Spoilers for Baldur’s Gate 3 below, although not any story spoilers. Just combat spoilers, if that’s a thing.
I’ve had some pretty thrilling battles in Baldur’s Gate 3 on Tactician difficulty. In Act 1: The Gnolls, the Phase Spider Matron, the Hook Horrors, the Spectator. Dror Ragzlin. But this one in Act 2 was the most adrenaline-fueled thrill ride of a roller coaster to date. And as luck would have it, I’m off work this week so I can afford to waste nearly my entire day writing it down.
The First Attempt
My party lineup for this adventure was Tavi, the Bard with the Bongos, Karlach, the Dancing Barbarian with the Heart of Gold, Shadowheart, the murderous Dark Justiciar Cleric in Training, and Gale, the Wizard of Waterdeep and Mystra enthusiast. (I switched out Astarion for Gale, because the addition of Counterspell and Fly at level 5 suddenly made Gale less of a liability to the party.)
It all started after entering the Mountain Pass, ending up on the Rosymorn Monastery Trail, then choosing to go left at the fork at Trielta Crags instead of right. This is the very first decision in “Act 2.” The game doesn’t really say it’s Act 2. Only The Internet calls it that. Anyway, I walked straight into a pack of Ghouls, a Ghast, and two Death Shepherds, all level 5 undead.
It was my first fight in Act 2, and the party was level 5. I was very worried about the Ghast, based on my Solasta: Crown of the Magister adventures, but I couldn’t remember why. Then the Ghast paralyzed Karlach, my death-dealing machine, for two turns, and I remembered why I was nervous about Ghasts. Then the Death Shepherds started raising all the previously-killed Ghouls. Then the party died, though technically two of them managed to flee, but it was for nothing, since all the enemy undead were raised back to unlife.
It wasn’t even a named boss fight. Just some trash mobs on the road. But it was a hard rejection. A strong hint to go the other way.
I reloaded and went right at the fork, exploring the Rosymorn Monastery. There were some tense fights there, too, particularly against a pack of cute little Gremishkas, in which I was certain the party would die, but they managed to pull out a victory in the end. And then there was a fight in the Githyanki Creche, in which I was really certain the party would die, but they managed to pull out a victory, with only Karlach left standing at the end. Both of those fights could be their own narrative posts.
After all that, the party reached level 6, and there was nothing left at the Rosymorn Monastery to explore. It was time to return to that fork in the road at Trielta Crags. I needed to defeat the Death Shepherds, because I needed to get past them to head west toward the Moonrise Towers I keep hearing about, and, presumably, the remainder of the game.
The Second Attempt
I had a plan. The two Death Shepherds were the biggest threats with their apparently unlimited ability to casually raise any of their fellow undead with full hit points, so I planned to focus entirely on them and ignore the others. And I planned to get them both down to low hit points, but not kill them, until I could kill them both together, because I assumed (correctly) that each Death Shepherd would simply resurrect the other Death Shepherd, if one died before the other.
Also, incidentally, undead are resistant to Slashing, Bludgeoning, and Piercing damage, so Karlach’s monstrous weapon damage potential was largely nullified in this fight. It was slow work to whittle down every one of these undead with a great axe.
The second attempt at the fight also ended in a TPK, largely because Gale accidentally killed a Death Shepherd too soon with a Thunder Wave, and also because I discovered that not only do the Ghasts paralyze, all those Ghouls do, too. Fail a save and one party member is out of commission for two full turns, and every attack against them is an automatic critical hit. Not good. And I didn’t have Lesser Restoration prepared then to dispell it, either.
The Ghast also has a stench that renders a party member unable to use an action, too. Every Ghoul and Ghast has the potential to render party members completely ineffective for one or more turns. Nasty stuff.
Tavi died, then Gale died. Still, a victory could have been possible, but I didn’t realize that Karlach couldn’t do her massive damage Legacy of Avernus abilities while she’s raging, so I couldn’t do enough damage to kill the second Death Shepherd before it raised the first Death Shepherd, and that was the end of the second attempt.
It’s really disheartening to see a Death Shepherd you worked so hard to kill over a bunch of turns raised back up in one turn with full hit points.
The Third Attempt
For the third attempt, I had a better plan. This time I thought it might be fun to actually prepare some spells I would need: Shadowheart took Lesser Restoration, which cures paralysis, and Gale took Fireball. And for the third attempt, I hoped not to forget that Shadowheart could turn undead until it was too late.
Round 1, A Hilarious Start
The battle begins.
Tavi the Bard casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the first Death Shepherd, which succeeds and takes it off the battlefield, prone on the ground. With her bonus action, she gives a Bardic Inspiration to Karlach.
Two Ghouls advance.
Karlach goes into a rage, and gets Wild Magic flowers and vines, making difficult terrain around her. With the nearest Death Shepherd succumbed to laughing, she instead runs at one of the advancing Ghouls and hits twice for only 5 and 6 hit points of damage against the resistant undead.
Gale casts a Fire Bolt cantrip from behind a wagon on the first Ghoul and hits for 15 hit points, leaving it with just 2 hit points.
Shadowheart tries to cast a Fire Bolt on the first, near-dead Ghoul to finish it off, but misses. She moves back and maintains her distance, to keep concentrating on Beacon of Hope.
The second Death Shepherd dashes up near Karlach. The first Ghoul claw at Karlach. The Ghast runs up next to Karlach.
Round 2, No Turning Back
Tavi the Bard continues to concentrate on Tasha’s Hideous Laughter to keep the first Death Shepherd down. Tavi uses her action to cast a Vicious Mockery cantrip on the second Death Shepherd, which succeeds for a point of psychic damage, but more importantly gives it disadvantage on any attacks. She moves back as well, to maintain her distance from the paralyzing undead.
The first Death Shepherd makes its save and stands up from the Hideous Laughter, so it’s back in the battle.
Gale casts another Fire Bolt cantrip on the first, closest Death Shepherd, but misses. He stays well back behind the wagon at the fork in the road.
One Ghoul starts to move past Karlach, and another one tries to claw at her, but misses.
Karlach steps away from the Ghouls toward the first Death Shepherd, and receives two attacks of opportunity, but they both miss. She makes two attacks for 8 and (a critical) 13 slashing damage. It has 47 hit points remaining. With her bonus action, she shoves a Ghoul away, which succeeds, but it has little practical effect.
Shadowheart uses the jump-and-move trick to get a maximum amount of movement. She runs forward near Karlach, within range of the clump of Undead surrounding Karlach. She casts Turn Undead, and every single one of the undead is in range. This is a big moment, a lot depends on this. I cackled, thinking most of the Ghouls and maybe even the Ghast would run away, and this fight would be off to an amazing start.
It wasn’t to be. Tavi chooses not to do Cutting Words on several Ghouls, hoping to use it on the Ghast, but instead uses it on a Death Shepherd to make it fail its save. Unfortunately, it’s immune to terror. None of the undead are turned, and Shadowheart is left vulnerable near the front line. My cackling turned to a grimace.
The second Death Shepherd hits Karlach with two attacks, hitting once for 2 slashing. The near-dead Ghoul claws at Shadowheart but misses. The Ghast runs up and claws at Shadowheart and hits for 6 damage, but she maintain concentration. But she fails her saving throw against the Ghast’s nausea.
Round 3, Paralysis
At this point I learned that Beacon of Hope only lasts a short time, regardless of whether you maintain concentration.
Despite the failure to turn any Ghouls, we were holding our own. Karlach stayed up on the front lines, while Tavi and Gale stayed way back. Shadowheart was caught up in a cluster of undead, though.
Worried that the first Death Shepherd might run amok in the back lines instead of engaging Karlach, Tavi attempts to do another Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on it, but it fails. She gives a Bardic Inspiration to Shadowheart, to help her get away from the three undead now surrounding her nauseous self. Tavi creeps backwards again.
A Ghoul runs from the background into the difficult terrain surrounding Karlach, but doesn’t reach anyone. The first Death Shepherd steps away from Karlach toward Shadowheart, and Karlach hits it for 6 slashing damage as it leaves. Shadowheart luckily dodges one greatsword attack, then Tavi uses Cutting Words to make the second greatsword attack miss as well. Shadowheart escapes the onslaught without any damage.
Gale continues the tradition of casting a Fire Bolt cantrip on the first Death Shepherd from behind the wagon, and misses again, disappointing everyone.
One Ghoul claws at Karlach, but misses. Another Ghoul tries to walk around to reach Karlach, but is slowed in the difficult Wild Magic terrain and can’t reach her.
(At this point I finally realized that it’s not a game bug after all, it’s the barbarian rage that prevents Karlach from using her Legacy of Avernus abilities.)
Karlach is engaged with the second Death Shepherd and a Ghoul. She strikes at the Death Shepherd, uses Reckless and hits for 10 hit points, but it makes its save against the Laceration effect. The second attack, with reckless advantage, hits for 7 hit points.
(At this point I learned that the paralisys save is Con not Wis, so Beacon of Hope isn’t helping.)
Shadowheart is surrounded by a Ghast, a Ghoul, and the first Death Shepherd. She needs to get out of there if she wants to maintain concentration on Beacon of Hope. She does a bonus action Misty Step (using her boots I think). Still suffering the effects of nausea from the Ghast, she doesn’t have an action, and runs far away, behind Tavi.
Karlach is left by herself on the road, surrounded by undead, while the rest of the party is back down the road by the wagons. Karlach takes two hits from the second Death Shepherd for 7 total hit points. The first, near-dead Ghoul, now that Shadowheart is gone, claws at Karlach for 2 hit points, and even worse, paralyzes her! The Ghast piles on and gets a critical hit against Karlach for 9 more hit points. Karlach ends the round paralyzed, with about 2/3 of her hit points remaining, but on the plus side she isn’t nauseous.
Round 4, The Fog Cloud
Tavi keeps trying to cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the first Death Shepherd. It fails again. She does a bonus action Healing Word on Karlach, and restores the full 7 hit points thanks to the Beacon of Hope. All four of her first level spell slots are gone now.
One Ghoul tries to maneuver around to Karlach, but the difficult terrain means it can’t reach her. The first Death Shepherd, having previously had Shadowheart teleport away from it, dashes out of the difficult terrain and into the back lines, and there’s nothing left between it and Gale, Shadowheart, and Tavi.
Gale casts a Fog Cloud surrounding Karlach, in the hope that all the undead surrounding her will have a harder time hitting her while she’s paralyzed. Three Ghouls and the second Death Shepherd are blinded. Gale continues to move backwards, away from the first Death Shepherd.
The fog didn’t help, because two Ghouls get critical hits on paralyzed Karlach for a total of 11 more slashing damage on her.
Shadowheart, staring at the Death Shepherd lumbering towards her and Tavi, considers her options. She’s no longer nauseous so she has her actions back. She casts a 2nd level Blindness at the first Death Shepherd, and steps back. It’s not a concentration spell, so the Beacon of Hope remains in effect. Shadowheart backs away.
The fog still doesn’t help, because Karlach takes two successive critical hits from the second Death Shepherd for a total of 14 damage. She’s getting hurt pretty bad, and she’s still paralyzed. Unfortunately Shadowheart can’t see her in the fog to dispell it. Gale considers that the fog cloud may have been a mistake. The first, near-dead Ghoul, which is still quite alive, rushes away from Karlach into the back lines as well, joining the first Death Shepherd. The Ghast claws Karlach for another 8 points of critical hit damage. Thank god for barbarian rage.
Round 5, The Fireball
Tavi worries a lot about Karlach going down. The barbarian only got 13 hit points left. She moves forward a little to get in range and tries to cast a Healing Word, but the fog prevents her from seeing Karlach. She glares at Gale. Instead, Tavi tries another Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the approaching Death Shepherd, and it fails again. Three in a row now. Another wasted spell slot.
Things are looking grim. A Ghoul claws at Karlach. It’s another automatic critical hit because she’s still paralyzed. The first Death Shepherd senses opportunity, abandons running toward Shadowheart and Tavi, and goes back to hit Karlach with two more greatsword critical hits, downing her in the middle of the fog cloud.
Gale ponders his life choices. Maybe that fog cloud didn’t actually help. Maybe he needs to make up for it. The undead are probably going to keep hitting Karlach on the ground until she’s dead. Bold, decisive action must be taken. Gale drops the fog cloud, then throws a 3rd level Fireball right where the cloud used to be, centered roughly where Karlach lies in the road, using one of his three 3rd level spell slots.
It works. Three Ghouls are instantly incinerated for 30 hit points of fire damage. The Ghast and two Death Shepherds take half of the damage too.
Shadowheart runs forward and casts a second level Healing Word on Karlach, restoring a full 11 hit points. (Beacon of Hope is still in effect, despite that fact that the game says she’s not concentrating on it anymore.)
Karlach’s turn is simultaneous with Shadowheart and Gale, so she drinks a Potion of Greater Healing, restoring 20 more hit points, getting her near half of her health. She doesn’t have an action, but she runs away and takes 11 hit points from one attack of opportunity.
Shadowheart has an action left, so casts a Blade Ward cantrip on Karlach to protect her from further harm, only to discover that Blade Wards only affect the caster, not a target. Oopsie.
The Fireball was only a temporary respite, because the second Death Shepherd, as expected, casts No Rest for the Wicked to raise a Ghoul back to life. Gale chooses not to Counterspell, in order to save his third level spell slots for when it really matters. Then the Death Shepherd runs at Karlach and hits once for 11 hit points, and a second time for 14 hit points, downing her again. Without Rage, she doesn’t take half damage anymore. The Ghast then claws at Karlach’s body and causes her to fail two death saving throws immediately. Karlach is in big trouble.
Round 6, The Ghouls Are Back
Things are looking bleak. Karlach is one death saving throw away from death. The Death Shepherds are raising the dead Ghouls back to unlife.
Tavi casts Plant Growth in the area of all the undead, in an effort to hinder them from reaching the rest of the party, then casts a bonus action Healing Word at second level on Karlach to restore the full 11 hit points, thanks to the Beacon of Hope.
The first Death Shepherd raises another Ghoul with No Rest for the Wicked, but at least it’s not hitting Karlach.
Gale casts a Fire Bolt cantrip, but it’s at disadvantage because of a “too dark” effect that makes no sense whatsoever, because it’s broad daylight. It misses, of course.
A Ghoul runs up and hits Karlach for 5 points of damage, and she’s barely standing. Karlach fails a nausea save and can’t take an action.
Shadowheart casts a Healing Word at third level on Karlach, and restore 15 hit points. With her action, she casts a Fire Bolt cantrip at the first Death Shepherd and does 11 hit points of fire damage. It has 17 hit points remaining, the most wounded of the two.
With no actions, Karlach has no choice but to try to run, and takes 3 attacks of opportunity, is paralyzed, and goes down again.
The second Death Shepherd raises another Ghoul, and all three Ghouls that had been killed by Gale’s Fireball are back again. It then leaves Karlach and dashes towards Gale, hitting once for 10 hit points of damage. The Ghast runs at Shadowheart and attempts a claw attack, but misses.
Round 7, Missed Opportunity
The front lines are in shambles, Karlach is down, and the undead are all up in the party’s back lines.
Tavi casts Heat Metal at third level on the second Death Shepherd, which is now looming over Gale. It doesn’t drop its sword, but it takes a big 21 points of fire damage, leaving it with 19 hit points remaining. And that spell remains in effect as long as Tavi keeps concentration. With her bonus action, she casts Healing Word on Karlach at second level, restoring 11 hit points (again), and saving her from a fatality for another turn. Tavi only has one 3rd level spell slot remaining, and runs further away.
A Ghoul tries to claw at Karlach but misses. The first Death Shepherd moves up, but inexplicably doesn’t try to attack Karlach. Incidentally, a big section of the road is now on fire, and the undead are taking a few points of additional fire damage now and then.
Gale has two 3rd level spell slots remaining. With a Death Shepherd looming in his face, he rotates around to get a better angle without taking an opportunity attack, and throws another Fireball in Karlach’s vicinity. The first Death Shepherd fails its saving throw, and is killed by 24 points of fire damage. Two Ghouls, a Ghast, and the second Death Shepherd remain standing. Karlach takes no damage, thanks to Gale’s feat. Gale drinks a small healing potion with his bonus action.
Now the real fun begins. The Death Shepherd’s turn is coming up, and it will raise the Death Shepherd that just died with full hit points. The party has to stop that. Luckily, Gale has one 3rd level spell slot remaining, and can Counterspell it.
Karlach is nauseous from the Ghast and can’t take any actions. She begins Raging with her bonus action, hoping to take half damage from any attacks. It’s all she can do. This time, the Wild Magic effect is damaging tendrils, but everyone succeeds on the saving throw. She tries to move away from the Ghouls, but takes a hit and is paralyzed again. Arg!
Only Shadowheart and Gale’s Counterspell can stop the Death Shepherd from casting the resurrection now. But Shadowheart has to cast Lesser Restoration on Karlach to dispell the paralysis, but it’s a touch spell and there’s a Ghast in her face! She has to take an attack of opportunity, which could paralyze her too.
The Ghast misses, and Shadowheart gets away, and dispells Karlach’s paralysis. Whew! That would have been disaster. Karlach is no longer paralyzed, and no longer nauseous, and Shadowheart does a bonus action Healing Word to restore 4 more hit points to Karlach. The Beacon of Hope has ended.
Karlach has movement remaining, so she runs up to the remaining Death Shepherd. The battlefield is a shambles, everything’s on fire, but the situation is under control. Gale still has a Counterspell, which is vitally important to stop the Death Shepherd from raising the other Death Shepherd with its upcoming turn. Karlach will get her actions back and be able to kill that Death Shepherd next round. Nothing could possibly go wrong now, right?
The Death Shepherd runs past Gale and tries to get away. Gale has a chance to do an opportunity attack. Then, the game glitches out, and the graphics go all weird and flashy, and I’m staring at a very distracting strobe light effect while deciding on whether to do an opportunity attack. I take one, without thinking, and it’s a CRUCIAL BONEHEAD MISTAKE, in all caps, with exclamation points. Gale misses the Death Shepherd, but Karlach also gets an attack of opportunity and does 12 points of damage to the escaping Death Shepherd. It only has a few hit points left, but it’s still alive.
While the graphics are having a full-on meltdown and I’m frantically quicksaving, thinking the game is about to hard crash to the desktop, the Death Shepherd casts No Rest for the Wicked and raises the other Death Shepherd, with full hit points. I didn’t notice it.
You see, when Gale used his reaction to do an opportunity attack, he threw away his chance to do a Counterspell to stop the resurrection.
When the graphics clear up enough that I can see what’s going on, a Ghast has jumped over and paralyzed Gale to add even further insult to injury.
Round 8, The Sheep
Tavi still has the Heat Metal applied to the second Death Shepherd, which only has a few hit points left, and re-applies the damage with a bonus action. It does 14 fire damage and kills the second Death Shepherd. I’m celebrating, because I think both Death Shepherds are dead now, and the rest of the fight will be easy.
Then I see it.
There’s still one Death Shepherd left, with full health.
At this point, it’s been almost an hour since I began, and I’m just catching on to the fact that I’m nearly back where I started, with the second Death Shepherd raised again. I’m not pleased about this development. I’m extremely disheartened, you might say. Not only am I probably going to have to reload and try this fight again, but it wasn’t because of some random dice roll, it was entirely because I made a careless mistake.
Instead of being in a fantastic position to win the fight with both Death Shepherds dead, we were in a dire predicament with one Death Shepherd still alive with all their hit points, standing by to resurrect the other, Karlach almost dead, and Gale paralyzed. There’s no way we’re going to win this fight now.
Never have I wished to be able to save-scum more. But the quicksave I did was after the mistake.
Tavi still had an action remaining on her turn. She had to stop the Death Shepherd from casting a resurrection for the party to have any chance of surviving. She flipped through her inventory and cast a desperation Polymorph from a scroll on the first Death Shepherd, before it could raise the second Death Shepherd. It worked! The last Death Shepherd turned into a sheep for five turns. That just left a horde of paralyzing Ghouls and that pesky Ghast over by Gale and Karlach.
One Ghoul runs up and hits Shadowheart for 5 points of damage, but she’s still fairly healthy. The Polymorphed sheep runs at Shadowheart, and there’s some concern it might get hurt in some environmental damage on the battlefield, but the fires have died down and, importantly, it stays a sheep.
The situation is this: After the Fireballs and the leftover fires, there’s two Ghouls left, one has 7 hit points left, the other has 4 hit points left. The Ghast has 32 hit points left. The Death Shepherd is a sheep. And Gale is paralyzed.
The Ghast is the biggest threat on the battlefield, so Shadowheart finds a scroll of Banishment in her inventory, and casts it. The Ghast is banished, but only for two turns. She runs away from everyone so nobody can break concentration on the Banish. She casts a bonus action Healing Word on Karlach.
Karlach pops an Infernal Coin into her Infernal Engine, for the first time. I have no idea what it’s going to do, but this seems like a great time to find out. We have to win this battle, and if we don’t, we’ll just end up reloading anyway. It sets her on fire, so she does a little bit of extra fire damage from Infernal Fury. Only the two Ghouls are left on the battlefield, and a sheep. She attacks one of the Ghouls, misses, but with a Reckless attack, gets advantage and hits and kills it. The sheep hits her for 1 hit point of damage. With her second attack, she hits the second Ghoul and kills it, too. And suddenly she’s doing a lot more damage, as if the undead aren’t resistant to her damage anymore.
Gale remains paralyzed, but since the Death Shepherd is a sheep, he doesn’t need to Counterspell anything.
Things are looking good again. The pendulum has swung. It’s still possible to win this fight. The Death Shepherd is a sheep, the Ghast is banished, and all the Ghouls are dead. Karlach can attack the Death Shepherd in the next round, Gale will come out of paralysis, and he can Counterspell any attempts by the Death Shepherd to raise the other Death Shepherd.
Round 9, Not So Fast
Tavi has one 3rd level spell slot remaining. With her bonus action, she casts a Healing Word to heal Karlach for 11 hit points, giving her a total of 32 hit points. She continues to concentrate on Polymorph so the Death Shepherd stays a sheep and can’t do anything on its turn.
The sheep just sits there by itself.
The Ghast is banished for one more turn. Gale moves away. He’s nauseous, so he can’t use an action. But that’s okay, because for what we’re about to do, we’ll only need him to do a reaction.
Shadowheart casts a Fire Bolt on the sheep to knock it out of Polymorph, so Karlach can attack the Death Shepherd. It does 11 points of damage. The Death Shepherd has 46 hit points left, and that’s way more than Karlach can dish out in one turn.
Karlach considers dropping rage and using a Legacy of Avernus Searing Smite ability, because it does a ton of damage and does fire damage every following turn. But, dropping rage uses a bonus action, and the Legacy of Avernus requires an action and a bonus action, so she can’t. She can only take two regular attacks, and has to go Reckless. She hits for 20 damage on the first attack, and 21 damage on the second attack, which is twice as much damage as I expected to do. Are they no longer resisting slashing damage? Or is it weird bug? Who knows? She drinks a healing potion with her bonus action.
The last Death Shepherd only has 5 hit points remaining. Nobody can do any more damage. Shadowheart has a bonus action left, and does another Healing Word on Karlach to give her as much chance of staying alive as possible.
Then the Ghast’s banishment ends. It runs straight for Gale, hits him for 12 points of damage, and more importantly, paralyzes him, stopping any possibility of doing a final Counterspell against the Death Shepherd. Disaster. Again.
Round 10, 5 HP or Else
The battle teeters on a razor’s edge. The Death Shepherd’s turn is coming up right after Tavi’s, and it will surely cast No Rest for the Wicked and raise the other Death Shepherd again, with full hit points, sending us right back to square one. It only has 5 hit points left.
Tavi has to find a way to do 5 hit points of damage or it’s game over. Again. For, like, the third time in this fight.
This was it. This was the end. Clawing and scratching for well over an hour of fighting now, most all the enemies dead, but we were probably still going to lose if this Death Shepherd managed to cast a resurrection on the other Death Shepherd.
Tavi desperately thumbs through her collection of scrolls for anything that did a minimum of 5 hit points of damage, because she’s too far away to do a melee attack, she has no spell slots left, and didn’t have any meaningful damage spells anyway.
Melf’s Acid Arrow looks promising, but for some reason, the Death Shepherd was “too dark” (standing outside in full daylight) so she would have disadvantage on any ranged attack, and that’s a guaranteed failure.
The only other option is an Ice Storm scroll, an area of effect spell that would not suffer disadvantage. She was able to line up the targeting circle so it would hit the Death Shepherd and the Ghast, but not Tavi or Karlach. Fingers crossed!
Both of the enemies made their saving throw, but it worked anyway! The Death Shepherd died, and the Ghast took a big chunk of damage, too.
Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was over.
Except it wasn’t. The last Ghast still had 20 hit points left, and Ghasts are no joke. Gale’s still paralyzed, and the party’s pretty beat up and nearly out of resources. But surely, with four on one, we could finish it off.
It’s not a promising start to the end of the fight. Karlach leaps over to the Ghast to try to finish it, right into the ghastly fumes, where she immediately succumbs to Nausea, and can’t take any actions. She tries to back away, and takes a hit from an attack of opportunity.
Shadowheart casts a Fire Bolt, but it’s at disadvantage because the Ghast is “too dark,” for mysterious reasons. She misses. She casts a bonus action Healing Word on Gale, because he’s hurt pretty bad.
Gale remains paralyzed, and the Ghast lives to fight another round.
The Healing Word was timely, because the Ghast hits Gale with an automatic critical hit, nearly downing him, then walks over to Tavi and covers her with the noxious fumes that prevent her from using any actions.
Round 11, The Last Ghast
The last Ghast is proving stubbornly difficult to kill. Tavi can’t use any actions on her turn. She tries to run away and takes an attack of opportunity, but it’s not too bad. She has no spell slots left to cast any bonus actions, and can’t do anything else.
Gale returns from paralysis, but he’s nauseous from the Ghast’s stench and can’t use any actions. He moves away and drinks his last healing potion with his bonus action. The hope is that if the party spreads out, the Ghast will have to pick only one party member to affect with its noxious fumes, and the rest can kill it.
Karlach lost her Rage on the previous turn, because she wasn’t able to hit anyone. Staying back to avoid the noxious ghast fumes, she fires a crossbow shot with her first attack, but misses. It’s starting to get comical now. The party can’t kill one Ghast.
With her second attack, Karlach realizes she can use a Legacy of Avernus Searing Smite now. Hoping not to run into any ghastly fumes, she runs up and smites the Ghast. This is the last attack before the next round, where the Ghast will get another turn.
She uses a Reckless attack, and rolls again.
And hits! She does 29 total damage in one massive strike, fueled by the infernal fury of Avernus, or something like that, and it’s enough to kill the Ghast.
After almost an hour and a half, the fight is finally over.
The accursed resurrecting Death Shepherds and their accursed paralyzing undead friends are gone.
It’s one of those victory moments where you do the fist pumps and celebrate like you’ve just won the World Cup finals. It’s a victory as satisfying as any Dark Souls boss fight I’ve ever experienced.
And it wasn’t even a boss. Just some undead on the road. Sheesh.
But yeah, watch out for those Death Shepherds.
P.S. I didn’t really edit this so it’s probably got tons of mistakes in it.