October 23rd, 2010

Epic Level Fun

I ran the first game of my Epic Adventures campaign for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. The premise for the campaign is that the players all begin at Level 20 and move up from there. They can be any race or class - with certain limits - and the most fun part of the character creation was giving them 20 points of back story to fill in, detailing what their characters had done to become the legends they were by the start of the game. They could invent almost anything they wanted - villains, countries, gods, magic items or property they had acquired - and I would make it part of the world's established canon. If, at level 1, they say they killed Vecna, then somehow it happened and Vecna no longer exists. While that might seem like a very risky move on my part, I felt it sent a powerful message of trust in my players. So far, no one's abused the privilege.

I threw the Tarrasque at them first thing out of the box. After the airship they'd been riding was destroyed by an elder storm elemental and they crashed into the elven enchanted forest of Lethandalas, that is. You see they'd all received a prophetic dream that an ancient and evil druid was about to awaken from a supernatural slumber and destroy civlization with her nightmarish army of creatures summoned from the depths of eldritch antiquity.

There were only two players for the first game. One of them was playing a changeling rogue with the chameleon prestige class, which meant that he was quite possibly the only Level 20 hero that the world had never heard of. The other was a straight-up druid satyr. I worked with the player to set things up so that he was actually the ancient nemesis of our evil druid and had been awakened at the same time she had.

So after surviving the crash, they make their way to the capital elven city of Syliedh, which is pretty much Lothlorien built in the branches of a single gigantic tree. Then comes the Tarrasque's assault. Because our evil druid had summoned the Tarrasque out of ancient history to serve as her champion and mount.

So not only did the players have to fight off her small army of vampiric assassin vines and somehow keep the Tarrasque from nomming the elvish capital, but they had to contend with an evil druid who could change herself into a friggin adult blue dragon in the blink of an eye. (She had a couple of shape changing feats that made her shapechanging class ability a swift action).

Now get this. The rogue decides to go all-out epic on her. He gets close to her on a flying carpet as she changes into blue dragon form, drops into the dragon's maw deliberately, and then sneak attacks the dragon from the inside!

I gave him tons of bonus experience points at the end of the game for the sheer awesomeness of that move! Yes, his character even survived the experience.
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