Here are the comments of my players, maybe they can be interesting for you. If you think they clutter the thread, I'll delete them (gief SBLOCK back!)
Zakonik, Minotaur Barbarian/Frenzied Berserker/Punisher of the Gods
Well as first i think has been an interesting fight. From both sides, the minions have done a really nice job doing most of the white dmg, so to say.
First phase: we has one death, plus Rudd (tank) went down a couple of times. The bodaks have been a huge threat combining the ability to reduce healing surges and deal massive dmg. The dragon was also a nice "addition" considering that we had to spread dmg a bit (ranged and melee) in order to get manage the fight.
Second phase: domination and invisibility wins. So the 2 Vampires have been nasty. The combination of domination and invisibility was a terrible threat to face. Most of the fight have been undergoing friendly fire. As we mentioned yesterday, having an open battle we were especting brutal and direct fights, not really so tactical.
Third phase: transfer ability wins. Lord raven (the Death Knight) had this nasty ability to "transfer" an attack to a minion. The initial position was a winning side from our side, as we didn't allow fer aoe to hit many of us at the same time. The radiant zones have been a good winning point for us (players use a lot of Glowstones). More espectations from the enigma of Vecna in general.
Battlefield: difficult terrain nasty bu helpfull. (the shaman surrounded the whole area in front of the gates with difficult terrain, using some Ritual) The difficult terrain created by deadrie effected both sides in good and bad way. But at the end prevented our minnions from being slaughtered from enemy minions.
In general, the flowing of the encounters was nice. Related to our info's we were especting mercenaries to be together with the undeath army (I mentioned the Ebon riders to be allied with the Undead, to foreshadow future events), but apparently ha haven't saw any of them, or at least they have not been mentioned.
i think the first wave was the toughest. bodaks for me were no problem but for a mostly melee party, they're a bit tough. on the positive side, i learned the use of range 20 and the archers really helped with them. the siegewyrm was awesome!
second wave, the vampires caused alot of disarray. the minions were fine. invisibility and domination is a nasty combo which i'm sure we'll be seeing again in the future. if not on your side of the table then surely on mine (she has the Vampiric Heritage feat tree, and Greater Ring of Invisibility).
the third wave, i think would have been more epic if the enigma had range 20 but aramus (the Death Knight) was a good melee challenge so i'm happy bout that.
overall, i felt it was worthy of an epic bard song. minor things i'd change but that'd be icing on the cake would be replacing the bodaks or some of em with pure melee dps. also, i think we're overall a very balanced party so we didn't need it but to the rest of the forums (???); maybe allow to choose spending a healing surge or regaining an encounter (I did give them encounter powers back... not sure what she means).
The concept of the battle rocked.. I'd even use this type of combo-play a few times in dungeon crawls to have some linked area's to really have the feel of imminent danger when you have a fight in Room 1 with the joining of the troops who were in the adjacent room(s)..
Some minor tweakings I'd have a look at.. - Some more info before the fight would have helped.. mainly about the reclaiming of powers etc, the rest was fine If I had known it was a completely linked session, I would have used different daily powers at different times. I always start with Rain of Steel first, but now this backfired against me ... the same happened with Zakonic's rage. - difficult terrain (our own fault, so can hardly blame that on the encounter ) Next time, leave let's say the closest 5 squares free so we can at least move more freely when close to the wall we are defending.. Also, have one path (2 squares) open all the way to the back.. That gives them the option to be nicely bunched up of walk though slowly.. - A way to heal For us this was indeed ok, since we've got quite a few ways to stay alive / regain HP's.. but not every party will have that.. So 1 or 2 surges between waves 'extra' might be needed for other party's.. we used about 10 healing powers all in all.. Ok, epics will do that to you indeed.. but not every party will have that many I do think we were out of heals by the end (although I still had an inspiring word left ... ) - the vampires didn't really fit imho.. This gave it a very tactical feeling what I did not quite expect.. But again that's more because my character can do absolutely nothing when an enemy is not next to me ... And getting clobbered by my teammates is NOT my idea of fun.. :D - Damage transfer sucked.. (ok, my bad... )waisted 2 nice daily's on a minion.. not that it matters much as they do exactly 4 dmg more then my at-wills.. So that was more to play out the epicness of fightign with Lord Raven.. using an at-will power to slay the leader of the army simply did not seem 'right' to me.. If I would had more time I'd probably have tried to set up a 1 on 1 fight with Aramus after taking out all the minions.. But that wasn't working anyhow I think.. i liked it! but a full session so very tense!! Pfffffffffffffff...
Daedrie, Shifter Shaman/Disciple of the World Serpent/World Tree Guardian
First of all , the most important thing to me when I'm roleplaying. I had fun, and I think the rest had too. In the end that's what counts most I believe.
-First wave. The bodaks were killer and nasty, atleast they gave that impression but they died quick enough when focus fired. This is the phase where the difficult terrain really was a disadvantage to us. The sheer number of enemies was what caused them to be dangerous for waylander when he got to be their only target. The fact that Ruby was flying the whole time changed the pace of the combat a lot to be honest. From a healing point of view, not much was needed. It was painful to see waylander lose so many healing surges, straight off the bat, but no real danger entailed here. The threat of healing surge loss and a small chance on death made it fun.
-Second wave: Maybe I'm the only one that thinks this way, but this wave really didn't feel like a threat. These minions came alone, the only reason why these minions posed any credible threat was due to the sheer number of them. This was good, but having stronger creatures intermingled with them might have been better. The vampires were toying with our minions in the back, so for atleast 2 rounds, we only had to face a few minions. It could have been worse, I'm sure. This time the large scale of the battlefield worked to our advantage. Dominated people usually had only a few eligible targets to charge. The fact that Waylander was contained by Rudd, was a good thing. Zakonik got to charge me once, and not to great effect. This was all probably more due to the circumstances then the vampires themselves. A more enclosed area where both waylander and zakonik could constantly attack me or Ruby and it would have been really nasty.
From a healing point of view, not much was needed this phase.
-Third phase. This one was nasty. The dracolich and Aramus hurt. I don't know if the bone cage was a recharge power or an encounter power. But It did keep zakonik and rudd busy for a few rounds. Unfortunately those rounds didn't help the monsters much, they got to close in and a few attacks at Ruby and waylander I believe. Waylander died, he was lucky I didn't get to use the stuff from primal power yet, or I would have chosen another utility. For a moment it looked like Rudd would need the utility too, but I was able to heal him fast enough. Maybe, we should have killed the minions sooner on this one. But the difficult terrain made them hard to reach and not worth the losses of action, killing minions through hitting Aramus was faster.
Overall, what made it different was the sheer number of minions we faced, the range of everything involved, no ways to regain second winds and the constant threat of monsters the whole session. I erred on the safe side and hung back the whole combat, this caused me to not be able to use most of my abilities as they have a range of 5. That and by the time I did get closer to the fighting, I needed every type of action (move, minor and standard) to keep the people up.
The combat rules.
One minor wave with no elites might have been fun. Overalll The scale of the monsters in each wave felt a bit extreme with no middle ground. Either the monsters were something you needed to kill fast, or either they were monsters you could ignore and just mob up afterward. The fact that killing the major enemies of each wave either gave us an action point or an encounter power was a nice touch.
Healing surge wise, the entire combat wasn't really a threat. The only reason why Waylander ran out of healing surges was because of the bodaks. If it had been another type of monster, he would have ended the combat with 5 healing surges. I think that a higher difficulty of monsters wouldn't have killed us. More normal monsters with mostly melee attacks, to draw attention might have been better for everyone involved.
Things I would like to see in the future if we'll have another likewise scenario: Having npc's on our side was fun, just like having the master the session before this one. I'm not talking about the fact that they did alot, but about the fact that it makes us (me atleast) feel more part of that world. More normal monsters. Maybe a brute or a soldier or 2 per wave, combined with Artillery. Skirmishers would have had less impact I think. A way to regain a second wind. (maybe the option to regain second wind instead of an action point?) Have the encounter long things end on a milestone.
So, the whole battle took a total of 4 hours, which is a bit more than I had expected. The slowest part was (of course) the invisible vampires of the second wave.
I would have guessed between 3 and 4 hours, so that's not too bad. Sounds like the archer minions stayed alive the whole fight (all of them? impressive!), which would tend to make the battle longer even if they don't do much beyond making an attack roll each round.
The encounters were quite balanced for my party of 5 level 22 characters, and I even brought a few of them below zero a couple of time. The highlight was probably when I killed the Rogue|Ranger, though he was promptly ressed during combat by the shaman's Call the Dead.
Hard to make death stick on epic PCs, but that's probably not a bad thing.
I also had to tweak a bit at the end, since the player gimped the Death Knight almost immediately, ignoring the minions. So I gave the DK the ability to "transfer" his damage to the minions.
I was afraid that custom critter would be problematic in terms of balance. The dracolich might have drawn the PCs big guns, but I'm guessing RP considerations made the DK more of a priority. Smart move giving him a boost on the fly.
All in all, a fun fight who kept my players on the edge. I consider it a success. Rovin, thanks again!
Thanks for the feedback. Glad it worked reasonably well, since I didn't have a chance to playtest it first. From the player feedback, it sounds like the fights needed a bit more muscle for the melee guys to dance with. Throwing in one or two extra bodaks or uplevel slaughter wights would probably fix that. OTOH, it sounds like the PCs had an easier time of controlling enemy movement owing to their difficult terrain ritual, so a group without that edge might have found sufficient hand-to-hand for their tastes. The swordcursed dead work much better as melee fighters when they can shift, after all.
Amusing that their own terrain bogged them down, isn't it?
Hard "deathtrap" encounter for a level 20 5-man party, featuring a solo trap full of angry monsters. Untested as yet, may need some work for balance, especially if your party has tricks that can get them out of the room quickly.
The PCs are dumped into a large room by another trap, and must face the dreaded Mirror of Life Trapping while the mastermind who laid out the traps gloats and taunts them.
The battlefield is a deathtrap, a simple square room up to 11x11 squares in size with a 20' ceiling. Each wall has a large, heavily reinforced locked iron door (180 HP, DC 29 Thievery to pick), three of which lead to blank walls. The PCs are teleported into one corner of the room by a terrain feature somewhere else in the dungeon. The mirror of lifetrapping stands in the center of the room, which is otherwise featureless but brightly lit by an eerie sourceless light. The entire area is warded with powerful dispelling magics, which make it impossible to maintain zone effects within the fight - a DC 18 passive Arcana, Nature or Religion check will detect this effect. The other monsters start the fight trapped within the mirror, emerging as the PCs are absorbed. During the fight, the mastermind who built this trap will maintain a steady stream of chatter, mocking the PCs and encouraging any monsters that escape the mirror to cooperate against the party bypromising them their freedom.
1 x Mirror of Life Trapping (custom, 18 solo blaster - see below) 1 x Nothic Eye of Vecna (MM2, 22 lurker) 1 x Wrath Spirit (OG, 17 soldier) 1 x Death Giant (MM1, 22 brute) 1 x Marut Blademaster (MM1, 21 soldier) 1 x Bodak Reaver (MM1, 18 soldier) 25,100 XP, level 23
Mirror of Life Trapping Level 18 solo blaster Trap XP 10,000
Trap A man-sized mirror occupies a square. Its enchantment can imprison those who look upon it, and makes it unnaturally resistant to damage.
Perception -DC 27: This ornate mirror seems to pull at you even from a distance. -DC 29: If any creatures are imprisoned in the mirror, you can see them struggling within.
Additional Skills: Arcana -DC 27: The mirror radiates an aura of magic, which grows stronger as it traps more victims.
Trigger As soon as any creature has line of sight to the mirror of life trapping, it rolls initiative.
Initiative +4 The mirror of life trapping rolls twice for initiative, and refreshes its immediate action on each of its turns.
Attack Immediate Action Close burst 10 Target: A single creature that enters or starts its turn within the burst Attack: +25 vs. Will Hit: The target is drawn into the mirror of life trapping and imprisoned (save ends). While imprisoned, the target suffers ongoing 15 psychic damage, can take no actions, and no creature can draw line of effect to the victim. Saving throws against this effect suffer a -4 penalty. When the imprisoned effect ends on a creature, it reappears in the closest unoccupied square to the mirror and may spend a healing surge. If an imprisoned creature is reduced to zero HP, it ends all ongoing damage and makes no saving throws (including death saves) during its turn until it is freed from the mirror by outside aid.
Special: The mirror of life trapping may only imprison five victims at a time. If it would imprison a sixth, one of the first five creatures (chosen at random) saves versus the imprisoned effect automatically and immediately.
Countermeasures -The mirror of life trapping cannot attack any creature without line of sight to the mirror. -A creature within 5 squares and line of sight of the mirror can make a DC 27 Arcana check to grant a saving throw with a +4 bonus to any one imprisoned creature it is aware of. -The mirror can be attacked (AC 29, other defenses 25; hp 150; resist all 5). Destroying the mirror disables the trap and ends the imprisoned effect on any trapped creature.
The mirror will attempt to absorb two random creatures every round, which may encourage a lot of fighting with eyes closed amongst the party. The monsters won't bother, as they've been trapped before and don't fear it enough to take the penalties. The PCs are likely to try to block line of sight to the mirror, although the inability to maintain zones will limit that a bit.
The monsters are mostly strangers to one another, and will cooperate poorly although they will, grudgingly, treat each other as allies. This is complicated by the ever-changing
The nothic will attempt to stay near any undead that get free to use its aura. It skirmishes and tries to fight cautiously, trying to hide behind other creatures, especially the death giant.
The wrath spirit uses its blazing head attack as often as it can, drawing OAs if need be to do so. It uses melee attacks and marking otherwise, and tries to avoid tackling multiple PCs at once.
The death giant is mad as a hatter from long imprisonment and fights wildly, burning soul shards as fast as it can. Other creatures tend to avoid it out of fear, although they happily use it as a screen against attacks.
The marut fights coldly and silently, doing its best to kill as many PCs as it can. It flanks with the bodak if it can.
The bodak tries to cooperate with others, looking for flanking opportunities and concentrating on dropping wounded PCs. It uses death gaze as soon as it can catch a weakened target with it, drawing OAs to do so if it must.
All the creatures fight to the death while the trap's mastermind gloats. If the PCs open or smash down the one real exit door, they scramble to escape the room as fast as they can, blocking the PCs' exit they can. The exit corridor is only 10' wide, so that's not too much of a challenge.
Unlike most of my encounters here, you'll probably want to be prepared for the party scrambling out of the fight in the middle. If they find the exit before smashing the mirror, running is definitely the way to go.
The party has escaped, and gets to face whatever further devilry the dungeon's mastermind has planned.