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Looking around
(3/21/03 12:29 am)
A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
Hi all,
As promised, here's the repost of this.
The fire bridge was brutal yet again; so brutal that I am now unsure what D'Gran is going to do. I was hoping for some suggestions.

Imagine if you will, for a moment at least, that you are D'Gran; an ogre-mage of fiendish parentage who is currently guarding a bridge that leads out of a mine for a bunch of mad mortals. Powerful ones to be sure, but mad none the less. Which is good because it makes it easier to understand them.

A little over a month ago during one of the many conflicts that occur in and around this bridge, a bunch of mercenaries came in and caused much trouble. No one knows who hired them - or more accurately, no one is admitting to hiring the mercenaries.

Piecing together what happened based on eye-witness accounts you learned the following information:
The mercenaries included:
*A human female. Some sort of shape-shifting druid that can turn into a gray render.
*A human male. A trained fighter with some berserker blood in him.
*A elven/half-elven male. An obvious thief who can turn invisible within the nearest shadow
*A human male. A wizard, obviously well-trained in transmutation magics. He likes to turn things into fish and use spells such as Slow and Haste.
*A half-orc male. A priest of Kord. Anyone's guess on how this one is involved

The mercenaries took out the South Gate of the mine as well as the Air Temple in a single strike. They then systematically looted the bodies and stacked anything that was too heavy to immediately carry in a convenient storage room.

Sometime during the week following this strike, the troublesome orcs that had been lairing between your bridge and the Air Temple just simply disappeared. A hydra was killed too (a tasty one too - its corpse was aged about two days).

About five or six days after the Air Temple raid, the mercenaries attacked your little bridge complex. It wasn't good. All the gnolls and most of the men were wiped out. Vech and his pet were killed (Rau was inconsolable - stupid giant). Tippesh was nearly killed and Heuner's beasts were slaughtered.

Worse, far worse, you were blinded by the wizard's spell. Fortunately quick thinking allowed you to turn yourself into a bat and you managed to invoke an unholy blight to bring down two of the mercenaries as they were fleeing. That gave you time to bargin with them to give you your sight back. For some reason you kept your word and let them go - you tell yourself it was because you weren't sure about the state of your forces; but that's a lie. It was pure whim - perhaps they would be back for another fight.

It was then that the the strike against the Air Temple was discovered. The minions were animated by one of the priests from the Outer Fane and glyphs placed at key points. Sometime the following day many of the glyphs were detonated.
Meanwhile, Fachish's body was taken away and 'Raised' - coming back crazier then before - but at least it was a quiet crazy.

Ten minutes ago the mercenaries came back. The priest was gone and replaced with some sort of fast human who's well trained to use his body as a weapon.
It's likely they came through the Air Temple again as they came boiling up from the South again.

Your warriors and gnolls (replacements gained over the last month) were cut down like so much chaff, but they bought you the time you wanted. The mercenaries made their way quickly up the main tunnel, to the intersection between the bridge and the great hall.

Tippesh started the combat with a lightning bolt. Unforutnately the Render/Druid bit her half before she could make her way back to the safety of a sphere of darkness. But the druid set herself up for Rau to hit her with a thrown boulder to the head.

Your men, Krall, Slaahz, and one of the two trolls you finally convinced to join you poured into the hallway next and the battle was joined while you, Heuner, and the final troll all waited under the cover of invisibility and darkness.

The fight didn't go well for anyone. The druid-woman and the fighter were both killed; but in the process so was Rau. Heuner blew himself up trying to take that fast human with him, Krall was turned into a carp, and one of the new trolls was nearly killed with fire and acid. And you're blind again.
You tried to bargin with the corpse of the woman for your sight again - but they abandoned her body.

They've been gone ten minutes now. The wizard must be hurt and the thief and human had taken some hurts too.
Slaahz tells you that both the human corpses have backpacks that are bigger inside than out. The woman has hundreds, maybe thousands of coins on her.

They both probably carry a bit of magic too.
But you are blind and your total forces consist of Slaahz and the two new trolls - one of whom is still whining about the burns.

So what would do you do?
1) Try to head north to the West Gate and join up with them? There's that damn dragon to deal with and most of your good abilities are used for the day.

2) Head across the bridge and try to get inside? Or at least get the attention of the Spider Eaters? Can you even get into the Outer Fane?

3) Wait until morning (midnight?) to get your abilities back. Then shapeshift to something that can see and fly across the crater to the East Bridge and then on to the Fire Temple?

4) Head south to the Fire Temple? There were rumors of monsters lairing between Air and Fire.

5) Say slag it all and head for greener pastures with the loot? You can surely find someone who will heal your sight for the gold the woman was carrying - before you kill them.

6) Other?

Thanks in advance...

Edited by: Seravin at: 3/21/03 8:03:08 pm
Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(3/21/03 8:28 pm)
Re: A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
My guess is D'Gran would go to the fire temple first to ask Tessimon to cure the blindness, paying money if necessary, but trying to call in a favor.

Also bring the bodies to Tessimon, asking/requesting that she question the corpses to find out more about these intruders, information that could possibly be used against them.

Obviously D'Gran knows that these "mercenaries" are good. There is a priest of Kord and his unholy blight worked well against them.

Beyond this I think two opposing motivations would be tugging at D'Gran.
1) Ego - retreating from the Fire Temple would be tantamout to admitting defeat, and D'Gran isn't the type to do that easily.
2) Urge to wreak havoc and chaos - I don't think D'Gran would leave town even if he decided to leave the Fire Temple, as living in the CRM is a great opportunity to fulfill those evil and chaotic whims. If he retreats I would guess it would be to the fire temple, and from there build up recruits to retake the western bridge complex.

If you want to be REALLY evil, maybe he could:
1) Get his blindness cured
2) Take all the cash, polymorph into a humanoid, fly to the nearest large town and buy a ring of mind shielding
3) Try to find and join the "mercenaries" who have been raiding his temple. Perhaps as a half-ogre or half-orc greatsword specialist.

Maybe he wouldn't even betray them for a while. It sure would be fun to raid the CRM with a powerful group, and he could get even more treasure. ;)

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

Still here? Wow.
(3/21/03 8:35 pm)
Re: A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
Wow. That was quite fun to read. :)

"So what would do you do?"

First, order one of the trolls to get a barrel and fill it with water from the Stalagos, then throw the carp in it. Second, ensure that the three trolls don't try to kill me while I'm weakened.

The real task is to remove the blindness. For this, the only recourse I can imagine is Tessimon. It would be difficult indeed to find someone outside the ToAC for that, even with polymorph self. Therefore, have the two trolls carry the barrel, have Slaazh and I carry the treasure, and I will walk behind Slaazh with my hand on his shoulder while the two trolls bring up the rear. We'll do our best to make it to the fire temple; after all, there has to be some way to get there. Then, pay Tessimon for the remove blindness on myself and breack enchantment on the crap. Tessimon might in fact, only require a minor payment in exchange for service and joining the fire temple.

How ironic is that? Trolls serving the fire temple?

In any new fights with the intruders, I will wait in the back, invisible, hiding. When I see that damn wizard again, I will take a personal grudge against him. I will attack no one. Perhaps with this money I can purchase a potion of haste. Ah, I can see it now...drink the potion, move up behind the wizard, blast him with a cone of cold (he should be expecting fire at this point), then grapple him in the same round! A mere wizard will not be able to escape me! I'll bite his head off personally!

Looking around
(3/21/03 10:54 pm)
Re: A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
That's what I needed to hear - the soft, sussurations of maddened inspiration. :evil

The reminder of how suffocation/drowning worked was also sorely needed. I had written off Krall in my head but even a fish should have a Con of 10 and he was polymorphed late in the fight. He'd be coming up on his his con check (everyone was slowed by this time), but he's likely still alive.

So the Fire Temple it is; and soon. The mercenaries probably won't be back tonight as they were running fast - but there's no telling when they'll be back or where they're hiding out.
As D'Gran isn't mentioned as being 'blessed', I guess he can't get through the Fire Door. The mercenaries fled south and there's that dragon going north.

How does this sound?
Slaahz can easily pick out some of the valuable items. Coins, jewelry, potions, and scrolls being the easiest - and the bag of holding and the two Hewards' Haversacks. There's no telling what's on the scrolls but Tessimon will probably be interested in some of them from a bargining standpoint. No one else needs to know about the coins.
Memory is probably good enough to remember that the druid and the fighter had some nice clothes, armor, and weapons - but who cares about that now. Maybe later.

Then, head out onto the bridge, get the SER's attention and have them escort me across with Slaahz and the fish. D'Gran's now has literally thousands of gold pieces at his disposal for a bribe (the one bag of holding held the party's group share of their treasure). The other two trolls can be left behind to 'guard' the bridge for a little while with orders to flee across the bridge if anything too big comes back.

I'm guessing Tessimon will be looking to tie D'Gran's loyalty to her further and will see this as an opportunity to do so. Of course first pick at those two mercenary bodies would be good too. I don't think she's going let him leave to go on a shopping trip though - the Fire Bridge must be guarded. However the opportunity for trade might be high.

Finally, sometime after midnight it will be time to head back to my post with Slaahz and a hopefully restored Krall. Maybe I can get Arlainth and/or the gnome, Firre, to come with me. Once acroos it is time to plot the revenge.

First stash the good loot for a rainy day. One of the doors that leads to the orc tunnels is completely trashed. That will have to get blocked and then fixed later. Maybe stuff Rau's body in the doorway and pile the gnolls and humans in front of the other door.

Second, reward the trolls with the halfling. She's annoying and they deserve a good meal. Heal the new troll with all the potions of healing now just lying around. Also the fighter was wearing some magical armor - just the thing for a restored Krall to be wearing and his castoff can go to the troll that wasn't whining about a little burn.

Third, recognize that the trolls won't be enough to stop the intruders if they come back. That mage is devilishly good. At the first sign of combat turn invisible - and always drop a darkness before doing an area attack.

Finally, when the trolls buy it be prepared to flee to where Descritad was being kept and polyself into her, feining being a prisoner. Unless I can get a guaranteed shot at the mage - which is unlikely as he was completely invisible throughout the last fight.

Meanwhile, Tessimon may send some guards to check on the Air Temple as D'Gran doesn't have anyone to spare. Of course the ants and the destrachans may hinder that plan some what. She should also prepare a speak with dead and I've always thought Soul Shackles from the BoVD should be a priest spell.

Cool. I think that's it. I justed needed someone to point the way. Thanks muchly.

Unfortunately for D'Gran he doesn't know that the players have every intention of coming back the next morning for revenge.
And there's going to be at least one more adventurer to help the three survivors (currently holed up in the dwarven complex). As luck would have it (sort of), Rerrid Hammersong is also currently in the dwarven temple, having been escorted there yesterday by the party. The player of the barbarian wants to bring in a cleric this time and the player of the thief has said he'll do his best to bring back the druid as she has shelled out cash for his raisings twice before.

As it's a generally light game there's going to be a bit of a deus ex machina to introduce the new cleric. And there's probably going to be a True Reincarnate on the druid/shifter at some point.

edit: curse the spelling/grammar imp.

Edited by: Seravin at: 3/21/03 11:02:47 pm
Still here? Wow.
(3/22/03 8:37 am)
Re: A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
Sounds like a good plan, Seravin. I just have few more comments. D'Gran might cut off the heads of the intruders and spike them on the doors leading to the Western Bridge Complex. This is a great idea, I think first introduced by Andorax. Toss the rest of the bodies in the Stalagos.

Also, given the tactics of the party mage, you should have D'Gran obtain a potion of see invisible. I'm not sure where from, but it's a necessity for him before the next battle. He might in fact remain in the fire temple until it is obtained. Spare no expense. I imagine his hatred of the wizard is All Consuming (pun intended) and he plans to eat his brain. If D'Gran is able to grapple the wizard, particularly after a cone of cold, the wizard is pretty much finished. D'Gran might not even kill him, but just flee with him back to the fire temple.

Tessimon is not stupid and realizes that leaving D'Gran there without an effective defensive plan would just be wasting him and his trolls as a powerful resource. If she can't waste time on a shopping trip, she would give up some of her stuff or her temple's stuff to help out. Maybe even in a trade with the stuff from the PC's.

Looking around
(3/22/03 11:52 am)
Re: A Furyondy Standoff - Now what? (long)
The heads is a good idea. At first I thought I'd need them for the Speak w/ Dead. But if I allow Soul Shackles as a priest spell then the bodies can be a reward for the followers.

Is See Invisibility legal for a potion? It doesn't have a target in the block. I'm loath to allow it for D'Gran and not the party. However, Tippesh had scribed some See Invis scrolls after the first debacle. There's certainly one or two left and Arlainth can use those to set up D'Gran to use some sort of Alchemical solution. Arlainth also has brew potion if I think she should be able to make potions like that. Though it would take a day for each.

I agree Tessimon isn't stupid, but given that the Fire Bridge is her only access to the Outer Fane I think guarding it is important and some resource should be left there.
Also, typing out loud as it were, from her point of view the last time the mercenaries left they stayed away for awhile.
However if they do come back immediately it's doubtful that D'Gran or his group would survive for long...

Okay. Short-term Tessimon might be willing to leave the Fire Bridge undefended. She'll need some more mercenaries anyway; and it's not like they couldn't take it back from most threats in the mine anyway.
Bring all the trolls back to the fire temple if they want to come. The new trolls talk about the umber hulks - so maybe open up the Fire Bridge and leave a trail of bodies into the bridge to make it dangerous (or maybe not - especially if I'm going to use Rau's body to block the door).
Arlainth gets to work on potions.

Meanwhile send out some envoys - maybe even D'Gran, to get more mercenaries and some shopping supplies targeted for anti-invisible techniques. Use the SER's to make it a fast turn around.
There are the orcs nearby. It would be easy enough to pay them off and bring them in (With the added satisfaction that the the half-orc priest came from that encampment - which should draw the player in a little more).
Tessimon might even have the inititive to have the orcs guard the South Gate - it would certainly tweak the other Temples; and she can show that she didn't hire the mercenaries because her own bridge was wiped out. Not that anyone will believe her.
Then, in about a week, D'Gran can implement his plan and some glyphs can be laid down.

So the players are going to come back to an empty complex and all the best loot is gone. I'll leave Descritad there to starve so the players have something.

hmmph - not quite what I was planning, but it works better. This is why like these boards, it gives me a chance to talk out loud. Thanks.

Now I just have to somehow convince the players just because they have hammers, not everything is a nail.

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