Ptolus players, this post will contain spoilers!
In my last night's game, pc's reached the end of Goth Gulgamel, a fortress half-way up the 3000ft spire shadowing the city. They arrived to the Ageless titan, a dormant undead titan. Fooled by the Rakshasa, they told the titan they want the key to the darkness. Infuriated by some arrogant and foolish adventurers stopping to shop, he attacked.
There was 6 out of 8 players present, and one was sleeping most of the late night battle - so effectively there was 5 heroes present. I had chosen modified version of Death titan turned solo for the titan's stats. A 10 levels higher solo with extra immunities and optimized to take a pc out quickly could easily kill a pc and then stand back, right?
No hope for that. Some 3.x setups just don't work with 4e, I should have known that from my earlier Wuntad experience (another story for those who haven't played Ptolus). It was really late and I told 3 players to do their turns simultaneously each time, which made the battle reasonably fast. Ok, it was my bad that I didn't want to go upstairs to fetch Rhodintors and find their stats, so the titan fought alone, but I really thought the titan would have been enough. It SHOULD have been!
The worst invincible opponent. Ever.
And that's not everything. I've been rewarding players with increasing bonus xp's if they don't take short rests, and they had just run through a poison curtain and fought 4 far voice destrachans on a pathway where they had to make saves each turn to avoid worsening fear effect, and took a lot of blasts. Few of the pc's ended up with full hp, no-one died (which would have satisfied the titan) and I wouldn't be surprised if the pc's had an amount of encounter and daily powers left too.
I've been getting a bit tired with 4E lately, and this made me lose my faith to the system a lot more. Sure, there may be errata to some of the stuff, but if my core books are completely obsolete, and this much off from what it should be, something's very wrong. A great, epic encounter I had planned to come many, many levels later is just a level or two higher - well, I guess I can help that by adding some extra opponents to the battle, but the power level issues still make me annoyed.
Ok, it wasn't bad thing that pc's killed the titan, but it was one long battle at very late time that could have been a LOT shorter.
I've been planning to start a Savage Worlds Sword & sorcery game some day, and that day just came closer. No paper sheets full of hit point, no balance issues going far off, no battles taking hours, no profit-oriented gaming style, no need to browse countless numbers of magic item lists and checking who needs what, no need to worry about broken combos (Wizard's stinking cloud, Paladin's polearm gamble reinforced by warlord's huge bonuses makes a gm cry), more power for story and improvisation and more power back to GM!