October 14, 2008

[D&D 4E] [Monsters] Fallen

Some time ago we have met the Rotten cadaver, now it's time to make something out of it. i want to build an encounter in a graveyard, where PCs goes searching for clues. When they approach the monument at the center of the graveyard, the statue/tombstone explodes, revealing an undead who attacks them.
Here comes the Fallen:

FallenLevel 2 Elite Controller
Medium Natural Humanoid (undead)XP 250
Initiative +6Senses Perception +3, darkvision
Animate cadaver aura aura 15; If a living being inside this aura start its turn 5' or less from a corpse, the corpse becomes a Rotten Cadaver. the rotten cadaver acts normally on his initiative order.
HP 80; Bloodied 40
AC 20; Fortitude 19, Reflex 17, Will 15
Immune disease, poison; Resist Radiant 10; Vulnerable Necrotic 5
Speed 5
c Dark burst (Minor; recharge 56)
Burst 4: +12 vs. Will; push the target up to 1d6+1 squares
m Stunning charge (Standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
The fallen makes a charge attack; +8 vs. Fort.; 1d8+4 and the target is stunned (end saves)
m Bleeding Strike (Standard; recharge 3456) ♦ Weapon
+8 vs. AC; 1d8+4 damage and and the target takes ongoing 5 (save ends)
M Battleaxe (Standard; at-will) ♦ Weapon
+10 vs AC; 1d8+4 damage
Alignment EvilLanguages Common
Skills Acrobatics + 11, Athletics + 11
Str 18 (+5)Dex 14 (+3)Wis 13 (+2)
Con 18 (+5)Int 13 (+2)Cha 8 (+0)
Equipment scale armor, battleaxe, heavy shield

Fallen Lore

A character knows the following information with a successful Religion check.
DC 15: Fallens are former heroes forgotten by the people saved by them. Is the rage against the ingratitude of their similar that made them raise as undead.
DC 20: Fallens can animate corpses near them.
DC 25: Fallens, on the contrary of most undead are impervious to radiant but vulnerable to necrotic damage due to the heroic heritage they wear.

In a future update (not so future, cause I need this for the Friday session) §I will post the map and the full encounter.
Yeah, I know that in the picture, the Fallen wield a sword and in the stat block he has an axe, but the sketch was, as usual, just to fix my thoughts, way before writing the stats.


  1. Some minor design suggestions:

    This is a level 5 Soldier that has a HUGE aura that makes it act like a controller. I really-really like the aura, I think it's super creative, but it seems more like a power some other monster would have that creates the Fallen instead. Also, just a writing/editting thing, instead of saying "5' or less" just use the word Adjacent or express it in squares. This also brings up the other issue, the aura range is 15, and it effects a terrain piece that is then adjacent to PC's who are within the aura - the whole thing is fiddly and difficult to track. It should just target corpses in range, or PC's, but not both.

    The Dark Burst power is 100% a controller power, in my opinion. Combined with the aura I think this creature is definitely not a Soldier.

  2. Hi and thanks for the feedback!
    Let's go step by step with the answer, cause you pointed multiple of issues.

    "instead of saying "5' or less" just use the word Adjacent or express it in squares"

    True. Fixed

    "it seems more like a power some other monster would have that creates the Fallen instead."

    Now you have to consider how this creature will be used and how will be designed the encounter.The point is I want to achieve 2 things:
    One: I want to use a creature to
    influence the battleground in a not-so-obvious (for the players) way. They do non know that the graveyard will spawn undeads and I need to lure them inside before start the combat. I want also that a player have to chose what kind of danger he will be facing. PCs can gather around the Fallen, minimizing the spawning effect or try to avoid the melee, focusing on the Fallen with ranged attacks, spawning a lot of slow but persistent enemies. Rotten Cadavers, 50% of the times, will not die with a single hit, so even a close attack can be dangerous.
    Two: I want my players have to learn how to pull off this encounter while fighting. To survive they have to understand minions will spawn in relation to their position on the battleground. This knowledge will give them a much easier fight than a mindless, brutish style of combat.

    Now try to visualize the combat: a powerful undead in the center of an ancient graveyard, PCs all spread around, undeads crawling out the ground and a dark, uncontrollable pulse, pushing them around. In my mind seems an awesome fight! And the PCs are just 1st level!

    "The Dark Burst power is 100% a controller power, in my opinion. Combined with the aura I think this creature is definitely not a Soldier."

    That's true, the dark burst and the aura are not a common soldier power, but I needed a high AC and a some HP to keep alive the fight long enough to the aura power to start rising the undeads. Longer ho (un)lives, harder the fight will be.
    Add to this that the Aura is a spontaneous powers, not really controlled by the fallen and the Dark Burst is just a minor action that you can use regardless of the consequences for the fallen (eg. removing enemies from melee).

    Maybe I've had to design the fallen like a solo monster, but I needed it this way for my actual campaign (and I love low-level fights more than high-level ones).

    What do you think about my motivations? Sounds reasonable for you?

  3. Sounds awesome indeed...wish I could pull it off with my group...but there are far too many ranged combatants among them...2 bow rangers, a wizard and a rogue who throws his daggers...4/4!...

  4. Try the encounter I will design this week. Ranged? Get ready for minions spawning in melee range (that's what the aura is for ^^

    And if they keep shooting, good (attack of )opportunity for you.

  5. Hey there!

    Pretty fun critter you got here, but what really makes him terrifying is that art! Love it. ;)

    Since he's a large critter, and tall, he should have reach, so don't forget to include that with his melee attacks.

    Bartoneus is right about the controller power comments, but that shouldn't stop you from tinkering with 4E's established conventions. Many of my creatures combine roles because they have powers that they "shouldn't" have, but I can't let those conventions stop me from making the coolest critter I can imagine. :)

    A compromise might be to make him an elite critter. That'll give him a lot more staying power, and will give you the freedom to add those non-soldier powers without worrying about destroying the encounter balance. As an elite you might even consider making him a controller as the others have suggested, since controllers are actually pretty tough mashers.

    Good luck with your encounter.

  6. I have to agree with Bartoneus here... it's not just the fact that it has a controller-ish aura, 15 is a ridiculous number. That's an entire battlefield and really eliminates any of those choices you're going for. Almost everything has an Aura of 5, and this is such a low-level monster, it doesn't make sense to extend it to almost an entire battlefield.

    All that combined with mixed roles and all that make it at minimum an elite, and something that should probably be a solo.

  7. If it looks like a solo monster, plays like a solo monster, and smells like a solo monster - it should probably be a solo monster. :D

    And a Controller, at that. They can have high AC and high HP (just not as high as an eqiuvalent Soldier might have). The difference lies in how he handles ranged characters, he doesn't charge forward into melee hoping his armor holds up long enough, he summons minions to fight the ranged character. That's why I suggested making it a controller instead, and I think making it a solo or at least an Elite since it is intended as an encounter on its own.

  8. Gosh! the "large" is a mistake! Fixed

  9. About the aura, it's true that covers the entire battlefield but has a big hole in it's strenght: the corpses ends. If a corpse in a tomb animates, leave his tomb and now this zone is "safe".
    If I make the aura 5, I cannot bugger ranged strikers and the fight becomes a runaround with players staying away or immobilizing him and focusing on him.

    In the encounter design he's in the center of a square (corpse free!), so players have the options I've stated.

    It's all about design! ^_^

  10. Elite and Solo are nice options, but math is against this.

    First of all remember that "soldier" "controllers" or "brute" are just conventions ok? These are tools to ease the GM's work, and not written in stone. As proof I can point the MM. NO ONE of the creatures here follow strictly the DMG rules of monster creation.
    To create 4E content you can follow DMG rules and this will guarantee you to non screw up, but if you know what you are doing, nothing will stop you to go by ear.
    (And that's the GREAT part of the 4E!)

    Remember also that this is intended to be used against a 6 1st level party.

    Now the elite and solo option...
    With a 3rd level elite i get:
    +100 xp value
    +34 HP
    -3 initiative
    -2 AC
    +1 Fortitude
    -1 will
    -4 attack rolls
    -1 damage on every hit

    So it's more xp valuable and a lot less effective for my purpose.
    1) AC lower and HP higher. I want my PCs to learn how to use synergies between their powers and this is against that idea. (they need to stack bonus to hit him)
    2) the -4 on attacks is dangerous. If the aura misses them, the fight is over in a couple of rounds.

    Higher level elite have too much HP and too much xp value, considering that in the first round I plan to spawn at least 8-10 minions (200-250 more xp value) and some more in the subsequent rounds.

    These two values (for a 1st level solo)
    Exp: 500
    HP: 136
    are sufficient to explain why with a solo it's even worst.

    Guys... this discussion is great! Keep this going. Explaining my choices to you is a good way for me to understand things I do just by ear and experience. ^_^

  11. @Bartoneus: You are right. He uses a controller's tactics, so it should probably be namely a controller.

  12. Oh, fuck!
    Ok, now it's an elite controller although mixes a little the standard elite controller and the previous soldier. I've lowered some attacks but left the Dark Burst unaltered. I've raised a little the HP end lowered a little the AC, so hitting him does not becomes frustrating.

    What you think of it now?