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My party of four took out volluk by the skin of their teeth, thanks to their alchemist's splash damage. They leveled to five, full of gung ho glory, went and took out jaul and his "wolf-wife" - the alchemist is now infected by lycanthropy, but they pressed on.
They had a brutal fight with the velatrac torturer, but decided to press on. and, ignoring the many hints, journal printouts etc, warnings from otaris ghost, and lack of spells, decided to keep going into belcorras sanctum. They kicked in door after door, until they came face to face with the void glutton. It didn't go well.
The champion gave his life to slow it down for a round, but it kept going, and took out the parties wizard before the sorceror, and soon to be werewolf alchemist escaped.
The players, and myself, thought it was great fun. They sort of deserved it, and won't be so complacent going forward. The only problem is, the 2 characters who died, were carrying zarmavdians spellbook, and otari's picks - 2 of the 4 items they need to lower the ghost wall blocking their passage down. The new characters are going to have to head straight back in there, and I'm worried it'll be a straight tpk - that thing hits like a truck! Fair enough if they could just avoid it for a few levels, but im sort of in a corner - the items they need are in the chamber with the void glutton, and they know it.
Well, where you've messed up here is that the voidglutton isn't supposed to be killing people. The book says it will knock people out and then keep them alive as hostages to "feed off their fear". It's meant to let people go in exchange for setting up a really clear rescue mission.
What level are they? If you're using XP you can probably get them to 5 by clearing out all 4 floors. If milestone, well, you can get them to 5 anyway. That'll make them more durable. If they've RKed to know what spells wisps aren't immune to, they can try and get scrolls of glitter dust and magic missile and whatnot to get that gasbag.
"The creature has no
interest in negotiation; it attacks at once and fights to
the death, but it doesn’t pursue heroes who flee these
rooms. If the voidglutton clearly has the upper hand
over a group of intruders, it might offer to let most of
them flee if they leave it a single survivor to torment to
death over a few months."
Eh I dunno, I think I ran it as written. The champion was wounded already, and getting crit-downed finished him off, the wizard stayed behind in the next room to slow it down, and was downed but alive after the next round. I didnt chase them out of the inner sanctum area, as i could habe easily wiped the party. The players were happy with how it turned out and the champion had his heroic "fly you fools" moment. I'll probably leave the wizard "alive" (he was already a skeleton) but ectoplasmic webbed to the wall, but this would still leave the party in a dire position and needing to mount a rescue, either for the magic items, or for a pc.
I might have the void glutton leave the icons there, with the bodies glued up on the walls along with the drow and the other trophies, but take the whispering reeds book which was also in the wizards possession, to go off and further it's own evil plans. Maybe reactivate the gauntlight and have a showdown in the room where they rescued lasda later on.