D&D: The Eighth One – Session 2

Written by: GM           Played on: 22 Jan 2011
PREVIOUS: The Eighth One – Session 1
NEXT: The Eighth One – Session 3

Unfortunately, I got distracted with posting the remainder of these game logs and most of them were not written at the time by my players as I intended. Even though I was playing with the same group that writes the Shadowrun campaign logs, this campaign never managed to capture their interest in the same way.

These logs are being written many months after the fact, using old notes made during the game as well as my notes for the sessions and my good, old fashioned memory (which is not nearly as good as it used to be). As such, they may be short on detail as well as length, but I’d like to get them all down for reference as best I can. As such, I ask you to bear with me. Where I can and where appropriate, I will elaborate the fiction a little bit. It may not be “exactly” what happened, but it will be in the “spirit” of the events.

With the rising smoke in the distance, the small unit quickly gathers their horses and races back to Araucania. As they ride out of the nearby forest down the main road leading into the city, they can see the situation is much worse. High above the towers of the citadel, a dark, twisting portal rages in the sky and looks to be tearing an ever larger hole. Winged creatures can be seen flying out of the fissure and into the city.

Charging into the city, twisted creatures of chaos are running rampant. Leaping from their horses, the party rushes to intercept a pack of the creatures which have a group of civilians cornered. Though deadly, the creatures quickly fall to their sword and their spells. Bharash orders a perimeter established while he questions the civilians.

The bartender, Carl, shakily answers, “My lord, we did not see the portal in the sky open, but we heard the clamour as these creatures attacked. By the time we went to investigate, they were already battling the city guard. Most of them seem to be heading towards the citadel, we were making for the city gate when they cornered us. Thank the Seven Divine you arrived in time! We’ve seen very few of the Divine Guard, but most seemed to be heading to the citadel as well.”

Carl was the first NPC the players gave me during character creation that I was able to incorporate into the story. After the first session, I sat down and made plans to incorporate as many of the NPCs I was given as possible into some part of the story. I didn’t end up being able to involve them all, but I got through many of them.

Thanking the man for his time, sure that they would be able to escape the city on their own now, Bharash ordered his unit to move out. As he passed the bartender, Margoloth placed a heavy, reassuring hand on Carl’s shoulder before moving on after his commander.

Snaking through the back streets and alleyways, the party was able to avoid the majority of the fighting in the streets and cut ahead to the citadel. As they traveled further into the city, the number of dead civilians continued to climb. As they traveled further, bodies of the twisted creatures and the guards who fought them are added to the piles littering the streets. Bharash warns Scith against her natural inclination to help the few wounded they encounter, insisting that they must reach the citadel as quickly as possible. In the gardens, just outside the citadel, a new, disturbing body count begins to rise; the ravaged bodies of the Divine Guard begin appearing amongst the many dead.

Quickening their pace, the unit moves through the broken gates of the citadel into the interior. Weapons and yelling echo through the cavernous halls of the grand structure, now marred with pools of black blood and the shattered armor of the Divine Guard. Making their way towards the nearest sounds, they encounter a pitched battle between a small army of the Divine Guard and a massive wave of the creatures who have made their way in. Seeing that General Thokas, the High Commander of the Divine Guard in the Southern Kingdom, is leading this defense, Bharash orders his unit to join the fight, charging into the rear of the creatures’ flank.

Caught off guard, the creatures quickly fall to the party’s swords. When silence finally fills the halls, Bharash approaches General Thokas. The General is in conference with Invoker Friegga, a wise Deva who has served many lives with Haulpa, and Cleric Laba, the Dragonborn assistant to Invoker Friegga and Bharash’s own wife.

Cleric Laba is, as mentioned, Bharash’s wife provided during character creation.

“Commander Bharash, I’m glad you could join us. These creatures have penetrated our defenses and separated the bulk of our forces. Invoker Friegga believes they are targeting the Divine Haulpa. It is our duty to ensure that does not happen.” Quickly agreeing, Bharash orders his unit to join with the General’s guard as they head further into the citadel.

Traveling towards the chambers of Hualpa, their forces are soon beset by a new wave of creatures. Shouting over the sudden commotion, the General issues his orders, “Commander, the defenses in the west have fallen! We will deal with these creatures and prevent them from reaching Haulpa, you must take your men to her chambers and ensure her safety! We will rejoin you when we are able! Go!”

Despite his trepidation, Bharash nods and orders his soldiers to move out, holding one last concerned look with Cleric Laba before turning and moving down the hall. It has been many years since any of them have had their duty take them to the chambers of the Divine Haulpa. Standing there now, just outside her doors, they can hear terrible, inhuman cries coming from inside along with the powerful roars of the avatar. Charging inside, they find the great dragon locked in combat with three massive beasts. Though she towers over these creatures, they in turn still tower over the Divine Guard who have come to her aid.

I intended for the battle between the large creatures and Hualpa to be set dressing more than anything. Something that was happening in the background to their own battle with the smaller unit of creatures in the room. The party, however, insisted on trying to assist Hualpa where possible, firing at the creatures with arrows or spells when they were not directly fighting enemies of their own.

Scattered about the room before them, a dozen more smaller creatures guard the entrance or fire arrows at the avatar. Not wasting a moment, Bharash orders Margoloth to charge down the center of the room through the bulk of the forces while he and Rock attacked the flanks. Cael immediately looses an arrow past his compatriots, dropping one of the creatures with an arrow through the throat.

Following directly behind Margoloth’s enormous bulk, Aunywynn slides through the forces, her daggers and short swords darting between targets in quick succession. Sir Henry and Inara open up with the full force of their magical ability, burning and tearing through the creatures that survive the Barbarian’s devastating attacks. As the creatures fall, a second set of war cries joins the fray as another group of the creatures charges in from outside, having managed to make it past the citadel defenders elsewhere.

Wheeling his unit around, Bharash engages the new threat, ordering Sir Henry, Cael and Inara further into the room and away from their new attackers. As their battle raged on, they could hear pain filled cries from the avatar as the monsters arrayed against her scored painful hits. Even as they succeeded in injuring the great dragon, however, Hualpa lashed back, crushing one of the lumbering hulks against the wall with a swing of her tail, its broken body crashing to the floor.

Finally putting down their new foes, the party turns towards the Divine Hualpa as she tears the last of the large creatures in half. Winded and injured, the feathered serpent still stood tall over the warriors of the Divine Guard and let forth a mighty roar.

Almost as if in answer, the roof overhead crashed inward. Dust and debris filled the air, with large chunks of stone being thrust towards the Divine Guard. Several were hit by falling debris, knocked down and bruised by the sudden assault. Through the thick dust it was difficult to see, but a large dark body slithered through the massive opening that revealed the expanding portal in the sky overhead. A second, pain filled cry could be heard through the dust and debris, followed by the sickening sound of flesh tearing and bone breaking.

As they tried to pick themselves up, a massive beat of wings sent a shudder through the structure which threatened to knock them down again. As the dust began to clear, they could hear the sound of General Thokas yelling from somewhere nearby. Coughing and sputtering, Bharash turned to see the General leading his men into the room. As the dust cleared, the General’s face turned ashen.

Turning back towards the room and its shattered ceiling, Bharash finally laid eyes on Haulpa. The great dragon, the avatar of the Divine Hualpa and protector of the Southern Kingdom, lay dead on her chamber floor half buried in the collapsed ceiling.

PREVIOUS: The Eighth One – Session 1
NEXT: The Eighth One – Session 3

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