Sunday, February 16, 2014

SSoI - Session 16:The One With the Black Dragon

Our Heroes (7th level):
  • Lt. Alex Gravis, Water Genasi Warlord (and Ivan, Owlbear Extraordinaire!)
  • Zarra, Drow Vampire
  • Gartok, Dwarf Earth Warden
  • Izenheim, Dwarf Cleric of Marthammor Duin (gone catatonic!)
  • No-Name, Elf Bow Ranger 
  • Sir Abel Primies, Human Paladin of Torm (spending some "personal time" with one of the elves back at Starsong Hill)
We begin on the roof of the largest building in the ruins of Rhest in the Blackfens of the Elsir Vale. It is Flamerule, 1450 DR.

After defeating the outer guards the party stands around a hole in the roof debating how to proceed. Finally the vampire drops in gracefully as the rest climb down. Seeing nothing but a hole in the floor (explaining the splash sound when the ogre fell in) they advance to the double doors and kick them in - Plan A once again!

They are met by a still dripping ogre and an even bigger humanoid with two heads - an ettin! As the big brute charges in the ogre moves into flank the party. In response the warden takes on the ettin while the vampire lays into the ogre. The warlord and his pet do what they can to assist both while the ranger shoots into the fight from the rooftop.

As this fight continues the noise draws in others from the adjacent rooms. First, a hobgoblin mage of some kind emerges and begins attempting to dominate the party while throwing the occasional bolt of frost. Then a weathered-looking goblin with a fairly elaborate bow, evaluating the scene. He shrieks and points to the hole in the roof as a good-sized hawk flies up and out. The ranger devotes a notable amount of firepower at the bird but is unable to bring it down before it vanishes into the sky.

With the two brutes keeping the team busy in melee and two ranged attackers out of reach, the party has a bit of trouble dealing with the situation. Then the ogre topples over. The vampire jumps into the ettin fight and  it falls over as well. Things are not looking so good for the goblin ranger and the hobgoblin mage as they become the focus of the fight. The hawk returns unexpectedly and the party wonders why - for about 5 seconds. Then with a whoosh a black dragon flies into the room and things change again as it blasts the party with its acid breath.

Annoyed, the vampire finishes off the mage and then leaps onto the dragon. The ranger turns his attention to the wyrm as well while the warlord and warden finish off the bow goblin. The dragon is quite confident he can destroy these interlopers but seeing his allies slain as he arrives is not good. He then finds himself caught in a terrible situation as the warden ties him to the ground with roots and frost, making it difficult to move, and the warlord takes it up a notch, re positioning the party to the dragon's extreme disadvantage. Suddenly surrounded, flanked, marked, and just in multiple bad ways the beast shifts to one objective- escape!

The dragon desperately tries to pull away but Gartok is not letting go, calling out to the spirits of the earth and channeling their power in new, powerful ways. At a distance the ranger keeps the beast under a steady barrage of arrows, many striking home as the wyrm twists and turns and tries to fly off. Even Ivan plays a part, blocking its path and landing the occasional paw swipe. Finally, as the ranger sinks an arrow into one eye the dwarf lays the smack down with a massive hammer strike and Regiarix the Black falls for good.

Then, for spite, Zarra slashes the goblin's hawk out of the air, killing it as well.

After a short rest and the usual looting, the party realizes that the goblin bowman was actually a Wyrmlord - the "Saarvath" mentioned on the map. Realizing they've killed the leader, the dragon, the mage, and the big muscle of the invaders, the group packs up, heads to their boat, and evacuates back to the friendly confines of Starsong Hill.

DM Notes: This was not quite a dynamic a fight as the last one but it went 15 rounds (as it was one continuous fight) and had a sense of escalation through the early part that I thought worked pretty well. 

The massive lockdown capabilities of a motivated warden are quite impressive. Sometimes with another defender in the group neither he nor the paladin have to work too hard to hold things in place. This time there was no paladin and he rose to the occasion and then some. Meanwhile, pushing the gap even wider, the warlord is moving the rest of the party all over the place to ensure they have flanking bonuses on the extra attacks he hands out and to ensure maximum opportunity attacks if the poor dragon does manage to move more than 5' on its turn. The doomed beastie spent the last 5 rounds of the battle just trying to get away and it was never even close to doing so. 

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