Creating an "Out" (My Example)


Okay, so this weekend my players are going to face a Beholder (the new 9th level one from the Monster Vault), and I wanted to create a scenario where his lair collapses and the players must escape before it completely falls apart. In other words, once he's bloodied, I want to create an "out."

So this is what I came up with. Please let me know if I should make any changes. There are two exits for the players: the spiral staircase, and a portal.

Here are my notes:

Collapsing Ceiling
• At end of round, 25% chance falling debris hits a creature (16 or higher on d20)
• +12 vs. Reflex or take 2d8+8 damage and prone
• The square debris falls become difficult terrain
• After two full rounds, the chance increases to 50% (11 or higher on d20)

Crack Floor
• At the beginning of a round, replace the center tile with the cracked floor tile. Any creature standing on one of its squares is affected
• +12 vs. Reflex or take 2d10 falling damage (20’) and prone; Athletics check (DC 17 to climb out)

• Every creature is considered “slowed” until the lair collapses completely
• Lair is completely destroyed at the end of the 4th round after the Beholder has become bloodied
• Dungeoneering check (Easy DC 9th level)
• PCs receive full XP for the encounter
• Any PC left in the lair takes 10d10 damage every round



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This sounds cool, although I haven't looked at the details much (i.e. are the PCs likely to be able to make it out in time? Prone effects plus slowed worries me a little. Is 10d10 survivable at that level, or is that effectively insta-death?)

One thought I would have is that you should be aware that the PCs may keep trying to fight the beholder at first--if I were playing this encounter, I would be tempted to try for the complete victory of both finishing off the beholder and escaping, which of course risks the complete failure of accomplishing neither. If I were GMing this encounter, I would plan on giving an XP bonus if the PCs manage to pull off the complete victory and kill the beholder as well.


This is what we refer to as a "load-bearing boss."

I think you have too much dice rolling, though. Instead of having a 25% chance of targetting and then an attack roll, consider just the attack roll with a reduced chance to hit -- or roll all dice at once.

It's really, really hard to flee a collapsiong lair when slowed. Add difficult terrain to that and you've turned a vital fight into a frustrating one where the PCs have literally no way to move. They'll be stuck at one square a round while the beholder can fly. That bodes poorly. In fact, the smart beholder will retreat and let the ceiling collapse on the PCs, just taking idle potshots at them as they fall and trip.


Glad I posted this!

1. Instead of the random chance of falling debris, each creature (at the beginning of the round) is affected by an "attack" at +6 vs. Reflex. Is the +6 still to high? (it's a 9th level encounter).

2. Remove the Slow condition and just keep difficult terrain (on a successful hit), and prone?

Would that help out the encounter?



Geeky Ecohumanistic Futurist
Out of curiosity, where do the PC's start and where does the Beholder of Doom start in the encounter?

I am assuming that you are really meaning and hoping for the Beholder to escape for this encounter and the PC's will be really lucky to escape and kill it?

Where is the Beholder's escape path?

If the PC's are in close proximity to both the Beholder and the escape path you might be OK. If they are far from either the writing is on the wall that they will only be able to accomplish one or the other.

I am not sure what the parameters the PC's have when going into this encounter, but, perhaps, you may be looking at a TPK if killing the Beholder is sufficiently important for all of them to consider risking their lives? Just a thought with not knowing so much about the campaign.


The Beholder scenario is part of the ongoing story.

He is on the north west corner of the lair; the players come from the spiral staircase.

I actually plan on having him "go down" with the lair.

My plan is not for a TPK. In fact, I'm only having the PCs damage him until he's bloodied, at which point the lair becomes the obstacle they have to overcome.

Maybe I should just get rid of the whole "lair collapsing" trope and just have the PCs fight the Beholder till death.



Glad I posted this!

1. Instead of the random chance of falling debris, each creature (at the beginning of the round) is affected by an "attack" at +6 vs. Reflex. Is the +6 still to high? (it's a 9th level encounter).

2. Remove the Slow condition and just keep difficult terrain (on a successful hit), and prone?

Would that help out the encounter?


Good calls. I think that slow might make it a bit too deadly. I would take it a step further, I think, by setting up specific danger zones in which characters *might* be hit by falling debris, then give the chance for characters to see these and avoid them, with a specific Perception check. With that, the slow might reasonably be added back in.


Geeky Ecohumanistic Futurist
Ahhh.... I see.... I think with the changes presented this should make for an exciting encounter.

Once it is bloodied it is a race to have the right to say 'we killed it and escaped its collapsing lair', instead of 'its lair ending up killing it and stealing our kill'.

Bragging rights are important especially when it comes to a memorable encounter.


First Post
25% chance for the ceiling seems too low, even 50% is too low, even 100% is probably too low(?!) and slowed seems a bit too difficult to overcome as they are trying to get out.

Instead of slowed, I'd just have them treat everything as rough terrain. This gives them the option to use a number of powers they may have to overcome the rough terrain, such as utilities, jumping, flight, etc.

As for the ceiling attacks, I'd lower the damage a bit and make the attacks more frequent for a more intense experience. Have two or more initiatives for the ceiling, something like +10 and +0. And you might have a countermeasure or two also. I'd do something like:

Init +10/+0: Make an attack, +12 vs Reflex, 2d6+3 damage
Maybe Init -10: +12 vs Fortitude. Make an acrobatics check (easy DC), if you fail you are prone. This one is pretty harsh, so I'd play it by ear, maybe use it only once, as sort of an encounter power.

* Whenever you move 2 or more squares make an acrobatics check as part of the movement (normal DC). On success you take half damage from ceiling attacks until the end of your next turn.
* As a minor action, make a perception check (normal DC). On success you grant yourself or an ally you can see +4 to all defenses against ceiling attacks until the end of your next turn.

You might also mark one square by a wall as safe from ceiling attacks on the map, and have a hard DC minor action dungeoneering check to identify that square.

I like the floor crack mechanics.

To explain myself a bit on why I think the ceiling attack chance is too low, you have 4-6 PC's. You want to keep them reminded that the ceiling is coming down on them. Otherwise they may feel pretty safe to stay and kill the Beholder if the ceiling isn't doing anything to them for a few rounds, only to be buried in 10d10 stone before they know what hit them. Don't forget to have the ceiling attack the beholder too, or maybe have him use a telekinetic eye to hold a slab of stone as an umbrella over it, or zap falling debris to dust with a disintegrating eye.

Just throwing some ideas at you. Sounds like a fun encounter. Good luck.


First Post
Well, the ground is rumbling so movement should quite resonably be a challenge. I guess the trick is finding the right balance to the challenge.

How about if players move more than 4 on their turn they are required to make an Acrobacy check or fall prone. The Difficulty of the check could increase round by round, starting at easy and increasing by +2 every round.

+6 vs REF would hit most of my lvl 7 players on a roll of 15 or 16. Except the Dwarven Cleric of course, she'd be getting hit on a roll of 10 if I recall rightly.

You could also allow perception checks as a minor action to Increase REF defense vs Debris until the end of their next turn. Dungeoneering would be viable as well.

You could include some shielding terrain features where PCs could gain cover from or resistence to falling debris.

You could also include some 'Short Cut' terrain features to move more quickly or avoid a acrobatics check in favour of ... lets say an athletics check: A chandelaire springs to mind.

Maybe Wizards etc could use Arcana and enter the Portal from a certain distance marked by some magical points marked on the ground.

Maybe a Dungeoneering check could be made to discover a weakness in the roof above the beholder and a ranged attack could be used to provoke a collapse of stone down onto its head. This could leave it Stunned for a round, effectively buying the PCs some valuable 'non-beholder' time.

Nemesis Destiny

Is it just me or does this scenario evoke images of killing Mother Brain at the end of Metroid, then have to escape Zebes before the whole planet explodes... I can hear the escape music in my head now. :)


Wow... memories!

I was thinking more along the lines of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... but Metroid... how I miss thee.


Epic Threats

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