Author Topic: How to handle the Warlock?  (Read 5079 times)

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DrHorrible

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How to handle the Warlock?
« on: October 06, 2011, 01:43:34 AM »
I am running a 13 ECL evil campaign and I'm having a couple of problems handling the Warlock (13 levels of Warlock).

Everytime he gets grappled he escapes with dimensional door, he sees invisible enemies and has no problem seeing in the darkess.

They recently fought a Wizard that tried Solid Fog + Cloudkill and that couldn't hold him more than the starting round, then I used Manyjaws but with dimensional door he escaped and, has he always does, he teleports on the enemy caster (in the space above him), falling on top of him and trying to grapple him or at least make him fall.

I don't want to kill him, but I'd like to challenge him a bit more.

I won't use the polymorph, alter self etc, etc because to me, they're broken.

What is your advice?

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weenog

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 01:55:36 AM »
Re-read the Concentration rules as well as the rules on grappling (hint: warlock invocations have somatic components).  Also, try to expand the options you're using.  It's level 13, invisible enemies and dark fighting conditions are not the trickiest things the PCs should ever be facing, nor should all your tough encounters hinge on them.  Grow up a little.
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 02:11:54 AM »
I am running a 13 ECL evil campaign and I'm having a couple of problems handling the Warlock (13 levels of Warlock).

Everytime he gets grappled he escapes with dimensional door, he sees invisible enemies and has no problem seeing in the darkess.

They recently fought a Wizard that tried Solid Fog + Cloudkill and that couldn't hold him more than the starting round, then I used Manyjaws but with dimensional door he escaped and, has he always does, he teleports on the enemy caster (in the space above him), falling on top of him and trying to grapple him or at least make him fall.

I don't want to kill him, but I'd like to challenge him a bit more.

I won't use the polymorph, alter self etc, etc because to me, they're broken.

What is your advice?
Use a Freeze Ray.

"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.

DrHorrible

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 02:31:45 AM »
Re-read the Concentration rules as well as the rules on grappling (hint: warlock invocations have somatic components).  Also, try to expand the options you're using.  It's level 13, invisible enemies and dark fighting conditions are not the trickiest things the PCs should ever be facing, nor should all your tough encounters hinge on them.  Grow up a little.

I read them but maybe I'm still missing something, so I apologize in advance.

In the Complete Arcane says that Warlock Invocations are spell-like-abilities and spell-like-abilities:

Quote
A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus or have an XP cost. The user activates it mentally. Armor never affects a spell-like ability’s use, even if the ability resembles an arcane spell with a somatic component.

I couldn't find where in the Complete Arcane that is stated differently.

EDIT: Found it. I'm an idiot. Also, he always used the normal Dimensional Door where the Warlock has a shortened version.


Also, on concentration the DC when you're pinned is 20, pretty easy for a 13th level Warlock.

What tactics would you use against a 13 ECL party?

I am running a 13 ECL evil campaign and I'm having a couple of problems handling the Warlock (13 levels of Warlock).

Everytime he gets grappled he escapes with dimensional door, he sees invisible enemies and has no problem seeing in the darkess.

They recently fought a Wizard that tried Solid Fog + Cloudkill and that couldn't hold him more than the starting round, then I used Manyjaws but with dimensional door he escaped and, has he always does, he teleports on the enemy caster (in the space above him), falling on top of him and trying to grapple him or at least make him fall.

I don't want to kill him, but I'd like to challenge him a bit more.

I won't use the polymorph, alter self etc, etc because to me, they're broken.

What is your advice?
Use a Freeze Ray.

Where do I find the Freeze Ray spell?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 02:35:19 AM by DrHorrible »
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 03:33:54 AM »
Ray of Stunning, SpC?

"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!"

The Legend RPG, which I worked on and encourage you to read.

weenog

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 04:04:24 AM »
Those Concentration DCs aren't flat, they're those figures plus the level of the spell (or in this case the spell level equivalent) you're trying to cast.  Might want to re-read the details on the warlock's invocations.

Regarding different kinds of challenges from what you're using...


There's an (allegedly) encounter level 15 one I rather like.  Get 4 harpy archers working together.  All stay airborne and no more than 2 are singing at any given time (no use getting the party immune to all the harpies' songs right away).  Depending on who latches onto which harpy and who manages to ignore the songs, they maneuver themselves to pull the party apart and minimize cooperation possibilities, while all harpies focus longbow fire on the most dangerous-seeming uncaptivated character until it's taken out of the fight.  You can adjust the CR up or down easily enough by using different numbers of class levels, and presumably optimize it at the same CR by using different feats and/or different class levels entirely.

If you want to play the hidden menace game, and darkness and invisibility aren't doing it for you anymore, try 2 dread wraiths and an illusionist 11 (not necessarily an illusionist, just anyone who can cast them effectively).  Encounter level is 14.  The undead spring attack out of and back into a wall, the ground, or both.  The spellcaster throws debuffs at the party and control the wraiths can ignore (wall of ice for example).  After stirring up some lingering chaos he starts coming at the party with decoy illusory dread wraiths to waste their readied actions and create a good healthy sense of paranoia.  If you're worried that the party might smear the illusionist quickly, taking out the wraiths' support, hide him, and I mean actually hide.  Seeing through invisibility won't break a genuine Hide skill check, and if you start with a Small race, give it the Darkstalker feat, and make it something like a rogue 1/illusionist 5/unseen seer 5, it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out where the illusions are coming from.
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 09:21:49 AM »
Those Concentration DCs aren't flat, they're those figures plus the level of the spell (or in this case the spell level equivalent) you're trying to cast.  Might want to re-read the details on the warlock's invocations.

Regarding different kinds of challenges from what you're using...


There's an (allegedly) encounter level 15 one I rather like.  Get 4 harpy archers working together.  All stay airborne and no more than 2 are singing at any given time (no use getting the party immune to all the harpies' songs right away).  Depending on who latches onto which harpy and who manages to ignore the songs, they maneuver themselves to pull the party apart and minimize cooperation possibilities, while all harpies focus longbow fire on the most dangerous-seeming uncaptivated character until it's taken out of the fight.  You can adjust the CR up or down easily enough by using different numbers of class levels, and presumably optimize it at the same CR by using different feats and/or different class levels entirely.

If you want to play the hidden menace game, and darkness and invisibility aren't doing it for you anymore, try 2 dread wraiths and an illusionist 11 (not necessarily an illusionist, just anyone who can cast them effectively).  Encounter level is 14.  The undead spring attack out of and back into a wall, the ground, or both.  The spellcaster throws debuffs at the party and control the wraiths can ignore (wall of ice for example).  After stirring up some lingering chaos he starts coming at the party with decoy illusory dread wraiths to waste their readied actions and create a good healthy sense of paranoia.  If you're worried that the party might smear the illusionist quickly, taking out the wraiths' support, hide him, and I mean actually hide.  Seeing through invisibility won't break a genuine Hide skill check, and if you start with a Small race, give it the Darkstalker feat, and make it something like a rogue 1/illusionist 5/unseen seer 5, it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out where the illusions are coming from.

Thanks, I'll put to use a couple of your pointers. Now they have to fight an Omnielemental, after that maybe I'll throw the Harpies their way.
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weenog

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 10:44:55 AM »
You don't have to copy 'em completely.  The harpies in particular are best used against a party with poor Will saves, mainly warrior and skill types.  I just put those forward as a couple of examples of encounters that are still combat encounters, but aren't straightforward damage trading combat, and are tricky without relying on invisibility and darkness which your party seems to have outgrown.  Just to get you thinking, you know.  Though the harpies encounter might make your players cry if instead of fighters, they were bard/sirens (siren is in Savage Species) with different flavors of dragonfire inspiration, or perhaps two bard/sirens and two Swift Hunter ranger/scouts.
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DrHorrible

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 12:45:51 PM »
You don't have to copy 'em completely.  The harpies in particular are best used against a party with poor Will saves, mainly warrior and skill types.  I just put those forward as a couple of examples of encounters that are still combat encounters, but aren't straightforward damage trading combat, and are tricky without relying on invisibility and darkness which your party seems to have outgrown.  Just to get you thinking, you know.  Though the harpies encounter might make your players cry if instead of fighters, they were bard/sirens (siren is in Savage Species) with different flavors of dragonfire inspiration, or perhaps two bard/sirens and two Swift Hunter ranger/scouts.

Yeah, I didn't mean to copy 'em that much, I'll just try using that kind of tactic mixing it up with other monsters with class levels and stuff like that.
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RobbyPants

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2011, 03:22:53 PM »
I forgot: is the Dimension Door a move action or standard action?

If it's standard, he's basically chewing up his whole round escaping. If so, include a fight with multiple lower level monsters, so even if he escapes from one, there are still several others out there he has to watch out for. They should either have good mobility or ranged attacks, so if he tries to run, they can still engage him. It doesn't have to be a slaughter-fest, but it throw a wrench in his usual plan.
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DrHorrible

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2011, 03:46:32 PM »
I forgot: is the Dimension Door a move action or standard action?

If it's standard, he's basically chewing up his whole round escaping. If so, include a fight with multiple lower level monsters, so even if he escapes from one, there are still several others out there he has to watch out for. They should either have good mobility or ranged attacks, so if he tries to run, they can still engage him. It doesn't have to be a slaughter-fest, but it throw a wrench in his usual plan.

Well, the problem he gave me with Dimensional Door was due to the fact that he was using the regular Dimensional Door from PHB, where the Warlock uses one that only grants him 25ft + 5ft level/2 of movement.

Using the other version at will he could cover the whole battlefield in one turn and land on the caster every time he tried to back out.
More on that: how would this tactic work?

If put up against a caster he used to use dimensional door to appear over him, trying to damage/trip him with the fall.
Every time he did this, I made both fall prone, taking 1d6 nonlethal damage, but I'm sure rules would dictate a different result.
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RobbyPants

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2011, 04:57:47 PM »
How far was he falling from? They'd both take 1d6 damage per 10 feet for normal falling damage.

Still, as you noted, the range is only close, so he can only go 55 feet. You'll have to apply the Pythagorean Theorem to figure out just how far he can go. For instance, if he wants to appear 20 feet in the air, he can only travel 50 feet horizontally.
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I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
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Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2011, 05:05:25 PM »
Anticipate Teleport will stop this. It delays him 1 round every time he tries to DD within a certain radius of the caster. If you really want to be nasty Use divert teleport to send his ass elsewhere. I personally like verticle so they take falling damage, at this level enough to make him stop but not enough to likely kill him.
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DrHorrible

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2011, 05:46:39 PM »
Anticipate Teleport will stop this. It delays him 1 round every time he tries to DD within a certain radius of the caster. If you really want to be nasty Use divert teleport to send his ass elsewhere. I personally like verticle so they take falling damage, at this level enough to make him stop but not enough to likely kill him.

One of my all-time favourite spells. I just forgot to have the BBEG cast it. Yeah, I'm an idiot.

 :lmao
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kitep

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2011, 06:01:32 PM »
Quote
If put up against a caster he used to use dimensional door to appear over him, trying to damage/trip him with the fall.

Have your caster wear a world war 1 German helmet - you know, the one with the spike on top  :lmao
Hide it under a wizard's pointy hat, and the warlock will never see it coming :)

Seriously though, doesn't this put the warlock right there with the caster where all of the caster's melee minions can whomp on the warlock?

DrHorrible

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2011, 08:47:36 PM »
Quote
If put up against a caster he used to use dimensional door to appear over him, trying to damage/trip him with the fall.

Have your caster wear a world war 1 German helmet - you know, the one with the spike on top  :lmao
Hide it under a wizard's pointy hat, and the warlock will never see it coming :)

Seriously though, doesn't this put the warlock right there with the caster where all of the caster's melee minions can whomp on the warlock?



The Caster had only one minion: a Feral Elasmosaurus of the Legend (CR 12). That's when I screwed up big time. I didn't realize that a full attack from this thing could tear apart any one of 'em ( Bite + 2 Claws, 4d6+21 and 4d6+15 respectively ) so I made him do only his bite attack, didn't use his Cleric spells and made the Wiz wait around.

From here on, things got worse.

The Dinosaur didn't last very long with the Rogue dishing out 130 damage on his first turn and the others chipping in for the remaining of his HP, so he went down before he got the chance do act his third turn.

Yeah, I know, I screwed up big time and it doesn't end here.

The Wizard was in his Ice Tower(a modified Ice Castle spell) protected by his Mage Private Sanctum on top of it, and Forbiddance. When they killed the minion I used a magical wind to throw them back and repeated this action a number of times, to make 'em understand that they couldn't handle the situation as it was at that moment but they kept going against him so I reduced the hp of the tower from 200 to 80 so that the Druid with two Crumble could take it down and I had them fight the Wizard on land, without his previous protections.

So it's mainly my fault in the end, I highly underestimated the Dinosaur and the advantage the Wizard would have had if he had stayed on top of his tower casting BC spells and buffing his minion.
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2011, 08:48:11 PM »
Dimensional anchor his ass. Spell resistance is something I know one of my player's didnt consider when he played a warlock  :devil Throw random antimagic fields, enemies who ready actions to shoot when he prepares to teleport, dragons  :rollseyes. Throw a warlock against him who uses the same tactics, illusions etc. Every strategy a PC wants to use has a counter, as long as your willing to use it (and while TPK is always an option, usually don't choose it  :P)
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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2011, 12:00:35 PM »
At your level, full casters can and should be throwing 7th, even 8th level spells around. A mere Warlock shouldn't really be an issue, since so many powerful, long-lasting self buffs for casters are available: Anticipate Teleportation has been mentioned. How about Heart of Water for instant Freedom of Movement, Overland Flight for not standing on the frickin' ground like an idiot, Antimagic Field with extraordinary spell aim for general immunity to fuck-you-over, True Seeing of course, Mind Blank naturally, Statue for DR 8/-, and a bunch of Contingencie'd escape spells? Think: if you were to play a 13th level Wizard, would you be leaving home without those?

Not to speak of the otherworldly nasties a high-level caster will normally have bound/allied with, if there was any downtime available at all...

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2011, 07:11:03 PM »
Personally I prefer Elemental Body (SC) for not standing on the ground. Or Phantom Steed if your party isn't smart enough to shoot the steed...

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Re: How to handle the Warlock?
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2011, 03:18:56 AM »
I'm just happy to see a warlock being effective (if a re-read of the concentration rules will make him less so).  Usually its the mages who make all the headaches.