need a (mass) end-combat (level 18ish)

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OK, here's the deal: in two weeks I'll be DMming the end combat of the campaign1, and it should be a BIG war (the entire country is mobilized for it).
Though I'm been DMming over 10 years, this is something I never tried, and as it needs to be memorable, I thought I'dd ask fellow DMs for advice/ideas/...

Lets see ... Some things I'dd like to do or don't need to have ...


  • Multiple sessions
    The players start near the end of level 17 and I'dd like to make them end at level 21. (I'dd remove the XP system and just give them a level at the end of each session or something like that). As this is a huge war , putting it all in one session seems a little ... forced

  • No mass combat combat required
    I'm well aware of the near impossibility of creating a interesting mass combat. The PCs are hero's so I have nothing against they do missions that improve the chances of winning this the war 


the PCs 2 (in the assumption they all will be present):


  • a human wizard

  • a druid (mechanically a cleric), specialized at healing

  • a goliath fighter with a maul

  • a drow warlock/half-elf warlock/shifter warden/minotaur barbarian (each (ingame)day he rolls a die and random decides the PC)

  • a magical cat (mechanically a halfling and as class a combo of bard & rogue)

  • a evil paladin with a nightmare mount


the ally NPCs:


  • Kuberr: The evil king. a human demigod that rules the land with iron fist. second strongest spellcaster in the world (bested only by the main enemy). can use any type of magic that corrupts.
    the PCs also want kill him, and the evil kings knows this. However, their alliance is needed to defaet the common enemy

  • Phage: The evil king's second in command: a female rogue who with a skin that has a potent necrotic poison

  • Braids: The evil king's third in command: a necromancer

  • The evil kings army: a collection of

    • soldiers (yep, your default cannon fodder)

    • pit fighters

    • summoners of demons & devils (actually beasts summoned from nightmares),

    •  ...



  • Kamahl: One of the most powerfull wardens (neutral alignment), who realizes the thread of the enemy NPC to the country. he can also magically call animals, so can have an army of animals
    oh yeah, hand he's also the brother of the kings second in command before the king corrupted her...


the enemy NPCs:


  • Ixidor: The main enemy: an litterly insane spellcaster demigod. before he was a demigod, he was a master illusionist. Now, all his thoughts instantly become reality.
    He mostly has a grudge against he evil king and his second in command (the rogue killed his love Nivea during a pit fight)

  • Akroma: the main enemy's second in command: an powerfull angelic creature with the face of Nivea

  • the main enemy's army (all formed from his mind)


    • Angelic creatures

    • Death wurms (think purple wurms)

    • ... (as every creature is formed from his mind, this might contain anything)



  • w


the main battlefield:


  • once this was a desert (the main enemy got banished to it)

  • but since the main enemies power shape it, it contains a oasis, and anything else the main enemy wants


the setting & future (if all goes 'well')


  • currently, as far as the PCs think (because of a vague divination), if the Kuberr (the evil king spellcaster) or Ixidor (the main enemy spellcaster) survive the world is comming to an end in 54 days, so chances are they'll do about anything possible to kill them.

  • In fact the PCs will trigger the apocaplypse themselves (the fun of vague divinations): they'll kill these powerfull spellcasters, and the magic that is released during their deaths will take a form of it's own (called Karona, embodyment of magic).

  • Karona's existance will start to shift magic & the balance of the world, so she needs to die (which should be the end combat mid - epic combat). 

  • Now with the lost balance & magic shifts, the truely bad stuff can enter the plane: through time rifts, Nicol Bolas (the most powerfull ancient dragon god) finds his way into the material plane. - meet the end boss of the campaign.


__________
1: well, not actuall end combat, but the end of the second part of the a trilogy. 'Save the city' - 'Save the country' - 'Save the unitverse'
2: this campaign started when only the cores were available, and there is much homebrewing with the character creation
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For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

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Some of my work:
XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
My ego in a box
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Currently this would be what I have in mind,
comments/idea's/ what-ever are VERY welcome: being the end of a important chapter, the more memorable, the better.

    1. SESSION 1
      Kamahl informs the PCs that he knows of a Crypitic gate that allows the user to summon powerfull creatures. While he remains here to keep Kuberr in check (don't let the evil king rome free, right?).

    2. To get there, the PCs take a side tour, fighting against Ixidor's army to get there
      2.1 strong deathwurms
      2.2 medium other creations
      2.3 medium-to-strong angelic beings

    3. Fight against Akroma & minions who's opening the cryptic gate

    4. As Akroma dies, her blood is the last trigger to open the magic gate and a Devouring Strossos  Appears. (nightmairish horror. which was the endboss of the previous campaign. (DnD 3rd edition campaign; 100 ingame years ago)
      CLIFF HANGER!
      SESSION2
      While it goes on a rampage, other horror's flee the gate. While the smaller horror's attack Braids the Strossos goes to ixidor's army.
      -- insert skill challenge to close the gates (depelting it of it's magic)--
      4.1: option to save Braids or continue
      4.2: more of Ixidor's army

    5. Ixidor fight against Kamahl, and both use magic to take over control over the strossos. (skillchallenge to dodge the strossos, plus fight so Ixidor doesn't get the main hand)
      (somewhere during combat a weak spot is shown of the strossos)
      5.1 if Kamahl dies, fight against Ixidor & strossos. (might receive back-up from Braids if he's alive)
      5.2 if Ixidor dies, fight against the Strossos (if Braids is alive, he betrays Kuberr and takes control over the Strossos. As he doesn't know of the PC's impending betrail he'll attack the PCs first)
      5.3 if the strossos dies: fight against Ixidor together with Kamahl
      At this point Ixidor & the Strossos should be defeated. Ixidor's armies start to disappear gradually
      If Kamahl is still alive he's too wounded & weakended to fight on.

    6. Fight against Kuberr's army
      6.1 strong nightmares
      6.2 medium pit fighters
      spice with minion soldiers

    7. Fight against Braids & undead minons
      SESSION 3

    8. Some more of Kuberr's army

    9. Fight against Phage.
      - First round of combat, Phage is magically protected, and all attacks miss
      - Second round, a reïncarnated Akroma appears and destroys Phage's protections
      - When Phage dies, Akroma has no reason to live (he was created to take vengance of Phage, who killed Ixidor's lover). Sher sacrifices herself, and uses her magical soul to boost the PCs to be able to tackle Kuberr.

    10. Fight against Kuberr & minion nightmares

    11. ...

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      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      I've never run anything like this myself, but I've seen some material on blogs and forums about it.

      I would see plenty of skill challenges involved, perhaps motivating troops, shoring up fortifications, sneaking around enemy lines, protecting critical structures/infrastructure/people/groups, etc. Those things could be used as the basis of combat encounters as well - with skill challenges run during them.

      I would use time as a factor as well. If the PCs don't accomplish certain goals within a given time, there will be consequences.

      I also find in these sort of extended scenarios that the outcome of one encounter has an effect somewhere else: i.e.: Saving a group of standard soldiers somewhere allows the PCs to take some sort of bonus later - archer volley, artillery strike, etc. If the PCs are on 'missions' rather than fighting in the main battle, I would use minions to represent the common soldiers. If you plan on having a lot of those fights against solos and elites (Ixidor, Kuberr and so on), I would use minions again, both as enemy and allies to show the power of the leaders, much like Sauron taking out a whole line of soldiers with one blow.

      Overall, in my mind, the thing you want to convey is that the PCs are involved in something big and that every action they take has some effect on another part of the battle.

      ....But....you've probably thought of all that anyway. Laughing
      II would see plenty of skill challenges involved, perhaps motivating troops, shoring up fortifications, sneaking around enemy lines, protecting critical structures/infrastructure/people/groups, etc.

      interesting ideas.

      Those things could be used as the basis of combat encounters as well - with skill challenges run during them.

      I would use time as a factor as well. If the PCs don't accomplish certain goals within a given time, there will be consequences.

      its indeed been long since I did a challenge during encounter.
      never really used time factors before

      I also find in these sort of extended scenarios that the outcome of one encounter has an effect somewhere else

      That indeed makes combats more interesting - instead of hack and skash.
      hmmm just now I was thinking of at one point give them the choice of two missions (like save the cavalery or artillery) - where the otherone will fail: to add additional feel that their decissions matter.


      you've probably thought of all that anyway.

      at one point maybe, but it helps to get refresh these thing

      Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
      Signature in a box
      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      You could also split up the party at some point and have them do something that focuses on their skill set: Have the paladin lead a calvary charge. The fighter holds the line, or leads a group to capture a strategic point. The wizard has to counteract some deadly enchantment that an enemy spellcaster is trying to complete, etc.

      Of course it takes time to focus on each PC and runs the risk of one or more players hogging the spotlight for a session.

      One thing my players seem to like is doing a skill challenge during combat. Adds extra suspense and they know if they screw up they'll have to face more monsters, or have less allies, or what have you. 
      Question... do you need to set up anything for the last third of the campaign?  Or do you just plan to roll with whatever happens and whichever NPCs happen to survive?

      How's this for a suggestion...

      Part 1: The War Begins
      Kuberr believes that with the PCs currently allied with him, however reluctantly, he has enough of the upper hand to wipe out Ixidor once and for all.  He knows that the PCs will probably try to do something honorable or non-evil like negotaite a peace, so he doesn't pan to give the PCs a choice.

      He invades the desert with his army while the PCs are off somewhere else.  Then he lets Kamahl discover the invasion... and the fact that Kuberr's invasion plans leaves a glaring out for Ixidor. 

      Kamahl knows of a place in the desert called the Singing Stone, a grand mesa that hums in sunlight.  The humming is caused because the stone has a connection to the astral plane because a mighty archangel named Veniel was encased there thousands of years ago during some cosmic war.  Akroma, another angel deemed anathema to the gods, might be able to convince Veniel to join them.  That would turn the tide of the battle. 

      Kamahl uses a ritual to let the party know all of this.  He tells them he has forged a grand army of animals to join him in the desert to guard the Singing Stone, but he fears he will get there too late.  He wants the party to be an advance guard until he can arrive.

      The party's trip through the desert is plagued by desert wurms and other creatures sent by Ixidor to delay them.  The final battle of the session takes place on the tell, where Akroma is already casting her ritual.  The party fights Akroma and her minions on the top of the mesa and, presumably defeats them.  However, the mesa is still crumbling and nothing can be done to stop it.  Veniel will be freed.

      Part 2: Animals!
      The party presumably does all it can to stop Veniel's escape, but can only delay it.  Slowly, from crakcs in the mesa, Veniel's lesser creatures begin escaping and attacking the PCs.  The creatures should have a bizarre ability to invade a creature from the inside and corrupt them.  Have some of the battles be against corrupted creatures of the desert.  There should be too many coming from the mesa for the PCs to contain them all, and some of them should escape into the desert.

      Once all the corruptors are freed, give the players a short break.  Have them receive messages (if they haven't already contacted them on their own) from Kamahl, Kuberr, and Ixidor.  Ixidor knows the players killed Akroma, and he will have his revenge.  Kuberr thanks the players for their aid and assures them he is sending Braids there to helo them.  Finally, Kamahl sends a message that he was besieged by some corruptors.  A lot of his animals are dead... and he's infected.  He begs the party to come and rescue him.

      Either the party does or does not come.  If they don't a corrupted Kamahl and his army of corrupted animals attacks the party at the mesa.  In this scenario, Kamahl is lost and when currupted Kamahl dies, Kamahl is dead.  If they do come, then a corrupted Kamahl and his army of corrupted animals attacks them in the desert... but the party has a chance to save Kamahl if they can render him helpless and place a Remove Affliction ritual on him.

      If Kamahl survives, he is too weak to help the party.

      Part 3: Veniel Escapes!
      Back at the mesa, Braids and Ixidor are locked in some necromantic ritual.  The mesa is mostly crumbled (so you can change the combat arena) and Veniel, a half-mad gargantuan six-armed angel, is thrashing wildly, but mostly at the party.  This is part combat and part skill challenge.  Braids and Ixidor are vying for control of Veniel, and Ixidor is winning.  The party has to avoid the angel's arms (each statted as a separate creature) while doing what they can to interfere with the ritual.  The party can choose to help Braids win, or they can try to free Veniel so he is not bound by Ixidor or Braids.

      During the fight, the players should have an inking that Veniel is himself possessed by a corruptor, like they had faced before.  Veniel is not an evil angel -- he is simply corrupted by the mother of those creatures.  At the very end of the battle, the corruptor is drawn out of Veniel's body in a psychic explosion that sends the party into the dream realm.

      Give the players the benefits of a short rest.

      In the dream realm, the party witnesses Veniel being attacked by the corruptors, agents of a powerful demon.  Veniel is the one who locked this corrupting demon beneath the mesa, and he gathered the corruptors into his own body before sealing himself inthe mesa itself.

      Then the players awake from the dream realm...

      And... the corruptor demon is now free.  Veniel lies unconscious and Ixidor and Braids are still battling over Veniel's soul.  The party must fight the corruptor demon and still continue to influence the battle.

      When the corruptor demon is defeated, either Braids, Ixidor, or Veniel is in control of Veniel.  The loser or losers should be dead.... meaning Ixidor is not the main enemy for this story arc.  If Veniel is controlled by nobody, then Veniel has been driven mad from the imprisonment, the corruptors and the ritual, and flies off into the desert.  If Braids won, flush with power, he laughs and he and Veniel disappear... to kill Kuberr and take his place!  If Ixidor won, then Veniel and Ixidor are going to kill Kuberr.

      Part 4: Veniel's Revenge!
      So the players obviously rush out to wherever Veniel has gone.  Along the way, Veniel has cut a swath of destruction.  Veniel slays most of Kuberr's army.  However, it should be clear that a part of the previously good angel is still there.  Amidst the bodies (who are rife with scavengers to attack the party as they investigate) are notes of remorse and pleas for help.  Along the way, the party can collect clues that lead them to discover a ritual that can help restor Veniel's sanity once he has been defeated.

      The party arrives at Kuberr's camp shortly after Veniel and his master (if he has one) has.  First, Veniel has slain Phage and raised her as undead.   He sent her and a host of undead minions to delay the party.

      Once they defeat Phage and her creatures, they can enter the encampment itself.  There they find Kuberr, who should be built as a Companion character for the PCs, if Veniel is controlled by Ixidor or Braids.  Kuberr's participation in the battle should be offset by Ixidor or Braids' presence.  If Veniel is on his own, then when the party arrives, Kuberr is dying.  The party must now face Veniel and any undead minions he still has with him in a climactic battle.  At the end of which, they either destroy Veniel or cast the ritual to restore him.  Either way, Kuberr's army is slain, and much of Kuberr's power has been broken.  He may return as an epic tier villain, or not.  If Veniel surives, he might be an epic tier ally of the PCs, and enemy of the PCs, or whatever you like.

      They can then raid the coffers of Kuberr and his army for appropriate treasure.

      (When Ixidor is dead, all of his minions and angels disappear.)
      You could also split up the party at some point ...
      Of course it takes time to focus on each PC and runs the risk of one or more players hogging the spotlight for a session.

      I generally try not to split up the party. Either I could run them one player at at time (which can end up boring for the others, as they don't do anything in the mean time) or run them all at once (at which time my head will probbably explode).

      Question... do you need to set up anything for the last third of the campaign?  Or do you just plan to roll with whatever happens and whichever NPCs happen to survive?

      A combination. While I roll with the punches, this is what I have in mind: (I'll also put in the OP)

      currently, as far as the PCs think (because of a vague divination), if the Kuberr (the evil king spellcaster) or Ixidor (the main enemy spellcaster) survive the world is comming to an end in 54 days, so chances are they'll do about anything possible to kill them.

      While in fact the PCs will trigger the apocaplypse themselves: they'll kill these powerfull spellcasters, and the magic that is released during their deaths will take a form of it's own (called Karona, embodyment of magic). Her existance will start to shift magic & the balance of the world, so she needs to die (which should be the end combat mid - epic combat).
      Now with the lost balance & magic shifts, the truely bad stuff can enter the plane: through time rifts, Nicol Bolas (the most powerfull ancient dragon god) finds his way into the material plane. - the end boss of the campaign.

      Kamahl knows of a place in the desert called the Singing Stone, a grand mesa that hums in sunlight.  The humming is caused because the stone has a connection to the astral plane because a mighty archangel named Veniel was encased there thousands of years ago during some cosmic war.

      hmmm ... this is an interesting twist.
      Mostly because this 4e campaign plays 100 years after a cosmic war (Which was the end of the  third edition campaign I DMmed (in fact, the goliath fighter is grandson of his previous campaigns goliath barbarian ...) )

      The party fights Akroma and her minions on the top of the mesa and, presumably defeats them.

      this can also be done easely: as Akroma is a figment of Ixidor's imagination (turned real because of Ixidor's power), he just needs to think of her again to respawn her ... So the party can kill Akroma without her actually being 'killed'

      Either the party does or does not come.  If they don't a corrupted Kamahl and his army of corrupted animals attacks the party at the mesa.
      ...
      Back at the mesa, Braids and Ixidor are locked in some necromantic ritual.

      because of the nature of Kamahl & Braids, I think I'll see if I could switch their roles (Kamahl is actually an ex-barbarian who already once was lost to a corrupting taint - which he overcame be months of meditation (becoming a warden instead of barbarian)). Plus, Ixidor woudn't really have much trouble against Kuberr's third in command (if he would, I think it would indicate that Kuberr, being far stronger then Braids, would be stronger then noticably stronger then Ixidor)

      Perhaps a choice for either a good short term solution (helping Braids = helping their army) against a long term one (letting him be destroyed = less resistance when attacking Kuberr).

      Though, obviously that might interfere with the battle for Veniel ...

      Although ... Kamahl can also channel some spells ... perhaps I could do something with that

      And... the corruptor demon is now free.  Veniel lies unconscious and Ixidor and Braids are still battling over Veniel's soul.  The party must fight the corruptor demon and still continue to influence the battle.

      ooh, a 4 way (Ixidor, Braids/Kamahl, Veniel's soul, and the corruptor.)



      All by all, very nice idea's ... I could indeed spice things up with them

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      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      OK, so ...


      1. SESSION 1
        Kamahl informs the PCs that he knows of a Crypitic gate that allows the user to summon powerfull creatures. While he remains here to keep Kuberr in check (don't let the evil king rome free, right?).

      2. To get there, the PCs take a side tour, fighting against Ixidor's army to get there
        2.1 strong deathwurms
        2.2 medium other creations
        2.3 medium-to-strong angelic beings

      3. Fight against Akroma & minions who's opening the cryptic gate

      4. As Akroma dies, her blood is the last trigger to open the magic gate and a Devouring Strossos  Appears. (nightmairish horror. which was the endboss of the previous campaign. (DnD 3rd edition campaign; 100 ingame years ago)
        CLIFF HANGER!
        SESSION2
        While it goes on a rampage, other horror's flee the gate. While the smaller horror's attack Braids the Strossos goes to ixidor's army.
        -- insert skill challenge to close the gates (depelting it of it's magic)--
        4.1: option to save Braids or continue
        4.2: more of Ixidor's army

      5. Ixidor fight against Kamahl, and both use magic to take over control over the strossos. (skillchallenge to dodge the strossos, plus fight so Ixidor doesn't get the main hand)
        (somewhere during combat a weak spot is shown of the strossos)
        5.1 if Kamahl dies, fight against Ixidor & strossos. (might receive back-up from Braids if he's alive)
        5.2 if Ixidor dies, fight against the Strossos (if Braids is alive, he betrays Kuberr and takes control over the Strossos. As he doesn't know of the PC's impending betrail he'll attack the PCs first)
        5.3 if the strossos dies: fight against Ixidor together with Kamahl
        At this point Ixidor & the Strossos should be defeated. Ixidor's armies start to disappear gradually
        If Kamahl is still alive he's too wounded & weakended to fight on.

      6. Fight against Kuberr's army
        6.1 strong nightmares
        6.2 medium pit fighters
        spice with minion soldiers

      7. Fight against Braids & undead minons
        SESSION 3

      8. Some more of Kuberr's army

      9. Fight against Phage.
        - First round of combat, Phage is magically protected, and all attacks miss
        - Second round, a reïncarnated Akroma appears and destroys Phage's protections
        - When Phage dies, Akroma has no reason to live (he was created to take vengance of Phage, who killed Ixidor's lover). Sher sacrifices herself, and uses her magical soul to boost the PCs to be able to tackle Kuberr.

      10. Fight against Kuberr & minion nightmares

      11. ...

      Sounds interesting I think. Anybody any more idea's?
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      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

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      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      I did not read through all the details suggested, but I'd suggest a format for battle that I have used before that gives the feel of a large battle without needing to do huge battles.

      Before each encounter, the PC's have to complete 3 skill challenges, each one has to be done simultaneously, and each PC can only be devoted to one challenge. You seed 3 different things for the PC's to do.

      To give an example, let's take this illusionist that can create realities. Well let's say one reality is horrible visions that terrify the army. The players have to make checks to get their soldiers back in line, diplomacy (to convince the allied soldiers it is an illusion) or arcana (to dispel the illusions). At the same time, he is creating a chasm to route the cavalry. You have to regain control of the troops and find another way around, and summoning phantasmal soldiers to distract the archers.

      Next you have the combat encounter. In this encounter, the players are on the battlefield, but they are only fighting the illusionist. However, each failed skill challenge ups the difficulty of the encounter. If they failed to keep their troops from being affected by the horrible visions, then a group of minion soldiers are added since the foot soldiers would have engaged them. You can really play alot with this idea.

      As another way to make it feel like a battle, the players also had 8 squads to assign to skill challenges. Each squad adds +2 to 2 different skills, and these bonuses stack. For instance, a soldier squad adds +2 to athletics and endurance, while a ranger squad adds +2 to nature and acrobatics. So then the players might put a character by himself/herself in one of the challenges but give them 3 squads. Also, if they failed the challenge, one of the squads in the failed skill challenge would die, or if there were no squads, all players would lose a healing surge. Have situations where players can replenish squads (possibly they come across a retreating squad or a fallen one they can bring back to life).

      -------------------------------------------------------------
      So here is how I might design the run-in with Akroma

      The players have the following squads to help them: 1 Phage (+2 to thievery and stealth), 1 Braids (+2 to arcana and intimidate), 2 Devil soldier squads (+2 athletics and endurance), 1 Kamahl (+2 to nature and heal), 2 Chain Devil squads (+2 to acrobatics and dungeoneering).

      There are 3 obstacles to getting to Akroma: His angelic squad of lancers who do flyby attacks, his channeling spell which bathes the battlefield in blinding light, a pillar of radiant light decimating troops.

      Lancer Squad: acrobatics (dodge the flyby attacks), insight (dodge the flyby attacks by reading their moves), heal (bringing back fallen soldiers), and perception (picking out the angels before they fly down). Success results in routing the lancer squad.

      Blinding Light: Perception (work your way toward Akroma without looking), diplomacy (encourage troops to work together without benefit of sight), religion (use religious power to refract the light to make it less intense), history (you recall a tactic of how to fight when the sun is in your eyes). Success counters Akroma's blinding light.

      Light Pillar: Acrobatics (dodge the light pillar), bluff (misguide the pillar as Akroma is using it consciously), Religions (cast a protective ward from the radiant pillar), dungeoneering (I don't know, think of something). Success means Akroma's light pillar is dispelled.

      Each one is a complexity 1 skill challenge (4 succ before 3 fail). Here is what happens if they fail each one: lancer squad Akroma is accompanied by several flying lancer minions, blinding light players start out with blind until the end of next turn, light pillar the rest of the encounter has a light pillar as a hazard (think a moving beam of light dealing radiant damage). These are in addition to the other penalties (losing a squad or surges).

      I did this style for one adventure in heroic tier (the players were retaking a fortress from an invading force), and the depth of each skill challenge really demanded tactical decisions, and often the acknowledgement that they can't save everyone.

      Either way, your campaign sounds cool as hell, and I think that is a super epic way to end a story.
      Very cool reading. Sounds like a fun campaign.  Running Red Hand of Doom, I learned an interesting trick.  Although the war was fought in the background of the skirmishes the PC's particapated in, they had particapated in the military planning session.  Their ideas on how to defend the city I used to flavor the description of the war raging around them.  Case in point: as the party was moving from one location to another, they witnessed one of the ballistas they suggested be enchanted with True Strike take down a lessor dragon.  
      I did not read through all the details suggested, but I'd suggest a format for battle that I have used before that gives the feel of a large battle without needing to do huge battles.

      Before each encounter, the PC's have to complete 3 skill challenges, each one has to be done simultaneously, and each PC can only be devoted to one challenge. You seed 3 different things for the PC's to do.

      interesting... it certainly is something I haven't done before much...

      As another way to make it feel like a battle, the players also had 8 squads to assign to skill challenges. Each squad adds +2 to 2 different skills, ... Also, if they failed the challenge, one of the squads in the failed skill challenge would die,


      This one is also fun...

      I'm thinking ... before they go on solo mission , they need to lead Kuberrs army into the enemy's area. (= skill challenge).
      - they get 3 platoons (for bonusses) and each fail roll kills a platoon.
      - at the end of the challenge, each remaining platoon gives that pc a bonus vs the next encounters


      Lancer Squad:
      Blinding Light:
      Light Pillar:

      Each one is a complexity 1 skill challenge (4 succ before 3 fail). Here is what happens if they fail each one: lancer squad Akroma is accompanied by several flying lancer minions, blinding light players start out with blind until the end of next turn, light pillar the rest of the encounter has a light pillar as a hazard (think a moving beam of light dealing radiant damage). These are in addition to the other penalties (losing a squad or surges).

      I like it.

      Although the war was fought in the background of the skirmishes the PC's particapated in, they had particapated in the military planning session.

      thats indeed a fun idea , but I have already done this a few times (defending and attacking cities ). The other problem is that both groups are amorphous. Ixidor has a (huge) bunch of wondering monsters, Kuberrs army is traveling relatively light.

      Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
      Signature in a box
      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      "thats indeed a fun idea , but I have already done this a few times (defending and attacking cities ). The other problem is that both groups are amorphous. Ixidor has a (huge) bunch of wondering monsters, Kuberrs army is traveling relatively light."

      What if Ixidor's army had to be broken down by several steps? For instance. Is it one massive horde, or is it made of several units.

      Think about a battle. Rarely is it two amorphous blobs clashing together. There are specialized units, and taking out the right units wins battles.

      Here are ideas: Ixidor has several wizards countering the allied armies necromancers. If you take them out, the necromancers are able to start summoning fallen enemies back from their demise. Similarly, there is an assassin squad that targets generals. If you fail to catch them weaving through the fray, they will kill a general, demoralized units and throwing a platoon into chaos. The animal dude (forgot his name) might have a pack of creatures he can summon from the forest (I'd imagine a cool scene with him howling like a wolf as dire wolves come over the hill like a fanged horde), but in addition to protection, he needs help with the ritual.

      To give an example, think of the movie 300. In each part of the battle, they used a different tactics to overcome a much larger force. Their first clash involved endurance (withstanding a charge), then they pushed them back, eventually shoving a group off a cliff. Each time Xerxes threw a different enemy at them they fought differently.

      If I were a player, I would love the idea of breaking down an almsot insurmountable army bit by bit with clever tactics. Before the battle, let the PC's know what the enemy has and what their allies have. Help them form a plan by having an NPC general discuss with them tactics. Allow PC's to help with planning, but always have the general chime in with a good suggestion (you've had more time to think about the battle so you will have better ideas).
      What if Ixidor's army had to be broken down by several steps? For instance. Is it one massive horde, or is it made of several units.

      a combination. Many of the monsters are just idea's the popped in Ixidor's mind (and thus in existance). Many of them escaped, and are just roaming around. If Ixidor thinks of a specific idea (maybe some wizards should take care of those necromancers), *puff* some wizards appear who'll try and take care of the necromancers.

      To give an example, think of the movie 300. In each part of the battle, they used a different tactics to overcome a much larger force. Their first clash involved endurance (withstanding a charge), then they pushed them back, eventually shoving a group off a cliff. Each time Xerxes threw a different enemy at them they fought differently.

      well, I was planing something on doing something like that with the skill challenges and 3 platoons per player.

      Good idea btw to check out the movie 300. (It's been a while since I've seen it, and could use it for some idea's)

      Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
      Signature in a box
      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      a combination. Many of the monsters are just idea's the popped in Ixidor's mind (and thus in existance). Many of them escaped, and are just roaming around. If Ixidor thinks of a specific idea (maybe some wizards should take care of those necromancers), *puff* some wizards appear who'll try and take care of the necromancers.




      Oh jeez yeah, you could come up with just about anything then. An armada of oozes, blood rain, earthquakes, burrowing bulettes.

      One cool idea would be for the terrain to shift. For instance, if they complete the 3 challenges, Ixidor could change it from an open field (?) to a volcanic land, then to a frozen wasteland, then a dense forest to split forces.
      One cool idea would be for the terrain to shift. For instance, if they complete the 3 challenges, Ixidor could change it from an open field (?) to a volcanic land, then to a frozen wasteland, then a dense forest to split forces.

      LOL

      Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
      Signature in a box
      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
      Added what I fabricated for the first session(a mini-game for mass combat) on my WotC blog. My players really liked it. Thanks everyone for the good ideas!
      Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
      Signature in a box
      For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

      3.jpg
      D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - Stone Gaint

      Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
      Some of my work:
      XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
      My ego in a box
      who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box