Will Save (Demon, Pious, PfE, Prayer): 1d20 + 11 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 11 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 22
Ary is thankful to be surrounded by so many clerics as they immediately react to the Vrock's spores, cleansing everyone present of the burrowing fungus. She nods to the nearest, just in time to see something above her spark.
No, no, no... Ary thinks as the purple - and some other color she'd never seen before - flames burst into life all around her. There was an arcanist somewhere. "Someone find..." she calls out as she dips low enough for the flames to only slightly singe her hair as she turns her attention back skyward.. only to find a light, ashen snow of what was once a vrock falling all amongst the cathedral, causing her to trail off. Confused, but thankful, Ary darts across the cathedral. "Stop giving away the plot, Val. Though a good choice." Ary calls to the bard, stopping just short of the Glabrezu, standing guard over her allies... just in time for the creature to begin howling once more.
As the coruscating kaleidoscopic lightning arcs all around the creature, striking Ary bodily, it snakes across her armor, which glows with a soft golden warmth, and crackles along a silver sheen on her skin. She grits her teeth, but readies to press the group's advantage.
There was a moment where Hinagiku hesitated, the feeling of approaching victory brought about by the vrocks downfall was momentarily mitigated by the appearance of a strange creature. But, as Hinagiku braces for its charge, she notices its sheen and the tendrils of the ley surrouding it. A breast. A beast brought by Ehren kun.
Taking advantage of the distraction the dynosaur brings, Hinagiku circles around the oni. Though, not before gazing quizzically at Aravashanial; Kyonin’s embassador? Still, there, behind the monster, she jumps from the dais, one foot lifted high above herhead. And, in one quick motion, she lowers it to strike hard on the her foes back.
attack Glabezrou(evil,inspired,hasted,flank, higher ground,prayer): 1d20 + 18 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 18 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 32
dg(evil,inspired,prayer): 1d8 + 7 + 3 + 2 + 2d6 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 7 + 3 + 2 + (1, 5) + 1 = 27
Move, standard to attack
Spinning its enormous, club-like tail with precision, the ankylosaurus strikes hard into the glabrezu. The demon screams, its pincers clacking open and closed as it tenses, waiting for another strike to come once more from the darkness. The next one of course comes from behind. Hinagiku ducks beneath its flailing claws, lashing out as her heel comes down on the glabrezu's back.
Glabrezu fort save (shaken, wounded): 1d20 + 18 - 1 - 2 ⇒ (13) + 18 - 1 - 2 = 28
Book keeping: Ary takes 12 damage from chaos hammer. Ehren destroys one of the vrock's 6 images. Ehren's ankylosaurus deals 25 damage after DR to the glabrezu and 1 bleed. Hinagiku deals 17 damage after DR. The glabrezu is in critical condition
Isilme is up!
Not taking a chance on the Glabrezu regaining sight, Isilme calls upon her innate powers to spray him with a shower of golden slivers which cover him completely.
"I am surprised you have not fled with your tail between your legs yet demon," she taunts him, "Your clever plan seems to have been as well thought out and successful as the last attack on Nerosyan!"
DC 17 Will save or be blinded again, no SR check. Letting Dirge go into lingering performance.
The blinded glabrezu doesn't even register Isilme's glitterdust - it is too busy spinning around to face Hinagiku. "Now! Strike now!" roars Vuere, driving his longsword into the glabrezu's back. Four identical silvery longswords appear along side his blade, striking true at the exact same time before disappearing once more. Jorsal and Holton both start running down the center aisle at the demon, their heavy armor clanking as they strain to move as fast as they can. Meanwhile, the crusaders finish off the babau. Several of the higher ranking crusaders join Jorsal and Holton in their charge, while others help bring down the babau, or move through the pews to engage the dretches. Green, poisonous gas starts to secrete from the dretches, obscuring the back of the cathedral.
Kutholiam Vuere uses Encouraging Roar to add +2 morale to att/dmg as a swift, 5 ft steps, and uses blessed pinions as a std.
Glabrezu Will Save (shaken, critical): 1d20 + 11 - 2 - 3 ⇒ (12) + 11 - 2 - 3 = 18
Kutholiam Vuere vs Glabrezu (roar, inspired, prayer, flank): 1d20 + 10 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 10 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 24
damage (pinions, roar, inspired, prayer): 1d8 + 2 + 2d6 + 2 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 2 + (6, 3) + 2 + 2 + 1 = 24
Book keeping: Vuere deals 24 damage to the glabrezu. The crusaders attack Vrock #1, bringing it down to wounded. The dretches all use stinking cloud, but are attacked by crusaders, bringing them to grazed.
Valaria, Xanderghul, and Ary are up!
Val's lips twitch up into a small smirk. "I just thought that the demons deserved a little reminder what they were in for," she says as the Guardian slams another strike down on the demon. "But I think they've had enough of a show. Let's send these party crashers back to the Abyss." She whirls around and sends her dagger hurtling into the glabrezu's body again.
Attack (Encouraged, Inspired): 1d20 + 16 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 16 + 2 + 2 = 29
Second Attack (Encouraged, Inspired): 1d20 + 11 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 11 + 2 + 2 = 26
Damage (Encouraged, Inspired): 1d4 + 9 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 + 2 = 16
Second Damage (Encouraged, Inspired): 1d4 + 9 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 + 2 = 16
Stepping a bit farther away from the swarms of corpulent dretches, Xanderghul gesticulates carefully and uses one of the simplest and most core spells a wizard learns. From each finger springs a purple bolt of force energy, and each whizzes through the chaotic cathedral, around battling babaus and beseiged Crusaders. The five missiles slam into the the last vrock, the one still battling Lann and Ehren.
Spell Penetration: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Eldritch Breach: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Magic Missile: 5d4 + 5 ⇒ (4, 1, 2, 4, 4) + 5 = 20
Cast magic missile on vrock #1.
With a heavy and meaty thud Valaria's starknife rends through the glabrezu's body, splitting his flesh and exposing bone. The demon topples over, and starts to slowly convulse and dissolve, leaving a dark stain on the marbled floor and carpet. Meanwhile, the magic missiles unerringly find their target, slamming into the vrock over and over. The vrock squawks loudly and angrily, but is quickly overwhelmed by the many knights surrounding it.
It is at that moment that the temple doors fling open, and a small troop of armored crusaders struggle through the stinking cloud, coughing and dry heaving all the way. Everywhere lay the bodies of demons slain, all hissing, bubbling and twitching, their foul forms marring the beauty and sanctity of the Temple of the Empyreal Guardians. As soon as the crusaders emerge, the leader speaks up. He is already bloodied from a battle from outside.
"The Starrise Spire has fallen!" he cries out in a strangled voice.
Following this grave pronouncement, a shocked silence fills the hallowed hall.
Starrise Spire Lore:
Starrise Spire is the grand cathedral of the church of Iomedae, and the center of Mendevian governance. As such, it lays at the exact center of Nerosyan. It is the tallest building in the city, and at its highest spire is a brilliant beacon. It is commonly said as long as the beacon does not fade, Nerosyan shall never fall.
Aravashnial follows the troop out of the gas. He nods, glancing at Isilme first, then Ary. "No. The beacon's light is flickering. It has not fallen. But there are clearly more attacks on Nerosyan than just here at the cathedral. There is smoke in the distance, and panicked civilians in the streets."
Aravashnial can barely finish his comments before the temple fills with shouts, curses, and a babble of suggestions, plans and orders. There are many high ranking crusaders and priests here, and it seems like they all have different ideas of what to do. Without a clear chain of command in place, the temple seems to momentarily dissolve into chaos. It seems that the only one not shouting is Ser Holton Albright. He seems to be mumbling under his breath, a gesture that would make him seem mad to many... but the heroes are acquainted with the message spell and its usefulness in times like this. Finally, he nods, and then takes a deep breath.
"SILENCE!" he booms out into the hall, and the soldiers all go silent. Turning to the soldier who came with such dire news, he inquires. "Speak, son. What did you see? Report. Numbers, types of demon, location."
"Aye... sir... a-a large army marches from the east. N-not as big as the siege but.. many. Lots of teleportin' demons too," As the soldier continues to make his report - a rambling, stuttering one, as he was intimidated to be addressed by such an acclaimed hero as Ser Albright - Kutholiam Vuere strides to each of the heroes in turn. First, to Ary, then to Hinagiku, Isilme, Xanderghul, Valaria, and finally Ehren, who was the furthest away. He simply says in a low voice, "Please, come with me, we don't have much time to waste," and then gestures them to follow him.
Kutholiam leads them into a side chamber away from the temple which clearly serves as his office. There is a small library, and a large, cluttered desk, which is littered with hand-drawn diagrams of demons and notes on their abilities, anatomy, and weaknesses. As the heroes leave the temple, they can hear Ser Albright taking charge and directing soldiers into the city. "Ser Talbot, lead the Vigilant Defenders westward to the bath house to deal with the hezrou, Ser Benedict, choose seven of your best soldiers and secure a safe-house to protect the civilians, Ser Bernar..."
Kutholiam shuts the door behind him. He is quick and to the point. "Heroes of Drezen, you have lived up to your reputation. I owe you my life, and I am thankful for that. Judging by your quick reaction and competence in that battle, you have twice the courage and four times the brains of anyone else in this room," he says dryly. "While I admire the Crusades, I can still admit that there is a time for military protocol and bureaucracy and then there are times like these. We don't have time. If there is any chance of salvaging the situation, we have to act now, before the Demonscope is destroyed and Nerosyan falls."
Noting the blank expressions some of the heroes have in regards to the Demonscope, Kutholiam backtracks a bit. "Ah, forgive me, I forget that such artifacts are not common knowledge. The Demonscope is a scrying device, crafted by hallowed Saint Clydwell during the First Crusade. No demon, no matter how powerful their ability to cloak themselves, nor their aptitude for anti-divinations magiks, can escape the Demonscope's grasp. It is entirely the only reason the demons have never assassinated our dear Crusader-Queen."
"Indeed, the function of the Order of the Holy Sentinels is to stand vigil over it... and to control it. The beacon atop Starrise Spire is connected to the device. Should the demonscope fall, the light will go out. The fact that it has not, yet, means we still have hope... but we must move quickly. It is fortuitous then that this citadel still holds a secret tunnel that connects to the Starrise Spire.... a holdover from when Saint Clydwell himself worked from this very office," he says, then peers at each of the heroes' faces. "Not many know of this tunnel's existence, for what I hope are obvious reasons. But I feel that a small strike force of elite warriors such as yourselves could accomplish much more than a larger group of soldiers could... and much more quickly, too."
He pauses, looking at the heroes expectantly. "I can open the entrance if you are willing to help. And gods help us if you aren't."
Book keeping: Valaria KO's the glabrezu with 32 damage. Xanderghul deals 20 damage to Vrock #1
Combat Ends on Round 4(?)
Will move on once all 6 of you have checked in and at least 3 of you state that you are ready to move forwards.
As the Glabrezu falls, Isilme barely has a chance to react before bad news comes rushing through the door. It certainly made more sense that the demons were trying another assault, this time indirect instead of direct. Saving those in the cathedral was clearly fortuitous now for many reasons, not least of which was that there was apparently a tunnel which could give them swift ingress to the spire.
Bardic Knowledge (Planes) - Loremaster: 20 + 10 = 30
"Yes, the demonscope, I am familiar with it from my visits to Nerosyan long ago. Much was rumored about its capabilities. Without it it is clear that it would be impossible to hold Nerosyan. Hopefully the forbiddance on the spire will buy us some time. If they have managed to negate that, we may not make it in time."
"There is no sense holding back now," Isilme says as she reaches over to Val and enchants her with heroism imbued with her own divine power. She then repeats the process on Hinagiku and Ary. "We should move quickly, show us to the entrance immediately," she adds after finishing.
"Is this place ever not under siege nowadays?" Val deadpans as the shocking pronouncement quickly leads to a panic in the temple until Sir Albright settles the soldiers again. "Well, we sure as hell can't just stand here and wait for the spire to fall. Let's get a move on and find out what's going on. The sooner we stop this, the better for everyone."
Untrained Knowledge (local): 1d20 ⇒ 3
As Ehren watches the glabrezu demon dissolve into ichor, he wonders how and when it could have taken Hrut's place, and what horrible fate must have befallen him. Given the rather dire circumstances, he could only assume the worst. He is given little time to contemplate their friend's absence after the battle, as the temple soon explodes into activity once more. The druid frowns upon witnessing the mass disparity in the room, only fully understanding the severity of the situation when Kutholiam pulls them aside.
"Demonscope..." Ehren mutters, the name sounding somewhat familiar to him. Thinking back to the days preceding the Siege of Drezen, he recalls that Isilme mentioned that Nurah wrote of it in her encoded journal. It had been mentioned again by one of the Second Sword-Knights, when he had brought Ary and Isilme to Nerosyan to report to the Queen. Still, he had not realized that the artifact was so crucial to the city's defense, nor Queen Galfrey's safety.
"If the artifact does as you say, then how did the demons get in?" the archdruid asks. Their involvement in this matter was without question - the crusaders outside had their own roles to play, but this task was likely the key to ensuring Nerosyan's survival. What they needed now was information.
K(Local): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
K(Planes): 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (12) + 18 = 30 I know dis.
Ary's heart skips a beat as it's announced that the Starrise Spire had fallen, only to have the information contradicted immediately by Aravashnial.
"Daisy, do you mind scanning each of us?" Ary asks quietly of the Kitsune as they move into the adjoining chamber. "Since we destroyed the wardstone field, I hazard they get sieged a lot more often." Ary says dryly. She was annoyed with herself at not having noticed what was going on with Hrut, and the knowledge that there was nothing she could do for the Crusader only made it worse.
"How did you force the demon to show itself?" Ary asks as soon as there's a lull, moving to his notes. She was certainly in a hurry, but understanding the capabilities of the man was deeply important.
"We should make preparations along the way. How long will it take to reach the spire?" Ary says, eyes more focused on Vuere's notes and drawings than the man himself, taking in what was written. "We'll need an active daylight spell to help thwart any invidiaks that may have found their way in. I can use my pennon, and we should definitely align weapons in preparation for the battles ahead. We won't have time to do so once the fighting breaks out completely."
She pauses, turning her attention to Ehren, "It points towards any demons that have already breached the walls, and warns directly of those near enough to it."
Book keeping: Isilme casts 3 spells: m.heroism on Valaria, Hinagiku, and Ary.
Kutholiam turns to Ehren. "An astute question. To have penetrated the Starrise Spire so far and so quickly... this was likely not done by demons. I suspect that the dirty work was carried out by mortal cultists. However, as Chevalier Bishop says, certain demonic species can spring into Nerosyan very quickly since the wardstone field fell. But even then, the spire itself is protected from such precision strikes, as Chevalier Isilme notes."
He smiles at Ary. "Oh, goodness, I did not see past the glabrezu's illusion at all. Their disguises are not physical, like a succubus, rather they warp your mental perception of themselves.... distorting even touch and spatial reasoning.... so that they appear as whatever they wish. No, the treachery demon revealed itself at the time it wished to. It is purely thanks to your quick actions that I am alive today."
His smile falters. "The tunnel is 3 miles long. If you run, it will take 30 minutes to get there, but it is a straight shot, unlike navigating the Windings back to the main roads. So, I recommend that you run."
After the battle
Hinagiku straightens up over the bubbling body of the glabrezu, and silently watches the numerous crusaders quickly taken down the onis that had invaded the cathedral. For a moment, she is lost in though, the sound of battle is muffled, her vision expands, and it loses its focus. In that moment, she relaxes, and prepares for what is to come next. And, as expected, a voice asking for help pierces the sound of voices in the cathedral. Vuere.
After promptly following Vuere and the others in the cathedral and after gently smiling at each of her allies, glad they made it mostly unscathed, Hinagiku quickly acquiesces to Ary’s demand and peers into the soul of each and everyone in the room.
”With Mrs. Isilme’s magic, and maybe Mr. Xanderghul’s we could travel quite fast through the tunnel. I also have to agree with Isilme, we should leave as soon as possible. ” she says once she is done gazing at Xanderghul.
Kutholiam's answer raises more questions, such as how cultists might have penetrated the Starrise Spire, to begin with, but they had little time to entertain speculation. Nodding in agreement with the need for haste, once Hinagiku gives the all-clear, he proceeds to cast two spells of his own. The first to ensure that he and his friends have sure footing, and the second to enhance his senses. He then acquiesces to Ary's request, drawing his wand of daylight and tapping it against the rod of the python, turning it into a beacon.
Ehren casts mass feather step and heightened awareness. He uses a charge from his wand to cast daylight.
Kuthoiaim Vuere nods, opening up a door into what appears to be a storage room.
As he helps move the crates and barrels out of the way, he continues talking, "The tunnel is connected to the chapel of Iomedae in Clydwell Keep. The Sunrrise Spire is connected to four garrison keeps, one for each district, which help form the innermost walls around the spire. Once you reach the chapel, you will need to make your way into the bailey, then cross to Clydwell Keep. The basement of Clydwell Keep can lead you to the sanctum of the Demonscope - it is kept underground, and only has two entrances in and out."
"I know that the Demonscope is channeled by the pure virtue of the three knights of the Order of the Holy Sentinels. As long as least one Holy Sentinel still stands, the Demonscope should remain stable. I do not know for how long it could exist while unstable, nor the extent of the damage should it be destroyed." Underneath several dusty barrels is a trapdoor.
"Unfortunately I do not know much more about how the artifact functions," he explains. "Those secrets remain with the solely the Order of the Holy Sentinels, to prevent such knowledge from falling onto enemy ears." He opens the trapdoor, revealing a ladder that leads down into darkness. "I pray that the Lady of Valor will be with you."
Hinagiku uses Detect Evil on the whole party (6 rounds). Meanwhile, Ehren casts mass feather step and heightened awareness and uses a charge from his wand to cast daylight.
I'll give you guys a bit to finalize whatever you wanna do before heading into the tunnel.
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Xanderghul allows himself to relax slightly as the battle turns in their favor and the cathedral is quickly swept of demons. At this point, he was considering never coming anywhere near Nerosyan again. It seemed that the group wasn't able to visit the city without it coming under threat from a demonic invasion.
Still. A demonic invasion was a task just like any other, easily broken into chunks to complete. Luckily, Kutholiam had already assigned one! As the group filters into the small storage room and into the tunnel, Xanderghul casts a few spells upon himself, to prepare for the battles ahead. "Unfortunately," he drawls, "I have no magic available to quickly travel down this tunnel. Is this a situation we expect to be in more often?"
Cast see invisibility, overland flight, and heightened awareness. Ready to go!
As Hinagiku scans everyone, Isilme summons a flute with a snap of her fingers. "A good idea, Hinagiku. This will take a minute, but since we are traveling such a distance, it will save us quite a bit of time," she says. Bringing it to her lips, she begins playing a quick, lively melody, causing the group to feel light of foot.
"Do you have anything available that would further reduce the time to the spire, Xanderghul?" she asks on the off chance he might have something up his sleeve.
"And may my Lady Starsong guide your steps in the coming battle," she says to Kuthoiaim as she prepares to drop into the tunnel.
1 min to cast triple time, but it'll shave reduce the travel time by 25%, so a big net win.
Valaria and Ary can have some more time to decide pre-travel things, but everyone else has checked in so I want to move on.
Book keeping: Xanderghul casts see invisibility, overland flight and heightened awareness. Isilme uses triple time.
The stairs lead into a roughhewn, lichen, and moss-covered tunnel about 20 feet in width. A stream of fast-moving water flows along a natural channel in the rock down the center of the tunnel. Lanterns hang from hooks in the fifteen-foot ceiling, but they have not been lit. Regardless, thanks to radiance and Ehren's magic, the heroes are able to get by. Ever so often they pass by statues of armored warriors standing silent vigil in niches in the wall, their shadowed faces bearing stern and grim expressions.
Around 20 minutes of running later, the heroes see a light in the distance headed their way, with a distinctly humanoid shape at the center of it.
"H-halt! In the name of the-" the young crusader puts down her longsword and gasps in relief. She is visibly wounded, and blood trickles down her face from her helmet. "Oh, thank Iomedae," she gasps out as she sees the heroes come into view. "Where does this tunnel lead? Clydwell Keep is overrun!" She stops, eyes wide as a loud thud - something heavy smacking into wood - reverberates down the tunnel.
"Please, help us. They're going to get in! We have to get away!" she says, desperately.
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Enjoying the use of his magic, Xanderghul takes to simply floating down the tunnel as everyone else runs, the serene breeze created by his passing ruffling his robes. He comes to a soft landing as they arrive at their destination and find the panicked soldier, and waves his hand dismissively. "No," he says, "We are here to help. Stand back, we are going to enter the chapel."
Pointing back the way they came, he says, "This tunnel leads to what was a secure cathedral thirty minutes ago. You may run down the tunnel if you are too afraid to face the foes in Clydwell Keep."
Untrained Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Never one to be more suspicious than the situation warrants, Ehren watches the crusader carefully, considering what the high priest told them about a possible cultist presence within the spire. The dim glow of the ley fills his eyes as he opens his spirit sense, attempting to discern whether the woman is radiating an otherworldly aura.
You detect nothing with your Spirit Sense in that direction.
The woman falters. "I... no, I am not afraid. But Ser Calain said that we would need reinforcements. But...gods, only three of my men remain from my squadron."
She beckons the heroes forward, her pale face illuminated by the light of her sword. "This way, please hurry!"
The tunnel terminates at a wide staircase carved from the stone. The stream flows into a smaller tunnel blocked by an iron grate that allows water through, but little else.
Several dead crusaders lay on the ground in pools of blood, their flesh covered in dozens of wounds. Three more wounded soldiers desperately brace their bodies against a heavy oaken door as something strong batters it from the other side. The enormous door sags with each strike.
Small, inhumanly long clawed fingers emerge from under the door, probing around as if searching for something. One of the crusaders slams the edge of his gore-spattered sword down onto the the probing digits, slicing them off. From the other side of the door comes an otherworldly screech of pain like a chorus of squealing pigs. The severed fingers transform into large bloated maggots, writhing on the ground, which the soldier promptly squashes under his boot. "F+~~!" he exclaims. "Oh, thank the gods," he says as he sees the heroes approach. "Please help! We can't hold it closed for much longer!"
None of Ary's other buffs will outlast (or work as well as) the present buffs. Ary will switch back to 'no aoo' stance. If Ary has additional time, she'll align Faith and Radiance, after aligning Hinagiku.
"I wouldn't move all the way to the other end. It's miles long, and you're better off not knowing where it leads." Ary says, slowing, "But, yes. One of the cathedrals. It's vital to the defense of the Starrise that it exists and does so secretly." She calmly reaches for her scale, moving beside Daisy and placing the scale against her shoulder, aligning the monk to good.
She then moves into the following room, past the Crusader aligning her own arms against evil, and looks around the room for something massively heavy that she can place in front of the door to brace it.
The tunnel's terminus is lined with rough-hewn, mossy walls, but there are no other furnishings to speak of.
"Understood, Commander," the crusader responds. "My men are not in fighting shape. We need to barricade, and fall back."
Book keeping: Ary aligns Hinagiku, Faith, and Radiance.
"I am sure her devotion is true Mr. Xanderghul." laying a gentle hand on the wizard's shoulder.
Then, after a thankful nod to Ary for the scale's power, Hinagiku enters the second room.
"What is this oni that you are facing? Anything we should know before facing it?" Hinagiku asks in a calm voice while simultaneously grabbing her holly symbol and calling upon the power of Irori to heal the crusaders.
channel: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
The crusader captain swallows. "Squad of Brute demons. We managed to fell four of them... at great cost. Two remain."
Brute demons are a colloquial name for Balban demons. They are enormous, pig-like creatures that stand about 12 feet tall. They are extremely large and strong, but also very stupid.
A balban employs simple tactics in battle; smash an opponent, grab an opponent, pound it into pulp, and devour what’s left. Against weaker foes they are likely to employ their ability to cause fear or confuse opponents by shrouding themselves in darkness.
Demonic generals use these creatures in abundance in their armies, relying on the balban’s love for battle, their great strength, and their knack for destroying objects and structures. Balban squads are brutish, hulking, and hard to control. While many demon lords do employ their services, they are deemed highly expendable and are thus only encountered on the front lines of any great battle.
Balbans are highly mobile, able to teleport at will, and can see through basic invisibility spells.
Balbans spend much of their life battling, not necessarily for survival, but simply because they relish the chaos and bloodshed combat brings. Balbans attack any creature they encounter on sight, except those they know are more powerful than themselves. Though lacking in the intelligence department, they do not attack any demonic officer in the service of a demon lord (unless they know the officer is weaker and they can kill him or her and make it look like something else was responsible).
K. Planes: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (18) + 19 = 37
Xanderghul scoffs. "Balbans," he says. "A big, dumb brute. They can see through invisibility, dispel magic with great efficacy, cause fear and evoke darkness."
"They like to grab ahold of their foes and smash them into the walls or floor, which can knock a person senseless if one isn't careful. Keep your feet in a battle with them and don't rely overly on magic and you should be okay. Their hide resists all but holy weapons, but they have no subterfuge or ranged abilities, and they are not too fast. I think trapping them in a pit is a good strategy, and it would also be easy to redirect or distract them."
"Whatever our strategy, we should move fast. We haven't much time."
OOC Strategy advice: Target Reflex, use ranged attacks and crowd control to keep them at bay, align your weapons.
Not having any particular magic talents to put to use or any potions or talismans to activate, Val hovers near the door, ready to get moving and eager to head out before it's too late.
Val listens to Xan's explanation of their foes and nods. "So don't let them grab you and bless your weapons in advance. Sounds a lot simpler than a lot of the demons we have to deal with." She runs her scale along her starknife, infusing it with holy power.
"Val," Isilme says, digging out Soltengrobbe's Lament. "Use this." She tosses the engraved magic instrument carved from the legendary chimera's horn. "I will focus on demoralizing them."
Focusing energy into her starknife, Isilme enchants it again, though the enchantment wasn't yet enough to cut through like a holy weapon would. "I am ready," she says looking to the others.
Arcane Power +2, Ready an action to Dirge of doom once the door opens.
With a mighty crash, the door is ripped off of its hinges as an enormous fist blasts straight through the wood frame. The balban roars, squat, pot-bellied creature that stands about 12 feet tall. It has massive arms, thick legs, and a head like that of a trunkless, tuskless elephant. Four great backward curving horns sprout from behind its coal-black eyes. Its skin is slate gray, with darker areas on its underbelly and back. A violet tongue lolls from its mouth, dribbling saliva and gastric juices. As soon as the door is free, a massive swarm of tiny, fat dretches erupts through the frame, like a foul mass of rodents.
1. Ary (25)
2. Xanderghul (20)
3. Valaria (19)
4. Dretch Swarm (19)
5. Ehren (17)
6. Balban #1 (17)
7. Hinagiku (10)
8. Isilme (9)
9. Balban #2 (7)
10. Lann (7)
Book keeping: Isilme uses Dirge of Doom.
Roll20 map updated
Ary, Xanderghul, and Valaria are up!
Ehren dismisses heightened awareness for a +4 to his initiative, bumping himself to (21).
When the demon finally bursts through the door, for just an instant, time seems to slow to a crawl for Ehren. As Ary makes her move, he hurries into position at the last conceivable moment, watching with a grimace as the horde of dretches comes pouring into the tunnel. Just as his heightened senses start to fade, the archdruid draws on the ambient ley energy in the ground and in the air, focusing it into the tips of his fingers.
Tossing his hand out, Ehren unleashes a arc of energy that pierces through the swarm of dretches. Just as it is about to make contact with the balban demon, the crown on his brow shimmers, momentarily increasing the spell's intensity before it fizzles away with a light crackle.
Ehren casts ley energy bolt (Reflex DC 19).
CL vs. Balban Demon #2 SR (Legendary Surge): 1d20 + 9 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 9 + (2) = 19
Ley Energy Damage: 9d6 ⇒ (2, 4, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5, 4, 2) = 32 48 vs. dretches, save to halve.
Xanderghul's body tenses up, and he begins to pull shadowstuff from the Plane of Shadows and fashion it into anti-matter: that is, the reverse of matter. Speaking words of magic that relate to darkness and unreality, Xanderghul flattens his palms and places them against one another, and then extends a finger and a thumb. He slides his palms against one another diagonally until his fingers form a square. Summoning this antimatter into the Material world, Xanderghul causes the ground to open up in between the balbans. The illusory hole assaults the demons' resistance to magic, and the ground around it seems to slope, threatening to topple the demons into it.
Cast shadow conjuration to duplicate spiked pit. I have drawn a blue square on Roll20 to show where the pit is.
Resilient Illusions (Balban 1): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Resilient Illusions (Balban 1): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Resilient Illusions (Balban 2): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Resilient Illusions (Balban 2): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Resilient Illusions (Dretches): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Resilient Illusions (Dretches): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Spell Penetration (Balban 1): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Spell Penetration (Balban 1): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Spell Penetration (Balban 2): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Spell Penetration (Balban 2): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Spell Penetration (Dretches): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Spell Penetration (Dretches): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Balban 1 makes a DC 27 Will save to disbelieve, Balban 2's save is DC 22, the dretch swarm's save is DC 27.
After the disbelief save, they make a DC 20 Reflex save to avoid falling into the pit and taking 6d6 damage. Climbing the pit is DC 20, and it is 40ft. deep. Disbelief makes the pit 8 feet deep and the damage 2d6/5.
The dretch swarm should take 50% extra damage from the pit, if I'm not mistaken.
I don't know if there's more than one dretch swarm, please roll for me if there is.
Ary shares Favored Enemy v. Balban #1, and uses Kill the Wounded on it, for a total of +2 to hit and +2+2d6 damage. She activates Intruder's End as a swift action to limit enemy movement and allow the Crusaders to retreat freely, and her allies to position freely.
Kill the Wounded and Bull v. Balban #1 (Demon, Caped Crusader): 1d20 + 15 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 15 + 4 + 4 = 38
Faith Damage (Demon, Caped Crusader): 1d4 + 7 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 4 + 4 = 17
As soon as the wall bursts open, Ary steps in, slamming her shield towards the creature. Though she was out of breath, striking while the iron was hot was absolutely essential. Faith whips outwards, slamming into the creature's arm unerringly and threatening to send it spinning away. "Bring each one down quickly! This one first!" Ary calls to the others as golden motes pour out of her. "I have your retreat covered, move to safety!"
Ary's lumbering blow lands with great force sending the demon reeling...
Your perception of these events varies based on whether or not you can see Xanderghul's pit for what it is.
... the balban stumbles, and falls into the pit, just as the other falls right on top of it. Comically, the pit is not even large enough to hold both balbans, let alone all of the dretches that fall onto them next, but so powerful is Xanderghul's magic upon their minds that they are unable to see their situation for what it truly is.
...it goes flying right into the nigh-bottomless pit that Xanderghul had opened up beneath the balban's feet. The next balban slides into it soon afterwards, followed by a mass of scampering dretches.
The dretches that remain are next blasted with an arc of pure ley energy, killing nearly half of those that had not already fallen into the pit.
Bull Rush vs Balban #2: 1d20 + 15 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 15 + 4 + 4 = 32
Balban #1 Will Save disbelief (shaken): 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 - 2 = 10
Balban #2 Will Save disbelief: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23
Dretch Swarm Will Save disbelief (shaken): 1d20 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (15) + 3 - 2 = 16
Balban #1 Reflex Save (shaken): 1d20 + 5 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 5 - 2 = 6
Balban #2 Reflex Save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Dretch Reflex Save (shaken): 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (16) - 2 = 14
Pit damage vs Balban #1: 6d6 - 10 ⇒ (1, 3, 1, 2, 4, 2) - 10 = 3
Pit damage vs Balban #2: 6d6 - 10 ⇒ (4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 6) - 10 = 8
Pit damage vs Dretches: 6d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 6, 2, 2, 4) = 21 31 damage
Book keeping: Ary deals 17 damage to Balban #1. Xanderghul makes a fake-pit, and Balban #1, Balban #2, and a bunch of dretches fall into it. All creatures that fell into the pit are prone. The fall deals 3 damage to Balban #1, 8 damage to Balban #2 and 31 damage to the dretches (the dretches are grazed). Ehren then deals 44 damage to the dretches leaving them wounded.
Valaria is up!
Val can't help chuckling to herself as the ground literally vanishes below the demons and they tumble downward into the pit. Even if it's another of Xanderghul's illusions, it still looks like a scene out of a particularly ridiculous comedy. She starts up another chant to focus herself as she slashes at the dretch swarm around them to thin them out so the crusaders can flee and they can move on to dealing with the balbans.
Will Save: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Attack (Inspired): 1d20 + 16 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 16 + 2 = 28
Damage (Inspired): 1d4 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 = 14
Activating inspired courage and making a melee attack
Will(m.hero): 1d20 + 16 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 16 + 4 = 29
Hinagiku looks at the balbans for a moment, truly impressed at the powers of the others, not only had Xanderghul caused all of them to pile on into one spot, Ehren had shot right through them with powerful magic.
However, there was still an issue... time.
"Mr. Xanderghul, is there anyway for all of us to bypass them?"
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Xanderghul feels a flash of pride as Valaria chuckles at the scene he had made. Truly, he was a master, capable of making the correct tactical move also seem like comedic gold.
"Yes," he says to Hinagiku, "We kill them. They'll crawl out, but the pit will make this all easier if we can pin them in that corner."
Will Save: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (1) + 14 = 15
Momentarily blinded by the flash of his own spell, Ehren blinks a few times to get the spots out of his eyes, and then raises a brow when he notices that most of the demons have fallen down a bottomless pit. Normally he wound chalk this down to one of Xanderghul's illusions, but these days, it is rather difficult to tell one way or the other.
"Xanderghul is right. The only way forward is through them... and we do not want any of them going back the way we came."
Valaria cuts down dretches left and right as they scurry past her in their haste to get away from the spiked pit. They erupt out into the main tunnel in a heaving, writhing mass. Green, stinking vapor starts to ooze out from their skin, filling the tunnel with the sulfurous odor of rotten eggs. Once safely hidden in the green fog, the dretches start to indiscriminately bite and claw at whatever body parts they come across.
Dretch Swarm damage vs Ary: 3d4 + 3 ⇒ (3, 1, 4) + 3 = 11 5 damage due to Wounded
Dretch Swarm damage vs Valaria: 3d4 + 3 ⇒ (4, 3, 3) + 3 = 13 6 damage due to Wounded
Book keeping: Valaria has mythic heroism active, so she deals 18 damage to the dretches. Ary takes 5 damage from the dretches, Valaria takes 6 damage from the dretches.
Ary and Valaria are entitled to AoOs vs the dretches as they move through their threatened squares. Ary's AoO is at an automatic 100% damage increase due to Intruder's End.
Ary, Valaria, Xanderghul, and Ehren must succeed at a DC 13 Fort Save or become nauseated until they leave the cloud for 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 rounds.
Isilme is up!
Val covers her mouth with her free hand as the dretches release their choking fumes and swings out at the demons as they swarm by.
Fort Save (Heroism): 1d20 + 10 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 10 + 4 = 20
AoO (Inspired, Heroism): 1d20 + 16 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 16 + 2 + 4 = 33
Damage (Inspired, Heroism): 1d4 + 9 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 9 + 2 + 4 = 19
"Coming back the way we came, or coming up behind us later," she says, partially reiterating and adding to Ehren's point.
"ابتهج ، أيها الشياطين ، ستعود إلى منزلك قريبًا بنفس طريقة Eustoyriax و الكذب شيطان نصف البديهة التي دمرناها للتو," she calls out to the host of dretches and balban demons impeding their progress, using her bardic magic again to drive doubt into their minds. As she does, Isilme wades into the swarm of dretches alongside Valaria, dancing between the grotesque demonic forms with her starknife leading the way.
Fort Save: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Attack(Inspired,Arcane Pool): 1d20 + 13 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 13 + 2 + 2 = 22
Damage(Inspired, Arcane Pool): 1d4 + 7 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 2 + 2 = 12
Reminder: Starknife is +4 atm, which counts for bypassing everything but alignment
Will Save vs Xanderlusion: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
I suppose I can put a translation since Kiora bugged me about it :p
Isilme cuts through the small, fat demons inside the smelly fog.
The towering balban demon suddenly materializes near Lann, outside of the fog!
Book keeping: Isilme deals 12 damage to the dretches and Valaria deals 19 damage to them. The dretches are in critical condition.
Hinagiku is up!
Will Save v. Xanderpit: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
Attack of Opportunity and Bull Rush v. Poor Dretches (Demon, Caped Crusader, Inspired): 1d20 + 15 + 4 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 15 + 4 + 4 + 2 = 40
Fort Save v. Dretches (Demon): 1d20 + 10 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 10 + 3 = 32
Faith Damage v. Dretches (Demon, Caped Crusader, Inspired): 1d4 + 7 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 1d4 + 7 + 4 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 4 + 4 + 2 + (2) + 7 + 4 + 4 + 2 = 37 Much Murder.
Ary purses her lips as all of her foes immediately escape her reach via falling into a giant pit... though thankfully, she was far enough away not to need to worry about falling in, herself. Then, just as suddenly, everything turns green as the dretches begin to clamber out. She flickers in place, going through the motions of toppling dretch after dretch as they attempt to pour out and gain prize on her and her allies, repeatedly raining blows upon them with Faith.
Hinagiku doesn’t have time to nod in response to Xanderghul, as a thick fog quickly spreads across the room. She’s about to rush into it to help her companions when she notices the balban demon appearing next to Lann.
”One of the big onis appeared right here.” she says, quickly dodging one of its fists and closing in with it. And, calling upon the the pure serenity within her, she imbues her fists with holy power and strikes at its ribs, right under its still extended arm.
acrobatic(m.hero,belt)s: 1d20 + 18 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 18 + 4 + 4 = 40
attack(inspired,m.heor,evil,smite): 1d20 + 16 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 16 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 4 = 46
dg(inspired,m.hero,evil,smitex2): 1d8 + 7 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 2 + 4 + 2 + (3, 3) + 4 = 27
Move with acrobatics 10 feets, smite as swift, standard to attack. Will use reposition if it attacks Lann.
Fortitude Save: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Ehren's face wrinkles as the stinking cloud fills his nostrils, but fortunately (or unfortunately), his time spent in the Worldwound has given him a certain tolerance to vile and disgusting things.
A multitude of Arys suddenly appear in place of each of the golden motes, finishing off each and every last one of the foul little demons.
Hinagiku delivers a well-placed strike into the demon's ribcage, the force of it reverberating through her body...
The other balban suddenly appears outside of the fog, right next to Xanderghul!
Book keeping: Ary kills the dretch swarm with her AoO, dealing 37 damage. Hinagiku deals 27 damage to Balban #1, grazing it.
Lann, Ary, Ehren, Xanderghul, Valaria and Isilme are up!
Faith and Bull Rush (Demon, Inspired, Caped Crusader): 1d20 + 15 + 4 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 15 + 4 + 2 + 4 = 33
Faith Damage (Demon, Inspired, Caped Crusader): 1d4 + 7 + 4 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 4 + 2 + 4 = 19
Ary moves swiftly through the fog towards the sound of her ally's voice, using the the obfuscation to guard her movement from her foes, unable to see what is where until she finally steps out of the cloud directly beside the kitsune monk. As soon as she steps out she immediately sees both creatures flanking her ally. She immediately pivots, driving her shield between themselves and the one that was already wounded from her and her ally's strikes. She then lunges towards the creature, her strike overcompensating slightly. "Both are here!" she says, pushing past the still-cloying vapors to speak.
Fortitude (DC 13): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Xanderghul had been dealing with dretches literally since the day he was born, which also was literally more than ten thousand years ago. Their noxious smoke was nothing to him, much like the old "teleport behind you and kill you" trick every single demon did. He pivots around to face the balban that had teleported behind him and plunges a hand into the pouch at his belt. When he withdraws it, a multicolored hue of sand cascades from it. He raises the sand up and, when he tosses it, the sand becomes a bright flash of multicolored light that envelops the balban.
Then, he steps back, further into the dretch smoke.
Spell Penetration: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Eldritch Breach: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Sacred Geometry: 5d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 4, 3, 5) = 22 [3rd-level constant: (6*3) + 5 + (4-4) = 23]
Xanderghul casts persistent color spray (defensively) at balban #2. It makes two DC 17 Will saves to avoid becoming stunned for 1 round.
Concentration (DC 17): 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (4) + 17 = 21