Epiro: Season Finale

  • Atticus (wood elf predator druid 6)
  • Iola (wood elf centered breath monk 6)
  • Perseus (demigod Chaladin 6)
  • Nero (critically cursed evoker 6)
Outmaneuvering the hydra's many jaws was easy enough, it was trying to punch through the stony plates that was giving Iola trouble. Still she at least proved to be a sufficient enough distraction that Atticus was able to drive a piece of ice into an opening.

There was a loud hissing as the ice melted, but the molten stone darkened as it cooled which he took to be a good sign. Seeing this Nero gathered up numerous fragments of ice in a magically conjured whirlwind, and proceeded to relentlessly shred the creature with high-velocity frozen shrapnel.

Slowed and disoriented thanks to the wind, debris, and curtains of steam it was easy for Perseus to blast one of the heads in the face with a lightning bolt. It whipped back as chunks of stone were flung away, exposing a layer of glowing, magma-like flesh which hopefully meant they were wearing it down. The fight continued for about a minute, with Iola and Atticus trying to smash and claw through stone, Nero blasting it with arcane ordinance, and Perseus using every ranged-lightning ability he had in his woefully short book.

One of the heads went down. As it crashed into the ground it exploded in a cloud of searing rock and ashes, blinding and burning everyone nearby (which happened to be most of the party). There were still three left, and unfortunately even without the deathsplosion Iola, Perseus, and Atticus were being worn down through a combination of intense heat, choking smoke, and just generally being knocked around; they had already had a full day of fighting elemental cultists and narrowly avoiding being crushed by a meteor.

By the time they had destroyed a second head Atticus went down, but with a helping, healing hand from Perseus he was back on his feet...until the next hit almost dropped him. As he limped to safety he chanced a glance skyward and saw a shape blotting out the opening far above. It was a crow. Not just any crow, but a really, really big crow. It dove, landing on one of the hydra's heads and smashing it into the ground. It savagely pecked at it, but was forced to take back to the air in order to avoid getting a bite taken out by the other head.

His prayers to Gaia had been answered. Technically. I mean it was no stampede of animals or onslaught of floral overgrowth, but quality over quantity, right?

Quality in this case meaning size category.
Iola and Perseus hung back, using blasts of wind and the lightning-staff to attack from relative safety, while the crow darted in opportunistically to tear at the hydra with its beak and claws. Things seemed to be turning around when another head went down...until Nero saw the blood.

A small pool of golden-red blood was sliding towards the hydra. He did not know why or what would happen, just that whatever it was could not possibly be good. He tried animating small rocks to ward it away, which seemed to slow it down but not by much. Once it had almost closed the distance he turned the full brunt of his arcane whirlwind upon it. This proved much more effective, splattering it some thirty feet away, but once he saw it gathering itself up again for another go he decided that he should call for help.

Iola reacted the quickest. She was not sure what it might do if it touched her, but given that the hydra was proving too hot to handle decided to give it a shot. Or, more accurately, a kick.

She slipped.

The blood simply flowed around her and poured into the pit. Nero chased after it, but by the time he made it to the edge the blood had formed into the four-armed faceless demon that he saw when the summit was still a summit. It was extending all four of its arms through the ground, trying to pull something out. He slid into the pit, burying his axe in the creature's back in hopes that the demon within the axe would, I dunno, drink it or something.

The axe bit in easy enough, but the demon's face--and just the face--twisted around to stare at him, which would be unnerving enough if it had a normal face instead of a graven symbol of Tharizdun. The axe began to mentally scream in agony, and for the first time in weeks Nero was able to let go of the axe, and so he did. Then he crawled out of the pit, presumably because he expected the blood-demon to turn into some kind of super-blood-devouring demon, which by themselves are something he wanted no part of, anyway.

With the final head destroyed everyone headed into the pit, where they saw the demon slowly extracting a glowing crystal from the ground, and they knew what they had to do.

They attacked the crystal.

Iola got a few good cracks in, but it was Perseus's lightning-staff that really did the trick, marking one of the few explosions that Nero was not only not the cause of, but was not even caught in. Fortunately even though Iola was at ground zero she still survived, albeit barely. Once they were certain that no one else was going to show up and make their day even worse, they had the crow carry them out of the pit and down the mountain to Copper Cairns, where they could rest up before dealing with the issue of the artificial winter, other elemental cults, and power vacuum left by a pantheon of dead gods.

All in a days work, right?

Behind the Scenes
This marks the only campaign that I can remember ending what I would call a satisfactory note; pretty much everything before this was a one-shot, module, or just ran until either I wrote myself into a corner, it petered out on its own, or life intervened.

Randy wanted to get in some words about our upcoming Numenera campaign, so the session was unfortunately a short one. I wanted to have the rock guy come back for a one-on-one with Perseus and maybe have Nero duke it out with the demon, but we did not have a lot of time and despite giving the characters back a daily power and some healing surges they were pretty badly beat up.

Oh well, it is still nice to wrap up a campaign on some sort of conclusive note. Maybe some day we will revisit it, or maybe I will flesh it out, polish it up, and throw it on Drivethrurpg. Maybe both? At any rate I have to say that I really do not think things would have gone smoothly as they did if I had kept going with 5th Edition, and that once we converted to 4th Edition I had an easier time planning and running the game, and the players had more fun (and more evocative characters).

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