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Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/19/04 10:47 am)
Nulb, how tough is it?
I was wondering if the party i'm running through the module can take Nulb at this point...

This is my first post on these boards, so i'll take a little time to introduce my party...

They consist of three PC's and one Npc...
They are all level 5, and consist of:
A Fighter-Psion (who really likes to trip people with his Flail, and also has the Improved Trip feat), and is choosing his Psionic abilities towards teleportation and such, so as to get the jump on his enemies, and trip them even more).
A Fighter-Cleric (of St Cuthbert, has established good relations with the Church in Hommlet)
A Fighter-Rogue (who is planning to take the Duellist Prc, but is already walking around without armor, so he gets hit pretty easy...)
And finally Xaod (who has become a permanent npc to add some much needed muscle. Much to his dislike the Fighter-Cleric had him swear an oath not to drink when on a mission with the party, so now that he is sober most of the time he is actually starting to act more like a Paladin).

The party has cleared out the Moathouse, routed most of the cultists in Hommlet and is almost finished clearing the Hobgoblins out of the Old Temple. On their way there they just rode quickly through Nulb without much trouble (i gave them a random encounter just for fun, 2 Dire Wolverines, who did not cause them that much trouble, just some good hits on the Fighter-Rogue, who plays as if he is pure Fighter...).

Now next session they'll easily clean out the Temple, they took out everyone inisde already, including Rarkus and Krebbich (which was a pretty big fight, which they won eventually, but Rarkus with the help of Krebbich gave almost as good as he got!). So now all they have left is to go down and kill the Dire-Ape (i forgot to have one of the Hobgoblins call it up), and go explore the outside, and the Tower... After that they'll go back to Hommlet, and then Rastor. They'll have to go through Nulb again, and i'm hesitant if i should encourage them to explore it...
There are possibilities for some tough fights, and some good role-playing (with Lareth)...
But i'm not sure if they can handle it at this point... The encounters in the Hostel with the Assassin Ghost, and the Pirate Boat seem pretty tough...

Xaos will be a big help, especially against the undead (I swapped the useless Combat Reflexes Feat for Divine Vengeance from DotF), and also in Detecting Evil to prevent nasty surprises... He gets a full share of Treasure, so i bought him a magical longsword, and armor...
Everyone in the party has decent equipment, all have +1 weapons...
But i'm still not sure how well they will do...

So now i've finally arrived at my question: When did your palyers tackle Nulb, and with what results? Do you guys think my Party can handle it?

Another, rules-related question, would Xaod's Aura of Courage help the party against the Horrific-Appearance of the Ghost? (And protect himself from it?). It does seem to be an effect based on Fear...

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/19/04 12:48 pm)
Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
My players were very glad to get Nulb far behind them. The party consisted of a Conjurer 5, Cleric 4/Monk 1, Fighter 5 and Rogue 5. The encounter with Wat didn’t go too badly. He only got the death attack once, and they handled him pretty quickly. It was more unnerving than anything. The Allip presented a bigger threat, since only the Cleric made his save. They did pretty good though.

Lareth was essentially a TPK. Every character failed their save against the Confusion. The Rogue sneak attacked the Cleric and put him in the negatives. The Wizard took off running the round after he took the Rogue out of commission. The Fighter was dealing with Tharizdun’s Touch, and doing nothing of interest.

I had played Lareth as an embittered crazy guy, who really had no interest in fighting the party. Of course after they detected evil on him, and he made a few choice remarks about them, they attacked him. He was able to disable the entire party without doing a single point of damage against them directly. A lot of that had to do with bad rolls of course. Since he wasn’t terribly interested in fighting in the first place, he just walked away after knocking the party out rather than killing them all.

A bit cheesy? Maybe. But they have talked a lot since then about wanting to go back and fight him. So when they meet him again as the Champion, it will make a more interesting encounter. It has also served to temper the party’s normal plan of attack everything they see.

The party never made explored the pirate ship. They are probably lucky in that regard.

Brother of Venom
(2/19/04 1:46 pm)
Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
Belgarath, I would neither encourage nor discourage their investigation of Nulb. Anyone they talk to and ask about will tell them how dangerous it is, etc. I think your party can survive Nulb, though probably via fleeing rather than survival. Who knows, they could surprise you. With some extraordinary RP, they might even convince Lareth to help them against Wat and gain a powerful (and expensive) longsword in the process. Defeating the pirate wraiths and jelly are also worth a lot of money (and will be far easier after getting the longsword).

The main problem in your group is the lack of a wizard/sorcerer. They will find it to be a serious detriment in the long term. If anyone dies, IMO you should encourage that person to play a wizard or sorcerer.

Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/19/04 3:21 pm)
Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
I've become reluctant to push any player in my group towards a particular class for the sake of "party balance"... we hadn't played D&D for a long time before starting on 3e, and the number of options for wizards in particular made it a bit unsettling for them. They're getting a better grip on it now, and the player of the party rogue (who has maxed out Use Magic Device) is starting to think about an Arcane Trickster... they're just met Varachan and had a taste of the Outer Fane, and have almost convinced themselves that their current characters are doomed :)

As to the difficulty of Nulb, it would help if you could add how many levels they have of Fighter vs their other class; from your comment about the dire wolverines, it sounds as if they lean more towards the Fighter side of things and are a very melee capable group.

That means they would have good Fortitude saves, but might be vulnerable in other departments. So they'd survive Wat's death attack, but could be troubled by his horrific appearance and by the allip's moan. The wraiths in the pirate ship are very scary: since the cleric has multiclassed, he might not be powerful enough to turn them. Wat's ghost touch longsword could make a big difference in that encounter.

I think Lareth would be dead meat in a straight up melee with this group, but he's got options like using his cloak to go up the side of a building and then hitting them with spells from a distance, which makes him much more dangerous. You can have the encounter with Lareth without everything else in Nulb, though - they might meet him on the road as they ride through Nulb, or he could watch them as they fight another "random" encounter in town. That would let them meet him without necessarily facing the peril of the other encounters.

Also, a ghost's horrific appearance isn't described as a fear effect, so according to the rules as written, aura of courage doesn't help. You could houserule that it does, but you need to be comfortable with the possible consequences of doing that (such as players perhaps arguing that other things should be fear effects as well). Also note that horrific appearance requires a Fortitude save rather than a Will save, which would be unusual for a fear effect...

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/19/04 9:03 pm)

Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
The Nulb encounters can go either way. I nerfed Wat slightly by having him make only one death attack then fight using his remaining abilities. His description actually calls for him to continually dematerialise and reappear after 3 rounds with a death attack which could TPK quickly if the players don't realise they need to withdraw.
Dala was easier since everyone made their save and they had Wat's ghost touch weapon. I did tip the encounter slightly against the players by ruling that there was only enough space in the room for 3 players plus the Allip leaving 2 people stuck outside having to fire into melee.
The wraith/jelly encounter was interesting too. My party are all equipped with magic weapons and a few lucky hits meant the wraiths were going down quickly and the cleric nailed a max roll turn check causing both wraiths to flee although one ended up killed before it's movement came around. The party rogue made his Knowledge(dungeoneering) roll and recognised the jelly needed to be hit with blunt weapons, in the end though they laid in with sharp weapons creating 6 smaller jellys that were quickly dispatched, although the jelly did get some decent grapple attacks in.
The party is yet to face Lareth and I'm thinking of upping the ante by having him spot them and buff up prior to the encounter. Shield of Faith/Bears Endurance/Bull's Strength all last 7 mins so can be cast just prior to him approaching. Divine Favour lasts 10 rounds and I swapped Greater Magic Weapon (which at caster lvl 7 does nothing for Lareths already +1 weapon) for Divine Power which will last 7 rounds. I'll open with Confusion, then Divine Power, then Divine Favour. End result Lareth has BAB +7(giving him +6/+1), +6 STR, +4 CON, +3 AC, and total of +5 ATK, +5 DAM and +21 HP. When Divine Power wears off the Bulls Strength will still be in effect so he'll only lose +2 STR, +1 ATK and +1 DAM.
Both the Cleric and Wizard have access to Dispel Magic so it will be interesting to see if they memorise it that day.
It could be the difference between an easy or hard fight. With those ATK bonuses I can see Lareth making good use of his Power Attack feat.

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/20/04 1:33 am)
Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
Thanks for all the replies!
I believe all PC's have 2 fighter levels, and with Xaod they have enough melee power, but as mentioned, they are lacking in arcane casters. I will not push players into choosing arcane casters should they be required to make a new character, everyone gets to choose the character they would like to play, and if that means they lack in certain area's, so be it!

I take it from most of your posts that the Ghost-Touch Longsword from Wat can make a big difference in the other fights in Nulb. So while i've decided to neither encourage or discourage them from exploring Nulb next time (i'll just have Xaod mention he'd like to rid the town of it's evil, and then see what they decide), if they do decide to explore Nulb, i'll have them meet Lareth first, and let him steer them towards the Hostel, so that if they defeat Wat, they'll have an easier time taking on the rest of the encounters!

If Lareth tricks them into walking into Wat's ambush, they'll want to show him how much they appreciate that afterwards, so i'll make good use of his buffs before they meet him again! I kinda like the idea of the party killing him in a memorable fight, and then later encountering him again as the Champion! :)

I'll let you guys know how it turned out, though it seems it might take a little time before everyone has time to play again!

Also, Caedrel, tnx for the reply on the Horrific Appearance question, i will not house-rule it to work if it is not meant to do so by the books, the argument about it requiring a Fort save is a strong one, if it was a Will save i could have thought about house-ruling it... But like you said, most of them have decent Fort saves, so they should be alright! And if to many of them do fail the save, i have a feeling Xaod will make his for sure! :)

Brother of Venom
(2/20/04 6:02 am)
Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
"...which at caster lvl 7 does nothing for Lareths already +1 weapon..."

So, did you give Lareth a +1 weapon, or are you just counting the +1 atk bonus from the masterwork quarterstaff? Note that GMW adds to the damage as well, but you are right in that 3.5 nerfs GMW slightly (in 3.0 it would be +2, right?).

PS Welcome to the boards, Belgarath! :)

Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/20/04 11:17 am)

Re: Nulb, how tough is it?
You're right, I've been reading through the whole adventure again and I think I was confusing Lareth's weapon with something else.
GMW is still a waste of a 4th level spell slot though and I'm sticking with Divine Power. +1 damage vs +2 BAB giving 2nd attack, +6 str and +7 temp hp is no contest :p

Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/20/04 2:33 pm)
Lareth, the tank of doom
It's been a while, and my campaign is now defunct, but Nulb was one of the first big headaches for them.

First they (6 PC's) walk into the Inn and poke around, until Wat tries to assassinate the bard. He botches his attack, and she survives. Then several people (including the paladin) fail Frightful Presence saves.

Party decides they've had enough, and leaves the inn. Wat, tied to the place of his death, does not pursue. The gnomish wizard, recently having a long talk with his inner pyro, torches the hostel with a fireball.

Moving on, they meet Lareth in front of his herb shop. I describe him as an unarmored man with a staff, disfigured, etc. It helped that I had a cold that day to do Lareth's voice--he was despondent, angry at the world, and not wanting company.

He certainly didn't want a smart-ass gnome making fun of him. After a few exchanges, he decided he'd had enough and threw confusion at them. Several failed their saves: one wound up wandering off, the bard stabbed her horse which bolted, the fighter/rogue drooled, etc. Lareth then goes back inside, and starts buffing himself (he already had hour/level things active, like greater magic weapon--this was before 3.5 was out).

The dwarven cleric and human paladin advance. The dwarf gets there first, and he takes a whack at him with his staff.

Hanks' player: "Hah, the wizard's meleeing us... he must be desperate!" (Confusion, after all, is a wizard spell)

Me: (rolls a 4 on the d20) "Does AC 20 hit you?" (player's jaw drops a bit)

Me: (rolls a 6 on d6) "Take, um, 18 points damage." (player's jaw hits the floor)

The paladin fails a fort save against poison, losing only 1 con.

The dwarf cleric and paladin melee Lareth for a while. He focuses his attacks on the dwarf and eventually knocks him down to 1 hp.

The dwarf, instead of doing the sensible thing and healing himself, summons an earth elemental. Lareth searing light's him. Splot.

About this time the fighter-rogue gets out of confusion, comes in, and deals Lareth the deathblow. The paladin fails yet another fort save against poison, losing 10 points of con and dying.

Their tactics were less than optimal (should have waited outside until everyone had scooped up their marbles), but Lareth is harsh.

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