Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Character Died And I Am Happy

In our DnD4e campaign, my character Berenger has been the coach / hard-bitten sergeant for our party. I was ready for someone else to take the leadership role for a while, and to develop a character with a happier outlook on life, so I told our DM that I was ready for Berenger to die gloriously. He obliged, in a big way.

Our party--level 5 characters--is on a quest to stem an invasion of Lolth's minions, and as party of that, we needed to destroy a large stone which acted as an anchor for Lolth's power on this plane. The stone could be destroyed by sunlight, but it was in a high room in a tower called the Pillar of Night. The Pillar had been built by chitines (a spider/humanoid race created by the drow), which meant the tower was made of hardened webbing, and succeptible to fire if we could get inside it. The tower was guarded by hundreds of chitines plus 250 cult soldiers, mostly dragonborn, bugbears, and humans--no elves, because the chitines hate drow and kill them immediately, and all elves and eladrin are just another type of drow to them. It didn't seem feasible to sneak in the gate, climb over the walls, launch hang gliders from nearby hilltops, etc., so we consulted with local scholars and came up with a plan: our leader would challenge the chitine general to a duel.  That would get us into the throne room, and while the duel was going on, our pyromancy-capable characters would burn through the east wall, letting sunlight in to destroy the Lolthstone.

The chitine general was a fallen paladin who had given himself to Lolth; our leader was, well, me--an eladrin with a hybrid lazylord/control wizard build. We're only level 5 characters, so not very powerful--my best attack was the warlord's ability "Tell our rogue to stab something again", not exactly useful in a mano-a-mano duel. I wasn't expecting to last very long. Before we went into the enemy stronghold, I told the party that keeping me alive was secondary; they needed to put the main effort into protecting the ones who were burning through the wall.

So we marched up to the fortress. A cultist death squad came running to meet us; I announced my challenge and they stumbled to a halt, dumbfounded, before they pulled themselves together and led us to the throneroom. We took our places, the duel began, the general raised his sword and charged me--and missed. I maneuvered away, waited for him to charge again, and sidestepped. Eventually he got frustrated and hit one of my allies instead....which made it a free for all. No one was threatening our pyromancer, so he kept burning a hole in the wall and the rest of the party piled on and took the general down. I had hit him exactly twice, once for 6 damage (of his 160) and once with a spell that slowed him down for a few seconds; on the other hand, he hadn't hit me at all.

And then black opaque smoke started pouring from his body and filling up the space around him, making a column 15 feet wide. We stepped back and got ready. And what appeared in the smoke was a Level Twenty Five monster, a manifestation of Lolth. Yes, L25 compared to our L5.

He still couldn't hit me. He took out our rogue with one hit; another hit nearly took out our defender. When he attacked me, he rolled a critical miss.

I stepped adjacent to him to swat him with my staff--a necessary part of a mass healing spell I was casting to keep our rogue and defender alive. The monster grabbed me--finally--and nearly killed me in one bite.

And then our barbarian finished chopping a hole through the burning web wall, and sunlight poured in and struck the Lolthstone. The Stone exploded. With Lolth's power removed, all of the cult soldiers dropped dead, and the monster holding me exploded, killing me. Our defender grabbed my body, the rogue scooped up the loot, and the party raced down the stairs as the burning tower collapsed, setting the whole fortress and the nearby trees ablaze. Epic Win.

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