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Homebrew Work shoping CR (Very low magic world)

So here is a great example of an OPPS…I was aiming for a CR 13. I think I made an awesome boss monster (one I thought might need to become legendary and gain some layer actions, also may be served with having some undead or the like in the encounter… what I ended up with is Defensive CR ½ (so a joke) and offensive CR 4 or 5 (slightly less of a joke…slightly) so an Average CR of 2.75… so rounding down a CR2 monster or up a CR 3… Opps. But keep in mind this thing is throwing around 4th level Druid and 3rd level Warlock spells…this math is BORKED sometimes.

SO anyone want to workshop with me here? What is and isn’t working here? Is there anyway to save this idea at all and have it provided a challenge at even level 9 or 10???

Now to be fair this is for a Adventures of Middle Earth game that has very low magic and no PC spell casters (I asked in another thread for thoughts on that) but I think this is still pretty bad… My game world is a mix of Middle Earth, Planitos (aSoIaF) and Babylon 5 for story…with a bit of eternia (he man) as well thrown in.

This NPC is mostly based aSoIaF (aka a game of thrones) but with a bit of the others…


Randal Dunkeld Medium humanoid (half elf), Neutral (leaning evil)
Armor Class 16 (armor of shadow+barkskin) Hit Points 40 (12d8 -24) Speed 25ft.
STR 11 (+0) DEX 16 (+3) CON 7 (-2)
INT 15 (+2) WIS 18 (+4) CHA 14 (+2)
prof +5
Saves: Int +7. Wis +9
Skills History +7, Insight +14, Investigate +7, Lore +7 Medicine +14, Nature +7, Perception +9 Shadow-lore +7
Senses passive Perception 19 Languages Druidic Elvin Sylvn Orcus Goblin Common Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)

Ancient Lore. Randy makes History checks without penalties for forgotten lore

Bowman of the Guild. When Randy rolls Damage with a bow he can use his bonus action to reroll the damage and take the higher of the two, he can't do so again until he takes a long or short rest

Fey Presence. As an action, Randy can cause each creature in a 10-foot cube originating from him to make a Wisdom saving throw DC15. The creatures that fail their saving throws are all charmed or frightened by him (his choice) until the end of his next turn.

Dark Devotion. Randy has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Dark Knowledge. Randy makes Shadow Lore checks without penalties

Eyes of the Rune Keeper. Randy can read any and all languages

Fey Ancestry. Randy has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put him to sleep.

Hooting of Owls. Randy knows the speach of Owls, and can communicate with them on a basic level.

News from afar. Randy can once per adventure add +5 to an Int or WIs (or skill under) check

Old Hatreds. When Randy rolls damage with melee attacks against and Orc, or Gobliniod he may reroll damage and take the higher.

Shadow Armor. Randy can cast Mage Armor at will

Spellcasting. Randy is a 7th-level druid. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). It has the following (11)druid spells prepared: (on a short rest recover up to 4 levels of slots 1/day)

Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, guidance, mending, shillelagh
1st level (4 slots): entangle, longstrider, speak with animals, thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): animal messenger, barkskin, goodberry *blur, silence*
3rd level (3 slots): call lightning, dispel magic, speak with plants *create food/water, protection from elements*
4th level (1 slot):conjur woodland beast *blight, hallucinatory terrain*

Randy is a 5th-level warlock. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 15, + 7 to hit with spell attacks). The fanatic has the following (6) warlock spells known: (recover spell slots on short rest)
Cantrips (at will): chill touch, minor illusion, prestidigitation
1st level: hellish rebuke, unseen servant
2nd level: hold person, phantasmal force
3rd level (2 slots): animate dead, magic circle

Tongues of many people: Randy knows enough to get his point across basically (or insult or swear) in any language.

Voice of the Chain Master: Randy can see through and speak through Maladrake at any time on same plane.

Web of Deceit: When Randy starts a social interaction, he makes an Insight check DC 15 plus highest wis modifier in group. if he succeeds he may gain advantage on any 1 check in that scene.

Wood Elf Magic. Randy may spend a HD to make a single ranged attack roll automatically hit and crit, he may also use an inspiration to create an elf light (DC 15 or creatures drawn to), He may extinguish his elf light as someone enters it to make them fall a sleep for 10 minutes (or until takes damage or someone takes an action to shake awake)

ACTIONS
Quarterstaff. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit (+ 9to hit with shillelagh), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage, or 8 (1d8+4) bludgeoning damage with shillelagh or 4(1d8) bludgeoning damage wielded with two hands.

Long Bow+1 Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, ranged 150/600 ft. , one target. Hit: 10 (1d8 + 6) piercing damage

Golden Dawn (Arkhoisa Steel Short Sword)Melee Weapon Attack: +8+1d3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage (crit 19+ for 18 (3d8+4))

Chill Touch Ranged Spell Attack: +7 to hit, ranged 120 ft. , one target. Hit: 14 (3d8) necrotic damage and target can't regain hp until start of your next turn. If target is UNDEAD they have disadvantage on attacks until the end of your next turn.

Sprite familiar:

Maladrake Tiny fey, neutral good
Armor Class 15 (leather armor) Hit Points 2 (1d4) Speed 10ft., fly 40ft.
STR 3 (- 4) DEX 18 (+4) CON 10 (+0)
INT 14 (+2) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 11 (+0)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +8
Senses passive Perception 13 Languages Common, Elvish, Sylvan Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

ACTIONS
Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 slashing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 40/160 ft., one target. Hit: 5 piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for l minute. If its saving throw result is 5 or lower, the poisoned target falls unconscious for the same duration, or until it takes damage or another creature takes an action to shake it awake.

Heart Sight. The sprite touches a creature and magically knows the creature's current emotional state. If the target fails a DC l 0 Charisma saving throw, the sprite also knows the creature's alignment. Celestials, fiends, and undead automatically fail the saving throw.

Invisibility. The sprite magically turns invisible until it attacks or casts a spell, or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell). Any equipment the sprite wears or carries is invisible with it.
 

Coroc

Villager
This boss is awesome for a solo encounter if played right. His save DCs for his fear and elflight abilities are 15 which is likely to catch some oponents who got no prof in wis saves. Have him animate dead/ conjure animal /unseen servant for some extra canon fodder, use hallucinatory terrain to his advantage, target is to wear a party down before they can encounter him directly.
With his skills and that of his familiar at any given time during an encounter he should never have to stand versus the whole party. I would say if played right in a low magic surrounding (I am not familiar with the middle earth rules) he could make a good solo encounter for 4 PC up to 5th or 6th level with ease. Everything below 4th is doomed if this mob is played right.
It is self evident that he should not get into a static face to face melee with a party at any time, for this he is to meager.
 
This boss is awesome for a solo encounter if played right. His save DCs for his fear and elflight abilities are 15 which is likely to catch some oponents who got no prof in wis saves. Have him animate dead/ conjure animal /unseen servant for some extra canon fodder, use hallucinatory terrain to his advantage, target is to wear a party down before they can encounter him directly.
With his skills and that of his familiar at any given time during an encounter he should never have to stand versus the whole party. I would say if played right in a low magic surrounding (I am not familiar with the middle earth rules) he could make a good solo encounter for 4 PC up to 5th or 6th level with ease. Everything below 4th is doomed if this mob is played right.
It is self evident that he should not get into a static face to face melee with a party at any time, for this he is to meager.

the orginal plan was for him to be a threat around 7th to 9th level with a party of 5 martial (manly melee) characters. I would put him after a bunch of blights (vine and twig) being lead by a corrupted dryad. then in his cave (maybe with lair action) and have the encounter be illusions and the sniper familiar... he would have a handful of zombies and/or skeletons as well... but when I ran the numbers like I said he CR is SUPER low...


I agree if played well he could be a threat...but so too could some kobolds (insert tucker reference here)but again I find the math messed up.
 

Quartz

Explorer
He's got far too few HP to be a threat. He's a glass cannon in that when they actually get to him he'll fall very quickly. So just give him the Tough feat to give him back those 24 HP.
 

aco175

Explorer
All the other powers make him cool, but the HP will kill him in one round if the PCs can get to him. By the level you want, the fighter could take several attacks of opportunity getting to him and still attack him directly. You can try to have many little monsters like goblins or skeletons that are easy to kill at this level, but also get to hurt the PCs by sheer numbers.
 
One of my friends suggested that even if I gave him a 9th level aid spell (40 extra hp), and toughness (12 more) that is still less then 100 and at level 8 there is no way the PCs could not deal 100hp in the opening round...
 

Satyrn

Villager
I'd start by upping his Constitution to 14, so he can get another 48 hit points.


And I just want to emphasize that his levels in druid and warlock are only meaningful to his CR if he's got damage dealing spells, and I only see call lightning and a couple others in that long list . . . so I'd suggest making sure he's got some woodland beings conjured, and add those critters' CR to the encounter budget when figuring out if Randy's gonna be a challenge.

. . . You might even want to break the rules off that spell a little and pick a good selection of critters tyat the spell wouldn't otherwise permit.
 

aco175

Explorer
Why are you building him like a PC?
Building him like a monster allows you to give him cool powers and combos that break traditional character building. I like to give 4e powers to NPCs to make them stand out a bit and it makes the NPC both easy to play and memorable for the players.
 
Why are you building him like a PC?
That's a good question...I always start with classes or the builds in the back of the MM for my 'phb race' antagonists... maybe I shouldn't. I would love to hear how you would do it different. Maybe that is the problem by making him a warlock/druid instead of just a monster that CAN do things...
 

Satyrn

Villager
That's a good question...I always start with classes or the builds in the back of the MM for my 'phb race' antagonists... maybe I shouldn't. I would love to hear how you would do it different. Maybe that is the problem by making him a warlock/druid instead of just a monster that CAN do things...
This is how I've been making my legion of fiends. They're sort of a cross between monster and NPC, but they work fine as an example since I essentially start with "devil grunt" as a race.

But were I making your druid warlock, I'd follow the same steps

1) I set all their ability scores at 10 or 12, because they're really not worth thinking about and no one but me will ever see them. But if a strength or weakness leaps out at me, I'll knock the score up to 16 or more, or down to to 6 or less.

Randy would get a Wisdom and Charisma of 18, and the rest of his stats would be 12. (If he needed a weakness, I'd drop his Strength, but I don't see it as necessary)

2) For his attacks, I'd just give him eldritch blast, and some other interesting warlock area attack spell. For his traits, I'd give him the ability to summon some strong magically enhanced* critters, and the abilty to wildshape into those same critters (and the ability to cast while wildshaped). I'd also list a decent assortment of spells to remind me that he has options beyond the statblock.

And that's that.

No, There's more. Since this is a boss, I'd consider giving him something akin to legendary actions in the form of a couple custom spells that are cast as a reaction. (A player wanting to learn these spells would have to quest for them, maybe making a pact with Randy's patron, too, along with other onerous tasks that effectively put the spells out of reach).

And Lair Actions. If Randy's in his grove or the like, he'd have been performing rituals to make his home fight back.


I think that should feel like a powerful warlock/druid when encounteredand I'd be happy with that.



*Like, bump up the brown bear to a CR worth fighting. More hit points maybe, but certainly have it's claws bristle with primal might (a couple extra dice of damage) and its bite . . . its bite inflict hex because a warlock's gotta have hex somehow, right? That hex, by the way, would benefit the bear and Randy, so the more bears Randy conjures, the more PCs he can hex, and the more targets he has to choose from.
 

aco175

Explorer
You could also give him power where damage is directed to a minion or some part of his lair. The PCs will redirect their attacks to the minions to weaken him. Perhaps at the start of combat he brings forth a group of elementals that take the damage directed at him. Maybe it is a lair action to direct the damage, or he needs to be within 30ft of an elemental. The PCs might continue to beat on him to kill the elementals or redirect to the elementals, but he is able to go a few rounds longer against the PCs. To make it cooler have the lair heal the elementals so the PCs go after them and not just beat on the BBEG.
 
This is how I've been making my legion of fiends. They're sort of a cross between monster and NPC, but they work fine as an example since I essentially start with "devil grunt" as a race.
thanks, you are giving me a lot to think about.

But were I making your druid warlock, I'd follow the same steps

1) I set all their ability scores at 10 or 12, because they're really not worth thinking about and no one but me will ever see them. But if a strength or weakness leaps out at me, I'll knock the score up to 16 or more, or down to to 6 or less.

Randy would get a Wisdom and Charisma of 18, and the rest of his stats would be 12. (If he needed a weakness, I'd drop his Strength, but I don't see it as necessary)

2) For his attacks, I'd just give him eldritch blast, and some other interesting warlock area attack spell. For his traits, I'd give him the ability to summon some strong magically enhanced* critters, and the abilty to wildshape into those same critters (and the ability to cast while wildshaped). I'd also list a decent assortment of spells to remind me that he has options beyond the statblock.
Ok now that sounds pretty good. One of the things I wanted was for him to have been sickly, a reason why he didn't ever wear armor or pick up a sword even though he was raise a noble (hence the low CON)… I am rethinking that though.

As far as the Eldritch Blast, that doesn't really feel 'dark power deal' to me...so I will keep chill touch as his main offensive attack (especially since I like him stopping PCs for healing).

SOmehow I completely forgot about wildshape...I haveto think that through.



No, There's more. Since this is a boss, I'd consider giving him something akin to legendary actions in the form of a couple custom spells that are cast as a reaction. (A player wanting to learn these spells would have to quest for them, maybe making a pact with Randy's patron, too, along with other onerous tasks that effectively put the spells out of reach).

And Lair Actions. If Randy's in his grove or the like, he'd have been performing rituals to make his home fight back.
yes this I like too, I was already playing with legend and lair actions. He should have a connection to his dark corrupt grove...


You could also give him power where damage is directed to a minion or some part of his lair.
I love this...to fight him is to fight the land itself...


The PCs will redirect their attacks to the minions to weaken him. Perhaps at the start of combat he brings forth a group of elementals that take the damage directed at him. Maybe it is a lair action to direct the damage, or he needs to be within 30ft of an elemental. The PCs might continue to beat on him to kill the elementals or redirect to the elementals, but he is able to go a few rounds longer against the PCs. To make it cooler have the lair heal the elementals so the PCs go after them and not just beat on the BBEG.
maybe blights instead of elementals...



OK, back to the drawing board it is...I will get back to you guys, but again thanks for the ideas.
 

Satyrn

Villager
thanks, you are giving me a lot to think about.

. . .

As far as the Eldritch Blast, that doesn't really feel 'dark power deal' to me...so I will keep chill touch as his main offensive attack (especially since I like him stopping PCs for healing).
You're welcome. This is the fun part of this forum for me.

Eldritch blast was just the first thing that popped into my head. Since chill touch pops into yours, it's the better choice by far. I have a third option, though: You could blend chill touch with eldritch blast quite simply. Just have the eldritch blasts deal cold damage and inflict the inability to heal. This gives Randy a ranged attack and the effect you want.


Oh, and if you use @aco175's suggestion that some the damage Randy takes is actually taken by his summoned minions, you can keep him sickly and weak. I like giving my boss monsters ways to regain hit points in some way other than the standard healing spells and potions. This idea is one I'm stealing for use somewhere. Probably for a demon boss (which are roughly between CR 3-6)

Here's my first draft:

Conjure Meatshield (Recharge 5-6). As an bonus action, The Boss Demon conjures a Medium Demon Fodder, which appears at a spot of the boss demon's choice within 30'. Whenever the Boss Demon is hit, it chooses one of its conjured demon fodders to take the damage instead. The Boss Demon can have a maximum of 3 meatshields at any one time.


(Medium Demon Fodder are CR 1. Later drafts might have me going with CR 1/2 Small Fodder, but the details aren't really important, because they can be changed every time I use the feature and I get the added benefit of the demons' features being unpredictable to the players )
 

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