Epiro: Episode 113

  • Atticus (elf predator druid 6)
  • Iola (wood elf centered breath monk 6)
  • Nero (human evoker/pyromancer mage 6)
  • Perseus (human Chaladin 6)
  • Thoros (gnome artful dodger rogue 6)
Zeus was down and an elemental-flanked cultist was preparing to finish him off with a black sword, while another presumed cultist sat next to a pillar, grasping at and talking to things that were probably not there.

Nero prepared to drop a scorching burst on the whole lot, but Perseus ruined any chance of surprise by dramatically shouting while running towards his father. Before he could reach the halfway mark Atticus, as he is wont to do, sped past and leapt onto the cultist. Though he seemed to be made entirely from rock the speed and weight was still enough to bowl him over.

Thoros quickly scanned the area: two elementals, a cultist packing a black sword, and a...crazy person seemingly oblivious to anything going on. Assuming it to be an act and that he was actually preparing some kind of ritual magic, Thoros began making his way towards him using the pillars for cover in case rocks started to fall and people die. The fact that he also seemed to be the least threatening of the bunch was just an added bonus.

The elementals went after Atticus and Perseus solely due to proximity, seizing them in all too familiar and painful grips. Iola did her best to pummel them into so much rubble, Perseus ineffectually struggled, and Atticus escaped by shedding his skin as he shifted into a bird. He decided to take the fight to what he assumed was their leader, changing into a bear mid-flight in an attempt to crush him. It seemed to do some damage, but the cultist returned it with some hefty interest by telekinetially slamming him into the ceiling before casting him aside like a rag doll.

Thoros crept up on the gibbering man and stuck a dagger in his back. He did not seem to notice, which was...different. So was his blood, which was less blood and more of a golden-reddish fluid. As it seeped out it started to form crystals around the edge, which made the whole thing more unnerving than it already was (though not enough to stop him from stabbing).

One of the elementals went after Iola, who was easily able to dodge its attacks, while the second continued to put the squeeze on Perseus. Nero legged it past everyone, and with a quick bit of space-folding was able to get Zeus a very relatively safe distance of twenty or so feet away from where he was.

Iola helped pull Perseus free, but as he prepared to heal his father was surprisingly stopped by Nero who blurted out something about villains and plans. What was even more surprising was that despite a complete lack of any compelling evidence (or evidence at all, really) Perseus actually listened, heading back into the fray to confront the leader. The most surprising thing of all, though? Nero killed him.

No, not Perseus, Zeus.

Yes, Zeus.

He brought the cursed axe down, severing his head with one noisy, messy chop. This got a reaction from the leader, just not the one that Nero had been hoping for: he cackled, actually cackled, before triumphantly shouting a drawn out, "Yes!"

So to recap, Nero just killed a god, the only god they have ever encountered, and one that would have probably reciprocated their assistance with at the least divine lightning and thunder. Said god is, sorry was, the father of Perseus, who was probably going to take issue with that. And to add injury to insult the corpse exploded in a cacophony of light and thunder that hurled him against one of the pillars.

Judging from the bloody splorch, reaction of the bad guy and accompanying thunderous explosion, Perseus guessed what had happened, but he did not have time to react because the bad guy was busy trying to drive four feet of, well, he was not sure what it was: it not only slid through his shield easily enough, but it also seemed to draw bits of metal into it. He did not want to find out what would happen if it he actually landed a blow.

As his head cleared Nero could hear the axe's demonic voice thanking him for quenching its thirst, on the blood of a god no less, which was just further confirmation that he had made a mistake. Not wanting to make another rash decision he opened up his arcane sight to try and gather some intelligence, but even that just ended up being yet another item on his list of regrets.

Crazy Cultist looked like an eight foot-tall, four-armed demonic entity. Crystalline growths jutted from its body in random locations, and crimson-gold fluid flowed beneath its translucent, glassy skin. There was not even a face, just a jagged spiral of Tharizdun scored into where you would have expected to see one. It was probably an improvement over what would have been there.

What might have been stranger was what it was doing: each arm seemed to be writing a sort of arcane formula in the air, intersecting them at various points. It seemed complex, which meant that it was probably powerful, which was almost certainly bad for them, so he decided that he had to stop it the only way he knew how: cursed axe. He rushed at the demon and began wildly hack at it, hoping for the best. Or at least something on the positive side of the spectrum for a change.

Meanwhile the elementals had begun tearing stones out from the center of the platform. Cold air began issuing from the slowly growing hole, identical to the one that they found in the wall during the hike up. While Iola moved to ineffectually stop them, Atticus changed into a stag to ineffectually help Perseus. Though Iola ended up getting sandwiched between both elementals, Atticus actually got it worse by getting both impaled by the black sword and thrown from the summit.

Fortunately Iola had a full suite of disciplines that allowed her to fly and jump really high: she was able to burst free of the elementals, swoop down to catch him, and make the leap back in the same round.

Monks doing monk-things? Take that 5th Edition.
The leader turned his attention back to Perseus, and with a single sword stroke sliced a third of his shield away before flinging him back into one of the thrones that ringed the edge of the summit temple. As Perseus struggled to stand his hand found a wooden staff laying against the throne. It looked unremarkable except that about half of it was cracked and scorched, but it resonated with a comforting power as he held it.

Not wanting to engage the cultist any closer than he had to and assuming it was magic, Perseus threw the staff...and missed. The cultist did not even break his stride: a chunk of the floor shot up, deflecting it towards the ceiling, which collapsed under the subsequent thunderous explosion. Luckily everyone was next to a pillar at the time, so they did not have to worry about getting crushed. Well, they did, just not from that.

Nero had just finished hacking apart the crazy cultist, whose "blood" oozed towards the center of the temple and formed a circle around the hole that the elementals had torn open. Thanks to his arcane sight he could see the magical formula extend tendrils of energy into the sky. As his gaze followed them he realized what the demon had been up to: a massive chunk of rock was plummeting towards them.

Unable to stop it, the next best option was running away. Unfortunately the leader was not about to let Perseus flee. Fortunately his attention was thoroughly occupied and he was vulnerable to an axe buried in his skull, which is what Nero did. He also exploded, but he was pretty used to everything he did backfiring by now. Still he was out of commission and Iola had managed to revive Atticus, so everyone was fit to leg it.

Except Perseus. He was not about to let a rock destroy his father's home. The lightning-staff had returned to his hand shortly after using it the first time, so maybe he could use it to destroy the meteor, or at least deflect it. That would be a pretty incredible story, saving the ancestral home of the gods from meteoric destruction, right? Plus with his dad dead it was probably legally his home now, anyway. So, he exhaled slowly, took aim, and threw it.

And missed.

There was still time, so as soon as the staff reappeared in his hand he threw it again.

And missed.

Well, there were certainly quieter, more boring ways to die, right?

Behind the Scenes
Normally I try to get play reports out a couple days after the session, but a lot of crazy stuff happened in this session, and despite reading and re-reading it I am positive that I have some events out of order or even omitted.

Anyway this fight went really bad, really quick: the players rolled horribly, I rolled well, and Josh killed Zeus, who could have potentially turned the fight around (as well as give Perseus lightning powers). In his defense he did not do it to be a jerk, he honestly thought it was a good idea.

I was keeping both cultists from the previous session in reserve, hoping to bring them in at dramatic moments, but that would have been overkill. That is also why I kept the demon-cultist on the sidelines: anything extra would have almost certainly resulted in a TPK. Heck, the leader was intended to be an elite soldier, but I had to pare down his actions to one pretty much the entire time.

The entire time I was tracking something like victory points the entire time to determine if they could stop the meteor, and if not how bad the impact would be. The final tally was, well, pretty much as bad as it could have gotten. Thankfully we are not playing this week so it gives me some time to figure out what happens next.

Maybe roll up new characters for an elemental war campaign?


  1. I agree with that last sentence. If they die, show them the impact that their characters had, good and bad.

  2. Stranger Than Fiction:
    Professor: Harold, I’m sorry. You have to die.
    Harold: What?
    Professor: It’s her masterpiece. It’s possibly the most important novel in her already stunning career and it’s absolutely no good unless you die at the end.
    I’ve been over it again and again and I know how hard this is for you to hear.
    Harold: You’re asking me to knowingly face my death?
    Professor: Yes.
    Harold: (Sighs) Really?
    Professor: Yes.
    Harold: I thought you’d…I thought you’d find something…
    Professor: I’m sorry Harold.
    Harold: Can’t we just try and just see if she can change it?
    Professor: No.
    Harold: No?
    Professor: Harold…In the grand scheme it wouldn’t matter.
    Harold: Yes it would.
    Professor: No.
    Harold: I could change. I could just quit my job. I could go away with Ana. I could be someone else.
    Professor: Harold, listen to me.
    Harold: I can’t die right now. (Crying) It’s just really bad timing.
    Professor: No one wants to die Harold, but unfortunately we do. (Harold gets up from chair) Harold…Harold, listen to me. Harold, you will die someday, sometime. Heart failure at the bank. Choke on a mint. Some long, drawn-out disease you contracted on vacation. You will die. You will absolutely die.
    Even if you avoid this death, another will find you. And I guarantee that it won’t be nearly as poetic or meaningful as what she’s written. I’m sorry but it’s the nature of all tragedies, Harold.
    The hero dies, but the story lives on forever.

  3. I have not done a war campaign before. Plus new characters would be a good chance to try my 4th Edition hack or 13th Age. Hrm...


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