Epic 4th Edition: We Fought The Gods


Having just wrapped up a heroic tier campaign, my group decided that they'd like to play an Epic tier one-shot, where everyone rolled up a level 30 character and they battled it out with the gods. I agreed to run the game, and so I set about choosing gods and building encounters around them. In the end, I settled on Ogremoch first, followed by Lolth, and finally, Vecna.

After a quick test session, I realized that solo monsters would be hopelessly wracked with conditions and stunlocked into submission, if left to their own devices. Each of the deities already had a power that allowed a save when they were afflicted by a save ends power, so I expanded on that to grant a save (without the solo bonus) to avoid any 'till end of next turn' effects. This proved to be invaluable.

Two weeks ago, I ran my Ogremoch fight. This evening, I ran the Lolth fight. And this is how the chaos unfolded...

Ogremoch, the Lord of Earth

First off, I knew the Lord of Earth would need allies. The photo below shows the battlefield at the start of the fight. The red dragon was Ogremoch, and the two floating islands with astral giants were giant, magical lodestones. To take down a lodestone, the heroes had to defeat the guardian atop it. And while the lodestones were active, Ogremoch was immune to all damage. Further complicating matters, there were two Stone Prophets, a homebrew creation who could blind and deal psychic damage, or they could grant a save to Ogremoch.

To add to this, Ogremoch needed a way to act out of turn. So the entire cavern rose up against the heroes, dropping rocks on each character at the start of their turn... but only if they started their turn on the ground. The heroes realized this quickly, and after taking a pummelling in the first round, they took to wing, flying up to the lodestones to do battle while the tank moved forward to engage Ogremoch.


The fight raged on, as the PCs took down first the lower lodestone (which stayed floating for now), then moved to the higher one to take out its guardian (quite rapidly... 600 damage in two rounds). With the lodestones out of commission, the heroes began to earnestly do battle with Ogremoch. On the mountain's first turn after the stones had been neutralized, he brought them crashing down. The empty one smashed the tank for 8d10+20 (it fell 80 feet), while the other one dropped the party 80 feet (the non-fliers took 8d10 falling damage). Back on the ground, they had to try to avoid the falling rocks in the cavern while dealing damage to Ogremoch.

In the end, the giant mountain only lasted about three rounds after his lodestones went down. The sheer amount of damage epic PCs can put out is incredible. But it was a great fight; suitably epic, and it actually managed to challenge the heroes.

Lolth the Spider Queen

First off, I did not use vanilla Lolth. I kept most of her abilities the same, but I ramped up her damage. Her basic attack was 4d4+13 damage plus effects. It became 4d6+24 damage plus effects. She also has a number of attacks that inflict ongoing poison damage, so I added a line; if a target is already subject to ongoing poison damage, and they gain more ongoing poison damage, Lolth strips away their poison resistance until they save. Finally, I gave Lolth threatening reach; she fights with a scourge which has reach 3, so I let her actually do something with it.

For the Lolth fight, I wanted to do something a little different. I didn't want to put up a huge block that stopped people from hitting her until it was destroyed. But I didn't want the PCs to simply gang up on her and take her down in three or four rounds of focus fire. So when the party kicked in the door and entered her throne room, she wasn't there. Instead, they found Vhaeraun, the drow god of thieves, Selvetarm, the drow god of war, and three demonweb dreadnoughts (elite drow warriors). All of these creations were taken from RangerWickett's amazing thread here.

I had to level up both gods to 33 elite, but otherwise, I left them mostly unchanged. The demonweb dreadnoughts likewise saw an upgrade to level 30. Other than that, the design on these particular baddies outshone Lolth herself. Especially Vhaeraun's ability to plant a grenade, or steal a minor action... it kept the PCs guessing!

Delightfully, they engaged the gods and their minions, so when Lolth rolled in at the top of the initiative for round two, she managed to savage the wizard with her scourge, pulling him close and administering her kiss. Then with an action point, she threw down her cloud of darkness, making it difficult to engage her (or save the wizard). And as a final act on her starting turn, she cracked a large crystal orb on the wall of her chamber, which released The Potency.


Lolth's throne room. You can see the black squiggly lines as The Potency creeps across the battlefield.

I wanted a way to keep the PCs moving in this fight, so I created a powerful poison called The Potency. It was originally created to fight the primordials in the Dawn War, and it possesses a sentience as it spills out across the battlefield. It creates three tendrils, which add three consecutive spaces of poison each turn on its round. The Potency makes an attack against anyone it moves adjacent to, or anyone who begins their turn or moves adjacent. It can, thus, make two attack rolls at times. The Potency is very dangerous. It functions as a disease, using a DC of 40 for the Endurance check to maintain (and 45 to improve). The first stage causes the target to become slowed. The second inflicts 50 necrotic damage and causes them to be weakened. The third phase inflicts 100 necrotic damage and stuns the victim. The damage doubles every round thereafter.

There had to be a cure for this poison, of course. On a successful arcana check, the wizard realized that the divine blood of Selvetarm would probably protect them from The Potency. Fortunately for our heroes, they managed to focus down the drow god of war pretty effectively, and despite his shift to invincible form, they still slayed him. His pooling blood became a spot of pilgrimage for those desperately trying to save themselves from The Potency.

Throughout the battle, Lolth was dominating foes, and dishing out poison damage. She was reasonably effective, although the damage tweaks I gave her really improved her hurting power. She was a menacing threat, and though the tank locked down her teleportation, she could still dish it out and take it just fine.

Finally, Vhaeraun was brought down as well, and he stole Rage of the Ash Hammer from the barbarian. Lolth had the chance to use it in her monstrous Spider Queen form, smashing the tank for half of 74 damage (she missed on the attack roll). And every round thereafter, on a successful hit, she'd gain 10 + Charisma temporary hit points (as per the rage). That's 39 temporary hit points, for those of you keeping score at home!

Alas, she didn't last the round. The barbarian critted her up for about 250 damage, and the warlord's "Everyone gets a basic attack when someone crits" power kicked in for enough damage to bring her down. But Lolth was dangerous and consistently threatening throughout the fight.

So far, my experience has been that epic level PCs are incredibly tough. I had a hell of a time trying to bring them down; I brought the warlock down below 0 a couple times on the first fight, and had the barbarian below 0 on the second fight (die hard kept him up). But after two incredibly stacked fights, no PCs have actually died.

We'll see how they fare against Vecna.

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It just doesn't seem feasible. Can you expand on how exactly he managed to get such huge damage?

I don't have the sheet in front of me, but he was raging, and he used an encounter power called "Howling Blows" (or something similar). Basically, if he hits the first attack, he gets to make three more. He crit on the first attack, and hit all the others. I think he also had a dancing weapon attacking alongside. The barbarian is one of the better min/maxers in the group, and it's honestly a bit challenging to keep up with his various stacked feats and abilities.

Every time we've checked his build though, it all checks out. It's just potent.

Woot. Glad to see my drow pantheon getting some work. That sounds like a really cool fight.

I think I'm going to steal the Potency poison idea when I run Lolth against my party in a couple weeks. We had to take a hiatus because of the holidays, then the Atlanta ice storm, and now the Superbowl. We just did part two, with the party fighting Ghaunadaur and Kiaransalee.

I don't think my party is nearly as min-maxed as yours (though they do have a warlord whose epic power keeps anyone from dying due to negative hitpoints as long as he can see them). Four of five PCs are built to just never die. They all have ridiculous Constitution scores, or weird tricks when they hit negatives, or huge recharging pools of temporary hit points. Then there's the sorcerer, who has 7 healing surges, and who has been reduced to negatives once each in the two fights so far. I'm expecting him to die horribly in the fight against Lolth.

A Revenant Swordmage is the most obnoxious defender I could ever imagine. What do you mean, you're at negative 80 hit points but you're still fighting? Not only that, you're insubstantial and have resist 30 all? I was so thankful I gave Kiaransalee a power that straight-up lets her knock a PC unconscious for a round. Still, even after he killed Ghaunadar and was cursed with ongoing 35 acid damage (no save; it lasts 'til the end of the encoutner) he still didn't die.

But soon they'll face Lolth. And I plan to make her more annoying than the Swordmage. I need to write up that stat block and post it.

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