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(4/4/04 2:28 pm)
Fire Bridge Fiasco

Well, my group assaulted the Fire Bridge last night ...

We started late, and kept going later, which I hate to do because when I'm tired, I make mistakes ... and I did.

The party had a tough battle against the two trolls and Krall (3 rounds in) at the entrance to the fire bridge complex. They'd been fighting some up to that point so they decided to pull back to Vranthis' cave and rest for the evening. The next morning they returned to the complex, finding Krall's chamber empty. Like some geniuses, they decide to open the door to the rest of the temple with Mage Hand, and then cast Ghost Sounds to make it sound/look like the party was Invisible and coming into the complex moving silently ... very badly.

They wait three rounds. Then bust around the corner. Right into the ambush.

Though I DID rule that the ghost-sound distraction ruined all the newly-made archers' Readied Actions to "pincushion the spellcaster". (It was sort of a good idea.)

Tippesh got both a fireball and a lightningbolt in, before being felled by a lucky fireball from the party's wizard (who was up and down in negatives). The giants both advanced from their bridge and tossed rocks, missing miserably both times, before advancing. I had some specially-made archers in the hall behind tables firing (and actually hitting!!). It got mean pretty quickly ... tippesh put a big dent in the party, but they've got 4 (of 5) people able to heal (and use CLW wands). The archers I built were VERY effective, and pincusioned the wizard twice. He cast Evard's Black Tentacles from prone, after getting healed up, as the giants were advancing .. it caught 3 of the 4 archers and slowed the giants (though never managed to grapple them).

The Dire Wolverine faced off against the Druid's WarCow armored bison ... and almost won. Would have, had the thing not become entangled in the Evard's Tentacles and been unable to follow when they called the cow back with 5hp.

As the giants got out of the tentacles and stepped up to the plate, Heneur "Charmed" the mainline tank ... but then failed all of the opposed Cha checks to get him to do anything stupid like running away. God knows I tried. A round later D'Gran was FINALLY on the scene and in position for the TPK-inducing Cone Of Cold (from Invisibility).

Bleh. Measley 36 points, and the wizard made his save, ending up with 3 hp.

Here's where it got messy because I was tired ... I was bringing in EVERYTHING in the complex, over the course of several rounds. Taking their move, and giving 2 rounds for the alarm to reach them, it took all the gnolls at the other end 10 rounds to get to the combat. ... ... but I forgot all about the second Troll Fighter 2 in the main throne-room.

I also forgot, totally, that D'Gran could fly ... for about 4 rounds.

Because of this, D'Gran stood on the front lines beside the giants kicking kiester with the tanks. Everybody FFed on one of the giants for a round and the wizard limped back to cast Stoneskin on the Bbn'Clr ... the other main tank is a Druid and had Call Lighting and Flaming Sphere going. He was standing in one place like the fury of nature burning and frying one of the giants every round, but taking big damage from D'Gran's sword.

D'Gran drops the Druid and moves beyond, casting Darkness. I decided on Darkness because the PCs all only have 1 attack a round, while the giants both have 2. Thus, I figured, the Giants have a better chance of getting at least 1 attack through the 20% miss chance. Which worked. The Bbn lost his 40hp raging Crit to the miss chance, while getting pounded on by the giants.

Now, had I remembered the flight, before that I could have had D'Gran just fly over everybody and swat that 3hp Wizard in the face with his sword and destroy him.

One of the giants goes down from the focus fire of two Spiritual Hammers, an archer, and some Magic Missiles. Then the wizard remembers he has Haste ... he'd been saving it in case the battle turned ugly ... and it couldn't be uglier than 2 giants and a Half-Fiend Ogre Mage in their teeth and all of the party down to 1/4 hps or less.

Haste, and Stoneskin, and two Healer's Cure Serious later, Hanaur the Bbn/Clr of Kord is a battle-monster. He pretty much single-handedly takes down the other giant in two rounds.

The Gnolls all arrive the next round and the slightly-healed Bbn/Druid and his pet cow move to take care of them.

I remember that D'Gran can fly, so he begins doing so. This depresses the party, as now he's freakin' invincible. They're out of Fire and Acid spells and the whole party has ONE magical bow between them, so only Laurana can even get past his DR. TPK in progress.

The wizard scrambles back toward the door of Krall's room and calls the Stoneskin/Haste Hanaur back to him ... D'Gran gives chase and forces his way into the room, but is brought to 23 hp by the AoO ... he then rolls a 2 on his Wizard-Slaying blow and MISSES. The Wizard casts Invisibility and runs like a little girl (with a Move of 60' from Haste). Next up is Hanaur who slices into him and brings D'gran to exactly 0hp.

The Bbn/Druid (Benkir) and the WarCow are clearing up the Gnolls ... when two lucky hits brings Ben to -5 ... and the party realizes that the Healer has used up every single one of her cure spells but for a Cure Minor Wounds and Laurana has burned ALL of her spells on cures as well. The cow kills the last Gnoll.

On his turn, D'Gran heals up to 5hp, turns invisible, and pulls back. There are now no other obvious enemies. However, on this round Evard's Black Tentacles also ends ... and as everybody relaxes, I realize ... I totally forgot about Slaazh!!

But, looking at the map, he's been trapped by the Evard's Tentacles.

Now, we ended when D'Gran turned invisibile. It was something like 5am and we were all blasted. I said I wanted to pause here, though I awarded XP, and we'd start again from THIS POINT. The only people to survive were Heneur (the half-orc wizard) who ran off after using all of his spells, and D'Gran, and Slaazh.

The party can't survive Slaazh, though, nor D'Gran after he's had 2-3 rounds to heal. They're out of spells that can do permanent damage, so they'll have to stand toe-to-toe and drop both of them to negatives and CDG them.

I'm not sure how to handle it, though. I mean, I KNOW there's no way for them to survive this. They've got one choice ... retreat and block the door with the Wizard's LAST SPELL ... Otiluke's Resilient Sphere. The sphere is too small to capture any Large creatures, but big enough to block the door for 10 minutes.

Do I tell them what's up? Do I slaughter them? At full HP, Slaazh will destroy Hanaur. He's only got 10 points left on the Stoneskin and 1 round left on Rage ... he's got alot of spells that could be turned into healing, but once that Rage is done, so's the party. The other big fighter is down and dying across the room.

I feel like it's my responsibility to help them a little. The fight was hard, and I pulled no punches, but I made alot of mistakes as well. Now they've got a monster troll fighter, full HP, who has been hanging out the whole battle and, what it amounts to, waiting out all of the spells and coming in at the end with full HP and all his items to destroy them. I don't want to make Slaazh disappear, but I don't want to TPK, either. I know -I- can see a way out, but I don't know if they will.



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