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Old 06-19-2019, 11:00 PM   #1
MeddlingMonk
 
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Default I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

Was just running my group through "I Smell a Rat", and they ran into the Peshkali, which made mince-meat out of them.

Does anyone have any suggestions for nerfing it? It seemed way too powerful with 6 attacks per turn that almost never miss and do 3d+3 cutting damage each! The players knew they needed to cripple the arms to defeat it, but failed to even cripple a single limb before the front-line fighter was dropped to negative HP (on the second round of combat), at which point it was impossible for the mage & cleric to survive.

This was a small party of only 3 268 pt. adventurers (they completed another adventure first), so perhaps we just need a larger party?
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:28 AM   #2
Anthony
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

I think it's designed for a team size of 5-6, yes. You could probably take down the peshkali with a heavily optimized 3 player party, but it's a quite nasty fight.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:56 AM   #3
tbone
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

Yep, it's a really tough monster. It's the huge number of Extra Attacks that really make it so – and I expect they're to blame for your front-line fighter going down almost instantly.

To adapt the demon to a smaller party, I would definitely pare down the Extra Attacks first – perhaps no more Extra Attacks than there are PCs. That's just the sort of accommodation you have to make for a smaller group. (The monster still benefits from all those arms as backups, and when grappling. And all six arms still get to wave and flourish impressively!)

I recently had a bit of chatter on my site about toning down peshkali power. It's in the context of reasonably pricing peshkali as monster PCs, but the thoughts should be valid for peshkali foes, too. (I also opine a bit on the great sort-of-peshkali from film: the statue of Kali from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Its six arms make a lot of intimidating moves, but it doesn't particularly seem to use multiple attacks – unless it's engaged by multiple foes. That could serve as the model for an interesting and less deadly variant of Extra Attacks.) If you're interested: http://www.gamesdiner.com/forum/so-y...play-peshkali…
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:56 AM   #4
Celjabba
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeddlingMonk View Post
Was just running my group through "I Smell a Rat", and they ran into the Peshkali, which made mince-meat out of them.

Does anyone have any suggestions for nerfing it? It seemed way too powerful with 6 attacks per turn that almost never miss and do 3d+3 cutting damage each! The players knew they needed to cripple the arms to defeat it, but failed to even cripple a single limb before the front-line fighter was dropped to negative HP (on the second round of combat), at which point it was impossible for the mage & cleric to survive.

This was a small party of only 3 268 pt. adventurers (they completed another adventure first), so perhaps we just need a larger party?
I had almost the same experience on my first run at a convention (3 players + a cleric npc) : the barbarian went down hard on the first turn.
I did warn him that stepping into the blender was likely to hurt, but the spiders and others had generally rolled low on damage, and he was overconfident. The peshkali rolled high, with at least one max damage roll, and another close, and none under average.
Fortunately, the wizard followed up by a critical (3!), and I decided on the fly that the peshkali was vulnerable to that specific elemental attack.

You likely want to reduce the number of extra-attacks from the peshkali if you don't have a 5-6 team.

Also, You need, iirc, 10 points of damage to cripple a peshkali arm.
If your party don't have members able to do this with reasonable odds, reducing or dropping the DR on the arms is also a suitable nerf.

And finally, he doesn't have to wield 6 scimitars. Weaving only clubs against a barbarian main tank for example.
Or a mix of 1 scimitar, 1 club and 1 spear, making intricate flourishes and switching weapons from one hand to the others make for an intimidating display of skill, and a much reduced damage output, while allowing for grapples !

Last edited by Celjabba; 06-20-2019 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

I thought this was going to wipe out my party as well, but they figured out that they could cripple the limbs almost immediately. Their swashbuckler did most of the work. Once the.limbs were done, it was fairly easy. It's odd, but sometimes the tricky ones turn out to be the easiest.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:10 PM   #6
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

The peshkhali is sort of like a squad of six expert swordsmen who are somehow capable of sharing a hex while fighting. Limiting it to one arm per PC seems like it might result in a fairer fight?
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:45 PM   #7
Black Leviathan
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

Our knight was a shield specialist and armored like a wall. She was the natural target for the Peshkali and the best suited out of all of us to take that beating. On our following turn we started crippling hands. Without swords, those attacks aren't that scary.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

All that said, a single unsupported Peshkali doesn’t have any decent ranged attacks. Spread out PCs can often force it to do a lot of Move and Attack maneuvers if they’re not greedy, and that helps a ton.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:05 AM   #9
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchonShiva View Post
All that said, a single unsupported Peshkali doesn’t have any decent ranged attacks. Spread out PCs can often force it to do a lot of Move and Attack maneuvers if they’re not greedy, and that helps a ton.
In the context of this mission however, all that means is the PCs die horribly one at a time as the Peshkali runs them down and finishes them alone without the support of their friends (there isn't enough space to reliably get distance in this room without retreating back out the way they came in, and if they do that the Peshkali kills the rear guard one at a time...).

A Scout might, might, be able to successfully kite a Peshkali with it's Move and Attack being unhampered if it can make itself a threat by targeting eyes... but what is likely to happen is the heavy-hitter melee looking delver get's Move and Attacked with 4 attacks (the Peshkali saves two weapons for Parries). Then being 'stuck in', the heavy hitter gets sliced to ribbons the next turn and it all goes pear shaped...


A fully armed and operational Peshkali is a terror for any group without two heavy melee hitters who can flank her, with a few other second string combatants to pot-shot eyes, hands, or arms.

I mean, okay, properly built Squishybucklers, Martial Artists, and Thieves can 'tank' her... (solid enough defenses, Parry or Dodge, and they can fend her off indefinitely while someone else does the arm breaking).

And don't overlook upgrading the Peshkali with Shields and having her Slam. ST 20 is nothing to sneeze at in slams and grapples (especially as she can use all 6 arms and her tail for +10 to her grappling).



For a newby group, I'd probably arm her with a pair of clubs and have her grapple and constrict the first melee Character that got up on her. Give the PCs a fighting chance...
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Last edited by evileeyore; 06-22-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: I Smell a Rat impossible to beat [spoilers]

So we handled it with 3 at about 270 by doing the following:
Wizard cast blur on the barbarian who held the front row, then cast clumsiness on the peshkali. With -8 to hit the barbarian, (who had very rapid healing and 20 HP) the peshkali didn't hit that often after the first spell and almost never after the second. The cleric used every type of healing spell to keep the barb up (always starting with stop bleeding) and it just became a winnable slog.
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