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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dead in Thay: Save or Die

The Dead in Thay season of Dungeons & Dragons Encounters is over! We wrapped it up tonight with a sweet poster map printed out at Office Depot for a cool 3 bucks.

Players are on vacation, so I had a mere 4 heroes for the big finale. I was disappointed in the turnout. I was pretty excited about this one, and I wanted them all to get to experience it. Also, this thing is deadly. The more players, the better.

I don't want to harp on this too much, but I feel that I must include a report on the latest in Sloppy Dice. The guy who rolled into the crack between the tables last week apparently did not learn his lesson. There was a crack to his left... away from the map, away from our section, away from our game. He somehow rolled his die into the crack - to the left - THREE TIMES. Each time, it plummeted to the floor and the game came to a screeching halt. I delivered the Sloppy Dice song to him each time. He lost his grip so he paid the price, you see.

We had two thieves, two fighters and a cleric for this ridiculously dangerous encounter.
I had read a report of someone in Las Vegas who ran this last week. They said that this final encounter was way too deadly. Why? Well, the Aspect of Kazit Gul has this power where he sucks the soul out of you. You must make a DC 14 WIS save or your soul is in one of his gems. Your body begins to decay. If you do not kill him and shatter the gem in the next round - the PC is dead!

I knew my group was doomed if I ran this as written. So I made this into a 4e-style save-fail effect and removed the "body rots away" gimmick. So it goes like this. Wisdom Save DC 14:

Fail 1: Disadvantage & 10 necrotic damage
Fail 2: No movement & 11 necrotic
Fail 3: Soul sucked into the gem

Once the gem is shattered, the soul of the PC is free.

I am pretty sure, in the module, there is only one Kazit Gul per area. If the scenario is run for multiple groups at the same time, each group battles their own aspect. I changed it, so that our heroes had to battle a total of 3 Kazit Guls - one for each crypt. I figured that the PCs would mop the floor with the gargoyles (they did) and that the aspect's neutered power would make it much less of a threat.

The final room is an awesome setup. Basically, they are in the inside of a giant d4 with weird gravity. There's a floor with 3 crypts on each inner "side" of the d4, and the heroes could fly to each one if they liked. The concept is that all these different parties are hacking their way through the crypts at the same time, and you could jump between them if you liked (in real life, you'd move to that other table if they're in trouble and screaming for help). We don't have multiple tables though. So... bummer.

I ran this super-softcore. The doors to each crypt turn into four armed gargoyles. They have 4 attacks, but only at +4 to hit and do 5 damage. No big deal.

Inside the crypt are these phylacteries that must be shut down. Three DC 15 Arcana checks must be made. Fail causes damage. The more you fail by, the more damage you take. This was a problem. See, we only had a cleric. And he rolled bad. So, our heroes get into the first crypt, and the cleric starts failing checks and taking damage. He keeps failing. He goes down! That's right! The crypt killed him before even one Aspect of Kazit Gul was summoned!

I threw out some marshmallow healing and the battle began. They would have been utterly slaughtered if I'd ran this as written. But, my custom adjustments made the whole thing kind of dull. They barely took damage.
Immunities: Everything
The Aspect can fly and hover, so I had him hover three squares up. That meant Hack and Slash Guy couldn't use Lawflame. None of this party has any effective ranged attacks. And non-magic does half damage on this guy. So basically, we had a drawn-out battle where the heroes plucked away, doing 3 points of damage to an 80 hit point monster, who in turn made one of them make a save and maybe do 10 damage... and that's it.

My modified soul sucking power wasn't terrible, but it didn't work too well. Maybe I should have just gave him regular lich stats.

That said, things got intense at the end. The third aspect actually sucked the soul out of everyone except for a lone thief! The Aspect had only 4 hit points left. He closed in on the rogue, trying to suck his soul. The rogue took aim and dropped the aspect with an arrow. He shattered the gems and freed his friends. The players were happy and it was suitably dramatic.

Overall, this is a great adventure and I highly recommend it. There's so much material that you can take and re-purpose for your home games. There's enough rooms to keep your group going for months.

I am going to start running them through a 5e version of the classic adventure White Plume Mountain next week. I will let you know how it goes!

Here are links to all of my Dead in Thay articles:

1. Dead in Thay Game Day

2. Dead in Thay: Into the Doomvault

3. Dead in They: The "Bad" Cleric

4. Dead in Thay: Legendary Actions (For some reason, this is by far the most viewed article on my site)

5. Dead in Thay: The Pathfinder Guy

6. Dead in Thay: Monster Eggs

7. Dead in Thay: Sloppy Dice

8. Dead in Thay: Free RPG Day

9. Dead in Thay: Trying to Impress New Players

10. Dead in Thay: The Waste-Absorbing Turf

11. Dead in Thay: The Chosen

12. Dead in Thay: The Tragic Tale of the Promo d20

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