Despite making college visits to Iowa earlier in the week and to Michigan later in the week I was still able to make it to The Gaming Goat for the DDE session #8. Most of the usual suspects were present, but several of our part-timers were absent this night. Two newcomers, Kyle and Danny, joined us this week and performed admirably. We had printed out a nice color map of Castle Inverness last week and we knew looking forward to be able to use it again this week.
In the front half of the courtyard that made up the town of Inverness the party had just defeated a set of undead warriors and their squires. Before they ran away the last of the villagers had warned the party that Salazar Vladistone had captured Faldyra and was in the back corner of the courtyard, somewhere near the the graveyard. The party was certain that Vladistone wasn't likely to be by himself, so they took a quick five minute rest and then dashed off with the intent to put an end to this horror.
Toward the back portion of the courtyard the buildings had already burnt to the ground and the area was dimly lit. As the party drew close to the graveyard they could hear Vladistone berating an already beaten-up Faldyra, demanding to know what she had done. He had apparently routinely come here to the grave of his wife, Oldivya, although Splintershield's Protection from Evil had prevented him from doing do for the past six months. Now that Splintershield's protection was broken and Vladistone was able to reach the graveyard he was distressed to find that he could no longer communicate with his long dead wife. When Faldyra was unable to produce a satisfactory answer he lashed out with a fisted blow and knocked her into unconsciousness.
The party quickly moved into a position to swarm Vladistone and his four ghostly Brigade Templars. As he saw the adventurers move forward Vladistone roared with rage. "Advance! What chance do the living have against the dead. The soldiers of ancient Nerath will bring their wrath to the Vail and I will have my vengeance." It didn't sound like Vladistone was in much of a mood for negotiation and as the party continued to advance Vladistone ordered his templars to advance and to guard the grave of his wife.
Similar to the ghostly soldiers the party had fought over the last few days the insubstantial bodies of these ghostly warriors seemed to resist some portion of the damage delivered by the party (i.e., they took half-damage from everything but Force damage). The party charged ahead regardless and began their attack. The two mages managed to slide several of the templars into a convenient pack adjacent to each other and the party was then able to unleash several burst spells that soon began to bloody the templars.
The templars were sturdy creatures though and were able to deal some damage of their own as well. Our ranger was able to put up an area of obscurement around those going hand-to-hand against the templars, and one of the mages put up a Phantom Chasm underneath the templars. With their movement slowed and their attacks diminished the templars fought furiously, but the blows against them were beginning to mount.
It was then that Vladistone moved forward and joined the fight. He avoided the area of the Phantom Chasm and went after the cleric, quickly bloodied him and then knocked him unconscious. While this was going one of the mages had slipped through to revive Faldyra and she was able to add her Magic Missiles (Force damage - woo-hoo!) to the combat. Kyle's cleric was able to revive the unconscious cleric, but by this time the fight was almost complete.
During this encounter the party rolled 20's for critical damage seven different times, three times by Zach. Even if the damage was halved is still began to add up, and as three magic users threw their Magic Missiles the templars began to go down one at a time. When the last templar was defeated the party was able to turns its collective wrath toward Vladistone and it wasn't long before he too was destroyed.
With Vladistone defeated the bodies of the spectral soldiers that still remained in the area dissipated and disappeared into the early morning mist. The party turned to look at what remained of the town of Inverness when the spectral form of Salazar Vladistone took shape once again, rising above the adventurers. Shaking his spectral sword at the the party he spoke, saying "You shall regret what you have done here today. I will have my revenge." As the last words of rage spat from his ghostly mouth the specter flew off into the night.
The night was almost over by this time and dawn drew quickly nigh. The party could now clearly see the remains of the ruins Inverness around them. The wooden buildings they had all helped to erect over the past six months were now all burnt to the ground, as wisps of smoke still lifted up from the freshly charred timbers. With no shelter and little in the way of supplies, Faldyra and the party decided they had no choice but to join Malgram and Splintershield and to return back to Hammerfast.
The party scavenged what provisions they could find and then bundled themselves up against the winter cold and hurried up the road, hoping to catch up with the rest of the refugees. As they took one last look back at the town they could see the Tower of Inverness stood unchanged, quiet and resolute in the middle of the courtyard, its secrets still unknown.