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5e: Halfling Warlock Skeleton

I just thought I would take a break from my regular posting of expanding the number of creatures you can summon with the conjure spells in your Fifth Edition game and post a monster I made just for fun. How to make NPCs for 5e is a quesiton I don’t have a good answer for since examples in the MM do not coorelate to levels in the PHB and their stats are completely off from what a monster of that challenge level should be in the DMG. The archmage is a prime example, Its an 18th-level spellcaster, is a challenge 12 monster but the hit points and armor class of a challenge 2 monster. Let me repeat that: the 18th level NPC has hit points and an armor class of a monster 16 levels below what it should be.

So how do I adjust that when I make an NPC? Short answer: The level of the NPC is it’s challenge rating. That 18th level archmage should be a challenge 18 NPC. How do I have it meet the stats of a challenge 18 monster? It gets as many hit dice as needed to be in that range. Think of it as that the NPC also has levels of aristocrat, commoner, or warrior—to use a 3.5/Pathfinder-ism. From there I make option choices to get all the other numbers where they should be.

Take the halfling warlock skeleton below as an example. I settled on a level 3 warlock, so I designed for a challenge 3 monster. We placed the 14 (from the standard 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 ability score array) in Dexterity where it gains a +2 from the halfling race, making it a 16. That +3 ability modifier means its armor class is 13, right where a challenge 3 monster should be. Sure it has only 3 levels of warlock, but that few hit points is going to put it squarely in CR 1/8 territory. So we added as many hit dice as necessary to get it in the 101-115 range. Now considering that the skeleton gave it a damage vulnerability to bludgeoning weapons and an immunity to poison, I felt letting it have 10 hit points more than the normal value was wall justified. The attack bonus on eldritch blast is +4 but its 8 damage falls short so we added repelling blast, making it push its opponents away. This will make coordinating attacks more difficult for the players. It does not make up for it fully, but it is a consideration. Having said that, the halfling warlock skeleton casts burning hands as a 2nd-level spell. That will deal an average of 14 damage each time it is used, counting as 28 considering it damages more than 1 creature. That is close enough to the damage expected for a monster of that level and can be considered balanced for its level, as described by the DMG.

I hope you enjoy this monster and remember to download our other Fifth Edition gaming material at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Halfling Warlock Skeleton

Small undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 13
Hit Points 126 (28d6 + 28)
Speed 25 ft.


STR 8 (–1) DEX 16 (+3) CON 13 (+1)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 16 (+3)


Skills Deception +5, Intimidation +5,
Saving Throws Wis +3, Cha +5
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Abyssal, Common, Halfling
Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Brave. The halfling warlock skeleton has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Dark One’s Blessing. The halfling warlock skeleton gains 6 temporary hit points when it reduces a hostile creature to 0 hit points.
Eldritch Invocations. The halfling warlock skeleton has the following invocaitons: agonizing blast, repelling blast
Halfling Nimbleness. The halfling warlock skeleton can move through the space of any creature that is size Medium or larger.
Lucky. The halfling warlock skeleton can reroll a 1 rolled on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, but must use the new roll.
Naturally Stealthy. The halfling warlock skeleton can hide behind a creature that is Medium or larger.
Spellcasting. The halfling warlock skeleton is a 3rd-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The halfling warlock skeleton knows the following warlock spells:
Cantrips (at will): eldritch blast, mage hand
2nd level (2 slots): blindness/deafness, burning hands, charm person, command, comprehend language, hold person, protection from evil and good, scorching ray

Actions


Eldritch Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 120 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) force damage. A creature hit by the halfling warlock skeleton’s eldritch blast is moved 10 feet away from the halfling warlock skeleton in a straight line.

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Any Traveller NPC On The Fly

D66 Compendium 2

When I am prepping a Traveller game to run at home or a convention, I will always take the time to stat up an NPC and come up with a full backstory. This way, I always have consistent skills, the right number of dice for weapons damage and the exact equipment the character should have. This should be part of any good GM’s prep before running a game. Yet when the players catch me off guard and I have to have a Traveller character on the fly, I don’t bother looking in any books. I just remember these simple rules:

1) Pick a Theme

This may seem obvious, but it must be stated upfront: have a theme for the NPC. If I don’t, I quickly have NPCs that are good at everything. To combat this, I pick a theme and I stick to that theme for the character. It can be as simple as “doctor” or as complex as “down on their luck stock trader who took up painting.” Either way, their theme is pretty simple as it only needs to get me through the game session so I can stat them out fully (should the NPC survive that long). That theme dictates what skills, characteristics, and other bonuses the person should and should not have.

2) Bonus Tree from Competent to Incompetent

In much the same way that the difficulty goes up or down depending on how difficult any particular challenge is, I keep a ladder in my head of what bonus to add to any roll. Here’s what I use:

Bonus When To Use How Many Skills
+4 Exceptional Max 1
+2 Professional 1-3
+1 Above Average 2-4
+0 Average 3-6
–1 Below Average 4-8
–3 Never Exposed Before All the Rest

Take the Doctor for a second. For an exceptional brain surgeon, I’d give them a +4 Medic, but for your average family doctor, their Medic would be +2. Related skills like Science (biology) and Admin would be +2. If the subject of art came up like if the doctor was talking to the stock trader, I could assume the doctor took an art history class in college for fun so is not a complete noob at it and would get a –1.

The down on their luck stock trader, well that person is down on their luck because they are not all that skilled at it to begin with. So I would give them a +1 in Broker, Carouse, and Gambler, +0 in Admin, Art, Persuade, and Streetwise.

Even then, I wouldn’t write these numbers down. This is just what I’d assume based based on the theme. If, by the end of the session, it looked like the NPC would return, I would write down those stats after the game while it was still fresh in my mind so I had it for next time.

3) Weapons and Armor

While I can fudge weapons and armor in a pinch, I pretty much keep these stats on a sheet close by.

User Armor Bonus Weapon Damage
Military +15 5D+3 Zero-G or 4D, AP 5, Auto 3
Police +10 3D Stun, Zero G or 3D, AP 3, Auto 2
Survivalist +8 3D, Auto 3
Paranoid +3 3D-3 or 2D Melee, Stun
Stealth +1 2D Body
Unprepared/Civilian +0 1D unarmed

Like I said, I keep this with me. Even if I remember what the police officer’s weapons and armor is, that doesn’t mean that the players will strip them of it after knocking the person out and then they are left with being an unprepared/civilian entry. This little preparation makes running a game quick and easy for when (not if) the players run the game off the rails.

If you really want to be prepared for any name you could possibly need, get yourself the d66 Compendium and its sequel, the D66 Compendium 2. Both are available at in Print and PDF at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. Order your copy today.

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13th Age: Beware the Lich Queen and Her Agents

Age of Icons: 100 Lich Queen AgentsIn a long running campaign involving the the forces of undead, you are going to need lots of NPC names. Age of Icons: 100 Lich Queen Agents is here to help. This list of 100 names will give you the inspiration you need for when you are planning your next gaming session. Additionally, 5 of the agents in the list receive full stat blocks; each comes complete with relations to the other icons, giving you hooks to create your own adventures with. Beautifully illustrated, this supplement is ideal for your 13th Age campaign.

The 5 NPCs detailed inside are

  • Crematys, the Dragon-Lich (10th level caster)
  • The Devouring Dark, Colossal Shadow (8th level blocker)
  • Gravedigger Bob, Ghoul Commoner (5th level leader)
  • Gravewing, Diseased Roc (12th level spoiler)
  • Ihar the Rusted Blade, Wight Mercenary (7th level troop)

Never be caught unprepared when GMing a lich and her agents.

Age of Icons: 100 Lich Queen Agents is available now at d20PFSRD and DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.com.

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Pathfinder: Beyond Monsters, Legendary NPCs

Book of Beasts: Legendary FoesAll week long, we are sharing what is in the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes monster book for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Monday we showed you a listing of all monsters, NPCs, demigods and traps by CR. Yesterday, we showed you some of the beautiful full-color art within. Today we want to talk to you about the NPCs.

Originally, I was going to post another a monster from the book, but I have actually posted several monsters from the book both here on JonBrazer.com (such as the millennial worm and the blightrat) as well as some in our newsletter (sign up here for exclusive previews). So today I decided to share with you details on the NPCs.

At its core, the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes is a monster book, it is, however, so much more than that. This book contains within some of the hardest to build NPCs out there. You will not find any dwarf fighters here. We are talking about monsters with archetyped class level and templates stacked on top of each other to make a truly dizzying array of ability to throw at your players. We know how difficult it is to come up with some really spectacular array of NPCs across multiple books. So we took care of that for you.

Here are all of the options you will find within the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes:

  • Banshee witch 12
  • Awakened fortune-blessed unseelie dire tiger rogue (thug) 11
  • Half-fiend drider sorcerer 9
  • Fire giant ranger (skirmisher) 14
  • Oread worm that walks cleric 19
  • Wyrm magma dragon ravener
  • Aasimar lich sorcerer 13 dragon disciple 6
  • Ghost cyclops rogue 9
  • Shadow demon fighter 14
  • Ratfolk diviner (foresight) 3 oracle 6 mystic theurge 10
  • Dark stalker juju zombie antipaladin 19

Download the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo.com or d20PFSRD. Pre-Order the print version from your local game store or your favorite gaming website.

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Fate: Don’t Let Zombies Gnaw Your Face Off

Powered by Fate Final Light BGThe few games of Fate Core I have played, I really enjoyed it. It was a quick and simple system that made a fun evening. Now I want to help you to have your own fun games of Fate. So for a fun Friday, we are posting a zombies for you to use in your own zombie survival game. And if you are a player in a Fate Core game may your character lives longer than my own did. I hope these enhance your world and your game.

Zombie (Average)
Aspects: Eat! Flesh!
Skills: Average (+1) Fight and Stealth

Tough Zombie (Fair)
Apsects: Grab and gnaw.
Skills: Fair (+2) Fight, Average (+1) Notice and Physique
Stress: One Stress Box

Zombie Mob (Good)
Aspects: Grab, attack, and eat!
Skills: Good (+3) Fight, Fair (+2) Physique, Average (+1) Notice
Stress: Two Stress Boxes

If you would like to see more for Fate Core RPG from Jon Brazer Enterprises, please let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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Pathfinder: Release the Ratfolk!

Get Personal

Fully fleshed-out hirlings and arch-nemeses for your characters await within! The Book of Friends and Foes: Ratfolk of the Ruins delivers seven NPCs to expand your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. These ratfolk will keep your characters guessing who to trust and what deadly danger lurks around the corner. Covering CR 1/2-8, these NPCs will steal your evil Game Master’s heart along with the player’s gold pouches. Use these friends and foes to hang plot hooks and move your adventure along.

This 12-page PDF includes 7 ratfolk NPCs with complete statblocks using options from beyond the Core Rulebook. Enhance your World and Your Game Today. Available now at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.com or at Paizo.com.

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Pathfinder: An Advanced Racial Fighter

Taking a break from my normal writing, I decided to write up a quick Oread Fighter, using options presented in the Advanced Race Guide and the Advanced Player’s Guide. If you have yet to see it, this will give you a small preview of some of the options for the oread race contained within.

And incase you are wondering, this has nothing to do with tomorrow’s announcement.


Artist: Marc Radle
Cove Granitefist           CR 6
XP 2,400
Male oread** fighter (two-handed fighter*) 7
LN Medium outsider (native)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2


Defenses


AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 20 (+9 armor, +1 natural)
hp 57 (7d10+14)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +4


Offense


Speed 20 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee +1 greatsword +14/+9 (2d6+9/19-20)
Ranged mwk composite (+4) longbow +8 (1d8+4/x3)
Special Attacks backswing*, overhand chop*, treacherous earth (1/day, 7 minutes)


Statistics


Str 18, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +7; CMB +11 (+13 sunder); CMD 21 (23 vs sunder, 28 vs bull rush, drag)
Feats Dwarf Blooded**, Lunge, Oread Burrower**, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack (-2/+4), Stony Step**, Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword)
Skills Knowledge (dungeoneering, engineering) +11, Profession (miner) +12
Languages Common, Dwarven, Terran
SQ granite skin**, shattering strike*, slow speed, stonecunning, weapon training (swords)
Gear +1 greatsword, +1 half plate, mwk composite (+4) longbow, arrows,


Special Abilities


Burrow (Ex) Cove Granitefist can burrow through sand, dirt, clay, gravel, or similar materials, but not solid stone. He leaves no hole behind nor is his passage marked on the surface.
Treacherous Earth (Su) Once per day, Cover Granitefist can can transform a 10-foot-radius patch of earth, unworked stone or sand into difficult terrain. This area is centered on on an area he touches. This last for 7 minutes and then returns to normal.

Having worked with the dwarves most of his life, Cove Granitefist knows the mountains near the River Nations well. He has helped out with more than one mining operation, passing through the looser earth, helping the dwarves to locate veins of precious materials. He also stood by their side, fighting the foul creatures that live deep beneath the surface.

When the dwarves disappeared, he was arranging for goods to be sold to a neighboring nation. He returned to find plates of uneaten food, buckets and carts full of dirt as if dropped by their owners and toys ready to be played with but without owners. Instead of investigating by himself, he decided to hire others to investigate. When he returned, the entrance had been sealed off, preventing him from and his fellow adventurers from discovering the truth. Also, he and his companions were not powerful enough to overcome the new wards guarding the place.

Cove considers himself constantly training, looking to gain enough power to get past the wards and allow himself entrance. He wants to know what happened in that cave and hungers for a way to bring them back from whereever they may be.

* Advanced Player’s Guide
** Advanced Race Guide

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Pathfinder: Book of Friend and Foes: Assassinating your Downloads Now

Get personal – Fully fleshed arch-nemeses and assassins for your characters await within! The Book of Friends and Foes: Assassins in the River Nations delivers eight NPCs to fill out your kingdom building game. These assassins will keep your the characters guessing where the next deadly threat will come from next. Covering CR 6-13, these assassins will cover your death squad needs for much of the adventure path. Use these deadly foes to hang plot hooks and move your adventure along.

Inside this supplement, you will find:

  • Muffin Brownbottle, Death’s Chef, Rogue 5/Assassin 2
  • Jolanta Adanski, the Grave Cackler, Witch 7/Assassin 1
  • Qog Kirgon, the Mountain Stalker, Ranger 5/Assassin 4
  • Dyali Starwater, Heirophant of the Dying Moon Cult, Cleric 9/Assassin 1
  • Koron, Warmaster of Death, Fighter 9/Assassin 2
  • Mariana, Master of Disguise, Rogue 5/Assassin 7
  • Akanor, Funeral Singer, Bard 10/Assassin 3
  • Ceriddaia Shimmerstar, the Sword Breaker, Magus 14

This PDF supplement comes complete with a Hero Lab file, allowing for the quickest possible integration into your game.

Download these deadly foes today at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and at Paizo.com

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Pathfinder: Assassin in the River Nations

Last year, the Book of the River Nations: Complete Player’s Reference for Kingdom Building was released. At the time I had plans to provide NPCs appropriate for a kingdom building game as well as much more support. Instead of doing that, I ended up going straight to work on Shadowsfall and several half finished products fell by the wayside. I don’t like vaporware as much as you so I’m working to finish up these products that I began so long ago. One such product is assassins for the River Nations. This one here is one I wrote last night. She’s part of an all elf/half-elf dance team called the Skyprancer Dance Troop. The team are mercenaries, using the cover of dancers as a way to cross borders and gain access. While none of the team actually possess the assassin prestige class, they have registered with the Gracetree Assassins in Daggerton.

Please let us know if you would like to see more assassins for the River Nations. Without further ado, I present to you Ceriddaia Shimmerstar!


Ceriddaia Shimmerstar           CR 10
XP 9,600
Female elf magus 11
CN Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +13


Defenses


AC 25, touch 14, flat-footed 22 (+8 armor, +3 Dex, +4 shield)
hp 75 (11d8+22)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +7
Immune sleep


Offense


Speed 20 ft. (30 ft. without armor)
Melee +1 scimitar +12/+7 (1d6+4/15-20)
Special Attacks arcane pool (9), improved spell combat, spell strike
Magus Spells Prepared (CL 11th, concentration +19)
4th – arcane theft, dimension door, wall of ice
3rd – fireball (DC 17), fly, force punch (DC 17), undead anatomy i, vampiric touch
2nd – defensive shock, elemental touch (DC 16), frigid touch, scorching ray, web
1st – corrosive touch, expeditious retreat, ray of enfeeblement (DC 15), shocking grasp, true strike, vanish
0 (at will) – acid splash, detect magic, disrupt undead, read magic, spark


Tactics


Before Combat Before attacking her opponent, Ceriddaia will cast expeditious retreat as well as fly if the situation calls for it. Following that, she will use one of her arcane pool points to increase her scimitar to a total of a +3 shock weapon. Next she will cast vanish and then undead anatomy i. The following round she will strike.
During Combat The above preparations changes her attacks: +1 scimitar +15/+10 (1d6+7/15-20 plus 1d6 shock). First she will neutralize her target’s weapons by sundering them. Next, she will fight using her spell combat to increase the damage output of each hit. Meanwhile, Ceriddaia will use her shield spell ability to give herself a +4 shield bonus to her armor class.
Morale Ceriddaia is paid for her services and will flee if her hit points fall below 25.


Statistics


Str 16, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +8; CMB +11 (+16 sunder); CMD 24 (26 sunder)
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical (scimitar), Improved Sunder, Lunge, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills Fly +17, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Perception +13, Perform (dance) +10, Spellcraft +18, Use Magic Device +13; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnome,Sylvan
SQ improved spell recall, knowledge pool, magus arcana (arcane accuracy +4, maneuver mastery [sunder], shield spell)
Gear +2 breastplate, +1 scimitar, belt of giant’s strength +2, clear spindle ioun stone, dust of illusion, spellbook (includes all prepared spells plus magic missile, shout, slow, stoneskin), 500 gp

Both literally and figuratively, Ceriddaia is all about the shock factor. She gets a thrill out of appearing out of nowhere, looking like a skeleton and electrocuting her targets with her strikes. Her primary tactic however is to break her opponent’s weapons before they can use them against her. This tactic of breaking her enemy’s offense has served her well.

Among the Skyprancer Dance Troop, she is the flighty one. She bores easily and frequently acts without forethought. However, she channels her impulsive nature into shopping. She keeps a considerable amount of money on her, more money than a mere dancer should possess. This has caused the dance troop’s mercenary activities to be discovered before.

Ceriddaia Shimmerstar has long flowing blonde hair and stands about 6 feet tall. Her sapphire eyes stand out against her pale skin. When outside of combat, she wears long, flowing silk dresses or gossamer robes revealing far too much. Her breastplate, decorated in elven knots and exquisite scimitar are seldom far away. She’s worked for some of the most vile leaders in the whole of the River Nations. She doesn’t really care about the money, however. She cares more about being able to do what she wants whenever she wants. If she has to kill someone every so often to make that happen, that suit her just fine.