4 Growfest [5 April]
The Company of Seekers is in Redgorge, having just parlayed with Terseon Skellerang. They discuss their options: A sneak attack on Skellerang and/or the Blue Duke, sabotage of the catapults, or hope that Skellerang will see the sense in their words and call off the attack. In the interest of diplomacy they begin to feel like they should not do anything provocative.
While they sit in the Redhead Miner’s and ponder, two things happen. First, Daisy suddenly pops in beside Ruphus, looking around a bit bewildered. They begin to fill her in on what she’s missed. Secondly, they are paid a visit by two acquaintances: Fario and Fellian are there, and greet the party warmly. They explain that they were asked by Tyro Amberhelm (whom Fellian at one point calls Meerthan) to come to Redgorge and help with its defence. They offer to help the Seekers in whatever way they can.
Once the immediate subject of the impending attack has been discussed thoroughly, the two Striders ask if the party has any information about something else. They tell of another group of adventurers known as the Red Riders who were ambushed on the road to Cauldron by a bunch calling themselves the Necrocants. This group was lead by a handsome man with yellow eyes who wielded a skull capped mace and a shield adorned with a white skull. Only one member of the Red Riders survived the attack. Do the Seekers happen to know anything more about either this incident or the Necrocants? They tell the Striders that this is the first they have heard of either.
Before most of the group goes to bed – hoping for a little rest before what promises to be a busy day – a guard comes rushing into the inn. A blunt-tipped arrow was fired over the wall and discovered by a guardsman. There was a note attached, addressed to the Seekers:
To the Seekers –
I am here, though not because I wish to be, and I will not spill innocent blood. Many of us in the guard feel the same way. But hopefully your meeting earlier today may stop all this. Rumour around the camp is that Skellerang is troubled by the news about Alek. He apparently was overheard saying that if it is confirmed he may have to call off this whole thing. He and Zarn Kyass (the Blue Duke) were heard arguing about it – Kyass wants to push the attack regardless. Let’s hope sanity prevails.
The party surmise that “SK” is their friend Skylar Krewis. If what he says is true, it is encouraging news. They feel a bit better about taking some rest and waiting to see what the dawn will bring.
5 Growfest [6 April]
Shortly before dawn another message is shot over the wall and brought to the Seekers:
To the Seekers –
There was commotion in Skellerang’s tent late last night. When the guards entered they saw the captain lying on the floor with 2 orc axes in his back just before he disappeared (it’s assumed his protected body returned to Cauldron). Kyass is now claiming he’s in charge of the army and we attack at 2 hours after sunrise. I’m hopeful that our lieutenant may order the town guard troops to retreat as she’s now in charge of us. But Kyass and his half-orcs are still dangerous – be careful!
The heroes prepare themselves, not sure now what will happen. Once ready they make their way to the walls and split up. As the sun rises over the distant side of the small mountain upon which Cauldron sits, Enzo steps up on the battlements. Projecting his voice as only a bard can, he addresses the forces arrayed some 500 feet away. He speaks directly to the human troops, urging them to abandon this dishonourable pursuit. He then turns his attention to the half-orcs, imploring them to not follow the alien-looking Blue Duke. His speech is inspiring, but it is difficult to tell from such a distance just what effect it has. A few arrows are shot his way from the half-orcs, and more than a few jeer at his words.
Between losing their captain and Enzo’s speech, something has clearly turned within the Cauldron guard troops. It becomes obvious that they are breaking their camp, and they begin to move back from the walls. At the same time the half-orc forces begin to advance. They start pushing the catapults forward to get them into a better firing range.
The Seekers have waited long enough. Arithil lets loose with a fireball aimed directly at one of the mangonels. The ball of flame erupts around the siege machine, and many of the half-orcs around it are burned to death. The catapult sustains some damage, but it’s hard to tell just how much. Arithil shoots a second fireball into the trebuchet and troops surrounding it. Kaurophon casts his own fireball directly at Zarn Kyass and those around him. That gets the Blue Duke’s attention in a big way.
Kyass and several others around him suddenly disappear, and the next thing the heroes know he is standing right on top of the tower where Kaurophon shot his fireball from. Kaurophon himself is invisible, but Baker is standing beside him, along with two Redgorge militia. The rest of the Seekers are strung out along the battlements, anywhere from 100 to 300 feet away. They begin to close in on the action. Arithil casts haste on those around her to help. Enzo uses his pipes of the sewers to call up a swarm of rats and starts directing them towards the fight.
The Blue Duke is accompanied by two fighters and a cleric. One of the fighters is a large half-orc in half-plate, wielding an orcish double-axe. He lays into Baker while the other fighter attacks one of the town guardsmen. As soon as Kyass is able to act, he moves to one side and casts a blistering cone of cold at Baker, Kaurophon and one of the guards. Baker is sorely injured by the blast, but he remains stalwart.
Note: No one realized it at the time, but Kyass’ cleric cast a Prayer spell which remained in effect for the rest of the battle.
Kyass takes to the air, while the double-axe fighter does his best to take down Baker. Kaurophon remains behind the paladin, hidden by his greater invisibility, and casts various spells on Baker to buff and protect him. Rashid remains on the next tower over, firing away with his flaming bow. Arithil reaches Mott and grabs him and Ruphus and uses dimension door to get up to the battle. They are just in time for the Blue Duke to cast an ice storm on them, but the damage isn’t too bad. Daisy is on the wall just below the tower now, and she casts bless.
It is an intense battle, and the Blue Duke’s spell resistance and regeneration make it difficult to hurt him. But Rashid’s flaming bow is doing steady damage, and a fireball from Kaurophon does manage to burn Kyass badly. In fact, he is considering various escape options when Daisy casts a very timely silence spell in the area around him. Unable to turn invisible or even go gaseous now, Kyass begins to fly away. Two more arrows from Rashid stop him cold however. The Blue Duke begins to fall from the sky, and as he does so his form changes to that of a ten-foot-tall, blue-skinned ogre mage. His body hits the side of the canyon below the town walls, then tumbles into the river.
Fortuna immediately begins making her way down the walls and rocks to retrieve the body. She manages to grab it and secure herself and it to the steep river bank until help can arrive to haul it out. She also manages to snag Kyass’ magic staff before it floats away.
Meanwhile the Blue Duke’s fighter and cleric bodyguard are on their last legs, and it isn’t long before they too lie dead. During this time the town’s militia has been firing arrows and ballista bolts at the half-orcs outside the walls. Arithil sends another fireball towards one of the catapults for good measure. Without the strong leadership of Kyass and many of them lying dead on the field – not to mention any assurance of getting paid properly at this point – the half-orc mercenaries think better of the whole situation and call a retreat. Redgorge has been saved.
As the Seekers descend from the tower, they are greeted by the Foreman of the Chisel, Maavu, and the mayor of the town, who all praise them for their efforts. Once again the party has saved the day and lived up their role as true heroes.
Late in the afternoon, the Seekers are sitting in the Redhead Miner’s discussing the events of the morning. A guard comes rushing in and tells them something else is happening outside the walls. As they arrive on the battlements, the party sees a lone figure standing some distance away. It is a large minotaur, a female by the looks of it. She bellows a challenge:
“Murderers of my Apprentice, the Blue Duke. Come face me on the battlefield or I will tear down its walls and feed upon its helpless people!”
A troop of mounted soldiers, already outside the walls securing the area, begin to form up in order to confront the single Minotaur, while from the gate towers two ballista bolts are fired. The party watches as one massive ballista bolt narrowly sails over the minotaur’s head while the other strikes her directly in the chest, causing her to stumble slightly backwards but otherwise leaving her completely unhurt. The soldiers thunder towards the minotaur with lances poised when the massive minotaur roars, lowers her head and charges directly towards the surprised riders.
The formidable creature plows through the riders sending three soldiers and mounts spinning through the air to land in bloodied heaps up to twenty feet away. Seemingly unfazed, the remaining riders circle the minotaur, flanking her and attempting to hack her to pieces with their swords. Unhindered, the minotaur pulls out an enormous glowing falchion and destroys the troop in a single round, sending horses and riders hurtling through the air in all directions.
With the party now on the walls, along with the Chisel, the Striders and a mass of town troops, the minotaur can see she is vastly outnumbered. She suddenly takes to the air and says: “Next time we meet I will be leading my army which will turn this town to dust after I feast upon your dead flesh!” With that she disappears as suddenly as she came.
Everyone is left to ponder what just happened as they head back down off the walls. For the Seekers there will be little time for investigation or discussion, as they begin an even more mysterious mission in the morning. The Abyss awaits.
[I don’t remember exactly what you identified and what you didn’t, so I’m leaving out the particulars of most things unless I’m sure you know what it is. Note also there are some gems and cash I didn’t mention previously]
Zarn Kyass –
Staff of frost, 13 charges
Large chain shirt, magical
Large greatsword, magical
Large composite longbow, non-magical
Half-orc Cleric –
Pearl of Power 2nd level
Wand of CMW (2d8+4), 26 charges
Purse with 50gp, gems worth 50gp, 100gp, and 150gp
Half-orc Fighter –
Orc double-axe, magical
Composite longbow, non-magical
5 magical arrows
Full plate armor, magical
Purse with 40pp, topaz worth 100gp
The other half-orc fighter was a grunt with no noteworthy items
Staff of Frost – Tipped on either end with a glistening diamond, this rune-covered staff allows use of the following spells:
- Ice storm (1 charge)
- Wall of ice (1 charge)
- Cone of cold (2 charges)
Caster level 10th (Wielder uses their caster level if it’s higher).
DCs for saves is 10 + level of spell (4 or 5) + wielder’s ability modifier + any appropriate feats that might apply (Spell Penetration for instance).