The level 14 Vale Heroes for this session
In initiative order
Ulric von Kessel, wielding his dragonslayer warhammer;
Seck Rustrau, wielding Maelsauga the blood-drinking throw-knife;
Phoenix Pilandaros, wielding Mocair the legendary greataxe;
Cat Weasel, wielding Osuz his Pact Keeper’s Rod
Randomly distracted by Vir Onden, wielding his tigerish savagery
The battle so far
With the aid of the Hammerfast clerical elite guard, and Flaming Fist mercs, the militia defenders of Nimon Gap throw up a turf and stone rampart along the high ridges directly east of the hamlet. The defense is divided into eight companies of about 50, each stiffened by a smattering of mercs; and a powerful central command made up of senior clerics and mages, the elite guard, and secular commanders.
Against them the hobgoblin warlord brings his first army. Impatient of this tiny force he decides not to wait for the promised undead contingent.
As from behind the ridge, the Liberator planes up towards its preferred combat height, the battle commences! Manticores fly towards the enemy left, but are intercepted by the Liberator. One manticore falls, and one hero leaps off and plummets down…
Phoenix strikes hard into the river and is carried down north. He clenches Mocair twixt iron jaws and powers his way east and upslope.
Meanwhile the Hellhounds, bounding over the bridge, are driven back by a Dominate effect, probably from Sertieren. They fall back to the rear of the column of worg riders. These too pound across the bridge and are struck by a Fireball. One of the three squadrons disintegrates. Nearby, untouched by the blast, five hill giants lob boulders up at the ramparts, with no discernible effect. Behind the hellhounds a phalanx of Greenspawn sinuously deploys: each of the hulking dragonkin bears a huge shield and massive club or axe. Driving the hellhounds before them, they move onto the bridge.
Behind them, secure among the vast numbers of hobgoblins, the wyvern-riding warlord eyes the Liberator. It moves in a great clockwise circle behind the army then onto his left flank…
In the craft in question, Cat persuades Lothair to maneuver as tightly as he can while still maintaining open canopy. Seck and Vir both stand to the shallow gunwale, itching to hurt the field-filling formations below. As his excitement grows Vir’s savage soul takes over: tiger fur sprouts, his teeth lengthen to fangs, and claws spring out from his fingers! Hurling aside his longbow he makes to leap: Cat talks him down to some extent.
The Liberator planes down again, headed towards the same good landing meadow. Ulric grips Vir’s longbow and at long range, sends two shafts into the wounded manticore, which is tormenting the militia below with spikes launched from above useful bow-shot. It flails its wings but has taken a mortal wound: and crashes down! Cheers rise from the militia as the heroes land once more.
Cat and Seck hurl everything they can at the wyvern, which has flown suddenly into range, to support the now-dead manticore. Cat’s Mote tears a huge chunk off it and Seck slams Maelsauga into it for immense damage: the warlord flies away!
The next two squadrons of worg riders scrambles through the mess of dead goblins and worgs and wheel right, parallel to the river. The hellhounds follow. The river beside them suddenly shoots high: fey creatures can be glimpsed amidst the flumes of water! The hellhounds are dragged through unseen spikes and mauled most horribly. The worg squadron is struck by a Fireball and between that and the river fey, falls apart. But the last squadron is through!
As Phoenix uses his flight power more usefully, leaping in short bursts up the steep ridge. A tigerish form blurs past him, headed towards the worg squadron. Phoenix uses his superior vision to pick out where his buddies are: they are all headed along north, towards the command bastion. He joins them with a cheery halloo, but pauses to swig some potions. Meanwhile Vir-tiger charges the worg-rider squadron, and dies.
Then from on high, a green dragon – Ozyrrandion, hidden in the Witchwood all this time – plummets down and down, towards the Liberator! The heroes skid to a halt and begin running back the way they came!
But it’s a ruse – the dragon expertly banks, streaks down north-west, and attacks the river fey instead! Up on the bastion Adranna’s power wanes. From the safety of the rear lines the warlord reorders the advance: huge columns of disciplined hobgoblin warriors march onto the road. At the center of each formation stomp ogres and berserkers, as well as a captain and elite guard: and with them go war-casters and Tiamat priests.
No sooner have the heroes reached the command – Soranna just about jumps into Ulric’s arms – than they must rush back the way they came. The Greenspawn have crossed thanks to the dragon’s intervention, and show no hesitation in heading towards the weakened left flank.
“We’re going to need help, Thaardin – only your lads can hold that gap,” Seck appeals. The old senior cleric, impressed by the mayhem the heroes have inflicted, rallies his guard and sets out south, as do Soranna and Luskar. Sardith is already ahead of them.
Ahead of the appeal and rally, Cat and Ulric converse:
“Is it time for plan “quite stupid?” – Ulric
Cat allows Ulric to close up, extends a hand, and they Dimension Door right along to the rampart where Ozyrrandion is about to attack. Ulric sights on the dragon’s back, and Dimension Doors himself onto an advantageous handhold. And begins hammering!
Gazing from the weakened line of defenders, Cat throws Plant Growth down on the slope below. Vines and brush clamber over the rampart, and the worg riders are stymied. Sardith, floating along in support, uses a massive Fireball on them, and the few survivors flee.
The warlord reacts swiftly, flying over the Greenspawn and casting either a Dispel or some Wilting enchantment. The Greenspawn climb on through the rapidly receding growth.
Cat stands up to the rampart and drops a Wall of Light: the warlord Counters it! The warlord raises his fist and drops Flame Strike: Cat counters that!
But flying too close has once again exposed the wyvern – Seck’s Maelsauga slays it. The warlord retires modestly as he hits the ground and clears his dead mount.
In desperation Ozyrrandion turns turtle and crashes Ulric-first onto Cat (and some luckless defenders) and exhales a toxic cloud. Sardith is caught, and dies. Cat is down. Crawling from his throat Dis prepares a potion. The dragon corkscrews along the rampart, trying to keelhaul Ulric off. It does not work!
Ulric puts everything into another Smite – Ozyrrandion’s neck explodes and its body splatters down, part across the Liberator!
Cat is in Ulric’s aura: makes a nat 20 Death Roll and gets the full 2d4+2 benefit of the potion Dis has ready.
As Ulric crawls out from under (and splurges 10 slots of Lay on Hands on himself), and Cat grabs out some stronger potions, there’s little between them and the enemy save for a rampart smeared with the smashed remnants of defenders, Phoenix and Luskar, and Seck. Soranna and the dwarf elite are still some distance back. The Greenspawn charge! And as the first rank vaults up to meet Ulric’s dragsonslayer hammer, the session ends.