Seeing Nimber in peril, and seeing Sphynx brutally efficient attack again the cultist, Quixt moves (to U18 is 25 feet) for hasted attacks vs. the cultist (#3), drawing his sword in the process of moving. His first blow misses wildly, and the 2nd blow is deflected (Rolz rolls = 10, 16) Smarting from his inability to strike true, he prepares himself for what's coming.
Third round since the clanging noise:
Someone arrives somewhere, and does something. [2 of 20]
[Quixt misses his charge attack.]
Nimbar takes a step backwards, to square #W17, and casts a spell at his opponent, gritting his teeth in anger! Four motes of blue light, which are beginning to become quite common in this battle, slam into the burned Cultist, knocking the life out of him!
Not going to bother rolling; minimum damage for 4d4+4 is 8 points. That would put him at -7. Average damage is 14 pts., which KILLS him outright, putting him at -13. Either way, he's toast.
While Nimbar takes a step backward, Hawke, in contrast, takes one FORWARD, so that he can attack both of the remaining Cultists. He is a blur of speed and power, as he brings his hammers to bear.
Hawke's attacks: +11 / +6 / +11 / +11 (Rolls: 17,14,29,27)
Two hits, both with primary weapon, one against each foe.
Damage: 8, 10.
Cultist #1 takes 8 pts. damage (29 total.) [-1, Dying.]
Cultist #2 takes 10 pts.damage (33 total.) [-5, Dying.]
Each of the Cultists manage to avoid one of Hawke's attacks each, but it does them no good; the other two attacks both connect, and that spells their doom. Cultist #1 is hit in the side of the head, while Cultist #2 has his chest caved in. Neither foe is long for this world.
Hawke then uses his extra Haste movement to back up to near the rest of the party. He knows that this is not the end; more opponents are surely coming.
Fourth round since the clanging noise:
Four people do something; a fifth person does something else.
The party hears a LOUD horn blast, obviously signalling an intruder alarm. The proverbial jig is up. There can be no more sneaking around. The party should either leave now, or prepare for a running battle, as defenders continue to arrive.
SPHYNX: All nearby opponents are dead or dying. Combat has NOT ended. It's your turn! What do you do?
While going over my notes, and planning things out, I realized some things:
1. Nimbar has a HASTED AC of 23.
2. Cultist hit him with a NATURAL 20 (which is what he needed to hit 23)
3. Cultist confirmed the crit with a 19 (which hits Nimbar's NORMAL AC 22)
4. But since Nimbar's AC is currently 23, the crit did NOT confirm.
So, instead of going back and re-working everything, I am going to let the crit stand, but the next curative spell that is cast will be counted as a critical success, to balance things out; i.e., if Sphynx casts Cure Light (1d8+1) on Nimbar, I will treat it as 2d8+2 instead.
Cultist #1 is DYING [-2]
Cultist #2 is DYING [-6]
Cultist #3 is DEAD [-13]
Round 4: Sphynx touches Nimbar, uttering a strange, Druidic word as he does so; Nimbar's head wound stops bleeding, and begins to close up. The skin closes completely, leaving Nimbar with a painful, purple-red bump, rather than the open gash he had before.
Nimbar is healed for 11 (4+5+2) pts. of healing.
Nimbar has taken 11 pts. damage [Moderately Injured]
Quixt has taken 3 pts. damage [Mildly Injured]
As he is doing so, Sphynx notices a cool breeze coming from the slanted passageway to the northeast; he indicates to the rest of the party that this is probably a shorter route of egress, and proceeds to investigate.
Normal movement remaining: 60 ft.
I forgot that in order to get the extra move action, the Haste spell needs to be cast at a minimum of 11th caster level. So from here on out, no more extra move actions. Sorry.
Sphynx can reach square #K11 this round.
Sphynx, as you make it this far, you notice that there is a cave opening up ahead, with sunlight streaming in. That exit is probably somewhere in the middle of the ravine wall, which means that you'll be on a switchback ledge when you reach the opening.
For now, you haven't quite gotten there yet.
End of Round 4: Quixt, Nimbar, and Hawke take double moves this round, in order to catch up with Sphynx. The sound of rushing boots is still distant.
Round Five: The party hears the rush of booted feet drawing nearer. Cultist Reinforcements have now reached the edge of the map.
The party double-moves again, exiting through the cave mouth, and almost reaching the top of the switchback.
At this point, Quixt's Haste spell runs out.
Map of the Ledge.
At this point, the party is so far ahead of the guards, that new initiative needs to be rolled. Go ahead and do that, and post your results on LINE chat.
New Initiative (Starting Round 6)
Hawke 20a Quixt 20b .....(Tied with Hawke, but Hawke has higher Dex) Nimbar 19 Sphynx 14 Wendol Cultists 3
Nimbar has taken 11 pts. damage. [Moderately Injured]
Quixt has taken 3 pts. damage.
Sphynx's Adjusted AC: 23
Nimbar's Adjusted AC: 22
Hawke's Adjusted AC: 25
Quixt's Normal AC: 17
(Haste has ended.)
6th Round: Five will search for clues to where party went and try to heal fallen comrades. By this time:
Cultist #1 will be at [-5] = saveable
Cultist #2 will be at [-9] = saveable
Cultist #3 will be (and already is) dead.
Five will begin tracking the party.
SOF: ALL CULTISTS: (Averaged, for easier record keeping): 3 of 20.
Round 6: Hawke runs, reaching the top of the ravine; over about 50 yards to his left (west) is the campsite where you fought the Orcs and others. Straight north another 100 feet or so, and the party will be within the forest.
Hawke looks back at the party, and says in a low tone, but not a whisper: "Come on, let's head for the trees to the north! Hurry!"
Hawke muses inwardly: ~These tribesmen are running out of steam. I'd bet if we' have pressed the issue, we could have taken them. No matter; once we've rested, we'll come back, and put them to the sword once and for all. After all, how large could their tribe be? Big tribes don't live in caves; small ones do. Big tribes need open spaces. I think these Wendol are a dying breed; or at least, they're about to be, if I have any say in the matter.~
QUIXT: You're up! You're still a run movement (120') behind Hawke. What do you do?
As it turns out, the Cultists don't have the movement rate to save Cultist #2. They won't reach him this round. And I even rolled a separate initiative for him for next round, and it didn't help. He will die at the top of Round 7. Then, at the end of Round 7, they will heal Cultist #1 twice: 1d8+2 (x2) = 6,6 = 12 points (+6 Positive Hit Points.) He will be a bit woozy, but he will heal himself that same round (1d8+2) = 8; So at the end of Round 8, he will re-join the fight with a total of 14 hit points. Then there will be 6 total Cultists.
I am making an executive decision here, since we are doing PbP, and this decision will help move the story along, without getting bogged down in game mechanics; I know that Quixt and Sphynx will likely just follow Hawke on their turn, as will Nimbar. Thus, round 6 will end with the party being 100 feet away from the treeline. Then the Cultists in pursuit will do -Something-.
Then at the top of Round 7, the party will all take run actions again, and will all be 20 feet INSIDE the treeline, out of sight. At the end of Round 7, the Cultists will do -Something Else-. Then, combat will end, and the party will have escaped.
So instead of "going through the motions" for no good reason, I am simply advancing the story to that point. The party evades the pursuing Cultists, and travels another 30-40 minutes fast walk into the forest before making camp.
(Downtime is deferred; see below for time required.)
(450 x 4) = 1,800
(600 x 2) = 1,200
(300 x 8) = 2,400
(1,200 x 3) = 3,600
TOTAL COMBAT XP: 9,000 (Div. by 4 = 2,250 xp.ea.)
XP Award (Story) = Discovered Newly Cut Staircase At Ravine Camp: +1,000 each
XP Award (Story) = Successfully Infiltrated The Southern Wing: +500 each
XP Award (Story) = First Encounter With Dark Acolytes: +1,000 each
XP Award (Story) = Destroyed South Wing Undead Contingent: +1,500 each.
XP Award (Story) = Wendol now down to approx. 1/3 of original force: +1,500 each.
XP Award (Combat) = (Figured above) +2,250 each.
Each Party Member Receives 7,750 xp. pts.
Each Party Member Receives 2,583 magic pool pts.
From Last Award: 28 Days From This Award: 32 Days TOTAL DOWNTIME: 60 Days (when storyline allows.)
ROSE GOLD COLLECTIONS: (Counted separate from other treasure):
Drogonspine spear head: 8" long, weighing 2 oz. per inch. (Thus, 8" spear head weighs 1 lb.)
Dragonspine machete blade: 12" long, weighing about 24 oz. (1.5 lbs.)
Value of MW Rose Gold Spear: 301 gp.
Value of MW Rose Gold Machete: 365 gp.
Sir Walter's share: 6 MW Rose Gold Spears
21 MW Rose Gold Spears (Total Base Value: 6,321 gp.)
13 MW Rose Gold Machetes (Total Base Value: 4,745 gp.)
(This is the total amount of Rose Gold items collected from all raids so far.)
(Previously Hidden In The Treeline)
2 x Hide Armor
24 x Javelins
2 x Club
3 x Studded Leather Armor
3 x Falchion
3 x Leather Armor
3 x Light Wooden Shield
3 x Morningstar
88 silver pieces
13 gold pieces
10 small gemstones (semi-precious)
The party makes camp. Nimbar and Quixt sleep in the Rope Trick. Sphynx and Hawke sleep in trees. The night passes uneventfully.
In the morning, Hawke asks Nimbar to borrow his spellbook. Nimbar is surprised, but he agrees, another night passes uneventfully, and Nimbar is amazed the next morning when Hawke is able to copy two spells from it without any trouble, whatsoever.
1 day spent studying Nimbar's spellbook.
DC: 17. (Two spells.) First spell: 25 (Success); Second spell: 26 (Success.)
Nimbar says, "Truly impressive, my good friend. Truly impressive."
Hawke grins, "I'm pretty sure that the Mage Armor spell would protect me better than my leathers now; I've gotten really proficient with it. But I have nowhere to leave them at the moment. When I get back to the keep, I will probably sell them. I seem to have a knack for Abjuration. Who knew?"
The party rests for two days.
Does the party want to approach the ravine in the daytime, or at night?
Hawke says, "Agreed. It's mid-summer; thus it's sunny, nice and dry, there's almost no moisture in the air, and it hasn't rained in over 3 weeks... perfect weather for fighting."
Nimbar laughs at his friend's bravado; Hawke was one of those people who just seemed to be lucky. He always came out on top, in every fight, scrape, skirmish, or battle. He was super aggressive, but sharp-witted as well. And now, it seemed, he was starting to learn Abjurative magicks, not for the purpose of becoming a dedicated spellcaster, but simply to boost his own prowess in the melee arena. Hawke was truly one of a kind. When the gods made him, they broke the mold.
Nimbar nods, "Yes, it would be wise. Their allies, the Orcs and the Bugbears, will be asleep now, so close to noonday. The Goblins, Kobolds, and Hobgoblins are gone, either dead or scattered. What reinforcements there are will be slow to respond. And I now have my full compliment of battle spells prepared. There is no better time than now."
It is Wealsun 9, CY 576, 11:30 AM.
Hawke casts Nimbar's Improved Shield; +6 AC / Duration 6 Hours.
(Since Hawke is 2nd Level Abj. Champ., he adds +2 AC Bonus.)
Nimbar casts Mage Armor; +4 AC / Duration 8 Hours.
Sphynx casts Mage Armor (which overrides his bracers); +4 AC /
Duration 8 Hours.
Hawke's Current AC: 26
Nimbar's Current AC: 22
Sphynx's Current AC: 23
Quixt's Current AC: -?-
The group casts preparatory spells, and begins to move back toward the campsite at the top of the ravine; when they reach the tree line, they see that 4 Wendol warriors, 4 Bugbear warriors, and 3 Wendol cultists are now on guard, and look to be casting wards and alarm spells. No spellcraft check is required, because the preparations are obvious; the alarm spells will allow them to know when an enemy approaches, and the wards are probably to prevent the tents from being set on fire.
All four party members are 60 ft. away from the edge of the camp, safe and unseen in the trees. What's your plan of attack? (Battle map coming soon.)
After resting, Quixt also spends time with Hawke observing Nimbar's spellbook. Particularly, he notices a modified Shield spell with much longer duration. He is taken with the eloquence of it. Nimbar clearly has a strong grasp on certain magicks. He asks that he be given an opportunity to learn it also should they take another rest, perhaps as appreciation for Quixt using his rope trick scroll to allow them a durable rest. For the moment though, he will shed his mithral chain shirt, placing it within his magical haversack, and cast Mage Armor on himself (duration 8 hours). (AC 17) "Nimbar, would you mind perhaps casting a spare use of your shield spell on me? Do you have any magic to spare?" (If so, Quixt's AC jumps to 21).
Before he begins his day, however, he does study his spellbook extensively, loading up on spells that will be useful tactically. The wand of hold person that he has clearly hasn't done the trick. He does realize, however, that due to his lengthy study of magic and stealthy attacks, he feels strong enough to attempt a spell during the heat of battle that will buttress his stealthy backstabbing and surprise attacks. Prior to now, it might have posed a risk, and it still may not pan out. However, there is a 1st time for everything. He also feels that his research into changing his form is paying off; however, he needs a wee tad more time out of stressful situations to perfect it. He's becoming rather strong in transmutations, and he is well above average in divinations.
He feeds himself part of his rations, and he drinks some water from his waterskin. He packs his scrolls to be made ready, and he sharpens his sword and tightens the string on his bow.
I have an idea. The invisibility sphere worked before. Why not make a go of it again? Also, we could enter the caves the way we exited before. Perhaps they are less magically alarmed. After all, we left evidence of the attack up here, and remember, at least one of the Wendol survived our attack. They know we came from up here. If we hit them again, it's a frontal attack. I'm not soldier, but we are outnumbered; I'm not sure that playing a blunt instrument is the best path. Please take no offense Hawke. Your size is most helpful in plowing a path. However, we are still only four to their what, ten (10)?
Nimbar replies to Quixt's question about being out-numbered: "If we do invisibility sphere again, I can even the odds in a hurry, in a way I couldn't before; the first time we raided this camp, I didn't expect so many guards. But this time I came prepared; I have 2 Lightning Bolt spells memorized; if we can get into the correct position, we can cut their numbers in half if we get a lucky shot."
Nimbar hands Quixt a scroll with his Improved Shield spell on it.
Hawke chuckles, "No offense taken. But I don't think it's wise to tramp around on those switchbacks, when we can easily re-enter right here. Besides, the Wendol are poor warriors, and as long as we can avoid being surrounded, I think we'll do ok. Besides, I have seen all of you in action; your spells are grisly, especially Scorching Ray; I am going to add that one to my repertoire, just as soon as I can figure out how it works."
Sphynx stretches and does some light calisthenics, listening to the conversation. "This is going to seem a it out of character for my nature, but I am going to agree with Hawke's approach. I think we should go right at them. Quixt, one or both of us can summon creatures just to interfere with any alarm magic they may be setting. I am fully rested. I can feel my magic in me. It is at it current full potential."
Nimbar whispers, "It looks as if the Alarm spell isn't ready yet; they're trying to make a permanent version of it, and it looks like he still has a lot of diamond dust to distribute. I can see the one Cultist, over by that tent, sprinkling the dust. If we hit them now, no one will be the wiser."
Quixt casts Invisibility Sphere and moves to Square#N17, with the rest of the party following closely and quietly.
Move silent rolls: 10,25,14,25 (Nimbar, Quixt, Hawke, Sphynx)
[Nimbar and Hawke were heard; Foes listen check = 17]
Foes Wisdom Check: BASE DC 10: (-2) Because they don't see anything = DC 12 = Wisdom Check: (10) Failed.
Despite hearing a noise, the foes think nothing of it, because they can't see anything.
Foes are surprised, and flat-footed.
Quixt uses his Swift action to cast Hunter's Eye, and for his Standard Action, casts Whirling Blade. Nimbar casts Lightning Bolt at the same time. (DC 17 Reflex for Half Damage.)
All but one of the Wendol fail their save. Wendol Warrior #4 makes it.
Whirling Blade hits all four Bugbears.
Cultist 1 = Dying [-2]
Cultist 2 = Uninjured
Cultist 3 = Uninjured
(Cultists 2 and 3 are 65 ft. apart from each other.)
Wendol 1 = Dead [-11]
Wendol 2 = Dead [-11]
Wendol 3 = Dead [-11]
Wendol 4 = 4 Hp Left [Severely Burned]
The ambush works perfectly; with only 3 spells, the party manages to decimate the majority of their foes. The Whirling Blade chops down the Bugbears where they stand, and the Lightning Bolt fries the Wendol warriors to a crisp; the one surviving Wendol has severe burns over 90% of his body, and is in shock, moaning softly, as pain wracks his body.
The remaining foes consist of the two Cultists who were attempting to spread diamond dust for the permanent Alarm spell, and the badly wounded Wendol warrior. All other foes are either down and out, or down and fading.
Hawke, who was at the outer edge of the sphere, charges a distance of 55 feet, to attack Wendol #4.
13/13/8/13 = Hawke's charge + pounce ability
+2 for charging; -2 AC
15/15/10/15 = Rolls: 24,23,19,17 (All four hits; just rolling damage for first two attacks: 11,10 = 21 pts. = Wendol Warrior is DEAD [-17]
Hawke puts the Wendol warrior out of his misery with two mighty blows, the first of which crushes the side of his skull, the second of which caves in the Wendol's left side ribcage. The warrior goes down in a heap, thankful for the quick release from his immense pain.
Sphynx is at Square#P14 when the Invisibility effect ends. He is 30 ft. away from Cultist #3.
Sphyx casts Scorching Ray, firing two bolts.
1st Ray Hits AC 22, 2nd Ray Hits AC 18 (Touch AC is 12; both rays hit.)
Damage: 11,13 = 24 pts. Total.
Cultist #3 is SEVERELY BURNED! 
Knowing that the remaining Cultists are trained and efficient spellcasters, Sphynx opts to use a spell on the closest one, hoping to drop him instantly; but somehow, the Cultist manages to remain standing, although he is screaming in pain, as the melted slag of chainmail sticks to his melted skin, and continues to burn!
Listen check: (15)
DC: Base 10, +4 for distance, +4 for upstairs = DC 18. (Failed.)
EVERYONE: You have two foes remaining. The surprise round is over. Everyone roll initiative! The remaining uninjured Cultist (#2) is on the other side of the camp. You're not sure if he intends to flee or not. Cultist #3 (the badly burned one) doesn't look to last much longer. Cultist #2 is within charge range (50') of Hawke.