Hello, everyone! My players are masochists, I think. (Well, and the terminology of one player)
The party so far:
(They're slightly ahead due to some side quests, extra encounters in Runeforge, and they managed to kill Black Magga)
Sabinna, Suli Paladin of Iomedae 17
Kisara, Gnome Bloodrager [Infernal and Draconic] / Dragon Disciple 17
Nualia, Aasimar Warpriest of Desna 17
Fiorne, Halfling Sorceress [Elemental (Electricity)] 17
They powered through all of Runeforge with some issues and then took a few sessions to sell loot and deal with the Vekker Cabin (they loved it). They finally (after a good 64 sessions) made it to the outskirts of Xin-Shalast and managed to Bluff their way past the Krak Naratha guards due to the Sihedron Medallion they still had (currently held by the Paladin :D). Then they began travelling up the Golden Road.
I rolled a random encounter and it was quite innocent: a Storm Giant, which are normally CG. Since the group was bluffing as new recruits, they asked him for directions, then rolled Sense Motive as he was walking off and swiftly used a Break Enchantment to free him from the mind control. Oh boyyy, did they get a surprise when he told them about the Rune Giants and their ability to control other Giants to build an army. And the Storm Giant has agreed to assist them. Currently, they've encountered 1 Rune Giant after that (with 4 Stone Giants) that came to recover the Storm Giant that broke free. A few freed Stone Giants later, and the poor Rune Giant got absolutely bullied, though the players know next to nothing about Rune Giants because they barely made the DC.
They've just found the Spared and agreed to help with the Hidden Beast, but their current plan is as follows:
- 1. Free the Spared from the Hidden Beast's control.
- 2. Utilize the Spared as scouts and intelligence-gatherers (they don't know the Spared can buff their Initiative).
- 3. Go to the Giant Encampment (they skirted around it to avoid trouble while finding the Spared) and free some Giants.
- 4. Use the Giants as a diversion and to help hunt down Rune Giants so that they can rush the gates into Karzoug's domain while leaving Free Giants fighting Slave Giants in Lower Xin-Shalast...
I figure this can stall us a few sessions while the 3D-printing gets closer to completion, but I want to make this realistic and epic, and am prepared to run them against a Rune Giant Company from the Bestiary 2 entry if necessary as the climactic battle to enter the Pinnacle of Avarice:
- 13–30 Rune Giants
- 2–4 Rune Giant fighters or rogues of 2nd–4th level
- 1 Rune Giant oracle or sorcerer of 5th–8th level
- 1 Rune Giant ranger or monk commander of 5th–6th level
- 10–20 yetis
- 1–4 cloud giants
- 8–12 frost giants
- 10–16 stone giants
- 4–8 lamia matriarchs
- 1–2 adult blue dragons
I'd probably group the enemies and friendly giants into groups of 5 for Initiative and keep that combat as few a round limit as possible to not drag on. But I'm not entirely sure how to get from here to that point and want to know what you guys would do:
There's about 500 Giants (Hill, Frost, and Storm)in Xin-Shalast, though I do not intend to use all of them. There's currently around 31 Rune Giants in lower Xin-Shalast. The group assumes the Hill and Frost Giants might be 50/50 on whether they'd turn on the Rune Giants, but I'd say it's more 10/90 (90% chance they'd stay allied).
So, how would you guys plan something like a counter-measure against a Resistance Movement if you were Karzoug, or the leader of the Rune Giants? Would you bring in other kinds of Giants from the Bestiaries for a group of high-level PCs to tangle with?
P.S: For planning purposes so you can take "losing control of Giants into account", the Paladin was quite happey when the Dwarves in Janderhoff were able to sell her a Holy Avenger, and Nualia and Fiorne have some Dispel stuff as backup.
|The Shifty Mongoose|
Really, I'm still happily amazed that Nualia not only successfully switched sides, but she's also now a PC!
I'd say, to make book-keeping easier for you, have the giant struggle occur as a background way to get your PCs into the Pinnacle without having to fight their way through all the enemy giants. While the Claimer-fealty giants "resort to harsh measures" as the "once-peaceful protest quickly turns into a furious riot," your smaller PCs can sneak their way in. Or duck between legs as one group shoves the other back down the stairs.
Otherwise, your PCs might end up thinking this is the prelude to the Final Battle, using up a lot of wide-angle spells, and after their victory, finding a bunch of other threats upstairs. Then what, do they retreat, with their foe's Rise so close at hand?
@The Shifty Mongoose: Thanks for the reply! It had been so long that I wasn't sure anyone was going to see it. I'm happy Nualia switched sides, though that was partially GM fiat on my part because the player involved in that side quest (controlling a PC and being on a separate mini-adventure with Nualia) dropped the campaign about halfway through, but I'd already laid the groundwork and everything. And this was way away from anything the rest of the party was doing as they went about the main storyline.
It's been a few sessions, but we ran one session using a big ambush with the Dragon Disciple bluffing and luring some Rune Giants and a lot of other giants out to go take down the Spared in their tunnels. So I rolled the groups of giants into 3-4 person squads and ran them that way for combat and initiative, treating them as a block of health that would get depleted and one of them die off when the health got to that fraction. I got that idea from someone's ideas about Vraxeris in the Community-Created Content thread. This worked out fairly well, though the party had the advantage of a Paladin with Angelic Bond and everyone had readied actions.
I ran another big battle when they went to cause a mess at the Giant Camp (no one had True Seeing or had any reason to disbelieve Gyukuk, so they helped him get away and I can use him as a side-quest around the time of next campaign or something). After that, the group was getting some fatigue from the big combats, so we all talked out how to handle a few in-game days of going around the city hunting for Rune Giants and marking off average or expected spells. I did run Ghlorofaex and Gamigin, and they discovered the tunnel with the Mountain Roper (this guy scared the crap out of them with six 50ft-range attacks targeting touch, but they did good on their saves).
Currently, they're letting most of the giants (except for 3 Storm Giants they brought with them and 3 Wardens of Thunder they just freed when encountering Viorian) handle the mop-up and assaulting the last of the Rune Giants off-screen. They don't know that the Pinnacle of Avarice is not the final area, so they're heavily debating whether to rest "in Karzoug's own house" or not, since I told them they could reach level 18 because of their prior sidequests, and the Dragon Disciple is down to 10 rounds of Bloodrage and all they've done is take out Viorian and 2 Karzoug images. (I intend to slam them with Khalib right at the beginning of next session, but that'll be mid-talk with a restored Viorian, or at least a recovering Viorian.)
As a side-note, they're also worried about their tag-along, Avaxial. You know, the pit fiend from Skull's Crossing? Ever since they freed him, he's been a pain in their side, but united in the goal of killing Karzoug. It doesn't help their bonds though when he has a deal with the Dragon Disciple (from when she got captured in Jorgenfist; this switched the Sorcerer levels to Bloodrager, which I treat like a Sorcerer for stacking with the Dragon Disciple) and a former PC that's now an NPC. OOC, some of them know that I've given him Antipaladin levels (but docked 3 HD and didn't give the Stat Adjustments from giving a monster a PC class, though I might add those in if needed) and he's staying 15ft from the Paladin at all times. We all know it's gonna be a fight at the end after Karzoug...
|The Shifty Mongoose|
Hah! Yeah, one of my PCs made a deal with him too, but called in the favour for help against Mokmurian.
So now, Gamigil got a thorough description of someone and a lot of juicy information, in return for killing him in as humiliating a manner as devilishly possible. I asked the PC, "Do you want us to conspire together about a coming Big, Dramatic Moment?" but he declined, wanting to take it as it happens. Oh well...