Guest Blog by Max Bryans
Our Cast of Players:
- Aaron (Dave Marasco): Human Priest, level 10.
- Albrecht (Alan Bates): Human Priest, level 10.
- Artan (Dave Marasco): Dwarf Warrior/Thief, level 6/9.
- Edward Nevar (Ricky Paginton): Human Paladin, level 10.
- Elfire (Max Bryans): Human Warrior, level 10.
- Kaji (Ian Andrews): Human Wizard, level 10.
- Patroclus (Jason Paginton): Human Warrior, level 10.
- Pioden (Craig Baynham-Evans): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/8/9.
- Nogri: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Tal: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Uthilian: Elf Warrior, level 2.
- Vermox: Human Warrior, level 2.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 168,960
At the end of the corridor, away from the hellish altar room on top, Elfire glances at the door he has just shut and estimates that the wave of blood will have passed the door by now. And if it has passed, that it is possible for there to be a void behind it.
As he muses as to what might be in that void, the door starts to open. Despite being aware that this was a likely sequence of events, the best the flat footed giant can do is shout a quick warning as he unstraps one of this medley of weapons.
This warning is enough for Aaron to realise discretion is the better part of valour and he darts up the corridor. The always nimble Patroclus is more than quick enough to compensate for the fingers and thumbs Elfire. With a good turn of speed, he darts forward and engages the shape which appears at the door.
And what an enemy it is ! The door is ogre sized and the monstrosity which appears has to duck to pass through it. It once might have been an ogre, but as is the way with this complex, it has been warped almost beyond recognition. It has feet like a huge bird, and a 6 foot long sinuous neck, atop of which is a deformed dragon’s head. The whole ensemble is coated in a patchwork of different sized white, pearlescent scales.
Patroclus is too much of a professional to let this disquiet him. He know he has to despatch this creature to save them all. He sets about with a flurry of halbard blows, but he is hindered by the beast’s scales and only manages a few good blows before it opens it’s jaws wide and retaliates.
With a deafening roar the Dragon Ogre breathes a cone of freezing cold down the corridor. Some are lucky and manage to dodge or otherwise shield themselves from the worst. But Albrecht and Elfire are not so lucky. They are chilled to the bone and the penetrating cold nearly makes them take leave of their senses.
But Elfire, despite being slow, is like a tsunami when he starts moving. Patroclus has bought him enough time and, as he shakes his head to clear the worst effects of the cold, he charges and engages the Dragon-Ogre with the Obsidian Great Sword. In a volley of unstoppable blows, each of which produces a thunder clap from its discharge of elemental lightening, he tears through the beast and leaves it dismembered on the floor.
As it falls, it becomes possible for them all to see the contents of the chamber behind. And for those contents to see them ! Behind the horror revealed 4 more Goat-Ogres, akin to the ones which the party fought in the hall of teleporting pillars. Three of them are charging towards the door and one is lining up his ballista sized crossbow down the corridor.
Kaji is first to act. As Albrecht heals him, Kaji changes the target for the spell he was preparing and with the Rod of Enlargement doubles it’s size and efficacity. With a crackle of ozone and a ZOT which makes everyone duck a vast bolt of lightening leaves Kaji’s wand, scuds over the heads of the group in the door and strikes a charging Goat Ogre square in the chest.
The effect reflects the preparation. The target literally explodes as the contents of it’s chest cavity boil and expand in a ball of hot gas.
The remaining two charging ogres are too committed to be deterred, they engage Elfire and with a barrage of massive club blows force him first onto the defensive and finally to his knees.
But Elfire is not alone. Artan throws his hammer and crushes the skull of one, the second is engaged by Patroclus. As he sees the combat, Edward curses the distance between himself and the fray. He draws the strength bow of the Barbarian King. As he (like Elfire) shares the memories of the Barbarian King, it feels like an old friend in his hands. But his memories no not provide the muscle memory required, and his first (and only shot) flies wide of the mark and hits Patroclus square in the back of the head. Had Patroclus not been wearing a helm, it would surely have killed him outright !
Although perturbed, Patroclus is not too distracted. He butchers the last ogre pummelling Elfire then turns and gives his Paladin comrade a withering look.
This is too much for the final Ogre. With a snarl, he darts into the wall of blood and disappears.
With a nod of gratitude towards Artan and Patroclus, Elfire gathers himself and retreats down the corridor towards the ministrations of Aaron.
The ever alert Kaji then has a master stroke of genius. He remembers the Horn of the Tritons retrieved from one of the Elemental Planes. With a knowing look in his eye, he pulls it out, brings it to his lips and blows with all his strength. As Kaji (but no one else) anticipated, a hole opens in the wall of blood which reveals the final ogre. But this ogre is no longer retreating, he was already sizing up Edward through his crossbow sights and lets rip with a massive bolt.
But thankfully his aim is off. The bolt smashes into the wall behind Edward and crumples into splinters. The hole in the blood wall is already shrinking, so Edward (no longer having faith in missile weapons) attempts to call upon his Gods to dispel the evil in the chamber. But he cannot determine any effect. He is in a distant plane, far from his Gods, and the evil in the complex is so powerful. It is possible he had an effect, just not one which actually helped. Edward curses.
Hearing Edward’s uncharacteristic curse is enough for Artan. He puts his shoulder to the door and guards it as it slowly swings shut once more.
What follows is a flurry of healing. As Albrecht guides Aaron through a master class of prayers. In a matter of 15 minutes the party are hale and hearty once more. Although Kaji does point out that he and the other spell casters are going to need some proper rest if they are to re-learn spells.
But unlike the healing, the idea of resting in this infernal place is untenable. They will have to press on with what they have.
To be continued…