Tyrian


Adventure: The Last Command
Sessions: 2007-06-03, 2007-06-04
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 4

An End and a Beginning

The day was going to be a rough one, Orilam knew, as she was awoken abruptly by falling two feet. She took a couple seconds to realize that she and Tyrian had both been teleported to the Inner Guard Enclave. That wasn’t so much of a problem, since both of them had been here before, and both had access. What was a bit odd was that the two of them were both naked. What was a bit embarrassing was that Sir Blaze was here, and definitely not asleep. What was a bit alarming was that Tyrian sported a rather large gash in his side.

“Ack! Invisible attackers! Gimme a hand here, Blaze.”

Orilam’s commanding officer hurried to her boyfriend’s side and channeled his divine powers of healing with a touch. “Sir Tyrian, what has happened!?”

Orilam covered herself as best she could as she ran to the supply cabinets to find a couple sets of clothing for herself and Tyrian. She returned a short while later in a simple white tunic.

“…couldn’t see him, despite all my perceptive aptitude, so I can only guess that it was a well-trained ninja.”

Blaze nodded. “Very likely. You should check on the others immediately; if I’m not wrong, this assassin will try for the lives of your compatriots if he has not already.”

“Good idea! Orilam, grab me a couple scrolls of sending.”

A moment later, Tyrian tried to activate the items with a shout of “Ankmopar!”

Tyrian frowned, as he noticed that the magical writing did not disappear. He failed activating the scroll. He never failed with magic. That could only mean…

“Blaze, I think Nebu’s dead.”

The sound of Blaze’s knuckles crackling emanated from the Priest’s desk. “Try the others.”

A couple minutes later, after failing to reach Siivrell and Teferi, Tyrian was finally able to reach Mike, the now-human monk. “Mike, are you OK? Assassin attacked tonight. I can’t reach the others, possibly dead. Meet at the cathedral immediately.”

Tyrian spoke to his girlfriend as he quickly casted an invisibility and a fly spell on her, “Go quickly to the Keeper’s chambers; that place should be warded against attacks.

Orilam nodded. “Please be careful.”

***

Orilam and Jaela gathered about the basin of water in the latter’s chamber later in the afternoon. Tyrian, Blaze, Mike, and Sovelom and managed to destroy the assassin, and recovered Siivrell, Nebu, Teferi, and Ankya’s bodies. Since Blaze’s death and true resurrection some time ago, Jaela had become much more paranoid about death, and had fortunately stockpiled five scrolls of true resurrection. They were put to good use.

Blaze and Krozen each led their faction of troops to Morningcrest, where they planned to mount the first stage of defense, while Tyrian et al. had traveled on air skiff to scout out the enemies.

Orilam gasped. “What are they doing?”

“It’s obvious. They’re going for the airships. Thrane and Karrnath both lack air superiority; those are going to be dangerous later on if not destroyed now.”

The image in the water proved Jaela right as the adventurers freed the huge fire elemental powering one of the airships. The moved on to another, and then another, and soon the fleet was completely in shambles.

“Your Grace, they did it! Now Flamekeep will have nothing to fear from the skies.”

“Hardly. There are four more armies, so they’ve maybe defeated a fifth of the air threat. But it’s a good start.”

***

The group headed to the next army.

“Tyrian! That fool, what’s he doing!?” demanded Jaela as Tyrian jumped off the airskiff to hover some hundred feet above the foot soldiers.

“Look, Your Grace.” Orilam pointed to a few warforged in the corner of the field of vision. “Those look like casters; the first army didn’t have such a squad.”

“Well, I sure hope he doesn’t try anything stupid. Those warforged may not be able to stand up to him one-to-one, but there are a lot of them and only one of him. Oops, too late!”

On screen, Tyrian casted a protection from arrows spell on himself, before casually tossing an empowered fireball to the center of one of the caster squads. The targeted few evaporated as expected; however…

With the efficiency of a well-practiced army, all foot soldiers from the entire army turned to face the no-longer-invisible Tyrian, and let fly a hail of arrows. The first of the volley were harmlessly deflected by Tyrian’s spell, but there were simply too many arrows. Tyrian, realizing his jeopardy, quickly started to incant a teleport spell, but did not have time to complete it, as the thousands of arrows struck into him from every angle.

Orilam fainted.

***

Orilam awoke with an uncharacteristic scream, before realizing she was still in the presence of the Keeper of the Flame. “Your Grace..?”

Jaela nodded sadly. “His friends have recovered the body, but Tyrian’s dead, no doubt.”

Orilam quickly knelt before her master, and begged out in tears. “Please, Your Grace, please! The last scroll…”

Jaela hesitated. “But, it’s the last. The main battle has yet to start. What if Blaze were to fall tonight?”

“I beg you, Your Grace! Sir Blaze and Tyrian are close as brothers; surely he would agree as well! You’ve heard Tyrian neutralize the threats of the vampires and Vol. Surely with Tyrian alive, the battle will be that much more in our favor!”

Jaela bit her lip as she considered the consequences. Finally, she nodded. “You and Tyrian have been served me well these years, and I owe you at least this much. Ready the altar.”

Twenty minutes later, a new body for Tyrian appeared out of thin air at the end of the invocation. He awoke with a Fireball ready to throw, and bracing a grimace of pain.

“Tyrian!” Orilam clamber atop the altar to embrace him.

“Welcome back to the land of the living,” spoke Jaela as she wiped the sweat off her brow. “And try to stay away from the land of the dead for a while.”

Tyrian gritted his teeth. “Those damn warforged! I’ll turn them all into slag iron tonight.”

Jaela stormed up to the altar and slapped him. “What part of the order ‘stay alive’ don’t you understand!? If it wasn’t for Orilam begging me so insistently, I’d have been content to raise you from the dead some months later. And that’s the best you can hope for if you get yourself killed again today.. assuming we actually defeat the warforged armies.”

Tyrian considered this sullenly. “Are the rest of them still kicking?”

“They’re fine for now. It doesn’t look like they’ll be directly confronting any more armies after your shining example. Now teleport your butt to Morningcrest and tell Blaze that he has strict orders from me not to die today.”

***

“Finally, it’s beginning.” The image in the water showed the warforged troops, some 80 000 strong, marching relentlessly toward the fortress-town of Morningcrest. A few squadrons of warforged titans broke rank to besiege the city walls, while the main column of troops marched ahead toward the main gates. Blaze stood atop the gates of the city in his usual combat form, that of a cervidal. With his falchion, he directed the volleys of the Thrane archers, while shouting encouragement and healing the nearby injured.

In the other scrying pool, the air skiff bearing the Tyrian and his companions veered to the eastern side of the city.

“Good to see they’re learning from their mistakes,” noted Jaela as she witnessed Tyrian throw some three iceballs without returning to common sight. “Greater invisibility.”

“Your Grace, Tyrian’s single-handedly destroyed the right wing of titans!” Orilam beamed.

Jaela nodded, “Yeah, it looks like it was right for me to resurrect him. The western city walls are taking quite a beating though, they to need to hurry.”

As the front line of warforged troops approached the city gates, tornado-force winds whipped thousands of the metal-clad soldiers into one another in the air. Some minute later, the winds died down, leaving only the scattered metal remains of those consciousnesses awoken but a few weeks ago.

“No blood, no soul,” muttered Jaela. “The enemies have no purpose, no value, and no hope for salvation.”

“Your Grace, some warforged are fighting on our side. There is the one called Watcher, and there is that magic shop owner…”

“I wonder if those few are truly different, or if they have other treachery planned. I have heard many a tale of heroes who have fallen through the actions of their comrades.”

The image in the water scrying on Tyrian suddenly shifted to the interior of the city. Tyrian teleported himself and Teferi there, where some number of Teferi’s followers had gathered. The shadow dragon rampaged in the background, breathing the pestilence of the Mournland onto the home of the paladins of the Eternal Dawn.

“That fool Tyrian! Are they trying to take down the dragon with just the two of them!?” Jaela motioned her hands and quickly casted a sending spell to him.

“Tyrian! Do not engage that dragon! This is a direct order! Dragons can sense you despite your invisibility. Clear out immediately!”

“Negative. That thing’s doing too much damage to ignore. Teferi says he has a plan. I’m here to bail him out if it doesn’t work.”

An instant later, the shadow dragon stopped in its tracks. The gnome pointed at the warforged airships, and the dragon obediently flew directly towards them.

A minute later, Sovelom and the rest caught up to Tyrian and Teferi. A round of congratulations later, they took off again for the battlefield abreast the city walls.

Sovelom suddenly handed Tyrian the steering wheel, and jumped off the air skiff, soon to be followed by Nebu and Siivrell. Tyrian suddenly grinned wide, and jerked the air skiff suddenly in a vertical loop.

“What a show off!”

“Your Grace! The Lord of Blades himself!”

Indeed, it was hard to miss him now, for he was a full seventy-two feet tall, towering over the battlefield. With a powerful smash, he shattered the heroes’ air skiff, and carried through the blow to temporary captain Tyrian. The giant size lasted but a moment though, and quickly he returned to his normal self. Though the remnants of the air skiff crashed to the ground below, Ankya, Teferi, Mike, and Tyrian stayed aloft.

With two quick motions, Tyrian zapped the enemy leader in a Dimensional Anchor, and encased him in a shroud of force, effectively sequestering the mighty warforged general from the battle. This however, also lasted but seconds before it was dispelled by an enemy spellcaster.

In an instant, the seven adventurers morphed into war trolls. Several of them engaged the Lord of Blades in melee, while others continued blasting away with spells. And then…

It was over.

***

“Today, we stand at the dawn of a new age. An age of rebirth, where yesterday’s errors will not shadow the light of tomorrow’s coming. An age of unification, where all that is light and good in Eberron will unite against the powers unleashed by the lich-queen Vol and the now-dead Lord of Blades. An age of expansion and cleansing, where those nations indulgent of evil shall be purged along with those actively working against us.

“Citizens of Thrane, Breland, and Karnath, we have stood together against the most formidable army of ruthless killing machines the world has seen, and won. Our friendship has been forged in battle, and shall be further tempered in war. Our triumvirate alliance has been sealed by victory, and together we shall band together to sweep all before us.

“First, we must retake Breland, and restore the rightful heirs to the throne. I, Blaze of Flamekeep, shall personally lead an elite contingent of three hundred paladins to serve as the vanguard in the campaign to retake Sharn from the hands of remaining warforged. The City of Towers shall rise again, reaching closer to the stars than ever before! Citizens of Breland, I pledge to you that your home shall be yours once more!

“From there, we shall march onwards with vengeance to Droaam! For too long have we been distracted by our own petty squabbles, and allowed this monstrous state to grow strong. These fiends dared side with the soul-less warforged, but they shall soon pay for their treachery. Our warriors, hardened in experience and outfitted in trophy-armor of the bodies of the defeated warforged, shall make short work of the hags and harpies.

“Along with Droaam, Darguun will also receive its comeuppance. With the mists of Cyre lifting, Lord Kaius of Karrnath has mobilized his troops for immediate departure on a south-eastern campaign to punish the goblin state, with the full fury of warrior spirits both alive and returned to life. We of Thrane have promised our unconditional support for them, and all citizens of Thrane are to treat Karrnathi citizens as brothers in arms, offering quarter and supplies as requested.

“The remains of Galifar’s nation has too long be splintered. Today, we make our first move towards reunification!”

***

Tyrian smiled. “A good speech, Blaze.”

“Thank you, my friend. Not only for your half-hearted compliment, but more importantly for the invaluable support in the Battle of Flamekeep.”

“You seem to have omitted Aundair, Zilargo, Valenar, and all the rest on the hit list.”

Blaze’s jaw tightened. “One can only face so many opponents at once, as I believe you learned early yesterday morning. There is nothing to gain by declaring hostilities so soon on them. However, rest assured that their actions shall not go unpunished. With the vast stores of adamantine scrapped from the husks of the warforged invaders, we have enough resources to sustain war for a hundred years. But the soldiers will tire, and Breland needs rebuilding. Punishment to Aundair can wait a couple years.”

“What of the Glowing Chasm? The rate of monsters appearing have diminished but the ones already here still pose a threat on the safety of Thrane and Karrnath.”

“It’s true, but the threat is local, and others are already making moves to neutralize that threat. Your friend Siivrell and her jade phoenix mage companions, for one. Druids and rangers from the Eldeen Reaches, representing a faction known as the Gatekeepers, have also arrived to assist. What of the rest of your companions? Are they willing to serve Thrane?”

“Not so sure about that. Mike seems to be interested in opening a temple, while Sovelom is heading back to reconcile with his family. The gnome Teferi and his followers could be persuaded given the right approach. I should be able to talk Nebu into assisting us; he seems like the reliable sort.”

“Good. We march on Sharn three days from now. You mentioned before that you wanted to fight by my side again; the time has now come.”

Tyrian raised his eyebrows. “Does that mean I have a three-day vacation until then?”

Blaze laughed. “As you wish.”

Player’s Notes:

Mmm… portentious. I foresee a Rome-like era.

Tyrian’s final Statistics:

  • Str: 9 (-1)
  • Dex: 8 (-1)
  • Con: 14 (+2)
  • Int: 16 + 3 + 2 + 4 = 25 (+7)
  • Wis: 14 (+2)
  • Cha: 10 (+0)
  • hp: 76
  • Base Atk +6
  • AC 7, touch 7, flat-footed 7
  • Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +15
  • Init: +24

Special Abilities and Effects:

  • Bat familiar (+3 Listen checks)
  • Focused Specialist (Evoker)
  • Prohibited Schools: Enchantment, Abjuration, Illusion
  • Adaptive Learning (Use Magic Device always a class skill)
  • Ability Boost (+2 Int)
  • Fickle Finger of Fate (immediate action to force another’s reroll, 1/day)
  • Spin Fate (4 points, add to DC)
  • Spin Destiny (add Spin to skill check, attack roll, or save instead)
  • Deny Fate (auto-stabilize when below 0 hp, 1/day)
  • Resist Fate (1 re-roll per day)
  • Minor School Esoterica (Evocation): +2 Concentration for Evocation spells
  • Permanent Spell: darkvision (60ft)
  • Permanent Spell: see invisibility
  • Permanent Spell: read magic
  • Skill Trick: Tumbling Crawl (crawl 5 ft. as move action, Tumble DC 15)

Spells:
0th—detect magic ×3
1st—feather fall, grease ×2, nerveskitter, swift expeditious retreat, [magic missile ×3]
2nd—rope trick, scorching ray ×4, [scorching ray ×3]
3th—piercing shivering ray ×5, [fireball ×3]
4th—piercing iceball ×3, [explosive cascade, piercing iceball, resilient sphere]
5th—teleport, greater fireburst, [ball lightning, cacophonic burst ×2]
6th—disintegrate, [lingering flames (to power reserve feat), piercing ball ice ×2]

DC: 17 + spell level (19 + spell level for evocation)

Traits:
1. Aggressive (+2 Init, -1 AC)
1. Slow (+1 HP/lvl, half base speed)

Flaws:
1. Poor Reflexes
1. Vulnerable (-1 AC)

Feats:
1. Guerrilla Scout [+1 initiative, Listen and Spot always cost 1 skill point]
1H. Improved Initiative
1F. Spell Focus (evocation)
1F. Sudden Silent [Silent Spell 1/day]
2W. Scribe Scroll
3. Quick Reconnoiter [+2 initiative, Listen and Spot as free actions]
3HP. Energy Substitution (cold) [good for not damaging buildings/ships]
5MS. Skill Focus (Spellcraft)
6. Fiery Burst (+1 caster level for Fire spells, Nd6 burst (5’ radius) of fire as standard supernatural action, Reflex half DC same as Nth level spell)
7MS. Greater Spell Focus (evocation)
9. Action Surge
12. Piercing Cold [+1 metamagic adjustment, ignore cold resistance, do ½ damage to cold immune, do double damage to cold-vulnerable]

Skills: Listen +24, Spot +24, Spellcraft +29, Concentration +19, Use Magic Device +21, Knowledge (Arcana) +22, Tumble +14

Gear:

  • Weapon: +1 warning dagger [+5 insight bonus to initiative]
  • Waist: belt of battle [3 charges/day, 1 = extra move, 2 = extra standard, 3 = extra full round; +2 competence bonus to initiative]
  • Head: headband of conscious effort and intellect +4 [Concentration check instead of Fortitude save, 1/day]
  • Eyes: goggles of perception [custom: +4 insight Listen and +7 insight Spot]
  • Neck: empowered spellshard (fireball) [3/day +50% damage for fireball]
  • Hands: gloves of device mastery +6 [custom: +6 competence bonus to Use Magic Device]
  • Arms: bracers of spell aiming +2 [custom: +2 enhancement bonus to touch attacks]
  • Carried: handy haversack, lesser rod of metamagic empower ×3, lesser rod of metamagic energy substitution (acid), lots and lots of scrolls
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Adventure: Into the Maw
Sessions: 2007-05-27
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 3

A blaster’s worst nightmare

Orilam, a young (by elf standards) girl of some 80 winters, finished relaying High Priest Blaze’s message to the Keeper of the Flame. Jaela was noticeably upset.

“What the Flame!? I can see Krozen not wanting me in on the military planning and all, but Blaze? My own dear Jermon?”

Orilam attempted to put in an appeasing statement. “Sir Blaze most likely does not wish to trouble Your Grace with the stress of military reports in these trying times.”

“Because, you know, I’m just dying from the stress of interpreting the Silver Flame these days. Geez, I’ve even told him already that the Flame’s been awfully quiet of late.”

“Sir Blaze did entrust Your Grace with the highly important task of divining enemy movements…”

“Yeah, I’ve been doing that just like he asked. I mean, we have days until the warforged armies are anywhere near! Is it too much to ask that he spends a couple hours with his best and oldest friend?” Jaela sighed after her angry rant. “You know, sometimes I really envy you, Orilam. Tyrian never needs to be asked twice to spend time with you.”

“I…” Orilam blushed. “I was not aware Your Grace knew of our relationship.”

“Oh, come on, give me some credit here. How am I to stand against Krozen when he finally acts against me if I can’t even figure out the motives and actions of my own followers? Don’t worry though; I haven’t been telling others.”

Orilam bowed. “Your Grace is kind.”

“Hey, my kindness isn’t free here. Tyrian got in earlier today, right? Knowing him, he probably told you all the details of his missions. Come on, spill it!”

“Tyrian was somewhat upset upon returning. He griped on and on about ‘a blaster’s worst nightmare.'”

“Wait, this is the vampire that Blaze with dealing with earlier? Antua or something like that?”

Orilam shook her head. “No, the vampire Antinua was defeated easily by Tyrian early yesterday. Afterwards, Sir Blaze sent Tyrian out on another mission with his newfound colleagues. They traveled to the Glowing Chasm in the Mournland, where Vol had built a stronghold.”

“VOL!? Like, we’re talking the half-dragon half-elf half-lich Mark of Death-dragonmarked leader of the Emerald Claw here?”

“Yes, according to Sir Blaze (by way of Tyrian), Vol and the Lord of Blades have been allied in raising the warforged armies. It is said that some of the warforged are undead, and bear dragonmarks.”

“Hm, I suppose that makes sense.” Jaela then slammed the desk with her fist. “And what did Blaze think would be the harm in letting me know about this!? I’m a cleric, you know, and a far better one than him. I probably could turn Vol to ashes in seconds were she to attack Flamekeep.”

Orilam waited for the Keeper of the Flame to finish her rants before continuing calmly. “Tyrian and his fellows stormed the castle in the glowing chasm, and managed to kill an aged green dragon there last night with little trouble. Sovelom, the kobold, mentioned that he might be Vol’s father.

“This morning, they clambered to the top of the spire and confronted Vol herself. It seems Vol was prepared for them, and had an illusion of the Lord of Blades ready. She also disguised herself as a little undead girl trapped by circumstances. Tyrian immediately reacted the illusory Lord of Blades the way he does to any powerful melee combatant–wrapping them in a blanket of solid fog, before repeatedly blasting with area effect spells.”

“Hah! Sounds like Tyrian, all right. I’ll bet he was pissed after realizing he wasted all those spells.”

“Indeed he was, Your Grace, but that was not the worst of it. Vol surprised the group by flicking an antimagic ray at Nebu, the war weaver, and suppressing his magical abilities. Tyrian turned to face Vol, and consecutively threw an iceball, a fireball, and a cacophonic burst at her, only to have much of the damage mitigated by contingent resist energy spells. Teferi, the gnome, managed to dispel most of Vol’s effects afterwards, but Tyrian was already about out of spells.”

“Wait… but Vol’s a lich. Isn’t she immune to cold damage then?”

“The resist cold spell was but a ruse to encourage Tyrian to continue using ice spells.”

“Oh. Hmph! If Tyrian had actually attended that class Blaze planned for him, then he’d have known.”

“Vol had also casted another spell on most of the group, which sent many of them to attacking indiscriminately. It was quite a struggle, but the jade phoenix mage, Siivrell, finally managed to subdue Vol.”

“A jade phoenix mage, you say? Wow, Tyrian has sure found himself quite a competent group. Vol will show up again at some point, being a lich, but hopefully it’ll be after we smash the warforged armies. So, what’s Tyrian up to now?”

“He’s re-supplying with his comrades.”

“Oh, you mean he’s here in Flamekeep right now! I’m sorry! I should’ve asked you some other time. Run along and go spend time with him!”

Player’s Notes:

Gyah. How was I supposed to know the DM would give the BBEG not 1 but 5 contingent resist energy spells?

Same trick won’t work twice though.

Adventure: Before the Storm
Sessions: 2007-05-05, 2007-05-12
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 2

On Slaying Vampires: Three Case Studies

From the teachings of Tyrian, Master of the Elements

Ah, the vampire. They’re tricky foes; while they lack the sheer toughness of dragons and the impressive abilities of bodaks and other undead, they are notoriously difficult to permanently destroy, unless one is properly prepared for it. Consider the following case study, from my younger days some thirty years ago.

I was a young lad of twenty-one years, and was in Flamekeep at the time, due to my friendship with Flamelord Blaze, then a High Priest. As some of you more learned in history may remember, this was near the climax of the Warforged Revolts. Blaze had asked me to take care of a couple of vampires hiding in the forests of southern Thrane. He personally attempted to do so not half a week previously, but failed. Let’s review his circumstances and results as a first lesson:

Case 1: Antinua

In his case, he had three companions. One was a student of the natural powers (Anson), one was a dabbler of forces both arcane and divine (Sovelom), and the remaining two were of little consequence. They struck through the first layers of defenses (including a giant purple worm) without real injury, but were massacred (save Blaze) by the first vampire, a wizard by the name of Antinua. The events were as thus:

The group failed to notice Antinua due to her invisibility and clever positioning (corner of the roof); she used the element of surprise to isolate the most dangerous of the group, Blaze, by encasing him in spherical wall of stone. Next, Sovelom invoked a control winds effect around the remainder of the group, attempting to fortify a defensive position within the eye of the arcane tornado, but that simply made their concentrated positions a ripe target for a cloudkill spell. While the poisonous gas did not manage to outright end the lives of any, it did sap their vitality enough such that the ensuing maximized greater fireburst did.

By the time Blaze burst from his stone prison, his companions had all fallen. Seeing the threat level of this vampire, Blaze had decided to retreat and regroup, but was concerned for the bodies of his allies. Only Sovelom was noticeably morally upright, however, so Blaze retrieved (and later raised from dead) only him. Still, the delay was enough for Antinua to conjure Evard’s black tentacles. Here, Blaze was lucky, for the Silver Flame blessed him with the ability to travel unimpeded despite any and all obstacles, and thus he was able to retreat back to Flamekeep with little personal damage.

There are three points to be learned from here:

  • Be vigilante, even against invisible foes. Had they noticed Antinua before she could effectively separate the group, they would have had access to Blaze’s healing magic, and at least one other adventurer would have survived the greater fireburst. From there, the two of them may have defeated Antinua.
  • Avoid defensive tactics. Defensive tactics usually are performed at the expense of sacrificing offense, and when this is done, the enemies will respond by further resolving their attacks.
  • Possess a reliable escape route. Had Blaze been anyone else, he too would have been in mortal danger due to Evard’s black tentacles, but he did not have an infallible escape route prepared. For this purpose silent teleport and silent dimension door are optimal, though against less observant foes invisibility will suffice.

Case 2: Antinua, revisited

My companions numbered six: a jade phoenix mage by the name of Siivrell, a war weaver named Nebu, a monk named Mike, a priest named Cade, a telepath named Teferi, and a berserker named Ankya.

Building upon the knowledge of Blaze’s experience, I casted see invisibility on myself, and Antinua’s initial ambush was not successful. In fact, I reacted before she did and casted two spells before she could invoke anything, thanks to a dagger Blaze gifted me. My first spell, an empowered fireball, was wholly unsuccessful due to her active fire shield. My second, an ice ball, however, was able to penetrate her innate resistance and managed to damage her significantly.

Ankya charged into the room, but was unable to locate Antinua (again, due to Antinua’s invisibility). Thus, she instead waved her banner with a mighty cry, which spirited myself into casting a third spell: another iceball. This was sufficient to destroy Antinua, and she reverted into a thin cloud of gas. But don’t let this fool you! Vampires, in this state, can return to unlife should they rest in their coffins for a night. In order to truly atomize them, the gas needs to be gathered and prevented from entering any coffins. Here, I used the spell stone shape to morph a sphere of stone around her essence. Rather poetic, since she had previously used this trick against Blaze. Trapped there, she was helpless, and utterly put to final rest in two hours.

  • Vampires morph into invulnerable gas when “destroyed.” Attacking the gas with either weapons or spells will not work.
  • The gas needs to be trapped for two hours to send a vampire to its final death. Wood and cloth is insufficient to trap gas, but stone and iron (and raw magical force) are. In this state, the vampire is also helpless though, unable to physically attack or tap magic.

Case 3: Lucan

Lucan, unlike Antinua, did not possess arcane talents, though he could use wands and scrolls of various sorts. His preferred method of approach, however, is with an evil artifact sword that he came to possess. He attempted to strike me with it, but again, I noticed him first and acted first. This time, however, I casted Otiluke’s resilient sphere, trapping him inside the force prison. Those of you who have been taking notes will remember that Otiluke’s resilient sphere only lasts for a few minutes, and that Lucan had not yet been reduced to gaseous phase.

But vampires have an additional weakness, one that is more debilitating than coffin dependency. They cannot stand the light of the sun, and is destroyed within seconds upon direct exposure. Teferi, the telepath, invoked a beam of sound, shattering a hole through the walls of the castle, and shining the sun upon Lucan. With this, he was painfully returned to the state of nothingness to which he belonged.

In summary:

  • Always react faster. Life-and-death combat situations depend vitally upon it. When outclassed, it at least gives you the opportunity to retreat and regroup, and against a manageable foe, it ensures that he dies before killing you.
  • Fight vampires during the day. Through brute force or trickery, if you can shine the natural light of the sun upon the vampire, then he is instantly destroyed.

Player’s Notes:

Bah. This was too long.

Adventure: Before the Storm
Sessions: 2007-05-05, 2007-05-12
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Blaze
Status: Paladin 2/Cleric 7/Fist of Raziel 1

PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 2

A Mission for Tyrian

Blaze, High Priest of the Silver Flame and incognito personal confidante of the Keeper of the Flame, paced the floors of his office restlessly. He succeeded in his quest to destroy the bridge and the warforged lieutenant, thus providing critical delays to the advance of the enemy armies, but had uncovered something more troubling in the course of doing so.

The Lord of Blades, through means of an evil artifact, was controlling a local vampire. Rather, several local vampires. Blaze and his erstwhile companions had traveled to the lair of Lucan, the vampire, but met with great difficulties. Perhaps they should have rested after that battle with the guardian purple worm, but Blaze himself had insisted on traveling further, that no time would be lost before the advent of the living construct army. And that had cost the lives of three of his compatriots.

And the most disturbing part was that the vampire who felled so many heroes wasn’t even the master. She was Antinua, a citizen of Aundair who had previously trying to slay that powerful undead. The next time adventurers face Lucan, they would not only have to contend with Lucan and Antinua, but also Taris and Anson. Blaze felt some little comfort in knowing that he saved the most morally upright of the group though, a House Lyander human-turned-kobold by the name of Sovelom.

***

A knock sounded on his door.

“Come in.”

Orilam, the elf waif he rescued some three years ago on the plains of Talenta, entered. Orilam was not who he expected to see. “It’s you? Where’s Nugeph and Rood?”

“Her Grace, seeing the imminent threats of the warforged of Breland, has reassigned most of the Inner Guard to reconnoiter the enemy. Only a skeleton crew is left here,” replied the girl pensively. “I apologize in advance for any mistakes I may commit.”

“Oh, sorry Orilam. I’m just in a bad mood because of recent events. What do you have to report?”

“Craftsmen around the city are working around the clock on forging new weapons, aided by priests who remove their weariness from lack of sleep. The Crown Knights are training all willing city inhabitants in the ways of the crossbow and spear. Our militia currently numbers 10,000 strong, and within the week that number should increase to 30,000. Should the Flame bless us with six weeks to prepare before the upcoming battle, every man and woman over 15 will possess a crossbow and basic training in its use.”

Blaze nodded. “Well, onto the bad news now. How much time do we actually expect until the attack?”

Orilam bowed her head. “Reports on that are spotty. The enemy being warforged and not needing to sleep, they could force march and be upon us within four days. Possibly even faster for the vanguard. Rood reported yesterday that there are rumors within the lower ranks of the warforged army of awaiting reinforcements of some sort.”

‘Ah, yes, reinforcements,’ thought Blaze. There was some small chance that his cause would also be augmented by the dragons of Argonessen, but dragons are a long-lived people and slow to react. He dared not place too much faith on their support, despite the promises of that young gold he rescued.

“Oh!” spoke Orilam, as if suddenly remembering something. “Tyrian checked in this morning, reporting success.”

“You got that right, Sugar!” pronounced the haughty human of some twenty years, appearing instantaneously beside the elf hand, and playfully giving her a slap on the rump. “Perfect success, Blaze! Our stores of weapons-grade adamantine has increased by 253 pounds, and mithral by 177 pounds. And some exorbitant tonnage of steel. Those warforged are walking mines!”

“Um…” stammered Orilam, sporting a deep crimson blush. “Sir Tyrian, could you please remove your hand?”

“But why, Sugar? You know you like it, and Blaze here isn’t dumb enough not to know our relationship.”

Blaze rolled his eyes. True, he knew about Tyrian and Orilam, and didn’t disapprove. But he did repeatedly tell Tyrian to restrain himself in public.. and especially in the presence of the other members of the Inner Guard. It could cause… morale problems.

‘Ah, well,’ thought Blaze, ‘it’s just me here tonight anyway, and it sounds like Tyrian really did pull off a stunning success.’ “Mission report, Sir Tyrian.”

Tyrian grinned widely at his girl, and gave his report without changing hand positions. “Worked just like I planned. Waved a caravan of mithral-gilt iron in front of a company of warforged, and they took bait. Lured them into a nice valley, with nowhere to hide from my Fireballs.. and, well, the rest was just salvage their metal.”

“Casualties on our side?”

“Two scouts got pincushioned. I’ve recovered their bodies, cremated them, and informed the families.”

Blaze nodded. This was good news. “Tyrian, you’ve earned yourself and Orilam a half-day vacation. Report to me at 6 am sharp tomorrow morning.”

Tyrian grinned. “You’ve got it, Boss!”

***

“Tyrian, I have another mission for you. Extremely dangerous. Involves slaying multiple vampires. Are you interested?”

Tyrian raised his eyebrows expectantly. “Well, now, I’m so glad you asked. Us bros haven’t done a job together since that Aerenal expedition eight months ago. This’ll be great!”

Blaze hesitated. “I won’t be able to join you this time, Tyrian. With warforged army poised to attack at any moment, it’s already a huge risk sending you out. And in fact, I’m giving you a time limit. Teleport back here exactly three days from now, no matter what the status is with the vampires. Your top priority in this mission is to return alive exactly three days from now. Is that understood?”

Tyrian nodded.

“Good. Now, I have some gear for you.” Blaze took out a small knife. “I found this little thing in Xen’drik not long ago. Here, catch!”

Tyrian reached out with his right hand to try to grab it by the handle, but fumbled and dropped it. He sheepishly picked it up. “But…”

“Yeah, I know you don’t like to use weapons. But this one’s special.”

Tyrian detected a sudden movement in Blaze, and instantly reached out his left hand, readying a spell.

“See?” smiled Blaze, as he replaced his weapon in its sheath.

“Improves my reaction, eh? Impressive little piece. Thank you.”

“I have some more stuff for you to pick up with our quartermaster. Here’s is a map to the vampire’s lair, as well as a partial map of the inside. It’s probably safest to teleport to near this point on the Lightning Rail, and travel the remainder distance on horse. Also beware guardian monsters outside the ziggurat–last time I had to face a giant purple worm. Oh, you may also run into some of my former companions. There’s a human monk named Mike, an undead halfling named Alia, and a gnome named Teferi. Beware that they may be less… reliable… than you’d hope.”

Tyrian raised an eyebrow. “How unreliable are we talking here? Is it worthwhile for me to… reduce the risk, so to speak?”

Blaze shook his head, “Oh, no, no. I just meant that they may be prone to craven tendencies and may ‘be busy’ just previous any climactic battles, but I doubt they’d actively work against you. Again, remember that your life is more important than any objective here.”

“Will do. I’ll be there before noon.”

Player’s Notes:

Oops, made a mistake originally… Human Paragon makes me lose a caster level, so the earliest I can take Fatespinner is 9, not 8.

Oh dear. Vampire planar shepherd? O_o Really, *really* need to win initiative against him (which fortunately shouldn’t be hard).

So, Tyrian makes a really good team with Blaze, since they have mutually complementary roles and abilities: Tyrian is slow, low-AC, and poor saves, while Blaze is fast (in Cervidal mode), high AC, and uber saves. Tyrian covers the reacting first in every encounter, and can use Warning Shout from a scroll to make Blaze not flat-footed (and hence capable of casting Delay Death). In terms of the four classic roles, Blaze covers Fighter and Cleric, while Tyrian covers Wizard and Rogue/Monk.

The campaign is more or less zarked if Tyrian gets Vampirified. We’d all have to play monks or rogues the next time around.

Tyrian’s base stats:

  • Str: 9 (-1)
  • Dex: 8 (-1)
  • Con: 14 (+2)
  • Int: 16 + 2 (leveling) + 2 (paragon boost) = 20 (+5)
  • Wis: 14 (+2)
  • Cha: 10 (0)