE halfling hin disciple monk 2/unarmed swordsage 3/ nosomatic chirurgeon 5/sacred fist 10

    Spoiler: abilities

    wis 15 (increase from levels here)
    dex 14 +2 halfling
    int 13
    con 12
    str 10 -2 halfling
    cha 8

    Spoiler: build chart

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Hin Disciple Monk 1 +0 +2 +2 +2 balance 4, concentration 4, jump 4, know (religion) 4, tumble 4 least dragon mark (healing) Bonus feat (Stunning Fist), flurry of blows, unarmed strike
    2nd Hin Disciple Monk 2 +1 +3 +3 +3 balance 1 (5), concentration 1 (5), jump 1 (5), know (religion) 1 (5), tumble 1 (5) Bonus feat (Combat Reflexes), evasion
    3rd Unarmed Swordsage 1 +1 +3 +5 +5 concentration 1 (6), heal 6 weapon finesse Quick to act +1, discipline focus (Weapon Focus)
    4th Unarmed Swordsage 2 +2 +3 +6 +6 concentration 1 (7), heal 1 (7), know (nature) 4, ride 1 AC bonus
    5th Unarmed Swordsage 3 +3 +4 +6 +6 concentration 1 (8), jump 1 (6), heal 1 (8), ride 4 (5)
    6th Nosomatic Chirurgeon 1 +3 +6 +6 +8 sleight of hand 3 shadow blade Heir's mark, nosomatic chirurgy, pestilential touch
    7th Nosomatic Chirurgeon 2 +4 +7 +6 +9 concentration 1 (7), sleight of hand 2 (5) Plague bearer
    8th Nosomatic Chirurgeon 3 +5 +7 +7 +9 conceal spellcasting, concentration 1 (8) Isolate pathogen
    9th Nosomatic Chirurgeon 4 +6/+1 +8 +7 +10 concentration 3 (11) combat casting Nosomatic touch
    10th Nosomatic Chirurgeon 5 +6/+1 +8 +7 +10 concentration 2 (13), sleight of hand 1 (6) Ascendant carrier
    11th Sacred Fist 1 +7/+2 +10 +9 +10 concentration 1 (14), jump 4 (10) Unarmed damage
    12th Sacred Fist 2 +8/+3 +11 +10 +10 concentration 1 (15), jump 4 (14) spectral skirmisher
    13th Sacred Fist 3 +9/+4 +11 +10 +11 concentration 1 (16), jump 2 (16), tumble 2 (7)
    14th Sacred Fist 4 +10/+5 +12 +11 +11 concentration 1 (17), jump 1 (17), tumble 3 (10) Sacred flames 1/day
    15th Sacred Fist 5 +11/+6/+1 +12 +11 +11 concentration 1 (18), jump 1 (18), tumble 3 (13) evasive reflexes
    16th Sacred Fist 6 +12/+7/+2 +13 +12 +12 concentration 1 (19), jump 1 (19), tumble 3 (16) Blindsense 10 ft.
    17th Sacred Fist 7 +13/+8/+3 +13 +12 +12 concentration 1 (20), jump 1 (20), tumble 3 (19)
    18th Sacred Fist 8 +14/+9/+4 +14 +13 +12 balance 1 (6), concentration 1 (21), jump 1 (21), tumble 2 (21) mark of the dauntless Sacred flames 2/day
    19th Sacred Fist 9 +15/+10/+5 +14 +13 +13 balance 2 (8), concentration 1 (22), jump 1 (22), tumble 1 (22)
    20th Sacred Fist 10 +16/+11/+6/+1 +15 +14 +13 balance 2 (10), concentration 1 (23), jump 1 (23), tumble 1 (23) Inner armor

    Spoiler: spells per day

    Spells per Day
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    6th 3 1 - - - - - - - -
    7th 3 1 - - - - - - - -
    8th 3 2 - - - - - - - -
    9th 3 2 0 - - - - - - -
    10th 3 2 0 - - - - - - -
    11th 3 2 1 - - - - - - -
    12th 3 3 2 - - - - - - -
    13th 3 3 2 0 - - - - - -
    14th 3 3 2 1 - - - - - -
    15th 3 3 2 1 - - - - - -
    16th 3 3 2 1 - - - - - -
    17th 3 3 3 2 - - - - - -
    18th 3 3 3 2 0 - - - - -
    19th 3 3 3 2 1 - - - - -
    20th 3 3 3 2 1 - - - - -

    Spoiler: maneuvers and stances

    lvl 3: wolf fang strike, sudden leap, sudden ember, moment of perfect mind, sapphire nightmare blade, burning blade
    stances: child of shadow
    lvl 4: cloak of deception
    stances: island of blades
    lvl 5: shadow jaunt

    Spoiler: playtips

    Spoiler: lvl 5

    You’ll behave like a fairly typical swordsage at this juncture, with a few tricks up your sleeve thanks to Hin disciple. Enjoy stunning people and the extra aoos that come from your bonus feats. Hop around with your maneuvers and punch people. Swordsage helpfully provides heal which sets you up nicely for the next stage in your life cycle.

    Skulk around, use your maneuvers, flank, leap, and attack.

    Spoiler: lvl 10

    Congratulations, you’re in nosomatic chirurgeon. Since you didn’t come in with any spellcasting to advance, you gain access to the otherwise unattainable adept list, which has choice cuts of the best of core in one convenient package.

    This is also where your pestilential abilities come from. Your ability to diagnose and treat disease is greatly enhanced, as is your resistance to disease. You can convert prepared spells into inflicts like a cleric (however yours isn’t negative energy, so isn’t blocked by protections against it)

    You gain the ability to spread disease yourself via plague bearer. Initially it’s only contagion’s list, but you eventually gain the ability to store any disease you’ve ever treated in your repository and dole those out as you see fit, including supernatural diseases, like say, lycanthropy for example.

    As the face of pestilence itself, of course you become immune to all disease, in addition to anything that would nauseate or sicken you and cure diseases with a mere touch of your hand. Of course, you have ulterior motives. If you ever see a new disease in the wild, once you treat it, it can go in your bank to be inflicted on enemies later via your isolate pathogen ability.

    Shadow blade is up and boosts your damage, tacking on your dex. Shadow blade gamely includes the unarmed strike as a disicpline weapon, meshing well with your later sacred fist levels.

    Go and wander the land, help sick people, and expand your arsenal. Give with one hand and take with the other.

    Spoiler: lvl 15

    Sacred fist beefs up your numbers and furthers your adept casting. It also helpfully advances the monk features you care about. At this stage you can also burst into flames and deal extra damage to unarmed attacks, which is pretty cool.

    The enhanced numbers on your BA make you much more likely to hit with your plague bearer ability, enhancing your affinity for spreading disease. Keep doing what you’re doing, but do it better.

    Spectral skirmisher enables two benefits. Everyone who can’t see you takes -5 to listens to see you. If people melee you when you’re invisible, they provoke an aoo.

    You pick whether you take it before they roll their %, and if you hit them, they automatically find you.

    On its own, this is a lot of fun and really helps you out on the battlefield, but it also helps your survivability in a slightly more involved way. Evasive reflexes allows you to take a five foot step each time someone provokes an aoo from you. In tandem with this and combat reflexes, you are only found when you want to be. Working with cloak of deception, you can spread disease much more efficiently.

    Spoiler: lvl 20

    Sacred fist imparts blindsense, letting you spread disease in all environs. You’ve unlocked your capstone here, inner armor, boosting your ac and saves and giving you a huge amount of spell resistance to resist threats on the battlefields. Continue spreading disease, having grown only more resilient, like the pathogens you spread

    Spoiler: adaptation

    If your DM won’t impose a penalty for it, you can easily be a strongheart halfling for an extra feat at level 1. You could move everything up a step and have room for more feats to perhaps enhance your dragonmarks or slot in martial study or stance at your convenience.

    Adepts in Eberron are also permitted to take a domain, so if this is permitted, either the corruption or decay domain seem thematically appropriate, giving access to some fun new spells to help spread disease.

    As presented, I erred on the side of caution and assumed only regular halfling was permitted and nosomatic chirurgeon’s adept casting only the regular access to the list. Neither of these things is necessary for the build to work, but if they’re permitted, they add spice to the dish.

    Spoiler: sources

    player’s handbook: monk, weapon finesse, combat casting, adept list
    player’s handbook 2: spectral skirmisher
    eberron campaign setting: least dragonmark
    champions of valor: hin disciple substitution levels
    tome of battle: unarmed swordsage, shadow blade, evasive reflexes
    dragonmarked: nosomatic chirurgeon, mark of the dauntless
    sacred fist: complete divine
    complete scoundrel: conceal spellcasting
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2016-10-10 at 01:57 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Famine (Dessicator)

    To summarize the build, though: Plague of locusts+ combined with walking drought.
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    Base Monster: Desiccator [Undead] (Libris mortis, Pg 94/95)
    Added Templates: Swarm Shifter (Libris Mortis, Pg 125-127), Evolved (Libris Mortis, Pg 99)

    Small Undead [Water][Shapechanger] (CR 4)
    HD: 4D12 (26 HP)
    Initiative: +5
    Speed: 20 Ft/ Swim 60 Ft; Swarm Form Speed: 30 ft, burrow 20 ft, fly 10 ft (poor).
    AC: 16 (+1 Size, +1 Dex, +4 Nat), Touch 12, Flatfooted 15
    BAB/Grapple: +2/+1
    Attack: Slam +7 (1d6+4+ Fatiguing Touch)
    Space/Reach: 5 Ft
    Saves: Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +6
    Abilities: Str 17, Dex 12, Con --, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 15 (Some of the stats have been changed around from those of the original base creature so as to make the build actually functional; the stats still follow the Elite Array before modifiers as per the rules of the contest)
    Skills: Listen +9, Search +8, Spot +9;
    While in swarm form: +10 bonus on Disguise checks to act like a normal grouping of its constituent creatures

    Feats: Ability Focus (Desiccating Breath), Improved Initiative

    Special Attacks:
    Desiccating Breath: 1/ 1d4 rounds, 15' Cone, 1 Con damage, Fort DC 16 (Cha based, +2 from Ability Focus) negates, [Water] Subtyped creatures take -4 to the save.
    Fatiguing Touch: On Slam deal 1d8 extra damage. Additionally, target is fatigued on a failed DC 14 Fort save (Cha Based) ([Water] Subtyped creatures take -4 to the save), and the Desiccator gains +5 Temporary HP for up to 1 hour; this cannot raise a Fatigued creature to Exhausted.
    Distraction: When in Swarm Form, as described in the Swarm Traits section
    Swarm: When in Swarm Form, Damage based on HD
    1/day: Cloudkill SLA

    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60', Elemental Turning Vulnerability (A character that can turn or rebuke Undead and [Water] creatures gains +2 to the check), Inescapable Craving (Water), Undead Traits, Swarm Form, Hive Mind, Fast Healing 3

    Swarm Form (Beetles): (Su) May take the form of an Undead Swarm at will; Changing form is a standard action that heals 1 HP/HD. The undead cannot change from swarm form to its normal form in an area where its body could not normally fit. As with the alter self spell, the base creature's items are absorbed into the swarm form and provide no benefit. When it would normally be dispersed due to damage taken, the swarm reverts to the base creature's form and is destroyed. Although the use of this ability is a supernatural effect, remaining in one form or another is not supernatural, and the base creature in swarm form does not change into its normal shape in an antimagic field. True seeing and similar magic reveals both forms.

    Hive Mind: When in Swarm Form, gain immunity to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures, as the Swarm Subtype, with the exception of effects that Command, Control, Turn, Rebuke, Bolster, or Destroy undead specifically.

    Swarm of Undead Beetles Diminutive Undead (Swarm)
    Special Qualities: An undead in beetle swarm form has the following additional special qualities, in addition to darkvision out to 60 feet and undead traits.
    Immune to Weapon Damage (Ex): Weapon attacks are useless against a swarm of Diminutive creatures.
    Tremorsense (Ex): A swarm of beetles can pinpoint the location of anything in contact with the ground within 60 feet.

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Druid +2 +3 +2 +8 Hide/Move Silently .5 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 1 Rank, Ride .5 Ranks - Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy
    2nd Druid +3 +4 +2 +9 Hide/Move Silently 1 Rank, Knowledge Nature 2 Ranks, Ride 1 Rank Extend Spell Woodland Stride
    3rd Druid +4 +4 +3 +9 Hide/Move Silently 1.5 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 3 Ranks, Ride 1.5 Rank - Trackless Step
    4th Druid +5 +5 +3 +10 Hide/Move Silently 2 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 4 Ranks, Ride 2 Rank - Resist Nature's Lure
    5th Druid +5 +5 +3 +10 Hide/Move Silently 2.5 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 4 Ranks, Ride 3 Ranks Verminfriend Wildshape 1/day
    6th Druid +6 +6 +4 +11 Hide/Move Silently 3 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 4 Ranks, Ride 4 Ranks - Wildshape 2/day
    7th Druid +7 +6 +4 +11 Hide/Move Silently 3.5 Ranks, Knowledge Nature 4 Ranks, Ride 5 Ranks - Wildshape 3/day
    8th Vermin Lord +7 +6 +4 +13 Concentration 1 Rank, Ride 5.5 Ranks, Spot 1 Rank, Listen 1 Rank Natural Spell Chitin +1, Vermin Servant (1 HD)
    9th Vermin Lord +8 +6 +4 +14 Concentration 2 Rank, Ride 6 Ranks, Spot 2 Rank, Listen 2 Rank - Blood Drain
    10th Vermin Lord +8 +7 +5 +14 Concentration 3 Rank, Ride 6.5 Ranks, Spot 3 Rank, Listen 3 Rank - Spider Hand
    11th Vermin Lord +9 +7 +5 +15 Concentration 4 Rank, Ride 7 Ranks, Spot 4 Rank, Listen 4 Rank Corrupt Wildshape Chitin +2, Swarm Armor
    12th Vermin Lord +9 +7 +5 +15 Concentration 5 Rank, Ride 7.5 Ranks, Spot 5 Rank, Listen 5 Rank - Wings of the Vermin, Vermin Servant (4 HD)
    13th Vermin Lord +10 +8 +6 +16 Concentration 6 Rank, Ride 8 Ranks, Spot 6 Rank, Listen 6 Rank - Spider Legs
    14th Vermin Lord +10 +8 +6 +16 Concentration 7 Rank, Ride 8.5 Ranks, Spot 7 Rank, Listen 7 Rank Quicken Spell Chitin +3, Spew Vermin
    15th Vermin Lord +11 +8 +6 +17 Concentration 8 Rank, Ride 9 Ranks, Spot 8 Rank, Listen 8 Rank - Poison, Pincer Claws
    16th Vermin Lord +11 +9 +7 +17 Concentration 9 Rank, Ride 9.5 Ranks, Spot 9 Rank, Listen 9 Rank - Vermin Servant (16 HD)

    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Spells per Day/Spells Known
    Level 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st 3 1 - - - - - - - -
    2nd 4 2 - - - - - - - -
    3rd 4 2 1 - - - - - - -
    4th 5 3 2 - - - - - - -
    5th 5 3 2 1 - - - - - -
    6th 5 3 3 2 - - - - - -
    7th 6 4 3 2 1 - - - - -
    8th 6 4 3 3 2 - - - - -
    9th 6 4 3 3 2 - - - - -
    10th 6 4 4 3 2 1 - - - -
    11th 6 4 4 3 2 1 - - - -
    12th 6 4 4 3 3 2 - - - -
    13th 6 4 4 3 3 2 - - - -
    14th 6 5 4 4 3 2 1 - - -
    15th 6 5 4 4 3 2 1 - - -
    16th 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 - - -

    Animal Companion:
    As an undead monstrosity, the Dessicator cannot attract an animal companion.

    Vermin Companion: As a Verminlord, the Dessicator may attract any vermin, including Husk Vermin (Drow of the Underdark).
    The following statblocks represent each of the 3 stages of Vermin granted by the Verminlord Class:

    Monstrous Scorpion (Husk Vermin)
    Small Undead (Augmented Vermin)
    HD: 1d12+3 (10 HP)
    Initiative: -1 Speed: 30
    AC: 13 (3 Natural -1 Dex +1 Size) Flatfooted: 13 Touch: 10
    BAB/Grapple: +0/-2
    Attacks: Claw +2 (1d3+1 +1 Str)
    Full Attack: 2 claws +2 melee (1d3+1+1 Str) and sting -3 melee (1d3+1+1 Str)
    Special Attacks: Str Damage (Su): When damaging an opponent, deal 1 point of Strength damage (already factored in) and gain 5 Temporary HP, up to an amount equal to the current maximum HP.
    Create Spawn (Su): If this creature slays another living vermin, that vermin rises as a Husk Vermin in 1d4 hours
    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits, undead traits
    Saves: Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3
    Abilities: Str 13, Dex 8, Con -, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills: Climb +5, Hide +7, Spot +5
    Feats: Weapon Finesse, Toughness

    Monstrous Scorpion (Husk Vermin)
    Medium Undead (Augmented Vermin)
    HD: 4d12+3 (29 HP)
    Initiative: -1 Speed: 40
    AC: 13 (+4 Natural -1 Dex) Flatfooted: 13 Touch: 9
    BAB/Grapple: +3/+7
    Attacks: Claw +7 (1d4+2+1d4 Str)
    Full Attack: 2 Claws +7 (1d4+2+1d4 Str) and Sting +2 (1d4+2+1d4 Str)
    Special Attacks: Str Damage (Su): When damaging an opponent, deal 1d4 point of Strength damage (already factored in) and gain 5 Temporary HP, up to an amount equal to the current maximum HP.
    Create Spawn (Su): If this creature slays another living vermin, that vermin rises as a Husk Vermin in 1d4 hours
    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits, undead traits
    Saves: Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +5
    Abilities:Str 18, Dex 8, Con -, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills: Climb +8, Hide +3, Spot +5
    Feats: Toughness

    Monstrous Scorpion (Husk Vermin)
    Huge Undead (Augmented Vermin)
    HD: 16d12+3 (107 HP)
    Initiative: +0 Speed: 50
    AC: 20 (-2 size, +12 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 20
    BAB/Grapple: +12/+30
    Attack: Claw +17 (1d8+8+ Energy Drain)
    Full Attack: 2 Claw +17 (1d8+8+ Energy Drain) and Sting +12 (2d4+4+Energy Drain)
    Special Attacks: Energy Drain (Su): When damaging an opponent, inflict 2 negative levels. The DC to remove these negative levels is 10+1/2 HD+Cha Mod [18]
    For each negative level inflicted, gain 5 Temporary HP, up to an amount equal to the current Maximum HP.
    Create Spawn (Su): If this creature slays another living vermin, that vermin rises as a Husk Vermin in 1d4 hours
    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits, undead traits
    Saves: Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +11
    Abilities: Str 27, Dex 10, Con -, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills: Climb +12, Hide -4, Spot +5
    Feats: Toughness
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2016-10-16 at 02:32 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Terra Australis

    Default Famine (Dessicator) CR 12 Snapshot

    Desiccator: CR 12 Monster
    Small Undead [Water]

    Level/Class: 4 Monstrous (Undead)/ 7 Druid/ 1 Verminlord

    Move Speed: 20 Ft/ Swim 60 Ft Languages: Aquan
    Swarm Form Speed: 30 ft, burrow 20 ft, fly 10 ft (poor).

    Str: 17; +3 HD: 12D12 Total HP:
    Dex: 12; +1 AC: 27 =10 + 10 Armour + 1 Dex mod +1 Size +5 Natural
    Con: -- Touch: 12 Flat-footed: 26
    Int: 10; +0 Fortitude: +6 Reflex: +5 Will: +19
    Wis: 17+6; +6
    Cha: 15; +2 Initiative: +5

    Attack Bonus; Base: +7/+2
    Attack Options: Slam +10/+5 (1d6+4+ Fatiguing Touch)
    Desiccating Breath: 1/ 1d4 rounds, 15' Cone, 1 Con damage, Fort DC 16 (Cha based, +2 from Ability Focus) negates, [Water] Subtyped creatures take -4 to the save.
    Fatiguing Touch: On Slam deal 1d8 extra damage. Additionally, target is fatigued on a failed DC 14 Fort save (Cha Based) ([Water] Subtyped creatures take -4 to the save), and the Desiccator gains +5 Temporary HP for up to 1 hour; this cannot raise a Fatigued creature to Exhausted.
    Distraction: When in Swarm Form, as described in the Swarm Traits.
    Swarm: When in Swarm Form, as described in the Swarm Traits. Damage based on HD. Currently 3d6
    Spell-Like Ability: 1/day: Cloudkill
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________
    Spot/Listen +14, Search +8, Concentration +1, Ride +6, Knowledge Nature +6, Hide/Move Silently +3

    Feats: Ability Focus (Desiccating Breath), Improved Initiative, Extend Spell, Verminfriend, Natural Spell

    Special Qualities:
    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60', Elemental Turning Vulnerability (A character that can turn or rebuke Undead and [Water] creatures gains +2 to the check), Inescapable Craving (Water), Undead Traits, Swarm Form, Hive Mind, Fast Healing 3

    Swarm Form (Beetles): (Su) May take the form of an Undead Swarm at will; Changing form is a standard action that heals 1 HP/HD. The undead cannot change from swarm form to its normal form in an area where its body could not normally fit. As with the alter self spell, the base creature's items are absorbed into the swarm form and provide no benefit. When it would normally be dispersed due to damage taken, the swarm reverts to the base creature's form and is destroyed. Although the use of this ability is a supernatural effect, remaining in one form or another is not supernatural, and the base creature in swarm form does not change into its normal shape in an antimagic field. True seeing and similar magic reveals both forms.

    Hive Mind: When in Swarm Form, gain immunity to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures, as the Swarm Subtype, with the exception of effects that Command, Control, Turn, Rebuke, Bolster, or Destroy undead specifically.

    Swarm of Undead Beetles
    Diminutive Undead (Swarm)
    Special Qualities: An undead in beetle swarm form has the following additional special qualities, in addition to darkvision 60' and swarm and undead traits.
    Immune to Weapon Damage (Ex): Weapon attacks are useless against a swarm of Diminutive creatures.
    Tremorsense (Ex): A swarm of beetles can pinpoint the location of anything in contact with the ground within 60 feet.

    Animal Companion: Due to being an undead monster that constantly thirsts for the water contained in all life, the Desiccator is unable to gain and maintain an animal companion.
    Nature Sense: +2 Knowledge Nature Checks
    Wild Empathy: May make Cha checks to influence the attitude of wild Animals, as if using diplomacy.
    Woodland Stride: No natural wooded terrain is treated as difficult terrain
    Trackless Step: The Desiccator may not be tracked if it is traveling on foot, unless it so wishes.
    Resist Nature's Lure: +4 on saves against creatures of the Fey type
    Wildshape 3/day:
    Chitin: +1 Natural Armor
    Vermin Servant: 1 HD (See the Vermin Servant section for a full statsheet.)

    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________
    0: 6 Per day, 1st: 4+2 Bonus, 2nd: 3+2 Bonus, 3rd: 3+1 Bonus, 4th: 2+1 Bonus
    0 Level Spells: Create Water, Know Direction x2, Detect Magic x3
    1st Level: Thunderhead, Entangle x2, Winged Watcher, Omen of Peril, Obscuring Mist
    2nd Level: Desiccate, Extended Lesser Vigor, Blinding Spittle x2, Halo of Sand
    3rd Level: Haboob, Spiritjaws, Poison, Stoneshape
    4th Level: Extended Protection from Energy, Vortex of Teeth, Giant Vermin

    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________
    Magic Items:
    Incandescent Blue Ioun Stone: +2 Wis (8,000)
    Periapt of Wisdom: +4 Wis (16,000)
    +5 Dragonleather Breastplate: +10 AC, +3 max Dex, -4 ACP (25,400)
    Bracers of Entangling Blast: 3/day, spell deals half damage, and victims become entangled for 1d3 rounds and take 1 damage/ level of the spell/ round. (2000)
    Ring of Nine Lives (5 Charges Left): When dropped to 0 or lower, instantly expend a charge heal 20 HP (25,000)

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______

    Vermin Companion: As a Verminlord, the Dessicator may attract any vermin, including Husk Vermin (Drow of the Underdark).
    The following statblock is for the Vermin Companion at this level:

    Monstrous Scorpion (Husk Vermin)
    Small Undead (Augmented Vermin)
    HD: 1d12+3 (10 HP)
    Initiative: -1 Speed: 30
    AC: 13 (3 Natural -1 Dex +1 Size) Flatfooted: 13 Touch: 10
    BAB/Grapple: +0/-2
    Attacks: Claw +2 (1d3+1 +1 Str)
    Full Attack: 2 claws +2 melee (1d3+1+1 Str) and sting -3 melee (1d3+1+1 Str)
    Special Attacks: Str Damage (Su): When damaging an opponent, deal 1 point of Strength damage (already factored in) and gain 5 Temporary HP, up to an amount equal to the current maximum HP.
    Create Spawn (Su): If this creature slays another living vermin, that vermin rises as a Husk Vermin in 1d4 hours
    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits, undead traits
    Saves: Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3
    Abilities: Str 13, Dex 8, Con -, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills: Climb +5, Hide +7, Spot +5
    Feats: Weapon Finesse, Toughness

    At this level, the Desiccator uses a Skeletal Wolf as a steed to travel quickly, but dismounts before any form of combat.
    Wolf Skeleton
    Size/Type: Medium Undead
    Hit Dice: 2d12 (13 hp)
    Initiative: +7
    Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
    Armor Class: 15 (+3 Dex, +2 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 12
    Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
    Attack: Bite +2 melee (1d6+1)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/bludgeoning, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits
    Saves: Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +3
    Abilities: Str 13, Dex 17, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
    Skills: —
    Feats: Improved Initiative

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Titan in the Playground
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    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default Tosk (Famine)

    Tosk, Horseman of Famine

    artsdemon - DeviantArt
    Chaotic Evil Wendigo Azurin Totemist 9/Thayan Gladiator 9
    Str 15, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 10

    Spoiler: Recovered journal
    These following excerpts were transcribed from several pages recovered at the massacre at the Tyraturos Arena:

    Kythorn 18-
    I am captured. The slave party crossed the border into Rasheman and attempted to steal my brother’s wife who was with child. I sent many of the invaders to their creator. I delayed them so my brother could flee with his wife. One of them struck me from behind. Now I am in chains in a covered wagon. They take me into the direction of the rising sun. They think me a savage. And a fool. They are not even aware I can write. I will wait until they relax.

    Then they will die.

    Flamerule 2-
    I killed the two guarding me today. I did not see the third. He raised an alarm and I had to kill more. The red one spoke strange words at me, and the fight was ended. They threatened me after the shackles were secured. Words. I am worth more alive than as a corpse. Tomorrow more of them will die when I will try again.

    Flamerule 13-
    Another got too close. With the spirit’s help I tore out his throat in one bite. Now even more of them want me dead. They say I am more trouble than it is worth. The red one says we will be in a settlement tomorrow and they will be done with me then. Fools.

    Flamerule 15-
    I am sold now. The red one said it will be an appropriate sentence for the death of his servants. I spat in his face. He dragged me before a tall man who said I was to play games. I told him he too would die. He laughed.

    Flamerule 17-
    I am taken with many others to a great stone building. Inside it is a pit of sand. People will sit on the outside of the pit to watch me and the others fight. I am told first there is training. The best among us will be rewarded.

    One other spoke to me during this training. He spoke of a plan to escape. I shoved a claw through his stomach and spilled his insides.

    I need no help from a fool.

    Eleasis 3-
    I killed an overseer today. I was brought out before a group of three in metal clothing for discipline. I killed them also. My punishment is no food for the rest of the week.

    Those four will never eat again.

    Eleasis 8-
    Today was my first fight. They put me in the pit of sand with one of the others. He asked that I end it quickly. I did. The new overseer was happy and I ate better than I had in weeks. He asked that I try to make the fight last longer. The crowd will like it more. The food was… good.

    Eleasis 14-
    I fear I have been a captive too long. I can no longer remember the smell of home. I wonder if someone will come for me?

    Eleasis 29-
    Today I meet with another one in red. He was pleased with my victories in battle. He gave me a cup and said it would make me stronger. It tasted horrible. When I awoke I was in my cage again. My insides burned. I could not eat the meal that was left.

    What has happened to me?

    Eleint 3-
    The red one’s potion has worked. My enemies move slower and fall more easily than before. Last night I was able to eat again. The food was good.

    Elient 19-
    I overheard the guards talking. Today I was to fight a great bird with metal feathers. I would not do this thing. I called upon the spirit’s aid and spoke with the beast. It had been captured as I was. We did not battle.

    The overseers were displeased. They meant to kill the bird. I told them not to. And that I would do anything they asked. The red one was amused. He agreed.

    Marpenoth 8-
    The beast is stubborn. The rearing goes slow. I must be patient. Building trust is essential. Once I am finished we shall be unstoppable. My thoughts turned to escape. Why do I no longer seem to care?

    Nightal 5-
    Imzel and I fought again today. The battle was over quickly. I told the overseer that he needed stronger opponents. He talked to the red one again. I would fight his more dangerous creations.

    Nightal 12-
    The battle went poorly. The monster I fought was swift and danced on the winds. He sank his fangs into me when I tore him apart with my claws. I am tended to but the wound will not close.

    Nightal 22-
    My sleep is troubled. I see terrible images in my dreams. There are muffled screams. There is the tearing of flesh. There is blood.

    So… much… blood…

    Nightal 24-
    They found a dead man in the cages today. I saw his face when they carried it away. It was the man from my dreams. Underneath my bed I found a severed hand.

    I could not throw it away.

    Nightal 30-
    I… am to fight again.


    I told the overseer I should not. Something is wrong. I… hunger.

    I… I ate the hand. I sucked the marrow from the bones. Another fighter saw… He screamed until they dragged him away.

    I can hear them coming for me now. I hear the crowds above me…
    My mouth waters. I hunger…
    *the words descend into senseless repetition and a large smattering of blood stains the bottom of the page*

    Spoiler: Inspiration and Qualification
    In Algonquian folklore (indigenous peoples of eastern North America) the wendigo is a monstrous spirit that has long been associated with cannibalism and insatiable greed, as well as the cultural taboos against such behaviors. It is also very strongly associated with winter, the cold, famine and starvation. In particular amongst the Cree and Innu peoples, a ceremonial dance is performed during times of famine to reinforce the seriousness of the wendigo taboo.

    Furthermore the wendigo template’s unique ability to instill unnatural hunger in its victims makes it more than suitable to fill the role of famine.

    With that in mind, I tried to focus most of the character build on improving the already ridiculous bite attack granted by the template.

    Spoiler: Build table
    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Totemist 1 +0 +2 +2 +0 Listen 4, Spot 4, Ride 4, Survival 4, Handle Animal 2, Literate Azure Toughness, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity Wild Empathy, Illiteracy
    2nd Totemist 2 +1 +3 +3 +0 Listen 5, Spot 5, Ride 5, Survival 5, Handle Animal 3, Literate Totem Chakra Bind (+1 capacity)
    3rd Totemist 3 +2 +3 +3 +1 Listen 6, Spot 6, Survival 6, Handle Animal 5, Ride 5, Literate Weapon Focus (Bite) Totem’s Protection
    4th Totemist 4 +3 +4 +4 +0 Listen 7, Spot 7, Survival 7, Handle Animal 7, Ride 5, Literate
    5th Totemist 5 +3 +4 +4 +1 Listen 8, Spot 8, Survival 8, Handle Animal 8, Ride 6, Literate Chakra Binds (crown, feet, hands)
    6th Totemist 6 +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Listen 9, Spot 9, Survival 9, Handle Animal 9, Ride 7, Literate Multiattack Totem Chakra Bind (+1 meldshaper level)
    7th Totemist 7 +5 +5 +5 +2 Listen 10, Spot 10, Survival 10, Handle Animal 10, Ride 8, Literate
    8th Totemist 8 +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Listen 11, Spot 11, Survival 11, Handle Animal 11, Ride 8, Literate Rebind Totem Soulmeld 1/day
    9th Totemist 9 +6/+1 +6 +6 +3 Listen 12, Spot 12, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9, Literate Double Chakra (Arms) Chakra Binds (arms, brow, shoulders)
    10th Thayan Gladiator 1 +7/+2 +8 +6 +3 Listen 13, Spot 13, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Improved Natural Attack (Bite), Study Opponent
    11th Thayan Gladiator 2 +8/+3 +9 +6 +3 Listen 14, Spot 14, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Improved Critical (Bite), Natural Armor +1
    12th Thayan Gladiator 3 +9/+4 +9 +7 +4 Listen 15, Spot 15, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Improved Natural Attack (Claw) Stunning Critical, Silver Strike
    13th Thayan Gladiator 4 +10/+5 +10 +7 +4 Listen 16, Spot 16, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Natural Weapon Focus (Bite)
    14th Thayan Gladiator 5 +11/+6/+1 +10 +7 +4 Listen 17, Spot 17, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Imbue Natural Weapon, Natural Armor +2
    15th Thayan Gladiator 6 +12/+7/+2 +11 +8 +5 Listen 18, Spot 18, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Cobalt Charge Adamantine Strike
    16th Thayan Gladiator 7 +13/+8/+3 +11 +8 +5 Listen 19, Spot 19, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Savage Strike
    17th Thayan Gladiator 8 +14/+9/+4 +12 +8 +5 Listen 20, Spot 20, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Natural Armor +3, Natural Weapon Mastery (Bite)
    18th Thayan Gladiator 9 +15/+10/+5 +12 +9 +6 Listen 21, Spot 21, Survival 12, Handle Animal 12, Ride 9 Bonus Essentia Magic Strike

    Spoiler: Stat block
    HP: 18d6+108 (171); regeneration 5 (fire)
    CE Medium Fey (augmented humanoid, incarnum, cold)
    Initiative: +3; Senses: Listen +24, Spot +24
    Languages: Sylvan
    AC: 29, touch 18, flat-footed 26; immune to flanking
    Immune: cold, critical hits
    Resist: fire 20
    Vulnerabilities: fire
    Fort: +19, Ref: +12, Will: +8, +4 vs. magical beast SNA
    Speed: fly 120 ft. (perfect)
    Melee: Bite +25 (2d4+13/15-20, x4 plus disease), or claw +30 (1d6+15/x2)
    Full Attack: 3 bites +25 (2d4+9/15-20, x4) and 4 claws +28 (1d6+15/x2)
    BAB: +15, Grp: +38
    Attack Options: Ghost touch (bite), Pounce, Maddening Whispers (Su), Stunning Critical
    Essentia Pool: 11, Capacity: 4 (5 for totem chakra); Chakra binds: 2; Soulmelds: 5
    Soulmelds and Essentia Investment (CL 9th)
    Azure Toughness (3 bonus HP/essentia)
    Cobalt Charge 1 (+1 insight bonus on charge attacks)
    Girallon Arms 6 (+14 bonus on Climb and grapple; gain 4 claw attacks with +6 bonus on attack/ damage; bound to totem chakra, Expanded)
    Riding Bracers (+4 insight bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks)
    Phoenix Belt 4 (endure heat; resist fire 20)
    Sphinx Claws (+1 competence bonus to Strength checks; Pounce; bound to hand chakra)
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera (Immune to flanking)
    Abilities: Str 28, Dex 16, Con 22, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 14
    Special Qualities: chakra binds (totem, crown, feet, hands, arms, brow, shoulders), corner of the eye, study opponent, totem’s protection, wild empathy +11 (+15 vs girallon), Wind Walk (Su), Silver Strike, Adamantine Strike, Magic Strike, Stunning Critical,
    Feats: Azure Toughness, Bonus Essentia, Cobalt Charge, Double Chakra (arms), Expanded Soulmeld Capacity, Improved Natural Attack (claw), Multiattack, Weapon Focus (Bite), Track(B)
    Skills: Handle Animal +14, Hide +11, Listen +24, Move Silently +11, Ride +12, Spot +24, Survival +23
    Possessions: Essentia Helm, Amulet of Health +4, Belt of Giant Strength +6, Necklace of Natural Weapons (Speed), +4 Chain Shirt of Heavy Fortification, Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Counterspells (Greater Dispel Magic)

    Corner of the Eye (Su): Creatures pursued by Tosk while he is wind walking take a -2 penalty on all Wisdom based skill checks.

    Disease (Su): Any time Tosk bites an opponent, they must succeed on a DC 25 Fortitude save or contract wendigo hunger. After an incubation period of 1d3 days, it deals 1d3 points of Wisdom damage per day. In addition, the victim must succeed on a DC 21 Will save or be overwhelmed with insatiable hunger for the flesh of their own species. A victim that is reduced to zero Wisdom immediately transforms into a wendigo

    Maddening Whispers (Su): Once per day, Tosk may target one creature within 120 feet who must succeed on a DC 21 Will save or take 1d3 points of Wisdom damage. He may only use this ability while wind walking

    Ravenous Bite: Tosk has a natural bite that threatens a critical hit on an 15-20 and does x4 damage on a critical hit. In addition, on a critical hit, he causes the victim to bleed 3 hit points per round. Multiple critical hits cause a cumulative effect. A successful Heal check (DC 10) or any healing spell stops the bleeding. His bite is also treated as silver, magical, and adamantine for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

    Stunning Critical (Ex): Whenever Tosk scores a critical hit with his bite, his opponent must succeed on a DC 24 Fortitude save or be stunned for one round.

    Wind Walk (Su): Tosk may become incorporeal or corporeal again as an at-will move action.

    Spoiler: Mount

    Dave Allsop - DeviantArt

    CN Huge magical beast (extraplanar)
    HP: 187 (15 HD); fast healing 15; DR 15/adamantine
    Initiative: +12; Senses: low-light vision; Listen +9, Spot +15
    Aura: razorfeather shield (5 ft.)
    Languages: Common
    AC: 28, touch 16, flat-footed 20; Dodge
    Miss Chance: 20% (razorfeather shield)
    Immune: cold
    Fort: +16, Ref: +17, Will: +10
    Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares), fly 120 ft. (average); Flyby Attack, Hover
    Melee: bite +22 (2d6+9) and 2 wings +20 each (1d8+4/17–20) and 2 talons +20 each (1d8+4)
    Ranged: 3 razorfeathers +21 each (1d8+9/17–20)
    BAB: +15; Grp: +32
    Attack Options: hail of razorfeathers
    Abilities: Str 28, Dex 26, Con 25, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 18
    Feats: Dodge, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Multiattack
    Skills: Jump +17, Listen +9, Spot +15
    Possessions: Exotic saddle

    Razorfeather Shield (Ex): Imzel generates a storm of razorfeathers around her body. At the beginning of Imzel’s turn, any creature within 5 feet of her takes 5d6 points of slashing damage. In addition, the storm of whirling steel feathers gives Imzel concealment against any nonadjacent opponents.

    Razorfeathers (Ex): Razorfeathers used at range veer toward their target, negating any miss chances that otherwise would apply. Due to razorfeathers, Imzel’s wing attacks and razorfeather attacks threaten a critical hit on a 17–20.

    Hail of Razorfeathers (Ex): As a standard action, Imzel can cast a 60-foot cone of its razorfeathers. Creatures caught in the area take 15d6 points of slashing damage, DC 24 Reflex for half. Imzel can use her hail of razorfeathers attack every 1d4 rounds.

    Imzel is a particularly nasty specimen of steelwing (MM5). Taken from her nest as a hatchling, she was tormented daily in preparation to become a gladiatorial beast.

    As early as level 12, Tosk is capable of shaping the Beast Tamer Circlet and Unicorn Horn. With three points of essentia each, this gives him a +16 to his Wild Empathy check for a total of 25. Even on a 1, his check will take a creature from Hostile to Indifferent. Reshaping the Unicorn Horn into Riding Bracers and adds to his Handle Animal check instead. With the circlet, he can then Take 10 and hit the required training DC of 35.

    Spoiler: CR 20
    Tosk has one primary goal in battle: infect as many opponents as he possibly can. His experiences fighting in the arena have taught him caution and restraint, which makes him far more dangerous than others of his kind.

    If on his own, he begins encounters incorporeal, stalking his victims with Maddening Whispers as many days as he can. When he is ready to strike, he stays just out of sight for three rounds to use his Study Opponent ability. He then shifts his essentia into Cobalt Charge and charges from up to 240 feet away and hit with all seven of his natural attacks, and attempts to stack his bleed effect as high as possible. If he stuns a target with his bite and has more bites remaining, he goes after the next target in reach with the remaining bites. He then goes after the next target, and the next, attempting to infect as many opponents as possible with wendigo hunger.

    When accompanied by Imzel, his tactics change. Tosk starts with his Riding Bracers bound to his totem chakra, increasing his Ride check and granting Imzel evasion. He directs Imzel to fling her feathers at targets below, counting on the razorfeather shield for defense, and biting any opponents that attack him or Imzel directly. Against airborne opponents that pose a serious threat, he can dismount Imzel and attack with her in tandem. At this point, he uses his ability to rebind his Totem chakra to change out the Riding Bracers for Girallon Arms and then proceeds as normal. Whenever he is threatened by fire damage, he can shift essentia into his Phoenix Belt to improve his defenses, making the fire user his top priority. If severely damaged, he can turn incorporeal and hide at the edges of his movement rate while he heals up the damage.

    Spoiler: Sources

    Core (PHB, DMG, MM)- Weapon Focus feat, Multiattack, equipment
    Magic of Incarnum- Race, feats, and class
    Champions of Ruin- Prestige class
    Fiend Folio- Wendigo template
    Magic Item Compendium- Equipment
    Savage Species- Necklace of Natural Weapons
    Monster Manual V- Mount

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default The Alien and the Omen: Death (1/2)

    Spoiler: Start of the Ride

    "At last, we're done". Eulad dusted herself and rearranged her cloak as the massive form of the dying roc was falling with a thunderous noise. "Enervation is a lovely spell indeed. Sorry for mocking you earlier, Jozan. Soveliss, it's all yours".
    "That will take me some time. Look at the size of these feathers alone..." The ranger crouched near to the beast's beak and started to saw it off the skeleton.
    "Who wants some ?" asked Jozan, waving around his wand of Vigor. A passably exhausted Kursk presented himself in front of the magical item.
    "Why do these stupid birds always lair in some impossibly high mountain peak ? By Gruumsh's spear, would it be too much to ask for a roc's nest at less than three Teleports away from anywhere on this plane ?"
    This earned a sneer from the Wilder.
    "If there were, the baron's diviner wouldn't need high-level adventurers to fetch some of those trophies he's so fond of", reparted Eulad.
    "Anyway, now that we're past this annoying whim of his, we will at last get our Legend Lore. Jozan, why couldn't you choose Knowledge as one of your cleric domains ?"
    "My god is Pelor, not some unambitious fool like Vecna remember ? Death and Evil domains fare well enough for me. Now stop making me blaspheming."
    Twenty minutes later, a 3-foot-long beak and an accordingly big pair of talons were resting into a Bag of Holding. Twenty-two minutes later, the party was knocking at the door of Baron Hengess' castle.

    Later that night, as the full moon was rising above the now silent nest, the Roc rose.

    "Well, what have we got here ? Ooh, impressive ! You did succeed in bringing me those roc parts ! And from an Air Elemental-related one at that ! Not that I didn't know it already, of course". The diviner, a crooked little wizard past sixty, smiled wrily while starting to take away the hunt's bounty. He did not move it very far; in a blurring movement, Kursk got hold of his wrist with an iron grip, while still pretending to marvel at the beholder's eyestalk pinned to the wall above him.
    "I believe we had agreed you answered our question before we let you fool around with those", he said softly, still looking away. The wizard grumbled and started to gather incense sticks with his free hand.
    "Fine, fine, you can keep your harvest, you miserable bounty hunters...whatever its is that you want to now, remember that this kind of Divination can take up to three weeks to carry out. So, about whom am I going to spill the beans ?"
    Eulad made a step forward. She took a theatrical pose before whispering in a hushed voice.
    "We want to know everything there is to know about the creature named Leviathan. We will wait three weeks, even three years, if needs be." The diviner turned deadly white at once.

    The roc could remember. It clearly saw it in its memory, the arrow that put its eye out even before it had understood it was under attack; the leaping half-orc that managed to catch up with it in its takeoff and hit it so hard that it was propelled down to the ground. The burns each time the eyes of the woman would glow; the empty, glacial void inside when the human gestured. They would pay for this. It had all of unlife to find them and to exact revenge.

    "Careful here, this is very slippery." Searching for the safest route to climb down, Soveliss was leading the roped party towards the bottom of the chasm.
    In other circumstances, Jozan would have acidly asked once again why they could not simply fly or teleport, rather than cavorting on the cliff. Eulad would have equally acidly answered that magic detection powers were very likely to ward the area they were trying to approach. But none of them said anything. After two months of unbearable waiting and four iterations of Legend Lore, no one in the party felt lighthearted enough to crack a wittic sentence. They were very close to reaching the temple of the Surging Spine, and very close to be able to see the Leviathan itself for the first time. They expected the Spine to be guarded by a cult of very powerful Leviathanite bodaks; but this was nowhere near as petrifying as the opportunity to actually gaze at the Leviathan itself. Their carefulness was lead by fear as much as by logic.

    The roc had found their trail. Days and days had it flown over the region, looking for its tormenters. It usually flew high in the sky to prevent from being identified as an undead and brought down. Its almost-indistinguishable and yet vaguely foreboding shape had been spotted more than once by farmers and city guards alike. It did not know it, but over the course of those two months it had earned the title of "the Omen". Well, a bad omen was on its way to follow the track of four cruel slayers who had Teleported some ten miles away from the chasm and had then reached it by walk. A dark joy flowered in the roc at the thought of how it was planning to torture them.

    The elf crawled back to behind the boulder, shivering.
    "I counted five bodaks...Nine hells, these creatures are horrible - I think they self-mutilated. They are standing all around the Spine, and they paint some runes on its surface. There is a hollow at the base of the Spine, about seven feet tall, probably some sort of entrance to the temple inside. The chasm narrows at its level, I guess it's no more than twenty feet wide. Cracks on the ground web out from the Spine in every direction: this corroborates what the diviner told us. Last year's earthquake seems to have been triggered by a massive movement of the Spine. I did not see any sign of protective ward, however, magical or not. The bodaks - there must be some magic in their appearance, it scared the hells out of me. "
    "Fine then. Calm down a little, Soveliss. Let us begin to prepare." Eulad said no more, and her eyes glowed silvery. A moment later, the conversation carried on but in the minds of the adventurers. A gesture from Jozan dissipated the ranger's emotion while the Maenad prepared for a rousing mental speech.
    "This is our chance to seize crucial intel about the Leviathan. Jozan, ever since you received your divine mission from Pelor, we have been chasing the Leviathanites far and wide all across this plane. The Leviathan has been stirring for the past two years. We know that ever since, each and every evil god of the Pantheon is, as we speak, rushing to control the Leviathan's awakening. And each and every remaning god is trying to prevent that from happening. Guys, let's not mess that up. Now we-"
    "Shhh. Something moves around us. Something is closing on us, fast !" Startled by the elf's urge, the rest of the party started to turn around...

    ...It had him. The roc had him in its translucent, mystical talons. It had swooped down on the unsuspecting party at full speed, partially furling its wings to fit in the narrow fissure; only to swiftly snatch away one of them. Jozan, ensnared in the mighty claws, let out a raucous "Pelor !" that immediately alerted the bodaks. Kursk was the first to regain its wits. Screaming with rage, he jumped over the massive boulder and fell directly upon a slender undead that was advancing toward their position. Much to his surprise, said undead made a swift sidestep, seized the barbarian at the collar and, using his momentum against him, catapulted him several feet away in a fluid motion.

    The roc was not happy. After some wriggling from its prey, it had managed to crush it in its glowing talons and then smash it on the rocks far below; its still warm corpse had been slowly devoured, starting by the eyes. But when it had come back to assay its three remaining tormentors, it had found them dead already, surrounded by strange gaunt figures its intuition told it were undead too. Trying to swoop down to mangle the bodies, it had been able to promptly swallow the tall half-orc and the skinny elf. But the undead had prevented it from touching the maenad. Worse, they had somehow managed to immobilize it to the ground and then collapse a part of the cliff on its body, leaving only its head free. The roc was not happy, and it made it known by screeching as loudly as it could. Those undead would pay, too. Not that they cared: they went back to the titanic spike that protruded from the ground, and started to chant. Still, it screeched.

    It stopped screeching. A moment ago, the maenad had risen, her flesh now dark and cold. Her eyes were two silvery slits in her deformed face. In its deformed face. The former maenad rose and joined the other undead. It was like it now - this was its punishment. The roc felt satisfaction. The other undead remained, though. The roc wondered: once it would have destroyed its imprisoners, what to do for the rest of its undeath ?

    It did not remember its name; it could only recall that it used its mind as a weapon. Now it was chanting with the other bodaks, reading the runes on the Spine. It made it remember something else: a colossal creature, so enormous that it could ensare the whole world in its coils. Chaos made flesh, deeply asleep, an apocalypse to be. It knew it used to look for this creature, for some reason. Maybe it was because it wanted to awaken it, to unleash complete destruction upon this world; to snuff out once and for all every soul of this plane. At any rate, the runes were telling such a tale; and a pleasant tale it was.

    The roc had come to look at the runes too. They were summoning hazy ideas in its mind. They were a promise of destruction, of unraveling all that was. A new dedication started to blossom in its undead heart.

    The bodaks gathered, and for the first time in the last twenty-four hours, one of them spoke. The newcomer's instinct told it that this one, too, could do great things witht the power of its mind. It spoke. It told it of the signs, the deterioration of the climate; the influx of chaotic magic all over the world; the increasing presence of titanic sea monsters. The Leviathan was stirring, and now was the right moment to push it further in this direction. They were its dedicated priests; they prayed and prepared the temple of the Surging Spine. The temple was carved inside a dorsal spine of the Leviathan itself, that had protruded from the earth the previous year. But the Leviathan needed more than priests: it needed crusaders. Creatures of evil, sworn to its cause, that looked far and wide across the lands for more followers, while sowing death and chaos in their path. Loyal servants to thwart the feeble attempts of those who would slow the rise of the monster, wherever they were. The newcomer would be this crusader, riding before the apocalypse, giving a taste of it to this miserable world the gods had created. And, the bodak added, the roc could easily be won over to the cause of the Leviathan. One could see in its dead eye that the elder evil had started its whispers.

    Through the thick gray clouds, it could feel the stinging light of the sun, temporarily kept at bay. They had been waiting for four days, circling high in the sky, and today at last the librarian deigned to appear. Perched atop the Omen, it had just located the thin woman, far below them, riding out of the city by the main gate. The roc, armed with keener eyesight, spoke to its mind:
    "I can see she is holding the book. She probably wants to entrust it to some druid or other hidden-away ermite, so that we won't be able to reach it. Hold on, I think the rider that comes behind her is...a cleric. Probably of Heironeous, given his sigil, and powerful: he holds some sort of solid bolt of energy as a weapon..."
    "We can't attack then, not this close to the city. We follow them, and when they stop to rest, we sack their inn and grab this book. After this one, two other copies of the ritual of Slumber must be destroy-" The communication was suddenly muted.
    "The Mindlink has expired; here is another one. Where were we ?"
    The bodak still had the innate psionic potential of a Wilder: it had escaped death, hidden in its intellect. It was only starting to hone it again in a tool as powerful as it recalled it used to be.

    The inn was drawing closer, apparently deeply asleep. Suddenly, a high-pitched shrill filled the air. Alerted by the Alarm, the cleric bolted out and saw them on the spot despite the black of the night; he immediately barked to the opened door.
    "It's the Alien and the Omen ! Everyone, emergency situation, do as you were told !"
    It could not help but grin. The hideous scarifications it had performed as part of its allegiance to the Leviathan had left such an impression on the survivors of their attacks that they had christened it as such. Nicely enough, it rhymed with its partner's own nickname.
    The cleric was obviously bracing himself to react to some action from the bodak, probably wanting to stall for time. The Alien was pleased to oblige. Focusing in the powers of its mind, it unleashed a blast of invisible, inaudible ray of pure fire. Caught in his waiting, the lackey of Heironeous refrained a curse, as puzzled as he was in pain. A peasant more curious than afraid appeared at the window of the inn, took a look at the protagonists, and fell dead where he stood seconds after.

    "They call me an Omen, they have one. I hope someone will notice that viewed from above, the heads have been disposed to form the rune of the Leviathan."
    "Back to the point, please. She must have escaped during the fight. Let us try the next inn on the road. She can't survive in the woods, She will have to stop in some shelter every night."
    "The woman must not sneak past us one more time, though. As soon as possible, I need the priests of the Surging Spine to teach me that stance that allows to flush out stealthy creatures."

    Spoiler: Overall Glance and Explanation

    The Alien is a Chaotic Evil (Educated Mind ACF) Wilder 12 Bodak. It is riding the Omen, a Chaotic Evil (Unarmed variant) Swordsage 9 Restless Prey Roc.

    Spoiler: Why a bodak, why a Wilder ?

    Well, the bodak's Death Gaze qualifies as a death effect for the purpose of being a Death Cavalier. Moreover, a bodak is not mindless, and its outlook is very classy and unsettling at the same time; this was a good starting point for a death villain. I added psionic levels for the ability for manifesters to completely cancel out the displays of their powers with a Concentration check. This gives a very impressive and unnerving aspect to the Alien: both its gaze and its powers can kill without the bodak moving a single toe, and there isn't any sensitive input that can give the slightest explanation as to what just happened. Thus, death seems to emanate from the mere presence of the villain, and that is what I would expect from a Death Cavalier.
    Wilder was chosen, firstly because it is a non Int-based full manifesting class: bodaks have a -4 racial modifier to Int, but +2 to Cha and Wis. Secondly because, thanks to the Wild Surge class feature, it could allow the bodak to make up for all those lost manifester levels with its 9 undead HDs. And Educated Mind is so much more useful than Volatile Mind.

    Spoiler: Why a roc, why a Swordsage ?

    The bodak needed a mount, but sturdy enough so that it would survive the fight against high-level PCs. An undead one, or else it would have been affected by the Death gaze. A flying one, since flight is mandatory to remain relevant at high levels, and so that the bodak wouldn't spend precious psionic resources to make the two of them airborne. To scale in power and endurance, this mount needed to gain class levels at the same rate as its master, and so it would need an Int of at least 3. This is how I ended up with an intelligent undead roc, with a single template that conveniently provides both the "undead" and the "intelligent" parts at the same time.
    I then wanted to take advantage of that 34 Strength score, so a melee class was needed. Not knowing what to take yet, maybe a Ranger, I knew however that I wanted Pounce. Lion Totem Barbarian was far too easy and unoriginal, I thus tried to grab the Pouncing Charge maneuver through a combination of Martial Study feats -before I realized that I could just directly enter a martial adept class ! Crusaders don't have access to Tiger Claw maneuvers, and below average Int and above average Wis brought me to choose Swordsage over Warblade. As it is difficult to hold a kukri with a pair of talons, Unarmed Swordsage fiinally came out as the best choice.

    Spoiler: Rider
    Spoiler: Ability Scores

    Bodak Mods: Str +2, Dex +4, Con -, Int -4, Wis +2, Cha +2
    Elite Array: Str 12 (10), Dex 16 (12), Con -, Int 10 (14), Wis 15 (13), Cha 17 (15)
    Deformity (gaunt) feat modifier : Dex +2, (Con -2)
    Stat Increases: Cha/Cha/Cha
    Items : Cha +8
    Final Stats: Str 12, Dex 18, Con -, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 20 (+8)

    Spoiler: Gear

    The minimal amount of equipment is needed : +6 Cha enhancement items, +2 Cha increasing tomes. One may add a Third Eye: Clarity (3000 gp, MIC) to negate the dazed condition 1/day. Assuming NPC wealth by level, and the item levels mechanism decribed in the MIC, the Cloak of Charisma +2 comes online at character level 9 (that is, CR 8), the +4 appears at level 14 (or CR 13) and the +6 at level 17 (or CR 16). Meanwhile, the Tome of Leadership and influence are available at character levels 16 and 18 (or CR 15 and 17) for the +1 and +2 inherent bonuses to Cha, respectively. The +3 tome is useless since it gives us an odd Cha stat.

    To sum it up:
    CR 8: Cha +2
    CR 13: Cha +4
    CR 15: Cha +5
    CR 16: Cha +7
    CR 17: Cha +8

    No wealth is used to buy items for the mount, appart from a masterwork saddle and similar mundane oddities.

    Spoiler: Build

    As the Alien has dedicated its unlife to Leviathan, Elder Evils p.10 states that it gains one bonus Vile feat, plus one bonus Vile feat for every 5 HD it has. From CR 8 to CR 20, its HDs range from 9 to 21. Thus, the bodak starts out with two bonus Vile Feats, and gains three more over the course of its crusade.

    The Educated Mind ACF comes from this WoTC article: The Mind's Eye, Expanded Classes Part One. It allows Wilders to lose the Volatile Minc class feature, normally gained at levels 5, 9, 13 and 17, and to gain the Expanded Knowledge feat each time instead. This ACF is enormously beneficial to any Wilder, given their meager 1 power for every two class levels. It becomes vital for the Alien, which absolutely does not have the spare feats to manually take Expanded Knowledge two more times, as he gains the 5th and 9th level benefits of this ACF. The Alien gets from 9 to 11 powers known thanks to this ACF, meaning an increase in powers known of more than 20 %.

    CR Class Manifester Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills ranks Feats Class Features
    8 Bodak (MMI) (9 HD) 0 +4 +3 +7 +8 Concentration 9, Ride 9, Intimidate 6 Hiddent Talent (XPH), Ability Focus : Death Gaze (MMI), Irresistible Gaze (SK), Quicken Power (XPH), Willing Deformity (bonus) (EE), Deformity (gaunt) (bonus) (EE) Death gaze, damage reduction 10/cold iron, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity, resistance to acid 10 and fire 10, undead traits, vulnerability to sunlight
    9 Wilder 1 1 +4 +3 +7 +10 Concentration 11, Ride 9, Psicraft 2, Intimidate 6 Abominable Form (bonus) (EE) Wild Surge +1, Psychic Enervation
    10 Wilder 2 2 +5 +3 +7 +11 Concentration 13, Ride 9, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 6 Elude Touch
    11 Wilder 3 7 +6/+1 +4 +8 +11 Concentration 15, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 7 Practised Manifester (Cpsi) Wild Surge +2
    12 Wilder 4 8 +7/+2 +4 +8 +12 Concentration 16, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 10 Surging Euphoria +1
    13 Wilder 5 9 +7/+2 +4 +8 +12 Concentration 17, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 13 Educated Mind: Crystal Shard
    14 Wilder 6 10 +8/+3 +5 +9 +13 Concentration 18, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 16 Psionic Meditation (XPH), Evil's Blessing (bonus) (EE)
    15 Wilder 7 11 +9/+4 +5 +9 +13 Concentration 19, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 19 Wild Surge +3
    16 Wilder 8 12 +10/+5 +5 +9 +14 Concentration 20, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 20, Bluff 2
    17 Wilder 9 13 +10/+5 +6 +10 +14 Concentration 21, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 21, Bluff 4 Expanded Knowledge (XPH) : Touchsight Educated Mind: Time Hop
    18 Wilder 10 14 +11/+6/+1 +6 +10 +15 Concentration 22, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 22, Bluff 6
    19 Wilder 11 15 +12/+7/+2 +6 +10 +15 Concentration 23, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 23, Bluff 8 Apostate (bonus) (EE) Wild Surge +4
    20 Wilder 12 16 +13/+8/+3 +7 +11 +16 Concentration 24, Ride 10, Psicraft 4, Intimidate 24, Bluff 10 Expanded knowledge: Schism Surging Euphoria +2

    Spoiler: Psionic and Gaze Abilities

    Power known/Powerpoints

    In this table will be included the ever-increasing save DC for the Death Gaze attack of the Alien, (+its augmentation through the use of Cha increasing items).
    The number of power points indicated is equal to the normal power points per Wilder class level (also including the +2 for the Hiddent Talent feat) + the bonus power points for a high Charisma (+ the number of additional power points gained through Cha increasing items). Figures are rounded down, apart from Wilder 1. At this level, the item bumps the Alien's Cha from 16 to 18 and thus gives it one more power point.

    From CR 1 to 8, and thanks to the Hidden Talent feat, the Alien has 2 PP and the Mindlink power.
    From CR 9 onwards :

    CR 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Power points Death Gaze DC
    9 2 - - - - - 4+1,5(+0,5) 22(+1)
    10 3 - - - - - 8+3(+1) 22(+1)
    11 3 - - - - - 13+6(+1) 24(+1)
    12 3 1 - - - - 19+8(+2) 24(+1)
    13 4 1 - - - - 27+10(+5) 25(+2)
    14 4 1 1 - - - 33+12(+6) 25(+2)
    15 4 1 1 - - - 48+14(+10) 26(+3)
    16 4 1 2 0 - - 60+16(+16) 26(+4)
    17 4 1 4 0 - - 74+18(+18) 27(+4)
    18 4 1 4 1 0 - 90+20(+20) 27(+4)
    19 4 1 4 1 0 - 108+27(+22) 29(+4)
    20 4 1 4 2 0 1 128+30(+24) 29(+4)

    Typical powers known :
    1st level:Vigor, Energy ray, Crystal shard (from CR 13 Educated Mind), Mindlink (from Hidden Talent)
    2nd level:Ego whip
    3rd level:Dispel Psionics, Ectoplasmic Cocoon, Time Hop (from CR 17 Educated Mind), Touchsight (from CR 17 Expanded Knowledge)
    4th level:Schism (from CR 20 Expanded Knowledge), Death urge
    5th level:
    6th level:Psionic disintegrate

    All the powers come from the SRD.

    Moreover, since the number of powers known to the Alien is extremely limited, picking one rather than another at any given level makes quite a difference to its overall strategic options. Thus, it has felt appropriate to me to show at which level each power is gained.

    Psionic powers progression:
    CR 9/Wilder 1: Mindlink, Energy ray
    CR 10/Wilder 2: Vigor
    CR 11/Wilder 3:
    CR 12/Wilder 4: Ego Whip
    CR 13/Wilder 5: Educated Mind: Crystal Shard
    CR 14/Wilder 6: Dispel Psionics
    CR 15/Wilder 7:
    CR 16/Wilder 8: Ectoplasmic Cocoon
    CR 17/Wilder 9: Educated Mind: Time Hop, Expanded Knowledge: Touchsight
    CR 18/Wilder 10: Death Urge
    CR 19/Wilder 11:
    CR 20/Wilder 12: Psionic Disintegrate, Expanded Knowledge: Schism

    Spoiler: Mount
    Spoiler: Ability Scores

    Roc stats: Str 34, Dex 15, Con 24, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 11
    Restless Prey modifier : Con -, Int +6, Cha + 6
    Deformity (gaunt) feat modifier : Dex +2, (Con -2)
    Level increases : Wis, Dex
    Final Stats: Str 34, Dex 18, Con -, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 17

    Spoiler: Build

    Just as it is for the Alien, the Omen gains a number of bonus Vile feats thanks to its devotion to the Leviathan. Starting out with 18 HD at CR 11, the Omen first gains 4 Vile bonus feats. By the time it reaches CR 20, with 27 HD, it has gained two more.

    Moreover, the Restless Prey template stipulates that the Restless Prey creature only gains one feat for every 4 HD it has, rather than following the ordinary progression. By RAW, this also extends to the HD it subsequently gains. This is why the roc possesses 4 ordinary feats at CR 11 with 18 HD, and gains two others at CR 13 and CR 17. Unfortunately, the inavailability of a feat when the Omen takes its first level of Swordsage prevents it from obtaining the Adaptative Style feat. By the way, this template comes from this WoTC article : The far corners of the World, Toxic Paradise: Monsters of the Rainforest.

    The Restless Prey template is 3.0 material, but I have not found any 3.5 update anywhere, I thus assumed that it was still valid. I changed the DR 20/+2 into a DR 10/magic according to the guidelines on page 8 of the D&D v3.5 Accessory Update booklet.

    The Unarmed Swordsage variant is given in ToB, at the end of the description of the Swordsage's class features. It removes the Swordsage's light armor proficiency in exchange for the Monk's unarmed strike progression. However, it does not give a free Improved Unarmed Strike, which completely ruins the point of this variant; moreover, by the RAW of the Swordsage's AC bonus class feature, the Swordsage gets Wis bonus to AC only when wearing a light armor, and does not apply if the Swordsage does not wear armor at all. Those two particular details are widely considered to be simple oversight from ToB's authors; this is the stance I will adopt on this matter. Hence the free Improved Unarmed Strike at Swordsage level 1.

    CR Class Initiator level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills ranks Feats Class Features
    11 Restless Roc (MMI) (18 HD) 9 +13 +11 +14 +7 Spot 11, Listen 10 Air Heritage (PlH), Flyby Attack (MMI), Power Attack, Snatch (MMI), Willing Deformity (bonus), Deformity (gaunt) (bonus), Abominable Form (bonus), Harvester of souls (bonus) (EE) Force natural attacks, Cha to damage, Energy drain, Fear aura, Preserved Hide, DR 10/magic, Restless Prey Symbiosis
    12 Unarmed Swordsage 1 10 +13/+8/+3 +11 +16 +9 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 4, Jump 1 Improved Unarmed Strike (Unarmed Swordsage variant bonus feat) Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus) :Tiger Claw
    13 Unarmed Swordsage 2 11 +14/+9/+4 +11 +17 +11 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 9, Jump 1 Evil's Blessing (bonus), Sudden Recovery (ToB) AC bonus, Wis +1
    14 Unarmed Swordsage 3 12 +15/+10/+5 +12 +17 +11 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 14, Jump 1
    15 Unarmed Swordsage 4 13 +16/+11/+6/+1 +12 +18 +12 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 17, Jump 1 Skill trick: Clarity of Vision (CSco) Discipline Focus (Insightful Strike): Tiger Claw
    16 Unarmed Swordsage 5 14 +16/+11/+6/+1 +12 +18 +12 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 22, Jump 1 Quick to Act +2
    17 Unarmed Swordsage 6 15 +17/+12/+7/+2 +13 +20 +13 Spot 11, Listen 10, Tumble 27, Jump 1 Multiattack (MMI) Dex +1
    18 Unarmed Swordsage 7 16 +18/+13/+8/+3 +13 +20 +13 Spot 13, Listen 12, Tumble 28, Jump 1 Apostate (bonus) Sense Magic
    16 Unarmed Swordsage 8 17 +19/+14/+9/+4 +13 +21 +14 Spot 15, Listen 14, Tumble 29, Jump 1 Discipline Focus (Defensive Stance): Tiger claw
    17 Unarmed Swordsage 9 18 +19/+14/+9/+4 +14 +21 +14 Spot 17, Listen 16, Tumble 30, Jump 1 Evasion

    Spoiler: Martial adept abilities

    Maneuvers known/readied

    As the 18 racial HDs of the Roc provide him with an initator level (IL) of 9, its actual IL is equal to 9+its Swordsage level. Thus, it has already access to 5th level maneuvers at its first Swordsage level.

    CR Maneuvers known Maneuvers readied Stances known Highest level of known maneuvers
    12 6 4 1 5
    13 7 4 2 6
    14 8 5 2 6
    15 9 5 2 7
    16 10 6 3 7
    17 11 6 3 8
    18 12 6 3 8
    19 13 7 3 9
    20 14 7 4 9

    Typical known maneuvers / stances:
    1st level:Sudden Leap / Hunter's Sense, Flame's Blessing
    2nd level:
    3rd level: / Leaping Dragon's Stance
    4th level:
    5th level:Disrupting Blow, Pouncing Charge, Dancing Mongoose / Hearing the Air
    6th level:Desert Tempest, Moment of Alacrity, Rabid Bear Strike
    7th level:Quicksilver Motion, Swooping Dragon Strike, Inferno Blade
    8th level:Raging Mongoose, Diamond Defense
    9th level:Time Stands Still, Feral Death Blow

    The spoiler below shows how each maneuver is acquired and/or swapped, in order to constantly respect the limitations on highest level maneuver known and known maneuvers prerequisites.

    Maneuvers known progression:
    CR 12/Swordsage 1: Moment of Perfect Mind, Mind over Body, Disrupting Blow, Wolf Fang Strike, Sudden leap, Pouncing Charge/ Leaping Dragon's Stance
    CR 13/Swordsage 2: Dancing Mongoose/ Hearing the Air
    CR 14/Swordsage 3: Rabid Bear Strike
    CR 15/Swordsage 4: Inferno Blade, swap Wolf Fang Strike for Swooping Dragon Strike
    CR 16/Swordsage 5: Quicksilver Motion/ Flame's Blessing
    CR 17/Swordsage 6: Diamond Defense, swap Mind over Body for Raging Mongoose
    CR 18/Swordsage 7: Moment of Alacrity
    CR 19/Swordsage 8: Feral Death Blow, swap Moment of Perfect Mind for Time Stands Still
    CR 20/Swordsage 9: Desert Tempest/ Hunter's Sense
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2016-10-10 at 09:42 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default The Alien and the Omen: Death (2/2)

    Spoiler: Sources

    The following sources have been used:

    Spoiler: CR 11 highlight

    First, a little talk about power balance. The Alien and its ally the Omen are meant to be fought several times over a campaign, pitted against 11-20th level PCs. Although the Alien alone has a minimal CR of 8, its mount starts out at 11. Even though the particular rules of this challenge tell us that the CR of the Mount is not accounted for when calculating the total CR of the villains, it seems a stretch of the ruleset to give the Rider a Mount more powerful than it is, in order to pump up power and bypass CR limitations. This is why from now on, I will assume that the Alien and the Omen will always come into play in the adventure with equal CRs. This is already supposed to add 2 to the overall CR of the encounter. However, PCs are expected to deal with monsters of a CR equal to the average level of the party four times per day, or monsters with a CR two higher than the average level of the party two times per day. As nemesises of the PCs, the Rider and its Mount can be expected to be a tad stronger than the average CR-equal-party level random encounter the party might fall into. Thus, even though the total CR of a battle against the Alien and the Omen is equal to the CR of the Alien +2, it is entirely reasonable to pit the duo against a party of an average level of the Alien's CR. And this is why, as the minimum CR of the Mount is 11, the lowest CR at which the PCs might encounter the bodak and the roc is 11.

    Spoiler: How to play it as a plot hook

    As powerful servants of the elder evil Leviathan, the Alien and the Omen try to further its agenda (as is, total destruction of all order and awakening the slumbering, deeply underwater, coiled-around-the-whole-planet monster) as soon as they can. Thus, the first time the PCs hear of the Alien might be when they are resting in a town, and popular rumor has it that a nearby thorp has been entirely depopulated overnight, without anything being stolen or damaged. The whole population has simply vanished. As the PCs go inquiring at dawn, they may glance a dark birdlike creature spinning away high in the sky, or fading in the fleeing night. Once they're in place, a quick Search reveals the location of the bodies - or what remains of them : all of the heads have been savagely severed and disposed at the bottom of the well. Strange runes are painted with blood all around the well's edge. As it turns out, these runes are foretelling the soon to be awakening of the Leviathan.
    As the chase starts, the PCs are closing in, and the more desolated small towns they find, the more distinctively they can see the ominous shape of a titanic bird, each time flying away from them but each time closer. The puzzling massacres always occur by night. Finally, they arrive just in time to see the Alien finishing the eradication of a last small thorp. A terrified farmer tries to flee, but suddenly dies where he stands without a single sound. Carelessly looking at the PCs,who must immediately save against its Death gaze, the Alien mounts on the Omen and, still without a sound, gesture or display, flies away in a giant leap. This time, the bodak has not had enought time to pile on the heads into some waterpond and draw the unholy runes of the Leviathan.
    Now that they have seen it, the PCs can then start to foray for various informations about the creature. They discover that it does not content itself with killing every living form it can encounter : it also makes sure that the souls will never be able to come back. Its sinister mount Coup de Grâces the victims with its Harvester of souls feat, then severs the head and eats the body. Tales relate that although headless bodies have sometimes been recovered, standard resurrection magic mysteriously fails to bring them back. The servant of the Leviathan is a (un)living foreshadowing of the Apocalypse to come with the awakening of the ancient monster. Always silent, always still, it seems to cause death and desolation by its mere presence. Wherever it goes, sorrow follows. It is Death incarnate.
    The PCs finally manage to confront the Alien in the last few hours before the sun rises, accompanied by DMPCs of some sort: terrified city watch, Crusader of Pelor, etc. These DMPCs, of course, are only here to get worfed by the Alien, as well as to show its modus operandi to the PCs. The bodak finally realises that those pesky cockroaches might actually prevent him from advancing the rise of the Leviathan, and let the party catch up with it for a confrontation.

    When all the NPCs are dead, or one of the PCs has fallen to the bodak's Gaze, or if the Rider is about to be taken out, a sudden out-of-season blizzard sweeps over the battlefield. It is a consequence of Leviathan stirring in its sleep, as its minions sow death and destruction to herald its arrival. Seeing this as a sacred message, XXX departs at the moment, understanding that it has only lost too much time dealing with these earthbound ignorants. The Ritual of Slumber must be found, wherever it is hidden. Moreover, the sun is about to rise, and bodaks are tickled by its fiery bite.

    Spoiler: The duo in battle

    Here is the first trick of the villains: the Omen swoops down on one of the DMPCs, attacking it with Flyby Attack. It attacks for a +16 to-hit while pumping up +5 Power Attack, and reliably hits, since it always performs touch attacks with the Restless Prey template; these attacks also ignore any DR. It deals an average of 27 damage (it also adds Cha to damage with the template), which is not too shabby: an 11th level rogue with Con 14 has 63 HP. With the Snatch feat, it automatically initiates a grapple (+24 modifier, + the leftovers of the roc's BAB) and then carries on its move action (per the Flyby Attack) and gets some 200ft away from battle. Indeed, the Air Heritage feat grants it +30ft to its base fly speed, which is then doubled by the Restless Prey template. In the process, the Omen deals a negative level with no save by the mere contact of its talons. Its Fear aura also ensures that, save for fear immunity, the target is either shaken (on a successful save) or cowering (on a failed save, it panicks them is caught in the talons of the roc, making it effectively cornered). At any rate, -2 to saves and attack rolls, in addition to the -1 from the negative level, which makes the grapple check easier, as well as any psionic powers that would follow; a cowering guy can take no actions for 20 rounds or so, so it is done for. The save DC is 22, so not too bad when an 11th level fighter will scramble for a +7 Will save. To top it off, the Abominable Form feat, taken by each villain, forces two DC 19 Will saves against shaken for one round. On the same round as a free action, the roc can let its prey fall. 200ft with a 45° upwards inclination, the maximum allowed by average maneuverability, gets us 140ft aboveground. As a falling PC gets down 150ft in the first round of fall, the character takes 14d6 right away, so 49 additional damage.

    The PCs, however, may have Freedom of Movement (FoM), Death Ward (DW), Fear immunity (FI) or Fly. But it is unlikely that all of them are protected by these spells. The one who lacks FoM gets Snatched away.

    The one who lacks DW gets Death Gazed away: save DC 25, ouch. An 11th level Cleric with Wis 20 has Will +12, so death is more likely than survival. This is what a Death Rider is about. So the party will have to fight with closed eyes, giving concealment or total concealment.
    As for the psionic side of things, Wild Surge (WS) +2 and Practised Manifester give us Manifester Level (ML) 9, only 2 less than full manifesting for a CR 11 Psion. Only 18 power points prove our downfall, though. Vigor for +20 HP at ML 4 on the first round while the Omen Snatches away from battle, then two Energy Rays (ER) for 40 damage on average at ML 9 on the following turns, no save, and +10 to-hit on the touch attack. The Alien readies an action to Energy Ray the next target to be Snatched just before it is seized by the Omen. The ability to to damage to objects with a Sonic ER grants some versatility : Bet that +1 Disruption heavy mace doesn't have nearly as much hit points as its paladin - or the roof behind the feets of this Daring Outlaw. Mindlink allow it to communicate with the Omen even though the roc does not know any language.
    And here is the second trick: per the SRD, the Alien can make a Concentration check with a DC of 15+power level to suppress all displays of the power. So the PCs -and the players too !- can't understand what happens. Objects explode, characters suffer invisible burns or electrical shocks, but they can't see exactly what is going on. Very flavorful for It which rides before Death: everythings gets destroyed seemingly by its mere presence !

    The bodaks thus pumps up Concentration. Ride is high enough to auto-succeed on DC 15 checks (with a masterwork saddle), which are the highest relevant checks it can be brought to make. The roc pumps up detection skills, to more benefit of its +8 racial bonus. It can already beat the DC 20 for detecting an immobile, invisible creature.

    The villains don't have that many HPs, nor saves, nor AC. But the roc is so fast that is can begin its turn 100ft away from battle, shuffle right through the melee, damage a character on the way, get the bodak to fire off a readied ray, and flee 100ft away again, consuming the last 20ft of movement to make a U-turn (average maneuverability). PCs can ready actions, too, but melee characters, even fllying ones, will never ever land a full-round attack, and neither will short-range blasters, precision-damage (with Truedeath Crystals) dealers and the like.

    Spoiler: CR 15 highlight
    Spoiler: How to play it as a plot hook

    As the manifestations of Leviathan's return grow stronger, the PCs might get distracted in their pursuit. Windstorms settle and disappear at random, the tide does not follow its normal cycle anymore. Many people need their help. Thus, by the time the PCs meet the Alien again, they have dealt with other subplots, and gained a few levels. They are not the only ones.
    The party was foraging into the royal library, looking for a copy of the Ritual of Slumber; which has the power to put the Leviathan to sleep again. No sooner have they entered than they can glance the Alien entering the library by the opposite side after having demolished the wall, looking to destroy said book. A trail of headless corpses in the street behind the hall marks the passage of the Emissary of Death. The party's casters haven't prepared a particularly high number of Freedom of Movement, nor Heal, nor Death Ward. The battle will at first occur among the shelves, both barricades and weapons. The Omen doesn't fit through the hole in the wall: it will spend the first few rounds to further demolish it, in order to get in. After a tense battle during which the library is set on fire, the Alien manages to escape with just the right page ripped from the book, intent to destroy it in a special dead magic zone to prevent Limited Wishes to repair it. The party follows, and a furious aerial race begins.

    Spoiler: The duo in battle

    The basics of this CR is the apparition of Dispel Psionics. It allows Snatching, Fear auras and Death Gaze to remain relevant despite the ever-increasing presence of DW, FoM, FI, and the like. The Alien can deliver a ML 13 Dispel Psionics (DP), for a 1d20+18 dispel check. Against a CL 16 (15 +1 for a Ioun stone, for example) DW, we get a 60% success chance. An area DP has high chances to switch off the DW or FoM of two or three party members, but can't affect items such as Ring of FoM.
    Moreover, we now get WS +3; so manifesting said DP only costs us 10 power points (pp). In case of psychic enervation, we only lose 7 pp. Once per day, the Third Eye: Clarity negates the Daze. But for a villain, once per day is just like once per encounter anyway. This is also the reason that explains that though the Alien only has 82 pp, it can remorselessly eat them all in a few rounds of nova, whereas a PC could clearly not.

    -Once DW is removed, Save DC 29 Death Gaze is very powerful. A 15th level Fighter with Wis 12 and a +4 cloak of resistance has Will +10.
    The bodak also hits very hard with Surging Euphoria +1 (SE +1). +1 to saves and to-hit is nice, +1 to damage rolls (not excluding ability damage rolls) is great. ML 14 fire or cold Energy Ray deals 14d6+28 damage. Add in another, Quickened one : 8d6+16 damage. So, 114 in total. No save, only SR. Those with good Will saves to resist Death Gaze, like Clerics with Con 16, have 116 HPs. Gloups. Crystal shard can hit characters with very high touch ACs since it allows no to-hit, no save, no SR, only DR.
    Ego Whip augmented at ML 11 and boosted by SE +1 dishes out 3d4+3 Cha damage, or 10.5; this one-shots any Cha-dumping character who fail a DC 22 Will save. The save is only average but remember that the duo of villains impose three successive saves against being shaken by their mere presence. Once the Fighter is helpless with Cha 0, the Omen Coup de Grâces him right away (since the faster of the duo always delays its turn to act just after the slower), using a combination of 5ft-steps, Sudden Leap and 15ft-reach to get to him and still have a full-round action. With Harvester of souls, hello to temporary HP and goodbye to anything but Wish to bring the PC back - getting a scroll of one can sustain a sidequest. If the fight happens midair, the PC falls right away, which is hilarious !
    A Quickened Vigor gives us 40 temporary HP. By the way, move actions are useless to the Alien but to fuel its Psionic Meditation feat, ensuring that it will get two powers each round. The advantage of having a mount.
    Concentration is still pumped, while Intimidate is for Cha synergy, +5 bonus from Deformity feats, and fluff, not fight: The Rider of Death's reputation sends ennemies flying ! The Intimidate+Mindlink trick (see the Murky LAW section) is now online. Psicraft is a prerequisite for Psionic Meditation.
    Evil's Blessing pumps up the saves by a +6, and once again for a villain, five-rounds duration = permanent.

    -If a FoM is dispelled, then go Snatch strategy ! The Alien readies an Energy Ray to unleash on the prey once the Omen lets it drop, just before the Omen Dive attacks to finish it off. Dealing nonlethal damage on purpose can allow for a Coup de Grâce the following round.

    -If PCs can't be singled out, the Omen is now a level 4 Unarmed Swordsage, unarmed damage 4d6. It uses very offensive and debuffing maneuvers, like Disrupting blow. However, the Omen needs Mind Over Body and Moment of Perfect Mind as prerequisites, though it doesn't have ranks in Concentration. As an airborne fighter, the roc does not touch the ground, and so Stone Dragon maneuvers can't be used. Wisdom is too low for Shadow Hand maneuvers' save DCs to be high enough, and teleporting effects are useless since they don't teleport the Alien with them. Setting Sun impairs but does not kill ennemies, so the Omen does not learn from this discipline either.
    Typical readied maneuvers : Pouncing Charge, Swooping Dragon Strike, Inferno Blade, Sudden Leap, Dancing Mongoose.
    In Leaping Dragon's stance, the roc applies Weapon Focus to unarmed strikes, and Wis to damage. On any character with touch AC of 16 or less (about touch attacks, see the Murky LAW section), a combination of Pouncing Charge and Dancing Mongoose statistically dishes out 225 damage (no DR). This is 222 for Inferno Blade + Pouncing Charge -readied again through Sudden Recovery- assuming no fire resistance on the PC. What is great is the opportunity to distribute the iteratives amongst the PCs, thanks to the 15ft reach and a 5ft step: more negative levels dealed, and the roc can outright kill a PC while severly disabling another one. A +91 Jump modifier (thanks to 220ft fly speed, see the Murky LAW section) allows for an auto-stun with Swooping Dragon; once again, a stunned flying character just falls 150ft, meaning if a comrade wants to rescue it, it will lose at least a move action to get to its altitude - if it can make it at all ! The Jump check involved also allows for a complete 100ft repositioning without any AoOs. Sudden Leap provides the same benefit, or allows for another pseudo-Pounce. All in all, the roc has something to do with swift actions for 5 rounds, maximizing action economy profit. Note that, for added mobility, strikes like Swooping Dragon or Disrupting Blow can be made as part of a Flyby Attack, or a Snatch attempt - let's stun the Snatched away Psion so he can't Dimension Hop away on its next turn.
    Here again, Evil's Blessing grants +3 to all saves. Hearing the Air informs you that invisible ennemies are near, then Clarity of Vision skill trick pinpoints them as a swift action. This makes up for not pumping perception skills. All the moving around by the roc is facilitated by a +23 Tumble modifier, always handy for AoOs. 1 rank in Jump allows not to fall on one's butt at the end of a successful Jump check, as normal for untrained Jump use.

    The duo now has great saves, and is still enormously master of the battlefield with its speed. Lack of SR is okay since the main spells that affect undead, don't allow saves but allow SR are blasts, which means casters have to fight in a suboptimal way. Concealment from opponents closing their eyes because their DW got dispelled helps immensely. However, even with Vigor, their HPs (107 +70 temporary, and 149 for the Alien and the Omen) and their ACs (22 and 23) are ridiculous: if the hit-and-run Snatching fails, full attacks can occur; and then a well-placed moderately-optimised pounce or True Death Crystal Sneack Attack or Orb of Energy or Disintegrate...well, if the villain can't be beaten, what is the point of using it ?

    Spoiler: CR 20 highlight; sweet spot
    Spoiler: How to play it as a plot hook

    Now, this bodak and his roc are no laughing matter. When the Alien reaches a new city, at first the inhabitants will spot the now infamous shape of the Omen, rapidly growing in the stormy sky. The Alien even dares to appear under the bright sun, bolstering itself with false life against its sting; but the bright sun never lasts for more than a mere minutes before a blizzard or a sandstorm unnaturally strikes down. Citizens flee before the Rider of Death. City watch gathers, clerics leave their temples and incantate, warded against death magic. As the duo closes in, everyone can see the wrenching deformation it brought upon itself. Defenders flee. Others close their eyes and wait for the clerics to command them. The Omen swoops over the fortifications without attacking, but its mere presence sends dozen more running for their lives. At the moment the roc flies above the clerics, an invisible, insensible wave of psionic energy washes away their divine protections. Doing a swift aerial U-turn, the Omen comes back, and the Alien looks at them. Some die on the instant, others survive, but their brains has not yet processed that they are still alive than they suddenly turn into piles of smoke. Turn Undead, Undeath to Death, Holy Word, nothing seems to affect Death that Rides. Waiting orders who don't come, soldiers glance around and meet their fate. Defenders suddenly freeze while they are drawing a sword or a scroll, or decide to stab their own eyes out. Some others suddenly fall into a dreamless catatonia. A few number is consumed by invisible fire, implodes with inaudible destructive harmonics, is frozen to death by intangible ice. The last survivors, trying to hide between a wall of shields, see huge bloody holes appear out of nowhere in their comrades, just as if some blazingly fast yet invisible blade had perforated them from side to side. Only then does the Omen land on the parapet, and methodically decapitates the dying ones, while the remains of the dead abruptly poof out of existence into piles of dust, one at a time. The Alien has not made a single move. The duo has not uttered a single sound. That is a Rider of Death.
    But despite its best endeavors, the PCs have managed to unearth the final copy of the Ritual of Slumber, and they are intent on carrying it on no matter the cost. All around the world, sunken mountains randomly rise, coastal cities are submerged in a matter of minutes, inland volcanoes appear out of nowhere and devastate entire capitals. Leviathan avatars have been spotted: the final sign of the resurgence of the Elder Evil. As a forewarning of what is to come, mortals have discovered with horror than anyone dying within a large radius around the avatars has its soul destroyed to pieces by the seeping essence of the Leviathan (Elder Evils p.69). Even gods can't bring them back. This is what the Alien and the Omen have been emulating all this time.
    The PCs are now engaged in the temple of the Surging Spine, on the very back of the stirring creature. The titanic bony protrusion is hollowed out in immense cavelike chambers. Two weeks ago, the party has cleansed the place of five powerful bodak priests, among which the mentors of our Rider and its Mount. Now, rested and equipped, the PCs return to finish the job.They try to access the lower part of the temple to find the ritual room; the door has ominously closed behind them. But as they forage around the room, surrounded by the same runes that the Alien used to paint everywhere, a Time Hop ends. The Alien and the Omen were waiting for the party, and had hidden themselves in time itself to surprise the intruders.
    Since any dead character during the fight is supposed to never be able to resurrect, this climactic battle is a good moment to bring the campaign to an end, whether the Evil is finally put back to sleep or manages to fully awake and unravel all that is.

    Spoiler: The duo in battle

    Many powerful additions to the Alien's arsenal appear. Touchsight is as useful in-battle than out, to prevent the PCs from avoiding the encounter. Time Hop gives a lot of flexibility, as shown above. One cubic meter of air weighs roughly two pounds. Why not make all the oxygen in the closed room disappear at once ? Death Urge is a Will-based save or die very thematically fitting: people may run away and avert their eyes, but all of a sudden they start to stab themselves ! No escape is possible. Moreover, in an aerial battle, an affected PC might chose to voluntarily crash to the ground, for extra fun if not extra damage (see the Murky LAW section). Ectoplasmic Cocoon is a Ref-based save or die, since it makes people helpless, that is, Coup de Grâced on the following turn. Moreover, as display is hidden, the target seems to suddenly freeze for no reason. Visual, but also material display is simply not there, so even probing the air around the character won't reveal the cocoon ! Add in a Fort DC 33 Death Gaze, and we have save or dies for all saves. WS +4 allows the bodak to get full ML ! Thus, it can pump the save DC of all of its powers to 29. Any 20th character is likely to have a bad save not exceeding +16.
    But here are the big guns, the reason why this is the sweet spot. Schism, Disintegrate, SE +2. SE +2 allows a max boosted Ego Whip to dish out 5d4+10 Cha damage, or 22,5. Wilders are well-known blasters: Energy Ray can pump up to 20d6+60, or 130. Disintegrate, while allowing Fort save, delivers 220 damage, and leaves no corpse, so hard time resurrecting that, even far from a Leviathan Avatar. But between Schism and Quicken spell, the Alien can really go nova. 182 pp allow for three rounds of that. Start the encounter with Schism, Vigor and Touchsight on. Get a surprise round with the Time Hop trick. Then, Quicken Electricity (for +3 to hit, total +20) Energy Ray the 180 HP rogue with a WS +4: 49 damage. Third Eye: Clarity away the eventual Daze. Now, Schismed Energy ray, Fire rather than Electricity since SE gave us +2 to-hit; at WS +1 to be safe, 61 damage. Finally, standard action area Dispel Psionics, dispel check 1d20+20 this time, no need to WS.
    Following round: if the Omen is swooping, ready a max power Disintegrate, Ectoplasmic Cocoon or Death Urge, plus a Schismed Disintegrate (for readying two manifesting at a time, see the Murky LAW section) and fire them off "when the Omen gets at less than 50ft from at least one PC", for example. During your turn, manifest Quickened Time Hop on the ground beneath a PC's feet, or Vigor to heal temporary HP, or activate Evil's Blessing: +9 to saves (and another +2 from SE). If the Omen is in the thick of it, targeted Death Gaze, or maxed out Ectoplasmic Cocoon, or Death Urge, or Disintegrate (if DW did not get dispelled) a PC to oblivion. And fire off two more WS +1 Disintegrate for 121 damage each, one to finish off the Rogue, one to get the Bard at less than half HP. So, if all works well, the Alien has many options to down two PCs per round.
    Intimidate is maxed out, still for fluff, and Bluff comes along for the synergy. How can one guess the thoughts of a never-speaking, never moving undead ? It keeps enhancing the flavorful Intimidate + Mindlink trick too.

    The Omen is equally a terror to behold. Typical maneuvers readied: Time Stands Still, Feral Death Blow, Raging Mongoose, Inferno Blade, Pouncing Charge, Moment of Alacrity, Swooping Dragon Strike. Typical Stance: Pouncing Dragon's Stance.
    If the roc has he opportunity to Snatch away a non-FoM foe, it does this: Start a move action, initiate Swooping Dragon's Strike in the middle of it thanks to Flyby attack. Deal a negative level in the process. Start a grapple with a +43 modifier. Fly 100 ft away. If this maneuver is already expanded, just use a Swift Recovery to gain it again.
    In head-on battles, the Omen is now incredibly mortal. 4d8 unarmed damage. With a +36 Tumble modifier, making 10ft -instead of 5ft- steps as a DC 40 Tumble check (OA rule) is almost guaranteed, the roc can thus reach out to 25ft around. Multiattack is very useful, since full attacks are made very often. Power Attack -12, Inferno Blade and Time Stands Still gives us +16/+13/+13/+11/+6/+1 touch attacks, twice, dealing a statistical damage total against touch AC 18 of 530 damage, of which roughly 220 is fire damage. There is largely enough to kill two PCs with a weak touch AC, as it is very likely that two PCs at once will be within reach. PCs with better touch AC have less HP, so it evens out. What a sweet spot !
    Other options include Feral Death Blow (death against Fort DC 31), followed by a Quicksilver Motion to get out of melee, or Raging Mongoose Pouncing Charge. The latter deals respectively 335 damage agains touch AC 18, one-hit ko on a frontliner; or without Power Attack, 242 against touch AC 30, one-hit ko on the rogue.
    Pouncing Dragon's stance still enables the three Discipline Focuses to kick in. Flame's blessing grants fire immunity. Hunter's Sense provides with overland Track; Hearing the air allow for a +31 Listen check, assuring the evil duo to roll for initiative at long distance; moreover it provides redundancy with Touchsight and Clarity of Vision to better foil close invisible opponents.
    Tumble gives us 10ft steps and avoiding of most AoOs, in particular when used with Desert Tempest to escape the heat of the battle while damaging everyone.
    The roc's saves are high thanks to Evil's Blessing and Apostate, but it still has ridiculous HP and ACs, and undead immunities are easily bypassed at CR 20, this is why...

    ...as a rule, the Omen gets away from the PCs as much as it can and only hits with Flyby Attack + a strike maneuver, or hits and run with Quicksilver Motion. As much as possible, the Alien singles out foes by dispelling the FoM, and the roc Snatches them 100ft away; even though, if not Stunned, they can Teleport out of a Grapple at this level, they will rarely flee 100ft in the process, so the Omen can catch up (while the Alien makes them helpless as shown above) and Coup de Grâce them while they are still isolated. The big guns who kill PCs on the spot but let the other ones at close range should only be used if they let no more than one PC at close quarters. The duo has high saves, but its HP and AC are so miserable that it needs to avoid facing too many direct damage dealers as much as possible, as it can be brought down in one round.

    The duo too, however, has the potential to wipe out an entire 4-characters 20th level party in one round, and the PCs know that, since they have already fought twice with the villains. The battle can very quickly tip either way. The players will probably be incredibly cautious in their play, as death is definitive; this will give a very gritty fight. Or they will be reckless and sacrifice themselves beyond any resurrection for the cause of good: what a blazing end to a campaign ! Either way, roleplay and fun come out winners.

    Spoiler: Murky RAW lawyering

    Here we get the following issues looked at.

    1. Schism and Death Gaze

      Schism states, per the SRD: "Your new “second mind” does not control your body physically but is free to take one standard action in each round if the action is purely mental (such as manifesting a power)."
      Gaze attack, on the other hand (still per the SRD): "A creature with a gaze attack can actively attempt to use its gaze as an attack action. The creature simply chooses a target within range, and that opponent must attempt a saving throw."

      So, can the Schismed mind use its standard action to target a Gaze attack ? Nowhere in the Gaze attack text it is said that the creature must physically turn its head to make eye contact with its opponent, so by RAW that means that targetting a Gaze attack would qualify as a "purely mental action". However, it doesn't seem very logical that the creature does not have to move even its pupils to target the Gaze, so I suppose this is up to you, the DM.
      The consequence is not that marginal. Its means that at CR 20, the Alien can use Psionic Dispel at ML 16 with its normal mind, and so without having to Wild Surge; and gets a Dispel check of 1d20+20, instead of 1d20+18 80% of the time, and being Dazed the remaining 20%. Then, its Schismed mind could Death Gaze the Dispelled character. Generally speaking, having the Schismed mind performing a Gaze attack instead of manifesting bypasses entirely the -6 to ML it gets.
      I'm on the RAI side on this one, but this can be used a a leverage factor to enhance the Alien's power in a pinch.

    2. Jump and fly speed

      By the SRD: "Your Jump check is modified by your speed. [...] If your speed is greater than 30 feet, you gain a +4 bonus for every 10 feet beyond 30 feet." It does not say what kind of speed. Once again, by RAW, Fly speed qualifies as a "speed" for this purpose. Given the 220ft fly speed of the Omen, it nets it a +76 bonus to Jump. By RAI, it seems quite logical too, as for a flying creature, a jump is no more than a flight of very short duration.
      Why does it matter ? The save DC of the Swooping Dragon strike to avoid Stun is the result of a Jump check. Moreover, the Sudden Leap boost allows to move the result of a Jump check a a swift action. The Feral Death Blow strike needs a Jump check that beats the target's AC bonus. And if the fly speed bonus is ruled out, then the Roc only has ranks +8 (for its 40ft land speed, +2 from Air Heritage feat and Tumble synergy) or ranks +12 (if the Alien uses the "Spur Mount" ability with a DC 15 Ride check to give it +10ft speed for one round) as a Jump modifier. The Leaping Dragon's stance directly gives a bonus to Jump expressed in feet, and so it can't be added to the result of the Jump check.

      This means that the roc now has to pump up Jump and to give up either Spot or Listen, which I find a pity. I'm on the RAW side on this one.

    3. Force attacks and unarmed strikes

      The Restless Prey template stipulates : "A restless prey creature's natural attacks are composed of pure force and remain the same as those of the base creature, except that they are force attacks and they ignore armor, natural armor, and shield bonus, as touch attacks do. A restless prey creature's force attacks are not subject to damage reduction."

      The Rules of the Game: Unarmed Attacks (Part Two) article holds that "A creature can choose to treat its unarmed attacks as its primary attacks and its natural weapons as secondary attacks. (This method is normally used to add weapon attacks to a natural attack routine.) The creature must make all unarmed attacks with its primary limb, which prevents that hand from being used for a natural attack such as a claw or slam."

      Now, by RAW the creature that uses one of its primary limbs to deal unarmed strikes doesn't get Force unarmed strike, since they are no natural attacks. In the case of the Omen, this means it will forgo one of its talon attacks, and gain four ordinary unarmed strikes plus one talon and one beak Force natural attacks.
      But common sense dictates that, as the unarmed strikes are made with a Force talon, and the other Force talon deals Force natural attacks, the unarmed strikes must be Force ones too. It would make no sense that, simply because the Roc uses its two talons differently in an attack, one of them suddenly ceases to be made of Force. In which case, one wonders out of what it is made, since the talon is not sheathed by a Force effect, or similar : it is physically made out of Force.

      The difference is of great importance. It dictates whether the Omen can dish out, in a full attack, 2 touch attacks ignoring all damage reduction, or 6. Or 10 with the Raging Mongoose boost. Personnally, I am in favor or RAI; but generally speaking, as the DMs has the final say and the DM is you, this matter (as with all others) easily become another leveraging factor, that you can play with or not depending of how the fight turns out.

    4. Death Urge and flight

      Funny one. The Death Urge power states that "A subject close to an immediate and lethal hazard such as a cliff or a fire might hurl itself off the cliff or into the fire instead of striking itself with a weapon." At high levels, all of the fights will happen in the air, with flying PCs and fllying villains. So, a flying PC affected by this power might simply dive to the ground at maximum speed, as it is standing above the void, which certainly stands for a hazard both immediate and lethal. A character that stops flying falls 150ft the first round. So the Alien has to move the fight at just the right altitude, and the PC gets to the ground and 15d6 damage. The advantage of this compared to the simple "I attack myself at full force" is that if a fellow PC wants to come in and dissipate the spell/heal the guy, it will have to get to the ground too, losing at least one turn in the process, and then get up again, losing yet another turn.

      I'm confident that's pretty RAW, since if the character would "hurl itself off the cliff", there's no reason it wouldn't hurl itself in the void. The only reason that could go the other way round is that the PC is very likely to hurt itself more by an auto-critical hit full attack that by crashing to the ground, so the player might feel spoiled if this is not what happens and it makes the PC out of help's reach. Once again, usable if the bodak needs some breathing room in a fight, whether your players like it or not.

    5. Schism and readied actions

      So, we already pointed out that the standard action granted each round by Schism can only be a purely mental action. Now, what does the SRD tell us about readying actions ?
      Here you go. The SRD states that you can, for example, ready a counterspell. Then, when the triggering condition occurs, if you "can cast that same spell (are able to cast it and have it prepared, if you prepare spells)", the counterspell goes off. Emphasis mine. Here, the SRD shows us that the availability of the readied action is not checked when the action is readied, but when the action is carried out.
      To my understanding, this means a Schismed mind could use its standard action to, say, make the left eye of the character wink after one full minute has expired. But then, after one minute, the following sequence would start.

      1. What is the readied action ? Make the left eye wink.
      2. Is the triggering condition met ? Yes.
      3. Is the Schismed mind able to make an eye wink ? Since this is not a purely mental action, no.
      4. Is the readied action carried out ? No.

      The Schismed mind would not carry out the action.
      The Rules Compendium mostly only reformulates the SRD, however it explains that "Think of a ready action like a basic computer program: if this happens, then this occurs." This is why it seemed accurate to me to express the above sequence as a sort of computer algorithm.

      As a consequence, as manifesting a power is a purely mental action, I believe that by RAW a Schismed mind not only can ready the manifestation of a power just as well as he can ready an action to scratch the nose of the manifester, but it also will manifest it when the right conditions occur, whereas it won't scratch the nose. And I think it seems quite logical and not too much far-fetched, either.

      The consequence ? When the Omen makes a Flyby Attack on the PCs, the Alien can ready two manifestings instead of one, once it gets Schism. One of those powers, at ML -6. The difference in power is minor, but not insignificant.

    6. Intimidate and Mindlink

      The use of the Intimidate skill out of battle allow you to turn any character to "friendly" attitude for a short duration, if you beat the opposite skill check. Now, "friendly" means that the actions the friendly character can take are "Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate". Does this mean that a friendly character can be considered a "willing target" for a harmless spell or effect ? The SRD is not of great help about what "willing" means, either. So, without a clear definition, it is hard to find some RAW telling us that yes, a friendly character can be considered willing to be targeted by a spell that doesn't make him act more than "Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate".

      This means that by RAW it is unclear whereas a character bullied by Intimidate is willing to be targeted by a Mindlink by the Alien. The bodak just needs information; it could perfectly vocally ask the Intimidated NPC, and, as a friendly character, the NPC would answer. But vocally expressing oneself is far below the condition of the Rider of Death; this is why it prefers to coax its victims into accepting a Mindlink, before telepathically questioning them.
      If the PCs stumble upon such a situation between the bodak and an NPC, the DM can of course let this fly by Rule of Cool; however, if a PC happens to be the target of such a manipulation, the player might want a more proper RAW frame for his character, hence the need for this discussion.

      I ultimately think that this technique is at least RAI pertaining to what the Intimidate skill allows; and to satisfy an unhappy player, as a DM I would allow the PC an opposed Will check to let the PC momentarily take the upper hand in the telepathic discussion and manage to force the bodak to answer one question. At any rate, the flavor this technique adds is worth the trouble of justifying it, so I would allow it to work. And even if another DM doesn't, it ultimately does not make a great difference in the Alien's power or in its depth as a villain.

  24. - Top - End - #114
    Titan in the Playground
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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default The Examiner

    The Examiner
    CE Advanced Ghoul Bard 4/Lyric Thaumaturge 1/Sublime Chord 2/Virtuoso 9/Lyric Thaumaturge 1

    Ability Scores and Languages

    Strength: 14
    Dexterity: 17 + 1 = 18
    Constitution: -
    Intelligence: 16
    Wisdom: 14
    Charisma: 17 + 5 = 22

    Scores are Elite Array with racial modifiers.

    The level 4 increase goes into Dexterity. All level increases after that go to Charisma.

    Languages: Common, Undercommon, Abyssal

    Build Table

    CR Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Special Abilities
    1st Ghoul (5 RHD) +2 +1 +1 +4 Hide 8, Move Silently 4, UMD 4, Diplomacy 4, Listen 4, Profession (astrologer) 4, Intimidate 8 Martial Study (Crusader's Strike),
    Imperious Command
    Ghoul Fever, Paralysis, Never Outnumbered
    2nd Bard +2 +3 +1 +6 Hide 8, Move Silently 4, UMD 4, Diplomacy 4, Listen 6, Profession (astrologer) 4, Intimidate 8, Perform (oratory)3, Spellcraft 6 Melodic Casting Bardic Music, Loresong, Mimicking Song, fascinate, Inspire Awe
    3rd Bard +3 +4 +1 +7 Hide 8, Move Silently 4, UMD 4, Diplomacy 4, Listen 6, Profession (astrologer) 4, Intimidate 8, Perform (oratory) 10, Spellcraft 6 - -
    4th Bard +4 +4 +2 +7 Hide 8, Move Silently 6, UMD 6, Diplomacy 4, Listen 9, Profession (astrologer) 4, Intimidate 8, Perform (oratory) 11, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 6 Haunting Melody -
    5th Bard +5 +5 +2 +8 Hide 8, Move Silently 6, UMD 6, Diplomacy 4, Listen, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 8, Perform (oratory) 12, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 9 Quick Recovery -
    6th Lyric Thaumaturge +5 +5 +4 +10 Hide 8, Move Silently 6, UMD 6, Diplomacy 4, Listen 12, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 8, Perform (oratory) 13, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 12 - Bonus Spell
    7th Lyric Thaumaturge +6 +5 +5 +11 Hide 9, Move Silently 7, UMD 7, Diplomacy 5, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 9 , Perform (oratory) 14, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 13 Captivating Melody -
    8th Lyric Thaumaturge +7 +6 +5 +11 Hide 9, Move Silently 8, UMD 9, Diplomacy 5, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 9, Perform (oratory) 15, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 13 Practiced Spellcaster (Bard) Spell Secret
    9th Sublime Chord +7 +6 +5 +13 Hide 9, Move Silently 8, UMD 9, Diplomacy 5, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 12, Perform (oratory) 16, Spellcraft 6, Knowledge (arcana) 13 - -
    10th Sublime Chord +8 +6 +5 +14 Hide 9, Move Silently 8, UMD 9, Diplomacy 12, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 14, Perform (oratory) 17, Spellcraft 8, Knowledge (arcana) 13 - Song of Arcane Power
    11th Virtuoso +8 +6 +5 +16 Hide 9, Move Silently 9, UMD 9, Diplomacy 18, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 17, Perform (oratory) 18, Spellcraft 8, Knowledge (arcana) 13 Doomspeak Persuasive Song
    12th Virtuoso +9 +6 +5 +17 Hide 9, Move Silently 9, UMD 9, Diplomacy 18, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 17, Perform (oratory) 18, Spellcraft 8, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 - -
    13th Virtuoso +9 +7 +6 +17 Hide 9, Move Silently 9 , UMD 9, Diplomacy 18, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 18, Perform (oratory) 19, Spellcraft 13, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 - Sustaining Song, False Theurgy
    14th Virtuoso +10 +7 +6 +18 Hide 9, Move Silently 9.5, UMD 9.5, Diplomacy 20, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 20, Perform (oratory) 21, Spellcraft 14, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 Versatile Spellcaster -
    15th Virtuoso +10 +7 +6 +18 Hide 9.5, Move Silently 10, UMD 10, Diplomacy 20, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 20, Perform (oratory) 21, Spellcraft 20, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 - Jarring Song
    16th Virtuoso +11 +8 +7 +19 Hide 10, Move Silently 10, UMD 10, Diplomacy 21, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 21, Perform (oratory) 23, Spellcraft 24, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 - -
    17th Virtuoso +11 +8 +7 +19 Hide 10, Move Silently 10.5, UMD 10.5, Diplomacy 23, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 24, Perform (oratory) 24, Spellcraft 24, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 8 Extend Spell Song of Fury
    18th Virtuoso +12 +8 +7 +20 Hide 10.5, Move Silently 11, UMD 11, Diplomacy 25, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 25, Perform (oratory) 25, Spellcraft 25, Knowledge (arcana)13, Bluff 9 - -
    19th Virtuoso +12 +9 +8 +20 Hide 11.5, Move Silently 11.5 , UMD 11.5, Diplomacy 26, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 26, Perform (oratory) 26, Spellcraft 26, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 10 - Mindbending Melody
    20th Lyric Thaumaturge +x +9 +9 +21 Hide 12 , Move Silently 12, UMD 12, Diplomacy 27, Listen 13, Profession (astrologer) 6, Intimidate 27, Perform (oratory) 27 , Spellcraft 27, Knowledge (arcana) 13, Bluff 11 Lyric Spell Bonus Spell

    Spells Per Day/Known

    CR 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    1st 2 - - - - - - - - -
    2nd 3 - - - - - - - -
    3rd 3 1 - - - - - - - -
    4th 3 2 - - - - - - -
    5th 3 4 2 - - - - - - -
    6th 3 4 2 - - - - - - -
    7th 3 4 3 - - - - - -
    20th 3 4 4 1 - - - - - -

    Sublime Chord
    CR 0lvl 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
    9th - - - - 2 1 - - - -
    10th - - - - 2 2 - - - -
    11th - - - - 2 2 - - - -
    12th - - - - 3 2 1 - - -
    13th - - - - 3 3 2 - - -
    14th - - - - 3 3 2 1 - -
    15th - - - - 4 3 3 2 - -
    16th - - - - 4 4 3 2 1 -
    17th - - - - 4 4 3 3 2 -
    18th - - - - 4 4 4 3 2 1
    19th - - - - 5 4 4 3 3 2
    20th - - - - 5 4 4 3 3 2

    Bonus spells from ability scores are not included.

    Spells Known

    Since there is no spell level overlap between classes, spells known are recorded together.

    Level 0: Detect Magic, Dancing Lights, Know Direction, Mage Hand, Ghost Sound, Lullaby

    Level 1:
    Charm Person, Hypnosis, Disguise Self, Undetectable Alignment, Ray of Enfeeblement

    Level 2:
    Summon Swarm, Detect Thoughts, Alter Self, Summon Nature's Ally II, Invisibility

    Level 3: Phantom Steed, Dispel Magic.

    Level 4:
    Summon Monster IV, Sinsabur's Baleful Bolt, Dispel Water, Celerity

    Level 5: Cloak of Hate, Cloudkill, Mind Fog, Mass Suggestion

    Level 6:
    Summon Monster VI, Disintegrate, Greater Dispel Magic, True Seeing

    Level 7:
    Summon Monster VII, Spell Turning, Control Weather, Forcecage

    Level 8:
    Summon Monster VIII, Horrid Wilting, Superior Invisibility

    Level 9:
    Summon Monster IX, Mindrape

    The ghoul peered down from his perch in the oak tree's gnarled boughs. The streets were long abandoned and his target, the storehouse, completely unguarded. The early winter night had sent the townspeople back to their homes, but the ghoul had seen the last light extinguished scarcely five minutes ago. He had to be sure no one was awake before he began his task.

    It had not been so long ago that he had been in their position. A dweller in a settlement much like this one, an existence he remembered little of. Little except the famine.
    It had come with no warning, the river changing course. It had been vaguely understood in the village that some movement of the land upstream had caused it, but no one really understood such things. The trickling stream that was left was not enough for the quickly withering crops and dehydrated animals, and stores of food had run out more quickly than hoped.

    From then on, every day was a battle to survive. Fights broke out hourly over food, and the pile of corpses grew and grew.

    By the time the man who would become the ghoul had realised the only way to survive, it was far too late to take advantage of the dead. They were rotting and useless. The only things left to eat were his still-living neighbours. He had no particular grudge against them, but the alternative was death.

    The first time he killed, his victim had not put up much of a struggle, slipping quietly into oblivion after a few convulsions on the end of a sharpened stick. Weakened by famine and caught by surprise, he could hardly do anything else. So it was the next time, and the next. The time after that, too.

    The villagers didn't even realise their fellows were dying of anything other than hunger and thirst. Most of the man's victims lived alone, or those whose families had perished already.

    Sooner than he had expected, the ghoul-to-be was the only one left. Miles from any other civilisation, and the land around getting drier and harsher by the day, he choked out his last breaths with hunger and thirst gnawing on his insides, on a filthy, bloodstained mattress.


    When he awoke, he knew he was different. Transformed. He felt like he could run forever and never tire, as if he would never know fatigue again. He could go anywhere, see and experience anything his heart desired, he could feel it! Was this the universe's reward to him for doing what the others had not dared to do to survive?

    The ghoul set off on the road to the nearest settlement at a brisk pace. The hunger pains of his death still clutched at him, but now they seemed less real. He knew he had been freed from the need to eat, the need to debase himself in the scrabble for mundane survival.


    Years later, the ghoul was trekking along another lonely road, in a land far away from where he had started. In his long life, he had seen the rise and fall of nations and cultures, new technologies invented and great wars fought. He had seen more than his original self could ever have dreamed of.

    Yet, there was still something missing. He felt the need for other beings to share his state of existence, to accompany him on the great adventure.

    Long ago, he had discovered that his bite could make others like him, but those he created did not share his appreciation of the second, better life they had been gifted with. They had all left him, to pursue a feral existence consisting of nothing but ravenous preying on the living. They had all had died at the hands of an angry group of villagers or smashed to pieces by a group of adventurers. True, feeding was something he himself engaged in from time to time, when the urge to eat grew too strong, but it was by no means a priority.

    Inspiration came in a flash. Perhaps if he could find a companion borne from the same circumstances as he had been, one who could earn a higher state of being as he had, so long ago, perhaps they might be more like him.

    That was why he was here now, wedged, in a rather uncomfortable position, between a couple of thick, obscuring, tree branches. Enough waiting, he decided.

    The ghoul focused his gaze upon the building across the street from the tree. The storehouse was one of the little community's sole sources of food throughout the winter months. He concentrated for a moment and spoke a word of magical power, one of the many abilities he had picked up in his long travels. There was a moment in which nothing happened.

    Then a bright, crackling orange flame sprang to life, spreading quickly across the thatched roof of the storehouse. In a moment, black smoke was billowing from the structure. The test had begun.

    A special part for the mount

    The Examiner, as he now called himself, stood in the ruins of yet another town, the ground scattered with emeciated bodies and a couple of buildings still smouldering in the distance. This time had been a failure. The last riot had killed them all, and not one of the wretched creatures had shown themselves to be worthy.

    He spared a glance down the long road leading away from the town's gates, cursing his choice of location. It would take months to get to the next settlement on foot.

    Then, a strange breeze, blowing from behind, caught him by surprise. He could feel a tingling sensation, and looking around, saw the wisps of smoke from the smoking buildings being blown towards him, coalescing into a form that seemed more solid by the second. What was happening?

    The smoky, horselike thing glided to a halt on the bloodstained cobblestones next to him, and a grin split his features for the first time in an age. It appeared that whatever force had gifted him with his powers so long ago had seen fit to do so again.

    Climbing onto the thing, he sent out a tentative mental command. Run, he ordered, looking down the road that suddenly seemed much shorter.

    The speed of the creature's gallop nearly threw him off. It had been a long time since he had ever relied on a pair of feet other than his own. It felt good.

    CR and other write-ups
    The modus operandi of this villain is cutting off or destroying the food supplies of communities in various ways. He does this because he believes that it is those who are willing to what is necessary to survive, even by harming their fellows to get ahead, who are truly worthy of a higher state of being. Famine is seen by him as the best way of producing sufficient desperation to bring out these traits in people.

    He is a fanatic about his ideology of trial by famine. He truly believes that life as a ghoul is superior enough to life as a mortal that he is justified in his actions.
    Any interactions with the players in his true guise (something which he tries to avoid) are warm and friendly, attempting to convince them his way of thinking is right, but if he fails to persuade them he attacks.

    At any of the CR's listed below, he may already have gained a number of ghoul or ghast followers. These are made with his bite whenever he deems one worthy after his test of famine. At higher levels, the more advanced ones may have lower-leveled versions of his build.

    CR 5
    The Examiner prefers to strike at smaller communities at this point, either cutting off food supply routes or destroying food stores and killing crops and animals, his main tool of destruction being fire elementals. He also sows discord among the inhabitants using Disguise Person and the combination of Charm Person, Diplomacy and Hypnotism. For example, he might entice a particular person to steal food or start a riot.

    Other than that he prefers to remain hidden, either by dint of his skills or Invisibility and Disguise Person. There is no reason for him to treat the player characters specially unless they become especially disruptive to his plans, in which case, they find themselves attacked by hypnotised NPCs and perhaps the Examiner himself.

    In combat, which, if things go his way he initiates, he starts invisibly with Inspire Awe augmented with Haunting Melody, then if still undetected summoning a swarm to nauseate the player characters or a strong monster like a Hippogriff. He then enters combat with his paralysis and diseased bite, using Intimidate to make any enemies possible cower.

    CR 10 (Sweet Spot)
    At this level, the Examiner has more ways of engineering famine. He can cut off water supplies, and now has enough spells known from earlier levels to have both firestarting and swarms. He can also Alter Self or use Phantom Steed for mobility, letting him move between different famine-stricken areas quickly.

    Additionally, the Examiner can now better single out those who might be more easily swayed to his views with Detect Thoughts, as well as those who might be better to eliminate quickly.

    His magical compulsions now include Cloak of Hate, a good one for turning settlements against player characters, and Mass Suggestion. These are helped by Captivating Melody.

    In combat, he has even more options with spells like Baleful Bolt and Cloudkill, as well as better summoning. Celerity, of course, is a boon in any situation, and he need not suffer the full effect with Quick Recovery.

    I think this is probably the Examiner's sweet spot. He has some powerful spells that fit his concept well, isn't too bad in melee considering the paralysis and disease, and is at a level that most groups can realistically reach during play. This is also a level where he can be given minions made from earlier schemes without increasing his CR too much.

    CR 15
    This CR provides more of an increase in directly offensive power rather than famine-engineering or social manipulation, although the Examiner's skills have of course increased in that area.

    Now with Doomspeak and Mind Fog, his level of debuffing ability is greatly increased. Spell Turning helps to protect against spells his weak Fortitude and Reflex saves cannot, and he can more easily eliminate those he deems to difficult to starve with a quick Doomspeak and Disintegrate.

    Another cruel starvation method for fighters and their like, should any be among the party, is simply trapping them in a Forcecage once all their spellcasting companions are dead.

    CR 20
    At CR 20, the Examiner has access to powerful summoning, his main instruments of destruction, fire elementals, posing a greater threat and lasting longer due to Extend Spell.

    He can also remain invisible more effectively then ever and still attack with fearsome spells like Horrid Wilting, and Mindrape combined with his already potent debuffing can make anyone convert to his ideology.

    Or leave them in a state of insanity until they starve to death, depending on his personal feelings towards them.

    Helpful Rules
    Rules that make this villain effective are the Starvation and Thirst rules, detailed on page 140 of the Rules Compendium. They are similar to the rules found in the SRD, except that nonlethal damage resulting from starvation or thirst converts to lethal if the victim falls unconscious.

    Compliance with Limitations
    The Examiner has 5 ranks in Ride, and his Phantom Steed serves as a mount.

    As for the theme of Famine, his concept uses famine as a tool to bring out the most savage and sociopathic aspects of humanity, or whatever other fantasy race he happens to plague. He has a number of abilities that aid in engineering famine, hunger and thirst, as well as others that deal Strength and Constitution damage to simulate the effects of famine on people, as stated in the guidelines.

    Core Books
    Champions of Ruin
    Ebberon Campaign Setting
    Complete Scoundrel
    Complete Mage
    Complete Arcane
    Complete Adventurer
    Book of Vile Darkness
    Unapproachable East
    Libris Mortis
    Drow of the Underdark

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Default The Hollow Man (Famine)

    The Hollow Man, Emissary of the King (Famine)


    LE->CE Swarm Shifter Gravetouched Ghoul Bog Imp Totemist 1/Lurking Terror 3/Totemist 6/Swordsage 3

    (with Bog Imp racial and Gravetouched Ghoul)
    Str 15
    Dex 14 +14 =28
    Con 8 +4 = 12 (-)
    Int 10 +4 = 14
    Wis 13+8 = 21 (increases here)
    Cha 12+4 = 16

    Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
    1st Bog Imp 1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Hide 4, Listen 4, Move Silently 4, Search 4, Spot 4, Survival 4, Swim 4, Tumble 2 (4) Improved Initiative, (B)Ability Focus (Sink) Burrow 60 ft, Swim 30 ft, +2 Natural Armor, 2 claws 1d3, Sicken, Sink, Stagnate, Amphibious, Code of Law, Damage Reduction 5/cold iron, Immunity to Acid Paralysis Poison and Sleep, Low-Light Vision, Liquid Burrow, +4 on saves vs Mind Affecting
    2nd Bog Imp 2 +1 +0 +3 +3 Hide 5, Listen 5, Move Silently 5, Search 5, Spot 5, Survival 5, Swim 5, Tumble 2.5 (1) +2 racial on Listen, Search, and Spot, +8 racial on Hide in home environment, +8 racial on Swim, can take 10 on Swim
    3rd Bog Imp 3 +1 +1 +3 +3 Hide 6, Listen 6, Move Silently 6, Search 6, Spot 6, Survival 6, Swim 6, Tumble 3(1) Weapon Finesse
    4th Bog Imp 4 +2 +1 +4 +4 Balance 1 (2), Hide 7, Listen 7, Move Silently 7, Search 7, Spot 7, Swim 7,
    5th Bog Imp CR Adjustment 1 +2 +1 +4 +4
    6th Bog Imp CR Adjustment 2 +2 +1 +4 +4
    7th Gravetouched Ghoul +2 +1 +4 +4 (B)Multiattack +2 Natural armor, Bite 1d4, Ghoul Fever, Paralysis, +2 Turn Resistance, Diet Dependent
    8th Swarmshifter +2 +1 +4 +4 Shapechanger Subtype, Distraction, Swarm Form (Swarm of Undead Beetles), Hive Mind, Swarm Form, Stats in Swarm: Str 9, Dex 32, AC +3
    9th Totemist 1 +2 +3 +6 +4 Hide 8 (2), Move Silently 8(2), Ride 2 Wild Empathy, Illiteracy
    10th Lurking Terror 1 +2 +3 +6 +6 Hide 9, Jump 4, Move Silenly 9 Undead Meldshaper Deathly Power
    11th Lurking Terror 2 +3 +3 +6 +7 Hide 10, Jump 6, Move Silently 10 Improved Darkvision
    12th Lurking Terror 3 +4 +4 +7 +7 Hide 11, Jump 10, Move Silently 11 Hide in Plain Sight
    13th Totemist 2 +5 +5 +8 +7 Ride 8 Ability Focus (Paralysis) Totem Chakra Bind (+1 Capacity)
    14th Totemist 3 +6/+1 +5 +8 +8 Hide 12 (2), Jump 11, (2), Move Silently 12 (2) Totem’s Protection
    15th Totemist 4 +6/+1 +6 +9 +9 Hide 13 (2), Jump 12 (2), Move Silently 13 (2)
    16th Totemist 5 +6/+1 +6 +9 +9 Hide 14 (2), Jump 13 (2), Move Silently 14 (2) Improved Paralysis Chakra Binds (Crown, Feet, Hands)
    17th Totemist 6 +7/+2 +7 +10 +10 Hide 15 (2), Jump 14 (2), Move Silently 15 (2) Totem Chakra Bind +1 Meldshaper Level
    18th Unarmed Swordsage 1 +7/+2 +7 +12 +12 Hide 17, Jump 17, Move Silently 17, Ride 9 (B)Improved Unarmed Strike, (B)Weapon Focus (Tiger Claw) Quick to Act +1, Discipline Focus (Weapon Focus)
    19th Swordsage 2 +8/+3 +7 +13 +13 Hide 18, Jump 18, Move Silently 18, Ride 10, Tumble 7 Death Blow AC Bonus
    20th Swordsage 3 +9/+4 +8 +13 +13 Hide 19, Jump 19, Move Silently 19, Tumble 12

    1st: Sudden Leap
    2nd: Burning Brand, Claw at the Moon, Cloak of Deception, Mountain Hammer, Shadow Jaunt
    3rd: Strength Draining Strike
    5th: Bloodletting Strike
    Stances: Blood in the Water, Child of Shadow

    Before he became the terror that scourged the earth, the Hollow Man was an arrogant elf, whose name has been lost to time. What is known is that he was born in a time of hardship, during a time of high taxes and little rain. He failed to listen to his mother and went out looking after dark for something more than a crust of bread to eat. Those elves with sense knew not to wander too close to the foul marshes, where legend has it Jenny Greenteeth and her kind waited to drag naughty children down to the depths. But months of hunger dulls the mind, and in his mind the risk was worth the possible reward of something to quiet his growling stomach.

    He miscalculated. Dwelling in the stinking rot of the marsh, the bog imps were themselves hungering to take the live of another misbehaving elf. They caught him quickly and drowned him in the thick morass of the bog.

    Had the fates been kinder it would have ended there, but they had no such inclinations. In the hidden depths, driven perhaps by the imps’ magic, perhaps by the fetid fermentations of the bog, or perhaps by his driving hunger, what was once an elf child pickled and twisted until it became one of the bog imps, prepared to continue the cycle of violence. When the land became more bountiful and elf children stopped coming by the bogs, the creature began to be visited once again by the maddening gnawing of hunger, the only remnant of its past life. When there were no more visitors to the swamp, the creature sated its hunger on the only available food source: the other bog imps.

    There are some depravities even the Greenteeth kin do not fall to, and they swiftly punished the creature for its transgression. They descended on him as a mob of teeth and claws, and carried his body out to the land pas the bog in the hopes his spirit could not rise again.

    Once more the fates were in a cruel mood, and the shattered body of what was once a bog imp gained the attention of pale Doresain, horrid King of Ghouls. We cannot know what mad reasons directed his intervention, but to the sorrow of the world entire, the elf made bog imp rose once more as the Hollow Man. Only Doresain would view the status of ghouldom as anything other than a curse. Whether the Hollow Man views his status with gratitude or resentment is unclear. Such feelings are impossible for any to sense below his overwhelming envy and hatred for all living things.

    The Hollow Man spreads the Ghoul King's message and mission with his actions. Death to all living things. Hunger is the only drive that matters. Satiation is the only pleasure known on earth. The Hollow Man consumes all in his path, whether traveling on his inky steed to cut men down, or whether devouring the fields as a black cloud of insects. Any liquid that doesn’t end up in his gullet sours and spoils in his presence.The only thing the Hollow Man leaves behind are ghouls, his token spreading of Doresain’s “blessing”, or perhaps his desire for others to suffer as he does. Perhaps both, and perhaps neither, simply a side effect of his existence. What is known, is that the Hollow Man is empty inside. He is soulless and always hungry. He consumes crops, animals, man and even the souls of the fallen to power his magic and fuel his progress. He will never be sated until he is permanently put to rest.

    CR 8
    We begin at this CR for simplicity with both templates applied. Bog Imp is a peculiar monster with a few abilities of note. First is stagnate, which renders all nonmagical liquids in a 60 foot radius nonpotable, sickening any who drink for 1d3 hours. You can obviously drink any of it as a ghoul. The second is sink, which can be triggered on any surface beyond solid ground, and if they fail the save will last until they leave the radius or are brought to safe ground. The code of law means that you may lose this ability, but if it's possible to keep the vague code of law, it’s worth it. Finally you get the sweet ability to sicken anyone hit by your claw for 2d4 minutes.

    When we add ghoul on top of it, things get interesting. All stats but Con increase, and you get some tasty boosts. Ghoul fever from your bite to create more followers of Doresain, free Multiattack, but most importantly, paralysis. Paralysis on claws and bite will be our primary feature of interest, because it applies every time and is simple to boost. The sicken effect from claws still stick around, which potentially reduces saves.

    Swarm Shifter is mostly for fun here, but it has some function as well. The first thing it gives you is unlimited self-healing in small amounts every time you change forms. I’ve chosen swarm of beetles. It also gives you mobility in swarm form with slow flight, and you also have burrowing here. It also has tremorsense, which is intensely difficult to trump. The swarm of beetles is also immune to weapon damage, so can make you much harder to kill.
    Being in a swarm means you don’t have special attacks, but special qualities stay. This seems to mean that stances stay, in which case you can activate child of shadow, gaining concealment when you move. Being a 10 foot swarm means you can move around while still keeping someone in the radius of pain. The damage from swarm helpfully scales with HD.

    CR 10
    A level of Totemist is tossed in to get the skill caps up before entering Lurking Terror, a fun little class that raises DCs for abilities, and for right now boosts your darkvision beyond the standard 60. Don’t play at CR 9, because due to HD you won’t get undead meldshaper until CR 10, so that totemist level takes a level to kick in. Once it does you’ll have melds to shape to boost your skills of choice.

    CR 15
    Now it’s getting interesting. For your steed, any black pony will do (the Hollow Man is likely to periodically eat them anyway. In order to make things truly interesting, I would highly recommend you spend your wealth on the Horseshoes of Flame to turn it into a nightmare sort of mount, which has a good fly speed and intelligence. Pony is the standard 1 size larger, and is best so you can fast dismount it.

    We’ve finished Lurking Terror, which means HIPS. You need a source of cover/concealment to Hide in, and that’s where your pony comes in. It’s a DC 15 ride check to drop down to gain cover from your mount, and you can then Hide in it using your HIPS. You can then move about and make the DC 20 to fast dismount since you have such a high Dex mod. As for melds you can play around to see what works, but you should always have the Girallon arms up and bound to your Totem Chakra to have 4 claws. Now we sprinkle some mild cheese. Both Bog Imp and Gravetouched ghoul have things that kick in on their claw attacks not just the claws themselves. This means 4 claw attacks mean 4 opportunities to force both saves on enemies.

    CR 20
    To round out when we’re done with Totemist levels I’ve thrown on some Swordsage. This has several reasons, the first being that I couldn’t resist the fluff of Strength Draining and Bloodletting Strikes melding with the theme of famine, the second being stances for use in swarm form, and a healthy AC boost from Wis. Free WF for your claw attacks is a nice bonus, and there’s no reason not to take the IUS if you feel like tossing on extra attacks to your routine.

    Here the general battle routine culminates so I’ll discuss it briefly. You can hide on your Pony whenever you want with your big Dex and many Hide ranks (a good idea to boost further with melds) and you can drop down to attack or stay on as you wish. You want to focus on claw and bite for maximum number of saves versus paralysis and sicken, so always have Girallon Arms bound. For your other bind, I’d recommend either the Sphinx claws for pounce or the Worg Pelt to trip opponents, leaning more toward the second for more AoOs. Other melds that are useful to shape are the Winter Mask for flavor of fatiguing effect of famine, Ankheg Breastplate and Wormtail Belt for more AC (shape both with full investment for +8 on top of existing nat armor and Wis), Threefold Mask of the Chimera for no flanking, and Totem Avatar for more hp (and also AC). The Rageclaws are of particular interest for an undead. As written, it seems they mean you don’t die at 0, but instead at –(10+3Xessentia) which adds a lot of effective health.

    Maneuvers are best delivered by claw so you can throw the rider effects on it. You have maneuvers for more damage, overcoming DR, mobility, and damaging abilities. Cloak of Deception provides invis for hiding, and Burning Brand extends your reach. Child of Shadow gives concealment if you move enough (likely the mobility melds count too). Blood in the Water boosts attack and damage rolls for every critical hit, which is where the general routine comes in.

    You want to aim to paralyze enemies, focusing on whichever foe causes the most trouble first. Once they’ve succumbed to the 4 saves per round, each at a DC of 30 (sicken from the claws adding a possible effective +2), they will be paralyzed and thus helpless. You can then CDG them on the following turn, which is only a standard via Death Blow. This is a critical, so triggers blood in the water. There is a strong chance they will die from this. If not you can go for another foe or stay on the one you have, since the paralysis will last for a minimum of 2 rounds. Have your nightmarish horse hold off anyone while you finish off downed foes. Once you finish off the foe of your focus, use your move action to go over to your next target. Trip anyone hit by your bite for the opportunity to AoO them with a claw when they get up for more paralysis and sickening.

    When fighting as a swarm you can burrow and surface when your tremorsense finds a target, HIPS likely still applies so you can theoretically surprise someone as a swarm. You can also use it for the iconic image of descending on fields like a divine plague. What’s a villain without flavor?

    Bog Imp: Heroes of Horror
    Gravetouched Ghoul, Swarm-shifter, Lurking Terror, Improved Paralysis: Libris Mortis
    Totemist, Undead Meldshaper: Magic of Incarnum
    Swordsage: Tome of Battle
    Death Blow: Complete Adventurer
    Ability Focus, Weapon Finesse, Improved Initiative: srd

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Titan in the Playground
    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Jul 2007
    Terra Australis

    Exclamation Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    ...and I believe that's it!

    Competitors - if I posted anything incorrectly (i.e. you messaged me an updated version, or formatting error has occurred when I have posted) please message me and I'll do my best to fix.

    As some submission were over multiple PMs, I did my best to condense posts.

    I think there'll be a new rule under the next comp I run - no submissions that need more than two messages!

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Oh my, I was considering judging as I couldn't get my submission in - but this is just too much! 12 builds!?

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    Famine seems to be the most common theme. Half the entries. I suppose it goes to show how people like more flexibility.
    Last edited by Tiri; 2016-10-10 at 03:50 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    I was hoping for some version of famine not touching the crops directly at all, but using some kind of tippyverse shenanigans to crash the economy

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ettin in the Playground
    The Viscount's Avatar

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    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Villainous Competition XV: The Horsemen Are Drawing Nearer

    And here I thought death would be the most common. Who would have thought famine? We definitely have some good variety here, all the horsemen are covered.
    Kolyarut Avatar by Potatocubed.
    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Only playing Tier 1s is like only eating in five-star restaurants [...] sometimes I just want a cheeseburger and some frogurt. Why limit yourself?

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