View Full Version : [4e] Making an end of paragon tier running fight

2009-12-09, 10:08 PM
So, I'm currently working on the later adventures of my current gaming group's Eberron campaign. It's going to be a major throw-down in the Feyspire of Shae Joridal, against the armies of Darguun. I've already got the main early fighting encounters and non-combat prep/setup things down pretty solid. And during the course of designing the encounter, I realized that in some ways I'm pulling parallels the the big battle in Gondor from the Lord of the Rings movies. I'd like to try and avoid copying and pasting it verbatim, but I think certain aspects of it are going to be in it, and as long as I'm not just copying the movie entirely, I'm okay with it.

So, I'm looking for any sort of suggestions over what I've already got, and a little help on the end-games.

1. Pre-battle. I've got the city divided up into a couple of zones. there are NPC troops stations in all zones, and the PCs decide which zone they are stationing themselves at (and this is the zone where the encounter takes place). If there are enemy troops in a non-PC zone, the NPC and enemy troops just wear each other down by X amount until the PCs run to that zone for their encounter, or one of them die. I'm letting the PCs add in various traps, alchemical items, etc. that will help out NPC troops. Their airship will also be providing air support/artillary, which can help either the PC's or another region.

2. Actual battle. I've got various encounters set up, plus a few ambush encounter for when they're traveling through the city (especially if things start going badly). This is end of tier and end of campaign (we're not going to bother with epic just quite yet), so I'm willing to throw tougher challenges at them. They basically are given a boon from the Eladrin council that will let them pretend they just had an extended rest between fights instead of a short rest, so I can keep the battle momentum going. Any suggestions as to how to keep from overwhelming them to the point of unfairness, but keeping them pressured?

3. End-game. I can see this going two ways: First, the player's either smash their opposing forces or manage to keep things about even. I figure the leaders show up, maybe with his pet super-monster, and climactic showdown. I'm not sure what to do if player's try and push out into the field, or have totally cleared the city. The second way I can see it going is the characters being pushed back to a final hold out position in the center of the city. I'm a bit at a loss as to a good string of encounters where they can win, but need to fall back anyway to help protect other people/themselves, and funnel the enemy into a bottleneck.

So, any comments, suggestions, tips from other DMs?

2009-12-10, 12:04 AM
I have no advice to give. It sounds like you've covered all the bases. Hats off.

2009-12-10, 04:55 PM
I'm a bit at a loss as to a good string of encounters where they can win, but need to fall back anyway to help protect other people/themselves, and funnel the enemy into a bottleneck.

I had some experience with this during my 3.5 campaign. If your players are like mine (fairly co-operative), you won't have much of an issue with it.

There are two ways to do this:

make it clear at the start of the encounter that the PCs goal is to allow others to escape and then follow. That way, when they successfully complete the encounter, their first instinct is to retreat as well. The way some 4e combats work, you'll probably need some explicit means of letting the PCs know that hanging around once the objective is complete is NOT an option.

Simply fiat it. When the combat is done, tell the PCs that the city guards are calling a retreat back to X. Unless your PCs are the sort to deliberately derail you, they'll follow along. If they are that sort, either ad lib from that point on or throw a level +5 or level +6 encounter at them to force them to retreat.

I was fortunate enough that I could simply use option 2 and the PCs would comply. In fact, I ran a session in which the PCs thumped everything they met and they still didn't quibble when I told them the town had fallen to the enemy. They simply understood that no matter how good they were, if the rest of the defenders couldn't hold out, the town would fall and that hanging around in enemy territory was a bad idea.

If you go with option 1, the easiest method of forcing a withdrawal is an ever-escalating influx of new enemies.

eg. 1 new brute in round 6, 2 new soldiers in round 7, 2 soldiers and a controller in round 8 etc etc until the PCs finally get the idea that they really should bug out.

If you go with option 2 and the players don't co-operate, make your +5 or +6 encounter up of mostly monsters at the same level as the players, with maybe one or two higher-up ("They have a cave troll"). You want the players to realise they're in real trouble, but you don't want enemies so overwhelming that PCs die before they get a chance to flee.