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May 9th, 2010

Grillin' Beef and Killin' Monsters

Yesterday, we headed over to Inova Health Center to visit camstone and take him a little light reading material to help him keep his spirits up. From there we buggered off to get home in time for me to finish prep for the evening's Pathfinder game. On the way home, I ruled that it was entirely too beautiful a day not to do a cookout as part of the festivities, totally not reckoning on the fact that it was OMG WINDY out there.

So we filled the grill with coals, took the lighter-wand out there, and spent several minutes going click-blown out-click-blown out-click-blown out, finally resorting to matches to start the coal in one spot, then lighting the lighter-wand from the burning coal to light the rest of the coals everywhere else. We then had the fun of watching the flames go FOOSH! in every direction as the crazy winds fanned them beautifully, accelerating the coal-heating process by a good 200% and blowing sparks into the house. (Yeeks! Fortunately, we had garden hoses on hand and kept a vigilant eye on things.)

Finally, after suitably large slabs of beef and roasted corn had been noshed, we got down to the business at hand, i.e., continuing the foray into Drow-held sections of the Hammerfast Holds in my Revenge of the Giants game. It was a slightly-abbreviated session after the cookoutery, but that's okay because I'd had only just enough time to finish prepping what we went through anyway. I was going to say that this was the first session without giants, but there was a pair of bladerager trolls and technically they count -- so the campaign continues its "Way too many giants!" theme.

These trolls provided an entertaining moment as one blew up in jamesbarrett's face on dying -- which reduced its companion troll to 0 hp, causing it to blow up as well in a chain reaction that blew the fighter across the room and left him covered in rubbery troll bits. [1]

The two major encounters of the evening were heading to the occupied temple of Moradin, and the temple itself. To get to the temple, they had to pass through the library of the Hammerfast Holds, which the slain-and-raised-as-wights acolytes of the temple were ransacking in search of some information by order of the Drow clerics that had raised them. Although the waves of wights were somewhat worrying, especially when they all converged on sirfox's gnoll cleric, they were eventually re-slain with the party little worse for wear. (CR 6 advanced wights, even lots of them, have to do some pretty impressive rolling to actually hurt a party of five 10th-level heroes.)

But that was just really a warm-up to the temple itself, where a yochlol squatted on Moradin's altar, attended by a Drow cleric, some warriors, and an arcane guard. I was expecting this fight to be a toughie, particularly as the heroes were coming on it at the end of a long day (no rest since the beginning of the previous session, during which they fought their way through a guard post, a fire giant smith and his salamander assistant, and so on). And the players certainly had a "Holy crap!" moment when the yochlol teleported 100' to land behind them, right on top of laurie_robey's sorcerer, shutting down their big artillery.

But, I gotta say, the heroes came through. The fighter waded into the Drow, keeping them busy (and slaughtering the Drow cleric before she even got a chance to do much of anything), while hantamouse's ranger filled the yochlol with arrows and the NPC rogue/barbarian filled it with shock battleaxe and sneak attack. (Unfortunately, the ranger's bow had to punch through DR ... he's gonna have to upgrade to a +2 soon!) They eventually chewed it up enough that it fled, releasing the sorcerer so she could glitterdust the invisible arcane guard, completely invalidating most of his tactics. In fact, the arcane guard was pretty much the only foe that managed to really hurt them much, by channeling a lightning bolt through his spiked chain -- but even that didn't hurt too much thanks to the shield of faith sirfox habitually casts on jamesbarrett so they each share half damage instead of the fighter just sucking it all up and needing rescues constantly.

At that point, it was 10:30 and the heroes decided they wanted to bust down one more door -- clearing out whatever they heard bumping around in the temple's crypts -- but I called the evening there. They still haven't re-consecrated the temple, nor have they recovered its major relic ("the Hammer of Urthat-Ghan"), but they've at least carved their way in to the temple, at least until the Drow realize that something's amiss and react to it.

My big lesson learned from the evening is that these guys are pretty darn hard to hurt -- they're regularly floating around with AC's in the high 20s -- and that they can dish out tons of damage. jamesbarrett can pour out 20-30 points of damage on a regular round with his Crazy Crit Machine, and when the NPC rogue/barbarian gets a full attack with sneak attack damage, he gets +4d6 on each hit. Owie! So I can feel free to toss bigger, badder monsters at them regularly.

-The Gneech

[1] This technically a rules oops on my part -- exploding bladerager trolls do piercing damage, not fire, so technically the second troll should have fallen to the ground and regenerated. But the double-whammy of one troll blowing up the other troll was too good a moment to pass up.

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