When the earth elemental broke through to the chamber, it was immediately fired upon by numerous enemies using bows and spells. It dropped back out of the entrance it created dead and scorched, then disappeared like all summoned creatures do. So Asphodel started summoning her eidolon, hoping that nothing would rush them while she spent the entire minute in the summoning ritual. No one moved. They waited and nothing came into view, so they surmised they were waiting for the party to show themselves before attacking.
They debated a bit amongst themselves and decided to lash a mirror onto the end of Jobi's magic quarterstaff to get a look into the room without putting anyone in harm's way until absolutely necessary. They saw only two kobolds about midway into the room with composite short bows and looking quite strong for kobolds. So Zerak got an idea to use his last ostrich egg as a giant stink bomb. They thought about attaching an explosive onto the egg before throwing it, but thought better of it in light of what had happened earlier, plus when thought about it, the explosion may dilute the stink too much by scattering and/or vaporizing it in the blast. Asphodel cast numerous buffing spells on herself, Zerak, and Blackwell, including stoneskin, cat's grace, ablative barrier, and others before the battle began since she knew the coming altercation was going to be very, very bloody. And the Blackwell threw the ostrich egg and it laded exactly where he wanted it too - forcing the two kobolds to scatter from it. But he had exposed himself to attacks from the other kobolds in the room and he was hit by other arrow fire and magic missile spells. And so the battle commenced...
Blackwell jumped back out of the line of fire as Kel, Zola, and Asphodel advanced. Asphodel went after the dragon and found it very difficult to hit, let alone damage. Almost immediately the dragon flew away from Asphodel and positioned itself close to the entrance to the tunnel the heroes carved out and used its negative energy breath weapon - dealing significant damage to at least half of the party. Fortunately its breath weapon didn't actually do anything more than negative energy damage and didn't drain energy or abilities (that would have been truly dire). jobi retaliated with a magic missile spell, only to find out that somehow the dragon was immune to them. So Jobi decided to take on a more supportive role and started to heal her comrades as needed in order to keep them in the fight - all the while trying to stay out of the way of any more dragon breath attacks. Blackwell and Zerak began concentrating on the kobolds in the room. Four of them were exceptional fighters (using kobold standards, that is) and tow of them wer actually quite accomplished sorcerers (very surprising indeed). Zola resorted to using searing light spells in addition to physical attacks against targets that she was able to hit (i.e. kobolds in the beginning).
Asphodel tried again to use the Donjon card against the dragon, but it failed to do anything. This was the first time the cards hadn't worked as expected. But then again, this was the first time any of them tried to use the same card against the same enemy more than one time. Maybe the cards only affect a creature once. Or maybe the dragon had some sort of protection against the card(s) now that it had already been the victim of their use against it. She made a mental note of this as something to ponder later, for right now things were looking a bit chaotic and deadly.
Shortly into the battle, however, a new threat made itself known to all. The band of five adventurers that our heroes had encountered before on top of Dragon's Roost materialized as if out of thin air amongst the warring combatants. They must have come through the other tunnel out of this chamber, presumably the one that the dragon would use to go out hunting for food and treasure. Then made themselves invisible so they could position themselves around the room without being seen in order to get some surprise strikes in at everyone. The human fighter appeared behind Blackwell and took a sizeable chunk out of his hide. The drow rogue did some significant damage to Kel via arrows. Zola was fired upon by the half-orc barbarian, who was definitely no slouch when it came to ranged combat. Then the bulk of the group, including the dragon and its kobold lackeys, took damage from two different fireballs cast by a human wizard and what looked like a dwarven cleric.
Trying to make the best of a bad situation, the party split their efforts into attacking the dragon and its comrades a bit more than the evil adventurers in hopes that the other adventurers would help out by taking out some of the kobolds and damaging the dragon along with our heroes, along with Jobi doling out healing to whomever she could reach. And to a certain extent, they did help out in that respect. But they also began concentrating their attacks, especially ranged spells, like fireball and lightning bolts more at the party than anyone else. this prompted a very short-lived "truce" between the party and the dragon. The dragon had been concentrating its attacks against Kel and Zola, quite effectively knocking them down to edge of death. Zola just laid prone, hoping to feign death so as not be a threat anymore to the dragon so it would leave her alone. Kel, also being very badly hurt, did the only thing she could to keep herself alive, was to channel positive energy and heal herself and the party members close by. This also ended up healing the dragon. This caused the dragon to look at Kel with a confused look and her trying to show that she wasn't going to attack it by backing up a couple feet with weapon down. the dragon took that as a sign to end hostilities against her, for the moment, and concentrate on some of the evil adventurers. It flew the short distance over to the rogue that had been firing arrows at everybody for the last several rounds of combat and began battling the dark elf. Zola took the opportunity to crawl away and begin healing herself so she could rejoin the battle as soon as possible.
Kel then flanked the drow rogue with the dragon and between the two of them, eviscerated the dark elf. But as with all evil creatures, the truce was now inconvenient for the dragon and it tore into Kel since the opportunity presented itself. Any mortal would have been ripped into a mutilated mass of flesh and broken bone after the dragon finished its next attacks against Kel, if not for the heroic abilities and luck that our stalwart band possesses (translation = 2 hero points used). As it was, Kel's left hand was completely severed off and went flying across the room. Then the dragon started to concentrate on Blackwell and Asphodel. And this gave Jobi a chance to run out to Kel and use more healing magic on her to steal her away from her impending death. Unfortunately for Zola, where the dragon landed kept her in the fray and so she had to try and keep away from the dragon as much as possible which delayed her healing for a while. In addition, Zola had been using the Throne card to slow down the dragon in hopes of being able to get away, or at least avoid any more consecutive rounds of attacks from it. The dragon's attention also had the effect of forcing Blackwell to teleport back and forth from the tunneled out hallway and back into the room numerous times, trying to stay out of the way of getting hit (effectively using his comrades as his personal living shields). To his credit though, he was also able to attack the human fighter that snuck up on him using his sneak attack ability since he was literally popping in and out. But one time when doing this, a kobold who was still alive at the time, rushed and grabbed the Vizier card after Blackwell had used it against the human fighter, depriving him of regaining the card for the rest of the battle.
Asphodel decided to go after the half-orc barbarian that was firing arrows quite effectively at the party and her charge, now fueled by her rage, bowled over the half-orc and hurt him severely. But he had a card as well and used it on Asphodel. She became completely dominated by his will to rush and attack the nearest of her allies, which happened to be Blackwell. Fortunately for Blackwell, Asphodel's attacks missed their mark (arguably the worst attacks of the entire battle), and he was spared their potentially devastating damage. And fortunately for everyone, the card's effect on Asphodel was very short-lived as well. When she regained her senses, she helped Blackwell finish off the human fighter and then stormed over to the half-orc and obliterated him.
Meanwhile, Zerak was summoning up rhinos to deal damage and preoccupy the human wizard that kept throwing area spells at them. Then he followed up the second rhino with a wasp swarm that definitely distracted the wizard until he was finally killed by magic missiles. Jobi also had a chance to use the Euryale card she was holding and successfully petrified the dwarven cleric, allowing other members of the party (Zerak and Blackwell) to start concentrating on him. Afer the petrification wore off, Zerak his the cleric with the Skull card and knocked him unconscious. And that allowed Blackwell the chance to run up to him and deliver the killing blow, putting the cleric out of their (as in the party's) misery.
Only a bit more than a minute into this chaotic battle, it was reduced to just our heroes and the umbral dragon. The only one "brave" enough to go after the dragon head on was Asphodel. The rest of the party believed, and possibly rightly so, that the dragon would just make a meal out of them if they ventured too close, hung back and tried to decide what ranged offensive actions they had at their disposal would be most effective against this terrible and intelligent beast. Asphodel raged on and faced the dragon in the air and attacked. And by some whim of luck or by chance of fate, or maybe destiny itself, she scored some of the most impressive hits of her life against any foe. She lashed out and ripped into the dragon's skull, tearing flesh, breaking bone, and piercing the soft, vulnerable brain tissues that hid beneath that massive skull. The dragon convulsed, and quickly died with a look of incredulous surprise as it crashed to the hard stone floor. This time, Asphodel was able to contain her rage and did not lose herself the maddening bloodlust of the unfettered carnage and gore covering the room and her allies. She quickly dismissed her eidolon and fell to the floor next to the dragon, landing in the growing pool of blood leaking out of the fist-sized hole in its skull and staring straight into its large, opened unseeing eyes. And there she sat as she slowly regained the strength to function normally again...
Sometime later, after completely searching the area our, heroes found not only the Vizier card stolen from Blackwell during the battle, but also all the following items, which includes the dragon's hoard, everything that the kobold's had, and everything that the group of evil adventurers' had as well:
- The Chalice of the Dragon - one of the three sacred vessels that Sir Oakley needs to purify the temple on Dragons Roost
- 800 platinum pieces
- 2,250 gold pieces
- 5,000 silver pieces
- One golden vase with mithral inlays of minotaur origins - a great artifact for
- One suit of Half-plate +1 of Jousting
- One Morning Star +1 and Holy
- One Mask of a Thousand Tomes
- One suit of Chainmail +1
- One Heavy Steel Shield +1
- One Bastard Sword +1
- Three Cloaks of Resistance +1
- Two suits of Leather Armor +2
- Two Javelins of Lightning
- One Composite Longbow +1 (+4 strength)
- 40 Arrows +2
- One Rapier +1
- One suit of Full Plate +2
- One heavy Wooden Shield +2
- One Mace +1 of Wounding
- One Wand of Scorching Ray (12 charges)
- One Headband of Vast intellect +2
- A pair of spiked gauntlets
- 5 javelins
- A masterwork greataxe
- One masterwork hand crossbow and 20 bolts
- One climber's kit
- One set of masterwork thieves' tools
- One Healer's Kit (full)
- One masterwork light crossbow and 20 bolts
- Fourteen sets of kobold-sized leather armor
- Four sets of kobold-sized chainmail
- A slew of kobold-sized arms, including daggers, swords, staves, spears - all non-magical
- Two kobold-sized Composite Short Bows +1 and 40 arrows
Next week's exciting adventures continue with our heroes camped out with Sir Berrian's group of elves in the forest within Gardmore Abbey, where they could study the new cards they had recovered to discern their powers. Now they had a total of fifteen of the cards from the Deck of Many Things, three quarters of the fabled twenty-two card deck. Also, they had two of the three sacred vessels they needed to recover so Sir Oakley can do the purification ritual. Plus they needed to heal up and relax a little as they decided their next moves - do they now go to the wizard's tower, or will they go back to Winterhaven to report back and present the artifacts and items they found to those looking for them, or do they do something completely different...