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I'm working on an encounter for my game this coming Sunday. The party is made up of five level four characters.

I want this encounter to be comprised of a group of "Human Rabble", and maybe a "Human Bandit" (or two), led by a human rogue-like character. There doesn't seem to be such a leader in the Monster Manual. So I've tried to create one via the monster builder. This being only my second time DMing, I'm not sure about the makeup of this character. So I'd like to get some more experienced opinions/suggestions. Is the attached monster card a good fit for this scenario? Should I add, remove, or tweak anything?

I don't want the encounter to be "easy" but I also don't want it to be "hard." The group should be able to beat these guys soundly.

Monster's card

Edit:

I see that I didn't provide enough detail for the encounter setting.

I don't intend for the character to be recurring, but that depends on how the players play the encounter, I suppose. My plan is for him to be killed.

I want him to be recognizable as a stealthy, underhanded, character. He's basically a middle management guy running an errand for a more sinister, as yet unknown, NPC. So his demeanor/class/style is supposed to be a representation of his boss.

The party is going to be ambushed by him and his underlings whilst traveling. There will plenty of open area for him, and the party, to maneuver. Beating this guy is more of a plot opening than an ending.

The party has a paladin, wizard, ranger, warlock, and a warlord. So there's a good mix of ranged and melee. The players have been playing for about 3 years now, so they have a decent grasp of how to handle things. But I wouldn't classify our group as "power gamers."

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What are your concerns in terms of what the NPC will do to the group? One thing to consider is that this NPC may not even attack them directly; he may steal from them or otherwise cause trouble for them. He looks like he's got a lot of health for a rogue, which could be a little annoying if he combines it with that at-will Cowardly Shot. Remember, you're the GM, it's your NPC, if he starts wrecking stuff during the battle just knock off half his health or rewrite his stat block. If he fails too hard, just give him a buff. –  Kyle Willey Sep 17 '13 at 20:33
    
I updated the question with more details based on your questions. As for the health, shouldn't a "leader" have higher than normal health? That's a stat I'm not sure about here. –  jsumners Sep 17 '13 at 21:01
    
I'm more concerned about the total amount of opponent health. Are you doing one-shot minions? Or do players have to worry about 500 HP worth of foes with a 100 HP boss plinking away at them? What's their effective damage per round, how long do you want the combat to last, and how dangerous should it be? –  Kyle Willey Sep 17 '13 at 21:14
    
I'm using one-shot minions. This should be a relatively quick battle. Most of the rounds would be used to take down the leader. –  jsumners Sep 17 '13 at 22:01
    
Generally "Leader" enemies have abilities that buff or heal their comrades while they remain in range or on the battlefield. Look at similar NPCs in the level range to get a feel for what one might do, rather than basing him purely off the minions he's leading. –  Corion Sep 17 '13 at 22:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

OK, From the looks of it, you want the following:

  • Stealthy
  • Leadery needs to be able to command numerous minions
  • Level Appropriate, but formidable.

You want this guy

Danjani, He's a L4 Tiefling darkblade solo. Make him a human by making one small change, instead of his racial power give him a reroll on an attack.

Dajani, Tiefling Darkblade
Medium natural humanoid

Level 4 Solo Lurker
XP 875
Initiative +12        Senses Perception +5; low-light vision
HP 224; Bloodied 112
AC 21; Fortitude 16, Reflex 20, Will 16
Resist 12 fire
Saving Throws +4
Speed 7
Action Points 2
 Poisoned Short Sword (standard, at-will)  Poison, Weapon
+9 vs AC; (+10 against bloodied target)1d6+4 damage, and Dajani makes a secondary attack against the same target.
Secondary Attack +10 vs Fortitude; ongoing 10 poison damage (save ends).
 Double Attack (standard, at-will)
Dajani makes two poisoned short sword attacks but cannot make both attacks against the same target.
 Demonic Frenzy (immediate reaction, when attacked by an adjacent enemy while bloodied, at-will)
Dajani makes a frenzied short sword attack against the enemy; +9 vs AC; (+10 against bloodied target)1d6+4 damage.
Secondary Attack +10 vs Fortitude; ongoing 10 poison damage (save ends).
Cloak of Lurking (move; at-will)  Teleportation
Dajani teleports 5 squares and becomes invisible until the end of its next turn.
Infernal Wrath (minor; encounter, recharges when first bloodied)
Dajani gains a +1 power bonus to its next attack roll against an enemy that hit him since his last turn. If the attack hits and deals damage, Dajani deals an extra 3 damage.
Alignment Chaotic evil        Languages Common, Supernal
Skills Bluff +13, Stealth +15
Str 13 (+3)      Dex 20 (+7)      Wis 14 (+4)
Con 16 (+5)      Int 13 (+3)      Cha 16 (+5)
Equipment: cloak, cult tunic, 2 poisoned short swords, Naarash talisman, boots of striding , leather armor .

That's a tough foe, if you want something a bit more run of the mill, I recommend going the elite route. Kelson is a good monster here.

Kelson
Small natural humanoid, halfling

Level 5 Elite Skirmisher (Leader)
XP 400
HP 120; Bloodied 60 Initiative +9
AC 20, Fortitude 16, Reflex 19, Will 16 Perception+7
Speed 6 
Saving Throws +2 (+5 against fear effects); Action Points 1
Traits
 Gang Leader  Aura 3
Allies gain a +2 power bonus to saving throws while in the aura.
River Rat Tactics
Kelson has combat advantage against any enemy that is adjacent to at least one of his allies.
Standard Actions
 Short Sword (weapon)  At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +10 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 6 damage.
 Throwing Dagger (poison, weapon)  At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature); +10 vs. AC
Hit: 1d4 + 5 damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).
Flickering Blades  At-Will
Effect: Kelson uses short sword against one enemy, shifts up to 3 squares, and then uses throwing dagger against a different enemy.
River Rat's Gambit  Encounter
Requirement: Kelson must be bloodied.
Effect: Kelson makes a basic attack. If the attack hits, the target takes 2d6 extra damage. If the attack misses, Kelson takes 1d6 damage.
Triggered Actions
Second Chance  Encounter
Trigger: An enemy hits Kelson with an attack.
Effect (Immediate Interrupt): The triggering enemy must reroll the attack and use the new result.
Skills Acrobatics +12, Bluff +9, Stealth +12, Streetwise +9, Thievery +12
Str 14 (+4)                Dex 20 (+7)                Wis 11 (+2)
Con 12 (+3)                Int 10 (+2)                Cha 15 (+4)
Alignment Evil        Languages Common
Equipment: dagger x10, leather armor , short sword .

All that to say, forget the race, focus on getting the powers, level and role right, and then just reflavor the monster however is required for your campaign. 4e monsters are just a set of powers to hang a character on. The name and race rarely matter, just use them as a canvas on which to paint your world.

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This pits a L4 party against L4 opponents - using correct level solos and elites rather than much higher level normal monsters is a very good choice. Doing so means that your boss monster hits hard, and provides a challenge without setting up a long (boring) grind while the players roll and miss over and over again against a non-level appropriate defences. –  Simon Withers Sep 18 '13 at 1:46
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What wax eagle does here is generally called reskinning. slyflourish.com/reskinning_monsters.html and newbiedm.com/2010/02/26/… are some other examples of using this technique. –  Simon Withers Sep 18 '13 at 1:50
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Thank you. I hadn't thought of that tactic for creating what I want. This will definitely make things easier for me. –  jsumners Sep 18 '13 at 2:31
    
To amplify wax's excellent answer, it's also important to treat the environment like a monster. It should be interactable with by everyone and there should be "more" and "less" desirable places in the environment. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 18 '13 at 3:08

Yes, but he's barely a rogue.

I think your problem is more encounter design than monster design; this monster will be decent in a frontal assault, but won't necessarily deliver a "rogue" feel; more of a "thug" feel. Consider adding some sort of additional features to him; either the ability to teleport and better abuse his ranged abilities or otherwise some incentive for him to go toe-to-toe, such as explicitly adding Sneak Attack or Backstab to boost his damage against targets who don't focus on him, encouraging an ambush tactic.

However, the monster does look fine, though I'm not sure that I'd use him in combat. Have you compared him with examples of other stealthy foes? He has a heavy degree of field control, what with the ability to move four squares a turn, so I'd be hesitant to put him into a battle where everyone else was stuck with melee combat.

Some things to consider:

  • Have you contemplated rolling up a full NPC rogue? It looks like you've got access to DDI, so you could use the character creator to pretty easily create and custom-tailor a seventh level rogue for use in the mission.
  • Is this a one-shot monster, or a recurring NPC? If you roll up a full statblock as a character, you'll have a much better recurring villain.
  • Combat doesn't have to be all or nothing; he can leave the players alive if he dominates them, just taking some of their stuff, or get buffed/call in more foes if he's getting too heavily beaten.
  • Are you planning on a sequential or simultaneous fight? This will make a huge difference, especially since he's looking at decent ranged damage. Also, he doesn't seem to have any sneak attack ability, which means that he'd probably be best in a sustained fight instead of attacking from stealth and/or drawing the focus with goons.
  • Do you want the combat to be centered around the players, or the NPC? That is, do you want it to be a boss fight with defeating this guy to be the major goal, or do you want it to be more about keeping players' characters in the fight and from failing an objective.
  • Are you doing a straight face-to-face fight or is there a larger objective? If you're doing an objective-based fight, his incredible movement will force the players to think more defensively.
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