Spires of Xin-Shalast 30

We keep on almost getting to the end, but not quite. Unfortunately the climatic final battle of our Rise of the Runelords campaign didn’t come to a close this session, but it is getting close.

After resting for the night after yesterday’s battle, they begin by buffing up on long duration spells then investigated the golden flaming sphere which was the anima focus. After some poking around by Grodok, under instruction from Esheire, he poked at the flames near the top of the sphere and was instantly consumed in golden fire. Though she was surprised, Esheire quickly reached out and touched the flames as well, and was engulfed in fire, vanishing from site apart from a few drifting embers.

Solassar and Serena were left standing below, along with the angel Ayruzi. Unsure what to do, they waited to see what would happen until Serena tried detect magic to try and determine what happened, detected the fading aura of some conjuration magic, possibly with a planar component. I was very careful to tick off the rounds that passed here, and it was three rounds after Grodok and Esheire vanished that Solassar touched the flames and was consumed, and another round after that, that Serena finally decided to join them.

The device had transported them to the Eye of Avarice, the current resting place – and prison – of Karzoug himself. Grodok came out onto a platform above a sea of lava, ahead was a golden pool above which was a giant lens which focused a swirling column of souls down into it. Beyond that sat Karzoug on his chair, flanked by an adult blue dragon and a rune giant. Two storm giants stood atop platforms on either side, waiting with bows.

The Eye of Avarice, at the end of the session

I wasn’t sure how to play out the initiative for this, but decided on giving the PCs a full round action as they came through the gate – but treating the initial planar travel as a move action. For everyone there, I gave them a Perception DC 20 check to not be surprised, and none of them were.

Grodok moved forward, and then Esheire stepped out behind him. Karzoug cast Timestop and started buffing up on spells. Since the rest of the group hadn’t come through, and Karzoug was expecting them soon, he didn’t bother using his Rod of Quickening immediately. The giants opened up with their chain lightnings, which had little effect, and both the rune giant and dragon started to move forward with the storm giants raining arrows down upon them – which mostly resulted in taking down Esheire’s mirror images.

The dragon did a flyby attack of the two, and then Karzoug followed it up with a Clashing Rocks centred on Grodok. It did significant damage, and bruised Esheire, but failed to bury anyone under its rubble. Grodok was able to kill the dragon, and Karzoug threw a Polar Ray at Esheire, which she turned back at him, much to his annoyance. The rune giant then reached Grodok and engaged him in melee – coming close to killing him.

Esheire used a hero point to drop a force cage on Grodok to protect him, then when the Rune Giant came for her instead she put up an Emergency Force Sphere before it slew her. It was at that point that Solassar stepped out of the planar gate – and found himself standing directly under the Rune Giant.

Unfortunately, circumstances meant that Solassar’s position was incredibly precarious – he wasn’t great at attacking giants, and had a high risk of being killed in a single round. He moved away as quickly as he could, managing to survive.

The Rune Giant continued to try to smash through Esheire’s force sphere, and then Serena eventually came through and summoned some Zuishin (followed closely by the angel), and the Rune Giant turned it’s attentions on the cleric. This allowed Esheire to drop her protective barrier and get into cover, and then dropped the force cage on Grodok.

Karzoug put up a prismatic wall to protect himself from ranged spells as Grodok finished off the rune giant. The Zuishin were now taking the brunt of the arrow fire from the storm giants, having been directed to take them down by Karzoug who didn’t want the party healing itself. Karzoug himself tried to disintegrate one of them, though failed to take it down completely, and as Serena summoned in another wave of them, he let loose with a mage’s disjunction into the middle of them, which banished them all.

He would have caught Grodok as well, but Esheire spent another hero point to move in and protect him with her spell bane.

Now the party moved up towards where Karzoug was, and getting in close to him. He had a repulsion up, but that failed to prevent Grodok moving in close to him. Solassar however failed his save and was kept 15′ back from the wizard. It didn’t help Grodok though, because Karzoug stepped back and cast Maze on the fighter – causing him to vanish.

Esheire got around to near Karzoug, and Serena moved up to the soul lens on the other side of the prismatic sphere.

Though I would have liked to have finished the fight that evening, people had work in the morning so we had to call it a night. It took all evening to get through just 7 rounds of combat, but there was a lot of magic going on, especially on my part. I really should have done some roleplaying of Karzoug, but I was too distracted in trying to run him intelligently. At least the break gives me time to plan what Karzoug will be doing next.

Nobody has died yet, but quite a few people have taken considerable damage or burned through permanent resources, and Grodok has been taken out of the fight for now. Hopefully, things should get finished next week, and even if it ends quickly, it shouldn’t have been too easy a fight.

Samuel Penn