As you recall 2 weeks ago in our Eberron game, our Pixie Bard, Flick Thistlebottom got scragged (squished, deadified, made to not live, killed, roached) in a most heinous way by the dreaded Cthullusaurus Rex. And as we all know pixies never die, they just fey away! So we decided to get Flick back and all we would need to do was clap our hands together and think happy thoughts. Right?
What happened next was not at all what we expected. Instead of restoring Flick to us in the land of the living, Vistra, Tarak, G’Crok were sucked into Dolurrh with Yddrio acting as a kind of anchor to Eberron. Weird huh? We thought so too.
Once we arrived in Dolurrh everything was in black and white and shades of grey even Flick, presumably ’cause he’s dead, except for Vistra Tarak and myself who are in living Technicolor. This was really creepy but as we have been dealing with coterminous zones and other planes for quite a while now this was something that we dealt with pretty well…all things considered.
For those people not in the know about Dolurrh, it is also known as the Shadowfell, where dead things go to reside in spirit form. I guess that explains why Flick was his monochromatic self and we, his fellow Dark Lanterns and bosom friends, are in full color.
During our last session we encountered some Emerald Claw flunkies who had lost their minds, likely at the exposure to Cthullusaurus Rex, and dispatched them for being all around bad-guys. Now it looks like we get to face them again in their afterlife. Bummer for them.
We were all getting used to this new situation and trying to figure a way out of it, slowly, almost imperceptibly, we were surrounded by some of the Emerald Claw flunkies we dispatched just days earlier plus a few other undead that were in the neighborhood and wanted to see what all the commotion we were stirring up was all about. It wasn’t too long before that they decided that we didn’t belong and probably wanted a little payback for messing up their pretty faces before. Roll for initiative!
Just my luck, I roll and 1 on my d20 plus my initiative (init.) modifier of 6 means I get to go drop dead last at 7. For those not knowing what all this means, let me explain it. In order to determine who goes when during combat, a system is in place that mixes the character’s personal ability to make them quicker, in some instances by having feats (I will discuss those later) like improved initiative that grants a +4 bonus to your initiative plus the roll of a d20. There are other feats or magical items that enhance that modifier to be sure and these are always going to give you the static bonus however luck also is involved here; rolling a d20 – a twenty sided die – and adding your init. modifier to it for a grand total that determines your place in the round when you get to act. Confused? Good, moving on. 😉
Also it must be mentioned that I totally brain-farted and didn’t take any pictures of this combat.
Of course the main Emerald Claw sorcerer, whom we didn’t let attack even once, was there, 2 of the 4 archers with their cheater arrows, a couple other heavy hitter melee types and some minions.
The battle went pretty good for the most part for our side although the archers were a royal pain (pun intended) until they could be dealt with. We engaged the heavies first along with the minions. Once we had finished with them we focused on the archers. As we were about to finish off the last archer, Flick used one of his Daily Powers – the most powerful of the magics we employ in combat – called victim of the Feywilds (I believe). Our DM ruled that he just died since his spirit, which is what we were battling, was being ripped from this plain, the Shadowfell plain, and being transported to a vibrant full of life plain and that the trauma just ended his existence.
Once that ended we licked our wounds and tried to figure out our next play – which was to get us ALL back to Eberron. Some information we either had or uncovered was that there were several portals, think the movie Tron and the input/output junction that Tron uses to contact Alan, played by Bruce Boxleitner, that we could use to actually escape this place. It was worth a shot, right?
In the distance we could see the portal indicated by a bright red beam of light reaching to the heavens in the distance. How to get there was more the problem not that we figured where we were going. We searched around the immediate landscape and found a river flowing with some terrible-awful black goo-like substance. Along the beach we found a broken down boat made of bones but a successful thievery check – since we didn’t have the ritual make whole – rendered it repaired enough to stay afloat long enough to reach our objective. We hoped.
As we started down the river, letting it take us where it would as long as it was closer to the portal, we started to gain speed. Now the objective was to stay alive. As we gained more and more speed making a choice of which channel to go down became increasingly more challenging. Once we barely made a turn in time to avoid the steep walls of the canyon we were in made from bones. Faster and faster we soared down the river of ick. All too soon we heard a very disturbing sound – that of a really big ick-falls.
With nowhere to go we prepared for the worst. Before we knew it we were screaming out and over the falls and were starting to let gravity take over where forward momentum was starting to release its grip. Without missing a beat Flick took out as much pixie dust he could muster and sprinkled the boat with it in the hopes that it might gain the ability to fly. Even though it wasn’t able to fly it did slow our ascent down somewhat and we were able to kind of steer the boat to the rapidly approaching portal. I guess the boat being made of bone allowed for some of Flick’s pixie dust to work in a limited capacity.
As we descended at a rapidly increasing pace we aimed the bone-boat as best we could using body English to steer towards the softest place we could get to. Turns out was a pool of some dark liquid at the base of the portal. It also turns out the pool was of blood. All of us made a horrendous splash, all of us except Flick who has some magical boots that allows him to feather-fall when he get close to the ground from a fall. Pretty handy for living in a place like Eberron.
Once we realized we weren’t dead, just trying to escape the land of it, we assessed what our next obstacle would be, ’cause leaving this place couldn’t be that easy. It wasn’t either. In front of the portal the shimmering form and a giant white wolf appeared. Flanking the wolf were two armored humanoid figures. Additionally minions started to manifest from nowhere as well. We had found our obstacle. Without parlay we met the guardian with a gusto that was born from a desire to leave this place and the gods help anyone who prevented us.
The guardian wolf had a kind of insubstantial look to him. Not altogether unlike what Flick looked like. We found out that is was more than that. The insubstantial appearance was not just window dressing cosmetics, it actually was that he/it was insubstantial. How that translates to us is that he only took half damage from our attacks. We also found out that his 2 armor-clad body guards offered him another reduction of damage as long as he/it was within 1 square of either of them. To do that math – I hit this som’bitch with my Howling Strike At-Will power for 24 points of damage means he initially takes only half of that which reduces that number to 12 then as long as he was within 1 square of his body guards he had that number reduced by half again, so now 12 becomes 6. My 24 point hit only did 6 points to him.
Our new tactic was to eliminate the body guards first and then deal with the guardian himself. That didn’t work real well so we went to plan B which was to eliminate one of the guardians and then separate him from his guardian. Divide and conquer!
In the long run this ended up working pretty well since we were able to target multiple creatures with several attack powers and double-dipped on attacking both the guardian and at least one of his body-guards. We also were able to take out the minions pretty quick and could focus solely on the main focus hombre`.
The beast was able to effect a number of us with a power that said if we missed with all of our attacks with a power we in turn took 3-5 points of damage. That translates to if we use an attack that targets only one creature and miss with it we take the 3-5 points of damage. Flick countered with one of his awesome daily powers that’s effect was to give you 5 hit points every time you successfully hit the wolf guardian.
The guardians were, in the end, no match for us and soon we were standing victorious over their fallen bodies. At this point Vythrik had the idea of taking the pelt of the Wolf Guardian as a trophy. The DM was a little hesitant and stipulated that since it was insubstantial we would have any issue trying to do it. Flick countered with he was insubstantial as well and should have some ability to make the attempt. A 19 on the d20 later we had ourselves the pelt of the guardian. Boo-ya!
Now the moment of truth came and it was time for us to leave via the portal we fought so hard to get to. As we presented ourselves at the portal entrance we were greeted by one last figure that looked surprisingly like Anubis ~ the body of a giant man and the head of a jackal. The being was the last obstacle for us to pass to leave Dolurrh, all except Flick who had been ejected because he was so annoying (I forget why he was given a pass – besides this sounds funnier). This was one last skill challenge to leave. We had to get a 19 on religion or nature, I forget which, and Vistra, Tarak and myself had only a +3 in those skills. We may be in trouble.
Our DM said that Flick could use a specific ability of his to assist one of us to escape. G’Croc said “No balls, no blue chips” and rolled scoring a 19 on his d20 which was what he needed before his bonus added in. Now we just needed Vistra and Tarak to make their rolls. Vistra was going to get aided by Flick and he rolled just enough to get to the number needed. Now it was up to Tarak to get himself out. He rolled at low single-digit number. But wait, Tarak isn’t lost yet. We have a house rule we have been playing with for years that says when we spend an action point to re-roll a d20 we get to add 10 to it as long as the number rolled was 10 or less. Tarak having an action point burned it to re-roll and got a 7 which translates to a 17 + his skill modifier of +3 gave him 20 and his way out.
We emerged from the plain of Dolurrh in a heap right where we left it. All except Flick who coalesced into his former self from the powder-like substance he was made into when he was crushed by the awful Cthullusaurus Rex in the not to distant past. Glad we didn’t have to fight him again in Dolurrh.
Out of the game we were able to rescue a comrade from an untimely demise and get the pelt of a guardian. Which is pretty cool.
As a side note I especially enjoyed last night’s game since it was something our DM had to create special for the game and was not necessarily part of the master plan. It gave the game flexibility and I appreciated that.
I also feel that our DM did a great job of mixing the fights with skill challenges. It was a fun-filled, excitement packed evening in my opinion.
More to come…