But most of Sunday was not CoH, despite double XP. It was 4e. First up, finishing off the Thunderspire Labyrinth over at Ed's place. I was worried I'd be late, since I'd stayed on CoH a little long to finish up Darrin Wade's arc with the Pentacle team, but when I got there at 1:15, there was no one else there. Not even Ed! I called Tom('s wife) and she said that Tom and Shawn were on their way... and eventually word got to Ed who'd forgotten about the game entirely (or rather, thought that it was happening the week after) and was in Seattle. But he wasn't doing anything special, so he said he'd head right back. It took him an hour to get back, because the I-90 bridge was closed. Ugh. x.x
Anyway, once we FINALLY started the game, the party lurked around the teleported for five minutes, resting, but the enemies from the next floor didn't swarm down to attack them. Once they felt ready, the took the teleporter up to advance on towards Paldomar.
Riya tried to scout down the corridor to see if it was clear, before opening any more doors, but she was no Shanarea and failed at stealth. "Um, there's another one of those giant bronze statues that kicked our butt with the assassins on patrol... I don't think it saw me."
It saw her.
Bore ran up to it and slammed the giant bronze warder into the corner of the hall, with Vex and Morgan close behind to support him... but that was playing right into its hands! It ran right over the melee contingent, knocking them to the ground, then swirled around with its axe, hitting everyone in the party except Bore, who'd been knocked down but not pushed. Bore stood up and tossed his hammer to mark it, since he was the only one out of range of it, but unfortunately, it wasn't the only combatant. Two more norkers, along with two of the memory-raping were-porcupine 'enigmas', popped out of the doors, two of them in position to engage the meleers, the other two right next to the isolated casters, Samuel and Riya.
Samuel blaster fire at the two new arrivals, then Riya flew both of them over the warder's head (drawing AoOs, but its AoOs weren't all that dangerous) to regroup the party all in one space. For a while, they managed to get into what was becoming their normal arrangement -- Vex tanking the big baddy (the warder, here) with Morgan's mark on it keeping it from hurting him too badly, while everyone else focused on other targets -- here, the norkers, since the enigmas kept running away to use their really really annoying 'ha ha you can only use at-will attacks' psiblast.
But then the warder's rampage recharged, and... he couldn't use it. But he had another power that let him just move through enemy squares, although he drew AoOs, so he drew AoOs from the entire party to get in position to rampage. Bore, along with Vex the only party member with a reasonable AoO, got to use his combat superiority for the first time ever! Unfortunately, the GM ruled that it didn't stop this special form of movement since the point of the power was to have an inexorable advance that couldn't be stopped by enemies. Also, there was nowhere for the thing to stand at the point where Bore would have stopped him -- he would have been right smack in the middle of the party, standing on top of two or three people.
...and since he was planning to rampage after that ANYWAY. it wouldn't even have hurt him to be stopped there.
The second rampage turned out to be a tactical error. Bore kept the thing distracted in the corner (with Morgan's mark on it shielding him from damage), while the rest of the party ran away (ignoring the warder's pathetic AoOs) to engage the enigmas, herding them into another room out of sight of the warder, which was too stupid to try to run down enemies it couldn't see when Bore was right there attacking it.
The four party members against two enigmas took a while, and the enigmas made a pretty good showing of themselves, especially once they were bloodied and went into were-porcupine form. But they were no match for the party, in the end, and Bore (thanks to Morgan's mark) easily held out against the warder until the rest of the party could come and help finish it off (he got two or three crits against it, and other people had been beating on it earlier, but it was still alive when the rest of the party came back after finishing off the enigmas -- the bronze warders are *tough*).
Everyone needed a rest after that fight, so they kept an eye on the next teleporter and rested. At the end of it, Vexx wasn't injured precisely, but had no more energy to continue on -- he was out of healing surges. "We can't turn back now," the party told him, "Just be careful -- use your 'leading the attack' power on Paldomar as soon as you see him, then hide in a corner."
Then it was time to assault the final chamber. There were three doors, and like idiots (okay, it was Bore's decision), the party chose the middle one, which led into the central chamber -- a temple of Vecna, with a giant skull and crystal pillars and a statue of Vecna vaguely near the entrance, in the middle of the room. Oh, and two norker slingers, another enigma, and a berzerk flailer. No sign of Paldomar -- but the party was confident that he'd show himself soon enough. Or if he didn't, yay! They'd kill more of his minions and defeat him in detail.
So they charged in! At first things seemed to be going well -- the slingers were ignorably pathetic, and they focused fire on the enigma, bloodying him in a single turn before he could psiblast too many people. Yet another bronze warder popped out of a side room to attack the party, which was a bit worrying, but still, they were kicking ass.
But as the enigma burst into were-porcupine form, and used the resulting fear effect to push the party back towards the statue, they discovered that they were totally fucked. Paldomar came out of a side room and blasted them all with a shocksphere, and then they realized that they were all near the statue, which dazed everyone who started their turn near it [technically, it needed to hit with a will attack, but it had an insane attack bonus]. Morgan and Vexx charged towards Paldomar, but couldn't attack him because of the daze effect, and Riya used her only action to fly herself and Samuel out of range of the statue, deeper into the room, leaving Bore to face the enigma, berzerker, and warder by himself.
Normally, this wouldn't be a problem -- Bore was indestructable! But his indestructability depended heavily on being able to use minor actions to trigger healing effects, and without that, he was kind of fucked. He didn't even really dare run away, because the porcupine-form enigma and berzerker combined had a good shot at dropping him with their AoOs. So he used his pbaoe to try to take down the enigma (the main threat)... and failed to do enough damage.
But Riya was there to save the day! She ran in, used thunder leap to take out the enigma and wound the berzerker and warder, then used an action point to use a ranged attack on Paldomar, to deliberately draw an AoO which let her use the cape of the mountebank to teleport back out of statue range. With the enigma gone, Bore was able to make a run for it on the next turn.
Unfortunately, on the Paldomar front, things were going less well. Vexx and Morgan arrived in his vicinity dazed, and on the next turn, Vexx charged him, planning to follow up with an action point to lead the attack -- but Paldomar blinded him as he charged, and then took him down with his next attack. Without healing surges left, there was no way for the party to revive Vexx -- he was out for the fight, and dying, and in a *really* bad position.
Morgan exchanged blows with Paldomar, which also didn't go well, and then Bore staggered over to join him, bloodied and still dazed from the statue. Paldomar used another shocksphere, and while the berzerker was distracted by Riya's massive damage and turned to face her, the bronze warder was not, and ran after Bore to finish him off... and missed! An un-dazed Bore spent his next turn healing himself back to nearly full.
The rest of the fight was a slugfest. Morgan and Bore managed to maneuver Paldomar behind a pillar and trap him between them -- with Bore's Rain of Steel slowly chipping away at his health even though neither of them could really hit him. Bore used Brute Strike over and over until it finally connected, while Morgan mostly just played for time because Paldomar was trying to finish him off and kept psi-blasting him into only being able to use at-wills. The warder was locked on Bore, pounding on him from behind, but missed a lot, and Bore still had healing left now that he could actually use it (although his only remaining 'heal other people' was healing strike, which missed, so he couldn't help Morgan).
Riya and Samuel were more than a match for the berzerker, and the slingers were so pathetic that they just ignored them and moved to pelt Paldomar from across the room, and between their plinking, a few hits from Morgan, and mostly Bore's auto-hit Rain of Steel, Paldomar went down before anyone else was killed. The party grabbed his body, and Vexx's -- Vexx had not survived, unfortunately -- and ran away from the warder, which wasn't even bloodied. With Paldomar dead, they could come back and smash the thing whenever they wanted, there was no need to fight it right then when most of them were on their last legs.
But since that was the last fight of the campaign, we didn't really play all that out. They'd successfully gotten revenge, but at the cost of Vexx's life.
last session | next session, different campaign
...and then it was 6:20, because those two fights had taken four hours somehow. I was *very very late* to my next game. x.x