September 16, 2008

Excerpts from the Diary of a Mad Overlord - Part 4

by Ed Rozmiarek

Previous ramblings: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

<Week 5>
<Thelsvan Highway dungeon, level 1, "Bag of Bones (17)">

Dear Diary,
The razorwing Gax has been monitoring that adventurer band since their little "play date" along the Thelsvan Highway. He sent a report that the band, fearing the storm clouds to the east (reportedly from the wizard Ike), decided to take their chances in the dungeon along the highway. Ha, ha. Like they can do anything to King Janius, that old Bag of Bones. Adventurers have been trying to lay him to a final rest for ages. I doubt this group will have much better luck.

Dear Diary,
I have received a report from King Janius, and as I suspected, he still lives and breathes. Well, "lives and breathes" in the figurative sense, he is a skeleton after all.

King Janius had his regular routine of six skeleton guards in his chambers when the adventurers came knocking. Upon hearing of the intrusion, Janius quickly summon another one of his patrols to help remove the adventurers from his home. Although the adventurers were able to remove a couple of the guards, the rest did their jobs and brought down Steelhorns and that pesky Runemaster Thorn.

Those two quickly returned to the dungeon while the rest of the guards did battle with the remaining two adventures. Taking advantage of the distracted guards, Runemaster Thorn was able to teleport around them and activated the glyph (did I mention this guy is pesky?). However, they should have called him "Pincushion" Thorn because that's what he looked like after that move. (You know, robes just don't stop arrows really well.)

As Janius moved to the other side of the dungeon, he quickly brought in a pair of Dark Priests followed by a group of Beastmen. This extra muscle was enough to bring down the remaining two, Corbin and Kirga. Learning from their previous delving, the adventurers pulled the plug again and ran for the comfort of Tamalir.

Dear Diary,
It looks like these adventurers are just hitting the dungeons for party funds. They were seen at the tavern again buying drinks for everyone. They were heard telling some grand adventure story about how they cleaned out the Thelsvan dungeon. Being a little upset with their lies, my source decided to have some fun with them and dropped a rumor about a "Prince of Thieves" holed up in the dungeon in the Moonglow Marsh. And the party was notably interested as they were seen checking their map for the marsh.

At least one of them isn't interested in just ale. He was seen making a contribution at the temple for the construction of the Cathedral at Tamalir. Waste of money as I'll soon have to tear it down to build my temple.

(Conquest: Heroes +3, OL +14)

<Week 6>
Dear Diary,
I am just so tired of Sir Alric bugging me about his relative "Lord" Merick Fallow. I finally broke down and hired Lord Merick just to shut Alric up. I have sent Merick down to Nerekhall to see if he has better aim then Alric. Even though Alric has been besieging the town for a week now, he has made no progress in bringing down the walls. Since Alric seems to be better at building siege engines than using them, I have instructed Alric to take over for Kar-Amag-Atoth at Greyhaven. This frees up Kar to move down to Tamalir.

Oh wait, those "heroes" are in Tamalir, aren't they...

This should be fun...

Dear Diary,
What a let down. Kar-Amag-Atoth found the adventurers while they were resting in the Butterfly Meadow outside Tamalir. (Note to self: I must destroy this meadow as soon as I take over Tamalir. I hate butterflies.) As soon as the adventurers saw Kar, his sorcerers and of course, his pet demon, they decided to run away... fast. At least the dwarf Corbin could not get away fast enough on those short legs of his. The rest of the party had to drag his lifeless body back to town for yet another visit to the temple.

(Conquest: Heroes +0, OL +5)

<Week 7>
Dear Diary,
A quiet week this week. Unfortunately, Merick seems to be a good a shot with siege engines as his cousin. The walls at Nerekhall still stand. Frustrating. Alric and Kar-Amag-Atoth have settled in and are building the siege engines at Greyhaven and Tamalir. The adventurers must have finished spending all of their money from their last dungeon trip. They were seen heading south out of town again.

Dear Diary,
These adventurers really need to find a guide. I heard they decided to take a side path along a Hidden Creek by the Thelsvan Highway to avoid Gar and his razorwings. Too bad the Red Necromancer stumbled upon the party while they were napping.

Thorn was on guard duty when the ambush was sprung. He must have thought he could handle the ambush by himself because he did not wake up his friends, although Kirga must be a light sleeper because he woke up as the fighting started. Thorn earned his new "Pincushion" nickname again as he was peppered with arrows. Seeing his buddy down, Kirga did what any good buddy should do. That's right, Kirga grabbed Thorn's body and made a break for it.

With no threats, the skeletons decided to go after the easy meat. One would think that two sleeping forms would be easy picking. Both Steelhorns and Corbin were quickly up after getting pricked by arrows. Hastily evaluating the situation both of them made like Kirga and ran for the hills. They were able to leave the creek area prior to taking serious damage. The group was last seen running east.

(Conquest: Heroes +0, OL +3)

<Week 8>
Dear Diary,
The walls at Nerekhall must be made of stronger material than I was told. We are now into the third week of the siege and the walls still stand. At this rate Alric will start besieging Greyhaven before Nerekhall falls.

My mystical research has been going very well. I have been looking into expanding the power enhancement from just my Eldritch creatures to all creatures under my control. I also believe that I will soon be able to increase the Eldritch beyond their current level. Just a few short weeks and I should be able to begin casting the spells.

Dear Diary,
<Garden of Tarn dungeon, level 1, "Cursed Fountain (39)">
As I suspected, the adventurers went east to the Garden of Tarn to try their luck at that dungeon and to fill their empty coffers. Here they ran into Lord Camaron the Damned hanging out by his Cursed Fountain.

Runemaster Thorn saw a chance to use his blast staff on the grouped monsters behind the door so he ran to the forefront. He flung open the door, faced off with the skeletons and beastmen and let loose... doing minor damage to only one skeleton. Oops. Again he quickly earned his "pincushion" nickname, becoming the first casualty on this level.

The rest of the party joined into the melee in the hall and tried to clear out the hallway and make their way to the cursed fountain. Although a couple of skeletons went back to the grave, they were replaced with a pair of Ferrox. The remaining skeletons, the ferrox and beastmen were able to bring down Corbin and that pesky, rejuvenated Runemaster. The battle of attrition continued with more falling on both sides, including Steelhorns.

Due to a lack of new monsters to slow the adventurers, a returned Steelhorns and Runemaster Thorn (did I mention lately that he's pesky?) made it to the main room to activate the glyph, grab the contents of the chest and a pile of gold. The room was now clear of all monsters except Lord Camaron who couldn't hit a sleeping rat to save his life. Steelhorns and Thorn drank from the cursed fountain and were able to gang up on poor Camaron.

As Thorn was standing on the healing fountain he was trapped there by a couple of newly arrived sorcerers. They made Thorn pay for bringing down their lord and then tried to block the fountain from Steelhorns, hoping to hold him off while the curse worked its magic. Corbin and Kirga were able to bring down one sorcerer and clear a path for Steelhorns who ran to the fountain and drank of its healing waters.

<Garden of Tarn dungeon, level 2, "Dragon's Lair (3)">
The adventurers exited the portal to the second level and found themselves in the Lair of the Dragon Flametongue. Runemaster Thorn took advantage of a gap in the monsters and was able to teleport across the dungeon and then ran to activate the glyph. His apparent sacrifice took much longer than it should have as Flametongue and a master hellhound decided to play with their dinner instead of killing it off right away. This allowed Thorn to grab the gold pile and do some minor damage to Flametongue prior to visiting the temple again.

Here, the report from the dungeon gets a bit sketchy. I do know that several ineffectual hell hounds were involved, another pair of dark priests made their appearance, more skeletons (of course) and a dragon that was all bark and no bite. The adventurers finally cleared the level and got the goodies. But, when things looked calm and they made their way to the portal, Kirga rounded on a heavily wounded Corbin and lobbed a dwarven firebomb at Corbin. Corbin mistakenly caught the bomb instead of ducking and then woke up in the temple at Tamalir. Dark Charm finally works...

(Conquest: Heroes +13, OL +37)

Box Score:
Avatar: Demon Prince
Scenario: Ascension
Week: 8
Nerekhall (Lord Merick): Four siege engines, city under attack
Greyhaven (Sir Alric): Three siege engines
Tamalir (Kar-Amag-Atoth): Two siege engines, Cathedral upgrade
Rumor: Prince of Thieves at Moonglow Marsh
Eldritch: Silver
Conquest: Overlord 135 (89 unspent) / Heroes 52 : Total 187

Yes, the heroes are hurting and they know it. I have been able to slowly build an almost 3 to 1 lead in conquest and we are one dungeon level from silver level campaign. The heroes are running low on money but they were able to build up some in this last dungeon. They need more skill ranks and better weapons & armor. Three of the four have purchased an addition power die but a couple are still using shop armor. The silver Eldritch are the bane of the heroes existence, nickel and diming them to death (quiet literally). Even though I was rolling poorly today with many missed attacks and almost no damage from the hell hounds I was still able to come away with 60 conquest today against 16 for the heroes.

Once we hit silver level I have enough conquest to upgrade every monster category (any suggested order?) and still have some left over. On top of that, one city should be razed soon (if I could just roll a stupid surge) and a second is only one week away from beginning the siege rolling. And undying isn't working for any of my creatures. I have not made one successful undying attempt in the last three sessions. Not that the heroes mind.

I think the general consensus is to play out the campaign for the practice and experience and then start a new one.

Posted by Ed Rozmiarek at September 16, 2008 3:09 PM

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