Night Raid

Day 5

The party decides to take it easy for now. Unable to do much, Ashie commissions Morlin Coalhewer (I gave him a human apprentice who does sculpture and pottery) to start making the three homunculi she wants to use: a new Iron Defender, a Furtive Filcher, and an Expeditious Messenger. Even with expert craft skills, none of the homunculi are completed in one week, and they won’t be done until the Red Hand arrives. Wanting to be nice to the players, I tell them that their choice of one homunculus will be completed by the day before the horde arrives. They decide on the Expeditious Messenger.

The party goes to sleep, only to be awakened at midnight by distressed screams coming from the far bank.

Outriders

Jorr accompanies the PCs, but he’s so badly wounded that they tell him to stay back and leave the fighting to them.

The goblin outriders and the dire wolf (for which I swapped out the hell hound) roll high on their initiative, while all the party ends up at the bottom of the stack.

Immediately the dire wolf charges Holden for a lot of damage and knocks him down, while the outriders break out of hiding (they were wearing wolf pelts and use their surprise advantage to score painful skirmish damage on the PCs.

The party is able to quickly subdue the dire wolf, but the outriders just prove too sneaky. Only Kikkeni’s [i]energy cone[/i] is able to deal much damage to them, but the tried and true “use your mount as cover” trick works like a charm, and the outriders roll really high on their reflex saves.

Eventually, the PCs are able to bring one worg down, but its rider makes a beeline for Sterrel’s Provisioning and sets it on fire. However, by this time, Ashie and Kikkeni have HP in the single digits and are only using the dire wolf’s corpse as cover.

(In case you didn’t notice—-they did not heal themselves between their fight with the dragon and now.)

Ashie is able to use her wand of entangle on the grass around the burning warehouse, trapping the goblin who set fire to the building.

Loven manages to use his bag of boulders+sneak attack to seriously injure one worg rider, so they begin to run away.

Second Wave

The two remaining mounted goblins begin running off the grid as quickly as they could; both escape, with the second wave arriving just in time to cover them—two Kulkor Zhul duskblades, two greenspawn snipers, a bladebearer, and a Kulkor Zhul War Adept.

One greenspawn sniper reveals itself, taking shots at Kikkeni from the roof of the other nearby warehouse (Jendar’s Warehouse), and it fails its attack roll and snipe check badly. When Kikkeni’s turn comes around, the greenspawn gets flung to the ground with telekinetic thrust for all his trouble. He survives the huge fall, however, but now that he’s out in the open, he has a hard time with hiding.

The first duskblade nails Holden with [i]ray of enfeeblement[/i], dropping his strength back down to 12.

Ashie thinks she could nail the newcomers with entangle, but the War Adept goes right before her turn and blasts her and Kikkeni with a scintillating sphere.

Both women fail their reflex saves badly. Kikkeni is dropped to the negatives by the explosion, while Ashie dies instantly. The spell deals just enough damage to send her to exactly -10.

The party gets screwed really badly from here on. The Kulkor Zhul War Adept uses its Pillar of Magic ability (see Hobgoblin Warcaster, MMV) to grant SR 14 to its lackeys.

Loven runs to try to heal Kikkeni and finds a potion of cure moderate wounds in her pack, bringing her back up to the single digits.

The party is lucky they’re able to move around so quickly–the hobgoblins have a hard time keeping up with them and the snipers have lousy shots. Readied actions would’ve taken them down easily.

Holden is quickly surrounded by the duskblades and the warblade; one channeled shocking grasp and a critical hit from the warblade later and he’s in the negatives; even his damage pool couldn’t absorb enough.

Seeing Holden go down, the duskblades and the warblade go after Kikkeni and Loven.

Kikkeni is able to breach the SR and flings the warblade away with TKT, while Loven drinks a potion of invisibility to help out his dwarven brother.

In the mean time, Kikkeni flings back one of the duskblades with TKT again (now her favorite power), squishing him. Ouch. The other guy survives and also runs after her.

Loven is able to run as fast as he could towards Holden, and he activates Holden’s healing belt bringing him back up to the positives. Not wanting to attract the nearby War Adept’s attention, Holden continues to play dead.

Kikkeni tries to outmaneuver the warblade, but she decides she’s not willing to risk a TWF full attack on her next turn, so she risks an AOO instead so she can get a safe distance away to cast a spell. Not this player’s lucky day.

The warblade rolls a 20 on his AOO, but fails the confirmation roll. This is still enough to bring Kikkeni down again, so the warblade rejoins the fray as the War Adept casts mirror image. Holden uses up the belt’s charges and gets up, attacking one of the mirror images (giving Kikkeni 2 HP due to Martial Spirit), while Loven pokes at the mirror images as well.

The War Adept is able to nail the now-revived Holden with scorching ray putting him at a dangerously low HP level—once his damage pool hits next turn, he’s going to go down to 0 again. He smashes the warblade with Mountain Hammer.

With Kikkeni back up, she’s able to nuke the mirror images with energy missile, exposing the caster. He barely takes damage from it, but he retaliates with summon swarm. The spiders take Kikkeni down to 0 HP again, though she thankfully saves against the poison.

The remaining duskblade runs off into the woods.

At this point the War Adept tries to escape as well; its buffed AC keeps it safe for the most part. However, as it moves away, it’s unable to maintain the concentration on the swarm spell due to a painful AOO from Holden, and tries to cast haste to bolster his escape.

Holden and Loven stay on his case, but eventually the War Adept is able to cast invisibility from a scroll and escapes with his life.

The party calls Jorr to ask for help with the fires, which thankfully haven’t spread so much. Ben Sterrel’s store is mostly intact.

Postmortem (Literally)

While the party has the staff of life, Loven’s crappy UMD ranks prevent him from emulating the 15 Wis required to cast the spell. They decide to lay Ashie to rest, cutting off a lock of her hair to send back to House Orien, should they decide to have her resurrected.

Now that the party has got a taste of the Red Hand’s competently dangerous side, they’re convinced more than ever that Drellin’s Ferry has to be evacuated. I also tell them that the implications of the outriders, the snipers, the War Adept and the duskblade getting away are very dire: The raid was not a coincidence. The outriders had found Vraath Keep empty and tracked the perpetrators to Drellin’s Ferry, and now that they’ve seen the PCs and gotten away to report to the Horde, there’s a good chance that later attacks will be much, much harder.

Ashie’s player decides to roll a character, and given the dangerous nature of the adventure, Holden and Loven’s player decides to roll an additional character as well.

Ashie’s player wants to tank this time, since she realized that having only one tank makes things kind of difficult. I ask her if she’s willing to give up her party’s utility casting, and she says she prefers survivability. As such, I recommend she roll a cleric instead, to which she agrees.

We recommend that the other player’s additional character (he’s going to be controlling THREE characters now O_O) be a fast, DPS striker, so we recommend a Shifter Barbarian/Swordsage or Warblade. He also decides to make this character female.

Due to Ashie’s death, I’m going to give the PCs a modifier on their Diplomacy checks during the Town Council on day 7—surely the death of a seemingly powerful adventurer would strike fear into the hearts of the people. (I’m using Rich Burlew’s  tweaked Diplomacy rules). However, this could also mean they are just as likely to surrender.

We don’t know when next session will be yet. It will likely include the council meeting, as well as the Chimera attack. I tweaked the beast a bit, giving it a blue dragon head (partially due to Azarr Kul’s and Tyrgarun’s vanity) to give it some range on its breath weapon.

RIP Ashiedae Jiourrn d’Orien

d: 16th Lharvion 998 YK

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