Monday, 15 November 2010

Pathfinder: the mother of all trolls

We last left our party engaged in a battle with trolls in an abandoned dwarf hold. At this stage things were looking a little dicey, with the tengu monk Wu Ya and the barbarian Artemisia facing off against one troll, while the rest of the party had been tackled by a two-headed troll/ettin crossbreed, with our rogue, the changeling Olban, suddenly finding himself toe-to-toe with the 'trettin'.

I was already concerned, with Artemisia, my character, down to 50% hps, that we were going to dig ourselves into a hole. The fact that our wizard, the elf Grameer, had seen fit to actually create a 30 foot hole in the floor of the tunnel intersection for us to dig ourselves into, a hole since bridged by one of the trolls using a door it had torn off its hinges, was pressing on my mind. Our druid, the elf queen Cassie (and head of state of our little realm)had seen fit to set fire to this door using Flaming Sphere, with the two primary fighters in the party on the other side it.

It was all going according to plan, then...

The tide of this battle was really turned when Cassie produced her wondrous item, a statuette of a griffin which could actually turn into a life-size version. This was used to devastating effect against the trettin, which was finally flanked by Olban and then downed by Grameer using Magic Missile (if my memory serves me correctly).

On the sharp end, Wu Ya and Artemisia were locked in mortal combat with two trolls. Wu Ya was off his game, leaving Artemisia to carve great steaming chunks out of the rock troll. With Haste and her new barbarian power, Less Spirit Totem, she was making four attacks per round, and inflicted over 70hps of damage on the rock troll in one round. With the trettin dead, the rest of the team were able to join in the battle, including the griffin. The rock troll died a death, leaving one troll standing, which was grappled by the griffin, although by this stage Artemisia was down to one hit point (!), as the troll was concentrating its attacks on her (bird boy was virtually impossible to hit, as his ki powers make him AC31).

At this stage the barbarian was hit again and, despite her Guarded Life power, would have died, because by falling unconscious, she loses her additional rage hit point bonus, and at 2hps per level, at 6th level, this equates to 12hps. Guarded Life (an Advanced Players Guide power) stabilised her at -7 and effectively diverted 50% of the sub zero hit point damage total to non lethal, but add the loss of 12 rage hit points and she was at -19 and effectively dead.

It was then that someone pointed out the troll had been grappled by the griffon, and could only have delivered a single attack that round, NOT three. Being grappled by a 500lb griffin is not conducive to attacking someone else, particularly at a reach range of 10 feet. At this stage we hit the rewind button on the round, leaving the barbarian still upright, and the GM off to the kitchen to fix himself a large vodka.

The troll failed to last another round, and the party was given a single round to heal up and take positions before another troll, a giant mother of all trolls, emerged. With healing potion and spell support from the druid, Artemisia was able to restore herself to +20 hps before the encounter, but I prudently chose to stay out of range of the troll and let Wu Ya and Olban tackle it, with the aid of the griffin. I think I hit it twice with arrows, but the real damage was done elsewhere, with the griffin getting at least one crit on the monster.

This troll's death ended a protracted and bloody battle which almost saw Artemsia killed. That would have been early showers for me as I don't have a back up pc right now (I'm generating a 5th level hobbit alchemist for Kelvin's game, but that's at an early stage). We were able to level up to 7th. The highest level game of D&D I've ever played in was 7th, and that was back in the mid-1980s when I was running the Isle of Dread campaign for Expert level D&D. Lost in the mists of time!

Cassie's player Ric, who won't be with us next week, questioned the absence of her animal companion, a moose called Bullwinkle. He would have been useful in this battle, and next time round I think he ought to be brought into the dungeon. Kelvin rightly pointed out that we accessed this dungeon by climbing a tower, which a moose might have been challenged by. But the griffin was a real lifesaver for us (literally), and is powerful enough at this level to make a difference against some of the critters we are coming up against.

We returned to our base at Staghelm, to find that a gigantic owl bear had rampaged into the city and destroyed several buildings, before heading off again. We suspect that the foreign powers plotting against us might be behind this, and that it is no random rampage. Time will tell.

Next: Runequest, Ninjas, and the joys of less complex rules systems


  1. Thanks for the update, Stuart. Due to the vagaries of modern communication technology I missed a lot of this.

    I think there's a bit of — let's not say cheating — enlightened play going on from the GM when it comes to Wu Ya and Artimesia. Ben knows he will find it difficult to hit the monk, but the creatures don't so it seems somewhat unfair for them to make a beeline for the barbarian every time. We may have to confront him on this matter next time; after all, what's the point of having AC31 if it's never tested?

  2. Damn - you've noticed!! ;)

    Thanks for the summary Stuart - always good to read such things.... Damn that was close man! The vodka was small relief - I mean - that was the meanest fight for some time!!

    Looking forward to more madness on Friday!!

    & Yes - I will be fairer - was simply slightly desperate to 'drop' someone - although admitedly I hadn't realised how dangerous this is for stuart's pc! Maybe you want raging vitality stuart as a feat - from the APG - enables you to rage whilst unconscious - could be a future life saver?

  3. "Why are her legs shaking like that?"

    "Oh, she's just raging in her sleep."

    "Aw, how sweet! Who's a cute little barbarian? Eh? You are!"