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WotBS Question about #2, The Fire Forest (spoiler!)

MightyK

Villager
I have a Question about Kazyk.

Why does he even want to bargain? How on earth would a party of lvl 4 Heroes stand a chance against him?
(this is for the 5e version)

He can do 7+8+8 damage a round plus the infernal wound. He is nearly untouchable with misty step in a Fire Forest where nobody can follow him, is resistant to all weapon damage (no magic weapons at lvl 4) and immune to fire. Oh, and magic resistance of course.
And he can befriend hellhounds and gets some Imps to help for good measure.

I just don't know how to make this story arc believable. His mission is to kill the party, why doesn't he?
 

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DarkRevenant

Villager
He can be followed into the fire forest, and that’s exactly how my players kicked his ass. They got singed a bit, but it was worth it. The fighter is still kicking around in Book 6 with that +1 glaive.

Remember, Kazyk is CR 4. On his own, he's only a medium-to-hard (he's on the high end of CR 4) encounter for a level 4 party of 4. Yeah, he can do a fair bit of damage, but he won't last that long with an AC of 13, even with resistance.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
He wants to guarantee success without risking himself. You will find the summoned devils in the campaign are not the most reliable servants for the Ragesians. His mission priorities in order:
  1. Get the journal
  2. Stop the heroes from leaving the forest alive
  3. Gather info on the forest
He sees the heroes as a means to #3 and is willing to fudge things to try to get all of them done. Something could go wrong in the fight, and then he does not succeed at #1. So he starts by making the situation feel hopeless in an attempt to get #1 later.

His encounter with Indomitability then acquires his interest, and he see that as more important than killing the heroes. Destroying the fire forest gives him a way of twisting his orders (Kazyk's Offer).

Aside from that, the party might have several means of countering Kazyk and the imps.
  • They can try to see the invisible imps with faerie fire. The imps only get a single attack with advantage from being invisible.
  • They can use reach weapons to ready an attack.
  • They can use ranged weapons or spells.
  • Hexblade warlocks start with a magic weapon.
  • misty step requires sight, so he cannot teleport behind cover
They might get their butts handed to them, but Kazyk is playing the long game and wants to stay alive.

If you don't like the encounter, change it. It is your campaign! Drop Kazyk and have the imps or magmins appear later with Kazyk's Offer to serve their new fire dragon deity. However, I suspect that the heroes will view this encounter with a dread for what else lies before them in the forest.

In our game, the heroes were beaten up pretty badly by Kazyk in the initial encounter. The bard used faerie fire but missed, the monk dodged as a bonus action, and the hexblade warlock readied an action to attack as they stood back to back. Later, they "agreed" to Kazyk's Offer. After they saved the forest, they split up, and Kazyk took revenge on the cirqueliste, leaving him for dead. The bard was saved by Indomitability's boon and Gwenivere healed him when it was safe to do so. Later, when the heroes encountered Kazyk again at castle Korstull, the fighter took great delight in carving up Kazyk with the living blade.
 


Tormyr

Adventurer
Thank you guys very much for your input!

I will try to balance the encounter so that Kazyk has a reason to be carefull!
That is a good point. If you think the encounter is going to be too difficult, you can drop the difficulty a level using the option in the encounter. If it turns out to then be too easy, you can have another invisible imp show up partway through the fight.
 

When we were writing the adventure, I wanted to make it pretty clear that most the devils resented being given orders. They had to follow the orders, but if possible they would try to screw over the person who summoned them.
 

mattdusty

Explorer
In our 5e campaign, my group of 4 PCs utterly trounced Kazyk. He had to teleport away after three rounds and with HP only in the single digits!! And barely able to even touch the PCs.
 

I have a Question about Kazyk.

Why does he even want to bargain? How on earth would a party of lvl 4 Heroes stand a chance against him?
(this is for the 5e version)

He can do 7+8+8 damage a round plus the infernal wound. He is nearly untouchable with misty step in a Fire Forest where nobody can follow him, is resistant to all weapon damage (no magic weapons at lvl 4) and immune to fire. Oh, and magic resistance of course.
And he can befriend hellhounds and gets some Imps to help for good measure.

I just don't know how to make this story arc believable. His mission is to kill the party, why doesn't he?
(All this from memory and running that I. 5e 5 years ago or so)
Kazyk is shrewd, and certainly doesn't see a point in making his life more difficult than strictly necessary. So, if he can bargain for a way to fulfilling his orders (something, as @RangerWickett rightly points out, he disposes having to do anyway) without risking personal harm, that's what he's going for.
I remember repeating his specific offer to the party every time they questioned him, word for word, exact repetitions, to drill it into him that he is going to be extremely exact about the wording of a deal, and that they ought to be aware, the deal may turn out to be different than they interpreted. That also made them understand that the devil is all about fulfilling a contract by the wording, not the implied meaning, and that that is a way out for them, potentially.

I remember loving that encounter a lot, and that the party really got into it.

4 years later, when we I ran To Slay a Dragon for a different group that also included my wife (she was in theWotBS group as well), and I uses a Bearded Devil for an encounter, she pipes up 'oooh, like that guy in the burning forest!'
So, that certainty left a mark :)
 

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