Gortak's player has dropped out of the campaign, so we have seven characters now.
- Augustus Scitiori - dual-weapon master of shortswords
- Eliot de la Frau - A Saber-master and pirate.
- Erland - a Jotun wrestler.
- Markus - A Hobgoblin Paladin of the God of Chivalry.
- Melek - a Nephilim greatswordsman
- Tonokai - a Kazanjiman horse-archer
- Zui Shushu - A drunkard priest the party's hired as a healer
- Catonio - a Catfolk Swashbuckler
The Hidden Kingdom
The party has located the Hidden Kingdom of Prester John, a missionary from the West who's occupied a mountain valley with a small force. They had planned an assault on the Enslaver of the Flames of the Hearth, a demon from the West who is lately active in the Jade Empire and was the actual six-fingered man who killed Catonio's parents. Sadly, Catonio came down with a bad case of hairballs and had to get some bed rest (his player missed the session, and I'm not about to run his personal quest without him.) Asking around the city, they found out that the Serpent Folk had a local outpost that Prester John wanted removed, so they struck out for that, instead.
The Ambush in the Woods and the Outpost
The party scouted out the area near the outpost, but they ran right into a strong patrol of Sepent Folk (a race based on the Yuan-ti from D&D if you're curious.) I had the party and the NPCs roll a Quick Contest of Tactics to determine position, and unfortunately Augustus rolled an 18. So, the fight started with the party out of position and their priest surrounded, alone, by a knot of enemies.
However, this is an all-fighters game, so EVERYONE (but the NPC) has Combat Reflexes, and surprise is essentially something that happens to other people. A short fight ensued, Augustus was the victim of an enemy's critical success on a Strike Blind in the first round of combat, and a couple of PCs took some damage, but the enemies were still wrecked. Surrounded by four warriors, Zui Shushu managed to fall prone but still totally avoid damage through some lucky rolls and All-Out Defenses.
The party discovered that the enemy spellcaster wore an amulet with an icon of a two-headed monkey, which Markus identified as a symbol of Demogorgon, making these Serpent Folk obvious demon worshippers.
Eliot Interrogated one of the survivors with Erland providing complementary Intimidation, so the party was able to discover that the outpost, hidden in a cave, had three surface entries, a locked gate to the Underdark, and a air vent above. The party blocked off all the exits, closed off the vent, and set a smoky fire to drive the Serpent Folk into an ambush.
When 250+ point warriors get the total drop on their foes, bad stuff happens to those foes quickly. The fight ended with no PC taking more than two actions, and the survivors submitted.
In the cave, the party discovered a shrine to Demogorgon, which Melek smashed. They also found an elaborate amulet to Demogorgon, consisting of a silver necklace and carnelian cameo. Melek grabbed this to smash it (Impulsiveness strikes again!) but was turned into a statue for his pains, due to a Delay and Flesh to Stone. I gave the underlying spell a big bonus to represent the anger of the demon prince. Luckily, there was a cart in the cave so the party was able to take the poor half-angel with them, instead of leaving him to be smashed...
This ended up being a short session, but the fights were engaging, even if they were totally one-sided. That's OK; PC plans should work out from time to time. Melek failed an Impulsiveness self-control roll three times in this session, which caused some funny results.