“When last we left our intrepid heroes”….yeah, we’ve all heard that line before. In this case we did leave them at a cliffhanger. As you recall Levez, Graube, Mallik and P’tcha were “running the gauntlet” in Tyr. That is that they would have a series of matches against wild and deadly creatures that were unfortunate enough to be captured for the sport of others. Or was it the misfortune of our heroes to voluntarily choose to fight these things…to the death?
Our third and final match of the gauntlet was like our first match where we were shackled in pairs to fight against a pair of cylopedes. Not that we were matched against our opponent being shackled to another in our party but we were fighting another cylopede, this one was of mythic proportions. Not on the scale of Dune worms, far from it but when you are facing a 15-20 long 10 tall pede of any sort you pay respect. Oh and our weapons were taken from us again and placed on the tops of several pillars placed throughout the arena. Additionally they had placed a couple of fruit on two of the pillars, presumably healing fruit. We were never 100% since we never got to them. And finally in the center rose another pillar that contained a brew of some sort. We later found this to be also of the healing variety but it also gave the benefit of an extended rest. This was good as if you recall this is our third match with only short rests in between matches. Time enough to spend healing surges but not enough to get them back.
As combat began we all spread out and did the things that we all do. Mallik (I think that is the goliath berserker my brother Linus is playing although it may be wrong) rushed the creature convinced it was his duty to draw first blood. Graube quickly followed suit as he was our tank – 100% beef on the hoof – defender. Minotaur fighter that gets temp hit points whether he hits or not, high AC, third wind and a splash of healing mixed in. Levez – Craig’s elven leader (I forget the class) spread out circling around towards the pillar that was the resting place of his bow. P’tcha (me – Thri-kreen monk) also circled around so I could provide combat advantage. I decided to forgo getting my sling back, the only weapon not apart of my body, since we were only squaring off against 1 opponent.
Graube, Mallik and myself created a traingle sort of pattern around the beast to prevent it from targeting too many of us at any one time and to allow us to maximize our attack benefits. Levez stayed back and shot arrows but that was really only a small part of what his role was, he would allow another one of the three of us to attack the creature whenever he hit the beast or some other special power predicated on his hitting the creature.
While all of this is going on we could play to the crowd to gain favor within the walls of Tyr among the prominent citizens and common man alike. Within the smiths and shops that supply weapons and such we garnered special treatment wanting to be the ones to supply our weapons and armor. It’s all about the endorsements. Among the common man it gave us street cred. Now only if we could survive to claim all of it. This took the form of a skill challenge. If we were attacking we could do it in a dramatic fashion, play to the crowd by screaming challenges, leaning into hits and generally making a gory mess of things. If we succeeded we won favor but if we failed the crowd silenced or would have boo’ed had we failed enough times. Additionally we could achieve milestones during the skill challenge to gain back or spend a healing surge, gain action points and eventually be able to gain 1-4 of our spent powers back.
We actually made pretty short work of the giant cylopede. But towards the end of the battle when it was all but over the crowd started to chant “REX REX REX” over and over again.
At this point the recognized ruler or some person of prominence within the gladiatorial community sweetened the pot by saying if we agreed to fight a beat that remains undefeated, duh since all fights were to the death, we would earn another 5000 and garner additional favor from some of the prominent houses within Tyr.
No extended rest for anyone, same rules as before – only a short rest and then a battle to the death. Of course we agreed to do it without hesitation.
Turns out Rex was short for T-Rex. Actually a Sun-touched T-Rex. He was big…and FAST. As he rushed the length of the arena to make tasty meat snacks of us all and to pick his teeth with me (I kinda look like an oversized stick bug) we could see he still had weapons that were still lodged in his thick hide. We could see scars all along his body and one of his eyes was white from a lucky hit before that individual was turns into Rex chow.
We didn’t even get to act before he was upon us and breathing fire. 25 points to all it hit. Immediately, before I even get to act I am bloodied. It also had an aura that Ruben said gave ongoing 10 fire damage. Blah Blah Blah – big nasty – Blah Blah Blah – TPK.
At this point I started to grab my things and pack up to go as this encounter was clearly designed not to challenge the party but to kill us. I thought Ruben was trying to wrap things up so we could start a new campaign in time for our buddy Tommy to join in. Tommy played with us seven years ago before he started his current job that he had been working nights on Wednesdays.
The guys even tried to calm me down by suggesting that I grab my sling and just do basic attacks from a distance and let them take the brunt of the assault. Not on my watch bub! I admit I was in kind of a snit because I was pissed that Ruben was purposely trying to off another character. What would have been the second in as many months. Details below for previous TPK.
Brother Roderick – 4th Lvl – Human – Silver Evangelist from Thrane
Alrik – 4th Lvl – Dwarvin – Invoker
Alarich – 4th Lvl – Human – Fighter
Lillithana – 4th Lvl – Kalashtar – Avenger
Knappe Truc – 4th Lvl – Changling – Rogue
Our worthy band of do-gooders fell prey to the combined strength of a Catoblepas and four (broke-ass cheater) swarms of insects.
Along this journey, we wish them well
In the hopes they don’t end up in Hell
May their spirits run true, fast and free
To at last be in their gods embrace so sweet”
Back to our story without further interruption.
That is what Ruben initially said but not what he meant. What he meant was the Rex had an aura 5 that gave you vulnerability to his kind of breath weapon. This was much better because I was hit with his breath already and as a result not vulnerable and not taking 10 ongoing fire damage Blah Blah Blah. It was time to Whoop some ass. Or as I claimed I was gonna “tongue punch his fart box.”
We all spread out again and did what we do best, talk trash and waste big nasty critters with droll crowd pleasing names. We did just that but it was a really good fight. Graube the minotaur was critted another time during this combat which gives his residuum to make armor for himself with. We all have something like that. Flavor I think.
We ultimately laid the hammer down and tried to calm my nerves by thinking of this Rex with the one from Toy Story that is basically a coward. It worked and was fun. Every time the Rex trampled I giggled just a little bit and furthered me efforts to bring the big fella down.
The final blow came from Levez’es bow. Kinda right that it be that way, his characters give us so many attacks and he doesn’t put out as much damage as we do.
So ended our arena bout, wealth in hand and promises on the tongue.
We are off next week due to Ruben being out-of-town.