Deadliest Age of Worms Encounters


Age of Worms Adventure Path

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Dark Archive

The Alkilith demon was nasty! No one was killed, but it was a hectic battle that the pc's will never forget. The fear trap sent a few pc's running back towards the coenoby(the players were very worried about being dq'd from the games).

Silver Crusade

given that the AP is being run in the Iron Kingdoms campaign setting, the deadliest encounter the pirate crew has run into without question was Kelvos the Wormtouched. see, in the Iron Kingdoms, celestials are almost unheard of and seen even less, so to run across 3 that had been corrupted by Kyuss had them nearly running to the hills, especially since i portrayed Kelvos as strangely polite, even while he was trying to kill them. and since the characters knew next to nothing about celestials, the players portrayed that in their fighting tactics as well. the most fun i've had with this to date, though they've still yet to face the lichnee spell-weaver....


(SPOILERS!) The most difficult in my AoW campaigns:

Whispering Cairn: the Wind Warriors at the end of the adventure.
Three Faces of Evil: the Grimlock part of the temple, especially the U-shaped cavern.
Encounter at Blackwell Keep: none in particular, but if I have to choose, the Spawn of Kyuss.
Hall of Harsh Reflections: THIS ADVENTURE IS TOO DIFFICULT, TOO DIFFICULT, TOO DIFFICULT!!! And Zyrxog was almost unstoppable.
The Champion's Belt: the Alkilith.
A Gathering of Winds: the Elder Black Pudding.
The Spire of Long Shadows: Kelvos the Wormtouched and the Habinger.
The Prince of Redhand: none in particular, but if I have to choose,the Ebon Aspect.
The Library of Last Resort: Krathanos and Darl's party.
Kings of the Rifts: none in particular, but if I have to choose,
Xyzanth.
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure: my group only battled Dragotha (challenging encounter).
Dawn of a New Age: not played yet, but Kyuss seems the only threat to the party.

The absolutely most dangerous: Zyrxog (1st place), the Alkilith (2nd place, because it didn't have to be destroyed and the party retreated).


Hojas wrote:

We just finished round one of the Champion's belt and the toughest encounters have been:

The acid beetles in whispering cairn
Mimics and Octopus in HoHR

I can't wait to see the ulgur in action soon!

Yeah, I am running a new group through Age of Worms and the acid beetles gave my group a bit of trouble, as well. I suspect that they give a lot of parties trouble (that is, those not prepared with alchemist fire, etc.). Most 1st level parties don't have these and if the spellcasters blew their spells against the wolves, oh well...

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is tough, since there have been so many near death experiences for my party, but I'd say...

1. Stone Brain & Zyrxog. These encounters had to be the toughest. My party was out of resources by the time they reached the brain, then were attempting to rest when I hit them with Zyrxog.

2. Devil ambush at the beginning of Spire. I had to put together a side quest so the party could get some revenge for this one. I felt bad hitting them with such a nasty surprise right after they'd escaped GoW. The barbed devil grapple attack was ridiculously effective.

3. Augerric. Even with the toned-down eyebolts, he was still nearly a TPK.

4. Showdown fight at the end of Champion's Belt. When Auric got eaten, my party ran away.

We're half-way through a side quest in the ruins of Kuluth Mar involving the beholder. I'm expecting a TPK before the end of Spire...


While not the most deadly, the Broodfiend from Dawn of a New Age proved challenging, even on its own.


Every TPK that I was worried about turned into a cakewalk" the ulgurstasta, Xyrxog, the Faceless One, etc. Admittedly, I outsmarted myself on the ulgurstasta - I had beefed up Auric (who the ulgurstasta focused on) on never rolled above a '5' while trying to bite him.

The five toughest (roughly in order) for my party thus far (just finished the Champion's Belt)

5. Pitch Blade (CB) - I beefed these guys up a bit because I knew my party would pound them into dust - I may have overdone it, swapping out some barbarian levels for exotic weapon master with crushing blow (or whatever it is)

4. Invisible Stalkers (HoHR) - I took pity on them because there were only three PCs (although Ixaxian did a great job of making useless attack attempts and interfering) and invisible enemies with reach are devastating at that level

3. Froghemoth (CB) - had it not been for two Dimension Hops to get out of grapples and a munchkin of a tank in the party they would have been annihiliated

2. Ebon Aspect (TFoE) - 1 character left standing and it happened to be the rogue who has complained all along about the adventure path being impossible; with his three companions unconscious he got in the killing blow while running and tumbling around like a rabid squirrel to deny the Aspect full attacks

1. Akilith demon (CB) - nobody died (although I could have killed the idiot Tank of the party) but I did manage to convince them to retreat for the first time ever; 1 PC was sent screaming into the service level by the symbol of fear and he and two of the other PCs were put out of commission by the stinking cloud

Dark Archive

the Faceless one so far seems to have been our groups hardest encounter. He killed 4/5 members with his lightning bolt spell making for a very quick and painful wipe. Given the party was all of third level and did vecna's room first, which probably wasn't a good idea on my part to even let that happen. It also didnt help that i rolled perfect damage except on a single dice. So far morale is basically at an all time low. I dunno what is going to happen with the aspect, but if we get yet another TPK(will be the second one in a single adventure and they were pissed about the first not really getting a chance to do anything) I think the other people playing are probably going to boot me from the table and just find a new DM.


It's interesting to see how some encounters are nasty for some, and not nasty for others.

Well here is our nasty list

WC- Filge was almost a TPK. The party rushed in without much planning. Filge ran out of spells which saves the group. But the zombies beat the party up. No one died but everyone was beat up.

3FoE- TPK right in the start of the temple of Hextor. Tieflings, skeletons and the dire boar was way too much for the party.

EaBWK- This one was a cake walk for the group, nothing really even came close to damaging the party

HoHR- The Mind flayer. It came close to a TPK. The party won...but it was close.

CB- Nothing that bad. The party walked through this. Nothing seemed to stop them.

AGoW- The Black dragon killed a member of the group. The Oculus demon beat the party up, but no deaths.

Like what others has said is true for us. Except for enounter at Blackwall keep every "boss fight" wasa tooth and nail sort of thing.


My players don't have a good mix of classes (fighter/paladin, Rogue, Warlock, Knight and Druid with wolf companion) so any battles with undead (Filge and Bane(Hextor) temple) have been pretty devastating. Invading the Hextor temple, the rogue using spider climb cast by the druid, crawls down the elevator shaft, only to roll a 3 on his hide in shadows (against my tiefling's 20 on spot) Two tieflings vs one rogue, not good. I am using optional hover on deaths door (-10 to -max hp, can be restored to -1 with one spell or potion, second spell or potion to restore to 0, third spell or potion to return to action.) so when the warlock managed to reach the bottom with ring of feather fall( I don't know why they just didn't take the elevator down all together) he found two tieflings about to finish off his friend. The warlock takes out one, gets dropped to 2 hp before dropping the second one, who had sounded the alarm to the temple before engaging. The rest of the party arrives, heals up the rogue a bits, and charges head long into the temple. Melee ensues with the skeletons, cultists, more tieflings and the beast. Rogue drops again, along with the knight and paladin. a well placed entangle by the druid and some decent damage rolls on eldritch blasts by the warlock saves the day.

Most memorable battle(so far, only 2/3 way through 3FoE) was in the Grimlock caves. Upon reaching the final temple of Grallak Kur, the party is hit with a deeper darkness spell. When the warlock fails his attempt to read a dispell magic scroll, the party is at a stand still. Not wanting to give the grimlocks a tactical advantage of darkness, the party stands on the edge of the effect. Druid casts Summon nature's ally, bringing in a dire bat. Bat snatches a grimlock, and brings it bakc, where party procedes to anhilatee in one round. Wash, rinse, repeat. With his minions disapearing fast, and his latest visions not shared with the other sects, Grallak offers a truce. The party reluctantly lets his last two minions go (in which they proceed to the Faceless One with a warning and the last vision) while Grallak accepts his fate (He has forseen his death along with Theldrick and FO will awaken the Aspect)


How do you spell near TPK? B-R-O-O-D-F-I-E-N-D! Mp PCs have cleansed Alhaster of Kyuss's numerous undead lieutenants before finally hitting the graveyard, attemting to find the negative energy portal. As they searched the mist covered area, the Broodfiend made its first appearance, parting the mist only for a brief second. This setup is just plain nasty; the broodfiend's blindsight overcomes the obscuring fog that hides them (which foils even true seeing since it's mundane), giving their already prodigious attack bonuses the added plus of hitting their foes dex-less. My PCs also never made their knowledge check on the nature of the thing, so when one of them cast Harm upon it, it simply regenerated all of its wounds, much to the horror of all present. Mind you, my PCs had already fought three battles pervious to this, but this one was the lowest EL of the group. Good monster! I ended up killing the 20th level Spirit Shaman and two cohorts. (Not an issue with resurrection magic available)

Liberty's Edge

Well, I just ran the first session of TWC and we've already had a couple of near fatalities in the Lair of the Labourers. The toughest and most terrifying fight was against the water elemental and the ghoul.

The party had fought their way through the wolves, acid beetles and mad slasher, and they were pretty much spent for the day. The encounter at the food dispensary was pretty tense because of some bad saves against acid sprays and high swarm damage (they refer to this battle as the cockroach infestation around the slurpee machine).

Anyway, the party meatshield sees the flooded bathroom area and wants to explore "just one more room, what could happen?" Heh, heh.

Meatshield swims in to take a look see. While poking around at a drain (trying to unclog it), the elemental jumps him. He takes a slam attack in the surprise round, comes up for air and to call for help on his round. Party comes running. Elemental uses the vortex attack, meatshield saves and runs for dry land. Crazy elemental burbles and mocks party as they retreat to a safe distance.

It should have ended there, but noooooo. Meatshield takes offence at being dissed by the bathroom attendant. Not being to type to take guff from anyone, he goes rushing back underwater with the party ranger backing him up. What they didn't know is the ghoul had taken notice of the action (a vortex is hard to ignore) and came to investigate. Ghoul hides behind that small wall in the main flooded chamber and surprises Meatshield, but fails to hit.

The look of horror on the player's face as I described the clammy waterlogged hands of a corpse scrabbling for him from the murky depths was priceless. Ranger moves in to support Meatshield and gets flanked by the elemental. Ghould paralyses Ranger and starts to drag her off for num num time. I describe undead horror licking his lips and leering at her hungrily, player terrified.

Ghoul and Meatshield end up in grapple fighting over paralysed Ranger. Really tense. Cleric finally decides to help and takes out elemental. Meatsheild fails grapple check and ghoul drags both him and Ranger halfway to his chamber. Meatshield finally dispatches ghoul and drags still paralysed Ranger to surface, gasping and panting in terror and pain.

Next round, Ranger no longer paralysed. Convulses in terror and revulsion, then proceeds to browbeat Meatshield. "One more room, eh?!"

Nobody died, but it was really touch and go for a few rounds. When asked about their adventure, they'll be saying that there was one heck of an infestation at the slurpee machine and they were almost killed by the toilet! Good times.


Underneath the Alhaster Boneyard in "Dawn of a New Age" was a near TPK for my group. Having come to rely upon Deathward and its superior cousin, Life's Grace (from SC), my players were completely unprepared for the horror beneath the ground. The dungeon, besides its various defensive measures, is described as being under the effects of Kyuss's presence as listed under the properties of the Spire. I interpreted (hopefully correctly)this to mean that Death Ward (and Life's Grace) was automatically canceled, level drains were doubled along with negative energy damage, and undead were hasted and gifted with Fash Healing 30 and turn immunity. My PCs entered through the dragon's stairway, triggering the trap and suffering its effects before going into the room with all the columns...I thought that a room that size and close to the entry to the surface should have guardians, so I transposed Vulras and his Shadowdancer companions into that room, upping the number of dancers to eight to compensate for party numbers.
Initially, I wasn't too keen on using the stock Vamps from the MM; I didn't consider them poweful enough. I was wrong. Shadow-leaping, hiding in plain sight, and being able to drain 4 levels a hit (8 on a critical hit) proved almost too much. No one died, but I drained a total of 24 character levels and stunted the momentum of their assault. They were forced to use a lot of resources in the first two fights, making even a CR 20 Buldemech difficult after 3 tough fights and 2 nasty traps. (Buldemech still got punked...)


My PCs just finished The Prince of Redhand, so they are two-thirds through. Based on our experiences, I would say the single most deadly encounter in the campaign so far is the Harbinger from SoLS. He absolutely obliterated my PCs, and they were ready. They had a number of solid buff spells readied and even a healer to do massive amounts of damage via cures. Repulsion is what did it. The spellweaver then just leveled the enemies who had passed their saves against repulsion. It was a slaughter. I killed half the party with that encounter and the Harbinger was almost at full health. The one swing the fighter got in before a repulsion + 5 ft. step did very little damage because of his DR, and the spellweaver had been watching them since they entered and had readied resist energy (acid) since the mage in the group favors acid spells. By a stroke of luck, they escaped, but they vowed not to return unless it was necessary, and Tenser (Manzorian) told them they could probably proceed to Alhaster if they wished and leave the spellweaver be for now.

No other encounter has killed more characters except for the Hextor temple in 3FoE, which resulted in a TPK. However, that was largely due to player ineptitude. They continued pressing the Hextorians even when it was painfully obvious they were in a superior defensive position. They walked right into the trap and wound up fighting all the temple inhabitants at once. Theldrick happily sacrificed all survivors to Hextor once they were defeated and I had them roll up new characters.

With the exception of those two encounters, no other encounter thus far has killed more than one character. I envision Darl Quethos, Brazzemal, Thessalar, and Dragotha will each give the PCs a run for their money. With their dwarf fighter, I doubt the giants will give them much trouble. I do not actually expect them to defeat Kyuss. Kyuss is the most difficult battle in the game. Of course, that is as it should be. We will see how they fare though. With some careful planning and a bit of luck, they may defeat him.


Your players didn't think of using antimagic field?

Darl was certainly difficult. The players bested him the first time around, but that was because he didn't use the Hand. The second time they fought, he used the Hand and they were forced to flee. The third battle ought to be fun... score is 1 - 1.


Stupid Broodfiends, they had to go and upstage Lashonna... (Who in Astral Projection form lasted four rounds. PCs are still unaware they fought her in this state)
Why they'd have to go and make a monster as awesome as that? Really...


I have to say that the feast in Prince of Redhand was a severe test of my party's (lack of) diplomatic skills. Every single one of them (and there are 7 of them) managed to offend the Prince at some point during the feast, and he ordered them all poisoned. Didn't help that three of them (cleric, paladin and monk)are prominent worshippers of Heironeous. My one player is also a huge cat lover and I thought he was going to come across the table at me when Zeech started petrifying kitties! Fortunately, they did all right with their saves, and no one died because the cleric was available with some handy neutralize poision and restoration spells, but it scared the crap out of them when they all started having painful stomach cramps simultaneously six hours after the feast. Now, I just hope they don't try to storm Zeech's castle.


Brain, I had a similar problem. I'm running AoW in my own original campaign world, and without thinking too far ahead, I made the PCs refugee elite soldiers from a nation that had been overrun by the Bandit Kingdoms. So when it came time to go to Alhaster, the very heart of their blood enemy, I suddenly realized that getting them to attend the party and do it peacefully was going to be no small feat. They were constantly talking about starting a big fight at the party. Ultimately, the only reason they didn't start a fight was because I explained to the players my mistake. I told them they were still free to have their characters do whatever they thought was most appropriate for their characters, but they kindly treated the party as a diplomacy encouter instead of a fight.

It all worked out in the end, but it was a very meta session, and we were all glad to have moved on after that.

The toughest fights for my PCs so far have been the Alkilith demon in CB -- It left, I think, two PCs alive. They were unable to complete the games, and fled the coenoby. I told them later they had partially screwed Raknian, as the rest of the games had to be cancelled (they were pretty far along). But then Raknian had Auric and Khellik sequestered, told the city that the PCs had murdered them (so the PCs left the city running from the law), and then tried to sacrifice Auric and Khellik in a midnight ritual in the arena, only to have the annoyed ulger eat him instead.

The ulger went on a rampage, and many hundreds of civillians were turned into wights. They all learned about this second hand, after AGoW, and it was worth it just to see the looks on their faces when they found out that there are sometimes other consequences for failure beside their cherished character dying.

Other hard fights included the Night Twist, which hit one PC with all six limb attacks in one round. He was pulverized to paste just from the strength bonus to damage (15) times six. I never even bothered to roll dice for that damage.

The Wild Watcher was almost impossible. With its already high AC, boosted by combat expertise, none of the PCs left alive were going to hit him, except on a nat 20, and he could do horrible things to them at will. He killed one more PC (there were only three left at that point), and the party only gained access to the Fountain of Dreams and left the Demiplane of Last Resort after the sorcerer made two 50+ Diplomacy checks in a row. I figured that was more than enough to finally talk the WW down from his rage.


Yes, the Alkilith demon was very deadly. Its SLAs and Cloudkill form were particularly devastating. Still, a good battle, and one that the players remember.

I made some major changes to LoLR, so my players never experienced the fight with the WW or the "dream battle", which I felt made no sense. The night twist was a pushover, but I used a regular night twist, not an ancient night twist. The octopus tree was far more difficult for them.


dungeonblaster wrote:
Yes, the Alkilith demon was very deadly. Its SLAs and Cloudkill form were particularly devastating. Still, a good battle, and one that the players remember.

It's interesting that the Alkilith has given a lot of parties trouble. I remember when Fiend Folio came out. When I first saw the demon, I thought it looked really cool. On closer inspection, though, I was underwhelmed, as it seemed like it would go down very quickly. Obviously, I didn't look close enough!


The toughest encounters my players have faced so far have been the Ebon Aspect, Shukak, the advanced octopin, and Bozal.

The Ebon Aspect caught the party depleted and low on hit points. Some lucky rolls by the Warforged fighter finally brough him down.

I ran Shukak and the Lizardfolk came to his aid tactically. This split the party and made it so they could not all target him. On top of that, I rolled three crits against one player.

The Advanced Octopin caught the party with depleted resources due to the stone brain's mind control. It was a near TPK. After the archivist/savant was ripped in two, half of the party refused to retreat until they could recover her body.

Bozal was preped and ready for the party. After being hedged out and swarmed by summoned monsters, the party withdrew before it became a TPK.


Thraxus wrote:

The toughest encounters my players have faced so far have been the Ebon Aspect...the advanced octopin...

The Ebon Aspect caught the party depleted and low on hit points. Some lucky rolls by the Warforged fighter finally brough him down.

The Advanced Octopin caught the party with depleted resources due to the stone brain's mind control. It was a near TPK. After the archivist/savant was ripped in two, half of the party refused to retreat until they could recover her body.

The Ebon Aspect still ranks high on the chart of "deadliest encounters" in my campaign. So does that advanced octopin. Zyrxog's elite creation sure gets around, because I've seen him on this thread before, I think. That powerful rend almost killed one of our characters, just before our cleric used close wounds (with a necessary 4 rolled) to keep him alive.


Well, Brazzemal is currently ranking in at number one for biggest pest in the campaign. After showing up at the end of KotR, he made sufficient use of his breath weapon--our party's apparent kryptonite--and even tried to circle about to heal up, prior to reengaging.

Yet the party wizard blasted him with a prismatic spray, sending him off to another plane. (I was even generous enough to let his ring of major spell storing slip off his claw.) I thought that might be the last we saw of him.

Never say die, folks. In Wormcrawl Fissure, our party looked at the map of the Fissure--which seemed fine, as they had practically explored the majority of it by now--pointed to Brazzemal's Aerie, and said, "ooh, let's go there."

A short fight ensued, but one where a deadly application of the (advanced to wyrm) dragon's fire breath did severe damage to the unaware party. Fighting tooth and nail, they almost bested the dragon, even bringing him to a lowly fifteen hp, before he teleported away. The party considered pursuing, but decided to recover, and focus on their more immediate goal in Wormcrawl.


Zyrxog nearly made a mess of my party too. His first mind blast stunned only the rogue, but the fighter had no way of getting up in the air to splat Zyrxog with his power attack and Telakin's frost greataxe. The sorceror tried to fireball the octopins, only to see them shrug off the damage. (He was kind of put out until I told them about the unhallow afterwards)
The second mind blast stunned sorceror and fighter, leaving only the druid still fighting. As has happened previously, the druid saves the party through spontanteous Summon Nature's Ally.

An air elemental to whirlwind him down to the ground, a giant crocodile to grapple him and keep him there and a dire wolf to bite him all turned up before the druid himself shifted to dire ape form and got in close. Rather than rend the stunned party members, one octopin got stuck into the summons, while the other attacked the druid. One full attack later, I rolled a pair of 20's then a 20 and a 2 to confirm. The druid took 5d8+18 damage and became chunky salsa.
I decided that the octopins would attempt to free their master in favour of shredding the party, else it would have been a TPK.


My group have just descended in to the temple complex in THFoE and have killed the Teifling guards and three Gnoll worshipers (an extra story plot in my campaign) I have added also Taint to the whole complex and extra Gnolls and given one word of the dark speech (Book of vile darkness) to the faceless one to wield as a weapon should the party find things too easy. They have gone into the temple on the eve of the Festival of Blood (11Th coldeven) so things could hot up there; what with taint, rising zombies, ebon aspect, and the dark speech, however if a TPK looms I can cull some of these extra niceties.

So far though my group have avoided a TPK but they have had a couple of deaths and a lot of near misses. My party made use of the abandoned mine hut and rested there a lot and made frequent stops into Diamond Lake to recover, they even hired a few healers to go with them and have them wait outside the cairn.

The Grick claimed one of our clerics and the Owl Bear savaged the other cleric so they were probably the toughest encounters but the encounters that scared my group the most were the Mad Slashers / Spider Swarms (switched for the beetle swarms given the lack of beetle swarm miniatures) yep! poison is just as effective as acid!! I put an extra Mad Slasher in as a wondering monster given all the resting they did.

The brown mould while technically not a monster almost wiped out the party, they kept trying to burn the stuff away and it kept doubling in size and they kept getting too near it, the cleric was first in using a torch to burn it away, it multiplied and he collapsed from extreme cold and frostbite the other players rushed in to save him, also taking cold damage, then the other Mad Slasher comes a wondering by…..the players learnt a hard lesson the hard way, they now hate moulds spores and fungus!!!

The most memorable fight though was the Wind Warriors. The players really crapped themselves when a wind warrior grappled the rogue lifted him into the air 60ft and dropped him into the chasm to his death……. only to realise the character was wearing the ring of Feather Fall….. priceless!! The screams and cheers woke up my family. Fearing a similar fate the rest of the party pulled out all of the stops to kill the wind warriors.


Well, I can add Madtooth to the toughest fights my group has faced. They won only because of teamwork. The group initially made a mistake of closing on Madtooth. Three rounds later, three of the party members were at 30 or fewer hit points, with one of them being in the belly of the beast.

At this point, they retreated to range or used the wagon Madtooth was brought in on as cover and started fighting with ranged attacks. The battle dancer used Spring Attack to strike and run, keeping the beast busy until a lucky sleep arrow dropped it (I rolled a 1).

The crowd went wild.

The players were convinced that it was going to be a TPK.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

1. Acid Beetle Swarm (Whispering Cairn)
2. Filge and Zombies (Whispering Cairn)
3. Grimlock Archers (Three Faces of Evil)
4. Spawns of Kyuss in Basement (Encounter at Blackwall Keep)
5. Invisible Stalkers (Hall of Harsh Reflections)


We've now completed "A Gathering of Winds" and you can add the oculus demon to our list. Before anybody really closed to fight it, the cleric was paralyzed and the duskblade and rogue were fleeing in terror. The duskblade was soon unconscious. The tank was the only one left and he kept getting whacked while fighting his way through multiple castings of Mirror Image. Good times.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

LarryMac wrote:

We've now completed "A Gathering of Winds" and you can add the oculus demon to our list. Before anybody really closed to fight it, the cleric was paralyzed and the duskblade and rogue were fleeing in terror. The duskblade was soon unconscious. The tank was the only one left and he kept getting whacked while fighting his way through multiple castings of Mirror Image. Good times.

What on earth is your party doing without a hero's feast up? I dismissed the eyes rays when I saw they were a fear effect, I can't remember the last time I saw a 11th+ cleric _not_ casting hero's feast.

I'm adding quicken spell like (dispel magic) to his feats, in hopes of burning off a few buffs.


0. Filge - maybe not him personally, but I beefed up his undead minions and my group didn't have a lot of slashing weapons so they found it really creepy and scary (which was what I hoped for), even though Filge got ripped apart by a pair of wolves early on.
1. The Grimlock Cleric - first PC death, and extremely close to TPK due to terrain advantage, his buffs, and general lack of weaknesses against a low level party that had not fully honed its tactics yet.
2. The Ooze Demon from under the arena in the Champions Belt - they tried to kill it twice, and had to dimension door out of there both times.
3. Illthane - killed an animal companion (and cohort, I think) and got very close to killing the rest, despite her poor tactical situation (i.e. stop the PC's getting into the cairn - had she been more prepared to stay outside the entrance and strafe, she would likely have wiped the group out eventually except maybe one or two who run for cover into the cairn).
4. The devils who come after the piece of the Rod of 7 Parts - they were just nasty and really hard to kill for my group, I think I actually realised half-way through I put in too many devils and went easy on them tactics wise (something I would normally never do, but it seemed a very poor time to kill more PC's), allowing the PC's to fight them a bit more on their own terms and whittle them down.
5. The fallen angels in the Spire - first attempt by the party killed an NPC then the rest fled fearing a TPK (although when they returned, they wiped the floor with them due to better preparations and resting whenever they were running out of firepower).
Although, most of the above encounters did not include a full complement of PC's (often one was missing), which didn't help.

The rest of it's been handled pretty well by my party, with a number of encounters being easier than I expected and the rest about as expected i.e. not too easy but not fearing for their lives. I adjust the adventures slightly here and there to make more sense for me, but not a lot. And I roll everything in the open, so only having two PC's die up to 16th level is pretty amazing really, a testament to my players abilities over time.

All up, pretty well balanced I'd say. It's important to have the odd encounter that's really hard for the players, as it keeps them from getting complacent. Having encounters that look difficult on paper, but turn out to be fairly easy for the group, those are important too because they reward the players for good tactics and strategies, both personal and group-wise, of shich my group has pulled of a large number by now - be it great use of spells, learning to retreat before it's too late, using the right buffs and de-buffing their oponents, building a really strong party balance with only 3 PC's, ...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The Acid Beetle swarm has got to be the biggest possible TPK. But it often depends on the PC composition and their M.O.s. If they typically rush stupidly into things then the Grimlock Archers should give the Swarm a tough run for its money.

At the higher levels it's just so hard to TPK. Yeah one may get slaughtered and in a real b@&~& of a fight a couple -- but even in those there's always a high level Rogue that runs away or Mage that zips off to somewhere.

-W. E. Ray


In retrospect of the entire campaign, I think the single deadliest encounter our party experienced was the Hextor Wing in Three Faces of Evil, First Room. Due to poor rolling, hot rolling on my part (cultists were crit-ing machines), and some tactical mistakes, the party had only one survivor from the first foray who I allowed to flee up the elevator after being shot at 10 times by angry tieflings. Their second foray again resulted in half the party getting killed, again by the swarm tactics and the whole, "This monster alerts this monster, who in turn alerts this monster, who then..." battle plan of the wing. Absolutely brutal, and had I not pulled a couple punches in allowing characters to escape to massacres, I think my players might have stopped playing then and there. It sure was fun to have a couple live Kyuss worms planted in their former Character's corpses though...


Russ Taylor wrote:

What on earth is your party doing without a hero's feast up? I dismissed the eyes rays when I saw they were a fear effect, I can't remember the last time I saw a 11th+ cleric _not_ casting hero's feast.

I'm adding quicken spell like (dispel magic) to his feats, in hopes of burning off a few buffs.

We ended up nerfing Heroes' Feast at our table - instead of outright immunity to fear and poison it now provides a +4 circumstance bonus on such saves.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We are at battle one of the Champions Belt, and so far the toughest battles have been:

1. The golemesqe creature in WC combined with the acid beatle swarms across the hall. They retreated from the swarms into the room with the statute, so it attacked too.

2. Kullen and company. Kullen tried to warn off the rogue to get them to leave him alone, so she taunted him about leaving his friend to die at the owlbear's claws. When he tried to just punch her, another party member drew steel, and bad stuff happened.

3. Worst so far was the Temple of Hextor. The Lawful Neutral monk seriously considered joining the Hextorites when things were at their worst.


Well, we just finished Age of Worms, so I can say with relative assurance what the most challenging encounters were.

1: The Ebon Aspect--still the most challenging foe for its level. Hats off to Mike Mearls for the fascinating Aspect, and the most potent challenge in the whole AP.
2: Maralee--though she went under another moniker for my campaign (Awlmont Hog for my players, who are finally allowed on the boards), she/he had not only a vicious gaze attack that threatened to severely debilitate the party, but full attacked our overzealous spellsword, including a critical with the executioner's mace! A real bloodspray encounter.
3: Vermirox and two old, very angry, invisible blue dragons with metabreath crunk--that's whatcha get for teleporting right to the Weeping Citadel's front gate! Perhaps my cheesiest moment, w/heighten, quicken, clinging, and lingering, the crisscross of lighting dropped at least one character, and severely hurt the rest.
4: Four colossal overworms in Lashonna's Dungeon in the Arena of the Worm (?)--wow. They went in with very depleted resources, and I kinda egged them on, too, and these monstrosities appeared and surrounded them. One or two are bad enough, with sick grapple checks and hit points, but four! Our epic timestop/delayed blast fireball-wielding wizard did the majority to them all, blessed with my inability to accuratly draw out the room for lack of space on the dry-erase board, as it managed to grapple at least two characters. The others finished them off fast, even as one was swallowed. Considering that my party lucked out by never actually casting a teleport spell in this dungeon, this is a hard encounter all around.
5: Those Invisible Stalkers (Hall of Harsh Reflections)--attention DMs: show no mercy to players who go unequipped into a dungeon. This is one of those moments where an unprepared PC should get what's coming. Whiffing for rounds, the invisible stalkers brought the progression to a halt, as my players tried to come up with ways to locate the invisible creatures without the aid of magic. (This is not universally true. One player did have see invisibility, and had to resort to guiding the others as to what squares to hit.) Surprisingly, no one fell into the drink, but this encounter begins to highlight the need for standard dungeoneering equipment, including staple potions and scrolls. No more just saving up for that big market modifier magic sword!

Lots of other encounters I thought would be challenging, just weren't. My players hosed Dragotha with a rather clever trick (See "Dragotha--How Much Is Too Much thread for details), and Kyuss was swarmed from the start, even with the 1340hp I gave him! Perhaps in the following AP, I'll keep in mind the BBEGs strengths and weaknesses, and make for more excitingly climactic encounters.


Russ Taylor wrote:
What on earth is your party doing without a hero's feast up?... ...I can't remember the last time I saw a 11th+ cleric _not_ casting hero's feast.

I must admit that until I came upon these board I had never experienced nor heard of any others that have used Hero's Feast. I may have to get my party to try it at some point :-)

Silver Crusade

Blayde MacRonan wrote:
given that the AP is being run in the Iron Kingdoms campaign setting, the deadliest encounter the pirate crew has run into without question was Kelvos the Wormtouched. see, in the Iron Kingdoms, celestials are almost unheard of and seen even less, so to run across 3 that had been corrupted by Kyuss had them nearly running to the hills, especially since i portrayed Kelvos as strangely polite, even while he was trying to kill them. and since the characters knew next to nothing about celestials, the players portrayed that in their fighting tactics as well. the most fun i've had with this to date, though they've still yet to face the lichnee spell-weaver....

well...some time has passed since i wrote this and with that i must say that as hard as Kelvos the Wormtouched was, their encounter with the Shackled Conqueror, Krathanos the chaotic evil titan (or, as he is called in the Iron Kingdoms, Krasnovo Bogatyrin the chaotic evil Khadoran Giant King). In just two rounds he had blunted the combat capabilities of the group's primary offense specialist, the barbarian/frenzied berserker and Kratos-esque Rusciek by sundering his weapons (based on the anarch razors that appeared in a past Dragon mag) and knocking him unconscious. when the group realized that Rusciek, who normally wades through enemies like Moses through the Red Sea, wasn't going to be pulling them out of the fire like he normally does, the looks of worry, panic, and dread were everywhere. it took three sessions (each lasting at least 5 hours) before they finally prevailed when the ladies proved successful in stealing both his belt and pouch from his waist during the long combat... and even then Krasnovo/Krathanos lived when it was said and done.


The alkilith was difficult because it's given more power than the rules permit. Its spell-like abilities DC is stated to be over 20, but spell-like abilities mimicking spells should have a DC equal to 10 + spell level + Cha bonusm that's 17 for Cone of Cold, and not 22 like it's reported on D128.

Schmoe wrote:
dungeonblaster wrote:
Yes, the Alkilith demon was very deadly. Its SLAs and Cloudkill form were particularly devastating. Still, a good battle, and one that the players remember.
It's interesting that the Alkilith has given a lot of parties trouble. I remember when Fiend Folio came out. When I first saw the demon, I thought it looked really cool. On closer inspection, though, I was underwhelmed, as it seemed like it would go down very quickly. Obviously, I didn't look close enough!


When I was a player -
- Zyrxog (loooong fight, luck in the end)
- Augerric (half of the party panicked and disabled)
- acid wrath in PoR(we run)
- Darl Quetos' Gang (they wiped us for good - twice, end of campaign)

(We avoided the alkilith, fully buffed druid did take care of the froghemoth *alone*, pitch blade was hard but didn't have enough staying power, harbinger fled, titan was freed > the rest was certainly doable)

Now, as a DM, so far -
- Acid beetle swarm
- TFoE: U-Shaped cavern (I couln't count the many times one of the PCs went sub-zero)
- TFoE: Ebon Aspect (4 out of 5 in the negatives)
- Zyrxog (one dead and several very close calls)


We're about to get into "Prince of Redhand," so we haven't made it to Dragotha or Kyuss yet, but by this point in the campaign, the Harbinger + overworm has been the deadliest encounter.

The elf scout was surprised, swallowed, and digested by the overworm.

The lizardfolk druid (the only PC to breach the Harbinger's repulsion) was readied-action mazed and was rolling INT checks for the duration of the encounter.

The human sorceress was greater dispelled and hit with 30 magic missiles. She was destroyed, obviously.

*By now, the spellcasters had been neutralized, leaving the brawlers to pound away at the Harbinger's mirror images at range, since none of them could breach the spellweaver's repulsion.

The half-orc fighter was slain after suffering from a prismatic spray and a chain lightning.

That left the half-orc ranger/warshaper (who was immune to stunning and had listen lorecall active). A power word stun was strangely ineffective, as was a power word blind. Wielding a ghost strike hammer, the ranger threw it three times, ultimately destroying the surprised spellweaver on a critical (ghost strike weapons can critical undead), whose spells were dwindling by that point.

Really, I allowed the half-orc ranger to succeed. I could have obliterated the party with the spellweaver lich, but I didn't want the campaign to end. ;-) The players were genuinely scared (and so was I) that the game was going to end with that awful encounter.

Sovereign Court

Difficult encounters so far (listed by adventure):

Whispering Cairn: wind warriors (no deaths, but close)

Three Faces of Evil: Battle Temple of Hextor (3 deaths), Labyrinth of Vecna (1 PC captured by kenku!), Caves of Erythnul (cliff fight & fight against Grallak Kur, only one death)

Encounter at Blackwall Keep: assassin vine (nearly killed scout)

Hall of Harsh Reflections: invisible stalkers (close but no deaths), advanced octopin (1 death from crit), Zyrxog (hard fight, no deaths)

Champion's Belt: Surprisingly easy encounters for my group. The only death resulted in the extremely deadly Dreams of Kyuss trap.

Gathering of Winds: Advanced wind warriors (killed scout), 2 air elementals (no deaths but many PC's almost fell 600 ft.), Augerric (longest fight against a single opponent, no deaths)

Spire of Long Shadows: Imaxian & Lyrisilak (actually managed to disarm backpack containing rod fragment and nearly escaped), Kelvos & swords of Kyuss (1 cohort & 3 PC deaths)

Having just gone up against Kelvos and the swords of Kyuss at the same time, this one was nearly as hard as the Battle Temple of Hextor. I imagine later encounters in the Spire of Long Shadows will be added to this list within the next few weeks.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Love hearing others' experiences and comparing. My party's scariest/most difficult encounters:

Whispering Cairn: acid beetle swarm was quite hard (PCs had no good area attacks)

Three Faces of Evil: pretty much everything was hard - Battle Temple of Hextor (3 of 5 PCs incapacitated); Faceless One (battle lasted ~20 rounds, as he made a continuous fighting retreat through the maze back to the Black Cathedral); Ebon Aspect (high damage)

Encounter at Blackwall Keep: a random river encounter with 2 giant crocodiles was close to a TPK and resulted in the first PC death (due to drowning, of all things)

Hall of Harsh Reflections: our only TPK to date, against - of all creatures - Telakin (and a disastrous set of saves vs. _confusion_); Zyrxog and the advanced octopins was also difficult

Champion's Belt: the alkilith demon was quite tough, and scared the hell out of the PCs (especially when they didn't know how many Cones of Cold he could use); the Apostle came close to completing the prophecy, though they didn't fully realize how close it was until much later (for some reason, they chose not to read the Apostolic Scrolls until _after_ finishing A Gathering of Winds!)

Gathering of Winds: black pudding posed no danger of death, but it destroyed some expensive equipment!; oculus demon gave them a nasty scare before being crippled by a Feeblemind spell

Spire of Long Shadows: Swords of Kyuss (the party didn't have Death Ward, and a lucky series of saves against the first three Invocations of the Worm were needed to avoid death); Kelvos (the second time around, fully buffed and prepared; he _destroyed_ the party's mage, and did much other damage, and was finally killed by the favored soul who swung for the fences with a Bolt of Glory and made all three rolls: 1) touch attack; 2) miss chance due to invisibility; 3) spell resistance). The mage was killed for the second time in the same session by the Overworm, though the risk of party death was low and he was revivified.

Prince of Redhand: nothing was particularly risky (at this level, "risk" = "chance of TPK", since single PC deaths just cost party money for True Resurrection), though the favored soul was killed by the Overgod due to poor tactical positioning.

Library of Last Resort: octopus tree was difficult (and, at one point, had 3 of 5 PCs grappled). Titan was really hard, though (as suggested) he started "pulling his punches" due to overconfidence and quickly succumbed when the favored soul finally escaped from a _maze_ (assisted by summoned celestials with superior intelligence!). Darl Quethos, properly prepared, was extremely tough, and could have defeated the party if not for several fortunate die rolls. ... and, of course, the Swords and Boneyard were nasty, even _with_ Mass Death Ward.

One note: I've been mostly running the scenarios as written - e.g., not changing out spells or feats. However, when non-spontaneous spellcasters get a second chance vs. the party (Kelvos) or have a chance to prepare (Darl Quethos), they become a LOT harder - especially since, at that point, I give clerics access to all of the books that the PCs use. My party's favored soul loves using Fortunate Fate - but he liked it a lot less when Darl Quethos used it on himself and three of his friends. :)

Kings of the Rift: we've just started, but Xyrzanth was tough; PCs had to use multiple "fate points" from the end of Spire to prevent Constitution drain (and one PC did get severely drained), and they defeated him when he rolled a "1" vs. massive damage.


David Witanowski wrote:

My Campaigns Deadliest Fights:

Acid Beetle Swarms - TPK
The Faceless One and Minions (esp. the allip) - TPK
Telakin - Near TPK
Zyrxog - TPK due to his mind blast
Froghemoth - Half of the party dead.

We're just about to hit the Occulus Demon in A Gathering of Winds, so we'll see how that goes.

Very impressive death toll there Mr. Witanowski...


I think a dangerous encounter that is escaping mention is the Worm Naga Sorcerer in the Spire of Long Shadows. If my memory serves, he's got 4 DC 26 Finger of Death Spells per day, and that should paste a few PC's with ease.

Although I didn't run it, the "dream" encounter in Library of Last Resort with the 10 Swords of Kyuss, is also a likely TPK style encounter.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Allen Stewart wrote:

Although I didn't run it, the "dream" encounter in Library of Last Resort with the 10 Swords of Kyuss, is also a likely TPK style encounter.

My instinct is that it's a virtually guaranteed TPK unless most of the party has either Death Ward or evasion. (My PCs got Mass Death Ward up before any Swords got to act, and it was still a difficult, ~15-round combat with one "death".)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Like many here, the TFoE Hextor temple was nearly disastrous for my party. Tactically, they handled the initial tiefling guards, skellies, fanatics and boar by holing up in the hallway and picking off aggressors with missile weapons and reach weapons (using the fanatics long spears against the charging boar).

But then they went straight into the temple... Theldrick and company were ready for them. Sound burst did a number. All told, the PCs survived, but 2-3 were unconcious during the fight, including an animal companion.

The group didn't have too much trouble during WC, but I thought (as a DM) that the wind warriors were a tad over powered for a group of 2nd level PCs. They can mete out 10+ damage pretty easily per round, with little chance of missing, against characters with 6-20 hp. Not fun.


Dragotha, unprepared. Two deaths in first round of combat, the healer and the cleric.

Needless to say we hightailed it out of there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Malikor wrote:

Dragotha, unprepared. Two deaths in first round of combat, the healer and the cleric.

So your cleric is not the healer?


MrVergee wrote:
Malikor wrote:

Dragotha, unprepared. Two deaths in first round of combat, the healer and the cleric.

So your cleric is not the healer?

One of our characters has a psudodragon healer as a cohort

The cletic heals as well, but having a tiny healer flying around invisable healing us as well is helpful.
THe Cleric is a cleric/warlock with the PrC that works like a mystic theurge for cleric warlocks. I cant remember the name though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Malikor wrote:
MrVergee wrote:
Malikor wrote:

Dragotha, unprepared. Two deaths in first round of combat, the healer and the cleric.

So your cleric is not the healer?

One of our characters has a psudodragon healer as a cohort

The cletic heals as well, but having a tiny healer flying around invisable healing us as well is helpful.
THe Cleric is a cleric/warlock with the PrC that works like a mystic theurge for cleric warlocks. I cant remember the name though.

Sounds like the Eldritch Disciple, from Complete Mage.

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