The penultimate encounter. For some reason, penultimate has always been a favorite word of mine, it just seems so…. Medieval or something. Being second best (or worst) is always under-appreciated, so having its own big and awesome word goes a long way towards alleviating the “always brides maid, never bride” feeling of being not quite the ultimate. So tonight we get treated to a real penultimate encounter, as the siege of the keep on the Borderlands continues. Due to last weeks cancellation for snow, I treated the returning characters with a brief description of what their exploits would have been had we played out the encounter.
So last week, as they stopped cold the frontal assault on the Keeps main gates, they paused to rest. The new halfling rogue, Merrick III, paused to skin a large swath of behemoth hide, and wrapping it around himself, he had a suit of armour comparable to darkleaf leather +1 (one of the magic items I divvied out to the new players – cards from the red box.) The other new players got +2 plate for the cavalier Razgar, 2 healing potions for the cleric Hagen, and an amulet of health for the new wizard Elysa. The rest of the returning players, Merrick the 1st and Kwyn the knight, were already decked out in magical finery. So, the characters heard the clarion call of Lord Drysedales commanders horn coming from the center of town, where he needed aid fighting the dragon. The characters left for the town square.
Along the way, however, they passed a house from which lizard men were spilling out. Out the windows, doors, even one crawled up and out the chimney, and as many as the party slew, more came out, until finally Merrick crawled DOWN the chimney to realize there was a tunnel they were coming through. They realized they would need to collapse the building, and a nearby catapult on the town walls was happy to oblige. That’s what the heroes would have done last week. But moving on…
The party was moving through the keep on their way to help Drysedale with the dragon. When they reached the central open area, they saw bodies sprawled across the courtyard, even some of the lords personal guard. Drysedale was nowhere to be seen, but the dragon was alive and well, leaping from roof to roof above the fray. Its eyes lit up when it saw the heroes and it roared loudly in anticipation of the blood letting. Then it unleashed its breath weapon into the narrow alley the party was creeping through, and hit them all with its spray of acid. Even the quick Halflings were drenched. Merrick the first tried to climb the building upon which the dragon crouched, laughing at their pain, but he fell from the slippery acid, and even took damage when he landed into a puddle of acid. Merrick the third, however, noticed a sewer cover in the town square and he managed to lift it and dive down, in hopes of crossing the courtyard to come up out of the other opening across the square.
From other alleys emptying in to the town square, more reptilians were approaching, specifically 2 lizard wizards each with a pair of brutish lizard man guards. Kwyn noticed Chendara, priestess, inn-keeper, and masseuse, waving from a window, and with a sign, he motioned for her to attack a lizard wizard as it passed. She struck him in the back with her holy light spell.
Then the dragon went again, being a master of battle, Yulbraxis was very swift, being able to attak twice in the amount of time any one else could attack once. He charges the cavalier razgar by dropping off the roof onto him. Being canny, the dragon actually found a spot where he could drop down and separate the cleric Hagen from the rest of the group. He then began biting, clawing and slashing at the party in front of him while keeping her occupied with his spiked tail slaps. Razgar got in an excellent blow against Yulbraxis, but unleashed a drenching of acidic blood over everyone adjacent. The party was slowly melting into a pool of acid.
Kwyn broke out of the pack, and with one of the surviving guards,he took on two of the lizard brutes and the lizard wizard. Hagen spent the round healing herself, and cast a heal towards the thief Merrick the first, who was down by acid bath. Elysa even managed to smack the dragon a good one with her staff as the dragon charged past her, then she took down a lizard man with her magic missile.
The dragon was tired of fighting, and he was losing blood fast. He decided to go for broke, and cast his gloom shroud over the gaggle in the alley, before leaping away to land on the platform in the middle of the square. But as he leapt up and over the surviving members of the party, Hagen and Quinn (while merrick the first was playing dead) each got in a whack, and did mighty damage, though it coast them another sheeting of acid blood. Merrick, however, instead of attacking, latched onto the dragons leg, and rode with him through the air to land on the platform. We ll know the rest, Merrick climbs up the back, and with a swing, and a misss, and another swing that connects, Yulbraxis head is parted from his body. With 1 hp left, Merrick slew the dragon.
On the ground unconscious was razgar, Elysa, Kwyn and hagen were nearly done for, and Merrick the third, keeping the lizardmen at bay across the map, leapt forward and slew the last lizard wizard. The square was cleared, and the looked through the inner walls, to see the last of the invading lizard men crawling over the entrance to Lord Padraigs castle.