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Yep. Not kidding. (And I see another group succeeded as well.)
A Halfling Monk w/ Crane & Wild Winds & Disrupt Ki
A reach Fighter, Human (wielding the Holy Rune)
A Dwarf Paladin (Ded: Cleric), w/ Aura of Faith & much healing
An Elf Wizard (Ded: Fighter), archer
So three high AC melee that trigger demon weaknesses (and have ways of gaining extra attacks) and a fourth who had the cold iron arrows, the Paladin's aura, and various spells to trigger weaknesses too.
Here's a summary of how it went down:
Event 1: Slaver Demons: Not much of a battle, partly due to monster tactics of using special abilities first. Focused fire whittled them pretty fast. They might have disarmed once.
Event 2: Treachery Demons: This could have been severe, but these tactics were horrible (likely intentionally so). The party engaged one before it could get Reverse Gravity going so it was obliged to melee. It hit less than it should have, and died fairly fast. Its ally (as per tactics) set up Reverse Gravity and threw ranged spells, but only Dispel Magic could reach the party (though that did suppress the Holy Rune weapon!). The party hid behind pillars so the demon had to approach (Dim Door) and it got swarmed. So no Confusion issues (the first one had an attempt disrupted after it was missing too much).
Event 3: The Fighter stayed near the Paladin to get the bonus Good damage (and Weakness trigger), but two Cones of Cold wiped this one pretty fast anyway (though the demons anger did make the Wizard quicken a Mirror Image after rousing anger with the first). Cloudkill and similar effects don't do much to a party with three PCs that turn Fort successes into critical successes. Monk even had a Ring against the acid
First Respite: Using 1.5 rules, the Treat Wounds ability brought the party to full far too cheaply...
Event 4: The Dread Wraiths focused fire (as per tactics) on the Fighter who made all his saves. No threat. Paladin's Ghost Touch chewed them up.
Event 5: Some of the party investigated the churning ground and got blasted for it. The Ghost Mages cast their Cones of Cold and wailed, but were ineffectual after that. The Lich launched a few good spells, but still had a few strong ones (especially in 1.5 update) unspent when it died. Not as severe as I'd thought it'd be, especially with the new boost to many damage spells, but the Lich just doesn't have many h.p. if you can get past resistance.
Event 6: The Wizard cast Fly on the Monk & Fighter to fight the Demi-Lich while the Paladin & Wizard (as a Fire Elemental w/ persistent fire damage) wrecked the Mummies. They did wreck the Wizard back, but the Paladin was there w/ healing. Having six or so Mummies on fire was pretty funny.
The Demi-Lich's Wail of the Banshee hit the Monk & Paladin w/ Drain 3 (!), which would catch up with them later. The Demi-Lich missed w/ Polar Ray, had a long recharge, then Mazed the Fighter. This of course screws up its action economy as it needs to fly & maintain Maze, so when its Polar Ray recharged (after a miss the first time) it dropped the Maze and critted the Monk for 100+ damage. Funnily enough, the Wizard misidentified Maze as a death/disintegrate spell, so the Fighter's reappearance (and then soon disappearance due to Maze again) was humorous. Another long Polar Ray recharge later, it blasted the Monk again, then Mazed him. The Demi-Lich flew up because the Paladin & Wizard had cleaned out the mummies, but not high enough because the Wizard Enlarged the Paladin. So it flew higher and with the Fly spells ending (as it would assumably know standard durations) it just let the Mazes go. The Monk ran up the wall and destroyed it. So quite a long battle, but with fewer Polar Rays than one would expect.
Two people w/ Drain 3 wasn't so bad in retrospect.
Second Respite: A round of Treat Wounds helped again, saving some resources. Had no Restorations for Drain though.
Event 7: Boar Demons: I predicted this would be the end, and without new Treat Wounds rules and earlier luck, it would've been. And still should've been. But...
So the Wizard ID's the demons, notes the Acid Weakness and casts Acid Splash, scoring a critical success....and persistent acid damage. The Light of Avarice hits three, but two shake it off soon with nat 20s. But still there are drooling boars now in the air, and no Fly spells (or Wild Winds stance due to ki being spent to survive Polar Rays). Unlike the other big thugs, the Boar Demons roll just fine, mauling most everyone. The archer thinks Mirror Image will help, but gets critted after the demon laughs. Hero Point to stay at 1 h.p. then Dim Door out. But that demon's still burning from the acid several rounds later so the Wizard did his job. The Paladin, who had been burning up healing was too slow to move to the other one and the second Light of Avarice hit his bow (and the other guys' stuff too). Had more healing to do anyway.
The Fighter and Monk fought the other one, with the Fighter using Felling Strike to bring it down to the ground. Then he pinned it there with the +1 Cold Iron Dagger. This didn't keep the demon from wrecking them though! (So it didn't mind being grounded that much) It scared the Monk away w/ Intimidate and devastated the Fighter. Both sides were in tatters, but it was the persistent Disrupt Ki that finally did that one in. Meanwhile, the acid kept burning the remaining demon! It was pretty ridiculous as that demon had taken little other damage, but was badly hurt. It started taking only one swing (using the last action to fly) so it could use its drool to wash away the acid, but maybe five or so times of that failed too.
At one point the Elf had swung back around to shoot, but the demon, so angry about the acid, went over and knocked him to the edge of death. The Paladin had to throw him down the stairs where the Fighter could push him down further then return to guard the entrance. The demon hit PCs a few more times, but eventually it succumbed to the acid.
The encounter burned well over half the spell healing (many hundred h.p.), plus most of the potions (so none left), so that even the low level wand came out.
Event 8: Felt pretty easy after all that! The Toads' odors only got the Wizard who retreated to the altar having ID'd that Paranoia would come next.
(He was also pretty hurt, but still had Mirror Image up.) He used the reroll there to break free while a fairly standard (if painful) melee ensued, with the Paladin mixed in the middle using the wand in one hand (to keep people alive) and axe in the other.
So at the end of that there was one wand charge and one Heal from the Paladin (and just enough time to cast them) which brought the party up to about 1/2 to 2/3 max h.p. I was thinking it was funny because the party gets one "free" monster pass, and this last could be it...but they didn't need it.
Event 9: "Demonic Doom" So the party's spread out in the middle of the temple so as to guard the stairs. The Wizard had put up See Invisibility during the two round gap, so his face blanched when it came in, signaling the Monk that something was amongst them. Luckily for the party, the demon barely fit in between so the tail wasn't as devastating as it could have been if some had to move in. The party swung at air (actually the correct location, but still missed.) The Paladin crit failed the Divine Decree, so was hanging by a thread as the demon first appears.
Fighter gets a first hit, so party's starting well. He uses Holy Rune to gain h.p. and jaw drops when he gets 32 h.p. back.
Luckily (you'll see why), the Wizard was paralyzed by the demon's gaze so as per written tactics was the first attacked. This triggered a Retributive Strike from the Paladin who successfully hit, doing persistent Good damage.
(Can you see where this is headed?)
Wizard takes nearly 100 h.p., goes down. Eventually stabilizes.
Party misses all around.
Demon turns on Paladin...
Hit. Hero Point to stay at one.
Hit. Hero Point to stay at one.
Miss, and misses all around for the party too.
Dwarf goes down to a crit next round, eventually stabilizes.
Monk wounded more after just being tripped by tail. Fighter implores him to flank, but Monk can take only one more hit so balks at moving. Soon falls.
(Monk later fails to stabilize, dies, having used a Hero Point to survive one of the Polar Ray blasts.)
"Wait, it's just me?"
So the Mutilation Demon has lived up to its name...until now. It goes a couple rounds only hitting once, which seems plenty because the Fighter just doesn't hit at all. He mostly manages to avoid the gaze's effects and completely nails the saves vs. the bite. Meanwhile, the persistent Good damage keeps ticking away.
After several rounds, it should still end ugly. The Fighter can only take one more hit and the Mutilation Demon has over a third its hit points.
Then big whiff…no hits. (Note that except for "secret" skills/Perc I roll in front of my players.)
Demon still failing to shake the persistent Good damage, but it's only one hit from victory so it doesn't fly and use reach. The Fighter's not hitting anyway.
Another round of whiffs for the demon!
(We're talking about 2% chance of this occurring even one round!)
Then the Fighter hits. Twice. About 100 h.p. (after Weakness).
He uses the Holy Rune to heal! Yay!
Mutilation Demon quells hope by dropping the Fighter with a barrage, but...it didn't have enough hit points to survive past the round. It dies due to persistent damage, which had done over half its h.p.
So yep, after all the demons & undead were cleared out, 3 out of 4 PCs were alive, even if unconscious. And there were somewhere in the area of 60 rolls vs. persistent damage, only one succeeding for a nearly dead mummy.
This is awesome! Glad to hear I'm not the only one whose group made it! (I get the feeling my group was the other that made it that you were referencing). Persistent Damage + Weakness is hype. XD The Paladin in my group was fishing for that when we fought the Shemhazian but didn't get it, but Acid Arrow persistent was a huge factor in our fight against the Nalfenshees.
I'm gonna have to look over this more closely later cause this looks like an awesome run. XD
Just... Imagining the Shemhazian finally downing the bloody persistent good guys in its way and cackling in triumph, only to drop dead cold as the good damage stabs it in the heart one last time. Pyrrhic victory much? XD
I hope your players were appropriately hype about the win. XD