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SPOILERS - Players about to enter Spire in Alhaster - Problem

Age of Worms Adventure Path

Finally, after a campaign spanned over more than 3 years in real time, the players are about to enter the Spire in Alhaster and confront the last minions (incl. Lashonna) before facing the Wormgod himself.

Problem: they have rather cleverly negotiated all the encounters in Alhaster and succeded in them all (+ a few I added from suggestions in these boards, like a Loris Raknian returned as a Death Knight!). The negative energy nexus under the cemetary is destroyed and the despair of the population successfully countered.

Now, after a thorough review of the abilities of Kyuss and those of the characters... I am affraid that as a Divine Rank 0 Deity he may be too weak against them.
True, they may be as many as 6 in front of him. But most importantly, the Paladin/Grey Guard (currently lvl 13/8, may be 14/8 when reaching the top of the spire) crowned with Zosiel's circlet (mind blank, weapon considered epic, Charisma +6 etc) is a terrible foe for a "diminished Kyuss". With the feats at hand (4-5 smites available), his lay on hands ability (with a Charisma bonus around 13), a permanent mind blank, probably invisible and hasted among other spells he will benefit from (some of them increase further his damage)... he can deliver several hundred points of damage in a first round of attacks (around 450-500 from my estimation) and touching ACs in the 50-60 range (far above the 39 Kyuss is claiming).

In 2 rounds he could zap Kyuss by himself.

Of course I can "forcecage" or "maze" him, but the others are not weak either.

I am toying with the idea of leaving Kyuss as he is described at full power, considering that... without all what they did, he would just be immune to their weak mortal powers.

What do you think DMs? I am very interested in your advice or first-hand experience here.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Short answer: It's important that your players not end with a feeling of, "so.... that's all?" If you need to make adjustments to keep that from happening, then do so.

At the same time, though, you don't want them to feel cheated. If they did everything they were supposed to do to make the fight easier, then it SHOULD be easier... just not a cake walk.

Some other groups have posted that the last fight wasn't as much of a challenge for their groups as they felt it should have been for various reasons, so I suggest you look up some of those and take their comments into mind when you're making up your last fight. Oneof the sugestions I saw was to pack up some of the minions with Kyuss in the last fight. That way your players get a satisfying fight while still reaping the rewards of the other stuff they did to depower him.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Kyuss is alone against a party of 6 in your case - like most boss fights, this will limit him harshly. Especially if they get free kicks against him at the start of combat as described in the module.

Keeping him at full strength is a good idea. Players can feel cheated by things being too easy, and too hard - I am afraid that if Kyuss dies without ever so much as leaving the Monolith, that will make for a very anticlimactic resolution.

My own group never got that far, but I intended to keep Lashonna as an ace in the hole (if she had been already dead, some spectral version might work...). The girl can take some of the initial brunt of the parties assault away from the wormgood. Spice up with Broodfiends as desired, so the group can't put their entire weight against Kyuss at least in the first few rounds.

I would usually have put the players on a strict clock (3 days and nights from slaying Dragotha, fulfilling the final sign?) to limit their resources for the finale - but that chance seems to be passed in your case.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

My group is not there yet (we're in Prince of Redhand) but I foresee this problem as well. By destroying the Unlife Vortex alone Kyuss is practically crippled. At the very least, I'd ignore the two round delay it takes for Kyuss to emerge. Give the party the rest of the perks for weakening him, but to make it a decent battle you should just have Kyuss emerge right away.

I agree with the people who have suggested that you add more minions. It's a good way to ensure that the PCs have more than one target to focus their energy on.

Lashonna's a good minion to include in this encounter (assuming that the PCs haven't killed her already). You might also want to include a couple of the broodfiends, since they are seriously bad ass, and the concealment that their breath of Kyuss ability provides will make for some interesting effects in combat.

You might want to have Kyuss spell up a little bit too. After all, he has a whole host of defensive spells available to him. A couple of rounds of spelling up will make him a much more formidable opponent.

Finally, don't forget that Kyuss has the engulf ability. Seriously, one engulfed paladin and I think the rest of the party is going to think twice about moving up, if they aren't already panicked from his frightful presence.

I wouldn't add many more than that, though. Kyuss is still seriously bad ass, and you don't want to necessarily kill your party. You just want to put the fear of the Wormgod into them. :)

I would have Kyuss cast a wall of force so he can buff up. Righteous Might to increase his size is not a bad idea. Once he is finished buffing or the PC's get past the wall of force I would proceed to lay the smack down on the paladin. Don't hold back, at least at the beginning anyway. If you gain to much of an upperhand you can revert to not optimal tactics. Changing some of Kyuss's item creation feats out for feats that matter right now is not a bad idea either. Arcane Strike comes to mind. I dont remember if Kyuss has power attack, but if not give it to him. Arcane Strike should provide a big enough bonus to offset at least a -7 power attack.

I would also redo the spell list, and have my entire fight pre-planned. If you need to write notes due to things being complicated that is ok.
Celerity is your friend. Greater Dispel Magic or even MD to get rid of those pesky magic items, and then Celerity followed by whatever action you think will cause the most trouble should be next.

I don't know much about grey guards so my question is how does he plan on getting close enough to hit Kyuss without being engulfed?

I am not close to the end of the game, but I don't see how my group can win without going munchkin on me and/or me pulling punches. Right now I am trying to decide what is acceptable for me to do during the fight. I do not plan on giving them the victory. My group would be more upset for that, than if they lost.

PS: I do realize you group may play on a higher power level* than my group, and that may be the reason for you concern.

*They are better optimizers.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't have any experience with the Age of Worms but I did run the entire Savage Tide AP and faced the same thing when the party faced Demogorgon.

The first thing I did was try to set things up so the party wasn't at full strength when they faced Demogorgon. They were at full strength when they entered the last set of encounters but used some resources against some of his minions (if you can refer to CR 20 and up creatures as minions!).

The other thing I did was start with a full strength Demogorgon and weaken him as the rounds occurred. This way the party felt the full power of Demogorgon early on but also noticed him weakening due to their efforts in the earlier adventures.

I don't recall who suggested the idea on the STAP message board but it worked out well for my campaign.

I dont have the issue in front of me, and it's been 4 years since I was a player at that point, but all I can say is this: if Kyuss is capable of casting 9th level arcane spells....Time Stop. Buff self. Wall of Force/Forcecage party members. Blade Barrier. And so on. Dont forget, Wall of Force effects are invisible, unless a PC has blindsense or arcane sight running, they don't know its there. Sure, a spellcraft check might give you a good idea what happened, but not in the microsecond of a timestop effect.

Or, just give kyuss +1000 hp. Should help a bit. Drag the fight out. Kyuss's wormblast ability is freaking nasty (especially with it's effectively unlimited range relative to most battle spells).

Finally, if your party has access to that kind of Splatbookery, give it to Kyuss. Even if only swapping out some of his spell choices for Spell Compendium stuff. Kyuss was a god of Entropy and Decay, correct? Which means he should have control over such forces, correct? Which means he should only die when he reaces the limits of his own control over Entropy. Give him the top tier Wu Jen spell from Complete Arcane that basically makes you unkillable for your caster level in rounds, but you GUARANTEE die at the end. Give him nasty dispels, so he can wipe out party buffs. Plenty of options. Heck, give him Wraithstrike, and let him shred that Paladin back on the first round with that executioner's mace of his. And if he's facing a bunch of good foes, an evil version of bless weapon would be great for auto-confirming crits. Low level, easily quickened.

With a good time stop and using both quickened and regular spells, he could get off anywhere from 4 to 10 spells off. Thats plenty of time to cause problems for PCs. Don't forget he can cast Harm on himself to heal in 150hp chunks.

One charge over the party should engulf like half of them, which at his size and nastiness is like an insta-kill if you consider them trapped and unable to attack. I'll have to go back and look up the ability text in the module, but IIRC it affects an area and has a fairly high DC.

My group will have no chance at all against Kyuss unless they have the sphere of annihilation. Only by using that will they have any hope of stopping Kyuss.

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