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I'm running a custom campaign that has a party of 4 level 5 PCs. Their opponents are often goblins.

I want to create a goblin boss for a dungeon. However, I am unsure what would be too powerful. I don't want the boss to be a pushover—one PC in particular can land a hit that deals 300 points of damage. (Don't ask)

My plan was to give the goblin DR, but I'm unsure how to add it. Can I simply add DR to the goblin or do the rules prohibit it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If someone is hitting for 300 damage at level 5 either something is being misinterpreted or 3rd party content is involved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mr Tumnus
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 5:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is even seriously wrong : 300 damage is enough to kill a standard monster with over 40 HD. 3rd party content or not, this is clearly not balanced. \$\endgroup\$
    – user26561
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 9:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ No amount of DR will save a goblin from a 300 damage critical hit. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 11:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ "(Don't ask)" Well now I HAVE to know... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 8:47

2 Answers 2

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The GM can do anything…

You can give the boss goblin class levels that grant it DR (barbarian is easiest). You can have the goblin boss gain DR from a magic item (like the mantle of the crusader host) or a spell (like stoneskin). You can slap on the boss goblin a template that gives it DR (like half-fiend). These are the typical routes GMs take and well within the rules. Much of this information is covered by Monster Advancement.

Atypically, you can even award that boss goblin a gift from his evil god in the form of DR 300/— or whatever, and the RPG police won't bust in and take you to RPG jail. But, because you're no longer following the same rules the players must, picking this option risks the players thinking you've exceeded your authority or betrayed their trust. They may walk away if you do this too often.

Broadly, I've found it's usually better to try to stick to the game's rules if you want to do something wacky before you make up stuff. Usually the game has a way to do what you want, and, if you can't determine it, you can ask questions here.

…But, seriously, talk to that player

I know the question says Don't ask, and I respect that so I won't, but a level 5 PC that can consistently deal 300 points of damage with one attack really is something to worry about. The GM shouldn't be restructuring the game's skeleton to accommodate one PC, and that PC hurts your ability to run the game using the resources the game provides. You'll find yourself (as you may have already) forced to make up stuff to challenge that PC. Running the game is hard enough without having create the game, too. If a simple character audit reveals Captain Murder's dealing this not inconsiderable damage legitimately, then give the player the opportunity to make different choices for his PC or to trade out the PC's power toys so that the campaign will be easier for you to run. Remember that it's your game, too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If his goal is to make this creature resistance to those 300-damage-crits, you can apply any template that changes the creature's type to either Ooze, Elemental, Aeon, or Incorporeal Subtype. All of which are immune to critical hits. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Without more information (and the site was told not to ask), I didn't want to assume the damage is due to a critical hit. Even so, a level 5 PC that's consistently dealing even 75 points of damage per attack is difficult to challenge. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would advice him to take a look at the Advanced Bestiary aswell, it's a book full of templates and one of them surely will help him to achieve his goal. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Are there templates in the Advanced Bestiary that aren't detailed in the answer's link to templates? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 11:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, you are right, i forgot the book's templates are all listed on the SRD. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:53
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TL;DR: DR is not what you need, seriously.

Following DM manual, considering your PCs are lvl4 you need a CR 6 encounter to be a hard one. To achieve that you can make a goblin with 7 class levels or equivalent templates (one opponent CR 7)

Preferably you can make a multi-opponent encounter, for example:

  • The goblin boss, with 6 rogue levels (CR 5)
  • His bodyguard, a domesticated ogre (CR 3)
  • 6 useless goblin meatbags (each CR 1/3, so it makes a CR 3)

total: CR 7 (the calculation is a bit complicated, you can find it here for example.)

Always prefer the multi-opponent encounter when you have the choice. Single opponents have en tendency to make less interesting fights (or frankly unbalanced ones).

So let's say you ended up with a CR5 boss with his minions. At this level you can't reasonably make your boss able to tank these 300 damages. The problem here is that your player is able to do that much, and RD will only reduce it by maybe 15, at maximum. That would make "only" 285 damages, definitely not a solution. Worse, that would mean that the other guy, the player who "plays normally", won't even be able to land a hit.

However if you want the encounter to be a challenge, you should better choose abilities which counter this very ability. Maybe it comes from sneak attacks: make the boss a barbarian or a rogue, or give him concealment. Maybe it comes from a ton of fire damages: give him fire immunity (or maybe just resistance) by finding the right template. There a weak point for every build and RD is not one for someone able to make 300 damages in one hit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "6 useless goblin meatbags (each CR 1/3, so it makes a CR 3)" 6 times 1/3 is 2, so CR 2. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope. 3 goblins make a CR 1, and two CR 1 groups make one CR 1+2=3 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ If they are a single group of 6 goblins, they are a CR 2 encounter. Every calculator i tried seems to agree with this. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ CR 1/3: 135xp. 6*CR 1/3 -> 6*135xp=810xp -> CR3. I'm only following this \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: The problem seems more to be about "how do I make the encounter interesting ?" Than "how do I add RD to a monster ?". I think CR is quite a pertinent notion when it comes to estimate which abilities you can add to a boss. I hope my last edit clarified that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 8:38

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