|Derek Vande Brake|
For my players of the Blood of Champions campaign, please don't read this thread if you find it.
I could use some GM advice here, because I'm in a bit of a pickle, between choosing between two possible problems. Some of it is my fault, some simply the players being particularly clever.
I am doing my own adaptation of the Four Pharaohs of Ascension and the Veinstone Pyramid; the short version is that the Veinstone Pyramid has no entry, but rather there are portals in from the other four pyramids. However, these portals do not stay open. Just in case my players read this, I'll keep it vague - there is a mechanism that allows moving around the main pyramid, but fully activating it deactivates the portal entries. At least, that was the plan.
I had established beforehand that the four lesser pyramids had been well plundered, but due to the difficulty of opening the portals, the main pyramid had barely been touched, and so had vast wealth within.
What happened: My party of 6th level characters found a way into the main pyramid and found one of the treasure hordes, but then couldn't work out how to leave. Before this happened, Shadows attacked... killing a character.
The player made a new character (actually, reintroduced an old character that he had switched from earlier) and I was left with a conundrum. I didn't want to just make the player wait around until the party solved the current problem, so I let him make his way to the pyramids, go through the portal, and rejoin the group. But... based on how I had already established the portals, his entry allowed the party to leave.
So now I have a 6th level party with the treasure of a higher level group - starting wealth between 7th and 8th level, so not a huge imbalance. But! This also allowed them to buy other things... like two scrolls of Dimension Door. They returned to the main pyramid, and found two more treasure hordes. (In fact, there is one more - one for each of the Pharaohs.) Now, this much treasure isn't a problem if they gain a few levels working through the pyramid. But if they leave and spend it, I have several levels worth of really over powered characters.
This is where the Dimension Door comes in. The arcane spellcaster (actually a monk with a single level of wizard) uses a scroll to take him and another party member out of the pyramid. Two are left behind. The treasure is with these two, thankfully. And they portal they were using to enter the main pyramid has been deactivated. (They don't know this yet.)
But now I'm stuck...
I can either change my mind about the stuck portal (in which case they can rejoin the party fairly quickly, I don't have a split party, but now they can easily leave and will have a large budget to go shopping with and (given that they haven't made it public knowledge of how they got in and out) no worries about someone plundering behind them -OR- I stick with my plan, which means I have to deal with a split party; the two outside will have to have a separate adventure to find a way back in (or use their other scroll of DD which nips the problem in the bud anyhow), while the two inside will have to survive until their comrades return. Separate game sessions aren't really that feasible (we game at one player's house most of the time, so I can't run a game for the other two without him). In addition, I still have the problem that if the two outside find a way back in (whether with the portal they have previously used or a different one) the whole party gets out and cashes in the loot they have found, thus, overpowered again.
TLDR - I planned treasure thinking my players would gain several levels before being able to cash it in, but they found a way around that required a party split; looking for ideas that would maintain wealth balance without requiring long term party split.