Thursday, March 31, 2011

March of the Phantom Brigade: Session 8

...Salazar Vladistone and his cronies!  This week's table had five players; we were missing the dwarf fighter Bolash.  We had Jarren, Valenae, Brandis, Keira, and Belgos.  The five PC's frantically searched for Faldyra and found her in the clutches of Salazar Vladistone hovering over his wife's grave.  Faldyra looks injured.  As the party approaches the graveyard they hear Salazar say the following in his cold raspy voice: "Why won't she appear? What vile spell keeps my wife from me? Answer, wizard!".  Faldyra looks scared with the dagger against her throat.

Without reliquishing his grip, Salazar turns his head towards the party and grins maliciously obviously aware of their presence. The ghostly soldiers drift forward to protect Salazar, weapons at the ready, but do not immediately attack. 

"What chance do the living have against an army of the dead?", speaks Salazar, "Your struggles will accomplish but one thing: your deaths."

Salazar continues: "I see this female is precious to you.  My army has told me that you look for her. This sorceress has cut off my beloved from me!  Tell her to bring back my Oldivya or watch her die." Brandis pipes up and tells Salazar that he was once a noble adventurer and that he does not have to do this.  Salazar explains that the only reason he had to "live" was to see he wife.  Brandis says that he is sorry to hear his plight, but his wife is no longer around and that killing another innocent being is not the way to go. 

Salazar, for a moment, looks conflicted, but thinking about his wife ignites a smoldering rage and he raises his hand to finish Faldyra.  Brandis attacks and while attacking cries: "Fight me you coward, you will pay if you harm one more innocent being! You are already dead so go and follow the light and leave the innocents alone!".  Salazar looks at Brandis: "Innnocent you say!!" He flings Faldyra into a gravestone,  and with a sickening crunch, crumples to the ground.

Combat ensues.  Salazars walks confidently up to Brandis and lands a solid blow, marking Brandis and causing him to see stars. He says: "You are all fools for following Splintershield! I warned you that this would happen and you didn't listen and now you will all play the price for separating me from my wife! Defeat these fools my soldiers and show them what the Phantom Brigade can do."

The Phantom Brigade Templars advance and converge to protect Salazar.  Brandis in once again hit and pushed two squares from Salazar.  Blegos and Valenae also take one on the chin and they are also pushed away.  Seeing her love beig pummelled Keira inserts her dagger into Salazars ghostly ribs and twists the knife, taunting him to try and catch her.  Jarren unleashes his freezing bust on the whole Brigade and manages to hit two of the Templars.  Valanae swipes with her mace and gives Brandis some resistance to the damage from his attackers.  An aura eminates from Brandis as he jumps back into combat and retaliates against the damage inflicted by Salazar.  The knight grins and accepts the hit, knowing that the cavalier only did half damage.

Belgos is happy that the templars pushed him back.  He quickly draws his bow and dances around like a snake attacks every target within range. He manages to hit one of the templars and Salazar himself.  Salazar shifts and unleashes a spectral flurry and slices into Valenae and marks her.  The Templars advance on Jarren and Belgos.  Jarren mages to dodge the templars attack, but Belgos is bloodied by its morningstar.  Keira dances back beside Salazar and bloodies him.  Salazar's confidence is wavering a little. He jeers at the characters telling them that even if he is defeated, the Phantom Brigade is very real and will stop at nothing to destroy the surrounding towns for barring him from his wife.

Valenae send a healing word to Belgos who is no longer bloodied. She attacks Salazar and manages to dodge. Bradis yells to concentrate everything on Salazar and to take him down. In another two rounds, Salazar is defeated and diappears.  Half of the party is bloodied.  The templars salute the party and as the ghosts they are reatreat from Inverness.  The Phantom Brigade has withdrawn, leaving Inverness as a smoldering ruin.

The party runs over and check Faldyra.  She is ok and soon brought to consciousness.  As the party takes a breather a dim form takes shape near Oldivya gravestone.  It is Salazar Vladistone, although much more ghostly than before!!!  He looks at his wife's gravestone with sadness and turns towards the party and in barely a whisper, says:
"You shall regret this day. I shall be reunited with my wife.  You and the rest of the living will suffer my pain."
and disappears. 

Faldyra looks obviously fightened and thanks the party once again for the rescue.  The party look for straggling survivors and help them escape the burning town.  They join up with Malgram and slowly make their way back towards Hammerfast where they hope their lives will resume some normalcy.

This week proved to be an intersedting week of tactics.  I have leant my Player's Strategy guide to some of my students and it seems that they finally read the chapter on tactics.  Halfway through the battle, the player called for all attack on Salazar and they managed to put him down with relative ease.  The "out" I gave the encounter was to defeat Salazar and the rest of the phantom soldiers would depart to regroup with the now weakened Salazar. 

It was a relief to see them play well on the battlefield.  Ignoring so many other enemies seemed to be uncomfortable for some of the players and quite a few got bloodied, but in the end it prevented a possible TPK.  Good on them. 

How are your new players doing?  Have they changed any of their tactics with experience, or is it just a simple spread out the damage deal?