A beholder, a Banite, and a Party walk into a bar...

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I've been trying to connect some dots for Saturday's upcoming session and need help.  The party has successfully exposed and imprisoned an underground Banite ne'er-do-well and he's about to be hung for his crimes. He answers to a beholder kingpin named Lord Markuul, who the party knows about, but has remained evasive to-date. In the upcoming session I'd like to have Lord Markuul and the Banite all dispatched and move the party onto bigger, better, and badder things. Problem is, I can't for the life of me settle on how to go about it. I know there's not a lot to go on, but do y'all have any ideas?
How about the party getting the information about a meeting between the Banite and the Beholder, outside of town to stay away from prying eyes? It would be the ideal spot for the party to ambush them. You can make half of the session be about the preparation for the ambush and the other half of the session be one epic battle.

Heroic Dungeon Master
I sometimes get inspiration from artifacts and I'm thinking of hanging the Banite, but as his body is carried away, Lord Markuul has some henchmen seize the undertaker and his cart (insert basic skill challenge here to chase down the foes). Succeed or fail at the skill challenge, the party discovers that Lord Markuul is desperate to recover the body in order to obtain said artifact or use speak with dead ritual to locate the artifact's current hiding place (insert role-playing/exploration portion here). This route would bring the party face-to-face with the beholder (insert melee portion here) and provide a hook into the next adventure.


Anyway, this idea is really raw, but it's all my tired little brain has conceived of so far...
The bainite offers to sell out his master in return for commuting his sentence (maybe to 5 years or something).  Perfectly realistic, and if you want him dead, there's lots of ways later.

Then you have the perfect fight in the perfect setting - Markuul's lair.  Remember, beholders float, you can have all sorts of floor traps.  It should be a VERY entertaining battle.  
How about the party getting the information about a meeting between the Banite and the Beholder, outside of town to stay away from prying eyes? It would be the ideal spot for the party to ambush them. You can make half of the session be about the preparation for the ambush and the other half of the session be one epic battle.



+1.
I would just like to ask...

How the hell does a beholder walk anywhere? 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
How about the party getting the information about a meeting between the Banite and the Beholder, outside of town to stay away from prying eyes? It would be the ideal spot for the party to ambush them. You can make half of the session be about the preparation for the ambush and the other half of the session be one epic battle.




Epic? Or one-round nova combat, where everyone unpacks dailies with their action points on top, and a short session.

I like the "steal the body and investigate" suggestion better. Makes for a longer, more satisfying payoff. Along with some hench-battles to soak a daily or two out of your players, when trying to recover the body.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

How about the party getting the information about a meeting between the Banite and the Beholder, outside of town to stay away from prying eyes? It would be the ideal spot for the party to ambush them. You can make half of the session be about the preparation for the ambush and the other half of the session be one epic battle.


I was thinking something similar, except that the meeting would be in the beholder's lair. If you like dungeons and what-not you could make it a big deal. If not, it could be a lair of minor pesty weak goblins that worship the beholder like a god and thus protect his lair. The beholder may occasionally use his powers to help them with their goblin traps, since characters fighting such a many-eyed monster might not be challenged by a weak little goblin force and d6 spear trap. The beholder isn't going to want smart powerful monsters, though, so this might work well. Plus, they can get some treasure for their trouble and maybe uncover something that might urge them on to the next set of adventures.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I would just like to ask...

How the hell does a beholder walk anywhere? 

First he uses telekinesis on his left shoe. Then right. Left, right, left.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
The bainite offers to sell out his master in return for commuting his sentence (maybe to 5 years or something).  Perfectly realistic, and if you want him dead, there's lots of ways later.

Then you have the perfect fight in the perfect setting - Markuul's lair.  Remember, beholders float, you can have all sorts of floor traps.  It should be a VERY entertaining battle.  

I like that.

Some more ideas to use as you will: A long flight up spiral stepped hall as they make their way to the top of a burned-out tower might be cool. Gargoyles and such occasionally blocking the way as they pass by numerous alcoves. Everyone taking cover behind pillars as they try to make their way closer and the beholder blasting a hole in the side of the tower and flying out trying to blast them through arrow slits.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
How about having the banite escape, and the party track him back to Lord Markuul's lair?
Dispatch the Banite (by hanging just outside of town sounds good; somehow disrespect his body in the process sounds better) and have Markuul send minions to collect the dead body for Speak With Dead.  Maybe the minions are to leave behind a coffin filled with 150 lbs of sand - is anybody going to actually check inside?  The PCs get to fight the minions (not hard).

If his minions do not return, Markuul realizes that he has a difficult foe to face, and he retreats for a while to think about it.  Now he is a recurring villian to use from time to time; give the campaign continuity and makes the world feel more real.

If the minions do return, somehow (via the coroner?) let the PCs know that the Banite had a buried treasure and a treasure map.  They just happen to find where X marks the spot at about the same time as Markuul and his minions do.  This may take until next weekend to set up properly, though.  I recommend that the spot be in a forest where Markuul can't just float up and out of the PCs' range and eye-zap them.

Either way, the Banites will not forgive or forget the town for this affront; next time you run out of ideas, have the God of War and Tyranny send another servant to punish those infidels.  If the PCs like the plot arc, build it up over time; if they don't, let them beat a Banite Solo-monster and call it a day.  Bane knows enough to cut his losses and not waste good material after bad.

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Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

{BRJN} If Bhaal approves of The Joker, does he approve of Jack Nicholson's portrayal or Heath Ledger's protrayal more?

{stigger} That question is utterly classic, and completely on target.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

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LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

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Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign


Epic? Or one-round nova combat, where everyone unpacks dailies with their action points on top, and a short session.

I like the "steal the body and investigate" suggestion better. Makes for a longer, more satisfying payoff. Along with some hench-battles to soak a daily or two out of your players, when trying to recover the body.

No need to soak out the dailies out of players (why would you ever want to do that anyway?) if you have an epic battle. The epic battles I mostly enjoy are the ones with multiple waves of enemy, each wave worth a combat encounter of the party's level, and with lots of stuff happening in the terrain. 

So, the party could spot the rendevous point and see the Banite talking, not to the Beholder, but to one of its cronies. Course, the ambush still should go ahead, so they attack the Banite. Wave 1.
While they're busy with the Banite and the crony, the Beholders enters the battle. He's watched what was going on through scrying and intends to dispatch the PC's himself. He brings reinforcements with him of course. Wave 2.
While the battle is ensuing, the commotion has drawn the attention of the local guards and militia. They investigate, see multiple groups of known criminals and some unknowns (the party) fight with each other and they attack everyone, in order to arrest them. Wave 3, which doesn't discriminate between foes.

If in the meantime ambush preperations go off at opportune moments, it should make a pretty epic battle.
Heroic Dungeon Master