IN OUR LAST SESSION…
…our heroes took a few moments to catch their breath, while the enemy outside did the same. The heroes made some preparations, reinforcing the western door and eastern gate, building a flammable trap using oil, coal and wood at the front passage.
Reinforcements added to the threat facing the heroes. It seemed to include several large, fierce creatures who, after getting the foes in line, took charge of the operation. Construction began outside on what proved to be a covered platform on wheels. Threats began to be issued by one of the new bosses, hurled at the heroes.
An odd bird seemed to grow in the eastern sky and ultimately revealed itself as a flying mechanical shape which landed rather heavily on the aerie at the top of the keep. Inside was Carly. She indicated that Rankford knew of the danger that the heroes were in. They (she mentioned Marg and Gleamsilver) were trying to ascertain how they might help. Thad mentioned that he knew that Dirac, the Sage was hiding out in the basement of the long-abandoned brothel. A group, apparently, stormed over, confronted Dirac and demanded that he help out. Presumably with great reluctance, he provided the vehicle that Carly had just arrived in (a Greater Apparatus of Kwalish) and also an item he called a Wand of Wondrous Might. Carly turned the Wand over, as well as 4 healing potions provided by Pearl. She encouraged the heroes to hold out until morning. That the Purple Dragons were on the way! She then took off once again in the strange Apparatus, harried almost immediately by a giant bird, similar to the one that Tia had driven off on Pearl’s arrival.
A mysterious low fog slowly swept through the fortress. As it cleared, the heroes discovered that the bodies of the foes slain in the first wave of attacks had disappeared.
After a brief period of respite, the battle reignited. Literally! The front gate burst into a shower of flames and debris. Whatever force had tried to hammer through the entrance had apparently set off the waiting tinder keg the heroes had put in their way. Simultaneous with that dramatic show, smaller groups began trying to slip through the side entrances. An extended running battle then began, with the heroes falling back into the keep, holding the stairs as they had done successfully at the Southeast Tower, and mostly firing from above. The ballista was employed against the enemy, very successfully at two occasions: first against the wooden platform, destroying it and killing several inside; secondly against a great wingless wyrm the new captains tried to deploy, slaying it as it blasted its cold breath toward the still-flaming gate.
The Wand of Wondrous Might, wielded by Norm was… unpredictable. It was as likely to impose a negative circumstance on the wielder as it was to turn him invisible or to… fire a stream of gems uselessly.
The mage from the first wave showed up on the rampart. He held aloft an item on a gold chain and with a gesture and a word, the unliving corpses of those claimed by the creeping fog emerged from the earth and began to assault the keep. His Magic Missiles also struck grievously at the heroes.
More and more of the enemy swept into the fortress and assaulted the heroes, who were now steadfastly defending the last bastion: the keep. The ballista proved a great weapon, but of little utility against individuals. Dain Skullcrusher managed to hold the stairs against many foes, demonstrating over and over again how he came by his surname. Eventually, though, a raging Northman struck Dain a mighty blow and bravely pushed on past him. His allies, emboldened, did the same.
The fight then moved to the second floor of the Keep, and the greater numbers of the foes began to take a toll. Dain was able to drive away some of the summoned undead, but the heroes began to fall, one after the other. Norm’s invisibility, and the arrival of a new force into the melee were the only routes to salvation.
A horde of chitinous, spider-like creatures of unusual size swept into the Fort from the north. They attacked in groups and quickly mowed down the enemy that the heroes could see. The party, each rejuvenated by healing potions were able to slip away in the midst of chaos to the roof of the keep, and secure the lone hatch. From above, they watched the route of the forces arrayed against the heroes by these crab-like beings. Huddling in silence, they witnessed the new creatures feed on the corpses of those who had sought to take the heroes down. Those survivors outside the gates seemingly fled before this unexpected menace.
The heroes are concealed on the roof of the keep, crossing their fingers and catching their breath, while the crab-things feed and a single persistent crab scratches from below at the hatch.
Dawn is at least an hour away.