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.