Sunday, 15 September 2013

Epic Battle!

This weekend saw the epic climax (for Hands of Fate at any rate) of our dungeon crawl deep into a necrotic demon infested cult temple. Hoping to rescue a woman kidnapped from the city of Kroanvor, the party slowly realises that this is not just your everyday snatch and grab sacrifice for demonic favour. Instead they uncover evidence that there are several sacrifices on offer, with the woman (made special because of an amulet her father gave her, looted from this very temple when her father was an adventurer) as the main course for the demon Anehk Mora to power a summons spell. They had already found a shaman, imprisoned and driven mad by thirst and the horrors he had witnessed in the demon’s name. Lodridge responded to the Spirit of the Raven that rode on the metaphorical shoulders of the party’s animist, Jorgen, and spoke of a secret weapon the cultists used to wipe out the shaman’s own war band – A fettered spirit demon called Damnation hidden away in the lowest reaches of the temple.

The party trekked down to the unnaturally cold lair of the spirit and called it forth from a set of magical iron doors, the focus of Damnation’s link to the Mortal Realms. The ambush set, the spirit was promptly banished forever after a short, but vicious fight.

Returning to the higher levels, the party progressed through a protective ward, defeated through solving a double puzzle. The first puzzle, once solved, shows the party were to begin the second. After a brief interlude of logical analysis and trial and error the party passed through the ward and into the presence of a patrolling lieutenant and aides. This was the first difficult battle the party had faced; up to this point most encounters (Damnation aside) had merely been patrolling cultists and their undead minions. The Lieutenant ordered one of the cultists with him to return to the ceremonial chamber and warn “Stavros” to hurry the ritual along.

The battle consisted of the Lieutenant and a remaining cultist, along with several skeletal minions and an animated bone golem. The golem proved a dangerous distraction for the party’s Benediction caster (Leech), who assumed that it too was undead. Little did he know that Golems are immune to Life and Death spheres, and after a few failed attempts to break apart its animation the Alfari of party (Kessen) was able to offer some Aracana advice about Golems and one of their weaknesses – the Creation Sphere. The party quickly cleaned up the fight afterwards.

The final fight, in the ceremonial chambers, was huge! See the photo’s below.
The party faced a force of 20+ combatants, and they called upon the favour of Mem, a deity of Death and Mercy, to bolster their forces. Leech used his Benediction magic to animate several skeletons of their own to act as cannon fodder, and the animist, Jorgen, called the Spirit of Bear to change into a great werebear for the battle. Kessen joined the line as the archer, and used his Enchantment spells to great effect.

All in all, with a battle consisting of over 30 combatants I think things went fairly well. The woman was rescued, but due to a mishap the final sacrifice needed to complete the ritual was made (cheers Colin!), with the final cultist being the offer Anehk Mora needed. The party, battered, wounded and suffering from fatigue, cleared out the enemy forces and grabbed the girl. As the demon began to coalesce from the mutilated remains of the final cultist, some quick thinking by Leech caused the chamber to begin collapsing on itself.

Next session; the obligatory run from the crumbling temple!