Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SSoI - Session 19: Revenge of the Fallen

Our Heroes (8th level):
  • Lt. Alex Gravis, Water Genasi Warlord (and Ivan, fist of the North Star! ) 
  • Gartok, Dwarf Earth Warden
  • Izenheim, Dwarf Cleric of Marthammor Duin ("tending the wounded")
  • No-Name, Elf Bow Ranger (covering the cleric while he "tends the wounded")
  • Torin Tsai, Half-Orc Slayer
  • Xyla, Drow Vampire
Special Guest Stars (also 8th level):

  • Dragonborn Elemental Sorcerer, played by Apprentice Red
  • Elf Bow Ranger, played by Apprentice Blaster

In Memoriam:
  • Zarra, Drow Vampire  Slain by a Behir
  • Sir Abel Primies, Human Paladin of Torm Slain by a Behir
In front of the newly-arrived stone lion outside the city of Brindol - Izenheim discovers a party of wounded guardsmen and leads them back into the city. As he does so, he passes a wizard of some kind on gate duty and shouts to him to "get up there and help them with ye magic". Soon enough, as the party begins taunting the great behir to come out and fight, a dragonborn sorcerer hurries up to assist them, looking around nervously as he has no idea what is inside the structure.

Annoyed at being teleported,spirit-brushed, nearly gassed, and now taunted by a bunch of humans, the behir emerges and spits lightning at the group. The dragonborn takes the brunt of this and grunts in pain. In return, the wyrm takes an arrow to the face (from the ranger) and an owlbear to the chest (from the warlord) as Gravis launches Ivan into direct combat in a new way. Gartok charges in now that thing is out of it's hidey-hole and locks it down with roots of stone. In a flurry of action the warlord, warden, and vampire all launch acoordinated series of attacks that has the 8-legged beast back on it's heels, and the sorcerer recovers enough to launch a spellblast of his own.

Watching for an opening, Torin sees one after this offensive outburst and launches his own attack, getting up under the beast and knocking it on it's side, screaming as he does so that he has the thing in "THE WORLD SERPENT GRASP!"

Shocked, stunned, possibly even embarrassed at being turned upside down by a mere two-legged half-orc, the behir manages to right itself, shaking Torin off, crackling with rage and lightning, and swallows the warden!

The vampire gives in to the fury and rips into the beast and the owlbear joins her in the same furious spirit. From inside Gartok can be heard calling on the spirits as he fights on in darkness. From behind, Torin launches his devastating offensive once more and again the beast finds itself caught in the terrifying grip of the WORLD SERPENT GRASP!

Overwhelmed, pinned, and down for the count, the behir is slain within a few feat of it's lair, between the paws of the great stone lion. Gartok smashes his way out of its gullet and the entire group pauses for moment before heading inside the lion.

Climbing up inside the lion, the party finds itself in an empty room inside what they think is the head. Picking up some sounds from behind one closed door they kick it in and find themselves facing a group of red-robed hobgoblins with the red hand tattooed on their bodies. Are they wizards? Closing in might keep them from using certain blasting spells! As the first leaping kick takes one across the room and into the dwarf it becomes apparent they are actually monks. A melee in very cramped quarters breaks out as both sides move to engage. Torin displays another hidden talent, or at least his sword does, as he smites the ground and a trench opens up, dividing the room and providing one more way to hurt people - by pushing them into the hole.

From another door an armored figure emerges, chanting litanies to Tiamat. "Well, that explains the dragons."

One more figure comes into the room as well, this time a female hobgoblin, strangely attractive, and begins shouting encouragement to the others.

The sorcerer spits lightning on the closely-packed group and then follows up with another blast. The vampire and slayer tear into the fight and two of the monks are taken down quickly. Wyrmlord Ulwai Stormcaller attempts to overawe the party. Despite her good looks ("that's a ... hobgoblin?") charm, and the whip she is holding the vampire is having none of it and the slayer is already in a sort of battle frenzy and doesn't care. She has some hope of pulling people into the trench with her whip but she's on the losing side and the warlord ends up shoving her into the pit - with a sword - and that's the end for her. The evil priest of Tiamat becomes a special focus of the dragonborn sorcerer and is shocked, scorched and frozen until he drops too.

Pausing for breath the heroes look around. find some interesting treasure, notes, and also destroy an idol of Tiamat. It's a productive few minutes.

DM Notes: No tourist business or travel this time - straight to the action! We knew the players for the cleric and bow ranger were not going to make it to this session so we recruited Apprentices Blaster and Red to fill in with some new characters at the appropriate level. "Defense of the city" seemed like a perfectly legitimate excuse for strangers rushing into combat together without much more than a handshake. Red had been wanting to try out a sorcerer - a fairly short-ranged sorcerer as it turned out, putting him in harm's way repeatedly and becoming the warlord's best customer for healing. Blaster made an elven ... bow ... ranger. We pretty much treated him as a stand-in for no-name - it's not like he's close enough to the party for anyone to notice! Onward!

This Behir fight went 180 degrees from the first encounter with the mighty Varanthian (yes he has a name though he never really had a conversation with the party). Knowing the enemy, preparing for it specifically, changing the conditions of the fight, and learning from a bad experience completely changed the outcome. 

The first time, the fight lasted 6 rounds, the party was taking a beating the entire time, and the behir never went below 40% of his hit points.

This time they bloodied him on round 2 and killed him on round 3. Having two more party members makes a noticeable difference, and ending up with a leader, a defender, and four strikers certainly shortens a fight. My notes show 3 hits on round 1 then this for round 2: the bow ranger does about 20, the warden does about 20 with a bonus attack from the warlord, then the warlord does about 20 from an action point, then the warden does about 20 more from the warlord's action point, then the vampire does around 20, then the warden does around 20 on his own turn, then he does about 30 on his own action point, then the sorcerer finishes the round with 10 more. Then the slayer WSG's him! The poor behir started that round at 369 HP and ended it barely above 100! That's 9 hits in one round, plus various mark punishments and lingering area effect damage. That's cool but it also illustrates why one round in 4E can take f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

The second fight went all of 5 rounds and featured the party jelling even more as a team. In one round Vampire 2.0 landed a 59 point hit on one swing from the warlord, then followed it up with a 37-pointer on her own turn. That's a lot of damage in one round from one character, and the slayer is just about as bad. We also discovered that fighting in smaller rooms is a sweet spot for a dragonborn dragon sorcerer as he can cause mass devastation too. The scarblade became another of Torin's signature moves and has been used several times since to change up the battlefield. 

The group was very happy to trash the behir the way they did and the second fight was just a dessert. The new characters are fitting in well and I expect them to only become more formidable. 

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