Never let a pally stand near your dragon... HELP!


Rise of the Runelords


Ok... I ran the first half of the Raid on Sandpoint for my guys last night. It did... not go quite as I expected it.

So the giants attack from the north. The Paladin and Mage head off that direction to engage. The rogue and barbarian do to... but they were drinking at the rusty dragon and have much father to travel. The Druid Barkskins, then transforms into an air elemental at the garrison. So on the third round the giants and dire bears hit the east side. Rogue and Barbarian are right near there so they head over and start fighting that group, with the druid supporting them.

A fairly intense melee follows, with some serious hits landing on the party, but overall they handle things with no deaths (two close calls however; rogue goes down to 4 hp, and paladin goes negative but his half orc racial keeps him up long enough to self heal). At this point I am thinking "Yeah... now it is time to break out the big guns!" In fly's Longtooth from the north. I give a great description of how he almost takes off the mage's head as he stands on top of one of the guard towers. Both mage and Pally make their fear saves. Pally smites the dragon, and mage hits him with a bestow curse. I figure this would draw the dragons attention, so I have him circle back and breathe on the two of them and the one remaining giant. Giant is the only one who makes his save, mage and pally are hurting but still up.

At this point I figure the dragon is feeling pretty saucy. I have him circle around and land so as to better gobble up the two puny adventurers.

This will henceforth be known as "Mistake #1"

Pally drops a spell I totally forgot about on the presmitten dragon called Litany of Righteousness. Yeah, if you don't know about that spell, and you have a pally in your group, go take a look at it. I'll wait.

All read up? Yeah. Pally is hasted and his first swing misses. I figure, ahh good. Only two attacks left, he will wound the dragon... dragon flys away, torches a few buildings and otherwise avoids the pally for the rest of the encounter.

Second hit lands, but is not a crit. Which is good because the pally auto confirms crits due to bless weapon. Good deal. Pally rolls dmg. Greatsword, plus lv 10 smite (on an evil dragon), plus his bonded weapon is active so it is holy.... 114 dmg in one hit.

I was flabbergasted. Like woah.

Pally still has a haste attack left. He swings and hits for another 40 pts. One round standing next to a pally and the dragon is toast.

I give them a great description of the pally severing the dragons head from its body in two swipes of his glowing blade. Everyone is cheering. I am happy for them, it was one of those great moments that I am sure they will talk about for ever.

However, now I have to figure out what to do. Teraktinus literally JUST stepped foot in the town. Six giants, two bears, and the FREEKING DRAGON are already dead. Should he immediately call off the assault? They haven't even had time to get any prisoners!

Should I perhaps pad the encounter some? Perhaps add a few more giants raiding the town, while others stand on the shore across the river chucking stones? Perhaps they brought some other cool creature with them to support them? If so... what? Perhaps Mookie gave them an item that summons an impressive creature to keep the PCs busy? A demon or an elemental of some sort? Perhaps one of you has a good idea of what I can add.

Any thoughts guys? How do I make things interesting for the second half of the raid? Or do I call it now and tell them the giants all took off running in fear?


Ho-lee carp!

Just read Litany of Righteousness. Talk about your overpowered spell for a pally! And no save?!?! Seriously?!?!?!

A few points:
(1) Sandpoint is fairly large, and the giants have no way of communicating other than bellowing across town. Teraktinus is arrogant. I'd go ahead and let his group attack.

(2) Once he falls, let the groups to the south make Perception rolls to know things have gone seriously south. In other words, play morale as written.

(3) I see no reason to "punish" the players for good tactics by adding monsters. They played well and defended the town beautifully. Let them bask in the glory of an "easy" win.

(4) Having completed the AP, I have to warn you that your paladin is going to be a thorn in your side throughout the AP. In my campaign, the final fight lasted all of 2 1/2 rounds because on round 3 the pally hit for over 400 points of damage. There's a reason paladins win the DPR Olympics if you include evil creatures.

Have your bad guys use Fly, Levitate, Wall of Force, and Protection from Arrows extensively. The paladin's a killing machine even before Litany of Righteousness. With it, you just have to keep things you want alive out of his reach...


Having read your post, DM, I must say: if I'd be that player in your group I'd feel epic and bask in the glory of awesomeness! Mission accomplished!

But as a fellow GM I can feel your pain.
I'd add maybe one or two giants, just to show that this was meant to be a serious attack.
As NobodysHome said try not to punish your players for knowing their class and good tactics.

Ruyan.


Great read DM!

Oh how I'm happy my group of newbies consider paladins boring :)


Second Ruyan's motion. If the players had a great time and forged a memorable moment - Mission Accomplished. We play the game to have fun and do cool stuff! Sounds pretty cool to me. This is an iconic moment for the paladin - it's the kind of moment you play a paladin for. I've suggested in another thread (in reference to NobodysHome campaign) that the campaign's final enemy should scare the crap out of the players but that door swings both ways. High level paladins (and I think 10th level is high enough) are "bring me my brown pants" moments for evil creatures. You just proved why that is.

I would also suggest you might be missing the forest for the trees. The battle can't be viewed in small round samples but in total. By your own description the giants pounded the players pretty good - pushing the paladin to negative hp, the rogue to 4, etc. There are more giants out there to fight and they are way too arrogant to give up just because the dragon is dead. Plenty more chance to smack the players around.

(Rules Nit that may not make you feel better - the paladin is immune to fear and shouldn't have to save vs dragon fear.)


Keep things rolling until Teraktinus goes down, then have any giants remaining make a break for it, as is pretty much spelled out in the morale notes at the end of the section. Also, remind yourself next time you're running a fight with a dragon (there's a couple more in the AP and all) that dragons are too smart to ever let the PCs get in range to hit back like that.

Otherwise, I wouldn't sweat it too much. That dragon's prone to show back up again on its own, in its lair, if it isn't killed during the attack, so it's not like they're getting an upsetting experience boost, and dropping big nasty evil things in one or two rounds is what paladins live for.

I actually had to beef that one up a bit in hopes of it not dying instantly to the bow focused paladin in my group but... yeah, that was a lost cause. Full attack, multiple quits, down the round it was first in range.


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All right then guys. Excellent advice all around. I assumed that the giants would just turn tail with the dragon dead, however, as Latrecis pointed out, hy would they. Heck, how would they even KNOW that the dragon was dead? He died well out of sight of everyone on the other side of the north wall.

I may pad things out by adding one more group of giants to keep the guys busy through the next night of games, and I may have to pad some HP for Big Terry to keep him from getting one shot like LT. Over all I will count this as a success and move on. Thanks for helping to put it all into perspective guys!

Some time I should type of some of the other epic moments my group has had. Like the time the same pally pulled a death from above on the Bunyip, or the way that my Wizard has a habit of kamikaze attacking every Lamia Matriarch he sees. Or the Gnome Barbarian who rode a runaway wagon full of produce into the Sandpoint harbor in order to escape the town guard during the festival.

I love this game.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Paladin in my group hit the dragon for about 100hp with pistol fire, the Longtooth turned invisible and ran off. Litany of righteousness is a nasty spell the only thing which makes it manageable is spell resistance and the low caster level of a Paladin , longtooth for me was saved by spell resistance as the spell failed or it would have been instant death.


I had never looked at the paladin spells for ultimate magic very closely, that spell is sweet. If I were a bad guy, and I used spellcraft, and knew the paladin had done that, I would I would crap my pants. Can you imagine a smiting paladin casting that spell on you and then charging you on his mount with a lance? X4 damage, as your regular attack, awesome.

On a side note my party didn't have much ranged, and I didn't have the dragon say too low too long, so he got away.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Digital Mystic wrote:
Any thoughts guys?

Sometimes, it's just best to just let a player be awesome at something. It doesn't have to happen all the time, to the point where it gets boring, but once every few sessions, a player should feel like their character's schtick or their preparation really pays off. You might be flabbergasted, but I bet your Paladin player will remember that moment for a long time. Also, being good against dragons is just something Paladins do (and older, more experienced dragons know it).

Digital Mystic wrote:
How do I make things interesting for the second half of the raid?

There are still plenty og Stone Giants running around, right? Maybe add a second wave of Giants. Stone Giants are (usually) Neutral, so the Paladin will be less effective against them.

Digital Mystic wrote:
Or do I call it now and tell them the giants all took off running in fear?

Or perhaps they're incensed at the death of an ally? Or maybe they think they will warrant extra boons from killing these adventurers? There are plenty of reasons you can use to justify the Giants continuing their attack on Sandpoint (or even increasing it). They should retreat once Teraktinus (I think that's his name) is killed or completes his mission.

-Skeld


NobodysHome wrote:

Ho-lee carp!

Just read Litany of Righteousness. Talk about your overpowered spell for a pally! And no save?!?! Seriously?!?!?!

Snip

Have your bad guys use Fly, Levitate, Wall of Force, and Protection from Arrows extensively. The paladin's a killing machine even before Litany of Righteousness. With it, you just have to keep things you want alive out of his reach...

Litany of Righteousness isn't particularly overpowered. You need an Aura of good (eg paladins, good clerics, a few prestige classes, etc) for it to benefit you, not just be good aligned.

It has short range and can't be used in the same round as lay on hands easily if the paladin attacks.

A paladin's smite evil is much more effective, and there are ways for a higher level paladin to share the effects of smiting with allies...

So, yes paladins will demolish evil enemies, but that spell isn't the reason why!


Googleshng wrote:
Keep things rolling until Teraktinus goes down, then have any giants remaining make a break for it, as is pretty much spelled out in the morale notes at the end of the section. Also, remind yourself next time you're running a fight with a dragon (there's a couple more in the AP and all) that dragons are too smart to ever let the PCs get in range to hit back.

Good advice. I'd add that since most of the stone giants are neutral and only serving Mokmurian out of fear, once Teraktinus is dead they should be looking to surrender or run away. They can be an excellent source of information for the party if you need to explain anything about what's happening.

And a party that is slaughtering neutral creatures needlessly might have to watch their alignment.


Gilarius wrote:

Litany of Righteousness isn't particularly overpowered. You need an Aura of good (eg paladins, good clerics, a few prestige classes, etc) for it to benefit you, not just be good aligned.

It has short range and can't be used in the same round as lay on hands easily if the paladin attacks.

A paladin's smite evil is much more effective, and there are ways for a higher level paladin to share the effects of smiting with allies...

So, yes paladins will demolish evil enemies, but that spell isn't the reason why!

Really depends on how you read it. My reading is that it's a swift action to double damage, including smite damage. So it's not, "Oh, I can double my 1d6 scimitar," it's, "You're a dragon and now I'm doing 4x my level on the first hit and 2x my level on each subsequent hit during a full-round action."

Having completed the AP and watched my player's paladin obliterate things without the Litany, I shudder to imagine a hasted smiting paladin invoking Litany to one-round anything evil.


I'd like to point you towards this discussion, particularly towards my first post. I threw in a handful of extra giants and a couple of roving gangs of Ogres... they can appear or not as and when you wish since the PC's have no way of knowing how many villains are participating in the raid nor of knowing where everyone is at any given time. Still lots of options for you to prolong the battle and ratchet up the drama.

Yes, Litany of Righteousness is definitely a spell GM's need to be aware of - but many forget that its subject to Spell Resistance. We don't play with SR, but its something to consider in future encounters. We also don't use the 'doubling' rule of the Paladin Smite (just over the top in our estimation), but regardless you need to be aware of his ability to lay the smack down on any 'BBEG', so have some mooks there to run interference from time to time.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Dragons are deadly if they can keep at range (flying) or when they get their full attack. Any player melee brute with haste can safely dish out 150 per round.

So occassionally the palyers get lucky :). For the record when I played RotRL my barbarian did one shot another dragon. Every now and then the BBEG rolls a 1 on a save.


Remember: Litany of righteousness does have an SR check, which paladins are terrible at.

He had a decent chance at failing the SR vs longtooth


Ok CWheezy, you are the second person to mention spell resistance here, so I want to check something... was there some Errata that I missed that gave Longtooth SR? I just double checked his stats in the AP and, unless I just missed it somehow, he does not have any. I remember searching for that the very moment that the pally mentioned that he was casting the spell, and being very surprised that a dragon was lacking something so ubiquitous. If LT was supposed to have spellpower then I made quite a booboo.


Well, oops-my-do! DM is right -- the Longtooth stat block in the AE has no SR listed for Longtooth.

Checking the bestiary, young red dragons don't have it yet.

You played it right, DM! Dragons don't get SR until they're adults.


Whew. Good deal. Should have thought of checking the Bestiary. Somehow it does feel ... wrong... for a dragon to be missing SR.


DM - I don't think you made a mistake. Dragons do not acquire Spell Resistance until Young Adult (see Bestiary P. 98 for Red Dragons.) Longtooth is a Juvenile and does not have spell resistance. His entry in the AP does not list SR for that reason.


Drat! Too slow. That'll teach me to double-check to make sure I have my facts right!


Thank you much Latrecis, tho late, you are still appreciated.


Facts are for amateurs!


Ah, I thought all dragons had SR, silly me!


It's an epic moment except that the paladin will probably be using that spell a lot from here on in, so you can expect to deal with plenty more of it. It looks like a pretty broken spell since you can stack it with a full round attacks, and it doubles the damage of each hit. The result is a 2nd level spell that has the potentially to do well over a hundred damage. Of course it's not as broken as haste, but it seems pretty full of power gamer cheese to me.


CWheezy wrote:
Ah, I thought all dragons had SR, silly me!

They do if the GM wants them to...certainly the Longtooth that our party faced had SR. He was also huge size, and probably significantly beefed up compared to the AP's version.

Spoiler:

He came gliding in (using stealth), invisible, and took out my wizard in one bite as I flew above the town, co-ordinating our defense and spotting giants. This was shortly after I'd confirmed to the GM that I couldn't afford the cost of getting See Invisible permanently applied!

After a round or two of him causing mayhem, he made the mistake of getting in range of the paladin's pistol - and she did over 150pts of damage with a double-shot. Then he skedaddled back home, with 'single-figure hit points left' according to the GM.

We interrogated a captured stone giant, used the transfer memories spell to get enough of an image of the vicinity of Jorgenfist to teleport there and, after beating up quite a few giants, laid an ambush for Longtooth's arrival a couple of days later. We really didn't want an evil dragon being on the loose and able to attack innocent towns for the next few centuries. This time we were also invisible and flying, having spotted LT's approach using See Invisibility (now permanent), but LT could still fly faster than us...so we teleported onto his back, made a grab check to hold on and unleashed the Paladin. No more LT.

edit: PS, we're going to play Way of the Wicked next. Having seen how Paladins devastate evil creatures, we're already terrified of meeting any!


I beefed up the dragon. I have one more person (5 person party) so I usually beef up the encounters. With a well-designed party, you have to generally up some of the encounters a little bit. But it sounds like a fun encounter.


Litany of Righteousness ISN'T such a great spell actually, I think there was a misplay here since this spell has a 1 round duration. I doubt your dragon would have taken as much dmg taking that into consideration.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lazyness wrote:
Litany of Righteousness ISN'T such a great spell actually, I think there was a misplay here since this spell has a 1 round duration. I doubt your dragon would have taken as much dmg taking that into consideration.

All that damage seems to have happened in a single round, so the spell would have worked for all of it.

I also have a Paladin in my party for this campaign, and he definitely took out that dragon fast. Against evil creatures, Paladins are pretty much insane.


The Pally was under the effect of an extended haste, so he had an extra attack. The dragon was pre-smitten (smited? Smote?) as it flew over the players the round before and breathed on them. All the damage was indeed done in one round, and in fact, the player had missed with the first of his three (2+Haste) attacks, so it was actually done in only two attacks.

LoR certainly has its flaws, and I do not believe it is entirely over powered, however like any multiplicative effect, it can be abused in the right situations, as illustrated by my pally, the dragonslayer.


The Giants could convert from an assault to a body recovery mission, with the intent of raising their slain dragon ally. Just a thought.


Ooohh... Oh man I wish I had thought of that. Ended up running the rest of the encounter mostly as normal, but padded it with a few more giants. The players had their final encounter with Mr. T between the town hall and the garrison. I added four giants to the encounter, but had a couple of NPCs (the characters of former members of the group who had retired to Sandpoint) take out one of them. Then while the group handled the other three giants, I had Hemlock and a few guardsmen try to take on Mr. T, who rapidly killed the guards and mortally wounded Hemlock. The group had to rush to finish their combat so the pally could move forward and catch Hemlock with the very edge of a Channel and save his life. Then the combat with Mr. T began continued with the Wizard casting Mass Enlarge, Elemental Body (Air) and flying up above the melee while the pally and the Barbarian went toe to toe with the big guy. Mr. T gave as good as he got, and was honestly on the verge of dropping both of them, until the Wizard tried something off the wall, and used Fabricate (!?!) offensively to encase the giants feet. I allowed it with a save (after all, wall of stone would have done something similar), Mr. T failed his save, and I ruled him entangled, cutting his AC by -4. This was just enough to allow the Barbarian and Pally to finish him off before he wrecked him with his Six (!?!) pick attacks a round. All in all, it was a solid game session, with some close calls and a good rousing battle. I think next week is time for a bit of RP since we have had so much combat over the last few weeks.


If you have close calls, that's the important thing. If you have them interested and responding, that's the important thing. If everyone's having fun, that's the important thing.

The next section will be a challenge, since there's some single encounters here and there but the main section is more of a sustained sustained dungeon crawl. There's not a way to really retreat and rest without having someone alerted.

With five well-built characters, I would also be a full level behind what the module suggests. You didn't mention the level. But with my five characters, they were a full level behind when they hit the raid on Sandpoint, and I increased the dragon one whole age category too. Still managed to do well and drive off the dragon. But I had the paladin engaged with giants rather than the dragon.


Quote:
Pally drops a spell I totally forgot about on the presmitten dragon called Litany of Righteousness. Yeah, if you don't know about that spell, and you have a pally in your group, go take a look at it. I'll wait.

Did you take into consideration that Litany takes a full round to cast?

Was the dragon a spellcaster? Did he identify the spell being cast on him? He should fly right away with a litany and a curse on him, debuff himself, and just breath on them every other d4 rounds.
Unless the dragon was really cocky and was nearly at full health.

Let me add this though,
That was pretty epic and i bet the players had fun. Good job!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shadowkras wrote:
Quote:
Pally drops a spell I totally forgot about on the presmitten dragon called Litany of Righteousness. Yeah, if you don't know about that spell, and you have a pally in your group, go take a look at it. I'll wait.

Did you take into consideration that Litany takes a full round to cast?

Was the dragon a spellcaster? Did he identify the spell being cast on him? He should fly right away with a litany and a curse on him, debuff himself, and just breath on them every other d4 rounds.
Unless the dragon was really cocky and was nearly at full health.

Let me add this though,
That was pretty epic and i bet the players had fun. Good job!

"Casting Time: 1 swift action"

The duration is 1 round, but casting is quick.


Ah, my bad, got confused with another spell. All Litanies are swift actions aparently.


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Yep. And I think I played the Dragon fairly well... sorta. He was a youngish dragon on his first town raid. Excited, inexperienced, and perhaps a bit blood thirsty. He did breathe on the targets once to soften them up (giving the pally time to smite him before melee began unfortunately). He then flew in and landed before the two PCs (double move) and roared, expecting them to cower and wish for their brown pants (as almost every humanoid has in the past). Longtooth probably expected that whoever inhabited the suit of once shiny (not soot covered) armor was severely hurt having taken a direct hit from his breath weapon the round before. He never imagined that one tiny fellow could do enough damage to him in a few brief seconds to prevent him from taking wing and escaping. Sadly, his lack of imagination was his undoing.

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