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Adventure #1 WOTC DCC53 Sellswords of Fallcrest (Level 1)
Session #3.10

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Encounter #12 Area 2-8 Beneath the Charnel Tower.
Click on the Links to see the Monster Stat cards.
Cinder Skeleton (Artillery 2) x5
Shadow Bat Swarm (Lurker 3)
The Beggar King (Elite Controller 5)
Level 6 Encounter- 1175 XP.

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Just to note the encounter starts with only the Beggar King and two of the Cinder Skeletons in the chamber, now read on…

After a short discussion the adventurers decide upon a complex tactical approach- it begins with Kathra kicking the too-hot-to-touch door open- hell, it appears, lies beyond.

The chamber ahead is the lowest level of a round tower, a stone stair spirals up into darkness and shadow, the entire floor of the room is covered in soot and ash, on the far wall a series of fiery ovens blaze away with flames licking out, poking out of these are the feet and scattered, and shattered, bones of the Beggar King’s recent victims.

Standing in the center of the chamber is the Beggar King himself, the once obese fellow’s skin hangs in folds about him, his head tipped back- mouth as far open as it can go- further than it should be able to go, his jaw must be broken, a shadowy form hovers in the Beggar King’s maw.

‘Kill me- it’s the only way…’

The Beggar King gasps, which is all the invitation the adventurers need, their task however is made more difficult when a pair of Cinder Skeletons (Blazing Skeletons) quickly clamber out the fiery ovens, ready to defend their terrible shadow Lord.

Tira Curses and then launches her Eldritch Blast at the closest Skeleton, bones splinter, smash and scatter. The Beggar King replies in kind, he hiccups and shoots a swathe of flame from his open mouth, Erais is singed and burnt. For good measure the emaciated fat man, or so it seems with his vast hanging folds of flesh, points at Erais who moments later is struck by a Shadow Bolt, the Sunlord staggers- bloodied already. The Cleric also shakes and shivers furiously, beset by ongoing necrotic and cold affects.

One of the fiery Skeletons suddenly blinks out of existence only to reappear in the doorway of the chamber- preventing the adventurers from closing in on the Beggar King.

Erais offers up his holy symbol, which suddenly radiates a myriad beams of radiant light- he Turns the Undead, the Skeleton blocking the doorway is smashed and bloodied, sent skittering back into the chamber and immobilised. The other Skeleton within the chamber is struck a lesser blow, although it too is also bloodied. The Sunlord mutters another prayer and his wounds instantly heal over, he also shrugs off the ongoing hurt from the Beggar King’s previous attack.

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Skeleton Blazing- Bone Fire!

The immobilised Cinder Skeleton forms a ball of flame in its hands, which it launches at Erais- the Priest burns, if only a little. The second fiery Skeleton replaces its compatriot in the doorway, it rushes out of the chamber and claws at Tira, the Tiefling is likewise left singed.

Riardon backs away and readies his bow, he fires two arrows in quick succession, the fiery Skeleton menacing Tira is smashed to pieces. Back in the chamber a third Cinder Skeleton clambers out of the ovens, and rushes forward towards the adventurers.

Just in time to be met by Kathra’s Passing Attack, the Dwarf smashes the Skeleton with her warhammer and then rushes on to swipe at the Beggar King, ineffectually as it turns out. Kathra growls and tries again, this time with her Brute Strike, her warhammer thumps in to the Beggar King, although the strange fellow’s fleshy folds seem to absorb most of the blow. In the chamber Kathra notes a dark and pungent furze which surrounds the shadowy terror- the choking smoke leaves her breathless.

Iain, who plays Kathra, rolled incredibly badly for his Daily Brute Strike damage- the poor lad looks pained.

Unseen by the adventurers, way up high in the tower, an inky black splodge detaches itself from the structure and descends to investigate the events below, another Shadow Bat Swarm- the guy’s favourite.

And we’re quickly up to a Level 5 Encounter.

The Bat Swarm spirals down the tower in a rush, and then swiftly cloaks Kathra, the Dwarf swats and swishes but cannot keep the creatures at bay- teeth chattering from the cold and beset by ongoing necrotic damage she struggles on.

Tira moves a little closer to the action and unleashes her Blazing Starfall- glittering streaks of light target both of the fiery Skeletons, although neither are hit, the Tiefling does however put out the flames that were burning her.

The Beggar King is rooted to the spot, the strange creature attempts to launch another Shadow Bolt but is smashed by Kathra in the process- the King’s necrotic missile however hits home- bringing further pain to the female Dwarf.

The Skeleton that has just clambered out one of the fiery ovens disappears only to reappear again blocking the doorway once more- Kathra is trapped within the chamber, cut off from his colleagues. Erais gets into action- his Lance of Faith sears the fiery Skeleton almost smashing it to pieces, bloodied it staggers wildly. Erais is determined however, he raises his holy symbol once more and sends out a Divine Glow- beams of radiant light strike both Skeletons, both explode in flurries of splintered bone.

The adventurers look momentarily overjoyed- just the Beggar King and the Shadow Bat Swarm to see off. Then two more Cinder Skeletons quickly climb out of the ovens, and rush forward to defend their master.

The players suddenly look much less overjoyed.

Kill the Beggar King! Kill the Beggar King! Seems to be the consensus.

The two new undead arrivals claw at Kathra with their burning digits- the Dwarf defends one but cannot prevent the second from raking its fiery fingers down her back- she burns.

Riardon repositions, still outside of the chamber, fires off his Twin Strike and smashes two arrows in to the closest Skeleton, it’s bloodied.

Kathra meantime struggles on bravely- freezing from the Bat Swarm’s cold and necrosis, while at the same time burning from wounds inflicted by the fiery Skeletons, she staggers and almost falls- bloodied and beyond. The Dwarf sucks up the hurt and gets her Second Wind. Then smashes her warhammer into the nearest Cinder Skeleton, it shatters- destroyed, her warhammer comes full circle and thuds in to the Beggar King’s side.

The Bat Swarm continues to menace the Dwarf but Kathra manages this time to keep the winged vermin at bay, while at the same time shaking off almost all of the ongoing damage she was taking.

The players are only just holding their own, the encounter is now Level 6, and they love it, Kathra is in the thick of the action- giggling like a loon and wondering what to try next.

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Shadow Bat Swarm- They’ll strip the flesh from your bones.

The Shadow Bat Swarm swirls and circles, around and around the tenacious dwarf; biting, flapping, clawing- Kathra is cut and bruised- bloodied (again), and soon back to shivering and shaking.

Tira moves forward into the doorway, Curses the Beggar King and then swathes the strange fellow in her Witchfire- he burns. Then with her rod in hand she points and whispers, the Beggar King’s eyes roll over, for a moment it looks like he’s going to shut his mouth, but the magic soon fades.

Tira’s Daily power Curse of the Dark Dream misses, which just means she gets to slide the Beggar King one square every turn- until he saves, I’ll save you the suspense, the Beggar King saves against the power the first chance he gets. That’s a sucky Daily.

The Beggar King fights back, sends out another Shadow Bolt, after first avoiding Kathra’s warhammer swat. The Dwarf suffers some more, staggers and almost hits the deck as the black bolt pulses into her. Kathra is on two hit points, and taking seven points of ongoing damage.

The last remaining fiery Skeleton suddenly blinks out, only to reappear moments later standing next to Kathra, it rakes at the Dwarf but somehow she manages to twist and turn and avoid the attack.

You may be wondering why the Beggar King isn’t moving about the chamber, the truth is he’s stuck in place, a remnant of the ritual he was participating in prior to the adventurers arrival- he also doesn’t have any melee based attacks.

Erais shoots out a Lance of Faith at the Beggar King, alas off target, and then mutters prayers as Kathra’s wounds once again heal over- but not enough, the Dwarf is still bloodied even after the Sunlord’s final Healing Word.

The last remaining fiery Skeleton claws at Tira, the Tiefling burns some more.

Riardon repositions himself yet again to get a better angle on his Quarry, he sets himself and then fires two arrows, his Twin Strike, both missiles thud into the Beggar King, the forlorn human wails and screams, and then as suddenly stops his screeching. A burst of shadowy black energy seems to pulse from the now bloodied fiend; Tira, Erais and Riardon gasp as they’re struck by a wave of nauseating necrotic energy, Kathra is unmoved- and indeed unharmed by the effect. To make matters worse the wounds of the Shadow Bat Swarm instantly heal over.

Note Tira and Erais are left bloodied by the Beggar King’s Shadow Burst.

Riardon fires again, another two arrows fly, the first arrow from his Split the Tree attack smashes into the remaining fiery Skeleton, leaving the creature staggering and bloodied. The second almost finishes off the Beggar King, striking the unfortunate fellow exactly where his heart should be.

Kathra meanwhile, continues to suffer in the Shadowy Haze, that combined with a myriad other ongoing affects. The Dwarf however remains standing, just. She smashes her warhammer into the Beggar King, who also defies gravity and remains upright- Cleaving through she swats a handful of the Shadow Bats down.

In game we’re on a knife edge- the bad guys are hanging around while the good guys are all suffering terribly- three of the PCs have less than 10 hit points each.

The Bat Swarm swirls and whirls, its what it does, and tries again to bring death and destruction to Kathra, but once again the Dwarf somehow manages to evade its attack, and keep the creatures at bay.

Tira in the meantime manages once again to quench the flames that burn her robes.

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Begger King- A Shadow of his former Self.

The Beggar King once more opens his mouth to expel a Flaming Gout, Kathra is however quicker still- she smashes her warhammer into the once-human menace, who finally crumples and then drops.

The Beggar King is dead!

The last Cinder Skeleton crumbles into dust.

You should have heard the cheer around the table, a little excessive with the swearing but… the player’s moods seem to have improved considerably.

But we’re not quite done…

Erais fires another burning radiant Lance of Faith in to the Bat Swarm- cutting a swathe through the inky black bolus. Riardon’s Twin Strike is however much less effective, much much less effective. Kathra swirls and swats at the Swarm and smashes yet more of the Bats dead- while again successfully avoiding the its attack.

The players are cheering in the aisles, they’re whooping with joy, high fives- most unbecoming.

Little do they know…

The Shadow Bat Swarm suddenly explodes in a fury- there are Bats everywhere, all of the adventurers except Tira are caught in its Blinding Wings- Erais is left unconscious; Riardon and Kathra bloodied, and worst of all blinded.

The PCs left standing have 22 hit points, all told, between them.

That shut them up.

Tira Curses the Swarm and then delivers another Eldritch Blast, incinerating a bunch more of the Bats, at last its bloodied. Erais meanwhile bleeds and coughs up blood- having failed his first Death Save.

Riardon fires, aiming for the sound of the swarm (he’s blind remember), his Evasive Strike cuts a swathe through the center of the Bats, the end is in sight (no pun intended). The Eladrin shakes off the Swarm’s blinding effect- he can see again.

Iain (Kathra) makes his next rolls to a chorus of ‘go on… go on… go on…’

The blinded Kathra swings and spins like a top- swats the last few remaining Bats out of the air- the Swarm is gone, and moments later the Dwarf can see again- she opens her eyes to discover all her enemies are dead.

Iain breaks out what passes for a crude dance- he’s nearly 50 years old, he really should know better.

Tira is quickly over to Erais, she revives the cleric with ease… the kindly DM lets the players bask in the glory for a minute or two, then…

The Beggar King suddenly comes alive, his flaccid corpse is yanked back to its feet, his eyes open, his mouth open- wider… wider… wider, he screams.

“KILL ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!”

The Beggar King is split in two- viscera flies and from the mess emerges a Shadow Dragon.

The adventurers hit the deck.

The creature roars its approval and then is airborne ascending the tower… the shadowy wisp of its tail elongates and stretches the flopping remains of the Beggar King clutches onto the hazy leash with a deathlock grip. The Shadow Dragon roars and thrashes- it’s tail stretching all the while- still gripped by the gory remains of the Beggar King.

The whole tower shivers, quivers and shakes- grit and mortar rain down on the gawping adventurers who are staring up in disbelief.

Suddenly a boulder the size of one of the adventurers crashes down from the ceiling in the rocky passage through which the adventurers entered the tower, which brings the guys back to reality- the dungeon behind them is collapsing. The Shadow Dragon’s roaring and thrashing is going to bring the whole place crashing down.

“Killit!”

The remains of the Beggar King gargles; and clutches still to the umbral drakes tail.

The adventurers take the stairs three at a time- rushing to the apex of the tower, they arrive at the same time as the Shadow Dragon, which emerges from a great rent in the top of the now shaking and swaying construction.

I allow the PCs to spend Healing Surges as they rush up the stairs of the tower- call it an adrenalin surge, it’s a new encounter after all. Just worth mentioning Healing Surges after the above healing- Erais has none, Kathra one, and all of the PCs are very low on Daily Powers.

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The Goodman Gang Campaign (D&D 4e) goonalan