Green Crane Chronicles

28 April, 2010

An eventful day or two at the Guild of the Green Crane. It seems that I had only heard less than a tenth of the story – a dragon! Last week, some of our number slew a dragon! A small one, true, but even so. Already the name of our guild is becoming spoken in the market place and – rather more importantly – in the halls of potential employers. Our efforts are bearing fruit – even the business of repairing the damage to our building, as we make begin to act as a body with other groups in the city. Not that this is without its bad side: we have, embarrassingly, been burgled.

As an aside – we simply must organise ourselves better. We argued an hour over the resurrection of our fallen comrade, finally voted with near unanimity to have him resurrected – a result never in doubt, by the way – and still afterward our discussion continued! Astonishing! We had concluded the matter with a resounding Yea, and yet the matter was not concluded! As one of our number put it: “the amount of fail in this room is making my head hurt”. I think the only real problem is that no one of us felt they had the authority to actually go get it done. We deserved to be robbed, when we can’t work out a simple matter such as who is holding the purse.

And is it true that the only reason we don’t bank at House Deneith like most sane people is that certain of our number think that a dragonmarked house that handles millions of gold every day will “cheat” us? Astonishing! Let us abandon this strongroom notion forthwith! We have already lost to theft far more than we will pay in fees to the bankers. If our capital becomes sufficient, we may even begin earning interest.

To continue:

The efforts of those of us who escorted the silver flame emissary have also had interesting consequences. The church invited us to form a team of five to participate in some sort of competition, to be held – well – next day. Last-minute notice indeed. Our team was myself, the axeman from last week, a gnomish sorcerer, a paladin, and the dwarf. A mix of members whom they had met and members they had not. A good idea. Our team was a little short on unusual skills; but enough, we thought,  for a gladatorial competition. We should have brought more than just one with skill at making ranged attacks, and this cost us dearly.

After talking far too late, we scrambled to make the lightning rail, but all’s well that ends well. We slept in our compartment, and in the morn were at the grounds. With scant preliminaries, we were hustled through the competitor’s gate and taken to the ready room for our first battle.

I should pause  to explain the rules of the competition. There were to be four rounds, sudden-death elimination. Fights would be until the opponent was disabled, but enchantments laid on the grounds should keep anyone from actually dying. Certain other enchantments on the grounds would refresh our ability to [heck, what’s an in-game way to say “daily powers”?]. But the day would wear us down – the restoration would not recuperate us as would a good night’s sleep [ie: we don’t get healing surges back]. So husbanding our efforts was very much part of the competition. In retrospect – there was still a chance of death, and it’s very odd indeed that the Church of the Silver Flame would take that risk for a mere entertainment, albeit that steps had been taken to mitigate that risk as far as possible. There’s more going on here than meets the eye.

Our first battle was against a mixed group, whom we met briefly in the ready room. Some of us greeted them courteously, some were … less courteous, although a certain amount of “sledging” is usual at games. They numbered a pair of warforged, a dwarf and a gnome. Two fighters, a healer, and a caster. We were teleported in to a cave system, and we rushed forward to secure a choke-point that we could defend. The other team had much the same idea, and we met them at a narrow point. I think we made a tactical error in doing so. As I mentioned, our party was melee-heavy. Blocking a choke point makes sense when you have archers at the back, but we did not – save our gnomish sorcerer companion. The battle did not go particularly well. Of our four fighters, three were able to attack, and one was left looking for a gap. Our foes tossed something over our lines, which unfolded into some sort of construct. We attacked and destroyed it, which proved to be a mistake, as it exploded. Eventually we broke through the enemy line (of two fighters) and got in amongst their casters. We were victorious, but it was not really a conclusive victory.

[I think someone died, but it was Saturday and I forget, now]

After being treated by the Silver Flame healers, we were ready to go and back in the waiting room. The next group were swarthy and dressed in the manner of the desert-dwellers of the south. These were even more closed-mouthed than the last group, answering neither our courtesies or our insults. The teleport took us to a building – a mocked up taproom. It seems we were to engage in a bar-fight. This group made use of stealth and misdirection, leaping out of windows, hiding under tables and striking from cover, using illusions. The battle was one of attrition – I think we had each lost two from our team when they yielded. They had simply run out of healing. In truth, we were ragged also. We won because their will broke – which is an important lesson in itself.

Our third battle was to be against a group of woodsmen, numbering at least two archers. A real worry. In our brief discussion we concurred that our only tactic was to rush them before they could fill us each with deadly missiles. We were teleported to another cave and in the chamber beyond: a wonder! A wood had sprung up, and in its center a great tree reaching to the ceiling. This wood was clearly magical, and the tactics of the other team became all too plain: for it is the nature of such magics that they hinder your foes and not your allies. The bowmen were at a great advantage. We all scooted across to hide behind a column in the cave when – disaster! Our gnome sorcerer had not quite moved himself out of view with respect to the very edge of the wood. The bowmen, having no other target, all sent a volley at him and felled him immediately. Our comrade was doen and – more importantly – we had no way to make ranged attacks at all.

[we all owe the player (sory about names, I honestly am dreadful) sympathy – he had to sit there for an hour and a half while we played this out]

There was nothing left for it. We advanced, saw the archers within the wood, and battle commenced.

[apologies to the DM, here – I added my passive perception to the roll instead of my perception bonus. By rights, we should have stumbled around that wood attempting to find the archers, and we would have been creamed.]

We began to attack. Someone laid an enchantment on me – a great whirlwind. Should I move, all of my allies would be knocked to the ground. “Don’t move!” called my allies, and so I did not. I just stood there, calling encouragment as best I could. (I simply must purchase a bow at next opportunity). In retrospect, not moving was bad tactics. Being prone is no difficulty at all when you are facing archers, and with me immobile and our sorcerer out of the fight, we were reduced to three against five. Bad odds.

The fight was rough going. The very wood itself conspired to trip us and block our sight. Then one of us began to count – one, two, three, four foes … but what of the teams of five? “The tree! The tree is their fifth party member!” And so it was. We attacked the tree itself and it changed and stood revealed as a warden of the wood, a powerful foe. It took time to reduce him, while all along the archers were picking us off. Finally we agreed that I should move – the knock-down be damned, and so I did, and entered the fight. Another target for the archers, if nothing else, while better warriors than I continued the battle.

We defeated the warden, and I think one other, but another of us fell, and another became unable to fight – I forget the details. I alone was left on my feet, facing three foes – two of them archers. It was my unhappy duty to offer surrender on behalf of our team. And so we were out of the competition.

Watching the final battle from the comfort of the stands, I reconciled myself to our loss. After all – these teams train all year, and devise tactics specifically for these fights. We were a group of five hastily thrown together and made it to the semi-finals. In all, not a bad showing. If I have learned anything besides “don’t fight on your enemy’s preferred turf”, it is that curative potions are a very, very worthwhile investment; that making a foe unable to fight is as good as killing him; and that it’s best to fight with a weapon that you know how to use.

And it seems the Church of the Silver Flame agreed. After having recovered the body of Sir Garran, they had decided on a reward for our guild. But first we were to be put to the test. Why, I do not know – I will not speculate about their internal politics. In any case, as third prize at competition we received a bronze cup which even now graces our hall, and bronze medals each for a memento. But for the recovery of Sir Garran, we were gifted with a wondrous item! A banner which, when held aloft in combat, magically – well, to be frank does something or other. I confess that as I write this I do not know. But no matter! The banner perhaps should be held in common, as many of us won it.

As to our immediate future: perhaps we should get on and make some money – foresight and long-term thinking is all very well, but fame is not a worthwhile thing in itself: point of winning renown for our guild it is to win better commissions and so to make a living. For now, if it’s caravan guarding, cleaning out monster lairs for a fee, or plain mercenary work: so be it.

Until I write again, I am,

Green Crane Chronicles

16 April, 2010

So, my first night at the Saturday night social game at GoodGames in Lanyon. There were enough players for three games, which was great. Thye DMs organised things by allowing the players – in character – to chose the game. The setup is: our characters have decided to form a guild of adventurers in some town. The DMs offer games by playing out people with job offers coming to the guild – knocking on the imaginary front door, a bit of “yea verily good sirs” and all that. It worked really well.

Play at the table I chose was great – we kept things moving, which is my main thing. We did bog down a bit with respect to the horses … but that’s actually ok, because it reflects the fact that the decision to bring mounts made things heavier going for our characters: it wasn’t a rules-lawyering marathon at the table.

I generated a LG 2nd-level Dragonborn warlord on the night, as I have not played one before, and I am comfortable in the support caster role. He’ll take up the tale – although there may be the odd wrong bit owing to my not being 100% up on the campaign setting. I wrote this late at night, so pleas keep the snickering to a minimum. I’m not going to rewrite it now.

I, Baharash, write these words, for we are newly formed and although it is perhaps not my place to pen chronicle, who else to do it if I do not? But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My discharge had arrived, and I took it and my severance gladly. One hundred gold! Wealth indeed, but fairly earned, I think. I could stay another term and study more of war, but these few years have taught me that I prefer small-unit tactics, and the challenges of working with specialists. So off to find a group to join, to win coin and perhaps renown. Soldiering is my trade – with the world so full of danger, there is no shame accepting coin for an honest day’s work at sword.

The Green Crane is just lately formed, so new that there is still discussion about how we shall constitute ourselves. What work would we accept? On what terms? How should loot be divided? At meeting I spoke my piece. Some there are purely mercenaries, and some desire to serve the kingdom. As for me, I hold a middle view: I will not countenance being part of illegal activities; but if my main desire were to serve the kingdom – why – I would still be in the army. For now then, a truce: we are not specifically dedicated to the kingdom, but will seek honourable employment. Even the mercenary ones who I judge would be prepared to step on the wrong side of the law agree that it would be foolish do so so for now.

As for money – we have reached a tentative agreement: of rewards offered to the guild for work, half will go to the guild, half to whom accepts the commission. From this, the guild shall pay rent and board, some expenses (although I fear this was a little vague – resurrection was mentioned), and shall purchase incidental loot if loot is taken for which those who took it have no use. By this device, we shall spare ourselves usury and the greed of merchantmen. One day, our guild will be well stocked with necessities and prepared for any work, able to lend equipment when our members are unable to equip themselves.

It is early days – and who knows how long our agreement will last? But for now, there is accord.

That afternoon, we were offered a commission. The churches of our town wished us to convey an embassy of the church of the Silver Flame from a monastery in the mountains to the town, and thence to show them the manifold wonders of our fair habitation – by which they meant that we should avoid the poor quarter and the brothels. A simple job – but rather more to it than met the eye.

The church of the Silver Flame – to be fully frank – is not as well liked or well regarded as it perhaps might be. It was plain that the good churchmen of our town did not wish to deal with this embassy any more than strictly necessary, forall the idea of coopererative ties between the churches and kingdoms of this region is obviously a good idea. Our task was not merely to convey this embassy in safety, but to take the whole distasteful matter off the hands of our hardworking local clerics.

Four or five of us would suffice for this commision. I volunteered immediately, partly because I leapt at the first chance to make my place among my new comrades, partly because I prefer working with a smaller group, and partly because better I than some of the less couth (though no doubt able) members of our new-formed guild.

And here I must make an admission – my memory for names is appalling beyond telling. And my ability to distinguish between the races of the smooth-skins even worse. We numbered a priest – an obvious necessity for dealing with a church envoy, a warrior of spell and sword, and an axeman. The axeman wears armour of rough hide, but I supposed it was good that one of us was obviously a ready fighter, so I kept my peace. At two hours after dawn we were to present ourselves at the church. During the night, another commission was offered, and also I believe there were issues concerning our building, but I did not concern myself with these – another can chronicle them.

Next morning, we presented ourselves. The churchmen gave us tokens of our status as envoys – tabards bearing insignia of the twelve, and I think papers or letters for the priest. We made our preparations – purchasing tents and hiring horses for the week, one each and two extra. I intend that the guild should purchase the tents and reimburse us the hire of the horses Petty, perhaps, but as well to begin as we mean to continue. These horses were to prove a challenge, yet in the end indispensable, for we arrived at our destination in the nick of time – although again I jump ahead of the story.

We traveled without incident to a town in the mountains, from where a path led upwards to the monastery where we were to meet the envoy. Enquiring in the town, we learned worryingly little of this enclave. While once the monks regularly (if infrequently) visited the town to trade, in recent years they had not been seen or heard of at all. But the path into the mountains was plain enough. At first. By all accounts, we should be at the monastery in a day. Or perhaps two.

The path upward was difficult and narrow, a track cut into the side of the mountain, a sheer drop below us and above us. We mostly rode single file, and the drop below us was fearsome – I confess, I am no horseman. But this news –  that the monastery had not been heard from for years – concerned us greatly, and so we rode for speed, although our hide-clad axeman proved his worth in spotting a particularly treacherous section through which we led the horses. Thus, towards the end of the day, we rounded a corner and finally met with – nothing! This road that had been cut into the mountain simply stopped dead. The roadwork had come to an end, for no reason we could determine.

What to do? Evening was coming. The nearest safe place to overnight – a wider spot in the path – was a considerable distance back. Between us and there was a rockfall, with possibly some sort of cave behind it, but staying there – though out of the weather (there is still some snow in the mountains) – could be fatally foolish. But – why make the choice now? We would head back, investigate the rockfall and cave as quick as we may, and if we were not perfectly sure it was safe we would continue back to the widening of the path.

Briefly investigating the rockfall, we saw something metallic underneath it. But we were not able to confirm that the place was safe, and whatever was underneath the rocks would wait until morning. So we went back further to the relatively safe place and made camp. Our cleric performed a ritual to summon local nature sprites to build our camp. These little beings of rock an mountain made all secure, more so than we could have done for ourselves. We allocated watch (deeming it wise that our cleric should be fully rested the morrow, better to meet the envoy) and broke camp at daybreak.

And so back to the rockfall, and the mysterious metallic glint. The rockfall lay in front of a cave, and it transpired that an ambush had been set from above – by shifters, no less. The glint of metal proved to be an insignia of the silver flame! But the body was years old, so too the tracks above. We uncovered the body, and all became plain – our swordmage explained the tale. Some years ago, the church of the Silver Flame made holy war on all lycanthropes and shifter kind. This body was undoubtedly the body of St Gareth, or Garran (curse my memory for names!). A hero of the time, but perhaps not so now, for the church no longer seeks eradication of shifter kind, and some memories are best left forgotten. Nevertheless, we recovered an insignia of some kind, and a sword which our swordmage knew to be magical. As our axeman prefers his axes, the booty fell to the swordmage, who meditated over it for a time and swore to it a swordmage’s oaths.

The cleric wished to say the ritual of Gentle Repose over the body, and so we dug it out og the rubble. In the process of uncovering it, we acquired some idea of the cave behind it – a sandstone cave of fair size, easily able to accommodate our horses. But we were left with a dilemma – how to get to this monastery? Wander over the mountains? On an impulse, we elected to investigate the cave further. A little way in, we saw plain signs of stonework, and wagon-ruts in the floor. The mystery of the unfinished road was explained: the road builders had oped to tunnel through the soft sandstone at this point. This was our path. Still though: why had the monks not come to town? Why had they not simply cleared the rockfall as we had done? We decided to tether the horses and follow the cave – scouting out the route.

It was then that we were attacked.

Foul undead flung stones at us from a ledge above, while three others attacked us hand to-to-hand. But my comrades were more than a match for them – our cleric rebuking the animating evil in them and downing more than half their number in a single moment. The rest were swiftly dealt with. It seemed, on investigation, that these were Sir Gareth’s (or St Gareth’s) war party – each bore a sliver flame pin. A wicked fate for devotees of the silver flame, to come back as undead. We had done them a service.

There was nothing more in the tunnel. The far end was blocked, but it was not difficult to unblock it. And so to the monastery, our journey near its end. Or halfway point, at least – there was the trip back to consider. No abandoned keep, this – the fields around well-kept. But no sign of keepers. Where were the monks? We sighted the temple – in flames! Silver flames! It was being assaulted by at least three small bands of shifters, the flames being a divine defence mounted against the attack. We spent precious moments to secure our horses (not wishing to burden our guild with the expense of replacing them – this was, after all, merely a job) and were spotted by the band of shifters at the front of the building.

We joined battle. Our axeman prefers to charge into battle, making cunning use of momentum – his charges are no mere show or ill-conceived indiscipline, but calculated tactics. Seeing the swordmage at battle was an education also, for I have not fought with one before. He works best on groups and tight knots of enemies – his power spitting fire at them. From behind, our cleric called down holy fire on the enemy, his power also restoring and sustaining us.

Neverthless, our foe were no near-mindless undead. One bore a shield and protected his companions, one led and rallied them, one was a ranged attacker who stood off away and harried us, and that fourth was a dangerous hand-to-hand opponent. Nevertheless, we prevailed. But what of the temple? It was wreathed in silver flame – some sort of protective enchantment. To the left down the side of the building I saw a skirmish group of shifters breach this enchantment and enter. I reasoned that if they could pass the flames at that point then we also might, and so – carried away in the heat of battle – I blundered. I cried “follow me!” and ran at them.

The test of a leader, of course, is to look behind you and see who is following. It seems I am no leader. I arrived at the breach alone. The shifters had smeared something on the walls at that point, somehow holding back the silver fire, but that does not really matter. I had run ahead of my comrades, out of sheer carelessness and foolish bravado. My life was forfeit.

But the platinum one is forgiving. The interior of the building – a church, after all – was one large space. My comrades came through the front door, having passed the flame somehow, and engaged the enemy. We fought, and prevailed, but we all were about done. Dire as things were, nevertheless we caught our breath for a few minutes, risking all to the chance that the skirmish group on the right of the building would take a few moments longer. I say risk – the truth is that we had no choice. Our cleric tended us, we caught our breath. We could not have gone on.

With a sound like a sword being quenched by the blacksmith, the third skirmish group – the one at the right of the building – entered the main part of the church. We engaged them, and fought. Curse me a thousand times for a fool – two of them ran down a corridor while we fought another three and their leader. I should have seen – but was so engaged in the combat right before me that I did not – that the envoy whom we had been sent to fetch fought for her life against those two. Almost too late, our cleric saw them, and her. We ran past the shifters who – so obviously now – were merely delaying us while their brothers carried out the real mission. Our sword-mage teleported – teleported! – in to defend her, our axeman charged, and soon all the enemy were slain saving only their leader. He abandoned all defense and with a last effort charged down the short corridor. We struck him as he passed, but failed to down him, and he with one last effort he swung his axe at the envoy and …

Did not quite manage to slay her. In a few moments we had killed him, and all was suddenly quiet.

I have written enough. I will not detail how we hitched our two extra horse to her odd little chariot and brought her at last into town, or how shabbily she was treated by our local godmen when she arrived. We took care to mention the name of our guild a time or two – perhaps that seed will bear fruit. She rewarded us with a silver flame potion each, whose power is like the prayer of light curation. She took Sir Garrick’s pendant from us, but left the sword with our swordmage – charging only that he efface the silver flame insignia on it, as the sword is a memory of an unhappy time. Our axeman keeps the axe of the fallen shifter leader, and I expect he will put it to good use.

It transpired that one of those who accepted another commission was slain, and so by our agreement we would pay for his resurrection. There was some grumbling, and I confess the unworthy thought occurred to me, that it seemed unfair that the money I had just earned should be spent so. A humbling moment, to see that I so soon would consider tossing aside my solemn oaths of comradeship, for money. I must temper my judgment of others who have their own moment of weakness and ingenerosity.

One thing only remains to tell – for the envoy charged us that those insignia which we retrieved from St Geralds’s war party not be sold. I have mine here before me as I write this. Perhaps it might not be the best notion to keep such insignia, considering how here the church of the silver flame is regarded. Nevertheless I will treasure  my memento of this, my first sally for the guild of the Green Crane.

#DnD at @GoodGames Lanyon – fun night

8 April, 2010

We for the first time had our Wednesday night game at Good Games in Lanyon. No more negotiating with various people’s spouses, and it helps support the gaming community, which is a trifle threadbare just a the moment.

We are playing a coupe of games – swapping in Phil’s game when David is not available or waants a break. Dave’s campaign is set in Rome – we are a band of privateers (with appropriate letters of marque), battling the hated Carthaginians (he’s a bit of a student of military history, I gather). We have reached level 4 and have managed to antagonize half the Carthaginian navy, as well as a green dragon and a vampire, who have met each other in the course of hunting us down and elected to join forces. The dragon is annoyed that we stole his font – but we had to, or the bard would have gotten is soul stolen – and the vampire is annoyed that we broke into his tomb and looted it. Or something – it was a while ago, but some people just hold grudges, like, forever. The Carthaginian navy is piqued about us killing sundry people, sinking ships, and burning one of their ships in harbour  – although we never specifically admitted to it. We just fronted up – in private mind you – at the local roman tax office looking to convert a mass of half-melted carthaginian gold coins into currency.

How the word got out, I’ll never know.

Anyway. Currently, we are doing jobs for some mad inventor whose name escapes me, testing out his battle bots. (of course, IRL the mad inventor is our DM, who is experimenting with the 4th ed rules). He sent us to some island where he had put some constructs in as tomb guards. Our job – should we choose to accept it  – was to defeat them.

At the word “tomb”, my character lit up. I should explain:

I’m running a watersoul genasi swordmage. There are a couple watersoul genasi in the party – since the campaign is naval, a couple of characters who can breathe underwater seemed a good idea. (that’s how we got the gold off the ship burned in harbour before all those damn treasure-hunters). Osama Hashish (for that is his name) is from the east, exiled from his native land for some reason or other – probably racism. In any case, the character lacked any particular dramatic motivation or direction. But he’s lawful good, and the Carthaginians are into necromancy (apparently), so joining up with the Romans to fight them seemed a reasonable backstory.

Anyway. This swordmage has picked up a sword named “Ghoulbane” and bonded to it. Now, Ghoulbane is a sword of unknown (and probably yet-to-be-determined) powers. It is at least +1, bane undead, and glows in the presence of undead. With Ghoulbane, Osama has found a purpose in life, and that purpose is whacking undead. It’s likely that Ghoulbane is an intelligent sword, but there’s no conflict or will battles at this point as Osama and it are in accord. I intend to take the character onto Umbriri at paragon level, the in-game justification being that Ghoulbane itself shall teach Osama the lost secrets of the undead.

So, at the word “tomb” I and my character were strongly in favour of the fight-the-constructs-then-loot-the-tomb option. Eric and Chris (one playing a rogue, one who usually does) were also for the dungeon crawl, and hey – if the Carthaginians want us, they can find us. Our in-game party leader is Decimus Maximus, a roman officer who probably wants the party to get back to belting Carthaginians.

We went to the island, avoided a rather nasty squall, found and opened the tomb door, and found the chamber that the constructs were programmed to guard.

It turned out that these battle bots were not especially effective. A problem with our game is that we have six players, so the only way to challenge the party is either a lot of enemies, or a single powerful one. The problem with this is that a lot of enemies is complicated to run, and a single powerful one is very difficult to get right with respect to relative power.

(Actually: this is why they introduced “minions” – you don’t have to keep track of their hp so it’s much simpler to run a bunch of them. A few battle bots with a bunch of minions might have been the go. Or, the bots could have been transformers! When bloodied, they split up into half a dozen minions that work together to flank. Maybe even tiny ones so you can fit multiple ones in a square – if there are rules for that. This mad inventor might want to consider a swarm of fine constructs. Anyway.)

So we dealt with the bots and then the rogue searched the chamber. Found a secret door. Opened it. Saw the sarcophagus. Ghoulbane went bezerk once the door was unsealed – glowing, flashing, probably vibrating as well. The room looked trapped, so we threw in one of the deactivated constructs to see what would happen to it (you know the old adventurer’s trapfinder: goblin-on-a-stick). That was enough to wake up the mummy, or whatever it was.

Decimus is a Kalashtar (or something?) and has a racial ability to communicate telepathically with anything that has a language. That makes these situations a lot easier. There was a bit of discussion. Although Osama and Ghoulbane were very keen to attack, Osama is lawful-good and had been ordered not to. So it was the ranger who broke first: putting a couple of crossbow bolts into it. The mummy rasped “You shall pay!” in ancient egyptian, but we all kind of got the idea, so stacks on.

No-one could hit the damn thing. Someone rolled a 20, but that was about it. The mummy petrified or paralysed the bard, and everyone decided to get the hell out. Osama, however, had used his water power to get right in there next to the mummy and could not use it again. He had also used his action point. One hit from this thing – and it was definitely going to hit – would probably kill him. So, he decided …

Some time ago, the DM gave us a bit of a joke item. A grenade – an alchemical flask of oil which when when ignited does 8d6 fire damage in a considerable radius. The problem being that there’s pretty much no way to set it off safely.

Osama had one. But it would very probably kill him.

He threw the flask at the thing’s wooden sargophagus – the ranger (? Chris’s character) – yelling “noooo!” as he was in range of the blast, then used “Flame Whirlwind” – engulfing the mummy and the sargophagus in a burst of magical flame, igniting the oil. (I wish that I had thought to use “Fear No Elements” prior, but I didn’t have a spare action anyway). The flame whirlwind did nothing to the mummy. The grenade, however, exploded leaving Osama with – count ’em – two hp. The mummy retreated to its sarcophagus, opening some sort of portal. Osama attempted to follow, committed to whacking this thing with “Greenflame Blade” until one of them was truly dead – but he could not step through the portal.

And, that was it. Some healing from Decimus and we were all good to go. Packed up the remains of the constructs to return them to the inventor, and back to town. He has promised us a (low-level) magic item each, which should be good. As for Osama and Ghoulbane, I think they can count this as a suitably heroic victory. The undead was not killed, perhaps, but banished – and that’s pretty good. Ghoulbane is Osama’s magic implement (as well as being a sword) so it took part in the act of igniting the oil. And importantly for plot and character development reasons, we actually beat something undead. Swordmages are defenders and often don’t actually deal a killing blow, I think Ghoulbane probably insists on actually being stuck in something necrotic every now and then. But with this victory, all is sweet for a while.