I went trolling back through the posts and didn't see this mentioned, so sorry if it actually was and point me to the right thread.
Ok, so the tactic of the Trifaccia battle is for Yzahnum to hide out and wait a few rounds for the Sczarni to throw insults and make 'wishes' that he can then make come true. The book has three examples.
1) How did GMs play this out? If you haven't, what do you plan to do?
2) I want to come up with more 'wishes' to throw at them. Did anyone here come up with some good ones? Maybe a few more...innocuous ones before hitting the "I Wish You'd Die" kind?
I'm trying to figure out how I can roleplay them yelling all kinds of stuff, and not make it obvious they're linked to the 'strange occurences'. I also would hate to have one of them fail a save and get jettisoned from the rest of the chapter.
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You are correct in that I started off innocuously. The party was intelligent; after hearing about the 'fake' hero, they decided they'd try to find an ambush point and intervene. They took out some Sczarni, found out where and when the next ambush would be, and two of them in disguise just hung around the ambush point.
Obviously, the ambushers didn't want any witnesses, so their first wish was, "I wish you would go away," that acted as a powerful Dominate spell. It worked on the Warlord, but the Wizard completely ignored it, walked away a bit with the Warlord, and then Dispelled Magic to get rid of the effect.
When the two of them returned, the Sczarni were a bit less friendly, and said, "I wish you would go back where you came from!" POOF! The Warlord was teleported back to the ruins of the village where he'd been orphaned, around 800 miles away.
At that point the rogue/shadowdancer was tired enough of the wishes that she skewered the wisher and one-shot him from stealth.
That brought on, "I wish you were dead!"
Unfortunately, she made her save and the attempt to murder her pissed off the paladin no end. With his wishes used up and the paladin Hasted and in Celestial Plate so flying away wasn't an option, Yzahnum had a Very Bad Day.
I'm a little bit reluctant to suggest going easy on the party, though. I felt my party's subterfuge and good intelligence should be rewarded. With a party that just walks the streets as expected, my first wish would be a baleful polymorph: "I wish your friend was a pig so you would have a proper mount to tour the city!"
The party's high enough level to deal with some ridiculous (and fun) wishes.
"I wish you would take that sword and ride it out of town." (Another Dominate to make them pogo out of town on their swords. Funny AND annoying!)
"I wish you could see yourself so you'd know how ugly you are!" (Some kind of vision-impairing illusion, obviously.)
"I wish your mother could see you now!" (Summon the PC's mother as a powerful undead, or teleport the PC to his/her mother's house.)
Obviously, I favor Dominate, illusions, baleful polymorphs, and teleports. I don't like interdimensional transportation, because inexperienced parties have no counter. (If I'd sent any of my party members to Hell, they'd have no way of returning, because my group was too inexperienced to buy any interplanar travel spells.)
EDIT: And when are you going to start RotRL, anyways? I need to see more Silver Tsuto Awards. :P
I'm a little worried my group won't have any planar travel memorized, and they wouldn't know where to go to find their friends. They likely would have a high enough save to counter (depending on the PC) but like I said before, a fail could jettison them from the rest of the session, or at least derail them for the rest of the session while they go searching for said PC.
Good suggestions though. I will try to play it more on the hilarity side. My PCs love See Invisibility, so I will have to have Yzahnum use stealth with his invisibility so he gets a couple rounds of taunting in before his reveal.
Then I completely expect one of them to duel him. I'm just not sure if the Paladin will allow the Rogue to do it in his stead.
Nobodyshome: Gotta finish Crimson Throne First! Then we have to go back and finish the last 2 chapters of Serpent's Skull! Oh the APs!
I had a PC that was really into the "I want to be the next blackjack" story so, as soon as they learned about this "poser" he and the rest of the party set off to put an end to it. I used the Sczarni hencmens wishs to try and foil the party so my wannabe could enjoy vanquishing his competition. It was a great fight and everyone had fun.
I wouldn't worry about the planer travel issue. Any PC's stuck in hell can probably survive long enough to be rescued, and its always great to split the party for a bit and get them out of there confort zone.
My plan was actually to leave the planar travelling folks alone and focus on those left behind by having a gray maiden patrol harass them.
When I ran this I was worried about it to but not having prepped anything else, I ran the encounter as is. It was a real blast and a memorable encounter. I used the wishes suggested, amazingly the party succeeded their Will saves save for the rogue who got the "I wish you'd go to hell". No one in the party had planar travel at the time. Not wanting the party to get derailed into a whole quest to go to hell I came up with something on the spur of the moment. The rogue arrived on an upper layer of hell on a ridge overlooking a great field where a battle was taking place. A single blasted tree was nearby where a man sat playing towers with the harrow deck.
The man greeted the rogue saying something like he had waited there for a 100 years the divninations being rather imprecise. The devil went on about how events in Korvosa would have a deciding factor in events in hell (gesturing to the battle below). My thoughts were that a faction wanted the party to succeed to reduce the chance of Lorthact gaining power. Long and short of it the rogue was planar travelled back (after the party defeated Trif back in Korvosa)
It was a bit of a deus ex but it actually seemed to fit.
This scene went nicely in my CotCT game over 1.5 years ago. I managed to polymorph Wizard to something (dispelled) and send Oracle to Hell. Death wish was resisted. I focused on mocking PCs, I made long list of insult before hand so I could motormouth those to party. Magical effects were on the later half of mocking but apart from each other so PCs wouldn't figure wishing immediately. I think encounter was nice as effects did some real harm to them and some characters even got annoyed about mocking.
Saving the oracle from Hell was nice side-quest which I enjoyed a lot. Fight after the mocking was brilliant, I introduced "veteran Gray Maidens" that made combat bit more difficult as oracle was missing and bard-duelist wanted to duel with Yzahnum, he got almost killed in progress.
This is one of my favorite scenes in all APs.