This game session got a bit controversial. The PCs were now level 8 and started off at the Baron's 105th birthday party. They picked up some gossip, ran a few errands around town but over all the visit rather rather uneventful.
Things got exciting quickly as a few days after the bash a party of adventurers showed up unannounced at the Tower. With both the Anti-paladin's newly expanded evil organization working in town as well as the White Ravens watching, what happened to the party's intel?
This adventuring party was pretty badass. They were basically level 8 versions of a bunch of characters I'd been working on and this session gave me an opportunity to try them out. They were a veteran group of adventurers that were used to working together and I had a few strategies all worked that would prevent them from getting blown away by round 3 which has been the norm up until now.
The party scouted using a very specialized eidolon while everyone else stayed back. This allowed them to dodge most of the traps and evade the first ambush the villains laid for them. While the party was massacring the boggard tribe, the villains decided to strike. They disguised themselves as boggards and attacked.
It took a couple rounds for the NPC party to realize that these were a different class of boggards and to start actually trying. The summoner and Mindchemist stopped standing on watch and all came together to try and buff up. By this point however things were not looking so great. The villainous Bloodrager and Antipaladin had already engaged and the Barbarian and Monk were already severely injured. A Fog Cloud spell was thrown up to provide cover from ranged attacks but then the villains dropped a few AE spells on the cloud hoping to hit the invading party.
The battle continued to rage inside the cloud but those outside quickly got bored after they'd used up their Area Effect attacks. The Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue didn't want to wander into the cloud to avoid the risk of running into the heavy hitters. After a few rounds the the BloodRager and AntiPaladin were dropped and only the Monk and the Summoner were left standing on the invader's side.
The summoner made a run for it while the Monk tried to get revenge. The wizard ended the summoner's run for freedom with a Blindness spell while the monk slew the Cleric and Rogue. The wizard was able to drop the monk with Magic Missiles one round before he himself would have been skewered.
In the end only the Wizard and Antipaladin lived (The Antipaladin had been rendered unconscious but not killed). The dice were very swingy all evening and really effected the flow of things. The cloud rendered all non area-effect spells and the rogue useless although it didn't seem to hurt melee attacks as no one rolled the 20% miss chance the entire night. There were lots of made saving throws but the MindChemist kept missing hers and she died before she was able to make any offensive moves. The Antipaladin made a great move in disarming the monk. She was still a beast but not nearly so scary when she's not sporting a x4 crit weapon. The Minotaur skeleton proved to be rather useless, and the cleric was limited by line of sight issues. The wizard had similar troubles since he specializes in ray spells. The Rogue could lay down some decent smackdown in the right circumstances but between the cloud and a bad call on my part on how stealth works, he wasn't as effective as he should have been. The bloodrager was fearsome as usual but needs some more defenses (you can cast Mirror Image!). Trading blows with a barbarian is fine until his buddy a Battle Oracle starts to join in.
So the difficulty level for the night was turned up to 11. Aside from my bad call on stealth I'm not apologizing but at the same timer the difficulty level will return to normal. I kill enough PCs on default.
So a quick analysis of my NPCs:
Monk (Sohei): Was surprisingly effective. I forgot she can always act in surprise rounds but the Rogue probably would have beaten her initiative anyway. Crane style is awesome although holding your two handed weapon with only one hand means you can only make AoO with your unarmed strikes. An awkward set-up and if I were to play this PC I would probably switch to something less cumbersome like a temple sword. She had the best gear of the invaders but even then it was well under what PCs get.
Oracle (Battle): This guy could hit almost as hard as the Barbarian and only slightly harder than the monk. His spells really didn't come into play as he spent most of the fight engaged with either the Minotaur or the Bloodrager in melee combat. He really needed to buff to be super effective and in this battle never got the opportunity.
Barabrian (Invulnerable Rager): This build was all about offense and DR. Had he been buffed by the Mindchemist as I had planned he would have been an unstoppable force with ridiculous hit points, and crazy damage. As is, he was merely nasty.
Summoner: This was definitely a support character which I added in last to fill some of the party deficiencies. It mainly focused on a non combat eidolon (the table erupted in calls of fear of "Oh god, no. Not Frosty!" when they found out there was an eidolon present - Frosty was my eidolon in Kingmaker). The summoner was not very effective in combat being built around buffs and spent most of the battle using UMD to keep the Monk alive. The eidolon annoyed the wizard a bit but otherwise skulked around the battle unseen doing nothing.
Alchemist (Mindchemist): She was going to use Infusion to pass her extracts to other party members, then use force bombs to knock down the villains or use entanglement bombs to glue people to the floor or bring down flyers. She was meant to stay in the back but got stabbed once and nuked a few times and died before she could do much. I'm not sure if my concept was flawed, I played her poorly, or if she was just unlucky.
So anyway the ritual has passed the 1/4 mark. The villains still have time to gather what they need to complete the midway ritual (a devout follower of Mitra) and the final ritual (a descendant of the Victor).