View Full Version : Tactics: bridges, psychic barriers, drows, yuan ti and half giants!

Kol Korran
2011-02-12, 12:23 PM
Tomer, Itay, Ariel, Guy, Alon, shoo!

the thread may be a tad long, but any help is appreciated. the group i am DMing is coming to an interesting situation next meeting- they are under a sort of a siege, a bit of a bizarre siege. As I am unsure of how well i planned it, and since you play grounders are often full of good advice i thought i'd come here for help. while reading this post i want you to hopefully think of the following:

1) is the battlefield too complicated? too simple? too limiting? in short, is it fun?
2) what sort of unexpected shenanigans and tactics do you think the characters and the defenders can come up with?
3) what sort of tactics can the besiegers use? i'm not talking about devastatingly effective tactics, but rather on invasive attempts that would prove interesting and challenging for the party to foil.

(there is another thread which deals with Raiding giants' tombs (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187127) if this doesn't speak to you, with which i'd also love some help.)

first, the situation:
The party has somehow gotten into the depth of Obsidian City- this is a ruined giant city in the midst of a jungle. There is a giant crater, and what remains of the city lies atop massive pillars of rock jutting from the crater's bottom upwards. most of the city is destroyed, but the remaining islands (about 40-50 in number) are connected through massive stone brigdges.

the entire city was psychic focus, and as such part of it's defenses are psychic in nature: on each bridge there is a sort of line that enables channeling psychic power (power points) into 3 psychic barriers on the3 bridge. anyone with a mind who passes through such a barrier rolls a fairly high will save or suffer 2d8 damage (6d8 for the whole bridge)

the barrier can be taken down by applying power points (a process that takes 1/2 an hour per power point), but can also be put back together (1 minute per power point). each barrier takes 5 pp to take down, 15 in total. the lines leading to the barriers can be destroyed, but only from within, and through meticulous effort. each night, as the moons of the world rise, the charge up every remaining barriers to full capacity.

each bridge is about 110 ft across, 30 ft wide. but they have been neglected over the years- in some places they have crumbled, in some pools have gathered, in some vegetation has grown wild. there are currently seven defended bridges.

the Protector of the city (will get to that shortly) can lower and raise some of the barrier, but not as long as someone is actively handling them. for that the regular defenders are needed.

In certain points in the city (behind and on front the battle lines) there are portals to the other parts of the city. there is a cyphered riddle in giant guarding it however, so the besiegers haven't been able to use it yet. the PCs got into the city by using one of those, but generally it's forbidden. the defenders have taken great care not to fall in captivity so they can't tell the cypher. in any case, only the 4th level psy wars know it. still, the party might use it.

the walls beside the islands and bridges are not a full drop, but they are quite hard to hold to. a climb from the crater's bottom is for all practical purposes impossible.

the battle at the bridges takes the first half every day, where the moon powered barriers keep the combatants separate at night. I intend for the party to have things to do at night as well, that might give them an extra edge against the odds they are facing, so the bridge battles should be challanging, but not overly draining.

Defenders and PCs:
the obsidian city is inhabited by a tribe of Half Giants who ages ago were attracted to the place, and became it's custodians. they have long relied on the defenses of the city to protect them, and this is the first time they are under a real threat. they have no real military experience, and follow their substitute leader orders. most combatants are either war2, Psi war 2, and their lieutenants are Psy war 4. they may have a few psions or wilders amongst them, but i haven't decided on anything yet.

the place is also a place of worship for nomadic stone giants. each time they leave a handful of stone giants stay to provide assistance to their smaller cousins. the adult of have already been killed (and some made into skeletons), and a few teenagers stone giants take their place (lower HD stone giants).

each "bridge protecting unit" so far has 4 War 2, 4 Psywar2, and 1 Psy war 4. on 3 of the bridges there is also a young stone giant (4 are without)

The entire host is "Advised" by a guardian naga, (not the MM one, rather a homebrew one) who is the sacred guardian of some of the place's artifacts, including the Huge psy crystal that is used for the place defenses, a mirror through which a limited form of wishes can be made (this may need a separate thread), and the Central Geode that give the stone giants Shamans their power.
spells: Protection from evil, minor image, lesser vigor, bless, CMW, lesser restoration, protection from arrows, scorching ray, dispel magic, CSW
for all intent and purposes, she may not participate directly in the fight, she is maintaining the crystal. but some of her spells may still be used.

oh! nearly forgot. there is a human artificer residing with the half giants. story matters less now, assume he might craft some item for the PCs (they have resources for something worth about 4-5000 tops)

The Pcs:

A half giant psy war 4. he is from the tribe. the main damage dealer in the party with lots of strength, psionic foucs, keen great sword and so on. he'll have a lot of interaction with the tribe itself, and might even become it's leader. the player is usually quite straightforward.
A Kalashtar sor1/ wiz4 (going for ultimate magus). a utility and battle control caster. loves "disguise self" (which under our rules is a touch spell), "balefull polymorph and so on. doens't have glitterdust or grease. quite fragile despite protections. main damage dealing tool is a wand of scorching ray
half elf rogue 2/ duskblade 2. high social skills, starting to become a damage dealer with his channeling powers. quite crafty.
poisondusk lizardfolk swordsage 4. a resoursefull fellow, likes to use unconventional tactics. loves fire, loves his posions (he got a lot, mostly sasson leaf), and now has half a deck of illusions
a new comer to the adventuring party- an intelligent skeleton Paladin2/favoured soul 2. the party doens't yet know what he is (he just came covered in armor). has info on the enemies. very heavy on defense. i don't knowwhat he can do quite yet.
magic items: the party has mostly chosen either stat/ weapon/ defenses boosting items, and but a few "interesting" items. they do however posses quite a few potions of lesser restoration, a potion or two of gasous form, and perhaps of fly, they have a follower that can heal a bit and use a wand of lesser vigor. i just got the MIC, so we don't have any items from there yet...

The besiegers:
The besiegers are a somewhat tense alliance of three elements: a group of jungle drow (think wild elves with SR and poisons basically), who have quite a number of low magic users amongst them. for historical reasons, they hate the giants, (and halves) and have joined this alliance in a chance to get rid of them. their forces are Rgr2, Wiz 3, Clr 3 (or spontneous casters with 1 level more). a typical unit is composed of 6 Rgr2, and 1-2 of the casters. the caster has a special pendant that allows it to control the Psy bugs (soon)

another part of the triad is a small group of Yuan Ti following a mature naga (homebrew. if really interested look in my links) who wants the power of the other naga. she can cast as a 5th level sorcerer only. she is more cowardly, but also far more active. a typical unit of Yuan ti is of 3-4 pure bloods, plus a halfblood, who also posses such a pendant as above.

the third host belongs to the leader and initiator of the alliance- a powerfull boneknight, who's also one of the main BBEGs (which the party has fought once and ran from.) He is looking for "the key", which the defenders suspect is one of the artifacts in their hold. most of his power are his troop of intelligent zombies and skeletons (a bit modified Karrnathi undead, for those that have the ECS), superbly equipped, and a few other mindless skeletons and zombies he commands. (the only flying troops are zombie harpies, that can't carry anyone). one of his units are at every bridges, made of 3 zombie meat shields and 3 skellies archers. he also has an intelligent warmage skelleton 6 as an advisor, and blaster.

he has also brought packs of packs of special psy bugs that can be used to collapse the shield. each such bug has 4 pp at the beginning of the day, and each bridge receives 6 such psybugs, some just 5.

Tactics so far
the naga knows the stone giant tribe is away, but hopes to contact it and hold off the invaders till they come. for that cause she had been using the psychic crystal, and her spells to buff and heal the giants. they in turn have provided living shields for the few minutes the Psy wars need to recharge the psychic barriers. but the enemy keeps on bringing surprises. this can't work out for long... they have already retreated quite a few times. every day the besiegers either get close or conquer a bridge.

the at first besiegers' great effort was taken to break through the bridges. but then they found about about the portals. now the bone knight seeks to find how they work, as this will give him access to the heart of the defenders. there for he and his warmage mostly supervise the battle effort, but realy invest their thought to the portals.

at the bridges- there is one unit of undead and one of either drow or yuan ti present. the zombies provide cover to the bugs (being flat footed) and absorbing any missile fire from the half giants. if they try to reinforce the bridge, the skellie archers as well as drow and pure bloods shoot at them. if need be, i bring reinforcements: either the yuan ti naga, or a skeletal stone giant, or some zombie harpies. this is where the PCs kick in hopefully.

I'm afraid this may be a bit too boring, and stand still.

if you have read this far, i congratulate you. i hope i'll get some responses. thanks in advance,

Kol Korran
2011-02-14, 05:41 AM
not one reply? :smallfrown: