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I was thinking this kind of question would be closed due to it would be "opinion-based", but turns out there're tons of similar questions exist (and answered) already. So I am going to give it a try.

Long story short. I am trying to write (or draft?) a DND 3.5e campaign based on the story of Madoka Magica, and I come up with something like this. I wonder if that would be sufficient for a CR 18 monster (or EL 18 encounter) (since the minions seem to be pretty weak). Hopefully it won't go over the limit of a question. (Unfortunately I have to remove some parts.)


Walpurgisnacht (Last Boss)

Character Sheet

Colossal Aberration [witch]

Chaotic Evil

HD: 25d8 +250 [constitution] (362/362 hp) 20 temporary hp

Initiative: +5 (+1 Dex, +4 feat)

Speed: (upside-down) fly 30 ft. (Clumsy) (reversed) fly 150 ft. (Clumsy)

Armor Class: 25 (+1 Dex, +22 natural, -8 size), touch 3, flat-footed 24

BAB/GRP: +18/+50 (+10 Str, +16 Size, +6 Profane)

Attack: Whip of Familiar +17 (+18 [base] +1 [dex] +6 [profane] -8 [size]) (4d6+20 plus summon familiar)

Full Attack: Whip of Familiar +17 (4d6+20 plus summon familiar)

Space/Reach: 60 ft./30 ft.

Special Attacks: Building Throwing, Whip of Familiars, Flame of Helplessness

Special Qualitites: blinded, blindsight 1 mile, Flaming Aura, SR 30, Summon Familiar, Storm Aura, immunity to poison, Ring of Familiars, Helplessness, Chaos Mind, Fast Healing 20

Save: Fort +24, Ref +15, Will +26 (all +6 [profane] included)

Abilities: Str 30 Dex 12 Con 30 Int 11 Wis 22 Cha 13

Skills: (28/46) (Max Rank: 28)

Concentration +44 (all +6 [profane] included)

Feats: (9/9) Wingover, Hover, Ability Focus (Spelllike Ability: Fire Storm), Weapon Focus (Whip of Familiars), Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (Fireball), Empowered Spell-Like Ability (Fire Storm)

Environment: Any

Organization: Solitary

Challenge Rating: 18

Treasure: none

Alignment: Always chaotic evil

Helplessness (EX)

For the first damage Walpurgisnacht take for each round, all damage roll related to that damage will be taken as 1. Damages without a roll (e.g. any maximized spell) are not affected.

Flame of Helplessness (SU)

Anyone who takes flame damage from Walpurgisnacht would be affected by an area dispel magic (CL=10).

Whip of Familiars (SU)

Walpurgisnacht can make a ranged attack against a creature within 1 mile, dealing 4d6+20 slashing damage and summon 3 random familiars (CR 8) within a range of 20 feet at the block she is targeting. The Summon Familiar effect works regardless this attack misses or not.

Summon Familiar (SU)

As a free action, in every 5 rounds, Walpurgisnacht can randomly summon 1d6 familiars (CR 8) within the range of her Storm Aura. Walpurgisnacht would not intelligently control the familiars.

Ring of Familiars (SU)

Once per day, as a full-round action that provokes attack of opportunity, Walpurgisnacht can summon 24 advanced familiars (CR 13) around herself like a circle. All familiars will start their action immediately after the summon, which makes them share the same initiative check result with Walpurgisnacht.

All familiars summoned in this manner is considered in rage with no duration limit (+4 Str, +4 Con, -2 AC). But they can still cast spells or use spell-like abilities or perform other acts that require concentration, if any.

Building Throwing (EX)

Walpurgisnacht can throw a building at her opponents. All creatures within 300 ft range of the targeted block take 25d6 bludgeoning damage and fall prone (Ref DC 26 half and negate prone).

Storm Aura (EX)

100 miles diameter's storm. 10 miles' storm eye in the center has no special wind effect.

Control Weather can surpress Storm Aura for 2d6 rounds immediately after the casting (instead of taking 10 minutes to manifest), but the caster has to pass the caster spell check (DC=35) to successfully do so.

Flaming Aura (SU)

A 10-foot-radius spread heat aura surrounds Walpurgisnacht. Creatures subject to fire Damage, except Walpurgisnacht herself, take 2d6 points of fire Damage each round they remain within the heat Flaming. This damage occurs when their round starts.

Chaos Mind (EX)

Any creature that attempt to use mind-affecting effects on Walpurgisnacht automatically fails such an attempt and stun for one round (Will DC=18 negate). The save DC is wisdom-based.

Reverse (EX)

As a full-round action that provokes attack of opportunity, Walpurgisnacht can change its side and switch to Reversed Stance, increases its flying speed from 30 ft to 150 ft.

Shield (SU)

Once per day, when Walpurgisnacht's hit point is lower than 20%, she will automatically generate a shield that can take the damage equal to 50% of her maximum hp (181) without taking any action, even if it is not her turn.

This ability works as Resilient Sphere with a radius of 50ft. from the center of her body, except it can take damage and is purely transparent.

Dispel magic, antimagic field and similar effects can surpress all (if dispel) or part (if antimagic field) of the shield and allow creatures, objects and attacks to pass by. The shield can only be surpressed for 1 round each time if dispelled (Dispel require to pass a CL check DC = 35).

Effects that would destroy force effects (e.g. disintegrate spell, rob of cancellation, rod of negation, etc.) would instead surpress the shield for 2d6 rounds and halve the current hp of the shield without dealing actual damage (the shield will be destroyed if is surpressed in this manner when the remained HP is 1).

The creatures that are inside the shield (within 50 ft. of Walpurgisnacht) can attack and interact with Walpurgisnacht normally.

Walpurgisnacht can surpress and re-activate the shield as a free action after this ability is triggered (so she can deactivate the shield, make attack, and reactivate the shield again in the same round).

Spell-Like Abilities: Caster level 25th. The save DCs are Wisdom-based.

At will -

Control Weather: Control weather (10 min cast and 10 min take effect)

Control Winds: Control the wind within 1000 fts

Gust of Wind: Blows away or knocks down smaller creatures. (DC18)

Fireball: Deals 1d6/level fire damage. (10d6 flame + Flame of Helplessness) (DC19)

Cone of Flame: Deals 1d6/level fire damage. (15d6 flane + Flame of Helplessness) (DC20) (Cone of Cold but in fire damage)

3/day -

Quickened Fireball: Deals 1d6/level fire damage. (10d6 flame + Flame of Helplessness) (DC19)

Empowered Fire Storm: Deals 1d6/level fire damage. (37d6 flame + Flame of Helplessness) (DC25)

PS. Regarding the familiars, I am thinking of something with 5 Aberration HD + 5~10 class levels (becoming stronger as PCs approach closer to the boss) to give them some PVP-like experience. I wonder if that would be a good idea.


I am putting the expected PCs' brief info here:

Lv.15-16 Melee (Fighter/Paladin/Barbarian)

Lv.15-16 Ranged (Fighter/Ranger)

Lv.15-16 Divine Spellcaster (Cleric/Druid)

Lv.15-16 Arcane Spellcaster (Wizard)

This will be a core-only campaign, so only the resources on PHB, DMG and MM (feats only) would be available for the PCs. All other materials are forbidden. But they can optimize as much as they want within this limit.

The expectation of this boss is to give them a pretty tough fight, should not end in just several rounds but should be things like "deal some damage => Boss get's away with some familiars, kill or avoid those familiars and chase the Boss => deal some damage again". Since the arena will be inside the "Storm Aura", the weather condition and wind condition should be considered as important factors, and the requirement of mobility and the capability to breakthrough (rather than slaughter) the minions would be critical. There shall be no such thing of "a stable environment to stand there and keep making full-attack" in this fight.

On the other hand, the Boss itself won't be attacking PCs in most of the time, until its HP is reduced to below 70%.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A homebrew monster that's CR 18 can't really be evaluated in a vacuum—the amount of power that the PCs can wield varies far too dramatically from campaign to campaign. Can this question include a summary of the PCs (or imagined PCs) and their degrees of optimization? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 0:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for noting. I am adding the PCs' info at the end of the question. The PCs would be 14 at the beginning and reach 15 or 16 at the end, so would probably be like that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 3:25

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There are a few problems here.

  1. This creature is very squishy. With 362 health and a laughably low AC, any halfway competent fighter can kill this thing in two full attacks. The idea that the context of the fight will prevent a fighter from making full attacks just isn't how high-level 3.5 works. The wizard can dimension door the party on top of the boss, and then the fighter can make a full attack. Or the fighter could just be atop a flying mount. Assuming the cleric is well played, they'll be contributing comparable damage, which means that the fighter and cleric together can kill this monster in a single round.
  2. Its SLAs just do damage. At CR 18, it needs to do more than that. It should have answers to being wrapped in a wall of stone and other assorted nonsense the players might employ.
  3. You've indicated that you think the shield is a big, important part of this boss, but it really isn't right now. It's going to trigger when the boss gets beaten down, so everyone who wanted to be near it is already in melee range. The only thing this ability does is make life sad for the archer.
  4. Speaking of: with high wind conditions and a shield that only affects people further than 50 ft. away, this encounter seems specifically tailored to ruin the day of an archer. You've indicated that you expect your party to include a melee fighter, a ranged fighter, a cleric, and a wizard, and of those three the ranged fighter is by far the weakest. Archery is pretty bad in 3.5, and it's especially bad in Core-only 3.5 without the many prestige classes and items that make it semi-viable. So you have a player who will have spent the entire campaign noticeably weaker than the rest of the party, only to have a finale where they quite literally can't make attacks because of the wind conditions. That's the opposite of fun.
  5. Which leads me to the last point: at high levels, we just can't say for certain what your party can do. There's too much variance between not just character builds but player skill: cleric is the best class in the game in Core-only because a good player can break the game in half, but I'd guess that the majority of clerics played in 3.5 have been largely ineffectual healers. There's a massive disparity in power for a Cleric 16 based on spell selection alone, to say nothing of the differences between a cleric and druid or a paladin and barbarian. At this stage, you can come up with ideas, but you should really wait and design the final boss once you know what the players are playing and—more importantly—how they're playing them.

So I can tell you that I think this monster will die too quickly against most decently played 16th-level parties, and that I think the "familiars" should have various abilities that make it harder to kill the boss because that would be interesting, but at the end of the day I'm going to tell you that you simply need to wait until you've not just seen the characters in the party but seen how they're being played. If the wizard just casts fireball and lightning bolt, the fighter is dual-wielding short swords, and the cleric spends every other action on a healing spell, then this monster might be just fine. If the cleric properly uses their divinations and buffs, the fighter is a focused greatsword wielder, and the wizard has a good head for tactics, then this thing will probably die before it gets a second turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the criticising! I have read through and have some questions here: 1. If this creature (since it only has fly speed) keeps flying in a pretty high location, wouldn't all wall-like spells become unavailable? 2. How would a core-only fighter kill it in 2 full-round attack? The best I can think of by now is Spirit Charge + Flying Mount + True Strike + Full Power Attack + Lance, which is still just slightly over 100 damage per round (and it takes another round or a teleport-like spell for repositioning before the next charge). Really want to know how good can a fighter play. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ 3. With 25 CL, I thought this creature can easily cast Control Winds to generate a tornado-level wind for instance, which should be capable to throw any closing in creatures away with a Fort save DC=30, unless another spellcaster negates it with a similar effect. So it should be able to deactivate the shield, blow everybody away (maybe except the fighter, but he can be dealt with by minions), and reactivate it as a free action. 4. Is there any interesting save-or-suck (not save-or-die) effect you might suggest to use? I have considered some but was afraid of making PCs die too quickly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, thanks for pointing out that wizard can throw the melee PCs on the top of the boss, never thought they can do that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Assume a warrior with base STR 16 +4 from levels +6 enhancement + 2 size = 28 STR. They have a +1 holy greatsword, with greater magic weapon to make it +4, and only have haste and enlarge person as buffs. They attack at: +16 base +9 str +4 enh +1 haste -1 size = +29. Full attack: +29/29/24/19/14. Damage is 2d8 large greatsword +13 str +4 enh +2d6 holy = 33 avg. Multiplied by hit chance and you get 135 damage per round with no class features or feats. Rage adds +5 dmg/attack; Weapon Spec. adds +4; Smite Evil adds +16—they should hit 160 dpr before further buffs or power attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ DR will affect builds differently (as you imply, it'll most affect the weakest PC). I originally had more suggestions in this answer—I had ideas for all these different abilities the familiars could have to cover gaps in the boss's weaknesses, some numerical suggestions—before re-writing it because ultimately, all these suggestions depend heavily on the party, and you really can't plan a long, cinematic battle in high level 3.5 without knowing precisely what your players can do. I think specific suggestions are ultimately misleading: the answer is simply to wait until you know the party. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:53

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