Posts Tagged ‘scales of war’

We won D&D

April 13, 2012 3 comments

I forgot to mention we totally killed Tiamat the other day. I got a little too excited about DCCRPG. I’ve been playing the Scales of War 4e adventure path for about two years now, and on Monday we completed it. PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD. The last module was an assault on Tiamat’s fortress, complete with slaying pregnant brood mother dragons on our quest to confront her in her scrying chamber.

At this point we had been through 20 levels together. We started at 10th, and playing consistently almost every week, it still took us more than two years to reach level 30. After the final battle we talked about all the characters and climactic and memorable battles we had throughout the campaign. Unfortunately, I felt the actual battle with Tiamat wasn’t one of them. This was no fault of our excellent DM, but mostly the fault of epic play being ridiculous. By the time we reached 30th level, we were so powerful it was pretty much impossible to threaten us. Many of us had chosen powers that would allow us to come back if we were dropped to zero hit-points. I don’t think any of us had to use them. Ever.

Don’t get me wrong, we had some great times. Honestly, I probably built it up too much in my head. Despite that, there are some questions that remain: Previously, Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, Lord of Justice and everything Good, had been slain. Luckily, we were traveling with this girl, that happened to be his phylactery/horcrux, so we were able to resurrect Bahamut. What prevents Tiamat from having something similar, and furthermore, wouldn’t she need to come back to preserve the balance? There was a bit of box text explaining how greed had been extinguished from the world, but if that was true, wouldn’t the world turn in to some hippy-dippy commune? I mean, a lot of greed is bad, but it can be a motivator, and is certainly an agent of change. It seemed a bit anti-climactic, at what should have been the most climactic event ever. Also, there was this big concern when Bahamut was slain that the balance of power was all out of wack. No mention of that when we defeated the Queen of Darkness. At the same time, how do you wrap up a muli-year campaign and make it a satisfying ending? Here is what I would have done:

“With the final head taking it’s last shuddering breath, the massive five-headed form of the Goddess of Greed collapses. In a shimmer of black fire, the huge carcass burned away to reveal the crumpled form of a bruised and bloodied raven-haired woman. In a shimmer of radiance, Bahamut, in the form of a wizened old man in white robes steps through one of the scrying portals. He smiles kindly at the heroes as he stoops to pick up the battered form of Tiamat. ‘Dear, dear sister. We can finally be together again.’

In a blinding prismatic flash of color, the forms merge and grow into a dragon that looks as if it was made of starlight, it’s skin a swirling mass of ever-shifting colors. ‘I am Io, the beginning, the end, the all. You have done well in reuniting my spirit. I shall guard the balance of creation henceforth. If you wish, you may join me at my side as my exarchs. Thank you for what you have done. You have earned a well deserved rest. However, there is much to be done to maintain the balance. Will you join me?”

Bam. Epic.

Categories: 4e, Adventure, DnD, Epic Tags: ,

4e Extreme – Multiple Epic Solos

January 17, 2012 4 comments

Dispater, courtesy of Troll and Toad

Last night was the last session of my reign as DM for the Scales of War adventure path. We’re rotating every module, which let’s everyone play and not succumb to DM burnout. Epic DMing is certainly a challenge as PCs are so powerful it can be difficult to even threaten them, let alone get close to killing them.

We were approaching the final battle of my module. The four PCs were 26th level and were galavanting all over Bahamut’s temple, clearing out the infestation of devils and trying to find a way to resurrect the slain god. Fairly epic stuff. The party steam-rolled several encounters, but made the mistake of not taking a short rest before they stumbled upon Dispater, one of the Arch-Devils of the nine hells. They cleverly sealed him back in Bahamut’s Vault, but he warned them he would be back.

The party proceeded to the bridge of Al-Sihal, where the the Archangel Zachariel was guarding the entrance to heaven from the mithral dragon Dakranad who wanted to assume Bahamut’s old throne and end the struggle with Tiamat. The PCs were guarding Amyria, a deva who was essentially Bahamut’s horcrux. They needed to defeat the dragon and take the lifespark Dakranad took from Moradin’s forge, and send Amyria into the great beyond with lifespark in hand. OK! Now we’re epic!

The battle was going pretty well for the PCs, as epic party’s tend to ruin solos without much trouble, when guess who showed up to snatch Amyria and take the divine throne for himself? Dispater! Bookending the party between two solos (three really, but Zachariel was neutral as long as you stayed away from him) on a bridge made for an awesome encounter. Had I pressed the issue and had Zachariel jump in, the party would have been in real trouble, but as it was the encounter was awesome enough. Not only that, the party used Zachariel as they slid their enemies close enough that he attacked them. At one point he banished Dispater to a pocket dimension of an acid rain-soaked island. Awesome stuff!

In the end, the party was victorious, and Bahamut was resurrected. Now I get to put my PC hat back on, and try a 27th level warlord! He’s healing two PCs per inspiring word at healing surge + 6d6! The next DM in rotation advised us that we’re going to need it!

If you’re looking to challenge an Epic party, throw the XP budget out the window. See what they *can’t* survive. I haven’t found anything yet. Two solos makes for a fun night!

Categories: 4e, Adventure, DnD, Epic, RPGs, Tips Tags: