It’s been a while since I wrote, and I’m a trifle drunk. But I’ll manage as best I can.
I checked a couple of doors, and behind one was the Baroness. My plan was to shoot her, then demand her surrender. Well: I shot her a tiny, tiny bit too well – she was completely unawares. I feel, well, a little badly about it really. But what’s done is done, and gods knows what kind of spellcaster she was and what she would have done if she’d had the chance.
We secured the castle, more or less. Dropped the portcullis and dealt with the troops inside. Rainen (I think) saw two groups leave the castle – the baron and some giants headed for the secret entrance down by the lake, and some other troops heading eastward towards Pitaxe.
His dukeness split us up: he would wait at the balcony, Rainor and Rainen above, and Klael, the warden (you know, the fellow we were there to rescue), and me below.
Hmm. Well: we closed the big secret door down in the basement and waited. After a few minutes, we heard banging on the outside. Now, Rainor a while back had given me this magical bird that could carry a message, But I didn’t think to use it. We fell back from the door, and I put up an illusionary wall. As soon as they levered the door open, we started tossing alchemists fire through. There were some screams (I really don’t like this combat business at all), and a little grim comedy as my illusion fooled the regular troops: I could actually see them pulling their blows as they hacked at thin air with their tools. I heard a female voice telling them it was illusion – Drellev’s bard/lover, no doubt.
It might have fooled the regular troops, but it didn’t fool the more experienced of our foes. Drellev himself came through the wall, and attacked. Klael took the brunt of it, but whatshisname also fought. Completely outclassed, of course, but with all that human “I’m only going to get old and die soon, anyway” bravado.
Meanwhile … something damn odd. I noticed a couple of illusion auras, and they had broken through our line. Not actively looking for them, you understand, but mother’s gift probably saved all our lives. I dropped a Glitterdust on them forthwith. What the dust revealed was – honestly, a human-sized and two giant-sized air elementals. We pieced it together later: the bard and two giants has come throug our ranks in Gaseous Form. A nice tactic.
Well, after revealing them I got away from them, which meant heading into the front. I finally had a chance to cast Improved Invisibility, and then proceeded to do what I rather felt was my job: taking out the bardess. Meanwhile, she had dismissed both spells, and the giants were attacking Klael and the castle warden. I put a Scorching Ray into her.
Around now, His Grace finally arrived and things began to look more equal. The bard decided to flee. Klael had fallen (again – his God must be mightily sick of reviving him by now). I pursued the bardess until I had reached Klael’s position. I dropped another Scorching Ray into her, which was enough. (I had to get help to do it. Normally I reserve that for emergencies, but dammit: she was getting away. It was an emergency!) Then I pulled out a healing potion and revived Klael. About now, Rainen had come through the long way (ie, through the tunnel from the lake) and could help out Klael himself.
As for Switch, Dave’s comment at the table was “people on the boards who say Arcane Trickster is a weak class don’t know what they are talking about”. Switch has a Ring of Wizardry II (Thought and Memory), a Pearl of Power II, and a bonded item (T&M, again). I think she put a total of 5 Scorching Rays into various soft bodies over the course of this assault. A 11th level character with a Dex of 18 and Point Blank Shot does not miss a ranged touch attack.
At this point in that game, at the table I said to Scott, “Ok: Klael has had as much help as he deserves”. 😛
Looking back, His Grace and Rainor (when had he arrived?) were in trouble. Rainor was fighting hand-to-hand, which is a little unusual. One of the giants nearly killed His Grace and he had to withdraw.
Anyway. I’m not a cleric, you know, and there’s not a lot I can do. But I maneuvered in and put a Displacement on Rainor. I had been saving it for His Grace, but he wasn’t there, so tough titty.
Displacement really shines as a defensive spell when you are up against things with a good to-hit. Let’s say your enemy hits on a 19-20 (2/20). With displacement, that reduces to half (1/20), so effectively it’s +1 to AC. Lets say, OTOH, that you enemy hits on a 7 (14/20). Displacement effectively gives you a +7 to AC: better than the best non-epic armour you can get.
It definitely saved Rainor’s life. The way Dave was rolling was also a big help 😛 .
We killed the last giant, and all but one of the guards, and then we piled onto Lord Drellev himself. I don’t know who struck the final blow.
The guard, quite sensibly, surrendered. I think he may have soiled himself. We spared him – not a nice man (according to Klael), but not supernaturally evil. He told us that many of the pitaxe mercenaries were of the opinion that a lord who couldn’t hold his keep was no lord, and left. Demonstrating once again (if more demonstration were needed) the sheer folly of using mercenary troops: anything you win or keep with their aid is not truly yours. We rely on kobolds, admittedly, but they are definitely ours, and will fight to the death for Freedonia.
We decided on a fiction: that this warden person (Cassandra’s father – the one whom we had come to rescue) was the one who slew Drellev. We laid one of the giant’s swords on him and took him out on a litter (couple of spears from the armoury). The locals were suitably impressed, but rather more impressed by Drellev’s head on a pike.
Possibly a little unsafe, politically. His relatives have a claim on the barony, now. Right of conquest and all that. But I think I might mention in strictest confidence to one or two of the right people what actually happened.
We returned to Tuskwater. Business as usual: bills to pay, statues to erect. His Grace sent some cash to Fort Drellev for rebuilding, which was very gratefully received.
I’ve given Rainor my Braces of Armour and strengthened the enchantment on them (The chain shirt that Jope did for me is better, but Rainor doesn’t wear armour). I do want another Wand of Grease – the one I am using is just about done. And scrolls, of course, always scrolls – silver dust and a few days of scribing. I really, really, really should do up a replacement spellbook, too.
We simply must deal with these barbarians. There’s also a great deal of land to the east to claim. Perhaps I might petition for a grander title than “Baroness”. His Grace, after all, will soon have enough lands to style himself a King, which will be terribly amusing. Do you think I should fancy myself a “Countess” amongst the humans? It might annoy people, but that is the whole point.
Until next I write,