The PCs are interested in racing through the evil vampire's castle and killing him as quickly as possible. (Which does actually help the pacing a bit, because it adds some urgency.)
The evil vampire, of course, is interested in drawing it out as much as possible.
As GM, I'm interested in making it a tense, dramatic affair; defeating Garrett should be one of the climactic moments of the whole campaign. But on a far secondary note, I'm very aware that this is my big opportunity to use undead monsters as if there was a going-out-of-business sale at Bob's House of Creepy Undead Monsters. (Which, in a sense, there is.)
The PCs have spent most of their money preparing for this strike, and I've heard some mutterings of "if this strike fails, we'll have to find another adventure to get more money for another strike." I really don't want that to happen; from a storytelling perspective, it would cut across the rising momentum of this adventure; from a lazy-GM perspective, it'd be another adventure that I'd have to develop.
The thought occurs to me that part of the reason that this is happening is that domination is so nasty that the PCs are unwilling to risk it even a little bit. So they're going in loaded with magic circle against evil scrolls, which is a big part of that cost. unfortunately reduces domination from a serious threat to just an expense. Which is a bummer... even though I tried my hardest to avoid my character getting taken over in Kevin's game, I definitely think it added excitement to the game.
So maybe the thing to do to make domination more of a possible threat is to make it less nasty. (Paradoxical, but true.) I've thought of a couple ways to do that, though there may be better approaches that I haven't thought of:
- I could allow more saving throws to throw off domination.
- I could allow Liandra to take the break enchantment spell. This is still a mighty inconvenience, since it takes a minute to cast, but it would make domination much more recoverable than it currently is.
I welcome comments, particularly from my players.