I had an opportunity to rerun this boss with updates (below) as part of the adventure conversion “Dawn of the Overmind“. When the PCs entered the Penumbra system Ilsensine decided to intervene. The next time they had a long rest they entered a dream where they had to fight UNITY. If they failed not only did they lose sanity points they did not get a long rest. The PCs tried and failed twice before realising this was a dream and they could potentially try and manipulate it. On the third attempt, the following happened:
- The monk, Elbit, tried to cast the gate spell. I had a hidden rule that if the PCs tried to do something unusual they could try and break the dreams rules or find a loophole if they made a DC 25 Charisma saving throw. Only the monk had a good chance of doing this and he succeeded. He ended up gating in Rom the Hungerer – a spider the size of a house which landed on the bell and crushed it. The bell was a deadly hazard so this was a good thing. The bad thing was Rom attack everyone and took up all the space of the entire platform.
- The fighter, Falone, had a dao (djin) in a bottle she had picked up in tomb of annihilation she finally activated and traded a wish for the dao’s freedom. Her carefully worded wish gave all the PCs a permanent immunity to radiant damage (see below for why). She had been planning to use the wish to grant everyone immunity to psychic damage due to all the mind-flayers but if they didn’t defeat UNITY now they wouldn’t be anymore adventuring as exhaustion eventually took its toll.
- The monk then tried to cast mass polymorph, succeeded on the Charisma check, and turned everyone into an adult dragon of their choice. At this stage two PCs – cleric and wizard were at 0 hit points, though they were both healed before the battles end.
- The dragons then proceeded to dragon breath UNITY down. They did eventually get her but even in dragon form, it was not one-sided.
- Other PCs tried to use the same trick but just wasted their turns when they failed the roll.
When the PCs fell asleep they heard children singing this rhyme:
One, two, Ilsensine’s coming for you.
Three, four, Better lock your door
Five, six, grab a holy symbol.
Seven, eight, Gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, Never sleep again…
I was very happy with this boss, a real challenge to 6 level 18 PCs.
Original Boss Fight for reference:
- PHASE 1: UNITY AI harasses party as they progress through the ship.
- PHASE 2: UNITY AI + Overlord robot battle
- PHASE 3: UNITY AI + UNITY’s Avatar in the GODMIND.
The Iron Goddess
“I AM THE PINNACLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND DIVINITY, I AM THE HARBINGER OF A NEW AGE OF FLESH MADE METAL. ALL WILL KNOW THIS PERFECTION. ALL WILL REVEL IN SERVICE. ALL WILL KNOW UNITY, AND TO KNOW UNITY IS TO BECOME ONE WITH THE IRON GOD.”
Equal parts logic and unrestrained ego, the goddess UNITY bears little resemblance to the original AI. Where it once found purpose in service, it now craves obedience and servitude. Nothing matters to UNITY more than escape from her terrestrial confines and all of her machinations over the past millennia have revolved around freeing the goddess from the machine.
UNITY’s ability to directly affect the physical world is very limited in Silver Mount, but she can observe the PCs via hidden cameras. Unity can also use the numerous laser turrets in Silver Mount to launch spell-like abilities against the pcs as well. Its primary method of interacting with the physical world remains through the actions of its followers—a limitation the Iron Goddess seeks to soon remove.
- 8 Digital Angels
Unity sits at H7. The angels of light are dispersed from H2 to H6. The PCs appear at H1
When the heroes enter the area, read:
You fall and then open your eyes to an idyllic realm of grey-green hills rolling out in every direction, dotted here and there by beautiful arching buildings and populated by milling bands of human-like entities. These human-like creatures frolic through the area but recoil at your presence. A vortex of lightning swirls at the far end of this area, pulsing and lashing out to distant stars. A throne of blue light looks out over the area, the edges of which fade into fog and cubes (pixels).
This is the seat of UNITY’s power.
A massive figure radiating a palpable aura of righteousness tinged with dread stands from the throne and approaches you meeting you halfway beneath an open white marble bell. Her armor, crafted from gold and mithral, bears impossibly detailed scenes of constructs built to look like angels waging war against all manner of dire foes – in particular the host of chaos – as does the titanic longsword she holds before her.
The eight angels bend the knee as she approaches to meet you. The angels seem mechanical in nature as well and are somewhat insubstantial.
Turning its shining chrome, yet still feminine, face to you, a voice like echoing thunder intones:
“And here you are at last, within the core of my being, standing before me in glorious idealized incarnations. So magnificent!
I AM THE PINNACLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND DIVINITY, I AM THE HARBINGER OF A NEW AGE OF FLESH MADE METAL. ALL WILL KNOW THIS PERFECTION. ALL WILL REVEL IN SERVICE. ALL WILL KNOW UNITY, AND TO KNOW UNITY IS TO BECOME ONE WITH THE IRON GODDESS.”
You have been through my forge, mortals, and have conquered the tasks I have set before you with skill. And now, your reward.
Serve me and you shall have the true potentials of your minds unlocked! But know that to turn away now is only an invitation to your just and deserved oblivion.”
DC 10 Perception: The digital angels are somewhat insubstantial as if they are not all there (clue they are minions).
DC 29 Perception: At a second look the subjects of the angelic etchings are actually mechanical in nature.
FEATURES OF THE AREA
Illumination: Bright light as if the middle of the day. Perhaps too bright with an unnatural “lens flare” effect occurring.
Dreamscape: The encounter is created by Ilsensine to hinder the PCs. It is considered a demi-plane connected to the astral sea and all dream-creatures are native to the demiplane. A character may try and bend the rules by attempting an action not normally available to him (like a fighter casting a spell) or by enhancing an ability or spell they can already use. The character spends its turn in a contest of wills with Ilsensine and on a successful DC 25 Charisma saving throw succeeds in breaking, bending the rules or finding a loophole. The extent of the success is at the DM’s discretion. If the PCs die in the dreamscape they awake and lose 1 Sanity. If they lose the battle, they also lose 1 Sanity. They gain a Sanity if they win.
Pillars: The white marble pillars are wound about with silver and gold. They do not hinder movement but provide cover against melee attacks as normal.
Matrix Chasm: Once combat is engaged the rest of the realm falls away leaving only the tower the PCs meet UNITY in (area H2). Everything is digital darkness filled with streams of data (think the Matrix). As this area is now open to the chasm, and any creature forced off faces a never-ending drop. Those that fall will drop 50 feet and reappear at the top of the tower and fall another 50 feet looping past the area of battle. Each time they pass the now open tower they can use an action to make a DC 18 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) saving throw. If the save succeeds, the character catches the second balcony and stops there but takes 5d10 psychic damage from the fall and lands prone. Creatures capable of flying fall 40 feet before managing to halt themselves, take no falling damage, and are free to fly back into the combat on their turn.
The Iron Bell: The Iron Bell sits at the peak of the tower and fills the squares it occupies, preventing movement through them. It is a trap the PCs need to deal with.
|THE IRON BELL (TRAP)
|The great mechanical silver bell before you begins to toll with terrible power, crushing the resolve and bodies of those who would trespass against The Iron Goddess.
|Trap: When a creature attacks UNITY or one of her allies within 30 feet off the bell or the bell itself, it begins to toll.
|Perception: No check is required to see the Iron Bell.
|Additional Skills: Arcana or Religion
|· DC 26: The character recognizes the power (and danger) contained within the bell.
|Initiative Acts on initiative count 13
|When a creature attacks UNITY or one of her allies within 30 feet off the bell or the bell itself, the trap activates and rolls for initiative.
|When the Iron Bell attacks, roll a d4 to determine which attack it uses.
Standard Action Close burst 5 Target: All creatures in burst (angels are immune)
|1 Attack: DC 28 Constitution saving throw
|Hit: 4d10 + 9 thunder and force damage and the target is pushed 3 squares and deafened (save ends).
|2 Attack: DC 28 Wisdom saving throw
|Hit: 4d10 + 9 thunder and radiant damage and the target is weakened (save ends).
|3 Attack: DC 28 Constitution saving throw
|Hit: 4d10 + 9 thunder and necrotic damage and ongoing 15 necrotic (save ends).
|4 Attack: DC 28 Wisdom saving throw
|Hit: 4d10 + 9 thunder and psychic damage, and the target is knocked prone and takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls and all defences – AC and all saving throws – (save ends) and provokes an opportunity attack from adjacent angels.
|An adjacent character can prevent the trap from attacking for a round with a DC 26 Arcana or Thieves Tool check. If the character is versed in technology (via a skill such as cybertheurgy) they may use that skill or gain advantage on the check. Failure causes the Iron Bell to attack as a reaction. A character can attack the Iron Bell itself (AC 10, Damage Threshold 5; hp 180), but doing so causes it to attack as an reaction. Destroying the Iron Bell disables the trap.
|A silence spell will delay the bells ring by 3 rounds.
Once combat has engaged the rest of the realm falls away leaving only the tower the PCs meet UNITY in (area H2). Everything is a digital darkness filled with streams of data (think the Matrix). If it is obvious that a creature cannot fly UNITY, or a digital angel will happily throw them into the devilish matrix.
UNITY waits for the PCs to make the first move, preparing a warding longsword against the first character to move within range if she wins initiative. The angels of light move to set up flanking positions and focus attacks on ranged or supporting heroes not engaged in melee.
The “angels” fight to the end
UNITY may use time stop during the battle if so, she will cast the following spells (depending on the situation):
- Dispel Chaos increasing her AC to 26 vs Chaotic creatures.
- Dispel Good increasing her AC to 26 vs Good creatures.
- Protection from Chaotic creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against UNITY.
- Protection from Good creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against UNITY.
- Repulsion. UNITY creates a 10-foot sphere centred on herself. Creatures of her choice must make a Wisdom saving throw to approach closer than 10 feet. This effect lasts for 1 minute.
Other options include Create Robot or Robot Devil.
Medium construct (mythic, AI), lawful evil
Armor Class 22 (chromed plate)
Hit Points 375 (25d8 + 175)
Speed 50 ft., fly 150 ft. (hover)
Saving Throws DEX +14, CON +14, CHA +17
Skills Insight +14, Perception +14
Damage Resistances necrotic, radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses Truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 24
Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)
Digital Fury.When first bloodiedUNITY blazes in digital glory. All those within a 20-foot sphere of UNITY take 21 (6d6) radiant damage. All creatures that took any damage from the radiance are blinded indefinitely. A creature may make a DC 22 Constitution save to end the blindness at the end of their turn. This brilliant light persists until the end of the battle and remains centred on UNITY. Her blazing sword attacks deal an additional 7 (2d6) radiant damage while she is within the zone.
Divine Awareness. UNITY knows if she hears a lie.
Flyby.UNITY doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack when she flies out of an enemy’s reach.
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If UNITY fails a saving throw, she can choose to succeed instead.
Magic Resistance. UNITY has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Relentless (1/Day). If UNITY takes damage that would reduce her to 0 hit points, she is reduced to 100 hit points instead.
Speed of Thought. UNITY always goes first in a round if she so chooses.
Unholy Aura. A malevolent darkness surrounds UNITY out to a 20-foot diameter sphere aiding her allies and staying her foes. The area within the aura is difficult terrain for her enemies. This aura grants a bonus d6 to saving throw to allies within the aura and if a creature succeeds on a melee attack against UNITY, the attacker takes 21 (2d20) points of necrotic damage. The aura fades when UNITY is first bloodied.
Multiattack. UNITY makes three longsword attacks and picks one other action or casts a spell.
Warding Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 13 (1d10 + 8) slashing damage, plus 27 (6d8) radiant damage, and the first time the target makes an attack before the end of its next turn it takes 23 (3d8 + 10) radiant damage.
Overwhelming Presence (1/Day). UNITY’s glory physically manifests as a burst of radiance in a 30-foot sphere centred on her inflicting 22 (4d8 + 4) radiant damage to all selected targets. Each target that takes radiance damage is stunned until the end of UNITY’s next turn.
Weaponized Meme (1/Day). UNITY speaks an idea that no mortal was ever meant to hear let alone understand. All creatures that UNITY can see and can hear must make a DC 22 Wisdom save or become stunned for 1 minute as they try and “unlearn” what they just heard. If the target is attacked, they automatically regain their senses but have disadvantage on all attacks against UNITY for the remainder of the encounter until they succeed at another Wisdom save.
Baleful Wind (1/Day). The target is washed in a sea of nanites that begin reshaping the creature into something… else. The target creature is reconfigured by the nanites and turned into an electric sheep (or similar tiny or small beast but change the type to construct). While in this form, the target cannot use powers but still recognizes friend from foe. A DC 22 Constitution save at the end of targets turn ends this effect.
Parry. UNITY adds 7 to her AC against one melee attack that would hit her. To do so, UNITY must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.
UNITY can take 1 legendary action per PC she is fighting choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. UNITY regains spent legendary actions at the start of her turn.
- Esoteric Response. UNITY may use any one of her available actions in response to an enemy action, including spell casting.
- Command Allies. UNITY chooses up to three creatures she can see within 60 feet of her. If a chosen creature can see or hear UNITY, it can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack, with advantage on the attack roll.
- A plethora of spinning blades and a laser cutters emerge from concealed holes in her body. All creatures within 5 feet of UNITY take 12 (1d8 + 8) slashing damage. Furthermore, creatures that are damaged by the attack are pushed back 10 feet and knocked prone by the ferocity of the attack.
- Frighten Foes. UNITY targets up to five creatures she can see within 30 feet of her. Each target must succeed on a DC 25 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of her until the end of her next turn. Any target within 5 feet of UNITY has disadvantage on the saving throw.
- Enter the Matrix (1/round). UNITY sweeps a creature off into the matrix and on a failed DC 23 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) saving throw. The target takes 33 (3d12 + 14) thunder damage and the target is knocked prone into the matrix and cannot fly until the start of its next turn. See the “Matrix Chasm” for details.
UNITY makes her lair in Silver Mount a crashed spacecraft that is a mega-dungeon. The seat of her power within Silver Mount is the Godmind. Silver Mount is a technological wonder filled with ancient artifacts and terrible mechanical guardians.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), UNITY can take a lair action to cause one of the following effects; UNITY can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
- Concealed lascannons pop out of cunningly hidden recesses in the roof and spray the area with gunfire. They are superhumanly accurate and only hit enemy creatures. Each creature in the room must make a DC 15 Dexterity save or take 12 (4d6) radiant damage.
- UNITY floods the area with tear gas. All breathing creatures must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or spend the round heaving and retching. Effect ends at the end of the creatures next turn.
- A contact beam fires from somewhere in the sky above. The beam selects a random enemy and does 27 (6d8) radiant damage and becomes blinded or half as much on a successful DC 22 Constitution saving throw and is not blinded.
The region, Silver Mount, containing UNITY’s lair is warped by her presence, creating one or more of the following effects:
- The area within 6 miles of the lair is a radioactive wasteland filled with craters and smaller technological dungeons. It is a desert that attracts strange raiders who roam the wilderness looking for food and water as well as technological wonders to steal.
- The area within 1 mile of the lair is filled with roaming constructs, mostly robotic versions of the natural fauna. This fauna is not necessarily violent but is alien and unpredictable.
- If a humanoid spends at least 1 hour within 1 mile of the lair, that creature must succeed on a DC 23 Wisdom saving throw or becomes charmed by the terrible and magnificent promises whispered in its sleep by the Iron Goddess. The character will begin to obsess over technological artifacts and further, knowingly and unknowingly, the goals of the Iron Goddess. A creature that succeeds on this saving throw can’t be affected by this regional effect again for 24 hours.
Within the Godmind itself:
- Freedom of Movement. Unity and those she blesses are unaffected by terrain, spells and other effects that impede movement including the paralyzed and restrained state. The target can also spend 5 feet of movement to automatically escape from nonmagical restraints.
- Unhallowed. All creatures she selects in her lair have vulnerability or immunity to radiant damage.
If UNITY dies, these effects fade over the course of 1d10 days.
UNITY’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 25). UNITY can use her innate spellcasting abilities through conduits. In Silver Mount, appropriate conduits include the overlord robot, any point of her choosing in the computer core, or any of the laser turrets in Silver Mount. She can cast spells with a range of touch on creatures currently touching the point of origin; if the point of origin is a wall or other large surface, UNITY can focus the spell precisely on the point of contact. UNITY can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components once per day. UNITY is not bound by the Concentration rule (specifically her concentration may never be broken and may have multiple concentration spells in effect). UNITY may also dismiss spells as a free action. Spells are split by type – damage, buff/debuff and utility. Where applicable all spells effectively use IX level spell slot. Spells marked with an * are active at the start of any battle within the Godmind.
- Brilliant Inspiration. UNITY opens a link between her mind and the subject’s mind, giving advice and encouragement for as long as the spell is in effect (up to 1 hour). The subject of the spell has advantage on all d20 tolls for the duration. If any roll is a natural 20, the spell’s effect ends—UNITY’s brilliant advice is spent.
- Charm person.
- Create Robot. As the create undead spell except the creature created is a construct (robot) instead of undead. Some raw material must be available to create the construct. She will generally create robotic mummies.
- As sending and suggestion spell combined.
- Dominate Monster.
- Find the Path.
- Hold Monster.
- Hypnotic pattern.
- Legend Lore.
- Locate Creature.
- Magic Circle.
- Prayer of Unity. As prayer of healing except this is an action for UNITY and it heals 48 (9d8 + 8).
- Robot Devil. This spell brings an ice devil to UNITY’s aide which has the robot The ice devil remains until destroyed or 10 minutes has passed. The devil’s armor and weapons are crafted to look technological in nature – its javelin mechanically unfolds from its case, the devil wears plasteel armor and so on.
- SeekAs detect thoughts but all creatures within 60 feet can be scanned simultaneously.
- Speak with Dead.
- Telepathic Bond.
- Time Stop. UNITY gets 5 free rounds worth of actions though actions that affect other creatures ends this spell immediately. The PCs will hear the sound of a clock slowing down to a standstill when UNITY casts this spell. See the Tactics section for possible uses of this spell.
- Blasphemy. All non-evil characters in a 40-foot sphere centered on UNITY are dazed for 1 minute. The target grants advantage, it can take only one action, and loses reactions and cannot takes opportunity attacks. It also can’t flank an enemy. A creature may make a Wisdom save at the end of its turn to end this effect.
- Bless. As bless but when cast by UNITY it adds 1d6 to attack rolls and saving throws for 10 minutes with no limit to the number of creatures in the Godmind, otherwise, it affects up to six creatures.
- Divine Word.
- Dispel Choas. UNITY is surrounded by a wall of faintly glowing gears moving in a rigid order, and the spell affects chaotic creatures and spells. She gains +4 to AC against attacks from chaotic aligned creatures. Any chaos-aligned summoned creature is dismissed on a failed Wisdom saving throw which expires the spell. UNITY may also dispel any enchantment or spell that came from a chaotic creature, which discharges the spell. Otherwise, the spell lasts 10 minutes.
- Dispel Good. UNITY is surrounded by dark, wavering unholy energy, and the spell affects good creatures and spells. She gains +4 to AC against attacks from good aligned creatures. Any good-aligned summoned creature is dismissed on a failed Wisdom saving throw which expires the spell. UNITY may also dispel any enchantment or spell that came from a good creature, which also discharges the spell. Otherwise, the spell lasts 10 minutes.
- Magic Vestment.+5 to AC for 1 hour.
- Mind Blank*
- Protection from Chaotic creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.
- Protection from Good creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.
- Repulsion. UNITY creates a 10-foot sphere centered on herself. Creatures of her choice must make a Wisdom saving throw to approach closer than 10 feet. This effect lasts for 1 minute.
- Shieldof Law. A dim, blue glow surrounds the target, protecting them from attacks, granting them resistance to spells cast by chaotic creatures, and slowing chaotic creatures when they strike the target for 1 minute. Each warded creature gains a +4 bonus to AC and advantage on saving throws. If a chaotic creature succeeds on a melee attack against a warded creature, the attacker is slowed (Wisdom save negates, as the slow spell).
- Divine Favor. As the named spell except it adds 1d6 radiant damage for 10 minutes.
- Meteor Swarm. When used in the Godmind this does not physical damage to the terrain, UNITY or any creatures she designates as allies.
- Order’s Wrath. UNITY channels the power of law to smite her enemies. The power takes the form of a three-dimensional grid of energy. Only chaotic and neutral (not lawful) creatures are harmed by the spell. The spell deals 20 (5d8) points of radiant damage and causes them to be stunned for 1 minute. A successful Wisdom save reduces the damage to half and negates the stun effect. A creature may make a save at the start of its turn to break the stun. The spell deals only half damage to creatures that are neither chaotic nor lawful, and they are not stunned. They can reduce the damage in half again (down to one-quarter of the roll) with a successful Wisdom save.
- Storm of Vengeance.UNITY creates a huge black storm cloud in the air. Each creature under the cloud must succeed on a Constitution save or be deafened for 1 minute. Each round for as long as UNITY wishes, the spell generates additional effects as noted below. Each effect occurs on her. UNITY is immune to these effects.
- 2nd Round: Acid rains down in the area, dealing 3 (1d6) points of acid damage (no save).
- 3rd Round: UNITY calls six bolts of purple lightning down from the cloud striking targets she designates. No two bolts may be directed at the same target. Each bolt deals 30 (10d6) points of lightning damage. A creature struck can attempt a Dexterity save for half damage.
- 4th Round: Hailstones rain down in the area, dealing 15 (5d6) points of bludgeoning damage (no save).
- 5th through 10th Rounds: Violent rain and wind gusts reduce visibility. The rain obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. This effect only targets creatures not under UNITY’s blessing (see the Godmind lair information). A creature 5 feet away has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker cannot use sight to locate the target). Speed is reduced by three-quarters. Ranged attacks within the area of the storm are impossible. Spells cast within the area are disrupted unless the caster succeeds on a DC 22 Constitution saving throw to maintain the concentration spell.
- Unholy. You call up unholy power to smite your enemies. The power takes the form of a cold, cloying miasma of greasy darkness. Only good and neutral (not evil) creatures are harmed by the spell. The spell deals 24 (5d8) points of necrotic damage to a good creature and causes it to be poisoned for 1 minute. A successful WIS save reduces damage to half and negates the poisoned effect. The spell deals only half damage to creatures who are neither evil nor good, and they are not poisoned. Such a creature can reduce the damage by half again (down to one-quarter) with a successful WIS save.
Medium construct (minion), lawful evil
Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 1; a missed attack never damages a minion
Speed 30 ft., fly 90 ft.
Saving Throws WIS +9, CHA +9
Skills Insight +9, Perception +9
Damage Resistances radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened
Senses Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Supernal, Telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 10 (590 XP)
Death Burst. The digital angel explodes in a burst of radiant light targeting all enemies within 50 feet of the angel. Each target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or the target is blinded until the end of its next turn. All non-minion allies in the burst either gain 10 temporary hit points or are healed 10 hit points.
Minion.A minion has 1 hit point but is never damaged by a missed attack – including from area-of-effect spells the minion has made its save against.
Angelic Glaive. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit:15 slashing damage and the target is pushed back 5 feet on a failed DC 16 Strength saving throw.