In this first ever edition of the NPC Compendium, I present Bloodragers of levels 1-5, and 16, following the criteria outlined below, for use in any Pathfinder campaign. TL;DR: Most low-level bloodragers function about the same, so I attempted to make each of these builds different. We’ve got a two-spiked-gauntlet brawler, a sword-and-shield fighter, a Furious Focus face smasher, a dex-based freak, a mounted combatant, and (at level 16) a spellbreaker tank with as many defenses as I could give with the reduced gold.
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: 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 week’s additions to the Compendium: Bloodragers
This week, I added six builds to the NPC compendium, and all of them were bloodragers. These fighters have high damage output, and light magical capabilities starting at level 4, so they make a good mix of the traditions within Pathfinder to mark a good starting point for the Compendium.
Bloodrager 1 – Shadow’s Fist (CR 1/2)
The Order of the Shadow’s Fist is a medium-sized group of Fetchlings that typically hang out around Absalom. They are typically hired to do dirty work. Each member has a unique personality, but their strength really comes in numbers. In fact, if somebody reaches out to receive help from the Fist, they must purchase assistance from the order with a minimum of five fighters and one spell caster (the Shadow’s Staff build is coming in the first installment of the Arcanists). The build is focused on dual wielding spiked gauntlets, alongside the best armor I could give them with the mediocre amount of gold. You should play them as a direct fighter, immediately rushing into combat with rage to complete their job.
Bloodrager 2 – Wings of Fury (CR 1)
Though flying in her armor is rather difficult, this Strix bloodrager doesn’t care. As a woman of her word, Helga Aetmanov prefers to be a bodyguard over a fighter, though she isn’t afraid to kill those that threaten her friends. She focuses her attacks on those who attack her allies, and usually begins her rage only once an enemy manages to damage an ally.
Bloodrager 3 – Hulking Changeling (CR 2)
This is your typical, run-of-the-mill, two-handed Bloodrager, with a small twist. The changeling won’t get crits very often, but when she does, she does x3 damage, and the recipient must also succeed on a DC 14 will save, or be confused. That’s not her trick though; her trick is her archetype. When combat starts, she casts spiritual weapon via her archetype prior to the battle starting, just to pile on more damage. She sends the weapon to the back so casters start getting attacked, to make matters worse. Aside from those two things, this bloodrager build is quite straightforward.
Bloodrager 4 – The Hidden Chain (CR 3)
The Brotherhood of Chain is a Kyton-run organization from the darkest depths of society. They’re forces are numbered high, and do actually include several Kytons. The least powerful, but most prominent of these members are known as Hidden Chains. They silently move about the streets, looking for their next mark. When they find their mark, they silently duck into a back alley, apply magic to their weapon, cast reduce person, and attack as stealthily as possible (remember +4 to stealth due to size).
This build focuses on dexterity (THE GOD STAT!), since it’s an Urban Bloodrager build. This build is focused on dealing consistent damage to lower level PCs, and focuses on crit fishing. Every time a Hidden Chain crits, the target is sickened for 2 rounds with no save. Ouch! The Kyton bloodline also gives them a bonus on climb checks, so they prefer to scurry away via rooftop, and then continue away stealthily.
Bloodrager 5 – Vuala Kharj (CR 5)
Vuala Kharj is a pitborn Tiefling gnome with a wolf animal companion from the Bloodrider archetype. Even though Vuala doesn’t benefit much from being on the wolf, unless things get dire, he prefers to stay mounted. Typically, Vuala starts combat by casting Shield from the wand in his tail while his mount, Cerberus, charges, hoping to trip the target. After Vuala has shield up, he tears into his opponents with full attacks, using his two claws from his Abyssal bloodline, and his bite from the Maw or Claw tiefling racial trait.
Due to his bloodline, I’m more willing to make this character good aligned, as listed in the compendium, as a fun, though ironic, twist. Vuala should be played in a location where he CAN charge opponents, since his mount definitely needs the bonus to be able to hit most characters at this level.
Bloodrager 16 – The Spellbreaker (CR 15)
In an attempt to not overwhelm myself with nothing but higher level NPCs later, I’ll be releasing the higher level NPCs as their builds finish. I managed to get this one done, and man is it quite the build.
The premise of this build is simple. By combining the arcane bloodline, the Steelblood archetype, and the Untouchable Rager archetype, we get all of the benefits from the arcane bloodline without ANY of the negatives. Let me explain.
The Arcane Bloodline allows us to apply the effects (note: not cast. This is important.) of three spells from three lists as we enter rage. The best of which is Transformation, which many muscle wizards may recognize as the point at which muscle wizards become viable again. The spell gives an enhancement bonus to all physical stats like a belt of physical perfection +4, reducing the need for stat boosting items, but it removes the ability to cast spells of any kind, even through spell-activation items. This is USUALLY a problem for characters that can get the effects of the spell, but it’s not the case here, since the Untouchable Rager archetype replaces our ability to cast spells with spell resistance.
On top of this godly spell resistance (especially for an NPC, not a monster), the Spellbreaker also has the ability to replace one of his attacks with a dirty trick maneuver. This forces the recipient to make a fortitude save or have a second, much worse effect happen as well. Both effects can each be removed with a move action, but the worse effect MUST be removed first if using mundane means. The spellbreaker uses this to blind and stagger spellcasters, taking away one of their casting turns so he can just full attack. Even if the caster WANTS to get away, the Spellbreaker has Step Up.
Lastly, the Spellbreaker also has access to Disruptive (with an improved effect because of the arcane bloodline) and Spellbreaker, adding even more defense against spellcasters that are adjacent to the bloodrager.
Use this NPC sparingly. Your PC casters will hate you if you roll well on your saves (did I mention the +26 fortitude save) or if they roll low on their spell penetration. In my home campaign, these guys will one of the main bodyguard forces for a manipulative psychic caster, and they’re meant to combat things that the caster can’t — typically, other casters.
Next Week: MORE Bloodragers and some Arcanists.
I’ve begun working on the group of NPCs for next week’s Compendium update. There will be more Bloodragers including (hopefully) a level 17 simply titled “The Reach Master”. Also, the first few Arcanists are in the works, so definitely make sure you’re following The Geekwave for when that one goes up.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I’ll catch you next week.