Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

D&D May-18-2004

I regret posting a chat log about the game, but I've been having so much trouble getting journal entries done that this seems like the most expedient way.

<Ralph> The big beholder fight was a giant hassle to run, but they enjoyed the scenery afterward.
<Ralph> The wizard did manage to retrieve his spellbooks, because I screwed up on some rules.
<Ralph> So, they got to the Lake of Optalis, walking through fields of white circular flowers with dark centers that all turned to face them as they walked past.
<Ralph> In the center of the lake was a conical black tower.
<Ralph> Among the flowers were a few independently floating eyeballs, which tried to ram them in poisonously explodey ways.
<Ralph> So they wanted to get out of the field.
<Ralph> And there was no handy boat provided in the lake, since I was taking an attitude of 'they're 10th level, they can figure out how to handle things'.
<Ralph> So some of them started to fly over, and a few stayed back to teleport over when the flyers arrived.
<Ralph> So the flyers get nearly to the tower, and the beholder comes up from outside the tower and shines his antimagic cone on the flyers. Splash!
<Blue> sweet
<Ralph> Then the teleporters come over.
<Ralph> Unfortunately, I wasn't really prepared for them to keep fighting the beholder. I had intended to nerf the beholder a bit, since I don't like the finger of death ray and the flesh to stone ray. (Or the disintegrate ray.) But I hd to do those things very quickly...
<Ralph> I forget most of the details of the fight, but Turok got hit by the fear ray and was trying to swim away, Liandra had turned into a giant octopus and was trying to keep his head above water, Kyle had succumbed to Charm Person, and Larissa was having some trouble with swimming.
<Ralph> The rules hassle was *excruciating*, by the way. I recommend that Bruce never run a beholder fight. Each turn took me quite a while, because I had to figure out everything the beholder could do with ten different rays.
<Ralph> And figure out all the swimming rules, and rules for grappling while swimming, and so forth.
<Ralph> Prolix finally got a hypnotic pattern spell off, and the beholder failed its save. So we were in a surprisingly steady state for several rounds, with the beholder hypnotized, Kyle trying to persuade Prolix that they should just leave peacefully as the beholder had suggested, Larissa trying to swim (and having difficulty, because she had no bonus on it), and octopus-Liandra trying to reel Turok to shore--but having more difficulty because she'd succumbed to the slow ray.
<Ralph> But finally Kyle tried to grapple Prolix to persuade him to leave and stop harassing the beholder.
<Ralph> And Larissa got a fireball off on the beholder, so it was back in business (though wounded).
<Ralph> And the blind cleric they had along managed to cast Protection from Evil on Kyle, suppressing the charm.
<Ralph> The beholder managed to hit Kyle with the sleep and fear rays as he ran up the side of the tower, causing him to slide down to hit the water and try to fly away.
<Ralph> But the beholder was hurting now, so it went down below the tower walls to try to get some cover and protection.
<Ralph> Here I made a tactical mistake--it should have turned its antimagic eye upward.
<Ralph> But I didn't think of that at the time.
<Ralph> So Prolix cast an Ice Storm and Liandra cast a Flame Strike to provide indirect fire. (I didn't worry about them cancelling each other out.) Since the beholder had 4 hit points it was very dead.
<Ralph> But the PCs didn't know that, and they couldn't see the beholder.
<Blue> talk about overkill
<Ralph> So on each of the beholder's turns, I'd roll a few dice and say "the beholder does nothing you can observe."
<Blue> good for you
<Ralph> So they were worried about flying up to the rim of the tower and being subject to a bunch of beholder attacks.
<Ralph> But three of them were able to put together an assault at about the same time. Larissa started flying and putting in some fireballs with as nearly indirect fire as she could manage,
<Ralph> Liandra landed, changed to bear form, and went up to engage; and Turok finally recovered from his 13 rounds of fear and tried an alter self potion in hopes of getting better swimming.
<Ralph> The alter self turned out to be terribly cool, because in 3.5, it lets you change form to another creature of the same type--and Turok's type is *dragon*.
<Ralph> So Turok turned into a small dragon with a fly speed of 120.
<Blue> neat
<Ralph> I kept track of how much indirect damage they did to the beholder, because for every spell they cast, I would roll a saving throw and write down something on my scratch paper to preserve the uncertainty. The beholder was at -89 hit points by the time they discovered that he was dead.
<Blue> oomphf. was there much left of the corpse?
<Ralph> So, it was a good fight. I did underutilize the beholder a bit, but the players felt *very* challenged. And no one died.
<Blue> cool
<Ralph> Enough left of the corpse for the PCs to mutilate further. :-)
<Ralph> So, it was a good fight. I did underutilize the beholder a bit, but the players felt *very* challenged. And no one died.
<Blue> cool
<Ralph> Enough left of the corpse for the PCs to mutilate further.
<Ralph> And then at the top of the tower, they could see the whole Land of Agondre.
<Blue> cool
<Ralph> Larissa looked home and could see her family doing spring planting. Kyle looked to see Dahlia, the halfling girl who'd become smitten with him in an early adventure. They could see the Gorge of Fire, and Garrett's Castle of Blood, and the flying city of Aulos many leagues to the east.
<Ralph> I thought it was really neat, and my players seemed to think so too.
<Bruce> that sounds really cool.
<Blue> it does
* IanWatson nods, I've used that schtick before. Really keen.
<Ralph> It sort of pulled together some of the campaign a bit, I think--I first mentioned the Lake of Optalis two years ago, so they've been looking toward this for a while--and they spent some time looking at things that were relevant to very early adventures. And since so many of my adventures in this campaign are site-based, they could see major landmarks of adventures to come.
<Blue> Very very neat.
<Bruce> Indeed. :)
<Ralph> So then we played out Prolix's attempt to get his spellbooks.
<Ralph> Things went basically according to his plan. IIRC, he had two rounds left before he would have had to start making suffocation checks.
<Ralph> Maybe I was too lenient in letting him find the cabinets and the scrying mirror in pitch darkness, but oh well.
<Ralph> The major mistake I made, though, was that one of the guardian's attacks was averted by his Deflection spell--but the guardian had a true seeing ability that would have negated that. I'm kicking myself for missing that.
<Ralph> But oh well. It makes good story.
<Blue> You wanted him to succeed. Don't stress the details too much. Did he feel pressure?
<Ralph> I think he did.
<Blacksnail> Good!
<Ralph> I know he was down to using scrolls for his Dispel Magic checks.
<Ralph> D'oh--that's another rule that I missed. The caster level for the scroll may not have been high enough to make that check.
* Ralph will just tell Prolix to retroactively spend more money for a better
<Blue> that's fair
<Ralph> The oxygenlessness did complicate Prolix's plans to check the spellbooks for magical traps during the antimagic field.
<Ralph> So he's going to have to go further into debt to get another antimagic field cast.
<Ralph> And see Melisande's handwriting of "thanks for teaching me Explosive Runes".
* Ralph reflects. From a story perspective, the spellbook run was pretty good. After the first defeat, the PCs have scored a significant victory by retrieving the spellbooks, rescuing the ghost, and breaking the scrying mirror. But that victory, while significant, is far from total.
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