The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
Encounter #61 T3: The Shrine of Vecna.
Click on the Links to see the Monster Stat cards.
Norker Slinger (Artillery 3) x2
Enigma of Vecna (Controller 6) x2
Norker Berserker (Elite Brute 4)
Bronze Warder (Elite Soldier 7)
Human ex-Mage of Saruun- Paldemar (Elite Artillery 11)
Encounter Level 10- 2700 XP
Godsday, 4th of Readying, 2000.
And so the guys teleport into the finale, which turns out to be a small chamber, again with pillars and with three possible exits- north, east and west- all unadorned doors. Winstanley takes a moment to listen at each door, the Halfling can hear nothing to the east and west, and a muffled something to the north. As quietly as he can, after checking for locks and traps, the stealthy Halfling takes a peek through the door ahead.
A minute or so later all of the members of the adventuring party have taken it in turns to spy into the chamber to the north- a huge chapel dedicated to some foul deity. The guys figure this is the end game, although they have yet to identify any enemies- save for a pair of Norkers, and what must be another Enigma of Vecna, in the chapel ahead.
Surprise is the key element the guys venture, and moments later- on the count of five, the gang burst into the chapel. The place is something from a nightmare, dimly lit it contains an iron statue of a cloaked skeletal figure, a huge mosaic of a hand clutching an eye on the floor behind the statue, and further back a great idol shaped like a giant skull with one huge black eye in the right eye-socket. The room is illuminated by crystal pillars which stretch to the shadowy ceiling, each pillar is translucent containing glowing red striations.
Winstanley is first into action, a Sly Flourish- at long range, and what a hit- the lone Enigma of Vecna loses an eye to the Halfling’s magical dagger (a crit), it’s bloodied in an instant and claws at its skin on its face, revealing its Horrific Visage.
As well as the Enigma there are three Norkers present- two of the humanoids are Slingers, the third clutches a pair of nasty looking flails- this guy is a drooling Berserker. Grey fires a Magic Missile into the nearest Norker Slinger, the other adventurers spill into the chamber and start screaming- battle is joined.
Winstanley scurries forward and launches another Sly Flourish, the Norker Slinger wounded by Grey’s Magic Missile suddenly sags- its bloodied. Kaspard follows the Halfling forward and en route conjures her three glowing appendages- her Radiant Hands- the badly injured Norker Slinger has to grab at a pillar to stay on its feet, the Norker Barbarian also suffers radiant burns but looks much less impressed, and totally unconcerned.
Norker Slinger- Taking a beating.
The screeching Enigma of Vecna leaps at Phrenic and attempts to Rend the Warlord’s Flesh, the Tiefling only just manages to keep the foul fiend at bay.
Suddenly a robed figure clutching a staff, a Human, appears within the chamber- at the far end close to the huge skull idol- ‘Paldemar’ all of the players proclaim in chorus. Less than second later the evil and twisted ex-Mage of Saruun fires his Shock Sphere into the midst of the adventurers- that’s all of them except for Grey. All four are frazzled by the Wizard’s lightning…
And the players are now officially scared- first up the attack hit all of them, that’s not right- and they’re fairly certain (they saw one of my dice rolls) that Paldemar is at least + 14 to hit, and the attack was against Reflex. Secondly the hit delivered 20+ lightning damage to each of them (the damage roll was actually 3d6+11). They don’t like Paldemar- its official.
Grey steps into the chamber and unlimbers his Wand of Icy Rays, alas Paldemar proves to be a much too dexterous target, the Norker Berserker however is swathed in ice and left grunting and immobilised. At which point a ray of flame shouts from the skull idol’s one good eye and engulfs Winstanley, seconds later the Halfling is also struck by a Norker sling bullet- he’s bloodied. The second Norker Slinger seems to straighten slightly, its wounds are healing thanks to its Relentless Endurance, it fires a sling bullet into Phrenic- the Warlord is now also bloodied.
Dirty screams and Cometfall Charges at Paldemar, the Dwarf rushes as fast as he can but when he gets to his target Paldemar is gone- the Dwarf Fighter is subject to the evil Wizard’s Pluck the Mind’s Eye power. Dirty flails and his maul connects, a solid hit but not the terrible blow it could have been- the invisible (to Dirty only) Paldemar is however hurt.
Phrenic continues to fight off the crazed Enigma of Vecna- he slashes the beast with his Leaf on the Wind attack, all the while whispering Inspiring Words that only he can hear, the Tiefling soon forgets his wounds. Winstanley meantime is not entirely sure what Dirty is doing, the Halfling can see Paldemar as plain as day- the Rogue spins out a dagger and cuts the Wizard.
Enigma of Vecna- Bringing new meaning to the term ‘face off’.
Kaspard strides further into the chamber, head bowed the Priestess is praying, a moment later her Beacon of Hope sings out and leaves Paldemar weakened, in the same moment the servant of Bahamut’s colleagues are healed by her holy prayer. The Priestess however is not done, seconds later she fires a Searing Light into the now cringing Paldemar, burning the evil Wizard with her radiant power (a crit), the ex-Mage of Saruun is also blind; moments later a small golden glowing dragon appears- Kaspard’s Spirit of Healing.
Paldemar straightens- grins at Kaspard, and then disappears.
Just a note to say I allowed Paldemar to teleport about a bit because, well… he was getting his arse kicked. The Wizard reappears back in his bedchamber.
Grey conjures his Flaming Sphere, while scouring the chamber for any sign of Paldemar, in lieu of the Wizard the already wounded Norker Slinger is badly scorched by the mage’s ball of flame.
At which point a door to the south east is wrenched open and striding into the chamber comes yet another Bronze Warder, of course we have to stop for a short break at this point to work through the various recriminations (not smashing the machine), and the inevitable ‘I told you so’s’ that follow.
Nothing happens for a moment, and then everything happens at once.
The badly injured Norker Slinger screams and is entirely consumed by Grey’s Flaming Sphere; Dirty turns around and smashes his maul into the Norker Berserker’s back- the things snarls and Bites in Rebuke, but Dirty is too quick- and again, and again- the Berserker flails twice more at the Dwarf with its, well… flail.
Norker Berserker- Flailing with its flails- makes sense.
Phrenic cuts the Enigma of Vecna before him, this time with his Steel Monsoon attack (its on 1 hit point), and then screams at Dirty to smash the Norker, a Commander’s Strike- the Dwarf obliges and hammers the Berserker, who still doesn’t look that concerned about the beating its taking.
“Where’d he go?” Screams Winstanley, and then in an effort to answer his own question the Halfling scurries over to the only closed door exiting the chapel- its locked, less than five seconds later the Halfling is in (the door is DC 30 to open because of Paldemar’s Arcane Lock ritual- Winstanley rolls… a 30- it’s as simple as that). Winstanley grins, skitters into the chamber ahead- a Wizard’s bedroom, and spins out a dagger with a Sly Flourish- Paldemar screams as he bleeds, The Rogue’s grinning face peers back into the chamber.
“Found ’im.” The Halfling declares.
Kaspard sustains her dragon-shaped Spirit of Healing and then follows Winstanley through to Paldemar’s bedchamber- the Wizard is shortly after swathed in the Priestesses Sacred Flames. Back in the chapel the Enigma of Vecna finally stops screaming- another victim of Grey’s Flaming Sphere.
Back in the bedroom Paldemar babbles in anger and suddenly Kaspard is bereft of her powers, the Wizard Plunders the Mind’s Vault (can’t use daily or encounter powers). While Kaspard gawps the evil Wizard rushes on, through the eastern door and into the small chamber with the teleporting circle.
Back again in the chapel there’s still the small matter of a Norker Slinger and a Barbarian, and also another bloody Bronze Warder- the guys are going to be busy. Grey trundles his Flaming Sphere over and slams it into the Norker Berserker- the ferocious humanoid screams in pain as it burns. The Bronze Warder lurches forward and smashes first Phrenic, and then Grey to the floor- it’s on a Rampage, the massive automaton follows up with an Axe Sweep- Phrenic avoids the blow, Grey is less fortunate- and yet at the last moment the Wizard suddenly disappears. Grey reappears as far away as he can get from the terrifying Bronze minotaur, courtesy of his Wizard’s Escape.
The eye in the skull idol sends out another fiery ray, Dirty is briefly burnt however his Black Iron armour prevents most of the hurt. The Dwarf nods at Phrenic-
“Hold the fort, I’ll be back.” Which for Dirty is pretty much a soliloquy- he’s not usually that loquacious. The Dwarf rushes off- leaping over the Norker Barbarian’s flail, and then ducking under the Bronze Warders greataxe- the Fighter is in pursuit of Paldemar.
The Dwarf rushes through the bedchamber and then with Winstanley and Kaspard pointing the way follows on and chases his enemy down- he Charges, and then… at the last moment- just as Dirty is about to smash the evil Wizard… Paldemar is gone- and again Dirty is subject to Paldemar’s Pluck the Mind’s Eye power, the mage is again effectively invisible to the Dwarf.
Dave, who plays Dirty, wails and swears (quite a lot) in anger- this is the second time he’s been caught out by this particular wheeze. Dave, that is- Dirty, rolls- he rolls a ‘20’, of course, why wouldn’t he, bound to…
Paldemar screams in agony as Dirty’s maul bursts into flame signalling the critical hit.
The Norker Berserker moves off- into Paldemar’s bedchamber in an effort to save its screaming master- alas Paldemar is not at home and so the small but heavily muscled humanoid wails on Winstanley- only the Halfling’s Second Chance saves the Rogue from a thorough beating.
Dirty in the meantime is screaming “he’s in here”, as he continues to battle Paldemar, Phrenic dives to his feet- rushes past the Bronze Warder- and gets cut by its greataxe in the process, the Tiefling is not stopping however. He Charges to Dirty’s side and cuts Paldemar with his longsword (remember only Dirty can’t see Paldemar), Grey decides not to stay in the chapel with the Norker Slinger and the Bronze Walker- he follows after Phrenic.
Winstanley uses his Bait & Switch attack to drag the Norker Berserker back out of the action, the Halfling is also healed by Kaspard’s Spirit of Healing, the Berserker is however left bloodied and breathing hard.
Bronze Warder- The guys mostly ignore the 8 foot tall automaton.
Paldemar struggles to find room to cast his spells, he manages at last to get out of Dirty’s reach- the evil Wizard launches his Lightning Bolt- Dirty, Phrenic (with a crit) and Grey are all caught in the crackling storm, the Tiefling is left bloodied. Paldemar grins, and then tries again, this time with another Shock Sphere- the same three adventurers are caught in the burst- Dirty and Grey are now also bloodied, while Phrenic leans heavily on a pillar- its the only thing keeping him upright.
Things get worse.
The Bronze Warder lurches forward and smashes its way into the smaller chamber- which is getting very busy, at present it contains Paldemar, the Bronze Warder, Grey, Phrenic and Dirty. The Bronze Warder is again on the Rampage- and again Phrenic is knocked to the floor- the automaton follows up with an Axe Sweep which Phrenic miraculously avoids- the construct’s greataxe instead thumps into Dirty, the Dwarf however is Unbreakable.
The Norker Slinger appears in the doorway to Paldemar’s bedchamber, a second later a sling bullet thunks into the side of Winstanley’s head.
Dirty in the meantime grits his teeth and gets his Second Wind and then delivers a Brute Strike to Paldemar-
“This ends!” The Dwarf declares, and then rolls another f**king ‘20’.
With the extra fire damage from Dirty’s +2 Flaming Maul the Dwarf inflicts 55 points of damage to Paldemar- yeah, that’s right- the big bad guy is dead.
We break from the game for five or so minutes while the DM takes a moment to go on a Rampage all of his very own.
Human Ex-Mage of Saruun- Paldemar- Bloody critical bloody hits…
After a while the players stop laughing at me… where was I, so unprofessional.
Phrenic scrambles to his feet, while muttering Inspiring Words that again only he can hear, the Warlord issues a Commander’s Strike to Dirty- the Dwarf duly dings the Bronze Warder with his maul.
Back in the bedchamber Winstanley performs his Perfect Feint and then buries his magical dagger in the Norker Berserker’s back- the ferocious beast flops to the floor dead- Kaspard’s Spirit of Healing refreshes the Halfing once more, his wounds are now entirely healed.
Just the Bronze Warder and a Norker Slinger to slay, and we’re going to go to the end because this is only the second encounter of the session- and besides its the last one of the adventure. Kaspard heats the Warder with her Sacred Flame- the Priestess is still subject to Paldemar’s Plunder the Mind’s Vault power (still unable to use daily or encounter powers).
The Norker Slinger backpedals into the chapel, en route it fires out another sling bullet, which smacks into Kaspard.
Phrenic meantime joins up with Dirty, the Tiefling Leads the Attack and cuts a swathe through the Bronze Warder’s metal armour skin- the Warlord calls his allies in for the kill. Winstanley is quickly on the scene, and then with a Blinding Barrage- and with only one target to hit the Rogue thumps a dagger into the Warder’s metal skull- straight between the eyes, the automaton flails- badly hurt and blinded. Grey’s Fire Shroud surges and the blind Bronze Warder is burnt, the only enemy in Grey’s vision. The Warder lurches and flails with its greataxe, and somehow manages to connect, although only a glancing blow to Dirty.
Kaspard meanwhile moves after the Norker Slinger, back into the chapel, the Priestess swathes the creature in her Sacred Flame- the last Norker is bloodied, it staggers. The Slinger continues to move back, fires again and catches Kaspard a second time with its sling, seconds later the fiery ray bursts from the skull idol’s eye and now Kaspard is staggering and bloodied.
Back with Bronze Warder, Dirty smashes the automaton again with his Steel Serpent Strike and then moves a little away from the action. Phrenic steps up and with a Directed Attacks stabs the Warder once more, the Tiefling calls the Dwarf to attack. Dirty Charges and smashes the Warder yet again (with his third crit), the Bronze Warder is bloodied and almost broken.
Winstanley scurries to the spot behind the Warder and then with a Positioning Strike drags the great automaton out of the doorway and back into the chapel. Kaspard hits the metal beast with another Sacred Flame, and then mutters Healing Words- after at last managing to throw off Paldemar’s mind-influencing effect. The Priestess forgets the sting of her wounds.
Grey’s Magic Missile slams into the Bronze Warder, it totters and sways, Dirty rushes in and swings with a Reaping Strike- alas only a glancing blow, the glory goes to Phrenic who with a Viper’s Strike finally skewers the huge metal beast. The Bronze Warder falls.
Kaspard goes to offer the Norker Slinger the easy way out, the creature ignores the Priestess and fires out another sling bullet which thumps into Kaspard’s shoulder, a second later Kaspard is caught again in the skull idol’s fire ray.
“Kill it!” The normally peaceable Kaspard screams, and points at the last Norker.
There follows a Sly Flourish courtesy of Winstanley, a Sacred Flame from Kaspard, and then finally a Magic Missile from Grey.
The last Norker falls.
The room goes silent as I tell the guys that they have done it, all that is left is to clear up and collect their rewards.
The players are wreathed in smiles, and the beer begins to flow.