Thursday, January 17, 2013

EPISODE 72: Queen of Lies, Part IV: The Storming of the Drow Fortress

August 5, 754 YE


The remaining human mercenaries bind their wounds, then find the key to the slave pens after searching the fallen dark elves. Jaren Thor leads his men in their raid on the slave pens, fighting off a ferocious ogress with garish makeup and a belt full of torture implements, and a few more drow guards. One human merc is put down by drow sleeping poison on a crossbow bolt, the other has his head smashed by the ogress before she is cut down.

Among the prisoners is Raelan Teranith, Kistrae Neverwind, and Cam Jaystone -- three shrine servants captured from the Temple of Calethon in the drow surface raid. The cleric Theron Thelonia however is NOT among them. The other prisoners report the drow took him to the fortress yesterday, surely for some foul purpose.

Jaren is able to convince the prisoners to join the attack on the fortress -- slave rebellion! All in all they are joined by 12 human slaves, 9 elves, 3 dwarves, a halfling, a locathah (who doesn’t seem to mix with the other slaves) and even six dark elves from other Houses. They equip themselves with weapons and armor from the cleared out barracks outside the slave pens.

This group hurries to join the elves attack on the fortress, not realizing that the elf attack has encountered a serious setback...


While the human mercs carry out their mission at the slaves pens, Zaetra Stallinash leads the elves into the fungus fields on the way to the fortress. There are virtually no soldiers protecting the fungus farmers, and the elves slaughter the drow civilians with no remorse. About 45 civilians, including males, females, and even a few children are killed. The drow are completely unprepared for this attack. The small groups of soldiers they encounter are forced to retreat back to the fortress otherwise be slaughtered by the sizable elf force.

One drow lieutenant has his squad make a few hit and run attacks on the surface elves. Zaetra prepares an effective counter attack and shoots down the drow and the lieutenant retreats. Three elves are sent to pursue him and kill him. Unfortunately, they are never heard from again. The lieutenant systematically takes them down in the thick fungus forest, then makes a wide circle to get back to base.

Trumpets of Alarm start sounding from fortress. Zaetra’s elves shoot down a few more civilians and soldier squads. As the fortress reaches a higher state of alert, the elves come under fire from the huge ballistae on the fortress are forced to pull back until the humans arrive. However, they are still able to continue picking off small groups of guards and civilians.

Meanwhile, the Rosegate Company and the drow rogue Savinian move around the periphery of the cavern housing Ul-Drakkan towards the Stables and the teleportation circle. Dziga’s shadow scouts ahead, and is chased by a couple of bugbears who think it’s a ghost or something. The other guards seem to ignore the issue.

With this distraction provided by the ‘ghost’, the company is easily able to sneak into the stables past the bugbear barracks. The shadow finds the teleportation circle, and getting there takes the group into the path of a few drow stablehands and bugbear guards who are quickly, quietly dispatched.

As they approach the teleport circle, they encounter the drow Beastmaster and his two chaos crusader guards. The crusaders use their special techniques provided by Gorgoth-lol, and the Beastmaster is able to stab key nerve intersections which leave the victim substantially weakened! But the Rosegate Company defeats these foes and enters the teleporter.

Alarms begins to sound at the fortress, indicating the elf attack is proceeding as planned. Now the attack on the fortress REALLY begins.

It doesn’t take long for the Rosegate Company’s attack to start spreading chaos within the fortress, which hampers the drow’s ability to respond to the elves, who continue butchering any drow they see.

Eventually, Vrama’s security specialists get the “Elf Eater” fired up and sent out to deal with the elf problem. The Elf Eater is a horrible chaosomaton -- a chaositech construct meant to mimic a living creature. In this case, a six-headed hydra!!!

The hydra is big and slow, however the elves soon find themselves utterly helpless against it. Their weapons can barely crack its armor! Worse yet, when they do get lucky enough to find a weak spot, it heals almost instantly! Zaetra gets a critical hit with a grenade and it doesn’t even slow down the monster.

After taking heavy losses against the chaosomaton, the elves are forced to flee, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse in the thick forests of fungus... How long before they are devoured?

Dziga, Emeris, Vatex and Savinian are teleported into one of the top levels of the central tower of Ul-Drakkan. They storm through a nearby drug parlor and kill the intoxicated drow there who have not even roused to the alarms. They attack a guard post and kill the troops there. Dziga merges with shadow and scouts the level below, seeing another guard post at the bridge connecting to Tower III being fortified.

Before that can be much considered, a group of four drow with shaved heads, baggy pants, and crazy tattoos rush upstairs into the drug parlor, attacking Emeris and Vatex! They are hardcore drow monks! Dziga sneaks up behind them and joins the battle, which is fierce. The monks fight with mystical techniques like hadukens and punches that cause force explosions. The heroes take a good beating but dish it out five times as bad and kill their foes.

With a brief respite, the group heals in the drug parlor then storms the guard post below.

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