Content of the article: "Not sure how to handle an upcoming fight’s consequences"
If you're about to do battle with a thousand-year-old pirate king, please stop reading now.
I have a six-person party of level 16s. They're on a world-spanning quest to hunt down "Pawns" of gods, who are millenium-old mortals imbued with divine power to act as representatives of their gods in the world.
My party recently encountered the Pawn of the god of storms and strength. He's a legendary pirate king who believes strength to be the only virtue. When he participates in a fight, he has a practice of leaving only one survivor, in the hopes that the survivor will grow strong enough to challenge him later.
Upon meeting this pirate king, the party immediately challenged him. Being a demigod, he's naturally unconcerned, though he's aware of the party's strength. I'm concerned that the party will get wiped by this, but I don't know if that's a bad thing.
I've told the players multiple times that I did not design the pirate king as an enemy to be fought, but as a set piece. He's an obstacle, not an encounter. I've already talked with the players about how the fight will go, and they should be aware of his frankly ridiculous power. Even though they're very skilled players, tactically speaking, they're fighting him with very little prep. I do know they intend to ask for an hour to self-buff (in which case, he'll have his crew buff him, as well).
On the one hand, I'd hate for a two-year-long campaign to end on this note. On the other hand, if there's ever an encounter with a chance of death, it's this one. If I bail the party out and don't provide a very real (or even probable) risk of party wipe, I worry that the campaign will lose any tension or claims of "legitimacy" in the stakes and threats. And even if the party wipes, they have a good chance of being resurrected by some powerful NPCs, though there will be cosmic repercussions.
My dilemma, then, isn't about whether I should let there be a risk of wipe. It's about how to handle it if the party does wipe. I might just be overthinking this, though.
- Question: Did I force my players to be murder hobos?
- My party is doing too much damage relative to enemy hit points.
- Beginner DM in need of campaign help
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