Welp, that ended badly. (Book 4 Spoilers)

Age of Ashes

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To recap: Fires of the Haunted City has a fight very reminiscent of that greater bhargast. There's 3 rooms of gugs lined up next to each other. The final room has a severe encounter by itself, and the penultimate room specifically alerts them for help. The terrain largely played against the gugs as they couldn't make it out of the choke points, but eventually the savant leader was the last gug standing. It proceeded to knock out 3 player characters while the other two fired shots at it from outside the hallway, and with a Chromatic Wall separating them the badly injured gug opted to just stone shape the hall way shut.

The one mitigating factor that I probably should have played with more is the monsters should have been making non-lethal attacks more often to try and take the targets alive, but I dunno how much that would have shifted it and it probably should have built into their stat blocks if it was supposed to be constant. (Oh, and I don't think everyone picked out 12th level class feats, but their math was in the right places.)

Now the gug savant is gonna have its captive ghast nibble on the captured 3 PCs, turning them into "fully seasoned" tastier ghasts. This create a window for rescue if the remaining PCs can Teleport or otherwise get past this 10 foot cube of stone. I'm half tempted to have the dwarves of Kolvar show up and finish the savant off, though. Not sure if that feels dramatically satisfying, but...

I don't object to the difficulty per se, or that it resulted in a really dire cliff hanger. I do object to these being a a bunch of random monsters with no real warning and no way to bypass who simply block the only path forward towards the plot. "Random" encounters shouldn't be severe.

It is weird because the CRB says severe encounters "are most appropriate for important moments in your story, such as confronting a final boss." It feels like the writers of the APs have a very different definition of final boss than I do. Again, this is probably early adoption pains, but it does kind of make me want to drop AoA. At the very least, I am gonna start pruning encounters.

Whining out of the way... How should I run next session? Should I have the dwarves of Kolvar bail them out? I don't love having the heroes of the story need saving, especially when Kolvar will be asking for their help. Semi-related, why are those Corrupt Guard level 12 exactly? I can buy Kolvar having a few people on that tier, but not every single guard. It is a level 5 settlement for crying out loud.

I kind of want to handwave that the captured PCs get nibbled on enough to contract ghast fever, but the DCs are so low it almost isn't worth thinking about. Raising DC for prolonged exposure could work I suppose?

Dark Archive

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The first Gug encounter with the Deculi wiped my party due to a combination of bad tactics on their part - they kept letting one of the Gugs use his full attack action, hitting everyone in the room and didn't even try to focus fire, multiple character with no way to see in the dark, and a string of really bad rolls. Thankfully they all pretty ok with it and wanted to continue the AP. We had one player who wasn't able to make it that night and another who moved to a sufficiently different time zone that he wasn't able to play much at all, so they both stayed back manning the fort at the Citadel. I had one PC escape and barely make it back through the gate to let them know what happened and then succumb to ghoul fever. Then the two others recruited a bunch of new adventurers and brought them along to continue. The second time through, the Gugs dropped much faster.

Liberty's Edge

My players annihilated that encounter when the draconic sorcerer dropped parallel walls of fire down the hallway after the gugs had already crowded in.

I don't particularly remember that battle being difficult for my party. I think my party had a harder time with the weird earth elemental thingy.

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voideternal wrote:
I don't particularly remember that battle being difficult for my party. I think my party had a harder time with the weird earth elemental thingy.


The grikkitog? Yeah that killed the survivors before they could mount a rescue.

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