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Briar Beast
(4/18/04 8:15 am)
Assault on the Earth Bridge
Having used most of their magic against the Fehr's, the party decided to return back to their shrine to rest before continuing on their way to the Earth bridge. On the way back, Cyr finds himself a young Dwarven miner, and casts a Lesser Geas on him to skim as much diamond dust as he can from the mining operation and deposit in a secret cache under a pile of rocks. Cyr plans to use the diamond dust to maintain constant Non-detection on the Air Binder, not realizing that the Air Binder is already protected from most divination spells.

The next morning, they return to the site of the battle with the Fehr's, and continue east. The fight with the last remaining Destrachan (in the spherical room) is mostly uneventful, as Hamish prepares by casting Silence on Dusty, though Cyr does fall down the side of the sphere, discovering that he can (successfully!) invoke Feather Fall from the Air Binder. Dusty scouts ahead, and manages to spy on Tarren without being seen. The party decides to sneak past Tarren, and even Hamish manages to do so without attracting Kiibo's attention. [I gave full XP for avoiding the encounter.]

They continue through to the caves where they had previously fought the giant ants, and recognize this as the western edge of the sacked fire temple. They make their way through the abandoned temple complex, meeting no resistance. At the northern edge of the temple (C123), Chase and Shalathal listen carefully and can hear the activity of the Ogres and Gnolls down the north passage; they quietly advance to the next cave (C130), but Hamish is rather clumsy in his full plate, and they hear a deep booming voice in common commanding "Go see what the hell that noise is!" followed by a gnoll cursing in his own tongue. The party arrays themselves at the northern entrance to the cave, ready for the single gnoll's approach. They kill him before he has a chance to shout, and Chase uses his Shadow Image to disguise Cyr as the Gnoll.

Cyr casts Darkvision on himself. He and Chase walk north through the caves to the guard room, with the rest of the party following 40' behind. When he gets to the guard room (with Chase hiding in the shadows), one of the Ogres asks him what the noise was. Cyr feels an urge from the Binder to "call upon the power of the air within your lungs to blow forth a noxious gas to smite the numerous enemies before you." He ignores the urge for the time being, however, and grunts in gnoll, saying "I dunno." The Ogre smacks him across the face, leaving quite a welt. Cyr casts Suggestion, suggesting that the other Ogre was laughing at him, and he should beat him up. [I figure this is a pretty reasonable suggestion for an Ogre, do you think I let Cyr overstep the bounds of this spell?] The first ogre picks up his greatclub, and the two ogres go toe to toe for a couple rounds, with the three remaining gnolls laughing and placing bets on the outcome. When one ogre hits the ground, Cyr finishes off the other (and the gnolls) with a well-placed fireball.

They listen at both doors, hearing what sounds like human guards through the north door, and non-human grunting through the east door. Cyr has a ready action; he tells the party he's going to cast a fireball when Chase opens the door, but instead he hands me back the binder note I'd just given him. Chase opens the door, revealing the three trolls. Cyr concentrates on the binder, making both will saves. I ask him where he concentrates his anger; he points at the front-most troll, but I clarify that he needs to pick a corner point on the map, and he points at one just behind the first troll. A green cloud of noxious gas forms at that point; it's large enough to catch all three trolls, and Chase as well! With a quick spellcraft, Cyr and Hamish both recognize it as Cloudkill, and Chase coughs and wheezes. He makes his save, though, and only takes a single point of Con damage. One of the trolls drops dead, and the other two both take a full four points of con damage. As the cloud slowly advances northward, the trolls each take another 2 points of Con damage, and are easily disabled by Shalathal and Chase. It takes another 7 rounds, but eventually Shalathal, Chase and Cyr are able to kill the unconscious trolls, striking repeated coups-de-grace with their Acid Splash, Flaming Longbow, and Flaming Short Sword respectively.

We were quickly coming up to the time limit for the session, so while I probably should have had Eeridik react to all that noise, I didn't want to introduce any new enemies into that particular fight to draw it out. So I just kept track of how long it took the party to kill the trolls, and where the Cloudkill advanced to in that time. Now when I'm prepping for the next session, I'll have Eeridik use the 7 rounds to his advantage, to organize his forces and buff up for the fight. If anyone has any suggestions for how to best prepare for the upcoming battle, I'd appreciate it. At the end of the 7th round, where we broke, the cloudkill is currently centered on the western corner of the passageway at the south end of room 138.

At the end of this session, everyone got enough XP to hit 13th level (except Chase, who was already at 13th). I'm not sure yet if Shalathal will be taking a 10th level of Barbarian or a 4th level of Sorcerer; 2nd level spells vs. the DR bump is quite a tough decision; either way, she gets her 3rd iterative attack. Hamish will be taking his 13th cleric level (he's going for Hierophant for his 14th), and Cyr will probably go for a 4th level of Arcane Trickster, giving him an effective wizard caster level of 9 and a 4th die of sneak attack again.

Night Beast
(4/18/04 5:59 pm)

Re: Assault on the Earth Bridge
Great game you have there, msherman! I think the suggestion was fine. Cyr seems to be having fun and not really trying to abuse it, so it's okay. Make sure he doesn't overshadow the other PC's or they will get upset.

As for Eeridik, I think he realizes that he is in for a world of hurt. Surely, he knows that his entire complex is no match for the PC's. He and Tac would retreat to the summoning room and send out one or more guards to parlay. If that fails, he would be ready to the summon the bebelith and do his best at buffing both himself and Tac.

If you want to be really mean, you could say that Eeridik had a scroll of gust of wind, and push the cloudkill towards the players before it runs out.

Briar Beast
(4/18/04 7:29 pm)
Re: Assault on the Earth Bridge
Yeah, I'm a little worried about Cyr overshadowing the party at this point, too. I think right now we're at a carefully balanced, but rather unstable, equilibrium. If Cyr gets a bit too greedy with the binder, he'll very quickly either become too powerful for the party (say if he rolls another lucky 20 on a wish), or spiral into unplayable insanity.

I've got an envelope full of pre-written notes for Cyr's player, labelled in big block letters: Cyr's Envelope of Mysterious Fun. So far, Cyr has received the following notes from the envelope:
You are falling! You feel an urge to draw on the power of the air around you to slow your fall. It feels as though this power would be quite easy to grasp.

Electricity cackles around you. You feel an urge to draw on the insulating powers of the air around to protect yourself. This seems like an easy feat to master.

You feel an urge to call upon the power of the air around you to buoy your spirit, and lift you up off the ground to reach the heights to which you aspire. It seems as though this might be a difficult task.

You feel an urge to call upon the power of the air within your lungs to blow forth a noxious gas to smite the numerous enemies before you. This feat of magic seems rather challenging, though.

You feel an urge to call upon the power of the air that surrounds you to smite your powerful enemies with the forces of static electricity. It seems to you that this would be a very difficult task to master, indeed.

You are now Evil. This is not the insane sadistic evil that you experienced with the Demonstone – just plain evil. You are not compelled to commit any acts of murder or other crimes. However, any act of kindness or generosity which is not in your own short-term self interest will be held against you. Excessive deviation from your Chaotic Evil alignment will result in experience point penalties being assessed.

You are beginning to go Insane. You now have an Insanity score of 1. Your insanity score is a permanent penalty to your Wisdom; your Wisdom is now 7. You start to act more reckless and goofy, and begin to gibber.

However, your insanity score is also a permanent bonus to your Intelligence, for spell casting purposes only. This bonus applies when calculating the save DCs of your spells, as well as your bonus spells per day. While wearing your Headband, your spell-casting Intelligence is now 22, which gives you a DC of 16+level and 1 additional 2nd level spell per day (and a 6th level spell as well, once your caster level is high enough to use it).

You feel tired, as though you have over-reached. Each time you draw on these powers within, you feel it is more difficult than the last. Perhaps you need a night’s rest to set things right.

I gave him the final note along with another note when he'd already used it twice that day. He seemed to get it that he needed to limit his use of the binder.

One thing I've done to spread some of the power out that Cyr is hogging right now is to house rule that Sorcerer's can use Quicken in my game, and suggest to Shalathal's player that she "request" that Cyr give her the Rod of Lesser Quickening. She's thinking of taking Sor4 with Mirror Image as her 2nd level spell, and being able to cast that (and shield, and true strike) in the same round as a charge or full attack would, I think, be a big help to her.

Of course, she's now wearing Viggor's Boots of Speed, and just got her 3rd iterative, and is about to face the Bebelith with her Evil Outsider Bane sword, so maybe boosting Shalathal isn't what I need to be worried about right now? :)

Briar Beast
(4/18/04 7:38 pm)
Re: Assault on the Earth Bridge
I forgot to mention one of the best parts of all this... At least Hamish's player, and possibly (to a lesser extent) Shalathal's and Chase's, are completely in the dark as to what's going on with Cyr. They all know that he has some strange new abilities; they've figured out by now that he's traded some rogue levels for arcane trickster, but they're not sure why. Chase's player thinks Cyr has a Ring of Three Wishes, but that's at least partially because I forgot that he reads these boards (excluding this one, of course!) when I posted by "Character Redesign by Wish" thread in the magic forum. :o Hamish's player has done an awful lot of speculating about what's happening to Cyr ("What's going to happen next, is he going to sprout wings?"), and during the fight with the Fehr's he said (out of character) that he didn't even know why they were bugging them, because the party doesn't even have the binder any more, it's in the Cathedral in Verbobonc. If he'd said that in character to Migos, the fight might have taken a very different turn. :)

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