This wasn't the plan nor the way that I or anyone at the table expected it to go, but we had a practical TPK and at the end of it, it spelled the end of the campaign.
The group's biggest problem and something I had to remind even the experienced players around the table was that they never think of fleeing as an option. Ever. One of the players was talking about how it wasn't balanced for the group and seemed over powered. And it was. They were surprised by the BBG and in the surprise round, got 4 characters knocked down or killed.
It's the first thing they should think about - do we stay or flee. Monsters with Int's of 7 make that call every encounter - why shouldn't the group?
On a brighter note, we all rolled up new 1st level characters and will be back to playing again 1st week of May.
Write up follows:
Roughly 100’ from the battle site with the giant worm and the carrion crawlers the party had holed themselves up and waited carefully while Detheron cut his way into the caterpillar like creatures and successfully extracted the paralytic glands. Once done, he then carefully filled three vials with the contact poison and the group divvied them up. From there he attempted to do some surgery on the worm but was interrupted by Mebali (who was on watch) comment that “he heard something.”
Norris shot off a bolt of light and it revealed a 9 count of Grylians. Angry Grylians. Of which 8 of them shot their elongated bows atus. Mebali went down, shot. Then Norris was hit, and then Aleron was shot – the ranger plugged in the skull and slain instantly. Draugmor was hit and the Grylians tore into the group with arrows.
Most of us quickly struggled to get bows back in line and we shuffled around, doing our best to protect the group that had been knocked down. Smokey and Jerrig made great gains in holding the line but it was Finrod and Detheron who saved the day by using a combination Ride the Wind and Gust of Wind spell – the combination sending the back 2/3rds of the Grylians flying away with clattering bashes and smashes against the wall.
From there it was only a few solid hits and the last of the Grylians were taken care of. We looked over the party and healing was dispensed. But for Aleron there was nothing we could do as the ranger had been slain. From here we were getting unsure of what to do next. We were getting deeper in the cave and there was no ready or easy way out. We divided up Aleron’s belongings and then set off once again.
After a short walk we came upon a larger junction with 4 possible ways to go. And in the middle was a large oversized, left boot. Justlying there. It was obviously giant sized but it was there all by itself. We detected magic and found none and then eventually decided to cross the chamber spread out and wary.
It was while we were crossing that Detheron happened to turn around and spotted a large concentration of magic at the extreme range of his spell. As he was trying to say what it was – it closed. Fast. Charging. Gullin.
Over 6000 lbs., 12’ tall, 15’ wide, 25’ long, it plowed into the back of the party with decimating effect. Mebali, Finrod, Norris, and Draugmor were all knocked down – kicked, crushed, and gored. Norris managed to back pedal away, the bard scrambling barely upright and out of the way. The razorback crushed Mebali to paste, killing him. Arrows and swords came out and they bounced off the beast’s hide for the most part. We were screaming orders and trying to make room as Gullin continued to ravage the group.
And then Norris was able to read off the disintegrate spell. And the razorback rolled “1” on its save.
It’s entire left leg up to and including the shoulder and part of its chest turned to dust and the razorback was screaming. Blood was fountaining everywhere. Guyus was horribly battered and his summoned war steed was badly hurt as well. Smokey went toe to toe with the razorback but it was obvious that the bear was not in the same class. The paladin’s horse was dismissed and we watched as Gullin staggered, his combat effectiveness hampered and his speed almost brought to naught.
A few of us ran around the beast back in the direction we had come from but Guyus was not to retreat. He continued to hold his ground and entice the razorback to follow him as he backed up. Only Gwyn stayed local, shooting poisoned bolts into Gullin at every chance. Shields were being splintered at every turn.
And then the paladin died as Gullin gored the paladin inthe chest. Smokey tried to end the fight but the mighty bear was eventually killed and Gullin was woozing horribly, almost dead and gallons of blood allover the floor. But it bent its head down and ATE Guyus’ magical sword. And the wound on his chest stopped bleeding. He did not regrow his leg, but he was no longer in any danger of dying from blood loss.
We called Draugmor and Gwyn closer and Detheron transformed himself into a horse, the dwarf climbing up. Meanwhile Gullin bent down and ate Guyus’ magical mace – and healed even more damage. And its red eyes bored into us and we knew it was time to run.
Jerrig and Detheron in horse form (with Gwyn on his back) were in the lead, followed by Norris, Finrod, and Draugmor. We had a lead on Gullin who was laboring to keep up the pace. But it was obvious that Detheron and Jerrig would be running in the dark shortly as they outpaced the rest of the group but Norris shot a blast of light at Detheron’s ass and illuminated it as they charged off.
It was obvious after a few minutes that although we were initially faster than Gullin we did not have the stamina to keep up the running for any extended length of time. It was Finrod who began falling back, the elf unable to keep up the head long charge for so long. In fact the gap between Finrod and Detheron was over 60’ and growing and we could hear Gullin getting closer and closer.
Jerrig, Detheron, and Gwyn blew through the Carrion crawler room so quickly that they did not know the party was even closing. The decision was made to run south, back towards the pit. Finrod, fearing he was not going to make it cried out a levitate spell and jumped, rising to the ceiling and pressing himself flat – just as Gullin ran under him and failed to see him there.
Norris hit the carrion crawler room and jumped over the one crawler that was there, clearing the tentacles by over a foot and a half. He too ran to the south head down and watching the distant bouncing glow of Detheron’s enchantedly lit horse’s ass. He tossed the bluish ice gem behind him as he ran, hoping it would slow Gullin down.
Draugmor not knowing what happened to Finrod and knowing he was the last in line now to Gullin, also jumped over the carrion crawlers as he hit them but instead dodged to the right down the corridor we did not go down, rolled himself down the slight incline and then buried himself to the left and stayed quiet in hopes that Gullin would miss him.
The razorback ran left – following the sound of hoofbeats and the smell of the party.
Detheron slowed down and the tiger did as well as they approached the pit. Gwyn ran towards the edge and used his last flask of oil to cover the ground. Meanwhile Norris finally ran up, exhausted. We had little time left. He took out Thurin’s spell book, thumbed to the page marked “Rope trick” and read it right from the book – burning the spell away but opening up an enchanted pocket 5’ in the air that needed to be climbed by the rope. The bard scrambled up and motioned for Detheron and Gwyn to hurry.
The druid looked at Jerrig; there was no way for the tiger to get in. He climbed up and they called for Gwyn to hurry. The dwarf ran back was able to grab the rope but Gullin was upon him. The razorback hit the dwarf so hard he was torn from the pocket dimension and sent back towards the pit. Gullin hit him again and sent him to the edge and then it was one last push and the dwarf fell down 90’ and hit the rocks below with a deafening slam.
Jerrig turned and ran back down the corridor and away.
Draugmor was waiting quietly and then was hit by something cold that robbed his strength. Shadows. He pulled out his luck blade and ran back down the corridor, forced away from his friends and down a slope. Eventually it opened up to an area where the floor was lit with some yellowish/orange glow. He pulled out his bow and fire silver arrows at the undead (3) stopping two of them but was unable to destroy the last one as his strength was drained and Draugmor died, doomed to rise as a shadow himself.
Finrod was going to levitate down but heard Jerrig and Gullin getting closer so he hugged the ceiling and crab walked himself closer. As Gullin ran past he dropped down and ran off towards the pit. Once there he did not see his friends and called softly. Norris and Detheron motioned him to come up and they lowered the rope for him. He climbed up and they waited.
Gullin limped back towards the ice crystal, ate it, and released a Fire Giant from within. They talked and came towards the pit where the friends were in the enchanted place. The giant was talking about the dwarf and Gullin and what had happened but they eventually went away to go to where the razorback had seen the group.
Terrified – down to just Detheron, Norris, and Finrod–they stayed in the rope trick until enough time had passed and then snuck out, crossed the pit, and carefully made their shattered way under Finrod’s direction towards Clan Gullin, the gnollish enclave, where they would hole up and come to some grim realities of their situation.
And that is the end. Campaign over, party shattered, no way home.