Something unpleasant had started happening in the air ship’s cargo hold to the Emerald Claw soldiers who fought their way down there. On the middle deck, the party was fighting off more raiders, while on deck the rest of the adventurers were defending the ship’s captain and navigator.
I was essentially running combat only for those fights the characters were actually engaged in, which let me pace things a little. I just ticked one or two from the raiders, passengers and deck hands off the list each round for cinematic effect, underlining the life and death struggles underway.
With the captain down from arrow wounds, those on deck managed to clear their opponents and stabilise jim just as the flying skiff with archers closed to reinforce their compatriots. The bard, Theo, managed to buy some time by working out how to maneuver the ship, struggling against the bound elemental powering the ship’s flight.
Below, panicked crewmen came running out of the hold and a figure stepped slowly up into view. It wasn’t the vampire they were looking for, but a Mummy priest sent by someone else who was hunting Lucan. The fear effects of the mummy’s appearance halted much of the fighting, except for Koff whose berserker rage made him immune.
The two foes clashed in the central corridor, but the fight was not as quick as Koff was expecting. The mummy’s ability to halve physical damage before applying its damage resistance meant that Koff’s furious attacks were simply chipping away at him. By contrast, the druid Keil’s flame-based attacks did double damage when they hit.
Kurtis the thief managed to eventually determine which room belonged to Lucan’s sister, pickpocketed a number of scrolls from her and then began to persuade the panicked crewmen to rejoin the fight on deck to repel invaders while Koff dealt with the undead menace.
Lucan’s sister actually ended up killing the mummt herself as she tried to flee to join her brother. This unfortunately put her face to face with Koff, and it ended up being a short fight despite multiple waves of magic missile being cast into him by the doomed sorceress.
As this happened, smoke billowed up from the cargo deck. For a moment people thought it was battle damage, and then the smoke shot through the boards up on to deck, and Lucan appeared.
The pilot of the pursuing airship, frustrated and desperate to catch Lucan, then rammed the ship the players were on. Nearly everyone was knocked off their feet by the collision.
There was an awful crunching noise, and the loops containing the elementals for each ship ruptured. The huge freed elementals, one fire and the other air immediately started fighting, and the ships began to fall out of the sky.
Lucan turned back into smoke, and everyone else stopped fighting to try and get to the sky raiders’ skiffs which were still attached by grappling hooks and lashed ropes.
That’s where we left it for our break, with four rounds (approximately 24 seconds) for the players to find a way to survive. I think that counts as a good mid-season finale cliffhanger, don’t you?