The Last Stand...any suggestions?

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Alright, here's the deal: my party and I are about to be completely destroyed.

In the campaign we're running, the party (An archer, a cleric, a wizard, a barbarian, and a knight) have been sucked in to a war between a new settlement in the Underdark that is meant to be some sort of human mining colony in the near future, and Mind Flayers. It's fairly densely populated (roughly 5500 people), and is based in an abandoned drow city. They were doing well until a nearby Mind Flayer colony found them. Now, the Illithids have the colony trapped, control half of the city, and are advancing.

In our most recent session, our cleric, who NEVER comes up with good ideas, actually formed a pretty darn devious plan. Illithids are cocky squid-heads with a superiority complex. So we were to fight a running battle in one of the city's main caverns, making it seem as if we were being beaten. Once the Illithids had all but pushed us out, we would mess them up somehow. During this time, half of our party would have snuck out of the city, heading to a nearby trading post to requisition a good amount of armor, weapons, and mercenaries.

That's another point I forgot to mention...the city is barely in fighting shape. Most of the proper soldiers are dead or wounded, and the citizenry are **** soldiers. It took a week to teach them how to point a crossbow in the air and pull the trigger as a group. A week. On top of that, almost none of them have more than worn leather or rags for armor, and cudgels and crossbows for weapons if they're lucky. The resources in the city are scarce.

SO, I took it in to my own hands to set traps. I had the refugees be useful and gather up all of the dung from the latrines and livestock, as well as the massive stores of charcoal and a few other minerals that were not being used. After a couple mishaps, we had 52 barrels of crude explosives. Sulphur and coal, anyone? We filled some with shrapnel and placed others at spots that would bring down the cavern behind the illithids, trapping them in with us. This served the dual purpose of boxing some in, and keeping the main force from getting to us too quickly. This bought us a day, max.

The wizard and I (the only two PC's that stayed behind to help with the delay tactic) even thought up a great plan to sneak past the enemy ranks, stun the lead illithid, and take its staff of mindbending while it was helpless. Maybe kill it, too, if nobody noticed.

...suffice to say, EVERYTHING that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Our oe decent spy neglected to mention that the illithids had acquired a massive amount of drow mercenaries, and that they'd crafted a second staff of mindbending. Despite being able to trap the forces and crush a few, the illithid leader escaped (rolled a DC 25 athletics to see if he could get past the falling rocks and on the other side of the barricase before they crushed him...he critted), nearly all of our remaining true soldiers died due to the second mindbender AoE stunning them every round (he recharged...every...time), and our wizard had his brain eaten by none other than the BBEG himself.

So yeah. The illithids are coming back for a second round, and I have no idea what to do. I have 34 explosive barrels remaining, 28 proper soldiers, 130 poorly trained guerilla marksmen, and 2 days before my party arrives with help.

SO, my question to you innovative players out there: What traps would you use to stall these bastards, maybe even kill them? We'll be fighting in a massive cave with a town on ground level. We can't make too big an explosion, or the entire cave will collapse. Plus, the townsfolk get angry when we destroy their livelihood. Any suggestions for cool, simple traps would be awesome. Just ask if ya need any more info :U 

I'm the archer, by the way. 
Got to be a flaming arrow the hidden explosives!

What is ur dm like?

is he/she the type that let's their plan roll into yours?
The flaming arrows to the hidden explosives was what I was doing all along. Killed a good amount, but not enough to turn the tide.

And our DM is the kind of guy that will definitely roll with anything creative or interesting. He admitted that the Wizard and I would have completely slaughtered  the enemy if our bloody archers hadn't rolled so badly, and the illithids/drow rolled so well.
well here's what I'm seeing.

option 1:  Get the hell out of dodge.  With the wizard dead, the rest of the party 2 days away you have nothing (from what I can tell) to keep you here.  Grab as many survivors as you can and try to safely escort them to the merc outpost.  Use the explosive stuff to cause distractions if people are intent on staying their ground so that the ones who want to leave can OR  to cause one major explosion to buy enough time to get out.

option 2:  If running away is not an option, and I don't see why it's not at this point (but I disgress), then you're in for one hell of an interesting two days.  At this point I would call for a meeting of all the representatives of the outpost.  And present them with the facts at hand to see what they hve to say.  First thing I would ask is what is more important, their lives or the outpost ?  Are they willing to leave with their lives now, or fight and possibly not survive ?  The explosives also provide an interesting tool and you have a lot of it.  I don't have a good idea of the layout of the town or what you mean exactly by tunnels.  Without that, it makes it harder to give good advice. 

To be honest I would probably just rally the people and convince them to leave the outpost with their lives and try again or try to muster an army to eradicate the illithid or something around those lines if I was good alligned and/or cared about them.  If I didn't care about them or wasn't bothered by the good over the bad I would loot as much coin and pack enough food and rations to survice and get the hell out.  Those who follow do so but better not slow me down.

I mean you just watched your wizard friend get his brain sucked out, I'm sure the rest of your party will want to hear about it.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

XD Omfg. That was a good read.

Option 1: Alrighty, the only reason the other 3 members of my party were able to slip out of the city was because they took a long, circuitous route behind the illithid lines and in to the wilds of the Underdark. They very nearly died running through several Cloaker nests, and a pair of purple worms. Assuming I did get a sizable portion of the population out and on to the path, my DM would most likely play by natural rules..."Oh, the massive amount of footsteps has attracted both of the purple worms that reside in this territory. *rolls a bunch of dice* Only a tenth survive the attack."

 Option 2: These guys are basically a sovereign city-state at this point. Through the campaign, we've learned that the city has broken ties with the surface in order to pursue their own lives and fortunes. Oddly enough, the surface cities didn't really give a darn. Consequently, they won't be offering any support to us, either. We tried to petition aid, and our fighter nearly died in a duel of honor or some such. They also are not going to abandon all that they've worked for...they have nothing besides this city, really.

One last point, and probably the most important personally...my character, Andion, found an artifact on a skeleton surrounded by the dessicated husks of aboleths shortly after arriving in the Underdark. It was a Cerulean Seal, a cursed one. As a result, Andion's alignment shifted to Lawful Good, and he is magically compelled to fight against aberrant creatures until his dying breath.

So, gamewise, I literally cannot flee. It's win, or die. This is the flippin' endgame for my boy.

Aaand, the cavern is about five miles in diameter, a miles high, has ten major support pillars, and about a hundred evenly spaced buildings of varying sizes. 
My first plan, being me, get yourself some alchemical explosives, let them get close, and blow 'em all up! With all those extra barrels, they wouldn't even need be that close, just make a nice big chain reaction. Hold out in a smaller cave and you can feasibly channel the explosion outward. Nothing like going out with a bang!

Survivalist plan: As above, get the hell out of dodge. Maybe grab some goodies (any magic gear from the wizard?) if you have the time, but I'd say leave the weak and the slow. That way you have a "distraction" behind you. Might be a challenge getting a knight or cleric to tag along with this plan, but it may be your best hope...
XD Omfg. That was a good read.

Option 1: Alrighty, the only reason the other 3 members of my party were able to slip out of the city was because they took a long, circuitous route behind the illithid lines and in to the wilds of the Underdark. They very nearly died running through several Cloaker nests, and a pair of purple worms. Assuming I did get a sizable portion of the population out and on to the path, my DM would most likely play by natural rules..."Oh, the massive amount of footsteps has attracted both of the purple worms that reside in this territory. *rolls a bunch of dice* Only a tenth survive the attack."

 Option 2: These guys are basically a sovereign city-state at this point. Through the campaign, we've learned that the city has broken ties with the surface in order to pursue their own lives and fortunes. Oddly enough, the surface cities didn't really give a darn. Consequently, they won't be offering any support to us, either. We tried to petition aid, and our fighter nearly died in a duel of honor or some such. They also are not going to abandon all that they've worked for...they have nothing besides this city, really.

One last point, and probably the most important personally...my character, Andion, found an artifact on a skeleton surrounded by the dessicated husks of aboleths shortly after arriving in the Underdark. It was a Cerulean Seal, a cursed one. As a result, Andion's alignment shifted to Lawful Good, and he is magically compelled to fight against aberrant creatures until his dying breath.

So, gamewise, I literally cannot flee. It's win, or die. This is the flippin' endgame for my boy.

Aaand, the cavern is about five miles in diameter, a miles high, has ten major support pillars, and about a hundred evenly spaced buildings of varying sizes. 



hmm..

option 1 is still viable.  Simply because, from what you've explained, I don't believe your character is actually aware of the challenges the 3 others faced.  You weren't there so any decision making based on what they encountered would be, for me at least, a breach of fairplay.  So for me it's still viable.  Also you have to remember that allignement isn't absolute, a lawful good paladin doesn't have to kill himself or herself simply because it's ONE of the options available.  Same goes for you.  If the artifact actually states that you would fight outsiders to the death, that's one thing.  But the artifact also would prefer to be able to fulfill that goal rather than be lost among said outsiders.  Retreat for now, to fight another day and kill some more !  Also remember that artifacts are not overriding devices that force the player to do things that would go against their actual characters.  They suggest and influence but completely controlling actions is something called dominate.  Which artifacts don't do unless specified.  So I think you should have some wiggle room there, especially if your DM is as you described.  I mean your character does have a will of his own and perhaps his survival instinct could override the artifacts whispers to his mind.

Option 2:  I think at this point it's become fairly clear that the city has been lost.  The illithids have two staves of brain screwing upness.  They have countless numbers.  They have swarmed over more than half the city and have killed your wizard companion.  Asking the leaders of the outpost if they would prefer to live another day to recover, mount an army and then return to reclaim the town VS staying here to die sounds like your next step.  There's no reason to fight a losing battle when you can retreat for now, regroup then come back in force.  I mean yes you love your stuff, but if you're dead, your stuff won't matter.

Option 3:  You do what your artifact demands, blow the support pillars on the side of the city that the illithids occupy, kill every single one of the outsiders.  You can also use explosives and traps to block the ways they could use to run to your side of the town, effectively catching them in a gauntlet.  If the people of the town are zealots that cannot be convinced to leave and return in force, then use them to make it to the pillars and annihilate them with the explosives in an effort to cause a massive cave in on that side of the town.  At least that way half the city might survive and the people living there can spend their time mining the rocks of the cave in.   Plus it should score you some big points with the artifact.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

"Everyone kneel. When you rise, rise a Knight!"
Time for a really great speach, stollen from every movie you can think of, and mashed together. Do it well and you might, just might, have something the DM will allow to give the civies a morale bonus.
Bulk explosives are a waste. Make grenades. Lots and lots of grenades. Glass jars or even vials filled with black powder will work admirably for that purpose. Glass will break up into small fragments and actually might work even better than metal would for this purpose. If you do use a larger blast, don't forget to remind the DM that blast waves are amplified substantially in an enclosed space like that.

Also, do Illithids breathe? Explosions and even just normal fire can be incredibly dangerous in an enclosed area. Suck up the oxygen and replace it with carbon monoxide. Of course, that could backfire pretty easily so be careful where you use it.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
"Everyone kneel. When you rise, rise a Knight!"
Time for a really great speach, stollen from every movie you can think of, and mashed together. Do it well and you might, just might, have something the DM will allow to give the civies a morale bonus.



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Break a magic item.  They still do stupid amounts of damage right?  That's how my last campaign ended at level 3.  Party found themselves in the same room with the Big Bad.  "anticipate a TPK or the death of your big bad" is what they say...

The wizard torched an ancient spell book with 9th level spells in a ring of fire.  Killed everyone.  Glorious ending to a campagin!