Sunday, February 26, 2012

Into the Fire

"You know about all those dangerous mutants you here about on the news?  I'm the worst one."
 - Pyro, X-Men 2

Out of all the elements that I will write about (water, air, fire and earth), fire is by far the most common.  Why?  There are just so many spells/abilities that deal with fire, and, in my experience, people just seem more drawn to wielding fire.  It's like everybody has an inner pyro.  And so, because fire is the most commonly seen element, it becomes harder to make it interesting and finding ways to make it awesome.

Out of all the players in my group, we only have one min-maxer.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a min-maxer is a person who builds their character in a way that makes them as powerful as they can be.  Most of these players tend to focus on being the best and dealing massive amounts of damage.  Needless to say, outside of combat, they don't tend to do very well unless there's something to break/attack.

I'm not trying to give our optimizer a bad rep.  He is a great player, and while he builds his character to be powerful, he gets into all aspects of the game, exploring and interacting with the world.  However, his character is driven by one thing.

To be the most powerful wizard of all time.

This wizard, Krenlor, is also a pyromancer.  Kyle, my friend who plays this character, has taken all fire spells as the character has leveled up.  He has one daily spell that is non-fire, but everything else is fire (except Magic Missile of course).

The mini Kyle uses for Krenlor.  It's pretty accurate.

 Krenlor has given huge advantages to the party, simply by the infernos he can create and enemies he can set alight.  There have been encounters that I've built that became a lot easier simply because Krenlor threw down the fire and everything burned.  So, as a DM, I have to find a way to challenge Krenlor.

While playing through Madness at Gardmore Abbey, the problem solved itself.  Fire resistance.

So far, the last 2 elemental posts have written about building elemental characters and how, as a DM to incorporate these fantastic elemental terrain into your games.  Now, I want to talk about ways to challenge the characters.  The first, and easiest way to do this, is to have the character face monsters that are immune to their attacks.

For Krenlor, this came about fighting corrupted angels of Bahamut.  The angels had a strong fire resistance, negating most of the damage Krenlor would be able to deal.  Later on in the adventure, the party learned of a red dragon that had taken residence in the underground temple.  Krenlor groaned.  This was definitely going to be a challenge.  The rest of the party became quick to discuss how they could hope to defeat the dragon with Krenlor neutralized.

As the group has yet to challenge the dragon, the question still remains up in the air.  I will be interested in seeing how the whole adventure pans out.  I am sure that this dragon will become a hi-light of the group in the future to come, simply because of the obstacles they will need to overcome to throw down the mighty wyrm.

For fantastic fire locations, I think the most obvious place is a volcano.  It's a place brimming with danger and excitement.  In reality, any place with lava would work well.  In most situations, you could take a water based location and change the water to lava.  Instead of pirates sailing the seas, have them sailing on a river/lake of lava (using magic boats of course).  The crazier things sound, the better they become.

When I first started playing DnD and creating my world, I played a goblin artificer named Kov.  (He originally made constructs, but with all the changes in the last year, I would turn into more of an alchemist).  Since I was the only goblin in our game, I wanted to create a goblin kingdom, a place where my character was from.  And so, I created Raav, the goblin city inside a volcano.  The place was originally home to an ancient red dragon, whom the goblin armies assaulted and slew.  From there, they were able to claim the dragon's hoard, resulting it currency and wealth for the new kingdom, as well as respect from the lands around it.

Kov, with some of the constructs he created (before my re-build).
I've been hoping that my players will decide to journey to Raav at some point, simply so that I can pull out all the stops and create some  a really memorable part of the adventure.

Kov greets Caitrisana, Kat, Alfred and Murph as they enter Raav.
Of course, there always needs to be a threat or a challenge.  I'm trying to throw out some ideas about Raav.  Perhaps the city holds a portal to the Elemental Chaos, being inside a volcano and all.  Or maybe a young red dragon, hearing legends of the ancient red that was slain long ago, has come to try and turn Raav into it's new lair.  Or even a civil war between the goblins.  Regardless, there are plenty of opportunities  and reasons to turn a simple visit to Raav into something much larger and much grander.  The following picture was me toying with the idea of the dragon swooping in, killing goblins and claiming Raav for its own. 

Throwing down against the new dragon in town.

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