Mokmurian's Lair? (multiple spoilers!!!)


Rise of the Runelords


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I'm setting up the final assault on Mokmurian, and want it to be especially challenging. This means using all possible magical resources at his disposal to their fullest.

The party is all 11th level (25pt buy - stats only between 8 and 18 pre-racial) and one mythic tier): an Aasimar paladin (with wings of flying), a 2-handed fighter, a Linorm lineage blaster sorcerer and an alchemist (who is actually 2nd-tier mythic, long story). They are accompanied by Shalelu (advanced to 7th level) and a 7th-level wizard NPC (who keeps dying) and the alchemist brought back Longtooth as a zombie dragon (!!) that is still largely unscathed. They managed to sneak through the first sub-level of Jorgenfist, avoiding most of the encounters through clever use of an invisibility sphere and stealth, but that mustn't save them from the deathtrap that is Jorgenfist library.

The rest of this is full of spoilers!:
First off, since the Anniversary Edition specifies that Mokmurian's spellbook includes all CRB spells, I'm treating that as carte blanche to use them.

1) Guards and Wards - this spell will make the fairly boring succession of large rooms into something a little scarier: several zones of fog, 2 stinking clouds, some webs in the corridors I houseruled to include stairs, a gust of wind blowing hapless fliers unto some well-placed bungy sticks. Since it's a 6th-level spell, with Mokmurian's +5 INT bonus all those spell effects should be saving at DC 21, right?

A DC 21 fort save stinking cloud is gonna hurt, am I right?

2) Scrolls: I'm giving Mokurian a nice selection of scrolls, including several Dim Doors so that he can teleport into a nearby fog bank and harrass the party with some early spells (and verbal taunts) before popping away to fight again later. If any scrolls remain unused, they will of course become loot.

3) The Forgefiend: since Mokmurian is forewarned, I'll send the Forgefiend on several hit & run forays in advance, returning to his master's side for a quick casting of Greater Make whole (as a 4th-level spell, it should make a great wand, healing 7d6+7 for each charge on a standard action) and thus ready for a new foray.


More in next post.


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I'm not planning on beefing up the stats of any of the encountered critters in any way, just using their abilities to the fullest and milking Mokmurian's arcane knowledge and preparation as a wizard to the fullest. I'm only modifying the map of the library very slightly, to take full advantage of Guards and Wards. Don't want to be *that* kind of sadistic DM. <g>

The rest of this is full of spoilers! My players, don't look, on pain of death and pizza deprivation!:

4) I've got to get Mokmurian in spell range early on, so that he can dispell the invisibility effect ASAP. Using a few other spells in the early going will be nice, too, since most wizards never got off more than a spell or two before their untimely demise. He's also going to need a Contingency spell with an extra Dim Door (keyed to first melee attack) just to keep him alive a little longer.

5) A couple of well-placed Symbols of Scrying should give him enough advanced warning to be able to teleport into a nearby fog cloud (from Guards and Wards) so he get get off a few spells and taunt the PCs. It looks like a Symbol of Scrying can only see 10', though, rather than having the 60' range of Symbol of Death (what a pity) so placing them in corridors may work best.

6) I'm wondering if I should use a couple Symbols of Sealing (wall of force trap!) along the way to block their way out and make them feel worried. Not much tactical value to this, aside from the fear factor, and I don't want to actually split the party if I can avoid it, since them have little that can drop those walls of force, aside from repeated melee attacks.


More in next post...


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This last post should pretty much exhaust my questions - I'm looking for comments and suggestions on ways I can use Mokmurians access to the entire gamut of 1st to 6th-level CRB wizard spells. All devious suggestions are welcome!

The rest of this is full of spoilers! Really don't look if you're one of my players!:
7) I wanted to protect Mokmurian with mirror image, blur and also use projected image. But... that's until I remembered that he's a Thassilonian spcialist and hence has no access at all to illusion and enchantment spells, even on items. But, since he knows the PCs are coming, he can pre-cast a lot of fog clouds, stinking clouds, solid fogs and cloudkills in various places, especially his inner sanctum, which should be completely fogged in by the time the PCs reach it. Since those spells are his specialties (love his fog-cutting lenses!), he'll have several extra scrolls of them.

8) About the Hounds of Tindalos: given the non-angled design of this entire level, they can't use their Angled Entry ability to teleport or plane shift at all, right? Still, with at will fog cloud and invisibility, and 3/day haste and slow, they ought to be a tough fight all on their own, right?

9) In the final fight, Mokmurian can't turn invisible at all, lacking illusion spells, so his multiple banks of fog are his only solution to hide from death-by-mythic-PC. But with access to a few scrolls, he could conceivably pre-cast a few summon monster spells. What nasty critters could he have waiting in the fog? Aside from the various flavors of fog, he should use his disintegrate, slow and quickened scorching ray spells to make life just really unpleasant for the PCs.

I'm trying to be as deadly as I can, without cheating or artificially beefing up the adversaries in any way. A wizard having extra gear (a few wands and scrolls and active spells doesn't feel like cheating to me, because any self-respecting wizard, who has access to resources on the scale of Mokmurian does, should display at least this level of preparedness.

So my final question is, is it too much? Is it a guaranteed KIA, even with the PCs' tier-one and two mythic powers, two extra NPCs and a pet zombie dragon?


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Yowza, sounds complex. My players didn't fight him in Jorgenfist, so this is all theoretical.

Maybe he could use Passwall to set up some passages that only he knows about? Mobility is always good.

If he's got a Resist Energy [Acid] running, some of those clouds could be Acid Fog.

The following might be effective:

1) Standard action: cast Transmute Rock to Mud beneath ground-based PCs
2) Swift action: cast Quickened Dispel Magic on the Transmute Rock to Mud spell, returning it to stone.
3) Cackle as a move action. Oh wait, that's witches.

That one depends on whether you consider the stone in the area "worked" or not. And also whether you're willing to devote one of his precious seventh level spell slots to a quickened dispel. Thankfully you always succeed on dispel checks against your own spells, so there's no chance of failure there.

The story about what my players did, in case anyone cares:
They teleported back to Magnimar half-way through and spent a week resting, so Mokmurian gathered up his people and marched.

They wound up rendering the Storval Stairs impassible by blowing them up with a large quantity of black powder. Then they fought Mokmurian in an open field at the base of the smoking ruins of the Storval Stairs while his armies watched from the edge of the Storval Cliffs above.

It might have been more intelligent to have him air drop in batches of giants 11 at a time using Feather Fall, but they'd pissed him off and -- from a meta perspective -- I wanted the book to end.


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How about having some undead with him? Maybe giants that got uppity and had to be shown a lesson to keep the others in line. Or others made undead.

Mokmurian can cast some well-placed Walls of Stone to allow the Hounds to use their angled entry ability.

The PCs can dispel all those spell effects from Guards and Wards and Gust of Wind does bad things to clouds. My DM for this hated our druid player as she always has it prepared.


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He can easily make runeslaves using the cauldron.


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When my players went through this they did a hit and run, they cleared the level above Mokmurian and then decided they were too depleted to press the attack. This meant that I set Mokmurian up to be ready for them, he had runeslaved several dead giants, I think there was a limit on numbers he had them with him in his lair and used the rest of his minions for attrition.
For the final battle I had rewritten his spell selection and he tried to hit them with a massed series of Acid Fog/cloudkill/stinking clouds my players actually had a gust of wind cleared a path and attacked into the massed enemies, some summoned monsters reinforced the giants but unfortunately for mok my players focused on the threat eating attacks of opportunity to close and kill him before dealing with the minions

Your final battle looks like a milder version of mine and if you have been silly enough to give them mythic and they are recomended level it should be a cakewalk

(I ran Wrath end to end and hate mythic with a burning passion as gamebreaking overpowered madness and will always advise against it)

If they are competent the arcane caster will use his mythic ability to clear all the cloud spells with gust of wind as he has access to all spells he will always have this option, melee combatants will use Champions attack to move and full attack killing him in round 1.

The hounds will probably be useless, I thought they would be useful but unfortunately unless given bonuses of some sort they are pretty ineffectual against pc's of this level.

If you want a challange make Mok Mythic, you are going to have to do that for Karzoug anyway to make him a challange


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Regarding the Hounds of Tindalos, I ruled that the architecture of Mokmurian's level was just there to help summoning and keeping them in the general area. In other words, I made merciless use of their angled entry ability, swift teleport self, invisibility, stealth skills, and kept track of the line of sight of those characters which had any ability to break invisibility. That wide stone pillar in their lair is perfect for breaking line of sight. Remember, these are intelligent creatures who know every inch of their territory!

However, I did keep them in Mok's waiting room, as I felt that there was no better "last minute" scout and warning system than the Hounds. The last surviving HoT would just port out to Mok and warn him in time for the last-minute buffs.


A few random suggestions:

You can ratchet up the difficulty by simply changing the crummy tactics of the residents of the Library level. Justified in my mind if the pc's have attacked the fortress and retreated. Easy solutions - instead of having the golem, headless lord, forge fiend and hounds simply waiting in their rooms for the pc's to get around to killing them - have them cooperate, like fight together. For instance, have the headless lord and his zombies in with Mok. Have the forge fiend attack while the pc's are dealing with the hounds and then have it retreat to join Mok and the undead.

The hounds alone were no match for my group of admittedly over-pointed, well-optimized pc's. I wasn't smart enough to have the npc's gang up on them.

I don't know much if anything about mythic but mythic pc's or not, Mokmurian won't last long unless you can alter the action economy more in his favor with allies or by disabling or separating the party - I suggest symbols of stunning or walls of force. Tinalles suggestion about converting dead giants into Runeslaves is a good suggestion - that's what the cauldron is for.


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JohnHawkins wrote:
Your final battle looks like a milder version of mine and if you have been silly enough to give them mythic and they are recomended level it should be a cakewalk

Actually, I have been careful to keep them well below the recommended level, to partially compensate for their high stat buy (tempered by the min/max limits, but still) and just recently to compensate in part for the mythic boost. They are just about to enter the Jorgenfist library, and are 4 level 11 adventurers (with friends) so I know it isn't going to be a cakewalk.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions, I'm still thinking about how this ought to go down.

JohnHawkins wrote:
If they are competent the arcane caster will use his mythic ability to clear all the cloud spells with gust of wind as he has access to all spells he will always have this option, melee combatants will use Champions attack to move and full attack killing him in round 1.

Yeah, "if they are competent". They are not used to spellcasting. Even in DD3.5 they were almost always playing fighters or semi-casters. The current RotRL campaign began in 2015 and they were all martials (paladin, fighter, ranger with one semi-caster, an alchemist) until very recently, when the barbarian died (cut in half by a skull-ripper construct scorpion) and the player made a blaster sorcerer. I suspect he is unlikely to realize just how powerful his new mythic ability to cast *any* sorcerer/wizard spell in the book is.

So although they were clever enough to avoid most of the enemies in the first cavern level under Jorgenfist, I'm hoping to bring them to task with the strategy I outlined above.

It sounds like the most important thing will be wearing them down and using up most or all of their mythic abilities *before* the showdown with Mokmurian.

I hear you on the hate for the Mythic rules. What can I say, I got sucked in by the seductive nature of the Dark Side of the Force, and wanted to try it. We play about once a month (not counting the months where we can't play) so this campaign has been going on for over 3 years. I'm kind of eager to see it end, and if there were a TPK here in front of Mokmurian, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad way to end the campaign. We'll see. Last night's game got cancelled due to snow, and it's now looking like March to get everyone's calendar free on the same night.


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Latrecis wrote:
You can ratchet up the difficulty by simply changing the crummy tactics of the residents of the Library level. Justified in my mind if the pc's have attacked the fortress and retreated. Easy solutions - instead of having the golem, headless lord, forge fiend and hounds simply waiting in their rooms for the pc's to get around to killing them - have them cooperate, like fight together. For instance, have the headless lord and his zombies in with Mok. Have the forge fiend attack while the pc's are dealing with the hounds and then have it retreat to join Mok and the undead.

Excellent suggestions. The Anniversary Edition already suggests that the Forgefiend can attack anywhere, any time on this level, and that was my first thought: have him do hit and run tactics, as directed by Mokmurian, using what he can see through several well-placed symbols of scrying.

When the PCs arrived at the valley of Jorgenfist,:
they went first after Longtooth (the PC alchemist had a cunning plan to use his new zombie-creating power!) then flew into a dogfight with the rocs before landing on the Black Tower, sweeping away the harpies and fighting the Black Monk, who was boosted by Mythic powers and accompanied by wraiths and mummies and a slightly improved architecture for his crypt level. That was a good fight, since the Black Monk had the initiative package that gives two actions per round and I gave him an ectopasmic physical form to do his physical attacks (flurries) on one initiative count and his magical attacks from his mummified body on the other. It was only after that great battle with a mythic foe that 3 of the 4 PCs got their first mythic tier. So they are very new to all of this.

In our last session,:
they fought the mammoth rider and assorted rock-hurling giants on the surface, then went down to the bears and Galenmir without working up much of a sweat. They managed to get Conna to talk, and she told them of the hazards on the first cavern level under Jorgenfist, which they managed to mostly avoid before heading down the corridor she said led to Mokmurian's inner sanctum. It was a heavy roleplay and espionage session, with clever use of invisibility sphere and several ploys of misdirection. But the upshot of it is that as they enter the library level, they have two suspicious trolls at their back, not to mention the two dragons and the two lamias, if they really start to raise a ruckus.

So although I don't think:
I'll have all the rest of the library denizens fight together, they ought to each get a boost, either from the Forgefiend's hit and run tactics, or from Mokmurian Dim Dooring into a fog bank (thanks to Guards and Wards) only to cut and run after a round or two, or even trolls, dragons and lamias charging in from the rear.

I really like the idea of Mokmurian creating a couple stone walls to give him hard angles for the hounds to move through. Shades of shuddersome horrors from beyond the pale!

Shadow Lodge

Dotting for borrowing/stealing. My Neverwinter Nights ROTRL game is going to be heading down into the Library in our next session in a couple of weeks and I may borrow a few of these suggestions for spicing things up.


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For those who may be interested, here is the Jorgenfist Library map, with relevant Guards and Wards details, as well as several Magic Mouth spells and Symbols of scrying, dispelling, fear, slowing and slowing.

Spoiler:
Symbol of Dispelling is above Mokmurian's level (min 15th) but I'm positing that he found a scroll of it in the library. I have also kitted him out with a magic Haversack and about a dozen scrolls of various flavors for use in defending his inner sanctum. Not to mention a Greater Make Whole wand to heal up the Forgefiend, between hit & run attacks.


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Mythic with lower level may well work. I find it very hard to work out the equivlance of a party with mythic ranks to a none mythic party. It is a complicated none linear relationship.

Also I am used to fairly competent players, who use their abilities well so all my advice assumes a fair degree of player competence, they miss some things and clever tricks can catch them but stuff like cloud spells they could cope with no problem.

Mythic looks good until you run a campaign with it and some of it is useful to give to npc's to let them fight against larger pc parties as that way the GM can avoid the really powerful options

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