Blinded character alone in dungeon


Advice


Calling fellow GMs.

My group got in over their heads and I'm a bit stymied to avoid a TPK.

At the top of a shaft they were badly outnumbered, and the party leader was blinded by a cleric. Another of the party, seeing that they were going to lose, grabbed the leader and jumped down the shaft with him.

I had her roll dexterity, and she managed to cushion the blind fighter/wizard's fall. She died and he lived, the rest of the party wiped at the top of the shaft.

Alone and blind at the bottom of the shaft, he hears approaching undead. He animates his fallen comrade as a skeleton to defend him....

And we're out of time this week!

Any thoughts on how I can prevent this last character from dying without breaking immersion?


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Have a little fun with the concept of the wizard's Animate Dead spell going *slightly* off kilter (because, while casting blind, he messed up the somatic component just a wee bit). Or maybe he grabbed the eye-of-newt instead of the sulfurous ash? In any event, when he demands that what he assumes is a single skelly come defend him, he hears multiple thuds around him as newly-created undead tumble down the shaft from above (fortunately all miss crashing down on his head), then form up around him. Just as he's sure he's about to be torn to pieces, they refrain.

Next week's thrilling episode:

* The PC zombies are briefly in thrall to the wizard, but his control ebbs after some minutes of harmless roleplaying hilarity, and they restore their consciousness and volition.
* Each PC zombie functions as normal, save they now undead at their previous hit-dice.
* Each PC zombie has one random limb that does not function well due to crippling injury, either halving speed (if a leg) or preventing off-hand item and weapon use (if an arm), and are -2 to any action requiring physical activity with it, whether swinging a weapon or picking lock, or (if a leg) climbing, acrobating, etc. Mental skills are unaffected.
* No one can level while the undead condition persists, and dead flesh will begin to putrefy and decay. (You may also decide that a gnawing hunger for brains will slowly manifest.)
* Nobody has to make will-saves! Yay! We're undead!

- The players will have to figure their way out of this predicament. It may require the intersession of gods, a foolishly-entered pact with great evil, the world's cheesiest MacGuffin, or all three! --Who knows? In any event, before then they can't even think about going anywhere near a town until they address the hideous stench they're all generating.


Build encounters fairly, then play them ruthlessly.

If that wizard doesn't have a trick up sleeve to get out of, kill him dead.

You could have the party roll up a specialized search & rescue team to come and look for the original PC's, if that makes sense. Or maybe another adventuring party, many years later, finds their remains, etc.

Maybe just skip the last few moments of the wizard's life entirely so, when the new party finds the dungeon, you can reveal the wizard is still alive. Or maybe trapped in a lamp or mirror or rug or whatever.

Sovereign Court

Mineshaft? Sounds like dwarves or svirneblin to me. Earth elementals could be cool too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One obvious problem is even if you can avoid a TPK, how long will it take for our crippled hero to get out? A long session with only one player isn't going to be fun for your group.

My instinct would be to go one of two ways, either declare it a TPK right now, so everyone can make new characters and be ready to go next session or basically deus ex machina them out of their situation quickly.

If I decided to get them out, I'd probably have the footsteps he heard approaching be friendly. The exact nature of those 'friends' would depend a lot on the campaign and particulars of where they are, but somehow someone who could help them get back on their feet quickly so they can resume the fight would show up.


From a pro-fun perspective, what's the functional difference between a TPK and TPK-1? I can only think of some minor continuity issues. It seems more fun to treat it as a TPK (but as an aside, I wouldn't have let the party die separately - if there's going to be a TPK it's way better for everyone to go down together).

Make the footsteps friendly. They can be the new party, including a new character for the player with a blinded character. The goal should be to return the blinded character to safety and "retire" him.


In the event of a non-fault TPK I let the group rewind to just before the encounter and let them have 'a flash of inspiration' and choose a different path. If the encounter revealed any significant plot points then I would also change things up a bit. Eg change the Cleric to an alternate or multiclass character and add a couple of levels or change the race.


Quixote wrote:
Build encounters fairly, then play them ruthlessly. If that wizard doesn't have a trick up sleeve to get out of, kill him dead.

While I can appreciate this for dealing with clear instances of overweening stupidity (or incredibly valorous sacrifice, the two being not necessarily mutually exclusive), most players don't respond well to horror-movie sudden-death, as they grow attached to their favorite creations, and the best stories are simply not possible without a cohesive group of fully fleshed-out characters enjoying many adventures together.

"Don’t think of the children, think of the rubies!"


Entymal wrote:


Any thoughts on how I can prevent this last character from dying without breaking immersion?

A raspy voice talks from the shadows "A necromancer dares to intrude upon this place? Interesting. I take it you are not here to serve the master of these grand halls?" You feel a tinge of sarcasm and mirth from the voice. "I take it that things have not gone as you expected? While it would be trivial for me to end your life here and now... if you are willing to become my ally I'll assist you in escaping from this place. In return you'll gather a few things for me. And then you'll clear these ruins, probably what you were intending to do in the first place, correct? So what do you say?"

The new ally is something that can use arcane magic that doesn't seem too out of place in this setting. The being stuffs the wizard and zombie into a portable hole filled with...unknown objects. Paper. Glass. Wood. Leather. Every few minutes the Wizard feels a sense of vertigo and there is a puff of fresh air. After what feels like an eternity several heavy objects get slumped into the room. A short time later the Wizard is lead out into a much better smelling place that feels like the outdoors. The being then cures the Wizard's blindness where he can see the remains of his companions and their gear piled in a clearing (bags of holding piled separately from the rest).

"The city of <insert here> lies a mile in that direction. From there I need you to acquire two things. First find a cleric that can cast Holy Word. Tempt him into cast the spell into this bottle and then place the stopper. Make sure the bottle does not break. Oh, and don't play with it. The bottle will only work once. Then seek out a wizard named Gradis. Seek to copy the spell Plundered Power from his collection. Here is ink and paper to prepare my copy. Also use these coins to carry out my will. After you have accomplished those tasks return here. I will leave a servant to collect the goods. If you do well, I will aid you. Betray me and... well... I'm sure you can guess."

The 'ally' should be on par with the BBG from the dungeon. But when you count the BBGs minions the ally shouldn't be able to safely fight the BBG. If the party turns against him, it should be a fight. The ally is an evil being, but the party is willing to put up with a necromancer so this shouldn't be too much of a risk for the ally. Also the ally has a teleport ready just in case. The ally is willing to 'betray' the BBG and help the party if they will help him capture the BBG alive. He intends to use the Plundered Power on the BBG (and others) if the BBG has such a power. Otherwise the ally is actually seeking to take over the complex for his own use. Among the ally's posessions is a portable hole filled with his research material.


There's some great ideas, here. Thanks!

You've definitely helped kickstart the wheels in my head.

Quixote, I appreciate your perspective as well. We're on the second to last leg of a long campaign arc, so maintaining continuity is desirable as well.

For me, the one character's sacrifice justifies trying to throw the sole survivor a bone.


How did the cleric Blind the Leader? If it was just some spell, was its duration all that long? The Party leader Animated his dead comrade? So the party leader is some sort of Evil Cleric himself?

If he can stay alive for a day, then can he pray for some kind of cure blindness spell?

In the event of a TPK,

The Leader was Blinded by a Cleric, so maybe the Cleric Raises the party himself and enslaves them, and the next adventure(s) is figuring out how to escape.


One generally-useful option is to reveal that the characters didn't die, but were taken captive somehow while they were blacked out and unconscious. This gives a reasonable explanation for how people are still alive and can help avoid feeling like too cheap of a rescue if they have to work to escape and get back on track.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Slim Jim wrote:

Have a little fun with the concept of the wizard's Animate Dead spell going *slightly* off kilter (because, while casting blind, he messed up the somatic component just a wee bit). Or maybe he grabbed the eye-of-newt instead of the sulfurous ash? In any event, when he demands that what he assumes is a single skelly come defend him, he hears multiple thuds around him as newly-created undead tumble down the shaft from above (fortunately all miss crashing down on his head), then form up around him. Just as he's sure he's about to be torn to pieces, they refrain.

Next week's thrilling episode:

* The PC zombies are briefly in thrall to the wizard, but his control ebbs after some minutes of harmless roleplaying hilarity, and they restore their consciousness and volition.
* Each PC zombie functions as normal, save they now undead at their previous hit-dice.
* Each PC zombie has one random limb that does not function well due to crippling injury, either halving speed (if a leg) or preventing off-hand item and weapon use (if an arm), and are -2 to any action requiring physical activity with it, whether swinging a weapon or picking lock, or (if a leg) climbing, acrobating, etc. Mental skills are unaffected.
* No one can level while the undead condition persists, and dead flesh will begin to putrefy and decay. (You may also decide that a gnawing hunger for brains will slowly manifest.)
* Nobody has to make will-saves! Yay! We're undead!

- The players will have to figure their way out of this predicament. It may require the intersession of gods, a foolishly-entered pact with great evil, the world's cheesiest MacGuffin, or all three! --Who knows? In any event, before then they can't even think about going anywhere near a town until they address the hideous stench they're all generating.

^ this

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