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Mannix, level 5 Human Inquisitive Rogue/Wizard
Khaless, level 5 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue
Gillian, level 5 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 5 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue
Therin, level 5 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon
The magically floating rock known as the Heart of Ubtao was as dangerous or as accommodating as our heroes wanted it to be, based on the actions and choices they could make. Getting up there proved highly dramatic as they were beset upon by the deadly construct that had been sent to kill them.
Attempting to stage epic heroic moments is one of the trickiest things to plan for as a DM. Players are unpredictable, and having to change your plans can prove disastrous for what you wanted to set up.
Thankfully the encounter with the Steel Predator went off pretty much as I desired.
During their conversation with Valindra, who appeared on the floating rock to shout down at them, the Steel Predator (MToF) emerged. I can’t go too far into it for spoiler reasons but suffice to say that the PCs quickly realized they can’t exactly fight this thing. During its surprise round it did its Stunning Roar, blasting everyone with a DC 19 CON save in a giant cone for 5d10 damage (+Stunned if you fail).
I was admittedly dismayed to see three out of my five players make the high save (there are some very high CONs in this party), though I rolled high enough damage that I OHKO’d Mannix.
Two things happened that dictated the flow of this battle. First was rolling a nat 20 on initiative, essentially giving the predator two turns in a row before the PCs could react. The second was recharging its Stunning Roar attack, which it used again.
This time everyone failed the save, took more thunder damage, became stunned, and Gillian went down and started rolling death saves with Mannix.
Despite being fully rested before this fight, the party was in dire straits. They were already rolling death saves or trying to shake off their stunned status in the opening round. Vorn was the only one unaffected. Khaless ordered him to attack the bestial construct.
Vorn effectively kept the entire team alive by keeping the creature busy, taking heavy amounts of damage from the predator’s three powerful multiattacks.
I had also rolled initiative for Valindra, who cast an Arcane Gate on the ground and screamed for everyone to jump inside. George and Khaless were the first to recover from the stunning roar and began working to save the others and drag them into the portal, which landed them on the top of the Heart of Ubtao.
It was a really satisfying moment as Vorn got in a heroic sacrifice. He was all but torn apart by the beast, but kept it at bay while the others escaped, with Khaless’ final action to deactivate him to keep him (barely) alive.
At the Heart of Ubtao the party met Valindra Shadowmantle, an elven wizard with her own agenda and a bunch of undead servants. But she had just rescued the party from annihilation, and her protective shield over the floating rock kept them safe. She even offered Mannix a new eye, though he cleverly (and secretly) cast Identity on it to discover it was capable of remote clairvoyance – and surveillance by Valindra.
Therin and Azaka were not pleased to work with someone who used undead, but they grudgingly accepted her assistance. She poked and prodded to get as much information as she could out of them. They wouldn’t fully divulge the location of Omu, but made hints that the soulmonger’s location was in the south.
Valindra wanted to stop the death curse and retrieve the soulmonger, putting in the hands of her associates with the Red Wizards. It’s a safety precaution; they know how to handle such a thing.
The party played it cool and agreed to assist her. She mentioned there may be other groups of Red Wizards out searching for the soulmonger, and they may be able to assist them as well. She offered them the use of her teleporation circle, which they could use to teleport back to Wakanga’s villa in Port Nyanzaru, their first trip back since they set out back in Session 9.
Before they left, Valindra levitated Vorn’s broken body up to the Heart so they could take it through the portal and turn it into Wakanga.
Upon their return he was delighted to see them and Vorn, though the party told him that the portal collapsed behind them, and Khaless manged to sabotage Vorn’s controller, preventing the selfish Merchant Prince from ever activating him. A fitting end for their broken but valiant comrade.
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