The DDC found themselves taking a brand new approach this week to a battle – to run away to live another day. We’d left off the previous week with a wall being destroyed and a beholder appearing, ready to level the battlefield. Thorin tried to distract it by throwing axes and lightly wounding it, but the flash of two more of its eyes saw necrotic energies ravaging his body before he was bodily picked up and pinned against the far wall, hovering on the edge of life. Arwan dived to stabilise him before beating a hasty retreat back into cover. Valenia blocked the entrance to the Court with a strategic use of Plant Growth and began dragging Caeluma away to safety, closely pursued by the mindflayer that had emerged from the library.
The tiny duergar assassin tried to sneak around to stab Valenia, but she grabbed him and stuffed him into her magical bag of kittens. Arwan sped ahead, while Thorin grabbed the stunned Kerne to lead them away. Behind them the impromptu barricade began to burn and melt as the beholder destroyed it.
An increasingly panicked group fled the Hold, pursued initially by mindflayers and then by more dolgrims that had been summoned from other rooms. As Caeluma and Kerne recovered from the agony of the mindblast that had stunned them, the group made better progress, and then Caeluma was able to use a Pass Without Trace enchantment to augment the DDC’s efforts to hide and misdirect their pursuers.
They ended up setting up a camp on a small island surrounded by a stream ( the map featured earlier this week at https://timmaidment.com/2022/11/02/map-mountain-camp/ ) and set about resting and recovering. They then remembered about the duergar in the bag and tried to find him. Turning out the bag resulted in nearly forty kittens running around the camp, getting into Caeluma’s wool supplies, playing with Kerne’s tail, falling asleep in Arwan’s lap, and playing with Thorin’s beard, but no sign of the diminutive assassin. Even sending Shriken in to investigate didn’t reveal anything and they came to the conclusion that the bag had turned him into one of the kittens currently making themselves comfortable. They spent an hour or, so putting them all back inside before the moons rose and triggered Caeluma and Valenia’s lycanthropic transformations again.
This time Caeluma had full control of themselves, while Valenia found they were compelled to run into the woods, where they picked up the trail of another powerful werewolf. By the end of the evening, both of them had seen it lairing in an abandoned shrine nearby and returned to the group to try and bring people there in the morning. Realising that this was probably Karkanna – Thorin’s sister – they decided to go to the shrine – and were duly met there in the morning by the sight of the powerfully built and battle-scarred sister standing in the shrine’s door to greet their arrival.
And that’s where we left it – with Thorin about to ask Karkanna what the hell was going on. So much happened in last night’s game that we ended up agreeing that we need to run longer sessions and start early as of next week. As a DM, this absolutely makes my day, hearing the enthusiasm in everyone’s voices. While I know where all the pieces are, I can’t wait to find out with the group where they’ll all end up