I've added a new creature to our Creatures section called the Flesh Render which recently made numerous appearances in the epic level campaign that I run on Monday nights. I'm interested in soliciting your thoughts and experiences with these creatures.
Our campaign group is a bunch of 28th and 29th level characters. They've been traveling through the Realm of Balbros, an evil outer plane, in their quest to search
out and put an end to a powerful demon lord. They encountered groups of these creatures twice in our recent gaming session.
Some of the names of places I'm about to use will make more sense when I post my maps and notes for the campaign's travels in Balbros.
Our party consists of a number of powerful characters: Al-Rathis, a dwarven barbarian/legendary dreadnaught; Ayoi, a Galiadre bard/Dream Seeker; Tellzan an ogre-sized fighter/ex-priest of Daer-Koch turned one-channeler; and Sasha an ex-Harvester-priest of Zhakrin turned druid. There are also some powerful NPCs traveling with them: Elena, a powerful sorceress and henchman to Tellzan; Dean Praedariot, a priest of Arden; Mars, a powerful paladin of Arden; and Sedrack, a one-handed paladin of Daer-Koch. There were quite a few other party members at the outset of this final adventure but many of them have met terrible deaths in face of the diabolical evils that oppose them.
The first encounter took place against a group of four flesh renders. Most of this combat was in melee. The NPCs filled a supporting role in the combat. We got to see the flesh renders ability to possess slashing weapons, causing Tellzan's Blessed Sword of Anar-Ralk to fly into the air and begin attacking Tellzan. Other less powerful slashing weapons, totaling five in number, were animated as well. The party didn't recover their weapons until the fight had ended. Sasha shape-shifted into a gargantuan Silver Dragon and squished one of the creatures. Al-Rathis used his special axe to dispose of one with piercing attacks that it can make. Mars was swallowed by one of the creatures, but rescued. Praedariot finished one off with aid from Ayoi and her bow, Windrip. The remaining creature fled. All in all, the party decimated what I figured would be a CR 26 encounter. This was what I expected to have happen. It was a fun encounter, the PCs were pretty surprised when their weapons flew into the air and suitebly disgusted by the appearance of the creatures. Al-Rathis succumbed to the wail of despair, but this did not hinder his fighting prowess much at all. The flesh-renders did not employ any of their spell-like abilities in this encounter.
The party passed through a portal and minutes later had their second encounter against the Flesh Renders. This second encounter was set in a vast cavern. A lake of bubbling lava covered the floor and the air was burning hot. All of the PCs have protection against fire enough to not worry about environmental fire effects, though most don't have enough to do something like swim in lava without dire consequence. A bridge, 1800 feet long and 100 feet wide, 50 feet over the lava, spanned the room; though it wasn't particularly important to how the encounter played out. This chamber was dimensionally locked and unhallowed. The flesh-renders did not employ any of their spell-like abilities in this encounter.
Seven flesh renders, plus the one that fled from the previous combat waited here on top of 150 foot high towers that held up the bridge spans. Most of this encounter involved the Flesh Renders taking turns diving down and making snatch attacks on the adventurers. Several party members were caught up like this. Mars, Sedrack, and Elena each were swallowed with great effect by the creatures. Each were effectively rendered helpless within the stomachs of the renders. Elena was able to discharge her ring of spell-storing with some effect, but wasn't able to escape and was suffering too much to make use of her spell-casting abilities. In normal circumstances she might have used dimension-door to escape, but this was not possible in this encounter.
At one point Ayoi was caught up in a snatch attack. Tellzan intervened and began to grapple the creature while in the air and over lava. The flesh render chose to fall into the lava (an eighty foot fall) while still grappling Ayoi and held her under the burning lava. Tellzan was not strong enough to keep them from falling. The flesh render, naturally, did not fear the lava as they are immune to heat damage. Fortunately Al-Rathis and Tellzan were able to rescue Ayoi before she burned to death.
As expected, the Flesh Renders had trouble really hurting Tellzan or Al-Rathis. Sasha was also unscathed, but the encounter was very cinematic and did use up a number of resources of the party. I felt that the target CR of 29 (28 for creatures +1 for environmental hazards) was appropriate. No one perished, but there were some exciting close calls between Ayoi's plight and the NPCs who were swallowed whole. Each of the swallowed NPCs were eventually rescued without being dropped into the lava at the demise of the render.
I'll probably run at least one more encounter with these creatures, but our party is pretty high level and I'd like to hear from our readers how the flesh render stacks up as a single creature encounter to a suitable group.
|Flesh Render Play-Testing and Experiences|
|Posted on May 5th, 2005 at 8:34PM CST by Sulerin
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|Well, we had one more encounter against these devils in our ongoing high-level campaign. This time it was an advanced creature with 45 HD (Gargantuan in size). After taking a look at the creatures saving throws, hit points, and the DC's of its combat abilities (DC41 for its possess slashing weapons ability or its wail of despair I figured that such a beast would be a fun CR 28/29 encounter for the party.|
While the adventurers were raiding the treasure hoard of the Flesh Renders they had recently slain this one emerged from one of the other tunnels and into the
larger lava-lake cavern of the previous encounter. The encounter opened with the creature sending in several insect plagues into the caves where the characters were plundering. Some protection from evil and other abilities quickly negated this minor effect, but it gave them pause since at that point they didn't know what they were up against.
As they emerged from the cave system and into the larger cavern they saw the creature. It swooped in and easily dominated the slashing weapons of the party and began using these against them. Al-Rathis was able to command his back into his hand, but this didn't negate the possession and so it was a constant battle for him to keep control of the instrument - reducing his numerous attacks to one or two at a time.
A lucky spell penetrated the SR of the advanced flesh render and, after rolling a 1 and taking a -20 to its next roll, it failed a saving throw against a paralysis spell cast by one of the PCs. Unable to fly it plummeted into the lava below, taking a little damage from the fall but none from the lava. Though paralyzed it was still able to use the weapons it had possessed against the PCs, doing some reasonable damage. At one point, annoyed with Tellzan attacking it, it threw his prized Sword of Anar-Ralk across the cavern where it promptly sank into the lava. That got Tellzan's attention, who broke off the fight to go rescue his weapon.
Despite best efforts, the paralysis really did the creature in by taking away its greatest advantage - mobility. Had it not been for that I'm sure that the creature would have snatched and swallowed at least a couple characters and that the fight would have been a lot more intense. Still, even paralyzed it was an entertaining fight with the possessed weapons moving about at the flesh-renders whim.
Have you used the flesh render in your high level campaign? I'd love to hear about it.