Random Blogness: Demons, Devils, and Pathfinders
After a very long hiatus, I finally got back to running a session of Night Below: An Underdark Campaign, which is an old AD&D campaign that I have been converting on the fly to Pathfinder. This session featured one big combat, and it took about half the session. It’s the first time that a combat has taken that long, but to be fair it was a pit fiend against nine characters. And overall, it was pretty satisfying.
I’m not big on tactical combat, but I did use movement a lot in this one. The pit fiend’s ability to fly kept the group pretty well on their heels, since the melee fighters had to move and attack, thus only getting to swing once while the pit fiend got to use all six of its attacks (plus a quickened fireball) every round. Through this method, I managed to cause the first relevant character deaths of the game, killing two NPCs and revealing them to be disguised half-fiends in the process.
It’s taken me this long to kill off some characters because this group has been insanely lucky when the chips are down. They’ve managed to bypass a marilith’s spell resistance and have it fail its save against a baleful polymorph, they successfully fled a dragon rather than getting devoured, and when two rogues had a paladin flanked and set up for a kill, they both rolled natural 1s, stabbing themselves instead of the paladin.
Even this time around, the luck held. The pit fiend barely got to do anything early on because a lucky critical hit left it staggered. Luckily, it stormed back with some menace. After absorbing over 100 points of damage in the first round, it smile and said, “My turn,” then proceeded to beat the piss out of nine of the most powerful characters in my campaign setting. The fight went long but wasn’t overly frustrating, and it came close to a higher body count before the pit fiend finally fell.
I’ve never run a pit fiend in combat before, but I have fought against them in Neverwinter Nights, which actually gave me a pretty good idea of how to handle the devil’s many powers. Things were a bit more complicated by the fact that, unlike in Neverwinter Nights, this guy could fly, but it’s a high-level game so half the group could take to the air as well.
One important thing I found out is that paladins in Pathfinder are must-haves when dealing with big bad devils. Smite evil not only deals massive amounts of damage to evil outsiders but also bypasses damage reduction. And with a paladin’s aura of justice, everybody in the group can deliver a holy beat-down. Even though the average party level was in the low teens, the aura of justice was the difference maker that allowed the group to win the day.
The session featured a guest player who took control of one of the NPCs. This was only her second RPG session ever, and I was worried that the pit fiend fight would bore her. The game has gone on for a few years now, so there’s a lot of backstory, and high-level combat gets crazy and complicated – especially for somebody who is not familiar with the fantasy genre. Luckily, our new player got to shine later on, thanks to her love of boobies.
The newbie was playing Lyntern the paladin, a 19-year old kid who has been traveling for a year with many hot women (and one elf male with 20 Charisma, but even elven men look like chicks, so…). The group has been trying to hook them up with a pretty lady who had taken a vow of silence and chastity until the pit fiend was slain. With the pit fiend dead, the rest of the party was keen to finally get Lyntern some action. Unfortunately, this woman happened to be a succubus, who proceeded to drain away a lot of Lyntern’s soul.
I explained level drain to the newbie, and she made her first saving throw to resist the succubus’ suggestion effect which draws people into committing another “act of passion” and losing more levels. But, role-playing a sexually frustrated 19-year old who was finally getting some, our newbie decided to ignore the level drain and continue making out with the succubus. After accumulating six negative levels, she finally made another save and snapped out of it. Seeing that she wasn’t going to just drain the life out of her lover, the succubus used her magical charms to have the paladin give her all of her gear, then nearly managed to escape with it before the rest of the group intervened.
In the end, the succubus escaped (and can now return as a recurring nemesis), but left the gear behind. I had to emphasize that this session was not a metaphor for women in general – too many people there, it seemed, had been with somebody who sexed them up, then took every last penny and ran out. Sometimes, fantasy gaming just hits too close to home.
This entry was posted on July 8, 2012 at 9:53 PM and is filed under Pathfinder, Random Blogness, Role-Playing Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.