The assault on the Agathium continued in our latest session. After retreating at the end of the last game, they rested, leveled up, and were ready to go again.
This time the Agathium seemed to block any manner of teleporting or etherealness. For some reason there was great reluctance to go in through the front door (I was hoping they come crashing in through the stained glass windows) so they disintegrated a fairly large hole at the mack of the cathedral and entered that way.
They encountered the Frost Giant Queen Ellisif, who didn't seem all that concerned that the 9th Knot had murdered her husband. She made a bargain with them. If they win she will gain some influence in their new kingdom (a spot on their ruling council) and they will do what they can to protect her Frost Giants that have come south. In return she provided them with a map of the lower level and some intel on its occupants. The PCs accepted the deal and made their way to one of the stairs leading to the lower level.
The plan was the same as it was against the dragon Eirmanthus. Rush him and kill him before he has a chance to summon allies. The PCs buffed up and everyone had Fly. They raced through the lower level, going past some "Deathknights" before entering Cardinal Thorn's throne room. Initiative was rolled, and the PCs rushed him and killed him on the first blow. It seems it was a decoy and the entire room was trapped. Cube of force appeared trapping the PC and then subjecting them to force blades inside. Most of the PCs dodged the Cubes as they appeared and only the wizard was trapped. He dodged the first round of the blades attacking him and then disintegrated the cube allowing himself to escape.
The PCs fled the room and waited in the hall for the Deathknights to catch up. They didn't arrive as expected and the PCs were watching their buffs run down. A couple minutes later, the Anti-paladin Wolfram arrived leading all of the Deathknights that were present in the Agathium (some were out patrolling for the PCs). The battle was long but not overly dangerous to the PCs. They managed to block the hallway and were only being attacked from a single direction so they squishier people in the back were safe.
Their next stop was Grigori the wizard. As suggested by Ellisif, they approached diplomatically and through some decent roleplaying and excellent rolling they managed to turn the unhappy Necromancer helpful. Grigori was no longer so thrilled to be working for Thorn and as long as the PCs left him in peace and allowed to continue to work on "the machine" then he would reveal Thorn's location.
The 9th Knot located the secret door and moved into the secret section of the lower complex. They decided to head straight for the throne room and attack. Cardinal Thorn was waiting for them there and after a short monologue the battle began. Thorn was not alone as it first appeared and the wizard quickly realized that Tiadora and 6 barbed devils were present. The barbed devils used Hold person and Scorching Ray, Tiadora grappled with Gorbatch to keep him from killing Thorn in 2 rounds. However Sergent was very effective at preventing Thorn from casting his spells and was immune to Thorns physical attacks. Thorn died, Tiadora surrendered and the Devils returned to Hell. I think it was a fairly challenging battle but none of the PCs were in any real danger of dying.
With the death of Thorn Book 5 is effectively done. The PCs are now in control. There are a few clean-up issues to deal with but I think some of that can be dealt with by email and we'll be ready for Book 6.
Book 6 is an interesting beast. The first section of the book deals with completing Thorn's plan, which for 18th levels heroes, should be a piece of cake. The middle section of the book is almost all roleplaying and a lot of work for me to get set up.
I predict only another 3 play sessions unless there are parts a head that take much longer than I expect. Depending on what the PCs do it might only be 2. I am already looking at the ending and trying to decide how to run it to make sure that it is tough enough. Should Good or Evil win?
Another awesome Guardians poster design
3 days ago