Raiding Mt Rushmore

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Lyka’s player was still absent and Kikkeni’s player, who has been the most consistent in terms of attendance, suddenly couldn’t make it either. I couldn’t contact Nox’s player, but he had informed me beforehand that he’d be late.

Only Linny’s player and Holden’s player arrived. I was worried about splitting the subbed characters between the two of them, but eventually we got so bored that we figured we might as well go ahead. Holden’s player handled Nox, while Linny’s player boldly handled Kikkeni, Linny and Lyka.

We ran into some difficulty with reading Kikkeni’s power sheets (which had been printed on a dot matrix printer), but we somehow managed. Anyway, without further ado:

Day 51: The Onrushing Storm

The PCs get up at 6 AM and begin the treacherous 2 hour journey down the pass that descends the cliff face. They notice that the weather over the canyon hasn’t changed; it has been cloudy since yesterday, and thunder periodically rumbles through the cloud cover. Although there is no wind and rain, the dark sky is foreboding.
Linny notices that the bridge below is a chain suspension bridge held up by crackling electric rings at intervals; these look very similar to the air elemental rings used in airships. Their close proximity to each other causes a sort of resonance that is likely responsible for the bad weather.

At about 8 AM they arrive at the foot of the bridge. They do the smart thing and tie themselves by the waist onto the handrail chains, and slowly begin the quarter-mile walk across the swaying bridge.

About 200 feet from the other end, the five-headed statue of Tiamat that looms over the bridge begins to speak.

“Who dares approach the Fane of Tiamat?”
“Priest Captain Holden Magroen of the Silver Flame.”

Lyka states her rank and complete name as well.

While the voice echoes throughout the canyon and clearly sounds like five different voices, the PCs make their will saves versus the ventriloquism. Lyka is able to pinpoint the source of the voice in the Tiamat statue’s blue dragon head.

Linny asks if it’s possible to shatter the dragon head. It certainly is, but given the scale of the statue, they’re going to have to deal a lot of damage to it.

(For some reason, Holden’s player was under the impression that the statue was only human-sized until here; only now does he realize that it’s more like Mount Rushmore.)

The statue continues: “I do not know what your business here is. Leave an offering for Tiamat and depart from here, and I might spare you.”

Holden replies: “Well, moving toward the statue counts as ‘departing from here’, doesn’t it?” He slings the maul over his shoulder and continues walking down the path. The others follow. Nox drinks a potion of invisiibility.

Almost immediately, the blue dragon Tyrgarun, the guardian of the Fane and father of Azarr Kul, jumps out of the maw of the blue dragon head and dives, landing with a thunderous tremor on the ledge.

Cue BGM.

“I am Tyrgarun, the Onrushing Storm and father of Azarr Kul! I shall not allow you to obstruct his plans! Dare you come against me?”

Kikkeni raises her Inertial Armor, while Linny casts Mass Shield of Faith. Lyka activates her Siberys Armor, spreading her dragonmark wings, and takes to the air. Holden drinks a potion of Fly and likewise moves closer to the dragon.

Immediately the dragon flies off the path and takes a position 65 feet away from the bridge, to the left of the PCs. Only Linny and Lyka succeed on their Frightful Presence saves—everyone else gets nailed. Tyrgarun lights up Holden and Lyka with his breath weapon. Both fail their saves and get blasted with 43 damage.

Kikkeni once more attempts to blast Tyrgarun, but she begins a long string of failures to breach SR. It would have been much better if she used electricity, since it gets a bonus to breaching resistance, but unfortunately the dragon is completely immune to it.

Lyka and Holden each drink potions of Enlarge Person and try to catch up with the dragon. Linny attempts in vain to blast Tyrgarun with Sound Lance, but she likewise fails miserably to breach his spell resistance.

Holden closes in, but before he even manages to get close enough to swing, Tyrgarun does a sharp turn and buzzes Holden, who misses on his AOO. The dragon instead sets upon Kikkeni, goring her with his horn. He attempts to throw her off the bridge, but she makes her reflex save and escapes with a graze. Nox misses yet again, but due to his hide check and the dragon still can’t spot him. (Okay I messed up; there was nowhere to hide. It really wouldn’t have mattered much in the end because…well, read till the end.)

Kikkeni fires yet another energy ball which simply dissipates against the dragon’s body. Linny likewise fails to get any more damage out of her second Sound Lance.

Lyka and Holden struggle to catch up with Tyrgarun, but he’s just too fast and his AC’s just too high. The dragon makes a wingover and comes straight back at Holden, goring him with his horn. Holden is able to make the reflex save to avoid the Awesome Blow, but he’s completely unable to dent Tyrgarun for now. Nox whiffs his shot yet again.

Kikkeni keeps up her bombardment, but to no effect. Out of Sound Lances, Linny instead takes up her Wand of Ice Knife—the only spell she has that can actually hit the dragon—and fails to breach SR.

Now within range, Holden smites Tyrgarun with Divine Surge, scoring a hefty 56 damage. The dragon makes his massive damage save, but Lyka circles and flanks him, dropping a Soaring Raptor Strike on him from behind. For the first time, the dragon roars in pain.

The angered dragon roars: “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that.”

“What, slept with your wife?” snarls Holden.

The dragon extends his wings and beats down hard, checking Lyka and Holden with the wind, and opens up a savage attack. The bite and first claw hits Holden, while the second claw hits Lyka. Lucky for her, the tail misses. Freaked out by the dragon’s savagery, Nox messes up his shot.

At this point Kikkeni stops trying to shoot and instead uses the Horn of Abithriax to use Psionic Fly on herself, and concentrates into Psionic Focus. Linny tries her Wand of Ice Knife once more, but the projectile fizzles ineffectually on the dragon’s hide.

Holden smites Tyrgarun once more, smashing him in the face with Bonecrusher. The dragon’s horn cracks down the middle. Lyka follows up with a Death From Above, stabbing deep into the dragon’s back.

This time Tyrgarun lets out an agonized wail.

“That’s what your wife said,” says Holden.

The furious dragon punches it, flying straight up to 90 feet above Lyka and Holden (who both whiff their AOOs), then soaring across the bridge once more to a position about 95 feet away from the bridge.

Nox calibrates his crossbow and uses the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the dragon’s position! He takes a single step to close the distance a bit!

And misses. Ho hum.

Kikkeni takes off, breaking away from Linny and Nox, while Linny tries her Ice Knife one more time. This time she rolls a natural 20 and breaches Tyrgarun’s SR, but fails to confirm her critical. The mighty shard of ice plunges into the dragon for an impressive 8 damage.

Lyka and Holden try their best to pursue the dragon, but don’t even make it halfway.

The dragon uses his Wand of Fireball and sears Linny (she makes her save) and then flies back to a position straight above the bridge, hovering above one of the lightning rings. The PCs don’t realize his plan—he intends to dive onto the bridge (sending the chain bridge quivering like a rubber band) and fire off his maximized breath weapon.

The two frontliners close in, but Nox composes himself and takes his shot. The confirmed critical hit plunges straight into Tyrgarun’s eye. He deals over 53 damage with his sneak, but the critical hit would have been enough to kill him at this point. (Which is why it didn’t matter if he was hidden or not.)

“You…cannot…stop…my son.”

Dying in mid-flight, Tyrgarun’s massive corpse crashes onto the air elemental ring. Draconic blood reacts with powerful magic, and a brilliant blue-white flash lights up the entire canyon. The impact sends the bridge swaying wildly, but Nox and Linny are able to hold on.

Realizing the dragon had just died, the PCs begin rejoicing.

Lyka then ruins the mood by asking Holden: “So, sir…did you really sleep with the dragon’s wife?”


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Session 18

Hack and slash session this time. The Wyrmsmokes were rightly billed as a dangerous place, and one does not simply walk into Mordor.

Journey Through the Wyrmsmokes, Continued
The PCs get up on the morning of Day 50 after camping on the edge of the Fernia manifest zone. They drink their potions of Endure Elements and set out on their way.

It’s not long before they encounter a group of fiendish enemies.

A Certain Psionic Railgun

The PCs arrive in the center of a Fernia manifest zone in the middle of active volcanic scabland and spot an ominous reddish glow in the distance crossing the road. Nox takes another potion of invisibility and sneaks ahead to investigate.

Nox’s rolls are really high, and the fiends don’t even hear him as he approaches them from the volcanic scab rock. He goes back to the party and describes the appearance of the fiends–about as tall as a man, hunched over and heavily built, with glowing red eyes, shredded, useless wings, long writhing beards, and upward curving horns. The three of them wield massive, saw-toothed glaives. Linny identifies them as barbazu.

Nox, still invisible, climbs up the scab basalt along the other side of the road and takes up a sniping position. Before he does so, he empties his pack of all his scrolls, spreading them out all over the ground. He then takes his shot, severely injuring one of the devils. The other PCs attempt to blitz the barbazu and catch them off guard, but the plan backfires–the devils hear them coming.

Kikkeni takes the high ground on top of the basalt scab along with Linny. Lyka runs along the path instead. Two of the devils teleport to confront Kikkeni while the third teleports into Lyka’s path. Although Linny was able to identify their weaknesses and defenses as devils, she didn’t roll high enough to determine their exact abilities.

The devil taunts Lyka, saying that the strong faith of Purified like her make their souls good eating. Lyka replies “My blades taste good too.”

Holden moves too slowly to help Kikkeni, so Kikkeni once more throws Holden at one of the Barbazu using telekinetic thrust.
Linny fires off a Sound Burst on the two devils, but it barely grazes them. Kikkeni tries to back away, but due to their teleportation and reach weapons, the devils are too hard to shake.
Nox takes another shot at the already bleeding devil, which Holden dispatches with his maul.

The remaining devil pursuing Kikkeni bites into its finger, saying it’s not that easy to kill them, and summons another Barbazu. Much swearing around the table.

Linny keeps up her blasting while Lyka tears into the devil that accosted her. The badly injured devil takes a step back, bites into its arm and scatters blood all over the ground. The black blood crawls around the warblade and begins coalescing into a dozen Lemures—all around Lyka. More swearing.
Linny identifies the Lemures as “entry-level devils,” and Kikkeni’s player says “…so they’re call center agents?”
I reply: “If you think in terms of infernal bureaucracy, I don’t think the truth would be very far from that.”

Kikkeni Energy Pushes the two devils near her into each other, but the recently-summoned one teleports to Linny in the back, slashing Linny with a devastating critical hit.

Nox drops a Black Tentacles centered on Lyka, disabling the Lemures—and Lyka. Ironically, the devil with 1 HP gets away. (More snickering about how Lyka—and her player’s characters–are ALWAYS in compromising situations—grappled by tentacles and surrounded by devils.)

Eventually, Lyka gets out of the tentacles, and Kikkeni pulls her out by throwing her at one of the other devils. Holden finishes off the last Barbazu. The tentacles crush the remaining lemures into gruesome black mush, and the PCs press on.

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Session 17

Hey everyone, it’s been a while.

Since it’s been a while since our last session, we had a rather slow start.

We started out at the end of the Battle of Brindol. Kharn’s rage drake had just been taken down.

Famous Last Words
Wyrmlord Kharn himself stands up, clutching his chest. With a grin on his face, he roars.

“It’s not…it’s FAR from over!”

Kikkeni orders the elves to open fire. Kharn gets turned into a pincushion. A beam of brilliant light shoots out of the dead Wyrmlord’s eyes and mouth, straight up into the midnight sky. His body then dissolves into a pile of black goo.

The remaining hobgoblins run for their lives as the Horde breaks apart. The Red Hand has been defeated. Brindol is saved.

Jarmaath tells the PCs to take the rest that they’ve earned. After taking the ruined bodies of Linny and Holden into the Cathedral, they loot the bodies of Kharn and Ulwai.

The Next Morning

Day 49 (3 Rhann 998 YK) 7:00 AM
The PCs wake up at the Stone Wyvern Inn (sans Wyvern) and are greeted by Delora Zann and Captain Soranna, who both survived the battle albeit with heavy injuries. Delora reports that she actually took the wyvern out for a spin during the battle, although she had a bad fall. The wyvern survived without much problems and was waiting outside.

Soranna then tells the PCs that Jarmaath was waiting for them at Brindol Keep, saying he has a message that he wanted them to hear personally.

It’s Far From Over

At Brindol Keep, Jarmaath introduces the PCs to Sheen, a changeling spy who was able to infiltrate Kharn’s camp. She bluntly tells the PCs the problem: The hobgoblin horde was only the advance guard.

Much swearing all around.

She informs them that the High Wyrmlord, Azarr Kul, is summoning an army of devils from the plane of Shavarath, and that if that gets through, there’ll be not enough military power in the Five Nations to stop them. She explains the Planar Orrery that Azarr Kul is using to realign the planes.

The PCs wonder about how this army of devils is related to Tiamat, but Sheen can’t answer that question. All she knows is that the Wyrmsmokes are already crawling with devils and that when she tried to infiltrate the Fane of Tiamat itself, Azarr Kul’s Erinyes chased her away.

Sheen marks the location of the Fane on the PCs’ map. The PCs turn to leave, but a soldier in a battered tabard enters. He says that he has a message for Sheen and approaches her—and subsequently stabs her in the throat with a short sword, saying “High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul and Grand Talon Indravan-Yagna would like to say ‘That’s enough.'” The soldier then jumps into the shadow of Jarmaath’s desk and vanishes.

Gathering the last of her strength, Sheen manages to write a few words in her own blood: “Beware Azarr Kul’s fa———”
The last word is scrawled out into a line, as Sheen goes limp and dies.

Shaken, Jarmaath tells the PCs that they should go and investigate the Wyrmsmokes at once, or else all the sacrifices will be in vain. He could not, however, offer any solutions to the PCs’ predicament—they’re two men down.

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The Battle of Brindol, Part Trois

The Final Showdown
I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this entry. We finally got around to holding the final session for Brindol. Nox’s usual player couldn’t make it, Holden/Rampant’s player could only stay till noon, and the rest had to leave by around 3 pm, so I asked my players to come really early. Unfortunately, Rampant’s player arrived early. It took the rest a while to arrive; we were only able to start at 10:30 am.

The party hurries toward Cathedral square only to find Jaarmath being dragged into the safety of the cathedral. Captain Ulverth hurries toward the PCs, telling then that Jaarmath was taken down by a sniper. Seeing that Brindol is in grave danger, Rampant tells the others that Cannith designed him with a one-time use program that greatly increases his abilities, but only lasts for an hour. He activates this program and begins speaking in Autobot lines.

“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”

They enter the Cathedral to check on him and run into Tredora, who is tending her fallen lover. As much as she loves Jaarmath, she isn’t willing to use up her spells when she knows that they might be needed later. Linny volunteers her one prepared lesser restoration and brings Jaarmath back to 4 Strength.

Jarmaath orders Cpt. Ulverth to take command since he doesn’t want Lady Kaal giving orders. He then orders the PCs to look for the sniper.

The Sniper Attack

The PCs begin by sending Rampant into the area where soldiers had fallen to the sniper. Almost immediately Skather takes a shot and scores a critical hit against Rampant. His fortification doesn’t protect him and he instead takes a full 20+ critical sneak attack. Nox is able to spot Skather as he takes his snipe hide check and quickly tries to enter the coffin maker’s shop.

Nox enters the back door and begins sneaking in extremely well, while the rest of the party gathers around the door outside. As Nox explores the interior, he opens a door that creaks noisily, alerting the invisble Kulkor Zhul War Adept hiding in the stairwell. However, Nox’s hide checks are so high that no matter how high the War Adept rolls, he is unable to spot Nox.

Nox spots into the stairwell and is able to discern the vague outline of an invisible creature. Taking his survival pouch, he rips out a campfire (AGAIN) and throws it at the War Adept. He hits, dealing a full 6 fire damage to the War Adept, who promptly swears and runs up to the second floor. The party rushes into the door while Nox follows the still invisible War Adept up the stairs.

When Nox gets up to the second floor, he opens the door to the supply storage room only to find a fiendish dire wolf snarling at him. He quickly backs away and enters the room on the other side of the stairwell to avoid getting pinned down by the wolf. The other party members pound their way up the staircase. Lyka immediately steps in front of the wolf, closely followed by Rampant. Linny tries to run past the wolf, but in the process gets AOO’d—the beast grabs her leg and shakes it, dealing a massive 30 damage, but Linny is actually able to succeed on the opposed trip attempt. Kikkeni remains on the ground floor, keeping watch in case someone comes in the front door.

Nox takes a shot with his crossbow at the Dire Wolf through the space between Lyka’s legs, taking off almost 3/4 of the wolf’s HP. Rampant steps in and then decapitates it, spraying Lyka with black blood.

“You’re going to have to polish my armor,” Lyka tells Rampant.
“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings,” replies the warforged.

Lyka spots someone hiding behind some boxes in the storeroom–a hobgoblin. Rampant stomps all the way up to the hobgoblin, taking a double move, and stopping short of attacking him.

“Would you like to butt heads with me?”
The hobgoblin emerges from his hiding place and attempts to bash Rampant with Death Mark, but misses spectacularly.
Linny follows into the room while Lyka attempts to close in with the hobgoblin swordsage. With the stairs clear, Kikkeni decides to head up to the stairwell and try to help the others on the second floor.

Nox, in the meantime, investigates the back rooms to see if there is anything else. He notices that the doors in the bedroom are curiously He spots the windows in the bedroom and decides to try investigating it. Rampant then roars—“This hobgoblin is not our sniper!”

Right at that moment, the War Adept reveals himself and casts shatterfloor on the rickety floorboards, dropping Rampant and Lyka (Lyka fails her save to grasp onto the vertical wall below her) onto the first floor. Rampant’s player attempts something so awesome that I let slide at the cost of one action point—initiate a grapple with the swordsage and pull him to the ground with him. He makes the touch attack and succeeds in his grapple attempt, pulling the hobgoblin down. They crash into the coffin display on the first floor.

Lyka falls prone onto the ground, only to see none other than Skather suddenly materialize over her with his poisoned blade at the ready! He performs a Strength-Draining Strike on Lyka, his blade pulsing with black energy in the gloom.

Lyka rolls natural 1s versus both the Strength-Draining Strike and the poison. Her strength instantly drops from 18 to 8. Rampant then attempts to bash the grappled hobgoblin’s face in with his slam (headbutt), even using Emerald Razor and a full power attack, but misses. Lyka, still ever sarcastic, quips: “My hope! It is draining away faster than my strength!”

Linny takes a shot at the War Adept who now has a spectacular bird’s eye view of the desperate fight below, blasting him with scorching ray. Nox attempts to jump across the gap using a rope, but hearing the mess going on, he decides to crash through one of the ground floor windows into the display room. Kikkeni rushes to Lyka’s assistance, while Lyka weakly tumbles away from Skather to take her position beside the psion.

The War Adept drops a glitterdust on Kikkeni and Lyka, but both make their saves.

Skather uses Cloak of Deception and materializes behind Kikkeni, his blade firmly planted in her back. Half of her HP is gone instantly. All this time, Rampant and the hobgoblin are wrestling in a stalemate. Although Rampant’s grip is overpowering, he keeps failing to injure the hobgoblin except for one landed punch.

Linny decides to try to help Kikkeni by using her Rod of Viscid Globs at Skather. She hits and Skather fails his save. Nox attempts a crazy stunt with the grappling hook and tries to throw it at the war adept to pull it down, but it is quickly found lacking as an improvised weapon and simply fails to hit.

Kikkeni pulls back from the now stuck Skather. OOC the player agonizes over which of her powers to use—she’s down to her last use no matter what she does, and decides she wants to end the battle quickly and increase her chances of taking Skather out by using her highest-save viable power–Death Urge.

Skather rolls a 3; even with his impressive +14 modifier, he fails to make the save. Lyka tries to help Skather along, but her awful attack rolls and modifiers fail to do anything—and to add even more injury to injury, the War Adept drops a power word: weaken on Lyka. 2 points of Strength drain.

Skather stabs himself, leaving him with very little HP. Rampant, in the meantime, caves in the hobgoblin swordsage’s head with Emerald Razor + full power attack while Linny and Nox finish off the war adept.

Skather is unable to break free of the goo, and is finally finished off by Linny’s scorching ray.

The party collects their loot and moves back to Cathedral Square, with Rampant toting the corpses of Skather and the War Adept. The party reports to Captain Ulverth, who commends them on a job well done.

Not long afterward, Killiar and the hunters land their owls close by. Killiar reports that the Red Hand is making a final push on Cathedral Square, and that he expects them to arrive in about 10 minutes.

Hearing this, Jaarmath gets up and staggers to the Cathedral square to show that he’s still up and about, and delivers an inspiring, albeit recycled speech. Rampant continues this by saying, “Our chance of success is very slim, but we can make it happen because we are heroes—and everyone that has fought here is a hero!”

Tredora takes Kikkeni aside, saying that she senses Kikkeni is extremely fatigued. Kikkeni says she just wants some tea, but Tredora forces her on her knees and lays her hands on the psion’s head. She casts dweomer of transference and sacrifices enough of her spells to bring Kikkeni up to 26 PP (+1 from the cognizance crystal she has). Tredora uses up the two lesser restorations to bring Lyka back up to 16 Strength (she can’t get the 2 Strength drain from the power word weaken back yet).

While we have lunch, the party then goes about the very tedious and hassled process of procuring potions and scrolls from the 5000-GP item pool given to them by the merchants.

Lyka: bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, girallon’s blessing and dragonskin, shield of faith. She had a bunch of spare +1 short swords so she put those to good use with her extra arms.
Rampant: shield of faith
Nox: cat’s grace

Finally, they had Immerstal cast haste on the PCs.
Killiar, Trellara and the elves took up their positions on a grandstand in the corner of the Cathedral Square. Tredora stood by the Cathedral’s stairs with Narcy, Wrogann, Teyani and Captain Ulverth. Rampant, Lyka, and Linny stood in front of them, while Nox, Kikkeni and Jonz took up sniper positions on the Cathedral spires.

Nox’s and Kikkeni’s player help each other run Killiar, Trellara and the elves, while Linny’s player runs Rampant and the Lions. Kikkeni’s player also runs Tredora and Cpt. Ulverth. Lyka’s player has a handfull enough with her oodles of attacks.

Everyone nervously awaits the coming of the horde. As they wait, the rhythmic beating of swords on shields accompanied by goblin chants fills the air. The blaring of dragonbone horns rises above the din.

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Streets of Blood

Much ownage, but much pain.

Holden’s player was absent again due to parental reasons. Lyka’s player was also unable to attend due to the severe traffic between her place and mine; she lives outside of town south of Metro Manila while I live in the North. As such, it’s a pretty damn long trip for her. She only gets to come here regularly during school weekends since her university is nearby.

In any case, my new permanent player introduces his rogue sniper character, Nox, by taking potshots at the Red Hand as they enter. The character is pretty well built, and the player knows how to set up sniping, so he pretty did well today. More on this later.

The PCs call on the four Lions of Brindol, who support them and the militiamen in this encounter. The Militiamen are led by Rampant, the warforged subcommander of the Brindol Lion guard.

-Nox, incognito, and unseen on a barn’s roof (it’s one of the buildings in the center of the map). Basically, nobody knows he’s there until he actually starts shooting.

The Lion Guard:
-Rampant, Warforged Fighter 2/Warblade 4
-Teyani, Fighter 2/Warblade 2, disarm build with Two-Bladed Sword
-Jonz, Fighter 2/Rogue 2, sniper build
-Narcy and Wrogann, vanilla two-hand bastard sword builds.
-10 militiamen

I put up a barrier made of small Mauly clips and folded index card scraps across the part of the map where the wagon is.

Wave 1: Air Strike

First wave:

-2 Hobgoblin dragoons mounted on advanced manticores
-1 Doom Hand Confessor (Cleric 5/Ordained Champion 3)
-10 Hobgoblin regular archers (mwk composite longbows instead of longswords)

The manticores come in hard and fast, carrying hobgoblin dragoons on their backs and 50 lb rocks. The Doom Hand Confessor appears, already buffed with Divine Power and Divine Vigor, and heads straight for the barricade.

Holden, Rampant and Lyka damage the confessor significantly in the first round, but the two manticores drop their rocks on Holden. Holden takes a wallop from the first rock, but the second misses.

Kikkeni stays prone on the roof of the cottage above the wagon, doing her best to lie low. However, with the manticores overhead, she desides to leap down and join the fray below instead of being plastered on the roof .

Nox sneaks the closest Manticore (his Hide check is 50), dealing significant damage to it.

Before the confessor can get any damage off, he’s dropped to critical HP by the mobbing PCs. Jonz takes a few ineffectual potshots while the other three Lions stay behind the barricade.

At this point, one of the dragoons barks out an order in Goblin: “Alright, drop the hammer on ’em!”—and an arrow volley strikes the militiamen. Four are severely injured, and Wrogann takes a hit as well.

Holden leads the militiamen in a concentrated arrow volley on the Confessor, and they actually get in a hit. The Confessor attempts to smite Holden by channeling Contagion into his heavy flail, but fumbles. Lyka cuts him down.

The Manticores retaliate by spraying the defenders with their tail spikes. The four injured militiamen die instantly, plus two more. Improved Natural Attack FTW. The other manticore fires at Kikkeni, Teyani, Wrogann and Narcy, but only lands a hit on Narcy.

A second volley of arrows comes down on Holden, Lyka and Rampant, but only Holden gets hit. Nox takes a second shot at the manticore he shot, and it comes crashing down. Its dragoon jumps off and lands very close to Lyka.

Linny comes out of hiding and blasts the second manticore with blast of force and it fails its Fort save, falling out of the sky. However, it doesn’t take enough damage to die and instead lands uncomfortably close to Kikkeni. It ineffectually tries to attack, but Linny knocks it into the negatives with scorching ray.

Although the two dragoons wound Lyka significantly with their halberds, the party’s frontliners and Rampant easily take them down.

The hobgoblin archers close in on the street, but Nox drops a glitterdust on them from a scroll. Seven of them are blinded, and the remaining ones, seeing the party tear up their frontliners, beat a hasty retreat, dragging the blinded guys with them.

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The Battle of Brindol

Awesome, awesome session today.

We begin by introducing Loven’s replacement, a changeling rogue/swordsage named 20 (though he prefers to be called “Free.”) His actual player wasn’t around, but a substitute player handles both Holden and Free.

Due to some miscommunication with the original player, Free made many choices that were not only suboptimal, but downright dangerous to the party (Charging Minotaur for a Swordsage who had 10 Strength, for one, 4 ranks only in UMD, and dumped Cha and Wis.) Lyka’s player had tried to help this guy make his new character, but unfortunately it seems this didn’t work.

In any case, everyone spent about an hour and a half fixing Free (with his original player’s permission). After gear was chosen, skill points reassigned, and martial maneuvers re-selected, we were finally able to begin.

Training the Lions

The party decides to go ahead and train the Lions of Brindol for their new and improved careers. Lyka successfully trains Teyani in her new career as a Fighter/Warblade.
Holden, with his short temper, is unable to keep his cool in transmitting his ideals to Wrogann, and fails to give him his Crusader levels.
Kikkeni, crippled by her level loss, is unable to make the DC and rolls low as well, so Narcy remains an ordinary fighter.
Finally, Free passes all his skill checks and successfully trains Jonz as a sniper (somehow).

After seven days’ training, the sentries on the wall call everyone’s attention to the horizon. The Red Hand has come into view.

The Red Hand troops set up just outside of bow range. Kikkeni, still a bit addled by her recent Raising, champs at the bit and tries to convince the others to ride out on their pet dire lion.

They convince her to hold back, and so they wait.

The Hammer Falls

The alarm goes up—two artillery teams have begun their bombardment. From the wall, the outlines of three hulking ogres and two enormous warforged titans are visible—the titans are heavily modified, and from the gates Linny can make out that each has one massive arm-mounted cannon powered by human-sized Eberron dragonshards. Each of the titans lets loose a shrieking, wailing projectile that pulverizes the walls extremely quickly.

From their HQ at Brindol Keep, the PCs decide to go after the southern strike team, since they can get there closer.

Before they go, Jaarmath, Ulverth, Immerstal, and Lady Kaal gather the PCs for one last word.

“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be. If we survive here, then good work, everyone. If we fall, gods help us.”

After setting up the Mindlink and Telepathic Bonds, the PCs march out and make a run for it.

The PCs start out 450 feet away from the ogre/titan battery. Lyka makes a run for it on foot, while Holden and Free, mounted on the dire lion (whom Lyka says reminds her of her grandfather), ride out as fast as they could.

Kikkeni and Linny remain behind. Immediately Kikkeni opens fire with her Energy balls, but since she could only hit one of them at a time she focuses on one of the three ogres. The first ogre saves well against the energy balls and is able to survive the first few blasts well, but soon is unable to weather the fire and starts chucking boulders at Kikkeni. The other two ogres and the titans keep up their fire.

By now they realize (and Linny also mentions) that the titans can only fire after three rounds of recharging their dragonshard resonators. It takes a bit of juice to get the dragonshards to reach critical, so they can only fire more or less every 20 seconds (or every fourth round). Linny tries taking potshots at the ogres with Ice Knife, but she’s unable to even make their AC.

Before long, the melee characters close the distance. The three ogres go down quickly once the frontliners get to them. The party then focuses its attention on the Titans. At this point, though, Kikkeni wants to conserve her PP and decides to refrain from launching any more projectiles.

Lyka attacks one of them all on her own and wails on it with everything she’s got, eventually accumulating enough damage for the titan to un-entrench itself and start trying to stomp her. With its cannon no longer trained on the wall, they party at this point has bought at least a one minute extension on the wall’s life span.

Holden, the lion, and Free don’t fare against the second titan so well. Their weapons deal miserable damage despite Holden full attacking and using Fight with mount to give his lion full attacks. Even when he did get Elder Mountain Hammer, Holden rolled a natural one and lost his first opportunity to deal significant damage to it. Unfazed, the titan continues recharging and firing. Seeing her companions in distress, Linny decides to use Divine Vigor and make a run for it to get close enough to drop an Earth Reaver on the Titan that continues to fire.

It takes her a couple more rounds to get close enough even with her enhanced run speed, but once Linny fires off the Earth Reaver, the titan fails its reflex save and topples. With their target disabled, Holden, the lion and Free continue their assault.

As the titan gets up, the three take their AOOs against the mechanical monster while Linny follows up reluctantly with a Sound Lance. Though the titan is resistant to sonic damage, the blast rips off a huge chunk of its armor.

Lyka, in the meantime, continues beating on the other titan while sustaining severe injuries from the titan’s stomps. With a final Soaring Raptor Strike, she sunders the titan’s dragonshard resonator and it goes down.

Holden’s lion manages the impossible—winning a grapple check against the titan. This ties up its cannon and prevents it from firing. Free attempts to use Devastating Throw on the titan twice (he wanted to be able to brag about it here), but fails completely—at one point he fails by 1.

Finally, Holden gets Mountain Hammer and bashes the titan’s chest cavity in. The titan goes down.

After picking up their loot (a whole bunch of dragonshards from the exploding resonators, some GP, a Minor Schema of Resist Energy and a Robe of Useful Items), they try to contact Jaarmath.

Jaarmath only replies “Oh gods, it’s coming! COME QUICKLY!”

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In Which We Cheer the Death of Warforged

I had hoped to cover more ground today, but unfortunately Linny’s and the Magroens’ players were sick and couldn’t make it. Kikkeni’s and Lyka’s players arrived late. Since Kikkeni was dead, her player took over Linny for now, while Lyka’s player took over Holden in addition to her character. Since Loven was charmed and had no way of ever passing the opposed charisma check versus the Greater Barghest, he just aimed and reloaded at Lyka every turn.

Rag Doll

The round begins with Loven shooting at Lyka. The Greater Barghest (in dire wolf form) bites Holden and pulls him to the ground, while Lyka assails the tiger knights. Linny casts Sanctuary on herself to protect her from the Enlarged hobgoblin duskblade and tries to skirt around to get to the meat shields.

The three remaining hobgoblin tiger knights continue to pound on Lyka, but she executes a flawless Mithral Tornado and his every single one of them AND their mounts. This takes a huge chunk out of their HP. The warcaster, still hidden in the abandoned watchtower down the road, casts Manyjaws at Holden, chewing him up for a lot of damage for three rounds.

Lyka weathers the beating from the three tiger knights and eventually kills the second tiger. The two knights, now on the ground, issue fighting challenges against Lyka and renew their assault while the remaining mounted knight continues to fight with his mount. Lyka’s AC proves to be too high, however, and most of them roll badly.

Holden is dropped really close to death several times by the Manyjaws, while Linny, who was able to move up to him, continuously heals him. The Barghest gets tired of Loven missing and just tells him to sit down and “contemplate what passes for a life” and blasts the PCs (and the tiger knights) with Crushing Despair. Holden, Lyka and Loven each fail, while strangely enough, I roll high on the saves of all the knights and tigers.

Lyka uses Iron Heart Surge to shake off the Despair and soon drops the third tiger knight (the one still mounted), but his tiger keeps fighting. It manages to back up and gets enough clearance to pounce her. Most of its attacks miss, but it manages to grapple her as part of its pounce. Holden, however, turns to the tiger and cracks its spine in half.

Holden, despite drawing his best maneuvers, keeps missing the Barghest but eventually manages to lower its HP down to 31.

The remaining Hobgoblin Duskblade keeps trying to hit Lyka and Holden, but keeps missing. At one point it succeeded in Enfeebling Lyka one turn from the end of her Whirling Frenzy, but she was able to shake it off with Iron Heart Surge. As the duskblade began to run out of spells, Lyka ran up to it and split it clean down the middle with Soaring Raptor Strike.

Linny buffs Lyka with Bull’s Strength even as Linny’s Whirling Frenzy wears off.
The Greater Barghest changes shape, and on its next turn, turns to Loven and mauls him, taking off about 28 HP. The Rogue snaps out of the charm and moves to flank the Barghest, but fails to deal any damage on his first attack. The next time he tries, though, he crits and drops the Barghest to 1 HP. The Barghest tears Loven apart like a rag doll. Thankfully, before the Barghest has a chance to devour Loven’s soul, Lyka shanks him dead. The last knight goes down easily on Lyka’s blade. (That means Lyka killed all three tiger knights, two of the tigers, the Barghest, AND one of the duskblades. Do. Not. Piss. Her. Off.)

The party takes a breather to use the Staff of Life on Kikkeni (it was pretty unanimous that she was far more useful than Loven ever was), and makes a break for Brindol.

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