Can you help me stat up Sarevok from BG1?

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Hey everybody,

I'm running the main quest line from BG1 as a campaign from my group and I'd like your help calculating the CR of the main end boss and ask you for ideas for features you would give him. He's will be fought at around level 7-8 and will be help by:
Tazok - Ogre Chain Brute (with chainmail) CR 3
Angelo - Human veteran CR 3
Semaj - Thayan Apprentice CR 2

So my estimate would be to require a Sarevok at about CR 9 or 10 to have a dangerous final fight.

Care to help?

Sarevok
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic evil

Armor Class 19 plate of chaos
Hit Points 109 (11d10 + 44)
Speed 30 ft.

STR
20 (+5)
DEX
17 (+3)
CON
18 (+4)
INT
17 (+3)
WIS
10 (+0)
CHA
15 (+2)

Saving Throws STR +9, DEX +7
Skills Athletics +9, Deception +7, Insight +4, Intimidation +7
Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
Condition Immunities Charmed, Frightened, Poisoned, Stunned
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Infernal
Challenge ???

Aura of Murder. As long as Sarevok is not incapacited, hostile creatures within 5 feet of him gain vulnerability to piercing damage unless they have resistance or immunity to such damage.
Devastating Critical. On a natural 20 with an attack roll, Sarevok deals an extra 1d6 necrotic damage.
Limited Magic Immunity. Sarevok can't be affected or detected by spells of 1st level or lower unless it wishes to be. It has advantage on saving throws against all other spells and magical effects.

Actions
Multiattack
. The warlord makes two weapon attacks or one weapon attack and use its Deathbringer Assault if available.
Sword of Chaos. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., 1 target. Hit: (2d6 + 6) slashing damage. The target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 1d10 necrotic damage and its maximum hp is reduced by the same amount. Sarevok regains the same amount of hp. A successful save negates the extra damage and the reduced hp.
Deathbringer Assault. (Recharge on 5-6). Melee Weapon Attack: The attack is an automatic natural roll of 20. If the damages reduce the target to 0 hp, it dies.
Stunning Gaze. Sarevok targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be stunned until the end of its next turn.

Reactions
Unstoppable (2/Day). Sarevok reduces the damage it takes from an attack to 0.

Legendary Actions
Sarevok can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. Sarevok regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Weapon Attack. Sarevok makes a weapon attack.
Command Ally. Saverok targets one ally it can see within 30 feet of it. if the target can see and hear him, the target can make one weapon attack as a reaction and gains advantage on the attack roll.
Frighten Foe (Costs 2 Actions). Sarevok uses its Stunning Gaze attack.
Description
Sarevok is one of the Bhaalspawn, like Gorion's Ward, mortal children sired by the Lord of Murder, Bhaal, during the Time of Troubles as a part of the god's plan to circumvent his prophesied death. Sarevok was one of many children who were to be sacrificed by the dead god's priesthood, but the ritual was interrupted by Gorion and a group of Harpers. While Gorion's Ward was rescued by Gorion himself, Sarevok was left to wander and lived as a street urchin. He was later adopted by Rieltar Anchev, the regional leader of the Iron Throne.
After years of tutoring and encouraging by Winski Perorate to research the prophecies of Alaundo, Sarevok became convinced that the prophecy focused on him: by destroying his fellow Bhaalspawn and engineering murder on a massive scale, he will ascend to godhood and assume Bhaal's place as the new Lord of Murder. He concealed his true identity, and was aided in his quest by the Iron Throne, through which he had forged a criminal empire.

Vincegetorix
Sarevok
 
Good first stab. At first blush, I think his damage is too high, but we'll see in the maths below. Hmm. And two things jump out at me...

Aura of Murder. As long as Sarevok is not incapacited, hostile creatures within 5 feet of him gain vulnerability to piercing damage unless they have resistance or immunity to such damage.
Right now, he's equipped with a sword dealing slashing damage. I'm assuming that's an oversight, and you either intend to have his sword deal piercing damage or you're going to change his Aura of Murder to apply to slashing damage.

Or is he intended not to benefit from his own aura, so it's only for the benefit of his allies? If so, his allies are unusual choices that don't take good advantage of his Aura of Murder – an ogre chain brute only deals bludgeoning, a veteran only relies on its single offhand shortsword for piercing, and a thayan apprentice is a spellcaster who doesn't deal piercing damage.

Deathbringer Assault. (Recharge on 5-6). Melee Weapon Attack: The attack is an automatic natural roll of 20. If the damages reduce the target to 0 hp, it dies.
I suspect players won't like this one. It feels cheap to me. "Oh yes, he'll just treat that as a natural 20." Personally, I'd change it. But I'll do monster calculations leaving it in for now.

To evaluate his defensive CR, we need to understand how Limited Magic Immunity (1st) and Unstoppable affect the maths. As always, referencing DMG p274-282 for monster building guidelines.

Limited Magic Immunity
This one is beyond my ability to evaluate. I'm not sure there's an effective way to determine its impact on CR, honestly. The biggest question I have is what 1st level divination spells are you concerned about the PCs using to detect Sarevok? He's a humanoid, so detect evil/good shouldn't pick up anything. Even if he had the ability to be invisible or something, by making it apply to 1st level spells, they could still locate him with detect thoughts. I am unsure about your design intent here.

Unstoppable
For Unstoppable, we can reverse engineer it by looking at the CR 5 Death's Head of Bhaal (Descent into Avernus). First, I look at its offensive CR. Effective DPR is 28 damage, and attack bonus +7, which makes its offensive CR 5.

Therefor we should expect its defensive CR to also work out to about 5. Without taking into account Unstoppable (x3), its HP is 76 and its effective AC 17, which makes its defensive CR 3.

In order for its defensive CR to be closer to 5, it would need to have effective HP of 116-130. So there's a 40+ HP difference that Unstoppable (x3) needs to make up. Well, if we assume average damage on an attack from a 5th level martial PC is 14, then that makes perfect sense. But is that a reasonable assumption?

Barbarian = 7 greataxe + 4 str + 2 rage = 13
Monk = 3 martial arts + 4 dex = 7
Paladin = 4 longsword + 3 str + 9 divine smite = 16
Ranger with hunter's mark and +1 arrows = 4 longbow + 3 dex + 2 hunter's mark + 1 = 10
Rogue = 3 shortsword + 4 dex + 10 sneak attack = 17
Battlemaster Fighter = 6 longsword/Dueling + 4 str +4 battlemaster die = 13

Looks like 14 is not unreasonable, especially once you factor in feats, magic items, and other spells.

Is there a dramatic boost in melee damage from 5th to 7th/8th level for PCs? +1 for barbarian, maybe an ASI for the fighter so +2, nothing for monk or ranger, +4 for rogue, more 2nd level smites so maybe +4 for paladin. An average of about +2 increase.

So for your CR 10 Sarevok intended for 7th-8th level PCs, I'd guess each use of Unstoppable is worth an additional 16 effective HP.

Sarevok: Defensive CR = 11
Effective HP = 109 * 1.5 damage resistance for a CR 5-10 monster + (2 * 16) Unstoppable II = 195
Effective AC = 19 + 1 two saves + 2 magic resistance = 22

So that puts his defensive CR at 11

Sarevok (modified Aura of Murder): Offensive CR = 17
I'm going to do two DPR calculations, the first (this one) assuming you change his Aura of Murder to apply to his slashing weapons.

To calculate his DPR I'm going to assume he only gets one use of Deathbringer Assault/Devastating Critical on first round. Also going to assume he devotes all 2 Legendary Actions to making Attacks.

Round 1 = (13 * 2 + 5) sword/aura + (20 * 2 + 5 + 3) deathbringer assault/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura = 31 + 68 + 31 +31 = 161
Round 2 = (13 * 2 + 5) sword/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura = 93
Round 3 = (13 * 2 + 5) sword/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura + (13 * 2 + 5) legendary action sword/aura = 93

DPR = (161 + 93 + 93) / 3 = 115

With an attack bonus of +8, that indicates an offensive CR of 17.

This would put his total CR at = (11 + 17) / 2 = 14. Which is probably higher than you want for a 7th-8th level party assuming Sarevok is encountered with henchmen. If he were not to be encountered with henchmen, you could probably run him as is, though it could be an extremely perilous fight.

Sarevok (Aura of Murder as you wrote it): Offensive CR = 10
The second DPR calculation assumes you keep his Aura of Murder to apply to piercing weapons.

Again, to calculate his DPR I'm going to assume he only gets one use of Deathbringer Assault/Devastating Critical on first round. Also going to assume he devotes all 2 Legendary Actions to making Attacks.

Round 1 = (13 + 5) sword + (20 + 5 + 3) deathbringer assault + (13 + 5) legendary action sword + (13 + 5) legendary action sword = 18 + 28 + 18 +18 = 82
Round 2 = (13 + 5) sword + (13 + 5) legendary action sword + (13 + 5) legendary action sword = 54
Round 3 = (13 + 5) sword + (13 + 5) legendary action sword + (13 + 5) legendary action sword = 54

DPR = (82 + 54 + 54) / 3 = 63

With an attack bonus of +8, that indicates an offensive CR of 10.

This would put his total CR at = (11 + 10) / 2 = 10.5. And given his Limited Magic Immunity and off-chance potential for additional Devastating Criticals, I would consider rounding up to CR 11. Though I could see an argument to be made that he should be rounded down to CR 10 because he lacks ranged attacks (susceptible to kiting) and he lacks a way to shake off / prevent conditions (susceptible to stun-locking).
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Or is he intended not to benefit from his own aura, so it's only for the benefit of his allies? If so, his allies are unusual choices that don't take good advantage of his Aura of Murder – an ogre chain brute only deals bludgeoning, a veteran only relies on its single offhand shortsword for piercing, and a thayan apprentice is a spellcaster who doesn't deal piercing damage.
As you probably noticed by his features, Saverok is inspired by the ''of Bhaal'' creatures from Descent.

Angelo will be using a longbow, yeah sorry.
Also, I thought that the ogre used a spiked chain dealing piercing damage, I dont know why I had that in mind. Anyway, lets say the ogre use a chain spike that deals the same amount of damage but piercing instead.

I suspect players won't like this one. It feels cheap to me. "Oh yes, he'll just treat that as a natural 20." Personally, I'd change it. But I'll do monster calculations leaving it in for now.
Its mostly its Deathbringer mechanic from the game. I wanted to give him the power to deal potentially a massive blow, but not at-will. Maybe instead just be a single, re-chargeable crit-range improvement like: This attack deal necrotic damage, the target cant regain HP for 1 minute (save each turn against DC 13) and crit on 18-20?

Limited Magic Immunity
This one is beyond my ability to evaluate. I'm not sure there's an effective way to determine its impact on CR, honestly. The biggest question I have is what 1st level divination spells are you concerned about the PCs using to detect Sarevok? He's a humanoid, so detect evil/good shouldn't pick up anything. Even if he had the ability to be invisible or something, by making it apply to 1st level spells, they could still locate him with detect thoughts. I am unsure about your design intent here.
Its not just Divination spell tho, its all spell of 1st level and lower. Like a weaker version of the rakshasa magic immunity. So Sarevok is immune to magic missile and such.

he lacks a way to shake off / prevent conditions (susceptible to stun-locking).
I made him immune to poison, fear and stun. But I may just remove the magic immunity, give him advantage on save against magic, and just give him 2-3 Legendary Resistance instead. Less trouble that way.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Second take


Sarevok
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic evil



Armor Class 19 plate of chaos
Hit Points 154 (11d10 + 44)
Speed 30 ft.



STR 20 (+5)
DEX 17 (+3)
CON 18 (+4)
INT 17 (+3)
WIS 10 (+0)
CHA 15 (+2)



Saving Throws STR +9, DEX +7
Skills Athletics +9, Deception +7, Insight +4, Intimidation +7
Damage Resistances Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
Condition Immunities Charmed, Frightened, Poisoned, Stunned
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Common, Infernal
Challenge ???



Aura of Murder. As long as Sarevok is not incapacited, hostile creatures within 5 feet of him gain vulnerability to piercing damage unless they have resistance or immunity to such damage.
Devastating Critical. On a critical hit, Sarevok deals an extra 2d6 necrotic damage.
Magic Resistance. Sarevok has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Legendary Resistance (2/Day). If Sarevok fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

Actions
Multiattack
. The warlord makes two weapon attacks or one weapon attack and use its Deathbringer Assault if available.
Sword of Chaos. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., 1 target. Hit: (2d6 + 6) slashing damage. The target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 1d6 necrotic damage and its maximum hp is reduced by the same amount. Sarevok regains the same amount of hp. A successful save negates the extra damage and the reduced hp.
Deathbringer Assault. (Recharge on 5-6). Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., 1 target. Hit: (2d6 + 6) necrotic damage. The attack is a critical hit on a roll of 18, 19 or 20 on the roll. Any creature that you hit with this attack can't regain hit points for 1 minute. The target can make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending this effect early on a success.
Stunning Gaze. Sarevok targets one creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be stunned until the end of its next turn.

Reactions
Unstoppable (2/Day). Sarevok reduces the damage it takes from an attack to 0.

Legendary Actions
Sarevok can take 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. Sarevok regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Weapon Attack. Sarevok makes a weapon attack.
Command Ally. Saverok targets one ally it can see within 30 feet of it. if the target can see and hear him, the target can make one weapon attack as a reaction and gains advantage on the attack roll.
Frighten Foe (Costs 2 Actions). Sarevok uses its Stunning Gaze attack.

Description
Sarevok is one of the Bhaalspawn, like Gorion's Ward, mortal children sired by the Lord of Murder, Bhaal, during the Time of Troubles as a part of the god's plan to circumvent his prophesied death. Sarevok was one of many children who were to be sacrificed by the dead god's priesthood, but the ritual was interrupted by Gorion and a group of Harpers. While Gorion's Ward was rescued by Gorion himself, Sarevok was left to wander and lived as a street urchin. He was later adopted by Rieltar Anchev, the regional leader of the Iron Throne.
After years of tutoring and encouraging by Winski Perorate to research the prophecies of Alaundo, Sarevok became convinced that the prophecy focused on him: by destroying his fellow Bhaalspawn and engineering murder on a massive scale, he will ascend to godhood and assume Bhaal's place as the new Lord of Murder. He concealed his true identity, and was aided in his quest by the Iron Throne, through which he had forged a criminal empire.
 
Last edited:

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
One of the fun things about multiple-NPC fights is the strategy involved. One thing you should aim to do is increase the synergy between the NPCs, so players have a reason to take out one sooner than the others. Right now, for example, Sarevok's Aura of Murder makes a piercing-attack enemy a huge threat, but Sarevok is most likely going to be the last NPC to die, so the players have fewer ways to interact with that strategic element.

What you can do is tie the Deathbringer Assault to another NPC, such as Semaj. A necrotic tendril runs between the two characters, and as long as Semaj is alive (or concentrating), Sarevok can use his Deathbringer Assault. Once Semaj is dead, then Sarevok loses that ability.

You can also give Tazok a knockdown attack. Make it a whirlwind, forcing every creature within 5 feet to make a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone. Think Sarevok was frightening before? Now his ally is giving him advantage on every attack (against prone targets).

Things like this give your players a reason to kill or disable particular NPCs first -- whichever one is targeting their biggest weakness. Things like this make multiple-NPC fights a lot more interesting.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
One of the fun things about multiple-NPC fights is the strategy involved. One thing you should aim to do is increase the synergy between the NPCs, so players have a reason to take out one sooner than the others. Right now, for example, Sarevok's Aura of Murder makes a piercing-attack enemy a huge threat, but Sarevok is most likely going to be the last NPC to die, so the players have fewer ways to interact with that strategic element.

What you can do is tie the Deathbringer Assault to another NPC, such as Semaj. A necrotic tendril runs between the two characters, and as long as Semaj is alive (or concentrating), Sarevok can use his Deathbringer Assault. Once Semaj is dead, then Sarevok loses that ability.

You can also give Tazok a knockdown attack. Make it a whirlwind, forcing every creature within 5 feet to make a Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone. Think Sarevok was frightening before? Now his ally is giving him advantage on every attack (against prone targets).

Things like this give your players a reason to kill or disable particular NPCs first -- whichever one is targeting their biggest weakness. Things like this make multiple-NPC fights a lot more interesting.
Thank you for this.

For now Angelo will be using his longbow to deal piercing damage to the creatures in Sarevok's aura, doing double damage because of the vulnerability. He will be hard to catch, never staying in one place a trying to move the PC in the traps laid in the room.

The chain brute as an at-will attack that can prone PC, giving Angelo disadvantage but giving advantage to Sarevok to use its Deathbringer Assault. Tazok also has a recharge attack that can render a PC unconscious (meaning auto-crit for Sarevok or its own next attack).

Your right that I will try to have Semaj be a buffer/debuffer to benefit the rest of its party. Maybe make him an enchanter instead of a blaster.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Thank you for this.

For now Angelo will be using his longbow to deal piercing damage to the creatures in Sarevok's aura, doing double damage because of the vulnerability. He will be hard to catch, never staying in one place a trying to move the PC in the traps laid in the room.

The chain brute as an at-will attack that can prone PC, giving Angelo disadvantage but giving advantage to Sarevok to use its Deathbringer Assault. Tazok also has a recharge attack that can render a PC unconscious (meaning auto-crit for Sarevok or its own next attack).

Your right that I will try to have Semaj be a buffer/debuffer to benefit the rest of its party. Maybe make him an enchanter instead of a blaster.
Sounds good. Another thought: sometimes it's a good idea to let the players know what they're up against in a coming battle, so they can prepare accordingly. One time, for example, my players were heading into a village that was ruled by a tyrannical wizard. By sneaking in and speaking to one of the villagers first, the party learned that the wizard liked to turn his victims to dust with a magical ray. Once the players knew that they were facing a disintegrate-casting wizard, they spent a lot of time preparing an ambush and guarding themselves against disintegration. I'm sure this was a lot funner for them than the alternative, which would have been to make a save-or-die saving throw without any warning first.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Sounds good. Another thought: sometimes it's a good idea to let the players know what they're up against in a coming battle, so they can prepare accordingly. One time, for example, my players were heading into a village that was ruled by a tyrannical wizard. By sneaking in and speaking to one of the villagers first, the party learned that the wizard liked to turn his victims to dust with a magical ray. Once the players knew that they were facing a disintegrate-casting wizard, they spent a lot of time preparing an ambush and guarding themselves against disintegration. I'm sure this was a lot funner for them than the alternative, which would have been to make a save-or-die saving throw without any warning first.
Yeah you're right.
It wont be their first encounter with Sarevok since he already killed rather easily their mentor at the start of the campaign and will probably fight him 1 or 2 times before the final showdown.

I let them find its weakness if the players can complete some side quest like finding Sarevok's journal, convincing his lover/right hand to turn on him or speak with his dead mentor in the city's underground.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
Sarevok is my favorite. It looks quite good.

I would probably change the sword of chaos though. Sarevok is probably attacking 3 times a round. Making saves for each one feels like a bit too much upkeep for the damage/debuff it does.
 

Coroc

Hero
Funny sidefact, I just noticed Semaj=James reverted.

Your build of Sarevok is quite solid, especially with all his extraskills.

Plus, him being accompanied by his entourage will make a difficult fight for your group (as should be)

For safety, push his Con to 20 and give him max hp based on that (11x10+55=165).
Just for safety, so if your group got a good tactical approach and lucky dice, he still stands.

Ideally he should go down last whilst still giving the group a hard time.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
For now the adventuring party is a:
human 4E monk
half-orc hexblade
human knowledge cleric (currently the Bhaalspawn, I made them roll at character creation. She does not know it)
human conjurer wizard
wood elf champion fighter

They just completed the spider quest from Beregost and the belt-fetishist ogre from the Friendly Arm Inn and are level 2. They are going next to the west of High Edge to find Bassilus the murderer to get the reward before pushing to Nashkel.

They have recruted Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, Montaron and Xzar but the latter 2 groups are already in conflict with low loyalty score so one them (or both) may quit in not too long. The companion use the Follower rules from Beowulf rules recently previewed here on ENworld. Players can spend Inspiration from a special pool (in my game Inspiration token are cumulative and can be shared) to have them perform a special action from their list once per encounter.

So Sarevok and friends will probably face at least 5 level 7 players and some helpers.
 

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