Game day: January 6, 2013
Ok, so there are a couple adventures between the last post and this one, but I wanted to put this one up while it was fresh….
The party just completed routing the demons from Hills Edge and freeing the Winged Elf Ranger from the ruins of Glory’s stable yard, and so it was time for some arguing. It was still early in the day, so it would make sense to push on to Wheelander to save the Ruling Council. The party was pretty much spent between the fights and healing, so it would make sense to stay the night at Hill’s Edge and set our fresh in the morning. The party doesn’t know what their getting into, so it would make sense to send part of the party ahead to scout, and keep part here to rest and organize repairs on the manor.
In the end, Dhokispar the Winged Elf was sent out to scout, Wartus took up residence in a tree to watch the approach to the manor, Glory worked with Hugh Bigglesworth to prioritize repairs, Brother Peter decided to confuse the commoners by wearing the Broach of Kitherdale, given to Glory as a sign of his nobility. Before too long, Wartus called back to Vainbrand to report several beings approaching: three large, tusked creatures, a Nessian Warhound, and a smaller, human sized demon. The group moved to battle positions (well, sort of), and with Wartus behind the demonic patrol, Glory stepped out to advise the creatures that the lord of the manor had indeed returned, with noble Oshi standing beside him. Apparently little impressed, the demons moved forward to attack.
The nessian warhound drew first blood by inflicting horrendous damage on Glory. Minor damage was returned from bowshots with much of the party staying back by a corner of the house from which they hoped to launch their ambush. The Blood Reaver Demon took advantage of their grouping to send a scorching bolt of lighting through the tight pack of heroes. Several evaded nimbly. Braedon attempted to dodge, but not feeling too good about the his initial attempted called upon the gods of luck to give him another attempt. Fortune smiled as he realized the barrel he was originally going to hide behind was totally vaporized by the bolt, and he escaped with much lighter damage.
The party was hoping the large Orthon demons would continue their progress, when to their dismay, they stopped and instead pulled out large crossbows and began to pepper the heroes with hellfire.
The realization that the invaders were perfectly happy to practice their archery against the party spurred them all to action and once the full force of the party engaged, the creatures began to fall quickly. Much to the disgust of the group, Glory struck an Orthon with a critical strike, only to have it disgorge a spray of ravenous maggots which attacked everyone within 10’. Glory took the brunt of the attack of the final Orthon and fell unconscious before it. Brother Peter cast as quick heal to bring Glory back just as Oshi delivered the final death blow. However, in its death it provided one final surprise as it again exploded in a cloud of biting maggots, knocking Glory back into unconsciousness. Surveying the scene, Wartus called out to tell folks to move away from the other demon corpses, which were likely about to blow soon. One did, catching a few people as yet unaware (fortunately Glory was just out side the range of the maggot shower), and everyone hustled away as the final Orthon exploded, injuring no one.
Dhokispar returned a short while later with tales of demons on patrol in the town and signs of resistance at the cathedral, supporting information gleaned from others at Hill’s Edge. The group stayed the night at the manor and prepared to liberate the city on the next day (or at check in on the Town Council, as the whole liberation thing seemed to dramatic for some).
The next morning the party headed out to see the city. An eager Braedon decided he should scout ahead on his beloved Phantom Steed, beating the party to the city. The rest of the party made a decision to leave the town for now, and rather circle around it to sneak into the castle. Without any means of communicating this change of plan to their rash wizard-scout, the party was unable to re-connect with Braedon with horrendous consequences. As the saying goes, idle hands are the devils playground, and Braedon, still waiting for the party that passed him by, started looking at the various items he had stowed in his backpack.
The group was outside the eastern gate of the city when, out of a relatively clear blue sky, a bitter and unnatural storm erupted over the most of the city, centered on the Cathedral. The cries of dozens of surprised peasants being horribly burned in the acid that rained from the cloud was soon drowned out by the devastating lightning bolts that assaulted the cathedral roof line time and again, almost as if directed by some malign entity. However, the greatest loss of life occurred when massive hail-stones rained down from the entire extent of the storm, crushing many unfortunate people who had been blinded by the acid, smashing through timber roofs to strike women and children cowering in their homes, and even managing to bruise an evil outsider or two. Finally, a heavy rain began to pelt the area, blown by gale force winds. Broken glass and shattered timbers danced through the streets, shredding more hapless citizens and collapsing structures weakened by the acid and heavy hail. Then, as quickly as it formed, the storm abated, leaving the greatly reduced town population wondering how they managed to survive their minute in hell itself.
Bailey, confident that such an act of absolute evil perpetrated on a mass of innocents could only have been the work of infernal agents intent on destroying Wheelander’s temple, immediately ran towards the Cathedral to aid those inside. Reluctantly others followed, with the mighty Werebear bringing up the end of the land bound members, while Oshi, Warus, and Dhokispar flew off to get a better view from atop one of the town buildings.
On the north side of the city, Breadon, fresh from summoning the Storm of Vengeance, returned the bauble to his backpack and hopped on his little pony, wondering where his friends had run off to.
At the Cathedral, Bailey, Vainbrand, and Glory had all managed to sneak in to see a discussion taking place between two humaniods, a massive Low Gorgon, two Blood Reavers, and two Shacklefords. Glory cast Bark Skin on himself, and the Low Gorgon’s acute hearing alerted him to the presence of intruders. When Brother Peter came stumbling in the back door and casting a spell on Glory, everyone in the building prepared for battle.
In addition to the enemies on the main level, Wartus crashed through an upper level window to discover another sorcerous type accompanied by two more Shaklefords and another Blood Reaver. Just as the Shaklefords charged the wily Wartus, Oshi came through another window directly behind the attacking creatures.
The battle raged with significant contributions made by two new friends summoned by Vainbrand, a huge scorpion and a celestial gryphon. A blade barrier, wall of fire, and holy storm all competed for space in the southern end of the cathedral creating a chaotic scene. Oshi, valiantly ignored the creatures carving her to ribbons in an attempt to destroy the sorcerer at the far end of the second level, all the while hoping Wartus would finish them off before she succumbed. With the appearance of Dhokispar, it appeared that the tide may finally shift in favor of our heroes. However, Wartus’s decision to depart the combat (claiming that things are nearly wrapped up and he would wait outside), confused Dhokispar who also left, leaving Oshi without support, and she finally fell beneath a razor sharp blade of the final Shackleford.
As the catastrophe on the second floor played itself out, the main group of heroes on the ground floor fought on, cursing their lack of heavy magic artillery which should have been supplied by their wizard. Taking ever mounting damage, the party was able to finally defeat the mass of creatures and confront the humaniods directly. At this point, Braedon and a dozen mirror images joined the group, grousing about how long it took him to get to the Cathedral. Fortunately, he didn’t need to step directly on the corpses of those lazy peasants lying in the streets. His mighty steed was able to run directly over them at full speed to arrive in the center of town in mere 18 seconds. Obviously it should have only taken him 12 seconds, or maybe 6.
Sensing victory was close, Batousin charged the Sorcerer on the main level, which had just recently been freed from the grasp of the giant scorpion. Upon closing within 20’, he was shocked to see a mass of snakes erupt from the bodies of the humaniods and attempt to strike him. His shock soon turned to absolute panic however, when the druid effectively gave him the mind of a floppy-eared bunny, and he hopped his massive frame over to cower in a corner.
Vainbrand unleashed devastating spells upon the druid, while Glory finished the main floor sorcerer. Wartus, wondering what took the group so long to “wrap up,” returned to find Oshi lifeless on the floor. He greatly weakened the Sorcerer with a Ray of Enfeeblement and Glory, Vainbrand, and the Braedon-swarm finally cornered it. Glory delivered a final fatal blow.
As the noise of the battle settled, the party began to hear the cries of anguish and pain arising from hundreds of citizens throughout the city. Dozens are dead; many more are acid-scarred, maimed, or wounded. A third of the of the buildings in the town have been rendered uninhabitable. For many who thought that they had learned how to survive with demons ruling the city and patrolling the streets, this act of wanton destruction has shattered their wills. As the night closes in, fear and despair spread throughout the rubble strewn streets – a foreboding so intense it is nearly palpable in the air itself.