A Thunderous Anticlimax
Posted on October 26, 2018
I run a 5th edition game for my friends, who seem determined to never do what I expect them to. Recently, this reached a high point. Possibly a low point, depending on which way you look at it.
Through clever positioning, a few really good stealth rolls, and a few minutes spent untying ropes behind them, the group ended up facing a small band of cultists on top of a gigantic stone spire. The rock pillar they were fighting on was one carved by natural erosion, and was close to a hundred feet high. It had stairs and ladders hung along the sides, but the PCs untied them as they climbed towards the top "so no one can get away."
Fighting the cultists themselves was easy. The PCs are a pack of hardened killers, and even the Paladin is a merciless murder machine. As the cult leader died, he called for his pet, however. From below, the PCs could hear it scrabbling up the pillar. Really, it was just an ogre, but reskinned as something weird and gribbly in a Lovecraftian way.
What they saw was a thing with too many feet for the number of legs it had, misshapen hands twisted into claws of mismatched lengths. Its head was half-melded with its chest, and it drooled and snarled and gibbered as it clawed its way up a hundred feet of stone, intent on slaughtering them all and feasting on their remains. The group was properly afraid. I feel good about my skills as a DM to say that. And then the Druid ruined it.
Just before it reached the top, he leaned over the edge and cast his favorite first-level spell: Thunderwave. No big deal, the target gets a Strength save to avoid being knocked back, and the only thing ogres are good at is being strong.
The dice landed. 6. Down it fell, smashing through the bits of stairs and ladders still hanging, and down some more, until it splattered and died. The group's Wizard spent a few minutes poking it with a stick as he flubbed his checks to know anything interesting about it. Then the group went on their merry way, leaving a heap on bodies on a bonfire and a region free of weird gribbly cult monsters.