This blog continues the campaign to unravel the dark secrets shrouding the King’s completion. The big boss battle takes place as I tackle the issue of leveling with experience.
The last time left us off with the assassin leaping away and the Paladin’s familiar going with it. The next day marked the start of the King’s Tourney where both the Dragonborn Barbarian and the Gnomish Fighter were to fight gladiator-style against other opponents. There was grand fanfare as the competitors were welcomed to the castle. The necromancer Halfling in the party gave up his ring he procured to the gnome fighter for good luck, and the Dragonborn gave a grand show of aggression by picking a fight with one of the other competitors just before they entered the castle.
While the Dragonborn and Halfling were prepping for battle and finding out who was a foe and who was an enemy, the druid and bard snuck into the castle. In the castle, they snooped on two Lords having a conversation about the slave shipment that was to arrive later today. As one of the Lords exited the door the bard was snooping behind, the bard took a chance and dashed into the room across from it. Upon turning around, he found a vast space, much larger than the room should have been, with hundreds of braindead eyes staring straight at him. He bolted out but unfortunately an alarm spell had been triggered and the bard and druid had to flee the castle, battling guards on their way out.
The dragonborn was tipped off from a young kid that the food seemed a little off. He and the gnome stopped eating the food and the necromancer worked to smuggle food to them in order to keep their energy up.
After three short days past, the tourney began. The clouds were heavy and dark and many people showed up to view the spectacle. The bard, druid, paladin, and necromancer showed up to support their fellow allies, but something seemed off. The crowd was peculiarly quiet. The paladin started to look around and found the entire crowd in a trance. The King arrived, decked out in the odd purple gems that the paladin, druid, and gnome had found up in the mountain village. Things proceeded to only get worse when the king announced the tourney to commence, and then the audience dropped dead while the competitors turned into horrible monsters.
The dragonborn, gnome fighter, and a few others were spared from becoming monsters for reasons unknown. But they were now in a precarious position where they were trapped in an arena of monsters. The battle was planned by me to help boost the players experience to the next level. But in order to do this I made special rules.
All damage dealt by a player was earned back in experienced points. All health points healed or people saved from dying a player would earn back in experience. The player that struck the killing blow on the monster would gain additional experience points. All monsters killed and all NPCs saved would divide the experience between all living player characters. Any deaths of a player character would result in everyone gaining half the experience.
These temporary experience gain rules really drove the battle in a more realistic fashion. No longer was it about systematically killing one monster after the next but rather working towards objectives to maximize experience gain. Instead of leaving the NPCs to fend for themselves the players actively attempted to fight their way towards them and save them. The ones with healing spells actually worked towards healing those that needed it instead of ignoring their healing spells in favor of attacking monsters (as often they could heal more damage than they could deal resulting in more experience). And lastly, they tried to support one another and work together in order to keep each other alive.
In the end, they were forced to escape the arena as the king channeled the dark magic all of the gems to turn himself into a massive dark demon (origins yet unknown). The group escaped, all having heavy hits to their health and morale. They jumped on a barge and began their travel down the river to the Gold City.
Creating supplementary rules in experience gain helped drive the players to acting and functioning in battle like they might if the situation was real. I plan to see how applicable these same rules might play out in smaller battles or ones where the players are versing only one or a few enemies instead of many.
Next time the players arrive at the Gold City to help warn of the impending battle that will soon be at the Gold Cities front doors. They come face to face with a dragon held up in the mountains and learn of the interesting history that shrouds the cities of White, Gold, and Black.