Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Play Report: Fortress of the Death Knight Lord, End

  You can find part I here.

  The background and characters are the same.

Late Play:  The party immediately crossed the mile-long bridge, grabbed the prisoners (using a magical mirror to see if they were illusions, etc.), and headed west to their camp. At camp they grabbed the other prisoners (who had fled hours earlier), their steeds and supplies, and sung north and east to bypass the fortress, then grabbed a few hours of sleep to avoid forced march penalties. Awakening at Noon, they set out for the rendezvous with the Green Parrot, all while debating taking the sea rather than land.



  Shortly after Noon they saw a winged humanoid figure pass over them on its way to the keep. Looking carefully with Neun's Glass of Far Seeing Neun observed it land atop the keep and touch the massive crystal there. A wave of shadow burst forth from the crystal and sweep over the countryside. As it passed over them the sun was blotted out and the entire region was cloaked in Gloom making the day like late twilight.
  The party pressed on but, as time went on, they heard a distant noise like a large party, or many people speaking at once. The sound grew louder and louder over time. About 4 in the afternoon they spotted the source - a horde of gibberlings pursuing them! Between the slaves and their armored members the party realized the gibberlings, hundreds of them, would catch them within the hour.
  In a risky move, since they have not learned all of its powers, they called upon Melchior's Staff. It paid off - a massive air elemental was summoned and, as the gibberlings came close, Drake ordered it to form a whirlwind and attack the gibberlings. In the death and roar the party slipped away, racing east and south toward the coast. The party used their Folding Boat to meet up with the Green Parrot in just a few days, arriving at the Green Parrot just in time to help them drive off a set of hobgoblin war canoes.

  Steve convinced the party to sail south and then west, away from civilization, so they could cross the sea to Zingara, skirt the coast to the north, and then round the continent to the Holy City in hopes the Pope would take at least one of the jars. All agreed that this was a good idea and the ship set off. Marigold used magic to speak to some dolphins and learned that sahuagin had been ordered to find them. With the aid of the dolphins the ship was able to avoid sahuagin patrols until beyond their territory.
  On the third day, however, they spotted a flying creature gaining on them. Neun saw that it was Lord Westergoth on a black dragon. The party began sweating. Steve hid himself away for the hope of a surprise attack and the rest of the party prepared.
  The dragon gained altitude and then began a plummet attack. Drake hit the dragon with a Slow effect from a magic item and ordered the ship hard over - unable to adjust in time the dragon plunged into the sea.
  Soon thereafter a crossbow bolt thudded into the rear of the ship. The party urged the ship to more speed and Tellon informed me he was reading a scroll. A moment later a gauntleted had grabbed the rear rail and Lord Westergoth boarded the ship. He drew himself up and faced Tellon before speaking a Power Word, Kill.
  The scroll Tellon had read was a scroll of Protection from Magic. Otherwise, he would have died with no save. Westergoth pulled his new sword, Death's Sting [+7 two-hander that deals double damage] and closed with Tellon (who was drinking a long-cherished Potion of Super-Heroism)- and the sword touched the Protection from Magic sphere. With contested rolls Death's Sting was disenchanted! Tellon struck with his falchion, injuring Westergoth while Westergoth drew his backup weapon, a +4 longsword, and his famous enchanted shield, the Bulwark. Neun and Drake also drank Potions of Super-Heroism closed in and also lightly wounded him.
  At the beginning of the next round Claron drank his (and the last!) Potion of Super-heroism an joined in the second rank, striking with his spear. Then we got into a meat grinder - the 4 party fighters dogpiled on the death knight, the death knight inflicting grievous damage, and the two cleric struggling to get healing spells out. Steve was wary and constantly on lookout, eventually spotting a flying humanoid (the one from the crystal!) circling above. He asked Kugel to watch it with him.
  A lot of round went by as the party did everything they could to keep Westergoth in melee rather than using his magical powers. Tellon, with his magical falchion that did very well against the undead, was actually hurting Westergoth and the others, as a group, got in enough damage to allow Tellon the occasional respite for a Cure from Marigold - but the weight of damage was bearing down on the party. About round 5 Westergoth got a breather of his own and - did something with his shield that healed much of the damage he had taken! The party also got some cures and charged him again.
  In two more rounds Westergoth was reeling from a series of lucky hits and he actually missed.
  [This was so unexpected that Tellon's player said 'I delay my attack a segment in shock that he missed']
  Stev noted that the winged figure was diving and Kugel yanked out his crucifix and uttered a prayer before rolling a 20, turning the foul undead creature bent on saving its master. Steve cast a spell and Westergoth failed his check (99 on the MR roll, 2 on the saving throw, curse the luck), tripping to the deck. The fighters swarmed him, stricking as fast as they could - but Westergoth just would. Not. Die.
  The next round the fighters kept up the pressure, all of them hitting. Westergoth was still getting to his feet! Finally Kugel rushed over with his dwarven heavy hammer and struck a mighty blow (tied what he needed to hit, 1 point off maximum damage) - felling Westergoth!
  The slowed dragon, who had fallen far behind the ship as it swam, immediately turned away.
  The party removed Westergoth's armor, weapons, and items, placed them in a device they hoped would ward off curses, and then burned his body at sea with no wealth, weapons, slaves, or dogs - the funeral of a slave or coward.

  We played out the trip to the Holy City and the party was allowed to leave one jar with the Cardinals of the College (who also hold Westergoth's favorite weapon in their warded vaults).

DM's Notes:
  Well, Hell. The death of Westergoth was unanticipated and really knocks a lot of plot points out of whack, which is the most fun part of DMing. I really expected Westergoth to Kill Tellon and then demand the jars, putting the party into the position of continuing to the Holy City to get Tellon Raised and then racing to stop the plot. When that failed I figured Westergoth would triumph in battle and then do the same.
  Nope. The party has been cherishing certain magic items, working on contingencies, talking about tactics, for years. That plus just a touch of good luck were all it took for a 6th level party to punch way above their weight for a single battle and take down a Big Bad that "should" have mopped the floor with them. Even if Death's Touch had been in play they party might, might have pulled it off, but there would have been dead party members.

  Great game and the party got great loot.