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View Full Version : [3.5] Advice on running an encounter



Epinephrine
2009-02-08, 06:58 PM
I'm running the Age of Worms for some friends, and the group are heading toward the Temple of Vecna in the 2nd chapter.

So, the temple of Vecna has comparatively few priests/acolytes compared with the other temples, but there's a neat labyrinth to get in.

The labyrinth has many secret doors, and followers of Vecna can open or close one as a free action once a round. The labyrinth is (in the module) inhabited by 3 bands of kenku who are mostly level 1 rogues, and are meant to harass the party. There is also a pair of dire weasels.

I can't see how to play this out to be the frustrating encounter that they seem to imply that it should be; the other temples play just fine - Hextor's temple is military, and responds with a great tactical plan, and Erythnul's temple is destructive, but somewhat tricky. I want Vecna's to be somewhat spooky/tense, with attacks coming out of the dark, and maddening in that secret doors slam shut, letting the attacker get away.

The problem: The party have 2 party members with 60' darkvision, and the labyrith doesn't offer many distances longer than 30' or so, a few long hallways may hit the 50' mark. Additionally, this means that a decent light like a sunrod will make hiding impossible much of the time. As written, the kenku don't have any spring attack or shot on the run-type abiities, so they can't play hit and run, despite the module explaining that that's how they are meant to be played.

Is there a way for simple level 1 rogues to pose a challenge in this situation (other than simply mobbing the group)? The labyrinth is narrow (5' hallways) so they can't easily flank, excepting where there are t intersections, and honestly, a level 4 party will massacre any level 1 rogue that stops for a round beside them. Ranged attacks are pointless, since they'd have to move or step to get into line with the party (becoming visible) and dying the next round most likely when the party closes with them.

I'm just not seeing how it can work very well - any advice on how to make it work?

Flickerdart
2009-02-08, 07:04 PM
Traps, and lots of them. Magical darkness. Give the Rogues the Dark creature template for Hide in Plain Sight. Spring Attack (Human feat, 1st level feat, flaw) to move, shoot, and go around the corner again. Illusions to make pits and whatnot appear. Real pits concealed by illusions. Gelatinous Cubes. Did I mention traps? A boulder starts rolling, nowhere they can go.

Epinephrine
2009-02-08, 09:00 PM
Traps, and lots of them. Magical darkness. Give the Rogues the Dark creature template for Hide in Plain Sight. Spring Attack (Human feat, 1st level feat, flaw) to move, shoot, and go around the corner again. Illusions to make pits and whatnot appear. Real pits concealed by illusions. Gelatinous Cubes. Did I mention traps? A boulder starts rolling, nowhere they can go.

Sorry, it's a level 4 party, and the foes were originally groups of level 1 kenku. I thought of spring attacking 2nd level fighters, but the minimum BAB is +4 for spring attack, so I'd have to bend rules or put a 4th level foe in, in which case it's just one foe at a time.

I was hoping that perhaps I'm just missing how to play these level 1 rogues effectively - but I'm not seeing it. Anything they do that allows them an attack would seem to allow the party to annihilate the attacker, at which point the hit and run becomes hit-and-die, and they're better off mobbing the party.

Thrawn183
2009-02-08, 09:12 PM
They can hide behind every corner. Darkvision can't see through walls. Then they sneak attack with bows and retreat to the next corner.

Thane of Fife
2009-02-08, 09:23 PM
They can quite potentially use the secret doors. Leave one of the doors open, for example, and have the kenku waiting in it around a corner. The PCs pop around, get sneak attacked, and then the kenku close the door and take off.

If they can operate the doors once per round per follower, rather than per door, then a group at a door can open it, sneak attack, and shut it all in one round. Try to get the PCs lost in the maze as they burst through secret doors and pursue enemies. Traps are similarly good.

Try to hit them from both sides when the dire weasels attack - strike through secret doors on both sides - in fact, that's generally good advice.

Starbuck_II
2009-02-08, 09:53 PM
Sorry, it's a level 4 party, and the foes were originally groups of level 1 kenku. I thought of spring attacking 2nd level fighters, but the minimum BAB is +4 for spring attack, so I'd have to bend rules or put a 4th level foe in, in which case it's just one foe at a time.

I was hoping that perhaps I'm just missing how to play these level 1 rogues effectively - but I'm not seeing it. Anything they do that allows them an attack would seem to allow the party to annihilate the attacker, at which point the hit and run becomes hit-and-die, and they're better off mobbing the party.

Spring Attack just does what Tumbledoes : make no provoke attacks.
So have the Kendo tumble away or toward enemy. Problem sounds solved.

For Ranged attacks: Just shoot and move (standard action to attack).

Flickerdart
2009-02-08, 09:55 PM
Spring Attack just does what Tumbledoes : make no provoke attacks.
So have the Kendo tumble away or toward enemy. Problem sounds solved.

For Ranged attacks: Just shoot and move (standard action to attack).
No it isn't.


When using the attack action with a melee weapon, you can move both before and after the attack, provided that your total distance moved is not greater than your speed. Moving in this way does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the defender you attack, though it might provoke attacks of opportunity from other creatures, if appropriate. You canít use this feat if you are wearing heavy armor.

Mando Knight
2009-02-08, 10:16 PM
Murder holes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder-hole), machiolations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machicolation), balistraria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balistraria). Stick rogues with crossbows in the walls and ceilings behind illusions that conceal the balistraria and murder holes, and have them Sneak Attack from there. Tucker's Kobolds-type stuff. Use illusions to create illusory floors that conceal punji-stick-lined pits. There's all sorts of nasty stuff you can pull.

Starbuck_II
2009-02-08, 10:35 PM
No it isn't.

However, these are 30 feet moves at most:
How far can they really get away after moving in to attack? Answer unless they are Monks (speed bonus) not very far.

So tumble is same thing.

Flickerdart
2009-02-08, 10:40 PM
However, these are 30 feet moves at most:
How far can they really get away after moving in to attack? Answer unless they are Monks (speed bonus) not very far.

So tumble is same thing.
Except that this way they can start and end their turn behind the corner.

Epinephrine
2009-02-09, 09:29 AM
Well, I've decided to give the leader (4th level fighter now, rather than 4th level rogue) Shot on the Run - he'll dart by, and his flunkies will open/close doors for him, and potshot the party while they chase the leader. I may put one leader per group of 6. If they try to pursue the leader, he can lead them into ambushes/traps.

I also added three traps (CR1, CR1, and CR2 - pretty wimpy, but it's plenty for a low level party), each of which has a bypass, so that they can run through them and the players can't - each of the traps is marked about 15 feet away with scent markings to warn the dire weasels away from the area.

I'm sticking with kenku, as they're neat, plus they can try to separate the party using the doors, and then imitate party voices (or voices in distress).

I'm giving them caltrops, and the leader has jumping caltrops. Also, a couple of tanglefoot bags per group and some alchemical fire. Even though they're level 1, that should prove really annoying to the party, but if the party gets a clean shot at these guys they're likely going down.

I appreciate the suggestion of murder holes etc., but I'm not trying to TPK them with this, just make it really tough for them. the big fight is yet to come - I want them to at least get to the Faceless one, if possible.