View Full Version : Running a puzzle boss

2010-10-26, 12:20 PM
My players keep out. That means you, Roanne.

A subplot I'm starting up involves a kyonshi, an oriental vampire that feeds directly off the soul, or possibly life force. Anyway, at some point a few years back, this kyonshi abducted and enthralled a latent incarnum user, who was essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet to it. As a result of several years of feeding off this human battery, it's slightly sickeningly powerful. So what I'm thinking is that the way to beat it is to somehow sever the link between vampire and thrall. I haven't figured out how; that's the players' job :P
Anyway, on breaking the link, the thrall gets her soul back, goes One Winged Angel, and a very pissed off totemist joins the party in stomping down the now much-weakened monster.

My question is this: how do I avoid a TPK before they manage to break the link? Are there any particular pitfalls to avoid? Curve balls to be wary of? Any other advice?

2010-10-26, 01:27 PM
How about being able to manipulate mirrors to shine beams of light on the vampire; to stun it temporarily and by the puzzlers more time?

2010-10-26, 01:34 PM
or a way to psychicly poison the link between the two of them - stunning the vampire and giving some more time. Or perhaps that forces the vampire to sever the connection himself but not before it weakens him.

2010-10-26, 01:56 PM
First, if it's a puzzle, you need to have a solution in mind. Secondly, for this type of puzzle, you need clues. The players should be aware, or able to figure out, that they are linked, that breaking the link is the way to defeat them, and how to break the link. You don't need to spell it out for them, but the evidence should be there.

The clues could come from the totemist's family or former adventuring party (perhaps they died in the vamp's hideout, and are rotting in the dungeon or buried in coffins or something, but have clues in their belongings).

There are multiple ways to go with this. If you're rules-flexible, I like the dramatic shock route - for instance, if the totemist's wife or something comes along for the ride.

As for how to keep them alive, do they know he's a vampire? Mirrors, holy symbols, garlic, decanters of endless water... or whatever "oriental vampires" are averse to, if they are different.

2010-10-27, 05:50 AM
The totemist is the sister of one of the PCs. He gave me bacstory involving an abducted little sister, I ran with it. So the subplot is about rescuing her. I was planning to gradually drop clues about the girl with the strong soul and such - this is a subplot, so I'll be weaving in clues through the main plot and let them slowly get closer.
The party consists of a Warblade, a Favoured Soul, a Binder, a Beguiler, a Werewolf (homebrew melee battlefield control class with limited initiation) and the girl's bother, a Monk building down the flaming fists/ki blast line. As how entre reason for being in the area is that he's chasing a lead on his sister's whereabouts, it's a safe bet that he'll try and sever the link when he finds out what's going on.

As for knowing what it is, he's worked it out from the description of the abductor at the time of the original kidnapping. He doesn't know if the girl's still alive, though, and he doesn't know what she's being used for.