Last friday should have been our final session in the Lost City, but because of how things played out, we’ll be having one more session so that there’s at least a nice epilogue.
Darius, the Priest of Zargon featured on the cover of the manual, ended up being a pretty disappointing and anti-climactic boss-fight, particularly since he is the ultimate villain unless you’re playing the expanded version where you go down all ten levels and fight Zargon himself, so hopefully I can offer something that will make up for it tonight.
The party found a ton of swag in the council room where the Gargoyles were. Luckily the party had enough magic weapons that they could handle them, though, with the gargoyles getting 4 attacks per round, it was a near run thing for a couple characters.
In the grand chapel, the party met the two werefoxes, who I clumsily tried to roleplay for. I wasn’t really sure what to have them do. They couldn’t easily ‘trick’ the party, as they were vastly outnumbered and overpowered, so they pretty much had to play along with the party, with the fox girl latching on to party’s tank.
So, here’s how the wheels fell off the final session. My explanation of why Darius was up in the pyramid was that he periodically visits the 5th tier’s gambling den to collect a portion of the winnings to take back to the temple in the City. The werefoxes had been looking to score some money in the gambling den, but didn’t want to take the chance while a high priest of Zargon was around, so they’d been pretty much camping out and waiting for him to leave. The party decided they would camp out and wait for him to ambush him instead of going into the gambling den and fighting him there. I beefed up Darius’ escort from 6 to 12 hobgoblins, but even that ended up not being enough.
One of the Party’s thieves took to scouting the corridor towards the gambling den and got smashed nearly to death by the trap that alerts the Priest. Since the party was intent on fighting him in the grand chapel, I took a few minutes and planned a fairly intricate round-about strategy for him – a few hobgoblins would go in fire-team style, essentially creating a diversion at the southeast door. They’d wait for the Priest and part of his entourage to go through the secret door that the party hadn’t found, then go in. A second team of hobgoblins would then go in the southwest door to try to get the players from behind while they were fighting the first team. Meanwhile, Darius and the remaining hobgoblins were racing round-robin up the west corridor to try to get to the exit by coming in the northwest door. I calculated that the whole thing would take about 16 rounds.
Of course, the hobgoblins ended up dying pretty hard to the now 3rd/4th level party. The first team got slaughtered, and the second team found their friends dead before they got a chance to help. The party was kind of slow on the uptake, though, even as I kept having people move as though they were in combat, and they stayed around the south end of the room for a handful of rounds. As they finally decided to head to the other end of the room, the priest and hobgoblins came in. Darius tries to get a bless off, but gets hit before it resolves. A couple hobgoblins try to act as a screen while others carrying loot make a run for it. One of the lower level fighters was almost killed, but the hobgoblins’ priority was getting away with the take. They’ll probably wish they were killed by the party when they show up down in the city and the priest isn’t with them.
For a 6th level cleric, Darius ended up being an incredibly weak boss fight. In the face of the party, he himself lasted about two and a half rounds; he had a buff spell interrupted and got one attack on one character. All of his henchmen kept getting one-hit-killed, and a few easy magic sword hits (he only has AC5), burning oil and scrolls of magic missile took him down pretty quickly as well. With only 22 HP and human attack bonuses, he was a much less threatening encounter than the Gargoyles and a pushover compared to the Polymar. If I had it to do over again, I’d give him 6 3rd level clerics instead of 12 hobgoblins and put him in plate.
Since they didn’t encounter him in the gambling den, the party didn’t find the wall-to-wall flying carpet that was going to take them out of the dungeon. Lessa the foxgirl stole a few K GP worth of treasure off the priest, but there was so much other loot they failed to notice it was missing. The werefoxes liked the proposal that they be the ones that the Magi of Usamigaras put up as the puppet royal family of Cynidicea, so they’ll probably use the opportunity to clean-out the place. Tonight, the party will go back to the gambling den, get the rest of the treasure, find the carpet, fly out of the dungeon laden with loot, then get attacked by pteranodons and wash up on the shore of the Isle of Dread.