Kill My Character With Dragons

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The Short Version:
Dragons are coming to permanently kill a high level wizard (3rd edition).  They want to end him permanently.  But he is well prepared.  What should they do?

The Long Version:
In the Eberron campaign that I am running I have a character who has made it his life's work to thwart the Draconic Prophesy.  He has now done so in a small way and soon will be thwarting it in bigger ways.  By doing thus he has terrified and enranged dozens of powerful dragons who are now intent on putting an end to him - forever.

Expecting this the chracter has laid MANY preparations to protect him.  The player has spent quite a bit of effort on planning for contigencies, and I feel the only way to really do justice to this is to really TRY to kill his character.  If he manages to survive the dragons of Argonnessen REALLY trying to kill his character this will greatly validate all his planning.

That said, I already know too much.  I know what plans he has laid, and its hard to decide if the dragons would double-outsmart him or not.

Thats where you, the internet, come in.  Knowing only what the dragons would know, I want your suggestions on how to kill this fool mage.

Here is what you know:

Who Are You:
1) This is a 3rd edition Eberron campaign
2) You are an extremely powerful dragon (CR 20-30) with a dozen powerful dragons (CR 15-25) you can command or influence to do your will
3) Anthedon (the character) threatens everything you hold dear and must be destroyed at ALL costs
4) You have significant gold/items at your employ - lets say 1/2 million gold
5) There are at least a dozen OTHER similar groups of dragons out there

Who Is Anthedon (the character):
1) High level wizard (17 now, but may be as high as 20 by the time you reach him)
2) You have scried him many times and he has been all over the world, clearly teleporting
3) Lately he has generally been unscryable
4) Every once in a while he can be scried, and the last time you tried he was in ship on a planar sea
5) He is lawful good
6) He travels with a group that includes a bard, a swordsage, a crusader, and a cleric or similar level
7) He is able to cast a small number of spells from other classes (artificier, druid, cleric)
8) He is able to use any dragon marked ability
9) He is currently attempting to thwart the destruction of the world which has been fortold by the draconic prophesy and you suspect that this will take him to the planes
10) He is expecting you, he KNOWS you've been scrying on him, and he will be prepared

Your Goal:
Kill him forever.

What I am looking for is general plans on how to destroy him.  I don't need statblocks or anyting.  Mainly clever plans, spells, items that you plan to use to end him.  I'm curious to see what your collective strategies will produce.

Send in lesser (lower level) dragons first that fall for his ploys. Then the older, smarter, and more powerful ones make their push. Work it so a group of them working together make it to his inner sanctum, sucking up most of his contingencies. Before the last one dies, have it plant a marker or item of some sort that summons the elder dragon heading this assault. Then you can have a straight up fight.
I would take advantage of a dragon's ability to polymorph into a human and use a combination of political manuveuring and Trap the Soul. IE, lure him with promises of whatever his heart desires into a kingdom the dragons-turned-human have infiltrated. Then spike the utensils at a banquet. Immediately I would attempt to kill his companions, focusing on the cleric.

To keep him thrown off the scent of this plan I would send lessor dragons and hired assassins at him non-stop. These are only pawns that I expect him to beat.

This is the critical part of Trap the Soul:

The second method is far more insidious, for it tricks the subject into accepting a trigger object inscribed with the final spell word, automatically placing the creature’s soul in the trap. To use this method, both the creature’s name and the trigger word must be inscribed on the trigger object when the gem is enspelled. A sympathy spell can also be placed on the trigger object. As soon as the subject picks up or accepts the trigger object, its life force is automatically transferred to the gem without the benefit of spell resistance or a save.

[edit]I deleted my old plan in favor of this one.
...  a half million GP?

Okay.  Here's several ways.

Hire assassins.  1/4 million GP reward for his head... and it's relatively indirect.

Assuming he doesn't have contigency teleports set up, he's taken out quickly and quietly.

Horde of dragons.  Seriously.  If the PC can handle a concentrated assult by a dozen high level dragons(and their spells) he deserves to survive... seriously...  how many 30+ DC breathweapon attacks can he dodge and resist? how many saves versus instant death spells can he make? And you've got 1/2 a million gold to use... grab some magic items! be serious and take this sucker out. a full slew of +6 stat items, make everything +3 better for taking him down. Don't forget to make good spell lists for the dragons.

Trolls, no seriously, trolls.  Implanted with items that have antimagic aura on them, and decked out in heavy armor, a big group of trolls can take out a party that is offguard(and likely magically dependant).  and if you throw a few levels of barbarian or fighter on them they become scary.

Trick him thru a portal to the far realm, and then destroy the portal.  Along the same lines... send him to Darksun, or Ravenloft.  Force him thru the portal with your 70+ grapple checks! sacrfice an arm for the greater good! (regeneration spell optional)

Hire hoard of archers... 10000 arrows a round will eventually take him out.

Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.

I think it's a given that he has contingency teleports up, along with sensory buffs that will make a horde of anything easily avoidable. A direct, overwhelming assault is just going to scare him off. Honestly, such crude tactics should be beneath an ancient dragon.

Also, if he has access to level 8 spells he's going to have a clone setup somewhere. If not, he can surely get a friend, such as his level 17 cleric companion, to raise him. Killing him once won't do the job.
As a dragon, I know too little about the capabilities of this Wizard.

I want to know what the contingencies are. I want to find loopholes and weaknesses.

I want to run a few feints, and learn from them.

I want to spy on the wizard and learn what tricks he is using to avoid being destroyed by enemies that he *thinks* are as powerful as me. I will then try to figure out counters to to the tricks he reveals. He'd better be resourceful with new ideas, because anything he reveals in an early fight I will have a counter for.

So, plans are two-fold:

1) Direct, brash assaults, lots of noise and power, with whichever allies I have that are up to the task, but disposable for the final battle. Ideally get one of the other dragon groups to waste its resources. Make him think this is the one, this is the big bad come to get me. Send a spy or scrying device along with the assault, get intelligence on what spells are being used, what attacks and defences need neutralising.

2) Deep cover. Get agents in places I expect him to be. Initially they should be regular unimportant NPCs - shop-keepers, town guards etc. Find out where he's heading, what kind of people he goes to for support. Get one of these "supporting" role characters close to him, gain trust, and report back whenever safe and possible. Deep cover = play it safe always, no back-stabbing or silly assassination attempts.

So he can't often be scyed heh?

Well, I'd infiltrate his group.  Replace/possess a trusted companion, NPC, follower, etc.  Someone that's always going to be close to him.
Then I'd just scry them....

Over time I'd whittle down his resources.  He'd be hard pressed to ever find any more treasure or magic items.  I'd be one step ahead of him due to scrying on the agent.
This'll force him to sit still & craft.  Burning off more resources, (including XP, not that one could tell "in character").

Every now & then I'd hit his remaining stuff with Disjunctions (think that's the spell).

If i could?  I'd begin barring him from various planes.
Much easier to keep track of him/ maintain access if he's not skipping through the multi-verse....

His companions?  Who likely aren't as paranoid?  I'd coup de grace them in their sleep.  After draining their memories into some kind of doppleganger.  Then I'd render their bodies/spirits un-raisable etc.
This would likely piss off the other players.

Eventually?  When I'd ground him down?  But right before I killed him perminently?  I'd pry loose the info of where his clones etc are.  They'd be all destroyed before he met his end.

In short?  I would win.  He might have fun.  The other players certainly wouldn't.  

If your player is as clever as you make him out to be, he'll be expecting trickiness.  Of course any frontal attack will be a feint.  Of course you'll try to replace his allies and trick him into destroying himself.  He'll have mind blank and true seeing and death ward and protection from evil and all those other vital spells active all the time, and anything he can't hard counter he'll have a contingency against.

If the dragons really want to kill Anthedon, their best bet is to exploit the power of metagaming.  I don't mean they should use out-of-character knowledge--that'd be ridiculous.  No, their strategy will be to exploit the character's own expectations about how events will proceed.

What they'll do is start out with slobo777a's basic strategy of feints and infiltration.  So far, so good.  This is what Anthedon will be expecting.  As he counters the dragons' various assaults, however, he'll begin to learn that things are not quite as they seem.  There's a rogue group of dragons with similar, but not identical goals: while they aren't trying to thwart the Prophecy per se, they are trying to avoid the destruction of the world.  His primary antagonist among the dragons is being controlled by forces unknown.  The Lords of Dust believe that thwarting the Prophecy will shatter the locks on all of the Rajahs' prisons, and are offering him subtle aid and guidance.  The section of the Prophecy that foretells the destruction of the world may actually be a forgery.

All of these twists have, of course, been made up wholesale by the dragons.  The idea is that Anthedon will notice something subtly amiss somewhere, investigate, and eventually piece together enough clues to come to one of the conclusions above.  The clues should be subtle enough that he can afford to miss or discount some of them, and placed in a variety of ways so as not to give any indication that they all come from the same source.  In any case, depending on what he finds and what he believes, Anthedon should eventually come to believe that he has uncovered the "real plot" and act accordingly.  

The dragons have three goals for all this twistiness: 
1. To delay and distract Anthedon, giving them more time to prepare
2. To make him doubt his cause, and perhaps consider compromise
3. To get him to seek out a dragon (any dragon) as an ally. 

This last one is the most important.  The whole plot revolves around Anthedon thinking he's the active player in all this.  If a dragon comes to him and offers its services, he's going to be suspicious; but if he seeks out a dragon himself and after a lengthy debate manages to convince the dragon to join his cause, he'll feel like he's outmaneuvered his enemy.

This dragon alliance can take many forms, depending on the plot he pursues.  His allies might be the group of rogue dragons, his former primary antagonist (freed from the "real BBEG"'s control), or some other dragon that is willing to put aside their differences to combat the real threat.  The important thing is that Anthedon thinks he's in the third act when he's really still in the second.

In any case, he and the party and their new loyal dragon ally head off toward the "final showdown" with the "real BBEG".  This is a difficult and dramatic battle, and it needs to strip the PC of his hardest defenses, both magically and mentally.  Most importantly, it should make him expend whatever contingencies he has in place against trap the soul and good old-fashioned betrayal.  That is, one of his allies (but not the dragon) should betray Anthedon in a dramatic and shocking manner.  After those two things have happened, the "BBEG" kills the loyal dragon ally; with his final breath, the dragon gives Anthedon his prized magical doodad (like a powerful staff or something) so he can destroy the "BBEG" once and for all.

The doodad is, of course, a trap the soul trap.

Because seriously, what kind of idiot tries to pull the exact same trick twice in row?  (Evidently the kind that wins.)

The doodad-with-soul then teleports back to the dragons before the other PCs can break it.  The dragons can then break the soul down into its component XP, feed it to a demilich, throw it into a sphere of annihilation, or put it back in a body and make it hug a lavawight.  If they want to be a little kinder, they could also imprison it in Dollurh until the plane's Entrapping trait turns him into a shade.
I've kinda latched on to the 'kill permanently' clause of the requirements.

Taking a look at the various ways a character can be returned to life, it seems the only thing most of them can't get around are old age.

Unfortunately, the wording for Wish seems like it would get around that, however it causes level loss.

So the permanent death strategy would be:
Step 1: Bring Anthedon to level 1 with 2 or less Constitution via whatever means available.
Step 2: Kill him with old age. (Cursed potions of aging?)

I have to wonder if it wouldn't be more efficient to trap him somewhere for eternity.

Even with all that effort, I think a deity or time traveler could still undo the Dragons' permanent removal schemes.

I've kinda latched on to the 'kill permanently' clause of the requirements.

Taking a look at the various ways a character can be returned to life, it seems the only thing most of them can't get around are old age.

Unfortunately, the wording for Wish seems like it would get around that, however it causes level loss.

So the permanent death strategy would be:
Step 1: Bring Anthedon to level 1 with 2 or less Constitution via whatever means available.
Step 2: Kill him with old age. (Cursed potions of aging?)

I have to wonder if it wouldn't be more efficient to trap him somewhere for eternity.

Even with all that effort, I think a deity or time traveler could still undo the Dragons' permanent removal schemes.

Going with that, maybe the dragon could trap this guy on a plane that ages him really fast.

I think reincarnate can also bring you back if you've died of old age.

There are very few ways to get rid of someone permanently.  Even my Dollurh trick can be reversed with a wish.  Imprisonment is only a temporary measure: the prisoner's allies just have to find him, which is usually easy enough with, say, hypercognition or discern location.

The only truly permanent measure I know is the destruction of the soul.  (Lavawights can permanently remove your HP, though, so if you consider HP to be an attribute of the soul one of those might work.)
Dragons should have significant enough power and clout to screw with this guy in ways that never involve directly making a move against him. 

Using either polymorph or doppelganger clones, have 'Anthedon' and crew start wrecking havoc on the material plane. After 'he' destroys Sharn and some other major cities, he should become Enemy of the Plane Number 1. Everyone is fearful of him and there are few safe refuges left in the world. People will begin to report on his movements and he will have a difficult time finding places to resupply and seek help. Couple this with 1/4 million gp bounty that has been placed on his head for crimes against the world (no reason the dragons have to offer this up, make the Nations pool their monies with a bit of Draconic pressure in the right places), and his life will get significantly more difficult. Make sure the doppelganger has some contingencies of its own, especially detect teleportation to prevent the party from popping in unexpectedly.

You need to find a way to catch him in a position where his life is not at stake, but rather something he seeks to protect is. This involves a few steps, the first being to find out what or who he cares about. He's lawful good, it shouldn't be too hard. The second step is to put that person/thing under extreme threat and broadcast it. The 1.5 step is to have infiltrated that thing/person/group place with something you can scry or otherwise exploit against him.  Third step is that you present him with the whole catch-22 of saving something he cares about or saving innocents (who have also been infiltrated) and/or saving his skin. If he fights hard and smart he'll probably be able to save/protect the others, but you'll have gotten a mole inside that will be able to at the very least give you more information. Hopefully he will also have spent a fair amount of resources to do such. 

Another idea would be to target his spellbook, since he's going to be severely hampered without the ability to recharge his spells. Granted he will probably be able to make back ups but it's still worth a shot. 
Give your players awesome loot: Loot by Type
You know, I had a whole plan worked up, and I typed it out, and then just deleted it. Why? Because, to be honest, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous.  One of the really annoying aspects of 3rd ed was the insane arms race that the end game devolves into.  Every spell/tactic/effect has a counter spell/tactic/effect, and each of those counters has a counter, and then there's counters for the countering counters.  Then you toss in the, often ridiculously elaborate, contingencies, the layers upon layers of magic and mundane protections, etc, and it just starts to really be stupid.

As has been pointed out, the most effective ways to deal with the wizard isn't through brute force but by attacking what the wizard values.  Destroy his family. His friends. Anyone that has aided him in his efforts.  His friend's families.  Families of those who have aided him. Raze his hometown.  Turn his havens and resting places in ruins and rubble.  Word will get out that to aid him is a death sentence for the one offering aid and the person's family.  And those deaths will not be quick and clean, they will be agonizing, horrible affairs.

You make the price of success so high that he may continue down his path and succeed, but in the end all he will have is that success, everything else will be gone.  

What sort of dragon is our main baddie, and how about his minions?

For example, an Adult Force Dragon is CR 31, and casts as a level 18 sorcerer. With his money he can buy scrolls of any other spells he needs, and it basically becomes battle of the epic wizards. He is going to have Wyrm Red Dragons as his minions (CR24) who all cast as level 15 sorcerers for backup.

The dragons aren't even going to bother trying to engage him directly, but rather will use the typical high level wizardry tactics. Scry and Die, Locate City Nukes, ect.


Alternatively, lets assume that our main dragon is a white dragon, with loads of white dragon buddies. We will advance our great wyrm white dragon 4 age catagories according to the advanced dragons rules. Brings him up to a 21st level sorcerer and some other less important powers. (And CR 29)

We then advance some great wyrm white dragon allies a single time, bringing them to 15th level sorcerers.

Our plan is this. A great wrym white dragon has the ability to "Control Weather" making a 2mile radius into "Winter    Frigid cold, blizzard". New Ice age begins. Your buddies all spread out, with you in the center and you have a scrying center set up so you can watch them all. The PC now has to intervene, or everyone in your country of choice is doomed. We aren't done yet, you can also bring in the spell "Fimbulwinter" from frostburn. You bring our same state of winter in a 21 mile radius centered on you. But you burnt 7 feats on practiced spellcaster (bringing your CL to  48), so its going to be a 48 mile zone of blizzard lasting for 4d12 weeks. Keep in mind you can cast this every morning. You and your dragons will hide inside caves, and generally hard places to reach while remaining near any and all settled towns and cities.

Your friend has to find you and your minions, or the country will die. No matter who he goes to stop first, the rest of you and the minions teleport to join the fray. Obviously you have trapped every fight zone, with things you are immune to and don't care about, plus dimensional anchors. You also will ignore your breath weapons, as he obviously will have immunity to cold. He probably won't expect fire spells though, and twinned maxamized scorching rays can catch him off guard. Geneally you will want to buff over blast though. (You can also probably make good use of the polymorph spell to throw his buffs off though, becoming red dragons suddenly).

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I seriously doubt the dragons would be foolish enough to try a direct assault of any kind. If he's been messing with the draconic prophecy, he probably knows what he's doing and has taken steps to specifically repel dragons.

However, dragons are cunning and have access to a considerable amount of wealth and followers. They could just as easily dispatch him with hired help by setting up a trap. Unless this wizard spends ALL his time sitting around in his own tower, he's going to have to do -something-, and when he does, he's vulnerable.

If the wizard actually does spend all his time sitting around in his own tower and not adventuring with a group, I believe that qualifies him as an NPC and perhaps you should take control of the events and use them as a catalyst to base a new campaign around -- after discussing it with the player in question, of course.

My two pennies.
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