The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
Sunday, 2nd of Readying, 2000.
The adventurers enter the second test, and blimey, that’s not what they wanted to see!
The guys are perched on a stone island, a sea of blood before them, two huge statues of Minotaurs- the creatures armed with long barbed whips. At the far end of the chamber are two more stone islands, hovering just above each are the two components that together make the blade the guys are searching for.
The entrance to the chamber, when the guys look again, is sealed- replaced with a solid wall of stone. Just to note Mr. Grumpy, Dirty’s Dire Boar is parked outside of the chamber- the beast has fallen out of favour.
The guys stop and watch for a while- just to see what happens.
The player’s conversation, at this point in time, goes a little like this-
“It’s a trap.”
“And the blood hurts.”
“And there’s probably something bad in it.”
“Stands to reason.”
Yep, that’s where we’re at- the immersion bubble has well and truly burst, and that’s not for the want of trying on my behalf… I described the chamber using all of the fantasy style tropes- and yet the guys were less than impressed.
Eventually Paul (Winstanley) is chosen as the sacrifice.
Winstanley tries to jump over to the first Statue- he fails spectacularly, and guess what- the statue pivots at great speed and lashes out- Dirty, Grey, Phrenic and of course Winstanley are stung by its whip- furthermore they’re all slid closer to the blood, and also knocked to the floor.
The statue continues to lash, although the guys have all since taken evasive action, they’re lying on the ground, or else hunkered down behind their shields, or in Grey’s case squatting behind the smaller minotaur statue back at the start. I rule that each of the guys is employing total defence.
Winstanley in the meantime makes it to the statue and in a matter of thirty seconds, and without a single failure, the first statue is deactivated- at which point (yeah, I know- I should have moved these guys in earlier) the first Carnage Demon climbs out of the blood and begins wailing on Dirty.
Don’t ask me why I didn’t attack the Halfling stuck on his own and gripping on to the pivoting minotaur statue as if his life depended upon it- I botched this encounter right from the beginning.
Demon Evistro- Bloody annoying.
Dirty smashes the Evistro with a Crushing Blow, Grey thumps the Demon with his quarterstaff (he can’t get out of its range- the guys are all choked on the first stone island), while Kaspard bathes the thing in her Daunting Light- its bloodied but decides to stick around to see if it can drag one of the adventurers into the scarlet sea, it doesn’t- mystery over.
Dirty hits it again with his Reaping Strike, Winstanley follows up with a Sly Flourish, while Kaspard wreathes it in her Sacred Flame- the Demon is toast, it collapses dead.
Moments later Winstanley leaps back onto the first island- back to his friends, as I already stated the first Minotaur Statue has been deactivated.
As for the second… Grey and most of the guys open up with Missiles- both Magical and mundane, it takes a while but eventually the second Minotaur Statue is reduced to rubble. See- I/they/we broke the encounter.
Minotaur Bloodtaker Statue- Reduced to rubble.
There are two more Evistro hidden within the blood but what the heck- I’ve missed my opportunity- if I get them out of the blood now then the guys will just smash them down in seconds…
A little while after Dirty and Phrenic wade out into the bloody liquid- which of course acts like a poison, however both of the guys have enough resistance to make the effect no more than a minor inconvenience. Back on the island at the start the other guys- Kaspard, Grey and Winstanley, are ready to launch spells or missile at the first viable target.
Dirty and Phrenic emerge from the blood and onto the central reservation, and take a moment to size up the task ahead, they’ll do the furthest item first- the pair wade back in to the blood again. Dirty leads the way and is of course attacked en route by both of the remaining Carnage Demons, although the Dwarf is only Clawed once. Seconds later one of the Demons is hit by Grey’s Magic Missile, and then by Kaspard’s crossbow attack (a crit)- that’s pretty mad, Kaspard has never used her crossbow before- it was pretty much factory-sealed until this encounter.
Phrenic lances the Demon with his Sunder Armour attack, the thing is left exposed, particularly to Phrenic’s follow up attack- a Leaf on the Wind which leaves the it badly wounded and out of position.
Seconds later the creature is hit again by another of Grey’s Magic Missile, and more surprisingly- another of Kaspard’s crossbow attacks (and another crit)- the Evistro is bloodied. The creature regenerates and Claws at Phrenic, the Tiefling is sliced and cut- the other Demon meanwhile fails to find a gap in Dirty’s defences.
The Dwarf takes a step away from the Demons and then calls them over for a beating with his Come & Get It attack- both Demons take a whack- Phrenic shuffles forward into a flanking position but fails to land his attack.
Grey and Kaspard repeat their trick (Kaspard rolled a ‘19’, not quite, but still a hit) the first Demon screams and wails- then Claws at Dirty, the Dwarf replies in kind and smashes it dead. The second Demon continues the fight- Dirty is Clawed again and this time bloodied. The Dwarf is unconcerned- he smashes the Demon with a Steel Serpent Strike and then for good measure gets his Second Wind. Phrenic takes a step back and issues Dirty with a Commander’s Strike- the Dwarf smashes the Demon again, moments later Grey’s Magic Missile strikes the fiend and its bloodied.
Less than twenty seconds later, and in much the same fashion, the last Demon is taken apart- the now bloodied, and bloody pair- Phrenic and Dirty collect both halves of the dagger and then head back to their comrades and safety, Phrenic has to incant a few Inspiring Words en route but the job is done and the second test is easily passed.
Of course it should have never have played out this way- I messed up big time, but the guys were not having any of it- content, at the beginning, to suffer the Minotaur’s lash rather than stand and fight, and in the process be dragged into the blood. I could have rescued the encounter of course by just having the Evistro climb up and wail on Winstanley- that would have spurred the guys into action… but I didn’t, I don’t have any excuses- or even a reason why, I just didn’t see, or else take, the opportunity.
My really bad- this was a bad session, don’t worry it’ll all be over soon.