The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 50: The Pants Strike Back
Updated: Jul 20
And again what I'd assumed would take the group a single day's gaming ended up taking 3. I'm starting to revise my estimate as to the length of my campaign upwards. I think I might just be in the running for longest campaign ever . . .
Everything started out so well. Do to clever positioning of the group Minerva and Zornesk were between the evil outfit and Globat. It sidestepped thirty feet and charged the hapless mage while he was still reeling from the revelations of his previous lives.
It did take several AOO's from Minerva in the process, taking up a significant portion of its life. But then it was in range, and its one strike did over 50 damage.
[DM's Note: This bad boy was a Gestalted Kensai Magus/Inspired Blade Swashbuckler/Eldritch Knight. It started at character level 17 and got worse from there. Oh, and it had a full complement of Hero (Villain?) Points. However, since they'd gone into the area alert and wary I waved the mandatory flat footed status.]
Then it came to the surprise round. Only Quagrim and the Pants got to act, and of course the smarmy bastard went first. He hasted the group. Bob took an unsuccessful swing at the pants.
Then it was their turn, and they crit Globat with a spellstriked Desintegrate. That came to about 76D6 + 2D10 + 55. Needless to say it was enough to flat kill the pansy caster. If it hadn't been for the Contingencied heal he'd placed on himself, and the feat he'd taken allowing him to channel in response to taking lethal damage, at least. Between those two healing abilities he wasn't doing well, but he wasn't unconscious either.
Then we moved into round 1: FIGHT! I must say that that opening move had certainly gotten the group's attention. Quagrim unloaded on the pants, doing very little damage. They have a very high touch ac. Then the pants went after Globat again. He burned a hero point to heal himself. The Pants got two attacks in dealing another 90 or so damage before Minerva burned a hero point to telekinetic charge the theurge 60 feet away from the evil articles of clothing.
Zornesk . . . charged up. Well, that's what I call it when he smites evil, smites chaos, and puts axiomatic on his weapon. Half the time he never actually gets to do anything before the group kills whatever they're facing. But this was that other half of the time.
The group quickly decended upon the pants dealing lethal damage. Thus followed a brilliant flash of light. When their vision had cleared the pants were gone, but now they were facing every other article of clothing. There were six: The Sabbatons of Sorrow, The Cestuses of Cruelty, The Pauldrons of Penance, The Cloak of Carnage, and The Tunic of Terror. (The pants were the Pantaloons of Pain). Each was a level 15 character gestalted with one prestige class.
After the Cloak nearly sneak attacked Bob to death Quagrim yelled 'ENOUGH' and shot them down. Zornesk then smote the cestuses and killed them. Each burned away leaving a 25k gold piece crystal. A crystal with bits of burnt thread or melted metal stuck to it. We'll get back to that.
Another flash of light and the pants were back, with the remaining articles of clothing back in their proper places. But now they were a level 19 character. I'm sure you can see how this was going to go at this point.
The pants positioned themselves next to the theurge, of course, who was suddenly all alone. Seeing his lives flash before his eyes, Globat burned another hero point and cast Mirror Image on himself. The Pants obligingly stabbed the shit out of said mirror images. I feel like I should have given him evil points for summoning those poor things just to be bard shields like that.
On his turn Globat cast Grace on himself, easily making the concentration check to cast defensively. And the Magus's Counterstrike ability came into play earning him an AOO. Ironically swift spells don't actually provoke AOOs so if he hadn't cast defensively he'd have been fine. But they've failed to cast defensively so many times that the lesson has been beaten into them. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Once the AOO was done Globat quickly scurried to hide behind Bob. Then Zornesk and Minerva advanced to block the pants' way. Unable to reach its target, the pants stabbed the ever living shit out of Minerva, downing her in one round. Globat then moved forward, Channeled Energy, Cast Cure Serious Communal, and cast Heal all in one turn. It was impressive, really.
Still unable to get to Globat, the Pants used Accurate Strike and did 200 damage to the Kobold. But then it was the smitey bastard's turn and the Pants fell.
The group started facing only four articles of clothing this time. Now I had this brilliant plan that involved having the Pauldrons (the healer of the group) grab one of those crystals and use wish to resurrect the article it had once been. I particularly wanted to resurrect the cloak as a 'fuck you' to Quagrim. Alas it was not meant to be. I'd set this up so that the articles burst out in a random direction, and never once did the pauldrons end up near the remains of any of its comrades. Never. I blame Quagrim . . .
This fight went predictably, but then the pants were back, and right in Globat's face, and stabbing the shit out of him. And now they were character level 21! Globat fell once again, and again his emergency channel saved his life. But hey, he was prone right? He couldn't cast or move without provoking an AOO. I had the frail bastard!
Alas the fucking gnome had other ideas. First he said "This probably won't work". Then he dismissed Bob, and summoned a Collosal T-Rex. A collosal T-Rex that somehow managed to grapple the pants! This moved them out of stabbing range of their goal and lifted them five feet up. URGGGGHHH!!!!
On their turn the pants stabbed the giant T-Rex to death. Then they went after Quagrim bringing him to single digit health. Then the bastard went and hid behind the paladin.
And then he uttered those words again. "This probably won't work" he said as he cast Hold Person on the pants. And I rolled a 2! A 2! And on the Pant's turn I rolled a 5! When a 7 would have freed them! Needless to say the pants weren't much longer for that round. The group made short work of the last two articles, but that was it for the day.
Ah, this was the moment I'd been waiting for. My level 23 pants were now level 20 in both magus and swashbuckler. They had a 14-20 crit range with a x4 weapon (that could be made into a x5 with the judicious use of 2 arcana). It was time for blood!
And then Quagrim uttered those fucking words . . . AGAIN, and summoned another T-Rex. And again the damned thing managed its grapple! Well, it did turn out to be a great way to showcase the pant's new abilities. The Pants one shotted the T-Rex by Critting them for over three hundred damage . . . without casting a spell!
Sadly that was enough time for the paladin to get into range. Ouch that hurt. So the pants cast invisibility and flew into the promenade to hide. It had 48 hp left. Sadly I didn't have it prepare make whole. I am still beating myself up over that.
The first thing the group did was pick up their crystals. Then they followed their elusive Quarry. Not seeing them in the open they decided to search every shop looking for them. Every. Shop.
I'd created 4 different floorplans of shops and they spent well over an hour digging through them to no avail.
The hillarious thing is that Quagrim actually stumbled on the room the pants were hiding in, but he never actually entered. He stood in the doorway, with the pants just around the corner waiting to stab an intruder, and declared the room empty. The pants might have taken a five foot step and made shishka-Quagrim but they couldn't beat his stealth role! They had no idea he was there! They did hear poor little clank clank (my nickname for Zornesk) tromping around the other rooms, but he never went back there either. As soon as the coast was clear the pants headed back to their stomping grounds.
The group spent a good portion of the day searching for the pants they'd missed in the other room. I did give them some minor trinkets for their trouble. Then they headed back to the ledge. Zornesk was in the lead with Quagrim directly behind, then Bob, Minerva, and Globat the coward. I mean, they're just pants!
As Zornesk stepped through the doorway the pants (which had been hiding against the wall, five feet from the entrance so as to not allow their aura to be seen) took a five foot step and proceeded to flat out kill him in two hits. Sadly they still couldn't see Quagrim (Who was hiding in Bob's shadow) so they then killed Bob. Roll initiatives again!
Of course Quagrim went first. He shot at the pants, revealing himself. They then stabbed him and we were on to the second, first round.
After being run through, Quagrim screamed like a little girl, five foot flew away, and cast invisibility on himself. The pants then five foot flew forward, cast glitterdust on the square Quagrim was in, and proceeded to make shishka-Quagrim! That's 2 down (3 if you count Bob) and 2 to go.
[DM's Note: This was the most cathartic moment in the entire campaign so far. As often as that shifty fucking gnome wrecked invisiblity with that damned spell for me I reveled in using it on him!]
At this point I actually had Clint shaking in indecision! I loved it. He thought the game was up. Bottom line was that even if the pants could kill him I knew Minerva would be able to do the remaining damage. She was almost guaranteed a hit dealing almost 50 dmg per. But he'd lost sight of that. I did allow a little table talk as the group reassured him there were things he could do. Call it the voices of the recently deceased granting him courage.
In the end he cast pyrotechnic eruption on the pants. Now these pants were made of red dragonhide, which means they were immune to fire damage. But I felt there was something appropriate in letting the Samsaran get the killing blow so I fudged that. Besides, it's not like Minerva wouldn't have killed the pants no matter what.
All in all I'd say I got everything I wanted in this fight. I got to kill (or bring within a few points of death) every member of the group. I made them feel as if their backs were to the wall, and I didn't TPK. And I wasn't holding back at all! They did have to use some of their loot to resurrect less fortunate members of the party, but they'll get over it. And I've got to say, the way the group worked together was impressive. I've never seen a DnD group with such teamwork. The shifty bastards . . .