Thursday, August 14, 2008

Development of Caramnon

The PC's will be around level 3 if they encounter Caramnon at Krolak-Nol. I'd like to design this Infernal as a fairly difficult solo encounter, possibly level 4 or 5.

If we look at the monster manual however, it's plainly obvious that there are not many low level solo monsters to choose from, however we should be able to adjust an existing monster for our purposes.

A Young Green Dragon is a level 4 skirmisher. And it seems about right for a poison-based demon. The good news is that it already falls within my intended level range for this encounter. the bad news is it still needs a lot of work to make it feel like something other than a dragon encounter.

Or does it? I might in fact be able to get away with purely cosmetic changes. For example, the poison breath weapon attack and frightful presence could probably stay as is. Infernals are scary, and maybe breathe poison. The bite attack could stay. The claw attack could be kept mechanically the same with the description changed to a "tentacle attack". It would work.

But since I have the time, I think I'd like to change the mechanics of the powers a bit more.

To start, what shall I keep?
  • The defenses are fine
  • Hit points and ability scores are fine
  • Saving throws
  • Skills
  • Perception
What base stats shall I modify?
  • I think I'll change the resist poison to immune poison, resist fire 10, vulnerable cold 5. This tower is a fiery place, and I think most fire resistant creatures should be vulnerable to cold. (Besides the Minotaur has a frosty greataxe now, need to make it useful.)
  • The flight can go and its speed can be reduced to 6.
  • The attack powers need a one-by one overhaul
Dragons have Bite and Claw as basic attacks. These need to be replaced by tentacle-y powers.
  • Bite can be replaced by a Slam attack from a tentacle. The bite from a green dragon has a poison effect, so this fit's quite nicely.
  • To replace bite, I'd like to add a Grab as a basic attack. I'm not sure how far I'm pushing the rules here, but specific overrides general so this puppy can grab people with a basic attack.
Next up are Tail-sweep and Luring Glare, which don't seem like tentacle demon should have, but are actually pretty convertible.
  • Tail sweep allows an attack on an enemy that hasn't moved during the last round it does some damage and knocks em prone. Sounds good, we'll replace the knock down with another grab affect.
  • Luring Glare allows the Dragon to slide people around in combat as a minor action. Let's call it Grasping Tentacles and make it a single target in close burst 4.
Flyby Attack, is sort of central to the Green's dragons role as a Skirmisher so we'll need to replace it with a similar movement/shift ability.
  • Caramnon doesn't fly, but he has tentacles! How about tentacle powered shifty movement? Say, "Tentacular Perambulation" which allows Caramnon to shift 6 and make an attack at any point along the way.
And lastly the breath weapon powers. I'm going to keep these with some small changes.
  • Slightly modify the breath weapon to be burst 2 instead of a blast 5. Same area, centered on Caramnon.
  • Keep bloodied breath as is.
And lastly Frightful Presence and Double attack, scratch em off. Caramnon isn't magically frightening, he's just disgusting and poisonous. And the "make two claw attacks isn't that interesting". However, I'd like to spruce up the grab ability. What I really want is for Caramnon to be able to grab multiple targets with his tentacles, so I shall do the following:
  • Caramnon's sustain action for the Grab is free action.
  • When Caramnon moves, his tentacles can maintain the grab as long as Caramnon is within 2 squares.
  • Such elongated tentacles may be attacked, at the usual defense values. If 12 points of damage is done to a tentacle it releases the target. Half the damage also applies to Caramnon's HP total.
  • Caramnon has reach with his basic tentacle attacks and threatening reach with his Tentacle Grab attack.
So a stat block for Caramnon:

Caramnon the Many Tentacled, Level 5 Solo Skirmisher
Medium immortal humanoid (infernal) XP 1,000
Initiative +7, Senses: Perception +10, darkvision
HP 260, Bloodied 130, see bloodied breath
AC 21, Fort 17, Ref 19, Will 17
Immune to Poison, Resist 10 fire, Vulnerable 5 cold
Saves +5
Spd 6, see Tentacular Perambulation
Action Points 2
[Basic Melee] Tentacle Slam (standard, at-will) * Poison
Reach 2, +10 vs. AC, 1d8+5 damage, ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).
[Basic Melee] Tentacle Grab (standard, at-will)
Reach 2, +8 vs. Reflex, Target becomes Grabbed
[Melee Recharge] Tentacular Perambulation (standard recharge 5-6 )
Caramnon shifts up to 6 squares and makes a basic attack at any point during the shift.
[Melee] Tentacle Sweep (immediate reaction, if an adjacent enemy does not move on its turn, at-will)
+8 vs. Reflex, 1d8+5 damage, and the target is Grabbed.
[Close Burst] Grasping Tentacles (minor 1/round, at-will) * Melee
Close Burst 4, one target in burst +8 vs. Fortitude, the target slides 2 squares.
[Close Burst Recharge] Breath Weapon (standard, recharge 5-6 ) * Poison
Close burst 2, +8 vs. Fortitude, 1d10+3 poison damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 poison damage and is slowed (save ends both). Aftereffect: The target is slowed (save ends).
[Close Burst] Bloodied Breath (free, when first bloodied, encounter) * Poison
Caramnon's breath weapon recharges, and he uses it immediately.
[Power] Infernal Grab
Caramnon's Tentacular Grab ability has reach 2 and threatening reach. Maintaining the Grab is a free action and the Grab may be maintained as long as Caramnon stays within 2 squares of the grabbed target. Tentacles holding grabbed foes that are not adjacent, may be attacked. Doing 12 damage to the tentacle frees the grabbed target, but does only half damage to Caramnon.
Languages: Supernal
Skills: Bluff +15, Diplomacy +10, Insight +15, Intimidate +10
Str 15 (+4) Dex 20 (+7) Wis 16 (+5) Con 17 (+5) Int 15 (+4) Cha 17 (+5)

I've also thrown in some campaign related modifications such as removal of Alignment and no Common in the Infernal's languages.

Tactics

Initially, Caramnon attempts to move in close and use its breath weapon on as many enemies as it can. If it's enemies are scattered, it uses its Grasping Tentacles and Tentacle Grab to get them in range.

After breathing it then uses it's Grasping Tentacles, Tentacle Grab to keep it's enemies at bay, while focusing it's Tentacle Slams on those it can't control, shifting away with Tentacular Perambulation when the opportunity presents itself.

I'm afraid this guy may be a tad annoying to deal with. Maybe I should play-test him?

4 comments:

Gumby said...

Instead of letting him "sustain" the grab as a free action, look into changing the nature of the grab so that the target is held "in" the demon's tentacled mass and thus is along for the ride. I believe the Shambling Mound and one or more of the Ooze/Gelatinous Cube monsters have that type of wording and rules text for their grab attacks.

Plotter said...

Gumby wrote:
> look into changing the nature of the grab [...]

Caramnon could definitely have used the "in" grab. As it was, grabbed characters server to anchor him, and did slow him down a fair bit. If Caramnon could have brought players along in his grab, it would have bumped up the challenge a bit.


On the other hand, at least in my campaign, Caramnon is one of a kind, has long been defeated, and won't be coming back.

Gumby said...

Fair nuff. Good times had by all?

Plotter said...

It's always good times in Alia. Caramnon was very different from what the party had fought before, and nobody guessed they were fighting a modified, re-skinned green dragon.