Well, what can I say?
They broke my game!!!
A few things I had not anticipated. They pushed the limits of their abilities and basically were able to bypass alot of things. The Yugoloths were just over powered to be in this sort of environment ,without putting some more restrictions on their abilities.
I realised this was going to be the case a few minutes in when describing the different entrances on the various levels, when Ultraloth decided he would Clairvoyance to go up and into different entrances and see what he could ‘see’. This is definetly a spell that needed restrictions such as once per day or use of a spell slot etc.
I did not change the stats on any of the enemies from the Monster manual. Now I look back at it, they were all just too ‘easy’ for such high level characters and it was very unbalanced. Whilst my players had great fun obliterating things, I felt somewhat of a failure in not realising how unbalanced it was. I was so worried they would end up dying that I did not stop to realise the challenge just was not there in the way it was written.
I could have counteracted this by having larger numbers of enemies in each encounter but I personally , cannot, even with my sheets and dots, keep track of 10 plus enemies and the players.
I bought in the Kohataloth, played by husband David. His corrupter of fate was exploited to the extreme. It was hilarious but again, it made for no challenge for the players, just alot of laughs, and perhaps a few tears from me! XD
Corrupter of Fate. All attack rolls against the kohatoloth that would have advantage instead have disadvantage, and all attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws the kohatoloth would make at disadvantage are instead made at advantage. All rolls of 20 scored on attacks against the kohatoloth are treated as if the roll was a 1, and vice versa. (3.5 Monster manual)
Now I did not roll well against any of the players, except for David.. I rolled so many natural 20’s! They all used invisibilty alot but that is not a spell Kohataloth has. So David decided to make himself a blindfold thus granting him advantage on his stealth rolls! Game broken!! XD
I have to say I still enjoyed it, and all of the players said they had a great time, but i did feel a bit of a failure in not giving a challenge.
The only other negative I had was that time management was an issue. The bueauty of this is that at any time i could decide the next tunnel they walk down, would lead to the end rooms. We had planned a 11am meet, for birthday cake, presents and chat with a 12 noon start. we knew we would go onto the late evening , stopping for pizza at some point.
At 6 pm i decide to take them to the final sequence of rooms. So once they finished the room they were on, they moved to the junction map. Then onto the Spectator room. They reached the cultist pod room and it was quite a bit after 9pm. Not sure how. It did not feel like it was dragging. They did not seem to waste time. By the time they had almost cleared the cultists It was gone 11pm and everyone was tired and flagging. I did say i could wrap it up quickly but everyone wanted to continue to the end.
It was the early hours by the time it was done, even though i cut bits out so the end fight did not take long. I cut down how many enemies were in the room. It is the age old ‘you can spend 1 hour in real time travelling half way accross the continent in game and then 4 hours in real time for 1 minute of combat in game!
So what did i learn?
I learnt that the dots and pre cut maps were perfect for me. It gave me great experience of thinking on the spot. It taught me that I need to be more aware of character abilities so they are not OP and to make sure the enemy is of a similar power in level and abilities. It taught me that if i cannot think of a reason to say ‘no you cannot do that’ , it is ok as the DM to just say because I said so! Perhaps have some back up generic reasons such as anti magic shell etc. It taught me to simplify if it is a one shot and to keep more complex dungeon set ups to long term campaigns – be ready Otravac!!
Overall it was great fun. Despite the imbalance. I would like to run it again, perhaps with them playing as the Devils this time but I would be greatly altering the stats /spell restrictions to make it more balanced challenge. The great thing is my puzzles can be used in Otravacs solo journey, the maps can also be used in our longer term campaigns.