Ah - the last meeting of 2009
And I wanted to do TWO things before the party left the Underdark - one was to fight a T-Rex, the other was to fight a dragon.
The T-Rex had been in my mind for a long time as I like the idea of fighting dino's - its the old school X1 Isle of Dread thing that totally blew me away years ago and still makes me smile.
However after it was time to do it - the T-Rex is NOT a pushover fight. Far from it. A horde of hit points, terrible damage, outrun just about any group member - and as a really honking huge creature, damage reduction (my work around for larger creatures). So I changed the fight from how I had it in mind to a running fight at a distance. And I was very dissatisfied. Horribly.
So I expect there will be a revised dino fight in the future for my group.
As for dragons - I but two small modified flightless black dragons in their way - one sleeping, one awake - separated by enough distance and cave that it would be 4 rounds before dragon b could come and help dragon a. At their size and age there was no dragon fear, no magic resistance, no spell use, 1 minor innate power, and hit points and breath weapon range was low enough for the party to handle.
And here they did very well. The first dragon went down FAST - faster than I expected. In fact I caveated the dragon's hit points on the fly during the 1st round of battle when it occurred to me how devastating the party was - including the party's ranger and his favored enemy bow use against the scaly beast. So the dragons got an instant bonus 16 hit points, raising them from 80 to 96 immediately. And the damn 1st one still went down in round two. The 2nd one was a bit harder and the group did a terrific job.
They got a pile of coin, a 5-6 count of magic items, and the fun of the logistics of dragging such a booty out of a cave. They aren't aware of it now, but the fight was easy in some way and generous to them. The next ones will not be. :)
Write up follows:
We spent the better part of 2 weeks plus with the gnomes, healing, reoutfitting ourselves, studying with what lore and masters they had, and learning of what would come. Firstly we had to cross the Embering Fields, a lava cracked blasted stretch of stone some 2 miles in length to the Ironcrags, a set of cliffs where the caves we would need to work our way out of the Underdark were located.
The Fields were dangerous and travel through them were usually short distances as there were a number of larger lizards that lived there. For longer journeys the gnomes used a conveyance called the Argentum Arbelest. Three long iron carts that traveled as fast as a horse and floated a good two feet off the ground, fueled by gnomish steamworks and strange magics – this was our best possibility to make the trip.
There were two engineers, 1 breakman, 1 steamman, 3 loaders, two sets of 2 gnome ballista teams, two heavy crossbows and two long spear wielders. The party was welcome to join wherever they wanted to and if possible, use their skills and magic to help drive off the thunderous lizards if and when they arrived (it seemed the largest bull took anything that went through the Embering Fields as a direct affront to its superiority and often attacked).
Past here it was 8 days to the surface and the gnomes would leave us a few hours shy of the last pair of caves where a pair of burrowing brown dragons lived. These dragons were about 50 years old, breathed acid, and were too big to get out to the surface but not strong enough to dig out yet.
For now though the party dealt with the immediate issue and that was making the trip across the Embering Fields. Norris, Coruth’tae, Olthar, and Detheron’s Tiger rode inside the last car. Arnog, Detheron, Gwyn, and Soren rode on top of the same car with the ballista crews. Zoltan rode up front with the drivers. The Argentum left the gnomish encampment and began the run across the Fields. For a short while there was nothing except for the gentle rocking of the train. Detheron changed his mind after some time and crawled his way to the front car where he sat with Zoltan and some of the gnome drivers. A thought out Locate Animal spell followed and it wasn’t long before he felt at the distance the first “ping” of a large – very large, and angry dinosaur closing.
The shaking was felt throughout the Argentum as the beast ran towards us but it was still far outside visible range. So Detheron then changed his focus and instead cast Sleet Storm at maximum range – just in front of the area the thunderous lizard was running. At 500’ away we heard the T-rex stumble on the icy sleet covered ground and 8 tons of 50’ tall dinosaur fell over. The steam boiler was fed more and we went faster.
A couple of Pterodactyls strafed the train but they were easily dispatched. Meanwhile the T-rex ran closed. A 2nd sleet storm was fired off but the T-rex side stepped it and ran onward. Ballista were fired, heavy bolts as well. Poison was discovered to be ineffective against anything that huge. Fireballs were only marginally effective and served to infuriate the beast. But we made great time and a with the Ironcrags in sight Detheron used Lavender’s ring and scared the hell out of the T-Rex who never had any of its food talk to it before. It stopped and ran off and the gnomes drove us with no further issues to the caves.
The 8 days passed with little issue. We avoided any concentration of underdark civilization, the gnomes kept us moving steadily northward and upward, we had a few small altercations with subterranean fauna but nothing that was memorable and eventually we arrived at our destination. The gnomes wished us well and the group moved on.
Olthar scouted ahead and after a few hours we came upon the first of the caves. It was sizeable, well over a hundred and fifty feet in diameter, close to 50’ ceiling in the center. There was a slanting corridor on the other side that went onward. Inside this room was a pile of loose silver and copper coins and on top of it was a sleeping 60’ wingless brown dragon.
We looked upon the sleeping beast and avarice took over the party. They wanted to take the dragon down and do it fast. If we did it with sudden fury we could be ready for the 2nd one in the next chamber. Plans were gone over and we used a number of decent spells and options for what was to come.
Norris cast Silence on a Blessed Bolt of Sutur while Detheron had Protection for acid on both Arnog and Gwyn, while a lesser version was on half of the rest of the party. Bows were handed out, bolts poisoned and blades readies and Soren fired the Blessed bolt at the dragon. Silenced the telltale crescendo of rising energy was never heard and it wasn’t until the flame blast tore through the Dragon’s flank that anything made any noise.
Fireballs and bolts went next while Olthar and Zoltan crept along the side wall. Arnog and Gwyn ran in and the dragon was reeling and in terrible condition when the swords began swinging and arrows pelted it. It tried to breath on the fighter but the acid just poled off Arnog who tore his enchanted blade into its scaled hide. IT pitched and rolled and in short order, the young brown dragon slumped over dead.
The group ran up and tried to get ready for the next. Gwyn was nailed by an acid blast from the next brown dragon but he was able to fire his last Blessed bolt and the fire from the enchanted bolt tore the back scales off the other dragon. It roared in fury and buried the dwarf under its bulk but the magic shield he carried kept him from being smothered and he was trying to get out from underneath.
Soren’s deadly arrows did unending damage to the dragon and Norris tried to scale the animal’s flank but was unable to pull himself too high even with his hand axes as pitons. Zoltan was kicked and his attempted blow instead smacked into Arnog, the blade “Bleeder” stabbing the fighter in the arm and causing the gypsy to shrug and mutter a sorry.
This fight was a bit longer but the combination of spell and the ranger Soren’s fantastic bow work brought the other dragon down and in no time the battle was done and won. Healing was dispensed and the group then began gathering treasure. A search for magic ensued and between mystical swords and platemail, wands and other items plus tens of thousands of silver and copper and even gold coins we bagged, boxed, and gathered all we could (including loading Courth’tae’s Floating disk spell until it groaned and threatened to spill over) and began working our way to the dim light of the exit and the emergence into the surface world once again.
At the bottom of the crater in the center of the northern baron of Dilabria’s city known as Dragonhole.