Sangkip Morale VS DC 15: 1d20 + 2 - 3 ⇒ (5) + 2 - 3 = 4
Dretch vs Sangkip: 1d20 + 7 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 7 + 4 + 4 = 18
Horror vs Sangkip: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 7 + 4 = 15
Dretch Morale vs Taunt: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Horror vs Alrik: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 7 + 4 = 28
The mammoth riders charge into the fray with reckless abandon! For the first time in days, they find themselves not fighting alone, and eager for a chance to let their aggression out, go straight for the stitched horrors that have been dogging their steps for those same restless days.
The dwarves and Taldans quickly follow suit, but it is the kelids that meet the incoming hoard of dretches first... and soon realize that they might have overestimated their advantage.
The clouds of poisonous fumes from the demons seem especially dense, but in the dim light, the mammoths and their riders do not realize it in time, until they have lumbered into the thick of it. Within moments, the kelids and the great shaggy beast they ride are in trouble. Riders fall from the backs of their mounts, unable to hold onto the reins as muscles sieze, or keep themselves conscious. Mammoths, stumble, and fall to their knees, unable to take in the thick gasses.
Mammoth Riders take 18 points of damage. Putting them at 35/39 hp's... which is less then their ACR, moving them in to 'Route' range
Realizing how much trouble they are suddenly in, Sangkip calls for the kelids to retreat, in hopes of regrouping... but the enemy does not let up for a second. Scores of dretches, almost unseen in the fog and dim light, slash at bellies and tendons, and anything other flesh they can reach. The kelids still almost get clear, until the stitched horrors arrive. Using the dretches and the gasses as cover, Thurl's abominations suddenly appear directly in the path of the kelid's retreats... and those few who made it that far, are quickly torn apart.
Mammoth Riders take 4 and 1 damage from the parting shots... and are defeated
It seems as if only seconds have passed, and a large part of the Pathfinder's advantage is gone!
The Taldan's and dwarves hit the hoards with practiced precision. So focused on the elusive kelids, the demons leave themselves far too exposed, and the pikemen barrel into them from one side, while the mounted troops charge in from the flank. Within minutes, there are few if any demons left at all, most of them trod into the dirt, or impaled on cold steel.
Purple dretch army defeated
But the stitched horrors are not so easily routed, as they close in from the side, laying into the slower moving dwarven pikemen with heavy fists and misshapen claws, the air suddenly filled with the terrifying howls of anguish of Thurl's creations.
The dwarven pikmen will take 13 points of damage.
Alrik, you will need to make a DC 17 morale check, or you can't make an offense check next phase (due to fear effect... so bravery bonus will apply).
-- Engagement: Jormurdun, Day 16 (strategy/tactics/combat), Round 2 --
Floria (army of exploration) (-10)
Alrik (dwarven pikemen) (-13)
mammoth riders, defeated)
stitched horrors (-14)
Floria and Alrik still active!
Morale check pending from Alrik
Having finished with the dretches, Alrik and his dwarves shrug off the effects of the unearthly screams and turn their attention to the source of the sonic irritation.
Morale Check: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 5 + 1 = 21
Charge! (S:Aggressive + T:Taunt): 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 7 + 2 = 14
Man, Alrik and his dwarves need some training. Their attack rolls have all been terrible. Last 5 rolls have been 8 or lower.
"Let's finish these horrors off! For Taldor! For Princess Eutropia!"
Keeping everything the same, Strategy: Aggressive, Tactic: Cavalry Experts
attack, aggressive, CE, low-light, glory hound: 1d20 + 11 + 2 + 2 - 1 - 2 ⇒ (11) + 11 + 2 + 2 - 1 - 2 = 23
Ya, the low attack rolls have not been helping you Alrik. Though, the enemy has been so aggressive, at least you've been doing some damage.
horror vs Alrik, brutal: 1d20 + 7 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 7 + 4 - 2 = 26
The dwarves easily fend off the fearful effects of Thurl's abominations, but mounting an effective counterattack proves difficult! Try as they might, the relentless attack of the constructs overwhelms them before they can really get set up. The brutal onslaught quickly overwhelms them, the sounds of mortally wounded dwarves only barely rising above the howls of their attackers.
Dwarven Pikemen will take 11 points of damage. Putting them into Route territory.
But the creature's focus allows the Taldan's to run relatively free. They turn their mounts into the stitched horrors with gusto, weapons chopping at patchwork demonflesh wherever they can see it.
Many of the horrors fall beneath their attacks. Though it is not enough to keep the dwarves from getting decimated, it does keep them from being crushed entirely, and gives Alrik a chance to pull his troops back, before it is too late to recover at all.
But if they can't get free of the fray, it won't be enough.
-- Engagement: Jormurdun, Day 16 (strategy/tactics/combat), Round 3 --
Floria (army of exploration) (-10)
Alrik (dwarven pikemen, routed?) (-24)
Sangkip (mammoth riders, defeated)
stitched horrors (-28)
Floria still active, Alrik has a slim chance of escaping intact...
Morale check pending from Alrik (vs Fear)
Morale check pending from Alrik (vs Rout)
Failing the first means no offense check in round 3... failing the second means you have to flee, and you have to survive the parting shot.
And Floria, you never use your Challenge ability. Might want to now
Oh I hadn't realised I had that. I was clearly saving it for dramatic effect
Floria watches with horror as her allies fall all over the battlefield, torn asunder by the obscene appendages of the abominations. She finds herself holding a sword that she doesn't remember picking up, and certainly doesn't know how to use, but she stifles the laugh at the absurdity.
Instead, seeing a momentary lull in the battle, she calls to her troops around her.
"TALDANS! FORM UP!"
While they struggle to get their horses under control, she speaks to them.
"Who launched the Shining Crusade to safeguard the realms of the living?"
The beleaguered warriors answer half-heartedly.
"When their god died, who still believed?"
She holds her sword aloft. "And sho's going to send these monsters back to the abyss?"
Finally, pointing the sword awkwardly, she issues the final command.
attack, aggressive, CE, low-light, glory hound, challenge: 1d20 + 11 + 2 + 2 - 1 - 2 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 11 + 2 + 2 - 1 - 2 + 2 = 32
Horror AoO vs Alrik: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 4 = 12
Horror vs Floria: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 7 + 4 = 24
Although he tries, Alrik is unable to maintain his troops morale, and any sense of discipline quickly disappears, as those dwarves still able to, try to get away from the relentless abominations that assault them.
The stitched constructs quickly move to chase down those that flee, but run smack dab into the Taldan Army of Exploration... hell bent on bringing glory to their country, and Princess Eutropia.
Heh. Damned things rolled a 1 on their freebie attack. The dwarves will manage to escape combat!
Floria seems to have figured out how to motivate them, standing unsteadily in the stirrups of her assigned mount, she manages a rousing speech, no one even noticing how out of her element she is horseback.
With a cry that echoes across the dried planes, the Taldans bear down on the remaining stitched horrors, barreling into them with the force of thousands of years of history behind them!
They demonic abominations don't stand a chance. Their misshapen limbs, and mismatched claws, attempt to quell the charge, but the Taldan's are not to be stopped. Glory will be theirs! Those that try to fight back are torn asunder, by weapon and zeal. Those that try to flee, are quickly chased down and crushed, beneath hoof and historical pride.
Stiched Horrors defeated
In short order, the last remaining forces standing between the Pathfinders and the Wolfcrags are vanquished. Those few that managed to escape the various skirmishes more interested in retreating to the mountains, than continuing the fight.
Combat, Second Engagement, and Mass Combat Section Over!
As news travels back down the line, there is much rejoicing... though a great deal of somber reflection as well. That path has not been without its casualties. The kelid troops are mostly gone. Only twenty five or so of them to start with, barely a handful remain, among those lost, the chief's son.
The dwarves and Crusaders have suffered heavy losses as well, hundreds of souls giving their lives to secure the way ahead.
Over the next few days, the various armies catch up to the front line forces, the Army of the Open Road quickly trying to assemble their troops before forging ahead to Jormurdun. Making haste so the enemy can not have time to regroup or fortify whatever forces they have remaining.
Back to more regularly scheduled adventuring
Over the next couple of days, as the Army of the Open Road regroups, and deals with those who have fallen, much preparation goes on for the final foray up to Jormurdun.
Both Kara and Huni are approached by leaders of the other Mendevian troops, and presented with a token of their esteem, for their efforts thus far. The fate of Kara's cavalry they appear to accept as due course when battling the forces of the Abyss. Her, and their, valiant efforts were all that matters.
The token turns out to be a long silvery banner. A flag, intended to be mounted atop a lance or polearm. It bears the symbol of Iomedae and Mendev... though not done in that countries usual colors. Instead all the threads and symbols are stitched in silver.
For those keeping track at home, it is a Knight's Pennon of Battle
On the second day, Ollysta Zadrian herself rides into the newly setup temporary camp, from further up the valley. While you have been clearing the worst of the demonic forces, an advanced team had worked their way further into the hills, towards the Sky Citadel, to see what opposition awaited there. Those forces were led by Ollysta.
She spends some time talking to the commanders of some of the other units, than calls together the six of you, for a more focused discussion.
Although her armor, and weapons are impeccable... she herself is still painted in dried blood and dirt from what must have been many skirmishes. She gives you a grim smile, then pulls out a large map, marked on some sort of cured leather.
"Always end up in the thick of things, with you lot." She observes dryly. "Though after Ghalcor's Tower, this has seemed a great deal more manageable, so far."
She rolls out the map on the remains of a long dead stump. It appears to cover the immediate region, with a number of lines drawn up into the hills, towards the Wolfcrags.
"Marcos has begun the final push against what remains of Tancred and Thurl's forces." She grimaces slightly at the mention of the two.
"Thanks to your troops' efforts breaking the demonic armies in the area, Farabellus is now intent on crushing whatever remaining forces the traitor has left. They all seem to be falling back into the Wolfcrags... here." She indicates a section on the map further north towards Jormurdun.
"Unfortunately, things are never quite that simple." She adds, with a slight frown. "Normally demons are far too chaotic for this sort of long term engagement... but it would appear they have a leader to complicate matters. Their warlord, if you will."
She points to a section further to the west, at the base of the mountains, where a faint skull outline has been drawn. "He is a half-fiend named Brae-Hagen, and he has pulled back to a secure bunker here... from which he is overseeing his remaining forces."
"The Warmaster sent me to let you know of its location. An ominous structure carved, with claws and teeth, out of the mountain itself. It now fills the entire side of a cliff, just over here"
"While most of Brae-Hagen's forces are engaged with the Army of the Open Road, in the valley below. Marcus wants you to slip in through a series of passages in the hills here, that should lead to the top of the cliff, where the entrance to the bunker is situated." She traces a faint line with one finger to indicate the route. "We expect there will be some defenders left there, most likely some of his elite troops, but intelligence suggests that the demonic warlord runs a fairly sparse command center otherwise, so if you can get past the guard, you should have little resistance inside, beyond the half-fiend himself."
She looks up at the blood red sun in the sky, today seemingly ringed by a black cloud.
"I can't stay much longer, Farabellus wants me to join back up with him for the final push." She glances at you, as she puts her helm back on her head. "If you have any questions, ask them now."
"Do we know anything about these elite forces or Brae-Hagen himself? Forewarned is forearmed as they say"
Alessio zones in and out during the discourse. His thinking goes back to decisions made on the field. His training has always forced him to put decisions behind him but maybe civilian life has softened him a bit. He wearily answers the call for more questions, What is the guard comprised of? Demons we've seen?
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"From what we've been able to glean, Brae-Hagen himself is as close to nobility as one can get, within the Worldwound. We've been hearing his name for years. He is apparently the offspring of Teremthal himself, a mighty balor slain by Society agents during the Siege of Nerosyan. You may have seen the aftereffects of his death during that battle."
And indeed you did!
"Ever since the Siege, Brae-Hagen has lost considerable standing, without Teremthal to scare off rivals." She snorts slightly. "I can only assume he's thrown in with Thurl and Tancred in hopes of gaining some of that back... though leading the armies of two corrupted mortals seems unlikely to impress any of those fiendish powers that might care about such things. He might also just be holding a bit of a grudge versus Pathfinders in general."
"As to what forces he might have held back for defense of the bunker, we know very little." Ollysta replies with a frown, unhappy that she can't better answer that question. "We are just assuming their will be something in the first place. There has been little opportunity to scout it out further... we only just located him there."
After missing every significant battle, Huni feels truly undeserving of the gift bestowed upon him. He humbly takes the banner and wonders how he will make use of it.
Seriously, can someone use the banner?"
"Yes. Together." Huni agrees with Alessio.
Floria replies to Ollysta's comment about the grudge against Pathfinders.
"Some of us are holding a grudge against demons in general Ma'am. We'll take care of this warlord"
|Kara Saint-Germaine SF|
And there shall be vengeance for those lost.
"Very well." Ollysta replies, as she picks up the rest of her gear. "We can't afford to tip off Brae-Hagen by sending a larger force, so it will be up to you. Good luck."
She nods, then quickly heads out. You note that she left you the map.
Within the hour, the Army of the Open Road is on the move again, through the foothills, towards the base of the Wolfcrags. On the second day, those same foothills soon give way to valleys and chasms. Winding paths leading through the increasingly vertical terrain.
Word eventually comes back of opposition ahead, perhaps half a day out, and the news quickly spreads among the troops of upcoming combat.
It isn't till you are nearly there, that you finally see the markings indicating the secret trail to the top of the cliff you've been following for the better part of the afternoon.
As instructed, you quickly make your way to it, an start the long winding ascent upwards.
The army keeps going, few even realizing you've split off. You have a great view of your forces as they continue onwards, and as you near the top of the trail, you get glimpses of the amassed forces awaiting them... a dark mass further along the canyon.
The trail eventually lets out at the top, nearly a hundred and fifty feet above the canyon floor, and you continue from there, following the canyon, and the army far below towards the bunker.
When it does eventually come into view, bunker is the last word that comes to mind. A grim edifice, nearly a hundred feet high itself, has been carved into the side of the cliff in the shape of a massive demonic skull. Huge horns rise from its brow, going upwards to the top off the cliff, curving backwards where you can see them embedded in the ground. They are made of metal, and as you get nearer, look more like massive pipes. You also note the demons jaw seems to open and close from time to time. It is a bit alarming at first, but again, as you grow nearer, from the top of the cliff, you realize that it appears to be operating on some sort of mechanical apparatus.
You've not reached the bunker yet, when the Pathfinder army finally engage the enemy forces, the specific sounds of battle little more than dull roar from so far above. You can see the fighting far below.
Eventually, you get close enough to the upper part of the bunker, to get a sense of what awaits you. Two steely arches sweep back from the edge of the cliff, what you realize are the upper ends of the 'horns' coming out of the skull.
You also see a large number of guards, protecting what appears to be a large metal trapdoor between the metallic arches. Almost forty of them, humanoid creatures with misshapen limbs, some with obvious demonic features, and many other variations. Tieflings!
One group of them stands in formation around the trapdoor, while a second group, roams from one side to the other. They do not appear to be wearing armor, though the group near the trapdoor are all wearing matching dark robe-like garments. Both groups are armed, with crossbows and blades.
OK, though there are lots of them, the scenario is also the first one to utilize the 'Troop' subtype. So really, there are just the two 'creatures'.
You also realize that there is little to no cover to get to the bunker itself, just massive open terrain, dried and cracked.
Not going to jump immediately to combat. Figure you guys would at least get a view of what's there from a ways off first.
Alessio dismounts his horse and kneels to get a better look at the arch and patrolling tiefling. Let's get that patrol when it strays to the edge of the perimeter. We won't want to take both units at once.
|Kara Saint-Germaine SF|
Not seeing enemies on the map. Are they there yet?
Kara discreetly moves away to cast Mage Armor (from wand), Protection Vs. Evil (from Wayfinder), Expeditious Retreat (from wand), and Gravity Bow, then silently signals her readiness to proceed.
Wand of Mage Armor (+4 AC, 2 hours) 40/50
Wand of Expeditious Retreat 49/50
I think Create Pit could be useful here, perhaps on the farthest away group of Troops.
She finds the best rock to hide behind that she can, and ensures that her crossbow is loaded and ready.
Oh, haven't really created the map yet, they don't give me much to work with beyond where the entrance is.
Think of each troop as a 20x20 shapeable swarm. One currently surrounding the trapdoor, the other walking back and forth just outside the horns (about 40' from the first)
Also remember you're in the higher tier
"Once you're ready, I'll creep up invisi-style on 'em. When a bunch of 'em start screaming that can be the signal. Or uh, just give me 30 seconds from when I vanish"
Alessio watches as the guards converge too often to split them up. I wouldn't stray too far, Sangkip. We don't want to lose you in the throng. I'll begin bombing when they get in range.
Alessio pops the top on two vials. He consumes one and drinks the other only to spit it back in the vial it came from.
Alchemical Allocation to drink a potion of Heroism, CL 5, with Extend Potion for 100 minute duration.
Floria digs around in her pack and produces a scroll.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
Hopefully that is enough for her to remember Tiefling energy resistances
"I won't be much use against so many I'm afraid. Alessio your bombs will probably be our best hope, but remember that tieflings are usually resistant to fire. I have this scroll which could make you fly, you could rain down bombs on them, but if they have bows or the like it might be worse for you..."
They all have crossbows... (yes, swarms with ranged options... it can get ugly =)
And tieflings fall under knowledge (planes), not local... which makes your total even higher =) You will know pretty much everything of note
Floria, you encountered troops similar to these in Silvershore. Though they are typical of their kind, as far as resistances go (fire/cold/electricity 5), as well as the ability to create darkness at will, if you get enough of them working in concert, they have a number of other options they can use. One of those involves pooling their magic from their abyssal heritage to create walls of flame, though they must keep them close by.
But more importantly, you know that if they all start firing their crossbows at once, it can be quite deadly.
You will also recognize the robes worn by the stationary tieflings as indicating their being the more elite guardians, as compared to the patrolling ones, who are apparently not quite as well trained.
The black bordered one is an elite troop, the red bordered one just a regular troop.
Otherwise, you will know everything about the troop subtype, and tieflings in general
"Flying might not be such a good idea now I think of it, they seem to have lots of crossbows. These tiefling mobs kept on summoning walls of fire while we were in Silvershore, let me see if I can help with that"
She then draws her scroll with the remaining resist energy (communal) communal on it and casts it on everyone, excluding herself.
10 minutes of resist fire 10 for everyone except for her
She then casts shield on herself and draws her crossbow.
Other than activating his Wand of Longstrider, Alrik doesnt have anything in the way of preparation, AOE abilities or anything else that might be relevant.
Can he Take 10 on UMD because no combat (yet). If not,
UMD WoLS: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
|Kara Saint-Germaine SF|
Kara's first act in combat, simultaneous with Sangkip's Vanishing, is to use her own wand of Vanish, and move away from Floria to force the soldiers to split their counterattacks.