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How Dragotha went for me and my group


Age of Worms Adventure Path

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your players aren't MMORPG players too are they? ive knownn the powergamer gene to run heavily in that sepcies too. the mirror of opposition seems to be a fantastic idea as it gives the pc some of their own medicine. i also agree with an earlier post that if you decide that kyuss is gonna last at least 3 rnds have him do so. simple as that. i find that my group always find encounters where they survive by the skin of their teeth much more fun than ones they pummel in a round or too. above all though, as long as it's fun play whatever way you want and good luck :)


give him this feat...maybe two times?

Multispell [Epic]
Prerequisites
Quicken Spell, ability to cast 9th-level arcane or divine spells.
Benefit
You may cast one additional quickened spell in a round.
Special
You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

so he can make 3-4 spells in one round...Never underestimate that...and you could even give him Imporved Metamagic or the feat in the PHB II that reduces the cost of metamagics on a specific spell (like Harm).

Kyuss takes 500 hp of damage one round...so what...quicken harm, quicken harm, quicken harm, almost full!

And give him fire resist 20 or 30 at least...5 is way too low for a God anyway.


Since Kyuss is in epic range, I would consider giving him one or two epic feats. Even though it's not technically core, the adventure path even provides the mechanics necessary to approach epic play.

Anyway, my vote would be to add the following feat - Spell Stowaway. From the SRD:

Spell Stowaway: Choose a spell-like ability the character knows, or a spell the character cam cast. The character is attuned to the magic he or she chooses. If another spellcaster within 300 feet of the character uses this magic, the character also immediately gains the magic’s effect as if it had been used on the character by the same caster.

My vote would then be to choose the spell Time Stop. Essentially, if anyone within 300 feet casts Time Stop, it affects Kyuss as well. Imagine being a solitary caster, outside the normal progression of time. Everything around you is completely still and frozen except, wait, what's that? Oops, the evil demigod of worms and decay seems to be right there with you, apparently not frozen in time like all of your friends happen to be. It looks like he's beckoning you with a bony finger. For the next 1d4+1 rounds it's just you and him, baby, mano-y-demigod. Good luck!

To the rest of the party, there's just a brief ripple in space-time as the wizard finishes his spell. In an instant, where once stood Foobar the Fantastic, archmage of reknown, is now a steaming, moldering skeleton that is crawling with worms. And why does Kyuss seem to be smiling?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Schmoe wrote:

Since Kyuss is in epic range, I would consider giving him one or two epic feats. Even though it's not technically core, the adventure path even provides the mechanics necessary to approach epic play.

Anyway, my vote would be to add the following feat - Spell Stowaway. From the SRD:

Spell Stowaway: Choose a spell-like ability the character knows, or a spell the character cam cast. The character is attuned to the magic he or she chooses. If another spellcaster within 300 feet of the character uses this magic, the character also immediately gains the magic’s effect as if it had been used on the character by the same caster.

My vote would then be to choose the spell Time Stop. Essentially, if anyone within 300 feet casts Time Stop, it affects Kyuss as well. Imagine being a solitary caster, outside the normal progression of time. Everything around you is completely still and frozen except, wait, what's that? Oops, the evil demigod of worms and decay seems to be right there with you, apparently not frozen in time like all of your friends happen to be. It looks like he's beckoning you with a bony finger. For the next 1d4+1 rounds it's just you and him, baby, mano-y-demigod. Good luck!

To the rest of the party, there's just a brief ripple in space-time as the wizard finishes his spell. In an instant, where once stood Foobar the Fantastic, archmage of reknown, is now a steaming, moldering skeleton that is crawling with worms. And why does Kyuss seem to be smiling?

That is soooooo evil....I like it, I am doing it.....hehehe...I just know my group is going to use time stop. Imagine Kyuss winning initative and getting off his own time stop and then benefiting from one from the party....OUCH!!!


For me, there is no reason to increase Kyuss in power, just prepare tactics to kill your players, i mean work hard to really kill them, stop to be nice with them. This fight is the end of the campaign, and should be hard.
If some of them die and the last ones finished to kill Kyuss after an epic fight, they'll remember it for a long time.

I'll take your fight with dragotha and his allies for example.

Mahuudril and the avolakia clerics are hidden when players enter the room. The first thing they see is the majesty of a dracolich and a flying wyvern with a rider.

Surprise round :

All players who miss their spot check are surprised by Mahuudril and the avolakia clerics.
Mahuudril and one of the avolakia clerics use enervation on the wizard (who's the most easily surprised, spot is not a wizard class skill and wis is not his highest stat). When surprised, the wizard see his touch AC drops to near nothing and he takes 2d4 negative levels (average 5, so he's losing access to 9th level spells).
The other avolakia cleric cast wall of stone around the cleric blocking his sight and line of effect of spells.

first round :

Dragotha uses his normal breath (everyone makes a Reflex save against 44 and with core books only, it will be REALLY hard) as a free action and charge the wizard (using arcane strike and burning a 8th level spell to get +45 to hit with his bite and 6d6+8d4+1d6+52 to damage + paralysis). This charge activates his frightful aura (Will DC 44, so the barbarian should be running away).
One avoliaka cleric casts wall of stone around the druid.
The other casts flame strike on the wizard.
Mahuudril casts wall of force around the barbarian (if he's not running away).
Zyrith attacks the monk. It should not hit him but this attack is to keep it busy and maybe hit by luck.
Venk uses his eldritch blast on the wizard.

players at end of the first round :
- wizard took 2d4 negative levels, 22d10 fire damage from the breath attack, 6d6+8d4+1d6+52 from dragotha's bite, 5d6 from eldritch blast and took either 10d6 or half from flame strike
- cleric is behind a wall of stone, took nothing, the wall protected him from the breath
- druid took 22d10 from the breath attack and is behind a wall of stone
- barbarian took 22d10 from breath attack and is behind a wall of force
- monk took either 22d10 or nothing from breath attack

The wizard should have took an average of 5 negative levels, 110 damage from breath, 89 from dragotha biting, 15 from eldritch blast (if venk hits) and 30 from flame strike (15 if resisted). He needs to make a Fortitude save against 44 or be paralysed for 2d6 rounds. So he should be dead or near.

Second round and next :

Players have to move out of this walls of stone and force to fight Dragotha and his friends. So they will spend their magic and most important, their actions to get out of their jails.

The evil team will concentrate all his power of the wizard first to kill him as fast as possible, then they'll attack the cleric, the druid, the barbarian, the monk in this order (why barbarian before monk ? because he's easier to kill and does big damage. you don't want him to hit you while you're trying to hit the monk).

Mahhudril will be the crowd controler using his wall of force (he can cast it 8th time per day) to keep players blocked while his team mates kill players one by one. If during one round he doesn't have to cast his wall of force, he cast summon monster 5 (as many monsters as possible, level is not important) to help (and give aid another bonus) the avoliaka clerics who will fight in melee.

Avoliaka clerics will fight in melee the spellcaster players and heal dragotha against the melee players.

Venk and Zurith will make fly-by attacks on players.

Dragotha (and his 1d4+5 mirror images) attacks on melee the spellcasters one by one. He uses arcane strike to kill faster the wizard and the cleric. He keeps his death wind breath to damage players and heal himself. To fight melee players, if he can do it without putting his team mates in too high danger, he just stay out of range while flying and uses his breath and spells.

This is the tactic our DM used against us and we had to run away and come back kill them one by one until we fought only Dragotha. We only survived because we had buffs. Our DM used the standard Dragotha and hopefully we took no Disjunction at the beginning of the fight.

As you can see, this is a totally different fight from the one you saw. All is in the tactic used by the evil guys.
For me, the fight you ruled missed one thing : you forgot Dragotha got 24 in int and Mahuudril 18. They're not stupid and they know what is their most dangerous opponents and how to make crowd control with their spells.

But you and your friends got fun in this fight and this is the most important thing. I hope you the same thing with Kyuss.


Thanks apprenticewizard for the rundown of what your party went through. As my party will be facing Dragotha in the next few sessions, all of the input here helps. The comment about the INTs of the NPCs really hit home. As a DM my tactics have got to reflect their level of INT & preparedness.

J-


Spell stowaway/time stop is CLUTCH. I used it once when my epic party encountered a pair of arch-necromancer liches (rivals from past dealings... long story). When the elf wizard used time stop in preparation for his empowered/admixed (sonic) delayed blast fireballs, he found himself in a spell duel with one of the liches. The elf's spell turning was burned away just before his first "sonic" ball detonated. He then used a Mord's disjunction followed by a quickened spell enhanced flesh to stone.


Impressive Ninja, most impressive. I think nothing brings a game to the maximum potential as a group of powerplayers; I have a group of good ones, not exactly tooled up as well as they could be, or all choosing classes wisely, but they make good. I know that when I throw something at them at +4 EL, and its their first encounter of the day, that theyll have a good chance to survive. Even if I use all the evil tactics. I appreciate that - makes the game a proper competition in the combat areas, and more about sharing in the roleplay areas.

Have to say that I 100% agree with your interpretation of the rules - meself I used "fixed forms" for polymorph and shapechange, but its not a big deal. Id say the most of the guys discussing with you here, just want to know the secrets ;) If youd be so kind as to indulge how the barbarian did 400 dam in one round agains AC 58 DR (Im assuming he had a magical bludgner of some kind, possibly with undead bane ?), thatd really interest me.

Even with 20th level chars, and especially only using core classes, Id say Kyuss have the potential to be a very hard encounter for your guys. Id agree at lot is in the tactics. Myself - Im prone to one-hit combos, and so are my players. Most powergamers will develop a few tricks over time (like like yer timestop/delayed blast fireballs). There are some really good advice above that will make it a hard encounter without necessarily beefing Kyuss - like adding a lot of minions. Grabble is an evil adversary for most characters, even at lvl 20.

That being said, the characters are going to get the drop on Kyuss, which gives them the initative. Assuming they dont use the aforementioned "nuke him to death with fire seeds in round one", and he survives till he can act - what about using the characters tricks against them ?

Exchange one of Kyuss' 7th level spells for Forcecage...

Have Kyuss use a quickend greater dispel targeted on one of the characters (Id prolly take the priest if I was a god, although the wizzy prolly poses the greatest danger), followed by time stop.
Round 1 - quickened blade barrier on top of the cleric, followed by a forcecage around him. That should keep him occupied for a bit - personally Id have cast a quickned Dimensional Anchor on the wizard instead of the dispel, but Kyuss didnt plan on fighting wizzies ;)
Round 2 - Dimensional anchor near the priest (Im assuming the group is spread well out to avoid area effects), which should take him out of the picture for a couple of rounds, followed by another quickned forcecage around the drood (for now, Kyuss will just have to content himself with annoying the drood a bit, since he might be running out of time.
Round 3-5 - Should you be so lucky as to have more than two rounds, the Dimensional Anchor/Blade Barrier/Forcecage can seriusly screw up the wizard too. The monk and the barbarian can be confined to two normal forcecages and dealt with in due time (as they are unlikely to have teleport spells, and Kyuss is out of Dimensional Anchors anyway).

Thought wall of force would do it, but since its only a sheet not gonna make it. Might be able to delay the fighters with a couple of those hastened, and then just put a dimensional anchor on the wizzy - fly over and grapple him to death. Then do the same to the priest. Ahh well Im sure itll be epic either way ;)

Also I might be completely wrong here, and stuck in some old FR novel - but arent Divine Agents immune to Time Stop ? I remember Elminster being, and possibly a couple of gods, if not all gods back in the old day. Effectively it would work like the epic feat described above.

Scarab Sages

I agree that tactics is the way to better challenge high level parties. Just up gunning the foes creates a vicious circle between the DM and the players (and rewards the players with more XP). By just using better tactics, it forces the players to think not just powergame.

The only way to really challenge high level parties is through attrition. Drain away some of the party's power prior to the combat with the BBEG, that is what the mooks are for. If the party clears out all the mooks then leaves before facing the BBEG, have the BBEG chase the party and fight them when they are spent. If he can't find them, attack their home and kill any loved ones to get their attention. Don't let the party buff and come in for a single fight with the BBEG, that is a huge advantage to the PC's, that any intelligent foe will avoid.


Dragon Mage wrote:

I agree that tactics is the way to better challenge high level parties. Just up gunning the foes creates a vicious circle between the DM and the players (and rewards the players with more XP). By just using better tactics, it forces the players to think not just powergame.

The only way to really challenge high level parties is through attrition. Drain away some of the party's power prior to the combat with the BBEG, that is what the mooks are for. If the party clears out all the mooks then leaves before facing the BBEG, have the BBEG chase the party and fight them when they are spent. If he can't find them, attack their home and kill any loved ones to get their attention. Don't let the party buff and come in for a single fight with the BBEG, that is a huge advantage to the PC's, that any intelligent foe will avoid.

In principle, I agree with this statement. However, a number of hints in the write-up for this adventure indicate that the author envisions that the party will first clear the dungeon of Dragotha's allies, then take on Dragotha--he's supposed to be too powerful otherwise. And the original poster ran this fight with a number of mooks to support Dragotha, which should also help--even if the party focuses on the big D first, they might be weakened enough not to be able to kill the mooks afterwards.

In the end, the DM has to go by feel--if the party has completely exhausted itself, it's best if they leave and rest, unless you have a downsized Dragotha in your hip pocket to throw at them.

Anyway, while CR is often a very imprecise judgement at such high levels, Dragotha's CR is so very high that he really should make an extremely challenging encounter if played effectively by the DM. The challenge to the DM is to play a villain this powerful and complex to greatest effect. I know my tendency in these encounters is to try to judge just how much of a blow the party can take at any given juncture of the combat--to go all out if the party is "winning" and maybe use a less devastating attack if it looks like going full on is going to push the party off the cliff. But since high level parties have so many resources, it's possible to kill a couple of party members without making the campaign into a disaster, so it's probably best to go all out from the moment the throw down begins, and make your players rise to the occasion.


apprenticewizard wrote:

Surprise round :

All players who miss their spot check are surprised by Mahuudril and the avolakia clerics.
Mahuudril and one of the avolakia clerics use enervation on the wizard (who's the most easily surprised, spot is not a wizard class skill and wis is not his highest stat). When surprised, the wizard see his touch AC drops to near nothing and he takes 2d4 negative levels (average 5, so he's losing access to 9th level spells).

Death Ward was on everyone.

apprenticewizard wrote:
The other avolakia cleric cast wall of stone around the cleric blocking his sight and line of effect of spells.

He could be only cut off from half the party, since he happened to be in the middle, but okay.

apprenticewizard wrote:
Dragotha uses his normal breath (everyone makes a Reflex save against 44 and with core books only, it will be REALLY hard) as a free action and charge the wizard (using arcane strike and burning a 8th level spell to get +45 to hit with his bite and 6d6+8d4+1d6+52 to damage + paralysis). This charge activates his frightful aura (Will DC 44, so the barbarian should be running away).

Protection from energy (fire) and Hero's Feast (immune to fear and poison) were both cast at the time. The wizard was in back, so Dragotha would've had to go through the barbarian, druid, the monk, and a wall of stone just to be in biting range. Don't forget Balakarde's +10 bonus to Reflex saves, either.

apprenticewizard wrote:

One avoliaka cleric casts wall of stone around the druid.

The other casts flame strike on the wizard.
Mahuudril casts wall of force around the barbarian (if he's not running away).
Zyrith attacks the monk. It should not hit him but this attack is to keep it busy and maybe hit by luck.
Venk uses his eldritch blast on the wizard.

Bear in mind you're assuming at this point that all the enemies are still alive and able to act. Also you cannot cast walls "around" people per se, but I think I know what you mean. Zyrith could not hit the monk except on a natural 20. The barbarian has an item that lets him dimension door once per day (he was tired of getting swallowed) so I didn't really bother trying to wall him off, and the druid can shapechange into something incorporeal.

apprenticewizard wrote:

players at end of the first round :

- wizard took 2d4 negative levels, 22d10 fire damage from the breath attack, 6d6+8d4+1d6+52 from dragotha's bite, 5d6 from eldritch blast...

Wizard was protected from negative energy, absorbed all the fire damage, and had 3 Huge party members between her and Dragotha. They're a very buff-heavy party, which is why I threw the disjunction their way right off the bat (unfortunately I don't think they could still be affected by the dragon fear, but I could be wrong on that). I don't think I was playing either Dragotha or his minions as having poor tactics or low Int.

But tactically, yes, you have a very sound approach.


Thanks for more info about your encounter with Dragotha.

Office_ninja will you please consider posting a nice fleshy round-by-round of the final battle with Kyuss after the fact? As has been pointed out in this thread lots of us learn a great deal from these descriptions and the dissection afterwards.

I wish that more people would consent to that kind of "peer review" of one's battles. Particularly the higher level and/or more meaningful moments. The fight with Xyrxog (sp?) for instance, the Harbringer, etc. I've been thinking about starting a thread like that, but since my group hasn't quite reached even the Faceless One, I don't have much to offer personally. Yet.

I do enjoy reading people's descriptions and considering the suggestions and critiques which inevitably follow.


Office_Ninja,

All rules arguments aside, there is exactly one thing you need to start doing which will change the entire nature of your problem.

Learn to counterspell.

There's no reason your wizard should get off a timestop unapposed, much less all that other damage nonsense. They may still win, in fact pretty quick they'll learn, but until then, start throwing around some counterspells and watch your fights turn into bloodbaths :D


office_ninja wrote:
Yes, the only two people they had line of effect to both had touch ACs over 50.
office_ninja wrote:
If I leave Kyuss' stats as they are, he'll get utterly creamed in a round or two, and probably not even damage one PC. I'm kind of resigned to boosting his divine rank and giving him more levels of True Necromancer.

My brain is broken. Ninja, you've broken my brain.

And honestly, those unfamilliar with high-level play always make some kind of oversight or mistake. Happens to the best of us. Only people familliar with that level of play can properly respond to it on the fly. Most of us are armchair generals, when you get right down to it. Monday morning quarterbacks, really- It's obvious to us what went wrong, but only long after the fact.

That said, I'm sure you did a fine job there, and will do a fine job with Kyuss. And, to echo other's opinions, if everyone had a good time, then you didn't really do anything wrong.


Schmoe wrote:

Since Kyuss is in epic range, I would consider giving him one or two epic feats. Even though it's not technically core, the adventure path even provides the mechanics necessary to approach epic play.

Anyway, my vote would be to add the following feat - Spell Stowaway. From the SRD:

Spell Stowaway: Choose a spell-like ability the character knows, or a spell the character cam cast. The character is attuned to the magic he or she chooses. If another spellcaster within 300 feet of the character uses this magic, the character also immediately gains the magic’s effect as if it had been used on the character by the same caster.

My vote would then be to choose the spell Time Stop. Essentially, if anyone within 300 feet casts Time Stop, it affects Kyuss as well. Imagine being a solitary caster, outside the normal progression of time. Everything around you is completely still and frozen except, wait, what's that? Oops, the evil demigod of worms and decay seems to be right there with you, apparently not frozen in time like all of your friends happen to be. It looks like he's beckoning you with a bony finger. For the next 1d4+1 rounds it's just you and him, baby, mano-y-demigod. Good luck!

To the rest of the party, there's just a brief ripple in space-time as the wizard finishes his spell. In an instant, where once stood Foobar the Fantastic, archmage of reknown, is now a steaming, moldering skeleton that is crawling with worms. And why does Kyuss seem to be smiling?

That is freaking brilliant.


Counterspelling time stop is a very good idea, and presumably all the big baddies will assume that's the first spell out of the wizard's mouth, as the logical time to cast it is at the beginning of the battle. But it's hardly foolproof--Dragotha and Lashonna at CL 17th will probably need to roll a natural 13 or 14 (i.e. 40% chance or less) to succeed with greater dispel .

Kyuss, who unlike his two draconic minions can cast time stop himself, can ready an action to counterspell that one with 100% certainty, once he's out of the monolith. But by that time, the wizard has already probably used time stop, and anyhow, Kyuss might prefer to use his time stop[i] to buff and launch a few nasty surprises of his own--[i]greater spell immunity (delayed blast fireball/fireseeds/whatever favorite spell might be used against him), repulsion, resist energy (fire, sonic) antilife shell, summon monster VII, wall of force, quickened wall of stone all could be used to some effect during this period. Buffs like divine power, bull's strength, bear's endurance are kind of redundant. With a quickened greater dispel Kyuss could also try first launching another spell and then ready an action to counterspell, but with only a 50/50 chance of succeeding.

As written, Kyuss does have the disadvantage of giving the PCs a freebie round, and if you really think the PCs can use that time to set it up so that Kyuss gets hammered before he strikes a blow, you can always do away with that.

Some further thought on the time stop-delayed blast fireball combo. Just rereading the rules for those spells it would appear to be a legal combo, since DBF has a duration and is an area attack. However, I'd rule that DBF has to be set to go off on the caster's initiative count--it's a fixed duration rather than a readied action, and so can't just explode "whenever Kyuss emerges" or something like that. This means that Kyuss has a good chance of getting at least one action off, since his initiative roll is at +7. To make it harder, I might rule that the caster doesn't know exactly how many rounds he has while in time stop. This way, he can't time the blasts perfectly. If you've been playing it otherwise up till now, perhaps this uncertainty is an effect of the magic Lashonna has been working or of Kyuss' presence in the spire.

I can't remember if delayed blast fireball was mentioned on this thread, but it seems to me someone else mentioned this as a tactic for bringing down Kyuss.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Alright, my group, who are also consummate powergamers, met Dragothat last night, and the fight lasted 7 rounds. By the way, Dragotha had the following minions with him: three nightcrawlers, Venk and Zyrinth, four avolakia priests, and Sruggut, the worm naga from Spire of Long Shadows, whom the party had mercy on. I advanced him to an 8th level sorcerer, so overall caster level was 19.

The following details how Dragotha was neutralized. Warlock steps into the room, uses scroll of Timestop, uses Scroll of barred Forcecage around Dragotha, uses scroll of Dimensional Lock around Dragotha. Places a couple of intelocking Walls of Perilous Flames inside cage. Cleric enters room. Casts Time Stop. Fills interior of Force Cage with interlocking blade barriers. Time resumes normal flow. Dragotha begins taking an average of 300 points of damage per round. Can't cast spells because Concentration DC for taking continuous damage is near 100. Sruggut trys to dispel some of the effects, but warlock uses ring of Spell Battle to thwart that. Dragotha's breath weapons have no effect on party because all are death warded and pro. v. energy fire. Dragotha dies. His minions follow in due course. Party suffers no casualties.


Joseph you can't put dragotha in a forcecage. Forcecage is limited to a 20 ft cube and dragotha is bigger than that.


Also you make one concentration check for each continuous damage effect, not all of them added together.


apprenticewizard wrote:
Joseph you can't put dragotha in a forcecage. Forcecage is limited to a 20 ft cube and dragotha is bigger than that.

Forcecage = 20 foot barred cell

Dragotha = 20 foot spacing
No problems here.

Terraneaux wrote:
Also you make one concentration check for each continuous damage effect, not all of them added together.

Highly debatable.

It is NOT clearly spelled out in the SRD.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
apprenticewizard wrote:
Joseph you can't put dragotha in a forcecage. Forcecage is limited to a 20 ft cube and dragotha is bigger than that.

As JDillard said, Dragotha's space is 20 x 20. My gargantuan black dragon mini fit nicely inside the 20 x 20 barred version of Force Cage. As for continuous damage...yes, debatable, but it makes sense that if you are taking continuous damage from multiple sources, the effect would stack. Otherwise, which one of those sources would you choose to be the one you had to make your Concentration DC against?


Joseph Jolly wrote:
As for continuous damage...yes, debatable, but it makes sense that if you are taking continuous damage from multiple sources, the effect would stack. Otherwise, which one of those sources would you choose to be the one you had to make your Concentration DC against?

I think his point was you save against all the damage effects individually and if you fail even one of them, you lose the spell/whatever you were concentrating on.


unless i am wrong, forcecage is a 20ft cube, meaning it's 3x3x3 ft or 20x1x1 ft. It's not 20x20x20.
Dragotha occupies a 20x20 ft square on the ground and i don't know about its height but i think it's more than 1 ft.

so i don't see how you can put dragotha in a 1 ft height box.


There has been some really interesting points of view expressed on this thread about how to run various encounters at higher levels. One of the key things that has come out of this discussion is that a well-prepared party buffed up with spells stands a much better chance than an unprepared party. Of course, if the PCs are preparing ahead of time then so should the bad guys. Any DM who doesn't prepare his stratagems ahead of time is asking for trouble. Remember that Dragotha has an Intelligence an Wisdom of 29 and over. That's huge. Dragotha should be fully buffed up on spells himself, and use some of those magic items lying around his lair. I mean he could put the avolakia in the Daern's instant fortress, give Venk the ghost touch chain, and get one of the avolakia clerics to use the stand of prayer beads to summon a balor demon or pit fiend!

On the issue of rules lawyering DMs need to remember that players will take every advantage they can get. You don't need to be a genius, but if you make major mistakes then the PCs will jump on them. I'm not taking a shot at anyone in particular (but someone will indeed have an issue with what I say), but not making mistakes makes your encounters more deadly. If you say that a fight was too easy you shouldn't get annoyed when people try to point out a few mistakes you made, but take it as constructive criticism. Thinking up ways of making Kyuss more powerful is one way of doing it, but if you make the same mistakes you made last time then the battle will be just as easily handled by the players. Remember that Kyuss's divine ray and worms are all touch attacks. The fact that some people have pointed out an error involving touch ACs actually helps DMs who run this battle and can safely say to their players... "no, your touch AC is not 50 against the divine ray its only 37, and yes Kyuss has just hit you."


Okay I made him divine rank 5, added 10 levels of True Necromancer, gave him 4 more divine abilities (divine fast healing, improved spell resistance, automatic metamagic (quicken spell/sorcerer), hand of death) and some associated epic feats (Improved Metamagic and Improved Spell Capacity x3).

Hopefully this will make him a nice challenge. They're going to face him in probably two weeks.


I will fight Kyuss next week end, we cleared everything up to him (except lashonna who ran away before we finished her, we're sure we'll find her at top of the pyramide protecting Kyuss) but it was too late to finish.

i asked my DM if he got some infos for you, he offered two tricks he won't use against us.

When the players come to fight Kyuss, he cast time stop, then cast fly and fly away in the city. Once there, he kill commoners and get minions. With a small army and full buffed, he can fight the players.

Another trick : kyuss cast time stop, then summon monster IX each round during the time stop and get 1d3 vrock each time. He doesn't summon them in pack but spread around the top of the pyramide.
Vrock aren't powerful but they have enough hps to not die in one hit. If your players let them dance and focus on Kyuss, each vrock will do 20d6 damage (your players should easily save to take half damage).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
apprenticewizard wrote:

unless i am wrong, forcecage is a 20ft cube, meaning it's 3x3x3 ft or 20x1x1 ft. It's not 20x20x20.

Dragotha occupies a 20x20 ft square on the ground and i don't know about its height but i think it's more than 1 ft.

so i don't see how you can put dragotha in a 1 ft height box.

I don't have the exact wording of the AoE of Force Cage here in front of me, but I'm pretty sure it's 20' x 20'. If it were a 20' square, as you mention, then nothing could fit into it that wasn't small size or smaller. Also, the solid form is 10' cube, which if that doesn't mean 10' x 10', then you've either got 5' x 2', or 10'x 1', again, something nothing can fit into, making Force Cage an utterly useless spell.

On a related note, I notice many posters here talking about beefing up Kyuss. I'm not planning to myself, but I was seriously considering not handicapping him as outlined in the adventure if the PC's destroy the vortex, or rid the city of despair. Those of you who are going to beef him up, what will you do to reward the PC's if they complete these side quests?

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

apprenticewizard wrote:

unless i am wrong, forcecage is a 20ft cube, meaning it's 3x3x3 ft or 20x1x1 ft. It's not 20x20x20.

Dragotha occupies a 20x20 ft square on the ground and i don't know about its height but i think it's more than 1 ft.

so i don't see how you can put dragotha in a 1 ft height box.

force cage is a 20 foot cube... meaning it is a cube 20 feet per side (and has a volume of 8000 cubic feet).... you are thinking of 20 cubic feet (which would create a box sized as you indicate). A 20 foot cube =/= equal 20 cubic feet.


cwslyclgh wrote:
apprenticewizard wrote:

unless i am wrong, forcecage is a 20ft cube, meaning it's 3x3x3 ft or 20x1x1 ft. It's not 20x20x20.

Dragotha occupies a 20x20 ft square on the ground and i don't know about its height but i think it's more than 1 ft.

so i don't see how you can put dragotha in a 1 ft height box.

force cage is a 20 foot cube... meaning it is a cube 20 feet per side (and has a volume of 8000 cubic feet).... you are thinking of 20 cubic feet (which would create a box sized as you indicate). A 20 foot cube =/= equal 20 cubic feet.

correct.

However, according to the Draconomicon, gargantuan red dragons have a body length of 25 ft. That's only counting shoulders to arse, so I would personally rule that Dragotha is too large for a forcecage.

I will also be swapping out one of his spells for antimagic field, which could at least have negated the blade barriers and perilous walls of flame (although he would still be trapped in the forcecage, I believe).

Speaking of antimagic field, I suggest you have Kyuss memorize it. Why? Because it doesn't affect deities, but will still affect mortals. ;)

If I were to beef up Kyuss, I would allow the side quests to reduce his power, but the net effect would still be that he is more powerful than he would be normally. He'd go from "impossible" to "insanely difficult".


My group had a blast taking down Dragotha over the weekend. While I don't have a round-by-round breakdown, I'll attempt to reconstruct the fight as concisely as possible.

The Party:
20 halfling Wizard
20 Elf Sorceror
10 Changeling Rogue 10 Ftr (18 Cleric cohort)
20 Human Paladin

Everyone has prestige classes, but I figured that would just complicate things. Their special features didn't play too big a part. The Wiz and Sor did have a few rods of Sudden Metamagic (Extend, Empower), and everyone was equipped with Rings of Freedom of Movement and Soulfire Bracers (constant Death Ward). The paladin had a sword that also allowed him to channel his lay on hands through it on a successful hit. They also summoned Zulshyn and her Apocalypse Golem for help.
------------------
The Baddies

Dragotha
Venk and her mount
4 Avolakia Priests

I equipped each priest and Venk with scrolls of Mordenkainen's Disjunction in the hopes that I could wipe out their magic items; 5 scrolls, 5 saves for each item.
------------------
The Fight

The party was fully buffed going into this; Wizard and Sorceror had both Shapechanged into Concordant Killers (MM4), Ftr/Rog was Polymorphed into a Titan.

In the first round, the casters managed to take out all the avolakia clerics, but not before they could use their scrolls. However, with Balakarde's fragment, the player's Will saves were all too high to fail. The paladin dealt triple-digit damage with his charge and everyone rebuffed. I did kill the rogue, who tumbled up to Dragotha and sneak-attacked him with a class ability.

In the second, Dragotha went airborne and out of reach of the meleers, while the paladin focused on taking down Venk. Dragotha takes time to Harm himself, and set up a flyby attack. The casters take down Venk, try to get past Dragotha's SR, and True Resurrect the rogue.

After the second round, it was just them and Dragotha. He lasted about two more rounds, swooping in to take on the casters who had changed back to Concordant Killers. The players used Zulshyn's carefully-worded wishes to compeltely re-buff the paladin, letting him deal out triple digits of damage with each charge. Dragotha almost killed two others before a pair of Heals took him down.
-----------------
The Tactics

* Recon - The group made a point to figure out (through Commune) which energies Dragotha was immune/resistant to, and what his main attacks were. They then planned accordingly, equipping items that negated paralysis and negative energy, and also chose to Shapechange into forms immune to fire.
* Soulfire Bracers - If it weren't for the Balakarde fragment, it's likely I could have destroyed some of their Death Ward effects and Freedom rings, which would have opened them up to Dragotha's heavy hitting abilities.
* Deal with the riff-raff - By taking out the side priests, the players stopped their ability to heal Dragotha.
* Positive Energy - Between the paladin and the Heals, Dragotha's Harms couldn't keep up.
-------------------
The Wrap

I was overall pleased with the fight; while it didn't last that many rounds, it was very tense, with the knowledge that the players could die any minute. If it weren't for good use of the Balakarde fragments and excellent gear choices, they would have had big problems. The players had fun, and are now busy shoveling loot into their airship, portable holes, pocket dimensions, etc.


Umm, Russell, not to nitpick, but doesn't True Resurrection take 10 minutes to cast? (Don't have books handy, might be wrong.)


apprenticewizard wrote:
When the players come to fight Kyuss, he cast time stop, then cast fly and fly away in the city. Once there, he kill commoners and get minions. With a small army and full buffed, he can fight the players.

I love it, it seems legitimate to do this, it is within Kyusss's power, and also reads as one big dirty tactic.

I also like (really really like) the Mirror of Opposition. Who better to beat powergamers than themselves...

To be honest I have difficulty with GMing LV/CR 13+ battles/opponents, especially when spellcasters are involved, so the difficulty of LV/CR 19+ battles seems very vexing and I am impressed with how you guys have managed such things.
I havn't even began to run Shackled City yet, let alone Age of Worms, but I always enjoy reading the experiences and tactics of other GMs and players, in preparation for when my players reach that stage.


Peruhain, I've slept since then (and don't have my books on-hand when I post), so I could be citing the wrong spell they used to res the Rogue. I seem to recall asking the same question (doesn't TR take a while to cast?), and I can't remember if I was wrong as to the timing, or to the specific spell. I'll double-check and post an edit.

I will say this; the encounter did not hinge upon them resurrecting a member. If they hadn't, they still would have finished off Dragotha with another Heal that was coming later in the round.

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