And after a month long break we are back.
We jumped right into the action quickly as the bugbear horde streamed through the wall and deployed into battle formations. The Mitrans brought up their forces as quickly as the could to stop the invasion. In an attempt to slow down the the bugbear advance, the Mitran cavalry advanced a head of the main force, the middle forming a "V" shape to mow down the opposition. The 9th Knot met the center and with the use of a Fireball killed most of the advancing horses making their riders much less effective.
The sacrifice of the horsemen gave the archers time to get into position as well as the main force of infantry to advance. The PCs took the first bridge but quickly found their position under fire from the archers. The wizard Dimension Doored the party in behind the archers and the slaughter was swift. With Archery command dead the remaining archers withdrew into the main body.
The bugbears continue to hack their way through the Mitran infantry until an ancient Dwarven call went up and a Dwarven Thane, their priestess and several nobles began to turn back the horde single handedly. Again the 9th Know DDoored into the fray and dispatched the annoying Dwarves.
With only a few moments to catch their breath further trouble was spotted on their left flank. Acolytes of the Serene Order were pressing them hard and so the 9th Knot rushed over to provide assistance. The monks proved to be trouble for the Asmodean archer cleric as they kept deflecting the arrows. They had no such defense against the Bloodrager and he cut them down with his few remaining rounds of BloodRage.
Only the final bridge - SaintsBridge lay now between the force of Bugbears and the town of Sanctum. The bugbears continued to cut down the remaining forces of the Mitrans and advanced upon the bridge. The initial wave was cut down by the bridges defenders - two shield archons. The bugbears backed away allowing the villains to do their thing. The 9th Knot opened with a Dismissal and took out one of the Archons at the start of the fight. The remaining shield archon proved to be quite tough. The PCs had largely exhausted their resources by this point since they had first cleared the watchtower and then acted as the tip of the spear for the advancing bugbear horde. The bridge was now clear and only a single figure guarded the far end of the bridge.
The Mitran commander had watched the 9th Knot advance, and was ready for them. He buffed himself and met the party head on. Fully buffed, the commander was a towering giant of Justice. His glowing glaive hacked and hewed through the villains until they were finally forced to retreat back to the bugbear horde. They consumed what little healing resources they had remaining, and Sergent the halfling was hellbent on vengeance and approached alone the Mitran commander. By this point most of commanders buffs had faded and the two of them slugged it out with the halfling the eventual victor.
A day of slaughter followed and once the battle rage had subsided the villains took stock of what remainined. The bugbear forces had suffered about 50% losses but there were no enemy combatant survivors. About 2000 civilians had been captured, and a good deal of treasure had been looted. At a council meeting the 9th Knot instructed the Headtakers (Tribe of Bugbears) to begin torturing the survivors to discover what could be learned. With that completed all survivors would have their heads removed and stacked in the middle of town - a gory message for the Mitrans to find come spring.
They learned a few things. There really is a phoenix on top of the mountain. The three flames can be found on top of the mountain, in the middle of the garden (Labyrinth), and in the cathedral. Some bugbear went down the river towards the cathedral looking for loot and never came back.
With a weeks rest the villains decided to go after the Mountain of the Phoenix first. The wizard was able to scry the area but all attempts to teleport in failed. Attempts to fly up to the top of the mountain failed as well. The third day had them scale the mountain the old fashion way. It was a long but not an overly difficult climb.
They first reached a temple that was guarded by a flaming woman. Since the 9th Know was expecting a phoenix they were well warded against fire and many of her attacks had little effect. She hacked up a few of the PCs but was force to jump into one of the large flames in the temple and retreat. The party did not waste much time rushing up the stairs to the top of the mountain were the sacred flame waited.
The flaming woman was waiting for them at the top almost fully healed. She stepped into the flames as it healed her while she battle the PCs. Things were complicated for the 9th as a screech echoed across the mountain as the Phoenix took flight. While the Fighter and the Bloodrager tried to cut down the Peri faster than she could heal, the Phoenix began doing flyby attacks against the remaining PCs. The wizard cleverly stopped the first pass with a Wall of Force but was grabbed on its second pass and dumped in the lake.
In the meantime, the Bloodrager managed to score a critical hit and dispatch the Peri. The halfling spotted another path down the far side of the mountain and ran to investigate. He found the Phoenix's nest and threaten the Phoenix's egg. In return for its egg the Phoenix promised to leave the valley and to never return. It apologized to Ara Mathra as it flew away after revealing to the 9th how to extinguish the sacred flame.
They put out the flame and ended a game night that stretched long into overtime but one in which I think everyone had a good time - even those players whose PCs that I had pretty much killed.
Witch: Day 20
21 hours ago