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The Black Book of Big Baddies

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  • The Black Book of Big Baddies

    A discussion on the Exalted discord got me wondering, how many of you have had a homebrew evil big guy, or just someone or something that posed a big challenge to your solars, not just narrative-wise, but mechanically as well.

    Personally, I'm not a big fan of creating such a high-tier, end-game boss fight for my players and we don't really have these epic conflicts with massive scopes and unbelievable powers, but as a crunch gremlin, I'm mostly curious about how you people who do create such beasties do so. Feel free to post your homebrew monsterful creations here, partially to satisfy my own curiosity, but also hopefully as a resource for others who want to use some big bad nemesis, but aren't necessarily as mechanically inclined.

  • #2
    I do have something of a liking for using obscure big bads. Sometimes i just adapt or rethink already existing ones - like Han-tha, Filial Wisdom, Mokrelus or Loras the Death Sun, for example, other times i will throw in whole cloth creations, like the Maiden of Broken Names, the Fivefold Dragon, the Black Radiance or Spinner of Adamant Puppetries among others.

    When i don't do NPCs who are mix of existing and homebrew, like Regil the Green Sun in Chains, that is basically a perfect replica of Ligier - with all the potential scariness it engenders - with a serious case of cloning blues (and somehow became one of my PCs favorites even though he was supposed to be "just" a one-arc villain for a Sidereals game).

    For me those high-tier NPCs can be convenient in that they are large enough for me to set up a decent chain of subordinates/mini-bosses without feeling contrived - it also opens room for the occasional "beyond over-the-top" combat session where the players get to throw their all and them some against someone who can take it all in stride, what becomes considerably harder to pull off as their characters grow in ever mounting power and badassery. Setting up an imensely powerful NPC on occasion let's me as a ST both gauge what the players can pull and reuse that same antagonist at different threat levels, with as simple an excuse as the entity pulling punches first time around or being actually inspired to develop tricks of its own by the previous confrontation (particularly the case with Regil and partly the reason the PCs developed a fondness for him, i suspect).

    All of that supposing they enter combat with any of those - truth be told most of the time my PCs would be quick to take notice and choose interaction or flight as the better part of valor, what most of the time gave me roleplaying and world-building fodder i was more than happy to make the most of.

    Not to mention the setting as is, with Behemoths, 3rd Circle Demons, exiled or rogue high-tier gods, elemental dragons, Ishvara/Unshaped and more idiosyncratic beings provides us STs with plenty of room for beings to match or nearly match any unnamed Deathlord or such.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 03-19-2017, 11:06 AM.


    • #3
      I tend to pop an absolute monster failry often actually, but then again, it tends to come down to "yeah, this character's gonna pop up, and considering who or what he is, he ain't gonna be a pushover."

      A couple things that are important to me is to remember that those guys aren't here to crush the PCs - I remember a nice sidebar in the final MtAs book about Voormas, and how he was not simply an Entropy Archmaster that would "kill everything in sight" the moment the PCs pop up. It's kind of the same here.

      Case in point with my current campaign: the PCs are mostly up against one of the Deathlords that's tryin to pick up the pieces of a First Age project she developed to re-embody hun souls, and grant immortal lives to those she believed deserving (whether they liked it or not). She's got the entire smattering of deathknights (among which one Rsistance monster) and ghost, plus one pumped-up Solar (a fighter Zenith) with his gathering of DB's. Any of those three count as a high-tier enemy. But all three haven't tried much yet because:

      a. The Deathlord doesn't want to jeopardize her un-life and is staying in the background, because she KNOWS other groups are acting as well, group that could take her down if she showed her hand.
      b. The Solar is playing everyone for the fool trying to build his own personal power base, and hasn't classified the PC's as "useless threat"
      c. The Abyssal is a total nutjob that enjoy the rage and terror her presence evokes more than sheer bloodshed.

      So when they met the Solar, both sides just went along on their own way, and they got the message when the Abyssal started to taunt them and high-tailed it out when a third group crashed the party.

      I guess the point I'm making is, as long as NPC's are characters first and sheet numbers second, they're going to come across just fine.