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How Dragotha went for me and my group


Age of Worms Adventure Path

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The party is full of serious powergamers, and I restricted them to the core books only. I also advanced Dragotha to a great wyrm and gave him maximum hit points per hit die, and added 100 hit points just for the heck of it. Mahuudril, Venk, Zyrith, and three avolakia clerics were in the battle as well.

The bad guys lasted all of 5 rounds, and managed to kill a cohort and an animal companion.

Ugh.

Any thoughts on how to make the fight with Kyuss a bit more challenging?

Osirion

for me, knowing how my players tend to cut a swath through most anything I put in their way, I said to myself, "Screw divine rank 1!" and "Screw and these penalties!" I advanced kyuss to a) divine rank 5, b) gave him 5 more levels in cleric and sorceror, and c) gave him up to level 13 spells.

Just to make it even more evil, I said that he never, and I mean NEVER, goes down to divine rank zero. To start, he loses 1 and Only 1 divine rank for both the "fight despair" and "The Unlife Vortex."

To add insult to injury, get rid of an artifact. I got rid of the sphere of annihilation.

Lastly, I made two new spells that almost insure major damage/infestation.

Finally, if you were wondering why Kyuss is divine rank 5, I did so because he had 30,000 worshipers, and if I remeber right, that is at least a lesser deity. So Kyuss was a lesser deity, and the centuries he spent in stasis brought him down to demigod.

THis is for my campaign. I think it'll be alittle harder....I hope...


office_ninja wrote:

The party is full of serious powergamers, and I restricted them to the core books only. I also advanced Dragotha to a great wyrm and gave him maximum hit points per hit die, and added 100 hit points just for the heck of it. Mahuudril, Venk, Zyrith, and three avolakia clerics were in the battle as well.

The bad guys lasted all of 5 rounds, and managed to kill a cohort and an animal companion.

Ugh.

Any thoughts on how to make the fight with Kyuss a bit more challenging?

Before we address the issue of making the Kyuss fight more challenging, can you give us a breakdown of the class, tactics, and results of your battle against Dragotha et al?


Shroomy wrote:
Before we address the issue of making the Kyuss fight more challenging, can you give us a breakdown of the class, tactics, and results of your battle against Dragotha et al?

Party composition:

dwarf Monk20
human Druid19/Monk1
elf Wizard17/Archmage3
half-orc Cleric20
dwarf Barbarian20
They also enlisted Zulshyn's help, so add a lillend Bard3/Sublime Chord10 to the mix

Dragotha's first action was to cast Mordenkainen's disjunction on the party, dispelling all their buffs but not affecting any of their magic items. He also used a quickened breath weapon (death wind), killing the cohort & animal companion, and creating 2 dread wraiths. The avolakia clerics cast a couple mass inflict spells and one tried to enervate but could only hit on a 20. Mahuudril casted waves of exhaustion and affected the monk & barbarian. Venk tried to use eldritch blast but could only hit on a 20.
The wizard cast time stop and then 3 sonic-substituted delayed blast fireballs, annihilating the clerics and mildly hurting Dragotha (she could not fail to overcome any of their SR). The monk engaged Venk & Zyrith, the barbarian moved up to Dragotha, and the cleric casted mass heal, destroying the wraiths in the process. The druid re-casted shapechange and Zulshyn teleported in.
Dragotha attacked the monk and hit 3 times, dealing about 200 points of damage. The wizard hit Dragotha with a sonic-substituted meteor swarm. The cleric did another mass heal. The barbarian hit Dragotha 5 times, dealing about 400 points of damage. The druid shapechanged into a choker and casted 2 maximized sunbursts, killing Mahuudril and damaging Dragotha. The monk killed Venk and Zyrith. Zulshyn casted Mordenkainen's disjunction on Dragotha.
Dragotha did a quickened breath weapon (fire this time) on the barbarian & monk, cast maze on the druid, and moved up to the wizard. The monk moved up to Dragotha and attacked but missed. The barbarian followed up and attacked again, doing about 80 points of damage. The druid shapechanged into a minotaur and instantly reappeared from the maze. The cleric did another mass heal. The wizard did a sonic-substituted maximized empowered scorching ray and hit all three times. Zulshyn tumbled away.
Dragotha attacked the barbarian and hit 5 times, doing about 350 points of damage. Then the monk and barbarian went full attack on him, doing about 500 more points of damage to him. The wizard finished him off with a sonic-substituted fireball.

So I think that was actually 4 rounds.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A few thoughts. These points aren't me trying to be a jerk or a rules lawyer, mind you, and I know how intense combat can make people forget stuff (I've had people cast raise dead mid-combat and not really notice the 1 minute casting time). Also, I'm severely sleep-deprived, so I might miss something in the rules that counteracts my points. Anyway, here goes:

office_ninja wrote:
The avolakia clerics cast a couple mass inflict spells and one tried to enervate but could only hit on a 20... Venk tried to use eldritch blast but could only hit on a 20.

Eldritch blast and enervation are both touch attacks. Was there really no one in the room with a touch AC lower than 37 (avolakia's BAB + Dex mod + 20) or 44 (Venk's eldritch blast attack bonus + 20)? Just thinking about it made me pee my pants.

office_ninja wrote:
The wizard cast time stop and then 3 sonic-substituted delayed blast fireballs, annihilating the clerics and mildly hurting Dragotha (she could not fail to overcome any of their SR).

Dragotha's SR is 33. Even if the wizard/archmage took spell power for each of his archmage high arcana abilities and had spell penetration and imporved spell penetration, I'm coming up with a caster level of 27, which provides some (though not much) chance of failure. I don't fault you on the avolakias, though. Their SR is pansy-ass.

office_ninja wrote:
The druid shapechanged into a choker and casted 2 maximized sunbursts, killing Mahuudril and damaging Dragotha.

This one I'm not 100% about, but I think barring a quickened spell, you can only cast one spell a round regardless of the number of actions you have that round. Unless you're a spell weaver or have two brains like those chrono-bird thingies or something. I'm not too sure on that, but it makes sense to me to prevent the total pounding that two uber-level spells can do.

Anyhoo. There's some thoughts. I won't get into damage totals or hit points without more info, though I've seen that kind of punishment being dished out or taken on occasion. It sounds a bit high to be consistently done, however. I mean, an average of 66 points of damage per hit from a monk? Whew. That means, assuming 11 points of damage (the average for 2d10) before Strength modifiers and such, 55 points came from something else. That also makes me pee my pants.

Yeah. So just my two cents.


Well from what I'm seeing it wasn't a walk in the park either...the cleric had to cast 3 Mass Heal!!!

Dragotha seemed to dish out hihg damage numbers anyway...I think your players were on the edge of their seats when the barbarian took 200hp damage in one round.

If they were happy about that fight...I think it's a job well done.

Has for Kyuss...don't change the stats (ever) and give him the epic feat that gives him a second quicken spell per round...not pleasant. Have him already out of the monlith when they arrive at the top...then two quicken harms on the barabarian should stop him in his tracks.


N'wah wrote:


office_ninja wrote:
The druid shapechanged into a choker and casted 2 maximized sunbursts, killing Mahuudril and damaging Dragotha.

This one I'm not 100% about, but I think barring a quickened spell, you can only cast one spell a round regardless of the number of actions you have that round. Unless you're a spell weaver or have two brains like those chrono-bird thingies or something. I'm not too sure on that, but it makes sense to me to prevent the total pounding that two uber-level spells can do.

I did check this one. A choker gets one additional standard action per round. Casting one sunburst spell is a standard action, so you would be able to case two. Very sound tactic on the part of the druid.


I think the topic of casting offensive spells while affected by time stop came up in an earlier thread along the lines of "how easy Kyuss bought the farm" in someone else's campaign. IIRC, you can only use time stop to buff, heal yourself, etc., and can't do anything that affects anyone else. I don't have my PH handy.

Anyway, it's easy to dissect these high level combats and find mistakes, but if all parties concerned had a good time, it doesn't matter too much. I always make it my goal to make the BBEGs last for at least 10 rounds, but in high level combat it can be kind of dicey, and 1 round can take 10-15 minutes easy when you're resolving multiple attacks and spells from each participant along with DM trying to keep track of HP, spells expended, etc. for the bad guys, and making sure not to forget any resources that ought to be used at a certain juncture.

I'm some time away from running this adventure, but it's interesting to see how it turned out.

A side note to the person who was doing the math--don't forget the +10 bonuses from the fragments of Balakarde's spirit.

One other note: couldn't the Avolakia clerics cast harm to bring Dragotha's HP back up? Or were they all dead before this was a worthwhile move?


N'wah wrote:
Eldritch blast and enervation are both touch attacks. Was there really no one in the room with a touch AC lower than 37 (avolakia's BAB + Dex mod + 20) or 44 (Venk's eldritch blast attack bonus + 20)? Just thinking about it made me pee my pants.

Yes, the only two people they had line of effect to both had touch ACs over 50.

N'wah wrote:

Dragotha's SR is 33. Even if the wizard/archmage took spell power for each of his archmage high arcana abilities and had spell penetration and imporved spell penetration, I'm coming up with a caster level of 27, which provides some (though not much) chance of failure. I don't fault you on the avolakias, though. Their SR is pansy-ass.

+10 for the Scholar fragment of Balakarde.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
IIRC, you can only use time stop to buff, heal yourself, etc., and can't do anything that affects anyone else. I don't have my PH handy.

A fireball wouldn't work, but a delayed blast fireball technically would, because it has a duration. The duration would start when the time stop ended, so if you chose a duration of 0 rounds, it would go off as soon as time stop was over (powergamers).

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
One other note: couldn't the Avolakia clerics cast harm to bring Dragotha's HP back up? Or were they all dead before this was a worthwhile move?

They were not high enough level to cast harm. Maybe they should have been.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
office_ninja wrote:
+10 for the Scholar fragment of Balakarde.

Ah yeah, I forgot about that. I stand corrected.

I would have responded earlier, but the sentence "touch ACs over 50" must have had a symbol of insnity hidden in it, because the last thing I remember after reading it was standing in a room with my adventuring companions' guts all over me. Oh, and I apparently drew a comic strip on the wall with of the wizard's gray matter.

Those characters must be scary as hell.

Well, as mentioned before, sounds like the group did have a heck of a time with it all the same. And, at least according to Monte Cook, a climactic adventure shgould last about 5-7 rounds, so you're pretty much on target there. Looks like another case of the ol' mantra: "if they had fun with it, it was a good encounter."

Now if you excuse me, I have to pawn all my stuff so's I can afford to raise dead all of my friends. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I too am puzzled with touch armor classes over 50 and monks with over 200 hp, but I also question the druid shapechanging. This has been changed ala PHBII, and you lose all of your supernatural, spell-like, spell casting abilities, etc, when you polymorph in any way. You simply become a choker, or a minotaur, or whatever, albeit with great hit points.


Joseph Jolly wrote:
I too am puzzled with touch armor classes over 50 and monks with over 200 hp, but I also question the druid shapechanging. This has been changed ala PHBII, and you lose all of your supernatural, spell-like, spell casting abilities, etc, when you polymorph in any way. You simply become a choker, or a minotaur, or whatever, albeit with great hit points.

Yeah it's been errata'd so many times it's hard for me to keep up. But I didn't want to change the laws of the universe mid-campaign so I just ignored the ever-expanding errata for now.

Also I think you keep your hit points.

Keep in mind that this is all *core*, too. Player's Handbook, DMG, and Monster Manual are the only books the players can use. That's what kind of powergamers I'm dealing with.

Osirion

Antoine7 wrote:

Well from what I'm seeing it wasn't a walk in the park either...the cleric had to cast 3 Mass Heal!!!

Dragotha seemed to dish out hihg damage numbers anyway...I think your players were on the edge of their seats when the barbarian took 200hp damage in one round.

If they were happy about that fight...I think it's a job well done.

Has for Kyuss...don't change the stats (ever) and give him the epic feat that gives him a second quicken spell per round...not pleasant. Have him already out of the monlith when they arrive at the top...then two quicken harms on the barabarian should stop him in his tracks.

You're probably right, still, I didn't think they did him justice with the huge penalties from the Unlife Vortex, and the ease at which it is deactivated.


office_ninja wrote:
Joseph Jolly wrote:
I too am puzzled with touch armor classes over 50 and monks with over 200 hp, but I also question the druid shapechanging. This has been changed ala PHBII, and you lose all of your supernatural, spell-like, spell casting abilities, etc, when you polymorph in any way. You simply become a choker, or a minotaur, or whatever, albeit with great hit points.

Yeah it's been errata'd so many times it's hard for me to keep up. But I didn't want to change the laws of the universe mid-campaign so I just ignored the ever-expanding errata for now.

Also I think you keep your hit points.

Keep in mind that this is all *core*, too. Player's Handbook, DMG, and Monster Manual are the only books the players can use. That's what kind of powergamers I'm dealing with.

HMMMM. if this is core- how did he take choker form? druids can only become animals, elementals, and plants. how do you get a touch ac of 50?


J PAslawski wrote:
HMMMM. if this is core- how did he take choker form? druids can only become animals, elementals, and plants. how do you get a touch ac of 50?

He's using the shapechange spell, not wild shape.


Office Ninja, you have quite a group. I applaud their actions against Dragotha. Your description was good as well.

I just finished an epic campaign. PCs hit level 28-29 by the end. The elf wizard made a habit of unleashing delayed spells after using time stop. The sonic substitute/admix was also commonplace. The gnome arcane trickster, with two multispell feats (and arcane prep.), could unleash four force orbs in one round AND stack on impromptu sneak damage out to 30'. The cleric was untouchable with two permanent emanations (repulsion and anti-life shell).

As far as Kyuss goes, I haven't much to add. My group just finished TFoE. We have a half-orc ranger, lizardfolk druid, human rogue/invisible blade, and an elf scout. I wonder how they'll fare against Dragotha. Time will tell.


I don't have much experience running high level characters but again- how the heck do you get a touch AC of 50??????

In a core game the way I read it, A 20th level monk who some how attains a 30 Wisdom and Dexterity has a +24 AC bonus..then add +15 for natural armor amulet, Ring of Protection, and Bracers of armor at + 5 each and that's a AC 39...throw some more buffs on there like +5 for Barkskin from a high level druid and +1 Prayer for good measure...and your at AC 45, that's already a stretch right there as I don't see how you get to AC 50!! not to mention the highest individual stat you can get naturally is a 23, so you need a +7 artificial in your main and +14 in the second to get to dual stats of 30. Unless you use crazy speciality items that fall outside the rules like a +15 ring of protection or some nonsense..I don't get it, what am I missing?


I dont think the amulet of natural armor or the bracers affect touch ac.


Even my inner power gamer is sickened by 50 touch AC. However, I am interested in knowing how they got it, power gamers or not, it doesn't seem pausible.


Should I be concerned that my 13th level party had a really hard time taking out the devils sent to get the Rod of Seven Parts fragment? I can't see any of them getting to the point where they could dish out 200+ damage in a round. Of course most of them make pretty sub-optimal (combat wise ) characters imo.


Most of it is buff spells. Once Dragotha disjoined them, their ACs dropped dramatically.
Polymorph/shapechange enters into it heavily too.
But yeah, they spend their weekends figuring out how to break the game. It makes my job very difficult.


Arcmagik wrote:
Even my inner power gamer is sickened by 50 touch AC. However, I am interested in knowing how they got it, power gamers or not, it doesn't seem pausible.

+8 Dex (26, the result of buffs & items)

+10 Wis (30, the result of buffs & items)
+5 monk (20th level monk w/monk's belt)
+8 armor (bracers of armor, applies vs touch attacks)
+5 deflection (shield of faith)
+1 insight (ioun stone)
+2 shield (ring of force shield, also applies vs touch attacks)
+3 dodge (fighting defensively w/Tumble synergy bonus)

... so that's 52 right there. Pretty scary, no?


Bracers of armor don't affect touch AC.

SRD wrote:
Bracers of Armor: These items appear to be wrist or arm guards. They surround the wearer with an invisible but tangible field of force, granting him an armor bonus of +1 to +8, just as though he were wearing armor. Both bracers must be worn for the magic to be effective.

Note that it says 'just as though he were wearing armor'. Armor does not apply to touch AC, and it would have to state pretty explicitly in the description if the bracers followed different rules in that regard. Same thing with the force shield ring:

SRD wrote:
Force Shield: An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.

Nowhere in there does it even imply that the item's bonus adds to touch AC. It acts as a heavy shield, which certainly doesn't affect touch AC.


treehouse916 wrote:

Bracers of armor don't affect touch AC.

Note that it says 'just as though he were wearing armor'. Armor does not apply to touch AC, and it would have to state pretty explicitly in the description if the bracers followed different rules in that regard. Same thing with the force shield ring:
Nowhere in there does it even imply that the item's bonus adds to touch AC. It acts as a heavy shield, which certainly doesn't affect touch AC.

Touch attacks ignore material armor, even magic armor, unless it is made of force (such as mage armor or bracers of armor). They do apply, trust me on this.


office_ninja wrote:


... so that's 52 right there. Pretty scary, no?

Yes. That's very scary. Almost makes you feel sorry for Dragotha and team. Nah.

It certainly seems like you have a pretty tight gaming group (as far as knowing their stuff) office_ninja. Must be hard to DM for them if they're so ... fierce about powergaming. Thanks for your explanation of the battle etc. It's very illuminating. (It illuminates the part of my brain that says "Oh god, I'm so not ready for that").

However, I'm still pretty interested in office_ninja's original question. It may be hard to get an answer because once you're done with the campaign, perhaps you don't hang out on the AoW boards anymore. So, how many of you are out there who have been through the battle with Kyuss? Did you change it to make it harder? How?

It seems to me that perhaps the best way is to make it harder/impossible to either "fight despair" or get rid of the unlife vortex. Just leave those effects in place and you don't really have to alter Kyuss' stats. Maybe if your PC's succeed in fighting despair they can feel the crushing despair ease up but not go away. Behind your evil DM screen you just keep Kyuss stats as though nothing happened. The PC's feel good that they've struck a blow against Kyuss, but you still have a nasty battle for them. Boy that's definitely not playing fair as DM though.

Will you tell us how it went when they get there?

Cheers.


I thought if a monk uses a shield (or any kind of “armor”) then they lose the monk defense bonus?


tyrismagoo wrote:
I thought if a monk uses a shield (or any kind of “armor”) then they lose the monk defense bonus?

Well it's technically not armor, but a ring:

"An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free."


Eltanin wrote:
It seems to me that perhaps the best way is to make it harder/impossible to either "fight despair" or get rid of the unlife vortex. Just leave those effects in place and you don't really have to alter Kyuss' stats. Maybe if your PC's succeed in fighting despair they can feel the crushing despair ease up but not go away. Behind your evil DM screen you just keep Kyuss stats as though nothing happened. The PC's feel good that they've struck a blow against Kyuss, but you still have a nasty battle for them. Boy that's definitely not playing fair as DM though.

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.


I think you botched that encounter. Bracers of Armor and Rings of Force Shield only apply to touch AC against incorporeal touch attacks, not standard touch attacks. From the Monster Manual,

"An incorporeal creature’s attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it."

Nobody in that final encounter in the Writhing Sanctum is using incorporeal touch attacks.

Thus, your touch AC should've been,

10 Base
+8 Dex (26, the result of buffs & items)
+10 Wis (30, the result of buffs & items)
+5 monk (20th level monk w/monk's belt)
+5 deflection (shield of faith)
+1 insight (ioun stone)
+3 dodge (fighting defensively w/Tumble synergy bonus)
---
41

Also, once Dragotha disjoined your group, how'd they get all their buffs back so quickly? Also did you make Will saves from preventing the items from being disjoined?

Energy substituion is not a feat in the core rules. Thus no sonic fireballs.


JDillard wrote:

I think you botched that encounter.

Nobody in that final encounter in the Writhing Sanctum is using incorporeal touch attacks.

It applies to all touch attacks, not just incorporeal touch attacks. A field of force around your body applies to all touch attacks, including rays from spells.

JDillard wrote:
Also, once Dragotha disjoined your group, how'd they get all their buffs back so quickly? Also did you make Will saves from preventing the items from being disjoined?

With the Scholar fragment of Balakarde, not even the barbarian could fail the Will save (I don't play that natural 1s always fail).

JDillard wrote:
Energy substituion is not a feat in the core rules. Thus no sonic fireballs.

It's the archmage ability, not the feat. It's in the core rules.

A good point was brought up -- rather than trying to get people to prove I "botched" the encounter, I was looking for advice about the upcoming Kyuss encounter. A couple folks have been very helpful with that, and I appreciate it. But I don't really need the rules reinterpreted/dissected for me, since the encounter's already over.


office_ninja wrote:
A good point was brought up -- rather than trying to get people to prove I "botched" the encounter, I was looking for advice about the upcoming Kyuss encounter. A couple folks have been very helpful with that, and I appreciate it. But I don't really need the rules reinterpreted/dissected for me, since the encounter's already over.

I think pointing out flaws in your rules adjudication regarding items that your characters will use in the battle with Kyuss qualifies as helping. Allowing bracers of armor +8 to apply to touch attacks based on the descriptive text 'field of force' makes those items way too powerful for what they cost. Why would anyone in your party ever wear armor? I certainly wouldn't.

I'll drop the subject on that note.

As for Kyuss...definitely give him some minions if they creamed Dragotha that easily. Lashonna seems like a likely candidate from my most recent reread of the module. She'd want to be as close to her master as possible when she realizes that the her dangerous pawns are back in town.


treehouse916 wrote:

I think pointing out flaws in your rules adjudication regarding items that your characters will use in the battle with Kyuss qualifies as helping. Allowing bracers of armor +8 to apply to touch attacks based on the descriptive text 'field of force' makes those items way too powerful for what they cost. Why would anyone in your party ever wear armor? I certainly wouldn't.

Treehouse is correct. The bonus provided by bracers of armor is classified as an "armor" bonus not a "deflection" bonus, and thus would be disregarded by a touch attack.


Shroomy wrote:
Treehouse is correct. The bonus provided by bracers of armor is classified as an "armor" bonus not a "deflection" bonus, and thus would be disregarded by a touch attack.

Please reread the last paragraph of my last post a few times.


Well, I haven't fully read that far into the module, by people are offering you help, but pointing out how the rules really should be, if you used those suggestions then you would only need to tweak Kyuss alittle bit. However since your obviously not interested in learning how your misinterpreting the rules thus allowing your group to be more powerful then they really are then I only have a few suggestions.

I ran another Divine encounter in my last campaign, so my suggests are the following.

Double the Hit Points, up the Divine Rank alittie (mine was only Divine Rank 1 and had two divine abilities), give him Death Touch or alter it to Kyuss Touch, and anyone that dies from it becomes a Spawn. Add in some updated minion or two that is still running around to aid in the battle (allows the character to tie up loose ends as well). Maybe allow him to start the battle already out of his pillars, with the 'aids' of his minion (giving them the round of inactivity if you want, or not at all!).

Cheliax

office_ninja wrote:
Please reread the last paragraph of my last post a few times.

I've read your post several times now and even sent this thread to my worst powergaming PC. We both agree that your wrong on this one, your PC's touch AC is too high.

EDIT: To be a little more helpful I'll tell you about how I dealt with powergamers in my campaigns. Long ago I created a "Spirit of the game" rule which allows me to over-rule the rule-lawyers in my games. If they find a loop-hole in the rules which breaks the game then I simply say, "That is not in the spirit of the game." My players have never left me after many years and we all have lots of fun.


I'm a little torn here. On the one hand since I'm still learning how to be a decent DM (or even one at all I suppose) lengthy discussion of tactics, rules, and powergamer techniques are always fascinating and really helpful.

On the other hand, I've read a number of threads that follow in this path. I.e. someone has a question about what to do after their high level encounter and posts it here to reap the creativity of the folks on the boards. They then have to spend quite a while defending their rules adjudication after the fact. Eventually, if they're lucky, some folks respond to the question.

I feel as though office_ninja has been pretty patient with the whole process up to now. Suggesting that the bracers of armor are all wrong may or may not be technically correct. But either way, it really doesn't matter now. His game has just completed 11/12 modules. The characters are almost gods themselves. They've presumably been playing for quite some time IRL. No one's going to change the way things go now. "Sorry, Dragotha was too easy, so I'm retooling all of your armor bonuses and spell abilities so at least some of you get smacked around in the next battle." I guess I'm just suggesting that we give the guy a break on the retroactive rules-probe. At least as far as the Age of Worms campaign is concerned. There are always lessons to be learned for the next campaign...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My God, Office Ninja. High level encounters are extrememly difficult to run. I applaud you and your players. Sounds like you have your hands full with that group. I can't help thinking that it doesn't matter what you do or how many minions you give Kyuss. I picture him turning to his minions as the party approaches (to paraphrase Gandalf):

"Fly. These foes are beyond any of you. Fly, you fools!"


Eltanin wrote:

I'm a little torn here. On the one hand since I'm still learning how to be a decent DM (or even one at all I suppose) lengthy discussion of tactics, rules, and powergamer techniques are always fascinating and really helpful.

On the other hand, I've read a number of threads that follow in this path. I.e. someone has a question about what to do after their high level encounter and posts it here to reap the creativity of the folks on the boards. They then have to spend quite a while defending their rules adjudication after the fact. Eventually, if they're lucky, some folks respond to the question.

I feel as though office_ninja has been pretty patient with the whole process up to now. Suggesting that the bracers of armor are all wrong may or may not be technically correct. But either way, it really doesn't matter now. His game has just completed 11/12 modules. The characters are almost gods themselves. They've presumably been playing for quite some time IRL. No one's going to change the way things go now. "Sorry, Dragotha was too easy, so I'm retooling all of your armor bonuses and spell abilities so at least some of you get smacked around in the next battle." I guess I'm just suggesting that we give the guy a break on the retroactive rules-probe. At least as far as the Age of Worms campaign is concerned. There are always lessons to be learned for the next campaign...

It's never too late to change the way an item works, especially if you are just making it work like it's supposed to in the first place. As I said in my last post, fixing rules mistakes that make his PCs too powerful -is- a way to help make Kyuss more challenging.

Also, knowing the proper function of bracers of armor and rings of force shield will be very helpful for him in future campaigns.

There is such a thing as constructive criticism, you know. The original poster complained that his PCs' touch ACs were too high; I (and several others) pointed out why this was so. I fail to see what we're doing wrong. You can't be too selective when asking for help on a message board. Everyone has a different idea of what would be helpful. I -did- give him some non-mechanical advice, though.


Interesting rules discussion here. I will hold my opinions on that subject for some other post as that horse is good and dead. As to Kyuss himself, my players are nowhere near yet (having just completed HoHR) but I have played in an Epic campaign and run high level adventures in the past. I would recommend one of two directions to take:

The hard road: Look really hard at the PCs abilities and powers, carefully study their past fights and determine how to make Kyuss a challenge to them. I believe there have been able examples given above as to the nuts and bolts of such changes, but I would encourage you to make those changes based on the particular strengths and weaknesses of your party.

The Easy Road: It might sound like cheating, but from what I have read there are a couple of groups that have killed Kyuss in one-to-two round bonzas. Instead of allowing this, just make a rule in your head (never tell the players even later) that Kyuss will survive the first three or maybe even four rounds. As long as the players are dealing their heafty damage, make it so that no matter how much punishment they deal, he will survive at least the first three rounds. This makes it so that the challenge is less killing Kyuss, which I believe we all think they could do in a matter of seconds, and more how to survive going toe to toe with a GOD for three rounds!! This direction, while technically cheating from a classic Gygaxian perspective, is the better road in my opinion as it supports the heroic nature of the encounter. JUST BE SURE TO NEVER TELL YOU PLAYERS THAT YOU DID THIS AS IT WOULD UNDERMINE THE ENTIRE CAMPAIGN EXPERIENCE FOR THEM. If they ask questions later, like "hey we did 1,250hp worth of damage and it says here that he only had 800hp" Tell them you changed his stats to be more challenging as they were so Badass, not techincally a lie, and if they ask to see the stats, tell them you lost them in the great hard Drive Crash of '06 or something else like that...

Another quick comment on the Dragotha conflict. As far as I can tell , Dragotha knows that the PCs are gunning for him and so if they have a history of using "sonic boom" style attacks he really should have been buffed to soak those. The understanding I have is that he is fully prepared in terms of doing his homework on these upstart kingmakers and so would be well prepared for their regular tactics.

Anyhow good luck with Kyuss hope he kicks some wormy butt and is given a fighting chance to turn the world into his own little nematode playground.


I know it's a little too late for this, but what about Dragotha using antimagic shell?

Raising Kyuss's divine rank sounds like a good way to go.


Office Ninja, per the core rules, bracers of armor and ring of force shield do not help your AC versus normal touch attacks, only against incorporeal touch attacks. You can houserule otherwise, but as you saw in the fight with Dragotha, that makes your characters too powerful for the challenges as written for their level assuming core rules.

From the SRD:
Touch Attacks: Some attacks disregard armor, including shields and natural armor. In these cases, the attacker makes a touch attack roll (either ranged or melee). When you are the target of a touch attack, your AC doesn’t include any armor bonus, shield bonus, or natural armor bonus. All other modifiers, such as your size modifier, Dexterity modifier, and deflection bonus (if any) apply normally.

Also from the SRD:
Force Shield: An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC).
Bracers of Armor: These items appear to be wrist or arm guards. They surround the wearer with an invisible but tangible field of force, granting him an armor bonus of +1 to +8, just as though he were wearing armor.

Thus, since the ring and bracers grant a shield bonus and armor bonus respectively, and not a deflection bonus, touch attacks ignore them and they don't contribute to your touch AC.

On the other hand, also from the SRD:
The physical attacks of incorporeal creatures ignore material armor, even magic armor, unless it is made of force (such as mage armor or bracers of armor) or has the ghost touch ability.

Thus, the ring and bracers would contribute to your AC against incorporeal touch attacks, but that doesn't help you when trying to avoid rays.


treehouse916 wrote:
There is such a thing as constructive criticism, you know. The original poster complained that his PCs' touch ACs were too high; I (and several others) pointed out why this was so. I fail to see what we're doing wrong....

Wait, what? I never complained that it was too high. After someone asked, I said what it was. I was just saying the PCs are powergamers and how can I make Kyuss more challenging? Please don't infer things that weren't said.


Please, everyone stop with the bracers of armor and force shield rules nitpicking. Even if it does make sense to you that something that blocks insubstantial things doesn't block *solid* things, we're talking 10 points of armor class for *one* PC. Whether I'm right or wrong, it wouldn't have made much difference. Venk could've hit on an 18 or better! Oooh, I can feel the tide of battle turning already.

Now then, back to the *actual* point, thanks for those who offered suggestions and didn't get utterly mired in the one insignificant detail. I think I've got something to work with.


OK, Office Ninja--I don't think you should take it so personally that people are dissecting the encounter you posted up. Everyone makes mistakes at this level of play, especially if they haven't played at this level much. I'm sure I will, when I get there. Please keep in mind that, once you've put the question/scenario up on the boards that all of us are learning from the discussion. So even if you want to house-rule it so that your PCs get to keep their high armor classes, the rest of us are learning what to be careful of as far as stacking armor bonuses, touch ACs, etc. Let us get the benefit of the lessons learned from your experience, however you wish to apply them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Well said Peruhain. It has been very good and educational. At those lvls, it is very difficult to track all of those factors. Bottom line for Office Ninja is the group had fun. It does remind me why I got away from power-gaming as well. Thanks for creating a good discussion Office Ninja.


Hiya

Give Kyuss a "Mirror of Opposition" or two. Have it be covered by illusion or something...when PC's enter room, he uncovers it. POOF! Now the PC's all have to fight *themselves*. Nothing makes a powergamer wet their pants than suddenly realising that they've just killed themselves with their own "1337 skillz".


pming wrote:

Hiya

Give Kyuss a "Mirror of Opposition" or two. Have it be covered by illusion or something...when PC's enter room, he uncovers it. POOF! Now the PC's all have to fight *themselves*. Nothing makes a powergamer wet their pants than suddenly realising that they've just killed themselves with their own "1337 skillz".

Nice!

Cheliax

I'm getting into this conversation a bit late, but generally speaking, the easiest way to make an encounter more difficult is to increase the number of targets the PC's have to deal with. I am doing this off the top of my head, but have Lashona, Balakard's Sister (can't remember her name but she was the advanced Kyuss Knight in this scenario), a couple of the Broodfiends etc., cluster around Kyuss as he emerges so that the PC's have to deal with all those threats in addition to Kyuss. I don't remember the attack bonuses posessed by all those creatures, but I think it is also fair to assume that these particular creatures have had plenty of time to learn about the PC's and their abilities, especially Lashonna since she sent them to fight Dragotha. So it isn't "cheating" to assume some protective spells in the like that deprive the PC's of their favorite tactics and force them to think outside the box. The mirror of opposition idea is also a brilliant one. Nothing gets in the head of a power gamer like having to fight themselves.

One final note, if the party is having too easy a time of it, don't be afraid to take the gloves off. Have Kyuss gate in a premaid advanced Balor (to maybe 50 HD or something), give him a higher divine rank etc. Part of the point as DM, is to make challenges that threaten your players. If they are really high powered, they are going to like it a lot better if Kyuss is advanced sufficiently to at least make them work for it than if they cake walk through him. Up until they fight him, he is still yours to taylor as you see fit. Add 5 divine ranks and a few extra levels in True Necromaner. Add some Deathdrinker bodyguards (with added levels in Cleric or Blackguard).

There are lots of tools in your DM "toolchest" that don't require you to just "nerf" your players magic etc. that they have acquired over the entire campaign. Also, for what it's worth, I treat Bracer's of armor and such the same way as far as touch attacks, so I don't think your interpretation was so bad. Just realize that your group is well organized and knows their stuff, so adjust the final challenge accordingly. If it pushes your players to their limits, then all the better. They will enjoy that far more than walking through a villain who has been built up the whole campaign in a round or two.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.


Brent wrote:
One final note, if the party is having too easy a time of it, don't be afraid to take the gloves off. Have Kyuss gate in a premaid advanced Balor (to maybe 50 HD or something), give him a higher divine rank etc. Part of the point as DM, is to make challenges that threaten your players. If they are really high powered, they are going to like it a lot better if Kyuss is advanced sufficiently to at least make them work for it than if they cake walk through him. Up until they fight him, he is still yours to taylor as you see fit. Add 5 divine ranks and a few extra levels in True Necromaner. Add some Deathdrinker bodyguards (with added levels in Cleric or Blackguard).

I've already statted up Kyuss with a divine rank of 5 and 10 more levels of True Necromancer. Having all surviving broodfiends close in when Kyuss is threatened is a good idea too.

I think I'll add a few Blessed Angels in Lashonna's room, and maybe have her reveal a mirror of opposition to them.
Thanks again for the advice!

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