Journal Posts

Tag: boss_battle

How many giants does it take to defeat us? More than this, apparently.
I had a bad feeling about taking the invitation to the Ice Queen's lair. That said, the time for stealth had clearly passed - may as well confront her before spending any more of our strength. The bad feeling grew as we discovered how many of her followers were close to hand in her throne room.

It didn't appear that we had anything to negotiate about, so I led the fight off with a roar - two roars, specifically, as I turned Peck and Aramil into Tyrant Lizards. The Ice Queen didn't seem to appreciate the evening of the odds, because she followed up with a word of death. As I slipped from consciousness, I could feel the Polymorph spell dropping.

I found out later that the party had responded to that first with a Fire Wall by Varis, to begin softening up and hindering our foes. The rest of the group then targeted the Queen with a focused assault, followed by a Sleep spell by Miri - only just powerful enough to take hold after the beating she had taken. This gave Peck the opportunity to administer the Coup de Gras, finishing her off.

Rather than surrender, the remaining giants continued the attack. To keep it out of their hands, the Queen's Orb was picked up first by Oscar, who narrowly avoided domination by the device. Miri then took it off his hands, and was able to firmly resist it. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no time to Attune with the device and make use of it now (too bad - my impression is that the giants were only barely keeping their dragon 'pets' under control even with the Orb).

The rest of the party engaged the remaining giants, with mixed results. Anton and Theron each caught a group of them with Lightning spells, but the giants ganged up on Anton and Oscar... managing to bring both of them down. With the giants clear of his Fire Wall, Varis switched to a Blade Barrier just above our heads - weakening our foes further and giving us cover.

It was at this point that my journey on to the afterlife was interrupted by Varis' Revivify spell. Noticing that he had also saved Oscar with a Healing Word, I responded with another T-Rex Polymorph for both of us. We rejoined the fight with renewed vigor, and Oscar was able to take down one of the giants after a brief scrape with the Blade Barrier. Peck was able to save Anton with a healing spell.

Theron put up a Sphere of Force around himself - knocking the giants away and killing one by knocking it into the Blade Barrier. The giants retaliated, taking Anton out again, but Varis incinerated one with a Flame Strike and revived Anton with a Healing Word. Peck and Miri's wounds forced them to hide, while Oscar continued his prehistoric rampage - killing two giants.

Anton served up another helping of Lightning, and Theron traded his Force Sphere for an Air Elemental to distract one of the giants. Aramil protected himself with a Blink spell, and slew a giant which was harassing Anton. The remaining giants rallied again - knocking down Anton and nearly doing the same to me (I changed forms at the last moment, and protected myself with a Shield spell). Miri healed Anton, and the Air Elemental engulfed a giant.

Varis wounded several giants with a Radiant Dawn, and I bolstered the party with a Mass Cure Wounds - followed by a Spiritual Weapon to pressure one of the giants. Peck sniped giants from hiding, killing one, and Oscar continued his fight with two of them before being knocked down and out of Dino form. Anton was finally able to disengage and hide, and Theron tossed more Lightning.

At this point, the tide of the battle turned entirely in our favor. Miri continued healing the party, saving Oscar... while the Air Elemental finished off a giant. Varis used his last Radiant Dawn to blast the life out of another, while I cast another Mass Cure Wounds. The last three giants were slain by Oscar, Anton, and Theron. I think I missed a giant or two in all of that, but what a fight!

We all stopped to catch our breath - our thoughts turning immediately to escape. Theron informed us that he had kept back one teleportation circle - he just needs a minute uninterrupted to cast it. I suggested we quickly loot the bodies, and then pile them up in the doorways to buy us time. I'm temped to see what treasure we could find here, but I think we have little time to spare for it.
Session: Frost hall of death! - Wednesday, Jan 10 2018 from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM
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Out of the Dragon's maw... into another's !?!
So we can add 'Dragonsbane' to our list of honorifics - although, I got a strange sense of Deja-vu about that. The gargantuan white beast took out many of Draven Thornbolt's fine crew, though Varis and I were able to bring two of them back from the brink with a little Divine intercession. That eases my mind to some degree - this isn't their fight, though I noticed their cook acquitted himself quite heroically.

We continue on, and the lookout yells ‘sails’ - this turns out to be a a wrecked ship (the 'Wander', apparently - a whaling ship). We pass close enough to hail the ship, and get no response. We notice marks of a dragon attack, and no lifeboats left on it. As discuss whether there's anyone left to rescue, Blackwolf smells human & chickens on ship.

We grapple onto the ship, head to the front with ropes, and my blade quickly de-ices the doors. We open the passenger area, and find no one - it was looted (by giants, no doubt), but they left behind an emerald (worth 300gp), 20 silver pieces, and two pieces of scrimshaw (worth 10gp each).

Continuing on towards the back of the ship, in the hold, we find chickens, 4 goats, and the cook (Bor Medred). He is unconscious, and suffering from hypothermia. Varis is able to cure this, and we take him back to our ship. Apparently his vessel was having some difficulty with their hunt, due to giants in the area also taking whales. They must've ended up too far afield in their search, because they encountered a giant longship with a shackled dragon (sounds familiar) which wiped them out & looted them. Bor heard in bits and pieces that the dragon apparently didn't come back to the ship after the fight, much to the giants consternation.

We keep going, and were able to get in a long rest unhindered. On a sleety day, we again get a call of ‘Sails’ - a giant longship! They pass us by (possibly aided by some impromptu magic to hide us), and seem to be following a guiding device parallel with the shore to deeper waters (looking for another of Aramil's family?) Further out, we see a bigger iceberg, with a huge hole down to the water-line (with a giant black chain hanging out from it, and a giant frosted face above it). Our ship anchors at an iceberg and lets us off. Draven is only willing to stay for 24 hours - if we're not back by then, we'll have to find our own way home.

We come up with the following plan to surprise the giants: Anton casts water-walking, and we head straight there single-file (behind a minor illusion I keep up, of the area behind us) As we get closer, we see large arctic owls - might be dangerous if hostile. We get a better look of the giant face - a depiction of a giant ocean god. We get a bit of a scare about the possibility of giant sea creatures swimming below us (the area is known for them), but we make it safely to the iceberg (off to the side of the opening)

Around this time, a SECOND huge white dragon flies out of the cave in the direction we came from. We hear signs of battle, and then see it come back with Draven in its claw. I'm not optimistic about the rest of his crew, but it looks like we've got someone else to save. We use two upscaled Invisibility spells along with a Locate Object (targeting Aramil's signet ring), and then head into the cave (using ropes to stay together).

Peering around the edge, we see a large harbor inside with five giant longships and 1 normal ship (possibly of elvish make?). A giant staircase of ice seems to lead up to a huge ice castle, and below that is a wide, bloodstained beach (covered with whale bones). We cut across the bay inside the harbor, up the beach, along the edges and up the ramp towards the castle.

Peck squeezes under a door on the ramp, and finds three people frozen solid against the wall (no one we know). With a combination of Wildshape, Polymorph, and Dimension Door, we're all able to make it through the door quietly. We replace the invisibility spells and pass through another door, narrowly evading an axe-wielding Giant sentry. He seems to hear us, but we're able to sneak past him and then flatten up against the wall.

We make it to a 4-way intersection, leading to a kitchen and various shut doors. With our options seemingly limited, we continue straight (following the locate spell) to a locked door.
Peck picks the lock, which attracts the attention of the giants inside (note to self - good time for a Silence spell). We decide that the time for stealth is past, and engage the pair of giants in the room. The fight seems to be going well, but their yells of pain are attracting further attention. I square my shoulders and prepare for a long fight.
Session: Did that iceberg move? - Wednesday, Dec 13 2017 from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM
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Waking from a Nightmare
As we pass through the mists and back into our homeland, the memories of our recent adventures start to seem foggy and unreal. At this point, the following still sticks in my mind:

Oscar, Anton, and I left the Vistani wagon heading out of Ravenloft, and turned back toward Valaki. We were met by Laucian - a Cleric survivor of Mordenkainen's peasant army, Randy - a Bard from another world, and Sergei - a Paladin who had a run-in with the Vistani. They agreed to join us, so we gathered up supplies & horses and headed towards Strahd's castle.

Rather than barge through the main gate - setting off traps and attracting guardians, we discovered a back door of sorts. We had just enough magic between us to levitate slowly up behind the castle to the attached outbuildings, then shatter a window and enter. We discovered coffins identified as King Barov and Queen Ravenovia. There seemed to be no threat, so we left them in peace.

We dispelled a blue magical field around the outbuilding, and entered the burial vault. We explored a group of numbered crypts, including one with Laucian's named on it (and containing his 'corpse') - more of Strahd's deceit, no doubt. Another crypt belonged to Gralmore Niblenobs - inside we found a white-bearded corpse clutching a staff of brass and marble. Ray put the staff into a shallow recess in a slab within the crypt, which opened a chamber containing a leather case containing a sword hilt.

We discovered that the hilt was magical - upon wielding it, a shimmering blade projected from the hilt. Somehow I got an empathic reading from the blade - it apparently belonged to Sergei (Strahd's brother). It was originally a thin crystal blade, before Strahd instructed a wizard to destroy it. Somehow, the wizard's apprentice (Niblenobs) snuck the hilt out and preserved the enchantment - deadly to undead creatures. I accepted the weapon to use against Strahd.

Further inside the vault, we discovered a room containing three coffins - these turned out to belong to three women in wedding dresses who rose out to attack us (along with swarms of bats from the vault). We were able to destroy one and drive off another, only to be confronted with Strahd himself.

Little remains in my mind of the fight with Strahd, except that it was long and grueling. He struck again and again with powerful spells, transported himself around the room to frustrate our tactics, and taxed the last reserves of our strength - but somehow we prevailed. We did everything we were aware of from Van Richten's notes to dispose of the beast for good, and left the castle behind.

Unfortunately, it seems that this evil realm abhors a vacuum - without a new Lord to take Strahd's place, he main return again regardless. I'm not sure how I know this - perhaps a final taunt from the vampire. All I know for sure is that my vengeance is spent - yet it feels empty.
Session: Stay Alive - Wednesday, Oct 12 2016 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
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"Oh Heronius be my inspiration for with your help and will my allies and I will free this land from the gloom and darkness that has haunted it for so long.

O Heronius be with us now!

Let me fulfill my holy vow!

Let us be a shining example for your glory!

Let this be the end of this Strad's story!

Let sword and amulet cleanse with holy light!

Let the bards song inspire and bouy in our fight!

Let the rangers aim send arrows always true in flight!

Let not the faithful shrink from this horrid sight!

To cleanse evil from every land!

O Heronius be our guiding hand!"

Can anyone blast away the swarm upon the ceiling?
Stay close for better damage dealing...for that matter if you are in need of healing.

(This cheesy poem is now done, writing it was silly fun)

Session: I have the New Tome of Beasts Session - Thursday, Nov 10 2016 from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM
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Tags: Boss Battle
After further review - witches still burn
After going over recent events in my head, it seems like we were strangely lucky about how things turned out. After a short but brutal fight, we managed to defeat an ancient witch who tossed out absurdly powerful spells as easy as breathing: fireballs, nasty green rays of dark energy, and black tentacles.

I briefly attempted to talk to her (on the off-chance that she could be bargained with), and she mentioned that we would never defeat her son, Strahd. I named her as Ravenovia, but she only laughed - perhaps Strahd was a bastard literally as well as figuratively, or perhaps she spoke of a figurative sort of bond? I suspect Eva may be able to clear this up for us.

Besides this, the witch seemed to have some sort of impenetrable defense against detection. Clearly this was the being bedeviling us back at the ruined village (the owner of the animated hut and so forth), but we only confirmed that once she revealed herself to us. She clearly had no trouble following us to our resting place for a sneak attack, and there were no released crows to disturb her this time. That said, what if she had followed us to town instead? We may have a hard enough time with the local ruler as it is, without giving them further trouble from the witch.

The worst thing about the fight was our inability to tell if we were even picking our target correctly. Was she transformed into the swarm of flies, or invisible and using them as a distraction (as with the illusionary child)? As it turned out it was the former, as it only took a small number of arrows, Chromatic Orbs, and Eldritch Blasts to put her down once she reformed to pick up the stone. Who knew that giving her what she wanted would be our best move? Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Regarding the stone, before the attack we had the opportunity to examine it in more detail. It seems to have strong Abjuration magic, but the source doesn't appear to be Holy. When Aramil picked up the gem, time seemed to freeze and give us a strange vision. It was as if we were all floating outside Barovia, looking down. The land seemed shielded by a huge milky-white globe - outside the globe was a sort of fiery glow sending out tendrils periodically to probe at the shield. It seemed to want to reach in and grab Oscar specifically. Whomever this being was, it seemed familiar to Taggus, though this was still unclear.

After making a well-deserved bonfire out of our adversary, we headed back to the ruined town of Berez and searched her hut. I dispelled a ward on a chest, and upon opening it out poured a swarm of animated hands! They startled us a bit, but seemed harmless enough (and easily crushed) compared to what we've been through. We found plenty of treasure, including some interesting magic items.

We discussed our next move, and decided to take advantage of Varis' current condition. As he wasn't part of the group who killed Isaac Stranzee, and could get back to Irwin without walking openly through town, we gave him the stone and he stepped back to the 'knothole' in the wall of the hut. I ponder if this portal has anything to do with how the witch stole the stone to begin with, and I wonder if there's any magic remaining in the hut which we could benefit from?

Finally, I have this nagging suspicion that we're forgetting something, so I go over my notes of Eva's predictions. The following may be relevant:

The Rogue: This card tells of History; Knowledge of the Ancient; Master of Coins / Nest of Ravens (in Valaki) - there we'll find our prize.

The Enchanter - This card tells of a powerful force for good and protection; a holy symbol of great hope; a kneeling woman - a rose of great beauty plucked too soon; the Master of the Marsh knows of who I speak; A ravine east of Svalich Woods (between Luna River & Lake)

The Artifact - This card sheds light on one who will help us greatly in our battle against the darkness; Look for an entertaining man with a monkey - this man is more than he seems.

The Tax Collector - Aramil's card - I don't recall details about this one; need to follow up with him about it; I wonder if it has anything to do with what happened when he touched the stone?

The main thing I'm wondering about is this Master of the Marsh. Eva's prediction suggests he/she could give us some insight - presumably about the stone, or about this kneeling woman. Initially I thought the witch might be this Master of the Marsh, but now I have my doubts. I'll study the predictions further...
Session: House on Haunted Hill - Thursday, Aug 04 2016 from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM
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Vengeance is ours!
As I stopped to catch my breath, I surveyed the carnage around us and found myself speechless. We have stood against the full force of Longtooth's warband - huge brutes with flails, spears, axes, filth-ridden claws, and oh-so-many arrows - and they have broken themselves upon us. Only two stragglers managed to crawl away, and I suspect they won't make it far if Anton's friend has anything to say about it.

Our choice of battlefields was especially fortunate. We were able to funnel their fighters into a small gap - only three or four at at time, and greatly limit the options for their archers. Taggus was able to strike silently from the shadows, inflicting grievous wounds with inpunity. Varis gave us easy targets lit by fey flames, and then flattened them with blasts of burning sunlight. Anton was a never-ending funnel of arrows, and the rest of us held the line... slowly chipping away at their numbers.

Soon our foes were down to only Longtooth and his archers, but we found ourselves war-torn and weary. Just before the killing volley struck, Oscar put up a wall of fog to block their sight, giving us time to mend the worst of our wounds. Longtooth tried to even the odds with odd beads of force - knocking us away or trapping us in bubbles. However, in the long run this seemed to backfire - insulating those captured from further attack, and providing useful cover.

During the brief stalemate, Varis attempted to fool them with the arrival of an illusary fire giant. Unfortunately, the gnolls saw through the deception and scaled the valley walls to open fire on us again. We dodged in and out of the fog and returned fire, finally with only myself, taggus, and Oscar not trapped in force bubbles. At long last, Oscar struck the final blow, and Longtooth fell.

In their remains, we found one last force bead and some potions... as well as a chest full of coins. Before we move on, I'll spend some additional time looking for anything they may have recovered from the blast crater (ie: the small triangular indentation). It seems like our best bet now is to find somewhere relatively safe to recover, and then head back to Kusnir to spread the good news.
Session: Just over the next Gnoll... - Thursday, Jul 02 2015 from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM
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As we broke away from the main body of gnolls - in an effort to split them up into more manageable groups, we came across a sort of blast crater. After Anton discovered our friend Oscar - thrown safely free from the blast, I turned back to the crater itself. Upon further investigation, it seemed like it could've been something like a meteorite... but then that could just be me getting my hopes up. I did discover a small triangular indentation, along with gnollish footprints leading away.

I had little time to ponder what they may have discovered & taken, before we were attacked by Orex - a Fire Giant enemy of Oscar's. Perhaps my mind was still on what could have been in the crater, because I found myself struggling against this new foe. Fortunately, Anton's blade more than made up the slack, though unfortunately it left behind no spoils of the fight once the giant fell. A soul-sucking blade wouldn't be my first choice of implements, but you can't deny its effectiveness.

Later in the day, we found ourselves holed up in a valley referred to as the Devil's Teeth... making use of the terrain to funnel the attacking gnolls into the meat grinder. Now my mind was back on the fight; here were the beasts responsible for Ganaway! I whispered a brief prayer to Delleb, and asked Ulban's guidance in the coming conflict.

As my glaive cleaved through gnolls and their pets alike, I was briefly distracted again. I found myself trying to get a good look at Longtooth and his elites... looking for a triangular object strung on a necklace, perhaps. At any rate, my companions' spells largely cleared the rabble out of our way, and I refocused myself for the greater challenge ahead. I would see the innocents of Ganaway avenged, regardless of the cost to myself.
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Mission Accomplished
After several harrowing encounters with Perytons, various undead, and Will-o-Wisps... and sufficient rest, we continued to probe the depths of the villa. As we went, we frequently found scratch-marks on the floors and walls, and then dug-out tunnels with hide 'doors' ... similar to those under the hill-fort. Hopefully we'll find the source before it finds us. Anton had a brief conversation with the wolf, and off he went on business of his own.

We came upon the living area for a group of Xvarts. Anton and Taggus pre-empted any negotiation with a hail of arrows, but this was probably for the best. Try as I might, I could get nothing more sensible out of their minds but 'stabby, stabby, kill, kill'. The women and children seemingly escaped the carnage to follow, but their fighters were no match for us (including a large one, and their grey-haired leader).

Before we had time to plan our next move, we turned to find some sort of rat-man, leading a horde of giant rats. Our blades had no effect on the lycanthrope, but Varis and I put our spells to good use. Varis must have prayed extra-hard today, because an explosion of light wiped out most of the rats at once, and sent their leader off with his tail between his legs. Aramil followed him and tackled him to the ground, and I silenced him with a final blast.

We returned to the Xvarts' room, and came across another one, who had the look of a spellcaster. I offered him the chance to flee in peace, and he seemed to take it. However, Anton led the attack on him as he fled, and I grudgingly assisted. I took no joy in further slaughter, but I accepted that it may well be necessary... for all we knew, these blue men were the ones menacing the town.

We took the time to gather up the spoils of battle, including a magical short-sword. Between that and Taggus' magical dagger, I'm feeling better about our chances if we encounter more were-folk. That said, some silver blades and arrows wouldn't go amiss, either. As we moved on, the wolf returned via the Xvart's escape tunnel to the outdoors, and we found the grisly evidence of what he had been up to. The rest of the Xvart clan was spread out in bits and pieces all over the tunnels and the hillside... nature can be swift in judgement, and that's one less thing for us to worry about.

We found no further signs of life in the tunnels, but we did find a rotten wooden statue of their god, with manacles and implements of torture & sacrifice. I suddenly felt better about our actions in this place... swift vengeance was clearly called for. We also found other treasures left behind, including spell components and a magical shield. We had a bit of a scare where Taggus was gravely poisoned by a spider, but I was able to call upon Delleb to save him. I myself briefly fell victim to a trapped wooden box, apparently kept by the Xvart spellcaster. I was sucked into some sort of void, but only had time for the briefest reflection before Anton applied a totem we had found earlier, and broke the spell.

At the last, we encountered a humanoid figure huddled in the room, with assorted debris scattered around. His mind seemed to be utterly lost, but I was contacted by the Sentinel... which turned out to be the glove this 'skulk' wore on his hand. The Sentinel spoke to me, and explained his desperate search for a person of pure intent. It alone has the power to deal with the Gauntlet, a dark artifact created by evil sorcerers to threaten the Keep of Adlerweg. As it spoke, I came to a quick conclusion. I thanked Delleb and Ulban for providing the strength and guidance to make it here, and reached out to take the glove... only to find it already on my hand. I gave a brief explanation to my friends of what had occurred, but already my mind was racing to take everything in. I suspected I would be pre-occupied for some time.

At any rate, we gathered up all the loot we had found, the bodies of the Peryton's victims, and evidence of the slain creatures. The trip back to Kusnir was uneventful, and the townspeople seemed overjoyed to see us back. We showed off our trophies, and hopefully vindicated the 'skulk'... I only hoped the poor wretch could now find peace, if not a return to sanity. As the others began to discuss traveling to a big city to sell off our treasure, my mind continued to wander... but more on that later.
Session: The Presence.... - Thursday, Mar 12 2015 from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM
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