The Party Wipe: Hindsight is a Bane

My colleague, Pynthetica, told me of a sad tale on visiting my monastery for some solace and an ale. Along with others in our guild, Tyrs Paladium, she ventured into the Thirteenth Eclipse, into the Shroud, to vanquish the pit fiend there. All generally had gone well, although Pyn complained to herself of her lower damage rate, despite some fresher equipment that raised her critical strikes.

By the time her party reached the fourth phase, the Challenge of the New Moon, was where things had gone pear-shaped quickly, very shortly after the pit fiend’s first temporary disappearance. More mobs of devils and orthons appeared, apparently catching some of their clerics off-guard and vulnerable. The healers were dispatched before aid arrived, leaving the rest of the party in a terrible position. The Challenge of the New Moon sends your spirit into a prison inside the last phase, where you cannot be easily resurrected–certainly not in battle.

Very soon,  many other brave fighters, Pyn included, had fallen. Only a valiant paladin and superior monk (much like myself) survived, if only for a few moments longer. The party released their spirits back to their spirit binders, humbled and disappointed.

After ensuring Pyn had a comfortable bed for the night (and unlimited access to the monastery food and drink should she desired), I questioned myself on Pyn’s predicament: How can you survive the unsurvivable?

I placed myself in Pyn’s position and their plight. The clerics were dead. The remaining party soon would follow. What if I were there, along with the paladin and other Monk in the Harmonious Order? Healing would not be a problem as long as each of us generated ki and burst our energies sequentially. Damage from the fiends? A harder matter: While I am confident that I and the other adherent could be able to easily evade most of the pit fiend’s attacks, it would be up to the paladin to do the tougher role of keeping the fiend’s attention, especially if one or both adherents would have to destroy any supporting attackers that prevented us from damaging the fiend.

After a bit of meditation, I concluded that, yes, properly centered, two monks and one paladin might have survived long enough to destroy the pit fiend once. It assumed many things: The proper wrappings. weapons and protections on all, strong critical strikes, constant healing bursts, switching focus from one party member to another to allow each to heal…

Then I had forgotten about Pyn’s description of the flying blades. Could I evade both the fiend’s attacks and the blades simultaneously? I didn’t know the answer.

The dangers of the Shroud remain a clouded mystery, one that even the highest powers of enlightenment cannot discern. I pray I never fall into Pyn’s situation–but should I encounter it, I will that I have the power to…to endure, at least.

A promising young acolyte who has taken the name of Lynncletica has shown me a fascinating strength-based attack style that may be resourceful…if only she didn’t let her guard down while using it. I still prefer a finesse-based style, for now.

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