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Session of July 29th 2014:
So, yeah. Should have gone with more crazy.
Five players in attendance. To start out the session, I cranked the internal clock a few minutes back and had Xanthir confront the party as a projected illusion (who gives a crap about "how does that work?"). My players really were not in the mood for some witty banter so we proceeded quickly to the actual encounter.
So, I wanted to use Thanurels version of Xanthir for this fight, but I noticed that the entire tactic of hiding behind a Mythic Wall of Force could not work in reality, since no spells could pass in and out of the WoF. So no summons from Xanthir and no spells. Hm. Scorpion was so kind to send me a version of Xanthir which he thought could do some decent damage and so I went with that. Problem is, that version did not have Mythic Globe of Invulnerability. And that is what broke Xanthirs neck.
The party was confronted by Xanthir Vang, four adepts, two Greater Apocalypse Locusts, one Glabrezu, one Shadow Demon and two Vang's Retrievers.
Combat started out with Xanthir dropping a Mythic Cloud Kill on the party and casting Greater Invisibility. The party began to act and the Glabrezu just imploded. The two Locusts blasted the Paladin and Sorcerer, whom both made their saves AND/OR were warded against fire and thus were not affected/made their save against the Accursed Brand ability. Then the cleric and the sorcerer got their turns and both Greater Dispel Magic'ed (both with a Surge) Xanthir, who was completely stripped of all buffs by that.
Meanwhile the Shadow Demon got into the fray, did absolutely piddly nothing with his pounce, the Retrievers got into it, one managed to miss with his eye beam the other hit the barbarian for about 60 points of acid, the adepts began to shoot empowered magic missiles, first at the cleric, then, when they noticed that he had spell resistance up, the barbarian. The ranger and samurai both got into position. Next round, Xanthir dropped Mythic Black Tentacles on the ranger, samurai, paladin and barbarian, re-cast Mirror Image and use his dimensional steps to hide behind a Retriever.
The barbarian wasn't even touched by the tentacles, tumbled between the two Retrievers, failed at that and they both fricking missed him (rolled a 3 on both attack rolls), thanks to the Haste and Blessing of Fervor on him. He used Great Cleave on Xanthir and thus got rid of all the new Mirror Images again.
The ranger and samurai both delayed on the sorcerer, who dispelled (again with a Surge) the Black Tentacles. The ranger then did a full attack on Xanthir, used Instant Enemy on him before that and that was that with poor Xanthir Vang.
I'll spare you guys the details on the mop-up after that, suffice to say that the barbarian ate tons of damage but was healed up enough by the cleric to survive.
So, yeah. That wasn't nearly as dangerous for the party as I thought it would be. I am getting quite frustrated at this point. Again. Not because I want to kill the party, but because so much of the AP is a waste of time. Basically, every combat.
So, I am thinking about a few possibilities.
1.) I clench my teeth together and work through the entire AP until its end. That would at least stand as a testament for new GM's on how this AP failed at providing any kind of challenge to players after a certain point (i.e. as soon as module three begins). I am quite loath to do this, because of obvious reasons by now.
2.) Go to the other extreme, skip every combat and just make the rest of the AP a narrative experience. Some other GM already did that (Seannoss, Aldarionn or someone else whose name I am forgetting right now). This has the advantage of skipping the tedious and useless combat part (because at this point I really could just handwave it), but I think it won't be too popular with my players, because they kind of dig their status as superpowered people. It also has the disadvantage of my next AP, which will be homebrewn, not being ready at this time.
3.) Somewhere in the middle. I find trash mobs (i.e. "non-boss monsters") to be incredible unnecessary at this point. They really eat just time and do nothing of note to the party. So, to not rob the players of the experience of playing high-level characters (one of the big selling points was "you get to play as level 20's late in the campaign!"), I might just skip the trash and only do boss fights. It will save time, but still gives me enough of it to prepare the next campaign.
I'll have to pass it by my group. The next two weeks they won't be there completely, though, since two of them are on vacation.
Anyway, Wrath combat is tedious at this point. It's a foregone conclusion who wins. Did really nobody at Paizo do the math on what happens if people take the very obvious feats / path abilities?