Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Return to the Ruins of Adventure - Session 9: Attack of the Emerald Queen
Uthal, Goliath Barbarian 2
Tavar, Deva Invoker 2
Kordan, Human Fighter 2
Javanni, Half Elf Bard 2
Mikal, Human Warlock 2
Althea, Eladrin Wizard 2
After recovering from the fight with the kobold leaders the team heads for the last remaining door. Opening* it they discover a large, columned temple hall with a large dragon statue at the far end and a glowing green ball atop an altar. Moving in they are instantly set upon by a needlefang drake swarm and a guard drake unleashed by one of the handler-types they have seen before. The kobold high priest stands at the back of the room near the altar unleashing clinging venom blasts at different targets as his warriors and guard animals chew them up in hand to hand combat. A human bandit fights alongside, the first non-scaled opponent they have encountered since entering the well. During the combat the priest screams that the party has angered the Emerald Queen and that they will pay for their transgressions. Also, a magical crossbow trap covering the door fires every round, nailing almost every member of the party during the fight.
The invoker summons a fire angel and drops it on the priest and is partially successful in keeping him busy until the fighter can get to him and engage. The barbarian takes on the guard drake and its handler while the wizard, warlock, and bard fight the bandit and the swarm, leaving the fighter and invoker to tackle the high priest. In the priest stand alone, holding off the entire party for a round or two until he finally succumbs.
Healing up and searching the room, the party discovers that the glowing ball on the altar is actually the preserved eye of a fomorian, usually associated with scrying or communication type magic. Deciding not to severely desecrate the altar after thoroughly searching it (but after looting the bodies) the group heads out to the well and elevates themselves up and out. They get about 20 steps away from the well when there is a whoosh of water shooting up from the well (along with the splintered lifting platform) and a roar and then a large draconic shape fades into view atop the well itself. "You have slain my children and now you will pay!"
Much of the party is stunned for the first round so the dragon engages and spews poisonous breath all over them. The team spreads out as Uthal and Kordan charge while Althea drops a flamning sphere next to it and various other magical effects flare off around the party and the beast. In a long and vicious fight the Invoker, Fighter, the Warlock, and the Bard all drop at some point, though most of them are revived to fight again during the battle. Finally, with almost the entire party bloodied or unconscious Kordan manages to pin the beast in place by ramming a sword through its foot and the party members still in fighting shape charge in. The Emerald Queen goes down ad stays down, leaving the inner court of the ruined keep drenched with blood and venom and a party of injured and dying heroes raise their hands in victory.
DM Notes: This was the climax of the Kuto's Well section of the campaign and it was intense.
The fight in the temple was vicious but only lasted 5 rounds. It did demonstrate the effectiveness of ongoing damage though as the priest was lighting people up for direct damage + ongoing 5 almost every time he shot, one reason that the Invoker and Fighter moved to engage him even though there were other targets still up and closer. Locking him up in hand to hand prevented him from firing off that nasty ranged attack and then once the fighter got on him it was only a matter of time. Several dailies were fired off as the party assumed this was the finale and they felt the lack when the dragon attacked. They did take a short rest before continuing though, and it's a good thing.
The Emerald Queen was a tough challenge for my group of 6 as it has well over 200 hit points, decent armor, and nasty breath and melee attacks. I've run a couple of these fights now and they are epic every time. The recharge mechanic for the breath makes fighting one uncertain and a few rolls one way or the other could have resulted in much more pain for the party.
This wraps up the Kuto's Well adventures and most of the party will be level 3 after this. Next time it's back to town to sell loot and recover and level up, and find out what's next in the big city.
*Opening in this case means that the fighter and the barbarian smash it to kindling and charge in.