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    Mystic Muse's Avatar

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    Default Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    I have a group of players who are going to face the midboss of this campaign tomorrow if all goes according to plan. However, I want to make sure they aren't doomed before hand. Here's the party makeup.

    1. Sorcerer that can blast fairly well by the look of it.
    2. Dragonborn warden who has a homebrew ability to fly.
    3. A gnome artificer who focuses on summoning things.
    4. A necromancer from the book "Scythe and shroud" who's daily summoning abilities are now persistable.

    I've tried to help them make their characters as optimized as possible. I would like to send them up against an aspect of Tiamat Or something else somewhat memorable. The boss isn't actually an aspect of Tiamat anyway, so just about anything can work, even multiple enemies.

    Assuming I do use an aspect, since some of her attacks deal fire, lightning, ETC. damage all at once, would resistance versus one element apply versus all of them?

    I've been known to not be quite aware of what my players are and are not capable of handling in the past, so I figured I'd ask here.

    EDIT: I should mention that they're level 15.
    Last edited by Mystic Muse; 2011-01-01 at 05:04 AM.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    Okay, well your players are level 15 and the Aspect of Tiamat from Draconomicon is a level 17 Solo. It will probably be a tough but winnable battle, assuming teamwork and decent tactics on the part of your PCs. There are, however, only four of them (rather than the assumed 5), so that does increase the expected resource expenditure somewhat.

    As for the attacks which deal 5 different types of damage at once, your players will be affected according to the worst resistance they have. In other words, they need to resist all 5 elements in order to resist any damage from her attacks. (Basically, each and every point of damage counts as being all 5 damage types.)

    Final Note: I've heard that Tiamat is pretty much the toughest monster ever made for 4E, but I don't know if that also translates to her Aspect or not. Personally, I've never been out of the heroic tier, so I hope somebody with experience playing (or DMing) at that level stops by to verify what I've said.
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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    Also: unless you plan to serve them poisoned nachos, I think your Players will survive the session just fine


    More seriously, a LV 17 Solo will probably be OK, if the party can nova. If they've had some other Encounters during that day, things can get dicey.

    Looking over the Aspect of Tiamat from Monster Builder I'll say the following:

    - Unless your Sorcerer has Resistance Piercing, he's screwed. The Aspect has Resist 15 Acid/Fire/Cold/Lightning/Poison - pretty much every element the Sorcerer is going to be using, I'd imagine. This will not be a fun fight for him. Your Warden may be moderately gimped as well

    - The Aspect doesn't have any mezz-mitigation powers, so lock-down should be easy. This can lead to a static and very boring fight (unless your Players just love rolling dice and calculating damage) so throw some minions around.

    Without knowing more about your group (in particular the capabilities of the Necromancer) I'd suggest against using the Aspect of Tiamat and go instead with something else. A well-planned Encounter can be just as exciting - if not more so - than simply whaling on a big beastie.
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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Also: unless you plan to serve them poisoned nachos, I think your Players will survive the session just fine
    No, but thanks for the nachos idea. The non poisoned variety should be a good snack.
    - Unless your Sorcerer has Resistance Piercing, he's screwed. The Aspect has Resist 15 Acid/Fire/Cold/Lightning/Poison - pretty much every element the Sorcerer is going to be using, I'd imagine. This will not be a fun fight for him. Your Warden may be moderately gimped as well
    Well, he bypasses 10 of the resistance to cold and fire, and I use the rule that channeling powers through a weapon such as a frost weapon adds the, in this case, cold descriptor to the power. Otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't have considered the aspect just because of the resistances and that the sorcerer would feel kind of useless.

    Without knowing more about your group (in particular the capabilities of the Necromancer) I'd suggest against using the Aspect of Tiamat and go instead with something else. A well-planned Encounter can be just as exciting - if not more so - than simply whaling on a big beastie.
    Okay, any suggestions?

    EDIT: I also have the monster builder. So, I can use anything in there, or just make something of my own if the playground has any suggestions for either.
    Last edited by Mystic Muse; 2011-01-01 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
    No, but thanks for the nachos idea. The non poisoned variety should be a good snack.
    Well, he bypasses 10 of the resistance to cold and fire, and I use the rule that channeling powers through a weapon such as a frost weapon adds the, in this case, cold descriptor to the power. Otherwise, yeah, I wouldn't have considered the aspect just because of the resistances and that the sorcerer would feel kind of useless.



    Okay, any suggestions?

    EDIT: I also have the monster builder. So, I can use anything in there, or just make something of my own if the playground has any suggestions for either.
    Edit the aspect. My party just took down an Aspect of Tiamat...at level 1. How? Because the DM took a look at the Aspect, considered what he wanted and what was overkill, and mixed and matched. Heads got individual attacks, with the exception of green and red (which kept an Area of Effect Attack) and resistance got dropped downa bit, to something more reasonable to overcome. If you're guys are level 15, then instead of Resistance 15, make them face a blanket resistance 10. Then the sorcerer won't be seeing as much of an effect, but he'll still be useful while the fight akes long enough to be a tough fight, rather than a one sided curb stomp in either direction.

    Seriously, if the only problem is the values of the damage and armor, while all other abilities are ones you like and want to keep, just change the values. There should be a chart in the DMG if you don't want to wing it, and you can feel free to mix and match from there.
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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
    Okay, any suggestions?

    EDIT: I also have the monster builder. So, I can use anything in there, or just make something of my own if the playground has any suggestions for either.
    Caveat: I've experienced very few Solo fights in 4E and have yet to run one.

    That said, these are my lessons for using solos:
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    - Threatening Reach
    A Threatening Reach of 3 is enough to make the Solo a serious threat to people trying to maneuver about the battlefield. It also makes it risky for PCs to maintain optimal positioning

    - Multiple Turns per Round
    A Solo that has a turn on Initiative 20 and Initiative 10 is going to be less vulnerable to lock-down and therefore more of a threat. Don't mix this with "multiple attacks per round" though - that gets nasty. Also, note that this makes "Save Ends" much less dangerous than "End of Next Turn" effects - which is the opposite of how it's supposed to be.

    - Suppress Effects
    Give the monster the ability to suppress one status effect per round. This is very good if your party is prone to stacking effects on monsters; it makes the solo more dangerous without completely negating your party's tactics.


    Now, if you want to build a memorable Encounter without using a Solo, you need to focus on three things:
    (1) Terrain
    (2) Enemy Synergy
    (3) Da Boss

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    Terrain is most important because it shapes the feel of an Encounter in 4E. Think carefully about this; a large box with a monster in it is boring. Unfortunately, crafting terrain is more of an Art than a Science; just be sure to keep it in mind when designing things. For example, add pits if you plan on having enemies with Push Effects; use multiple levels (and lifts/stairways) to split up the PCs if you have ranged enemies. Active traps (like the Pendulum in the DMG) will also give the Players something to think about.

    Enemy Synergy means selecting enemies (and powers) that work to a particular end. This doesn't mean figuring out a way to pwn your PCs; it means putting together a selection of enemies that makes it feel like they're a team not just a bunch of mooks in a room. For example, combining enemies that have an Immobilize attack with a Brute that has a punishing attack that only works on Immobilized targets will cause your Players to begin thinking strategically rather than just tactically about dealing with what you throw at them.

    Da Boss is going to be the "focus" of any memorable Encounter. He doesn't need to mechanically strong - he needs to be memorable. A lot of this is just RP, but it helps to design the Encounter such that the Players need to constantly consider what Da Boss is going to be doing next. In line with "Enemy Synergy" above, try to design the synergies such that Da Boss is going to be able to execute the plan. Giving him a rechargeable attack of some sort will help keep him relevant the entire battle.

    These are some broad suggestions, to be sure, but without knowing more about your game, I can't be more specific. One thing I'll say is that the Monster Builder's ability to generate new monsters is really helpful. Just pick up the sort of monster you want to have and place it in the Holding Pen for reference as you draw up the monster you want.
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    Default Re: Am I about to kill my players? (4e)

    I've used this boss before. They'll be fine. In a +2 encounter with a summoner artificer at Level 15, he'll have Animate Alabaster.

    EDIT: Also, I'm gonna assume he went Clockwork Engineer. Fantastic paragon path for this power. 6 attacks for 2W each on a leader. Should be the biggest bang in your party at this point.

    That's more than enough untyped damage to make up for the sorcerer being somewhat ineffectual against the Aspect's resistances.

    Throw in more monsters, or at least make sure they're low on resources for this. My Ranger's level 15 and he has a +20 to hit with a +2 weapon.

    Assuming you're equipping them well, they'll have something similiar. So they hit on a 13. Unless they've got it in their head that targetting Fortitude is a good idea, of course. Totally winnable as long as the Artificer keeps laying on the damage.

    Not a clue if the Necromancer is a useful controller or not, but Sorcerers and Wardens definately have the ability to lock down your solos if they're played well.

    Add one or two more monsters a bit below their level. Maybe like a Level 13 Elite of some sort? At the moment, this fight will be challenging, but not at all winnable for your aspect unless they do something horribly ineffectual.

    Also, I pray I read this thread poorly enough to say that no one's pointed out that the Aspect's weapon is a typo. Deals 4d10+12, not d20s. If that had been concerning you, fret not.
    Last edited by DragonBaneDM; 2011-01-01 at 07:52 PM.

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