Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be talking about the organization building rules.
Hell’s Rebels is set to force the PCs into the confrontation of a lifetime with one of the most powerful, well-organized Evil orgnaizations on Golarion: the Church of Asmodeus. What’s worse, they’re going to be fighting these devilish monsters in their home turn in the nation of Chelliax. Things look pretty grim for the PCs, which is why it will be SO important to know how to kill evil stuff. So that’s what we’re talking about today: how to kill evil!
What is Evil?
So there are a LOT of monsters in Pathfinder and most of them are evil. So what exactly are we talking about when we talk about “evil?” Well, since we don’t know WHAT you’re going to be fighting in Hell’s Rebels, my plan is to go over a little bit of everything; this is the general, “tips to put the smack down on Evil enemies,” article.
So, let’s start by talking about Evil’s Defenses. What are the common traits Evil monsters use to defend themselves? Let’s see.
- Damage Reduction: LOTS of outsiders have damage reduction, and evil outsiders are no exception. Evil creatures typically have DR that’s only overcome by good attacks, but many specific types of creatures are only harmed by a specific type of material. For example, demons are harmed by cold iron while devils are harmed by silver. Weaker evil creatures may only have one of these special materials or DR/magic (damage reduction that’s overcome by magic weapons), but the most powerful evil creatures require two specific things, like silver AND magic or cold iron AND Good, with alignment becoming increasingly more common as you become higher-leveled.
- Fast Healing: A small but respectable number of evil creatures quickly repair their wounds after they’re harmed. Few evil creatures have regeneration, thankfully; regeneration is one of the rarest monster abilities in the game.
- Incorporeal: Nearly every incorporeal creature (a creature without a solid, physical body) is evil. Incorporeal creatures are VERY difficult to harm, but they typically have low hit points. Physical attacks do nothing to them, while magic attacks (including spells) typically hit for half damage. Only a magic, ghost touch weapon strikes for full damage, and considering that ghost touch is a +2 enhancement ability, its not likely that you’ll see a ghost touch weapon for a long time.
- Resistances: Almost every evil outsider has some form of energy resistance or immunity. Fire is EXTREMELY common; most evil creatures are from the Pit, so of course fire is meaningless to them. Likewise, acid damage is seldom effective against evil outsiders because of their constant exposure to sulfur and similar acidic elements found on their home plane. From there, evil outsiders are split between having cold resistance, electricity resistance, and no special, third resistance.
- Spell Resistance: Many evil creatures are difficult to affect with magic. Spellcasters who aren’t able to overcome this natural defense are doomed to watch their spells slide uselessly off their opponents to no effect.
So those are Evil’s defenses, let’s check out evil’s offenses now.
Evil is much more diverse in its destruction then its defense. Let’s look at some common ways evil creatures like to utterly destroy their opinions.
- Large: Evil tends to favor might, and as a result most evil creatures are pretty big. Expect powerful attacks, devastating combat maneuvers, and overall difficulty in affecting them with combat maneuvers in return.
- Poison: Many, many, MANY evil creatures are poisonous. Poison commonly comes from wicked bite attacks, but some creatures are skilled enough to poison their own weapons.
- Spell-Like Abilities: Magical powers are common to evil creatures, with teleportation being almost guaranteed when you’re fighting a spellcaster. Many evil creatures (especially demons) are able to summon other members of their kind as well.
So, what are the best ways to counter an evil enemy? Well, I’m glad you asked!
- Barbed Vest: Evil creatures LOVE to grapple you, so give’em some love back with a barbed vest! This type of clothing is covered in hooks that stick anything that gets too close to you. The Reflex save isn’t hard and the vest only deals 1 point of damage (which is laughable against more powerful evil creatures), but at low levels it can be just the extra little kicker that you need to turn a fight against an evil foe to your favor.
- Liquid Ice / Cold Damage: Although evil creatures that are impervious to cold damage exist, they’re not common. Most can at least be affected slightly by the cold, and some have vulnerability. Carry some liquid ice around with you for tough opponents. Better still, if your opponent is an evil outsider or an undead creature, use holy water instead! No outsider or undead can resist the power of holy water.
- Magic Weapons: Invest in a magic weapon as soon as possible, even if you find one that isn’t your primary weapon. You’re likely going to need it when damage reduction and/or incorporeal creatures rear their ugly heads.
- Oils of Bless Weapon: Remember that holy is a +2 weapon ability, so early on in the game it is going to be VERY difficult to counter DR/good. An oil of bless weapon is a cheap, 1st-level paladin spell that will make your lives SO much easier in regards to hurting those rare evil creatures that you find.
- Protection from Evil: I wouldn’t be giving out very good advice if I didn’t mention this spell! Protection from evil is AWESOME for a long time; deflection bonus against attacks, resistance bonus on saves, protected from possession, and practically immune to the advances of non-eidolon summoned monsters. Your party will outgrow this spell eventually, but its served Kyra well on my misadventures with her well into 7th and 8th level.
- Wands of Cure Light Wounds / Magic Missile: When all else fails, you’ll need a backup. Cure light wounds can hurt the undead (and using a wand doesn’t even provoke attacks of opportunity!) while magic missiles can strike incorporeal creatures for full damage. Are these the most powerful, optimized actions that you can take against such foes? No, but its nice to have a safeguard against being caught with your pants down.
Well, those are my tactics for players looking to fight evil. What do you think? What sort of tricks and tactics are in your toolbox when you’re fighting evil? Leave your comments below and make sure to tune back in on Friday for another Iconic Design! Take care.
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.