Streets of Blood

Much ownage, but much pain.

Preparations:
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.

PCs:
-Holden
-Lyka
-Linny
-Kikkeni
-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.

Wave 2:

-4 Blood Ghost Berserkers (Barbarian 2/Warblade 2)
-1 Blood Ghost Revenant Blade (Warblade 3/Bloodstorm Blade 3)
-1 Hobgoblin Dirgedancer (Fighter 4/Swordsage 2/ Dervish 2)

They remember to call the dire lion, which Holden mounts and moves in front of the barricade.

The Dirgedancer uses her movement speed to blaze her way down the Dawn Way. Holden and Lyka rush to attempt to block her off, and so does Rampant.

Nox drops a scroll of black tentacles on the berserkers, trapping all of them. Since they have decent strength, I decide to actually roll the grapple checks for them so that they could escape. This kind of slows down the game, but it gave a sense of more urgency.

The Revenant Blade appears, having sneaked onto a rooftop with a potion of invisibility, and throws his heavy flail at Lyka. Lyka’s player (who was on a YM conference with Holden’s player) expresses her shock. The Lions attempt to open fire on the Revenant Blade, but none of them manage to land any hits–26 AC is a tall order even for concentrated volleys.

The Dirgedancer executes Burning Blade and Flashing sun along with her Dervish Dance, scoring a crit on Lyka. Her second and third strikes miss, but the last hits. Lyka drops down to 34 HP from the 70s. Holden attempts to use Battle Leader’s Charge on the Dirgedancer, but unfortunately this and the dire lion’s pounce all miss.

In the meantime, the berserkers all continue struggling with the tentacles. They don’t get much progress until the first one manages to break loose and fight through until the edge of the tentacles.

The Dirgedancer again takes multiple shots at the lion, dancing all the way around it, but deals very little damage. Without burning blade, she’s kinda weak. However, she makes it over the barrier.

The Four Lions of Brindol surround her and begin attacking. Linny follows up with a Magic Missile, dropping the Dirgedancer to critical HP.

The Revenant Blade launches his heavy flail again, disarming Holden successfully. Holden climbs down from his mount to pick it up, and re-mounts.

One by one, the berserkers pull out of the tentacles. One bashes Lyka for 25 damage, dropping her to a dangerously low 9 HP. She tries to retreat to Linny for healing. Nox nails one of the berserkers with a scroll of ice lance.

The Dirgedancer retaliates against Wrogann, slicing him down to 12 HP, but Linny finishes her off with a Magic Missile. The Revenant Blade disarms Holden again, and at this point he says “Screw this” and leads his mount to pounce on one of the barbarians who had just whacked Lyka. The lion grapples the brute and begins to dismember him, while Kikkeni puts in some potshots with her dorje.

At this point, one of the barbarians charges the dire lion and drops him to 0 HP, but Holden smacks him and heals the dire lion with Revitalizing Strike. The lion tears the bugbear a new one.

Lyka, refreshed with new HP, jumps across the dire lion’s back and executes a Soaring Raptor Strike on the last berserker, and Holden caves in its face with a Falcon punch Divine Surge punch.

The Revenant Blade leaps down, only to be confronted by Rampant, who attempts to smash him into a wall. The bugbear puts up a great fight, though, and refuses to be crushed against a wall.

Lyka and Holden come to support the warforged commander, landing a couple of solid blows, until Rampant finally manages a solid, crushing, Dungeoncrasher with a spray of blood and splinters. Just as the dust clears, a bolt comes careening through the air c/o Nox, finishing off the Revenant Blade.

Wave 3:

-5 Bluespawn thunderlizards

-5 Golin’Dar Outriders

The party regroups, and they send the surviving militiamen into the small gaps between the cottages towards the east side of the map.

Holden, healed up, mounts his lion again and stands with the rest behind the barricades. Kikkeni decides to conserve the remaining dregs of her PPs, and so does Linny with her spells.

The blue rhinos come in. Linny readies a scroll of Web against the first creature that passes through the gap (there’s only one narrow choke point where a Web will actually work), while Lyka sneaks up to an alcove and gets ready to stab the next hostile who passes by.

Nox takes a shot at the lead goblin, and lo and behold—the goblin’s mount makes its spot check versus Nox’s godly modifier. It opens fire with its lightning bolt on the sniper’s position, but he manages to evade it fine. The thunderlizard then moves toward the middle, promptly triggering the readied Web.

With the trap sprung, Holden charges forward with his mount and attempts to attack the thunderlizard, but barely lands anything. Then the thunderlizards all light Holden and his lion up. Lightning bolt after lightning bolt streaks across the battlefield, with a couple of bolts actually blazing past Holden, the lion, and the barrier, hitting the defenders behind it.

Kikkeni, failing her reflex save against one bolt, decides to spend some PP to keep herself alive, and raises her Intellect Fortress for herself and Linny. However, the dire lion, scorched and shocked beyond recognition, drops dead. The web is now burnt through, and although the th

In retaliation, Nox and Kikkeni light up the bank of thunderlizards with a scroll of fireball and the last of Kikkeni’s energy balls. Most of the riders are killed instantly.

Without their riders, the ornery beasts charge and crash the barrier. Holden runs into a corner after having taken so much damage, but Lyka and Rampant engage the rest.

Lyka grinds up the remaining rider and its mount with a mithral tornado, while severely injuring the other. Rampant beheads another one of the lizards with Emerald Razor + Power Attack, while Wrogann and Holden take out the last two.

The ground begins to shake rhythmically—they’ve got one round before the final wave.

Wave 4:
-Warforged titan
-Ruven, Kulkor Zhul War Adept
-Kash-Tari, Doom Hand Confessor

And the final wave marches into view—a hulking warforged titan, with what appear to be bunker spaces on its back. Inside its bunkers are Wyrmlord Kharn’s two concubines, working in concert to completely flatten the defenders on the back of their Titan.

As soon as it appears, one of the bunkers launches a scintillating sphere at Lyka, Linny, Teyani and Narcy. The titan then marches straight for the barrier and begins smashing it wide open. Lyka and Holden attack it, with Holden smacking it with Elder Mountain Hammer.

Almost instantly the titan is dropped to 70 HP, but the casters inside hit Holden with a Ray of Dizziness and Lyka with a Moon Bolt. Lyka takes 2 strength damage.

All this time, Nox is lining up a rope and grappling hook as he scampers across the rooftops, attempting to catch the Titan and swing onto its back.

The Titan walks right over the shattered barrier and mauls Holden, dropping him to 13 HP in short order. Lyka drops a Death From Above on the Titan, critically injuring it,
but then the caster inside retaliates with a Ray of Enfeeblement. Ruven rolls high, slashing 7 Strength off Lyka’s score. The Titan then beats Lyka into a pulp, dropping her to exactly 0 HP. Kash-Tari drops a Confusion spell on Narcy, Rampant and Kikkeni, all of whom make their saves. Kikkeni runs into the narrow alleyway to take cover from the onslaught.

Lyka, using the last of her strength, tumbles out of the Titan’s reach, flopping down onto the ground beside Linny. Linny heals her back up while Rampant runs up to the Titan and stabs his blade into its leg actuators, disabling it.

The titan’s systems fail, and it breaks down into a kneeling position in the middle of the Dawn Way.
Just as Holden is about to rejoice, Ruven shoots him (as he is the only hostile visible to her due to the bunker’s field of vision) with an orb of electricity.

And crits.

Alas, 47 damage was not enough for Holden’s pool to absorb. A huge hole is blown through the dwarf crusader’s chest, and he falls flat on his back, dead.

The party is furious, but there’s very little they can do. Nox swings onto the back of the Titan and, using a wand of knock pried from Free’s body by Lyka, pops the lock–but not before using a potion of invisibility on himself. (At this point I only play out Ruven’s and Nox’s turns to speed things up.)

He knows Ruven is in there, but he didn’t want to reveal himself. Not knowing what to do, he reaches into his Survival Pouch and drops…a campfire at Ruven’s feet. She gives herself away, casting Great Thunderclap on Nox. Both of them fail their Fort saves and go deaf.

Nox eventually shoots her to death with his crossbow.

The assassin swings to the other side of the Titan and cracks open the second bunker. Kash-Tari is invisible. Using a waterskin from his Survival Pouch, Nox sprays her with water. The angry cleric, now partially visible, breaks her invisibility by channeling Contagion into her heavy flail, but the rogue ducks underneath it. He begins stabbing her with his dagger quite ineffectively, while the cleric responds by casting Darkfire and burning Nox with it.

Tired of this back-and-forth, Nox grapples her. The cleric attempts to burn him while they wrestle, but Nox successfully prevents her from touching him and pulls her out of the bunker and pushes her off the Titan’s wreck and onto the ground.

Rampant finishes her off with his Shocking Fist.

Jaarmath contacts them to check up on them. Just as he gives the PCs the order to fall back, he stops talking. Everyone hightails it to the Cathedral of Dol Arrah.

Thoughts
That was tiring. Although the session lasted about 5 hours, it took so much brain power that I’m amazed I can write this now.

I’m glad I pared down that last encounter—originally it had a Kulkor Zhul Beguiler and two duskblades. Those would’ve been killed very quickly.

Holden finally bought it. We’re still in the dark as to how to fix this predicament. The party still has a long ways to go, so Linny can’t use Raise Dead on him yet. Holden’s player is of course disappointed, saying that he loses a character whenever he doesn’t come, but I don’t think it mattered—he died a fair death. It just wasn’t his lucky day.

While the party doesn’t have diamonds on them, they have enough GP. However, to get the diamonds NOW, they’ll have to broker a deal with Lady Kaal.

Whether or not they ultimately decide to raise Holden, his player will have to use a character in the next couple of battles. I offered to build up Rampant for him, but he says he prefers to make his own character. I told him it would be too much of a stretch if we ass-pull a Lv 10 character out of nowhere—Lv 10 Characters in Eberrron are a rarity and wouldn’t be available just like that—ESPECIALLY if they were famous martial or divine characters. Nox had an excuse, at least—as an assassin, it makes sense for him to slip in incognito. In this situation, what would you do and how would you fit in a new Lv 10 character?

We still haven’t decided what to do, but the next session won’t be for a while. After Christmas break ends, I have a ton of work to finish.

I did take some pictures of the session, though. I shall post them when I have time.

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