Encounter 1 (500 XP) – The first encounter was a fairly simple set of skill or reasoning checks. The entrance to the cave and first room was VERY slippery. In order to use a move action normally, they needed to succeed in a DC20 acrobatics check. If they failed by 5 or more, they fell prone. If they failed by less than 5, they simply could only move half their speed. Matt got around this because his Druid beast form is a swarm of bugs (clever man). Mr. Monk Jamison of course didn’t have too much difficulty. The rest of the party thought about having Becky cast Tensor’s Floating Disk and just carrying them across like a taxi one at a time, but then it dawned on them: just crawl at 1/2 speed. So they did get to the part of the room where they could walk normally. At this end of the room, it split into two directions: the path to the right-angled upwards and the path to the left went down. They also noticed with a perception DC18 check that there was a deep, one foot groove in the cave floor running down both hallways, connecting them.
Encounter 2 (850 XP) – The PCs decided to head down into the cave, following the left path. Upon entering the room, they encountered a large ice construct. His stats:
- Large creature
- AC:23, Fort:25, Ref:17, Will:22
- Init +3, Speed 5
- Immune: All damage (see further notes)
- Attack Melee: Smash – +9 vs AC, 2D6+1
- Attack Melee: Double Smash – Recharge 5/6, +12 vs AC, 4D8+5 and target knocked prone
You’ll notice he has no HP. That makes up the interesting portion of this fight. He is immune to all kinds of damage. However, if he takes one blast of cold damage, he is slowed. A second blast of cold damage will shatter him into 10 minions. The boss is defeated when all 10 minions are killed (minions have no immunities or vulnerabilities). After 1 full round, the minions all magically teleport back to where they shattered (even if they have an effect on them such as immobilized) and reform into the big boss. When the boss shatters a second time, there aren’t 10 minions; there are only as many as reformed. The bosses large creature stats never change, even if only two minions formed him (it’s a game of magic; take the leap of faith). But if there is only one minion left when the boss would reform, he actually just stays a minion (cause nothing to form together with). A PC could learn all this with a nature check DC 25 (just the normal check to find information on the monster).
His minion stats are:
- 10 Minions
- AC:24, Fort:22, Ref:20, Will:18
- Attack Melee: Swat – +10 vs AC, 10 damage
- When killed, they shatter. Burst 1 – +12 vs Ref, slows target, save ends.
- Also, on the burst zone, it is now difficult terrain
As the encounter went on, I must admit a failure: I didn’t realize how few cold attacks my PCs had (out of 6 PCs, they had 1 at-will, 1 encounter, and 1 daily power). I then threw in another part to the battle on the fly so that this wouldn’t destroy them. With an Arcane check DC24, they noticed four 1-square zones around the room that when standing in them, they can determine the kind of damage their attacks do. Once that was implemented, the encounter became easy enough and they knocked off the guy no problem.
There was no loot in this room, but with a perception check DC18 they’d notice that the groove went all the way down the middle of this room and ran right up to a wall (note, this groove counts as difficult terrain during the battle). A nature check DC24 reveals that the wall is not naturally formed and can somehow be broken through. After trying to throw a few spells or punches at the wall, the PCs decide to see if in the upper room, there is something they can push down the track to knock into the wall. Clever fellows…
Encounter 3 (1,000 XP) – Upon entering the upper room to the right, they instantly look for the groove and with another perception DC18, they notice it runs right down the middle of the room again. But what is more obvious than that are four things: one giant boulder at the end of the groove and three ice jaguars prowling around it. Roll initiative!
The three kitties, as I called them, all have the same stats. Use a standard nature skill to read about them:
- AC:18, Fort:19, Ref:21, Will:14
- Init +6, Speed 8
- Resist Cold 10
- HP 48
- Attack Melee: Charge – +11 vs AC, 1D8+5, target pushed 1 square, the kitty can shift 3 squares after attack. If enemy is frozen*, increase damage by 1D8 and target is knocked prone
- Attack Range 5 Burst 1: Freeze – +8 vs Fort, target becomes *frozen. They are immobilized, Athletics DC19 to break free. If knocked prone, DC increases to 21.
This battle wasn’t terribly technical. Just needed to work around being frozen and having the difficult terrain of the groove to navigate in tight quarters around the kitties. Once they defeated them, they ran up to the boulder and with an athletics DC22, they pushed the boulder down the track. After 15-20 seconds, they hear a loud crash. (Fun fact: if they would have gone to this room first and pushed the boulder without investigating the room below, the boulder would have smashed the ice monster and killed him).
Encounter 4 (1,000 XP) – As the PCs go to the hole in the wall, they notice that it leads into a very tall room, and the hole is up near the ceiling! They are 50 feet above the ground level. Looking down, they see a room of similar size, but the boulder crashed through the ice on the ground. There are now five large chunks of ice floating (not really moving though) on channels of water. With a nature DC20, they’d notice the light in the room is glowing a blue color that is not natural. This light gives low-light vision to the room. They also notice two spider-like ice creatures sitting on the ice patches.
I accidentally meta-gamed a bit at this point (big no-no for a DM) and let slip that the encounter will start once someone touches an ice patch on the bottom. Using this knowledge wisely, they had Becky cast Tensor’s Floating Disk. Jamison attached a rope to the wall. And Matt floated down in bug form. Matt, Jamison, and Tim (who was riding on Becky’s disk) all jumped onto the ice at the same time to start the encounter. Becky spent the first few rounds playing taxi as she ferried Tom and Adam down to the ice level. The two ice-spider creatures have different abilities.
Ice Spider 1:
- AC:22, Fort:19, Ref:21, Will:18
- Init +4, Speed 4
- Attack Melee: Fire Dot – +13 vs AC, 2D6+7 damage plus ongoing 5 fire (this is a special ongoing: must have a 19 or 20 to save versus it unless standing adjacent to a character afflicted with an ongoing 5 ice, then it is a normal save)
- Attack Melee: Hit and Bounce – +15 vs AC, 2D8+3 damage, Ice Spider 1 may teleport 8 squares away
- Special Movement: May shift 4 squares if a part of the shift was over water
Ice Spider 2:
- AC:22, Fort:19, Ref:21, Will:18
- Init +4, Speed 2
- Attack Ranged 10: Ice Dot – +11 vs Will, 2D10 damage plus ongoing 5 ice (this is a special ongoing: must have a 19 or 20 to save versus it unless standing adjacent to a character afflicted with an ongoing 5 fire, then it is a normal save)
- Attack Ranged 8: Stay There – 11 vs Ref, 1D10+6 damage and target restrained until end of Ice Spider 2’s next turn
The battle itself wasn’t terribly hard. The ongoing damage was obviously annoying, and they are used to my style of encounters by now, so they knew to skill check the hell out of the area. They found out about the trick to beating the hard DC right away, but weren’t able to utilize it much because once they got rid of the ongoing fire damage, they killed the caster while the ongoing ice dealer was still near full health. They were able to take him down pretty handily, but they spent a good 6 or so turns using the heal skill check to give Matt and Adam (who were afflicted with the ongoing ice) either extra saves or the +2 bonus to their next rolls. They were able to eventually save, but they did take a combined 45 damage between the two of them after the battle had ended.
Another fun part of the encounter was trying to get from ice patch to ice patch. Some could jump, some used a teleport, some the floating disk. But sadly, Tom and Adam fell in the water. This water is COLD and slightly magical. You needed to roll an endurance skill check once you were in the water and at the beginning of your turn. It was a DC18 to pass. Fail by less than 5 meant you took 1D10 damage, a fail between 5-9 meant you were slowed (save ends) in addition to the damage, and a fail 10 or below meant you took damage and were stunned, save ends. Lucky for them, I think Adam passed right away, and Tom only got slowed for one round, then was able to get out fast.
They also noticed with a perception DC22 that the source of the blue glow was what appeared to be the tips of blue crystals poking through the floor. I wonder if this means they are getting closer to the blue crystals Takhar spoke of? We will have to wait until next time to find out.