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Q-man
03-15-2011, 06:30 AM
I'm rereading the Chronicles of Prydain books and the concept behind the huntsmen of Annuvin seemed like it might be something fun to throw at my players. For those that haven't read the books the huntsmen were a squad of fighters that would grow more powerful as their members were killed. The story is a little vague on exactly what power they gained; but I'm assuming it was the basic bigger, stronger, faster.

My party is in the habit of working together to focus their damage on a single target, taking down their enemies one at a time. Its been pretty effective for them, despite my efforts to break this strategy with artillery, lurker, and hazardous terrain to keep them from grouping up effectively. I'm not looking to totally derail their strategy, I'd like to give them something new to consider as well as keep the fight interesting after they've cut down most of their enemies.

I'd kind of like to build a basic template for these so that as the party gains levels I could just apply the effect to something different from the monster manual. I don't want to have to think of new balanced powers, and dropping the huntsman template on an existing monster seems much easier.

What I was thinking was to start with a squad of say 8 skirmisher type enemies, probably a level below the party. As the enemies are killed off calculate a bonus thats equal to the number of dead - 2. This bonus would be applied to the surviving enemies four defenses, attack bonus, and damage bonus. This way as the fight progresses the enemies are getting increasingly hard to hit and are dealing more damage.

Now a +5 bonus to the last guy would make him something of a challenge, but not particularly interesting. I was thinking about giving them recharge abilities when the number of dead hits an even number (2,4, and 6 killed). I was thinking about borrowing the descriptions from the Spellscar powers in the Forgotten realms players guide. Some of them have the sound of powers that might come from an evil magic.

Plague Lash: A whip of flickering blue light passes through your foes chest and takes away something vital
Scar-Carving Blade: Blisters rise on you sword hand and burst, spilling forth red/blue burning blood that crawls up your blade as you strike
Spellmother's Embrace: Your arm becomes gelatinous and stretches to engulf a nearby foe

The damage would need to be worked out for those, but the DMG has handy tables that should make that easy. They definitely need some effects on hit; I'm thinking slowed/dazed for the whip, some sort of on going damage with weakened for the blisters, and restrained and poisoned/diseased for the embrace.

What do you guys think? Worth doing? Overpowered?

Goodfellow
04-25-2011, 03:50 PM
I think it sounds like a fine plan. I might even recommend making it a tiered fight as the numbers are dwindled, that way the group can reach milestones while having this epic battle to regain action points, magic item usage, etc. You could also set it up as the huntsmen grow in power some of the excess energy is released changing the battlefield to keep things changing. Rough terrain, hindering terrain, area effects, and the like seem to be remembered fondly in all my groups when it comes to the epic battles. Just my two cents.

nijineko
04-25-2011, 09:34 PM
hmmm, i suggest that as they whittle away at the number of foes, that it takes the form of chipping away at the ability to disguise themselves as humans. perhaps use the geomancer drift class feature to have them take on more elemental and animalistic qualities. maybe boost the abilities granted a bit. borrow from celtic myth of 'the hunt'; and have them become more symbolic and atavistic as you pick away at the parts.

the idea of battlefield shifts to match thematic (with accompanying penalties and effects) is also a great idea which i second.

Q-man
04-26-2011, 08:30 AM
I have noticed that interesting and unique terrain makes the battles much more interesting. I'll definitely have to take that idea and work in into their deaths, some sort of explosion that messes with the ground around them.

That could easily be tied into a burst of energy that jumps to the rest of them and deforms them some way. I kind of like that, now it gives the party sort of an edge. Assuming they can reach anyone else pointing out the evil folks will be a lot easier.

Instead of going animalistic I think a more grotesque appearance might be more fun. Have dripping pustules form and their skin turns gelatinous or something. This way they get an odd dripping or raspy breathy that would keep them from hiding or sneaking up on the party.

yukonhorror
04-26-2011, 09:41 AM
I like the idea. Maybe the concept is a cult of some sort with "soul share". It is kind of like that movie with jet li (the one).

Maybe something like

Soul share Free action Trigger: drop to 0 hp. Targets: All allies in Close Burst 10:
Each ally in burst gains 5 temp hp and can make a basic melee or basic ranged attack at +2 atk +5 dam.

OR

each ally gains +1 atk for rest of encounter

OR

Each ally gains regeneration 1 (or increases existing regeneration by 1) until end of encounter

Finally, there is always the death burst. Destruction causes all enemies in burst to take ongoing damage. Make them want to kill them simultaneously and wait till last minute to kill them.

Q-man
04-26-2011, 10:18 AM
Make them want to kill them simultaneously and wait till last minute to kill them.

That would be the optimal way of killing them. Which would be a pretty impressive tactical feat to do given the numbers I have in mind.

yukonhorror
04-26-2011, 11:30 AM
this kind of thing would be even more fun with minions. The more minions you kill, the crazier they get.

Q-man
04-26-2011, 12:29 PM
I actually had a different minion based encounter I've been waiting to drop on my party.

The party goes into a crypt room lined with alcoves. Inside the alcoves are Putrescent Zombies that are asleep or restrained by roots or crystals or something. Putrescent Zombies are minions that have a pretty weak melee attack, their noteworthy feature is something Yukonhorror mentioned above. When they die they explode, doing necrotic damage to everything nearby. The idea is that any of the alcoves hit with the necrotic energy (or, I suppose, any energy if the party is sloppy with AoE) would break the roots/crystals or otherwise awaken the zombies contained within.

The party walks into the room, sees maybe one or two zombies and dispatches them easily. Except when they explode the party is now faced with a half dozen zombies. At which point the encounter ought to become unwinnable. So the real challenge is that the party needs to manage the zombie horde while getting through to wherever they are going and then block off the door so that the zombies can't follow.