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PotA - speed up needed

Nailen

Explorer
Hi all,
Appreciate they most moved on from PotA a while back, but I've been running my group through it for what feels like ages. Campaign fatigue is beginning to set in with player and DM alike so I'm pondering ways to speed it up.

Current situation is that the air and water temples are clear and Aerisi is dead. They are pretty much done with the earth temple and will got 10th level when they do.

My thoughts are to have an NPC encourage them down into the Fane rather than the fire temple, and have them meet Gar Shatterkeel.
With him down, the PC who is attuned to windvane gets a vision/dream of Marlos and Vanifer arguing and facing off. One dies and the other goes to complete the summoning.

With the party at 11th level I think Imix and Ogremoch will be way too powerful for them. So, I am thinking of ways it could be a bit more balanced but still a 'deadly' encounter.
I could tone down Ogremoch - reduce AC and HP and attack bonuses etc to something more like CR 16. Possibly reduce damage dealt as well.
Similar with Imix, and then I remembered that they have a water orb of destruction that they saved from one of the scripted cult attacks. If that was set off in the Weeping Collossus it could be epic..!! A lot of steam (everything obscured) but I think Imix could take damage or some other negative effect from that much water...
I could also add some cool weaponry (oathbow for example) or give them access to a massive stash of potions..
Also wondering on how to make sure they work out that the elemental weapon needs to hit/attack/be thrown through the portal to dismiss the Prince. I thought the weapon and portal could either glow the same colour or have some faint light connection...
If anyone had read this far, I'd love to hear what you think....
Cheers!
 

Nailen

Explorer
There are 5 in the party.
Elf Monk, Dwarf fighter, elf/half elf ranger (can't remember!), Gnome rogue/wizard and elf druid/barbarian.
The druid/barbarian is looking sub optimal.. The fighter, monk and ranger dish out a ton of damage each round, only one at range though, which wouldn't be good against Imix.
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
Wratched up the tension. Start having chaos happening throughout the valley. When they go into towns, rumors and stories of tragedies. When they are in the wilderness, wild untamed elementals can be seen, the destruction of x leaving its marks upon the land.

If they have befriended any NPC's, the tales of woe get back to them that someone has been kidnapped, or killed or their farm destroyed. Get them emotionally involved.

Don't make them do any more sidequests. When they get to the last stronghold, it's abandoned and they just have clear the temple. Group the enemies up a little, so it's not a bunch of small fights, but rather a few larger ones. When the fights are going in the party's favor, have the cultists surrender or flee. After all, the stories they have heard of the avenging party by this time must be terrifying.

By seeing consequences and results, they will no longer feel like they are slogging through fight after fight or dungeon after dungeon.
 

S'mon

Hero
I'm about to start running PoTA (bit late!) :) - my group will only be playing 1/4 weeks for about 5 hours, so I definitely don't want them to have to clear every bit of every level. I would definitely want the Princes to be super tough to impossible - if anything they seem a bit underpowered to me. This will be a sequel to my 4e Loudwater campaign, in which Ogremoch's avatar Stonefang alone was Epic tier; I think 4e has him around CR 33-34 Solo which would be around CR 24 in 5e I reckon. Maybe higher since CR 24 in 5e is an ancient red dragon, which is CR 30 in 4e.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Rule I always follow is "Evil does not play well with others." Most of the cults iirc have issues with at least one other. As things start looking bad esp with two of four down, seems like at least one elemental cult goes to plan B(etrayal) and starts covering its tracks, calling in markers and getting set to be the last elemental power standing.

If that means selling out the third to cut deal with rulers and meddlesome heroes, well, gosh darn, too bad we are not evil... oh wait WE ARE EVIL.

Apocalypse averted, heroes heroic and evil slips into the shadows to plot again.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
I'm about to start running PoTA (bit late!) :) - my group will only be playing 1/4 weeks for about 5 hours, so I definitely don't want them to have to clear every bit of every level. I would definitely want the Princes to be super tough to impossible - if anything they seem a bit underpowered to me. This will be a sequel to my 4e Loudwater campaign, in which Ogremoch's avatar Stonefang alone was Epic tier; I think 4e has him around CR 33-34 Solo which would be around CR 24 in 5e I reckon. Maybe higher since CR 24 in 5e is an ancient red dragon, which is CR 30 in 4e.
FYI, I have made tougher versions of the Princes here: 5e Epic Updates - Elementals
 

dave2008

Adventurer
There are 5 in the party.
Elf Monk, Dwarf fighter, elf/half elf ranger (can't remember!), Gnome rogue/wizard and elf druid/barbarian.
The druid/barbarian is looking sub optimal.. The fighter, monk and ranger dish out a ton of damage each round, only one at range though, which wouldn't be good against Imix.
Ok, with 5 PCs I think you should probably be just fine against Imix (he is only CR 19) if the group is prepared. Ogremoch might be a bit tougher. However, you know your group the best. I would take @LordEntrails suggestion and then don't change anything with the Princes themselves.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
One of the easiest ways to speed up PotA is to have one of the cults attack their opposite. The earth and air cults despise each other, so do the fire and water cults.

Frankly, the air cult is the weakest. If your party is well into the adventure and hasn't crushed them yet, have one of the other cults wipe out the air cult. Or, if your group is on the weaker side, have either the fire or earth cult be destroyed by one or more of the other cults.

Another way to speed this up is to remove one layer of dungeons. Each cult has their facade dungeon (a tower, a keep, etc) in the hills, and then their temple of elemental evil dungeon below the hills. Maybe some of the cults are still using their facade dungeon as a base to excavate their part of the temple. Doing this will require moving the cult leader to the facade dungeon, but relatively little else.
 

Nailen

Explorer
OK, thanks for the comments everyone.

Perhaps it makes more sense to have Marlos in the Fane of the Eye so that the party face off against him - I think it will be fun for them to face a medusa!
Then there can be a confrontation between Gar and Vanifer 'off screen', they hate each other as mentioned and the rising tension of two of the prophets going down makes them both snap. The party are left to face Vanifer and Imix.
 

Nailen

Explorer
By seeing consequences and results, they will no longer feel like they are slogging through fight after fight or dungeon after dungeon.
Yep, I see what you're saying. However, the campaign fatigue is hitting the DM (me) as well as the players - I wanna get playing, but I don't want to just drop the campaign.

Overall we've all enjoyed it - using event based levelling has been great. I've levelled them after each outpost/temple which keeps the new skills coming at a good pace.
One of the players is quite cautious about descending into places that they won't be able to cope with, so wants them to dungeon crawl through everything. This could potentially take another year of play!!
There's a good level of trust between players and DM - they know that if an NPC encourages them to hurry down to the Fane that I wouldn't do it in an attempt to kill them all.
I think they can cope with the Fane and the Weeping Colossus. It's just the final showdown could be lethal...
 

S'mon

Hero
One of the players is quite cautious about descending into places that they won't be able to cope with, so wants them to dungeon crawl through everything. This could potentially take another year of play!!
You could always tell them they won't get any levels for clearing areas significantly below Party Level?
 

S'mon

Hero
FYI, I have made tougher versions of the Princes here: 5e Epic Updates - Elementals
Thanks - I think I'll use those for the home plane versions, and the PoTE stats for the weaker summoned versions.

Could also have them initially use the PoTE stats when first summoned, then grow into your stats if they stay on Faerun long enough. Although IRL if my players fail PoTE abysmally I think they'll have to bust out their level 30 4e PCs and we'll resolve it using 4e. :D
 

dave2008

Adventurer
One of the players is quite cautious about descending into places that they won't be able to cope with, so wants them to dungeon crawl through everything. This could potentially take another year of play!!
I believe that is why [MENTION=6804070]LordEntrails[/MENTION] suggested the dungeons be clear when the PCs get there. Leave signs they have fled or retreated and that they know the PCs are coming for them. Make it clear the cult is break up based on the success of the PCs. They should make them fell good and move the story along to where the cultist are making the final stand.

I think they can cope with the Fane and the Weeping Colossus. It's just the final showdown could be lethal...
"Could be lethal" are the most exciting challenges to overcome and the ones the players might talked about for years later.
 

Nailen

Explorer
I believe that is why [MENTION=6804070]LordEntrails[/MENTION] suggested the dungeons be clear when the PCs get there. Leave signs they have fled or retreated and that they know the PCs are coming for them. Make it clear the cult is break up based on the success of the PCs. They should make them fell good and move the story along to where the cultist are making the final stand.


"Could be lethal" are the most exciting challenges to overcome and the ones the players might talked about for years later.
Ahh, cool. I understand now. Yeah I like that idea - the fire temple is deserted if they go there. If they don't, it doesn't matter.

re. lethal encounters - you are right. The fight that followed them triggered the Glyph of Warding in the Water Temple was epic. One of the best parts of the campaign. :cool:
 

Nailen

Explorer
We had a discussion in the group. Turns out, they want to play through properly. So we elected to put it on hiatus and play something else for a while.
So, we are going to start playing through the 5e conversion of Master of the Desert Nomads... Can't wait!
 

ardoughter

Explorer
Hi all,
Appreciate they most moved on from PotA a while back, but I've been running my group through it for what feels like ages. Campaign fatigue is beginning to set in with player and DM alike so I'm pondering ways to speed it up.

Current situation is that the air and water temples are clear and Aerisi is dead. They are pretty much done with the earth temple and will got 10th level when they do.

My thoughts are to have an NPC encourage them down into the Fane rather than the fire temple, and have them meet Gar Shatterkeel.
With him down, the PC who is attuned to windvane gets a vision/dream of Marlos and Vanifer arguing and facing off. One dies and the other goes to complete the summoning.

With the party at 11th level I think Imix and Ogremoch will be way too powerful for them. So, I am thinking of ways it could be a bit more balanced but still a 'deadly' encounter.
I could tone down Ogremoch - reduce AC and HP and attack bonuses etc to something more like CR 16. Possibly reduce damage dealt as well.
Similar with Imix, and then I remembered that they have a water orb of destruction that they saved from one of the scripted cult attacks. If that was set off in the Weeping Collossus it could be epic..!! A lot of steam (everything obscured) but I think Imix could take damage or some other negative effect from that much water...
I could also add some cool weaponry (oathbow for example) or give them access to a massive stash of potions..
Also wondering on how to make sure they work out that the elemental weapon needs to hit/attack/be thrown through the portal to dismiss the Prince. I thought the weapon and portal could either glow the same colour or have some faint light connection...
If anyone had read this far, I'd love to hear what you think....
Cheers!
At this point the cultists are supposed to abandon the temples and retreat underground. One prophet to the eye of the fane and the other 2 to their respective elemental nodes. There is no reason to do anything else. Level as appropriate.
 

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