View Full Version : Elven city battle advice needed *spoilers for Baldur's Gate game series*

2016-04-22, 06:43 AM
I'm nearing one of the key scenes in my Baldur's Gate campaign, and the party has reached Suldanessalar at last.

The party breaks through the barrier surrounding the elven city, and finds it full of rampaging invaders of all kinds. The central tree of life has been taken by the BBEG, who has sealed it off, and is trying to subvert its powers (it serves as a faith conduit between the Seldarine and their followers in Fearun) to ur-priest himself into a god. Meanwhile, his minions are busy looting, hunting civillians and breaking the last pockets of defense.

To save the city, the party needs to gather three local relics in the temple at the base of the tree, to summon an avatar to protect the city - he will wipe out the invaders, and though the way the tree's magic is misdirected prevents him from going there, he can refresh the party and send them in against the BBEG.

Thanks to some sequence-breaking by the party, one of the relics has been secured for them already. That means they have three major combat encounters to get through:

1 The BBEG's dragon - busy hoarding valuables his minions are looting - it has one of the relics.
2 The leader of the BBEG's rakshasa allies - he's moving around the city with his hunting party, and has the final relic.
3 The BBEG's second in command is a powerful vampire who was supposed to have her own dungeon - but the party raided it two chapters early, killing her best minions while she was away for plot reasons. - so she's here. She will attack the party at the temple when they attempt to perform the ritual.

The rest of the enemies are invaders - drow, duergar, bladelings, with an odd demon or rakshasa.

Now, I expect the party druid to send an elemental swarm into the streets and then use some wild shape scouting to locate the mission objectives. But I don't want the adventure to just boil down to three combat encounters.

So what can I add to it to give the party some dialogue / decision making / strategy content beyond simple fighting?

Do you guys have any ideas?

2016-04-22, 08:54 PM
So what can I add to it to give the party some dialogue / decision making / strategy content beyond simple fighting?

1) The world doesn't stand still. "Two platforms over, you hear what sounds like some children screaming. To the east, a group of Rakshasas have encircled the house that you've been told belongs to the High Priestess Demin and are bombarding it with dispels. The house is shielded, but the shield is wavering, and a K:Arcana check tells you that it will fall in the next two minutes. Both areas will take about one minute to reach."
If they get to the moonblade guy in time, maybe he becomes a NPC ally?

2) The dragon doesn't stand still. It's jealous of its hoard, but will periodically make appearances, including strafing runs - but nothing too risky. As the party approaches its hoard, it will return and settle down. Just use random rolls for its behavior - even you won't know when it will decide to fly around.

3) A Spot or appropriate Knowledge check will let the party realize that each golem is marked with one of 7 different runes. Finding the control stone for each rune type will allow the group to shut down the golems (or to give them different orders, as with the Sewer Golem). Bodhi holds 2 stones, the Rakshasa holds 1, the Drow spellcaster (I don't recall his name, but he carries a +1 quarterstaff and uses timestop, SE corner of city) carries 1, and the other three are embedded in the chests of the three biggest adamantine golems. This gives the group some secondary objectives to figure out and solve.

4) Do what the Rakshasa do at one point - have a few "elves" be disguised Rakshasa.

5) Have a few of the drow use Banishment or something similar to get rid of elementals...or counter with their own summons.

6) Drow are assassins. The group should eventually run into several invisible+hiding high-level drow fighter/rogue-ish types (shadow hand swordsage?)... at the same time, at close range. If necessary, they tumble down from the trees to surround the party.

7) Joneleth's entry to the city is never fully explained. There's a reference to it being born in the mind of a human they didn't know...or something like that. I think the fanon is that he dominated some human and put some nasty spells on him to gain entry, etc. That guy could be running around, and could be friendly, hostile, insane, or mutating.

2016-04-23, 03:14 PM
1 The child thing was the first I thing I thought about, so I rejcted it as a bit too obvious. I think I removed the priestess in the planning too, as Ellesime is one, and I already had one high priest in the lanthorn sanctuary (he got killed, but thanks to the party meeting Ellesime before going to Underdark, he had enough forewarning to make sure Bohdi didn't get the lanthorn despite killing him.

The city's archmage, Joneleth's old teacher, secured one of the relics for them and will give them the briefing. The dragon has the chalice, as in the game. I might send them looking for the guy with the sword, but he'll be dead by the time they arrive - the sword has been taken as a trophy by the rakshasa lord.

2 The dragon being on the move might be a thing - after all, this is not his actual hoard, just whatever his minions have hauled out of the elves houses.

3 Not really using the golems, beyond the two the duergars have brought - they may be one of Joneleth's favourite tricks, but they aren't terribly practical in a city made of wooden platforms.

4 awesome - didn't think of something as simple. Also, I can flip this by having some elven defenders attack the party by mistake (with two drows and a druid warshaper in the party, they don't exactly look friendly)

5-6 the party has fough enough drow already that I didn't want to overrepresent them here, shifting the focus to the rakshasas (which I found a plot reason to be here for) - so I might have their elven allies handle the drow wizard.

7 In my version, Joneleth got his army close in by using rakshasa illusions, and then used an epic spell to subvert a mythal guarding the city, causing it to shield itself in powerful misdirection effects to lock out the elven army. This is what he needed the rakshasa lord for - to get him all the feats he needed to be able to do all he's supposed to, I had to make him an incantatrax, and illusion was his banned school - for this reason he needed the rakshasa lord's expertise in illusions to finish his epic spell (he has known the mythal itself from his time learning there, but couldn't quite make it work)

"The Shattered One, He who traded love for power, denied his birthright as punishment, and shrouded in secrets by the shame of his queen. He's gone to the king of unrightous hand, to seek the power he does not possess." - Legend Lore spell on Irenicus.

2016-04-23, 04:30 PM
These aren't just wooden platforms, they're magical wooden platforms. They'll hold the golems :)

That said, environmental hazards (a section that's got holes in it, tilting bridges, weight limits, improvised rope bridges, etc) could provide a non-combat challenge, or an opportunity for one side or the other to set a trap to catch enemies at a vulnerable point (if you're balancing on a rope bridge, you're flat-footed). Be prepared for the party to use flight, though. That means thinking about how much open space there is (visible sky) vs areas where the branches are low. Low overhead branches are bad for the dragon, but good for the drow.

Jon had captive dryads and a captive Efreeti; he might have a few other slaves (whether old or new) for the party to fight/free. If you've played BG1, he also cursed Centeol to be a spider person (not a drider). You may run into a few elves who've been punished through mutation and/or madness. He's also employed Geases before, so perhaps a squad of semi-willing mercenaries? Come up with something that fits but breaks the mold.
Hmm, the werewolves from the North Forest? Coran & Safana?

Bodhi is gone, but a few of her vampire minions may have survived. Hareishan and Parisa showed up briefly as mages in BG1. If Tolgerias or some other annoying enemy was defeated but not totally destroyed by the party, they could show up.

I don't know what you're doing with your cosmology, but Jon should be attracting the attention of a few Inevitables or similar creatures at some point. I'm sure he has them walled out, but they may want to follow the party in or take advantage of 'rifts' in the barrier somehow. They may be allies or they may just not care what's in the way.

The elves probably set a few traps, and it's possible not all of the traps were disarmed.

The drow should have brought some spiders with them. Webs, poison, bridges made of webbing, etc.

Although the summoning ritual in Ust Natha failed, a few Vrocks or something similar could still be in order as well.

Are you doing the House of the Horn & House of the Harp? If so, those could be tied to puzzles, people to rescue, or a race against the enemy to prevent sabotage.

2016-04-24, 07:19 AM
Bohdi is here - the party returned from Brynnlaw via long distance teleport rather than by ship, - and after their locate spells found Bohdi in Ust Natha (unlike Irenicus, she didn't have mind blank on) they raided her graveyard lair to get rid of her minions, and then used the huge hole in the crypts to descend into Underdark.

So she hasn't had the time to rebuild her strength - it's just her and her immediate retinue. (which is good, since Suldannesallar offers a lot of encounters already, and by the time they meet her, the party will be running low on daily resources)

Tolgerias was last seen porting away seriously injured ( he had a damage treshold contingency on - but he was also splatered with green slime at the time and hasn't been seen since ). His boss has made some appearance (my Bhaalspawn decided that rather than supporting the thieves or the vampires, she'll just start hunting cowled wizards, until she gets a corpse Viconia can interrogate - the result was attracting the attention of a high level wizard who would scry on the party and then drop in via astral travel - presenting a serious danger with no loot and no way to get rid of him permanently) until Elminster told him to drop it (high time the geezer actually did something)

The drow did bring some demons with them, but nothing serious - even in a city like Ust Natha there is only so many wizards capable of casting planar binding.

Spiders are a must :)

2016-04-25, 02:43 PM
Now, what would you suggest for Bohdi? Though the party has met her already, I didn't really need her build until now.

I've been thinking of making her some sort of warblade/swordsage, re-trained from more traditional elven fighting techniques towards unarmed combat (the one time they saw her fight, Mother Ardulace let her kill some underling who displeased her - Bohdi jumped over him, grabbing the sides of his face and stabbing her fingers into his neck, then did an upside-down pirouette that unscrewed his head off his shoulders.)

The other thing is equipment - I think I'll go for miss chance and saves - she doesn't need extra offensive power, but it would be a crying shame if she got Minsced in one round after all the buildup.

2016-04-26, 06:54 AM
Finished the first draft for her. She ended up as Warblade 13, Swordsage 7, Warblade 2, with superior unarmed strike. Not entirely optimised, but neither is the party.

stances: hunter's sense, punishing stance, leaping dragon stance, assassin stance, child of shadow and shifting defense.

moves prepared:
Warblade: 6 pouncing charge, manticore parry, swooping dragon strike, feral deathblow, moment of perfect mind, sudden leap.
Swordsage 6 ballista throw, counter charge, cloak of deception, death in the dark, elder mountain hammer, shadow stride.

After I looked through her undead immunities and abilities, I ended up giving her pretty generic equipment:
- bracers of armor +8
- ring of protection +5
- ring of anticipation
- belt of giant strength +6
- boots of haste
- black opals choker ( custom necklace, vampires only. It gives her one save reroll per day, and for one round per day it makes her count as human when exposed to sunlight effects (so it either lets her act normally under direct sunlight for one round, or lets her ignore the first "kills vampires on a failed save" light spell effect.)