Part 18: Deja FlewUpdate 13: Deja Flew
We begin today in the courtyard of one of the flying citadels, essentially directly in front of the central tower. It's a pretty lucky coincidence, all things considered.
"If you could hold on, we're just a bit bus okay, done. Now, a stairway to the right?"
"That is a truly random and useful bit of information to have handy."
There's a trick door directly in front of you if you're not listening to the bit about there being a stairway to the right. Attempting to go through this door will result in endless waves of draconians until you decide to leave it be. I've pretty much skipped that for the sake of brevity. Also, since actual combat experience pales compared to treasure and quest experience, grinding isn't really valid here.
Going up the tower we're going to be seeing a lot of rooms kind of like this. It's realistic for a tower setup, but just a bit boring.
There's a couple of small (3-4 creature) encounters along the way to liven things up. At the top...
"Er if you take care of those guys up there first."
"I think we can manage that."
Really, these kinds of battles are pretty much just for storytelling. The mages are starting to get a fairly high level and have a number of unpleasant abilities, but we've also got a lot of ways to keep them from using them as well.
"A kender as tall as a man that's just what the world needs. Please tell me that spell's not permanent."
"It should last no more than a day or so."
"If you had asked, we would have found you a box or something to stand on."
Some time later...
"From the sounds of it you might want to get that overgrown toothpick of yours ready, Boo. I hear dragons."
"Gotta be some pretty small ones to get up those stairs, though."
These little guys are barely worth using the dragonlance on, but they're still dangerous enough. With a bunch of high strength fighters and our mages, however, 33 HP is not very much at all.
"Wait, stop them how?"
"Please let him not be doing what I think he is "
"That was a bit of a tumble. Let's find a way off before the whole place crashes. There might be some way out through the caves below."
"We're all alive how did you know we were going to make it?"
"Oh, I didn't. But these things usually tend to work out pretty well."
"Right. Caves. Before we strangle him."
"Ahh, luck is with us today. I don't know what we'd have done if this had been closed off."
"I know who I'd have thrown over the side before we all died."
There's a couple of small fixed encounters around here like this one, although it's a bit special...
Since these guys are standing right in front of a treasure room. The treasure here includes gems, jewelry, and a couple of random magical items. Nothing we get is outstanding or even that interesting.
There are random encounters in here, however, so you don't want to stick around for long.
"I don't know who's going first, but I know you're not going at all!"
A few seconds later
"Hmm I can't help but notice that they were close to our size, and there are enough uniforms here for nearly all of us "
"Although I don't like it, I don't see any other choice. Gable, Tas, the enemy don't have any kender so you'll have to pretend to be prisoners."
"Just make sure the cuffs are loose in case I need to fight."
"Us either! Now let's get the hell off this rock!"
"Pushy little worm if we weren't obeying the wishes of our Queen, I'd eat you right now. I still might."
And so for the second time in a very short span, we're deposited in a courtyard. You can't avoid the encounter with the guards arguing about who goes first, but if you choose not to fight or choose not to disguise yourself the alternative option is to take somebody hostage. If you go with that choice you have to fight the dragons here once you land. Kernen is pretty much a locked in area, and at this point you're not allowed to go anywhere else until you finish the main storyline. There's a few things to do, but the first priority is rest which brings up a certain difficulty...
"We must stop Myrtani or the good armies will fall."
"We know, Tas. But the spell casters need rest, and we're all injured."
A few minutes later
"C'mon guys, we need to assault the base!"
"SHUT UP AND LET ME SLEEP!"
" fine. But we shouldn't be."
Tas will wake you up at irregular intervals reminding you that you really should be assaulting the base. This will interrupt your spell recovery, and force you to re-select all your spells for memorization. By the time you're ready to assault the base you'll be quite willing to use him as a shock trooper.
"Hey guys, what you doing?"
" nothing unless you're cool."
"How cool are you?"
"Don't be late."
"These disguises are great! Let's try the barracks next!"
"This really is working out great. Er oops, I think I knocked something over "
"What? You idiots, go get the buckets!"
"Sure, sure we'll be right back."
"Well, that'll keep them busy for a bit."
"That's very generous of you we'll be back."
"Greetings, great red what can we do mortals do to serve you?"
"A senile dragon in a way, that's one of the saddest things I've ever seen."
"It is but it does give me an idea. Anyway, next house!"
"We'll be glad to have your assistance. You'll know when we begin."
"I think that's about it and it's about time for that meeting."
"Is that really the question you should be asking?"
"What do you mean? And who are you anyway?"
"That's a fair question and I don't imagine you'd actually know what we look like, since every one of your colleagues that we've run across is either dead or a prisoner."
"You mean you guys are "
"Yes, we're the ones who've been foiling Myrtani's plans across the entire region over the past weeks. We're not here to fight you yet . since it seems like there might be a chance for you yet."
"You've got a bit of time right now, but the entire Solamnic army in this region is on its way here and I think you know what'll happen when they show up."
"The undead army that was supposed to be the other half of the Myrtani's plan was destroyed, so the entire thing is about to implode. Your only real chance to survive at this point is to be fighting what's left of Myrtani's draconian forces when the armies get here. Either that, or get the hell out of here before they show up. Either one is good enough for us."
This segment is actually kind of neat because you can either encourage the plot as it stands, report the plot to the gate guards and have them be distracted dealing with the plot, or do what we did and reveal ourselves and make a speech. The speech is left vague, but having a knight with high charisma make the speech will drastically increase the chance of success. Succeeding at any of these tasks will result in an easier time getting into the stronghold, but failing might mean a fight.
"Bingo let's give it back to the dragon, and then we follow him in."
"Of course, great red! Take it with our compliments."
"That wasn't very nice at all."
"Nope, it wasn't and he's down. They should be busy picking up the pieces when we attack."
It all comes to a head wight he battle at the stronghold gates, which is modified based on your actions in Kernen. Setting fires in the barracks, letting the old dragon loose, meeting with the ogres, and intervening in the plot to rebel against Myrtani all reduce the number of troops you have to deal with. I should perhaps have taken an image of the default fight, but...
This is what you end up dealing with if you've done all the steps. Easily manageable, and you generally get some fairly substantial party experience bonuses for each step you complete. In addition, if you have the uniforms you can also bluff your way past any random encounters for some additional experience.
It's a good thing, too, as the next few encounters are going to be fairly rough. Luckily we have a break here where we can train, rest, and prepare before entering the base.
Boo has reached maximum level as a Knight of the Crown right now, meaning that Elon is the only person we have who isn't at max level. No much overall improvement at the moment, but for any group of 7-9th level D&D characters we're actually very well equipped at this point. With the next update we'll be finishing this off.