BK
01
CH
10
SC
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The Mouth of the Sleeper
The Black Mouth

…continues from Book #01, Chapter #10, Scene #13

Synopsis

2nd Day of Tarsakh in the Year of the Sudden Journey
Battling at the summit of the white face adorned hill in the Coilwood, the heroes manage to overcome a force of orcs and the reappearance of strange black creatures. Exploring the domed chambers within they force open a secret door, and are besieged by a statue. Dusting themselves down they continue to explore further below and stumble upon a bloody figure. The eyeless figure seems to have more than thoughts in its head, spewing forth more black abominations but the heroes managed to overthrow them. Deciding to venture south, rather than risk the blade bridges they find to the east, the encounter a sprung trap, but the corpses of past victims appear to rise against them. After dispatching the hung victims and discovering parchment upon parchment, they return to the bridges and spring a trap, eventually overcoming a giant orb of a zombie with a missing eye. Navigating an eyeball contraption and descending further they arrive in what appears to be a ritual chamber, but with dead bodies strewn around. Examination of a strange bloodied cloth on a stone reveals more than what Khalin hopes for, as black abominations descend from a portal above.

For a chapter summary please see Chapter #10 Summary.

For an appendix detailing the locations of “The Mouth of the Sleeper” and a full map, please see Chapter #10 Appendix.

Cast List

Khalin Grundokri

8th Level Male Dwarven Marshal (Warlord)

Kireth Majere

8th Level Male Half-Elven Arcanist (Wizard)

Tradden Aversward

8th Level Male Human Weaponmaster (Fighter)

Zero Uhlit

8th Level Male Human Scoundrel (Rogue)

Beltak Ancaron

Scribe of Pelor (NPC)

Scene Length

This scene starts on Sunday 22nd May 2016 and is expected to be completed by the end of Thursday 30th June 2016.

Players are expected to be able to post at least once a day.

MAY
22

Combat
Initiative Block

I

Round #09

Combat Encounter Complete


Creatures in Play:

[27] Kireth HP: 34/52 52,42,34,29,47,36,29,24,38,15,28,7,38,33,50,43,52,34

[18] Zero HP: 51/60 60,52,44,58,51,60,51 Dazed

[17] Beltak HP: 24/58 58,50,45,38,33,47,20,15,10,28,23,37,25,42,24 +5 hit points to all healing actions

[16] Khalin HP: 34/61 61,46,23,28,43,38,17,12,44,52,47,22,30,44,21,16,55,40,26,34,21,3,24,10,34 Slowed until end of next turn

[13] Tradden HP: 48/70 70,62,67,55,50,38,46,17,46,60,70,46,39,63,70,48 Rain of Steel Stance +1 to hit/+2 damage to Black Abomination


Removed from Play:

[Sp] Black Drone #08 Dmg: 4 0,4

[Sp] Black Drone #09 Dmg: 6 0,6

[24] Black Human #05 Dmg: 14 0,14

[23] Black Warrior Dmg: 114 0,7,17,34,38,47,56,71,78,99,108,114

[22] Black Human #02 Dmg: 10 0,10

[18] Black Human #07 Dmg: 10 0,10

[18] Black Hobgoblin #02 Dmg: 124 0,9,27,37,44,69,84,88,103,112,124

[Sp] Black Drone #01 Dmg: 6 0,6

[Sp] Black Drone #05 Dmg: 8 0,8

[17] Black Human #08 Dmg: 10 0,10

[Sp] Black Drone #07 Dmg: 8 0,8

[Sp] Black Drone #11 Dmg: 18 0,18

[16] Black Hobgoblin #01 Dmg: 120 0,10,23,37,47,61,77,85,89,93,102,105,116,120

[Sp] Black Drone #02 Dmg: 6 0,6

[Sp] Black Drone #03 Dmg: 2 0,2

[15] Black Human #03 Dmg: 7 0,7

[Sp] Black Drone #06 Dmg: 9 0,9

[Sp] Black Drone #10 Dmg: 7 0,7

[14] Black Human #06 Dmg: 10 0,10

[14] Black Human #04 Dmg: 8 0,8

[Sp] Black Drone #12 Dmg: 8 0,8

[10] Black Human #01 Dmg: 9 0,9

[Sp] Black Drone #04 Dmg: 17 0,17

[09] Black Abomination Dmg: 221 0,10,17,26,31,36,61,89,94,99,104,113,121,126,145,158,167,175,184,193,221

MAY
22

Combat
Battlemap

BM
Battlemap: The Black Mouth
MAY
22

Combat
Features of the Area

AF

Illumination: Torchlight.

Combat
Kireth Majere

‘Oh, for the…’ exclaimed the mage. ‘This just isn’t right. I have had my fill of undead; animated dead; dead that tried being dead but it just didn’t take. What is it with this place?’

Khalin shot him the briefest of glances. ‘Now? Now is the best time to debate this?’

Hmm, the dwarf had a point. His mind had been wandering a bit lately, he should look into that. Now, what was the best thing to do with a corpse you wanted rid of? Ah, that’ right.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Flaming Sphere appears at E11]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02’s Reflex: 1d20+11: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 2d6+7: 18]

The mage wasted no time in pointing his staff in the direction of the hobgoblin before him. A burst of flame shot from the end, narrowly missing the lumbering creature. It had not been Kireth’s target, though, the flames growing in size until they was a roiling inferno, a fireball that crisped the flesh on the back of the hobgoblin, and seared all of those that surrounded it.

Kireth kept his concentration on the flame, not allowing it to be extinguished, controlling its movements to and fro.

Combat
Black Human #05

From the far corner, beyond one of the staircases, a human, though human no longer, lumbered forwards towards Tradden.

[Move: N, NW, N, NW]

As it came it pulled its sword from its scabbard, and cleaved down on the young fighter.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 32 vs Tradden’s AC (22+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 8]

Tradden tried to roll to one side, but hemmed in by Kireth and the stone plinth behind him, he could not move out of the way, and the steel of the sword crashed down onto his shoulder.

Combat
Black Warrior

Flames from Kireth’s searing orb licked the back of the warrior, setting its hair alight and starting to char the haft of the spear that protruded from its leg.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Warrior takes 1d4+5: 7 fire damage]

It almost seemed oblivious to the flame, though, swinging its reclaimed battleaxe with the grace of a well-trained warrior. The axe glanced off Khalin’s shield as the warlord took up a defensive stance, the dwarf’s arm draped with the bloodied rags lest he drop them.

There were two quick strikes, testing the defences and clanging loudly in the chamber, before the warrior swung the battleaxe in from the side.

[Spreading Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 30 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 15]

The axe crunched into Khalin’s side, driving the wind from the dwarf’s sails.

Combat
Black Human #02

Almost falling down the short steps near the statue in the northwestern corner, another of the humans approached the group. This time it zeroed in on the rogue, brandishing a sword that had already been drawn.

[Move: S]

Even as Zero fumbled and tried to raise his crossbow the thing closed and slashed out with its sword.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 15 vs Zero’s AC (20+2)] - critical miss!

It may have looked like a fumble, but Zero cleverly had anticipated the thing’s move, and sidestepped before the blade could cut across his flesh.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero’s sidestepped allowed him to roll to the side, around the edge of the staircase, where he came to a rest on his knee, crossbow pointed at the automaton near the statue.

[Fleeting Spirit Strike]

[Shift: SW, S, S]

[Primary Attack vs Black Human #01: 1d20+10+2: 14] - misses!

[Shift: S, SE, NE]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+14: 29] - success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies to the north and gains Combat Advantage]

The shot was a bullseye, striking right between the statue’s eyes. Unfortunately for the rogue it hadn’t been his intended target, and his embarrased look as the bolt skittered away was covered by him darting away to hide behind the stone column.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #02

The hobgoblin, or at least the thing that used to be a hobgoblin, to Khalin’s right flank attempted to reclaim its spear for the floor, but the burning ball of flame from Kireth’s spell seared its arm as it reached down to grab it.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Hobgoblin #02 takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage]

Heedless of the flames and the pain its hand tightened around the shaft and it brought it back around, jabbing out at the warlord whilst Khalin was still reeling from the warrior’s blow.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 23 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+7: 23] and [Bloodied]

Snaking in from Kahlin’s side the spear jutted into his ribs, cutting through his armour and drawing a deep cut in his side.

Combat
Black Human #07

From behind the rogue, the other humans began to slowly lumber forwards. They seemed heavy on their feet, but their intent was clear.

[Move: NE, N, NE]

One reached Zero and sliced at the crouched rogue with its shortsword.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 15 vs Zero’s AC (20+2)] - critical miss!

It was slow, however, and only resulted in striking the column with its blade.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

‘Stay close!’ Beltak cried and immediately began a rhythmic chanting. His symbol began to glow an intense white, starkly outlining the walls and the face above — its dark mouth foreboding as black dripped from its lips and blood still seeped from its eyes.

[Beacon of Hope]

[Close Burst 3]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #01’s Will: 1d20+9: 20] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #02’s Will: 1d20+9: 24] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01’s Will: 1d20+9: 23] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Abomination’s Will: 1d20+9: 23] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Warrior’s Will: 1d20+9: 20] - misses!

[Burst Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02’s Will: 1d20+9: 23] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #03’s Will: 1d20+9: 26] - hits!

[Weakened]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #05’s Will: 1d20+9: 17] - misses!

[Khalin regains 5 hit points]

[Tradden regains 5 hit points]

[Beltak gains an additional 5 hit points on subsequent healing]

The light flashed out in a burst around the scribe and the creatures caught within it appeared to writhe for a moment, some almost falling over. Beltak did not appear to be finished, however, continuing his chanting into a rising crescendo.

[Action Point]

Another light spewed out of the priest’s symbol, cascading into the throng of creatures and exploding outwards in a scintillating spray.

[Light of Arvandor]

[Burst 1 centred on F9] with [Damage: 1d8+5: 10]

[Burst Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01’s Will: 1d20+9: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 10 radiant]

[Burst Attack vs Black Abomination’s Will: 1d20+9: 24] - hits!

[Damage: 10 radiant]

[Burst Attack vs Black Warrior’s Will: 1d20+9: 25] - hits!

[Damage: 10 radiant]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #02’s Will: 1d20+9: 20] - hits!

[Damage: 10 radiant] and [Destroyed]

[Khalin gains +2 AC until end of Beltak’s next turn]

[Kireth gains +2 AC until end of Beltak’s next turn]

The spray of light seemed to catch all of the creatures in a single burst, the radiant energy of the glow burning their flesh. One of the creatures fell, not even managing to have moved from its position near the statue, still grasping for a weapon.

Combat
Black Human #08

More of the creatures swarmed towards Zero, one drawing a sword as it came.

[Move: NE, E, E]

The creature raised its sword and then swept in from the side.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 22 vs Zero’s AC (20+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 8]

This time the sword managed to hit home, catching the rogue squarely on the elbow, drawing a wince of pain.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin was briefly staggered by the volley of blows, but stood firm between the mage and scribe. Raising his shield to protect them, he noticed his arm still draped with the rags. The warlord hoped they might be an inspiring relic from his past, but might yet be a worthless rag. He chose to believe the former until proven otherwise and proudly raised his craghammer towards the undead warrior before him

[Shielded Assault]

[Primary Attack vs Black Warrior: 1d20+12: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10r2+8: 17]

[+2 AC to self and adjacent allies until end of next turn]

The strike was hard and true, the mighty hammer crashing into the macabre warrior with a satisfying crunch. Khalin roared with satisfaction and steeled himself for the next attack.

[Dwarven Resilience]

[Khalin spends a Healing Surge and regains 15 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

[Khalin gains +2 to all defences until start of next turn]

The warlord appeared to have gotten his wind back after the initial onslaughts of his foes. He seemed troubled though, as if trying hard to work something out.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #01

On Khalin’s left flank, the giant hobgoblin stared at the dwarf with huge black orbs of eyes. It carried no weapon, and no obvious way to attack other than use brute strength. It seemed to pause in contemplation, the turned its focus on the human warrior to its own left and the haft of the spear sticking out of that abomination’s leg.

[Retrieve Spear]

[Black Warrior takes 4 damage] and [Prone]

It reached out, even as Khalin was battering the warrior with his craghammer, and took a firm hold of the wooden shaft and pulled with all its might. The warrior was thrown off balance and crashed to the stone floor as the spear was ripped from its leg.

The hobgoblin paid it no heed though, spinning the spear until the point was aimed at the dwarf and thrusting it out in one quick jab.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 17 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16+2)] - misses!

The brief respite as the warrior fell had given time for Khalin to regain his composure, however, and he managed to swing his shield around to deflect the blow.

Combat
Black Human #03

Even as the human lurched forwards from beside the statue in front of Kireth, the burning fireball next to it caught hold of the human’s clothes, setting the thing alight.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Human #03 takes 1d4+5: 7 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

It almost made it down the steps upright, but fell on the last step into a heap, where it smouldered and burned slowly.

Combat
Black Human #04

As its partner at the other side of the statue burned, the automated human to Kireth’s left made it down the stairs and made a dart at the mage.

[Move: W, W]

It already had its sword drawn and slashed out at the mage’s head.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 23 vs Kireth’s AC (20+2+2)] - misses!

Whether it was Beltak’s ministrations or Khalin’s shield arm that kept the blow from striking Kireth he could not tell, but the sword skittered past his cheek, missing by only a small margin.

Combat
Black Human #06

Away from the main throng, to the south of the chamber, the remaining human by the statues left its position and made its way clumsily towards the kneeling and protesting rogue.

[Move: NW, N, N]

It too had a sword in its hands and spared no time in slashing it from side to side in an attempt to cut Zero to ribbons.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 20 vs Zero’s AC (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 8]

Three foes were too many for the rogue, and there was no way he could avoid the blow as it cut across his arm.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden looked around. The battle was almost happening in slow motion for him. The large human slamming down the axe towards Khalin seemed to take minutes. The crackling hiss of Kireth’s fireball was a low, drawn out drone rather than a sharp, fast paced burn.

Realisation dawned on the fighter however that he was also slow to this particular party — everyone was doing something except him!

[Rain of Steel]

[Enemies starting turn adjacent to Tradden take 1[W] damage until stance ends]

Chiding himself for not being the first to act, he dropped into a stance, his blades whirling to keep foes at bay and took a step back away from an advancing corpse. He then let out a large roar to let everybody know that Tradden Aversward was in the building!

[Shift: SW]

For a moment there was a lull as the entire room looked at the human now backed up against the stone column. Tradden felt like, what with the attention on him and all, he ought to say something. When it came, after the raw emotion and impact of his war cry, it was a bit on the pathetic side.

‘Well… come and… get it. Then.’

[Come And Get It!]

[Close Burst 3] with [Damage: 1d8+3: 10]

[Burst Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01’s Will: 1d20+13: 33] - critical hit!

[Pull: S, SE] and [Damage: 11] plus [1d6: 2 critical frost damage] and [Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Black Warrior’s Will: 1d20+13: 26] - hits!

[Cannot Pull] and [Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02’s Will: 1d20+13: 32] - hits!

[Pull: SE, SW] and [Damage: 10] and [Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #04’s Will: 1d20+13: 23] - hits!

[Cannot Pull] and [Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #05’s Will: 1d20+13: 15] - misses!

[Marked]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #06’s Will: 1d20+13: 20] - hits!

[Pull: N, N] and [Damage: 10] and [Destroyed]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #07’s Will: 1d20+13: 23] - hits!

[Pull: NE, N] and [Damage: 10] and [Destroyed]

[Burst Attack vs Black Human #08’s Will: 1d20+13: 23] - hits!

[Pull: N, N] and [Damage: 10] and [Destroyed]

After another short pause, a circular wave closed in on him from seemingly all sides. The “human” corpses brushed past Zero as they negotiated the steps towards the fighter, all awkward body movements which were made even less graceful by the fact that they had to drop down to their target, at least six feet. Multiple bones were broken he was sure in their fall, although the mini-tide kept on coming.

From the other side the two hobgoblins pushed their way past Khalin, Kireth and Beltak. Others pressed in to join them but could not get through the throng. The fighter was beset on all sides!

Tradden was ready, however, and with immaculate timing jumped in the air, turning his whole body whilst heaving his swords together, carving a circle of death all around him.

Adrenalin now fully in flow, Tradden felt in complete control of the situation.

‘Khalin! You and Beltak press those two,’ he yelled whilst gesturing at the “thing” and the large human with his shortsword, ‘the rest of us will take care of the boys here and join you shortly!’

Combat
Black Human #01

Oblivious to Tradden’s challenging cry and the decimation of its allies, the human to Beltak’s left flank shambled in, slicing across the scribe’s flank.

[Move: SE, E]

Beltak had little time to react as the sword came close to biting flesh.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 23 vs Beltak’s AC (20+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 8]

It was too little time. Even with Khalin attempting to shield the priest, Beltak wasn’t quick enough to dodge the blow. It didn’t bite through to the skin, but caught his arm, halted by the chain mail, numbing it below the elbow.

Combat
Black Abomination

Whilst most of the group had been concentrating on the humanoid automatons the giant black abomination at the far end of the chamber had been pulsing gently, spreading out tendrils slowly. It recoiled somewhat at the touch of flame from Kireth’s spell.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Abomination takes 1d4+5: 7 fire damage]

It pulsed violently after tasting the mage’s fire and a shockwave burst out of its black amorphous body towards the group.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Close Blast 3, Top Left at F9]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 29 vs Khalin’s Will (19+2)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 32 vs Kireth’s Will (17)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 21 vs Beltak’s Will (21)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

Those on the front line were left reeling and confused. It didn’t appear as though any of them had been physically hurt, but they looked askance at one another, furrowed brows and dark thoughts behind wide eyes.

As confusion reigned the abomination struck out with its tendrils, snaking around the human warrior and grasping for Kireth’s head.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 23 vs Kireth’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 20] and [Slowed until end of next turn]

[Damage reduced to 10 due to Weakened]

Three of the dark feelers made contact, coiling around the half-elf’s skull, crushing and further confusing the mage. He felt his limbs drain and legs turn to iron, his movements sluggish and heavy.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Dizzy, the mage glanced from side to side. A human on one, another before him, and a dwarf on the other side. All were too close, drawn in to a tight bunch by the hapless fighter. The dwarf was pressing in, annoying him, preventing him from unleashing his power. He had to push the dwarf away, and jabbed out with his staff, catching the stunted wretch in its midriff.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Kireth hits Khalin for 5 damage]

No, wait… what!? The dwarf, not the enemy here? Kireth shook his head but could not quite clear his thoughts at this time. He couldn’t quite pin down what was what before him but he recognised he was being manipulated somehow. ‘Remember your training,’ he told himself. He had faced tests such as this before. If you cannot reconcile what has changed, concentrate on what hasn’t.

Kireth turned to the flame he had created. It still remained and he knew he had created it to attack those directly in front of it… they still stood there.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

He kept the flame burning brightly and with a hand gesture glided it closer towards himself.

[Flaming Sphere - Move: S]

Through the mugginess of his clouded mind, Kireth willed the flame to surge and then strike out once more.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Primary Attack vs Black Warrior’s Reflex: 1d20+11+2: 15] - misses!

Although prone on the floor, the warrior was still able to brace itself against the onslaught of the flames, shielding its face with the head of its battleaxe to bear the brunt of the heat.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 1] - critical failure!

The fog in Kireth’s mind still remained, despite his training.

Combat
Black Human #05

Ignoring Tradden’s warcry and histrionics between the two staircases, the human on the right flank simply closed in on the mage whilst Kireth concentrated on sustaining his flames.

[Move: N]

With a swift action it thrust its sword at Kireth’s back.

[Shortsword]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14-2: 32 vs Kireth’s AC (20)] - critical hit!

[Damage: 8]

The mage’s senses were dulled and slow and he had no time to avoid the blow.

Combat
Black Warrior

The black warrior had beaten off the initial assualt of Kireth’s magical fire, but could do nothing about the constant searing heat as it sustained its anger.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Warrior takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage]

Ignoring the scorching flames as best it could the creature struggled to its feet, constantly under Khalin’s pressing attack.

[Move: Stand]

Once stood it had a better opportunity to defend itself and freed up its arms to swing around with the huge battleaxe at the dwarf.

[Spreading Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14+2-2: 22 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 21] and [Bloodied]

The cut was vicious, opening another bloody wound in the dwarf’s side, but the warlord took it with determination, not showing any fear or reason to retreat.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero took a deep breath from hebind the column. He had been surrounded only moments ago, swords thrusting in on him. Yet now he was alone. It was tempting to just kneel there, free of oppression. His friends needed him, though, and he turned around an popped his head above the stone.

It looked like Kireth was now the one beset on all sides, so he took a bead at the gangly human next to the mage and let fly.

[Gloaming Cut]

[Primary Attack vs Black Human #05: 1d20+9+2: 19] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+1+2: 5] plus [2d8: 9 sneak damage] and [Destroyed]

[Shift: E, E]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+15: 29] - success!

[Zero is hidden from Black Human #01, Black Warrior, and Black Abomination]

As the bolt struck down the figure, Zero was already off his haunches and skipping over the stone floor, coming to a halt not too far from where he had started, but with a better view of the melee.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #02

Amidst the throng of the melee, the hobgoblin had dwarf, mage and fighter surrounding it. However, there was something about the fighter that was attracting it, despite the blades that flashed around Tradden in a vicious ring of steel.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 7]

The thing took many cuts as it tried to push past the blades, but it as intent on reaching the young fighter and quietening him down. It tried to find a weak spot, or a pause in the movements of the blades before thrusting forwards with its spear tip.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 21 vs Tradden’s Reflex (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+7: 25]

[Damage reduced to 12 due to Weakened]

The result was a moment of intense pain for Tradden, the steel tip gouging out some of his flesh above the knee. It could have been worse, though, the creature just could not seem to push the spear onwards without any real force.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak’s head felt woozy. At the edge of the combat, he was unsure of where his allies were. There seemed to be too much movement, to many foes, and he lashed out aimlessly with his mace.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Beltak hits Khalin for 5 damage]

[Beltak hits Tradden for 5 damage]

He struck targets, he could feel that, but he was unsure of who he had hit. The figures all around looked the same, so he decided to illuminate those that were his enemy.

[Solar Enemy]

[Close Burst 2 centered on Beltak]

[Black Human #01 gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

[Black Warrior gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

[Black Hobgoblin #01 gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

[Black Hobgoblin #02 gains Vulnerable 5 to radiant damage until end of Beltak’s next turn]

Light danced from Beltak’s symbol and radiant fire lit up those around him. He felt free to now concentrate and immolate those that were truly his enemy. With hushed word he raised him arms from the floor and a crackling web of light began to grow around him.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Close Burst 1 centered on Beltak denoted by yellow zone]

[Enemies starting their turn in burst take 1d6+3 radiant damage]

[Allies starting their turn in burst regain 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

The tendrils of light snaked out, surrounding the priest and allies and foes alike. With protection around him he turned to where he thought Khalin stood, the dwarf’s groans of pain to soon be soothed by the light of Pelor.

[Healing Word]

[Khalin spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+15+4+5: 32 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

As the scribe’s words faded and the warmth of Pelor’s radiance flooded through Khalin’s bones, Beltak turned to his own mind, hoping to flush out the fog.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20+1: 21] - critical success!

The radiance that billowed around the priest now help clear his mind and he could see that the main threat was the huge abomination, silently directing the combat.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Warmth flooded into Khalin’s body, though he was unsure of where it came from. It could be a trick, and foul magic might be at play, so he swung out wildly with his craghammer, to and fro.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Khalin hits Kireth for 5 damage]

[Khalin hits Beltak for 5 damage]

He felt the weapon crunch into something in his befuddled blindness before another warmth, this time crackling around his legs, surged into his body.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

Through the fog in his head Khalin could hear Kireth’s breathing labouring beside him.

‘No slime will best us, Kireth!’ he called to the mage.

[Inspiring Word]

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+13: 18 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Kireth receives +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

The dwarf glanced round and spied the two hobgoblins behind him, converging on Tradden. One was hefting a spear — ‘that might do, that might do nicely,’ he thought — and lashed out with his hammer at the brute.

[Provoke Overextension]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02: 1d20+12: 19] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10r2+8: 25] and [Bloodied]

[Black Hobgoblin #02 must make a Melee Basic Attack vs Khalin]

[Khalin gains +4 to AC vs this attack]

[Black Hobgoblin #02: Melee Basic Attack - Spear]

[Free Attack: 1d20+12-2: 20 vs Khalin’s AC (23+4)] - misses!

[Tradden may make a Melee Basic Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02]

As Khalin drew the creature’s attention with a vicious impact that must have shattered bones, it opened up an opportunity to Tradden to strike swifty at its flank.

[Tradden: Melee Basic Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02: 1d20+13: 19] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7+4: 15]

The two swift attacks left the creature reeling and gave a moment for Khalin to clear his head.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 12] - success!

The fog over his mind lifted and the battlefield became clear once more.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #01

The black-eyed hobgoblin appeared to be between a rock and a hard place. The crackling lattice that covered the floor around it tore at its calves…

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 9] plus [5 radiant vulnerability damage]

…and the steel blades wielded by Tradden trapped it in place, whirling and slicing around its head.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 10]

It paid the cuts as little heed as it could, fighting to get inside the barrier of steel and jab with its spear. It paused, feinted, and then struck.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 28 vs Tradden’s Reflex (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+7: 24]

[Damage reduced to 12 due to Weakened]

The point struck home, glancing off Tradden’s shoulder, but the energy was not in the thrust, sapped by the enchantment laid upon it by Beltak.

Combat
Black Human #04

As the melee intensified in the centre of the chamber, at the edge one of the humans moved towards Kireth. It was too close to the mage’s fiery ball, though, and flames leapt onto the creature’s clothes.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Human #04 takes 1d4+5: 8 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

They caught fire rapidly, enveloping the once-human in a matter of moments, and the life went out of the thing, the body dropping to the floor.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Basking in the glow of the radiant web at his feet, Tradden felt warmth and energy surge up and into him, refreshing and invigorating.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Tradden regains 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

The battle was already fierce but Tradden knew that despite the horrific injuries the enemy were inflicting, the weird big thing and his undead friends were also taking a significant amount of punishment.

If this were to be a “knock down, drag out” kind of fight, he was going to be the one carrying out the “knocking out” part!

[Surprising Stab]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02’s Reflex: 1d20+13: 23] - hits!

[Damage: 4] and [Grants Combat Advantage] and [Marked]

[Secondary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02: 1d20+12+2: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 2d6+7: 15]

Feinting as if to strike the lesser injured of the two hobgoblins, Tradden instead changed target at the last moment, nicking an ear off the more beaten-up of the two. That itself was a double feint, though, as the creature roared in pain, real or not, its arms raised up in the air, leaving its abdomen wide open.

With his usual dance-like grace, the fighter’s shortsword was already whirling around — right now his shortsword felt light& — an extension of his body completely in tune with the rhythm and timing of the rest of him. It only finally stopped moving when plunged deep into the creature’s ribcage. There was a satisfying mix of crunch and squelch.

‘Ha, ha!’ yelled Tradden, rather unnecessarily, but he couldn’t help it. He was in full flow now, blades carving air and bodies with a grace, which had he been watching himself from the other side of the room, the human would have found disturbingly hypnotic.

Combat
Black Human #01

The lifeless human to Beltak’s left began to raise its sword, but the web of energy surrounding the scribe arced towards the blade.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 4] plus [5 radiant vulnerability damage] and [Destroyed]

The light and energy intensified as the creature lurched forwards, stopping it in its tracks and sending convulsions through its body. After a brief pause the body fell to the floor.

Combat
Black Abomination

The huge abomination at the far end of the chamber pulsed and writhed as its tendrils squirmed through the air. It appeared to be levitating a little from the floor, but this did not stop Kireth’s ball of flame from biting at its extremities.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Abomination takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage]

It continued to pulse as the flames burnt at its black oily flesh, giving off that familiar tobacco scent in waves of air.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 6] - success!

The creature appeared to have finally recognised the flame as a threat and, surprisingly graceful, it floated away from the inferno.

[Move: SW]

It did not go too far, setting itself between Beltak and one of the statues. Its pulsing grew stronger and stronger until it blasted out a cone of energy that made the group’s heads ring.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Close Blast 3, Top Left at G9]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 33 vs Khalin’s Will (19)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 17 vs Kireth’s Will (17)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 19 vs Beltak’s Will (21)] - misses!

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 34 vs Tradden’s Will (19)] - critical hit!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

The blast did not seem to hurt them, but the shock and constant ringing in their ears as if someone were blowing a horn was incredibly distracting. Enemies seemed like foes, and foes like enemies. The crush of the melee was claustrophobic.

As the group reeled, the tendrils snaked out towards an already leaden Kireth, grasping around the mage’s shoulder, squeezing and pulling.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 22 vs Kireth’s Reflex (20+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 22] and [Slowed until end of next turn]

[Damage reduced to 11 due to Weakened]

The grasp of the creature was not as tight as Kireth feared, but the trumpeting in his mind began to grow to a crescendo, leaving him dazed and confused, barely able to keep on his feet.

As the hold on the mage was released for the moment, the creature begain to pulse once more. This time it tendrils stretched up towards the roof, where the face and mouth adorned the ceiling. The tobacco smell became almost overpowering to those directly underneath the mouth as two small, black, oily bodies dropped out of the mouth with a squelch and darted through the air towards the far end of the chamber behind the abomination.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at D8 and D12]

The new creatures were small, almost like giant bees, but the size of a bird of prey. They floated in the air, almost menacingly, from the back of the room and awaited their orders.

Combat
Kireth Majere

With his head a mixture of blaring horns and filled with the scent of tobacco, Kireth blindly swung out with his staff in the forlorn hope of pushing his foes back and away. However, he just resulted smashing Khalin on the back of the dwarf’s helm.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Kireth hits Khalin for 5 damage]

Reeling, Kireth tried to concentrate, and draw his power. He found it difficult to muster the words that he needed to keep his rolling flame in place, but found them at last, keeping the flame alight.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

Swivelling around, the mage tried to concentrate on the rear of one of the hobgoblins, its attention fixed on Tradden. The blaring noise in Kireth’s head threatened to get in the way of his magics, but the mage spat out the words nonetheless and a blinding white light of force shot across at the hobgoblin’s exposed back.

[Force Orb]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02’s Reflex: 1d20+11: 16] - misses!

Ribbons of energy burst out from the armour on the creature’s back, but barely seemed to affect the hobgoblin’s movements.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 6] - failure!

The horns rang with a crescendo as Kireth’s magics faded and his energy felt spent.

Combat
Black Warrior

The black-eyed warrior had kept its dark orbs transfixed on the melee in front of it, trying to swing its battleaxe in time to find a weakness in Khalin’s defences. However, it failed to sense the heat and fire of Kireth’s flaming sphere by its side, and the flames danced over its shoulder and arm, searing the flesh underneath its armour.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Warrior takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage]

The warrior paid it little heed, feinting and swinging to match Khalin’s shield and hammer defence. It picked its time, thrusting in with an over-arm blow.

[Spreading Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 32 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 22] and [Bloodied]

The battleaxe pushed aside Khalin’s clumsy effort to parry with his shield, almost knocking off the bloodied rags wrapped around his arm, and crashed into the links of steel protecting the warlord’s chest. It winded the dwarf, though the dwarven steel had surely saved his life.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero kept careful watch on the combat, trying to pick the right time to shoot. He concentrated on the hobgoblin on the right, but it seemed to be aware of him, despite the pressure of Kireth’s magic and Tradden’s whirling blades.

At the last minute he turned his attention to the hobgoblin on the left, flanked by Khalin and Tradden. It was too pre-occupied to notice the rogue, so he drew a line and let fly.

[Gloaming Cut]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01: 1d20+9+2: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+1+2: 4] plus [2d8: 10 sneak damage] and [Bloodied]

[Shift: W, W]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+15: 35] - critical success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies]

The bolt whistled past Tradden’s ear and landed squarely in the hobgoblin’s shoulder, spraying the young fighter with beads of blood.

Zero was quick to follow up his strike with a roll to his left, disappearing from sight behind the stone column at the other side of the stairs from the melee.

Combat
Black Drone #01

One of the strange new arrivals, floating a good three or four feet off the floor, began to move. It was graceful, that was sure, its sleek black body shaped like a teardrop cutting through the air. It was not much more than that, no discernable eyes or mouth, just that teardrop shape.

[Move: SW, SW, S, SE, E]

It came around the northwestern statue in a close arc, gathering momentum, before slamming into Beltak.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+2: 24 vs Beltak’s AC (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 7] and [Knocked Prone]

Beltak attempted to get his shield up, but was too late. The creature crashed into him, knocking the wind out of him and the legs from under him as he crumpled to the floor.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #02

With Kireth pressing from one side, Tradden from another, and the threat of the dwarf from its flank, the hobgoblin was sorely beset. However, the wizard’s magic appeared to be failing him, so the hobgoblin turned towards Tradden — who was continually taunting the creature — only to be greeted by the whirling blades of the young fighter.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 9]

Another blade cut into the hobgoblin’s flesh, but the black orbs in its face did not flicker. Instead it pressed forwards with an attack of its own, buoyed by its last strike against the warrior.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 27 vs Tradden’s Reflex (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+7: 24] plus [1d6: 5 Slash of Misery damage] and [Bloodied]

The creature drove its spear past Tradden’s defences and into the young fighter’s thigh, twisting it briefly before yanking it back out. It took all of Tradden’s resources not to buckle, as pain seared through his body.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak sucked in air, trying to get his breath back, as he staggered to his feet.

[Move: Stand]

He could barely get out the words to utter the prayer to Pelor to keep the crackling web of radiant energy at his feet in place. However, his devotion to his deity won the day, and he grimaced through the pain as he stated his intent.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone is maintained for a round]

With the radiance around him still burning brightly, the scribe wheeled and, unusually for him, swept at the side of the hobgoblin with his mace.

[Healing Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Hobgoblin #01: 1d20+7: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 2d8+1: 11] plus [5 radiant vulnerability damage] and [Marked]

[Tradden spends a Healing Surge and regains 20+4+5: 29 hit points] and [No Longer Bloodied]

The mace clattered into the hobgoblin, breaking its stride, as Beltak called out to Tradden to stay strong. The young fighter felt warmth spread through his legs, and the wound close to stem the flow of blood.

Combat
Black Drone #02

The other drone, behind the northeastern statue, mirrored its sibling, swiftly arcing around the side of the statue in graceful flight.

[Move: SE, SE, S, W, W]

It picked up speed around the arc, its teardrop shape cutting through the air with ease, as it crashed into Kireth.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 26 vs Kireth’s AC (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 7] and [Knocked Prone]

The mage tried to block the creature with his staff, but it was coming too fast, striking the half-elf in the stomach and bowling him over.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Confused and distracted by the growing echoes of horns in his mind, Khalin could barely discern which body before him was foe and which was friend. He struck out with a few jabs of his hammer to see.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Khalin hits Kireth for 5 damage] and [Bloodied]

[Khalin hits Beltak for 5 damage]

A yelp from Beltak was echoed by a stern call from on the floor to his right, as the dwarf realised he had nearly crushed Kireth’s skull. This thought was met with warmth and solace flooding up from the web of radiance at his feet — Khalin wasn’t completely sure if the two were not related.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

Khalin pivoted back towards the hobgoblins between himself and Tradden, regarding the spear the one to his left carried with what looked like longing. ‘If I can just get it…’ he mused under his breath.

The marshal’s mind sized up the adjacent brute — temptingly wedged between the dwarf and the human, but the spear-toting one looked ready to drop. ‘One good strike might do it,’ the dwarf thought. And drove his hammer towards it…

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02: 1d20+12: 18] - misses!

The dwarf cursed as the hammer glanced off the hobgoblin’s armour. The haze in the dwarf’s head taking the bite from the blow. ‘Garrgh!’ Khalin shouted in frustration, before composing himself once more.

‘For The Islands!’ he shouted in a sonorous voice, looking to rally his comrades.

[Stand Tough]

[Close Burst 5]

[Khalin gains 10+4: 14 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

[Kireth gains 10+4: 14 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

[Tradden gains 10+4: 14 hit points]

[Beltak gains 10+4: 14 hit points]

[Zero gains 10+4: 14 hit points]

The cry was met by a cheer from Tradden and even a raised eyebrow from Kireth as a wave of energy and vigour passed across the group.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 3] - failure!

The fog in the dwarf’s mind did not lift, however, as shadows danced around in his peripheral vision, taunting and distracting him.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #01

Sandwiched between four of the Krakens the hobgoblin automaton had nowhere to hide. Beltak’s energy crackled up its things, searing its host flesh…

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 8]

…before Tradden’s blades, ever swinging, cut across its flank.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 4]

It still managed to raise its large spear, however, plunging it into the midriff of the scribe.

[Slash of Pain]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 21 vs Beltak’s Reflex (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+7: 27] and [Bloodied]

It was a powerful thrust, biting deeply into Beltak’s side, missing his gut by a hair’s breadth as the scribe staggered backwards.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden tried to spring forwards, cutting across the space that the hobgoblin had moved into, hoping to slice off its head before it could hurt Beltak further. However, the dizziness that appeared to be affecting the others strayed his arm, and instead of the hobgoblin, he struck out at his comrade.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Tradden hits Beltak for 5 damage]

The fighter shook his head, as if trying to simply dispose of the muzziness by flicking it out of one ear, or the other. What was he doing?

Steeling his gaze on the seemingly most beaten up of the two creatures in front of him, he set to work. Things were looking grim, and his fighter’s instincts told him that getting some shape back as a fighting unit was critical. That meant getting rid of the enemies right in their midst.

‘Go… away…!’ he cried, putting all his strength into a wide, waist-high sweep — both arms heaving together, muscle and sinews combining to let both swords rip a deadly horizontal arc.

[Cleave]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #02: 1d20+13: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 12] and [Destroyed]

[Black Hobgoblin #01 takes 4 splash damage] and [Marked]

Such was the ferocity of the strike, the shambling ex-hobgoblin was simply struck in half, the torso being torn to the floor in violent fashion. The hobgoblin stood to Tradden’s immediate left made what could only be described as a hissing growl in his direction as the end of the human’s blade took a respectable chunk out of its side as well.

As the hobgoblin fell, its spear clattered to the floor in front of Khalin, distracting the dwarf for a moment.

[Action Point]

[Tradden gains +3 to attacks during Action Point]

[Tradden uses Khalin’s Bravura Presence]

[Tradden can take extra attack, if hits can attack again]

‘Shush, ugly!’ snarled Tradden, as he pressed once more.

[Melee Basic Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01: 1d20+13+3+2: 34] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 9]

[Frost Longsword]

[Black Hobgoblin #01 takes an extra 1d8: 3 cold damage]

With a satisfying sound, Tradden punched the creature square in the face, the weight of the sword pommel in his hand causing dead skin to further split, and teeth to spray out to one side.

With a deft flick of the wrist he also managed to twist the sword downwards, slicing through expose thigh and leaving an ice-filled wound it its wake.

Khalin risked a glance behind him and saw his friend tearing up the enemy with abandon, despite their precarious position.

‘Go on, lad!’ yelled the dwarf.

[Bravura Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01: 1d20+13+3+2: 31] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 11]

Buoyed by the encouragement, Tradden shuffled his feet in an attempt to further confuse the creature, which seemed to work as it made an opening which the fighter took full advantage off, reversing the grip on his shortsword and plunging it into the thing’s side.

The remaining hobgoblin was in a bad way — surely it was just a matter of time before it joined its friend, in pieces on the floor, so Tradden was already thinking ahead. With a smooth slide to his left he drifted closer to the enemy on the otherside of the stricken Beltak.

[Shift: W]

‘Stay with us, ’Tak!’ exclaimed the fighter, standing back in a heroic pose, both swords above his head in what he referred to as his “Striking Scorpion” (he had read about them in a book) stance.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20+1: 5] - failure!

However, his show of bravado was cut short as the previous pain in his head shot across his forehead, bringing back a cloudy malaise.

Combat
Black Abomination

The huge abomination at the far end of the chamber writhed in its oily black mass. It appeared to have been more of an observer so far, lashing out with ropey black tendrils to strike, but not with the purpose or deadly effect of the automatons around the room that it must control.

It remained there, squirming and wriggling within itself, exuding a growing stench, hovering gently just above the ground and looked for its next prey.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 2] - failure!

It began to pulse as it stretched out its tendrils to the black mouth above the melee, drawing down, as though from behind a curtain, another pair of the teardrop drones.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at L8 and L12]

The drones descended quickly, floating above the cold stone floor to the rear of the chamber, behind Zero’s back.

They stole the group’s attention, which was then quickly snapped back as the abomination began to strike out.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14+2: 23 vs Kireth’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 23] and [Slowed until end of next turn] and [Bloodied]

The mage was an easy target, spreadeagled on the floor, and the tendrils lashed against his body, grasping at Kireth’s skull and face, stifling the cries he tried to make.

[Action Point]

The tendrils snapped back into the trembling black body, but the creature was not finished there, thrusting out again, this time at the dwarf, trying to envelop the stout warlord.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 17 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 23] and [Slowed until end of next turn] and [Bloodied]

The black tentacles wrapped around the dwarf’s legs, threatening to tip him over, but the release came swiftly, even if the release in pain did not. Khalin’s legs felt frozen, sluggish, as if his blood were filled with ice.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Kireth let out a howl, not of pain, but of anger, and thrashed out with his staff despite being laid out on the cold stone floor. The staff, however, only connected with the dwarf, cracking against one of his ankles.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Kireth hits Khalin for 5 damage]

‘Worst day ever!’ groaned the mage as he lay, staring upwards. He rolled to his right side and lithely sprang back to his feet, weak as he was, he was still half-elf.

[Move: Stand]

The crackling of flame to his front confirmed that his spell was still working. ‘That, at least, is something,’ he muttered.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

‘Khalin!’ he shouted as he began weaving his next spell. ‘I no longer wish to be in here.’

He pointed his staff forward and beyond his foes, it rhythmically began to vibrate as the air became charged around them. ‘Thardum!’ he called.

[Shock Sphere]

[Burst 2 centred on D10] with [Damage: 2d6+7: 15]

[Burst Attack vs Black Abomination’s Reflex: 1d20+11: 31] - critical hit!

[Damage: 19] plus [1d6: 6 critical damage]

[Burst Attack vs Black Warrior’s Reflex: 1d20+11: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 15] and [Bloodied]

Lightning struck at the far side of the abomination, a ball of force exploding outwards with crackling energy. It danced around the warrior, making it convulse and tremble, yet the forks of electricity were simply absorbed by the huge abomination.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 18] - success!

Standing and proud, the mage shook off the sluggishness in his legs and the fog in his mind.

Combat
Black Warrior

The warrior’s convulsions slowly started to fade only to be replaced by the searing heat from Kireth’s ball of flame.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Warrior takes 1d4+5: 7 fire damage]

The creature tried its best to ignore the consequences of burning flesh and clothing and raised its battleaxe to strike, turning its attention from the dwarf onto the mage that was causing it pain.

[Spreading Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 25 vs Kireth’s Reflex (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 21] and [Dying] but interrupted before the hit!

The battleaxe crashed down and would surely have cleaved the mage in two, however, alerted by Kireth’s cry to be somewhere else, Khalin had been watching and dived to his left, shield raised to take some of the blow.

[Khalin: Fearless Rescue]

[Khalin can attempt to rescue Kireth]

The shield bore the brunt of the strike, yet the power of the blow still pushed down onto the mage. The warlord flashed out with his hammer to prevent the warrior finishing the job with another swing.

[Khalin: Fearless Rescue Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Black Warrior: 1d20+13: 24] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10r2+8: 21]

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 13 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Kireth receives +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

[Kireth is no longer Dying]

The strike from Khalin surely prevented the warrior finishing the job, leaving Kireth reeling, but at least still alive.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

With his back to the column, Zero had thought he was safe, and was about to peer out a sneak a shot at some unsuspecting blackened thing. With two flying blobs of black suddendly appearing, his tactics had to change.

Keeping his back firmly against the column he levelled his crossbow at one of the buzzers and let fly.

[Gloaming Cut]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #03: 1d20+9: 24] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+1: 2] and [Destroyed]

[Shift: W, W]

The bolt tore through the amorphous black body of the drone, and it fell to the floor wrapped around the shaft. Zero rolled towards it and then took flight for the stone pillar.

[Fleeting Ghost]

[Move: SW, SW, S, E]

[Stealth Check: 1d20+15: 26] - success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies and gains Combat Advantage]

Breathing hard as he reached the far side of the stone pillar, Zero melted into its shadow.

Combat
Black Drone #01

Having darted in at Beltak’s flank once, the drone started to back up to strike once more. However, the intracate web of radiant light from Beltak’s spell held it fast.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 6] and [Destroyed]

The thing fizzed and melted before the scribe’s eyes, turning quickly into tar as it slopped onto the floor, exuding a brief stench of stale tobacco.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Weakened as he was, Beltak could see that the others were in no great shape. Trying to keep his concentration he summoned the strength to keep the aura around him glowing.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone is maintained for a round]

The web of crackling energy remained where it was as the scribe continued to chant, drawing the web upwards and the light towards Kireth.

[Healing Word]

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+13+4+5: 31 hit points]

[Kireth is no longer Bloodied]

And with the light still strong around Beltak’s arms, he reached out and clasped Khalin’s shoulder, offering the dwarf words of encouragement.

[Cure Serious Wounds]

[Khalin regains 30+4+5: 39 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

Beltak looked drained as the light around him faded, his face pale and beads of sweat trickling down his face.

Combat
Black Drone #02

The drone at Kireth’s flank tried to back away from the flames of the mage’s roiling ball of fire to launch another darting attack.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Drone #02 takes 1d4+5: 6 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

But the magic was too strong and the drone’s body started to melt away as it fell to the ground.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Even as Beltak’s words reached his ears, Khalin found himself thrashing out, trying to clear a path through non-existant tentacles that stretched out from the black behemoth before him. Without realising what he was doing, he had struck both the mage and the scribe with glancing blows.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Khalin hits Kireth for 5 damage]

[Khalin hits Beltak for 5 damage]

Through the fog of foul visions that seemed to fade in and out, Khalin spied the spear on the ground once more. ‘This might be the chance!’ he thought, but martial duty snapped his attention back to the warrior before him. The beast had most certainly outstayed its welcome.

The warrior looked dead on its feet. Khalin chuckled at the pun that had rose unbidden in his mind, no doubt looking even more crazed than ever in the process. Behind him, Tradden had the hobgoblin in hand.

Weighing up the odds in the blink of an eye, the dwarf instead turned his hammer towards the writhing abomination that seemed to be co-ordinating the attack. ‘Cut off the head and the body will wither,’ he mumbled.

‘Go back to whichever hell you came from!’ yelled the enraged dwarf as he swung Aecris at the beast with all his might.

[Warlord’s Strike]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+12: 30] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10r2+8: 28]

[Allies gain +2 to damage against Black Abomination until end of next turn]

As the hammer struck home with a satisying impact, Khalin deftly scooped up the spear with his left hand, holding it point down behind his shield.

[Khalin picks up Black Hobgoblin #02’s Spear]

The creature writhed, and Khalin took a moment to compose himself.

[Action Point]

Making up his mind the warlord pressed home his advantage, winding up the mighty craghammer to swing again.

[Stand the Fallen]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+12: 15] - misses!

[Kireth spends a Healing Surge and regains 13+4: 17 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Kireth shifts to G12]

[Tradden spends a Healing Surge and regains 20+4: 24 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Tradden shifts to I10]

[Beltak spends a Healing Surge and regains 14+4: 18 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: Beltak gains +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

One second the writhing black mass had been there for the taking, the next moment it squirmed out of the way. As Khalin overstretched, a black tendril grabbed his hammer, another across his helm, and sent the dwarf spinning.

[Seeds of Discord]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 22 vs Khalin’s Will (19)] - hits!

[Khalin is Slid: W, SW, S]

[Khalin must repeat attack against ally of Black Abomination’s choosing]

Disoriented, confused, and with the taste of pipe smoke on his tongue, the dwarf lashed out with his hammer, unaware that he had lost his position in the melee.

[Stand the Fallen]

[Primary Attack vs Beltak: 1d20+12: 19] - misses!

Fortunately for the scribe the hammer whistled closely past his shoulder, not making any contact.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 14] - success!

The warlord shook his head, clearing the fog a little, aghast at what so nearly happened.

Combat
Black Hobgoblin #01

Free from the stifling presence of the dwarf, the holbgoblin turned its attention fully to Tradden

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 4] and [Destroyed]

Before it could act, however, the aura of light that still surrounded Beltak tore at its flesh, searing the shell of a body that whatever foul abomination within was controlling, and breaking the hold it had.

With a fizz and stench of tar, the thing dropped to the floor.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Combat was happening thick and fast now, with allies moving, enemies falling, and bright lights and smells filling the room. The stench of tobacco clouded his mind, however, and he couldn’t tell whether it had been Beltak or the hobgoblin that had fallen before him. He prodded out with his sword, just to check.

[Black Abomination: Seeds of Despair]

[Tradden hits Beltak for 5 damage]

The combatants were thinning, and mostly in their favour. As Khalin wheeled backwards in erratic fashion, and Kireth wisely sidled away from the epicentre, Tradden finally found a route to where he needed to be. Front and centre.

[Charge]

[Charge: N, N]

[Primary Attack vs Black Hobgoblin #01: 1d20+13+1: 26] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7: 9]

[Marked]

Hurtling powerfully over the pedestal where the bloody rags and mirror had been, and past the much-beaten-up Beltak, the fighter’s blades slammed down on the once-alive humanoid, cutting down through its lacklustre attempts to block the twin blades.

Tradden thought it was enough to see it off permanently, but the thing still stood — barely. It would be gone soon enough however, which would leave only the monstrous beast and its flying minions.

The Krakens’ front line was now purely Tradden-shaped, and whilst he felt confident, they still needed to be clever. He knew the scribe and mage would be more comfortable behind the “thin red line”, and it was only Khalin that was concerning him. The dwarf was clearly out of sorts!

‘Khalin, get back here!’ echoed around the chamber.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20+1: 14] - success!

The tranquil calm of the battle serenity he sometimes experienced washed over him. His head cleared sharply and the sound of the battle became a comfortable background drone, reassuring in a way as opposed to the shrill, head shaking cacophony it usually was.

Combat
Black Drone #04

To the southern part of the chamber, largely ignored, one of the small drones darted left and right, searching for a prey that had simply disappeared into the shadows. With its target lost, it turned its attention to the general melee.

[Move: N, N, N, N]

Hurtling across the space it crashed into Kireth’s back.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 26 vs Kireth’s AC (20+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 7] and [Knocked Prone]

It caught the mage off-guard and the shove from behind tumbled him over.

Combat
Black Abomination

Despite the number of enemies thinning, the pulsing black mass at the northern end of the room stood its ground, building its energy.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 5]

Despite Tradden slashing at it with sweeping arcs of his blades it seemed largely unconcerned: no major movements or reactions to the young fighter’s pressing attack. Instead it appeared to be biding its time.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 5] - success!

After a few moments it did make a move of sorts; stretching some of its tendrils up towards the mouth on the ceiling, calling down another two of the darting, small drones from above.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at H6 and K7]

The drones spiralled down to either side of the melee, diverting the attention of the group before the abomination lashed out quickly and unexpectedly at Tradden.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 23 vs Tradden’s Reflex (21)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 24] and [Slowed until end of next turn]

The tendrils slammed into Tradden’s flank and wrapped around his legs, dulling his senses and filling his limbs with what felt like stone.

As quick as they had struck the tendrils recoiled. The abomination pulsed briefly and a blast of air spread out over the group.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Close Blast 3, Top Left at G8]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 32 vs Khalin’s Will (19)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 19 vs Tradden’s Will (19)] - hits!

[At the start of target’s turn deal 5 psychic damage to adjacent allies (Save Ends)]

[Burst Attack: 1d20+14: 18 vs Beltak’s Will (21)] - misses!

There was no physical buffeting from the blast, but it left Tradden and Khalin reeling, their eyes stinging as if with heavy pipe smoke from an inn, and the acrid taste of stale tobacco in their throat and nostrils.

Combat
Kireth Majere

This was bad, really bad. Kireth had many strengths but being on the front line of battle was not one of them. Khalin, to his credit, was doing his best but he had to hope that some relief would come from additional angles. So far he had been bashed about at every opportunity and could simply not stand up to much more.

Down, but not yet out, the half-elf pushed against his staff and heaved himself upright.

[Move: Stand]

The crackling ball of fire remained in place, it still had purpose and would assist Tradden against the warrior.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

‘As for you,’ the mage said as he turned, ‘let us see how you enjoy being barrelled into.’

[Spectral Ram]

[Primary Attack vs Drone #04’s Fortitude: 1d20+11: 27] - hits!

[Damage: 2d10+7: 17] and [Push: S, S, S] and [Destroyed]

With a brief thrust of his staff the black hornet was sent hurtling through the air backwards, landing in a crumpled heap where it began to melt onto the stone.

Combat
Black Warrior

Caught between Kireth’s ball of flame and the swords of Tradden’s whirling stance there appeared to be no escape for the humanoid warrior.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Warrior takes 1d4+5: 6 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

The flames were simply too much — whatever creature lay behind the black eyes could not hold the flesh of its host together against such onslaught and the thing crumpled to the ground.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero poked his head around the side of the statue, beads of sweat starting to trickle down his face. Two of the small flying creatures — black oily hornets darting about with speed — were closing in on the group’s right flank.

The rogue levelled his crossbow at the nearest one and let fly.

[Gloaming Cut]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #06: 1d20+9+2: 18] - misses!

[Stealth Check: 1d20+15: 25] - success!

[Zero is hidden from all enemies]

He grimaced as the bolt simply glanced off its body and skittered towards the other statue, before darting himself back behind the stonework and crouching down.

Combat
Black Drone #05

Oblivious to the wasted ammunition spraying out from the southern portion of the chamber, the drone nearest to Khalin closed in with haste.

[Move: E]

It accelerated quicker than expected, aiming for the dwarf’s flank.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 19 vs Khalin’s AC (23)] - misses!

The warlord was far too canny for the obvious attack, however, swinging around his shield and deflecting the thing before it could do him any harm.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

The chaos had cleared a little around Beltak and for the first time he could remember in the melee he was not surrounded or flanked. It gave him a little breathing space that he so sorely needed.

He kept his concentration, however, uttering the incantations he required to maintain the radiant aura around himself.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone is maintained for a round]

As he chanted he slowly backed away from the large abomination, moving towards the stone plinth where Tradden had been.

[Shift: SE]

When he reached the plinth he drew breath — the wounds and bruises were taking their toll, and he could do with some respite.

[Second Wind]

[Beltak spends a Healing Surge and regains 14 hit points]

[Beltak is no longer Bloodied]

[Beltak gains +2 to all defences until start of next turn]

The moment’s pause lifted his spirits as he rolled his shoulders in anticipation of the final stages of the battle.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin quickly gathered himself and his bearings. Like any of his brethren he had little truck with black magic, though he was starting to appreciate the lighter kind dealt by his companions. ‘Perhaps I can summon a bit of my own,’ he thought as he swiftly flipped the spear over and snatched the rag from his forearm.

[Affix Standard]

[Khalin creates a standard from the rags and the spear]

With a surprising deftness in the heat of battle he threaded what he hoped was the standard he’d been searching for onto the makeshift flagpole and raised it aloft with his shield-hand.

[Raise Standard]

[Close Burst 4 denoted by blue zone]

[Khalin and allies within burst gain a +2 bonus to AC and saving throws when bloodied]

[Khalin and allies within burst add their Constitution modifiers to their healing surge values]

[Khalin and allies within burst gain a +1 bonus to death saving throws]

[Khalin and allies within burst gain resist 5 psychic]

As the spear shaft was raised into the air the soiled rags began to unfurl, but saturated with blood they hung limply against the pole. A keen observer might have seen a moment of silver or gold against the crimson stains, but their eyes were drawn back to the dwarf as Khalin uttered a cry of ‘To Arms!’.

The shout filled those surrounding the warlord with renewed hope and their eyes became fixed upon him, leading their charge against the aberrations before them.

Another utterance from the dwarf, this time “Oscanov!” brought them out of their reverie.

[Flame Bracers]

[Next time hit with an atack deal extra fire damage]

The word brought flames onto Khalin’s bracers, dancing along the intricate engravings of the armour.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 5] - failure!

Despite the dwarf’s energy he still could not shake those seeds of doubt that clouded his mind.

Combat
Black Drone #06

Raising spears and soiled rags appeared to have no effect on the darting drones around the room. The one behind Khalin moved up, almost silently.

[Move: S]

It cut in quickly, trying to bowl the dwarf over with a fast strike.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 18 vs Khalin’s AC (23)] - misses!

A swat from the warlord’s hammer was enough to keep the creature at bay.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Buoyed by Khalin’s veteran move with the standard, Tradden wasn’t hanging about, lashing out in mock-ferocity, to try and encourage the abomination closer to Kireth’s flaming orb.

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+13: 22] - misses!

[Marked]

It was like the thing read his mind however, and the tentacles that were there … weren’t. Flailing at thin air, instead of drawing it one way, the fighter found himself stumbling towards it!

Suddenly the lights went out as a tendril wrapped itself around his head, covering his eyes.

[Seeds of Discord]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 26 vs Tradden’s Will (19)] - hits!

[Tradden is Slid: SW, W, SW]

[Tradden must repeat attack against ally of Black Abomination’s choosing]

‘Err…’

It got worse for the human as the tendril pulled tight, causing a pain which fuzzied his head and made him lose control for a moment as he lashed out in panic!

[Footwork Lure]

[Primary Attack vs Khalin: 1d20+13: 15] - misses!

‘Who said that!?’ exclaimed Tradden, in a confused fashion. ‘Ah! Mary! Long time no see…’ he added, as he turned to the drone to one side of him.

It was at this point reality clicked back in and Tradden realised that Mary was not, in fact, there and was, in fact, a drone from another direction.

‘Ah!’ he cried, jumping to one side.

[Shift: NW]

‘Get a hold of yourself, Aversward!’ he growled to himself.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20+1: 19] - success!

Shaking his head he did at least dispel the malaise he had seemingly been suffering all battle. For now at least.

Combat
Black Abomination

The huge black mass of tendrils oozed its odour of stale tobacco, pulsing slowly, seemingly taunting the group with its ihuman, impassive stance.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 2] - failure!

Again its tendrils stretched up towards the carving of the face in the ceiling and the black portal that served as a mouth, drawing down more of its brethen into the room.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at I14 and L10]

The thing appeared to be about to strike out at Tradden, but diverted its attack at the last moment as it sensed the standard that Khalin held aloft. A fleeting wave reverberated around its body before it moved in with surprising grace and speed, ignoring the crackling web of radiance that sparked at its mass as it covered the gap.

[Move: S, S]

It flung out a tendril, trying to wrest the pole from Khalin’s off-hand. However, as it touched the soiled rag atop the spear shaft it recoiled, shuddering, before lashing out with other tendrils at the dwarf himself.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 24 vs Tradden’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 20] and [Slowed until end of next turn]

[Damage reduced to 15 due to psychic resistance]

Khalin felt the dull sensation of a tightening of tendrils around his legs, leeching the energy and vigour out of his stride, but he managed to remain upright.

Combat
Kireth Majere

Attacks were occurring, or were imminent, from all angles on all companions. Defend yourself, defend your friend, there seemed to be no correct answer.

At this point, the mage decided that assistance to the group as a whole was the priority.

[Flaming Sphere - Move: SW, SW, S, SW]

Concentrating on the flaming sphere, that had so far methodically performed its role, he willed it to move and now assist Tradden and Khalin, ensuring that it remained afire for some time.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

Next, the portal. He had no idea the strength of its creator but he had to try do something about it. Pointing his staff he called upon the powers of shadow to close its gaping mouth.

[Dispel Magic]

[Dispel Attempt vs Mouth Portal: 1d20+11: 30] - failure!

Above him the black mouth pulsed, as if about to spew forth a shadowy vomit. Kireth could feel its power, the magic binding it together with a strength that he had never encountered before. It enticed him, the knowledge and skill that must have been used to craft it, and the wonders that it might hide or lead to. The sheer scale of its brute force power, however, was the thing that left him cold.

He could not defeat this with a simple disenchantment; there must be catalysts, focuses for the power, things that could be used to channel the magic. Khalin must have already picked up one — the “standard” the dwarf had called it — and had bound it to his own will. Yet the portal remained. So there must be another. Destroy that, and the portal may yet be defeated.

‘What else was there on that plinth?’ the mage cried, his eyes darting around the companions. They settled on Zero. ‘Oh, no, Zero! Zero, the hand mirror, destroy the mirror!’

Combat
Black Drone #08

At the rear of the group one of the newly-arrived drone gathered its bearings and hurtled towards Beltak.

[Move: N, N]

It hardly gave the scribe any chance to react as it zipped through the air towards the scribe’s rear.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 17 vs Beltak’s AC (20+2)] - misses!

Beltak smelt it at the last second, its advance precluded by the stench of tobacco. Whirling he knocked it away with his shield.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

From his hiding place, Zero attended Kireth’s words. He knew nothing about magic, but there was a logic to the mage’s suggestion he couldn’t ignore.

[Move: E, E, NE, NE, NE, N]

Sighing in resignation, he ran as fast as he could towards the spot where he’d discarded the awful mirror.

As he rounded the edge of the stairs he took at shot at the small black drone coming in on his flank.

[Ranged Basic Attack]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #07: 1d20+10: 13] - misses!

The shot was hopelessly wide, not helped by Zero’s unexepected burst of energy and the following heavy breathing.

At least the mirror was in sight for the rogue; laying on the floor near the pedestal. Conveniently where he had dropped it.

Combat
Black Drone #05

Stuck between a rock and a hard place — Tradden’s whirling blades and Kireth’s boiling sphere — the darting drone tried its best to duck and weave its flight to avoid metal and fire.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Drone #05 takes 1d4+5: 8 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

Ultimately it was unsuccessful, Tradden forcing the thing back into the heart of the flame, where it boiled into a stinking vapour.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak was stuck between the flailing tendrils of the huge aberration before him, and the drone buffeting him from behind.

Despite his position and his sapping strength, he still managed to maintain his concentration.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone is maintained for a round]

Keeping the crackling web of radiant light going, he looked around to see whether it was more prudent to relieve himself of the drone at his back, or to tackle the monstrousity before him.

[Invigorating Assault]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #08: 1d20+7: 22] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+1: 4] and [Destroyed]

With a shout to Pelor, and a spin reminiscent of Tradden, he brough his mace down on the flying creature, knocking it down the stairs with a thump, where it lay motionless.

Combat
Black Drone #07

As Zero’s bolt flew past the drone it must have caughts its attention. Its flight path changed, darting in towards the rogue.

[Move: W]

The portly human had already switched his focus onto the mirror and didn’t see it barrelling towards him until it was too late.

[Slam]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12: 24 vs Zero’s AC (20)] - hits!

[Damage: 7] and [Knocked Prone]

Before he knew it, the rogue was on his arse, staring up at the mouth above him, laughing at him with that blackened, writhing mouth.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin could sense his friends’ spirits lift as the standard was raised aloft — his instincts, and the vision, had not failed him. He yearned to examine the standard further and see what was emblazoned on it, but that would have to wait. For now he needed both hands free.

The warlord thrust the makeshift flagstaff against the stone floor and to his satisfaction the spear penetrated the rock as if it were soft soil. The standard stood proud and erect as the dwarf steeled himself against his foes once more.

[Saving Throw vs Seeds of Despair: 1d20: 11] - success!

With the standard planted next to him the fog in his mind began to lift, the landscape of battle becoming clear.

Combat
Black Drone #06

The small drones were not faring well against the fires, radiance, and blades that the group had set against them.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Drone #06 takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

This particular one fared no better, timing its flight towards Khalin just as the dwarf was planting the standard and being brushed aside into the heart of the flaming sphere the mage controlled, evaporating in seconds.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden ducked and dived as the business end of the black creature’s tendrils whipped back and forth. It was going to be tough to get near it, never mind attack it!

[Shift: NE]

With a quick shimmy, he dived forward, rolling over one tentacle, and under another — suddenly within striking range.

[Villain’s Menace]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+13: 16] - misses!

[Marked]

[Tradden receives +1 to attack and +2 to damage Black Abomination for rest of encounter]

Although he clearly had the thing’s attention, that was about as good as it got for the human.

[Seeds of Discord]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 22 vs Tradden’s Will (19)] - hits!

[Tradden is Slid: S, SE, E]

[Tradden must repeat attack against ally of Black Abomination’s choosing]

He found himself dragged around by icky, sticky arm-things towards Khalin. The tendrils wrapped around his arms, and not unlike a puppet the thing twitched and pulled so as to cause him to lash out, albeit clumsily, at the warlord.

[Villain’s Menace]

[Primary Attack vs Khalin: 1d20+13: 16] - misses!

Fortunately — for man and dwarf — the thing’s control was far from complete, and Tradden was able to jerk to one side, ensuring that the blows would not land.

Shaking himself free of one tendril, and chopping through another, the fighter re-joined the fray.

Combat
Black Abomination

The creature lost interest in Tradden as soon as the young fighter was cast away. It appeared to pause for a brief moment, gathering some energy.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Abomination takes 1d4+5: 8 fire damage] and [Bloodied]

But the pause gave chance for Kireth’s flaming sphere to wreak its own havoc; the flames tearing at the black creature’s oily flesh.

The pain did not end there, as Beltak’s carpet of radiant energy joined with the flames to sear at the abomination’s body.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 8]

There was a shriek from the creature; perhaps not a vocalised shout or scream, but certainly one that went through all of the minds of the party. The creature was hurt, and it writhed endlessly as it tried to position itself best to face down the flag bearer.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 3] - failure!

Drawing itself up and facing the dwarf, it pulsed violently, drawing down more of the smaller drones from the ceiling above.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at I5 and L10]

Its focus then turned back to its threat and lashed out for Khalin’s head with its tendrils.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14-2: 27 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 19] and [Slowed until end of next turn] and [Bloodied]

[Damage reduced to 14 due to psychic resistance]

The strike drew a shout of pain from the dwarf, who almost stumbled, keeping himself upright by a last second grasp of the standard’s shaft.

Combat
Kireth Majere

His flaming sphere was performing admirably and there was no good reason to banish it now. It could still attack the abomination and provide Khalin and Tradden protection from the other drone.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

Now, seeing as he was having to sort everything else out, he may as well save Zero too. It might give the rogue a chance to destroy the mirror.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #07] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+5+1: 8] and [Destroyed]

The bolt from Kireth’s staff shot across the short distance to the black creature, knocking it backwards and away from Zero, where it tumbled to the floor and began to melt.

Combat
Black Drone #09

The newcomer to the throng, to the west of the party, oriented itself quickly, seeking out a target amongst the group’s flank. Fearing flying through the flaming area, it darted towards Tradden.

[Charge]

[Charge: SE, E]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+12+1: 25 vs Tradden’s AC (22)] - hits!

[Damage: 7] and [Knocked Prone]

Tradden had only just cleared his head and shaken himself awake, when he found himself buffeted to the floor.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

Zero still was not sure how he had arrived on the floor — there no longer appeared to be anything near him. Shaking his head, he struggled to his feet.

[Move: Stand]

There were flashes of radiant laight sparkling, blades flashing, and a great ball of fire over by the huge black thing — Zero assumed that everything was under control. There was something Kireth had wanted before he had been knocked to the ground, though. What was it?

As he thought, he noticed one of the small black drones over his shoulder, and he whirled to take a pot shot at it.

[Sly Flourish]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #10: 1d20+10: 21] - hits!

[Damage: 1d6+6: 7] and [Destroyed]

The bolt skewered the flying thing and took it with it, skittering over to the far side of the chamber.

As he admired his handywork, realisation met him on what Kireth had wanted him to do. There wasn’t much time and it needed a monumental effort from him.

[Action Point]

Still panting from the lurch back to his feet and the quick whirl to take down the black drone, he turned once again and headed over towards the plinth where he had last seen the mirror.

[Move: N, NW]

He kept as far away from the big black thing as possible until he saw the mirror, lying face up, on the stony floor. He grabbed it quickly, a scowl of distate across his face as the blood covering it ran down his hand.

‘I got it!’ he shouted triumphantly at Kireth. ‘What do I do with it?’

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

Beltak was starting to falter. He was rapidly running out of positive actions he could take, and even those prayers of light and healing were beginning to thin out.

[Consecrated Ground]

[Zone is maintained for a round]

However, he managed to keep the thin membrane of sparkling radiance around the black abomination. It was not much, but it was better than nothing.

Looking around quickly, he could see that Zero was once again on his feet, but Tradden was not. Weighing up his options, he decided to take a risk.

[Move: W, …] - interrupted!

Beltak was ready for a tendril to snake out and grab him and he was not disappointed.

[Black Abomination: Opportunity Attack - Tendrils of Despair]

[Opportunity Attack: 1d20+14-2: 24 vs Beltak’s Reflex (17)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 17] and [Slowed until end of next turn] and [Bloodied]

[Damage reduced to 12 due to due to psychic resistance]

The strike was vicious; wrapping around Beltak’s leg and slowing him down. He wasn’t going far, though, and managed to stumble onwards until he was stood over the prostrate Tradden.

[Move: …, SW]

Tradden looked up at the scribe, blinking, before he was roughly manhandled to his feet.

[Beltak hauls Tradden to his feet]

[Tradden Shifts NE]

The young fighter was pushed forwards by the scribe, but landed lightly on his feet, crouching back into the stance of the whirling dervish.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

With the standard firmly planted and his enemy before him, Khalin’s resolve was set. He was buoyed by the crackling web of Beltak’s spell; the radiant light dancing round his calves and feeding him the energy he needed.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Khalin regains 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

The dwarf stole a quick look over at Zero — what was he waiting for? ‘Destroy it! And bad luck be damned!’ he called to the thief.

Without the luxury of being able to wait and see if his friend complied, Khalin returned his attention to the battle once more.

With the standard proudly beside him, Khalin poured his will into his craghammer as he swung Aecris towards the abomination.

[Renew the Troops]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+12:26] - hits!

[Damage: 3d10r2+8: 19 ]

[Kireth regains 13+4: 17 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

[Tradden regains 20+4: 24 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

[Zero regains 15+4: 19 hit points]

[Last Legion Officer: +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

[Beltak regains 14+4: 17 hit points] and [No longer Bloodied]

[Last Legion Officer: +2 to AC and Reflex until start of next turn]

The warlord’s swing was true this time and he shouted in satisfaction as the blow connected.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

At the top of the stairs the combat had become a whirl to Tradden. One minute he was down, the next he was back up, his blades circling. Khalin had just struck a mighty blow and that, combined with the warmth of Beltak’s radiant light at his feet put him in a better and clearer mood.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Tradden regains 1+2+5: 8 hit points]

‘Thanks for the assist, ’Tak. Stand strong — we got this!’ assured Tradden to the beleaguered cleric.

Crouching for a split second, Tradden then vaulted upwards, twisting in the air in a half pike (additional points for keeping the legs together) as tendrils flailed all around him, and landing on the edge of the statue opposite.

[Pass Forward]

[Move: N, N, NW]

Without pause, the fighter hacked down on one of the thicker tentacles.

[Melee Basic Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+13+2+1: 31] - hits!

[Damage: 1d8+7+2: 13] and [Marked]

The strength of the blow sheared it straight off, and the business end of the appendage fell to the floor with a thud.

There were notably less of the wavy tendrils than there had once been.

‘Keep at it!’ Tradden yelled, hacking away from his lofty position.

Combat
Black Abomination

The creature’s semi-solid form pulsed and shivered as the strike from Khalin pushed it to one side and then the frozen blade of Tradden sliced through its black, oily bulk.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Abomination takes 1d4+5: 9 fire damage]

It did not appear to give much thought to the fighter skirting past it and flanking it from behind, however, moving back towards the dwarf and the standard planted in the stone floor by his side.

[Beltak: Consecrated Ground]

[Damage: 1d6+3: 8]

Beltak’s intricate web of radiance danced along its underbelly, searing its skin, castings wisps of tobacco-laden smoke into the air.

[Tradden: Rain of Steel Stance]

[Damage: 1d8+3: 4]

To add insult to injury, as the creature steeled itself against the fire and radiance, Tradden’s blades sank into its flesh. The creature was hurt — there was no doubt of that with the cast off remains of slices of black appendage littering the floor — but it seemed to have a plan, and that involved the standard bearer.

[Seeds of Despair]

[Recharge: 1d6: 5] - success!

Still able to control its powers, it reached out a pair of its remaining tendrils, pulsing quickly, and calling to the yawning black portal above.

[Drone Calling]

[Black Abomination takes 5 hit points damage]

[Two black drones appear at D9 and E11]

Two wisps of black pulled themselves free of the portal, darting down behind Tradden and Kireth.

The creature then concentrated back on the dwarf before it, striking out with a pair of oily tendrils.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack vs Khalin] - interrupted!

Tradden was too quick for the creature, striking out before it could get close to the dwarf.

[Tradden: Opportunity Attack - Frost Longsword]

[Opportunity Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+13+2+2+1: 22] - misses!

By a whisker the abomination avoided the attack, Tradden unable to get his blades whirling fully after his leap to the statue, and it pressed the attack on Khalin.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14-2: 19 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 18] and [Slowed until end of next turn] and [Bloodied]

[Damage reduced to 13 due to psychic resistance]

The strike slammed into the dwarf’s legs, almost making him topple over. A gradual numbness began to spread up from his calves and his movements became sluggish.

Combat
Kireth Majere

‘Yes, smash it!’ cried the mage at Zero. ‘For all that is “unholy” smash the wretched thing.’ Quite what the result of this would be Kireth was only speculating but, surely, it couldn’t make things worse.

Time was not, however, standing still and he could not pause to await the outcome. Raising his staff as if to imbue the flaming sphere with renewed energy, Kireth willed it to continue.

[Flaming Sphere]

[Sphere is maintained for a round]

He then carefully backed off to stand behind Zero…

[Move: S, S]

…letting lose a bolt of magic as he did so.

[Magic Missile]

[Primary Attack vs Black Drone #12] - automatic hit!

[Damage: 2+5+1: 8] and [Destroyed]

The bolt flew swiftly and surely to its target, blasting the drone into a spray of oily, black droplets that splashed onto the stony floor.

Combat
Black Drone #09

Kireth had positioned his roiling sphere of flames well, covering the huge abomination as well as those small drones alongside it.

[Kireth: Flaming Sphere]

[Black Drone #09 takes 1d4+5: 6 fire damage] and [Destroyed]

Another one fell to the flames before it could influence the fight.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

‘Smash it,’ Zero repeated to himself. The mirror was ornate, quite beautifully crafted. Smashing it would be quite a waste of something so delicate, so perfect.

For a moment he faltered, then saw Kireth rushing to his side, the black folds of the mage’s robes casting shadows about him, reminding Zero of the black abomination before them and the gaping portal above. He strengthened his resolve.

Raising the mirror dramatically in the air with his left hand, he paused for effect, gritting his teeth, and then hammered it down with all his might onto the stony floor.

[Zero Strength Check: 1d20+5: 22] - success!

The glass shattered with a shrill scream, littering the floor with shards of sparkling crystal. As the sound echoed around the chamber it was answered by a low grumble from above as the dark, bulbous portal membrane expanded outwards.

Zero started to point a finger towards the growing mass above, but it was too late. There was an almighty boom and the ceiling seemed to explode.

[Exploding Portal]

[Blast 5, centred on H10] with [Damage: 3d6+4: 18]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 27 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 18] and [Push: SW, W] and [Knocked Prone] and [Dazed]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 30 vs Kireth’s Reflex (20+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 18] and [Push: E, SE, E] and [Knocked Prone] and [Dazed]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 32 vs Tradden’s Reflex (21+2)] - critical hit!

[Damage: 22] and [Push: NW, NW, W] and [Knocked Prone] and [Dazed]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 15 vs Zero’s Reflex (21+2)] - misses!

[Half Damage: 9] and [Push: E, SE, E] and [Dazed]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 29 vs Beltak’s Reflex (17+2)] - hits!

[Damage: 18] and [Push: SW, SW, SW] and [Knocked Prone] and [Dazed] and [Bloodied]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 24 vs Flaming Sphere’s Reflex] - hits!

[Push: W, W, SW]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 22 vs Drone #11’s Reflex] - hits!

[Damage: 18] and [Destroyed]

[Blast Attack: 1d20+12: 23 vs Black Abomination’s Reflex] - misses!

[Half Damage: 9] and [Push: W, W, W] and [Dazed]

The blast knocked everyone backwards.

[Khalin: Stand Your Ground]

[Saving Throw vs Forced Movement: 1d20: 20] - success!

[Khalin negates last forced movement (SW) and is not knocked Prone]

The force sent most tumbling end over end, but Khalin managed to stand his ground, his short, sturdy frame helping him withstand the blast. The others, with the exception of Zero, were thrown roughly to the floor, banging their heads and deafened by the sound of the explosion.

The explosion was even enough to catapult to huge abomination into the base of one of the statues, bouncing off and leaving a trail of tar against the floor as it landed awkwardly on the stone steps. Its fellow drone was not so lucky; launched into the northern wall where it splattered against the stone.

Looking upwards, Zero could see that where the black membrane had been was now just the carving of stone, a mouth, The occasional blood drop still fell from its maw, but the portal was gone.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

The priest groaned on the floor. He’d been thrown onto the base of the stone steps, nearly breaking his spine.

[Move: Stand]

It was all he could do to stand, trying to shake off the ringing in his ears.

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20+1: 11] - success!

His mind began to clear as he staggered to his feet, his friends strewn around the room in various states of disarray. However, the priest could not hang onto the thread of the prayer he had been uttering all battle, and the crackling web of radiance that had covered the floor below where the portal used to be faded into nothingness.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin was winded by the blast — warlords wobble but they don’t fall over, however — well, at least the dwarven variety don’t, he thought as he steeled himself against the pain that wracked his body.

[Inspiring Word]

[Khalin spends a Healing Surge and regains 2d6+15: 21 hit points]

Raising his hammer towards the reeling abomination in defiance, the dwarf’s voice echoed off the now-naked ceiling of the chamber: ‘Well done, Zero! Now let’s finish this!’

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20: 20] - critical success!

As strength returned to his limbs his mind cleared, the ringing in his ears from the explosion fading, and his resolve strengthening.

Combat
Tradden Aversward

Tradden lay still on the floor, having been hit particularly hard by the wave of energy from the above.

Beltak’s gaze was momentarily drawn by the odd stillness of the fighter and for a second the cleric feared that his fellow human had not survived the unholy bombardment.

However, Pelor be praised, Tradden’s head slowly turned from facing away to facing towards him, and the dazed look of confusion was at least proof that the fighter was still conscious. By inches, the swordsman stood up, unfolding his long arms and legs awkwardly until he was, sort of, stood up. Clearly he was still very groggy.

[Move: Stand]

He lifted one arm, shakily, and pointed the shortsword it held at the nearby mass of tentacles.

‘Ah, Sandra… the cheese course next, I think!’ he accused at the thing, inexplicably.

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20+1: 18] - success!

Shaking his head, the fighter quickly regained his full senses, however, and began to re-adopt his fighting stance, ready to get back into the fray!

Combat
Black Abomination

The creature’s limbs thrashed around as it tumbled across the chamber. It came to rest between Khalin and Tradden, floating upright, extending tendrils up towards where the portal had been.

There was, of course, only stone, and the creature trembled and vibrated with what Tradden could only guess at either worry or rage.

It lashed out at Khalin, more on instinct than any tactical maneouvre, its black tentacles covering the short distance easily.

[Tendrils of Despair]

[Primary Attack: 1d20+14: 22 vs Khalin’s Reflex (16)] - hits!

[Damage: 4d6+5: 19] and [Slowed until end of next turn]

[Damage reduced to 14 due to psychic resistance]

The tendril slashed across Khalin’s flank, almost sweeping him off his feet.

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20+2: 14] - success!

The thing gained some level of composure; the trembling ceasing and the tendrils starting to unfurl fully.

Combat
Kireth Majere

The stars danced briefly before his eyes as the mage tried to clear his head. Reaching a hand to his crown he could feel the blood beneath his hair where skull had cracked against stone.

The options, though not as clear as usual, did lend themselves to standing. Being a prone target was rarely the optimum position.

[Move: Stand]

As he did so, the mage caught sight of his flaming sphere dissipate and die. He hoped it had done enough.

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20: 10] - success!

The flame may have gone, but the mage was quick to recover his senses.

Combat
Zero Uhlit

His head was ringing from the blast, but somehow he had managed to stay on his feet. Zero took a moment to look around, hoping that everything had simply gone away.

‘Crikey, that thing’s awful,’ Zero exclaimed, trying not to look too hard as he aimed his crossbow with a shaky hand.

[Sly Flourish]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+10: 21] - misses!

His shaking didn’t help his aim — the bolt whistling past the black creature and harmlessly behind.

[Saving Throw vs Dazed: 1d20+1: 9] - failure!

The disappointment of the poor shot did nothing to clear his head, either. He still felt a little confused and dizzy.

Combat
Beltak Ancaron

As one of the first to pick themselves up off the floor, Beltak had managed to get a fair grip of the situation. Whatever Zero had done it had appeared to have worked. The portal had shut and the black monstrousity before them looked weakened. The abomination had, though, managed to slowly wear down Khalin’s defences and the dwarf looked sorely wounded.

[Move: N, N, N]

The scribe moved up next to the dwarf offering words of encouragement as he came.

[Cure Light Wounds]

[Khalin regains 15+4+5: 24 hit points]

[Khalin is no longer Bloodied]

Warmth spread across Khalin’s body as Beltak laid an arm on his shoulder. ‘May the Light of Pelor guide your actions, Khalin,’ the priest intoned.

Combat
Khalin Grundokri

Khalin acknowledged Beltak’s help with a subtle nod — a proper thank you would have to wait till the conclusion of the battle, but that might almost be at hand, thought the warlord as he shifted his body forward, forming a barrier between the abomination and the scribe.

[Shift: NW]

Satisfied that he could take the brunt of another attack, the dwarf struck at the thing once more, hoping to land a fatal blow with his craghammer.

[Melee Basic Attack - Craghammer]

[Primary Attack vs Black Abomination: 1d20+12: 32] - critical hit!

[Damage: 1d10r2+8: 18] plus [2d8: 5 critical damage] plus [1d6: 5 flame bracer fire damage] and [Destroyed]

It was an almighty blow from the warlord, striking the abomination at its central bulk, just as it was recovering from the blast from the portal. The craghammer sank into its oily, black flesh as flame leapt down the dwarf’s bracers to catch alight on the skin.

The creature’s levitation faltered and it crashed onto the stone steps, sliding down, where it lay still, the flame really starting to take hold, and the flesh popping and fizzing. A thick smoke began to rise from its body and the same sweet smell of tobacco began to fill the chamber.

Combat
Completed

CO

[Combat Encounter Completed]

Combat
Short Rest

XP

Healing Surges

Healing Surges are applied.

[Khalin spends 2 healing surges (3 left) to get to 61/61 hit points]

[Kireth spends 2 healing surge (4 left) to get to 52/52 hit points]

[Tradden spends 1 healing surges (7 left) to get to 68/70 hit points]

[Zero spends 1 healing surges (6 left) to get to 60/60 hit points]

[Beltak spends 3 healing surges (2 left) to get to 58/58 hit points]

Encounter Powers

All encounter powers are recharged.

Milestones

Milestones reached, 1 Action Point awarded.

Experience

Experience awarded.

[Khalin gains 1,252 xp to reach 14,729 xp]

[Kireth gains 1,254 xp to reach 14,720 xp]

[Tradden gains 1,251 xp to reach 14,735 xp]

[Zero gains 1,252 xp to reach 14,735 xp]

Levelling

No-one is ready to progress.

Combat
Completed

End

[…continued in Book #01, Chapter #10, Scene #15…]