I’ll do this one OOC, I think, ’cause I’m feeling lazy. Full house again – everyone is back, which is good news.
So, we are in a city that has been conquered by some dudes working for Zon Kuthon. By which I mean, an army. We have kinda decided that rather than immdiately assaulting the scary fortress of evil, we should do some of the other encounters. The rationale is that ZK is getting mana off the bad stuff going down, so we should stop it. It’s very similar to the plot mechanism in the final Age of Worms module – take care of enough of the bad things in the city, and it knocks Kyuss from being a rank 1 god to being a mere demigod.
Three encounters, which makes it a big game night. First, we got a wandering patrol outside the rather nasty undead factory (DM’s: a great way to run a game is just to kick off with a smallish encounter more or less as soon as people sit down. Puts people in game mode.). Multi-legged dog things and some orc mooks. When I say mooks, I mean 100-odd hp mooks, but mooks. We discovered a sweet-ass combo: a Hold Monster from Will and a coup-de-gras from Brus. The naginata is a *4 weapon, so the coup-de-gras means a minimum DC 106 Fort save or die. There’s really not a lot of things that can make that. Maybe we wasted a 4th level spell on someone who was not actually a cleric (thought he had a holy symbol: “Gakk the cleric!”), but we wasted it on making sure that the magic whistle of bringing the entire city down on us like a ton of bricks was not blown, so probably woth it.
We noticed some sort of hamster-wheel-of-pain arrangement over yonder. Barbed wire and spikes, ordinary folks being forced to drive it. Rather nasty and very Zon Kuthon. We decided that the correct approach was to send in someone invisible with decent Stealth and Disable Device. A chance for the rogue to do his thing, which was really great because the player has had to miss a few games. The wheel went rolling off down the hill – unpleasant for the people in it, and people who got in the way. Some collateral civilian fatalities, I’m afraid. But at least the whole “evil green glowing magic stuff” aspect of it has been nullified.
Then we decided to look into the desecrated church. It was – well – pretty thoroughly desecrated. Flayed people hanging from the ceiling beams, corpses propped up in the pews, eeeevil symbols drawn everywhere. We found some clues that had been left carelessly lying about and then fight. Rats and rat swarms, couple of orcs, and chick with crossbow doing sneak attack and serious negative energy damage. She got the drop on us, which was bad.
It transpired she was a vampire using a weapon that lets you do a supernatural effect through it. So she was able to vampire level-drain at range with meatshields. Really bad. And worse, our cleric is phobic about rats.
Neverthless, two really good things happened. First, she rolled a 1 on her save vs Blindness. This pretty much hosed the encounter for the DM. Second, Will had a bunch of low-level creatures to use Rainbow Pattern on (Rats have an Int score, so rat swarms are subject to mind-affecting. Furthermore, they are not immune to weapon damage. They are still a pretty serious problem for this group, however.). This fascinated five or six of them. From there, Brus mopped up some mooks on the floor, and the more acrobatic took to the rafters to kill them some blinded vampire lady. Will moved the Rainbow Pattern outside so that the rats would follow and allow John to come in and start channelling, but John had started his Wind Walk dematerialisation (he really dislikes rats) and was out of the fight. Doesn’t matter – he did the main thing. Picklick tried sneak-attacking with a vial of alchemists fire, but missed. 10′ range increment, meh. Brus rolled some 1s, but mostly had a great old time on the ground, Bottom also cleaning up his share of mooks. Faugh got his pummelling strike in, but mainly had to chase flying blind vampire lady around the rafters. He has a natural climb speed, apparently.
Playing a bard can be a little frustrating at times – you do your bard song (which, btw, is invaluable: +3 to hit makes all the difference) and sometimes it feels like that’s it. But this session we saw what could be done with the bard’s spells. Particularly given that we don’t have an AoE blaster, taking half the combatants out of the fight made a big difference. Some cheese that gives Will a Fireball equivalent might be worthwhile (is there a Greater Sound Burst?).
Anyway. We got some clues – apparently ZK and Limen have some sort of “deal” going. The main issue at the moment is resource management. Some of the undead are light-sensitive, which means this town will become way unfriendly as soon as it gets dark. My character is using a vicious weapon and just chews through HP like crazy – we only have just so much heals.
We saw a side door on the cathederal of badness. We will un-desecrate the church by burning it down (quickest way to go about it, really), and then I’m not sure that there’s anything else needs doing before heading off for the main event. We are down on resources, but not seriously depleted yet AFAIK.