An epic adventure in all things nerdy.

(Plus some zombies.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not Even Close

So attempt two at defeating my epic level 3.5 party didn't go over as well as expected. The first thing they faced was the Great Wyrm Gold Dragon like I planned, and it held them off pretty well for a while. I had him standing in a ring of protection spells, like protect from evil and such, and that kept the Fiend of Possession living in the Berserker's sword away for a good while. Holy Word seemed to work extremely well against them, if only because it has the chance of banishing the fiend for 24 hours (which it didn't), but after I buffed up the dragon and debuffed down the party, he didn't have much to hit them hard with and the Berserker killed him the next turn anyway.

Then the Mindflayer Sorcerer riding a Great Wyrm Black Dragon Dracolich (as per the poll results) flies in before they have time to heal and starts messing with them. I made the mistake of not keeping them far enough away because I wanted them to be close enough to cast Earthbind and Grease (25 ft range) on the Berserker, but unfortunately he frenzied and the fiend cast enlarge on him (making him around 50 ft tall) and cut the gap between them too fast.

My major problem throughout the fight was keeping the Master of the Unseen Hand (who is an incorporeal ghost) from picking the Mindflayer up off the Dracolich and flinging him into the air. He failed twice, then the Berserker killed the Dracolich, but the Mindflayer had his phylactery so he just instantaneously took over the Gold Dragon's body and kept going. As they were about to make a run for it, the ghost cast flesh to stone on the Mindflayer and he failed his save, so he turned into a statue and then was thrown from the dragon's back by the same telekinesis spell that was giving me problems earlier. He fell to the ground as the Dracolich was fleeing, but didn't die, and the Dracolich just left him there with his phylactery in a panic.

So they broke off the Mindflayer's stone limbs and threw him in a bag of holding to turn back to normal and interrogate later, and possibly use the phylactery to try and control the Dracolich, but I probably wont let him show up again for a while anyway. So my main problems with fighting this party has been mostly just being able to cause damage to them in the short amount of time before the Berserker destroys whatever it is I send. He has pretty much no AC, so it's not a problem of hitting him, but more like getting around all the abilities and items he has to avoid damage, like a ring of blinking, where half the time any attack just misses him completely. He's also immune to anything except magic weapons or spells, and has a ridiculously high fortitude save, as well as being unable to die from instantaneous death effects (which I think would be a cheap shot anyway).

I think I need to find a way to force the fiend and the ghost out of the Berserker's body and just deal with them head on, because without them, the Berserker is manageable. Only the fiend is evil aligned, the ghost is true neutral, so protection from evil works on only one of them, and as long as the ghost is ghost riding inside the Berserker's body I can't really target him directly. I also need to find a way to make a monster immune to telekinesis and flesh to stone, because that was super annoying. Anyway, thanks everyone for your help and for voting in the poll, I'll have a new one up really soon in preparation for next week's session.


  1. I have one word for you...


    So far what I've been seeing is that you've been sending one, maybe two monsters at a time at them. This allows them to concentrate their efforts on dealing with the threats, without having to cover their backs.

    The swarm rules in 3.5 were evil, you could make a swarm out of anything, and once you started tossing around 50-100 of a monster you could do some really crippling things to a party.

    Want to know one of the most evil things I ever sent after my party? A swarm of infernal Stergs. We weren't at epic level, but I put the party in a confined space (ie, a tunnel 5ft wide, so they could only travel single file) and had a swarm of 40 stirgs descend on them. The stirgs needed on average 19-20 to hit each player, but that meant on average I was getting 1-2 of the little buggers draining away con from each player.

    The players couldn't nuke them in the confined space without devastating themselves, the swarm rules prevented the casters from concentrating on spells, and they couldn't kill them fast enough from getting completely con-drained out. Total Party Kill on that one.

  2. Did you have himHaste himself?A lot of people forget how potent it is, although it has become nerfed in 3.5.

    You might also try swarms of monster that drain Levels; that would put the screws to them....

  3. @Laranos/#2501: The problem with sending a ton of little things at them is that the ghost has a lot of AoE spells that cause instant death and everyone in the party is immune to instant death. I think the party actually wants me to try and send a hoard of stuff at them at this point just to show me how easy it would be.

  4. Screw it. Use a god, then. Half a pantheon of monster gods should do it. Honestly, they sound too powerful to make it even close, much less competitive. Lure them into the Underdark first, and then take your pick of nasty deities from the races down there. Of course, it'd help if there were some kind of monster neutralizing their magic and/or items. Mordenkainen's disjunction is a nasty trap to put in an area; makes those artifacts and things go poof!

    A fiend AND a ghost are possessing a berserker? Shouldn't there be some kind of internal war going on?

  5. Well if they have so many items you really want to start pulling out the big guns. Disjunction - destroy all their items. That should drop their power level noticeably.

    Also - what way is your berserker using to stop himself from attacking party members after he kills the targets ? Normally people use a mercy weapon etc. Cause he makes a willsave to not attack party members before the rage ends. Stop him from making that will save (spells that allow a save but still screw when you pass are good at this, we call them save AND suck spells).

    Also - remember to give your baddies some templates and some Feats. Feats like extend spell could for example have let you cast grease from 50ft away.

    Also regarding to the Protection of X spells- there's protection from Good, evil as well as law and chaos. If the guy is neutral use Protection from Law/Chaos instead. Nothing says you have to only use protection from evil.

  6. Beholders.

    The anti-magic field from the central eye should be fun for all the family. Couple that with the eye rays and the fact that you can send about a dozen in at Epic levels as well as some of the giant mutant eyes, Beholders should do it.

  7. You ever play Baldurs gate?
    The original Pc version not the crappy console remake, rip off the end boss, think he was some sort of god, demi-god, figure.
    He was definatly hard.

  8. @2501: Nah, the ghost and fiend are buddies, they apparently have spent hundreds of years going around looking for the best body to possess together.

    @Grifthin: There are no other tangible party members, they're basically just voices in his head. Besides, when everything dead the fiend just pops in and possesses the Berserker and ends his frenzy.

    @Xaeromacer: I've been considering Beholders, I'm just trying to figure out how to work them into the plot at this point.

    @Psycho: I loved Baldur's gate, I remember getting stuck on some snowy mountain level on the console version when I was like 12 and getting really pissed off. Then I came back and played the PC version and wondered what the hell I was thinking trying to play it on the gamecube in the first place.

  9. @Zephri-That's why you have to use the right kind of swarm. ;)

    What kind of AOE Death are we talking? Actual death spells? That's why I suggested infernal swarms, or celestial, come to think about it. Most extra planar creatures are immune to death spells because they cannot die on this plane. In addition they get whole stacks of damage resistances/immunities related to the plane they come from. Now, it's been quite a long time since I've played 3.5, but if they can combine effects, why not you? How about Draconic/infernal hybrids, (using the templates they gave in 3.5) or other mix-and-match combos? I also agree that you can do a lot with null-magic fields and places that they cannot go. Ok, berzerker boy has a ghost and a fiend inhabiting him, I could have sworn there are some spells/circles that keep those guys out. Let's see how he does without them, hmm?

  10. Ah you see, I played The pc version first, then wondered why the hell I was playing the the GC version. Modern RPG's seem really dumbed down by comparison...


  12. I have found your encounter for you:

    The Last item on this page - a 30 headed Tarrasque with a CR106

  13. Do you have the Epic Handbook? If so just toss a Colossus at them. Try a Flesh Colossus since you like them zombies. I DM'd an uber epic group and one of them had them totally boned. 100ft raidus anti-magic plus magic immunity and construct traits is hilarious.

  14. Their own "evil" twins.
    I`m pretty much sure there was some mirror that created your own twin complete with all weapons, items, spells and everything else.
    Sorry for my bad english.