Thursday, 28 May 2009

4ed Campaign -- Session 23 -- 17th May 2009

In which a paladin is ruthlessly set upon, a few stones are left unturned, and it pays to be vigilant when crossing a bridge hundreds of feet over certain death...
Azurami - Eladrin Wizard 4
Berend - Dwarven Fighter 4
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard 4
Finial - Half-elf Paladin 4
Jonas - Human Ranger 4
Xavier - Dragonborn Warlord 4

Assailed by the combined weight of the party's attacks, Lobkorr focuses all of his desperate efforts on squeezing the life out of Finial, but he is held fast by Berend and beaten gradually to a bloody pulp by everyone else. Elsewhere, Lobkorr's pet dire wolf does its best to aid its master but is shunted into a distant corner by Azurami and set upon by her allies, while the other hobgoblins curse their inability to penetrate the party's considerable defenses and are dispatched, one by one.

Soon the battle has turned to the adventurers' advantage, and the only adversary alive is a simpering goblin hiding in one of the floor cages. Jonas is pitiless, eager to put the creature out of its misery, but the goblin bargains with Xavier, offering information in exchange for its life.

It confirms much of what they already know, that Matorna-Rivash and a second surviving Kingsblade officer have already been sold by Krand to the duergar, living deep in a fortress known as the Horned Hold. Access to Krand's chambers is via a hidden door behind the statue of Torogg above. The creature is ignorant of the "necrotech coffin" and apparently of anything else which might be useful, and Xavier risks antagonising Jonas and Elumai by preventing them from hurting it... but in the end, the creature is killed at the ranger's hand, with or without the permission of the dragonborn.

Beyond the door is a long bridge with a sheer drop on one side. On the opposite side, a thick leather curtain obscures a view down upon no less than the Seven-Pillared Hall itself. The side of the curtain facing the Hall is painted to resemble a rock-face, and no doubt from the floor of the cavern three-hundred feet below, the camouflage effectively conceals the movements of anyone who might be crossing the bridge.

At the other end, a solid-looking door blocks entrance to a chamber cut out of the projecting rock-face, and two arrow-slits either side no doubt promise trouble. The party determines that a cautious advance is the best solution, a decision which pays dividends when Jonas, creeping forward to investigate, spots a section of the bridge just in front of the door which is designed to detach and swing down when stepped on. Clambering around the underside of the rock shelf, he spots two duergar, waiting patiently on a ledge facing into the room, indicating that to the occupants of the room (presumably Krand and others), their approach is not, after all, unanticipated.

Advancing as carefully as possible, the bridge trap is nevertheless triggered as the party picks the lock to the door, putting the prospect of a dangerous leap between those stranded on the other side of the bridge and the impending violence inside Krand's quarters.

Krand himself, as well as one other, a duergar, waits for them within. His rooms are majestically appointed, with a roaring fireplace, a plush, deep-piled carpet, thickly-cushioned divan and chairs, a massive four-poster in a bed-chamber to the rear, and a large window with a view down onto the Seven-Pillared Hall (outside of which stand the two armoured duergar, poised for the fight, that Jonas spotted).

The Bloodreaver chief is extravagantly armoured in silver ceremonial chain and breastplate, on which is inscribed, presumably, the symbol of his clan, a grasping hand with a single drop of blood depending from each of its claws. A longspear, sporting a pennant with a similar design, lies to hand. His duergar guest, a grey-skinned, flame-bearded dwarf with humourless eyes, stands nearby.

The party wastes no time in parlay, and rushes the room. The two duergar on the ledge outside are immediately assailed, one of them falling to certain death far below, while the other manages to grab the precipice and heave himself back up. Krand leisurely picks up his longspear and engages the adventurers, while his duergar friend, after unleashing a hail of poisonous beard-quills, simply vanishes into thin air.

Just a few seconds later, the fireplace suddenly roars with energy, and three small humanoid sprites, wreathed in fire, step out from the flames and caper about on the carpet, which smoulders and burns beneath their feet. Embers from the unrestrained fireplace shower out across the room as the sprites move to attack...

1 comment:

Wedge said...

A solid session where the party are no doubt pleased to be able to flex the various muscles of their characters. With all the bases covered, and six PC's, the options available to them in combat are numerous and it shows.

With this session, and the one still to follow, I'm getting a much better feel for the balance of the game and the encounters at this point appear slightly undertuned, despite being pretty much by the book design-wise. There are probably a few reasons for this, notably the design of the current dungeon and its encounters, as well as the fact that the dice are being a little kinder to the guys than they have been of late. In any case, it's more experience to add to the pot.

Poor old Lobkorr didn't really get a chance to shine after being whalloped by a massive crit from Berend and then focus-fired by several PC's, which is a shame, but my day will come. Oh yes.