How do you handle your "Boss fights" in your game?

So I'm working on writing an "Episode II" of our campaign (with a long-standing group with which I've played lots of Star Wars already) and I'm thinking about how I'll set up one of the more important boss fights in the game when I read Angry DM's 4e Boss fight mechanics idea, which I'm thinking of putting into use in my campaign as well (edited for use in SAGA). (For those who want a link: angrydm.com/category/features/the-boss-f...)  However, I was curious how other players run their boss fights. So by this, I mean how do you make sure the party stays interested and it isn't just a spam of their best attacks/destiny points (which the three-act boss fight mentioned above would fix), while keeping it epic? 
Always use alternate goals in boss fights. (Well, it's a good idea t always do this anyway, but it's epecially important in boss fights) Make the alternate goal something pretty epic, like destroying a Jedi academy or somesuch. Secondly, use terrain effects. Make the locale really cool.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Don't be afraid to decoy and deceive.  I agree with CHIA that providing additional/alternative objectives is also important.  Furthermore I am not a big believer in the solo BBEG taking on a group of five or six PCs and really encourage having multiple opponents even if only one of them is really the BBEG; this also ties into providing the PCs with some discouragement as they can't be certain their alpha strikes will actually take out the right guy.
 

I don't use Destiny Points, so I avoid the whole auto-crit and auto-miss DP war, which seems pointless to me (ex: PC uses DP-auto-crit, then BBEG uses DP-auto-miss. PC becomes frustrated that he just wasted a DP and a standard action.)

In my mind, the boss fight should provoke the PC's into using their best attacks. Why wouldn't they? And why is that a bad thing? My Jedi Knight PC's will be encountering Asajj Ventress and a couple of her Nightsisters. If my PC's don't use their best attacks and strategies, I expect them to lose.

Also, why would the PC's get bored during the boss fight? Isn't that the most exciting fight of all?

I agree with Corran in that you can also use terrain to make the battle scene more interesting. Ex: cover, concealment, falling objects, hazards.

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It *should* be the most exciting fight of all, but in many cases it turns out that the BBEG is just a big bag of HP. Not very engaging.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
My bosses are always 2-3 levels higher than the PCs and he always has his elite minions with him.  If not then there is some sort of terrain interfering.  And I keep the boss mobile, always keep him moving and getting cover as much as possible.  They always start with 3-5 destiny points (I removed the ability for DPs to auto-crit) and if it is a force-user then they usually have the Deflect talent because they usually have a lightsaber.
Oh no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken, about a great many things. Winner of the Winner of You Build the Character #34: Padme Amidala
It *should* be the most exciting fight of all, but in many cases it turns out that the BBEG is just a big bag of HP. Not very engaging.

If your BBEG is just a big bag of hp, then you didn't create him properly. He should have at least one specialty: a CT-killer, a massive damage-dealer, a grappler, an unarmed specialist, an exotic weapon specialist (ex: flame cannon), a leader or controller who works great with minions, a rogue or lurker that works with cover and concealment, a skirmisher that moves around the battlefield, or a powerful force-user or lightsaber combatant, just to give some examples.

For example, my Asajj Ventress is a dual-wielding multi-attacking nightmare. Her Nightsister companions specialize in lightwhips which have a reach of 2 sq and trip their opponents, along with a bunch of force powers.


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It *should* be the most exciting fight of all, but in many cases it turns out that the BBEG is just a big bag of HP. Not very engaging.

If your BBEG is just a big bag of hp, then you didn't create him properly. He should have at least one specialty: a CT-killer, a massive damage-dealer, a grappler, an unarmed specialist, an exotic weapon specialist (ex: flame cannon), a leader or controller who works great with minions, a rogue or lurker that works with cover and concealment, a skirmisher that moves around the battlefield, or a powerful force-user or lightsaber combatant, just to give some examples.

For example, my Asajj Ventress is a dual-wielding multi-attacking nightmare. Her Nightsister companions specialize in lightwhips which have a reach of 2 sq and trip their opponents, along with a bunch of force powers.





Sure. Not every DM does this, though.

"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Although I feel it can be taken too far I believe that most NPCs should be "specialists" at something.  While I normally would not work at maximizing one thing to an extreme I would certainly try to avoid giving a NPC the players will fight things that aren't going to matter in a fight.  Of course I also believe in making generous use of the nonheroic class which really doesn't leave a lot of room for frivolous things.
 
It *should* be the most exciting fight of all, but in many cases it turns out that the BBEG is just a big bag of HP. Not very engaging.

If your BBEG is just a big bag of hp, then you didn't create him properly. He should have at least one specialty: a CT-killer, a massive damage-dealer, a grappler, an unarmed specialist, an exotic weapon specialist (ex: flame cannon), a leader or controller who works great with minions, a rogue or lurker that works with cover and concealment, a skirmisher that moves around the battlefield, or a powerful force-user or lightsaber combatant, just to give some examples.

For example, my Asajj Ventress is a dual-wielding multi-attacking nightmare. Her Nightsister companions specialize in lightwhips which have a reach of 2 sq and trip their opponents, along with a bunch of force powers.





Sure. Not every DM does this, though.



True, it does require knowledge of feats and talents and how they work together. Here are some of my basic favorites:

CT Killer:
Combat Trickery
Dastardly Strike
Stunning Strike
Devastating Attack
Hunter's Mark
Debilitating Shot
Malkite Techniques
Numbing Poison

Massive damage-dealer (ranged):
Riflemaster
Rapid Shot
Double/Triple Attack
Assured Attack
Autofire Sweep
Burst Fire
Point Blank Shot
Desperate Gambit or Instictive Attack
Power Blast
Weapon Focus
Triple Crit

Massive damage-dealer (melee):
Double/Triple Attack/Dual Weapon Mastery
Rapid Strike
Power Attack
Powerful Charge
Weapon Focus
Triple Crit
Cleave/Great Cleave/Follow Through
Withdrawal Strike/Combat Reflexes

Grappler:
Bone Crusher
Crush
Pin
Rancor Crush

Unarmed specialist:
Martial Arts 1,2,3
Rapid Strike
Improved Rapid Strike
Hammerblow
Echani Training (or any other unarmed fighting styles)
Teras Kasi Mastery
Teras Kasi Basics

Exotic weapon specialist:
Devastating Attack
Penetrating Attack
Weapon Specialization
Exotic Weapon Mastery

Leader:
Bolster Ally
Inspire Confidence
Born Leader
Impel Ally 1,2

Controller:
Presence or Silver Tongue
Intimidator
Demand Surrender
Fluster

Lurker:
Improved Stealth
Hidden Movement
Total Concealment

Force-user:
Force Training
Move Object
Force Slam
Force Grip
Force Lightning

Lightsaber combatant:
Block
Deflect
Redirect Shot
Elusive Target
Surge
Battle Strike
Force Training + any lightsaber form powers

Even a big bag of hp can be a good BBEG. Players will wonder if the guy will ever go down.

Big Bag of HP:
Armored Defense
Improved Armored Defense
Toughness
Extra Second Wind
Indomitable
Unstoppable Combatant
Improved Damage Threshold
Improved Defenses
Shake It Off
Tough as Nails
Tested in Battle
Evasion



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Using the Master of the Dark Side ability that Inquisitor Draco has in the ninth episode of the DoD campaign is also very good for bosses.
192523575 wrote:
-In loving memory of all the Squirrel Jedi hunted down during the Dark Times.
"any eye for an eye leaves the world blind" "No it doesn't, there'd be one guy left with one eye" my custom miniatures http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75862/29829771/ChainmailJedis_customs

Even a big bag of hp can be a good BBEG. Players will wonder if the guy will ever go down.



I think you misunderstand what I mean by "a big bag of HP". I mean a BBEG who dosen't really do much besides sit there, take hits, and attack.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)

Even a big bag of hp can be a good BBEG. Players will wonder if the guy will ever go down.



I think you misunderstand what I mean by "a big bag of HP". I mean a BBEG who dosen't really do much besides sit there, take hits, and attack.

Actually, that can work too if the "objective" of the BBEG is just to delay the PCs before something else happens.

Scene: Control room of super weapon.
Situation:  Weapon is preparing to fire.
BBEG Objective:  Delay PCs long enough to fire weapon.
Dying words:  "You may have stopped me but I have still won!" 

Even a big bag of hp can be a good BBEG. Players will wonder if the guy will ever go down.



I think you misunderstand what I mean by "a big bag of HP". I mean a BBEG who dosen't really do much besides sit there, take hits, and attack.

Actually, that can work too if the "objective" of the BBEG is just to delay the PCs before something else happens.

Scene: Control room of super weapon.
Situation:  Weapon is preparing to fire.
BBEG Objective:  Delay PCs long enough to fire weapon.
Dying words:  "You may have stopped me but I have still won!" 



but then, he is doing something other than just taking hits.

192523575 wrote:
-In loving memory of all the Squirrel Jedi hunted down during the Dark Times.
"any eye for an eye leaves the world blind" "No it doesn't, there'd be one guy left with one eye" my custom miniatures http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75862/29829771/ChainmailJedis_customs

Even a big bag of hp can be a good BBEG. Players will wonder if the guy will ever go down.



I think you misunderstand what I mean by "a big bag of HP". I mean a BBEG who dosen't really do much besides sit there, take hits, and attack.

Actually, that can work too if the "objective" of the BBEG is just to delay the PCs before something else happens.

Scene: Control room of super weapon.
Situation:  Weapon is preparing to fire.
BBEG Objective:  Delay PCs long enough to fire weapon.
Dying words:  "You may have stopped me but I have still won!" 



but then, he is doing something other than just taking hits.





Exactly...the use of the term "big bag of HP" implies no alternate goals, cool terrain effects, etc.

"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I had a quick question, and instead of a new thread I decided to use this one since it's mostly the same topic. 

Assume for a moment you have a player, or even two in the party, who are CT-killers, or at least put some investment in CT-killing.  Other than force powers such as negate energy to not take damage and thus not trigger CT movement, or extensive use of something like Indomitable, which is a very hefty investment of talents to use more than twice.  How would you combat a CT-killer?  One use of Indomitable might not be bad, or even two since it's only a swift action.  But basically this means the boss lasts only a few rounds with the CT-killer(s) dropping it say 3-4 each round, as soon as you're out of Indomitables, you're down.

Shake it off isn't bad since you can still attack and regain one step, but unless you're only facing 1-2 steps per round, it still feels like the boss would be going down way to fast.

This is mostly out of curiosity, I actually have zero CT-killers at the moment in my game.
Figure out how to negate the CT-Killer's advantage even if it means avoidance.  Although you may not like it a level in Jedi for Force Sensitivity and the Equilibrium talent can keep a character at the top of the CT as long as they have FP to spend.

The CT-Killer builds are danagerous things and there is a reason why you generally didn't see -5 step shots as being possible without even more restrictions. 
Figure out how to negate the CT-Killer's advantage even if it means avoidance.  Although you may not like it a level in Jedi for Force Sensitivity and the Equilibrium talent can keep a character at the top of the CT as long as they have FP to spend.

The CT-Killer builds are danagerous things and there is a reason why you generally didn't see -5 step shots as being possible without even more restrictions. 


I actually do like that suggestion, I was just saying the no force powers thing kind of because it's a bit too easy to litter campaigns with force using enemies.  It does require a 1 level Jedi dip, but that's really not that bad and is great for spending force points a boss may have lying around when you compare it to some other options, plus without training in the force, it's not a force user, just a sensitive person.
The "Jedi" class isn't just for Force Users and just because a person is Force Sensitive doesn't mean they need to go all in on that one aspect.
 
I had a quick question, and instead of a new thread I decided to use this one since it's mostly the same topic. 

Assume for a moment you have a player, or even two in the party, who are CT-killers, or at least put some investment in CT-killing.  Other than force powers such as negate energy to not take damage and thus not trigger CT movement, or extensive use of something like Indomitable, which is a very hefty investment of talents to use more than twice.  How would you combat a CT-killer?  One use of Indomitable might not be bad, or even two since it's only a swift action.  But basically this means the boss lasts only a few rounds with the CT-killer(s) dropping it say 3-4 each round, as soon as you're out of Indomitables, you're down.

Shake it off isn't bad since you can still attack and regain one step, but unless you're only facing 1-2 steps per round, it still feels like the boss would be going down way to fast.

This is mostly out of curiosity, I actually have zero CT-killers at the moment in my game.

StevenO mentioned avoidance, so I would make a boss with an extremely high Reflex defense, with the help of high DEX and/or Improved Armored Defense and other defensive feats and talents (ex: Improved Defenses, Brilliant Defense, Melee Defense). Maybe throw in some heavy personal shields from KOTOR to get some SR vs. energy damage.

Another option is to make a damage-dealing monster and take out the CT killer fast.

OR... make a CT killer and take out the CT killer!

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Assume for a moment you have a player, or even two in the party, who are CT-killers, or at least put some investment in CT-killing.  Other than force powers such as negate energy to not take damage and thus not trigger CT movement, or extensive use of something like Indomitable, which is a very hefty investment of talents to use more than twice.  How would you combat a CT-killer?  One use of Indomitable might not be bad, or even two since it's only a swift action.  But basically this means the boss lasts only a few rounds with the CT-killer(s) dropping it say 3-4 each round, as soon as you're out of Indomitables, you're down.

Shake it off isn't bad since you can still attack and regain one step, but unless you're only facing 1-2 steps per round, it still feels like the boss would be going down way to fast.

This is mostly out of curiosity, I actually have zero CT-killers at the moment in my game.

There is a talent from the core rules that will help you, at least against ONE CT-killer. If you build your BBEG with 5 levels of Bounty Hunter, you can pich up the talent Relentless: This talent applies only to an opponent you've designated as your hunter's target (see Hunter's Target, above) . Any attack or effect originating from the target that would normally move you along the condition track (see page 149) does not, in fact, move you along the condition track. Prerequisites: Hunter's Mark, Hunter's Target.

If you know in advance thet you have to defend against TWO CT-killers; things get a bit more complicated. With the help of the feat Recurring Success (from GoI, Page 21), applied to the talent: Hunter's Target, you will be immune to CT-movement from 2 different targets. You will also do 5 points extra damage to both those targets, when you attack.

Last but not least, you will also be a bit of a CT-killer with the help of the talent: Hunter's Mark.

20801.jpg

Assume for a moment you have a player, or even two in the party, who are CT-killers, or at least put some investment in CT-killing.  Other than force powers such as negate energy to not take damage and thus not trigger CT movement, or extensive use of something like Indomitable, which is a very hefty investment of talents to use more than twice.  How would you combat a CT-killer?  One use of Indomitable might not be bad, or even two since it's only a swift action.  But basically this means the boss lasts only a few rounds with the CT-killer(s) dropping it say 3-4 each round, as soon as you're out of Indomitables, you're down.

Shake it off isn't bad since you can still attack and regain one step, but unless you're only facing 1-2 steps per round, it still feels like the boss would be going down way to fast.

This is mostly out of curiosity, I actually have zero CT-killers at the moment in my game.

There is a talent from the core rules that will help you, at least against ONE CT-killer. If you build your BBEG with 5 levels of Bounty Hunter, you can pich up the talent Relentless: This talent applies only to an opponent you've designated as your hunter's target (see Hunter's Target, above) . Any attack or effect originating from the target that would normally move you along the condition track (see page 149) does not, in fact, move you along the condition track. Prerequisites: Hunter's Mark, Hunter's Target.

If you know in advance thet you have to defend against TWO CT-killers; things get a bit more complicated. With the help of the feat Recurring Success (from GoI, Page 21), applied to the talent: Hunter's Target, you will be immune to CT-movement from 2 different targets. You will also do 5 points extra damage to both those targets, when you attack.

Last but not least, you will also be a bit of a CT-killer with the help of the talent: Hunter's Mark.


Nice! There's more than one way to skin a ct killer.

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