Intelligent Melee Fighters and Deadly Ranged Combatants
Do your PCs need to hire a tracker that can deal serious damage? Does your upcoming session need someone that can bring the pain to the toughest members of the group utilizing unexpected tricks? Are you seeking ideas for the terrible power at the end of your campaign?
The Book of Beasts: Slayer Codex has the solutions you need, arming Game Masters of the First Edition of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game with the following:
- 20 ready-made slayer characters, one for each level of play
- Tactical combat recommendations for every character, helping you to quickly and effectively run the NPC in a fight
- Personalities and details to give you ideas on how to use the characters both in combat and in roleplaying interactions
Populate Your Campaign With the Exact Character You Need!
The Slayer Codex is part of the Book of Beasts: Character Codex Subscription. Join today and get this as well as the Warpriest, Magus, and Witch Codeces today at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.
I want to make a magic bolas for the 3 fantasy games we support, but first I have to mundane version, since it doesn’t exist for two of them. It already exists for Pathfinder, and 13th Age has rules for weapons for each class so it will just be a magic item. So here’s the 5e version.
Bolas 2 gp — 1 lb. Special, thrown (range 20/60)
Bolas: When hit with a bolas, the target becomes grappled. If the hit is a critical hit, the target is grappled and prone. The target can use their action to free themself with a DC 10 Strength check. Alternatively, the target or another creature can deal 5 damage to the bolas (AC 10). Attacking the bolas in this manner deals no damage to the grappled creature. Bolas cannot grapple creatures that can move through narrow spaces like an air elemental or a grey ooze or are otherwise formless.
One of the key features of our Book of Beasts: Character Codex Subscription is that we include some of the archetypes in our builds. These amount to a quarter of the NPCs within involve one of the various archetypes.
The upcoming Slayer Codex is no different. One of those NPCs with an archetype is the level 10 Terran Enforcer. As a bounty hunter, this oread is well versed in capturing their target alive and dealing nonlethal damage. With the patience of a rock, they wait for the opportune moment to apprehend their prey.
Terran Enforcer CR 9
Oread ARG slayer (bounty hunter ACG) 10
LN Medium outsider (native)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +17
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +3 Dex)
hp 79 (10d10+20)
Fort +9, Ref +11, Will +5
Resist acid 5
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 earth breaker +18/+13 (2d6+10/×3) or net +17 (entangle)
Ranged sling +17 (1d4+8) or net +16 touch (entangle)
Special Attacks incapacitate (DC 17), sneak attack +3d6 (6d6+6 when dealing nonlethal), studied target +3 (3rd, swift action)
Oread Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +8)
Before Combat The slayer studies the target and casts magic stone on their sling bullets.
During Combat Should the slayer act before their target, they strike with their earth breaker, using incapacitate, Bludgeoner, and Sap Master to deal a significant amount of damage and knock the enemy out. During subsequent rounds, the slayer works to get into flanking position with allies to land a sneak attack on their studied target. Whenever the target looks wounded, the slayer will use the net to entangle their foe, hoping to capture the target alive. Any fleeing targets get hit with sling bullets.
Base Statistics Without magic stone and studied target, the slayer has the following stats: Melee +1 earth breaker +15/+10 (2d6+7/×3) or net +14/+9 (entangle); Ranged sling +13 (1d4+4) or net +13 touch (entangle); CMB +14; Skills Knowledge (dungeoneering) +15, Perception +14, Stealth +19, Survival +14.
Str 18, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +10; CMB +17; CMD 27
Feats Bludgeoner UC, Improved Initiative, Sap Adept UC, Sap Master UC, Stealthy
Skills Acrobatics +15, Climb +16, Escape Artist +16, Heal +14, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +18, Perception +17, Stealth +22, Survival +17
Languages Auran, Common, Dwarven, Terran
SQ dirty trick, slayer talents (fast stealth, surprise attacks), stalker, submission hold, track +5
Combat Gear sandals of quick reaction UE; Other Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 earth breaker UE, net (2), sling with bullets (10), belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, 120 gp
All of us GMs have been there. We create an encounter that we think will be a cake walk for the players and they roll terribly. Either that or they split the party and neither group can help the other. The question then becomes, “How does the GM same the party?” because we all know the players will never, EVER run away when they really, really should. The encounter balancing system of any game is not perfect, but 5e is notoriously bad, and the GM has to make adjustments on the fly. These three rules can save the characters’ bacon.
1) Remove Enemies From the Battle
Not long ago I sent my players to Hell. They were second level and pretty much spent for the day, but I wanted them to have a memorable experience. So I made a number of easy fights against weak devils that were chained to the slaves the characters were trying to rescue. I made sure to describe the slaves as non-responsive, like they were just following orders and otherwise not conscious of their actions. So one of the players tried to rally the slaves and have them fight back. All that did was get the attention of ALL if the nearby devils, instantly turning several easy encounters into one very deadly encounter.
So how did I rescue the players? I took some pieces off the board. That infernal boar there? It no longer has 25 hp. It now has 10. That imp over there, it uses invisibility on itself to get into a better position and never pops back out. All of the sudden, that encounter became much more survivable.
What else can you do? Have an enemy run away. Have an enemy hide and then make an escape through a previously undiscovered tunnel.
2) Have Some Reason for the Battle Other Than Killing
Unless the players are there for the express purpose of killing the other side, there is some goal in mind. The same is true for the bad guys. Is there some MacGuffin the characters are trying to keep safe that the NPCs are trying to steal? Add a rogue with mage hand or a wizard with telekinesis to grab the item and the bad guys retreat. When the goal is no longer there, the fight is no longer important.
3) “Invite” Them to Leave
Those of you familiar with Critical Role know a character dies pretty early on in Campaign 2. It was obvious that that battle went against the players. Had it continued, it would have resulted in a TPK. Instead, the leader of the bad guys told them to leave, saying he’s teaching them a lesson. They left, licked their wounds, got more help, and then came back to fight.
That was definitely a loss, but inviting the players to leave took them out of the battle for a moment, letting them assess their situation and make the right call. Yes one character died, but the others lived and the story continued. Don’t be afraid to kill off one or two characters; be afraid of the TPK.
I’ve heard it said time and again that spell casters have all the fun, they have all the options. Well that just simply isn’t true. Today I want to show you one such example that proves the opposite. With today’s Slayer from the upcoming Book of Beasts: Slayer Codex, we’ve got one with plenty of options.
Poisoner CR 4
Vishkanya ARG slayer 5
CE Medium humanoid (vishkanya)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +9
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +4 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 42 (5d10+10)
Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +0; +5 bonus vs. poison
Defensive Abilities poison resistance
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk rapier +12 (1d6+3/18–20) or mwk rapier +10 (1d6+3/18–20), mwk short sword +10 (1d6+2/19–20)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6, studied target +2 (2nd, move action), toxic (swift action, 2/day, save DC 14, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d2 Dex, cure 1 save)
Before Combat The slayer applies one of their poisons (whichever they deem appropriate) to their rapier. The slayer prefers to hide and study their target by blending into a crowd.
During Combat The slayer disguises themself as a nondescript bystander to get the first strike with a poisoned sneak attack, following up with more poison attacks using their toxic saliva.
Base Statistics Without studied target, the slayer has the following stats: Melee mwk rapier +10 (1d6+1/18–20) or mwk rapier +8 (1d6+1/18–20), mwk short sword +8 (1d6/19–20); CMB +6; Skills Knowledge (local) +9, Perception +9, Sense Motive +7, Survival +7.
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 20
Feats Seething Hatred (Human) ACG, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Skills Craft (alchemy) +10, Disguise +8, Escape Artist +10, Knowledge (local) +11, Perception +11, Sense Motive +9, Stealth +13, Survival +9; Racial Modifiers +2 Escape Artist, +2 Perception, +2 Stealth
Languages Common, Undercommon, Vishkanya
SQ combat style (two-weapon combat), poison use, slayer talents (ranger combat style, swift poison APG), track +2
Combat Gear potion of barkskin +2, medium spider venom, purple worm poison, sassone leaf residue; Other Gear +1 chain shirt, mwk rapier, mwk short sword, portable alchemist’s lab APG, 45 gp
If you haven’t heard, the price for the hardcover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium is going to be going up on July 1st (printing costs). So until then, we’ve got it for 25% off the regular price. So I thought I would just take a few moments today to reflect on this awesome book.
What I realized was that picking my favorite race was like picking my favorite child. I just can’t do that. Well, okay I can because I only have one child, but you know what I mean.
Catfolk, I will always have a special place in my heart for this race. I mean I’m a child of the ’80s. I grew up watching the ThunderCats. If I want a rogue or a ranger I reach for a catfolk.
If I want a cleric with a better melee attack than most I’m pulling out a tengu. Bonus, the Gifted Linguist ability lets them evangelize to everyone they encounter.
Well I don’t normally mix science fiction with my fantasy, the android race is exceptionally well built and works well as a sci-fi mix in.
What can I say about wyvarans? You get to play a dragon! Need I say more?
When I want a race with a monstrous connection and temptation of dark powers, I am reaching for a changeling. This fun race speaks to power and corruption as a central point about the character with a troubled past.
Speaking of a monstrous connection, the gillfolk do this for an underwater, but these has the added benefit of being the humans of the environment. For a race with a history of abuse by another, gillfolk do this well.
Sticking with underwater for a moment, the merfolk are the elves of the sea. As someone who grew up playing a number of elves, this race appeals to the child in me, while still being new and unique.
Another race with a dark connection and a history of abuse, the wyrwoods have a long memory of what their abusers have done. Even better, their abusers are mages, instead of a monstrous race.
Playing a werewolf can be difficult mechanically. So when I’m looking for that same experience in a game, I reach for a skinwalker. This race carries much of the same flavor and feel while still being mechanically balanced.
Some people say that the psionic races are difficult to understand. That does not hold true for the elans. This human-of-the-psionics world is easy to understand and a real joy to play.
I know many people that don’t feel like they belong in the body there in. Either that or they feel like they are out of time or simply do not belong here. When I want to play this aspect in a game, samsarans are my choice of race.
Lastly, we have the lizardfolk. This scaly, misunderstood race of noble savages is one with nature more than anyone else here. Lizardfolk are what many druids or shamans wish they could be.
Do you love all these races as much as I? Are there any others you want to see delved as indepth as we had in the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium? Order your copy of this book before the price goes up at DriveThruRPG.
As I write this, I am sitting in a metal tube several miles above the surface of the Earth. No matter how many times I do this, I still find it amazing. I know all the physics involved, but that still doesn’t make it any less a wonder of the potential we can achieve when we put our brightest minds and the most daring among us together. There needs to be a deity to just that thing. Frankly, I can think of no one better than Daedalus.
For those of you not familiar with Greek mythology, Daedalus strapped on a pair of wings made from feathers and wax and flew to escape the tower he was imprisoned in. While the story is a celebration of innovation and daring, it is also a cautionary tale as well, as his son Icarus flew too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt and he fell back to Earth.
With all that in mind, what would a religion based on such a deity look like?
Chaotic Good Hero-Deity of Artificial Flight, Daring, and Ingenuity
Followers of Daedalus believe in understanding the natural world and look to create mechanical ways to emulate them. Chief among these inspirations is the ability to fly like a bird, run as fast as a horse, and haul as much as an elephant, however, this is hardly an exhaustive list. Also among Daedalus’ followers are those daring enough to try such inventions and see if they work.
Daedalus has a strong following among gnomes. Even those of their kind that do not worship him still respect him and will offer up a quick prayer before trying a new invention out. Other races with a sizable following for the hero-deity include humans, dwarves, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds. The goblinoid and kobold followers go hand in hand as the hobgoblins create the new invention and the goblins and kobolds are more than willing to try. Kobold inventors may be less successful, but they still try hard.
The holy symbol of Daedalus is a pair of feathery wings. Followers are hardly commanded to but still frequently keep a feather on them somewhere. Most often this is in the hair or in a hat, but followers of Daedalus are an individualistic lot and feathers can be found anywhere and in any quantity on the faithful.
While followers of Daedalus are stereotypically the friend that is up for anything (the crazier, the better), they also heed their deity’s warning for they do not want to end up like the son of the deity before ascending to godhood. Proficiency with mechanical tool sets are taught among the faithful and they check the working of anything the device they are not familiar with, both to see how it works as well as to make sure they feel it is safe.
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