I'm the DM of a 5 year game where characters have reached epic levels and I have a problem. My group is talking about taking a hit out on Iuz.
Now normally Iuz is the kind of 'big bad end boss' villain who should rightfully get killed by a group of epic do-gooders...but he's a demigod and an integral part of the campaign setting. They've attracted his notice on a handful of occasions and killed a goodly number of his clerics, so I can't think of a logical reason for him *not* to give them a little bit of personal attention. They looted the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, killed Drelnza, then went on to run Return of the Eight years later and thwarted his mother Iggwilv. Then they participated in Die Vecna Die and followed it through to the end (so Vecna's cult is after them too).
I may be opening a can of worms here, but I've looked over all the material I can get my hands on concerning Iuz and he feels like a difficult character to portray. I can't find anything regarding his personality or how he should be played. Most people I've talked to assume he's some wild gloating megalomaniac, but I'm not so sure. He's supposed to be extremely wise. In Die Vecna Die he's a 20th level cleric and a 16th level thief. In ETCG he's a blackguard 10 assassin 10 cleric 20, which I suppose is better...but why the assassin/rogue thing?
I can't wrap my mind around how to play him at all, let alone in a brief battle with epic level characters. I can't very well say;
"You come home one night and a demi-god is waiting for you in the closet. He backstabs you with a +5 unholy greatsword when you head in there to get your PJ's. Then he's like 'LoL no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition OR the Old One!!'"
So here's a question for all you Greyhawk DM's out there;
Have you ever been put in the position where you had to portray Iuz to your players? How about his mother Iggwilv? If so what did you do to make them memorable? In most cases unless players are truly epic level I assume they have no business gaining the attention of such powerful beings, but I feel the urge to USE these legendary NPC's rather than shun them.
DM's with stories to tell please post them here. Brief "Oh ****!" encounters are cool too.
PC #1: "We creep into the next cavern with our weapons ready."
DM: "Iuz is in there. He looks up and pulls a really sinister looking greatsword on you and shouts 'I bet you didn't think it was ME in here, did you? Did you. Say it. Say 'No Iuz, we didn't expect to see you around this random corner in a troglodyte cave.' Then he multi-tasks and casts Horrid Wilting and Implosion at your group before any of you can answer the question. Simultaneously."
PC #1: "OH ****!! I SHOOT RAGNAR IN THE LEG WITH MY CROSSBOW AND USE THE RING OF SPELL STORING TO CAST MAZE ON MYSELF!!!"
DM: "Why? You'll come out of the maze spell alone with all your friends dead and he'll just bag you then."
PC #1: "I'm gonna use my scroll of plane shift to bail before the maze ends. I don't know what plane yet, but it doesn't matter."
PC #2 to PC #1: "Dude, your an ****."
PC #1: "Its cool, I have a lock of your hair and I promise I'll have you resurrected later. I'm pretty sure arch-cleric Hazen will do it..."
PC #2: "Are you gonna tell him you threw me under the bus?"
PC #1: "Well....no."
DM: "No more chitchat, roll initiative. Iuz is a demigod so he always goes first in the round. And PC #1, that's an ethos violation."
In short, Iuz is the Lord of Pain, Wickedness, and Deceit...but not of combat or strength. An epic level party should be able to mop him up in a fair fight...but he doesn't fight fair. Environmental effects and deception should be key to any showdown with Iuz.
I haven't DM'ed this showdown yet, but it is certainly where my campaign is headed. _________________ My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
Kirt is right, Iuz would never fight fair. He will always manipulate the environment to his advantage. In the event that he parleys with the PCs, I'd use his Bluff skill to discreetly use a spell-like ability or two (no components needed so its feasible, depending on the spell-like ability used). Anything to gain the upper hand. As for role playing him, he's a chaotic evil demigod tyrant so I'd play him like one. He's an evil genius archetype that you should take full advantage of to play to the maximum.
Dicefreaks has some nice epic stats for him, though i advise to make the adjustments mentioned in the later posts of the thread: Link. There are also a lot of articles and fiction linked to in that thread that contain info and fluff for Iuz.
Also there's an very interesting campaign log by Man-of-the-Cranes available here on CF, which had the PCs pitted against Iuz in the end. It was an epic story arc that featured a fallen paladin of Heironeous converting to Kelanen, and in the end going up personal against the Old One with the Rod of Law. He ended up painfully on Iuz blade iirc but Iuz also felt the might of the Rod of Law.
Search for "Man-of-the-Cranes" (with all those minuses!) in the Search CF! box on the left on this site for this great story/campaign vs Iuz.
If you have an epic campaign with epic PCs, then I suggest that the PCs have to first get through the nearly epic Lesser Bonehearts (as they do so, they will be freeing various lands, so this is nicely heroic and makes for a good story). Lesser Bonehearts in this sort of campaign, imo, should be at least 17th-20th levels, imo, and have resources that bump their CR by at least 2 (access to powerful demonic/draconic allies, badass cohorts, unique magic items and powers/spells, tons of minions and undead, etc). Basically nearly epic Lesser Bonehearts should be damn near equal to one epic PC due to what they have to do to survive on a daily basis, plus they are sneaky sonsofbitches.
Once the PCs have Iuz's attention, he should start sending Boneshadow assassins after them. Keak and Obmi should be epic in this sort of campaign. Gather Information is a two-way street. If the epic heroes are famous in Dyvers, they should get a visit, at night, when alone in bed, by an epic Boneshadow assassin.
As for the Greater Bonehearts, they tend to hang out in Dorakaa with Iuz himself when not ruling their domains. If the PCs have picked off the Boneshadow and Lesser Bonehearts, Iuz probably sets a trap in Dorakaa for the PCs, making them come to him. While surrounded by his Greater Bonehearts (one of whom wants him dead, don't forget) and some demons, Iuz probably plane-shifts his entire palace to the Abyss where he can overwhelm the PCs with epic-level demon allies/servants.
Iuz is a demi-god. It took a whole team of powers to capture him the last go around. In LG canon, Iuz has become more powerful since then. In LG, Iuz defeated Pazzuzu and now controls Torremor, so maybe he takes the PCs there and lets some big-**** vrocks attack the PCs. Epic Dances of Ruin FTW!
Britt Frey, former LG Circle member for the Iuz metaregion, wrote the last fight with Iuz for LG iirc. In that fight, the PCs had several of the Swords of Answering, advice from Kelanen, help from St. Cuthbert, and one of the greater Bonehearts attempted to kill Iuz while Iuz was in the middle of a ritual designed to make him a more powerful god. This seems to balance out the fact that Iuz is a god while the PCs are not, imo.
I think the key to any fight with the old one is that he wouldn't let it happen...
Iuz, being the lord of pain, wickedness, and deceit, as well as an extremely powerful and cunning creature, has the resources to avoid almost any fight offered him that he doesn't think he could win without breaking a sweat.
If presented with the potential for a fight he'd just teleport (or otherwise leave) out of danger, perhaps leaving a clone or the like behind so the party THINKS they have fought and defeated him.
He'd then embark on a campaign of making the party suffer. Soon all their NPC friends (and especially family if any of them have NPC family in the campaign) would start dying horrible deaths. If Iuz can separate one of the PCs from the others he'd capture and torture them to make them suffer for their temerity or slay them outright.
He’d probably look into exactly who these upstart adventures are that dared think they could harm him and find out several weaknesses he can leverage against them... for example, that they already have powerful enemies with the Cult of Vecna. I could definitely see him carrying out his pogrom against the characters in a manner that would FRAME the Cult for the murders of their friends and family. This may cause the characters to refocus their attention on Vecna and away from Iuz.
Iuz would probably keep tabs on the adventures as well and lend some subtle, untraceable aid to their opponents.... The party goes off to deal with the some ‘minor’ (for them) dragon that is preying on a town. When they confront the dragon the fight is going well until a gate suddenly opens in the middle of the battlefield and begins to disgorge lesser and moderate demons that start aiding the dragon, who is just as surprised as the party by the turn of events.
If the adventures still manage to force Iuz into direct combat Iuz will use every lowhanded trick he has to win, and he won’t fight solo... The party might be able to beat Iuz but could they beat Iuz, a half dozen greater boneheats, a dozen major demons, and a party of epic level evil adventures that all work for him and would face the party with him?
The key to Iuz is that he won’t face the party... If he learns they are gunning for him he’ll strike at them from a distance and will strike from that distance at them and at everything they care for. He’ll pile problems on the party that will distract them from their goal of going after him. If they still actually manage to force the confrontation he’ll flee outright or use deception to make the party think they have won when they haven’t.
I think the key to any fight with the old one is that he wouldn't let it happen... Iuz... has the resources to avoid almost any fight offered him that he doesn't think he could win without breaking a sweat...If presented with the potential for a fight he'd just teleport...
-Agreed. The Eldritch Lord of Evil has other things to do with his time.
...perhaps leaving a clone or the like behind so the party THINKS they have fought and defeated him...
-I doubt that Iuz would waste his time, unless...
...He'd then embark on a campaign of making the party suffer...
...the first step of which would be to allow the PCs to bragg about whacking Iuz, only to have Iuz re-appear.
Boy, would there be egg on their faces.
Then Iuz would begin the persecution, as Varthalon describes...
...Iuz would probably keep tabs on the adventures as well and lend some subtle, untraceable aid to their opponents...
-I don't see the need for subtlety, except in those cases where (as Varthalon suggests), Iuz chooses to set up an enemy, like Vecna...
...If the adventures still manage to force Iuz into direct combat Iuz will use every lowhanded trick he has to win, and he won’t fight solo...
-I wonder how St. Cuthbert & Zagyg did it? On some thread, someone mentioned an account of that fight...
...Iuz is a demi-god. It took a whole team of powers to capture him the last go around. In LG canon, Iuz has become more powerful since then...
-Note to PCs who wish to fight Iuz face to face: Make friends with a Lesser Deity and and a Hero-Deity; it also wouldn't hurt to wait until you yourself have risen past Epic level, and become Quasi-Deities (like Murlynd & Keghtom).
As for practical tips for portraying Iuz, EGG's "Artifact of Evil" (which I just re-read) has detailed interactions with Iuz in chapters 8, 17, and 30, and shows how Iuz telepathically communicates with a member of the Boneshadow (Lord Obmi) in chapter 9.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum
Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises