One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Any thoughts on statting out the two terrors of the Bright Desert? I'm keeping the Rary the Traitor history intact, sans Robilar clone -- I know this is a bit controversial but my players include a Baklunish wizard, and the moral conflict presented to her by Rary is very strong. I don't want to dilute it by negating Robilar's decision to join Rary; I think it says a lot that Rary was able to attract at least one significant ally.
I currently have Robilar statted out as a level 18 elite soldier with a number of warlord powers -- to me, he makes a great warlord. Inspiring, motivational, all that good stuff. I have a statblock but I need to revise it given the new damage numbers in Monster Manual 3.
Rary should be somewhat beefier, I think? At first glance I'm considering a solo, around level 22, obviously using the wizard template. Perhaps layering the sorcerer template on top of that? His self-named spells are mostly ritualistic in nature, in the 4e context. Any good sources for his abilities, in general? I know there's an article on him in Dragon #249 and of course I'm reading Rary the Traitor.
I changed the fluff for Rary in 4e to link him to the Star Pact Warlock. Though he's a Wizard he studied the mysteries of the Cosmos which eroded his sanity. The Bright Desert is linked to the Fall of Bael Turath (sp?). I added several Black Towers in various locations such as the Vale of the Mage and Ull. These towers were bastions of the fallen empire, wicked fortresses that the Tieflings (Ur-Flan?) used to cast dominion over the peaceful inhabitants of Oerik long ago. Rary's search for power led him to the Bright Desert, the location of a lost Black Tower. In time his research corrupted him. He turned on the others, who warned him of the danger and folly of his pursuits. Thus Rary the Traitor was born.
If my own PCs had to fight Rary, I'd make Rary a Lvl 23 Elite Artillery with some Controller abilities like a Warlock. Give him a magic Wand or Rod and some kewl powers that allow him to blast multiple people at a time. Like a Warlock he should have a teleportation power (Star Pact does give Teleport powers) that will allow him to make a quick getaway. Give him a high initiative and the ability to stealth. I'd also give him a bonus to Crit when opponents grant combat advantage. All of this would tie into the older modules quite nicely. Even though spells couldn't Crit back then he decimated the Circle of Eight after getting the drop on them.
Solo might be a bit too much for Rary. He's powerful but not God-like. Just making him very high level makes him like a Solo. I've had my PCs face a Troll when they were 5th level and it felt like a Solo fight. The level differences can matter more. Just be concious of your PC's attack and defense capabilities when pitting them against higher level monsters. An Elite monster that is 3 levels higher is VERY resilient because the defenses are so high and the extra hitpoints. Not to mention, they will hit quite often making them seem all powerful. Levels matter in 4e. And not just for PCs, for monsters too.
No need to get hung up on class descriptions when building a monster though just pick a mix of wizard and warlock powers. Solo or elite is tricky. Robilar has a magical mount and sometimes rides a dragon while Rary has used summoned creatures to do his bidding. They both have troops and minions at their beck and call.
I'd probably say look at their iconic 1e or 2e magic items and build powers around those on top of a few separate powers to reflect their own abilities. Make sure you put in a couple of interrupt and reaction powers (particularly saving throws) and an escape power (for Rary at least) because as recurring villains you want Rary and Robilar to escape at least once during your adventure. I think interrupt and reaction powers might be what you need to give elite builds a bit more staying power along with second wind.
I definitely agree on the interrupts and reactions -- excellent point!
I'll have to think more about elites vs. solos. For me it's a decision about the feel; solos get to attack more often and have a bigger hit point reserve, so do I want Rary to feel more like a force of nature or just a really scary guy? And I'm not sure about the right answer. I prefer not to have solos be by themselves, because I find it makes 4e fights pretty dull if there's just one enemy, so adding summons doesn't bug me. And of course I could make summoning one of his powers.
I really like the idea of mixing some Star Pact warlock feel in there.
We've been experimenting with reducing monster hp and upping their damage dice (just upgrading the dice to the next larger category). The MM3 damage has been upped by about a third to reflect that monsters were a bit ineffectual so I will probably start using these ratios as soon as the monster builder is updated. I've been knocking 10% hp off standard and elite monsters and 20% off solos. It only means one or two less hits for a kill but it seems to be rebalancing the combat a bit.
You could also look at the Lolth write up where new powers/manifestations kick in when she's reduced to 0 hp or just treat Rary as a solo who flees when bloodied - effectivley making him an elite that is hard to kill permanently. If they ever do kill him, they'd be so proud.
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