So, this is how it went down:
We had to move our location. Hilgari had a birthday or a some other itch that needed scratching. This meant that Gau schlepped the model of Erramun and chairs, maps and miniatures down the hill to his place. We showed up, all but Hilgari, to do some serious battle. Gau was there first, of course, but was a bit late in arrival has he tried for a power nap. Life had been burning his candle at both ends and he was very short on sleep. Ziru, or should I say Ren, (Ziru died last session) brought a very good yellow chicken curry and we feasted and gorged until there was no choice but to dive in.
And dive in we did.
There was some talk about ropes and walls, and how best to assault the Red Hill. All the while the PCs and the 35 freed slaves continued to approach the fortress. On final arrival, the civilians were stashed in a nearby box canyon (with Hilgari as protector) and the party made a run for the front entrance. Nothing like kicking the door down and seeing what’s inside!
Before the party was even through the first gate, Lukin got separated. The fact that the outer gate was shut as the party was half way in – and then the ambush by the buried or concealed monster at the gate – these signified that some sort of trap existed in that area, or that there was some sort of contingency plan on behalf of the enemy. The next portcullis, almost-but-not-quite-closed, was the second phase.
The first few rocks and arrows gave you all the idea that staying in the forecourt sucked. Something had to be done. From there you basically had two options – go in (wedge the second portcullis) or concentrate on the front guard tower. Either would have probably worked out fine. Either, but not both.
Degroat started to work on some doors, others started to concentrate some fire on the increasing stone and arrow launching defenders. Meanwhile, Gau, now invisible and worried about the hail of rocks and arrows and looking for a way out for himself and comrades, decided to go under the mostly-closed portcullis. A bad part of that was that Gau wasn’t employed in diminishing the enemy threat with long distance “sleeps”…but that was recoverable if the rest had focussed on one thing. Things went from bad to worse when Alazne followed Gau. One of the enemy was watching that portcullis and as soon as someone visible crawled through, it was shut. Now the party was neatly divided into three areas, one with Gau (invisible) and Alazne, one with Degroat, Ren, and Dal, and Lukin was still outside the main gate – by himself.
From there, it was pretty much just a matter of time. The fortress was well alerted by now and maximum numbers of troops were being brought to bear. The blind captain, Icar, showed up just as Alazne was shot down by the front gate. It turns out Icar could hear pretty well – he strode to Gau and despite Gau’s crafty plan to confuse him, hacked Gau down with two whacks from his two handed sword. Two down.
Meanwhile, Degroat, Dal, and Ren had battered their way through a brick wall to go toe-to-toe with the vengeful haunt in the gatehouse. The horror drained a few stat points, but Degroat’s magic dagger and falchion, and Dal’s magic-ish fists sent the spirit away. After some fruitless searching and some failed negotiations with Icar, the fortress owners attacked. First came some invisible giant-like Marghbull-thing attacking Ren. Then came Icar. The outer gate opened and Lukin ran in to assist from behind – but that was a trap and he got pasted with a horrible energy blast – and went down. Degroat, and Dal went down also.
Ren was the last standing and as he fell, his final blows got tangled in some unfortunate oversights. He landed mighty hits as he tried to execute a fallen foe, one of three, but his quarry was regenerating. Did he finally do enough butchery? Sadly, no. It was hopeless against those three foes, alone. He fell.
In the end, a failure to work collectively toward a single goal brought our heroes to their knees.
Hilgari tried to defend your families and friends. He stood strong against the Margh Bull attackers – but there were too many. He fell as well.
And that is where we left off… It was a bitter pill.