Encounter culture #2 - Conjuration
Since the first encounter culture was so well liked here’s another one! This time Duck and Roll takes a look at an encounter focused on the school of Conjuration.
The basics: A nest of Unfettered Eidolons have captured a summoner and a cleric and are using them to create a brood of other unfettered.
CR 15 encounter-
Imprisoned Cleric - level 10
Imprisoned summoner - level 10
Treasure: 25,000 Gp worth of stolen diamonds, and any magical items the summoner or priest may pass on to the players that the GM wishes them to have.
After a hard fought battle a summoner, once an adventurer much like the players, succumbed to their wounds and died. In the process their eidolon was freed, became unfettered, and sought a place for itself in the world. No matter how it tried the eidolon could not find a creature like itself, a mate, but one day in its wanderings it found it's old summoner alive and well, resurrected by a priestly companion. And the summoner had a new eidolon much like the old one. It approached this new eidolon discreetly asking it to run away with it, escape and begin a life together but of course it could not. Not so long as the summoner lived. What followed was a short and brutal ambush and the summoner was slain again and the Eidolons could be together. But even as the summoner's priestly friend still lived, still healed their wounds, the eidolons hatched a plan. The priest was forced to revive their summoner companion and then both were captured by the eidolons, imprisoned in a secret cavern. Over and over again the summoner is forced to create an eidolon, slain, and then revived, the priest being forced to perform the miracle and then the eidolons leaving them for a time to steal fresh diamonds.
Hook: The disappearance of either a local summoner, a noted priest, or the theft of numerous diamonds all make great plot hooks. As do sightings of the brood of unfettered eidolons carrying out the misdeeds. This can also work well if modified to include a summoner or priest the players already know.
Tactics: The pack of powerful eidolons guards the cleric and the summoner alike, keeping the summoner at least 30 ft away from the cleric to prevent them from being able to help each other escape.
Depending on the templates chosen the Eidolons typically have 4 hang back and unleash and ranged or spell like abilities while the other four engage the party up close. 2 of the eidolons, the first 2, will flee if more than half their ranks are slain and they have access to the exit, otherwise they will fight to the death, either way they will never surrender to capture. If either the cleric or summoner becomes too much of a problem an eidolon will move adjacent and attack, and follow with a coup de gras the next round.
Once the battle begins the Summoner will make use of their Summon monster spell like abilities to call in creatures to aid the party, but this can be short lived if the heroes don't come to the summoner's aid since they can be killed quickly by a coup de gras. The Cleric meanwhile will beg the heroes to get their holy symbol from a nearby table, and if they do the cleric can call on channel energy to heal nearby allies
Tale of the tape: On paper this is a CR 16 encounter, given the 8 CR 10 eidolons. However the aid of the summoner and cleric grant enough of an advantage to bring the challenge rating to 15. It's advised to use this encounter as a significant challenge for a group of level 11-14 characters since each individual monster is considerably weaker.
Map: There are a number of configurations you could use for the terrain, a default map is not included because it depends on how you advance the eidolons. If they wind up with flight for example a vertical battlefield set into a cliff is appropriate, whereas giantx2 eidolons need a lot of open space.
Variations: The easiest variation is by changing the templates applied to the unfettered eidolons, though they could also be swapped out for other outsiders of similar CR to simulated different eidolons.
One could also change the encounter to 16 typical unfettered eidolons, or just 4 cr 12 ones, or even just a pair of CR 14 Eidolons representing the original duo, yet to begin their brood.
Done fast: To make this encounter real quick to set up don't bother detailing the summoner and priests abilities. Limit the priest to just "channels energy for 5d6 healing in 30 ft", and the summoner to "Can cast "Summon monster 5" 4 times during the fight. And just slap the incredibly simple "Advanced" template on the eidolons twice.