So, when I decided upon a siege on Russell's home clan, I was a little worried. In fact, I was downright intimidated. I had never run a game session on this scale before, and doing so proved to be quite the challenge.
|The Defenders of Morgordal Keep|
In game, each player was responsible for four items each: their own character (currently near-epic level, sitting at 17th!), an NPC ally of theirs (also near-epic!), a siege engine that ranged from the traditional ballistae and trebuchet to the mighty acid cannon and pseudo-sentient Hellfire engine, and a legion of troops. While this seemed like a lot, the rules were incredibly streamlined, moving quickly for each character. To be honest, each turn only took slightly longer than a normal D&D turn!
|Clanfather Russell rides the Hellfire Engine into battle!|
The battle was joined, and everyone at the table threw themselves into the defense. Lupin led Banish skirmishers from Gloomwrought against the eldritch horrors, while Martook confronted one of the massive mutants head-on, being swallowed in its toothy maw! Shantira, Aster, and Guf manned the walls, leading troops directly, while Russell and his clanbrother Thorgrim swung their hammers in unison before the gates of their new home.
|Friday Night Will, Chris the II, and Pyro-Jessie survey the field...|
|The gates come crashing down!|
In that moment of despair, all seemed lost and the Far Realm beasts seemed on the verge of annihilating all within the keep. Martook let loose yet another unheeded prayer to Moradin from within the beast's gullet. Cursing once more, he turned to a different source of divine intervention: Bane, Lord of War.
I was floored! For session after session, Lupin had (half-jokingly) been trying to convert the party to Bane, only really succeeding with the embittered Aster. Totally at a loss for what to do, I resorted to an old tactic from "Pirates of the Underdark"--I asked him to 'roll the bones'.
|"Do ya feel lucky?"|
"The Bones" is a simple mechanic, which I culled from Skull and Bones: Swashbuckling Horror in the Golden Age of Piracy, while I was running "Pirates of the Underdark". Essentially, a character can toss 'the bones'--2d6--once per session, and hope that Lady Luck can help him out of a dire situation. Martook's roll? A ten...near perfect...
Mighty Bane manifested in his mind, offering ultimate victory on this battlefield, in exchange for his fealty. Martook hastily accepted, his Moradinian regalia reforming and restylizing as Banish armor, and he burst forth from the creature's belly in a shower of gore. With a half-crazed war-cry, he leapt back into the fray, hewing down aberrations with each mighty swing.
|Chaotic Frederick and Chris the I have the situation under control...|
Our session ended late--almost at 1:15 am--with the aberrant army crushed and Morgordal Keep saved. But the players, triumphant and energized, were excited. This was a battle for the ages, and was really memorable for all of us. This was what I was hoping for. This, my lovely readers, was what it was all about. this was the culmination of a truly epic yarn.
While we're off next week, the following week will bring our final battle and take our PCs back to where it all began--the Forlorn Tower, just north of the ruins of Wellspring.
And honestly? I can't wait.