I don't know what to do with these guys. I liked their fluff enough that I put them in the campaign and now, when it's time to use them, I'm at a loss.
One of the power groups the PCs have encountered is the keepers (Fiend Folio 111-2). Admittedly, being a keeper has quite a few advantages. These include...
- The type outsider.
- A speed of 40 ft. and a 20 ft. climb speed.
- A +4 natural armor bonus and proficiency with light armor and shields.
- DR 10/magic and a laughable SR 13.
- The extraordinary ability mimic weapon, granting it the ability to turn each of its 2 arms into the same or different simple, martial, or exotic melee weapon it's seen that then act like natural weapons.
- The extraordinary ability poison spit, granting it the ability to spit a 20-ft. cone of contact poison every 1d4 rounds (but it's not a breath weapon).
- The extraordinary ability blindsight with a range of 200 ft. and scent.
- The extraordinary ability dissolution, mandating it turn into a pile of contact poison (therefore killing it) automatically if captured, pinned, or rendered helpless for more than 1 min.
- The extraordinary ability hive mind, granting a keeper constant communication with all other keepers within 500 ft. No keeper within 500 ft. of another keeper is flanked or flat-footed unless all other keepers within 500 ft. are flanked or flat-footed, respectively.
- The extraordinary ability to have immunities like a construct.
- Resistance 10 to each of acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic.
- A +8 racial bonus to Escape Artist skill checks and Jump skill checks.
- The feat Spring Attack as a bonus feat (although the printed keeper nonetheless takes the feats Dodge and Mobility).
- The following adjustments to its ability scores: Str +8, Dex +6, Con +4, Int +4, Wis -2, Cha -4. (A keeper's favored class is rogue if it matters.)
...Also the Supernatural Ability Body Switch
This how keepers actually become a problem. A keeper can take a standard action and exchange places with another living keeper within 500 ft. The special ability hive mind means this needn't be the keeper engaging the PCs. In other words,
A starts the engagement and takes his turn (a swift action and either a full action or a move action and a standard action) then
B, who's not even there, takes his standard action to trade places with
B can still take a move action and a swift action when he arrives and so can
K on the same turn. That's interesting, but I don't know what to do with it, because here's...
A keeper has but 4 Hit Dice yet a Challenge Rating of 7.
I feel like there's a trick to using these monsters--a tactic I've overlooked, a feat that makes them awesome, a magic item every keeper should have, a prestige class they qualify for automatically, or something--that I'm not seeing that explains their looks-too-high-to me Challenge Rating.
What combination of classes and prestige classes, feats, and equipment can I give a solitary keeper or up to a squad of 6-11 keepers (so you know, 6 keepers are EL 12, 9 are EL 13, 11 are EL 14) that will make it or them a reasonable challenge for a highly optimized level 11 party consisting of a barbarian, beguiler, ranger, rogue, and warblade all of whom have ranks in the skill Use Magic Device? Alternatively, what tactics should these creatures use to justify their Challenge Rating?
I'm okay with this encounter being overpowering (i.e. EL 5 or higher than party level) if that's what it takes to make these guys cool. The PCs are tough. They're used to that 5% chance of an overpowering encounter happening surprisingly often.