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I slew 700 in just over 5 minutes


Campaign Journals

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During a solo game tonight, my 10th-level transmuter found himself seeking help from a small mountain village in a larger quest for an artifact (the villagers were to point me in the right direction).

Sadly, my dealings with these kind mountaineers was cut short when a man flew into the chieftain's tent, bringing with him a wild story of a large war party of Thanoi (medium-sized walrus-men roughly on par with minotaurs) from a neighboring tribe. What was worse, they had brought with them minotaur mercenaries. They were 2 days out and were unmistakeably headed directly for the village.

The village had maybe 100 inhabitants (or maybe 100 combatants, the GM wasn't too clear on the matter).

In any case, the would-be scout reported no less than 500 Thanoi, 200 minotaurs, and a large number of war-trained polar bears.

Having heard of my past deeds (which, being CN, mostly consist of me turning into monsters and eating my enemies) the chieftan turned to me in desperation.

I calmly told him that "I will see what I can do."

After talking to several of the tribe's warriors, we determined that there would likely be a frontal assault on the village from the north. It was also suspected that they may also split there force and flank from the west in order to get behind the village, destroy the snow skiffs (sailboats that sail on snow) station there and thereby cut off all hope of escape. The south and west sides of the village were mountainous, with only a few small passages, so they didn't need to be defended as well.

The soldiers were already busy at work, digging 5 pits to the north of the village and placing spikes made of ice in them. They were also loading supplies into the snow skiffs should they need to escape quickly.

I pulled out my marvelous pigments (which I have a crap ton of), laid out a LOT OF PAPER on the ground, and painted more pits with POISON spikes. The pits went from just 5, to about 20 in little over two hours. I also staggered them, so the enemy would jump over one known pit and land in another.

Next, I painted them a single line wooden palisade with angled spikes pointing outwards (allowing the defenders to easily attack over it, while keeping the attackers at point's end) on the north side of the village in order to slow the main attack force.

For weeks now, my character has been carrying dozens of paper airplanes with heightened explosive runes cast on them. Typically I throw them at people. This time, however, I laid them out on the ground in between the spiked pits and the palisades. That way, the enemies would charge into the first line of pits. Then they would hop over the first line, falling into the second line of pits. By the time the survivors get past THAT, they are going to be cautiously looking at the ground for more pits--right at the explosive runes. Eat mine field you dirty warmongers!

Finally, I pulled 20 bear traps and 20 trespasser's boots from my bag of holding (and yes, I actually had that many; my character is the epitome of being prepared and has nearly everything in that bag, including such esoteric things as samples of brown mold, green slime, and shrieker mushrooms) and buried them in the snow on the east side of the village where we expected to be flanked.

Exhausted from ~3 hours of work, my transmuter rested for 8 hours while the villagers made further preparations to hold off the invaders long enough for their families to make their escape into the mountain passes.

I came to, prepared a completely unusual (for me) set of spells designed for mass warfare, did some mathematical calculations with my 28 intelligence to determine how close the enemy would be to the village if "they were really booking it."

At 2 a.m. in the dead of night I cast teleport and arrived where I suspected the army to be. I also had overland flight cast and popped into being a literal mile in the air (that way, if I arrived off target, I might see the army off in the distance and fly over to meet them--that, and I wouldn't be totally surrounded).

I saw naught but a single torchlight 2 miles off in the distance. Well...my calculations were CLOSE. :P

I flew over to investigate, lowering my altitude to about 800 feet (my maximum spell range). There was a lone torch bearer, a minotaur, trudging through the snow as fast as his hooves could carry him.

Though I couldn't make it out from 800 feet high, I could easily tell there was a great deal of movement behind him. I had found them: an entire army, being lead through the snow by a single guiding light.

From 800 feet up--far too high for them to hear my normal voice over their own chatter and march chants--I cast a long series of buffs

The buff list, in no particular order:


  • darkvision
  • mage armor
  • shield
  • resist energy (fire)
  • resist energy (cold)
  • stoneskin
  • greater invisibility
  • false life
  • haste

I'm sure there were others, but that's all I can recall. Most were cast from scrolls I had been saving up.

My GM described a series of gigantic sleds each being pulled by two polar bears. At the front of each sled was a thanoi driver, a handful of minotaurs, and about a half dozen or so thanoi soldiers in the back.

My GM thought himself clever. The sleds were in a 10x10 formation, spaced far enough apart that I would never hit more than 2 with my fireballs and black tentacle spells. Sly dog.

That would not do. I had to come up with a way to really bloody their nose. Hurt their morale enough that they may not want to continue their attack on the small human village mere hours away.

What did I do you ask? I cast pyrotechnics on the torchbearer. Suddenly, the only light source was snuffed out and nearly 200 thanoi, barbarians, and polar bears went completely blind. The rest were plunged into darkness. Only the minotaurs have darkvision.

My goal was to get the front row of sleds to stop in confusion, and possibly have the 2nd and 3rd rows crash into them (or slow to a stop near them to see what was going on). If it worked, HOPEFULLY it would get them to bunch together in a tighter area. But what if the polar bears or their driver's panicked and they instead scatter rather than bunch up?

Luckily, I have 28 intelligence. I don't rely on HOPE.

I next cast wall of ice, creating a 200-foot long barrier in front of the center of the army (separating the poor confused, blind torchbearer on the other side from his comrades).

As I predicted, many of the polar bears bolted forward in their blind panic (pun intended), slamming into my wall. Others reared backwards only to have the blinded sled drivers behind them crash into them. Others still further back, who were not so disabled from the blinding light, moved closer to figure out what the bright flash was and what all the commotion was about.

I then let loose with four black tentacles spells one after another at the bunched up masses. Due to the blindness and surrounding darkness, many of them couldn't even see the tentacles that were choking the life out of them or their fellows at arms, nor the wall of ice that had blocked the center of the army's advance.

Of the 200 or so people caught in the kill zone ~150 perished outright, ~40 got away with severe injuries, and ~10 were lucky enough to get away completely unscathed.

Once the screams of their dying brethren rang through the army chorus like a chainsaw through a parakeet, the army was quick to get more torches lit. What the found was horror: 1/5 of their army had been decimated. Many more died as they escaped the tentacles, only to stumble in the darkness into another tentacle area nearby. Others perished because they charged into the tentacles in order to try and save their comrades, themselves becoming grappled.

There was such chaos and confusion, the center of the army (just beyond the carnage) broke out into a massive and deadly brawl with cries of "the thanoi have betrayed us" and "the minotaurs are trying to kill us!" I flew over the brawl (which quickly grew to involve no less than 100 participants).

I flew across the army, using more scrolls to stay hasted and invisible, and searched for tightly packed groups of enemies for my 4 fireballs (as I was now out of tentacle spells). At this point many of the thanoi and minotaurs on the outskirts of the army were heading towards the brawl to investigate. Half of them actively worked in an organized fashion to break up the brawl. The other half heard the shouts of betrayal and joined in. I was seriously considering targeting the former groups in order to let them go on killing each other a little longer.

After a few moments consideration, however, I noticed something off in the distance: some stopped sleds in the rear of the army which looked completely unlike the others. Upon closer inspection, 5 of them were supply sleds (carrying only one driver and a crap ton of food, winter clothing, extra weapons and armor, and other valuable supplies for an army on the move) whereas 5 more were each carrying a siege weapon ideal for smashing small village huts, palisades, and snow skiffs to splinters from long range.

Kill dozens more men trying to break up the brawl? Or go for the supply line and weaken morale? It was a tough decision. The barrels of oil and pitch on some of the supply wagons made the decision a bit easier though.

I fireballed one of the siege engines, which exploded in dramatic fashion. Therein lies my first, and last, mistake of this engagement.

Unlike black tentacles growing out a black night, a fireball is FAR LESS discreet.

The once motionless supply wagons scattered every which way, making it impossible for me to catch more than one at a time. Nevertheless, I knew even one of those weapons would allow their forces to easily breach the village's meager defenses.

Fireball 2, 3, and 4 went off, destroying 3 more supply sleds in a blaze of fiery glory. However, one remained, and I was now out of area effect spells.

What to do? What to do!? I settled on the subtle but effective shatter spell. Snapped the remaining catapult's trunk like a twig.

Still, there were five more sleds out there carrying food and other supplies valuable to an army's morale. After a quick scan of the battlefield, I found them. Though I was out of area effect spells, I was smart enough to take the Preferred Spell (lightning bolt) feat, which allows me to spontaneously cast lightning bolt. As luck would have it I had a dispel magic spell and a lesser globe of invulnerability spell left (to counter any enemy spellcasters I might encounter). Since no spellcasters had made an appearance (other than my magnificent self), I dropped them, caught three supply sleds in one heightened lightning bolt, and the remaining two in the other (non-heightened) lightning bolt. The flaming supply sleds created yet another barrier of sorts at the rear of the army, trapping them between a wall of fire and a wall of ice with nothing but death and carnage in between.

Take that you fat furries!

Unfortunately, the chaos of the brawl was now beginning to subside and the army was starting to get disturbingly organized again. I flew invisibly over their remains, looking for targets of opportunity.

I spotted two in the form of obvious military commanders. I maneuvered towards the closest one and, getting down into the thick of the crowd, blasted him with magic missile. Normally, one might suspect a flying invisible spellcaster when you get popped by a spell out of nowhere, but I'm smarter than that. Confusion is my ally. As far as the minotaur captain was concerned, the missiles came from somewhere in the crowd. The fact that I would change my position at an unbelievable speed (40 feet fly + 30 feet haste) each round before blasting him, also made it appear as there were multiple assailants in the crowd.

Four magic missiles later, and wholly exhausted of my attack spells, the tough bastard was still alive! Still looking around in confusion, calling out to subordinates to "find that weaselly thanoi bastard attacking from within the crowd" the commander had no chance when I then popped him in the face with a quartet of acid vials. That did it. He went down and I chopped off his head with my axe for good measure.

My invisibility spell was rapidly running out and the brawl had almost ended. Only 4 alchemist fires left, and so many survivors.

28 intelligence? I could do more. I NEED to do more.

I cast alter self, making myself look like the minotaur leader (we're in Dragonlance, so they are medium humanoids, but just as tough as the real thing). I picked up his highly unique looking magical greataxe to add to the disguise.

"What if they find the real body?" asked my GM.

"What 'real' body? His face is melted off and his body blasted apart. I also have his axe." Just to be safe, I kicked some snow over the corpse.

I then ran towards the 50 remaining minotaurs, crying out in their own tongue (I speak every regional dialect in the campaign setting thanks to the linguistics skill) a powerful rallying war cry. I also cursed the thanoi for their treacherous natures and assured my "brothers" that they would never be forgiven for the blood spilled this day. Bolstered at seeing their leader alive and well, they resumed the fight. They fought their way out of being surrounded by embittered thanoi, formed a tactical line, and charged with horn and axe!

I took the time to burn four more sleds and their occupants with my last flasks of alchemist's fire. I also ordered the minotaurs to release the surviving polar bears (many of which were already in a blood frenzy) and turn them against the thanoi (who unlike these minotaurs possessed no ranks in handle animal).

Within minutes, the minotaurs were all dead, having been overwhelmed by the slightly weaker thanoi. They put up a good fight, however, slaying twice their number. I had been captured (surrounded by exhausted and confused thanoi who, except for being grateful for their lives, were absolutely miserable at this strange turn of events) with several spears at my throat. They were forced to kill or drive off the 100 or so enraged polar bears as well, which cost them the lives of another good 150 thanoi.

In just under 10 minutes, I had reduced an army of approximately 900 (500 thanoi, 200 minotaurs, 200 polar bears) to only 200 (all thanoi). I had also immobilized their sleds, destroyed their cavalry, burned their siege engines, annihilated their supply train, killed one of their two leaders, sowed massive confusion and distrust, and UTTERLY OBLITERATED their morale.

I was smiling when I teleported away from under their spears (using my once per day arcane bond ability).

I appeared back at the small village and announced my return. I was greeted by incredulous stares and the question "you already left?"

Much surprised to see that I had returned in so short of time, a young boy stammered out another two questions: "How did it go? Did you bloody their nose?"

One of the elders feinted when he heard of all that I had accomplished IN LESS THAN TEN MINUTES. Several more villagers found religion.

Not only had I single-handedly decimated an entire army of their enemies, I bought them an extra day to prepare their defenses further should the survivors be absolutely insane enough to WALK the rest of the way in the FREEZING COLD while HALF STARVED. Always the cautious and prepared one, I slept in a rope trick and readied more war spells for the coming morning. After all, the relations with the neighboring tribes, although strained over the years, had never been a cause for war. Something was pushing that warband towards this village. Of that I'm sure.

While I napped and prepared for the worst, my fellow party members arrived in the village. It seems that, though we were separated by circumstance before, they had managed to get ahead of me and recover the artifact on their own.

"Good job guys. Real good. Wait till you hear what I did today." :D

EDIT:
Both the thanoi and the minotaurs were CR 4 each. The polar bears were CR 5. I dunno the CR of the leaders, but they had class levels and magical gear to be sure.

I would have gained 5 levels on the slow XP track, or 7 levels on the fast XP track. Sadly, my GM doesn't use XP in this particular campaign. :(

The havoc and destruction I caused the enemy in tonight's game would have been totally expected of a 15th-level character, but to have done it all with a 10th-level character is just amazing to me.

Now I just need my GM to bring on that ancient red dragon that's been hunting us down to avenge the death of it's slain dragon rider master. I'm ready for her now.

Grand Lodge

Nothing beats a prepared a prepared caster with mayhem on his mind.

Me? I was reading the scenario and was just thinking how cool would be a couple of confusion spells as well. Love the use of your Alter Self.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can just imagine the look on the torch-bearer's face when he FINALLY makes his way around the wall of ice several minutes later only to find that his army has been COMPLETELY DECIMATED...

...and the sudden realization that he is the last surviving minotaur.

Star Voter 2013

Cool!


Kudos to you.

Shame on the moron commanders.

:p


The only thing I find absurd is that you used darkness as an advantage against them while using darkvision to plan superior tactics (from 800ft in the air) and place spells and make perception checks on things "far in the distance"... when the darkvision spell gives you darkvision with a range of 60 feet.

Other than that, good job. Well played.


Ravingdork wrote:

I can just imagine the look on the torch-bearer's face when he FINALLY makes his way around the wall of ice several minutes later only to find that his army has been COMPLETELY DECIMATED...

...and the sudden realization that he is the last surviving minotaur.

It must have been a one on one session with your GM. I can't imagine other players sitting around doing nothing while you got to have all the fun.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

In fairness the op's opening line is 'During a solo game.'


The Otyugh wrote:

In fairness the op's opening line is 'During a solo game.'

Doh! Missed that bit. Well solo adventuring sounds alot more fun than I would have imagined.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for the story RD :) Very entertaining and sounds like a lot of fun! :)

Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's cool :)

Liberty's Edge

Very neat story.


What a great story!

I would argue this would be a great guide for people like me who are struggling playing a wizard for the first time. Not only was it fun to read but your story offered TREMENDOUS insight into playing a wizard.

Would you mind posting your character sheet?

Liberty's Edge

*applause*
Now that's using your head.
And people say evocation is useless!


Lyrax wrote:

*applause*

Now that's using your head.
And people say evocation is useless!

It was plenty useful, in causing confusion and terror! But the fireballs really turned things towards the less controllable. But I take it he was out of options by then!


c873788 wrote:
The Otyugh wrote:

In fairness the op's opening line is 'During a solo game.'

Doh! Missed that bit. Well solo adventuring sounds alot more fun than I would have imagined.

Only if you are a high level Wizard and control reality.


This is a great example of how a magic using character can wreak havoc on non-magic using armies.

Now, why in a fantasy world where shamans and sorcerers and oracles and other spontaneous magical using characters arise randomly across the many intelligent species in the world, there wasn't a single magic using character in a 900 "person" army is rather hard for me to understand, and how a 900 person army had enough light to move freely across a snow bound terrain following a single torch hundreds of feet away (meaning well out of range of the torch supplying the army with light to see by) but as soon as the torch went out were plunged into absolute chaos causing darkness is beyond me, but RD worked with what he was given.

Scarab Sages

/slow clap

Sovereign Court

1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.


Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.

Seriously, whose bright idea was that? How were the polar bears pulling the sleds?

Sure, an army of minotaurs wouldn't need a torch, but what the hell is everyone else doing?
Either they need a torch or they have low-light or better and can see in the moonlight and don't need any torches. This scenario doesn't make sense.


Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.

I would have been ok with it if the polar bears had darkvision. Dem sleds woulda been jooseless.


Cartigan wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.

Seriously, whose bright idea was that? How were the polar bears pulling the sleds?

Sure, an army of minotaurs wouldn't need a torch, but what the hell is everyone else doing?
Either they need a torch or they have low-light or better and can see in the moonlight and don't need any torches. This scenario doesn't make sense.

Ah, well polar bears should have low-light vision. I dunno, it could work.

The torch would just act as a focal point for all the bear teamsters to follow.

Sovereign Court

And if a gust of wind (read- not the spell) had blown out the torch? They had no contingency plan for that? Was this whole thing planned by a 5 int, 7 wisdom minotaur?

Liberty's Edge

Gee, it's almost as though the whole thing was planned by a human who has never led an army before, and never moved a caravan at night.

C'mon guys, give RD's DM a break.


Epic fail raid is true. Why didn't they have any caster with that could cast a light cantrip. OR even a 75gp ioun torch. Also there could be animal harnesses attached to the polar bears.

Silver Crusade

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The REAL question is: why the hell did nobody in that army take the Antagonize feat? That would make this story look something like this:

Wizard, flying above the army: "Luckily, I have 28 intelligence. I don't rely on HOPE."
Random Minotaur: YO MOMMA!
Wizard: GHRZZZBURGLE! *draws his dagger* PERISH, INFIDEL!
Minotaurs: JOY!


Lyrax wrote:

Gee, it's almost as though the whole thing was planned by a human who has never led an army before, and never moved a caravan at night.

C'mon guys, give RD's DM a break.

As I said, RD worked with what he was given.

Had RD tried the same thing in a campaign I was running, things would have gone differently.

Not necessarily "better" or "worse" but differently. There would have been casters in the army. They would have had more light. Unless the sky is completely overcast, there would have been light to see by (I am a stargazer, I am outside at night on moonless nights all the time. It is amazing how much a NORMAL HUMAN can see by starlight, much less monsters with low light vision ability). There would not have been immediate and random chaos at the first minor snag in the plan.

Etc. etc...

But that's because I play my NPCs as if they have actual brains, can plan activities, and don't blunder randomly into perfect targets for mass damage spells.

I have been a player in campaigns with GMs who manage armies in similar ways to what RD describes and have wreaked similar havoc using some simple and obvious spells.

But I'm not that kind of GM. One of the first things RD would have encountered in his attempt to spy on any army in any of my campaigns would have been the aerial support the army had. His first clue might well have been the "hold person" spell cast on him as he surveyed the army below.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lyrax wrote:

*applause*

Now that's using your head.
And people say evocation is useless!

Well I dont think anyone says it's useless, its just not as good as other things, like the black tentacles for instance. That said, when preping for war, seems to me to be a good idea to have some blasty spells around, especially if your allies are off elsewhere. Buffing the fighter is always better then blowing stuff up yourself, but if the fighter isn't there, you need to make do.

That said, this seemed like a remarkably detailed encounter set up for a wizard to be awesome in. Hope your dm had as much fun as you clearly did as you picked apart his army. Good show and good story. Thanks for posting RD.

Scarab Sages

Gorbacz wrote:

The REAL question is: why the hell did nobody in that army take the Antagonize feat? That would make this story look something like this:

Wizard, flying above the army: "Luckily, I have 28 intelligence. I don't rely on HOPE."
Random Minotaur: YO MOMMA!
Wizard: GHRZZZBURGLE! *draws his dagger* PERISH, INFIDEL!
Minotaurs: JOY!

EPIC WIN/FAIL

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Nice story and reasonable enough for my tastes. These are Minos and other furry imbeciles, not tactical geniusses.

However, I was under the impression that the speed boost of Haste did not stack with the flying speed gained from a Flight spell.


I would be interested in the general opinion of the ability to use "marvelous pigments" to create pits. I have no problem with the pigments creating spikes and palisades, but "making" a pit is actually removing real world material, not creating it. My initial impression is that I would not allow the pigments to remove real world objects. Otherwise it would seem that marvelous pigments could tunnel through any material in an instant.

But what do other people think?

Liberty's Edge

Perhaps not, but you could definitely dig pits and put poison spikes in them.

Or you could make a bunch of poisoned tire spikes at a minotaur-shin height.


Hmmm... poison...

So I could use "marvelous pigments" to paint up vials of the most expensive and deadly poison to the tune of 1,000 cubic feet of it?

Looks like I'm going into the poison manufacturing business folks...

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
MicMan wrote:

Nice story and reasonable enough for my tastes. These are Minos and other furry imbeciles, not tactical geniusses.

Minotaur torchbearer: CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

Scarab Sages

brassbaboon wrote:

I would be interested in the general opinion of the ability to use "marvelous pigments" to create pits. I have no problem with the pigments creating spikes and palisades, but "making" a pit is actually removing real world material, not creating it. My initial impression is that I would not allow the pigments to remove real world objects. Otherwise it would seem that marvelous pigments could tunnel through any material in an instant.

But what do other people think?

To me, it seems rather iconic that you would be able to paint a door on a wall and have it work, rather like Wile E Coyote in roadrunner cartoons. I would definitely allow the pits if my player's chose to paint them, although if they wanted specifics about things like that (say a particular depth) I would make them take at least a rank in painting. After all, there are sidewalk painters today that can make it look like there is a grand canyon in the middle of a walkway.

This was an excellent story about a wizard who knew his fighting ground, was able to prepare for several days in advance, is prepared and well-stocked with consumables, and has a fairly crafty tactical bent.

Also, several people pointed out flaws in the GMs plans that allowed RD to do all that he did, and mentioned safeguards they would have put in place. I would offer that if you were RD's GM, he would be familiar enough with you to have known your style and likely would have countered many of them instead. Also remember that his GM was likely attempting to offer a challenge for him solo, without slaughtering him or rendering his efforts completely useless. I am sure that if this army were meant for his entire party to counter, the encounter would have been run differenly, with spellcasters, etc.

I know my own player's take advantage of my enemy leader's typical preparedness, often being able to sow confusion that wouldn't be possible with less planning by the enemies. Sometimes more is less...


If he's the last minotaur...
Hide yo kids. Hide you wife.


See this is yet another glaring reason why players should be banned from this game!!

Star Voter 2013

As for the lack of spell casters, it depends on what era of dragonlance he's playing it. The anti-caster bias is pretty high in some eras and some cultures.


Gorbacz wrote:

The REAL question is: why the hell did nobody in that army take the Antagonize feat? That would make this story look something like this:

Wizard, flying above the army: "Luckily, I have 28 intelligence. I don't rely on HOPE."
Random Minotaur: YO MOMMA!
Wizard: GHRZZZBURGLE! *draws his dagger* PERISH, INFIDEL!
Minotaurs: JOY!

This made me laugh out loud. Thanks, Gorbacz!

Silver Crusade

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.

Actually using a small light source as a guiding light for large armies is an actual tactic used by ancient armies. There is moon light and such to help the individual also. but any army worth its salt knows how to march information, and in formation all they need is a single light to guide their general direction. This really only works in open space though.

Sovereign Court

Triga wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.
Actually using a small light source as a guiding light for large armies is an actual tactic used by ancient armies. There is moon light and such to help the individual also. but any army worth its salt knows how to march information, and in formation all they need is a single light to guide their general direction. This really only works in open space though.

I'm referring more to the fact that they flailed around and didn't appear to have any other source of light on them, not even a spare torch...


Triga wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.
Actually using a small light source as a guiding light for large armies is an actual tactic used by ancient armies. There is moon light and such to help the individual also. but any army worth its salt knows how to march information, and in formation all they need is a single light to guide their general direction. This really only works in open space though.

Hebrews used this according to Exodus. Of course their light was a pillar of fire and apparently not easily dispelled. Seriously though, low training armies are really brittle like this---they tend to make all kinds of mistakes. That multiracial army was hardly an elite force, certainly not up to the standards of even the weakest NATO partners' armies. They also didn't trust each other, which is a common thread in ancients battles involving coalitions. You can mine a LOT of good gaming information out of the old testament. Next time though, you NEED to use the jawbone of an ass.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That was an awesome tale of preparedness and resourcefulness (my players are the worst at preparing anything, but I'd expect no less from RD).

However, when I saw that "1/5 of their army had been decimated" I couldn't help but think, "So only 1/50th of them were dead?"

Ah, well. Thanks again, RD.


RicoTheBold wrote:
That was an awesome tale of preparedness and resourcefulness (my players are the worst at preparing anything,

You should see our group. We have an 8th level Bard, 10th level Druid, 10th level Cleric, 10th level Sorcerer. I'm a Fighter. Only the Cleric really understands the game. The other players have no idea and the Cleric doesn't care enough to use any extra spells to help anyone. Before we go into a fight, they all sit around and do nothing to prepare (except the Druid who uses all her buffs on herself after we wrote them on a card for her). And they wait for me to do something. I mean, what the hell am I going to do? I have a chain attached to a stick. I can hit them with it. We are supposed to be preparing so I can do that. But do they do anything? No.


Fun story, RD. Make sure to thank your GM for providing you with the right kind of snenarkio/encounter to be awesome.

It would be easy to pick things apart post mortem and find flaws, but I'm not going to do that.

Sounds like you had a ball and have a gaming story to tell for years, and assuming your GM had fun too, well done all around.


Cartigan wrote:
RicoTheBold wrote:
That was an awesome tale of preparedness and resourcefulness (my players are the worst at preparing anything,
You should see our group. We have an 8th level Bard, 10th level Druid, 10th level Cleric, 10th level Sorcerer. I'm a Fighter. Only the Cleric really understands the game. The other players have no idea and the Cleric doesn't care enough to use any extra spells to help anyone. Before we go into a fight, they all sit around and do nothing to prepare (except the Druid who uses all her buffs on herself after we wrote them on a card for her). And they wait for me to do something. I mean, what the hell am I going to do? I have a chain attached to a stick. I can hit them with it. We are supposed to be preparing so I can do that. But do they do anything? No.

Sounds like you need to take charge and become a dictatorial party leader snapping out orders. "Cleric, cast that prayer spell!", "Wizard, haste us!", "Bard, start playing that ukulele!", "Druid, change shape and start buffing your tiger!". Of course, harder to take that natural leader's role (which is traditional for fighters in D&D history) if you stat dumped your Charisma and Intelligence.

I feel your pain, though. I always wince when the least experienced and skilled players want to be spellcasters with tons of options. It does provide balance in the game, though, for those who perceive that casters are inherently more powerful. Reverse the situation and have the best player play a caster and the others non-casters, and you might end up with a star and supporting cast situation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's my character sheet as it stood BEFORE the game started.

The game covered more than just what I wrote in the OP. Among other things, I sold and bought a lot of equipment before heading north.

You will probably notice that I am WAY over equipped. A byproduct of the routine deaths of fellow PCs.

Ice Titan wrote:

The only thing I find absurd is that you used darkness as an advantage against them while using darkvision to plan superior tactics (from 800ft in the air) and place spells and make perception checks on things "far in the distance"... when the darkvision spell gives you darkvision with a range of 60 feet.

Other than that, good job. Well played.

The only things I could tell from 800 feet was (1) there is a torchbearer and (2) the difference between non-moving terrain and moving terrain. I didn't actually see the army. I only surmised that, that was what it was.

Then I buffed up (gaining darkvision) and THEN flew around at ~60 feet to get an idea of what I was dealing with.

There were no "GM freebies" in this that I am aware of. Any freebies I may have received likely came from bad module design.

Also, I didn't hover in the air and cast spells at things beyond my darkvision each round while wasting my move actions. I was using those move actions to move from place to place (70 ft. fly speed) and place the spells where they would be most effective. I was only at 800 feet when I was buffing. Much of the rest of the time I was MUCH closer (even stood in the middle of it when casting magic missiles, even fought as a minotaur in melee--thank goodness for a 20 Constitution, favored class hit points, and false life!).

brassbaboon wrote:
This is a great example of how a magic using character can wreak havoc on non-magic using armies.

Absolutely right. I myself was surprised as I was expecting one or two enemy spellcasters (and had prepared for them) to make an appearance.

In the end, their being wholly unable to see me simply ruined them. Not once during that entire encounter did they see a red-robed wizard among them.

brassbaboon wrote:
Now, why in a fantasy world where shamans and sorcerers and oracles and other spontaneous magical using characters arise randomly across the many intelligent species in the world, there wasn't a single magic using character in a 900 "person" army is rather hard for me to understand, and how a 900 person army had enough light to move freely across a snow bound terrain following a single torch hundreds of feet away (meaning well out of range of the torch supplying the army with light to see by) but as soon as the torch went out were plunged into absolute chaos causing darkness is beyond me, but RD worked with what he was given.

It's Dragonlance. The only (lawful) wizards are from the Towers of High Sorcery (renegades are relentlessly hunted down and recruited or killed). Spontaneous casters such as sorcerers don't exist at all at this point in the Dragonlance timeline. The gods fled the mortal world only to recently return (a little known fact only recently discovered by us PCs). In other words, there literally are no divine casters in this setting unless our party first tells people about the gods' return. When I said several villagers found religion, I really meant it. Their powerless shaman became the equivalent of a 10th-level cleric after I spoke with him for a while on the gods' return and he left me to "pray on it."

He later augmented his small village with several walls of stone. :D

Spellcasters are rare. Dragons are common. It's one of the reasons we've lost ~14 PCs up to this point (my wizard is literally the only ORIGINAL character left from the very beginning).

Stack on the isolated nature of this mountain village (we are FAR to the north) with the rarity of spellcasters, and it is no surprise they are so primitive and unaware of the gods' return.

Also, the GM is running a module, so I can only assume that the lack of spellcasters in the army is the fault of the module designers.

As for the army being plunged into chaost due to the darkness. That's not really true. The chaos and panic started not because of the darkness, but because of the screams and cries that rang up.

The confusion started slow with a bright flash of light ("what was that?" and "my eyes!"), but began to gain tempo when the tentacles snuck into their midst and the cries of the dying rang out.

brassbaboon wrote:

Hmmm... poison...

So I could use "marvelous pigments" to paint up vials of the most expensive and deadly poison to the tune of 1,000 cubic feet of it?

Looks like I'm going into the poison manufacturing business folks...

Marvelous pigments have additional limitations besides space. You are also limited to painting 2,000gp of material, and you cannot create magical items, intrinsically valuable items (gold, diamonds, adamantine), but are useful for creating almost anything else.

I've fed whole armies of refugees with the stuff. You can fit a CRAP TON of food in a 10x10x10 foot cube without even coming close to the 2,000gp limit, for example.

Also, I DO have ranks in craft (painting). :D

Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Triga wrote:
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
1 torch in a whole army travelling by night= epic fail.
Actually using a small light source as a guiding light for large armies is an actual tactic used by ancient armies. There is moon light and such to help the individual also. but any army worth its salt knows how to march information, and in formation all they need is a single light to guide their general direction. This really only works in open space though.
I'm referring more to the fact that they flailed around and didn't appear to have any other source of light on them, not even a spare torch...

Of, but they did. However, it takes several rounds to get out a lot of flint and steel, a few hundred torches, pass them around where needed, and get them all lit. Considering that they did it in 2-5 rounds, I'd say they were VERY quick organized and organized about it (that is, once the scrams rang out).

But why didn't theylight them right away (after the flash) rather than stand and wait for screams?

It's just that they were trying to move stealthily and fast. They were hesitant to light mroe torches because it might give their presence away, being so close to the village. Unbeknownst to the villagers (who predicted their arrival in 2 days) they were going to arrive only hours after my attack (had I not attacked that is), which would have meant it would have occurred at dawn after only one day. A surprise attack a day early against an inferior force might have kept them from losing a single man (if I hadn't arrived that is). Really, the only thing that saved the villagers was that one ranger who managed to spot them (perhaps when the army was much farther out and not being so discreet) and warned everyone. Even had I not shown, that would have allowed them to pack their snow skiffs and flea with their families. My wizard isn't the true hero here, which is a shame, because nobody's going to remember the would-be scout after my achievement.

Hard to surprise your enemy when they see you coming up the hill with a thousand torches and light sources. You'll be noticed from miles away in an open tundra like they were in (mostly snowy desert tundra with the target village at the base of a mountain).

A single torch bearer, however, COULD lead an entire army and still be mistaken for a single traveler at best, or a lone enemy scout at worst by far off observers.

Brian Bachman wrote:

Fun story, RD. Make sure to thank your GM for providing you with the right kind of snenarkio/encounter to be awesome.

It would be easy to pick things apart post mortem and find flaws, but I'm not going to do that.

Sounds like you had a ball and have a gaming story to tell for years, and assuming your GM had fun too, well done all around.

Thanks! It really was a blast!

I too, hope this thread doesn't degenerate into me defending our group's playstyle. I find that those who try to pick apart my stories often do so because they don't have fun games like mine and are secretly envious.


Ravingdork wrote:

I too, hope this thread doesn't degenerate into me defending our group's playstyle. I find that those who try to pick apart my stories often do so because they don't have fun games like mine and are secretly envious.

Now, RD, be fair. You frequently start threads asking for people's opinions on something that happened in your game. You shouldn't then criticize them for giving opinions, even if some of those opinions might be a little aggressive and offensive. In fact, fairly often you start a thread questioning a decision made by your GM. It's good to hear that despite all those posts you feel you are in a fun game.

In this thread, you aren't asking for opinions. You're just sharing a fun gaming story. So, we all should respect that and not offer opinions that aren't requested.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MicMan wrote:

Nice story and reasonable enough for my tastes. These are Minos and other furry imbeciles, not tactical geniusses.

However, I was under the impression that the speed boost of Haste did not stack with the flying speed gained from a Flight spell.

Dragonlance, from what I recall they are LN , have human level intelligence and an empire.

Ravindork did a good job with what I had, but if I had been the GM it would have been different.

Beside having some spellcaster in the army [that was explained by RD, thanks], there is a lot of things that leave me dubious.

A army with enough discipline to march by night going to pieces because the only light is extinguished?

Shatter by a 10th level caster breaking a siege engine main trunk? I think it will weight more than 100 pounds.

The different army groups starting an internecine war while the black tentacles are killing them (as soon as they have lighted the torches they became visible)?

RD taking the form of the chieftain with Alter self? Sorry, you the form of a generic exemplar of the race, and keep your gear. A minotaur with a wizard red robe is not a war chieftain with an armor.

RD did a great job and there is no doubt that he would have weakened the army and slowed them down with little risk for himself, but the GM was way too lenient (or there is something going behind the scenes as RD suggest and the whole army was mentally influenced and so more susceptible to being confused by RD attack).

Edit:

Ravingdork wrote:
There were no "GM freebies" in this that I am aware of. Any freebies I may have received likely came from bad module design.

That explain a lot.

And the lack of familiarity with spellcasting explain the rest.


RD, ah, so spell casters are almost unheard of by design in this setting. Interesting. Such a setting should make a level 10 wizard a virtual god.

Excellent setup and preparation. If you and I were in the same group, I think we'd kick some serious butt.

Don't like the pits from the marvelous pigments. To me that's just way overpowered without crazy rules about when you can and can't cause real materials to vanish from the world. If I could use the pigments that way I'd have a huge stash of them just to tunnel through obstacles at will, for a measly 4K g a pop. Still, a minor point in a much larger story.

Just to satisfy my curiousity, when you teleported, did your GM treat that as teleporting to an unfamiliar location?

Regardless of your tactics, a tenth level wizard going against a ground-based army in the dark with no magical abiity of their own, you should rout them easily.

Did it occur to your character at all to show them any mercy whatsoever once it was clear that you were wielding god-like power they could not hope to counteract?

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