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(7/30/03 6:58 am)
The First = TPK?????
Okay, I'm prepping for my party to enter the inner Fane. I've been reading and studying the denizens of the fane, and decided that the First may very well be a TPK for my party.

I have:

1/2ling Barbarian 11
Elf Wiz 12
Hum Ftr 7/Devoted Defender 5
Aasimir Cleric 10 (ECL: 11)

The First is a machine. AC around 30, plus several destruction/disintegrate spells at Fort DC 26, not to mention that with enough warning, many buffs such as Unholy Aura goes up, making him uber-powerful.

IN ADDITION, we've got a Symbol of Death with a Fort DC 27 that is almost guaranteed to go off, as it triggers when anybody but the first LOOKS at the symbol.

And all of this is on top of the fact that the party will have been fighting through the lower levels of the Fane. An EL 16 is acceptable if the party is expected to be fully rested, but against an already battle-weakened party? WHAT A JOKE! Plus the fact that some may have lost Wisdom due to the tower's evilness, and who knows WHAT might happen from the Deck of many Things . . .

Am I overreacting? Tell me how your party fared against the First .

Second, any suggestions on powering-down the First? I'm considering having him just coming out of his drug-induced stupor (no armor, Tentacle Rod & Obex only) when the party meets him. His spells alone are enough to make it a tough fight . . .


(7/31/03 5:47 pm)
Re: The First = TPK?????
This one is designed to be a toughy.

There are several things that might make it easier:

1. Talisman of Pure Good. This is the trump card, if they have it.

2. Greater Slaying arrows from Varachan. He's human, but he also does have a high Fort save.

3. His tactics as written aren't the best. He's casting a spell and using his rod each round (rather than 2 spells). He's also written as casting a single-target spell rather than his maximized fireball (at 90 hp).

4. Orb of Silvery Death negates his spell effects.

I'd also discard the glyph, unless this ends up being the climactic fight after Imix.

Even with these mitigating factors, if your party doesn't have the Talisman, they've got a good shot of being destroyed.

Also be warned that the Inner Fane is a bit confusing to the players. Where are they going and why? Level 9 looks like the place to go (as the highest level of a tower), but there really isn't much they can do there to help their cause. Are they supposed to go into the Stone? It isn't really clear what their task is supposed to be. And Level 9 is pretty icky and gloopy as far as I'm concerned. Lots of bad things from failed saves, and not much good.

I also don't like the Symbols in general. They just aren't fun. Roll a save. OK, you're dead. What killed me? Oh, there is a squiggle on the floor.

My Inner Fane experience went 1. Through the gates, T-Rexes and Tychon a few rounds later, 2. Up a couple levels, dispose of Vrock, 3. Back down into sublevels, killing stuff on the way to the Talisman, 4. Back up (saving from the trap) bypassing the Deck skeleton, 5. Peek into level 9, 6. Back into level 8 after Pelor appears to the holder of the Talisman telling them there were 2 Doomdreamers on the 8th level, 7. Kill the Third (she was pretty easy), 8. Kill the first (who disintigrated the beefy fighter) with the Talisman.

Good luck with it.

(8/1/03 6:20 am)
Re: The First = TPK?????
Thanks. I think I'll ditch the Symbols and make the "hidden" studs a little more obvious on level 1, to try and get them to go down before they go up.


(8/2/03 6:52 am)
The First = TPK?
I used the dreaming power of the hags (I think they are hags, but its been awhile) to gauge the First's power. Instead of using the hags to harass the PCs in a dream I substituted the First and used every single spell he has to make him as tough as possible.

I also let all of the PCs participate in the same dream which confused them a bit until they all woke up at the end. The First won that battle rather handily since the PCs had no spells up of their own but it gave them an idea of how to tackle the upcoming battle. It also let them know a little bit about these doomdreamers. Needless to say the First had their full attention and they planned well to defeat him later on in the adventure.

Good luck!


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