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.

The War Council

After spending some time to heal up (they bought another Wand of Lesser Vigor), the PCs are summoned to Brindol Keep.

Lady Kaal, whom the PCs have never met before, is snappy and sarcastic, thinking the PCs inept and useless, using every opportunity to make herself a thorn in Jarmaath’s side. The PCs each introduce themselves, but only Holden and Kikkeni are able to make any favorable impressions of themselves.

We contact Linny’s player through Yahoo Messenger and set up voice chat to facilitate things. The planning begins.

Choosing the Battleground
Jarmaath makes his case for fighting outside, while Ulverth makes his for fighting along the wall. Tredora wants to escape to Vathirond, while Lady Kaal is pretty sure she doesn’t want to deploy her private army.

The PCs discuss for a bit, and they immediately agree that putting the army outside the wall (the only advantage they have left), is a bad idea. Even if the enemy were to come from the air, at least the city has favorable terrain. Fighting in the farms would make things very difficult for them. Diplomacy checks are made, and they successfully convince the council to hold the walls. Escaping to Vathirond is a Very Bad Idea, since it’s the last city on the frontier before the Mournland, and they had sent all their sick people there. Fighting in the open would just get them outmaneuvered: the superior speed of the worg riders and tiger knights would completely screw them, not to mention the flyers. The most favorable option is chosen: Fight from Brindol’s walls.

City Defense
The PCs immediately bring up the topic of what to do in the event that the Horde breaks through the walls. They’re pretty pragmatic about it and suggest barricades, rally points, the works. The idea of the clerics is mentioned.
The PCs huddle (Linny’s player was around thanks to Yahoo Messenger’s voice calls). They try to adopt a compromise by deploying them throughout the city but have them fall back when things get hairy, OR have some of them deployed while keeping the majority inside the Cathedral.

They eventually agree and convince the council that keeping the clerics in the Cathedral will get the soldiers killed, they decide that deploying the clerics in field hospitals about 100 feet behind the front lines will allow the clerics to escape if the front line collapses. Ulverth thinks a compromise is not going to be an efficient tactic, but the PCs are sure of this and make their diplomacy checks. The council agrees to deploy the clerics.

The Telepathic Bond
Immerstal enters with his scrolls, and Kikkeni immediately suggests that she could instead use her racial Mindlink to connect to Jarmaath instead, allowing them to keep two slots open. They then suggest that the telepathic bond be used to connect to the commanders instead. However, they roll low and fail to convince the council; Lady Kaal prevails, claiming that it would do well to have a backup town leader in the event that Jarmaath would go down.

At this point the deliberations took more than an hour and a half, and we call it a day.

Thoughts
-Do NOT mess with Lyka. Seriously.
-The players’ frustration with Loven has come to the surface. They found him annoying in general and they were confused as to what his player wanted to do with him exactly. He was unfortunately no good at the things Rogues are usually supposed to be good at and his sniping was rarely successful.
-I contacted Loven’s player and he said he had a changeling Rogue idea for backup, so he just needs to roll him.
-I wish we had enough time to being the siege, but I guess it wouldn’t be a good idea with them a man down and with Linny almost out of spells. They haven’t trained the Lions of Brindol yet, and Ulverth predicts the horde to make a move within a week.
-It seems that characters typically die when other players sub for absentees.
-We definitely need to start the Battle of Brindol next meeting. Hopefully we can meet again soon.

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