Friday, December 30, 2011

Game Notes: How it Ends, Part II

Having defeated the Tarrasque, the party turns its attention to the High Elven Empire, where the High Elven Emperor stands as one of the final impediments to getting on to the fight with Visgoth. The party travels to the shores of the Empire (where they meet the surviving remnants of a "B" game that we would eventually play when multiple party members were unavailable on game nights), and fight an entire battalion of elven soldiers. Having defeated them, they are transferred to the Emperor's throne room, where they fully engage him in his true form - that of the Great Red Wyrm, long in hiding. At this point, Numnar, fully engulfed by fear, abandoned the party and ran away. After a brutal fight, the party kills the Emperor, and so eliminates the final roadblock to Visgoth's road to ascension.

At this point, it becomes necessary to clarify the reason for these actions - Ethan's dying request to the party was that they would defeat Visgoth once and for all, and the party agreed to this request. However, Visgoth would not deign to fight the party unless they defeated the High Elven Emperor on his behalf (this being to amuse Visgoth more than it served any practical purpose; Visgoth himself would probably be more than a match for the Emperor). The party was powerless to access Visgoth against his wishes, so old and well constructed were his defenses against any he wished to keep out. In exchange for this service, Visgoth granted the party the right to try and stop him.

With the High Elven Emperor defeated, all that remained was the final showdown with Visgoth. The party returned to Dreia to amass their forces, but once there, discovered that a camp city had been set up outside Dreia with Mitchell as their leader. A furious Floyd confronted Mitchell, and at long last slew him, whereupon he had his remains processed into a jar of jam which he carried with him ever after. The party traveled to the Warrior's Rest to recruit Goldschmiddt and Rumplemintz to the planning, only to discover that Rumplemintz had been a long-standing spy for Visgoth, and had finally departed to join his master, presumably as one of the "Ten" in the Ten vs. Twelve fight.

Goldschmiddt and the party met in Dreia to discuss the strategy of the Ten vs. Twelve fight. Many were considered for the roster (especially since anyone, living or dead, was eligible to join), including Scaramouche, Garam, Vain, Axe Bludgeonfist, Eric, Terick, Bjorn, and others. Ultimately, the roster settled upon was as follows: Guy, Brix, Virgil, Floyd, Pskenart the wizard, Pierce Thundar, Oak the druid, Sebastian, McGrath, Samared, Goldschmiddt, and the resurrected Hemis, holy warrior of legend. Doogal is chosen not to fight, but to stand by for the fight with Visgoth that follows, as Doogal is the only other bard who can play the Lay of Lugh with Floyd. Ethan is also not chosen for the fight, as his combat skills are negligible, but he is resurrected so that he can watch the fight.

The party discusses its strategy based on what it knows of the Ten - Harves Raeth, Malus, Jarrod, Elliot, Rumplemintz, Raven, Blaine, Mutric (the bandaged halfling from previous encounters, including the quest to unite the pieces of Visgoth's soul), and two unknown combatants - the Pagan and the Death Spectre. From this formidable group, Goldschmiddt assigns himself to combat Elliot, believing any fight with Elliot to be too personal for Virgil, who is the only other person that would logically be able to fight him. Brixmore, Virgil, and Guy concoct a plan to isolate the spellcasters and eliminate them from the board, although they suspect that this will be the strategy of the Ten as well.

The Twelve arrive at Visgoth's castle for the fight. There, they are joined by the Ten and an epic battle ensues. In the course of the action, Hemis is defeated and re-killed, his fighting style leaving much to be desired (kind of like watching George Mikan play in the modern NBA). Sebastian, Pierce, and Samared are also taken out of the fight - though not killed. In the end, though, the party is victorious, as they take out all members of the Ten, finishing appropriately with Malus. Shortly after, Goldschmiddt and Elliot fall to earth, Elliot dead and defeated, and Goldschmiddt on the brink of death. Goldschmiddt refuses healing, and wishes the party well before passing on to the next world.

The party gives their important documents and all items they do not need for the next fight to Pskenart, and request that he take them back to Haven for safe-keeping. Then, Guy, Virgil, Floyd, and Brix, accompanied by Doogal and Dr. Ethan, march into the castle to face Visgoth. They eventually find him in a room with a high ceiling, and an orb over a table set for a ceremony - the ceremony that will permit his ascension. After a brief bit of banter, the fight begins, with Floyd and Doogal playing the Lay of Lugh to lower Visgoth's magical defenses and suppress his spellcasting abilities. Virgil, Brix, and Guy engage him, with Floyd joining in the fight as soon as the song reaches a point where Doogal can play the tune alone. Even with his defenses weakened, Visgoth is a truly awesome combatant, and the party begins to falter in their efforts to defeat him. Sensing a need for an exit strategy, Virgil leaves combat and begins the process of ascension himself. Visgoth, not about to let that happen, takes the orb and flys to the top of the room, where he can be pursued only by Guy, Virgil, and Brix. A spectacular melee ensues at the top of the room, between Virgil, who is trying to co-opt godhood, Visgoth, who is trying to stop him, and Guy, who is attempting to destroy the orb, even though the ensuing explosion will result in a blast so powerful that no creature for many miles around will be able to survive the impact. Guy advises Floyd to escape, telling him that someone needs to survive to tell the story. Floyd, in a desperate effort to save himself and his friends, contacts Alvin, the spirit from the fey realm who can reach out to the material plane through stone surfaces. Floyd asks Alvin if there is a way that he can create an escape from the imminent explosion. Alvin says there is, but there will be a price. Guy warns Floyd that he cannot stave off destroying the orb any longer, and Floyd agrees to the price. Guy strikes the orb as Visgoth desperately tries to stop him, and everything flashes white.

And that is where the story ends. Or, at least it is the ending for those who hear the story. As it turns out, Alvin saves the party by casting Time Stop, and with his four rounds of action, he takes Floyd, Guy, Brixmore, and Virgil into the fey realm, leaving Visgoth to expire from his 25,000 year life in the explosion (Ethan and Doogal are also killed in the explosion, presumably, but Ethan was already dead, and Doogal - well, you never can truly count Doogal out). As his price for saving the party's bacon, Alvin charges these four incredible heroes with guarding and protecting the fey realm for the rest of their days, which are extended far beyond the realm of their kin by the characteristics of the Fey realm. Only on rare occasions is the party allowed to venture back to the Material Plane, to view the world that they saved, and, in Floyd's case, to tell the story of their grand adventure.

As a residual from the explosion, the characteristics of this world resonate with shock waves through several other planes of existence, meaning that on any given day, in any given campaign, one may encounter a magic hat, hear a mythic puppet musical, or even run into a fellow like Linus, Charles Fox, or even Harves Raeth.


Floyd Fiftynames,

Licensed Bard