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Grumgarr
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/17/04 2:45 pm)
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Blasphemy!!!
I'm running the 'final battle' tomorrow in the Inner Fane - the First and the Third in the Tabernacle, against a tough group of 6 14th-level PCs.

The good guys should really be in with a decent chance, except for one thing - Blasphemy.

The First casts this horrid spell at 20th-level with the old Karma bead active (+4 for karma, +1 for Curse of Power), and that means:
any non-evil creature within 30' gets Dazed (no biggie) if 20th-level or less
Weakened (2d6 Str for 2d4 rounds - could be bad) if 19th-level or less
and...
Paralyzed (1d10 minutes, bye-bye party) if 15th-level or less.
Any non-evil creatures of 10th-level or less would just die instantly. Nasty, eh?

The karma effect doesn't really enhance a lot of combat spells for the first (other than pre-cast buffs) but it sure does make this one spell a Killer (catch the capital K?).

I can't see any way (other than a gratuitous deus ex machina) for the party to survive this. As soon as the First lets rip with the Blasphemy, the whole party are doomed.

I could have them captured, stripped of gear, tortured, all the things the First loves, but it's not much of a finale for the players - then again, neither is a TPK.

Help! How do I let them off without letting them off?

Grumgarr

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(1/17/04 3:25 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: Blasphemy!!!
There are a few issues involved that should help. First of all, the First will have to activate the bead, and once activated it lasts only 10 minutes. It's possible that the party could wait out his 'buff-time'. Make sure you specify when he uses it and start counting.

Second of all, the party could dispel the karma if they act first. A targeted greater dispelling would be a good idea and could take it out.

Other defenses would be spell resistance (through a number of ways), which would directly negate the spell. The First can likely overcome most spell resistances, however. The best defense of course is if the party buffs someone with freedom of movement or has a ring of free action, and then that person can use remove paralysis on party members. Finally, someone might/should have still spell and silent spell, hopefully with remove paralysis (5th level slot).

Still, it is a nasty combination, and do not hold back. A bead of karma is not an unusual or overpowering combination, but you did find a great use of it.

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/17/04 4:32 pm)
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Re: Blasphemy!!!
A couple of other ways the players could deal with it:

1) Position themselves to it is impossible for the First to get them all in a 30' radius
2) Greater Spell Immunity (most likely off scrolls)
3) Contingency (most likely off scrolls) for greater dispelling to go off if they are hit with it

Do the players know about this being such a possibility?

Another way to handle it would be for the first himself to be so sure this tactic is going to win the battle for him that he doesn't bother to activate the bead until he is absolutely sure battle is going to start seconds later, perhaps even after battle is joined - as not to waste the duration.

And if nothing works it could always be a non-traditional campaign ending, remnicent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/17/04 9:52 pm)
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HMM
Warn that First is MUCH more lethal than Hedrack

Knowe Remorse 
Tolling Bell Cultist
(1/17/04 10:11 pm)
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Re: HMM
the party should be seeking the advice of thier deities before taking on the main opposition of the temple.

if they don't, thats to their folly.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of All Who Threaten it.

Grumgarr
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/18/04 3:09 am)
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Re: aarrgg!!!
Good ideas folks!

Most won't work for my group sadly. The PCs don't know that the First has a bead of Karma, so they won't think to Dispel it.

The First does consider them a threat as they've wiped out the entire Outer Fane and Restored Temple (they killed Imix) and the world didn't end, darn it. The First knows they're coming, and knows they're powerful, so will use every tool to defeat them, karma included.

When they entered the Black Spike Tychon sent the Vrock to alert the First and Third, who went to the Tabernacle to buff and wait.
The First activated the karma bead for buffs, but the PCs have literally raced up through the levels of the Spike all the way to the top, which fighting included has taken about five minutes, so the karma effect is still running. They haven't explored anywhere but the Triad's chambers and only to open doors and look for foes.

Only one PC (the Cleric) has SR (26) and the First is very likely to punch right through it casting at 20th-level. She can probably cast Remove Paralysis once, maybe more from scrolls, but won't have much time to do so if left facing the First and Third on her own. And no-one has Freedom of Movement.

I guess it might come down to placement. SOme PCs might be far enough away that they're not affected. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Be warned - this is a nasty, nasty combo - in fact, it couldwell be the First's real ace, outweighing those 8th-level spells and high save DCs by a long way.

Grumgarr

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/18/04 11:02 am)
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Re: Blasphemy!!!
What happens to Hedrack?

Can he be resurrect and join in with the FIRST?

Grumgarr
Crimson Coil Cultist
(1/19/04 3:21 am)
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Re: Blasphemy!!!
Well, it all turned out okay for the good guys.

Despite my legitimate fear of a TPK, circumstances conspired to prevent the First getting the Blasphemy off.

The first thing to happen was a readied Flame Strike (from the Second's Ring of Elemental Command) on the First when beginning spellcasting, which washed painlessly off the old SR 31, yes, 31. (Protection from Elements - Fire - would have absorbed the first 120 points of the fire damage anyway). Needless to say, this put the willies up the good guys. The First's spell (Repulsion) came off just fine, and battle was joined.

Nobody succumbed to the phantasmal illusion, only one PC was affected by the obex (and was saved by the cleric - I ruled the effect was dispellable - she rolled a 20) and several of the nastier spells failed - the First's Destruction failed (PC Death Warded), the Third's Chain Lightning failed (targeted PC had SR) and most importantly, the PC Cleric cast a targeted Dispel at the First, rolled great dice (at +14) and took down Unholy Aura, Spell Immunity, Spell Resistance, Protection from Elements among others.

The Cleric then tried a Flame Strike (over-ruling the loud metagaming voices of the other players who cried 'but Vesuvius tried that - it failed'), and the First got burnt, much to the surprise of the loud voices.

The First got walled in by PCs on all sides, whipped out the Blasphemy and got a second readied Flame Strike in the gob, requiring a 44 Concentration check - the Blasphemy failed and the First's trump card went for naught. Soon thereafter, with a Wall of Fire behind, a Flaming Sphere tactically filling a square and an Enlarged fighter with reach barring one whole side of the battlefield, the First cast Etherealness to heal up (just caught a Harm from the PC cleric and was left with 1 hp). The PCs knew the First was Ethereal due to a See Invisible,and at this point the mostly useless Psionicist (no PSPs) tried one more Mass Concussion from his Dorje (which had bounced harmlessly off SR twice already) and lo, with no remaining SR the First fell, still Ethereal, to the force damage. See, I told you the PCs were tough...and lucky.

Hurrah!
If you haven't had the showdown with the First yet, be aware that this could be a killer - in my case the PCs got lucky and a good time was had by all.

Grumgarr

Cordo Crowfoot
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/19/04 5:50 am)
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Re: Blasphemy!!!
Wow, they defeated The First and The Third fighting together? Impressive... But I probably would have Blasphemied earlier if I was him and playing to win. ;)

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Deathmantle Cultist
(1/19/04 6:59 am)
Reply
yup
Great job. Could have use HEdrack's help, heh.

How often does your PC used harm? Can't blame them if they are going up against The First.

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(1/19/04 7:13 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: yup
Hmm...why didn't he drop the blasphemy first? Anyway, the protection from fire only protects against half a flame strike, if it had gotten through the SR. The other half is divine and not subject to protection/resistance spells.

Anyway, congrats to your players. Very tough fight.

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