We were in between hiatuses with session six; coming back from a couple of weeks without the game and about to go a full month without any gaming. I wanted to keep things tight, so the session ended up compressing what might have been two sessions’ worth of content into a single unit.
We started off with an experiment in nonstandard encounter design: there was a sandstorm and a group of people caught in it. The party’s goal was to rescue those people. There were hazards (the devil dune and funnel cloud in the Dark Sun Creature Catalog) and some monsters (I whipped together some elf nomad thugs, several levels below the party’s level) but the question was never whether Trevia, Thom, Kyahasha, and Aya would survive. Of the seven refugees, the party successfully rescued four of them, which was pretty good all things considered.
Long story short, the refugees led the party to a secret hidden magical party, where they met an evil wizard whom they chatted with for a bit — this did not work quite so well as Carla became invested early on in defeating the evil wizard in combat, and so the half-session’s worth of tooling around at the magical party figuring out what was what got compressed down to a single scene.
The party fought the evil wizard, which was a good fight. I modified a beholder chassis to generate the evil wizard’s statblock; if you started your turn within 5 of him, he shot you with a prismatic spray, +16 vs. the lower of Reflex or Will (based on his level, it should have been +17 vs. one or the other, but I felt that picking the lower established him as a cheating bastard), 2d6+5 damage and ongoing 5 damage (roll a d10: cold, fire, lightning, thunder, force, necrotic, radiant, psychic, untyped, or acid). The ongoing damage was save ends, but a failed save meant a new ongoing damage 5 of a new type.
So Thom’s turn starts, he’s sprayed, he takes the damage and has 5 ongoing… (roll a 10) acid damage. End of his turn, he rolls a save, fails it, now he has an additional 5 ongoing…. (roll a 4) thunder damage. Start of next turn, he takes 5 acid and 5 thunder damage, and he’s attacked again. Hit, so he takes 2d6+5 damage and another ongoing 5 (roll a 10 again) acid damage, the two ongoing 5 acid damages don’t stack, so ignore the second one.
This went quite smoothly in play and led to a couple of characters reaching a steady-state of ongoing damage, with saves being made roughly as often as new layers of damage were applied. My goal with the fight was to get Trevia, as the leader, completely tapped out for healing by the end of it, and I did succeed at that, although it’s also true that at the end of the fight everyone except Trevia (stabilized at 8 points away from his negative bloodied value) at full hp.
The evil wizard also had a melee basic attack of +18 vs. AC for 3d6+10 plus a healing surge, and on a hit he could teleport 4. Thom, with his enormous number of healing surges, ate that attack most of the time, so it wasn’t such an issue, but the teleport rider helped a great deal. Basically this was a solo I designed that would be vexed by being dazed continuously (Kyahasha being so good at dazing), but who wouldn’t be a complete pushover.
I was also pleased by my basic concept of the magical party, which was a sort of defiler Brigadoon. With the evil wizard dead, the spell is over, so now the PCs have to decide what to do with five hundred or so partygoers from the ancient Green Age, all of whom have been magically shrunk to about a millimeter high.
In general I think there’s enough energy to sustain the game until December, when we start up again. But we’ll see.