The party decided that they would rescue the soon to be executed prisoner for a variety of reasons. They thought that by doing so they would get in good with the insurgency, which would lead to the leadership of the rebel faction, who they would in turn give over to the DuChamps for the reward money. Then, using their connections with the DuChamps, kill everyone and loot all the rumored money that the crown was said to have. Got that? Kill some people, betray some people, kill some more, stack up piles of gold. Sounds like a plan. What could go wrong?
After leaving the meeting with Firebeard they checked into a room at Oh Starry Night, a local inn recommended by the red haired rebel spokesman. Since it was still early at this point they decided to have a night on the town; gather some intel, scout the route the prisoner would be taking the next day, and try to avoid getting into trouble. They knew the path that the prisoner would be taking from the prison to the town square from the documents that Firbebeard had given them. It was a simple path that passed through a residential neighborhood to a commercial district. After much deliberation they decided that they would most likely strike before the doomed man reached the town square. Originally they wanted to free him from the gallows to make the most public showing that they could, but common sense intervened and they thought that this may be a better approach.
Eventually they found themselves at the Tiger House, an upscale gambling house that catered to many of the Duke’s soldiers and the town’s wealthy class. They went in and lost some money at the tables, tried to blend in, and gather some information. Lela was immediately intrigued by a very handsome, dark haired man at the bar who was giving her the eye. After some conversation it turned out that he was a part owner of the place, his name was Carlos el Bastardo and he was clearly into Lela. She turned down his numerous attempts to sleep with him, though she was definitely feeling his vibe. She whistled a bit for him and he was impressed, though the stage was occupied for the evening by an enchanting dancing woman named the Spider Queen. As a souvenir to remember her Carlos asked Lela for a memento, she gladly gave him a pearl from her collection. The party left and asked some more questions back at Oh Starry Night. Carlos was well known in town and was the leader of a CIA type group called The Mist, he worked for the Duke and was apparently very good at his job. Lela was glad that she did not sleep with him, though she did wonder what it would have been like. They also learned that the Duke kept a collection of rare and exotic animals on the grounds of his castle and that he was also served by a dwarf named Hebnik Heartbane, but his actual role in things seemed a bit murky. A lot of this info came from a drunkard in the inn that they were having a nightcap with. After the conversation they all went to bed.
While settling in for the evening Lela failed two Will saves, both of which were made at a -10 (more on that later). The first was a Nightmare effect, so she couldn’t get back any spells, which actually wasn’t that big of a deal since she had barely used any for the day. The second failed save was a bigger deal since the party was being Scryed (which they did not know). Before they went to sleep they discussed the plans for the following day a little more, set guards, and passed the night.
The following morning they were ready to put their plan into motion and they set out into the town. Lela put on a disguise, but everyone else went out as normal and tried to blend into the crowd that was gathering around the “parade” route. The public execution was a big draw and a lot of businesses closed for the afternoon so that everyone could partake in the spectacle, or perhaps they were ordered to do so. In an ideal situation the plan would have happened like this; Mgabwe would turn invisible and fly to where the prisoner was, grab him and Dimension Door to Henri, Henri would then Teleport them to safety, return the prisoner to Firebeard, and they would all reunite with the rest of the party. Unfortunately for them that is not at all how it went down, though it was not at all a bad plan. In theory.
Glee and Romulus stayed together in the crowd watching all that was happening, a disguised Lela was also blending in with the crowd, Henri was hidden atop a rooftop within range of Dimension Door, and Mgabwe turned himself invisible and started to fly to the prisoner. The chained man was being led by a group of soldiers who were staying within a couple of feet of him. A dwarf led the procession, calling out to the crowd that this is what happens to traitors to the crown. As Mgabwe flew in the dwarf turned around and saw him, clearly he had something going on that enabled him to see invisible. The dwarf Dispelled his invisibility, and in response Mgabwe cast some Evard’s Black Tentacles (or as he calls it Papa Guedo’s Skeletal Fingers), which actually did a great job of neutralizing the dwarf and several of the guards. But then things started to get out of hand. Over a nearby rooftop a Chimera joined the fight, charging straight at the cluster of guards and Mgabwe. Henri began to hurl Fireballs at the Chimera, Glee and Romulus started to move to the fight, while Lela hung back and whistled to support the group. It took longer than expected to extract the prisoner (his name was Vincent Featherfall) since there were so many guards hanging onto him, but Mgawe and Glee fought well and the two of them (with Vincent) made it over to Henri. However, in the meantime things took a catastrophic turn for Lela. She failed to see a disguised Carlos el Bastardo sneaking up on her and she wound up with a dagger to the back. Romulus went over to help her out, but it was going to be an uphill battle for the two of them. The following round Lela cast Greater Invisibility on Romulus, which wound up being the last thing she ever did. A moment later Carlos feinted and unleashed a full round of sneak attacks on the half elf, skewering her for 140 point of damage. This put her at -101. She was really dead. The last words she heard were, “You should have slept with me.”
Romulus responded in kind with some Invisible sneak attacks of his own, but clearly this Carlos was no pushover. Carlos then tumbled away, throwing some Dust of Appearance as he did so. Watching this from afar the rest of the party had a decision to make. Do they get out of there with the prisoner, or do they Teleport to the aid of the party? Henri overcame his usual cowardice and brought in the reinforcements, just in time to see Romulus killed as well. However, he did bring Glee and Mgabwe with him. Mgabwe totally whiffed on some trip attempts against Carlos, Glee was able to get in some shots and Carlos was slowing down but had sent Glee into negatives with another attack. It really all came down to Henri. He would have been able to Teleport out of there with Mgabwe, as well as the bodies of Glee and Romulus. Lela would have to be left behind. What Henri did next I was not expecting. He cast a Fireball at Carlos. Now, they were currently engaged in melee with Carlos so the entire party was affected as well. Henri really needs to pay better attention. The entire party groaned as their fate was sealed by one of their own. Since he was unconscious Glee got no save and was killed, Mgabwe took 33 damage and since he had 31 he was now unconscious as well. On the bright side Henri made his save, as did Mgabwe’s familiar. Oh yeah, Carlos did too and he has evasion so he took no damage. From this point it was just a matter of mopping up the lone wizard and within moments Henri was killed as well. The entire party lay dead in the town square of Ocrist. And while this was happening the Chimera killed the “rescued” prisoner, who had probably just wished he died on the gallows.
Let’s peel back the curtain of the DM and take a look at how it all went down. Things really started to get dicey when they met Carlos at the Tiger House the night before. From the incident at the Wicked Annabella when the PC’s killed some soldiers Carlos had some intel about who they were and he recognized them immediately, they are not a hard group to pick out. During his conversation with Lela he also used some Sense Motive (Lela failed her Bluff), which further confirmed his suspicions about who they were. Just for good measure he was able to get a belonging of hers (the pearl) to aid in both Scrying and Nightmare. The Scrying allowed the army to pretty much know what the party was planning, so none of it was really a surprise. The following day none of the party noticed Carlos in the crowd, he was waiting for a chance to get one of them in a one on one spot and Lela was the perfect choice. I also knew that he was a very formidable opponent that they would have to work together to defeat, they chose not to go that route. In a previous post I had been real critical of the Invisible Blade prestige class, but Carlos put it to good use. For what it’s worth he was a Fighter 4/Rogue 3/Swashbuckler 3/Invisible Blade 5. A 15th level character essentially took out a party of 5 12th level characters by himself. Not bad.
I would also like to comment on the party killing Fireball from Henri. I know it seems a little harsh for them to go out that way, but I am sort of strict when it comes to stuff like that. If you say something at the table, then your character did it. Once he realized what he had done Henri tried to take it back, but I couldn’t allow it. The other players backed me up. I had mentioned way back in Journal #1 that Henri was a new player, this was really his first campaign. I don’t expect him to know all the rules, but this was also the 14th adventure he had played with Henri and the third time he had done pretty much the same thing. I let the first one slide because he was new, the second time almost killed Mgabwe during the fight at the medusa temple, and the third one…well, we see how that turned out.