In the previous session, the characters burst in on the sentient automaton Ku’ud, and we began the new session, before they made a decision on whether to follow his order and show him the way out, which might disrupt the power balance in the region, or fight him.
Ku’ud was obviously dangerous, and I thought I had made a suitable challenge for a large level 5 party. As we had a couple of people who couldn’t attend, and I was worried that they might feel pressured to go with the ‘show him the way out option’, I gave them the option to run the session as a flash back, and let them go through the unexplored part of the dungeon, and before they left, flash forward to this important decision. They opted to stick with the moment.
The group talked more with Ku’ud, who was walking towards the exit, and trying to make up their minds on what to do, when Welk, the wizard of the group, began casting an identify spell to see if he could learn more. Ku’ud demanded that he stopped, but also got curious, because he knew magic. He ordered the wizard to tell him what he knew, and dragged him back to the throne, where he began questioning him.
Ultimately, Jarn, spoke with his advisor, the warlock Abbott, and made a decision. He asked about his understanding of ethics and demanded that he made a promise to learn of morale and ethics, before he could show him the way out. Ku’ud responded that nothing could compromise his decision making, which made Jarn attack.
After a short battle, they defeated Ku’ud. Single boss encounters are hard to make. I had given him a couple of henchmen, but for verisimilitude and to ease just a little bit, I let the two fighters deal with them, as their player’s weren’t present, but had been there when they entered the room. They piled on Ku’ud, and Jarn unleashed his new found Smite ability. The wizard cast a ray of enfeeblement and managed to roll so well, that I couldn’t even use Ku’uds shield spell to ward it off. In the heat of battle, I forgot his advantage on saves (magic resistance), and wasted a round casting dispel magic (which the wizard countered), and in round 4 it was over. Jarn, as their only fighter-type, was down to 2 hp in round 1, and it could easily have tipped with a lucky roll or two.
It turned out, that Ku’ud was semi-biological and crafted with high order magic, and very advanced. They found a bit of loot and a spell book.
After this epic battle, they went back to the middle of the mine and found an ancient shrine to the elven god of craftsmen. Inside the shrine they were attack by two Umber Hulks, and came close to a TPK. They were only four characters left, but still two CR 5 opponents were more dangerous than one CR 10 – mainly due to the incapacitating glare with a DC 15 Charisma save.
Next time, I’m confident that they will find the exit from the mine and return to the forest and begin exploring again.
I will upload the stats on Ku’ud on the blog later.