Corruption of Azim

Chapter 7

Skirmishes in Gnoll Territory

It was a cold morning. Asmodeus had woken up just before dawn. While the rest of the party slumbered, the wizard sat in thought. He couldn’t sleep any longer because his mind kept him up with ideas for attacking the soldiers who would soon be dispatched from Fallerun.

As the dim light of morning began to make their camp distinguishable, Asmodeus looked over at his companions. Tyrus’ muffled snoring was coming from his small tent. Gaimon and Nock had slept out under the stars; blankets over them and packs nearby. It would soon be too cold to sleep outside without a tent — in a week it would be October.

The dog was curled up not far from the Elf. Asmodeus had been surprised the night before to hear barking as he approached the copse of trees where they had cached the Gnoll hides. Tyrus had drawn his sword, but they approached as they heard Gaimon repeatedly say “Down!” in a commanding tone.

Gaimon had explained his reasoning for getting a guard dog. He took his job as bodyguard seriously, so when the Gnolls ambushed the party he felt guilty for letting it happen. Not that he could have prevented it, even with his superior night vision, Asmodeus reflected. At least now they’d have a new set of senses helping them.

After some time meditating, Asmodeus woke the group. He studied his magic books while they broke camp and dug up the Gnoll hides and equipment from the frosty ground. Before the sun had risen over the horizon they were ready.

“Let’s go,” Asmodeus commanded. “We’ve got Renferell’s soldiers to kill.”

How do you want to go about finding and attacking the soldiers? You know that there will be two groups heading out this morning from the North gate. You’re not sure how many soldiers will be in each group, but your rough guess is 5-10. In Chapter 5 it looked like they were gathering up enough rations/equipment for a group to be on the march for a week or more.

You are familiar enough with the guards and soldiers of Fallerun to know that you could take down 6-7 without too much trouble. Bigger groups (8 or more) may require some careful maneuvering.

You may want to consider ambushes, hit-and-run tactics, traps, or other tricks. Also remember it will be important to not let any get away to warn the mayor. Therefore, you may want to let them march a few days before fighting them.

Nock likes to study his victim before making a kill, so he’ll vote that they keep out of sight to wait for the parties to pass. Traps are a good idea, but he doesn’t have one, mechanical or magical, so he wouldn’t think to suggest it.

Instead, he’ll opine they ambush the soldiers wherever they camp tonight. In a group this large, his skill would be best used with crossbow and bardic music (Inspire Courage) to increase the whole group’s attack and damage bonuses.

Asmodeus is also content to let the parties get a day or two out. Nock could serve as a good scout, as could Gaimon in a pinch. Asmodeus will send his raven out to watch for general directions the groups are headed, and to count the numbers and assess the types of people (clerics, soldiers, mages, etc.) in each group.

A night ambush is exactly what the wizard has in mind. And oooooh boy, is it going to be fun. To outline the basic plan:
1. In preparation, Asmodeus will cast Mage Armor on Gaimon.
2. Then he will change into Gaseous Form and silently drift over the camp, “landing” right in the middle of the sleeping soldiers.
3. He will then revert to his human form and immediately cast No Light. There’s currently some debate going on with the DM as to how long he can make the spell last, so more on that later.
4. Then he will gleefully jump and perform his Dance of Ruin ritual. This full-round action does 2d20 damage to everybody in the area the same size as the No Light affect.
5. At this point Nock should use the Wand of Bull’s Strength on Gaimon and Tyrus, and cast a Ghost Sound to mask their approach and, if loud enough, help cause more chaos as it will be harder to pinpoint where Asmodeus is if there’s a lot of sound.
6. After casting Devil’s Eye on himself, so he can see in darkness, Asmodeus will proceed to kill the soldiers one at a time, beginning with any mages he can see. Drown will hopefully prevent them from casting spells.
7. After the No Light spell expires, he will probably have expended ALL of his spells, and Gaimon, Nock, and Tyrus can sweep up the remaining soldiers after Nock uses the Wand of Bull’s Strength on them.
8. Contingencies: Have the raven familiar deliver Touch of Fatigue to any runners, and if caught in the middle of the camp somehow without backup nearby cast Mirror Image.

I have updated the google doc for Asmodeus’ prepared spells. He will be carrying the wand of Cure Moderate Wounds. Nock will have the wand of Cure Light Wounds.

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Changing ownership of the wand to Tyrus.]

Gaimon would help Asmodeus refine this plan over time, especially in regards to what the others should be doing. So far Asmodeus has only focused on himself and his actions, Gaimon will suggest surrounding the camp while Asmodeus is wreaking havoc in the darkness, having Nock use the wand as Asmodeus begins, catching stragglers who escape the No Light area, and then coming in to help once the No Light spell dissipates.

The party headed North to get a head-start on the soldiers. Asmodeus sent out his familiar to find their quarry and it was not long before the raven returned with information. The soldiers were on the move. As expected, they were divided into two groups. Both groups were headed North, one slightly Eastbound, the other slightly Westbound.

Since they were already on the West side, they focused on the latter group. They followed Nock’s suggestion to let the group pass, then follow along behind. All agreed that their assault should be made after dark.

As they followed the soldiers’ long march, Asmodeus pondered what spells he should prepare. Between Nock and the raven, they discovered that there were seven soldiers in the group. They were comprised mostly of basic fighters carrying swords and bows, but one had a staff. We’ll make sure to deal with the caster first, the wizard thought. The soldiers were mostly Human, but there was also a Dwarf and a pair of Elves.

All the while they traveled, Asmodeus concocted plans to ambush or otherwise attack this group. It was important they kill everyone quickly; surprise would be their greatest asset. Acknowledging that tactics was not his forte, he turned to Gaimon and Tyrus to help solidify their plans.

Gaimon’s advice was especially useful. He had a good sense about how to combine the wizard’s more powerful spells with the group’s abilities. Asmodeus was glad to have the Elf around. He smiled as he thought back to how he had first convinced Gaimon to join him. He had promised Gaimon a future full of violent deeds; this ambush would be yet another fulfillment of that promise.

As dusk came, the soldiers halted their march. Asmodeus felt that they should let the soldiers march one more day before attacking them. Besides, his discussion with Gaimon and Tyrus had changed the spells he needed to prepare. So they camped in darkness for the night.

Despite the season, the next day seemed to last forever. Carefully they followed their unsuspecting foes. Nock and Gaimon both seemed eager to fight. Asmodeus recognized the look of bloodlust rising in the Elf’s eyes. Finally the long shadows of the setting sun turned to night. The soldiers stopped and camped for the night.

“Everyone try to get a little rest,” Asmodeus instructed. “Just after midnight we’ll strike.”

At the appointed hour, the group quietly moved to their positions. All the soldiers were asleep in their tents except for the Elves who were keeping watch. The camp was spread out more than Asmodeus would have liked, but it didn’t matter. It was time.

The camp is spread out over a diameter of 60 ft. So your No Light spell won’t cover everyone, but most of them. I’m assuming you’re going ahead with the plan you outlined previously; just let me know if there are any alterations you want to make now that you have more info.

Actually, I would like to know just a hair more about the layout of the camp. Are the guards at opposite ends? Sitting in the middle together? Do we know which tent the mage is in? Do they have horses? If so, are they tied up and where are they relative to the camp?

Nock will silently move into any position that offers cover or altitude, preferably both. He will carefully lay out his loaded crossbow and gittern. Just after Asmodeus’ jig of ruin ritual, he will use the Wand of Bull Strength on Tyrus and Gaimon, as per the wizard’s instructions. Then with the gittern Nock will create a ghost sound, trying to imitate the howling of twenty gnolls encircling the camp and encroaching on all sides. Due to their recent run-in with gnolls, Nock believes he can make it sound fairly authentic.

After that, he’ll play a heroic tune on his gittern to Inspire Courage in his allies (giving them some protection against certain spells and a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls). He’s ready to drop the gittern and fire with his readied crossbow, if he sees anyone trying to flee the camp.

I’m pretty sure, actually, that any information I get on the camp won’t change the plan. Asmodeus is going to cast a 2 minute version of the No Light spell. Gaimon, Tyrus, and Nock should spread out to catch stragglers. Since Gaimon is getting Mage Armor Tyrus should get Bull’s Strength. Gaimon would want to position himself by the tents and people that are not covered by the No Light spell, and attack them as they wake up. He will be screaming war cries as soon as the chaos begins.

And this time, since they’re not trying to keep any of the guards alive, Gaimon’s just going to cut loose (for storytelling purposes).

Kill them. Kill them all!

The guards are at either end of the camp. You know that they’ve wandered back and forth somewhat, but you don’t dare to get too close lest they discover you before you begin your attack. You don’t know which tent the mage is in. There are two horses near a cart in roughly the center of the camp.

So Eryx, it sounds like you don’t want Nock to give Gaimon Bull’s Strength so he can already be in position at the other side of the camp. Is that right? Also, just to be clear the Dance of Ruin spell doesn’t have the same area as No Light. They both have the same spell range, but the latter is always a 20 ft. radius (the range allows you to cast it away from yourself).

Yes, Gaimon will not get the added strength so he can be in position. Asmodeus will try to grab as much of the camp in the No Light spell as he can, for sure including the tents, but he will be casting a 1 minute version of the spell, not the 2 minute version as previously requested. The plan hasn’t changed, but Gaimon will know not to go running in until after the Dance of Ruin spell has gone off, as its effects will be larger than the effects of the No Light spell.

Here’s some additional info. The camp is set up with two campfires. The tents are all near one of the fires (5-15 ft). The horses and carts are roughly between the two campfires. The Elves are on opposite ends of the camp. There are a few trees in the area, but very sparse, won’t affect combat (though you could hide behind them). It’s a slightly hilly area, so Nock can get a slight height advantage.

Everyone please roll initiative. Eryx, please roll your damage for the Dance of Ruin spell. (I don’t think there are any other needed rolls for your spells, up to that point.)

Eryx, Karasu, and Whipblade (who authorized Eryx to roll on his behalf)
Asmodeus Initiative: 16 (roll) + 3 (DEX) = 19 total.
Gaimon Initiative: 6 (roll) + 3 (DEX)= 9 total.
Nock Initiative: 18 (roll) + 1 (DEX)= 19 total.
Tyrus’ Initiative: 19 (roll) + 0 (DEX) – 19 total. That’s really weird.

Asmodeus Dance of Ruin damage: 6 + 9 = 15 total. Crap! Curse the dice gods!

Edit: Inque is back at camp, guarding it. He’s not part of the attack.

The group split up to get into position. Gaimon went toward the East side of the camp, Nock and Tyrus toward the West. Asmodeus concentrated on the spell of Gaseous Form. within a moment, he had become a translucent mist. Slowly he floated toward the center of the soldiers’ camp.

Gradually he descended to the ground, judging the distance such that he could cover as many tents within his No Light spell as possible. He paused a moment while watching the Elven guards. When they both were looking away, the wizard decided it was time to act. The mist of his form gradually coalesced until the dark robed figure stood illuminated by the firelight. He quietly muttered his next spell, hands and fingers twitching in the motions that activated the arcane powers flowing through him.

“Hey!” cried one of the guards. Asmodeus had been spotted.

Without hesitation, he finished his spell. Suddenly, a bubble of darkness appeared, centered on the wizard. No light penetrated from the fires, moons, or stars. He felt his eyes trying to adjust even as he heard the cry of panic from the closest guard. Sounds of the wakening party surrounded him, but he was already in motion, weaving and dancing, feeling the magic flow through him in a similar fashion as magic always did—but this time was different. The Dance of Ruin spell took an extra few seconds and required use of the entire body. The arcane energy filled him until he thought he would burst, but then he sent it flying away from him in every direction, and grinned as he heard the cries of pain.

He next cast Devil’s Eye to see within the magical darkness. His eyes swept over the scene that was suddenly visible, surveying the damage he had wrought. There was movement within each of the tents as figures struggled to emerge. The horses were terrified and apparently injured.

The howl of a Gnoll sounded in the camp. Asmodeus grinned as he saw his blind enemies turn about to see what was happening. They did not know that the sounds were coming from Nock’s Ghost Sound spell. The noise of howling and barking surrounded the camp.

“The Gnolls are attacking!” exclaimed one of the soldiers.

The distinct sound of steel clashing against steel told Asmodeus that Gaimon and Tyrus had joined the battle. If all was going according to plan, they were engaging the Elven guards.

A Dwarf emerged from one of the tents, and fixed his gaze on Asmodeus. Blast! the wizard cursed under his breath. Curse Dwarves and their darkvision! He prepared to defend himself as the Dwarf raised a mace, but the blow was too quick. Blood trickled down Asmodeus’ leg from a wound to the thigh.

“Here! This is no Gnoll!” the Dwarf shouted.

The Dance of Ruin spell did a lot of damage: 91 points spread out over all seven soldiers. Apparently you didn’t take the Dwarf into account in your plans; he can see Asmodeus just fine with darkvision. He’s now in melee with Asmodeus, and has dealt 5 damage, leaving the wizard at 19/24 HP.

Asmodeus can see two figures who have emerged from tents nearby (besides the Dwarf). Both are human. One looks like he may be the leader of the soldier group; about 10 ft. away. The other is holding a staff; 5 ft. away (within melee range, next to the Dwarf). It appears that the soldiers have been sleeping on their swords in case of a Gnoll attack, and the fighters have their armor partially/loosely donned (they don’t get the full AC bonuses).

Nock has used the wand on Tyrus, and cast Ghost Sound. Because of how combat has played out, he hasn’t had a round to start his Inspire Courage ability yet.

Tyrus is now fighting one of the Elf guards. The Elf cut into Tyrus’ shoulder for 4 points of damage, leaving the blackguard at 40/44 HP.

Gaimon attacked the other Elf guard and got a critical hit. 25 points of damage were dealt, slaying the Elf outright. But before he killed the Elf, one of the human soldiers exited a tent and is now in combat with Gaimon.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of actions.

Asmodeus will cast Drown on the mage, then Mirror Image, then Darkbolt at the dwarf. He’s worried that the mage knows the Light spell, which would counteract his No Light spell, and is clever enough to use it. I have updated the google doc as to which spells have been cast, including these three.

Drown on the Mage: 20 (roll) + 3 DEX + 3 BAB = 26 total.
Mirror Image: 2 (roll) + 2 (caster levels) = 4 images total.
Darkbolt on the Dwarf: 10 (roll) + 3 DEX + 3 BAB = 16 total. Damage: 1 + 7 + 7 = 15 total.

Gaimon will continue merrily swinging away at the guard in front of him, using Power Attack. He’s just cutting loose, yelling his battle cry. Once the guard he’s currently in combat is dead, he’ll wait until either the No Light spell disappears, or someone else emerges from it.

Attack Roll 1: 5 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork -5 Power Attack: 9 total. Damage: 5 + 5 = 10 total.
Attack Roll 2: 4 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork -5 Power Attack: 8 total. Damage: 1 + 1 = 2 total.
Attack Roll 3: 7 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork -5 Power Attack: 11 total. Damage: 5 + 3 = 8 total.

Nock’s plans haven’t changed: He’ll play his gittern to Inspire Courage in his comrades. (Just imagine the sounds an evil bard would make to inspire other evil characters!) He’ll stop playing and fire his crossbow at anyone who tries to flee. If said deserters try to ride away, he’ll shoot each horse out from under them.

Here are my attack rolls, in case we need them:
Attack Roll 1: 17 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 23 total. Damage: 4 + 1 = 5 total.
Attack Roll 2: 5 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 11 total. Damage: 3 + 1 = 4 total.
Attack Roll 3: 15 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 21 total. Damage: 2 + 1 = 3 total.

A figure with a staff had emerged from the nearest tent. Ignoring the Dwarf, Asmodeus stepped away and cast Drown on the blinded mage. The poor wretch immediately started gasping for air; his face bunched up as he held his breath. Now he won’t be casting Light or any other spells, Asmodeus thought as he grinned.

An ominous tune sounded over the battlefield, mixed with cries of battle and Gnoll howling. The melody from Nock’s gittern somehow made all who heard it feel that the soldiers were doomed. The cries of pain and confusion reinforced this idea.

“I cannot see!” one of the soldiers called out. “This sunrod isn’t helping! Odir!” From his demeanor and armor, Asmodeus thought this must be their leader.

“Aye!” the Dwarf called in acknowledgment, then lunged at Asmodeus. Instead of swinging his mace he tried to grab the wizard, but stumbled. He snatched at the air and missed even touching Asmodeus’ cloak.

As he stepped further away, Asmodeus cast the spell of Mirror Image. Four duplicates of the wizard stepped out of the same space, making it impossible to tell which was the real one.

A sudden flash of light filled the area. The Dwarf’s mace was glowing with magical light which counteracted the effect of Asmodeus’ No Light spell, allowing the lit sunrod to shine forth. Everyone stopped momentarily as they adjusted to the brightness.

The images of Asmodeus copied his string of cursing. He had worried that the mage would be the one casting spells. He now realized that the Dwarf wasn’t a mere fighter, but a cleric! With venting rage, he shot out a Darkbolt into the troublemaker. It hit hard, obviously very painful. The Dwarven cleric was stunned for a moment by the blast.

The leader of the soldiers rushed over and attacked one of the Mirror Images. A swift blow cut down the image causing it to disappear. Without hesitation the soldier cleaved right into another of the images, cutting a long gash down its arm. This second illusion also disappeared.

With No Light dispelled by the Dwarf’s Light spell, the sunrod and campfires are now clearly illuminating the camp. It’s easy to see everyone except for Nock who is still hidden on a small rise. The mage continues to struggle against drowning. Four of the soldiers are clearly bloodied. One is dead (the one Gaimon dispatched in the previous post). Their leader seems least injured and is quickly dispatching Asmodeus’ mirror images.

Nock is continuing to play his gittern and providing his bonus to the group. It doesn’t appear that the soldiers are trying to run — they seem more confused than anything.

Tyrus is having some trouble with the Elven guard he’s fighting. He’s taken 19 damage this round (two blows, one a crit) from the Elf’s shortsword. He’s currently at 13/44 HP. He hasn’t been very lucky in his attacks, but he did deal out 5 damage with one good cut.

Gaimon is fighting against two guards; the second stumbled out of the darkness and went to help his friend. Despite flanking, the guards can’t quite manage to get past Gaimon’s high AC. But Gaimon’s blows have also failed to connect.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of combat.

Update: Just FYI, if Whipblade doesn’t post, then I was planning on having Tyrus heal himself on his next round. Also, we’ve got a retcon issue: Asmodeus can’t use healing wands! So the Cure Moderate Wounds wand is now in Tyrus’ possession. Nock still has the Cure Light Wounds wand. I’ll retcon the previous chapters later. Due to the situation, I’ve allowed Asmodeus to buy several potions which he now has on-hand.

Asmodeus is going to cast and move closer to Gaimon each round. First round he will cast Darkbolt on the leader who’s going to town on the images. Second round he will cast Darkbolt on the Dwarven Cleric. Third round, Magic Missile on the Cleric. If he gets below 10 HP he will drink one of the potions of Cure Moderate Wounds. I’ve added the Inspire Courage to the Ranged touch rolls below, but not the magic damage ones. That’s correct? Btw, kudos for the description of how the evil Inspire Courage works. I know it’s technically giving us a +1 on our rolls, but I like that it appears that for roleplay purposes that it’s making them cringe and be afraid.

Round 1 Darkbolt: 18 (roll) + 3 DEX + 3 BAB + 1 Inspire Courage = 25 total. Damage: 4 + 2 + 5 = 11 total.
Round 2 Darkbolt: 3 (roll) + 3 DEX + 3 BAB + 1 Inspire Courage = 10 total. Damage: 6 + 7 + 7 = 20 total.
Round 3 Magic Missile Damage: 2 + 1 + 1 = 4 total.

Gaimon has calmed down from the excitement of just outright killing that first guard, and now has his head in the game. He is no longer using Power Attack. He’ll rush at the leader, calling for Tyrus to get after the Cleric. He will be attacking the leader as soon as possible, but until then will attack the Elven guard he was first engaged with. I guess I’m assuming as he moves towards the leader the two he’s engaged with will follow him.

Attack Roll 1: 13 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 23 total. Damage: 1 + 5 + 1 Inspire Courage = 7 total.
Attack Roll 2: 8 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 18 total. Damage: 4 + 2 + 1 Inspire Courage = 7 total.
Attack Roll 3: 2 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 12 total. Damage: 2 + 5 + 1 Inspire Courage = 8 total.

Eryx: That’s correct. The Inspire Courage gives “+1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls” but not to spell damage. I’m unclear what you want Gaimon to do though; or rather, when it is that you want him to engage the leader. Also, he’s currently flanked by 2 soldiers, although that might not matter due to his high AC. Should he disengage right away and attack the leader, or wait for a round or two?

FYI: I added retcon notices to the previous chapters and made minor narrative corrections for the wand issue.

Yes, Gaimon will immediately go for the leader, but will obviously try to avoid being flanked as possible.

- With a shift in stance, Tyrus uses his combat expertise to fend off the elf’s incoming blows.(+2 to AC/-2 attack)
- Then, with his left hand, he will whip out the healing wand, his eyes narrowing at his elven opponent and speak the wand’s power word: “Tekerim” (8+3 = 11 Hit Points healed = 24/44 hp total.)
- Tyrus will then restore the wand to his belt.
- Tyrus attacks with renewed fervor! Being a powerful opponent, Tyrus gets two attacks per round:
* First attack: 1 +7(Base) +1 Courage – 2 Expertise = 7.
* First attack: 8 +2(Base) +1 Courage -2 Expertise = 9.

(Likely misses)

-Tyrus attacks the elf again!
- Second attack: 19(CRIT!) +7(Base) +1 Courage – 2 Expertise = 25. Damage: (2 +3 +1)2 = 12 Damage.
- Second attack: 16 +2(Base) +1 Courage – 2 Expertise = 17. Damage: 6 +3 +1 = 9 Damage.

Tyrus will kill the elf any way he can, then head for the cleric.

Nock will play the gittern for one more round, then take up his crossbow and begin firing on the nearest opponent:

Attack Roll 1: 16 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage: 23 total. Damage: 2 + 1 + 1 = 4 total.
Attack Roll 2: 9 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage: 16 total. Damage: 2 + 1 + 1 = 4 total.

I realized that I haven’t been awarding XP for some things that I meant to. So I added a small update to the end of Chapter 6 which gives out some XP. (I put it there because it belonged with that Chapter… I guess I could have put it here, but whatever.)

Also, I’ve made minor narration changes for the Mirror Image spell; they should be disappearing immediately on taking damage.

“Gaimon! A little help!” Asmodeus commanded, then fired another Darkbolt spell at the leader of the soldiers. The dark shadow hit him full in the chest, stunning him. Asmodeus noticed the Dwarf heal himself with a spell; blue-green energy from his hands flowed into his body.

Gaimon quickly rushed up, ignoring his previous opponents’ vain attacks. His greatsword bashed into the leader’s helmet and caused a slight gash along his cheek. Looking around, Asmodeus noticed Tyrus fighting with one of the soldiers. They both looked somewhat injured, but he caught a glimpse of the Blackguard healing himself with a wand.

Chanting more spell invocations, Asmodeus raised his hand and another Darkbolt leapt out. Unfortunately, it missed its Dwarven target. The Dwarf responded by touching his leader with a healing spell.

Gaimon and the leader seemed to be well matched. Their swords clashed again and again in strikes and parries. The soldier was quicker and brought down more blows than Gaimon, but the Elf’s armor protected him against any injury. Gaimon’s attacks were no more effective, and Asmodeus noticed that the Elf had received a light cut along his chest — presumably from one of the other guards.

The wizard’s attention was pulled away from the battlefield as one of the soldiers destroyed another of his Mirror Images, leaving only one decoy. Quickly he summoned arcane energies in the form of Magic Missiles. The three missiles struck the Dwarven cleric. The Dwarf swung his mace at the last remaining image, but missed! Pain shot through Asmodeus’ left leg — the soldier’s shortsword had cut an ugly gash into him.

A cry of triumph was heard. Glancing over, Asmodeus saw Tyrus sink a blow into the Elven soldier who was already slumped to his knees. The mage was blue in the face from holding his breath. All their enemies were bleeding. Good, Asmodeus thought. We’re beating them! Now I just need to get away from hand-to-hand combat.

Asmodeus was injured for 7 damage, leaving him at 12/24 HP. Gaimon was hit by one of the soldiers just before he came to attack the leader. The strike dealt 5 damage, leaving the Elf at 27/32 HP. One of the guards followed him and is flanking him with the leader on the other side, although Gaimon’s armor has protected against any further damage.

From his hiding place, Nock’s two crossbow bolts both hit the guard flanking Gaimon. Although he has stopped playing his Inspire Courage tune, the effects should last the next 3 rounds.

Tyrus healed himself to 24/44 HP and shortly thereafter dispatched his enemy. He did not have time to engage the cleric yet though.

Two of the seven soldiers are down. All the rest are pretty bloodied now, except for the leader.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of combat.

First, I forgot to add the +1s to the last Magic Missile attack. The Cleric should have taken 3 more damage than I posted last time. Asmodeus will unload his last 2 Magic Missile spells on the Cleric, unless the Cleric goes down. If that happens, he’ll blast the guard flanking Gaimon.

First Magic Missile Damage: 3 (roll) + 4 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 3 = 12 total.
Second Magic Missile Damage: 3 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 3 = 11 total.

He will then move over towards Nock, hoping to get some heals, and summon his Raven to him. He only has 3 spells left, all Touch of Fatigue. He will wait and use them on any runners that decide to bolt, using his Raven to deliver them. DM, can the raven hold a touch spell charge, as outlined on p. 141-2, and 176 of the PHB? If so, Asmodeus will give the Raven a “charge” to use on any runner the Raven sees.

Gaimon will continue on with the leader, who he is grudgingly beginning to admire. Of course, a challenging fight delights him all the more.

Attack Roll 1: 16 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 26 total. Damage: 1 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 1 Inspire Courage = 5 total.
Attack Roll 2: 1 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 11 total. Miss. Boo.
Attack Roll 3: 1 (AGAIN, WTF!) (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 11 total. Miss. Again. Double Boo.

Also, if Tyrus is going after the Cleric, I hope the Cleric is good. Smite Good ftw!

Firstly, I have been rolling d4 for damage for Nock’s light crossbow when I should have been rolling d6. Oops.

Sensing the intention of the wizard, Nock will fire once more into the soldier he’s already hit twice, then move away from his cover twenty feet toward Asmodeus. He’ll fire again, this time at the cleric pestering Asmodeus, and move again. He’ll then cover the remaining distance between himself and Asmodeus (if any) and use the wand of Cure Light Wounds on the dark wizard.

Attack Roll 1: 19 (roll) crit! + 5 AB + 1 masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage: 26 total. Damage: 5 + 1 + 1 = 7. Crit damage: 6 + 1 + 1 = 8. Total = 15.
Attack Roll 2: 18 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage: 25 total. Damage: 2 + 1 + 1 = 4 total.
Cure Light Wounds roll: 4 + 1 = 5 hp.

Tyrus will assault the cleric, by casting smite good. Twice. I rolled an 18 and an 11 respectively. Not sure of the bonuses that should apply. (Still using combat expertise 2) Then he’ll make an attack with his bastard sword:
First attack: 18 +7 (Base) +1 Courage – 2 Expertise = 24.
First attack: 16 +7 (Base) +1 Courage – 2 Expertise = 22.

Since it looks like Nock is going to crit the soldier flanking Gaimon, it goes without saying that if the soldier is dead, Asmodeus would hit one of the other soldiers with Magic Missile. The priority is still the Cleric.

Eryx, yes the raven can hold a charge, just so long as it doesn’t land (and thereby touch something thus releasing the charge). Also, you didn’t add your STR bonus for Gaimon’s melee attack, so I added that in.

Karasu, I think you rolled your crit damage incorrectly. You don’t get to add in bonuses to the crit damage. The damage should have been 6 (the max weapon damage) + 5 (which you rolled on 1d6) + 1 for Inspire Courage = 12 dmg. I’m not sure where you’re other +1 was coming from… you don’t get to add STR or DEX to the damage of ranged attacks (unless throw a weapon, or use a sling). If I missed a +1 bonus somewhere, just let me know (it didn’t significantly affect the battle below).

Asmodeus quickly moved away from the cleric and the soldier, heading toward Nock and his healing wand. Then turning about, he let loose a second volley of Magic Missiles. The streaks of light struck the Dwarf and knocked him onto his back. He did not get up again.

Looking toward the battle, Asmodeus watched the soldier flanking Gaimon cry out in pain and fall to the ground. Then Tyrus ran up to intercept the guard that had slashed at Asmodeus’ leg. The blackguard’s strike cut into the soldier’s off-hand. Undaunted, the guard broke away from Tyrus and ran at Asmodeus. A slash of his sword left a painful cut across the wizard’s brow.

Enraged, Asmodeus moved further toward Nock as he repeated the words of another spell. His final volley of Magic Missiles hit and dropped his attacker. Finally! he thought as he saw he was clear of his attackers. That just leaves their leader!

Tyrus engaged the leader on the opposite side from Gaimon. “Your hope is gone. Die!” he commanded with unnatural energy. Then with a powerful strike he slashed deep into the soldier’s side. The leader staggered for a couple steps, but did not fall.

“I don’t know who you are,” the leader responded in gasps, “but I’ll kill you for what you’ve done here… even if I don’t survive it myself!” Then he lunged at Tyrus and landed a pair of blows on the blackguard. Bleeding profusely, Tyrus fell to one knee.

Movement near one of the tents attacked Asmodeus’ attention. The mage was coughing and hacking. Then from his kneeling position, he raised the staff and spoke a word.


But it was too late. Asmodeus dove to the ground as flame erupted all around. He blacked out as he was slammed into the dirt.

The wizard awoke moments later as he felt life returning to him. Looking up, he found Nock hovering over him with a wand. Looking over, he saw Tyrus heal himself with a wand and stand up to continue fighting. The leader didn’t give him any respite. One blow was blocked, but a second cut another gash into the blackguard. Tyrus didn’t go down this time however.

Standing up, the mage lifted his arm and a pair of Magic Missiles shot out and hit Gaimon. The Elf ignored the pain and kept attacking the leader. Despite his two opponents and obvious injuries, the soldier managed to block Gaimon’s greatsword.

“We’ve got to finish off that mage!” Asmodeus croaked out to Nock. “His spells and that staff are turning the tide of battle.”

Wow, things suddenly shifted when the mage made his final saving throw attempt before dying from the Drown spell. He looks pretty injured though, as does the leader. Both are close to falling.

Asmodeus dropped the cleric and another soldier with his spells, but not before taking 4 damage to his head. The Fireball cast by the mage would have killed Asmodeus outright (-13 HP), but he made a successful Reflex save to avoid half the damage. (I decided to roll the save myself, to save time from posting. If it had failed, I would have let Eryx retry the roll himself to take fate into his own hand. I rolled a 19.) But even with the Reflex save, it still did 13 damage putting Asmodeus at -1/24 HP. He lost another 1 HP while bleeding out, but then Nock healed him. He’s now at 3/24 HP. Also, the last Mirror Image was destroyed by the Fireball.

Nock’s crossbow crit dropped the solider which was flanking Gaimon. He also damaged the leader with a second bolt. Luckily for him, he was barely outside of the Fireball blast range. He then healed Asmodeus for 5 HP. Nock is still at full HP (22/22).

Tyrus tried to use Smite Good on the first soldier he attacked, but it failed because the guard was of Neutral alignment. He did deal 10 damage to the soldier though. Since that soldier was then dropped by Asmodeus, Tyrus attacked the leader. This time his Smite Good did work, and he dealt 13 damage. Unfortunately, the leader responded with two successful hits dealing 24 damage, leaving Tyrus at 0/44 HP. He then healed himself with the wand (I actually checked w/ Whipblade on that scenario) for +15 HP. Then the leader hit Tyrus again for 12 damage. Tyrus is now at 3/44 HP.

Gaimon got in one good hit on the leader, but missed his other two attacks. He took 8 damage from the mage’s Magic Missiles, leaving him at 19/32 HP.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of combat.

Hearing Asmodeus’ words, Nock couldn’t agree more. He immediately fires a crossbow bolt at the mage. He takes a moment after that to focus his mind, casting the True Strike spell. With renewed insight, he fires again—at the troublesome mage if he still stands, or at the leader.

Attack Roll 1: 17 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 23 total. Damage: 6 (roll).
Attack Roll 2: 1 (roll) miss! I guess that screws up the True Strike spell.

Asmodeus is in a bit of a panic, but maintains control even though he has no real spells to do anything anymore! He will send his raven in with a Touch of Fatigue spell on the leader. If it fails, he’ll try again, then pray that he doesn’t die or blackout again. Oh, and he’s backing away so as not to be in range of the others in case the Mage uses another AOE spell.

Raven Touch Attack 1: 11 (roll) + 3 BAB + 2 Familiar’s DEX = 16 Total.
Raven Touch Attack 2 (in case): 9 (roll) + 3 BAB + 2 Familiar’s DEX = 14 Total.

Gaimon will continue swinging away at the leader, but will yell at Tyrus to get the mage. He knows they cannot afford to let this man stay active, since he almost took out Tyrus single-handedly the last few moments. If the leader goes down, he will obviously attack the mage.

Attack Roll 1: 14 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork = 23 total. Damage: 3 (roll) + 2 (roll) +3 STR = 8 total.
Attack Roll 2: 3 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork = 12 total. Damage: 1 (roll) + 6 (roll) + 3 STR = 10 total.
Attack Roll 3: 17 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork = 26 total. Damage: 2 (roll) + 5 (roll) + 3 STR = 10 total.

Tyrus is going to be the Healamatron on this round. He goes into full defensive with combat expertise, gaining a +5 to AC and -5 to attack. He then casts 3 heals: 1. First Heal goes to Asmodeus. 2. Second Heal on himself. 3. Third Heal on himself again.

With a throbbing head, Asmodeus slowly stood. Slightly panicked, his mind was racing to figure out what he could do next. His only remaining prepared spells were Touch of Fatigue — useful against fleeing enemies, but not against magic users casting Fireballs! Nevertheless, he summoned his raven to have it deliver the spell if needed.

Then the mage let out a cry and fell over. Nock had struck the mage with a crossbow bolt. Asmodeus watched cautiously to see if the mage would get back up.

A cry of triumph caught the wizard’s attention. Gaimon had slain the enemy leader. After a brief survey of the battlefield, Asmodeus let out a sigh of relief. It was over. It had not gone entirely according to plan, but at least they had succeeded.

It only took one round of combat to finish off the enemy, so I decided you might not want to waste additional charges from the wand of Cure Moderate Wounds — perhaps opting to use the Cure Minor Wounds wand instead.

Here’s the current HP status of the group:
Asmodeus: 3/24
Nock: 22/22
Tyrus: 17/44
Gaimon: 19/32

What will you do now? I’m guessing you’ll want to heal. I wasn’t sure what you wanted to do about the battlefield though; how much you’d disturb it, loot, and/or make it look like a gnoll attack.

I just want to heal everyone up to full, or close enough. (With the smaller wand, of course.)

Asmodeus will immediately send out his raven to scout out where the other group is. He’ll want to heal everybody up a bit, but if they have a few days travel to catch up or whatever, we could heal on our own and not waste the charges. But before they go to bed tonight (far away from the camp) he’ll want them to stage the attack to like it was the gnolls. That includes looting, and Asmodeus is very interested in that staff. We will leave the surviving horses tied up and let them fend for themselves. If they starve, all the better, if they escape and head back to town, that’s good too.

As far as the next group, Asmodeus wants to shadow them and let them actually attack some gnolls, THEN hit them.

And let’s not forget that Gaimon would be excited about that first crit that just outright killed the guard. Somehow that has to get noticed. When they get back to camp, he’ll make sure that Inque is okay, and play with him a little before trancing.

Nock is down with the Asmodeus’ suggestion. Everyone needs a rest before going into another battle though. He’ll also want to immediately release and scare off the horses. They’ll probably find their way back to town and cause some worry and panic there.

Like Gaimon, Nock will crow a little over his battlefield success (a soldier and a mage, not bad), but not too loudly. After all, he spent most of the skirmish strumming his gittern. With the wand, he’ll heal anyone who requests it.

Also, it looks like Tyrus used 2 charges from the Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds, and Nock used 1 charge from the Wand of Cure Light Wounds. Is that correct?

Also, as far as staging a gnoll attack, we’ll just loot everything, spread gnoll fur around, and maybe leaving a gnoll weapon or two, as if the gnolls had exchanged them for the better weapons the group had. We don’t have to set the tents on fire, since I’m pretty sure they already are thanks to the mage.

The wizard’s next thought was to locate the other group of soldiers. They had not seen them for almost two full days. So he sent his familiar off to find them. He hoped that the raven would be able to return by morning.

The group gathered around Nock to be healed by the magic wand. The faint green glow rejuvenated each of them, their wounds closing by the subtle magics.

Once healed, Asmodeus began to survey the battlefield. Several of the soldiers were still bleeding to death. Nock systematically went to each one and shoved a dagger through their throats to finish them off. He also crowed over each crossbow bolt he found lodged in their enemies.

The wizard paused at one body which seemed especially mutilated. Gaimon had literally torn an Elf guard in half. Blood pooled all around the broken corpse.

“Here’s the plan,” Asmodeus called out once he had finished looking around. “We’ll loot their camp and take everything we value to our camp. Then we’ll bring the Gnoll hides and weapons here to frame the beasts for this attack. As for the horses, we can just leave them tied —”

A whinny from the horses interrupted his orders. Nock had just cut them loose and poked them to get them running. Already frightened and injured from the battle, it didn’t take much to send them flying.

“Well. That’s that,” Asmodeus stated. “If they make it back to Fallerun, all the better.”

The group then set about their task. Asmodeus headed straight over to the fallen mage and took the staff from the dead man’s already cold hand. The staff was made of a dark wood and had brass bindings. Elaborate carvings of flames ran down its length. It obviously is a fire-type staff. I know he cast Fireball with it, there are likely another few spells there. Who knows how many charges remain though.

Looking down again at the mage, Asmodeus noticed bracers on the man’s wrist. He suspected they were also magical, so he took them as well. Rummaging around the man and his tent, he couldn’t find a spellbook. So, you must have been a sorcerer then, he thought.

Soon a pile of gear had been collected. The leader’s weapon and armor were especially ornate, probably magic. There were many masterwork weapons. They also found a tidy sum of money. They gathered up the items of worth and hauled them back toward their camp.

Inque barked as they approached, but Gaimon quickly calmed the dog down. It seemed to already be getting used to him. They used their horses to take the Gnoll hides and weapons back. They spread fur and bits of hide all over the camp. They even left a few Gnoll weapons behind. Then as the last thing before leaving, Asmodeus instructed Gaimon to light all the tents on fire.

Finally finished with their work, the party returned to their camp. Only Gaimon was still alert; his Elven body did not tire easily. But he laid down anyway to finish recovering from his wounds. The rest of the group fell quickly into dreamless slumber.

2 charges of the Cure Moderate Wounds wand were used during battle. 10 charges of the Cure Light Wounds wand were used; 1 during battle and 9 to heal everyone up. With a good rest (sleeping in a while) the group will be back to full health.

The tents were not on fire from the mage. His fireball exploded away from the camp, centered around Asmodeus as he was moving away to get healing from Nock. So I figured you’d want to burn them down as a final touch.

In looting the bodies, you’re pretty sure that the leader’s armor and longsword are magic. There are also several masterwork weapons. There’s also the staff and bracers from the mage, and the cleric was wearing an amulet. You found 1200 gp worth of money (in assorted coins, bank notes, etc.).

You can roll a single Knowledge, Spellcraft, or Use Magic Device check (whichever gives each character the highest bonus) to try to get additional info about the probable magic items via observation and experimentation.

Each character may also roll a Search check to see if they find anything else that might have been hard to see or lost in the darkness and weeds.

Asmodeus and Nock both receive 1500 XP. Gaimon receives 1750 XP. Tyrus still receives 0 XP because of his early advancement to level 7.

Asmodeus Search Check: 17 (roll) + 4 (bonus) = 21 total.
Asmodeus Arcane Knowledge Check: 7 (roll) + 13 (bonus) = 20 total.
Gaimon Search: 20 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 23 total.

I’ve just been putting the list of all the loot in Asmodeus’ inventory on the google document, but that’s more for record keeping purposes than actually indicating he’s carrying everything. Do we want to divide up the cash among the entire group, or just the ones that were out fighting?

Nock Search: 11 + 3 = 14 total.

Based on a conversation with Eryx, I’m assuming we’ll deal with the next militia group in much the same way. When they awake, Nock will ask Asmodeus if he wants invisibility cast on him before venturing into the next camp. That way, Asmodeus can coup de grace the mage before casting dance of ruin .

Tyrus Search:5 + 3 = 8

Despite the attractiveness of having new weapons, Tyrus warns against keeping them, especially if they weapons of any note – as nice as it would be to have a staff that shoots fireballs, the last thing we need is for it to be recognized by someone.

Tyrus isn’t sold on the idea of Nock just enchanting with his songs. Seems like it may be more useful to have the little assassin in the thick of it a little sooner next time.

Noted, Whipblade, and after trying Inspire Courage I agree with you. I too felt unsatisifed with my character sitting on the sidelines. But here’s my dilemma: While bards aren’t weak sauce, they’re not legendary great fighters either. Though Nock is an assassin, he only has one class level in it, so he’s not too formidable in that regard yet. Besides, the assassin abilities work better in the dark on solo ops, not that they couldn’t be useful in creative attacks. In an all-out attack, the problem is that Nock’s most powerful weapon is the crossbow (d6), compared to his shortsword (d4) or dagger (d3). He can deliver more damage firing than fighting. That said, any suggestions? I don’t want Nock to be the guy playing musical accompaniment or the one-trick fighter either, so I’m open to ideas you might have. If appropriate, we might even work your suggestions into some dialogue between Tyrus or Asmodeus and Nock.

From your search checks, Gaimon found some gems scattered over the ground near an empty pouch. Asmodeus found a gray metal mug with jade inlays.

Asmodeus is pretty sure the mage’s staff is a Staff of Fire. He thinks the longsword is magic, though there aren’t any clues to whether there are any enchantments. He guesses that the bracers and amulet are both for magical protection.

The next morning the party broke camp and headed in a Northeast direction — their best guess as to the location of the other group of soldiers. After traveling for a few hours, Asmodeus’ raven returned.

There were ten soldiers in the second group, with another two Elves and two Dwarves. The raven reported that this group also had another caster, although the bird was unable to discern much else from the group.

Correcting their course, the party traveled all day in pursuit of their quarry. They made good time, but didn’t catch up with the soldiers whom the raven reported were also on the move. After traveling for a few hours into the night, they decided to make camp.

The following day during their march, the party came upon the body of a dead Gnoll.

“Looks like they found some Gnolls,” Tyrus remarked.

“Or the Gnolls found them,” Gaimon replied.

A brief search revealed three Gnoll bodies. Probably scouts, Asmodeus thought. The tracks of the soldiers clearly lead on Northward, so the party continued on in that direction.

By late evening they had caught up with the soldiers. Nock and Gaimon snuck up and observed them making camp. The party decided to attack at night as with the other group, so they made camp about a mile away from the soldiers.

Hours after dark, Inque began barking and growling at the darkness. Gaimon tried to calm the dog, but it kept barking.

“Quiet!” Asmodeus called. “The soldiers will hear if he keeps that up.”

Eventually Gaimon was able to calm Inque, though it kept growling toward the darkness. Gaimon thought he saw movement in the brush.

“Gnolls,” Tyrus whispered to Asmodeus.

What’s your next move? You believe there are Gnolls nearby, but so are the soldiers.

Tyrus is quietly discussing tactics with Nock: As a bard, what spells can you cast? (Your character info doesn’t appear to have that listed.) I think your prior strategy was fine, we just needed those bolts to start flying a little sooner, that’s all.

Tyrus warily scans the treeline for movement. (ACTION CHANGED – Didn’t realize the soldiers camp was a MILE away. This is not what Tyrus would have done.)

Spot Check: 11 + 3 = 14

“Help, eh?” Asmodeus would immediately respond. “And what, kill the soldiers after the gnolls are dead?” as he makes his way to the horses. “And what are we going to do about the stolen gear?” He looks longingly at the Staff of Fire. “Don’t want to lose you,” he says as he strokes it. He turns back to Tyrus. “Would look mighty suspicious if we rode in with all of it.”

Asmodeus would say, “Well, if we do get to the soldiers, I’m going to claim that I have no spells left, used them all up escaping!” Then he would grin wickedly, and Gaimon would too.-

Edit: My original post was in response to Whipblade’s, and now that he’s changed his post, I’m going to change mine too. The Spot Check rolls still apply.

Asmodeus stands up, gripping the staff. “If we fight, the soldiers might hear us. That could split them up, though, if they send a few out to investigate. Gaimon, how many gnolls do you see?”

Gaimon will draw his sword and move back towards Asmodeus and Nock, keeping Inque at his side, scanning the surrounding area all the while. “If we head for the soldiers, there’s no guarantee that there will be enough gnolls to actually kill some of the soldiers. And I don’t like the idea of taking on 10 of them at once without the element of surprise. If there are only a few gnolls, I say we stay and fight them off.” He looks pointedly at Asmodeus. “Could demonstrate to the soldiers that we helped them do their job.”

Gaimon Spot Check: 2 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 5 total.
Asmodeus Spot Check: 2 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 5 total.
Raven Spot Check: 4 (roll) + 5 (bonuses) = 9 total.

Whipblade, I’ve updated Nock’s character sheet to include his spells.

I rolled a Spot check to determine the gnolls’ numbers: 7 (roll) +2 = 9.

Nock wants to study his enemy before deciding whether to head for the soldiers’ camp for help or to stay to pick off a few gnolls and thereby avoid questions about their newfound booty.

Asmodeus stood up, gripping his stolen staff tightly. “If we fight, the soldiers might hear us. That could split them up, though, if they send a few out to investigate. Gaimon, how many Gnolls do you see?”

“I can’t see any,” the Elf replied. Then he drew his sword and led Inque back toward the group. His eyes kept sweeping the area, but saw no indication of any Gnolls.

“If we head for the soldiers,” Gaimon continued, “there’s no guarantee that there will be enough Gnolls to actually kill some of the soldiers. And I don’t like the idea of taking on ten of them at once without the element of surprise. If there are only a few Gnolls, I say we stay and fight them off.” He then looked pointedly at Asmodeus, “Could demonstrate to the soldiers that we helped them do their job.”

Inque continued to growl toward the darkness. Then the whizzing sound of arrows filled the air. Nock stifled a cry as an arrow scraped his left forearm. Another arrow plunged into Tyrus’ leg. Before he could give out any commands, Asmodeus lurched forward in pain as an arrow sunk into his stomach.

Roll initiative, then give me 3 rounds of actions.

Nock only took 1 point of damage. Tyrus took 5, and Asmodeus 6. Judging by the arrows, Tyrus and Gaimon believe there are most likely 3 Gnolls. You know roughly the direction they are in, but cannot see them yet.

Also, I need to know if any of you are using any gear from the group of soldiers you killed (weapons, armor, etc.).

Nock Initiative: 13 (roll) + 1 (Dex) = 14

Nock will quickly strike a deafening chord on his gittern (Inspire Courage) before giving a manic shout, drawing his short sword, and joining the fray. Assuming there are three, Nock will take on whichever gnoll Gaimon and Tyrus don’t attack.

Attack Roll 1: 16 (roll) + 3 BAB + 1 Dex + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 22 total. Damage: 2 (roll) -1 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 2 total.
Attack Roll 1: 7 (roll) + 3 BAB + 1 Dex + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 13 total. Damage: 4 (roll) -1 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 4 total.

Asmodeus Initiative: 7 (roll) + 3 (DEX) = 10 total.
Gaimon Initiative: 19 (roll) + 3 (DEX) = 22 total.

Asmodeus will light up a sunrod. He really doesn’t want to use any of his spells to kill gnolls, but would rather not be attempting to cast huge fire spells at night when trying to avoid being seen by the soldiers, so there’s nothing that can be done. He will use Magic Missile on the Gnoll that Nock is headed for. He is wearing the bracers the sorceror had from the first group of soldiers.

Magic Missile Attack 1: 1 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 1 (roll) + 3 = 7 total.
Magic Missile Attack 2: 3 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 4 (roll) + 3 = 13 total.

Gaimon just heads over to one of the gnolls and starts whacking away. He tells Inque to follow and attack.

Attack Roll 1: 9 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 19 total. Damage: 1 (roll) + 4 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 9 total.
Attack Roll 2: 14 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 24 total. Damage: 3 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 11 total.
Attack Roll 3: 5 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 15 total. Damage: 3 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 10 total.
Handle Animal Roll (Attack): 6 (roll) + 0 (modifier) = 6 total. Handle Animal appears to be mostly about training an animal, and training to attack should take 3 weeks according to the PHB. When I posted above that Gaimon was “playing” with Inque, I was assuming that all this was for was to strengthen the bond between master and animal, but I guess it means that Gaimon was training Inque.

Edit: Since we don’t know exactly where the gnolls are, Gaimon will just head in the direction he thinks one is until Asmodeus gets the sunrod lit. He’s using 2 movements to get to where the gnoll is, but once he arrives he’ll use his movement actions to get Inque to attack.

Tyrus Initiative: 14 (roll) = 14 total.

Since we can’t seem them yet, Tyrus will dive towards the nearest tree for cover, where he will draw his sword, then pull up the hood of his darkvision cloak to see better. He’ll lie in wait for a moment. Once the gnolls attack, he plans to position the gnolls between himself and where the attacks are coming from to shield him from further volleys.

Attack Roll 1a: 9 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Inspire Courage = 20 total. Damage: (This is an attempted SNEAK ATTACK) 10 (roll) + 6 (Sneak Attack) +3 (Str) +1 (Courage) = 20 Damage. Rar! Attack Roll 1b: 6 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Courage = 12 total. Damage: 8 (roll) + 3 (Str) +1 (Courage) = 12 Damage.

Attack Roll 2a: 15 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Inspire Courage = 26 total. Damage: 1 (roll) +3 (Str) +1 (Courage) = 5 Damage.

(Will continue my post when I get home… must run.

Gaimon and Tyrus rushed into action; the first running toward the arrows, the latter ducking into the darkness. Nock played a quick, near-deafening chord on his gittern to rally his companions.

Asmodeus quickly broke off the end of the arrow lodged in his stomach. Then, unable to see the Gnolls, he rummaged in is pack and pulled out a sunrod. Shielding his eyes, he struck it against a rock and held it aloft.

Then he saw a pair of Gnolls rushing toward him from the darkness. They were blinded by the sudden light and their attacks missed. Tyrus appeared again from his hiding place and struck one of the tall dog-like creatures. It howled in pain. Nock made a similar attack against the other Gnoll. Stepping away from the enemy, Asmdoeus let loose a volley of Magic Missiles at Nock’s target.

Both Gnolls turned about to attack those that had struck them from behind. Their huge, rusted swords came down, cutting into both Tyrus and Nock. The blackguard responded by cutting a pair of deep gashes into the Gnoll. Nock tried to do the same, but his blow was parried by the huge beast’s shield.

Seeing that Tyrus’ target was bleeding profusely, Asmodeus switched targets and let loose a second volley of Magic Missiles. Three streaks of light slammed into the Gnoll, dropping it in a bleeding heap.

Nock cried out as his huge opponent landed another blow. The Gnoll was bent over its prey, saliva dripping from its sharp teeth, and keen yellow eyes trained on the wounded bard.

Whipblade, no worries; I rolled your last attack for you. Tyrus was injured for 7 damage, leaving him at 32/44 HP. Nock was wounded twice more; the Gnome is now at 9/22 HP.

Asmodeus’ attention is focused on the fight nearby; Gaimon is about 50 feet away and doing very well against his opponent. He’s bloodied the single Gnoll he’s attacking, and his high AC has prevented any damage thus far.

One Gnoll is already down. Some flanking attacks should bring down the other in the main group quickly (remember that flanking allows Nock and Tyrus to use sneak attack damage). Also, I ruled that Nock got off a sneak attack; I added the extra damage in myself.

You haven’t seen any other Gnolls, so you’re pretty sure it’s just the 3 for now. Give me your next 3 rounds of actions.

Gaimon will keep whacking away at the gnoll in front of him. I’m unclear round-wise when Inspire Courage will wear off, so I’ve included it in all the rolls.

Attack Roll 1: 15 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 25 total. Damage: 5 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 13 total.
Attack Roll 2: 2 (roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 12 total. Damage: 2 (roll) + 4 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 11 total.
Attack Roll 3: 19 (roll) CRIT! 5 (re-roll) + 5 BAB + 3 STR + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage = 14 total. Damage: 5 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 4 (STR) + 1 Inspire Courage = 12 total. Complete Damage: 12 (max weapon damage) + 12 (rolled damage + modifiers) = 24 total.

I hope I did that crit right. I rolled a 19 initially, then consulted the book, which says to re-roll, and if you were to get a hit, then the crit damage counts. And I know we have an in-house rule about crit damage being max weapon damage + 1 round of rolled damage (instead of the PHB rule of 2 rounds of rolled damage). Anyway . . . there are my rolls, adjust as needed.

Asmodeus will call his raven to him and spend all 3 rounds looking for any extra gnolls. If you rule that the raven takes 1 round to get to him, ignore the raven bonus from the first round.

Spot Check 1: 12 (roll) + 1 (WIS modifier) + 2 (raven bonus) = 15 total.
Spot Check 2: 19 (roll) + 1 (WIS modifier) + 2 (raven bonus) = 22 total.
Spot Check 3: 11 (roll) + 1 (WIS modifier) + 2 (raven bonus) = 14 total.

As soon as combat is over, he will tell the others to check for any extra gnolls. If there are none, he will hide the sunrod and then send his raven to check if the soldiers were alerted, and what they’re doing.

Gaimon Spot Check: 18 (roll) + 1 (WIS) + 2 (racial bonus) = 21 total.

On the first round, Nock moves away from the gnoll and uses his wand to heal himself. The next round, he approaches the gnoll again, trying to pin the beastie between Tyrus and himself for a flanking bonus. He’ll attack with his shortsword twice.

Attack Roll 1: 8 (roll) + 3 BAB + 1 Dex + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage +2 flanking = 16 total. Damage: 3 (roll) -1 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 3 total.
Attack Roll 1: 16 (roll) + 3 BAB + 1 Dex + 1 Masterwork + 1 Inspire Courage +2 flanking = 24 total. Damage: 2 (roll) -1 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 2 total.

Tyrus will finish off the gnoll he is dealing with, then try and provide Nock cover as best he can, using sneak attacks as able.

Attack Roll 1a: 13 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 24 total. Damage: 9 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 13 total.
Attack Roll 1b: 16 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 22 total. Damage: 3 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 7 total.

Attack Roll 2a: 8 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 19 total. Damage: 5 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 9 total.
Attack Roll 2b: 3 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 9 total. Damage: 2 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 6 total.

Attack Roll 3a: 3 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 14 total. Damage: 6 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 10 total.
Attack Roll 1b: 6 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 Str + 1 Inspire Courage = 12 total. Damage: 3 (roll) +3 (Str) + 1 Inspire Courage = 7 total.

Once the gnolls are finished off, Tyrus will scan the wounds with Darkvision, trying to detect anything else amiss. He’ll also attend to Ignus, to see if the mighty warhorse senses anything.

I think Whipblade meant “woods,” which goes to show that since you expressed to me, DM, in instant messaging, that trees are sparse, that perhaps a bit more description might help us all be on the same page as to what the environment is like. I get the impression that might be really important depending on how the soldiers react to our fight, if they react at all.

Good point Eryx. The terrain is similar to what was described in Chapter 4, except you are further from the mountains. You are in a “wilderness” area, but not a forest or wood. There are trees but they are sparse. There are also some brush, shrubs, etc. though not “overgrown”. The land pretty flat, but there are gentle hills. However, it appears from your scouting that the guards have made camp around a large rock outcropping.

While the Gnoll was turned away from him, Tyrus took advantage of the opportunity to cut two deep gashes into the beast’s back. It howled in pain, but didn’t turn around. Instead it moved after Nock who was busy healing himself with a wand.

Fear flashed through the bard’s eyes as the blow came down across his right shoulder. Blood poured out of the wound as Nock was forced to his knees. But Tyrus sprang after it and cut the enemy down. The Gnoll fell onto its back, the yellow eyes rolled up into its skull, and saliva mixed with blood drooled onto the ground.

All the while, Asmodeus had been searching the darkness for signs of Gnolls. Through his empathic link to Corbinian, he instructed the raven to also search. But neither of them could see any additional enemies, aside from the one fighting with Gaimon.

Several yelps, a grunt, and a cry of triumph were heard. Shortly thereafter, Gaimon returned from the darkness. He was grinning despite a bleeding wound across his chest. As the party searched for more Gnolls, they discovered that the Elf had rent his enemy literally to pieces.

The group didn’t find signs of any other Gnolls. Inque had calmed down, and Tyrus’ warhorse Ingus didn’t seem to sense anything amiss.

What will you do next? I’m guessing you’ll want to heal up, but I wasn’t sure if you’d want to get to full HP or not.

Asmodeus will send Corbinian to see if the soldiers heard or were alerted. What are our hitpoints all at? And may I assume that Nock used one charge of the wand?

Oh, sorry, I forgot to post the HP. Nock did heal himself once with the wand. Current HP is Gaimon 21/32, Tyrus 32/44, Nock 9/22, and Asmodeus 18/24.

Just so we can be jumping ahead a bit, here’s the plan if the soldiers are not attacking. Done in consultation with both Whipblade and Karasu.

The group will sneak up to the camp, and from 160 feet away Asmodeus will wait for a few minutes for the others to get close. Then he will attempt to use the staff, trying to activate a Wall of Fire spell, cutting the camp in half. He’ll try to arrange the wall so that it burns 2 people, and traps 3 or 4 on the side with the others in the group. Gaimon and Tyrus will have Bull’s Strength from the wand. While they finish those guards off, the wall will be blasting heat at the other half of the camp. The group will retreat and heal, and then it will be Asmodeus’ turn again, using the same strategy as last time. (Gaseous Form, Dance of Ruin, etc.) But we’ll get there when we get there.

Of course, if the soldiers are alerted, obviously something else will happen. In the meantime, let’s heal up full. I’ve done the rolls using the wand of Cure Light Wounds, and updated the charges on the google doc accordingly. We’re at 27 remaining charges, so a hair over halfway used up. Everybody has full health.

“If the soldiers aren’t attacking” what? The Gnolls or your group? I’m confused about what you meant there. And how will you ascertain if the soldiers are attacking anything? Just listen? Scout? Raven? How long will you wait in checking on the soldiers before sneaking up to do your attack?

Not to get snippy, but I’ve said twice now, both in this gray box, and the previous one, that I’m sending the raven to check on the soldiers to see if they’ve been alerted and what they are doing.

You’re right about what you’ve said about the raven, sorry about that. But it doesn’t answer my other questions. Your statement about “if the soldiers aren’t attacking” is still ambiguous. And just because the raven is checking, that doesn’t invalidate the question of whether any characters would scout in addition to the raven. And of course, the raven scouting doesn’t answer the question of how long you’d wait between checking on the soldiers and sneaking up to attack.

Karasu backs me up that I’m not that ambiguous. But perhaps I should have said “if the soldiers are unaware of what just happened and are sitting in their camp just waiting for us to go kill them.”

Asmodeus sent the raven the MOMENT combat ended. What are the soldiers doing? Staying? All 10 advancing towards us? Just a few coming? What? We don’t budge until we hear from the raven, which should be able to find out what the soldiers are doing and inform Asmodeus telepathically OR fly back and tell us orally in plenty of time for us to decide what to do. They’re a mile away. Nobody else in the group will be scouting. We’re not splitting up when there’s a possibility that soldiers are advancing on our position and when we have a nifty flying, black, scout spy raven of awesomeness that will do the job faster, more efficient, and with less chance of discovery, than anybody else.

Edit: Just an FYI, I’m going out of town and not bringing my laptop with me. Realistically, I will not post from here on out until Wednesday the 2nd of June. The google docs for my characters are up to date, including the 2 Magic Missile spells Asmodeus used on the Gnolls.

As I see it, here are our options.
1. The soldiers were not alerted. They sit there, and we attack as outlined above.
2. The soldiers were alerted, and all 10 are advancing towards us. I would use a very similar strategy as above, using the staff to try and create a Wall of Fire to split the group in half, burning 2 of them, leaving 3 or 4 out for the rest of the group to finish off.
3. The soldiers were alerted, and are only sending out a sortie. Kill the sortie. Kill the remaining soldiers using either the plan as outlined or some modified version depending on numbers, terrain, etc.

Have fun storming the castle! Back in a few days!

Tucking his sunrod into his robe, Asmodeus plunged the party back into darkness. Using the wand of Cure Light Wounds they healed their wounds. Bleeding was quenched as magical energy mended flesh and sinew.

Soon the raven returned and lighted on the wizard’s outstretched arm. Asmodeus had sent it to check on the soldier camp.

“Corbinian. What’s the status of the soldiers?”

“Soldiers at camp,” it reported. “Not alerted, but guards posted in case of Gnolls.”

“Good. We haven’t given away our position.” Then turning to his companions, “Let’s get to work.”

Briefly they reviewed the attack plans they had made earlier in the day, making minor adjustments. After Gaimon made sure that Inque would stay to guard the camp, the party snuck off into the darkness toward the soldiers’ camp. Nock and Gaimon led the way, with Asmodeus in-between, and Tyrus bringing up the rear.

Carefully they made their way through the darkness by the light of the red moon. Asmodeus stumbled occasionally as branches or other obstacles caught his feet. Gaimon and Nock had little trouble because their eyes were more sensitive to the low-light conditions. And Tyrus had the advantage of his magical Darkvision hood.

But the wizard didn’t reflect on his disadvantaged state. He was too busy focusing on the staff he had acquired. He felt certain that it must be a Staff of Fire and would thus be able to cast the spell Wall of Fire. That spell could prove useful to divide and conquer the soldier camp.

Soon he saw the light of campfires ahead. The soldiers were camped around a large rock outcropping that towered over the tent silhouettes. Flickering shadows and a dull orange glow gave the rock an ominous look.

“This should be close enough for my task,” Asmodeus said. “Be careful and quiet as you get closer.”

“We know,” Tyrus responded jovially. “You be careful back here too.”

Gaimon had a hungry look in his eyes. “Let’s go then.” The Gnoll he had killed had only served to whet his appetite for violence.

His companions moved ahead, and soon Asmodeus could no longer see them. He waited patiently to give them plenty of time to get into position. No need to rush. They’re waiting for my signal. He gripped the staff tightly.

The minutes seemed to drag on, but eventually the wizard was satisfied that he’d waited long enough. He held the staff aloft and focused his gaze on the camp ahead. He’d never cast Wall of Fire before, but he was no stranger to evocating fire. The wizard pointed the staff forward.

A bit of bad timing here with Eryx going out of town. Sorry I wasn’t able to post this sooner. In any case, I’m sure that Karasu and Whipblade can fill in.

Asmodeus needs to perform a Spellcraft check to attempt casting Wall of Fire from the staff. That roll will determine what happens next.

Since you didn’t specify otherwise, I guessed that as before, you are leaving Inque at your camp with the horses.

Yeah, but because I’m addicted to things like our campaign, I decided to check one more time before shutting my computer off.

Asmodeus Spellcraft: 9 (roll) + 15 (bonuses) = 24 total.

To reiterate: Asmodeus is trying to split the guards in half, aiming the wall of fire so that it makes a line between two guards (or enveloping a tent or whatever) to get the maximum damage affect, while splitting the group roughly in to a group of 3 or 4 (unburned) and a group of 6 or 7 (including the two who got scorched). The wall is 120 feet long and is centered on the camp, so to go around it requires traversing approximately 60 feet (and getting within 20 feet of the side of the wall facing the 6 or 7 soldiers damages you).

Also, Asmodeus will be quicker about casting Mirror Image if the Dwarves are still standing once he drops into camp. The original plan from the first group of soldiers still applies with that modification, and the fact that Asmodeus will be casting Dance of Ruin twice.

That’s a successful roll, the Wall of Fire will blaze forth! Remember, you can increase the duration by spending a standard action each turn, it will last 6 rounds after you stop doing that (if at all). You don’t have to roll a Concentration check unless something distracts you (which I’ll inform you of).

The wall will successfully separate off 3 tents. A 4th is directly in the fire, and 2 more will take fire damage. There is also a guard that will be caught in the fire effect.

Everyone please roll initiative. Then give me 1 surprise round of combat, followed by 3 normal rounds.

As soon as Asmodeus’ spell awakens the soldiers, Nock will begin to play an Inspire Courage dirge until the wizard has completed his Dance of Ruin spells. As planned, the rest of the party will hang back to avoid the damage. I’m assuming from Eryx’s post that his plan is to 1) cast Wall of Fire, 2) become gaseous, 3) reappear within the camp and cast Dance of Ruin twice. Those are all things from which Nock and the rest should best stay away.

I thought that Tyrus, Nock, and Gaimon would be fighting the guards in the 3 tents separated from their group by the Wall of Fire (assuming the tents are all occupied). Is that not the case?

Oops, yeah, you’re right, DM. I had to go back and read Eryx’s previous instructions.

In that case, as soon as Asmodeus’ spell awakens the soldiers, Nock will play a quick inspire courage dirge for one round. While he does so, he will fix his gaze on the nearest mage and creep closer. If no mage is apparent, he’ll study a dwarf instead. If no dwarf, then whomever is closest. On the second round, Nock will cast invisibility on himself and continue advancing. By the third round, he’ll perform an assassin’s death attack on the victim he’s just studied for three rounds.

A long line of violet fire sprang into existence and burned twenty feet high. As he had designed, three tents were cut off from the rest of the group. He heard screams of pain and alarm. Then a few chords from Nock’s gittern reached his ear. Two dark shapes ran toward the tents; Asmodeus knew it must be Tyrus and Gaimon.

The wizard saw Gaimon tear open a tent with his greatsword, but apparently there was no occupant. Tyrus’ chosen tent did have a solider in it; the blackguard was fighting with the heavily armored guard who was struggling to get free from the half-torn tent. Gaimon moved over to flank. Asmodeus also caught a glimpse of Nock before he vanished into thin air from casting Invisibility.

He watched as Gaimon and Tyrus strove to take down their target. The solider had torn free of the tent and landed a blow on Tyrus. Dispatch him quickly! Asmodeus thought. He was slightly worried that the guard seemed so prepared for battle.

A Dwarf rolled out of the fire from his burning tent. After putting out his flames, he stood up and joined the melee. Then another figure appeared in front of the flames, apparently it had moved around the wall. It stopped and Asmodeus thought he saw the shape of a bow.

Asmodeus heard a faint cry of pain from Tyrus. The soldier had expertly landed a pair of blows against the blackguard. It was hard to see from the distance, but it appeared the solider was bleeding badly. Then again, Tyrus didn’t seem well off either. Hurry!

Then several figures appeared on either side of the Wall of Fire. Asmodeus cursed. They must have been expecting a Gnoll attack! They’re fully prepared for battle!

I ended up running 4 rounds of combat because it fit a little better, and no one had made battle rolls anyway (so I made them for you). The Wall of Fire did a good chunk of damage, but it was spread across several enemies. Asmodeus hung back, waiting and watching (taking no action because Eryx didn’t specify other than waiting for his allies to retreat and heal).

Tyrus and Gaimon had the misfortune of encountering a powerful enemy — his armor and markings match those of the leader of the other camp. Working together the warriors have dealt 43 damage to the soldier; he looks quite injured, but hasn’t gone down yet. Luck was against you: there were two rounds where neither Tyrus nor Gaimon landed a hit; if either had hit, it would probably have taken the enemy down.

The soldier has focused his attacks on Tyrus, and with a little help from the Dwarf they have dealt major damage to Tyrus. The blackguard is now at 1/44 HP. When he was at about half HP, I had him shift to the defensive (shifting all 5 BAB to AC), but they got some good hits on him anyway. I didn’t have him heal yet because he was trying to drop the soldier before the rest of the camp could assemble, and in the last round he took 20 damage.

Meanwhile, Nock has been invisible and studying the Dwarf. He has completed his 3 rounds of Death Attack study on the Dwarf, but hasn’t attacked yet (I didn’t want to run another round of combat because of the circumstances, and I figured you might want to make your own attack roll). The Gnome is ready to hit the unsuspecting Dwarf.

The soldiers have wasted no time moving around the Wall of Fire. One on each side has fired a few arrows (all misses), and then more appeared. There are new 4 on each side, the closest being about 50 feet from the melee (meaning they are close enough for ranged attacks, but you probably have 1 full round more before they can join the melee.

The party is in a risky situation, so think carefully about your next moves. The soldier that Tyrus and Gaimon are fighting is very injured; one more good hit will bring him down. But he’s also dangerous. Running now gives you the best chance of escape, waiting another round to hit the soldier will probably leave you surrounded. There are some good chances for using spells though, especially if you want to chance another Wall of Fire or a Fireball (have your party run and Asmodeus can hit the soldiers as they give chase).

Please give me your next 3 rounds of combat.

Knowing the next phase of Asmodeus’ plans, Nock delivers his death attack, then starts running back toward the wizard as fast as his little legs can carry him. On the second round, he’ll cast throw a random card from the Deck of Illusion over his shoulder. On the third round, he’ll cast invisibility on himself. He’s ready with the wand of cure light wounds to heal Tyrus as soon as they regroup.

Attack Roll: 18 [d20 roll] + 3 [BAB] + 1 [Dex] +1 [masterwork] + 1 [Inspire Courage] +1 [small] = 25 total.
Damage: 3 [roll] + 5 [sneak attack]. Additionally, I think if the dwarf fails his Fort save [DC 14], he dies.

I was a little confused about how to generate a random number for the Deck of Illusion draw (d33?). I used an online random number generator and got a 33, meaning the illusion will appear to be the female version of Nock. Blackwolf, if you have your own method of generating that number, feel free to use it instead of my roll.

Gaimon recognizes that they’re in a bad position, and will shout “Run!” and then head towards the general direction of Asmodeus.

Asmodeus will stop concentrating on the Wall of Fire (since it’s useless anyway at this point) and drop the leader with a Magic Missile attack.

Asmodeus Magic Missile Damage: 1 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 2 (roll) + 3 = 8 total.

Then he will cast Fireball on both groups of 4 soldiers, obviously trying to catch as many as possible in the 20 foot radius. If he can’t catch the archers in the blast, that’s fine.

Spellcraft (if needed): 14 (roll) + 15 (modifiers) = 29 total.

Looks to me like I just roll a 6 x d6 for Fireball damage. If that’s wrong, feel free to re-roll or correct/add to what I’ve rolled.

Damage (the left group, as Asmodeus sees them). 3 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 4 + 3 (all rolls) = 23 total.

Damage (the right group, as Asmodeus sees them). 6 + 6 +5 +2 +1 + 2 (all rolls) = 22 total.

He will be moving closer to the group, just the standard 30 feet a round, while taking all of these actions. This should put Asmodeus almost up to all of the soldiers, assuming they are giving chase to the others from the group. He would not want to have run past the soldiers or be right on top of them, so adjust his movement accordingly. He basically wants to be with his allies, as his next moves (when you ask me for my next three rounds) will be Mirror Image as he moves forward at the soldiers and (hopefully) Dance of Ruin, when his allies are out of the “blast radius.” Hope that makes sense. Feel free to ask for clarifications.

Also, just as a reminder, when I said we were going to follow the previous plan, that included giving Gaimon Mage Armor. It also occurs to me to ask, given our previous discussion on wands, who can use the Wand of Bull’s Strength? The previous plan had Nock giving it to Tyrus, but he can’t cast that spell. Can only Asmodeus use that wand, since he has the spell?

Wasting no time, the wizard let forth a volley of Magic Missiles. As the three beams of light streaked out across the dark field, Asmodeus worried briefly if he had given away his position. But he felt it was worth it as the unerring missiles hit their target and knocked him back into the tent.

“Run!” Gaimon called out. He and Tyrus fled away from the still-blazing Wall of Fire. The Dwarf looked about to follow them, but Nock appeared out of nowhere and stabbed the soldier in the back of the neck. The Dwarf fell in a heap on the spot, and the Gnome chased after his companions.

But the soldiers didn’t give Nock much respite. Several arrows rained down at him, and it appeared that a few hit. A second Dwarf charged, but Nock dodged the blow. Then a flash of green light caught Asmodeus’ eye. Gaimon was struck by an Acid Arrow and he and Tyrus got close. The green acid stopped glowing as it seeped down underneath Gaimon’s plate armor.

Hoping that the staff had enough remaining energy, Asmodeus raised it and cast Fireball at the group of soldiers to his left. As desired, the flame caught four soldiers. One of them did not get back up.

Tyrus was bleeding badly and stumbled a bit as he ran up to Asmodeus. He leaned on his knees for a moment, then pointed back behind Asmodeus.

“Look out!” he huffed. “Gnolls!”

What!? Asmodeus spun around, and sure enough there were three Gnolls approaching with weapons raised.

Gaimon let forth a battle cry and charged the nearest Gnoll. A swing of his greatsword cut a long gash into the creature’s side. Tyrus pulled forth a wand and healed himself, then he moved to assist Gaimon.

Looking back toward the camp, Asmodeus saw Nock running from the Dwarf who had charged him. Then suddenly three small figures appeared! They looked like they were surrounding the Dwarf. Heh. Nice trick. Taking advantage of the distraction, Nock ran closer to his allies.

Off to the right, a large Flaming Sphere was created. Must be a spellcaster, Asmodeus thought. But he was surprised to see it roll off into the darkness. Suddenly it hit something large. A howl of pain revealed another Gnoll. They must have been preparing to hit the camp! Now things are going to get messy.

Dark shapes were moving against the violet backdrop of the Wall of Fire. Asmodeus realized that someone was healing the tough soldier that they had spent so long putting down. I don’t think so. Using the staff, the wizard cast another Fireball which erupted over the figures and also caught the Dwarf which was struggling against Nock’s small illusions. The Dwarf appeared to withstand the blast well, but the other figures at the tents had fallen to the ground.

Two soldiers from the left group charged after Nock. They caught up to him and both landed blows with their swords. Despite bleeding from a blow to the head, the Gnome turned about and stabbed one of the soldiers right in the chest. A pathetic cry escaped the man’s lips as he fell over backward. The other soldier attacked again, but Nock ducked out of the way.

Looking back at Gaimon, he saw that the Elf was surrounded by three Gnolls. But he was deftly avoiding and parrying attacks. One blow rang off his armor, but didn’t injure the Elf. Together, Gaimon and Tyrus cut one of the giant dogs to pieces.

“Heironeous, guide my blade!” cried a woman’s voice. “Foul creatures, your evil acts end with your death here tonight!”

Asmodeus spun around in time to see a figure leap at one of the Gnolls. Her greatsword sparked with electricity as it bit into one of the Gnolls. The creature took a few steps back, obviously wounded. Four other Gnolls rushed out of the darkness and surrounded the woman, but she held her own against them.

The party is in a slightly better position at the end of this round. The appearance of the Gnolls drew away some of the soldiers. There are at least a dozen Gnolls, most of them attacking the soldiers. Nock is in melee combat with a bloodied soldier. Gaimon and Tyrus are fighting Gnolls. Asmodeus is between the two groups—everyone is within 45 ft. of each other.

The Gnolls were unable to injure Gaimon, but he did take 10 damage (over two rounds) of acid damage, leaving him at 22/32 HP. Tyrus healed himself +16 HP, bringing him up to 17/44. Nock was hit by two arrows and two shortsword blows, taking him down to 2/22 HP. Asmodeus is still at 24/24 HP.

The rest of the fighting is roughly in two groups. To the East, the spellcaster and one other soldier are being surrounded by 4 Gnolls. To the West, the woman is fighting off 5 Gnolls. The last visible solder is the Dwarf; he’s fighting one of Nock’s illusions — I used the “deck of cards” method to select which one was drawn; 3 halfling rogues came from the Deck of Illusion. Two of them have been destroyed (one by attacks, one by a Fireball), the last one is prone.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of combat.

Asmodeus will launch a Darkbolt at the soldier that Nock is fighting.

Ranged Touch: 9 (roll) + 3 DEX + 3 BAB = 15 total.
Darkbolt Damage: 1 (roll) + 1 (roll) + 4 (roll) = 6 total.

Gaimon keeps swinging away. He’ll be teaming up with Tyrus to try and focus on the same gnoll.

Attack Roll 1: 7 (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 16 total. Damage: 6 (roll) + 1 (roll) + 4 STR = 11 total.
Attack Roll 2: 19 CRIT! (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 28 total. Damage: 5 (roll) + 5 (roll) + 4 STR = 14 total. Total Damage: 12 (Max Weapon Damage) + 14 (rolled damage + modifiers) = 26 total.
Attack Roll 3: 2 (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 11 total. Damage: 5 (roll) + 6 (roll) + 4 STR = 15 total.

Once the 3 gnolls they are fighting are dead, Asmodeus will have the group back away and let the remaining soldiers and gnolls fight it out. He still has all his awesome spells, and is not as worried anymore. In fact, a gleeful playfulness spreads across his face. Should any other of the soldiers rush at him or Nock, I authorize the DM to roll another Darkbolt attack.

Okay, I am not sure if having two attacks per round also means that he gets two actions per round, but Tyrus will disengage from combat and spend one round healing, whether that means once or twice. After that, he will flank and sneak attack as repeatedly as possible:

Attack Roll 1a: 1 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 STR = 11 total. Damage: 13 Sneak Attack Damage: 1
Attack Roll 1b: 11 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 STR = 16 total. Damage: 7 Sneak Attack Damage: 3
Attack Roll 2a: 7 (roll) + 7 BAB + 3 STR = 17 total. Damage: 9 Sneak Attack Damage: 3
Attack Roll 2b: 4 (roll) + 2 BAB + 3 STR = 9 total. Damage: 5 Sneak Attack Damage: 3

Tyrus isn’t going to do much this round. Upon seeing this, he’ll cast a worried look around, and quickly head to the periphery of the battle nearest his comrades, with the intent to flee.

Nock knows he’s badly hurt. He pulls out the wand of cure light wounds and liberally heals himself as he runs toward Asmodeus and Tyrus. He’ll take no other actions (besides defend himself, move toward the rest of the party, and heal himself) until he’s caught up to the others and has at least half his hit points back.

Asmodeus will also cast Devil’s Eye on himself at an opportune moment sometime after the Darkbolt. He’s anticipating need to use it shortly, and since it lasts 6 minutes he’ll just cast it now. Combat will be over well before the spell ends.

Also, it will be Gaimon’s suggestion that they stay and watch the rest of the combat play out. This will surprise Asmodeus, but the wizard won’t say anything. Gaimon will say “let’s watch this play out, kill the survivors” and then step between Asmodeus and the fighting, prepared to intercept anybody coming their way.

After the fight, maybe as they’re headed back to their camp, Asmodeus will inquire as to why Gaimon didn’t just rush in like he usually does. Gaimon will be a bit unsure why, but will settle that he didn’t want to attack when they didn’t have the tactical advantage. He’s beginning to think more in terms of the group dynamics, instead of just getting his bloodlust on.

Focusing again at the immediate danger, Asmodeus launched a Darkbolt at the soldier attacking Nock. The black energy was faintly visible in the darkness, but the soldier’s reaction told of the hit. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the soldier. Nock had moved away trying to heal himself with a wand. The soldier chased after him, landing a blow which clipped Nock’s shoulder.

Frowning and angry, the wizard invoked another Darkbolt. A scream of pain was stifled as the black energy enveloped and froze the soldier. Then a soft shattering sound accompanied the annihilation of the enemy. Asmodeus grinned slightly as he took a brief moment to revel in the destructive power of his dark magic.

The Gnome assassin continued using the wand of Cure light wounds to heal himself, but he was given no respite. Four Gnolls came charging out of the darkness and one of their battered blades cut a gash across Nock’s back.

Deciding quickly and aiming carefully, Asmodeus attempted another use of the staff. A Fireball bloomed, catching all four Gnolls in the flame. Three of the beasts fell hard to the ground, and did not move even to put out fire which had caught onto their tattered cloaks.

Looking back, Asmodeus could see that together Gaimon and Tyrus had dropped one of their foes. Nock moved to stand next to the wizard, still using the wand to heal.

Looking back toward the camp, Asmodeus could no longer see the group of soldiers on his right-hand side. Then he realized, They’re dead. These Gnolls killed them then charged us.

On his left-hand side, he saw the woman soldier swinging her weapon in a massive arc, cleaving from one Gnoll to a second. Where Gnolls had surrounded her before, now their corpses were strewn all about her. A faint crackling of electricity seemed to emanate from her blade. Then he noticed a small figure assisting her; a Dwarf soldier was still alive and attacking the last remaining Gnoll near them.

Asmodeus’ view of the battlefield was slowly lost as the the massive Wall of Fire finally died out. Without its light, the wizard could no longer see the soldiers. Only the dull yellow glow of Gnoll eyes could be seen where Gaimon and Tyrus fought against them.

The party is in a much better position now. Nock and Asmodeus are out of melee combat, though there is one Gnoll that will likely try to attack either Nock or Tyrus. Gaimon and Tyrus are fighting two other Gnolls, both looking very injured. Here’s the current HP status:
Asmodeus: 24/24
Gaimon: 22/32
Tyrus: 19/44
Nock: 9/22

Asmodeus never did get a chance to cast Devil’s Eye; I checked via chat to confirm that he’d cast that last Fireball on the Gnolls. Nock used the healing wand each round, but the enemies kept hitting him. Tyrus and Gaimon did good damage; the Elf’s crit dropped one Gnoll and he got to cleave into another.

Please give me your next three rounds of combat.

I find it odd that with 3 Fireballs from Asmodeus and the one Flaming Sphere from the soldiers there isn’t enough light to see a bit more than what has been described. Surely there are enough fires that there would be more visibility. Tents, brush, etc. should all have caught fire. Also, isn’t the red moon up at least casting a little light?

Asmodeus says, “Nothing like a little overkill. Stay back,” as he strides towards Lady Awesome. When he gets within range, and can see them (whether by moonlight or fire if you deem there are fires) he will cast Dance of Ruin twice. If he won’t catch all three (the gnoll, the dwarf, and the lady) he won’t cast it. If the gnoll is dead, that doesn’t apply. Also, if they’re all dead, then he won’t cast it twice (obviously).

Dance of Ruin 1: 19 (roll) + 15 (roll) = 34 total. Dance of Ruin 2 (if needed): 3 (roll) + 12 (roll) = 15 total.

Once he’s done, if any of them are alive and approaching him, he’ll cast Mirror Image on himself (I know that gets into a fourth round) and retreat to back by the group, preferably behind Gaimon and Tyrus.

Mirror Image: 3 (roll) + 2 = 5 images total.

Gaimon will destroy the gnolls he’s currently in combat with, and then move to kill the remaining gnoll. Once he’s done, he’ll move to stand between Asmodeus and any remaining combat going on between the woman, dwarf, and remaining gnoll.

Attack Roll 1: 1 MISS! (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 10 total. Damage: NA.
Attack Roll 2: 8 (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 17 total. Damage: 2 (roll) + 3 (roll) + 4 STR = 9 total.
Attack Roll 3: 1 MISS! AGAIN! (roll) + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork + 3 STR = 10 total. Damage: NA

Tyrus will move to engage the last remaining gnoll before it has a chance to engage Nock.

Attack 1: 13 + 7 BAB + 1 STR = 21 total. Damage: 10+1 = 11. Rawr!
Full Attack 2a: 12 + 7 BAB +1 STR = 20 total. Damage: 2 + 1 = 3.
Full Attack 2b: 7 + 2 BAB +1 STR = 10 total. Damage: 8 +1 = 9.
Full Attack 3a: 7 + 7 BAB +1 STR = 15 total. Damage: 6 +1 = 7.
Full Attack 3b: 12 +2 BAB +1 STR = 15 total. Damage: 2 +1 = 3.

Nock will whip out his crossbow and fire at the nearest gnoll. He’ll continue firing each round until all the gnolls around him, Tyrus, and Gaimon are dead.

Attack Roll 1: 9 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 15 total. Damage: 4 (roll).
Attack Roll 2: 15 (roll) + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 21 total. Damage: 2 (roll).
Attack Roll 3: 19 (roll) crit! + 5 AB + 1 masterwork: 25 total. Damage: 4 (roll) x2 = 8.

Regarding Eryx’s questions, here’s some more info about the lighting situation.

It is quite dark without the 120 ft. long by 20 ft. high Wall of Fire. The red moon doesn’t give off very much light; usually just enough to travel by, dimly lighting some 10 feet around you. The fires at the campsite (both from burning tents and the campfires previously built by the soldiers) allow you to easily see the location of the camp, but they don’t illuminate the area outside the camp much.

The Fireball and Flaming Sphere spells did cause some grass/brush to catch on fire. But in general the vegetation is either too green or too wet to catch easily. Thus there are many small flames and embers dotting the landscape, but provide no significant illumination.

None of your enemies are currently close enough to be illuminated by any of the fires. Tyrus can see very well (60 ft.) using his Darkvision cloak. Nock and Gaimon also can see fairly well due to their racial low-light vision. All three of them can see the Gnolls close to you, and the latter two can see the soldiers.

In the last paragraph, where I wrote “Asmodeus’ view of the battlefield was slowly lost”, I was taking literary license in referring to his ability to see enemies, make tactical observations, and the like. I did not intend it to mean he’s in pitch black darkness (although it is rather dark).

“Nothing like a little overkill,” Asmodeus said to Nock. “Stay back.” Then the wizard walked quickly toward the area where he knew he’d find the woman whom he believed to be a paladin. Small embers from one of his Fireballs shown like still fireflies and helped him stay on course.

As he approached, he saw the blue sparks from her sword coming down in a pair of blows. He heard a shrieking howl from a Gnoll which was cut short by the second blow. This is close enough, he thought. I don’t want to get too close to her, just in case.

Focusing on the wild somatic movements, Asmodeus began a Dance of Ruin. Magical energy built up all around him until the completion of the dance sent it out in a wave of crackling energy. In the flash of light accompanying the blast, Asmodeus saw his enemies fall.

With his purpose accomplished, the wizard returned to his companions. When he got close enough to see them, he found that they had just finished off the last Gnoll. His friends were bloody and tired, but they had accomplished their goal. All sounds of battle had ceased.

That’s the end of combat. Current HP values:
Gaimon: 22/32
Tyrus: 11/44
Nock: 9/22
Asmodeus: 24/24

Tyrus had a great first round. He was flanking, so I added sneak attack damage. This allowed him to drop his target, then cleave into and drop a second Gnoll. Nock’s crossbow crit sealed the fate of the last Gnoll.

With combat complete, it’s time to award some XP. Gaimon receives 4125 XP. Nock and Asmodeus each receive 3300 XP. And because Asmodeus is now at level 7 (and Nock as well, I believe), Tyrus gains 2844 XP!

A smoky violet burns off of Tyrus’ eyes as intones the forbidden words, “Kirish T’kal” unleashing a wave of dark energy, searching for any remaining survivors. (Detect Good)

Once assured the area is clear, Tyrus will move to inspect what he believes to be a fallen paladin. He hopes he doesn’t know her. He’ll remove any divine symbols she may be wearing, unless they harm him.

Once they make camp, he’ll go off on his own to pray to the fallen paladin’s deity, asking ‘Where they were when their servant needed assistance?’ Tyrus will listen for a while. Upon hearing silence, he’ll be like, ‘That’s what I thought.’

He’ll then pray to his new deity, Hextor, in thanks of his newfound power, and supplicate him for revenge on King Heron.

Gaimon will whirl and check on Asmodeus. Upon seeing that combat is over, he will break into a huge grin. “A larger group of soldiers and a group of gnolls. Well done!”

“And this time we don’t have to make it look like the gnolls attacked them,” said Asmodeus. “Let’s get our loot and leave. Be sure to check out that woman’s sword, Gaimon. Looked like a greatsword to me.”

Gaimon nods. He’ll sheathe his sword and take a few breaths, then follow Tyrus over. When he sees Tyrus is looking over and treating the body with respect, he’ll silently move off and begin looting the other bodies. After Tyrus is done, he’ll go over, grab the sword, and give it a few practice swings.

Asmodeus Search Check: 5 (roll) + 4 (bonuses) = 9 total.
Gaimon Search Check: 8 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 11 total.

They’ll take what loot they can, then head back to camp. As Tyrus sneaks off to pray, Gaimon will want to follow, but Asmodeus will grab his arm and stop him. “Leave him be, Gaimon.” The wizard will turn to Nock. “You too,” with a flat tone that ends all discussion. Gaimon will sit down, and Asmodeus will watch Nock. Tyrus needs his alone time. Asmodeus is aware of what’s going through the blackguard’s mind, or at least can recognize the man wants to be alone for a moment.

In the morning, Asmodeus will cast Detect Magic on the staff to see if there are any charges left. When they stash all of the loot on their way back to town, he will be reluctant to part with it (but will still do so).

Nock is seemingly apathetic about whatever is going on with Tyrus. He is, however, warming up to the group as a whole. They’ve proved to him that they have his back. This “campout” has done much to heal his trust issues. The usually dour gnome looks almost, well, happy amid the carnage as he cheerily combs the battlefield for coin, weapons, and anything else of interest. As is his custom, he’ll also finish off any of the fallen still clinging to life.

Search: 17 (roll) + 3 (Int modifier) = 20.

Back at camp, he’ll shrug at Asmodeus’ injunction and, giving Tyrus a wide berth, walk over to Inque. The others might be momentarily surprised that the gnome has suddenly taken an interest in the dog, until they notice the canine guard in a deep magical sleep. When Tyrus is done praying, Nock looks up and grins, “I’s learned a new trick!”

Gaimon will turn to Nock and say, “Were you planning on staying up and standing guard with me then?”

As Gaimon asks his question, the dog already begins to stir. Nock flashes his unnerving grin again and rolls over to go to sleep.

General Discussion
The following morning, after feeding their horses, the four break camp and begin the trek back to Fallerun.

Gaimon whirled around and looked at Asmodeus. After glancing around, he appeared satisfied that the battle was over. Then his serious battle face broke into a huge grin.

“A larger group of soldiers and a group of Gnolls. Well done!”

“And this time we don’t have to make it look like the Gnolls attacked them,” said Asmodeus. “Let’s get our loot and leave. Be sure to check out that woman’s sword, Gaimon. Looked like a greatsword to me.”

Gaimon nodded. After briefly looking for enemies, he sheathed his sword and caught his breath.

Tyrus was surveying the battlefield. Asmodeus thought he heard the blackguard say “Kirish T’kal”, which the wizard recognized as a chant to Detect Good. Tyrus then relaxed a bit, which let the wizard know that nothing had been detected.

The group then set about searching and looting the battlefield. Asmodeus smiled as he watched Nock systematically shove his dagger into each body still clinging to life. They worked their way toward the camp, starting with the Gnolls they’d killed, then moving toward where the paladin had fought.

The woman was surrounded by the corpses of the five Gnolls she had slain. The blows had been few but deep. The fur around each cut was completely standing up. The reason for this was very clear, her greatsword was still enveloped with electricity as it lie on the ground next to her.

Tyrus walked straight over to the woman and examined the corpse respectfully. The blast from Asmodeus’ Dance of Ruin had vaporized much of her exposed flesh and hair. A blackened skull was all that remained of her face.

“Did I know you?” Tyrus softly asked the corpse. Then he carefully checked her gear. He removed her armor and a few items, but left one which apparently burnt or shocked his hand.

Asmodeus noticed that Gaimon was eying the sword as he looted other bodies. Once Tyrus had finished with the corpse and moved away, Gaimon came over and grabbed up the sword which Tyrus had left alone. He took a few practice swings, apparently pleased with the weight of the blade. But then he looked concerned.

“How do I stop the magical effect?” he asked Asmodeus.

“It’s most likely controlled by a command word,” the wizard replied. “It’s very rare for magical weapons to be constantly active… that would just be annoying.”

After several unsuccessful command word guesses, Gaimon opted to just keep it in hand. It was inconvenient, but the Elf was not about to leave the weapon behind.

At the actual campsite, the party found some Gnoll footprints but no Gnolls to be seen. Apparently they had also searched the campsite, tearing up two tents in the process. Most of the tents were either slashed apart or burnt down. Only two remained standing.

Behind the large rock outcropping, the party found three horses tied up to a tree. Next to them was a wagon full of the soldiers’ supplies. Soon they had a large pile of weapons, armor, money, and other assorted items.

Tyrus isn’t sure if he knew the paladin woman, due to the damage to the body (caused by significant overkill). Her armor did bear the symbols of the Knights Justicar, but the gear didn’t give him any clue to her identity. If he had known her, it would likely have been from years ago (probably before she gained the greatsword since he doesn’t remember that). Tyrus took one symbol of Pelor, but left a symbol of Heironeous which burned his hand slightly when he touched it.

As for loot, the group was able to find the following:
The greatsword sheathed in electricity.
Two sets of armor which are likely magical (paladin and “leader” armor)
A longsword, dagger, and shortbow which appear to be magical.
A ring which the caster was wearing.
An assortment of masterwork and mundane weapons, armor, and shields.
Assorted gems.
A total of 4270 gp in coins and bank notes.
Miscellaneous supplies, such as rations, lamps, rope, blankets, torches, sunrods, and packs.

Additionally, Nock’s search turned up a Bag of Holding on the caster. The bag held money and gems which were combined into the main list above.

What items will you take back to your camp? There’s a lot of stuff, and it could easily become cumbersome to haul them all. Also, your horses are already pretty loaded up with your own gear and the loot from the first camp of soldiers.

Once you’ve decided what to do about the loot, then I’ll write up the things that happen over at your camp. Also, were you planning to heal up, or just let sleep along the several-day travel back to Fallerun take care of that?

I forgot two other things. During the battle, Tyrus used 2 charge of the wand of Cure Moderate Wounds. Nock used 3 charges of the wand of Cure Light Wounds.

Asmodeus may make a single Knowledge Arcana check to try to guess the command word for the greatsword. If you fail, you may not make additional checks and the magic effect will continue during the entire journey back to Fallerun.

As long as no one has any objections, Nock wants the magic dagger, the bag of holding, and one-fourth the gems and money. He’ll greedily fill his mouth and pockets with rations as well. However the others want to divvy the rest of the loot is fine by him.

Asmodeus Knowledge (Arcane): 20 (roll, not even kidding, ask Karasu) + 14 bonuses = 34 total. In the words of Vesco, “naaaaaaailed it!” Can we retcon that Asmodeus just simply told Gaimon the word to deactivate it? And is it enchanted with Shock from p. 225 in the DMG? (I wouldn’t ask that question if I hadn’t totally nailed the roll).

As far as the loot, Asmodeus will basically want to take as much as they can carry to pawn it off later (but not in Fallerun, obviously). Since he doesn’t want to take the cart, that means they have to prioritize. Just what they can stuff in the Bag of Holding and carry on their mounts. So grab the most expensive items. Basically, as I understand the priority, 1) cash, gems, and things we will use, like the electric greatsword and the dagger Nock wants, 2) magic items, 3) masterwork items, 4) mundane items. Asmodeus will wear the ring. The money should be split four ways. They’ll stash the stuff they can’t carry into town somewhere outside of town, come back for it later.

Yes, we should just heal up naturally on the way back. Use our daily spells as well. Let’s not waste wand charges if we don’t have to.

Questions: 1. What size of Bag of Holding is it? The DMG lists several.
2. Was there a spellbook, or was the spellcaster apparently another sorcerer?
3. Will the bracers from the first camp’s sorcerer be easily concealed, i.e. could he wear them under his robe of bones as they ride back into town?
4. How many rations have we all used on this trip, and how many rations are available to steal from the soldiers?

5. I talked to the DM on the phone and he mentioned not putting sharp things in the Bag of Holding. But don’t the weapons all have sheathes?
6. Assuming we want the most bang for our buck, am I correct in my above assessment of which items will typically garner us more money if we sell them? i.e. Magic, Masterwork, then Mundane?

Nice Knowledge check. No, we won’t be retconing because the previous roll I made failed. Instead, Asmodeus will figure it out after having slept on it.

As for your numbered questions, here are answers:
1. You aren’t sure what size it is. The bag doesn’t have any markings which give any clues. You may make DC 20 Knowledge checks to see if your characters know how much each type of bag should weigh. Then you may make an Appraise check to try to guess the bag weight. (If only you had some scales.)
2. Thus far you haven’t found one. But you may make a Search check specifically for that.
3. Yes. (Assuming the item doesn’t activate somehow to give you away.)
4. You have traveled for 4 days so far (this Chapter), so that’s how many rations you should have used by now. The soldiers have about 100 rations.
5. Many of the weapons have sheathes, but not all of them. Most of the weapons were daggers, shortswords, and crossbows. Some of the soldiers used partial sheathes (attached to their belts) where most of the blade was exposed.
6. Yes, that would be your best bet to make the most cash.

Let me know once you’ve decided what all you’ll be carrying, or if you need any other information. Also, let me know how you’re planning on transporting things. Remember that Gaimon and Nock were already sharing a horse. You could choose to have your characters walk and let the horses carry more gear. And I’ll need to know exactly how much stuff (weight) you’ll be putting into the Bag of Holding. Weight info and carrying capacities (for players and horses) can be found in the PHB.

Bloodied and weary, Tyrus stretched forth his arm horizontally away from his body, his plated gauntlet held in a tight fist. It took him only an instant to summon the power which had been imparted to him. It trembled, clenched in his grip, begging release. Violet embers spewed from cracks between his fingers. He turned his fist upward, opening it suddenly. Violet flames danced just a hairs breadth above his palm. He regarded the bubbling flames for a moment, then pressed his palm to his chest. He felt the dark flames go straight through his thick armor and into his chest. A calming wave encompassed his body, stemming his wounds and restoring his energy. (Lay on Hands: 21 HP healed.)

Tyrus walked over to the slain bodies with magical armor, prodding them with his boot to inspect them. Specifically he is examining: Would they fit him? Is the Paladin armor actually Justicar armor? What is ‘Leader’ armor? Can you describe them in more detail in the ways of color, sheen, and look? Are the bodies bleeding all over them? Would it be gross to wear? Is there a way to ascertain what kind of magic they have?

Gaimon and Asmodeus both failed DC 20 Knowledge Checks about Bags of Holding.

Asmodeus did, however, do better on his appraisal check. 8 (roll) + 10 (bonuses) = 18. In case someone else does well.

Gaimon Search for a Spellbook (which was better than Asmodeus’ roll): 9 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 12 total. Asmodeus would definitely ask if anybody else sees a spellbook anywhere.

I say we just load up the bag with about 250 lbs worth of stuff, assuming nobody else rolls better as far as assessing the Bag of Holding, taking care to only put things in that won’t tear it apart from the inside (so probably mostly armor), and then grab what we can carry in our arms (probably mostly weapons) then head to camp. If we are able to more successfully assess the Bag of Holding, since we obviously would max it out. Once at camp, we can re-evaluate which items from both groups we want to take, again just trying to get the most bang for our buck weight wise. DM, I’m not sure if you want a detailed list. Just make your best guess and we’ll abide by it as to what you think we would take given what we’ve posted. I don’t get the impression we’re very particular on this point.

Edit: We’ll be just carrying things back from the camp, and then riding back to town. Asmodeus is more worried about Shandra and Grosh than the loot. We’re evil. If we need more money, we can just rob some merchants on a road later. :)

Also, Asmodeus will ask the rest of the group to be on the lookout for a spellbook.

I’ll add my rolls to the lot:
Appraise (the bag of holding) check: 19 (roll) + 5 = 24.
Knowledge (about bags of holding) check: 10 (roll) + 3 = 13.
Search (for spellbook) check: 4 + 3 = 7.

How much time would you say we would have to spend to get a natural 20 to search for a spellbook?

You may not take a 20 on the Search check for the spellbook, nor may you make retries. Without a successful Knowledge check, the appraise checks won’t do you any good, but Whipblade still has the opportunity to make that Knowledge check on the Bag of Holding.

Most of the soldiers were wearing full plate armor, and most of the armor would fit Tyrus. The Paladin armor has Knight Justicar markings engraved into it, but that’s the one armor Tyrus couldn’t wear because it is specifically designed for a woman.

The “leader” armor (so called because it looks like the armor the leader of the first camp was wearing) appears to be the best armor overall. It is made of a blue-gray steel with gold trim. It has a dull reflection. The armor also has some cloth attached to it with markings that Tyrus recognizes a Validran lieutenant. You feel that the cloth could be dyed or cut off to rid it of those markings.

The rest of the armor appears to be masterwork full plate. Standard gray metal. All of the armor you would want to clean up before wearing (due to blood, dirt, sweat, etc.). There are ways to identify the magic; the most effective one being to cast Identify.

Based on the posts and discussions over IM, I’ll figure out how much you can carry and still ride your horses back to town. (I just can’t do that right now, so I’ll post it later.)

Tyrus wiped a smudge of muck off the dark plate of the fallen lieutenant. He knew it was likely magical, but shuddered at the thought of donning another’s armor. He knew it would chafe in all the wrong places. Cleaning it up and getting it off it’s occupant would take time as well. If it was magical though, he could hardly afford not to drag it along.

With a grim look, he began the tedious, messy work as others searched the camp around him.

Asmodeus had everyone search for a spellbook for he guessed that the spellcaster had been a wizard. But after several minutes of searching unsuccessfully, they gave up on it. Perhaps it was destroyed in one of these tent fires? he wondered.

Tyrus had a grim look about him as he set about removing the armor from a soldier. They suspected this armor to be magical so it was worth taking. Although the full plate armor of the other soldiers could be sold for a decent price, they would be more difficult to lug back to camp. Asmodeus convinced the group not to be too greedy as it would slow them down.

Once they had each selected the items to take, they carried them back to their own camp. Looking at his companions, Tyrus seemed to be brooding over something. Nock seemed almost happy; he had cheerfully collected coins and gems from the soldiers and placed them carefully into a Bag of Holding which he had found. “Satisfied” was the best word Asmodeus could come up with to describe the look on Gaimon’s face.

Inque seemed happy to see them when they arrived. The large dog climbed up on Gaimon and licked him. Most of the loot was just tossed to the ground due to the weariness of the party. Instead of preparing to sleep, Tyrus wandered away from the camp. Gaimon looked concerned and started after the blackguard, but was stopped by Asmodeus grabbing his arm.

“Leave him be, Gaimon.” the wizard said. Then turning to Nock, “You too.” His tone was flat and left the understanding that there would be no discussion about it. He needs to be alone. Something seems to be bothering him ever since he looked at the fallen paladin woman.

Heeding the wizard’s command, Gaimon remained at camp and sat down. Nock seemed apathetic about following Tyrus and only shrugged in response. He appeared to be more interested in other things. The Gnome looked at the money in his sack and played with the dog. Asmodeus was a little surprised at Nock’s interest in Inque until he realized the little assassin had cast a spell. The dog had fallen into a magical slumber. Nock chuckled excitedly.

“I’s learned a new trick!” he said.

Gaimon looked unimpressed. “Were you planning on staying up and standing guard with me then?” he asked.

Even as Gaimon asked the question, Inque was beginning to stir. Apparently the spell didn’t last more than a couple of minutes. Nock flashed his unnerving grin again and rolled over to his blanked to go to sleep.

Gaimon sighed and pulled a blanket around him as well. They had taken a few of the soldier’s warm blankets to combat the cold weather. The Elf sat still and was soon in a trance.

All was quiet as Asmodeus prepared to sleep. He thought he heard Tyrus yell angrily, “Where were you?!” but that was the only noise to break the silence before the wizard fell asleep.

The next morning the group broke camp and prepared to head back to Fallerun. While studying his spellbooks and fretting about them being unable to find one from the soldiers, Asmodeus was struck with another idea. Calling to Gaimon, he suggested another command word for the Elf to try on the greatsword. The blade had spent all night sparking with energy as it lay against a large rock. Gaimon picked up the blade and spoke the suggested word. The blue electricity faded out immediately.

“I thought as much. It really must be enchanted with Shock then,” Asmodeus said to himself.

Soon everything was ready for departure. With Gaimon sharing his mount with Nock, most of the loot fell to Asmodeus and Tyrus to carry. The latter’s warhorse Ingus seemed not to mind the burden.

“Let’s get moving,” Asmodeus said. “I’m somewhat anxious to get back. I just hope that Grosh hasn’t made any trouble for Shandra and Elandra. Who knows what’s been going on while we’ve been away?”

That ends this chapter. Feel free to post if there is anything specific you want your characters to do on the way back. Also note that we probably won’t start Chapter 9 until Chapter 8 is finished up (it’s getting close though).

Asmodeus is pretty sure that the greatsword is enchanted with Shock. With the command word discovered, it is now much easier to transport the weapon. Also, your casting of Detect Magic reveals that there are still charges on the staff.

As for loot, you have all the money and gems that you’ve found during the chapter. You’ve kept everything that you believe to be magical (although you’re not sure who would buy the Knight Justicar armor). You’ve kept the mug with jade inlays. You took ten masterwork shortswords, six masterwork daggers, two compound shortbows, and three sets of masterwork full plate armor.

At a convenient time when they’re alone, Asmodeus will ask Tyrus, “Do you want to talk about it?” Seems that Whipblade wrote a decently cool scene with Tyrus praying, but since the chapter is from Asmodeus’ POV it wasn’t fully included. That being said, this isn’t metagaming, the wizard would ask Tyrus about it, just to make sure the blackguard is okay.

While the night before left Nock feeling merry, this morning he feels introspective. Along the way back to town he’ll tell the story of the adventurers who betrayed him in Nobwyn and his wrongful imprisonment in the Far Waters Prison Colony.

Don’t forget, he’s an evil bard. This is a story to pierce the hearts of his listeners, and the good bits are set to music:

Perform (gittern): 20 (roll) + 11 = 31. (Apparently, this is a really good tale!)

Also, since Asmodeus would have some interrupted time (at least the 3 rounds needed to check the strength and location of each magic aura), it looks like he would be able to cast Detect Magic on most of the items they’ve collected, and I authorize the DM to roll appropriate spellchecks to determine the schools of magic on each item, all as outlined in the PHB on p. 219.

At Asmodeus’ query, Tyrus leveled a look of faint annoyance at the wizard, but elaborated, saying, “I’m just a little upset at the universe and am looking for a reaction.” The wizard was about to say more when their littlest assassin started up a faint, sad tune. There were words to go along with it, but they were quiet, and Tyrus slowed his black warhorse, moving away from the wizard so that he could hear the lamentable lay.

The melody spoke of an innocent carefree gnome and how he had been used by his former friends so that they could escape blame. Tyrus’ sense of justice was battered, but not beaten. He was incensed at the tale, which cleverly rhymed in places. He felt that although the story was embellished, it rang true, and that Nock was the unnamed gnome of the catchy ballad.

Up to this moment, Tyrus hadn’t much cared for the gnome. If the diminutive bard had somehow perished in the battle, Tyrus wouldn’t have blinked twice. That suddenly changed. As the song wore on, he marveled at how much the tale mirrored his own experience. At it’s conclusion, he nodded his approval to the talented musician, and said, “Someone should avenge that gnome.”

Nock was silent, but nodded once in the affirmative.

“We will.” Tyrus stated matter-of-factly, then spurred his steed into a light canter, returning to his former position next to the wizard.

Asmodeus would have slowed down too to listen to the song. Since Nock totally nailed his perform roll, Asmodeus will, for the first time in a long time, stop being the cold calculating conniving wizard. However, Tyrus’ speech will bring him back to himself. After Tyrus said “we will,” would have asked Nock, “So why assassinate Renferell?”

Of course, this is assuming that Whipblade’s description of how the performance went down is accurate. If Nock is a little more straightforward (I’ll let Karasu decide that), than Asmodeus has no need to ask “So why assassinate Renferell?” He’ll already know that it was Isley that condemned the little gnome unjustly.

Gaimon will simply put a reassuring hand on Nock’s shoulder or some similar gesture of goodwill and solidarity.

I’ve included this character exposition stuff in Chapter 9.

Using Detect Magic, Asmodeus has confirmed that the two “leader” longswords and armor are all magic. The paladin armor is also magic, as are the bracers, amulet, and ring.


Chapter 7

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