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.

The Symphony of Crimson Carnage

The horde charges the barricades surrounding the Cathedral Square, and the assembled soldiers do their best to fight off the oncoming tide. However, the sound of soldiers screaming as they are flung through the air fills the Cathedral Square. Immediately afterward, a fireball shoots out of the melee and strikes the Holy Symbol of Dol Arrah on top of the Cathedral, setting it on fire. The wicked red-orange light casts dancing shadows all across the Square.

Two skullcrusher ogres lead the charge, one of them carrying an enormous halberd while the other wields a longsword and an axe. Between them are two muscular, white-scaled dragonspawn wielding spiked chains—Whitespawn Berserkers—mounted on Redspawn Firebelchers.

Finally, mounted on an enormous Rage Drake, Wyrmlord Kharn makes his entrance. He is clad in red full plate, has his long hair in long, tight dreadlocks woven into a very long braid, and an enormous jagged greatsword. The sword’s steel is a deep purple, and the blood that sticks to it seems to be rising instead of dripping off.

Livid with rage, Kharn orders the charge.

Before they are even able to move, Lyka charges. She savagely slashes at the halberd-toting ogre, taking off almost a third of its HP before it’s able to do anything. Killiar, Nox and Immerstal shoot him as well, while Captain Ulverth charges on his horse. The halberd ogre is brought down to extremely low HP before it is able to even do anything, while Kharn, on his turn, vanishes with invisibility.

Tredora and the Lions charge the second ogre, while Kikkeni drops an electric energy ball on the berserkers. Linny casts healing circle, giving the party and their allies a multiple-use healing source.

Kharn reappears in his mega-buffed form (12 feet tall with a chromatic pentagram halo, long, black horns, pitch-black eyes, and dragonmark glyphs floating all over him) behind Ulverth and stabs him with his greatsword. The blood slick on the sword seems to get sucked into the hilt, after which the spikes on the sword flare out. Ulverth cries in agony. Kharn, one of the berserkers and the rage drake close in on Ulverth, Rampant and Lyka, while the other berserker uses his mount to spew artillery fire at Linny and the Lions.

The Lions close around the second skullcrusher, while the elves open fire on the halberd-wielding skullcrusher.

Linny tries to dispel Kharn, but he is able to counterspell it with his Divine Defiance feat.

The invisible Ulwai casts haste on her party, while Kharn slashes Ulverth, tearing him down from his horse. The captain was left at -1, so Kharn began to concentrate on Tredora and Rampant. The rage drake tries to maul Lyka, but is unable to hit her with its bite due to her high AC.

Rampant tries to use Charging Minotaur on one of the firebelchers to push it into the rage drake’s space, but he’s unable to overpower the massive beast.

The melee continues for a round before Kikkeni is no longer able to fire an energy ball due to the muddled-up battle lines, but the elves and Immerstal are able to continue supporting fire. Amazingly, despite the -4 penalty for shooting into melee, the elves roll incredibly high and are able to score successive hits on the ogres and on Kharn.

Lyka breaks invisibility and starts using Thunderstrike on Tredora, then Lyka.

Rampant slashes Kharn and then activates his fleshgrinding greatsword, painfully wounding him. Kharn angrily raises his own weapon and executes Divine Surge on Rampant, practically melting him in half at the waist. With Rampant dead, Linny angrily attempts a second Dispel Magic on Kharn—and Kharn rolls a natural 1 on his Counterspell. His buffs shatter one after another. The rage drake makes a beeline for Linny and tears her apart like it would a rag doll.

The Firebelchers eventually fall to Lyka’s blades and the Lions’ attacks, while the archers take down both ogres. One of the ogres is able to trip Teyani, but he doesn’t do enough damage to kill her. With only the berserkers, the Rage drake and Kharn left, the Lions and the snipers concentrate their fire on one of the berserkers while Kharn attacks Tredora. Kharn continues taking damage from Rampant’s still-grinding greatsword, but he keeps fighting on.

Arrows bring down the last of the berserkers after the Lions kill the other one. Lyka shreds Ulwai to pieces, dealing over 40 damage with her second full attack.

Immerstal gets the killing shot on Kharn, blasting clean through him with his magic missiles. The Lions and Tredora get in some hits on the rage drake, until a solid headshot from Nox kills it. Immerstal fireballs the rage drake’s corpse for good measure.

We end the session there.

Casualties:
-Rampant
-Linny

Severely Injured:
-Cpt. Ulverth

Postmortem

-This gets better and better. This was truly the most epic series of encounters so far, despite both of them lasting for a relatively short time.
-I had an epic chase scene across the tops of the burnt houses for the Skather battle, but Nox’s snooping around in the back rooms prevented Skather from escaping in the midst of the fight.
-To any DMs planning to run RHOD—I highly recommend the use of shatterfloor in the Coffin Maker’s Shop.
-It was nice of Linny to sacrifice her lesser restoration for Jarmaath, but I did have to make some excuses as to why Tredora didn’t use her own spells on Jarmaath. In the end I boiled it down to her wanting to keep him from fighting and getting killed.
-The archers and mooks were actually useful here. The players running them were extremely lucky with their d20 rolls.
-One of the best things about the Kharn finale was that I got the players to make their rolls in advance so that we didn’t have to move so slowly. When it was Lyka’s turn, Killiar and Nox were already making their rolls. It was a pretty efficient way of running things and made the battle move really smoothly and swiftly.
-Lyka has become so badass I can’t even describe it. She’s been dropped to negatives so many times and yet she’s always managed to bounce back and tear her enemies apart. She took 10 Strength damage + 2 Strength drain and still managed to come back and shred one of the Wyrmlords.
-Raising Holden has now become a huge problem. With the only cleric in the Elsir Vale with Lv 5 spells dead, they have no way of getting either Holden or Linny back. Although I might be able to have them procure a black market scroll of raise dead from Lady Kaal, I still think they will probably not have enough money for both of them. Any suggestions?
-I’m looking forward to tweaking Act V. I’m going to make it so that they can’t just wander about the interior with impunity.

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