We D&D- Tyranny of Dragons Part 2: The Rise of Tiamat #24b Strike Team 1 Part 2 A Ton of Undead.

Goonalan

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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

Secondary PCs.
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.

53 The Last Assassins.jpg


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.

Gah!

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.

Or else…

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.

54 Here's the Dragon.jpg


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.

Bugger!

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.

Gah!

Players!

Next time, well… I’ll kill some NPCs/Secondary PCs instead.
 

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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #65a The Attack on the Well of Dragons

Brothers of the First Light including secondary characters
& Special Guest PCs (you’ll see)
& Player NPCs (you’ll see)
& Others (guess what- you’ll see)


This is session #65a of our game, but only session #24a of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

Actually this isn’t a session at all, this is me explaining to you what comes next, here goes- it’s a bit of a mess- not much of one you understand, not unravelable, just… it’s going to take a little time to fathom the best way to present what follows.

Let me try to explain (some more), the next action in this scenario is the various activities of the six strike teams (numbered 1-6) as they each pick an entrance into the Well of Dragons, and then attempt to fight their way through a swathe (or more) of Dragon Cultists (and friends) to the Temple of Tiamat at the centre of the complex. Hoping, some of them, to arrive in time for the finale of the piece.

The strike teams are-

Strike Team 1= Brothers of the First Light secondary characters (Derek Pilch, Hard Bonk & Sgt Harald Hardaxe) and some other guys made available to the Players after their successes in the Council of Waterdeep meetings.

Strike Team 2= A bunch of guys made available to the Players after their successes in the Council of Waterdeep meetings, led by a Purple Dragon Knight Paladin Commander played by Jackie.

Strike Team 3= A bunch of guys made available to the Players after their successes in the Council of Waterdeep meetings, led by an Emerald Enclave Barbarian played by Pete.

Strike Team 4= A bunch of guys made available to the Players after their successes in the Council of Waterdeep meetings, led by a Dwarven Priest of Moradin sent from Mirabar, and played by Rob.

Strike Team 5= A bunch of guys made available to the Players after their successes in the Council of Waterdeep meetings, led by a Sorcerer Hero of Waterdeep played by Sandy.

Strike Team 6= The original and best Brothers of the First Light- Sgt Bobby Markguth, Lux, Lummins, Watt & Hotlips Houlihan, accompanied by a few others (as above).

So, in reality two strike teams worth of PCs- the Brothers of the First Light and the secondary characters, and one strike team for each Player staffed by folk provided by the various factions on the Council of Waterdeep, that’s another four, which equals six in total.

Just to reiterate, each strike team has eight members, if one member of the team dies then there’s a list of other NPCs that are available, a die is rolled and the new member of the team arrives on the next turn. The list of extra NPCs is finite- drawn from NPCs provided by the various Council of Waterdeep factions. It’s also worth noting that the list of extras is arranged in CR order, lowest CR first. So, it’s likely (very likely) that new replacements are going to be low CR, and very quickly out of their depth.

What a shame.

The Players were not aware of this until it happened, as I say- shame about that.

The Harpers have provided a little info to the strike teams, basically the fact that each entrance to the Well of Dragons is guarded by a bunch of Dragon Cultists situated in a hastily made defensive blockade. What lies beyond this is unknown, but fear the worse and do it anyway.

This isn’t adventuring, this is a battle- this is war.

Real world 70-80% of the stuff that follows was played out on Fantasy Grounds, and because the action is just a series of fights then… well, all I’m working from here is the FG Chatlog, the problem being we played these fights in no particular order, just as and when the players were available.

So, there’s a bit to sort through- far more than I expected (in truth) but memory is a terrible thing, I’d forgotten how messy several hundred pages of Chatlog can get, particularly when on occasions I would run a fight/session with, for example- Jackie’s Strike Team, and as soon as that’s done switch to a session with Pete’s Strike Team. I should have thought to switch FG off and on again between these events, or else marked it somehow. Also the FG Chatlog is all well and good, but it’s only a bunch of numbers, I should have made more notes (in FG). But, I didn’t, and so…

There’s going to be a pause in the telling of this tale for a while, maybe. I just need to make more sense of what I’m seeing so far, and then to get some writing done. Or else there could be odd pauses here, I’ll post what I can, when I can- I appreciate that sounds obvious but I’d rather let you know now, just in case nothing appears here for a couple of weeks.

I could, of course, just provide a summary of the action, but… that’s not really my style. I figure I’m going nowhere, and I have all I need to get it done, and more importantly the inclination to do so- it might just take a little while.

So, there’ll be a bit more explanation in the write ups that follow, so you can make sense of it all- I’ll add a few pictures in to explain further, it’s not too complicated- just a lot of different PCs/NPCs and stuff going on (by which I mean mostly fighting Cultists and their pals, and sometimes getting killed).

You’ll see, promise.

I will however post an update when I get the next bit untaffled, it could go really smoothly, or else there could be an update and then an extended break. I’m on it, just on the back foot atm.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #65b Strike Team 1 Part 1 Into the Well of Dragons

Brothers of the First Light B Team
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 13
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 13
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 13

& Special Guest PC
Ontharr Frume (played by Sandy) Male Mountain Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet leader and Paladin of Moradin Lvl 10

& Player NPCs
Wizard Nora (played by Pete) Female Human Harper Mage
Mongo (played by Sandy) Male Human Flaming Fist Mercenary Veteran
Gargomel (played by Rob) Male Hill Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet Priest
Lady Love (played by Jackie) Female Half-Elven Knight of Silverymoon.


This is session #65b of our game, but only session #24b of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

This is the B Team in action, the Player’s secondary characters, except of course for Hotlips (played by Sandy) who is part of the A Team. Note all of the secondary characters are now level 13, any other Special Guests have been made by the Player in FG- and are level 10.

55 Secondary Team Image #01.jpg

The gang's all here...

This is strike team number one.

The Player NPCs are statted as per the book, with a few considerations (but not many) for either Race, or else the particular Player’s peccadillos.

Note the Players obviously named their new NPCs, it’s not my doing, so don’t blame me.

This then is the attack on the Well of Dragons, one strike team is going to enter each of the different ways into the volcano complex, and attempt to fight their way through to the Temple of Tiamat in the middle (although, keep in mind they don’t much know where they’re heading- only in).

55a The Big Map.jpg

Strike Team #1 are heading in here.

Each of the entrances to the Well of Dragons is defended by an array of Cult of the Dragon guards, this entrance (1a) is staffed by one Dragonfang, six Dragonwings, 12 Dragonclaws & four Guard Drakes. Likewise each entrance contains a fortress structure- very similar to the one in the image a little below.*

*Very similar, as in exactly the same, a lot of what follows (and there’s a lot of it) was played out on Fantasy Grounds. Although some of the action also took place around the table in the real (but not a lot).

The Brothers of the First Light et al have got great intel, this thanks to the PCs high scores in the Council of Waterdeep elements (see previous) of the adventure. Therefore the strike teams have been informed of what lies ahead- they know what to expect i.e. the size and shape of the defensive structure, and a rough estimate of the type and number of defenders therein.

Note they have no idea of what lies beyond the fortresses at the entrance.

This info is enhanced a little (a lot) by Derek Pilch the Druid (played by Jackie), who Wildshapes into a bat and goes for a flutter about a bit, sticking close to the mostly high ceilings of the cavern tunnels. We’ll get to what else Derek learns a little later.

But for now, kick ass begins with the first gate.

Just to note Derek is also Stoneskin enhanced atm, the rest of the gang- when they get close enough to Ontharr Frume, also do a little extra radiant damage when they hit (in melee) thanks to the Paladin’s Crusader’s Mantle.

56 North Enemies #01 vs Secondary Team.jpg

The Dragon Cultists await...

It starts with Wizard Nora Fireballing the front gate, which helpfully destroys the offending portals in an instant. Note, this act will be repeated at the start of each of these strike team attacks (or something similar), also all of the attacks are happening simultaneously.

Alas several of the enemies are also caught in the Fireball blast, the two nearest Dragonclaws are incinerated in an instant, and then the charging, shrieking good guys flood in, the attack on the Cult of the Dragon has begun.

Lady Love is first to the charge, the Silverymoon Knight cuts another Dragonclaw in twain (that’s olde worlde for ‘in two’) with her greatsword, while the steadfast Derek Pilch strides forward and Thorn Whips yet another Dragonclaw dead (with a Crit, Jackie is really starting to like her Druid).

Gargomel, the Order of the Gauntlet Dwarven Priest of Moradin, accompanies Derek into the thick of the action, and then summons his Spirit Guardians to the attack- the spectral Dwarven souls, armed with ghostly hammers and axes, start to take their toll on the Dragon Cultists.

Note this spell- Spirit Guardians, is probably the most effective in this encounter- doing a chunk full of damage every turn.

Lady Love is sliced repeatedly by flailing scimitars wielded by a pair of Dragonclaws that are trying to shut the Knight down.

One of the Guard Drakes gets to Derek and starts chewing on the Druid’s leg, his Stoneshield however protects him, at least long enough for the Dwarven Spirit Guardians to slaughter the already badly burnt and heavily wounded beast.

Meantime Sgt Harald smashes another Dragonclaw down.

Just for info at this point the PCs are pushing their way in to the hastily constructed, and now smouldering in places, fortress. The Dragon Cultists and their Drakes are trying to drive the PCs back out the way they came. The melee is mostly a scrum of bodies, stuck in the choke point just inside the gates.

Hard Bonk slices a Dragonclaw with his magical shortsword, and then goes chop-socky crazy and beats the foe down dead.

The Monk takes a moment and spots a high ranking Dragon Cultist giving orders on the battlement ten feet above where he stands.

Seconds later the Half-Orc is atop the battlements and punching the fortress commander (the Dragonfang) in the mouth with a Stunning Strike, but the Cultist resists, and then with a sneer screams for reinforcements.

Rob (playing Hard Bonk) suddenly realises that he’s on his own, and there are more enemies closing, he may have to hang on for a while until the cavalry arrives- very prescient.

The Players are loving this by the way, the males of species- Pete and Rob because they seem to relish combat more than anything. While Jackie and Sandy are just enjoying the fact that they’re playing more melee (toe-to-toe) orientated characters for a change- “it’s so liberating, you don’t have to think about anything much.” Sandy’s summary of the situation is readily acknowledged by a gleefully nodding and grinning Pete.

Wizard Nora (in the rear, played by Pete) finds a little high ground to work from and then throws another Fireball into the mix, the fiery conflagration accounts for another of the slavering Guard Drakes, but also wounds another half-a-dozen more Cultists.

The bad guys are however fanatics for the cause, and not for surrendering- they surge forward, and not back.

Derek Pilch however has a better idea, the Druid Entangles four of the Cultists, and the Brothers of the First Light (et al) move forward, and in- they suddenly have a little bit of space to work their magic and fury.

Meantime, on the battlements Hard Bonk’s chickens have well and truly come home to roost, the Monk is surrounded- slashed repeatedly by the scimitars of a pair of Dragonwings, and then twice more (for a horrendous amount of damage in total) by the Dragonfang. Hard Bonk is bloodied in an instant (actually down from approx. 100 HP to 30 HP), and left crying out for help (so much for his stoic Kane/Kung-Fu image).

Sgt Harald to the rescue, the Dwarf rushes through the Cultist’s front line (taking AoO’s as he goes- all misses, he’s AC 20-something) all the way (after an Inspiration Point to Move again) to Hard Bonk’s side. The Dwarf Fighter starts wailing on the enemies massing on the Monk and immediately takes a newly arrived Dragonclaw down.

Hard Bonk feels the love (from Sgt Harald) and gets his arse in gear, the Monk cuts down one of the already wounded Dragonwings beating on him.

Meantime several of the Entangled Cultists are alas Restrained within the compass of Gargomel’s Spirit Guardians- they’re made to suffer, big time.

Ontharr Frume, back in the front line (oxymoron), starts work on the Guard Drake’s (there are still two of them left) liberally making use of his Divine Smite.

Another Dragonwing falls victim to Gargomel’s Spirit Guardians, the spectral Dwarven slayers have inflicted a metric ton of hurt- just great in close quarters. Seconds later the Guard Drake Ontharr is presently wailing on also succumbs to the ghostly Dwarven spirits.

Just one of them left.

Lady Love meanwhile cuts down yet another Dragonclaw.

Note- it’s only when I get a bunch of Cultists at a single PC/NPC that I can get the hits in (thanks to Pack Attack, and the extra damage the Cultists get for Fanatic Advantage).

Gargomel continues concentrating on his Spirit Guardians, for something to do he also takes his battleaxe to an Entangled Dragonwing and beats the poor, already badly wounded, bastard to death. However the Dwarven Priest of Moradin doesn’t have things all his own way- another pair of Dragonclaws get to him and take turns to slash the Dwarf horribly- he too is bloodied and beyond (down to 10 HP or so).

Back on the battlement and Hard Bonk has more company, and the Half-Orc Monk is taking hits again, and soon after down to less than 10 HP. Rob (playing the Monk) is really starting to worry.

Sgt Harald goes all out to help the Monk, his magical battleaxe striking repeatedly, and yet the Dragonwings (and Fang) are soaking up the hurt.

The Monk however cannot last- he expends all of his Wholeness of Body healing, which gets him back up to just about bloodied. Then follows up with a Flurry of Blows and takes down another badly wounded Dragonwing.

The enemies are almost/mostly broken, but still rallying around their Dragonfang commander.

Ontharr Frume is next up on to the battlements, more Divine Smite follows- and now the Dragonfang is taking a beating, and soon after it too is bloodied and beyond.

Lady Love, Knight of Silverymoon- at last, accounts for the second Dragonclaw that was threatening her, and blocking her progress into the fortress- freed up she rushes in.

Mongo, who I’ve not mentioned so far, keeps on swinging and keeps on hitting- the Flaming Fist Mercenary Veteran however has not accounted for a single enemy so far, there’s always someone else around to steel his kills.

Gargomel, the Priest of Moradin with his battleaxe, takes down the Guard Drake Mongo has just beaten to a bloody pulp (almost)- and now that’s all of the Drake’s dead.

Sgt Harald Hardaxe goes the Dwarf version of ape crazy on the Dragonfang- it goes, Crit, hit, Crit- and the Cult bastard is dead.

There is cheering, you know how I feel about bloody cheering.

Suddenly the Dragon Cultists are looking very thin on the ground, but not retreating- this is to the death, these are the fanatics.

Two more Dragonclaws fall- the last two, and suddenly there’s only one Dragonwing left in the brawl.

Hard Bonk meantime smashes up, but not down, the last standing Dragonwing- Wizard Nora, now looking to preserve her spells, hits the Cultist with a Fire Bolt, while Derek Pilch ends its life with a stinking Poison Spray.

That took just six turns to get through, but over and hour-and-a-half to play out on FG, the joys of mass combat, get used to it there’s a lot more of this to come.

Note the rule here is that any PC/NPC automatically recovers 50% of lost hit points for free (its assumed they’re using potions and scrolls et al provided for each strike team). Any further healing required must come from the PCs/NPCs own resources.

And so Strike Team 1 rumbles on, and further in to the complex- along broad cavern passages, the main thoroughfare lit by torches spaced at regular intervals. On into the lair Naergoth Bladelord (the PCs, of course, don't know this), and his assorted undead servitors, but that’s for… well, sometime after- we’ll get to it.

See you in a bit.

Stay safe.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
We D&D.

Session #65c Strike Team 1 Part 2 A naughty word-Ton of Undead

Brothers of the First Light B Team
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 13
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 13
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 13

& Special Guest PC
Ontharr Frume (played by Sandy) Male Mountain Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet leader and Paladin of Moradin Lvl 10

& Player NPCs
Wizard Nora (played by Pete) Female Human Harper Mage
Mongo (played by Sandy) Male Human Flaming Fist Mercenary Veteran
Gargomel (played by Rob) Male Hill Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet Priest
Lady Love (played by Jackie) Female Half-Elven Knight of Silverymoon.


This is session #65c of our game, but only session #25c of The Rise of Tiamat scenario.

This is the B Team back in action, the Player’s secondary characters, except of course for Hotlips (played by Sandy) who is part of the A Team. Note all of the secondary characters are now level 13, any other Special Guests have been made by the Player in FG- and are level 10.

The Player NPCs are statted as per the book, with a few considerations (but not many) for either Race, or else the particular Player’s peccadillos.

Note the Players obviously named their new NPCs, it’s not my doing, so don’t blame me.

Strike team 1 has fought its way through the initial Dragon Cultist encounter, at the entrance to the tunnel they’re following- which hopefully leads to the Temple of Tiamat, and the big shebang finale.

Note Derek Pilch has been scouting, in bat form, and knows (a little) of what lies ahead. The Druid’s Wildshape reconnaissance has revealed to him a series of caves leading to a small ancient temple (maybe) chamber- the tunnels here are choked with undead. In point of fact all Derek has seen here are the shuffling zombies (although there are plenty of them) and a few higher level undead foes massed in the temple area. I didn’t allow the Druid/Bat to see the full army roster for the encounter that awaits the Strike Team, that would spoil the surprise.

Strike Team 1, head further into the tunnels, following the broadest (and well lit) passage, and suddenly the advance party spot a clutch of Skeletons ahead.

Note this encounter starts out with twelve Skeletons, divided into two equal groups, each led by a Minotaur Skeleton- one group to attack the front of the PC/NPC column, the other to attack the rear.

57 Undead A vs Secondary Team.jpg

Skeletons!

Mongo, the Flaming Fist Mercenary Veteran, is the first to spot the foes- he dashes forward and cuts the nearest Skeleton to pieces, and then begins shouting to his comrades as there are more undead closing fast- including a Minotaur Skeleton.

Ontharr Frume fires up his Crusader’s Mantle, a little extra radiant damage should serve his comrades well.

The happy-go-lucky (sorta) Paladin gets the smile wiped off his face when charging around the corner (and then into him- horns first) comes the aforementioned Minotaur Skeleton, and that’s a Crit for just short of 30 damage. The sturdy Dwarf however stays on his feet, and then starts screaming for help.

Several more Skeletons surge forward and move to surround Ontharr and Mongo, the latter is now also taking hits.

Hard Bonk, with incredible speed is quickly to the forefront, his Flurry of Blows enhanced chop-socky madness accounts for three more Skeletons with his bludgeoning fists and feet.

Mongo, however, is still taking hits.

At which point the second group of Skeletons make themselves known by charging into the rear of the good guys.

Remarkably half-a-dozen attacks and not a single hit from my bad guys- sucks to be them, particularly when Sgt Harald grabs out his warhammer and smashes another three of the bony bastards down.

This is happening quickly, time to get my staggering Zombies into action.

Derek Pilch is still in battlefield control mode, and what better than a little bit of Entangle, suddenly grasping plants sprout from the dirt of the cavern passage and clutch at a trio of Skeletons, including one of the Minotaur’s. What’s more, this tactic has also mostly blocked the passage of my staggering horde of approaching Zombies.

Bugger!

Spying the undead pile on Gargomel, the Dwarven Priest of Moradin, summons another swirl of Spirit Guardians, and then heads forward to get as close as he can to the undead horde.

Too close, a Skeleton breaks through and slices the Priest (with a Crit), and Gargomel is back to being bloodied.

Wizard Nora, Harper Mage- right at the back of the pack is also overrun, she therefore Misty Steps away from the Skeletons that were surrounding her.

Gargomel meantime grabs out his battleaxe and Crits, and then hits, the Skeleton Minotaur that is facing him, the undead creature is almost spent, and seconds later it’s broken- as Hard Bonk gets in a few more devastating blows.

Over the course of the next ten or so seconds five more Skeletons also succumb to Gargomel’s Spirit Guardians, the Dwarven Priest of Moradin is manoeuvring nicely in order to have the most effect with his undead trashing spell.

Wizard Nora does little more than mark a Minotaur Skeleton with her Fire Bolt, while Lady Love- Knight of Silverymoon, continues missing, she’s not rolled anything above a ‘5’ so far.

At which point the staggering horde of Zombies officially become the front line.

58 Undead B vs Secondary Team.jpg

Bring on the Zombies!

Note, the PCs can see another dozen Zombies closing in, what they don’t see (at first) are the pair of Ogre Zombies that about to attack them from either side… and the Beholder Zombie that is chugging contentedly towards their rear.

Mongo, still at the front of the pack- and still hitting all the while, starts shouting loudly as the flood of shambling dead flesh slowly but inexorably shuffles forwards.

The order is, as given by Derek Pilch- the Druid seems to have taken command, the strike team need to dispose of the (two) remaining Skeletons quickly, and then get back into the main passage to defend the squishier folk from the approaching Zombie horde.

Ontharr Frume (unused to taking orders, and Played by Sandy, and so doubly so) gets on it. The Paladin of Moradin applies a chunk of Divine Smite and smashes the last Skeleton Minotaur down, and then rushes over and repeats the trick for the last Skeleton still standing (but without the Smite).

Hard Bonk decides to play the hero, the Half-Orc Monk rushes into the thickest scrum of the approaching Zombie horde, the chop-socky specialist is seconds later completely surrounded, although he does manage to smash one of the shambling undead down. He assumes his Patient Defence stance (Dodge) and over the course of the next ten or so seconds avoids all of the Zombie’s flailing attacks.

The Monk’s heroism gives the rest of the strike team the time they need to manoeuvre and to get themselves positioned for the approaching fracas, the Monk smashes another Zombie down- the plan is working well, and then brilliantly as Derek Entangles the knot of shambling undead (and also Hard Bonk, briefly).

The passage ahead is effectively plugged, the Zombies cannot progress through the Entangle zone, and the pack of grasped undead there.

Nine targets for Derek’s Entangle spell- eight Zombies and Hard Bonk- they all failed their saves.

Great work.

Made even better again when Gargomel plods forward and sets his Spirit Guardians on the trapped and Restrained undead foes, Wizard Nora uses the opportunity to get a little target practice with her Fire Bolt, Lady Love joins in with her crossbow- and yet another Zombie falls.

Mongo dashes in and cuts another Entangled Zombie down, the Players are kicking back and taking it easy- I should probably do something about that.

Ontharr Frume even has time to Lay on Hands and heal some of his wounds.

Seconds later Hard Bonk escapes the Entangling plants and then punches and kicks a hole in the undead scrum that surrounds him- killing another Zombie in the process, he tumbles out of the Zombie pile up- grinning.

And then another Zombie falls to Gargomel’s ghostly avengers.

There is cheering around the gaming table- this is a cake-walk.

That is until the first Ogre Zombie lurches out of a side passage and flails wildly at Sgt Harald, the Dwarf however is unphased, the sequence is hit, Crit, hit- and the monstrous Zombie is left staggering.

Hard Bonk takes a blow to the head from a flailing Zombie, as he’s delivering yet another beating- I mention this because it’s the first time that I have managed to land a hit for an absolute age.

Then however Derek Pilch starts shouting, this as the second Ogre Zombie looms into view- the strike team scurry to reposition.

But still they have things in hand- the Entangled Zombies ahead are being handled easily by Hard Bonk and Lady Love, the rest of the warriors are facing off against the Ogre Zombies- with the squishier members of group protected in the centre. Note Gargomel with his Spirit Guardians is repositioning himself each turn so that he can encompass the maximum number of the undead in his terrifying spell.

All is well with the world…

At which point Ontharr Frume, fighting one of the Ogre Zombies, spots the approach of the Beholder Zombie. The Dwarf Paladin of Moradin cuts down the large undead foe before him, and then with an Inspiration Point races towards the undead monstrosity, making threats as he goes- his Vow of Enmity.

Note in the tight passages here the Beholder Zombie is struggling to get aloft, making it much easier to hit. They like killing stuff it seems, and I’m happy (at times) to be the enabler.

Hard Bonk meantime keeps smashing Zombies down, he manages to take three badly wounded enemies to the floor in one extreme chop-socky turn.

The Half-Orc gets punched again by a flailing Zombie, again- I just thought I’d mention it- it doesn’t happen often.

All is still well with the world…

Then Ontharr gets hit by the Zombie Beholder’s Disintegrate Ray, and he’s back to bloodied in an instant, but thank Moradin the Dwarf still exists.

The strike team, and the Players start screaming and shouting- good, that’s how I like it.

Sgt Harald rushes to Ontharr’s side and starts wailing on the Zombie Beholder with his magical battleaxe, while Derek Pilch gets to Ontharr with a Haste spell.

The last Ogre Zombie standing is still taking a beating, however the brute strikes back and smashes its massive morningstar into Mongo- that hurt. The Flaming Fist Veteran has the last laugh- he cuts the undead down and then rushes over to help Hard Bonk out, seconds later another Zombie falls to his blades.

Of the twelve (normal) Zombies that started the encounter there are only two left- and the Zombie Beholder of course.

But that doesn’t last long, not long at all.

A Hasted Ontharr Frume (10th Level Paladin) with Divine Smite attached to every attack goes bonkers on the already wounded Zombie Beholder, it’s destroyed- taken down in two turns. Players, gah! Ontharr dishes up 98 damage in just three attacks.

Note the passages here are only fifteen or so feet high, and the Zombie Beholder is not exactly the most dextrous/agile/clever of enemies- also, I didn’t want to make it too hard for the Players.

Seconds later Hard Bonk smashes the last two Zombies down, and the way ahead is clear, there’s no time like the present. Derek, earlier- when he was in Bat form and scouting, spotted more (higher level, possibly) undead in a temple/catacombs area ahead. The strike team have a bunch of spells and buffs timing down- therefore they rush on into the next fight.

Actually, it’s the same fight- if the PCs had not rushed ahead I would have brought the bad guys out to greet them.

59 Undead C vs Secondary Team.jpg

Naergoth Bladelord!

The place is a ruined catacomb like temple, rededicated (possibly) to some dark god (Tiamat, remember), present are a trio of undead (identified as Wights). I have a speech prepared for Naergoth Bladelord- a premium (bad bastard) Wight with max HP- that’s 198, I was going to make a few threats, develop the story a little “you’re too late… even as etc.”, but… the strike team just rushes in and starts hacking my bad guys to pieces, they are disinclined to listen to anything that Naergoth (or the DM) has to tell them.

Just for info there are ambushers here again, two groups- four Ghouls and a Ghast in each, waiting to get into the action, also there are another two Ghasts hidden in the two western sarcophagi.

Note Naergoth is CR 11, and this is still the same encounter, so the PCs have not had a chance to heal, only a few running repairs.

Although. They possibly could have, however with various powers about to expire they decided just to rush on in.

Mongo, is- as always, the front line- the Flaming Fist Vet races to the nearest Wight and starts slicing the undead creature, although without a magical weapon his attacks are somewhat blunted.

The Wight takes guard and grins back at Mongo, the Mercenary knows this is going to hurt, and it does- Mongo is heavily wounded, and worse- the undead’s Life Drain much reduces his max HP- and he’s not going to get an extended rest anytime soon.

However, Ontharr to the rescue, the Dwarven Paladin suddenly appears at Mongo’s side and with a Divine Smite (Crit) followed by a hit, smashes the now panicked undead down.

That was easy- the Players think, and then verbalise- how nice for me.

And then Hard Bonk with his magical shortsword, and magical fists & feet, beats the second Wight well beyond bloodied, but not for long- Sgt Harald rocks up and with a Crit and ends it.

At which point rushing into the mix, at strange ad hoc intervals, come eight Ghouls and two Ghasts, and the Players really start screaming.

Derek gets to Mongo with a Cure Wounds, while Gargomel gets his Spiritual Weapon up and running- and thumps a Ghast (after his Spirit Guardians, at last, expires) and then again with his battleaxe with a chunk of extra radiant damage added- the Ghast is very quickly heavily wounded.

At which point Naergoth Bladelord, who retreated a little earlier to avoid the sprawling charge of the strike team, grabs his terrible longbow out and shoots a necrotically enhanced arrow into Hard Bonk, that hurt a lot.

Then one of the Ghoul ambushers gets to Gargomel’s and claws the Dwarf Priest, he’s again down to less than 10 HP. Mongo also takes another hit, the Flaming Fist Vet is well beyond bloodied, however he has enough about him to take another Ghast down.

The Mercenary rushes on to Naergoth, to prevent the Wight from firing his bow again, take care- the Wight’s longsword is going to hurt at least as much.

Another Ghoul gets to Gargomel and the Priest is down, throat torn out- note there’s no unconscious, or Death Saves for the NPCs- they live until they die.

Rob, Playing Gargomel, gets to make the first roll (actually this was the first roll ever) on the Reinforcements table, Corporal Jones rushes into the action, alas the good Corporal is a member of the Waterdeep Watch, and has maybe 10 HP, so… Rob’s not pleased, and there’s money on the new NPC not lasting long.

The still Hasted Ontharr cuts another Ghoul down, and then starts in on the next in line.

Meantime Hard Bonk also makes it to Naergoth and starts up with chop-socky magic, the 200 HP Wight takes a bearing, and also succumbs to the Monk’s Stunning Strike.

Corporal Jones stabs his spear into a Ghoul, with a Crit- possibly the biggest cheer from the Players for the whole fight.

Note, somewhat remarkably not a single member of the strike team have succumbed to the Ghast’s stench aura.

Sgt Harald smashes yet another Ghoul down.

At which point the two Ghasts hiding in the sarcophagi within the room- exit their lairs and rip into Corporal Jones, the poor bastard doesn’t last the turn- he’s slaughtered.

Rob gets to make a second Reinforcements table, guess what- another Waterdeep Guard, welcome… Corporal Smith, let’s see if he sticks around a little longer.

Derek Pilch tries increases morale with a Mass Cure Wounds.

The melee rumbles on, Mongo- Flaming Fist Vet, is the first to feel the effect of the Ghast’s Poisonous stench. The Mercenary however slashes and cuts hard at Naergoth- and a Crit (although his blade isn’t magical).

Ontharr slashes and cuts another two Ghouls down- the enemies are thinning out.

Hard Bonk, alas also succumbs the Ghast’s Poisonous stench, the Monk misses all of his attacks on Naergoth- who is also now no-longer Stunned.

Sgt Harald ends another of the Ghouls- there’s just two left, and two Ghasts, and Naergoth, of course.

Wizard Nora, who hasn’t be able to effect the fight too much- and is also preserving her spells, when she can, ends another Ghast with a clutch of Magic Missiles.

Naergoth, no-longer Stunned, rips into Hard Bonk with his longsword- seconds later and the Monk is out cold on the floor, unconscious and dying, which just leaves Mongo trying to keep the nasty bastard Wight at bay.

Ontharr Frume gets to Hard Bonk with a Cure Wounds, and then goes back to killing Ghouls- another one dead, just one more left.

Hard Bonk meantime leaps back to his feet and starts in on Naergoth again, a second later and the Wight is Stunned once again, and at last- bloodied.

Sgt Harald cuts down the last Ghoul… they’re getting there.

Derek Pilch gets to Hard Bonk with another Cure Wounds, he needed that.

Lady Love, Knight of Siverymoon, cuts another Ghast down- just one left, and Naergoth, who now no longer Stunned, cuts Mongo again.

At which point Ontharr unleashes another Divine Smite, and a follow up hit- the Wight is now heavily wounded. Hard Bonk follows up with a Crit with his magical shortsword, and seconds later- after a roundhouse kick to the side of the head Naergoth is down.

Just one screeching Ghast left, and so the Monk moves over and goes to work on the undead creature- it doesn’t last long, Hard Bonk takes it down and the fight is eventually won.

A little breather and then the strike team, after a bit more healing, move on- following Derek Pilch’s instruction, the Druid- while he was scouting the area, spotted an area further on- the treasury, and he believes in the same direction is the Draakhorn, the great call to battle for the chromatic dragons, silencing this device could help to win the war.

Note, here’s the roster for strike team number 1, at present-

Brothers of the First Light B Team
Derek Pilch (played by Jackie) Male Human Druid Lvl 13
Hard Bonk (played by Rob) Male Half-Orc Monk Lvl 13
Sgt Harald Hardaxe (played by Pete) Male Shield Dwarf Fighter Lvl 13

& Special Guest PC
Ontharr Frume (played by Sandy) Male Mountain Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet leader and Paladin of Moradin Lvl 10

& Player NPCs
Wizard Nora (played by Pete) Female Human Harper Mage
Mongo (played by Sandy) Male Human Flaming Fist Mercenary Veteran
Gargomel (played by Rob) Male Hill Dwarf Order of the Gauntlet Priest RIP
Lady Love (played by Jackie) Female Half-Elven Knight of Silverymoon
Corporal Jones (played by Rob) Male Human Waterdeep Guard RIP
Corporal Smith (played by Rob) Male Human Waterdeep Guard


More of this kind of thing next time.
 


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Very cool. I love how you're handling this.

Thanks, I think back at the time we were approaching the finale and it was holiday season, as it were, and all of us were heading off somewhere sunnyish, but at different times- so it was going to get messy, or else we were going to have to put the game on hold for approx. a month and a half, no biggie- at the time.

There was also a lot of chatter on the way to here, particularly from Pete- "let's have a big battle, on Fantasy Grounds, can we?" that kind of thing.

So, sometimes it was all of the Players around the VTT, but at other times it was just a choice selection of the playing committee- one of the couples and me, or else (and more often) just Pete, Rob and me at the VTT.

That said, all of the action with the Brothers of the First Light, and with the Secondary characters involved all of the Players either at the table or the VTT.

The ladies fell out of love, a little, with the endless fighting of the other Strike Teams, as could you- we'll see.

Stay safe, I've found the next bit I need to write up for this lot (in the Chatlog mess) so I'll get on it.

Goonalan
 



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