Player Characters:Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 340 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 409 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 406 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 396 points
Seépravir (player not present), High-Elf Wizard, 422 points
Pendunkle, Gnome Submariner
Zombie Sea Cats
6 Duergar Fighters
We restarted in Pendunkle's pond, south of the Immense Cavern. Seépravir's player was not present, but because we started in the dungeon, the wizard was there. At the end of last session, Polly and Zaber had found a bag of coins in a rickety shack on an island, and Seépravir had cast Seek Magic and detected a magic item underwater near the south edge of the pond. After Polly and Zaber didn't come back for a while, Seépravir asked Garreth to get their attention. He meditated on Power Blow for a while, then threw a rock in their general direction. They flew back.
Seépravir asked if they found any magic items in the bag. They did not, just coins and shells and gems. So she pointed to where she though there was magic. Polly and Zaber flew over there, but didn't see it. So the others flew over, and Seépravir cast Seek Magic again, to pinpoint the exact location of the magic item. Zaber asked to borrow the Ring of Water Breathing before going under, but Seépravir chose to cast Water Breathing on him instead. She also gave him a Warmth spell as requested, though in summertime the water wasn't dangerously cold.
Zaber dove under, and spotted a helmet made of bone. He also saw several creatures swimming toward him. They looked like some kind of zombie-cat-fish hybrid. They were a few hexes away, so Zaber dove straight for the helmet, grabbed it as fast as he could, swam for the surface, then flew above it. He was fast enough that the creatures didn't catch him, and once he was well above the water, he was safe. Underwater combat averted. Polly wanted to kill the zombie cats, but everyone else seemed to think it was a waste of time, so the group flew back near the entrance. The helmet was magical, carved from the skull of some kind of giant cat, and had some pictures of orcs on it. The group decided to wait until they got back to town to analyze it further.
Seépravir cast Seek Earth, looking for gold, silver, and orichalcum. She thought the nearest gold and silver was far west and a bit down, and did not find any orichalcum. She also cast Seek Magic again, and the nearest unknown magic appeared to be near Pendunkle's house. That seemed off-limits, so the group prepared to leave.
But then the submarine surfaced and Pendunkle popped out. He asked if they had any extra blankets. After some conversation he revealed that he could also use some needles and thread, some clothing, and some stringed musical instruments. He asked them to wait while he got his money. He got back in his submarine, and drove it west. A few minutes later, he returned. When he got out of his submarine, he said that someone took his money, and looked accusingly at Zaber. After some explaining that they didn't know it was his, the group struck a deal with Pendunkle: they would take half his money and go buy everything on his shopping list, then return and get the other half. Garreth asked if Pendunkle was able to make more items that the group could sell for him to sustain an income, but the gnome wasn't interested.
The group went back through the teleporter to the Immense Cavern, then headed for the (formerly) fire trapped room to the southwest. Garreth suggested having someone with Resist Fire go in first to make sure the trap was still disabled, right as Polly went in without Resist Fire. Fortunately for her, the trap was still disabled. The group went out the other exit from the trapped room and followed a long windy passage that eventually led to stairs down. Polly (visible) and Zaber (Invisible) went down the stairs first, and saw a large room with columns in the corners, two sets of double doors, and seven duergar wearing scale armor, most of them holding axes and large shields.
Polly said "Hi." One of the dwarves said "halt, elf!" Then most of the duergar started advancing toward her, in ranks. Two held back. One said something to the other in Dwarf (Zaber speaks a bit of Dwarf and he recognized it as "hold for go fast"), then cast a spell on him. A second later, the enchanted dwarf doubled in size.
That martial behavior was enough to convince Polly that they were hostile, and she yelled "Attack!" Zaber, still Invisible, flew past most of the duergar to try to get in backstabbing position. The duergar, unexpectedly fast, went next. The huge one ran a long distance very quickly to get to Polly, then swung his axe at her and rolled a critical hit. Polly used her Luck to make him reroll, and he missed. Then he attacked a second time, deceptively, but Polly made her acrobatic retreating dodge straight up. The huge dwarf yelled to his allies in Dwarf "the elf is fast; surround her." Five other duergar charged up to surround Polly, but didn't attack yet.
Polly went next, and fired three bodkins at the eyes of the huge duergar. He blocked the first, dodged the second, and dodged the third (but made his dodge by less than his shield DB, so it hit his shield). Garreth used the pearly spear to Great Haste himself. Elias used his Heroic Grace and Heroic Might abilities to become a holy badass, rolling +11 DX and +3 ST. The final duergar, holding a staff rather than an axe, cast another spell on the warrior next to him. Seépravir Great Hasted herself.
Zaber All-Out Defended (Dodge) while maneuvering into backstab position. Most of the duergar attacked Polly. She retreated and dodged the first axe blow. Then the Enlarged, Great Hasted one ran around her for a rear attack, which missed, and a second attack, which she acrobatically dodged.
A third one made a Determined Attack for the second step, and Polly failed to dodge. He rolled 18 cutting damage, enough to ruin Polly's day, and Polly's Bless spell decided to avert that. The hit was miraculously changed to a miss, but Polly no longer had +2 to everything. A fourth duergar also swung his axe at Polly, but she managed to dodge. One of the duergar in the back Enlarged to double size.
Polly started flying around and lining up multiple targets so that any misses or dodged arrows could achieve second chance damage. Her first arrow was blocked. Her second arrow was dodged, but then targeted the duergar behind the target, who blocked it. Her third arrow missed. Garreth dropped the spear, fast-drew his katana, and went for an All-Out Attack (Double) for his first action. His first attack targeted a duergar's shield arm, but was parried. He tried again, with the same result. For his second action, he attacked the same arm, but the dwarf dodged.
Elias, in super-DX mode, went for rapid strikes, one each on the two dwarves in front of him. One parried. The other failed to dodge and was hit for 24 points crushing. That was enough to slow him and knock him back a hex, plus inflicted a knockout check, but he wasn't knocked out. The duergar wizard in the back cast Invisibility on himself. Sadly for him, Zaber had See Invisible up. Seépravir cast Great Haste on Polly, because why fire three arrows per second when you can fire six?
Zaber snuck around the Invisible wizard to reach his unarmored face, rolled a critical success on his Stealth roll ensuring the wizard didn't hear him, and stabbed him in the eye with an All-Out Attack (Strong). He rolled 11 points impaling damage, which destroyed the dwarf's eye then penetrated his brain, doing 44 points of injury, or three death checks' worth. The wizard failed the third death check, but got out a scream on his way down. Zaber's Invisibility spell went away, but he was behind all the other duergar.
One of the duergar rolled a critical hit on Elias, and did 14 points cutting to his torso, but that didn't penetrate his DR 15. The duergar yelled something about having dibs on the armor after he finished killing the elf. One of the Enlarged duergar rolled a critical hit on Garreth, but he used his Luck to turn it into a regular hit, which he parried, and he defended against the other blow too. Polly flew into position and fired six arrows. The first three were dodged or blocked. The fourth hit a huge duergar in the skull for 15 points of damage, which failed to kill him, and a stun check at -10, which knocked him out. She shot another one in the skull too, but somehow failed to knock that one out.
Garreth went after another shield arm, and this time managed to cripple it. His next attack was a critical miss, resulting in a dropped katana. It was on a lanyard, so he was able to take a Ready maneuver and roll a DX check to get it back, at the cost of a wasted action. Elias, surrounded, flew over a couple of duergar next to Seépravir. Seépravir Great Hasted him, then stepped back to a safer location. Zaber put his Ring of Invisibility on.
One of the previously wounded duergar missed a consciousness check and fell over. Another one attacked Garreth, who failed his dodge, and got tagged for 23 points of cutting damage. That was enough to trigger his Bless spell, which decided to avert the damage, and went away. Another duergar got an axe hit on Garreth, but only rolled 9 points of damage, not enough to penetrate his armor. The one whose axe had previously failed to penetrate Elias's armor took the penalty to aim for a chink in his armor, and hit, but Elias blocked with his shield.
Polly flew behind the big duergar whose shield arm Garreth had crippled, and shot him in the skull. He failed to dodge, and the arrow in his brain knocked him unconscious. She tried shooting another one in the head, but he dodged, and then the arrow targeted Garreth, who also dodged. Her third arrow hit another dwarf skull and knocked out another dwarf. Her fourth and fifth arrows were dodged, but her sixth hit a duergar in the vitals and slowed him.
Garreth double-attacked a duergar, who blocked one and parried the other. He then asked Garreth (in Undercommon) if the elves had him charmed and said he should switch sides, which didn't work. He sweetened the offer by saying Garreth could eat one of the elves if he changed teams, but that also didn't work.
Elias did an All-Out Attack (Double) followed by a Rapid Strike for four total attacks on two duergar. He hit the first one twice for 19 and 26 crushing damage to the skull, resulting in all kinds of fatal brain damage. He hit the second one in the brain for 18 crushing, which was somehow not fatal but caused a knockout. And then there was only one duergar left. Seépravir gave tactical advice to Garreth: "Don't let him get away."
The last duergar accidentally ran into Zaber's hex, not knowing he was there. Zaber evaded. Polly fired multiple arrows into the dwarf's skull and knocked him out. That was all the duergar, and Zaber immediately started looting while Garreth immediately started making sure they were dead. Elias cast Major Healing on Garreth. Zaber took some magic bracers, a magic staff, a key, and a pouch of money off the wizard. The fighters all had scale armor, axes, and shields. With the session almost over and two Bless spells gone, the party headed back to Cillamar with their loot.
Avoiding the battle with the Zombie Sea Cats probably made sense. Underwater combat is no fun for land-based creatures, even if they have Swim and Breathe Water spells. I was surprised Elias didn't insist, though, just because they were undead.
The group agreed to go shopping for Pendunkle in exchange for him overpaying for his supplies, which seemed like a win-win for everyone. Of course they'd taken the money that he meant to use to pay them, but they worked it out.
The duergar guard post was pretty tough. Six duergar fighters and a duergar wizard who knew Great Haste. This was one of the few fights where the opponents had enough skill and strength and tactical sense that I actually thought they had a chance to kill a PC. But Luck and Bless and Great Haste and high defenses and good armor saved the PCs yet again.
Seépravir probably won't be around next session, so the rest of the PCs will have to figure out what they can do without a wizard.