I have to apologize profusely for my absence on this blog. School got the best of me, yet again. This time, I’ll present some level 5 NPCs I created for my family to try out Pathfinder. These NPCs are designed with fun in mind, and versatility too, since they’re sample Pathfinder Society builds (even though some of them aren’t legal). I’ve also got the final iteration of an NPC for my home game ready, so you’ll also be receiving a level 17 druid build, optimized around summoning. Seeing that many colossal bases on the board has been fun. It truly does look like the end of times for the poor PCs.
The Standard Disclaimer
Hello there you tabletop geeks. Due to the fact that you’re reading this article, I assume it means you’re interested, at least mildly, in my favorite hobby, the Pathfinder tabletop RPG. I’m usually the DM when I play Pathfinder, so I’m almost always on the lookout for good NPCs, and the ones provided by Paizo in their NPC Codex are not only rather lackluster, but are, let’s face it, rather bland. No archetypes, all core rulebook material, and some of them are flat out bad. Cue the NPC Compendium.
I’ve been playing Pathfinder for the past 2 years, and recently finished up a campaign for a group of power-gamers, so I learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. This doesn’t mean all the characters I create are min-maxed to go against characters like that; they can’t be, and that’s not the purpose of the NPC Compendium. But I digress.
What is the NPC Compendium?
The Compendium is here as an aid to GMs everywhere. When finished, the compendium will have at least one character of every level for a large majority of the classes in the game. The interesting part, however, is that all characters except those of level 5, 10, and 15-20 are randomly generated (except those denoted with a *): a random race, random archetype, and random class features (for example, bloodlines), for the purposes of not only exploring the different options available, but possibly completely re-imagining a class into a different role.
Now, not everything here is super effective at what it does, but if something in the random generator comes up that severely handicaps a build, I change it. None of these NPCs are bad. Some are just average, while others, specifically those that aren’t randomly generated, are usually the best I could possibly come up with. I’ve tried to create some interesting builds. I also provide some guidelines on what to do to with the characters, including synergistic options where available.
I have one last thing to note before I begin explaining what I created for this week. The NPCs at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 are designed with player gold. This means that none of the NPCs in my compendium are CR 4, 9, 14, or 19. That’s just a symptom of the gold system in Pathfinder. This also means that the NPCs at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 are created using the standard 20 point buy, instead of the pre-generated stat system presented within the Core Rulebook, so they’re especially better than the other NPCs. Be sure to use these NPCs as Big Bad Evil Guys instead of average mooks or your gold amount will get all out of whack.
This time: Powerful Pathfinders and the End of Times Incarnate
Cleric 5 – Divine Enchantress (CR 5)
As a cleric of Callistria, you can expect some insane Enchanter shenanigans from this character. And that I tried. The Divine Enchantress plays like a mixture battle cleric, enchantress. Her tactics revolve around her ability to make enemies do what they normally wouldn’t via a combination of Charitable Impulse (my all time favorite Cleric Enchantment spell [“Why don’t you go ahead and heal that deadly wound you just did to me. Oh, and give me your armor while you’re at it!”]), Suggestion, Hold Person, and Murderous Command. In extended battles, she’s also got spells like Lightning Lash, Spiritual Weapon, and Divine Favor. As a reach build, be sure to include this baddie with some heavily armored mooks!
Gunslinger 5 – Musket Marksman (CR 5)
Accuracy, with damage to boot. This character boasts an impressive +9/+9 with a musket (a d12 weapon!) and a fun mechanic for moving characters around, but the build is nothing special. If you need a baddie with more damage output, you can always replace Blowout Shot Deed with Deadly Aim.
Ninja 5 – Silent Prowler (CR 5)
Did somebody say invisible catfolk? This build is centered around stealth and trickery, boasting Vanishing Trick (1 ki point for invisibility), Shadow Clone (1 ki point for a flat 1d4 mirror images), and most importantly No Trace (upon succeeding a reflex save against an AoE, immediately attempt a stealth check. Take that fireball wizards!). An Agile amulet of mighty fists is all this build needed to get the damage we’re looking for. And, with built in invisibility, he should almost always get a sneak attack off.
Summoner 5 – The Dreaded Caticorn (CR 5)
What’s got big ears, haste as a second level spell, and more AC than your average paladin? The most neko monstrosity you’ve ever seen. If you can’t tell by the name, this build was created for a younger player, but man is it deadly effective. With the combination of pounce, flight, and buff spells, I’ve got to give the summoner credit where it’s due. It’s OP. VERY VERY OP.
With only a few buff rounds (most at minutes per level duration, mind you!) this character can reach large size with 15 ft reach (but no combat reflexes. Choose your target carefully), be self-hasted, and obtain an AC of 32. Most martial classes that are fully optimized still need a 19 to hit this creature when fully buffed. Meanwhile, the creature is tearing people apart (without rend, by the way) by using 2 claws, a bite, and a gore, each one does an average of 13 damage, with +10 to hit. Oh, and the bite trips. This is one fluffy boy you really don’t want to mess with.
Druid 17* – The End Conjurer (CR 17)
The end of times approaches. Rovagug’s bonds are finally weakening, and who’s leading the charge to free it? A gnome. A tiny little gnome with bright green hair and an evil look in his eyes. But, what’s that rumbling? Suddenly, the ground underneath you bursts wide open in a 15 foot burst, nothing but teeth lie beneath you now as the gaping maw of an Elder Worm consumes you whole. The gnome just laughs and summons 3 colossal Tyrannosauruses around the wizard behind you, and you watch him get swallowed whole before you yourself succumb to the gaping maw beneath you. The last thing you see is a swarm of insects, more painful than any you’ve encountered before as you decend into the belly of this beast.
High level magic is fun. If you’re planning to use this NPC as some kind of ally for your party, make sure they have 9th level magic so they don’t get overshadows. If you’re planning to use this NPC as an enemy, make sure they DON’T have 9th level magic, to make this all the more scary.
All-in-all, if this Druid spends all of his time summoning creatures, that alone would be enough to take out a vast majority of parties. Not a lot of groups can take on 6 colossal creatures at once without struggling to lose the caster. Combine that with Creeping Doom, and you’re left with 5 concentration checks to cast a spell.
This Druid’s versatility also comes from a vast variety of items (warning: some of these items are very powerful. Giving them to your group could change the entire power dynamic. Be ready for this). These include a Major Cloak of Displacement (did somebody say displacement via a command word?), an Otherworldly Kimono (Did somebody say free maze once per day? Take that barbarian!), and Vambraces of the Genie (invisibility, among other things). This, combined with some of the insane buffs the Conjurer can provide his summons (HEART OF THE MAMMOTH ON A COLOSSAL AUGMENTED PURPLE WORM IS ONE OF THE MOST TERRIFYING THINGS I CAN THINK OF. THAT’S A LOT OF DICE PER ATTACK!), could lead to a very interesting fight. Especially if the conjurer can get a few rounds of spells of prior to combat.