Friday, January 25, 2019

Lark's Landing, Episode 53

Colonial Caerdia: Lark's Landing is a story being told through a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I'm running at a local hobby shop called the Devil's Bench. If you aren't familiar with this ongoing story, you can follow this link to Once Upon a Tabletop on YouTube to hear the start of it or read the brief summary I wrote when I switched from video to blog.

You can find the previous episode here.

26th of Waning Summer, 1AL

Huddled in a dark room beside what they believe to be Zotzillaha's stone coffin, waiting for the vampire to show up, the 3rd Watch are beset by rats that seem to get more numerous the longer they stay. They decide that they have no idea when - or if - the vampire will show up, and the rats aren't worth the trouble. They will continue the search for him. However, in case the vampire does show up, Fiaeorri leaves her pet giant firebeetle Ruby behind, planning to keep in contact with her through a message spell - not that Ruby is a great conversationalist.

They backtrack to a muddy room, take a left turn and travel up a hall where the walls are carved to look like bamboo logs - and, partway up the hall, some of the logs have swung out and blocked the passage. Someone had previously cut a hole trough the stone big enough that they could squeeze through, so they crawl through. Around the corner is an ajar doorway, which Fiaeorri opens after checking to make sure it's free of traps.

There's a large room beyond the door, very dimly lit by Extang's magical stone. Fiaeorri can just make out some raised shapes in the middle of the room, one of which looks like it has a humanoid figure crouched on it. Fiaeorri sneaks into the room, keeping to the shadows along the wall. As the light comes deeper into the room, it become clear that the crouched figure is Lykos, Logan's apprentice, on elbows and knees atop what is made up to look like a laden table placed in front of a domed alcove. He has a mango in his mouth. In addition, on either wall there is a metal spike driven in, from which hang other people - Siafon, the half-elven cartographer, and Dilmi, the halfling jeweler who has been training T'Zaric.

Quib rushes up to check Lykos's pulse, while Patrick runs in to pull the mango out of the boy's mouth. T'Zaric flies over to check on Dilmi, while Extang starts for Saifon, with Logan bringing up the rear. As they all enter the room, a hand pushes the door shut behind them, and there stands Zotzillaha. He comments them being here - Clanky, Smokey, Squishy, Bright Eys, Cyclops, and Song Bird - and laments that the absense of the Yucky Goblin and the Pretend Man. T'Zaric snidely asks how long Zotzillaha has been waiting behind the door, but Extang has already begun casting a spell - and the vampire is faster.

Zotzillaha sweeps across the room and holds out his axe, releasing a devastating cone of flame over everyone but Fiaeorri and T'Zaric. He then begins laying into Fiaeorri with his claws while the 3rd Watch unleashes their fury on him. However, he has more tricks up his sleeve. With a call to someone unseen, Zotzillaha turns into a mist and vanishes under the door.

From behind the domed alcove steps a panther-man familiar to some of them, hurling two bags into the air. As the bags tumble and fall, small figurines scatter in every direction. When they hit the floor, they blossom up into full-sized, living versions of themselves - packing the room full of tribal people and animals. Most of the enemies aren't that strong, but there are so many that it's still a serious concern. Quib turns himself into a huge ape, while T'Zaric bombs the back of the room with fireballs - carefully avoiding hitting the vampire's prisoners and his friends - and Patrick tries to find a way out through the locked doors. With exceptional speed granted by Extang, Fiaeorri and Logan cut their way through enemies.

Quib loses his concentration on his spell and reverts back to his usual form, and the panther-man focuses his attention on Extang - until Fiaeorri snags him with a charm spell, getting him to fight for them. Slowly, the room is cleared of enemies. At last, it seems like the battle is over. Most of the 3rd Watch are heavily wounded, and their spells are all but spent.

Then a mist comes creeping in under the door and forms into Zotzillaha, looking fully recovered from the wounds they gave him earlier. He grins at them and tells them how he's always liked his meat tenderized. The battle resumes in earnest, with the vampire flitting around the field of battle. Extang takes a risk, turning Patrick and Fiaeorri into huge apes like Quib had been - at the cost of Fiaeorri and Logan being put out of action for a moment as they recover from his previous haste spell, which he can't concentrate on at the same time.

This draws Zotzillaha straight to Extang - grabbing him and sinking his teeth into Extang's neck, drinking his blood and visibly recovering. However, Extang manages to hold his concentration on the spell as his friends continue to weaken Zotzillaha until finally a rock hurtled by ape-Patrick causes the vampire to emit a shriek of pain. Zotzillaha's axe clatters to the ground as he dissipates into mist.

And that's where this game session ended. Is Zotzillaha finally defeated? Find out next week in Episode 54.

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