The Dragon’s Grave
Our ongoing NIGHTWATCH campaign came to a close last Saturday as the band of heroes finally reached the summit of Balaur Mormant.
It had been a long journey: an arduous trip to a remote border province where slaughtered livestock and vanished townspeople were common occurrences. There were sightings of strange creatures, simmering revolt and ethnic unrest, strange weather, dark magic, and assassination attempts.
Over the course of seven sessions, the party fought undead wolves and zombie villagers, giant spiders and separatist fighters. They searched forests and foothills, crypts and caverns. They investigated murders, put down riots, and faced armored skeletons. All the blood, the sweat, the secrets and the sorcery lead them to the top of Balaur Mormant – the massive peak that dominate the skyline.
The Last of Them
Four hunters remained: Matt’s Mancer, Chris’ Barbarian, Tom’s Trackers, and Dillon’s Alchemist. There were reinforced by local guide and seasoned woodsman Vikrir, along with a handful of guardsmen from the town garrison. Forged in combat, oath-sworn to confront whatever evil awaited them, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Would it be enough?
Centuries earlier, on this very summit, the forces of Order fought and slew the fell wurm, Cernobog. Now, the party crested the summit where the monument to that great victory stood, only to find the Necromancer Sotet Kez in mid-ritual, attempting to raise and bind the remains of that terrible dragon to undying servitude.
Annoyed at the disturbance, the Necromancer waved his staff and four dimensional portals appeared. A convulsion of sickly green light and they vomited a wave of hellish vermin. Sotet Kez resumes his hellish ritual as a dozen fat, fanged slugs writhe with unnatural speed toward our heroes.
The final battle begins.
At this point, the party has been traveling without re-supply and they must use their diminished supply of potions, grenades, spells and scrolls wisely.
Undaunted, the garrison troops charge the loathsome creatures while Dillon and Matt make the most of their precious grenades and spells. Chris’ barbarian takes up position at the portal nearest the ritual dais. Tom’s Tracker takes the high ground, drops one of the slugs, but then decides to concentrate fire on the Necromancer in order to interrupt the ritual. (that dragon comes back to un-life, it’s game over, baby)
Rattle Bones and Wraiths
The hell mites go down relatively easy. Everyone is still standing when the last of the bloated things bursts apart under a soldier’s sword. Annoyed by a constant barrage of the Tracker’s arrows however, Sotet Kez calls the next waves of undead minions: skeleton warriors and phantoms from the long-ago battle against this very dragon, disturbed from their ancient slumber.
These interlopers must be destroyed.
Chris’ barbarian plants his feet and swings his frost-rune great ax, trying to choke the portal with the bodies of dark spawn minions. Opposite him, the Alchemist and two garrison soldiers to hold the other flank. This allows Matt’s Mancer, Tom’s Tracker, and the increasingly valuable NPC, Vikrir, to concentrate on Sotet Kez.
Furious, the Necromancer responds by raising a champion.
Hail the Victorious Dead
At this point in the game, the garrison soldiers have fallen, giving their lives so the Nightwatch hunters can close on Sotet Kez. They press him at every turn. They must prevent him from completing the ritual.
In mounting desperation, Kez summons heavily armored, elite revenants in a final attempt to kill our heroes. The combat is fast and furious. The Alchemist and the Barbarian are wounded. Vikrir comes to the aide of Dillon’s Alchemist, then dies fighting the necromancer’s champion. Matt’s Mage uses his last Revive spell to bring him back. It’s all or nothing.
A Damn Close Thing
The ‘raise and bind’ ritual is nearly finished. The garrison soldiers are dead. The Alchemist is wounded and his satchel is empty. With his offensive spells spent, the Mancer’s grimoire might as well be. Chris’ Barbarian slugs his last health potion to staunch some of the bleeding. Grim to the end, the Hunters close in on Sotet Kez.
Have the winds of Fate shifted? Have the distant Gods heard the prayers of the faithful, the pleas of the innocent? Is the blood of the fallen crying out from the rocky, wind-swept ground? Whatever it is, Sotet Kez is spent.
The last of his minions summoned, Kez tries cast foul magic against the Nightwatch in a final attempt to stave off defeat. He fails.
An eye blink later, an arrow sprouts from Sotet Kez’s throat and he crumples at the foot of the dais. Above him, the corpse of the dragon Cernobog twitches once, then sags into eternal stillness and decay.
The fight is over. The Nightwatch is victorious.
One campaign, seven missions, lots of snacks, seltzer, banter, adventure, and miniature carnage. All in all, a good time in my book.
The Sturgis crew will stop for the summer months. (teachers… always want the summer off.)
That’ll give them time to rest up and me time to write up a new campaign. Something to do with Rat-men, I think.
COMING SOON: Gun Monkey Rumble – an EXPLOIT ZERO Bat Rep