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D&D 3E
undead plague in the city, but my players are too high level to be… 
9th-Feb-2005 03:46 pm
undead plague in the city, but my players are too high level to be challenged by zombies, which seem appropriate. they're all 6th level. wights? ghouls? ghasts? i suppose a whole buttload of ghasts would work. when the necromancer cult who started it finally shows i can whip out the big guns and hit them with red dragon skeletons and frost giant zombies... but for now when there's just this plague of undead contagious undead they have no reason for yet... what do i go with?
9th-Feb-2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
Wait. Your PCs are immune to Zombies because Zombies can't hit them?

What are your PCs AC?
A base Zombie has a +2 attack. Which means, they hit a 17 AC 25% of the time. Not great, but not awful. At level 6, assuming a 25 point build and around average gold-piece value for PCs, ACs are around there. Maybe a little higher.

Your PCs stronger than that, or all have ACs in the low twenties?

Have the opponent be a cleric, and have them cast desecrate on the area, and use their 'turning' to bolster undead. Assuming an opponent cleric, that also means they can cast Prayer, Bless, and similar abilities to help the zombies.

Have an opponent maneuver the fight so that it is on muddy ground (Balance check to keep footing means that anyone with less than 5 ranks of Balance loses their dex bonus to AC, EVEN IF they make the balance check). Soften Earth to Mud, or whatever that spell is now named, for instance.

Have the Zombies not be entirely brain dead due to their direction, and have them flank the PCs when possible. Alternatively, swarms lead to flanking, which means, regardless, +2 to attacks, unless the PCs have improved (un)canny dodge.

Give the zombies some armor. And maybe some Masterwork weapons. Clubs or the like.

So, using all of the above, that's +1 from bless, +1 (on average, as the PCs can move out of flank) from Flanking, +1 from Desecrate, and +1 from either prayer or the bolstering. Which means a +6 to hit, which will hit an AC 21 25% of the time. Put the fight on mud, and the average non-Rogue/Monk PCs will lose 2 points of AC (plus, if there is an opponent Rogue around, they're now easy pickings). A handful of Masterwork weapons adds another 5% to their to-hit.

Upgrade the Zombies to mightier or larger creatures. Ogres with the Zombie template are impressive.

Undead are immune to precision damage. Which means the PCs don't get Critical Hits, Sneak Attack damage, Favored Enemy damage and similar bonuses. Take advantage of that.

Even your fighter, with Plate Mail +1, Shield +1, and Ring of Protection +1, who is around a 24 AC, is now being hit 25% of the time. And with his +12/+7, is hitting the Zombies 75% of the time on the first strike, 50% on the second. Even with Cleave, he's only taking out 1 or 2 Zombies a round.

PCs have ACs larger than that, at 6th level? Either you're letting them Min/Max to ridiculous extremes, or you've given them too much stuff.
9th-Feb-2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
no, their AC's aren't all that high, there's one guy with a 21 when he dodges, the others are average. i just don't see zombies as being that much of a challenge. personally *I* feel as if they have slightly too much trasure. but one of the other players who is taking over as DM (soon i hope i really want to play) who i confab with thinks i've been a bit light with it. but they've been mowing through what i think are challenging encounters. its hard to scale when you have 6 players. i eaither beat their asses mercilessly, or they have no trouble at all. since i went from 5 to 6 players i can't seem to find a happy medium and i don' think standard zombies would cut it. but you make some good recomendaitons, thanks.
10th-Feb-2005 01:13 am (UTC)
There's a feat in Libris Mortis that works a little like Augment summoning for undead creation. Say the Zoms have been made using this, give 'em +4 str and have 'em try for the grapple and munch.
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