Hey guys. I’m in a bit of a pickle and so I’ve come to ask the trusted DM’s in this forum for some ideas. Before the summer hiatus began, my PC had just completed the “Secrets of the Soul Pillars” chapter of the AP. They were happily asking the pillars questions and getting some good info when something terrible happened. The factotum/chameleon, whose intelligence is through the roof, rolled a natural 2 and failed the DC of the pillars. Thus all of his mental stats dropped and his skill based character was neutered for several weeks game time.
No big deal, right? I could just let the PCs have some time to recover before I throw the next adventure at them, right? Unfortunately my PCs did the chapters in a weird order, and completed the Soul Pillars only days before “Foundation of Flames” is set to occur. The PCs know they have a time limit as all the divinations indicate that the XIII are about begin the ritual. Therefore my PCs need to find a way to cure him fast and easy. What I’m looking for from you guys is a neat little adventure to set them on in order to remove the curse the pillars have placed upon him.
My PCs are pretty mighty, and have the ability to cruise the planes with ease if they wish to. They also have strong ties to powerful magical organizations and churches. So feel free to throw anything out there for them.
You could have them find a plane where time moves faster and travel there to recover. But maybe the inhabitants don't take kindly to strangers...
Wow fast replies guys, thanks. I've considered the idea of a plane with faster time before, but decided against it simply because it would allow my PCs too much time to create magical items. Since they've searched and failed to find that plane before, I can't have it suddenly appear now.
So is this anything a restoration/heal spell could help with?
The pillars act as Contact Other Plane and here is what the SRD says about the penalty of that spell:
Avoid Int/Cha Decrease: You must succeed on an Intelligence check against this DC to avoid a decrease in Intelligence and Charisma. If the check fails, your Intelligence and Charisma scores each fall to 8 for the stated duration, and you become unable to cast arcane spells. If you lose Intelligence and Charisma, the effect strikes as soon as the first question is asked, and no answer is received. (The entries in parentheses are for questions that pertain to the appropriate Elemental Plane.)
I'm pretty sure that doesn't allow for a heal or restoration to remove the effect.
I actually don't see any reason why restoration wouldn't work, since it can cure temporary and permanent ability damage. This intelligence and charisma decrease last for 1-5 weeks and then heals automatically, so you could simply have restoration speed up the process.
Remember that this simple solution also keeps your campaign (and timeline) on track, so consider that an extra motivation to allow it.
You need Greater restoration:
From the SRD:
Level: Clr 7
Components: V, S, XP
Casting Time: 10 minutes
This spell functions like lesser restoration, except that it dispels all negative levels afflicting the healed creature. This effect also reverses level drains by a force or creature, restoring the creature to the highest level it had previously attained. The drained levels are restored only if the time since the creature lost the level is no more than one week per caster level.
Greater restoration also dispels all magical effects penalizing the creature’s abilities, cures all temporary ability damage, and restores all points permanently drained from all ability scores. It also eliminates fatigue and exhaustion, and removes all forms of insanity, confusion, and similar mental effects. Greater restoration does not restore levels or Constitution points lost due to death.
Bold text is the key, it doesn't appear in Restoration or Heal and remember that's not ability drain or damage, it's exactly what the sentence says:"a magical effect penalizing an ability"
We also used Greater Restoration for the same reasons listed by Christian. I also (away from the table), gave the player a choice of negative effects of Soul Pillar use:
Touched by the Tomb: Cosmetic role-playing changes: hair greyed or streaked, always cold and clammy, etc.
Tainted by Undeath: harmed by cure, healed by inflict spells
Closer to the grave: you become middle-aged per PHB.
The player chose Closer to the Grave and now his gnome bard has streaks of white hair. He now looks like his father and his mom is pretty upset. Skie was forgiving, though, and they're still getting married should they live through Foundations of Flame.
Here's another option.
Perhaps the party needs to do a small side quest. Something where they project their minds into the Soul Pillars themselves. It could be a short four or five encounters but they have to navigate the alien landscape to recover their friend's brain. It could be short so the other player is back in the action quickly.
Something like that might be the kind of thing that stands out as a campaign highlight for the players.
Just a thought.
My party hit it last session. The wizard frigged for a bit with them but, leery of the danger, backed off before he went insane.