When last we left our band of intrepid heroes, the party warlock was firmly grasped within the mouth of a 3,000 pound Feymire Crocodile. In fact, he had just found out that THIS particular critter had an odd aura that prevented powers with the teleportation keyword from functioning...bad news for a shadar-kai warlock :)
Here, the warlord came out with his opening shove power that constantly annoys the hell out of me. For the unfamiliar, it is an at-will that allows the warlord (on a successful hit) to deal normal damage, and pushes the enemy one square. While the idiots on the optimization boards seem to have written it off as a worthless piece of fluff, I have seen what it can do. Ever try to swallow someone - JUST ONE PC! - just to be prevented by a jerk snapping you in the face with a whip?
I spent four rounds trying to swallow the bastard, only to have him healed, or drop him from aforementioned snout shots from the whip. The party, consisting of 5 lvl.5 characters made short work of the Lvl. 10 Elite soldier. They even discovered the gruesome remains of a forest warden it had eaten a few days before. Unfortunately, the leafmail armor he was wearing had not fared as well as his bejeweled longsword :)
Choosing to continue on, the party soon hears a crashing sound coming from within the woods...off of the path. They immediately take precautions and hide - except for the swordmage and warlock. You see, the warlock "rolled a 4", which caused the dhampir swordmage standing next to him to, err, silence him with a backhand strike. The scene degraded quickly when the warlock found himself on the receiving end of a 20 STR bitch-slap, followed by the return when he started protesting!
The sound is getting closer, and now a crude and quite foul song is being heard - in Giantish. The warlord decides enough is enough, and breaks his 23 stealth check to try and break up an escalating fight. His appearance reminds them of the stakes, and the both roll fucking natural twenties to literally vanish into thin air - leaving the warlord looking pretty lame standing next to a tree with a branch between his teeth (stealth re-roll 12). The giants, smelling the blood streaming from the warlock's nose, announce, "I smell the blood of a shadow-man". This is greeted with many groans :)
Needless to say, the Warlord is quickly caught out and a fight ensues. They are confronted by 3 Ogre savages, and an ogre skirmisher. I can't say enough about how well they are learning to work together. The entire damned fight had my ogres being tripped, pushed, pulled, or slid into the warlocks Hunger of Hadar zone, for a whopping 2d8+5 damage both upon entering AND starting a turn there!!! Each and every freaking round!
I rewarded their excellent teamwork with absolutely no treasure. The ogres only carrying stone-tipped javelins, moldy bread and cheese, and a sack of skulls - which the wizard took. Continuing onward, they smell the next event well before they actually see it. Apparently, an army or something is camping upriver, and this wide and shallow bend is where all of the...let's say, effluvium has been accumulating. With a layer of "scum" almost a foot thick, the party wanted nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, the path they are following dips right into the mire, and comes up and out on the other side - nearly 80 feet distant.
This encounter was originally planned to be a romp with three Otyughs lurking in the cess. Unfortunately, the party outsmarted me using magic tricks and ingenuity to lash up a pair of ropes 20' above the threat, and made it (mostly) across without incident. Boy were they proud of themselves. I dunno, maybe I'm just a bitter DM, but I haven't drowned a player in shit in quite some time. Oh well...
This game was noteable, as the Dhampir Swordmage (played by my little sister) returned from a schoolwork induced hiatus. Got a weekend off to rototill the back yard, and wash my new dodge ram :) Sooner or later, I will have something profound to say, that will rock the very foundations of our hobby - one blog at a time, but for now I'm in a good place (DM wise) and have been playing instead of being argumentative :)
Also, I would direct your attention to the blog roll on the right. One of the best sites I have seen for making 4E work for you - Sly Flourish. If you play 4e, I highly reccommend checking it out. If you don't, I highly recommend checking it out anyway - call it research :)
As always, until next time - game well.