Party I think will be three level 11 characters. Party will encounter him at end of the adventure probably (hopefully) not at full power.


So I made an NPC as if he was a PC, using a 20 point buy and Character Wealth-by-Level, with venerable age effects.

He is the big bad guy at the end of the adventure. I don’t see how the party can logistically kill him, I’m fact I plan on having him take the party down without killing them and run away for story reasons.

Is there a point in setting a CR? If so, how would I go about setting it since I created him with boosted stats and boosted wealth? Can I award partial experience? Consider me rather lost.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As a note he looks snipe-able - if your players are clever and a little lucky they could well drop him. I'd plan for the possibility they kill him, just in case. Best laid plans and all that \$\endgroup\$
    – Pingcode
    Jan 4, 2018 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pingcode I might have him tag along as a helpless old guy and then big plot twist! But yeah, a few bad rolls and he could be taken out. It’s not like I optimized him. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2018 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ as a sidenote (as it's not what you asked but may be useful), you can perfectly make your players fight one or even several Simulacrum of the Illusionist himself. The simulacri will die, but not the real big bad guy. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2018 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


A level-17 NPC has CR 16. As an example, take a look at this level-17 NPC wizard from d20pfsrd.com.

If you use PC wealth for the NPC, that adds +1 CR:

“For boss NPCs, just give the NPC a PC’s wealth. That increases the boss NPC’s CR by +1, so a zero HD creature with class levels and PC wealth is a CR equal to his class level. We do this pretty much for EVERY major boss of an adventure path.”

I recommend not worrying about the modifiers for boosted stats. Recall that +2 CR should be equivalent to fighting two of the monsters at once; if your boosted stats aren't making the wizard 50% more dangerous, then they're not worth +1 CR. If you really care about the difference, you might consider removing the stats and applying a template instead, as those come with CR adjustments.

CR serves two purposes: (1) it warns you if you're about to give the party a too-easy or too-difficult encounter, and (2) it tells you how much experience to award. Neither of these seem important for your wizard, so arguably you don't need a CR.

On the other hand, you probably want to award experience. The gamemastering section says:

Story Awards: Feel free to award Story Awards when players conclude a major storyline or make an important accomplishment. These awards should be worth double the amount of experience points for a CR equal to the APL. Particularly long or difficult story arcs might award even more, at your discretion as GM.

so that's a good guideline for how much experience to award.

I'll note that many groups would find "a powerful NPC defeated us all and then chose not to kill us" an unsatisfactory ending to an adventure. You might want to try something more conventional, such as allowing the player characters a victory. Of course it's up to you though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One possible solution is to Vader vs Kenobi it. Instead of having the party 'fight' this insurmountable obstacle, instead have them witness his power but not be tilted against it. Alternately, they're an Illusionist and Project Image is a thing. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2018 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso they are experienced role players, so I’m not worried about that. I’ll double check for the word hopefully. Maybe I put it in the title and not the description or vice versa. And Project image is definitely a thing in Star Wars now too! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 5, 2018 at 14:31

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