Jasper (Gnome Wizard Warlock 6) - Despite being only half controller, he controlled very well. Had the biggest letdown of the night when he was dominated and unable to sustain his Acid Mire immediately after casting it
K'rrul (Kobold Assassin/Rogue 6) - In his virgin combat he emerged solidly mediocre. Managed to crit on some guy who only had 10 HP remaining. Yay?
Arashi (Genasi Swordmage 6) - Took a ton of damage, and gave as good as he took. The confined space virtually guaranteed he'd be close enough to take advantage of his mark when it went off.
Paulic (Valenar Elf Ranger 6) - Continued the time honored tradition of bow rangers everywhere, quarry+twin strike=awesome. Now holds both the gold and silver in single round damage totals for the party.
Phedre - (Aerenal Elf Cleric/Shaman 6) - Must have done something to piss these guys off, since she took enough damage to be killed at least three times over. Consecrated Ground saved her life.
After some pregame chatter, we jumped right in with an initiative roll. Despite high dex characters, and good rolls, we ended up going all bunched up *after* our ambushers.
At the top of the battle mat were the large doors we entered through. The three minis outside the warehouse were ours, as were two of the minis just inside (crappy camera phone and poor lighting, sorry!). This was taken immediately after they charged in on us. No surprise round, since we were pretty sure that our boat wasn't going to leave from a landlocked lumber warehouse. Most of the boxes with lines through them represent piles of lumber. The southernmost one was actually a staircase. The three long skinny boxes that are divided in two (1x3, 1x4, 1x5) were masts suspended from the ceiling of the building, 30 feet up. The Large mini (not an Aboleth!) was a Fey Constrictor, the toughest snake ever. This was a *long* battle-
- The snake slithered through the pile of lumber and grabbed Arashi before he could go.
- Two of the other attackers aimed for Phedre from range.
- Two more charged in to engage at melee range.
- The net result was our healer having to use her first Healing Word on her first action to bring herself out of bloodied. She used another minor to summon her Spirit Companion (an elven mummy affectionately called Mr Bubbles).
- Arashi teleported out of the snake's coils (the first of many times this would happen) and tried working his Swordmage magic.
Swordmage magic is different from other defender magic. Where a Fighter or a Warden needs to be in melee range for his mark to be effective, and a Paladin needs to 'engage' his enemy, Swordmages invert that. An Assault Swordmage like Arashi needs to make his mark think hard about who they attack. If the mark is violated, Arashi can teleport up to 10 squares and hit the offender. If Arashi can get himself to the other side of the battlefield, his mark has to endure a gauntlet of OA's, get whacked by him, or do nothing. This fight was a good showcase for that. We mostly stayed bunched up at the door at first, meaning that Arashi was well served by marking an enemy far from the door and teleporting back near his allies.
- After our first round, the fight was feeling tense, with the obvious focus on our Cleric very apparent.
- With all the teleporting available (three of the five party members have quite a bit of the Nightcrawler in us) the neat clump of allies frayed a bit. The snake surprises us when *it* teleports.
- Something else that blindsided us was the Half Elf using a power to make us belive he was our ally. Predictably, Paulic the bloodthirsty Valenar was immune, but everyone else had to give the guy a wide birth.
- In fact, even as she lay dying, Phedre was failing saves against this power. Her twilight thoughts as she drifted in and out of must have been concern for her new found friend.
- And die Phedre did. She started bringing out her Daily heals to stave off the inevitable. It was for naught, as just a couple rounds in, she lay bleeding on the ground. It was then that we realized that *nobody had any healing potions* (not strictly true. . .Jasper had one he had forgotten about).
- Jasper spotted an opportunity and jumped at it. He threw down his new 5th level Daily, Acid Mire. A sustainable 3x3 area of bubbling acid that damaged anyone who started in it, or fell prone. It also acted as difficult terrain. With his amped up Thunderwave, he could keep an enemy or two tied up.
- He was promptly dominated. His daily expired after doing a few points of damage to the two enemies caught in the area.
- The nearest ally to Phedre, Paulic, rushes to her side to administer 'Valenar First Aid'. By repeatedly kicking her in the ribs, he was able to allow her to spend her Second Wind.
- The big guns, Bacon of Hope and Consecrated Ground get thrown down. Consecrated Ground will keep Phedre alive the rest of the combat.
- Split the Tree struck again. Paulic critted with one of his shots. Does this sound familiar? This time his grand total was 72 points of damage to two enemies, killing them both. He now holds the all time record and the runner up.
- That was the second and third enemy death, leaving a skirmsher(?), a 'sniper', and a snake to deal with. The sniper was annoying, spending his time leaping from mast to mast, 6 squares above the party. The snake was eating a tremendous amount of damage and not getting bloodied. The other guy was a pushover.
Difficult terrain was obviously available for us to use in this fight. Jesse had drawn it out lovingly in advance. He described in detail the features of the warehouse, and the masts hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately, we were not availing ourselves of the options open to us. Partly it was the sinking feeling you get when your healer keeps dying. Maybe a little of it was our attempt to reform into some semblance of a strategic formation. Some of it was our power tunnel-vision, I'm sure.
- K'rrul had been shrouding the sniper as he crouched on a mast, plinking away. When he had stacked up four, he used a power to teleport up and attack the sniper, whiffing.
- On the sniper's turn, he leaped off and shot the rope holding the mast. K'rrul tumbled down and was crushed by the mast, dying a horrible death.
- Just kidding. Through several methods (Acrobatics training, Temp HP, and Insubstantial) he reduced the damage taken to 3.
- With the sniper in melee, and the only thing with legs left alive, we decided to take him alive. With those magic words, K'rrul critted on him, and the renewed shrouds as well as the rest of the damage was maximized. 43 damage on a guy with 10 HP that we wanted alive *anyways*. Lame.
- The snake took some work. We found out later that he was an Elite. He had several cool hypnotic powers that ultimately failed. In fact, enough of his otherworldly flavored powers failed that he behaved much as a normal 40 foot snake would behave, aside from the teleportation.
Following the combat, we had a quick interrogation session. Our Eladrin prisoner didn't seem to speak common, but with Phedre as an interpreter, Arashi made it very clear that his ability to continue breathing was due to our benevolence, and if he did not make it worth our while, we might cease being so giving. In return, we got pretty much nothing. We had killed the mercenary Captain, and this guy claimed to know nothing about their reasons for attacking us. Searching them yielded some magic items, and one solitary clue. A magical stone that we guessed was used as a key for an Eladrin safety deposit box. Our prisoner told us the box was located in the Hand of the Ivory Stone, back at the Fortress of Fading.
About two hours of combat. It was admittedly a tough fight, with one enemy per PC, each one at 7th level. On top of that, the snake was a 9th level Elite. We did well, probably because they wasted a *lot* of actions trying to kill Phedre, and she kept popping up. Midway through the fight she said she had taken over 150 pts of damage, and she kept getting knocked down after that. After we killed the mercenary Captain, she dropped a healing potion. Before we could dash in and grab it, the freaking *snake* came from across the room and ate it, glass and all. Poor Phedre had been eyeing that potion.
After that the session went off track pretty quickly. . .and got pretty blue. Next week? We figure out what the hell we are doing next!