The Adventures of Annalax: Volume XXII
(Bringing our D&D write-ups up-to-date…)
The time had come for saving this dingbat town once and for all. With the townspeople sent through to the Dreamland dimension, the party and helper NPCs arranged themselves in defensive positions. Annalax was in an abandoned building. And thus we awaited the coming of the Nightmares. Whom, as you may recall, were coming to collect Pure Wholesome Girl as a sacrifice.
In the event, the combat was anti-climactic. The party’s superior initiative meant that we focused entirely on the Biggest Nightmare, while the helper NPCs disposed of the smaller ones. It was one of those fights that was over in a couple of rounds.
But, really, that wasn’t the challenge. The Real Bosses of the setting were a coven of Hags, somewhere in the forest. And we had to go searching for them. Into the Nightmare Forest our party went…
It was one of those dark and twisted forests where we had to use a climbing rope to stop people getting lost. We stumbled across a Chimera and a group of other critters… Annalax managed to fail a Stealth check (he hates it when that happens. He’s a bloody Rogue), but in the end we got away.
Then we stumbled across a Circus. And clowns. But, alas, it was not the Butcher’s Circus. It was merely a collection of Clown Nightmares, who were irritated that we lacked tickets (fair point) and that we had killed a nearby raven (also fair point).
So we were suddenly fighting a large number of malevolent clowns. Don’t blame Annalax. He was actually trying to negotiate tickets… albeit, he accused the Nightmares of being in direct competition with his investment in the Butcher’s Circus.
Now, that’s the thing about playing a Rogue. You do some impressive damage against bigger enemies, but you’re rather screwed so far as crowd control goes. Annalax was at least able to hide behind some trees, albeit having to suffer a critical hit from an opportunity attack while doing so. A wise choice, given that these bastards were particularly fond of spells that involved a Wisdom save. Indeed, the clowns proved deceptively tough generally. One of them cast Crown of Madness against Zhan, which wasn’t ideal. On the other hand, Annalax and pre-Madness Zhan were able to pull-off a Darkness and Clinging Shadows combination, which kept about a third of the clowns tied-up for the duration.
In the end, we successfully wore the clowns down. Annalax had a couple of eventful incidents. He managed a critical hit on the toughest clown… only his second in the entire campaign. Alas, his 5d6 Sneak Attack damage was… 9. Yes, a critical hit where I rolled a 4, a 2, and three 1s. Ugh. The other incident was Annalax using Dusk Warp and his sword (fourth time in the entire campaign!) to one-shot one of the clowns from behind. So this is what it feels like to play a melee character…
We tried to keep one of the clowns alive, to question about the Hags… but it turned out to be insane, thus of no use whatsoever. Bugger.
Session forty six. Basically another combat-heavy one.
The vicinity of the clown tent proved to be a rather dangerous place. No sooner had we finished a short rest after dealing with the clowns, than four shadow portals opened, and a fresh group of Nightmares poured out. Worse, these things could walk through the tent walls… and weren’t shy in the spell-casting department. One of them teleported to the middle of our party, and wailed to lower Wisdom by a full six points (Annalax made his save that time… not a sign of things to come).
Since the critter was right next to Annalax, and he had allies within five feet, he decided to try his hand at another Dusk Warp and sword attack (fifth time!). This time he rolled a 3, so no luck. Worse, more Nightmare critters came into the tent, and Elknel took some nasty damage. So next turn, Annalax did what Annalax does. He disengaged, ran away, and cast Fog Cloud centred on himself.
Not a moment too soon. Another wail, and Annalax was Paralysed. And that was basically that for him for most of the combat. Standing paralysed in the safety of a Fog Cloud, while the rest of the party did their thing. Because it was that sort of session, he also failed subsequent saves against being Frightened, and being Stunned. Honestly, the dice were not Annalax’s friend. Luckily, the rest of the party figured out that radiant damage really hurt these critters, and better yet, it could destroy the shadow portals. Well, that, and Zhan’s magic missile.
The effects eventually wore off Annalax, so he was able to get in one round of attacks before the fight ended. On the other hand, Einarr our Goliath Barbarian was knocked down to zero HP while being double his stress limit… which should have proved fatal. Luckily, the DM was feeling merciful, so diabolical intervention brought him back to life as a Tiefling Ashenspawn. Or as I like to think of him, a Balrog.
Having just emerged from the Fog Cloud, Annalax did not recognise the transformed Einarr. So he threw an unsuccessful Faerie Fire at him. Eventually, the party decided that this was Einarr, though Elknel remained sceptical.
Since this tent was clearly dangerous, it was on through the forest…
There was time enough for another combat, this one much more straight-forward. A group of five human Nightmares on rope bridges and forest shacks. These were dealt with in short order, though one of them tried to run (only to be taken down via a natural 20 from Elknel’s bow).
On through the forest again… only for us to run into a strange glade of mirrors.
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