Herein is a summary of the closing events of the campaign of the five heroes who set out from Odenfell to save the kingdom of Prahova.
My D&D party just decided to set fire to a third of the city in order to trap and destroy an invading army.
We're defending this city. By burning it down.
Thom (my character) wasn't sure; he tossed a coin to decide which way he would go, then put the full force of his charisma and diplomatic skills behind the coin's decision.
So, they're currently describing the best places to put all the oil and thatch.
Continuing the saga of the burning city...
Here follows my account of the encounter that played out in last night's D&D session.
[Warning: split infinitives abound]
Last night, we resumed our collaborative narrative at the point where the avenger had scouted out the encroaching force, the ranger and his troupe had drawn them into the city (through the fuelled
suburbs and up to the wall), and some of the others had ignited the trap. We had taken up position above the gate, with Thom perched regally front and centre on the
throne of Prahova (still wearing the discarded appropriated crown of Prahova).
A heavy darkness, like a fog, settled over the city as a fell, booming voice chanted out of the darkness.
The vanguard of the attacking force, the fastest runners, turned out to be undead abominations reminiscent in their actions of the fast zombies from HL2. As the screams of burning cultists filled our ears and the dry heat of the raging fire burned off the fog, the eyeless, needle-mawed things scurried up the walls, and we five – aided by six townsfolk armed with shortbows – thrust them from the parapets, cutting them down as fast as they could climb.
One of the first to scale the wall leapt at Thom where he sat, and as its savage swiping blow landed, an explosion rocked the throne. Duerim, the dwarf and only other party member in direct line of sight, was sure Thom had exploded, and evaporated the thing along with him. As the red mist and disembodied limbs settled, there was no sign of Thom. Unbeknownst to Duerim, Thom had invoked the power of the chaos below, and teleported both back in time and to another part of the wall; the elemental forces involved and the vaccuum left in his wake were what had exploded the thing.
[I.e. a daily immediate reaction (Slaad's Gambit) critted, and the eye artifact in his crown allowed him to stack extra crit dice on the damage, at the cost of a crit dice roll of damage to himself.]
During a lull in the fighting a great noise was heard rushing through the burning city, and a giant snake burst forth, smashing the gates and entering the courtyard beyond, followed by several squads of cultist soldiers. Everyone turned to fight the force now inside the city courtyard. Shreth (the githzerai avenger) flew down and started attacking the snake with his sword, Thom set some cultists on fire, and Duerim leapt from the wall and tore the cultists to shreds with an unstoppable charge through their ranks before being joined by Gonfei (the githzerai monk).
The snake squirted poison around infecting some of those on the ground, including some reinforcement troops from the city militia. Seeing the potential for the battle to quickly go the wrong way, Thom summoned as much magic as he could through the Eye of Morcar, and sent a giant ball of chaotic energy at the snake. As it struck it flashed blue and icicles formed on the snake, dragging it to the ground and pinning it there, and a sustained chain of energy lashed out from the eye, slamming wave after wave of energy into the creature. As blood began pouring from various rents in the snake's body the chain vanished and Thom slumped to the ground with blood running from his nose and ears.
[I.e. a daily attack (Chromatic Orb) critted, and this time I did the stacked damage bonus many times, adding 1d12 damage to the snake and taking 1d12 damage over and over until Thom dropped below 12hp. The first time, with the zombie, I dropped 7 of my 55 max hp; against the snake Thom got down to 5hp before I stopped. I think I dealt about 107 damage to it in total, from that single attack.]
Then Thom blacked out [in the real world John's connection dropped out] and when he came to, much had happened. Gumbar (the half-orc ranger) had fired his "special" arrow (earlier on Gonfei had scrounged some glue and used it to bind his precious hoard of black powder to an arrow) but missed horribly [a natural 1 on the attack roll]. Fortunately the arrow embedded in a wall without exploding. Shreth and the others had pushed the attack on the snake, and killed it.
Everyone sat down to recover their breath and bind their wounds, but after a couple of minutes an immense explosion sounded from the inner city behind them, like a sustained peal of thunder. A massive bolt of lightning seemed to have lanced the great square a few blocks away. They quickly jogged towards the light, and as they rounded a corner they saw a looming figure, a seven foot tall ebon-skinned being at the centre of the conflagration of light and sound filling the square. Gumbar let fly his (recovered) arrow from forty feet, and it ignited as it passed through the lightning, exploding right in front of the figure and knocking it to the ground. It climbed up to one knee and turned towards the party, half its face torn away by the explosion, and spoke. Its voice matched that which had summoned the fog, and it said ... er, something portentous. I forget. Then it jerked upright, as though tugged by strings bound to its chest, arms hanging limp (and mangled) beside it. The lightning narrowed, focussing on the figure, tearing up the ground as it retracted revealing a buried ziggurat beneath the square. When the lightning bolt was barely wide enough to encompass the figure, its concentrated light blinding everyone nearby, it exploded. In place of the dark figured there hovered a great ball of distorted flesh, with many eyes waving on tentacle stalks, and a great central eye centred above a wide, toothy maw.
[close-up of heroes' faces, and snap cut to black]
Bard: I believe the big bad tried to convince our party to abandon their soft city-folk ways for a life on the edge, full of excitement, thrills and uncertainty? I guess his intel wasn't the best. Offering wealth, power, beer and the chance to burninate everything might have worked.
I guess your talent for cutting tempting deals with your enemies falls by the wayside when you spend all your time managing a conspiracy, building an army to subjugate a major city, reviving a lost religion and learning to transform yourself into a giant terrifying abomination.
Last night, on Matty's D&D...
We ran a second session last night, because we were very close to a resolution on the current arc, and because Ciaran is leaving the country for a few weeks.
In the last episode we left our heroes facing a floating eyeball aboniation hovering above the top of a ziggurat which had emerged from beneath a large plaza in the city of Prahova.
Shreth found an unpleasant pillar, which Duerim knocked over. There were lots of laser lights. Duerim got turned to stone for a bit, but he got better. Thom dumped exactly 100% of his HP into another critical hit stack attack, dealing about 74 damage to the beholder; he got better next round thanks to his Die Hard feat. Gonfei got zapped by a necrotic dissolving ray, and failed 9 consecutive saves to stop the ongoing 10 damage. His one positive action all fight was to grant Thom an extra healing surge immediately after he'd recovered from the suicidal attack. Then Gonfei fainted, got better, fainted again, got given a potion, fainted again, etc. for a few rounds, even after we'd finished off the beholder. Thom landed the final blow, zapping the beholder with an arbitrary magic beam.
Then we dispersed, Thom to find his throne and set it in place atop the ziggurat, the others to help put out the fires spreading through the city.
Next day, after a sleep in the cloisters of a friendly temple of Bahamut, Thom was summoned to the home of some nobleman who had convened the city council. The whole party followed. The nobleman, Lord Gorhar, made a grand proclamation, proposing Thom as Lord Protector of Prahova. Much argument and debate ensued, in part revolving around the fact that it was Thom who'd convinced the council to fire the northern third of the city the previous day. Thom made a grand speech, about having lead the people in battle, now leading the people to rebuild Prahova, which swayed part of the council. A bit later Duerim got bored, and declared loudly that the council could sit here debating as long as they wanted, he was going out to help fight the fires and rebuild what he could. Mickael, a town engineer and leader of the rebels who had originally organised the revolt we'd used to accidentally dethrone young King Radost, spoke out against Thom, something about being upset that he (Mickael) had organised a fighting force of the city's populace, but they'd barely had a chance to defend the city on their own terms before the outlanders and their crazy fire plan was enacted. Gumbar got miffed at that, pulled out one of the giant serpent's teeth (a souvenir from the night before) and drove it into the table, asking how well the farmers and innkeepers would have done standing before the serpent, then stormed out. Thom said something else about how the townspeople had quailed before the snake, and would have fled if Gonfei hadn't rallied them and ordered their movements and driven them to pin the snake with their pikes. At some point Mickael said that some of the zombies had entered the city by roundabout ways, and his men had done well enough fighting them off; in fact there were reports of some zombies still infesting the castle. At that, Thom stood up and said that whatever the council decided it was to be their decision, not his, and he was off to cleanse the castle.
He and the two gith went to the castle, stalking its eerily silent halls, until they startled a pair of guardsmen. Together they found a finished off a zombie or two, and eventually made their way to the throne room, meeting several more squads on the way. The guards reported that they'd scoured the entire castle and it was finally free of the abominations. Since they looked up to Thom, and since he was by this point quite used to playing the leader, he praised their bravery and their efforts, and gave them a half-day off to be with their loved ones, or do whatever they would.
Then he found a discarded chair, dragged it to the old throne's dais, and sat down on it, brooding over what had happened, and how much he'd grown and changed in the past few months, and what would happen with the council.
Seeing him in his chair on the dais, and feeling their part in this story was now complete, the gith shared a look, turned around, and walked out, leaving these lands of men.
After doing what he considered enough to help the citizens of Prahova stabilise and start to reestablish themselves, Gumbar went on his own way, continuining his mission to seek the scattered half-orc people of the world and unite them once more under a single banner.
I believe Duerim hung around the city, finding a sense of purpose he'd never felt before, garnering a following of like-minded young men who established themselves as a semi-official gang of heavy drinking, oddly spiritualistic militiamen.