Friday, August 20, 2010

Campaign Conclusion


If you haven't read it, it will be helpful to read the cast of characters for this final battle.

The Final Battle seemed to go well. Everything seemed to happen pretty fast. The PCs buffed while Screw got the crowd riled up with a little political speech and announcing the execution of the rogue PC's mother. That roleplaying hook didn't seem to have much impact, the rogue simply said, "Don't same her, kill the Lord of the Blades." Screw's speech ended with by announcing the arrival of the Lord of the Blades to conduct the execution. The Lord of the Blades emerged onto the dais and killed the rogue's mother while the PCs took another round to buff themselves. The PCs entered the scene by using Dimension Door to jump directly to the top of the dais. They had been told that the Lord of the Blades and screw were up there. They dimension doored right on top of the bad guys. What I thought was going to be a wide open fight with a lot of flying and long distance movement, ended up being a toe-to toe slug fest.

The weather effects ended up being enjoyable and effective at frustrating the PCs a little. The background of the riot that broke out of the attendant warforged populace seemed to the PCs to be an interesting element but never really came to the forefront until the end of the battle.

Sequence of Events
One of the many buff spells that the mage and cleric cast on the PCs was Invisibilty Sphere. The PCs, used Dimension Door to bamf to the top of the dais sight unseen. Because they didn't know where they were going this led them to dimension door right on top of the Lord of the Blades, Screw, two level 8 Barbarian Warforged, and the 2 supercharged iron defenders that heel the Lord of the Blades. The mage was dimension doored on top of one of the iron defenders. I tried to use this an an excuse to put him out of harms way and also out of sight instead of within arms reach of the Lord of the Blades. I did this inelegantly by trying to make up an on the spot interpretation of the spell but he ended up using my words against me to confirm that he would like to be within 10 feet of the Lord of the Blades. I said, "Ok, I'm not going to argue over it". The bad guys used a Dispelling Screen (from the Spell Compendium) to protect them from the crowd of warforged they were addressing. So when the party dimension doored right on top of the bad guys, they split the party. Cleric, rogue, and mage (all invisible) were standing within reach of the Lord of the Blades on on the same side of the Dispelling Screen as the bad guys. That left the warforged fighter (not invisible) and the human ranger (invisible) on the opposite side of the dispelling screen.

The warforged fighter did a good job of calling out the Lord of the Blades and challenging him to fight for the control of the Lord of the Blades. Then the fighter did a funny thing. . . he backed up and moved further down the dais. . . away from the Lord of the Blades. He did this because the Dimension Door placed him right next to the Lord of the Blades but with the dispelling screen between them. I think he was trying to lure the Lord of the Blades through the dispelling screen. Well, that wasn't going to happen.

The Lord of the Blades in this world (Ranger 6-Blackguard 4-Spell warped) has a pretty good spot check. Despite the fact that so many in the party had Invisibility Sphere cast on them before using Ddoor, the Lord of the Blades, made the DC20 spot check to tell that there was something there in two of the squares next to him. Unfortunately, for the PCs, this was the rogue and the cleric. Since the Lord of the Blades had poison on each weapon, he divided the attacks between them. The 50% miss chance helped from invisibility helped them avoid the slaughter it could have been but both took one attack and required the fort saves v. poison. The rogue failed hers and took 4 points of strength damage. The cleric made his save.

The mage cast Resilient Sphere on Screw thinking that the spell's description, "Nothing can pass through the sphere, inside or out" meant that Screw could not use dimension door t get out of the sphere. This was a tough call for me. On the one hand, I know that he intended to isolate the artificer and reading the spell description it seems clear, "The sphere contains its subject for the spell’s duration." I took this decision slowly. I read the spell's descriptor (Evocation [Force]), the spell's level (4), and decided this is a level 4 version of the Wall of Force, and that it is not a dimensional anchor in addition to being a miniature wall of force. I let Screw out by using dimension door. The protest was minor signaling to me that this was at least a reasonable interpretation of the spell.

The Lord of the Blades did end up killing the mage who's invisibility had dropped upon casting the resilient sphere. The ranger, with a host of buff spells on himself and his bow, did 58 points of damage against the Lord of the Blades in a single attack! His arrows did not have their spells dispelled by the dispelling screen, and the criticals were not averted by the Lord of the Blades' 25% chance to negate a critical hit from being warforged. This caused ranger's invisibility to drop. The cleric stayed invisible through most of the battle. The rogue, with depleted strength use aid another and flanking to give the fighter +2 bonuses once the fighter had used a magic item for a quick dimension leap to the inside of the dispelling screen. From there it was pure slug fest. The fighter and the Lord of the Blades whacked away at one another. In the end, I think the only reason that the Lord of the Blades didn't kill the fighter was because of the 58 points of damage the ranger had done already. Plus, I think I forgot to use the Rending Gauntlets (Magic Item Compendium) when the Lord of the Blades hit with both weapons in one round. Considering that this was the only thing I think I missed in a very complex magic item filled combat, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Anyway, the PCs killed the Lord of the Blades first. Once he was dead, Screw dimension doored again to the inside of the creation forge to try to take the schemas away then to live to fight another day.

The PCs went immediately into the forge. There they had to descend 80 feet to the bottom to get to the control panel from which Screw was trying to liberate the creation schemas. On their way down a well placed Vortex of Teeth (Spell Compendium) hit the fighter and the ranger. Then one of the funniest things I have ever seen in an RPG happened. The fighter jumped down 60 feet onto Screw. Screw avoided this aerial bombing with a reflex save and took 1/2 damage, the fighter took the full 6d6 damage and cracked the creation schema for the forge releasing a tremendous amount of arcane energy (5d4+5 to him, 4d4+4 to all within 5ft, 3d4+3 to all with 10 feet, etc.). This meant that Screw was pretty singed by the force bolts. The rest of the party retreated to the top of the forge to get above the vortex of teeth. Screw and the fighter battled more to get away from the sparks of force erupting from the control panel than with each other. However, once they were both far enough away, screw hit the fighter with an empowered lesser orb of acid dropping the fighter to exactly -9 hit points. I did not count that or plan for it, that was all luck. Reveling in his survival and thinking now only of escape, Screw prepared to use his wand of dimension door again. The ranger from 80 feet up fired a final volley of arrows. One of those arrows penetrated Screw's metallic skull and burst through his ball bearing cervical spine.

The rogue took the secondary damage from the poison just as the combat ended. She was reduced to 2 strength. The fighter was repaired and then the PCs emerged from the underground forge to find the warforged populace rioting had with those favorable to the PCs winning. The fighter was repaired but didn't really care for his new title, "Lord of the Blades". We finished up the campaign with a little negotiation with the siege army they didn't like that much either. The warforged fighter didn't like that he was supposed to surrender the the general or the fact that not surrendering re-moralized many of the warforged he had fought to rescue. Apparently, I just don't get what makes that player tick. The mage was resurrected the next day as the PCs were now 9th level.

In the end, everything seemed to go well. The PCs, definitely felt the situation was deadly and seemed to cheer each other for their successes. Every player had a pivotal role to play. Even the poisoned rogue used aid another to make the difference for the fighter's final round against the Lord of the Blades. What I can't figure out is why I kept feeling feeling that it was a little lack luster and every was just glad to be done with it. Poop!

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the lackluster feeling: this is inevitable when planning a large combat with multiple contingencies and moving parts. It rarely is as cool in RL as it was in your head. Although, with practice, you can figure out ways to up the coolness factor of the higher probability events