|When I haven't gotten enough sleep, I can be a real bitch.|
Just kidding - Maggie was dog-sitting that weekend. Meet Max the Dungeon Mutt!
And so you don't think I'm a terrible DM, note that I had just hand-waved them all up to level 11 - Paragon Tier. Dun dun dun! At this point, PCs have (theoretically) slugged their way through ten levels of combats and challenges. They've explored their world, defeating evil and protecting innocence, and have made a name for themselves. Now they're ready to graduate from small-time adventuring and tackle even bigger Big Bads. Part of that transition includes selecting a Paragon Path, which will shape how their character develops from now on.
This choice was easy for Mac and me - we have been discussing our paragon paths for yonks. I didn't realize I'd be throwing some of my other players into something of a conundrum. Here was a character that they'd only played a handful of times, and now they had to make this huge decision. In the end, I'm sure everyone (including me) picked the path with the biggest mechanical benefit. As much as I enjoy the RP in RPGs, I came to win.
I'm glad I did have them level up, however, because the final boss battle was HARD. Two out of the four adventurers died (I let them come back in with secondary characters) and I ended up having one of the monsters just lose interest and leave. They probably could have made it without these concessions and probably without TPK, but again - it was late, I was tired. In retrospect, it feel like the Touch of Madness campaign ended for us not with a bang, but with a whimper. Luckily, I can guarantee the DM is going to be more energetic for next session... because Mac will be taking over!