After too long a hiatus, we finally got back to the Storm Point game yesterday, for the climactic showdown with the blue dragon that had been giving the group such a problem.
In setting this encounter up, I was faced with a bit of a problem. See, the blue dragon has the artillery role, meaning that its best plan is to stand off from the party and blast away with lightning. Now, if I did that, the party would have no choice but to retreat – I had already established that the terrible storm made flying on their hippogriffs untenable, so they had no real way to take the fight to a flying dragon if it held its distance. On the other hand, the group had already proved that they could rapidly do serious damage to the dragon at melee range, and could pin it down in the process.
I decided to level the dragon up by 2* to give it the survivability it needed at close quarters. However, that bumped its defenses high enough that it was putting it in the unhittable range for the characters. So, I tied the increased level to the way it had harnessed the time-shifting power of the temple they were in, drawing on the potentiality of its future self through some special runestones. While it stayed within range of them, it had +2 to its level. This also let me set up a little skill challenge to run in concert with the combat, where the party tries to shut down the runestones that seem to be feeding power to the dragon.
It turned into a hellaciously tough fight for the group. It didn’t help that they sent the eladrin ranger teleporting ahead to the roof where the dragon was charging up to scout, giving the dragon a chance to attack him as he was all alone and then set up at the head of the stairs to take opportunity attacks on the rest of the party trying to make it to the roof. I also added some streams of lighting between pillars that made attacks on characters crossing the line, and a 20-foot shaft of magical lighting shooting up from the centre of the roof into the sky. In retrospect, this latter addition was not the best choice for an environment that favoured the dragon, because it was powerful enough to penetrate the dragon’s lightning resistance.
I managed to drop several of the party members during the fight, and they were already depleted in healing surges from the battle with the wights the previous session. In fact, I had both defenders unconscious at one point, and it really looked like the dragon would get to fly away again, but quick healing by the cleric and the warlord, and a critical by the newly revived fighter right when he needed it most kept things right where they wanted them to be.
But the group managed to deactivate the runestones, dropping the dragon back to its original stats, and kept it pinned in the big shaft of lightning. The dragon did some serious damage, and I almost had them on the run, but they held their ground and triumphed.
During the fight, I had the temple skip through time every few rounds, changing the scene below the temple to reflect the various ages that it was passing through. Now, resting after the difficult battle, they are turning their attention to the time-jumping of the temple in order to return to their own time.
And that’s next game.
*I had reduced the level by 2 to make it a viable solo opponent for the party, so really it was just returning it to the proper level. Back