That was the test, see -- to see how far the party could get against wave after wave of enemies. It was a bit disappointing that there wasn't a bunch of impressively magical terrain or something, but the enemies were all summoned, so that was magic at least. The arena did have seats, but they started out mostly empty since the test hadn't been scheduled very far in advance.
The first round was against a swarm of kruthik hatchlings -- wave after wave after wave of them. Kalrea, Rain, and Malik formed a broad front, and the insect-and-or-lizards didn't want to just run past, so they clumped up in a big line, perfectly positioned for AoE death. Luckily, that round ended after three waves, because they were running out of AoE.
After a short rest, the second round began -- a defensive formation of hobgoblins, marching slowly across the arena in formation. The party plinked at them for a while, not getting close, but the hobgoblins had javelins that the back two started throwing, so Malik rushed to melee with them. This was probably a tactical error -- he got skwered by multiple spears, hitting much harder than the javelins had. Kalrea and Rain also moved into melee, skirting around the formation and flanking it, and while the hobgoblins were tough, the party was tougher, and eventually chewed it to bits.
The third round was zombies -- a dozen zombies, shambling slowly towards the party from either side. Loki had a real chance to shine, with his 'Dire Radiance' attack that did a blast of radiant damage and then another blast when they shambled forwards. He held down one side while the rest of the party focused its fire in the other direction, knocking individual zombies down and back and scattering the formation. Rain moved over to support Loki when his side eventually reached him and swarmed, though, and Turn Undead pushed them all away, but not *too* far away for Loki to follow up with his evil tentacles. After that, the few remaining zombies were picked apart one by one.
The fourth round was 'snipers', attacking from across the arena. Of course, seeing archers, the party rushed into melee -- but that was the trap. The archers were gnolls, and actually much more effective in melee when they could work as a team. On the other hand, they weren't very tough, and went down fast, although htey did some damage before that happened.
Jer, the high wizard running the event, said, "I bet you're feeling pretty cocky! How would you like a real challenge?" The arena was filling up with spectators by then, since the party had been winning handily and word had gotten around.
Rain replied, "Give us your worst!" The rest of the party howled, NOOOOO!
So the wizard sent them up against a demon from the wars -- a 'Gorista', who brewed nothing but HATE AND ANGER. Gennal got a couple lucky shots in early, damaging it pretty heavily and (more importantly) slowing it for quite a while before it made its save, giving the party extra time to shoot it from a distance before it started charging madly across the arena to annihilate them.
But for a while it looked like they had a chance. Four of them moved into melee, flanking it, while Gennal stood back firing away. But eventually Rain used up all his healing, and everyone else used up their second wind, and the horrifically tough demon was still not dead -- they bloodied it at one point, and it just used its own second wind.
So people started going down. The demon had two elemental shields up by that point -- against cold and radiant -- and got to counterattack in melee, leaving Loki and Gennal as the only ones who could really hope to damage it without being slammed into paste in reponse. Rain could only damage it in melee, but managed to live a bit longer by running around and stabilizing Kalrea and Malik, and then later bringing Gennal back up by triggering the elf's second wind. But in the end, the thing just outlasted them.
After each party member felled the wizard asked if they wanted to yield, but since they'd been told that they wouldn't be allowed to actually die in the arena, it didn't take *that* much courage to keep fighting. Gennal was the last one still fighting, after Rain was smashed by a counterattack when he foolishly tried to melee it after all, and the wizard dismissed the Gorista before it could finish Gennal.
The crowd was cheering, since it had been a very good fight despite (or perhaps because of) the good guys eventually losing, and the wizard congratulated them on their valor, telling them that they'd passed the test. They hadn't actually been expected to even last as long as they had against the demon. [which was a level 14 elite brute, against a 4th level party]
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