Session #64b Die Rolls.
Brothers of the First Light.
Lummins (played by Rob) Male Half-Elf Cleric of Lathander Lvl 13
Lux (played by Sandy) Female Human Warlock Lvl 13
Watt (played by Jackie) Male Human Bard Lvl 13
Sgt Bobby Markguth (played by Pete) Male Human Fighter Lvl 13
Hotlips Houlihan (played by Sandy) Female Halfling Rogue Lvl 13
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 8
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 8
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 13
This is session #64 of our game, but only session #23b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.
So, while the wall defenders of the Flying Lighthouse are battling a flight of Young Red Dragons (count ‘em- five of them) the PCs are down below, in their meeting room (or so I told them) fending off assassins.
This is the Cult’s final attempt to slay the Brothers of the First Light, and so I thought I’d go all out and see what I could get done. Just for info the bad guys busting in on the PCs are two Dragonfangs and two Dragonwings lead by a Half-Red Dragon Gladiator- these guys are visible. Also present with Greater Invisibility cast on them are a Red Wizard of Thay, and a Half-Green Dragon Assassin- all enemies have MAX HP, so there should be no-excuse.
At least one PC has to end up dead, at least one…
Oh, but I’ve also got a big bad guy in reserve.
So, the visible assassins bust into the castle using command words/magic to get one of the external doors of the Flying Lighthouse open- and they just happen to break into the chamber in which the PCs are holding their impromptu meeting- funny that.
The (Greater) Invisible Half-Green Dragon Assassin attempts to take out Sgt Bobby with a poisoned crossbow bolt- Crit if it hits, with 7d6 sneak attack, and another 7d6 poison on the bolt, and… I miss. I roll ‘4’ & ‘5’ with advantage.
A crossbow suddenly thuds into the far wall of the ice chamber- that’s odd, but Hotlips is the only PC that even spots the attack.
The DM meantime gurns at the Players in agony...
The Halfling doesn’t have time to scream a warning (the DM insists) before the rest of the Dragon Cult attackers explode into action.
The low level mooks (Dragonfangs & Dragonwings) get into action first- Lux is sliced but the Warlock now has a big bag of temporary hit points, she’s got some new-ish power that allows her to cast False Life every day.
Watt loses maybe a quarter of his hit points as one of the Dragonfangs hurls an acid flavoured Orb of Dragon’s Breath into the Bard- not nice, it burns us!
The other two mook attackers- both with advantage and with both having multiple attacks, contrive to miss their targets. Keep in mind Lux, Watt & Hotlips are all AC 16, the other two PCs are at least one point better off (I think), but… screw my dice.
Hotlips is not surprised by the attack (all of the other PCs are) and so she gets into action next- she shoots (assassination attempt) the Half-Red Dragon Gladiator (who is, of course, yet to act) and almost bloodies it in an instant (50+ damage).
There is pre/semi-whooping around the table.
You know how I feel about whooping.
Oh, and by the way the Players quickly figure out that this is yet another Cult assassination attempt.
Next up, the (Greater) Invisible Red Wizard launches a Cone of Cold into the densest clutch of PCs (that’s all of them, I think). However between Hotlips’ Evasion, Sgt B’s Ring of Cold Resistance et al, really it’s only Lummins that suffers terribly, the High Priest of Lathander is bloodied in a frozen instant, the only PC to fail his save.
The whooping around the table is mostly silenced.
The Half-Red Dragon Gladiator gets to work on Sgt B, and misses all of its attacks (all with advantage)- Sgt B is AC 19.
That’s the surprise round over, and quite frankly- it didn’t go half as well as I expected. It was a good plan I had, but the dice done gone and broke it.
It gets worse- Lux (played by Sandy) scratching around for something else to do, and made cognisant of the fact that there is definitely a (Greater) Invisible Cult Wizard around… drops a Hunger of Hadar onto the largest portion of bad guys.
I hate that spell.
Just for info I/we have a house rule- anyone inside the horrible sphere of the spell must make a DC 10 Int/Wis (or similar) check (as an action) to discern the way out, a success is followed by a move to escape the freezing dark (and acid) sphere of hate. Fail to make the check and the individual moves one square in a random direction and remains within the darkness- and suffers some more. Unless, of course, the random move takes them out of the spell’s compass.
Well, form a queue because both Dragonwings, both Dragonfangs, the Red Wizard, and the Assassin are all caught within Lux’s Hunger of Hadar spell.
Obviously all six enemies spend their next turn trying to escape the inky cold, however at the end of the turn one of the Dragonfangs, and (how did this happen) the Red Wizard are still stuck inside the hellish summoning. The Red Wizard also fails a concentration check and so loses his Greater Invisibility.
Meantime Sgt B is stabbed repeatedly by an escaping Dragonfang, while Hotlips turns the tables and does the same to the Half-Red Dragon Gladiator, the growling menace (after another 50+ damage roll, a Crit with sneak attack followed by another Crit for her off-hand dagger) is now very almost broken.
So soon? Say it ain’t so… but, it’s happening again.
A second later Sgt B gets his Second Wind and then puts the Half-Red Dragon down with Hazirawn, the first enemy to fall.
Followed swiftly by the second, Sgt B Crits (and then hits again) an already injured Dragonfang with Hazirawn, and it too expires.
Watt meantime conjures Mordenkainen’s Sword and slashes horribly (after a miss/Inspiration Point) one of the Dragonwings.
Paving the way for me to launch my still not spotted (Greater Invis) Half-Green Dragon Assassin at the unaware Bard, and I… miss, again- and with advantage (of course), and with both attacks.
Oh, and it’s about this time- when I’m asking Watt (Jackie) what his AC is, that the Players also figure out that there’s another invisible enemy somewhere outside of the Hunger of Hadar.
Just out of interest, how many of you would have fudged that roll- made a miss into a hit, I’ve had the assassin in position to deliver at least 14d6 damage (sneak & poison) plus weapon damage, twice now- and missed with three attacks. Would you have fudged the roll? I really wanted to, but I didn’t…
Lummins gets in position and conjures his Spirit Guardians, he figures the spirits will start beating on any invisible foes.
Lux likewise manoeuvres to gets some space to work her magic (and gets slashed by a Dragonwing doing so) she then starts up with her Eldritch Blasts. It goes Crit- hit- Crit and a Dragonwing is blown to pieces.
This is going doing down the tubes very rapidly.
Watt repositions, and I get yet another attack (of opportunity) on the Bard with my Greater Invis Assassin- I roll a ‘2’ and a ‘4’.
I should just give up now.
The Players are not quite sure what’s going on behind the DMs screen but they’re certain I’m not happy- the swearing and throwing of dice (away) is a bit of a give-away.
Note the Dragonfang and the Red Wizard are both still caught within Lux’s Hunger of Hadar spell, they both fail to escape again- DC 10!
For heaven sake- now I know why the Empire didn’t win in Star Wars- broken bloody dice.
But hey-ho, I still have half a chance here, you’ll see.
A Dragonfang climbs up into Sgt B’s grill and slices the Fighter twice more- he’s bloodied (as is Lummins atm). Hotlips skewers Sgt B’s attacker (with added sneak attack, of course), while the big feller swings his nasty sword (Hazirawn) and (f-me) Crits again, and then with an Action Surge hits some more. The Dragonfang is just about broken.
Then, at bloody last, my Half-Green Dragon Assassin manages to stab Watt in the back, and then rolls mostly low for his collective 14d6+ damage, although its enough to leave the Bard bloodied and way beyond (down to around 20 HP).
Ha! No cheering now is there.
Watt casts a Mass Cure Wounds, buoying himself and his colleagues, and then starts shouting about the fact that there is an invisible assassin right behind him.
Lummins has had enough of Lux's Hunger of Hadar (he's the plus one for the Dawn Lord, remember), and being unsure of who or what is attacking the Brothers of the First Light, he launches a Radiance of the Dawn and burns all the enemies close by- and all of the bad guy’s fail their saves- and he rolls massively high on his damage (29 radiant each).
Oh yeah, it was bound to happen.
Bound to- the Players dice are on fire.
The Hunger of Hadar is gone…
So, just to recap- standing a little away from the PCs (formerly in the Hunger of Hadar) are the Red Wizard and a Dragonfang, fighting the PCs is a second Dragonfang- while hovering around the edges is the still (Greater) Invis Half-Green Dragon Assassin. All of the enemies are bloodied, one of the Dragonfangs is on 3 HP only. The PCs are all just about bloodied, or thereabouts.
Lux fires off another salvo of Eldritch Blasts, the first attack accounts for the badly wounded Dragonfang, the second and third force damage missiles are fired at the (Greater) Invis Half-Green Dragon Assassin, or else into the square directly behind Watt.
Which is exactly where the Assassin is standing, still- Lux has to hit… a Crit, of course- silly me, and her third missile, well- that hits too, and now the Assassin is dead.
I’m going home.
I’m not playing this stupid game anymore.
At that exact moment, when the scumbag PCs/Players (you decide) are whooping and doing their, quite frankly, childish dances, I drop a Max HP (about 300 HP, because you asked nicely) Adult Black Dragon onto the ice ledge, and then shoot a jet of scorching scalding acid into the PCs.
Because I can.
I am the DM.
Hear me roar!
As opposed to RAW.
Sounds great doesn’t it, except that the only two PCs I can get in a row are Hotlips (Evasion and successful save = 0 damage) and Lux, who fails the save big time and is just about bloodied.
So, big entrance- lots of terror from the Players, but then not much change with the Brothers of the First Light’s health.
But I have a Dragon now…
Sgt Bobby, ignores/avoids the newly arrived Dragon and chases down the newly revealed and badly wounded Red Wizard of Thay- not even a Shield spell can save my guy, particularly as the Fighter hits and then Crits again- the Red Wizard falls.
The last Dragonfang stays back and keeps throwing Orbs of Dragon’s Breath into the mix, I’ll tell you when he hits.
Spolier- he doesn’t.
For good measure, after slaughtering the Wizard, Sgt Bobby moves over and slices the Black Dragon- which attempts to slam its tail into the big feller… and misses.
Hotlips follows the Fighter in, manoeuvring under and around the Dragon, the Halfling stabs the beast good (after spending an Inspiration Point for a miss).
Watt grabs his bow out and fires an Arrow of Dragon Slaying (after an Inspiration Point miss, also) into the beast, and then on 6d10 damage rolls 50+, well… that’s great.
Lummins meantime dumps another Mass Cure Sounds (and heals all of his colleagues for 29 HP each, that’s on 3d8+5, you figure it out)
What did I do wrong in a previous life?
At this point with a huge dragon clawing at their PCs, the Players are laughing like drains- Rob has tears in his eyes, some of this in reaction to his last roll- ‘8’, ‘8’, ‘8’; but mostly in reaction to my face/swearing/anguish/despair/disbelief- call it what you like. I’m still coming to terms with it.
Lux fires off another trio of Eldritch Blasts, the first of which hurts the last remaining Dragonfang, and with the ten foot shove component of the spell, sends the poor feller plummeting off the edge of the ice ledge (don’t worry he’s coming back). The other two Blasts are for the Dragon, which is also being menaced (and hurt) by Lummins’ Spirit Guardians.
The Black Dragon roars and unleashes its Frightening Presence, alas only Watt fails his save, the other members of the Brothers barely miss a beat.
The Dragon however goes Bite/Claw/Claw and Hotlips is suddenly a bloody mess (the Bite was a Crit) and in trouble, down to approx. 15 HP, even after a bit of Uncanny Dodge.
Then the Dragonfang with its limited Fly ability makes it back to the ice ledge and flings an acid Orb of Dragon Breath in Sgt B’s face (and another Crit- go me, for 49 acid damage).
Not so very cheery now are we?
But not for long- Sgt B lays into the Dragon again with Hazirawn, and a Crit, followed by a hit, and… (f-me, again) another Crit.
I think that’s Sgt B’s fifth Crit this evening (oddly they’ve all been ‘19’s).
My Dragon is bloodied and worse.
Then Hotlips sneak attack stabs it too, and the Dragon’s now well below 100 HP.
Note the Dragon is using all of its Legendary Actions between the above attacks, but is mostly missing.
Oh, and the Frightened Watt is soon after no-longer Frightened, and his Cure Mass Wounds recharges all of the PCs (another 25 HP back each).
Lummins piles on the pain with a Flame Strike (the Dragon saves thanks to its Legendary Resistance) but the Dragonfang is down to something like 6 HP and a mewling wreck.
Lux’s first Eldritch Blast ends the Dragonfang, her second and third smash into the Dragon, which spreads it wings and leaps into the air, and in the process flattens Lummins and Hotlips (knocks the pair prone).
It then gets the hell out of dodge, dropping beneath the Flying Lighthouse and immediately out of sight.
But that’s not enough it seems- Lux fires a Fly spells into herself, Sgt B and Watt (he’s great with the bow), the trio go after the Adult Black Dragon, you read that right- they chase it.
There follows a short theatre of the mind style chase sequence culminating, thanks mostly only to a ‘20’ with the Dragon escaping into dense cloud…
The Dragon was on 5 HP when it finally got away.
It was a great fight in truth, although perhaps only for the PCs, I could sit here and tell you that it was my dice what lost it for me, but I didn’t even get close to putting one of the PCs down, not really…
I could have picked a better location for the fracas, and spread my bad guys about a bit… but the door into the side of the Flying Lighthouse seemed to be the logical explanation, the most believable at least. Landing in the lower/upper courtyard was fraught with danger, and would have left my bad guys subject to many more NPC attacks. Likewise teleporting the bad guys in, well… I’ve done that already… so, this was my choice.
It certainly didn’t help missing three times with my Greater Invisible Half-Green Dragon Assassin, and then getting my Red Wizard (and all the others) caught in Lux’s Hunger of Hadar spell.
Still, the Players absolutely loved it- mainly because they butchered my guys, and that was a CR 20 encounter there (which, I mistakenly told the Players), admittedly it was a staggered- the Dragon didn’t arrive until the first batch of enemies was well and truly broken.
Next time, well… I’ll kill some NPCs/Secondary PCs instead.