Defeating the Risen King

Defeating the Forgotten King


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Defeating the Forgotten King

An Alternate System for the Sacrament of the Risen Abyss in Fortress
of the Yuan-Ti

By Ari Marmell

In adventure DD3:
Fortress of the Yuan-Ti
, the PCs have multiple opportunities, through
various victories and objectives, to interfere with the Sacrament of the Risen
Abyss, a potent rite conducted by the Vanguard of Sertrous. Depending on how
well the PCs do, they gain advantages against the Risen King, an undead monstrosity
against whom they would normally stand no chance.

As published, Fortress of the Yuan-Ti
represents this weakening through a system of action points. The PCs gain
action points for their actions, which they can then use in the final battle
against the Forgotten King. Presented here is an alternate system, perhaps
slightly more complex, but which some DMs and players may find more flavorful
and appropriate for the scenario as written.

Disruption Points

Assuming the PCs reach the final encounter, they will have
interfered with the Sacrament of the Risen Abyss in some manner. No matter what
happens now, the Forgotten King who rises from the bier will not be the undead
monstrosity the Vanguard wanted him to be.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not scary
powerful. If the PCs accomplish nothing throughout the adventure, and then
expect to take on the Forgotten King at the end, they’re in for a nasty
surprise: There’s almost no chance they can defeat him.

Thankfully, they don’t have to. Throughout Fortress
of the Yuan-Ti
, the PCs have plenty of opportunities to interfere with the
Sacrament. They can acquire or destroy components, slay participants, and
prevent sacrifices. Each of these actions is given a value in “disruption
points,” and the more disruptive the PCs are, the weaker the Forgotten King is
when he rises.

Using these notes, and the checklist below, the DM
should keep track of the PCs’ accomplishments. Then, by consulting the
following charts, she can determine the Forgotten King’s abilities in the final
encounter.

The DM should also keep track of the passage of time
between the start of the adventure and the PCs’ encounter with the Forgotten
King. If the PCs manage to complete the adventure in five days or fewer, they
earn 4 additional disruption points. If they take fewer than 10 days, but more
than five, they earn 2 additional disruption points. If the PCs take more than
20 days, they lose. The Sacrament is complete, the King rises as CR 16, and his
three advisors rise with stats equivalent to his CR 14 stat block. Devastation
ensues.

Table 1–1: Disruption Points and the Forgotten King

Disruption Points Earned

Base Stat block

0–4

CR 16

5–18

CR 14

19–32

CR 12

33+

CR 10

Checklist

Use the following checklist to determine what actions throughout
the adventure are worth points, and how many. This list also includes the
additional encounters presented in the Lost
Portals of Castle Serastis
article in Dragon Magazine.

Table 1–2: Disruption Points Checklist

Action

Area

DPs

Rescue prisoners from the
dungeon

K9–K10

2

Acquire or destroy the purple
powder

D2

1

Kill Golvul

D5

4

Acquire or destroy the crown

D5

2

Ally with Zoldathra

D7

4

Kill Vsolt

P3

3

Rescue the prisoners from the
sacrificial altar

P4

4

Acquire or destroy the
phylactery

W

4

Acquire or destroy the scepter/Siolim’s
idol

C

2

Acquire or destroy the Sertrous-touched
stone

B

4

Destroy two heads of the
serpent sculpture

E1*

1

Disrupt the acquisition of
further slaves

E2*

1

Kill the ritual casters

S4

1, 2, or 3

* These encounters are found in the web article

In addition to granting disruption points, certain
actions have further effects on the King, as shown on table 1–3: PC Actions and
the Forgotten King. If the PCs accomplish four or more of these objectives, the
King’s effective CR is 1 less than his stat block would indicate. (Thus, if the
PCs gain enough points for the DM to use the CR 12 stat block, and accomplish four
of these objectives in the process, the King’s total CR is 11.)

Table 1–3: PC Actions and the Forgotten King

Action Taken

Area

Effect on the King

Rescue all three groups of potential prisoners,
thus preventing further sacrifices

F (second encounter]), K9–K10, and P4

Loses all Quicken Spell-Like Ability bonus feats

Acquire or destroy the crown

D5

Loses fear and aura of awe

Acquire or destroy the phylactery

W

Loses animate dead and poison blood

Acquire or destroy the scepter/idol

C

Loses charm monster and confusion

Acquire or destroy the Sertrous-touched stone

B

Loses writhing reach (reach becomes 5 feet) and baleful
polymorph

Forgotten King Stat Blocks

In the final confrontation, use whichever of the following
stat blocks is appropriate, based on the PCs’ disruption point total.

The Forgotten King                                   CR
10

hp
138 (12 HD); fast healing 1; DR 5/good or
silver

CE Medium undead

Init
+8; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60
ft.; Listen +5, Spot +5

Aura
awe (20 ft., DC 21), distraction (10 ft. DC 21), nightmare (5 ft., DC 21)

Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Yuan-Ti;
telepathy 50 ft.

AC  22,
touch 19, flat-footed 18

(+4 Dex, +5 deflection, +3
natural)

Immune
electricity, undead immunities

Resist
acid 5, cold 5, fire 5, turn resistance +8; SR
17

Fort
+13, Ref +12, Will
+13

Weakness king’s relics, partial outsider traits

Speed
40 ft. (8 squares)

Melee
mwk bastard sword +17/+12 (1d10+4/19–20 plus poison) and

slam +14 (1d6+4
plus poison)

Space
5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Base Atk
+6; Grp +10

Atk
Options
poison (DC 21, 1d4 Con/1d4 Con)

Special
Actions
hypnotic gaze (DC 21), invoke the serpent’s wrath (DC 21),
rebuke undead 8/day (+7, 2d6+17, 12th)

Spell-Like
Abilities
(CL 12th):

3/day—animate dead, fear (DC
19)

2/day—charm monster
(DC 19), confusion (1 target only, DC 19)

1/day—baleful
polymorph
(DC 20), Evard’s black tentacles (special; see below)

Abilities
Str 18, Dex 18, Con —, Int 21, Wis 20, Cha 20

SQ
partial outsider, poison blood, undead traits, unholy ward, writhing reach

Feats Combat
Casting, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword)B, Improved
Initiative, Multiattack, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Focus (slam)

Skills
Bluff +15, Concentration +10 (+14 casting defensively), Diplomacy +20, Disguise
+15 (+17 acting), Intimidate +16, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Knowledge (geography)
+14, Knowledge (history) +15, Knowledge (nature) +14, Knowledge (nobility) +15,
Knowledge (religion) +15, Knowledge (the planes) +15, Sense Motive +15,
Spellcraft +17, Survival +5 (+7 on other planes, +7 avoiding getting lost and
hazards, +7 in aboveground natural environments)

Advancement
Special

Possessions
masterwork bastard sword

The Forgotten King                                   CR
12

hp
172 (15 HD); fast healing 3; DR 10/good or
silver

CE Medium undead

Init
+8; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60
ft.; Listen +5, Spot +5

Aura
awe (40 ft., DC 22), distraction (20 ft. DC 22), nightmare (10 ft., DC 22)

Languages
Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Yuan-Ti; telepathy 50 ft.

AC  25,
touch 19, flat-footed 21

(+4 Dex, +5 deflection, +6
natural)

Immune
electricity, undead immunities

Resist
acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, turn resistance +8; SR
19

Fort
+14, Ref +13, Will
+14

Weakness
king’s relics, partial outsider traits

Speed
40 ft. (8 squares)

Melee
mwk bastard sword +18/+13 (1d10+4/19–20 plus poison) and

slam +15 (1d6+4
plus poison)

Space
5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Base Atk
+7; Grp +11

Atk
Options
Combat Reflexes, poison (DC 22, 1d6 Con/1d6 Con)

Special
Actions
hypnotic gaze (DC 22), invoke the serpent’s wrath (DC 22),
rebuke undead 8/day (+7, 2d6+20, 15th)

Spell-Like
Abilities
(CL 15th):

5/day—animate dead, fear (DC
19)

2/day—quickened charm
monster
(DC 19), confusion (1 target only, DC 19)

1/day—baleful
polymorph
(DC 20), Evard’s black tentacles (special; see below)

Abilities
Str 18, Dex 18, Con —, Int 21, Wis 20, Cha 20

SQ
partial outsider, poison blood, undead traits, unholy ward, writhing reach

Feats Combat
Casting, Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword)B,
Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (charm monster)B,
Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Focus (slam)

Skills
Bluff +17, Concentration +12 (+16 casting defensively), Diplomacy +22, Disguise
+17 (+19 acting), Intimidate +18, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (geography)
+16, Knowledge (history) +17, Knowledge (nature) +16, Knowledge (nobility) +17,
Knowledge (religion) +17, Knowledge (the planes) +17, Sense Motive +17,
Spellcraft +19, Survival +5 (+7 on other planes, +7 avoiding getting lost and
hazards, +7 in aboveground natural environments)

Advancement
Special

Possessions
masterwork bastard sword

The Forgotten King                                   CR
14

hp
207 (18 HD); fast healing 5; DR 10/good and
silver

CE Medium undead

Init
+8; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60
ft.; Listen +5, Spot +5

Aura
awe (60 ft., DC 24), distraction (30 ft. DC 24), nightmare (15 ft., DC 24)

Languages
Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Yuan-Ti; telepathy 50 ft.

AC  28,
touch 19, flat-footed 24

(+4 Dex, +5 deflection, +9
natural)

Immune
electricity, undead immunities

Resist
acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, turn resistance +8; SR
21

Fort
+18, Ref +15, Will
+16

Weakness
king’s relics, partial outsider traits

Speed
40 ft. (8 squares)

Melee
mwk bastard sword +20/+15 (1d10+4/19–20 plus poison) and

slam +17 (1d6+4
plus poison)

Space
5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Base Atk
+9; Grp +13

Atk
Options
Combat Reflexes, poison (DC 24, 2d4Con/2d4 Con)

Special
Actions
hypnotic gaze (DC 24), invoke the serpent’s wrath (DC 24), rebuke
undead 8/day (+7, 2d6+23, 18th)

Spell-Like
Abilities
(CL 18th):

5/day—animate dead, fear (DC
19)

3/day—quickened charm
monster
(DC 19), confusion (1 target only, DC 19)

1/day—baleful
polymorph
(DC 20), quickened Evard’s black tentacles (special; see
below)

Abilities
Str 18, Dex 18, Con —, Int 21, Wis 20, Cha 21

SQ
partial outsider, poison blood, undead traits, unholy ward, writhing reach

Feats Combat
Casting, Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword)B,
Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (charm
monster
)B, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (Evard’s black
tentacles
)B, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Focus
(slam)

Skills
Bluff +19, Concentration +14 (+18 casting defensively), Diplomacy +24, Disguise
+19 (+21 acting), Intimidate +20, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Knowledge (geography)
+18, Knowledge (history) +19, Knowledge (nature) +18, Knowledge (nobility) +19,
Knowledge (religion) +19, Knowledge (the planes) +19, Sense Motive +19,
Spellcraft +21, Survival +5 (+7 on other planes, +7 avoiding getting lost and
hazards, +7 in aboveground natural environments)

Advancement
Special

Possessions
masterwork bastard sword

The Forgotten King                                   CR
16

hp
262 (21 HD); fast healing 7; DR 15/good and
silver

CE Medium undead

Init
+8; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60
ft.; Listen +5, Spot +5

Aura
awe (80 ft., DC 26), distraction (40 ft. DC 26), nightmare (20 ft., DC 26)

Languages
Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Yuan-Ti; telepathy 50 ft.

AC  31,
touch 20, flat-footed 28

(+4 Dex, +6 deflection, +12
natural)

Immune
electricity, undead immunities

Resist
acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, turn resistance +8; SR
23

Fort
+20, Ref +18, Will
+17

Weakness
king’s relics, partial outsider traits

Speed
40 ft. (8 squares)

Melee
mwk bastard sword +21/+16 (1d10+4/17–20 plus poison) and

slam +18 (1d6+4
plus poison)

Space
5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Base Atk
+10; Grp +14

Atk
Options
Combat Reflexes, poison (DC 26, 2d4Con/2d4 Con)

Special
Actions
hypnotic gaze (DC 26), invoke the serpent’s wrath (DC 26),
rebuke undead 9/day (+8, 2d6+28, 21st)

Spell-Like
Abilities
(CL 21st):

5/day—animate dead, fear (DC
20)

3/day—quickened charm
monster
(DC 20), confusion (1 target only, DC 20)

2/day—quickened baleful
polymorph
(DC 21), quickened Evard’s black tentacles (special; see
below)

Abilities
Str 18, Dex 18, Con —, Int 21, Wis 20, Cha 22

SQ
partial outsider, poison blood, undead traits, unholy ward, writhing reach

Feats Combat
Casting, Combat Reflexes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword)B,
Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Quicken
Spell-Like Ability (baleful polymorph)B, Quicken
Spell-Like Ability (charm monster)B, Quicken
Spell-Like Ability (Evard’s black tentacles)B, Weapon
Focus (longsword), Weapon Focus (slam)

Skills
Bluff +22, Concentration +16 (+20 casting defensively), Diplomacy +27, Disguise
+22 (+24 acting), Intimidate +23, Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (geography)
+19, Knowledge (history) +21, Knowledge (nature) +19, Knowledge (nobility) +21,
Knowledge (religion) +21, Knowledge (the planes) +21, Sense Motive +21,
Spellcraft +23, Survival +5 (+7 on other planes, +7 avoiding getting lost and
hazards, +7 in aboveground natural environments)

Advancement
Special

Possessions
masterwork bastard sword

Special
Abilities (all stat blocks)

Aura of
Awe (Su)
Anyone attempting to attack the Forgotten King from within this
aura must make a Will save to do so (as per sanctuary). A creature who
successfully saves is immune to this aura for 24 hours. This is a
mind-affecting effect.

Aura of
Distraction (Su)
Anyone entering this aura hears the hissing of snakes
and the screams of the dying, and sees serpent-like shadows. This bestows a
1d4+1 Wisdom penalty, which lasts as long as the individual remains in the aura,
and for 2d4 hours afterward. Will negates; anyone who saves is immune to this
aura for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Aura of
Nightmare (Su)
Anyone entering this aura suffers hideous visions of a
dying world, beset by undead and serpents. The shadow of Sertrous covers the
land, and civilization rots. The individual is paralyzed for 1d4 rounds (Will
negates). After this time, she must make a second Will save or go mad (as per insanity).
Anyone who makes either save is immune to this aura for 24 hours. This is a
mind-affecting effect.

Evard’s
Black Tentacles (Sp)
The King’s black tentacles take the form of
shadowy snakes; anyone who takes grappling damage risks being poisoned as
though the King had struck her directly.

Hypnotic
Gaze (Su)
Target dazed for 1 round, and suffers –2 to save against the
king’s charm monster and hypnotic gaze for 1d4 rounds, 30 feet,
Fortitude negates. Anyone who saves is immune to the hypnotic gaze for 24
hours. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Invoke
the Serpent’s Wrath (Su)
Every 1d4 rounds, as a swift action, the
Forgotten King can cause a viper swarm to burst from the flesh of a living
creature within 30 feet. The target suffers 10d6 points of damage (Fortitude
half). The swarm remains for 4 rounds, and serves the King as a summoned
creature.

King’s
Relics (Ex)
Merthúvial (DD1: Barrow of the Forgotten King
or area K14) and the king’s dagger (area P4) bypass the Forgotten King’s
damage reduction. Anyone possessing the king’s crown (area D5) gains a
+2 bonus to caster level checks to overcome the King’s spell resistance. Anyone
possessing the king’s scepter (area C) gains a +1 bonus to the save DC
of any spell she casts that targets the King; the scepter must be fully
reassembled
to grant this benefit.

Partial
Outsider (Ex)
Spells and abilities that cause extra hit point damage to
outsiders (such as outsider bane weapons) deal extra damage to the
Forgotten King.

Poison
(Ex)
The Forgotten King’s semi-mystical poison affects anyone he strikes
with a natural attack or a weapon. The save DC is Charisma-based, not Constitution.

Poison
Blood (Ex)
Anyone who damages the Forgotten King with a piercing or
slashing weapon suffers 2d4 points of damage from splashing blood (Reflex
negates). Creatures immune to poison are unaffected.

Unholy
Ward (Ex)
The Forgotten King adds his Charisma modifier to attack rolls,
Fortitude saves, and as a deflection bonus to armor class. He has bonus hit
points equal to his Charisma modifier times his Hit Dice. These modifications
are already factored in to the stat block, above.

Writhing
Reach (Ex)
The Forgotten King’s body seems to ripple and shift. Although
his arms do not appear abnormally long, he has reach.

Viper Swarm                                                CR
3

hp
22 (5 HD)

Tiny animal (swarm)

Init
+3; Senses low-light vision, scent; Listen +6,
Spot +6

Languages

AC  17,
touch 15, flat-footed 14

(+2 size, +3 Dex, +2
natural)

Immune
swarm immunities

Resist
half damage from slashing and piercing

Fort
+4, Ref +7, Will
+2

Speed
15 ft. (3 squares), climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft.

Melee
swarm (1d6 plus poison)

Space
10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.

Base Atk
+3; Grp

Atk
Options
distraction, poison (DC 10, 1d6 Con/1d6 Con)

Abilities
Str 4, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2

SA distraction,
poison

SQ
swarm traits

Feats Weapon
Finesse

Skills
Balance +11, Climb +11, Hide +15, Listen +6, Spot +6, Swim +5

Distraction
(Ex)
Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in its space
must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round.