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Great Balls of Fire!!!

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GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!!!

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It had seemed like a good idea at the time. With random encounters and such, the characters were third level. They plowed through the NPCs so easily that they gave the monsters bad dreams at night. So what's a DM to do?

The common three answers are to bump up their numbers, their hit points or the levels. And I have tried all three.

And they still keep coming.

The monsters are awakening pinned to their sheets with fright.

What was keeping me awake at nights were the three fireball spells in Glasstaff's arsenal. The mage is portrayed as a coward and that he would run first chance he got. Except the party pretty much had cut off his escape. A cornered animal, he would have to stay and fight. And reasonably, I would have to set a number of henchmen and deal with it as their numbers dwindled.

Because we are all old men with jobs to go to in the morning, we play two, two hours sessions a week. This was easily our third week in the Red Brand Hideout. The players were itching to be done … I could tell. Then I turned it up a notch. The first thing I did was have the goblin, Droop, ask them if they were sure they wanted to do this. When asked why not, Droop replied that Glasstsff … “Has spells that goes BOOM with fire.” (I use a slightly higher and pulled back Peter Lorre voice for Droop. … Am I being too … stereotypical?) Droop then asked them that since he was now a party member, if the rat could be one? He then proceeded to run around until he caught the scurring beastie. Droop then asked, “Is he party member or can I eats it?” The players wanted to know why Droop thought it should be a party member? The goblin revealed to the party that it had been following them since they left the barracks.

Silence. Will finally said that it had to be the wizard's familiar. Vince said to Droop, “Eat it.” I wish I had thought ahead and had an apple.

There then came a kidnapping attempt on the halfling. The hostage situation led to a few tense moments and he almost got away. I was also able to produce a bone of contention in Glasstaff's quarters. A human skull of a dead necromancer that had been Kevin's first character's quest in the first campaign, but later stolen by the Red Brands. The Countess was sent to retrieve the notes rumored to be among Glastaff's notes (The Zentarium quest.) But so was the thief. They found both the papers and the skull. (Next week, I'm adding two other factions searching for it.)

Finally, at the closing minutes they were squaring off with Glastaff. I gave them homework to come up with a battle plan.

Jim came up with … seven.

When I started up the next night, I asked them if they wanted to go to a private channel on our Discord server to discuss “battle tactics.” I couldn't believe how quickly I was left alone.

I was half way through my tea before they came back. I half to admit, I was a little leery of those fireballs. I mean … I didn't really want to kill the player's characters off. I even posted a thread on the forums and got some good advice. But in the end, I did what I always do when I'm unsure of what the actions should be. I set up various parameters and let the players roll what the out come will be.

The Countess using the fireball spell scroll found in Glasstaff's treasure hoard, had it fizzle. (One point away from her getting it to work.) Along with the mage, the crew were facing three Red Brands and two of my exploding skeletons. I was pleased to see that they had learned from the previous encounter and used range weapons to get them to explode and soften up the thugs. Meanwhile, Vig the Barbarian, was able to move and jump the crevasse and still attack Glasstaff. The wizard's opening move was going to be a fireball. But again he its not a battle mage and portrayed as a bit of a coward. It seemed only fair to see if this rush would effect his actions. The spell fizzled. But the next one went off. I wish I could of seen Jim's face as I heard his “Whaaaat???” He sat there stupefied as the edge of the fireball got the barbarian and not Glasstaff. Two characters here hit. Both Jim's. One went down. Guess which one.

The barbarian was left standing … smoking … but standing.

See what I am up against?

The next surprise was that the Nothic, angered by the fireball, came roaring out of the ditch and attacked both Vig and the mage. Glastaff and the barbarian were laid low and the what was left of the party .. the cleric and the sorcerer (as the thief and fighter were making their way around the dungeon to come up on Glastaff from behind) had to deal with the Nothic. The halfling on his wild surge rolled being able to teleport for a minute and this is probably what kept him alive. Will the Cleric took the brunt of the damage. And through a lucky timing of the party's health potions, both of Jim's characters were up. The Countess dealt the killing blow to the Nothic and everybody sighed a sigh of relief.

Then a mad hunt for the warlock's talsmin, through which the Countess derives her powers. She … and Jim were panicking when they were not on the persons of the beast or that of the dead mage. We were able to bring about a happy ending as the much needed charm was found among the Nothic's treasure.

Next week … the dust and the chips will settle where they may. It gladdens my heart to hear the players scheme on the possibilities ahead. Maybe they will make this their base … can they get the Sleeping Giant as a possible business opportunity.

Me??? I'm just glad this is over. No more nightmares … for a little while anyway.

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Updated March 16th, 2017 at 13:48 by mhorgunn

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Comments

  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Sounds like a good time
  2. MarianDz's Avatar
    nice part
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