“Ah, my old foe. We meet on the battlefield once again.”
(Alice states that they never met.)
“Not you insignificant bearer. My ancient enemy, the Vorpal One.”
-The Jabberwock (from that Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland)
So that Jabberwock fight I mentioned a little while back happened tonight. It went more or less as expected, though not everyone had their 2 characters, and I didn’t get to plan the entire encounter the way I wanted to, which left me a little unsure and probably not as effective as I would have liked. The main DM left the party the material (a Jubjub bird beak) to make one or more vorpal weapons, of which they made one, and gave to the fighter.
On paper, the Jabberwock was way too powerful (its Challenge Rating was nearly double that of the Average Party Level). I nerfed it a little bit (only a little bit) on the fly, but it was still very hard for the players to hit and, if it wanted to do Something Bad to the party, it would (and did) with impunity:
I opened with frightful presence (no one saved against it) and burble, which confused half the party, and probably did more damage than the monster itself by making the party attack each other. Then I critically hit the cavalier with a claw attack and caught him, carrying him away as I flew out of reach of the melee-based inquisitor. The wizard finished casting summon monster VII or so to call forth a tyrannosaurus, which stopped the confused archer from filling any of the other characters with arrows, because it was the closest creature to him.
A bit of DM fiat let the wind-based oracle use control winds to bring the Jabberwock down from the sky and within melee range. The inquisitor charged and hit with her double-baned greatsword, then the Jabberwock turned its flaming eyes on the two of them, setting them both alight (like I said, Something Bad.) The gunslinger, who had been confused up until this point and had been trading blows with the fighter, turned and critically hit the Jabberwock and its (comparatively) pitiful touch AC, dealing upwards of 100 points, because guns ruin dragon fights.Thankfully his gun jammed on his second attack, or else he might have just killed it outright.
Finally, the fighter made all of this desperate action irrelevant as he came out of confusion just in time to roll a natural 20 with his vorpal beak-sword, ending the fight unexpectedly, albeit appropriately.
As I often am when these things happen, I was more than a little taken out of the action and had something of a hard time narrating the end of the fight, though the guy playing the fighter was totally stoked, and he had every right to be. I’m sad that I didn’t get to bite or whiffle, though.
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