Dother Cr 9 - Jeffrey Scott Nuttall

DOTHER CR 9

XP 6,400

Male half-fiend sprite ranger 7 (Pathfinder RPG BestiaryPathfinder RPG Bestiary 3)

CE Diminutive outsider (native)

Init +6; Senses detect evildetect good, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +15

===== Defense =====

AC 26, touch 20, flat-footed 20 (+3 armor, +6 Dex, +3 natural, +4 size)

hp 80 (1d6+7d10+39)

Fort +10, Ref +14, Will +7

Defensive Abilities 25% chance to negate critical hits and sneak attackseach ranged attack against Dother for which the attacker must make an attack roll has a 20% miss chance; DR 5/magic, 2/cold iron; Immune poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 20

===== Offense =====

Speed 15 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)

Melee short sword +7/+2 (1d2/19-20), bite +2 (1d2), claw +2 (1)

Ranged +1 shortbow +10/+10/+5 (1d2+5/x3) or +1 shortbow +12/+7 (1d2+5/x3)

Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.

Special Attacks combat style (archery), favored enemy (humans +2, evil outsiders +4), smite good 1/day (as 8th-level paladin, but vs. good targets)

Half-Fiend Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +9)

3/day—darknesspoison (DC 15)

1/day—desecrateunholy blight (DC 15)

Sprite Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +6)

Constant—detect evildetect good

At will—dancing lightsdaze (DC 11)

1/day—color spray (DC 12)

Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 4th; concentration +6)

2nd—barkskin

1st—entangle (DC 13), magic fang

===== Tactics =====

Before Combat Dother casts barkskin on himself and magic fang on an appropriate ally, and drinks his potion of entropic shield.

During Combat Dother prefers to stay at range, letting the cythnigots and evil fey that usually accompany him engage his opponents in melee. He casts unholy blight the first round of combat, and then focuses on peppering his foes with arrows using Deadly Aim. He casts entangle if he can catch several enemies in the area of effect without entangling his allies.

Morale Dother flees if reduced to 20 hit points or fewer.

Base Statistics Without barkskin, Dother’s base statistics are AC 24, touch 20, flat-footed 18 (+3 armor, +6 Dex, +1 natural, +4 size). Without entropic shield, ranged attacks against him do not have a 20% miss chance.

===== Statistics =====

Str 11, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 12

Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD +9

Feats Alertness, Deadly Aim, Endurance, Improved Precise Shot, Manyshot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot

Skills Escape Artist +21, Fly +27, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Stealth +29, Survival +13; Racial Modifiers +8 Escape Artist

Languages Common, Sylvan

SQ favored terrain (forest +2), hunter’s bond (companions), luminous, track +3, wild empathy +8, woodland stride

Combat Gear evil outsider slaying arrowpotion of cure moderate woundspotion of entropic shieldtree feather tokenOther Gear +1 light fortification leather armor,+1 shortbow, arrows (40), short sword, cloak of resistance +1, flawed malachite worth 6 gp

===== Special Abilities =====

Luminous (Su) Dother naturally sheds light equal to that produced by a torch. He can control the color and intensity of the light as a swift action, reducing it to the dimness of a candle or even extinguishing its luminosity entirely if he wishes.

 

Formerly an ordinary sprite living near what is now the Forsaken Mission, Dother saw many friends killed by the incubus Rakaz’greh, and resolved to destroy the demon at any cost. When the fey proved powerless to fight this foe, Dother sought other allies—and discovered the qlippoth, extraplanar horrors displaced by the demons long ago and craving revenge. Dother knew that qlippoth were at least as evil as demons, but he thought it might be worth the risk to form a temporary alliance with them against their common foe. He even let the qlippoth infuse him with their fiendish essence, confident that he had the virtue and valor to resist their influence.

He did not.

Now a ghastly parody of the sprite he once was, Dother has ashen skin, tattered (but functional) wings, wicked claws and teeth, and a grotesquely twisted form. Corrupted by the qlippoth, he shares their hatred of all life. Still, Dother hates some life more than others, and his first priority remains the destruction of Rakaz’greh. If he learns that the PCs share that goal, he may ally with them; he can be a useful source of information about the mission and its environs, and persuasive PCs might even convince him to provide some combat support. Of course, he'll turn on the PCs the moment they're no longer useful to him.

Comments

  • edited July 7

    Hello Jeffrey, and welcome to the Top 8!

    I’m looking at three primary aspects when reviewing the villain. First, I want to see a strong motivation for the villain. The villain has to have a compelling reason for what he/she/it does beyond “I’m eeeevil.” Next, the villain has to have some kind of plan to achieve its goals. The PCs should have a reason to hear about the villain and seek the villain out. A villain that just waits for its victims/foes to show up is unexciting. This is also where I’ll look at the villain’s suitability for the chosen location. Finally, the stat block has to support the above two points. I’ll consider mechanics and formatting as well when reviewing the villain.

    Dother is a former sprite who realized he was out of his depth against Rakaz’greh and turned to unconventional allies (but sensible to the sprite) to empower him. As indicated, allying with the qlippoth had unintended side effects. As an aside, I’m envisioning Ron Howard as the narrator saying, “He did not.” This makes him a sympathetic villain despite his monstrousness. I appreciate that you chose someone else’s location to derive your villain, but I am concerned about the insertion of qlippoths into the backstory.

    Dother’s plans are uncomplicated, as befitting his newly qlippoth-infused outlook. His primary intent is to destroy the incubus and he may directly involve the PCs as allies to fight the demon. Of course, he will betray them in the end. Having mentioned my concerns about the introduction of qlippoths, I will say I would have liked you to lean into it a bit more and have Dother convince other fey to transform or forcibly transform them.

    His stat block fits his motivations and goals. His transformation gives him the half-fiend template and his ranger abilities fit his environment and background. You mention specific allies in the tactics block, but I would have liked them mentioned in the flavor text. That’s more of a quibble, though. Continuing to quibble, I would have recommended delaying his use of the potion of entropic shield until during combat to save yourself some space in the stat block and give yourself more room for extra flavor text.

    Overall, I felt Dother took an appropriately weird route toward combatting his main foe, and you did a great job describing the changes his fiendish nature induced. His motivations are sound, and his plans, while straightforward, make an attempt to recognize the PCs’ potential involvement. I recommend Dother advance to the next round.

    Most of the above is subjective. The voters may take a different view than mine on your villain. All the villains this round have been great, and many are a handful of edits away from excellence. Good luck in the voting!

  • Hello! I’m Ron Lundeen, a developer for Paizo Inc. and a frequent freelancer for several Pathfinder publishers. Congratulations on making the Top 8!

    When looking over a villain, I keep in mind the player perspective—more specifically, how the players at a table will interact with the villain. Are the mechanics of the villain sufficient to create a good encounter? Could a plot centered on finding or confronting the villain feel particularly heroic? Will the villain’s actions convey its motivation and goals?

    So, I got as far as “half-fiend sprite ranger 7” my first thought was “this is going to be a crazy little killer, and it’s going to be awesome,” and my second thought was, “oh, this is going to be a morass of multiple abilities to navigate, and leave little room for actual description.” It turns out I was right on both counts, but you handled this all quite well.

    Although villains aren’t built the same way as monsters, it’s handy to look at the table on page 291 of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary and check their stats. Monster Statistics by CR gives the expected toe-to-toe fighting ability of an opponent of a particular CR—with the caveat that NPCs often struggle to have as many hit points as the chart expects. Frankly, fey also struggle with this a lot, as do very little creatures, so poor Dother gets a triple whammy on the hit point front. Sure enough, his hit points are low for his CR, but his higher-than-normal AC and good defense will likely mitigate this liability; he also fights at a distance, and that is an important consideration. But he’ll really struggle to hit (and if he hits, to meaningfully hurt) the PCs.

    I’d have to check this further—hey, there’s a reason Paizo gives us developers a whole stack of books to reference at our desks—but I don’t think half-fiends get abilities based on HD obtained from class levels, only racial HD. That means he won’t get anything but darkness, and that cuts out some of his flexibility, alas. If that’s the case, I might drop in a special ability explaining that he gets abilities based on his current HD with class levels because of the unusual method of obtaining his half-fiend template from the qlippoth.

    Dother has an exceptionally clear motivation and plan and, best of all, there’s a high likelihood that the PCs will learn of it. Having Dother willing to help against a common foe will cause a really good moral quandary for the PCs (heck, just look at the little guy—he’s plainly evil—but he has useful information and abilities). His sudden but inevitable betrayal works to complete a clear narrative arc, and I can see a lot of PCs who want to work to redeem the little guy rather than smoosh him.

    You took a chance using the Forsaken Mission but not statting up Rakaz'greh, and I think it paid off. I’m not saying Rakaz’greh isn’t interesting, but positioning a villain as his foil is a neat move.

    Although your writing is clear, I felt in a couple places that you were speaking to a novice GM or uniformed reader; you can put entropic shield as a defensive ability without having to spell out the 20% miss chance, you don’t need to explain that smite good works like the paladin ability, listing attacks both with Rapid Shot and without probably isn’t necessary, and I don’t need to be told that its tattered wings are still functional when it has a fly speed. But these are minor bits I’d strip out in development, not structural problems, and I don’t hold them against you.

    Your mechanical errors are few in number (CMD shouldn’t be +9, you don’t need to list “+3 armor, +6 Dex, +1 natural, +4 size” in the Base Statistics line), despite the complexity of this design, and I consider that a strong mark in your favor.

    In all, I strongly recommend this entry to advance.

  • First of all, Jeffrey, congratulations on getting to Round 3. Ron and Mike have already offered some fantastic feedback, so I'm going to try not to duplicate what they've said.

    I love the idea of complex villains, who have their villainy in their zeal to do good, and Dother certainly lives up to that. To beat a monster, he's become a monster. His story is easy to understand and well-conveyed ("He did not." as a standalone paragraph is excellent). I love your description of his look, with the tattered wings especially adding to the tragedy of his situation. My problem is I'm just not sure I think he's really a villain. He's likely to be an ally for the PCs for most of an adventure, only turning on them at the very end. The write-up says he hates all life, but that's very much de-emphasized vs. his problem with the Forsake Mission and incubus. I wish Dother had some other plan going on, or some way to destroy the incubus that involved villainy in and of itself (maybe he wants to open a gate to call a a chernobue or augnagar [to pick CR-appropriate qlippoth]). He just needs something, I think, to have the PCs oppose him other than their conflict being based solely on he's going to turn on them as soon as they've accomplished their mutual goal.

    I didn't do a full dive into all the mechanics of the stat block, but tried to do some spot checking, and your block looks good. I think the tactics make sense. I think the biggest oddity for me was having evil outsiders as the favored enemy. That obviously makes a lot of sense with the write-up, but I feel like it goes toward my question of whether Dother is really a proper villain, since it's unlikely (though certainly not impossible considering summons and eidolons, among other possibilities) that will play any role in a conflict with PCs.

    Despite my concerns about wanting Dother to have a little more of a plot to work on himself, I think the writing and well-done mechanics outweigh that. I do recommend this to advance. That said, this round especially I had a lot of difficulty deciding which entries should get my recommendations, so other voters may disagree with me.

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