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Help Design an Encounter with a Giant Eel

Stoat

Adventurer
My PC's have decided to hunt giant Eels, and I'm a little flummoxed as to how to set that up.

They're sixth level. They have access to a fair-sized boat and at least one ballista. I haven't statted out the giant eel yet, but it'll probably be an elite or solo. It lives in a coral reef a few miles offshore from a tropical island.

I'm open to any suggestions any of y'all might have to punch up the inevitable fight between Eel and Man.
 

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Saagael

First Post
You might look at stealing some stats from the Astral Kraken in MM3, its a really good monster for the "sea creature vs boat" battle. Come to think of it, you might be able to turn the (updated) Purple Worm into an ocean creature. I'd look at making it a solo lurker and starting the battle off something like this:

Players are sailing in the early morning, fog still lingers around them. They hear the shriek of the giant eel and get goosebumbs. All of a sudden their boat thuds into something and stops. The players see a single large eel wrapped around the boat with part of its body looming high above them. They have to try and fight this single eel, and when they do a quarter of its hit points, it retreats to the ocean for a round, only to jump back out, over the boat, showing its full 50ft length.

The "real" fight would then commence. The eel could have ship-based attacks, like a ram attack that attacks all shipboard characters' reflex, and on a hit the character slides (stumbles) 3 squares and falls prone (gotta try and knock players off some how :devil:).

I'd also make jumping off the boat and attacking the eel in the water seem like a good idea. Maybe the eel hovers just out of reach of melee characters, so they can either use ballista, or try and jump in the water and attack it. Then you can give the eel some kind of "devour" ability like the Purple Worm to try and eat characters in the water.

I'd also suggest tracking the ship's hit points. Maybe give the boat 100 hit points, and every time the eel attacks the ship it takes 2d10+10 damage, so that after so many attacks, the ship starts to sink and the players are left fighting on the floating wreckage of their ship, trying to stay out of the water.

This also is a sneaky way of splitting characters' actions. You can allow players to make skill checks as standard actions to repair the ship. This keeps everyone from focus firing on the eel and locking it down real quick, as every round or two, a few players have to try and repair the ship.

Anyway, hope this gets your creative juices flowing. :)
 


Saagael

First Post
Could you make it electric, but to keep it a surprise, it can't use such abilities until bloodied? (That would explain why no one knew of that before.)

But that's precisely what they'd expect. They should be something completely wacky and out there... like a fire eel that makes boils water around its prey 'cause it likes a cooked meal.
 

ahayford

First Post
If and when your PC's slay the beastie, it could turn out to actually have been

1) Worshipped by a tribe of fish-men (or whatever is appropriate for your campaign)
2) The pet of a rather irate ocean giant, god, what have you.
3) Tasty
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
The Dire Eel: A Phased Solo
The battle takes place as the characters are sailing off the shore of a tropical island, above a coral reef, looking for the eel. To find it, they need to make the following skill checks using an appropriate Investigation skill (such as Perception to see it, Nature to know its habits, or Athletics to swim down and look for signs of it, or Streetwise to chat with other sailors for hints). A character who fails can no longer make attempts, and if all characters fail before success, the eel finds them first...and gets a surprise round.
  1. DC 19: The party realizes that the creature is nocturnal, and the hunt must continue that night.
  2. DC 21: The party finds the remains of the eel's last meal: a Dire Crab, completely crushed and devoured. A further DC 21 Investigation check on the crab (something like Heal, Perception, or Nature) can note how it died: grabbed by one of the claws with carapace-piercing teeth, it was dragged from its lair in the coral, and stunned with some sort of singing blast, and constricted until it cracked. It's missing several limbs and a claw.
  3. DC 23: The nocturnal hunt in the clear waters of the reef finds a sign of the creature: the rest of the Dire Crab, laying outside a crevice in the reef. A further DC 23 Interaction check (something like Nature, Diplomacy, or Bluff) provokes the creature into emerging.
  4. Success!: The eel emerges, spoiling for a fight!
Essential Eel Stats (Solo Lurker): AC 20, Fort 18, Ref 20, Will 16; Attack vs. AC +11; Attack vs. Other: +9; Damage: 2d10+11; Phase HP: 58. Initiative: It acts after each party member acts.

The battle continues in phases:
Phase I: The Curious Eel (58 hp)
The eel swims beneath the water, investigating the ship and these unusual creatures, and wants to see if they are a threat, or food. It is largely immune to PC attacks while underwater (the water breaks line of effect), though the ballista on the ship can hit it (those proficient in the crossbow can add their proficiency bonus to ballista attacks, others are just rolling ranged basic attacks). The ballista deals 2d8+4 damage to the eel (no ability modifiers). A character can "delay" their attack to trigger when the eel surfaces to attack, but the eel's attacks are entirely underwater at this point.

On each of its turns, the eel attacks the ship. This causes the ship to shake violently (+9 attack vs. Reflex, no damage, but if hit, the character on falls overboard). Overboard characters are attacked more directly by the eel's bite(+11 vs. AC, 2d10+11 damage and the character is grabbed. They must escape or be missed, and make a DC 23 Athletics check to swim back to the ship, +2 to the roll for each square of movement granted by any powers used on them), who ignores the ship in favor of the struggling prey.

Once it takes some damage, it moves on to its next phase.

Phase II: The Angry Eel (58 hp)
The eel surfaces to attack the deck of the ship directly! It rears up and blasts electricity, attacking all characters on deck (+9 vs. Fortitude, 1d10+10 damage and the creature is stunned (save ends) if hit, on a miss: half damage, stunned (end of next)). The eel then goes back underwater, and hits the ship.

Every other round, the Eel spends underwater, hitting the ship as above. On its alternate rounds, the eel rises up and attacks a creature with its bite. At this point, until it goes underwater on its next turn, it is vulnerable to attacks. A creature hit by the bite on this round, and who does not escape before the eel's next turn, is dragged underwater when the eel returns, and must swim back to the ship as above.

Pase III: The Clever Eel (58 hp)
The eel blasts electricity again as above, and then submerges itself, and goes to constrict the ship itself -- it will be crushed in 3 rounds (after each of the PC's go, make a note of how the ship is getting worse). The eel is only vulnerable to ballista attacks during the first two rounds, and then is vulnerable to normal attacks. It responds by biting at any creatures who attack it.

After some damage, it gives up. If the ship gets destroyed, though, the eel begins trying to eat creatures in the water as above. The DC 23 Athletics check lets a character find a piece of floating driftwood long enough to catch their breath.

Phase IV: The Worried Eel (58 hp)
When this phase begins, the eel blasts a final blast of electricity as above, and then attempts to escape. The party can pursue it by making a DC 19 Investigation check of some sort (Nature, Perception...anything that could track the creature), with each check allowing the party to keep pace with the beast, making attacks. A failed check means no ballista attack is possible this turn. While submerged, it is immune to attacks that don't come from the ballista, as above.

If the ship is destroyed, the eel cannot be pursued directly, but can be tracked slowly with the same check.

After one round of fleeing, the eel hides in the reef itself. The party must now go in physically after the beast, making a DC 15 Athletics check to swim into and through the lair. Each failed check drains a healing surge from the character, as they begin to drown. Each successful check increases the DC of the next check by +1. Once they swim in, the beast attacks with its bite, but is also vulnerable to attacks. The lair is twisty and turny, however -- after swimming into it and getting attacked, the eel tries to hide in the lair, requiring a DC 17 Investigation check (as above) to locate the eel until its next turn. An eel that cannot be located, can't be attacked. On each of its turns, the eel will bite someone, and try to hide. On each of their turns, the party can attempt to find it (DC 17), attempt to swim to it (DC as above), and attempt to attack it (defenses as above).

When the eel is finally reduced to 0 hp, it releases another electric blast as a final insult, and then floats lifelessly.

Aftermath
The party, once the eel is dead, can haul its corpse back to the boat at a more casual pace, after surfacing and taking in some breath. The boat's crew can help them, and the eel might need to be cut up into pieces to be removed from its lair. If the ship is sunk, the party will need to swim to the nearest island, and many of the ship's crew will be dead -- possibly the losses from this will be a lot greater than whatever award they hoped to get from killing the beast.

This is my patented "phased combat," which I do for big epic solos who I feel work better as cinematic encounters rather than tactical ones. It's worked pretty OK, though keep in mind it deliberately makes a lot of abilities useless for a good chunk of the adventure and challenges characters who might not be very good at things to make skill checks to do things anyway.
 



wlmartin

Explorer
My PC's have decided to hunt giant Eels, and I'm a little flummoxed as to how to set that up.

They're sixth level. They have access to a fair-sized boat and at least one ballista. I haven't statted out the giant eel yet, but it'll probably be an elite or solo. It lives in a coral reef a few miles offshore from a tropical island.

I'm open to any suggestions any of y'all might have to punch up the inevitable fight between Eel and Man.

I would think of the Eel as more of a Hazard than a Monster in this situation.

It would be MUCH easier to design and you could build a Skill Challenge around it... where failures result in it attacking and successes result in it being attacked.

I am thinking a Kracken attacking a Pirate Boat, its tendrils are everywhere and the little peon sized sailors are trying to fight it... they are bugs to him.

that could work maybe
 

Infiniti2000

First Post
It's okay to make them electric. If the party plans for this, that's okay. Make their preparations matter. However, IMO eels aren't very physical regarding crushing things, so I don't really like the idea of it physically attacking the boat. Eels are very light and narrow and some can't even generate negative pressure, they have pharyngeal jaws. I definitely recommend using this real-world ability, which will seem awfully like the Alien movie.

Another ability could be part of the sliminess. Although most eels aren't really slimy, a lot of people think they are, and you can use this instead of the crushing powers others have suggested above. I guess it might function similarly, but instead of crushing the boat, the eel rubs up against it, spreading his caustic (to organics) slime. The slime is insoluble in water and needs to be scraped off. I'm sure there's another monster out there with a similar ability that could give you the stats to run this.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
The pharyngeal jaw thing I basically lumped into the "grabs on a bite" mechanic, though you might want to replace it with a swallow...still, swallowing tends to be kind of odd, so I avoided it, but it is cool, and something a giant beast might do to small prey.

As for the no constriction thing...welp, acid can eat a ship just as fast as constriction! Or maybe it tries to catch the ship on fire with its electricity instead! Though that might mean more danger...
 

Stoat

Adventurer
Thanks to all for the help! I ran the encounter Tuesday night, and had a blast.

I used KM's phased encounter (with some changes) as my template. The PC's were hunting the eel in order to obtain it's caustic digestive juices. So it spat acid, not electricity. I also gave it the ability to swallow anyone it grabbed with its bite.

The initial search for the creature was somewhat lackluster. We haven't played for a while, and everybody's energy level was a little low. After some arsing around, the players decided to try and lure the eel to them by chumming the waters near its hunting ground. I think mostly because they like to say the word, "chum". It worked.

The eel immediately knocked half the party off the boat and swallowed the ranger. I made a spot call that the ranger could make attack the beast from inside, which in retrospect was probably too generous. Also, the paladin activated his Wavestrider Boots and took the fight to the water. The cleric got out of the water and started working the ballista -- it critted. Phase one ended quickly.

After losing a quarter of its hit points, the eel wrapped itself around the PC's boat and started squeezing. The players were worried at first, but the wizard was able to hit the monster with a Ray of Enfeeblement, and its boat-killing powers were greatly diminished. The eel's attack rolls were dreadful. He only hit twice with his bite, and he failed to swallow his target (the paladin) the second time. Frustrated, the eel flung the paladin into the wizard, knocking both of them down. The ranger made himself into a kind of internal cuisinart. Before long, the eel was down to his last 60 hit points.

He turned to run, but the PC's were able to get their boat moving after him in time. The ballista critted again, and the mighty eel went down for the count.

If I had it to do over again, I would limit the ranger's ability to attack from inside the monster. He took a ton of damage from being inside the monster's gullet, but he gave back worse than that.

Anyway, a good time had by all. Thanks again for the help!
 


Stoat

Adventurer
Isn't that generally how swallowing works?

A quick run through the Compendium shows that being swallowed whole might carry a variety of different consequences.

Feymire Crocodile? The swallowed target is dazed and restrained. The only attacks the swallowed target can make are basic attacks.

Slavering Maw? The swallowed target is only restrained. A swallowed creature can make only melee or close attacks and has line of effect and line of sight only to the slavering maw.

Elder Dragon Eel? The swallowed target is restrained. The swallowed creature can make melee basic attacks only, and only with one-handed or natural weapons.

Remorhaz? The swallowed target is restrained. The swallowed creature can make only melee or close attacks.

Adult Purple Worm? Seems to be the most forgiving of the bunch. No mention of the swallowed target being restrained. The only restriction on attacks is, "If the target attacks the worm using a close or an area attack, that attack targets all other creatures swallowed by the worm."

So, I had a snak-pak of options to chose from. Letting the ranger use dailies inside the monster definitely hurried the fight along.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
The eel immediately knocked half the party off the boat and swallowed the ranger.

Hahahaha, I love it when a combat starts like that. :)

The players were worried at first, but the wizard was able to hit the monster with a Ray of Enfeeblement, and its boat-killing powers were greatly diminished.

Nice strategy on the wizard's part! I guess I would've ad-hoc'd that to adding a round or two to the eel's constriction.

Frustrated, the eel flung the paladin into the wizard, knocking both of them down.

Hahahaha, I love those kind of action movie cinematics! I might've knocked them into the water, just to add insult to the injury.

If I had it to do over again, I would limit the ranger's ability to attack from inside the monster. He took a ton of damage from being inside the monster's gullet, but he gave back worse than that.

Yeah, the design of the eel as a lurker tried to emphasize that the PC's aren't going to get that many chances to actually damage the thing -- first the water, then the lair, served as things that essentially removed attack opportunities from various characters. Putting the striker in its belly and then having him use the dailies....basically negates most lurking the eel could do! :)

So, I had a snak-pak of options to chose from. Letting the ranger use dailies inside the monster definitely hurried the fight along.


Swallow whole mechanics in any edition are a little wonky. I might've made it something like: "While swallowed, you take ongoing 10 acid damage, you are restrained and stunned, you have no line of sight or effect to anything but the eel, and nothing but the eel has a line of sight or effect to you. A save ends this condition, dropping you into the water," but that would kind of remove the awesomeness of cutting your way out from the inside, unless they had some power that could remove their Stunned status.

Anyway, a good time had by all. Thanks again for the help!

I can't XP you, but I'm glad you had a fun session! Now have the spirit of nature get angry at them for slaying some paragon spirit, and want to destroy them with a hurricane or something...and feel free to amp up the pressure! They can clearly handle a lot! :)
 

was

Explorer
prob run it like a grab and run encounter where eel grabs the offending pc and retreats to an underwater lair where the pcs have to fight to save the grabbed player and fight off drowning at the same time
 

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