View Full Version : Help me with a good diversion?

2013-01-29, 02:10 PM
Hey all,
Over the years I've seen what a creative bunch we have here, and I like to think I've contributed my share, but I admit I've hit a case of writer's block with one particular point. I'm GMing for a 3.P game every other Friday for a party of 4-6 people (attendance varies). The party has just hit 9th level, and are at differing degrees of optimization. One in particular is a chronic powergamer, and outstrips the rest of the party in terms of killing power (you know the type). Only one other member comes close. Between the two of them, they can take care of combat encounters with EL four levels higher than their own, without getting more than a light scratch or two. This isn't the problem I need help with, but it is relevant, I promise.

I'm pretty sure my players don't read these forums (except for Nathan, who is away anyway), but if the setup detail sounds like what you just went through, stop reading unless you want spoilers.

Human fighter 8/monk 1 with a harpoon and mad grappling skills (powergamer, veteran player)
Vat-spawn (humanoid aberration, homebrew race inspired by a gaming blog) brawler fighter 8/monk 1. (slightly less powerful powergamer, not too veteran, just obsessed)
Human witch (gravewalker archetype, has an army of bloody skeletons, but still a fairly new player, so some things don't occur to him)
Vanarra monk 2/cleric 7 (story-oriented, but experienced player, Will save is through the roof)
Dwarf rogue (very new player, had help with built from optimizers)
Human sorcerer 8*/monk 1 (complete controller - no damage-dealing spells)
Gillfolk (riverfolk) paladin 9

*celestial bloodline, so she's wis-based. high wisdom score causes complications.

Yes, most of the party took monk in there to up their AC, CMD, and Saves.

So, the party has recently acquired a used airship, and, due to lack of maintenance, the ship has malfunctioned. It accidentally plane shifted to a demiplane in the middle of the night. Then the engine broke, and three critical parts fell to the landmass of the demiplane. In three days, the ship will fall to the ground and break, unless one of the parts is retrieved, and after that there is still a self-destruct mechanism for the plane in the case of invaders.
The plane is being invaded by devils, but was originally built and inhabited by dwarves, whose descendants are still there. I ended the session on a cliffhanger as some minor winged devils are approaching the now-immobile airship.
The party needs to Still with me? Here's what I need.

One of the devils is a kocrachon (from BoVD). If you can't look that up right now, they're torturer/interrogator devils. I've advanced him to nearly max HD, so he's large and buff, but only CR 9. He will want to capture one of the PCs and question him to find out why the party is there. Knowing that if he attacks the party openly, he will lose, even sending henchdevils first (big party, not too shy about ranged combat), even if they are all invisible (invisibility SLA on the part of the bigger and smaller devils is negated by the sorc's perception modifier of +27), even if they only use flyby tactics or whatever (harpoonist will make a ranged attack to grapple and bring monsters to melee range), I don't know precisely how to occupy the powergamers' attention long enough that I can snatch away one of the spellcasters with a well-placed flyby grapple. My salvation, I have decided, lies in the kocrachon's major image at-will SLA.
Considering that the powergamers almost never miss, and everyone else (except the rogue) has great will saves, what kind of illusion would work best to either:
a) divert attention while the the kocrachon sneaks up from behind
b) cut off the kocrachon's escape
c) keep the kochrachon from getting shot at, even if he's the only thing between a squishy mage and a 200 ft drop (my players never consider the idea that they could be taken alive and will be more interested in killing the devil than saving their "friend")

TL;DR: I need some creative uses of the Major Image spell that can be used either in the air or on the ground that will buy time for a kidnapping.

Or, if you know a better way of going about this plan, please share that instead.

2013-01-29, 04:30 PM
Well, the obvious option is a huge enemy of some kind that might be plausible to be there. The trick is, have this "enemy" be Blinking to explain the first few harpoon misses (roll the "miss chances" in secret). The kocrachon will need to work fast; it has a round or two to grab its chosen victim before the "50% miss chance" excuse stops holding water (at which point you should give them their will saves).

To cover its retreat, it should order its henchdevils to interpose themselves between itself and the party, reinforce then with Summon Baatezu, and mix illusory devils in with the real ones.

lord of pixies
2013-01-29, 06:09 PM
use what the party has already encountered, if the players don't question it as being strange, then neither will the characters. i'd recomend some more engine troubles. Nothing makes a fight more frightening than an "explosion" on the ship.

also,you mentioned that the rouge did NOT have a high will save? perhaps a suggestion spell to have him bull-rush one of the spellslingers over the edge, into the waiting arms of the kocrachon (who could be hiding underneath the ship, out of view of any of the fighting)

2013-01-29, 11:13 PM
Thanks, guys.

Great idea. I do let monsters use treasure, and it wouldn't be a stretch for a big monster to have a ring of blinking, if it didn't have blink as an SLA. I will make a note of that.

@lord of pixies:
If the combat takes place on the airship (it might or might not), then an explosion (temperature effects included) would be a great way to take everyone's attention away for a couple of seconds as they scramble for cover. Of course, that would require a working knowledge of airships that I don't know if I can justify the kocrachon having.
Nice catch with suggestion, though. Actually, the rogue's will isn't stellar, but it's not that poor. +9 at 8th level. The brawler's was +5 before he took his most recent level (monk), so he's probably the easiest, and the best suited for the job. I can use suggestion as you recommend, but not from the bottom of the ship. He has to be able to hear clearly, but he doesn't have to see who's making the suggestion to him. And the kocrachon can stay invisible and have one of his henchdevils catch the witch (or sorc).

To anyone else reading, keep the ideas flowing! What I don't use next Friday, I can still use later on!

Brett Nortje
2013-01-29, 11:35 PM
why not throw a sleeping gas at them?

or, cast an advanced sleep spell on them?

or, give him a lasoo or whip or somethign that is magical and drapes their arms and legs into it?

2013-01-30, 01:54 AM
How about an illusion of a large portal that appears 10 feet away from the airship on the port side. Inside the portal would be the illusion of a forest, hinting that its a portal back to the prime.

Since the airship is immobile, the PCs might decide to jump into the portal to get back home. Or better yet, make one of the trees in the illusion real close, so it looks like they could tie the airship to the tree and then somehow pull the airship through the portal.

Of course, the portal is not real, and anyone jumping across would be jumping down to the demi-plane's landmass. Chances are, after one person jumps, the illusion would be discovered and no more PCs will jump through, but that will still leave one PC stranded at the bottom. That would be the queue for the Kocrachon's minions to attack the ship while the Kocrachon attacks the stranded PC. You can also have the Kocrachon or some of his minions readied to Dispel Magic in case any of the PCs have a method of flight that they attempt to use to fly through the portal.

2013-01-30, 02:26 AM
*points off to the side*

Hey, look, a diversion!

*runs away*

2013-01-30, 08:34 PM
Thanks again.

Not a bad idea. I'm sure the PCs would rather pull the airship through than abandon it, but OOC they know I've put three week's worth of work into the demiplane adventure by now, so they'll be very suspicious of any easy ways out. And this is not a group that separates player and character knowledge very well.

I lol'd, but no. I hope to be more elaborate and convincing than that, and I need the distraction to last at least two rounds.

2013-01-31, 02:22 AM
1. Never seen that much monk dip in one party.

2. My first thought is to have the ship under attack by something that is ethereal or have a similar effect. ((Should give a heafty -X to will when it comes to disbelieving from interacting))

2013-01-31, 09:30 AM
Illusionary Vrocks. They have at-will Mirror Image, so it would make perfect sense for the party to unload on them and just hit thin air.

2013-01-31, 03:26 PM
1. Never seen that much monk dip in one party.

I know, right? Even the players think it's funny. But it's the closest thing the group has had to a unifying theme for the last six or seven campaigns, so I won't be shutting it down.

2. My first thought is to have the ship under attack by something that is ethereal or have a similar effect. ((Should give a heafty -X to will when it comes to disbelieving from interacting)).

Incorporeality doesn't stop magic weapons in Pathfinder, they just do half damage. Ethereal creatures would be invisible. But I like where you're going with that idea.

That's a good idea, too. In my world, demons and devils work together, so a vrock wouldn't look out of place. Also, an illusion... of an illusion? Genius. Better than my ring of blinking erinyes? I'll have to think about this.

Thanks again guys, and keep it up! Anything I don't use, some lurker can (of I can, at another session), so don't be shy.

2013-01-31, 10:20 PM
That's a good idea, too. In my world, demons and devils work together, so a vrock wouldn't look out of place. Also, an illusion... of an illusion? Genius. Better than my ring of blinking erinyes? I'll have to think about this.

Thanks! Also, try throwing in illusory ghosts or shadows. Very freaky, and if you can make your players waste a lot of munitions and special attacks on this illusions, it may help your fiend survive when they do realize what you're up to.

2013-02-08, 01:24 AM
I have decided to use both the blinking erinyes and the mirrored vrock for the adventure. The monster will be an illusion-slinging trickster, while at the same time an intimidating bruiser. Thanks to both of you for your great contributions.

2013-02-10, 09:27 PM
So how'd it go? (Or has the scene not resolved yet?)

2013-02-10, 09:35 PM
If it hasn't, my advice is a little weird and possibly newbish.

Throw something weird at them. Kobolds swarming over the unreachable parts of their ship, flying imp-creatures performing some sort of ritual in midair, a thick fog with strange half-seen shapes moving inside it (Play up the menace of said shapes. Maybe indicate that you've recently watched "The Mist.")

If you put up something like that, that makes the characters curious, my guess is that there first thoughts will be "What's going on?" not "Is anything going on?". Especially with the flying imps, they'd get the idea that there was another threat coming from that quarter, presumably something homebrewed, and that priority #1 had to be finishing off the imps before they finished their ritual.

Plus, that way you don't have to explain why none of the illusionary monsters are doing any damage.