Most of the evening (until 9:45) was spent with preparations for the assault on the vampire Garrett and his undead servitors. This didn't bother me, because I was expecting it.
But I did want to get a quick fight in, because fighting is fun. I thought that we could play out a fairly straightforward fight by 10:30. Sadly, I was wrong.
First, the PCs had some mishaps while teleporting into the vampires' lair. (Mishaps in the technical sense of 'take damage and roll again to see where you end up.) (This raised the side question of what a 'similar location' to the vampire's throne room would be. I wussed out on the question and just put them in a random cave.) But they have enough wands of healing that they healed everyone up before heading on.
So they finally arrived in the throne room, and got set upon by three bone nethersight mastiffs. They made short work of the mastiffs, who were unable to successfully attack most of the party members (particularly with my poor dice rolls). There were two notable exceptions:
- one mastiff was able to bite the ghost and grapple him very painfully. (This is the down side of the ghost having very low AC.) (The nethersight mastiffs have ghost touch jaws, and an ability to wrench an ethereal opponent onto the Material plane. I did not use that planar wrench ability, because I didn't want to figure out how that would affect a ghost.)
- another mastiff was able to catch Larissa in the AoO of a flyby attack and gnaw on her for a few rounds.
Kyle and Turok really shone in this combat; Kyle was able to do a bit of damage with every hit, despite the bone mastiff's resistance to edged weapons--his Extra Favored Enemy: Undead feat has really paid off here. And Turok had an AC too high to be hit, and dealt massive damage with every hit. (Which is at least partly intentional on my part--he's just had his big boost, and he should get to enjoy it. But I want to make sure it doesn't unbalance the game for too long.)
So as they were finishing up the bone mastiffs, they were starting to use flying abilities, so I threw a vampire gargoyle at them. It never hit (it would have required a 20 to hit Turok), and it got reduced to mincemeat in a few strokes from Turok. (It might have survived a little longer had I remembered its DR 10/silver and magic. Oops!)
But despite the fact that these were fairly straightforward fights, we didn't finish until 11pm. (Lori was terribly tired, and I felt so sorry for the delay.) I'd really like us to find ways of speeding up combat.
So I certainly need to find ways of making things more challenging. But I'm reasonably satisfied.