Spire of Long Shadows - Dungeon of Death?!? (Spoilers)


Age of Worms Adventure Path


I'd like to get some idea of how other DMs are doing in the Spire segment of the Age of Worms. My party just entered the ziggurat, and they didn't have an easy time of it. I have six members in my group, with five of them being there when they entered Room #5. Now they rolled to listen at the door of the room, but undead just standing there are pretty hard to hear, so the party was surprised when they entered the room (the undead all have pretty good Spots and Listens I noticed - like ~+21, so no problem to hear the party at the door). Party steps into the room and wham! the Swords of Kyuss unleash their 'power of death' as my party has come to call it - 14d6 damage!! Well the cleric failed all of this reflex saves and died. Only the monk and rogue made it through unharmed. Needless to say the combat went down hill from there - the warlock also died eventually. After retreating all the way back to Magepoint, rearming, reincarnating/raising party members they trek back to the city and go for it again. The battle went better, but two party members died again - and the party was ready for undead this time. I know the group thinks this encounter is too tough. What about the rest of you - death trap or not? I'm not sure if the Swords of Kyuss, with that great ability they have, are only a CR 10 creature. I mean, they get to heal and harm at the same time three times a day - a total of nine times in the encounter. Pretty tough.


Look up the abilities that killed them and give them some hints, I think they just aren't thinking straight about some things that can really help them. You can fill them in with Knowledge(religion) checks etc...

1, For this adventure the spell Repel Vermin is a must have, probably your PCs just haven't found it in the PHB yet. This pretty much makes the Wormswarms totally ineffective especially if you have more than one PC with the spell up, the vermin will need to make multiple will saves to attack the PCs if they hang close together and the Wormswarms will saves are low.

2, Isn't the damage from the Swords negative energy damage, anyways, Death Ward, Death Ward, on everyone. This spell has a range I believe of creature touched so the Cleric can cast it on everyone with a few scrolls, it will also make them immune to harm and the 5d8 ray of negative energy the Wormcallers shoot.

3, If things aren't covered in Death Ward, there is still Spell Immunity, if the powers killing them are spell like and not supernatural abilities they should be able to make themselves immune to many of them with this.

4, One thing the PCs should get used to doing is providing scrolls to the casters for things they want cast on them, that way if I want Freedom of Movement cast on me by the cleric I buy the scroll, and give it to him so that its not on his dime. He casts it and it lasts for 70 minutes which easily the amount of time it will take to explore the whole spire.

5, Or in 4 they should take 10-20% of the gold and use it to provide every player with a certain amount of protection.

6, Spells that force fortitude saves like Disintigrate are great against undead because they have no Con score.

7, Also, spells that have the 'good descriptor' are excellent in this adventure. Your Cleric should definitely have a Phlacerty of Undead turning (+4 levels on turn checks), and be using Inscence of Meditiation which will max out dmg from Holy Smite etc... If not just be totally focused on undead destruction by being a (I play FR so here are my examples)- an Eye of Horus Re, which gives greater turning 3+cha times a day, or a Morninglord of Lathander. They should also take feats like Quicken Turning and Empower Turning.

Anyways, figure out a way to drop some hints to the PCs to lead them along these lines and next time they will not be so overwhelmed.


One more thing, Good Parties, meaning parties that are effective Use alot of Scrolls, I would say that almost 10% of the parties Gold should be tied up in scrolls for the Wizard and Cleric, There are many many many times when its good to cast spells that aren't in the middle of combat.

So they need scrolls of Remove Disease, Knock, Remove Curse, and one that is overlooked too often Magic Circle against Evil, etc...

Plus remember that an 7th level character using a scroll of heal casts it correctly 80% of the time, so buy big spells early.


In addition to Death Ward, Negative Energy Protection is a pretty good spell, too. Also, this adventure path practically cries out for players who like to use options from the Book of Exalted Deeds. Purified spells dropped right in the middle of melee are great.


Yes, Insence of Meditation and Shards of Heaven. Although most of the Kyuss creatures don't have any fire resistance.


I invite you to read my story hour on ENWorld

http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=155575&page=1

The group I DM is nearing the end of Spire of Long Shadows. This is a well-experienced group which includes two players who have placed 1st and 2nd in the GenCon Open the past two years, and they are having a tough time of it. I agree with the previous posters...Death Wards are a must. Also, this group consists of 8 PC's, and I have scaled the adventure using the sidebar. The Wormcallers have been the most annoying to them as they keep dispelling all the PC's buffs. The most harrowing fight so far has been with Kelvos. They killed him, and left his body, then retreated, whereupon Mak'ar retrieved the body and raised Kelvos by means of Limited Wish, so now they are facing the Harbinger WITH Kelvos...very interesting battle so far.


I'm a long ways form starting this one, but it had TPK written all over it on the first read-through. It's good to see in advance from those who are running it now what is tough and why. And what tactics/spells PCs might need reminding about. And monster tactics I might have otherwise overlooked that will help me make sure the party earns every drop of lore dispensed in the visions. (Thanks Mr. Jolly for calling to attention the obvious idea of resurrecting the bad guys--obvious only if you've read all the stat blocks carefully a session or two before you run them. Consider the idea swiped--it's in my preparatory notes for when I get to SoLS).

Having some down time between games, I've genned up a "rival party" that will be exploring the outer ruins while the party is in Kuluth-Mar. I may have them bump into each other before the PCs enter the ruins, or may save them in case I need to use the (one allotted per campaign) deus ex machina rescue party to pull the party out of the "Soup Kettle of Kyuss". If anyone needs to use them they're posted in Lilith's new NPC stat bank. http://www.darkmoongallery.com/npc/


Joseph Jolly wrote:

I invite you to read my story hour on ENWorld

http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=155575&page=1

The group I DM is nearing the end of Spire of Long Shadows. This is a well-experienced group which includes two players who have placed 1st and 2nd in the GenCon Open the past two years, and they are having a tough time of it. I agree with the previous posters...Death Wards are a must. Also, this group consists of 8 PC's, and I have scaled the adventure using the sidebar. The Wormcallers have been the most annoying to them as they keep dispelling all the PC's buffs. The most harrowing fight so far has been with Kelvos. They killed him, and left his body, then retreated, whereupon Mak'ar retrieved the body and raised Kelvos by means of Limited Wish, so now they are facing the Harbinger WITH Kelvos...very interesting battle so far.

Just lost another reply to this and not sure it will reappear. The following is my post-research update of it.

Idea of using Mak'ar's limited wish to revive bad guys is a good one, but I don't think it will work for any of the outsiders and undead in the Spire--limited wish can be used only to duplicate Raise Dead (5th level cleric spell) which doesn't work on outsiders or undead. Worm nagas and the overworm are fair game, though. My players had better hope they've got enough left to finish off Harbinger after they get past the overworm--otherwise they'll have to face it a second time. (Too bad it's a one-minute casting time, otherwise it would be fun to have Harbinger bring it back to life in the middle of combat, and watch their jaws drop to the floor.)


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
limited wish can be used only to duplicate Raise Dead (5th level cleric spell) which doesn't work on outsiders or undead.

Quotin' the SRD: "Unlike most other living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

My party faced some difficulties in the Spire as well. They lost the warmage to the swords of kyuss in area 5. They then lost the druid to a horrible save from Kelvos' Destruction spell. They handled much of the rest of the place by casting relitavely long lasting buffs and hammering through as many encounters as they could fit into the duration. Ma'kar sent the druid's player's replacement character (a warlock) to another plane with a prismatic spray spell, and he opted to avoid the Roleplaying way of getting him back, but aside from that there were no other casualties.

The cleric did burn both of her Delay Death spells. Quite handy that one is.


Mmm...crunchy player death...can't wait...

The biggest problem my group has had is their LACK of a cleric. The only divine caster in the group is a druid, and since this is Eberron he's focused on playing a Gatekeeper and a member of House Lyrandar, so his spellcasting isn't quite where it could be. Hopefully the players will try some divinations to scout ahead... but that's not likely. So I plan on having the librarian/cleric at Manzorian's offer his services to the players before they leave... in a "You mean you WEREN'T going to plan ahead?!?" kind of fashion. He'll also provide them with the scrolls they'll need.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

...

Having some down time between games, I've genned up a "rival party" that will be exploring the outer ruins while the party is in Kuluth-Mar. I may have them bump into each other before the PCs enter the ruins, or may save them in case I need to use the (one allotted per campaign) deus ex machina rescue party to pull the party out of the "Soup Kettle of Kyuss". If anyone needs to use them they're posted in Lilith's new NPC stat bank. http://www.darkmoongallery.com/npc/

Great bunch of NPCs you've got there

I could see them being 'survivors' of the Spire that could warn the group of what is to come.


dizzyk wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
limited wish can be used only to duplicate Raise Dead (5th level cleric spell) which doesn't work on outsiders or undead.
Quotin' the SRD: "Unlike most other living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life."

Thanks Dizzyk. Just what I was going to say. We ended our last session in the midst of the battle with Mak'ar. Kelvos has been KO'd once again, and Mak'ar dove into the worm lake, where, btw, the three Knight's of Kyuss are as well. That is their only way to close to the melee. However, I have allowed Mak'ar a brief reprieve, by having him Maze himself, thereby giving him a chance to buff and return to open up a can on the party, hopefully with the three knights still intact.


A quick read of the adventure shows me that there is absolutely nothing preventing the use of divination spells to scout out the Spire. Any party of this level that doesn't make use of all the divination options available to them deserves to become spawn of Kyuss.


wampuscat43 wrote:


Great bunch of NPCs you've got there

I could see them being 'survivors' of the Spire that could warn the group of what is to come.

Thanks. I had fun thinking them up. And good idea about the "survivors" thing. I'll keep that idea as one of several alternatives and play it by ear.


dizzyk wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
limited wish can be used only to duplicate Raise Dead (5th level cleric spell) which doesn't work on outsiders or undead.
Quotin' the SRD: "Unlike most other living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life."

I stand corrected. I haven't done so very much high-level play in 3.0/3.5, so I guess my understanding of 3.x wish rules is a bit fuzzy. I was basing my judgement on the wording of the limited wish spell, which seems to me to imply that this spell is mostly meant to substitute for the effects of other spells or comparable effects. Since the only non-wish spells that can restore a soulless creature to life are miracle and true resurrection--both higher level than a limited wish, I figured limited wish wouldn't do the trick and didn't look at the MM wording on outsiders. Since it specifically allows this use of limited wish, I guess I'm wrong.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
dizzyk wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
limited wish can be used only to duplicate Raise Dead (5th level cleric spell) which doesn't work on outsiders or undead.
Quotin' the SRD: "Unlike most other living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider. It takes a different magical effect, such as limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection to restore it to life."
I stand corrected. I haven't done so very much high-level play in 3.0/3.5, so I guess my understanding of 3.x wish rules is a bit fuzzy. I was basing my judgement on the wording of the limited wish spell, which seems to me to imply that this spell is mostly meant to substitute for the effects of other spells or comparable effects. Since the only non-wish spells that can restore a soulless creature to life are miracle and true resurrection--both higher level than a limited wish, I figured limited wish wouldn't do the trick and didn't look at the MM wording on outsiders. Since it specifically allows this use of limited wish, I guess I'm wrong.

However, I had scaled Kelvos up by giving him one level of cleric, so when Mak'ar used Lim. Wish to bring him back to life, I subtracted that level, bringing back to his original stats as written, with the exception that the party took his magical breastplate and sword, leaving his armor class substantially less, and his melee ability reduced as well.


wampuscat43 wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

...

Great bunch of NPCs you've got there

I could see them being 'survivors' of the Spire that could warn the group of what is to come.

I posted a little more info on how I envisioned the party operating in an earlier thread inviting others to post their AoW NPCs to Lillith's stat bank, a couple of weeks ago. No one seemed interested, so the thread is buried somewhere below. I may have the rogue be infected with an even more insidious Kyuss worm of my own invention, but I haven't decided yet--this worm takes over the living host and only gradually transforms it into an undead being, and it might be too much underhandedness after the doppelgangers in HoHR.


Joseph Jolly wrote:
However, I had scaled Kelvos up by giving him one level of cleric, so when Mak'ar used Lim. Wish to bring him back to life, I subtracted that level, bringing back to his original stats as written, with the exception that the party took his magical breastplate and sword, leaving his armor class substantially less, and his melee ability reduced as well.

On further review, I realize that my original tactic of having the Harbinger revive the Overworm during combat might work just fine--since limited wish is a standard action. I suppose, since it basically involves stating one's wish, that it would not even be necessary for the Harbinger to touch the worm. Yow! I see a TPK coming if I'm not careful.


As I take my party through this part of the adventure path I'll keep you guys updated as to the most deadly parts - and I wouldn't mind hearing from the designer of this part of the path (Mr. Decker) to learn what the intention was to have so many very deadly encounters packed into one small dungeon.

So, last night the party decended down the pit, which is 500 feet deep, to the room below. Now, there are supposed to be encounters with Worm Nagas during the decent - I had one encounter occur just 60 feet into the decent, and then I was going to spread them out through the rest of the pit. There are supposed to be 12 Nagas, encountered in groups of 1d3. I had three in the first encounter. The feeblemind gaze hit three members out of six, and they retreated. One of the clerics was alright, and so cast heal on the other cleric, who then healed the rest of those hit with the gaze. They eventually managed to get by these guys by casting wall of stone to seal off the tunnel entrances. The party used air walk to decend into the pit, and when they encounter the next lot (this time only 2). A couple of dispel magic later and the party was floating at 60 feet per round to the bottom of the pit. Where the 6 worm swarms are waiting for them. This is a very deadly part of the dungeon - there's no where to hide and rest, and fighting 6 swarms is going to run the party very low on spells - and there are only a few rooms in the area that have doors where they might go and rest, but they all have encounters on the other side. For my party they managed to kill all the worm swarms, and only one of the Nagas - and one party member died (that slay living spell the Nagas have is pretty good).

Peruhain - to you I say this: don't even think about having Kelvos fight with Mak'ar. Mak'ar is an EL 17 encounter with out any help, and your party will have to fight just to get to his room as it's on the other side of an EL 16 encounter.

For the Dungeon team I do have a question. As I look through this adventure I was struck by this fact - the dungeon is for 4 characters of 13th level, who should reach 14th at some point, so why are all the encounters above the EL 13 that they should be? There's not one EL 13 encounter in the ziggurat!! Most are EL 14 on the upper level, and most are EL 15-16 in the lower dungeon. What is up with that? In fact, there is but one encounter that's EL 14 in the lower level, two EL 15, two EL 16, and one EL 17!! The party is only just supposed to reach level 15 at the end of the adventure, so why are the EL's so high? I mean one or two encounters above the level of the party is fine, if they can rest and recover between encounters, but in the lower level only two of the encounters can be said to be at the party's level (and my group is just in the 13th level range, about half way to 14th, and there are 6 of them, and they are starting to get tired of all the deaths). I'm at the point now where I'm going to have to go through the rest of the dungeon and change everything to make it survivable - not easier, just survivable! This one is really over the party's ability, in my opinion.

Sovereign Court

A member of my party has creature compass Undead on his weapon (he's a munchkin) so the Swords of Kyuss in room 5 were no suprise to them. Using the "death/heal" effect was very useful keeping the swords and the wormcaller up. The party cleric has already learned to cast protection from energy negative so they didn't get too badly hurt from the effects. The 22 save also was low enough for my improved evasion pc's. Even with that protection, they still too 2 hours to dfeat the denizens of room 5. I can't wait untill Tiligos Island when the group will have to face 20 of these killers.


That's something that I have found too, the combats are taking a long time to play out. Part of it is me as the DM, there are so many options, and more spell casters than I usually run. It's been cool though - I like the monsters in the campaign. The combat last night against the Nagas and worm swarms took about five and a half hours to fight, which was our whole sessions. And I thought the party would make it through the lower dungeon in one session, now I'm thinking more like two, maybe three.


Hangfire wrote:
This is a very deadly part of the dungeon - there's no where to hide and rest

The party has the advantage of being able to retreat over the wall where none of the dungeon denizens can reach them.

Any encounters outside the wall are optional. As DM, if you think the party is having too easy a time because they keep retreating outside the wall, then throw the beholder or warlock yuan-ti (which sounds really cool to me) at them. But if the are getting their arses handed to them and retreat over the wall for a much-deserved rest you can let them do so unmolested.


Vyvyan Basterd wrote:
The party has the advantage of being able to retreat over the wall where none of the dungeon denizens can reach them.

Vyvyan, what I was talking about is actually getting out of the lower level of the dungeon after having fought 12 nagas and 6 worm swarms. If your party members have anything left after that then they are true heroes. Mine don't have anything. After all the healing and all the spells that had to be used to kill off the swarms they are spent. How to get back up 500 feet of tunnel - and my party only faced 5 of the 12 nagas, and only actually killed one!! Leaving 11 left to harras them on the way up. In fact, at this point, other than climbing - and that's quite a few climb checks - my party has no way to escape the lower dungeon.


Hangfire wrote:
Vyvyan Basterd wrote:
The party has the advantage of being able to retreat over the wall where none of the dungeon denizens can reach them.

Vyvyan, what I was talking about is actually getting out of the lower level of the dungeon after having fought 12 nagas and 6 worm swarms. If your party members have anything left after that then they are true heroes. Mine don't have anything. After all the healing and all the spells that had to be used to kill off the swarms they are spent. How to get back up 500 feet of tunnel - and my party only faced 5 of the 12 nagas, and only actually killed one!! Leaving 11 left to harras them on the way up. In fact, at this point, other than climbing - and that's quite a few climb checks - my party has no way to escape the lower dungeon.

I'd call going down a 500' deep hole without a means of escape very poor planning. Sometimes the group needs to learn these lessons the hard way. Maybe its a matter of having more experienced players, but mine aren't going to go down that hole without first thinking of how they will escape. That said, maybe your group did but their plans went awry. I say live and learn. After a TPK maybe their next group of heroes will make sure they are even better prepared.


Can't they just dimension door to the top of the tunnel?? I don't know many 13th level Mages without one handy. Also I am pretty sure that the way this adventure is set up things are pretty static. The party should probably get used to going into one room for a fight, then going out and taking a nap, one more room, then nap etc... etc.... Those undead live forever and have just been sitting there forever.


The problem of course is that the party's only wizard is a multiclassed wizard/rogue, so no high level spells. Also, the real hard part of this is that after fighting to get down to the bottom of the pit they find 6 swarms. Swarms are hard to kill without area of effect spells, the same kind that may have just been used to kill/get by the worm nagas. My problem with this part of the adventure is that there is no break between one really hard encounter and the next really hard encounter. Now I could change things (which I'm going to have to do) but then I worry about the party gaining enough XP for the next part of the path!! I read on here earlier that making sure the party was the right level was one of the reasons behind the 'vision' awards - if I start cutting out encounters I'll have a party at least one level lower than they need to be for the next issue.


Hangfire wrote:
The problem of course is that the party's only wizard is a multiclassed wizard/rogue, so no high level spells. Also, the real hard part of this is that after fighting to get down to the bottom of the pit they find 6 swarms. Swarms are hard to kill without area of effect spells, the same kind that may have just been used to kill/get by the worm nagas. My problem with this part of the adventure is that there is no break between one really hard encounter and the next really hard encounter. Now I could change things (which I'm going to have to do) but then I worry about the party gaining enough XP for the next part of the path!! I read on here earlier that making sure the party was the right level was one of the reasons behind the 'vision' awards - if I start cutting out encounters I'll have a party at least one level lower than they need to be for the next issue.

I'm agreeing with most of the others here, Hangfire. The group I run consists of 8 PC's, all of them tough, and even they are being forced to retreat after one or two encounters. In their case, they have access to Teleport, and one of the group has a bag of holding. Heavy PC's go in the bag, and one Teleport later, they are safe for the night in the nearest large city. They rebuff the next day, and come back for more. As the others have said, the creatures in the ziggurat have no way to repopulate or pursue the party, with the exception of Mak'ar, who I had raise Kelvos with a Limited Wish.


Well, I don't plan on Makar resurrecting the overworm unless the party is fairly fresh, or unless the tactical situation will give them an opportunity to retreat. I was just anticipating the horrified groans with glee, not trying to TPK the party. TPKs are very bad for adventure path continuity.

The high levels of the AP are just going to be tough, no doubt about it. Teamwork and proper preparation are essential. If your party has two clerics, they should be doing at least one divination every day to get some hints on what the party ought to prepare for, and how.

All parties should have at least one full time cleric and one full-time mage, or they're going to be handicapped and have to think real hard about how to compensate. A carefully crafted rogue or bard may be able to compensate--in the case of being stuck down the hole, some protective spells and a high climb score gets the rogue out pretty easily (and as DM I'd tend not to kick the party when they're down by sending the Naga's against them to cut off their retreat. Maybe have some appear as the rogue is hauling the last teammate up the hole, just to put an exclamation point on the retreat). And yes, I hope they planned well enough to have the right amount of rope on hand, or that the rogue is resourceful enough to go out and hack some jungle vines and tie them together or something.

(Mage-rogue is a bad multiclass for the AP, because one of the ways to substitute for utility magic is killer skill checks. The party with the wizard-rogue multiclass ends up being too weak in either area to do much good--it's a good 5th party member if you've got a full-time mage, but can't fill in both "arcanist" and "adventurer" roles effectively).

Another shameless plug for the NPC "rival party" I posted on Lilith's NPC stat bank under AoW campaign--If your party has trapped themselves, and you'd rather not use the TPK "hope y'all learned your lesson about proper prior planning" approach, this party might be useful to some as a "deus ex machina" rescue party--I've given some hints in the stat bank entries and in an earlier thread here on their background and motivations for snooping around Kuluth Mar, so no extra work is needed.

Lilith's site is http://www.darkmoongallery.com/npc/


Hangfire wrote:
I'd like to get some idea of how other DMs are doing in the Spire segment of the Age of Worms. My party just entered the ziggurat, and they didn't have an easy time of it. I have six members in my group, with five of them being there when they entered Room #5. Now they rolled to listen at the door of the room, but undead just standing there are pretty hard to hear, so the party was surprised when they entered the room (the undead all have pretty good Spots and Listens I noticed - like ~+21, so no problem to hear the party at the door). Party steps into the room and wham! the Swords of Kyuss unleash their 'power of death' as my party has come to call it - 14d6 damage!! Well the cleric failed all of this reflex saves and died. Only the monk and rogue made it through unharmed. Needless to say the combat went down hill from there - the warlock also died eventually. After retreating all the way back to Magepoint, rearming, reincarnating/raising party members they trek back to the city and go for it again. The battle went better, but two party members died again - and the party was ready for undead this time. I know the group thinks this encounter is too tough. What about the rest of you - death trap or not? I'm not sure if the Swords of Kyuss, with that great ability they have, are only a CR 10 creature. I mean, they get to heal and harm at the same time three times a day - a total of nine times in the encounter. Pretty tough.

The party I DM is just about to encounter the Knight and 2 beetles outside the temple. I do enjoy the Beholder/Troll follower side bar and with a Beholder being a classic DnD monster I might run them against it first.

As for the dungeon I am extremely worried. I just dropped the hints listed in the post responses. The PCs spent days reading in the library temple in Mage Point so I am going to reward them with the hints.

My party is 6 players but 2 of them did not build their characters well.

5 Ordained Champion/3 Inquisator/ 5 Cleric (Heronius)
13 Bard (stock out of Phb)+ 11 Rogue Chohort
13 Ranger (Stock)
13 Abjurur/master specialist
3 Dwarf Paragon/ 4 Palidan (stock)/6 Kensi
5 Unseen seer/3 Rogue/5 Illusionist

The Ranger and Palidin are not built well and I fear this will be the adventure that finally ends them.

Sovereign Court

Jay Walsh 53 wrote:
Hangfire wrote:
I'd like to get some idea of how other DMs are doing in the Spire segment of the Age of Worms. My party just entered the ziggurat, and they didn't have an easy time of it. I have six members in my group, with five of them being there when they entered Room #5. Now they rolled to listen at the door of the room, but undead just standing there are pretty hard to hear, so the party was surprised when they entered the room (the undead all have pretty good Spots and Listens I noticed - like ~+21, so no problem to hear the party at the door). Party steps into the room and wham! the Swords of Kyuss unleash their 'power of death' as my party has come to call it - 14d6 damage!! Well the cleric failed all of this reflex saves and died. Only the monk and rogue made it through unharmed. Needless to say the combat went down hill from there - the warlock also died eventually. After retreating all the way back to Magepoint, rearming, reincarnating/raising party members they trek back to the city and go for it again. The battle went better, but two party members died again - and the party was ready for undead this time. I know the group thinks this encounter is too tough. What about the rest of you - death trap or not? I'm not sure if the Swords of Kyuss, with that great ability they have, are only a CR 10 creature. I mean, they get to heal and harm at the same time three times a day - a total of nine times in the encounter. Pretty tough.

The party I DM is just about to encounter the Knight and 2 beetles outside the temple. I do enjoy the Beholder/Troll follower side bar and with a Beholder being a classic DnD monster I might run them against it first.

As for the dungeon I am extremely worried. I just dropped the hints listed in the post responses. The PCs spent days reading in the library temple in Mage Point so I am going to reward them with the hints.

My party is 6 players but 2 of them did not build their characters well.

5 Ordained Champion/3 Inquisator/ 5 Cleric (Heronius)
13...

Hey Jay,

Glad to see someone else is still playing--and posting.

My party just finished up dealing with rooms 4 and 5. No TPK, but close enough. They hadn't yet finished off the undead in room when the noise of the combat attatcked the attention of the eladrin and the sword archons.

Better part of valour and all that, with the various visions they had received so far (they flew up to the top of the Spire first, and came down thru the cesret doors at the top of the ziggurat), they decided to return to Magepoint and tell what they'd learned so far.

I decided to allow it. They will be directed to return and learn more; but they wanted to make some purchases--and with what's awaiting them they'll need it.

I too have had some fun with the beholder/trolls. My trolls are cunning, well-equipped troll rangers--they're just the thing for a mad beholder who's trying to control the jungles around a city ruins which he considers his.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My party's story is at

Week 34 - Handling the Shaft
Week 35 - All the way in


Hehe, my party is doing the Spire as well. Last session they battled the two beetles and the knight, which was a tough fight. Then they encountered the angels and the eladrin, which turned out to be even tougher.

The eladrin used a prismatic spray on the party and ended up sending the cleric to the Abyss, and the barbarian to the ethereal plane!

The cleric roleplayed his way out of the abyss, encountering a fallen angel there, but the barbarian is floating around following the party as he didn't receive any random encounters. His intelligence is at a staggering 3 at the moment too so he's roleplaying this well :P


How are the paladin and ranger not built well? You weren't very specific about that.


So my party is still breezing through this dungeon. So far the only thing to pose much a threat to them was the eladrin and angel bodyguards. All the undead are usually blasted into oblivion by the cleric or the paladin.

I can foresee the spellweaver to pose a minor threat to the party, mostly because of his multiple spells per round, and perhaps the overworm will get to swallow one of the PC's.

The 3 undead knights, if they get to them, may also prove to be a challenge.

The worm naga sorcerer didn't take much to kill, and the wormcallers are so/so, but usually are killed quite fast as well.


My group of players had a really tough time with this adventure. One guy got blasted out of existence by Kelvos and the party tried to defeat the Harbinger no fewer than three times without success. Eventually they gave up and pledged to come back when they were higher level.

Some of the battles were a breeze but the tough encounters were the ones where the bad guys worked together as a team and developed tactics and counter tactics based on what they learned of the PCs.

Good adventure nevertheless.


Reflecting back on this, I remember James Jacobs mentioning either in reference to this or to the massive Swords of Kyuss attack in The Library of Last Resort that a simple fix to power down the Swords of Kyuss but still keep them deadly and relevant would be to halve the attack power of their Invocation of the Worm ability (7d6 instead of 14d6 - i.e. 1d6/2 HD instead of 1/1).


I did something similar - I made the Swords of Kyuss only able to use the invocation of the worm ability every three rounds. Otherwise, their most effective combat tactic is probably simply to each fire it off every round (unless they're fighting a fully death warded party).


A party that is not fully death warded in SoSL deserves to die :) Honestly, they encounter a sword of kyuss early on, can and should retreat to change spell selection, and then return.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / Books & Magazines / Dungeon Magazine / Age of Worms Adventure Path / Spire of Long Shadows - Dungeon of Death?!? (Spoilers) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Age of Worms Adventure Path