Trigger Warnings: Spoilers, Boss Battle, Time Limit.
I really tried to do a TPK in this session, I really tried. Only the time limit kept me from doing so.
If you’ve got the book and have read along, you’ll know that the traditional win scenario in Princes of the Apocalypse is defeating all four Prophets and defeat one Major Elemental Prince. If I didn’t have a time limit—I have to start Out of the Abyss in September—I could stay around the Red Larch area and take more than a year to make this goal. Keep in mind that, much like with my campaign, that there’s a Nemesis System similar to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Modor, where there is a hierarchy of the leadership in each of the four cults. Defeat a Prophet and someone else will take up his or her place. This happened twice in my game, and will come into play when—yes, when—I start the next run of Princes of the Apocalypse in an online forum.
But then I move on to the big boss battle in the campaign. This should’ve happened sometime in September, but like I said last week, they took the short cut from the Howling Hatred floor, skipping past the Fane of the Eye, and end up sludging through the Howling Cave floor. By now my win condition is to defeat a Prince.
In this session, they met that Prince. The Air Prophet Aerisi was waiting for them in the final room in the Howling Caves. And her first action (I took a Legendary Action for this purpose) and summon Yan-C-Bin, the Prince of Elemental Air, and just to spice things up, he brought 3 Air Elementals with him.
Commence the battle where I swung for the fences. The attacks were fast and furious where I use Yan-C’s attacks, and a Cloudkill from Aerisi, to devastate the party. I managed to take down two players, and the Wyvren that accompanied them, and used Yan-C’s innate Fire resistance to his best advantage.
It would’ve been the biggest battle in the campaign.
It would’ve been a very hard fought victory if they actually managed to do so.
But then the clock rang 7:45p.
Hero’s Hideout closes at 8:00p.
Most people would’ve just paused the game at this point, but I was in mid-battle, and had to work fast. I tried removing all resistance from Yan-C as the portal to his plane of Elemental Air closes around itself.
In the end, at 8:01p, I just had to have Yan-C get sucked back into his dimension. A cop-out ending if there ever was, but what could you do with time constraints?
So I basically called it a victory for the party, and they have achieved the win condition for Princes of the Apocalypse, but the story is far from over. There was a chapter in the campaign that I had to skip over earlier because the party had already leveled up to a decent level to start the dungeon proper. I’ll go back to that chapter with some homemade construction as I start filling up some time between now and Out of the Abyss.
I’ll also provide a bit of a recap as to how the power structure is currently shuffled in the Cults of Elemental Evil, and set the campaign up for another party.