Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I am addicted to DDI after only 2 days

I am so against the DDI. Just the idea of it makes me upset. For a one year subscription they charge $60. I could by two gaming books for that price. I don't like the idea of renting information. Like the encyclopedia salesman coming to your door and offering you a beautiful set of leather bound encyclopedias, they are $20 a month. Buy? No, you can't buy these encyclopedias. They are for lease only.

The whole sales model is rotten to me. But, I came into some money that I didn't think I deserved, but that I couldn't turn down, so I bought 3 month's worth. $20. Thinking that even if I didn't like it, I could save all the pdf's and keep the character builder. Those are worth $20. Maybe.

So, yesterday, I did not even go beyond the character builder. I built Therryk. I built a Warden, just in case. I built a 30th level, just for fun. It was. . .nice. I wasn't sold, though. Not until today.

I came home from school intending to mess around with Gimp some, I have a couple encounters for my eventual turn that might require me to design a map in advance, and I'd like to try Gimp for that, rather than graph paper and a pencil, when I should be paying attention in Physics. I wanted to finish the creatures in the encounter, first, and thought I would try the encounter builder.

Not impressed, not at all. Well, I was getting impressed slowly as I went along. Ooh, chose the creature and it adds the XP, nice. Wow, I can sort by role, or keyword, handy. But, when I got to the end, and it did not give me the option to print the statblocks, I was. . .disappointed. A totally missed opportunity. How handy to have the whole thing in one package.

I found the statblocks I wanted in the Rules Compendium, however, and was impressed even more by the functionality of that tool. Allowing you to sort even more than the encounter creator, and allowing you to page through the whole statblocks when your results popped up meant that I had a whole host of options available again.

Of course, those two tools alone are not really worth the price. It is the fact that they include every published adventure, supplement, splatbook, and pdf that makes it work. Monsters from RPGA adventures and the Scales of War and any other regularly released adventure are included, and those include leveled versions of some Monster Manual creeps. I never even got to Gimp. I ended up finishing up and printing out 6 encounters this afternoon, where before they were nebulous ideas, now I have creatures to go with them, calculated to the appropriate challenge rating from the Encounter Builder (I also typed up short little tactics blocs, since I sometimes get nervous and fudge these. Or copypasta from a Dragon magazine article).

So, yeah, for DMing these tools are *huge* time savers, and tremendous for adding new and different foes for your party. I hate that Wizards has hooked me like this, but at the same time, they delivered on a pretty good product. If they could only get the interface smoothed out (my suggestion would be merging the encounter builder into the Compendium, it is easier to navigate, and you could print out the stat blocks all at once) , but that is a nitpick. I am duped. I am sold. I am ashamed...


Jesse's Homemade Minibosses

Jesse actually mailed these to me 3 days ago, I am just now getting to posting them. First the Red Champion:

The Chunn-Aragot, Blessed Soldier of Gruumsh
Level 8 Solo

Initiative: 9 Exp: 1750
HP: 368; Bloodied: 184
AC: 24 Fortitude: 23 Reflex: 22 Will: 20
Attack bonus vs. AC: +15
Attack bonus vs. other defenses: +13
Damage Low Medium High
At-will 1d8+5 2d6+5 2d8+5
Limited 3d8+5 3d10+5 4d8+5

Action points: 2
Str: 20 (+9) Dex: 17 (+7) Wis: 17 (+7)
Con: 20 (+9) Int: 17 (+7) Cha: 17 (+7)

Gruumsh's blessing (aura 5)
When opponents in the aura score a critical hit they suffer 1d8+5 raidant damage.

Blessed Axe of Gruumsh (Standard, at will)
+15 vs. AC, 1d10+11 damage (crit 21+2d12)

Divine Vengeance (Standard, at will)
+13 vs. Will. 1d8+5 radiant damage and the target is stunned until the end of your next turn on a hit. Whenever you score a critical with any other power your next use of this power on the same target is a minor action.

Battlefury (standard, recharge 5 6)
Make two basic attacks.

Roar of the Conqueror (Standard, Encounter)
+13 vs. Will. Close Burst 3. 4d8+5 damage on a hit and the target is weakened (save ends). Allies within the area gain 25 temp HP.

Divine Storm (Standard, Encounter)
Make a basic attack against every opponent within a close burst 2, these attacks deal radiant damage. Targets hit are dazed (save ends).

Gruumsh's Favor (minor, recharge 5 6)
Close Burst 3, you or an ally within the burst can take an extra standard action. When bloodied recharge becomes 4 5 6.

Blood-Frenzy (aura 5, when bloodied)
All creatures within the aura score a critical hit on a roll of a 19 or 20.

Warrior's Surge (Standard, Usable only when Bloodied)
Basic attack, regain 92 hit points

Vicious Battleaxe +2 (Two Handed)
Blood Red Scale Mail

Next, the two allies:

Grobb, Major Domino of the Goblins
Level 7 Elite Lurker

Initiative: 11 Exp: 600
HP: 128; Bloodied: 64
AC: 23 Fortitude: 21 Reflex: 22 Will: 19
Attack bonus vs. AC: +12
Attack bonus vs. other defenses: +10
Damage Low Medium High
At-will 1d8+5 2d6+5 2d8+5
Limited 3d8+5 3d10+5 4d8+5

Action points: 1
Str: 16 (+6) Dex: 19 (+7) Wis: 16 (+6)
Con: 16 (+6) Int: 19 (+7) Cha: 16 (+6)

Acrobatics +12
Stealth +12

Blade Twisting:
Targets attacked with combat advantage are dazed until the start of your next turn.

Sneak Attack:
+3d6 damage

Melee Basic (Standard)
+12 vs. AC 1d6+7

Feint (Standard, at will)
+10 vs. Will, 1d6 damage and you gain combat advantage against the target until the end of your next turn.

Vanish (Encounter, Minor)
You become invisible until the end of your next turn or you attack.

Blade of the Assassin (Minor, Encounter)
Your next attack deals an added 4d6 poison damage and the target is stunned (save ends).

Riposte (encounter, immediate reaction to an opponent missing with a melee attack, recharge 6)
Make an attack against the opponent with combat advantage.

Call in the Favor (immediate reaction to an opponent hitting with a melee attack, encounter)
Switch positions with an ally within 2 squares, that ally takes the hit instead.

Goblin Tactics: IR to being missed, shift 1

Karkak, Timat's Focus. Leader of the children of 5.
Level 7 Elite Artillery

Initiative: 6 Exp: 600
HP: 128; Bloodied: 64
AC: 22 Fortitude: 19 Reflex: 21 Will: 22
Attack bonus vs. AC: +14
Attack bonus vs. other defenses: +12
Damage Low Medium High
At-will 1d8+5 2d6+5 2d8+5
Limited 3d8+5 3d10+5 4d8+5

Action points: 1
Str: 16 (+6) Dex: 16 (+6) Wis: 19 (+7)
Con: 16 (+6) Int: 16 (+6) Cha: 19 (+7)

Draconic Shift (free, at the start of each turn)
Your are immune to a random type of energy and your other draconic powers reflect this draconic blessing.
1 - Blue: Lightning Stun/Daze
2 - White: Cold Immobilize/Slow
3 - Black: Acid -4 to all Def/-2 to Reflex
4 - Green: Poison Weakened/-2 to Attacks
5 - Red: Fire Blinded and Ongoing 5/Ongoing 5
6 - Choose

Claw (Standard, At will, Melee Basic)
+14 vs. AC. 1d8+5 damage, target suffers minor draconic effect until end of turn on a critical.

Dragongout (Standard, At will, Ranged Basic)
Ranged 10, +12 vs. Reflex, 2d6+7 and minor draconic effect until end of next turn.

Dragonblast (Standard, At will, Recharge 6)
Close Blast 3, +12 vs. Reflex, 3d8+7 and major draconic effect until end of next turn.

Wings of the Goddess (Standard, Recharge 5 6)
+12 vs. Reflex. 2d6+7 in close burst 1 and shift 5 squares (can fly until end of next turn), then make a dragongout attack. Opponents hit by either suffer minor effect until end of next turn, hit by both suffer major.

Breath of the Goddess (Standard Encounter)
Close Blast 5, +12 vs reflex 4d8+7. Opponents hit suffer major effect (save ends) with aftereffect of minor (save ends). Missed suffer minor and half damage.

Dragonskin (Minor encounter)
Gain resist 5 against all attacks until the start of your next turn, any opponent who strikes you with a melee attack also takes 3d10+5 damage and suffers your minor draconic effect (save ends).

Dragon Queen's Favor (free, when spending an action point)
Choose one

And lastly, the spider minions:

Lothleb's Brood

Initiative: 4 Exp: 50
HP: 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC: 19 Fortitude: 18 Reflex: 17 Will: 17
Attack bonus vs. AC: +10
Attack bonus vs. other defenses: +8
Damage: 5
Action points: 0
Str: 18 (+6) Dex: 15 (+4) Wis: 15 (+4)
Con: 18 (+6) Int: 15 (+4) Cha: 15 (+4)

Poison Bite: +8 vs. Fort
Hit: Ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends all)
targets taking ongoing 5 poison are immobilized.
Targets immobilized + ongoing are dazed.
immobilized +dazed +ongoing are stunned.


Unfortunately we never tangled with the spiders. And as mentioned in the writeup, Jesse ended up nerfing the two elites, since he thought we might have more players.

My thoughts on the bosses? They were tough. They were *supposed* to be tough. The kobold has the potential to really screw with you, if he were dropped into an encounter where he had soldiers blocking for him or some other mechanism for him to keep bombarding the party. We had Joel to thank for saving us from that. The goblin really was tough, and the only thing that saved us there was the fact that he died. If he had Elite HP we would have been toast.

And the Red Champion was hard, but were she *solo* instead of solo with two allies, I don't think we would have had quite the problem. Honestly, her greatest threat was serving as a huge block of HP to soak up our hits while her weaker teammates put the hurt on us. Grummush's favor had the potential to eat us up once she bloodied, since an extra action would mean 4 attacks from her. Her to hit bonus is high enough that with flanking she is almost guaranteed to hit any less armored member of our party. So, given all that, we did pretty well.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Actual Play 3/7 & 3/21: Heroes of Fallcrest no longer, Heroes of the Vale we have become!

Last session we played had no combat encounters. I did not take many notes.

We went to the place where the lizardfolk told us we could meet our contact with the Orcish Shamans. We were able to meet with a haughty Orcish Shaman who felt that the Prophesies were being misread and misused, and thought that the Red Champion was a fraud. He was trying to get the Prophesies so that he could disprove many of the signs that she had used to rally this Legion to begin with.

We attempted to give him a translated copy, but he wanted the real thing. We were, after a lot of talking, able to get an agreement hammered out. He would demand that the Champion prove herself by seeking a sign in a certain place at a certain time. We would be there, and kill her without having to hack through her entire army. We would then give the book to the traitor shaman and he would lead his people out of here. He did warn us that once he had the book he would not hesitate to tell his people that it was us that slew their champion.

The spot we chose was on the edge of the Harken forest. Lucan had spent some time patrolling the wood with his elven brethren, and took part in a battle against a large and vicious spider. He remembered the location of her lair, and suggested that we could ambush her there.

That was the condensed version of our roleplaying only session. The next week we played a Call of Cthulhu game, and yesterday we picked up our main campaign where we left off.

The party consisted of:
Lucan, Elven Fighter and sometime conscience of the party; played by Colin.
Ana, Half Elven Cleric of Bahamut and MVP of the coming battle; played by Colin in Chelsea's absence.
Nightshine, Shadar Kai Avenger of the Raven Queen, quiet, occasionally invisible, and deadly; played by Joel
Arlarond, Human Wizard, calm center of knowledge and fire; played by Dan
Therryk, Dragonborn Paladin of Erathis, clueless brute with a rage problem; played by Jay
Sanbrielle, Halfling Warlord, plucky and loud. Halfling Paragon? played by Jes

Immediately after the Orcish Shaman left the grove where we met, Nightshine creeped in. He had been a slave owned by the Legion until a recent escape, and had overheard our entire conversation with the orc. He offered his services, as he was naturally eager to punish his former masters. After a sparring match with Therryk, he was accepted into the group, and we began the quick trip three days to the edge of the Fens.
This is the spider's cave. The cave opening is the black bar on the right. The black region to the left of that is a dark pit that we can't see the bottom of. The blue parts are webs that are attached to the floor and sloping upwards and attaching to the wall about 30 feet up. The red portions are sticky webs on the floor of the cave. The difficult to see light blue-type color are solid husks of web. The giant spider was slain 6 or 7 years ago, so the egg sacks we see inside the solid parts are old and not a danger. Most have been slit open already. The top right and bottom left of the map are small. . .cavelets only reachable by the ramp of web. The cave was once a generic limestone cavern, but had been carved and eaten into it's current shape. Tiny fissures cover the walls.

Many plans were discussed. Should we hide? Where would we hide? Should we try and fool her with a sign of our own? How? And if we succeeded, then what? Arlarond had a ritual he had picked off of the body of one of the casters from the Legion that we had killed. The ritual allows greater ease of movement across mundane and magical webs. He has his familiar fly outside the entrance to the cave and keep an eye out for 3 figures approaching, an orc, a kobold, and a goblin. We had learned as much from the shaman. The Legion of the Chimera, led by 3 leaders of the 3 major races that comprise it. . .pretty clever.
This was our eventual plan. Our two minons hid in the thick webs. Arlarond and Ana concealed themselves on the ramp. Therryk, Lucan, and Sanbrielle crawled under the end of the 'ramp' and covered themselves in web to be concealed. Nightshine did the same thing, but in a different spot. A last minute decsion regarding the light situation led to us incorporating some element of deception. Arlarond's familiar returned. It had spotted an orc and a kobold approaching. Arlarond performed the webby ritual on us and we all got in our places. Arlarond then conjured a floating holy symbol of Gruumsh, and a light spell inside it to make it glow. . .and light the center of the cave.

The orc and kobold entered. They walked towards the symbol, paused, and then approached it. She swiped her axe through it a couple of times. Nightshine may have seen something, but knew that warning us would ruin any surprise we had.

After a long pause, Arlarond acted. He tried to sneak forwards to get within spell bombing range of the holy symbol. Almost immediately he was spotted by the kobold. The orc charged. Initiative was rolled. The battle was on.
This initiative board is after a couple rounds. Yes I am aware that it should probably be Grobb, Majordomo of Goblins. We liked the typo. Knock one down, they all go down...

The fight immediately went against us. The Red Champion brougt Arlarond into bloodied territory on her first attack. Sanbrielle gets him healed, Lucan and Therryk begin the process of freeing themselves from the webs they were hiding in. Grobb makes his presence known by appearing in a flanking position with the orc. Karka lobs some fire at the party, but is quickly locked down when Nightshine gets in his face.

The Red Champion hits Lucan twice. Both are criticals. Lucan is immediately felled, and lies bleeding on the ground. Sanbrielle uses her second and final Inspiring Word to get him back in the fight. Ana summons what is most likely the largest contributor to us winning the fight, Consecrated Ground. A 3x3 area of holy ground that she can move each turn, it has the effect of damaging each enemy that begins it's turn in it, and healing any bloodied PC's that start their turn in it. Since most of us were bloodied most of the time, we reaped a huge healing benefit from it. 12 HP each time was more than a healing surge (for all of us, I'm pretty sure).
Arlarond also uses his shroud of flame, which is super effective against Jesse since he always forgets to save. Ongoing 5 fire plys 1d6 or so for Consecrated Ground. . .and then Lucan activates his stance. Any enemy that begins it's turn next to him takes 1[w] damage. This added up to a huge amount of damage over the many rounds this fight lasted.

At the same time this was happening, Nightshine was taking on Karka by himself. Karka hit him with a poison attack, which allowed him to fly (shift) away and onto the web platform over the chasm. Nightshine had several tricks up his sleeve, however, and was able to chase him up there and teleport him over the edge and into the abyss. His fall was broken by some webs a few feet down, and we were introduced to the last element of this fight. Spiders.

Lotheb's Brood were medium spider minions who singlemindedly went after anything that disturbed the web. Karka was swarmed immediately, and Nightshade left the lip of the chasm to help us with the other two.

The fight was not really going well. Sanbrielle ran out of healing, and the status effects started to pile up. Grobb (the Domino) was a rogue and maintained his flank, tearing us apart. A difference was made when Therryk managed to get a flank with Lucan on Grobb, and used an action point to hit twice. The second hit he avoided by using an ability to swap places with the Red Champion, but this meant he would start his turn in the land of ongoing damage, and it brought him down.

We were feeling good. One enemy left. She was tough, but we were tougher. After all of that mess she was just into bloodied territory. We pressed our advantage. We were surprised to see Karka return. He had been spending each round rerolling for his abilities to recharge, and the one that allowed him to fly finally did. He soared from the darkness and immediately began to bombard us with elemental attacks, all of which carried some kind of status effect. The result was a rebound for the bad guys. The Red Champion was pushed into the webs, but used the opportunity to regroup with Karka.
This was bad news overall, but good news for Arlarond. He had the chance to hit them both with an area attack and summoned a huge cloud of icy pain over the two of them. He positioned it so that for the short time it was there, we could attack them through it's border.
This was the final stretch. Despite turning his scales white to afford him some protection against the cold damage, Karka was doomed and went down. The Red Champion coulcn't escape the Consecrated Ground, and each time she cut one of us down we popped up again on our next turn. It took some more time, but we whittled her mountain of hit points down eventually to zero.
We gathered the three bodies together to search them, and the only thing of value was the +2 Vicious Battleaxe that had hit Lucan with criticals at least three times. Probably more. And the book. Ana cast Gentle Repose on the Red Champion's body, and we loaded her on a floating disc for the journey back to Southember.

The Eladrin were understandable excited about this news, and they hoisted her body up on a pike to carry at the head of their army. Within hours the Eladrin had left to begin routing the orcs and clearing the fens of their foul presence. We had the Eladrin scholars perform their copying ritual on the book, and arranged (via animal messenger) for another meeting with the Shaman in the same grove we had met in previously.

He was still pompous, and we still did not relish dealing with him. On top of that, when he had his book he marched straight to his waiting troops and told them what he said he would. That we were the jerks who had killed their Red Champion.

A lengthy chase through the Fens was finally ended when we were able to lose the Warg riders in a difficult section of the terrain. We met up with Kerlos leading the Eladrin army shortly after, and told him where he could find 200 or so disorganized orcs begging to be slaughtered.

The next day was a feast day in Southember. Kerlos was pleased with us, and saw to it that our role in the events was made known to the people during the feast. We began this endeavour with the goal of preventing all out war between Fallcrest and Southember, and it looked as if, for now at least, we had achieved it.
There was some more chatting after that, in and out of character, determining what we would be bringing to the next leg of our campaign.

We have this grain of an idea, to turn out Party into a much larger organization. With the release of the PHB2, several of us are/were itching to try out some of the new classes. Add to that our sometimes peculiar party makeup (3 defenders and no striker, really?) and you have a great opportunity to start something different. We are going to try a different definition of party. Folks can have more than one PC, we just play one at a time. We would be able to try new things without doing one shots, or breaking continuity.

So far it looks like Dan might put Arlarond on the shelf for a bit and bring in a Gnomish Bard. Jesse and Jes were . . .arguing over who could play a Druid. I made a Warden (and my first love, a Kobold Rogue), but I think I'll stick with Therryk for now. He sometimes really underperforms, but I feel like in this last fight he did his share. Plus, with Colin running Lucan may be written out for the time being, and we will need a defender. Not that I feel Therryk is as good a Defender as Lucan (seriously, when Colin first brought him I though 'oh great. . .Elf fighter? Not very optimized...' but I have seen the error of my ways. I would dare anyone to make a more effective Defender than Lucan. He fills his role perfectly) but Therryk does have a defender in him somewhere. . .but it is crowded with all that Leader and Striker that he is carrying around. We will see.

So, this fight was really something. Jesse built 4 creatures using the DMG rules, 1 solo (the Red Champion) and 2 elites (his flunkies). Plus the spider minions. The Red Champion was built at 8th level, and Jesse had tried to plan for who would attend, but with our schitzo group I do not fault him at all for overestimating it's size. He thought we could have as many as 9 PC's, and planned accordingly. Thus, the 2 bodyguards were reduced on the fly from Elites to Regulars. the dice really favored him in the beginning, so I am curious if without that change we would have survivied. I think we might have, but with a PC death. It would have been that bastard Goblin stabbing Colin or I (or Sanbrielle or Nightshine) in the back.

Jesse mentioned emailing me the stuff he put together for me to post. I'll do that as soon as I get the email.

In other news, PHB2 is awesome. . . .


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Actual Play 2/28: Our Own Private Siege

Sambrielle - Halfling Warlord
Therryk - Dragonborn Paladin
Zamir - Genasi Swordmage
Arlarond - Human Wizard
Ana - Half Elf Cleric
Lucan - Elf Fighter

Jesse continued the adventures of the Heroes of Fallcrest as they battled the Legion of the Chimera.

We finished our exploration of the compound we had claimed, and divided up the treasures we plundered from the fallen orcs. Our wagon was damaged in the attack, and we set our two slaves up to fix it. Minions, I meant minions.

We were surprised when a lone demon approached the West gate. A couple of us immediately rushed him. Some of the more prudent party members stayed on or in the structure. The next round another demon appeared. The four of us that rushed up were in a good spot, and feeling pretty tough. Arlarond was on the roof of the building inside the walls and he started throwing spells at them. He kept spending his move action to search around, trying to find out where these demons were coming from, but they were too well hidden

Lucan and Therryk stood side by side and fought the demons, while Sambrielle and Ana stood on the wall and supported. The next round, another demon appeared. And the round after that. Zamir rushed to the gate, and the three defenders stood shoulder to shoulder and blocked the route around the edge of the wall.

The demons stopped coming to us, and started running around the corner to the open wall where our two companions were repairing the wagon. Before we could get there to intervene, one took a mighty swing at Scrag, the goblin, and he went down like a bag of stones. We split into two groups. Not on purpose, it just happened that way. Lucan broke off from the front gate fight and jumped up and over the wall to engage the demons coming through the other gate. Sambrielle joined him. Arlarond turned his focus to these new threats, and the other three of us focused on the last of the initial demons.

Lucan had the attention of the new group of demons, still augmented each round by another one coming from the bushes. Zamir, Ana, and Therryk finished off the last of theirs and turned to help their companions.

Therryk ran around the edge of the wall, trying to make best time to the other fight, and was startled when he noticed a Gnoll in the bushes. His eyes were closed and he was murmuring something. One axe thrown at his face ended his summoning ritual, and the endless flood of demons stopped.

This still left the few that he had already summoned, currently fighting in the entryway of the South gate. Now flanked and outnumbered, it was only a matter of time before they were brought down. Though their variable resistance to our various elemental attacks was annoying, it did not save them in the end.

We were pleased to discover that Scrag had only been faking injury, in the masterful cowardly way that Goblins can, and that the gnoll summoner had a very valuable staff topped with a black diamond. Not magic, but still good news.

Following the fight an Eladrin rode in from the East. We recognized him, he was one of Kerlos' men, one we had fought and defeated in the Moonstone Keep. He was impressed with our work, and told us that if we could but hold onto this ruin for another day, reinforcements from Southember would arrive, and we could go. We agreed, as getting in the good graces of the Eladrin is just as important as getting in good with the legion.

Shortly after he left, we saw two Lizardfolk approaching from the South. The one in the lead was carrying a makeshift white flag, so we let them approach. We had moved the wagon into the broken Southern entrance, so the introductions and discussion took place on the seat of the wagon. These lizardfolk had heard of our attempts to create dissent in the Legion, and were offering some small amount of help. Through some negotiation we learned that not all of the Orcish shamans followed the Red Champion blindly, and would like an opportunity to study the book of Orcish prophesies personally. Unfortunately, the Red Champion was keeping the book on her person, so the Shamans went along with her. . . for now.

The gnolls had been trying to find another copy of the prophesies so that they could give them to the shamans. The goblin raids on Fallcrest were one attempt to get the book, though we knew of no copy there. We agreed that we would help the lizardfolk do this, but in the process Therryk let slip that we were expecting an attack during the night. Arlarond suspected that the silent lizardman in the rear of the wagon might have occasion to use this information to our detriment. We told him as much, and as a good faith gesture he allowed us to keep the possible dissenter with us for now. Our plan was to meet up with him in a grove that he specified with the Eladrin copy of the Prophesies in 24 hours. If we were unable to make it we would need to send word and arrange another meeting place.

When the lizardman left we got to fortifying the Northeastern section of the outpost. With material from the building we were able to build a rude barricade, and we chucked the wheels of the wagon to provide some kind of protection from the south. When we were finished we split up into watches and tried to get some rest. Arlarond set up his Arcane Eyes to watch the bog. Sambrielle and Therryk kept watch for the first part of the night.

Around midnight we were attacked. Flaming arrows started striking around the courtyard. The Heroes were awakened, and the battle started. A group of Orcish archers stood 40 feet away and shot flaming arrows into the battle. They were guarded by two Wargs. More orcs rushed the gate, and a big orc, an obvious leader, quickly got inside the compound.

Sambrielle stood atop the wall with her sword as tall as she was and was rewarded for her courage with a barrage of flaming arrows. Therryk jumped down and charged at the archers in an attempt to draw their fire and was rewarded with just that. Inside, Lucan and Zamir closed with the Orcish leader and began to feel just how much pain he could dish out.

Our ace in the hole, Arlarond on the roof tossing spells around, was just in position when we were betrayed. The lizardman whom we had kept with us so that he would not betray our plans rushed at Arlarond and tried to shove him off of the roof of the three story building. He failed, but Arlarond knew that it was a matter of time before he was knocked down, and tried to leap down and mitigate his damage somewhat. He failed. On top of that, the lizardman pulled his greatbow from his back and started pumping arrows into Zamir.

The orcish brutes hammering at the gates were dispatched easily by Therryk and Sambrielle, but the archers focused their fire and with one volley brought the dragonborn down, and he bled and lay dying. The small halfling was now virtually alone outside the gates, with two wargs as tall as she, and four archers with no other obvious targets. Things were looking grim outside the gates.

Luckily, due to the nature of the gate, Ana was able to arrive and began bringing the wrath of Bahamut down on the orcs. She healed the dying and began to turn the tide of the battle. Glowing with the light of her god, her allies felt even more bolstered when blessed by healing from her patron.

Arlarond, too, took advantage of the gate, and began harassing the archers. He yelled at Scrag to pull the lever in the building, the one that controlled the counterweights and opened the gate. Scrag began to do just that. He yanked the lever back and forth, and what was a grim battle became even more uncertain with the addition of the heavy smashing gate in the midst of it.

Zamir, meanwhile, took advantage of one of Ana's many blessings to yank the lizardman from the roof. A bolt of lightning drew him down and he struck the ground, hard. Robbed of his vantage point and stuck in melee combat, he was forced to fight tooth and claw.

Lucan began maneuvering right away to get the orcish leader smashed by the gate. His trident is most adept and pushing and pulling enemies where he wants, all around the battlefield, and it was inevitable that the orc would end up smashed by the gate.

The wargs were finally silenced, and Therryk and Arlarond went to work shutting down the archers. A blast of ice knocked most of them from their feet, and Therryk's axe with Arlarond's magic began to bring them down.

The real fight was the orcish war leader. Briefly knocked into bloodied, he channeled his orcish blood and healed himself out of it. When he brought one of the Heroes of Fallcrest into bloodied territory, he would savage them even more. In the end it took a combined effort of all the party, with healing running low and powers spent, but he was brought down, smashed by the gate into a pulp. We ended there.


This session took a bit longer than our usual ones, so once combat ended we were done for the day. Surprisingly, Jesse anticipates that this story arc will be finished up next session. We will see. I feel like from Therryk's perspective this is an enormous problem that will not be solved for months and months . . .but from a storytelling perspective I can see it happening. Colin hopes to run next, and we will be starting up 6th level. 6th level is a nice boost in power for some of us, Leaders of course can now add 2d6 to their healing, My mark improves a bit, feats are earned and Utility powers are gained. Good level, 6th. Of course, in a couple weeks I will be looking at 7th level and thinking how cool it will be to have three encounter powers. I am never content.

Jesse was saying as we wrapped up that this gauntlet of three encounters with no extended rests was done to stretch us. We sometimes rest more than I think is strictly necessary. Hitting that milestone is cool, though, Colin has a power gem, so he can bring back his Rain of Blows. That power is very sick. Very, very sick.

I didn't get any notes taken this session, but since it was a light roleplaying session that is mostly okay. I am not sure about the name of our Lizardfolk contact, and I had to think pretty hard about the order things happened in (demons>eladrin>lizardfolk>orcs). Since I do this more as a benefit to the group, should we ever be nostalgic our curious or . . .anything, and less as a showing off of our cool game, I really should be a little more consistent with that. In other news, I took a bunch of pictures, so that is cool, right?