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Countering a Shade


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Our RQG group has been in a few battles involving shades.  Once it was on our side, the other times, as an opponent.  They have been awesome and effective.  I wonder if we have been playing them wrong, or what counters can be used.  Here is how we have been playing, which is possibly wrong (?).

  1. They engulf you.  The victim cannot can dodge or parry.
  2. They attack POW vs CON.  Most characters have CON around 14 or so (?).  CON is not something that gets boosted by POW resisting crystals, being a Rune Lord, etc.  Nor do Shield or Countermagic protect.  So even a small Shade has a reasonable chance to succeed, and a Medium a good chance (> 50%).
  3. Victim rolls on the Fear Shock Table, and prays to roll higher than 05.  But a typical roll has them collapsed, and very likely out of action for several rounds.  This cannot be dispelled.

The Vinga Cult Special spell Fearless is a perfect counter.  Berserker helps a lot, but that is another rare spell, and with some serious downsides.  Vigor helps some.  SunBright can kill them.  Another fairly rare spell - a nice plus for Yelmalio.  Are we missing another counter?

Note: Clever baddies will put Mobility and Protection on the Shade.  But, the one time we used one, even a raw Small Shade (who rolled lucky on POW vs CON attacks) temporarily took out most of a Lunar Squad, at least giving our attacking Orlanthi time to land and get organized.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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Assuming no clever magics , Kill it.

All elementals take damage from normal weapons (p177 bestiary/) a large shade has 27 hp and no armour or dodge skill so they will not survive long under an attack as a large elemental has average 27 hp. Preferably with missile weapons before it can get close. Vigor spell can also help against the fear shock

Spread out so they can only enagage one person at a time.

Any elemental is dangerous but it taking multiple rune points from your enemies to unleash

 

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1 hour ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Are we missing another counter?

One of my players used Illusion Sight to create an equivalent of a Sunbright.  I thought it was quite ingenuous and approved its use.  I think any sight-related illusion spell (including Hallucinate) should work.  I think of you created a cube of Illusion Substance around yourself, that should work too as it doesn't create any "cracks" for the shade to pass through.

I've had players use them to "block" an entrance - in a specific case, to hold off a horde of scorpionmen trying to enter an inn.  It proved quite effective as a holding action.

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Send in a fire elemental to attack the shade before it engulfs a victim. The shade has nothing to counterattack but will take fire damage.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Another crazy sounding defence is that you can't be engulfed if you are already inside an elemental - so Orlanthi inside an air elemental. 

17 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

SunBright can kill them.  Another fairly rare spell - a nice plus for Yelmalio. 

Yelmalio may have its flaws, but they are really are very good at fighting trolls and their shades etc, Sunbright is superb for it, and Lightwall helps too. And they get access to Vigor through Ernalda too. 

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

Another crazy sounding defence is that you can't be engulfed if you are already inside an elemental - so Orlanthi inside an air elemental. 

Sorry, no, a wanton misreading of the rules.

OTOH, I strongly agree with your comments that Yelmalio is good at fighting trolls.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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55 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Someone hasn't been to the Hill of Gold recently... 😜

That was just because Orlanth rudely takes away his great big spear just before he really needs it. Jerk. 

(if you are being charged by a berserk Zorak Zorani, your best hope is to try to take them out before they get a chance to hit you, and to do that it really helps to have a very big, very long, spear) 

13 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Sorry, no, a wanton misreading of the rules.

How do you figure that? You can certainly be harmlessly carried by an air elemental, and it makes sense that two elementals can't occupy the same space. Same tactic works against Lunar elementals too (usefully, because Lunes are absolute monsters that are very hard to defend against). Not so handy with Fire elementals unless you are fireproof though. 

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I had a shade engage a 5 character party this week, it was highly effective fear shock disabled two pc's but only demoralised a third. He and the other 2 pc's then cut the shade apart in a single round as they lack the ability to dodge or parry and have no armour . However the attack would have bee devestating if I had followed it up with trolls or something. It was a large and powerful shade so a small or medium one would have been much less effective

The party had no time or warning as it typical with shade attacks so could not follow my advice on missile fire, I suspect they will investigate precautions before attacking troll caves

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13 hours ago, Andrew M said:

 cut the shade apart in a single round as they lack the ability to dodge or parry and have no armour

The way I play shades or lunes is that they remain around a victim if there are hostiles with melee or missile weapons engaged with them. Any physical damage the shade takes is also inflicted on the victim inside.

Minimaxing attackers might either have the victim take one for the team, or they might limit their attacks to low damage ones that may be largely absorbed by the armor of the victim inside.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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This was a weird none standard shade from a Hearts in Glorantha scenario and turned into a different elemental the net turn when it was killed. But given its volume 9 cubic meters it could not really stay as an aura around its victims the spaces in between had to be filled and it could have been stabbed there. A smaller one could have done the hugging tactic.

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17 hours ago, Andrew M said:

He and the other 2 pc's then cut the shade apart in a single round as they lack the ability to dodge or parry and have no armour

It's possibly non-standard, but I usually give Elementals a modest skill at Dodge.

Also, the summoners (e.g. trolls) are able to cast protective spells on them, such as Shield or Protection.  Well worth it on a large elemental.

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1 hour ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

It's possibly non-standard, but I usually give Elementals a modest skill at Dodge.

Also, the summoners (e.g. trolls) are able to cast protective spells on them, such as Shield or Protection.  Well worth it on a large elemental.

Unless it actually has intellegence, it should not be able to dodge.. Casting protective spells on them is a smart thing to do, but be aware that some spells require touching.

In our games, elementals were used primarially as torpedos. Fire and forget. With shades specifically, we would have people cast Darkwall and have shades move up behind them, or stay inside them and let the other side move through.

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On 1/15/2023 at 5:06 PM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Are we missing another counter?

Sort of a variant to the Sunbright: Summon a Luxite or call a Shanasse right in the midst of them. Those beings and spirits of Light should do quite well at shredding the shade.

On 1/16/2023 at 1:11 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Fire Elementals are tough to come by for "typical" Sartarite adventurers.

Join the Seven Mothers! 😉 

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30 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

Unless it actually has intellegence, it should not be able to dodge.

I agree completely with the rest of your post, and I could accept that there is something that might prohibit Elementals from dodging, but not just intelligence. Animals can dodge, yet have no INT. It's an interesting question.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Sort of a variant to the Sunbright: Summon a Luxite or call a Shanasse right in the midst of them. Those beings and spirits of Light should do quite well at shredding the shade.

That's funny Jaja....  You've gone from fairly rare to the exceptionally rare.... I'm not sure that really helps.

11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Join the Seven Mothers! 😉 

And now you're just being silly..... 😛

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4 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

No, they are elements given some form.

If they come from a deity, they are cult spirits with that deity's agenda, which is why someone like Yanioth can get her gnome to cooperate with a simple 3 point Summon without having to pay 2 points for Command as well much of the time. Why would that deity's agenda not include some measure of self-preservation?

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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