Session 06 – Difficult Questions

Making the Nothic a worthy opponent

In the next room I made some serious changes to the Nothic. Firstly, one of it’s key abilities, Weird Insight, seems very lacklustre.   I had the Nothic ask a question of one of the players and I asked them to make a Wisdom save. If they passed the save they could answer however they chose but, if they failed, I explained they must tell the truth.  I then used this power to ask the characters about their backstories, teasing a little bit more of the secrets they were withholding from the other players.  I’m totally happy with how this played out and it’s well worth considering when the players are being a little cagey with their motivations.

The Nothic asked some very difficult questions of the characters. We delved quite deep into some of the emotional backstories of our group.

I made some more, fairly substantial changes, to the Nothic but we’ll come back to that.

Here I let slip one of the main plot points from the module by using the name “Lord Albrek” and “Glasstaff” interchangeably.  As, the party moved on into the next room, leaving the Nothic behind them, they found their way to Glasstaff’s lair and there the truth hit them.  The magician they have been sent to save and the evil wizard they have been sent to kill are one and the same. Dun dun duh!

I also added one more twist in the tale with a new letter not in the original story. A letter to Lord Albrek from a mysterious figure who signs his letter simply with the letter S. I’m not ready to reveal more yet but this will all tie into the main campaign. Still, it was nice to see the group immediately consider if Sildar had been lying to them all this time.

Sadly, the group weren’t quiet as they searched Glasstaff’s quarters and they alerted the magician to their presence. He snuck out by a secret door just before the group discovered him. They gave chase but the Nothic had been instructed to kill them by Glasstaff as he escaped. Here, the Nothic’s big changes came into play.

At this point in the story, the Nothic is not a challenge as written. I had to increase his hitpoints during the fight to stop him being trivial. Fantasy Grounds showed this as healing and Corlan noticed it. I leaned into it – Nothics in my world regenerate. Deal with it!

His damage output isn’t terribly high either so I gave him more actions and I played into the telepathic nature that had been established earlier. During each round the Nothic would;

  • Attack or cast an offensive spell.
  • Regenerate
  • Make a psychic attack.

The first time he cast his psychic spell his command was “RUN” and off Tsetung went, running in fear. Later on in the fight he commanded Tsetung to attack Durin and I made him roll both attack and damage. This is a very powerful ability and a great leveller for a fight that is becoming trivial.

The fight turned out to be the longest encounter I’ve run but it was interesting enough to keep the players interested. When it finally went down I hit a milestone moment – the group actually cheered.

I guess the lesson here is this – don’t be afraid to change things. It can lead to something special.

Scratchpad

Not a lot to change on this one.

  • Lucius’ encounter in the Sleeping Giant came to a (fatal) conclusion when the Redbrand confronted him again inside the hideout.
  • Nothic’s regenerate and revert back to their original form when they die in this world. Need to remember this for the future.
  • The party aren’t exploring enough. There’s a magic item in the room with the Nothic but nobody wanted to head down in the chasm.

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