Sorry about the delay between posts. We took a seemingly semi-annual unscheduled vacation from playing.
The Cast of Characters
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)
The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (resurrected healer,), Abner (necromancer and former tender of the fruit grove prior to corruption)
The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)
Previously on “The Death of Life”
Rhett then asked the man what other magical items he had other than his spear and armor. The man began to sputter and did not answer. Lorful drew the Sword of Truth and uttered his catch phrase “Kiss the blade and swear it so”. The man began to answer saying sputtering “Talis…talism….talisman….”. With that, his skin began getting black and splotchy. Rhett, thinking the man may be injuring or killing himself, prepared to heal him. That, however, was not what was happening. The man’s began shimmering away and was being replaced by a fat, disgusting, splotchy, bald headed being. Katya began to scream out of some combination of hatred, revulsion and fear.
Rhett recognized that the being matched the description given by Parnissa, the King’s Chief of Staff, of how people were transformed when she told the story of how Caligera was under the thrall of Orcus. The talisman had caused the man-at-arms to switch places with a minion of Orcus who was now held within the bonds and spewing vile epithets and hatred at the party!
We listened to it for a brief moment to see if any information could be gleaned from its ranting but everyone quickly agreed with Lorful that the only good minion of Orcus was a dead one. Lorful used the Sword of Truth to run the vile thing through. Rhett went to check on Katya who was beside herself in anger and fear.
We left off with Rhett comforting the newly resurrected Cleric while asking what kind of world we were in where joe-nobody men-at-arms wore talismans which allowed them to switch places with minions of Orcus????
The party left with that question and planned to rest (either by heading back to Abner’s tree or staying within this grove, it’s been too long – I can’t recall). It was only mid-day but we had already seen a number of battles. Our rest, however, was not to come.
Haromyre received a Sending from the Halfling clerics who had helped us resurrect Katya. They were in urgent need of our help as the King’s knights had begun attacking them on the docks! As a reminder, this harbor leads directly to the “Stream” and is an entrance / exit to all sorts of other planets and dimensions. The city grew around the trade the Stream and this harbor provide. We took off from our location to the docks, using our last teleport. We arrive at the docks in the middle of a pitched battle, with our friends the Halflings on the losing end. That, we all declare, will not stand.
There were two BIG enemy boats out on the water – galleons, I think – and one smaller boat trying to escape. Quizlan and Haromyre both Shapechange into tremendous Gold Dragons! (I swear, I love high level campaigns!) There was some debate as to the exact size class they could attain – it was either Colossal or Gargantuan. It mattered for purposes of their exact attacks, abilities and size but for all intents and purposes it did not matter. They were tremendous and, judging by the reactions of those on the boats, quite frightful. In fact, I do not believe they encountered an attack as they went to work on sinking the boats.
Rhett, Lorful, Katya and Garub took to the task of saving the good folk and innocents on the docks. We positioned ourselves between the Halflings and the knights and began fighting. Katya healed one of the Halflings. Rhett, Lorful and Garub tore through a few of the knights.
The Gold Dragon Twins began using Frightful Presence to great advantage while attacking the ships. Bad guys fled…overboard! Their claws and bites did tremendous damage to the ships. There was no way these ships would survive another round or two of this level of damage. It was clear that the ships were doomed whether they took on too much water and sank or the dragons destroyed them entirely.
On the docks, a War Hulk appeared right next to Rhett. For some strange reason, it did not want to engage in parlay and immediately began attacking. A few of notes about the War Hulk:
1) When the War Hulk swings it puts massive damage on its main target but it can also hit everything in its forward arc.
2) When I was designing Rhett the War Hulk, Dragon Shaman and Troll Hunter were the final three choices that I chose from. I built all three of them using the Only Sheet and liked Troll Hunter the best.
3) There is no 3
Rhett detected evil on the war hulk – yep it’s evil – and the two heavyweights began to unleash on each other with the war hulk winning initiative. The war hulk, as you could judge by the name, is very big and has a ton of HP but it’s reasonably easy to hit. It attacked first doing 115 or so to Garub and 240 or so to Rhett. On his turn Rhett attacked and got hit by the war hulk again – a class feature, they get to attack you once if you attack them in melee. This did not stop the half-fire giant paladin from pounding the war hulk five times with his massive Greathammer – no crits however – for about 390 points of damage. The war hulk noticed that as well as the 8 attacks Garub hit him with. Azar and Katya both hit Rhett with full Heals. Lorful, using his flaming sword, kept the other knights busy.
In the water, the wizard and spirit shaman continued their assault on the galleons which were slightly larger than their dragon forms were. Haromyre changed to water elemental form, sped over to the second galleon, changed back to dragon form and began attacking it. Quizlan leveled the destructive force of a massive Gold dragon at the first boat tearing huge gashes in it. While they were underwater each noticed that the water level had begun to rise. One of them, Haromyre I think, saw a gigantic root under the water. It was causing the water level to rise – a wave was building and building fast.
Back on the dock, the war hulk aided by one of the Knights had knocked Rhett down to 70 or so hit points, even after the two full heals the paladin received. (an aside, this is where the game mechanics fall down – there are no healing spells greater than full heal which only heals 120 points. I don’t have to do the math to show Heal’s high level inadequacy when characters deal 300+ points per round in damage.) Rhett knew he only had one round left to kill the war hulk. In his five attacks, Rhett landed four hits, two of them confirmed as critical hits. The first critical did 213 points of damage and killed the war hulk. The rest of his attacks went on the other surrounding area knights and killed them.
The wave grew to over 60 feet high. As a visual, the harbor and stream run north and south. The Docks where we fought were due north of the castle, which also bordered the harbor. The gigantic wave ran all the way from the north end to the south end and was moving westward, toward the docks.
The water level continued to rise – now 150 or so feet high and approaching the docks. Recognizing both boats were now doomed, the dragons took off from out of the water before the wave became a problem for them. Haromyre used Reverse Gravity to scoop up and save some of the people from falling into the water. He noticed a giant form explode from the top of the castle. It was huge and familiar and burst forth from the area about where we figured Duulram was being held.
A Great Wyrm sized monkey wrench had appeared atop the castle! The ancient red dragon – who had become corrupt after originally being enlisted by Duulram to fight the corruption; the one whose spirit tried to lure us into a trap in the castle; the one who lied to Garub and Haromyre about the history of this place; the one whose scales and heart and teeth corrupted the king, his knights and his minions….that red dragon exploded out the top of of the castle – about just about where we recall Duulram’s holding place. And he looked really, really angry….
Rhett, being too big to ride Azar, drank a potion of Fly, donned a water breathing crystal and grabbed the first two innocents he could. The paladin instructed Azar carry a Halfling and Katya away. Garub, using his dragon wings, saved two people in his hands and also took off. Lorful used his magic steed (steed-in-a-box?) grabbed as many people as he could onto it and sped away in the direction of our friends, the dragons.
It became clear to us that this wave would wipe out the entire city, including the castle where our friend Duulram- the being we had agreed to help defeat the corruption – was being held hostage. We sped toward the castle hoping to rescue him in time.
That’s where we left off.