Trigger Warning: Spoilers and the lack of any April Fool’s Jokes.
Some of the better DM’s go by this rule: Fun Trumps Story Trumps Rules. Never let the Rulebooks get in the way of the campaign’s storyline, and never let the campaign’s story get in the way of the players (and Dungeon Master) having a good time. That’s the kind of DM I like to be, especially when I have seven players on the table, making three different conversations while I’m putting them through a Slobbernocker of an encounter in the Necromancer’s Lair. Doubly so when they bring food for me with them.
Yes, I can be bribed. In fact, it’s part of the Eight Rules.
One of the players, Scott, who was co-piloting the character made by Nathan, who was still doing soccer practice, decided to make his own character and import the XP he earned there. A paladin no doubt, which the party welcomes his ability to tank and heal. It’ll come into play when they try to address the two people who were bitten by the zombies.
Emphasis on the word try.
Last week, I had the lion’s share of my players level up their characters, so I had to level up the difficulty of the Encounters. The older Regulars (Rich and John in particular) wanted me to add more challenge in them, so I started to scale my encounters by an XP Rating rather than by the Module. I use the XP threshold table in Page 82 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, with no multipliers for the number of monsters and staying in the Medium Encounter Difficulty. I use the current levels of the characters to add up the XP Rating and then alter my encounters appropriately. (Some Excel Sheets online can help you out in this.) As of the next session (8 Apr 15) that XP rating is a partly 850.
Using this mechanic, I had to change one of the zombies into a mini-boss, the hooded one in fact. And here’s where I wanted to have some reader participation here in this blog. Some of the seventeen of you:
Fucking fast Medium Undead, neutral hungry and pissed
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 70
Speed 80 feet, 16 Squares
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 13 (+1) 6 (-2) 16 (+3) 3 (-4) 6 (-2) 5 (-3)
Saving Throws WIS +0
Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60, Passive Perception 8
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces a zombie to 0, if the attack wasn’t a critical or deals radiant damage, roll a weapon die. On a 1, the zombie drops to 1 HP instead.
Zombie virus. At every successful bite, note the number of times bitten. Make a secret CON check with the DC at 10+number of bites. On a fail, note the character as ‘infected.’ When the infected character dies, the character comes back as a zombie.
Slam. Melee Basic Attack. +6 to hit, 1d6+1 bludgeoning damage, must DC 10 Dex save or be pinned. Escape DC is 10
Bite. Must be pinned. +8 to hit. 1d6 piercing damage, and the target has a chance to contract the virus.
That’s the Hooded Zombie I used in the encounter here. I’d like to have some feedback on how to improve my creature design and tweaks. I had some people complain that the guy had too much HP. And while I didn’t change the original attack, I did add a secondary attack with the infection mechanic.
I’m soooooo hoping that I can get someone turned.
While I’m here, I’ll also give a sneak peak at a creature in an upcoming encounter. This also includes an example of me using Spell Points (P 288 in the Dungeon Masters Handbook; and why wasn’t this variant in the Player’s Handbook I have no idea.) instead of Spell Slots when I make—or in this case modify—creatures:
Medium humanoid Lich
Armor Class 14 (Mage Armor is always up)
Hit Points 100
Speed 30 feet, 8 Squares
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA 8 (-1) 13 (+1) 14 (+2) 16 (+3) 9 (-1) 11 (+0)
Saving Throws WIS +1
Skills Arcana +5, Investigation +5, Medicine +1
Damage Resistances Cold, Lighting, Necrotic, any damage from a non-magical weapon.
Condition Immunities Charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses Truesight 60, Passive Perception 8
Languages Common, Elvish, Local Baldur’s Gate Dialect
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Legendary Resistance. All saves are made with Advantage
Rejuvenation. Oreioth has a phylactery, and at KO, his body disintegrates into a black mist and his soul returns to said phylactery. He will regain a new body within 1d10 days. The phylactery is not found in this lair.
Grim Harvest. 1/turn. If Oreioth KOs one of more creatures with a spell of 1st level or higher, he regains HP equals to twice that spell’s level.
Oreioth is a 7th Level spellcaster.
Intelligence is the Ability, +5 to Attack, 13 to Save
He has 38 Spell Points
Cantrips: Chill Touch, Frostbite, Thunderclap, Shocking Grasp
Level 1 (2 Pts): Ice Knife, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Ray of Sickness
Level 2 (3 Pts): Crown of Madness, Misty Step, Pyrotechnics
Level 3 (4 Pts): Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch, Flame Arrows
Level 4 (5 Pts): Vitriolic Sphere
Trigger Infected. (1/day) If a person within 30 feet of Oreioth is KOed and has at least a point of Infection, Oreioth can roll to have the Infection trigger. If successful, the character rises up a zombie, and must be killed by the other players.
Paralysing Touch. Melee Basic Attack: +3 to hit, 1d6+1 Necrotic Damage, Target must DC 10 CON save of be paralyzed for 1 minute/10 rounds