View Full Version : [Pathfinder] Trying to build a grand finale encounter.

2010-07-29, 05:28 PM
I could use some help from any veteran DMs who frequesnt these forums.

The last session we played, we finished the campaign I had set up for them. Hurrahs and drinks all around. But I've got one more weekend to play before I head back to college. I want to use this opportunity to make a finale to remember, and I could use some advice on how to balance a fight this big (this is only my second campaign as DM).

The basic plot of the campaign was around the existence of a "wall" built around the planet that cut off all sources of magic (divine, elemental, and arcane). The wall has been crumbling, however, and in the final session the party opted to remove the last support preserving it, allowing magic and the gods to return to the world. Eventually, anyway, as it will take time for the wall to fail completely.

Anyway, the goal of this session would be to create an coalition of magic-reliant creatures (magical beasts, demons, fey, and dragons, for instance, of all alignments and allegiences joined by a common indignation), all of whom have been starving for centuries in the weak magic field left after the wall was erected. Finally able to revive themselves, a large number of these creatures direct their ire at a city the party is friendly with. The result is a very large battle where the city's defenders and the party's allies take on the small stuff while the party and some of the more elite allies take on the bigger threats in the fight.

The party consists of an air-elemental sorceress, a paladin, and a druid, all of which are human and level 12, as well as possibly up to 4 one-shot characters of up to level 10. The main three characters aren't particularly optimized yet have been able to take on things significantly above their level with minimal difficulty (including a froghemoth back when they were level 10). The druid has an unused magical staff with the reincarnate spell, so death has the potential to be more amusing than tragic.
Any suggestions on how I can balance this fight to be truly fun and appropriately epic? I don't really want to just open the beastiary and just throw everything with a CR of 10-16 at them, but I'm not entirely sure how to arrange it to make it a finale to remember.

Mark Hall
2010-07-31, 01:47 AM
The obvious answer, to me, is a Dragon. One that has been sleeping beneath this park for centuries, unable to exert itself in the weak magic field, but revived by this breath of magic... and very upset at all the people tromping about its lair.

2010-07-31, 10:21 AM
Granted, the final fight of this encounter has to be a dragon, and a big one at that. The problem there is that I'm still stuck between an ancient black (CR 16, huge size, fear aura) and an ancient blue (CR 18, gargantuan size, lightning aura). I could see both as running this cloud of freed monsters (black because it overpowers the crowd, blue because it manipulates the crowd into doing its bidding). I'm leaning towards the blue, just because they won't be able to steamroll it, but I'm worried that their usual pluckiness and new-found numbers won't be enough to overcome something with a CR 6 levels above them. At least the sorceress has natural electricity resistance and the paladin (due to a rivalry with the sorceress) had electricity resistance added to his armor, but the backup will be pretty much neutered by the electrical aura and the spell resistance.

The real question was about how to balance out the encounters before it. If anyone has any tips on how to make a good marathon fight that ends with a bang this big. Should it be mostly a lot of little guys? A few big guys?

Mark Hall
2010-07-31, 10:42 AM
A mix, really, maybe somewhat tailored to everyone's abilities. If you've got a blasty wizard, you might go with lots of little guys... let him just drain that wand of fireballs into the opposition because they're a horde of little creatures, while the fighter squares off against a couple trolls, a giant, or some big elementals. The dragon can be flying overhead, blasting random NPCs, until the PCs figure out how to bring him down.