D&D - The Dwarf's Robots and the Medic's Abomination

November 11, 2011

So let's talk about the other 3 guardians my players fought before last week's adventure. Well, one of them was a young black dragon pulled out of the Monsters Manual because I wanted to see a dragon in action (turned out to be kind of boring, actually...they called it a big chicken and pummeled it into oblivion).

The other two were cool, though also slightly ill-conceived.

The first was a fight against 4 robots with a shared hit point pool that were activated 2 at a time in a rotating order. Again, players of WoW might recognize the fight. Here's the map:
So the robots start up on these 5-foot tall platforms. The first round only one activates. 2 rounds later, a second activates (I just picked a random activation order). 2 rounds later, a third activates and the first one shuts down, and so on and so forth.

And then each robot had unique abilities and 280 total hp:
Blade Robot: 23 AC, 17 Fort., 18 Ref., 17 Will
Twin Strike - +10 v. AC x2, 1d8+2
Bull Rush - +8 v. Fort., 1d8+6, pushes target 1 square and can shift into occupied space
Whirlwind (enc. 5, 6) - close burst 1, +10 v. AC, 1d8+4, creates whirlwind at caster's location, which, while standing in it, gives resist 5, +2 defenses and +5 attack and damage
Chain Robot: 20 AC, 17 Fort., 20 Ref., 18 Will
Hook 'Em (enc. 5, 6) - 4 targets in a close burst 2, +8 v. Ref., 1d6+3 and immobilized (save ends)
Chain Reaction - target must be immobilized by previous attack, +8 v. Fort., 1d4+3, creates a whirlwind at target's location, which, whilie standing it it, causes -5 to saving throws, vulnerable 5, dazed status and -2 to attack and damage
Rain of Chains - melee reach 2, +10 v. AC x4, 1d4+2
Spike Robot: 21 AC, 20 Fort., 17 Ref., 17 Will
Impale - range 15, +8 v. Ref. x3, 1d6+2
Spike Club - +10 v. AC, 2d6+4 and weakened 1 turn
Spike Turtle (enc. 5, 6) - Caster tightens into a ball of spikes, gaining resist 5, +5 all defenses, and reflects 100% of the damage done to it back at the attacker. At the start of it's next turn, as a free action, it explodes, close burst 2, +7 v. Ref., 1d10+4 and knocked prone
Bomb Robot: 20 AC, 18 Fort., 17 Ref., 20 Will
Grenade Launch - range 10, +10 v. AC, 1d6+3, secondary attack (hit or miss w/ primary) - burst 1 on primary target, +8 v. Ref., 1d6+2 fire
Exploding Fist - +10 v. AC, 1d10+3 and push 1, secondary attack on hit - +8 v. Fort., blinded (save ends)
Blast Off (enc. 5, 6) - close burst 1, +8 v. Ref., 2d6+2 fire and slowed (save ends), caster flies up to 5 squares after attack

And, umm, attacks are melee unless otherwise stated. The whirlwinds were a great addition, I think, but, as usual, my players just largely ignored the buffing whirlwind and took the extra damage like champs. Unfortunately, the chain robot couldn't seem to get his whirlwind up and running. He attacked with chain reaction twice, but missed both times. As always, the fight ended up being too easy. Despite liking the mechanic of a rotating roster of enemies to fight, it doesn't work very well when encounters never really last longer than 8 rounds. I think a better thing for this sort of fight is just to keep the robots activated. So they're fighting 1, then 2, then 3, then 4. I think fighting 4 from the beginning would have killed them, but ramping up so they only have to endure damage from 4 robots for a couple rounds should work well. In fact, this and the chromomancer fight have taught me to never plan on a fight going over 8 rounds. If a mechanic doesn't fit into that time frame, I should probably fix it so it does.

Next, they fought what was essentially a horribly disgusting abomination with a sort of spidery conjoined twin on its back. I guess there are similarities here to that really hard fight in the bonus content of Dragon Age, or even Gemini from Binding of Isaac or Chimaeron from WoW, but the mechanics are largely my own. Here's a map:
The dark squares are rough terrain piles of refuse, but I was a little coy about them, so my players avoided stepping in them for the most part.

Here's how I wanted the fight to go: The first round, the abomination and the twin argue with each other and only get a single melee attack; the players gather round and start beating on it, finding out that hitting it with melee attacks will cause black blood to degrade their weapons, and hitting it with ranged attacks will cause the blood to degrade the melee's armor. The second round, the abomination throws the spider at a ranged player and starts in on the serious dps; one player stays to tank the abomination while the rest go after the less caustic spider. When the spider drops to low health, it returns to the abomination to steal it's health, essentially draining it at a 1:1 ratio to refill its own. This happens over the course of a turn, in which the two are again reduced to bickering and a single attack. Rinse and repeat this until all the abomination's health is drained. It dies and the spider proceeds to animate it's corpse like a puppet; the players finally have to attack the big black blooded thing for another round or two, enduring the penalties until it dies.

Here's how it went: Oh, this thing is degrading out weapons and armor, let's go nova on it to bring it down as quickly as possible. 2 1/2 rounds later, the abomination is dead with the spider is still running around untouched doing minimal damage to the ranged. It animates the abomination and then they just kill it again.

I thought my version was more dramatic, but apparently my players needed more incentive than I gave them to stop attacking the abomination. Here are the abilities:

Stitched Horror, 275 hp, 22 AC, 19 Fort., Ref. 17, Will 18:
Cleaver - +10 v. AC, 2d6+4
Diseased Bite (used in addition to cleaver when separated from twin) - +11 v. AC, 1d8+3 and disease
Blood Vomit (can use instead of bite) - targets 2 adjecent squares in melee range, +8 v. Ref., 1d6+2 and clot armor on target. Also creates blood pools at targets' locations
Clot Armor (immediate reaction when hit by ranged attack) - target random enemy in melee range, +8 v. Ref., -1 to defenses
Clot Weapon (immediate reaction when hit my melee, targeting the attacker) - -1 to hit and damage with the weapon used
Bleed (used as a free action on turn when bloodied) - creates 2 blood pools in the two closest squares to the horror that don't already have blood pools. If there are more than 2, it is random.
If a player starts their turn in a blood pool, make an endurance check DC20 or take 1d4+2 and weakened

Spider Twin, 100 hp, 20 AC, 16 Fort., 19 Ref., 18 Will:
Claw and Leap - +10 v. AC, 1d8+2 and spider can leap its movement (6) after the attack. This is also the attack it performs when thrown at a player by the horror. Used when separated from horror.
Acid Spit - range 10, +8 v. Fort., 2d4+2 and 5 ongoing (save ends). Can be used when separated and when animating the horror in the place of its bite attack.
Claw Arms - +10 v. AC, 2d8+2. Used when animating the horror in place of the cleaver attack. Gains a +1 to attack for every turn it continues to animate it.

And I think that's it. FYI, my players were level 4 at this point and there are 6 of them. They leveled to 5 after they killed these guys.

Oh, also, players could take a standard action to remove the clotted blood from either a weapon or their armor, which happened a couple times during the fight. I think overall the challenge was there during the fight and we had a good time, but, as I said before, it could have been improved by giving them more incentive to attack the spider. Possibly by increasing the horror's defenses, or giving the spider nastier abilities.

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