Attempt to Close the Gate

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Continued from The Snow Gate

Round 1

The DM: The characters take their combat turn.

Engelhart: I move cautiously to 0705 (2 AP), and swing my maul at the ice frog (2 AP): attack roll of 11, hitting AC 6, or AC 5 if the toad's Intelligence is below 5 due to my "Aggressive" trait.

The DM: The creature's intelligence is low enough, but the attack yet misses.

Vafrandir I'll draw my sword (1 AP) and attempt to enter combat. I have to succeed on a morale check: I roll a 5 (my WIS is 11). I'll move into 0806 (1 AP) and attack the grey creature (2 AP): 15+2=17 to hit, 1+1=2 damage.

The DM: Vafrandir's check isn't really a morale check; it is characteristic of his background, in which he has learned to be cautious before rushing into fights. The fighter scores a clean hit ... but it so happens the creature is immune to normal weapons and can't be hit by Vafrandir's short sword. Incidentally, because of the earlier time spent withdrawing, Vafrandir has his shield in place.

After the party's move.

Pandred: I draw my battle axe and step into 0906 warily for 1 AP.

Embla: I move to 0607 (2AP) and throw my javelin at the toad (2AP). Hit AC 8, dealing 7 damage. A miss, I believe.

The DM: Yes.

Enemy's Turn

The DM: The red mud demon decides to punch Vafrandir, who is handy, rolling a 12 and missing AC 5 (would have hit if Vafrandir had not had his shield in place; thought you'd like to know).

And because the demon has time, it will speak to Pandred, saying, "If you want to reach me, squeeze through the bars." This is a suggestion, which the being can do as a natural ability. I need Pandred to make a saving throw against magic. You need a 15.
There's a 50% chance the toad will let go with its breath weapon ... and it does. The original rule from the Player's Handbook reads, "All non-cold creatures within 10 ft. of the ice toad suffer 3-18 points of damage." It says nothing else; usually, however, a breath weapon is a cone, typically 5 ft wide at the base and stretching outwards to 20 ft. wide at 30 ft. away. So, rather than freeze out the whole party, I'll use the cone. [Shame this is a monster starting with "T", or else I've have written out rules for it online by now]. The toad has an average intelligence, so it is smart enough to leave Vafrandir and Pandred to the mud creature, and attack the immediate threat, which is Engelhart, with Embla behind him. Embla and Engelhart, the breath causes 11 damage. Please make a saving throw against breath weapon. You need a 15.

Engelhart: I roll precisely an unmodified 15(!!), *Phew!*. That's hellishly dangerous, hope it can't repeat the deed again soon or at all. Could my knowledge of beasts extend to knowing if it can use its breath again?

The DM: Yes! It will be three rounds of not using it before it makes a 50/50 roll again. The breath weapon only causes 5 damage, Engelhart.

Embla: I roll an 11 on the saving throw, which is a failure, I believe. If so, taking the 11 damage will stun me.

The DM: I'm afraid it does.

Embla: That puts me at 6hp remaining and stunned. Do we have any healing available?

Pandred: Healing salve. But honestly, sacrificing an attack roll for +1d4 Hp in such a swingy fight hardly seems worth the time.

The DM: In addition, the ice toad also radiates cold to everything within 10 feet; that includes Engelhart, Vafrandir and Pandred. You each take 1 pt. of damage.

Engelhart: Amazingly, I believe I am not stunned, due to the two damage sources being separate. But from here on the going can only get tougher. It appears the creature's spell will cost us Pandred for much of the fight, regardless of her making her save or not ...

Pandred: I get 19 for my save, which I believe is a successful save even without my background bonus. I'm out of the running for a bit regardless. Is it okay if I still offer advice to my comrades, or would you prefer I wait 'till I am able to act of my own volition again?

The DM: Yes, because of my house rules for suggestion, Pandred feels a strong to begin explaining to the apparent demon why her body cannot possibly fit between the bars. Which would mean, it would be impossible for her to give advice. There is a clue in the cell description, however, that can release Pandred from the spell almost at once.

Engelhart: Well, she did take damage from the toad's cold aura, now whether you're willing to count that as "attacked" is up in the air ...

The DM: It is not sufficient; an attack would have to involve a sharp pain. Moreover, a pummel or an overbear would be more certain than an attempt to hit with weapon, as Pandred would habitually react and defend herself.

Pandred: "Listen, GUY, if I want to reach you I'm not sticking my hands through a set of ice cold bars, you want me to get stuck like some idiot kid's tongue? The way I see it —"

The DM: And so apparently the round ends. Showing is the experience awarded thus far. With the next round, Engelhart has an attack, as does Vafrandir. Engelhart, I don't remember if the svirfneblin gave you a magic weapon; I think Embla has one, and possibly Pandred. Please let me know who can hit the demon; I sure hope someone hits this round. I don't want to kill anyone.

Round 2

The DM: The position is unchanged from the last map.

Vafrandir: I recognize the futility of my attack on the mud demon. I will move behind the gate (stride of 2, not subject to AoO per my background) and overbear Pandred, 12 to hit, 2 damage. "Snap out of it!"

The DM: That breaks the spell for Pandred, who is pushed back into 1006. There's no enemy here able to make an attack of opportunity, so you needn't worry.

Following the player's attack in Round 2

Engelhart: I shift to 0806, formerly occupied by Vafrandir, so as to keep the two enemies properly engaged while Embla and Pandred recover. I attack the red mud demon: attack roll of 19, hitting AC -2, damage roll of 1 (+1 from the enchantment means a total of 2 damage).

The DM: That is most definitely a hit. From behind you, Lothar (played as an NPC) comes running towards the party. From thirty feet away, he hurls a sword at Vafrandir, so that it bounds and bounces towards the fighter, landing in the adjacent hex. As he hurls it, Lothar shouts, "Try this, friend elf!" Then he loads his bow.

Enemy's Turn

The DM: The demon turns on Engelhart and swings, missing with a 7. It will attempt to cause fear in the cleric, with the arc of the effect forcing both Engelhart to make save vs. magic; the demon reins in the effect, however (for it is a natural ability), because the ice toad advances into what would be the fear's path. Once again, Engelhart needs a 15.

After the enemy's turn
Meanwhile, the toad moves into 0706 and attacks Embla. It has a THAC0 of 18 and rolls an 11; Embla, unfortunately, has an AC of 7 and is hit. The toad causes 3-12 damage ... it rolls 7. Embla is stunned and shoved back into 0507.
Engelhart, Embla and Vafrandir all suffer 1 point from the toad's cold.

Round 3

The DM: Lothar's long sword is in 0807. From earlier in the campaign: "The sword is reforged with mithril, strengthening it and also giving it a +1 bonus. As it is the easiest piece of metal to magick, they take a little time and give the sword a convenient +2 bonus against amphibians and reptiles."

Engelhart: Uhmm, those giant toad hindquarters look "really" tempting, but if they stun me I end up in hell — not an enticing prospect — plus no-one has moved yet and Embla needs someone by her side (taking into account how these critters supposedly are not capable of mounting effective attacks of opportunity). I attack [the toad] from where I am (still a flank attack, I'm figuring): attack roll of 19 +1 from flanking, +1 from maul, +1 from background bonus, hitting AC -4, damage roll of 10+1, 11 damage! (I'm having some insane rolls, God delivers!).

The DM: Stuns and the skin at the back of the creature splits from the blow and begins to ooze fluid (a wound).

Engelhart: I've got 2 AP left.

The DM: You're still in a melee hex with the demon. But once you get out of it, the toad is stunned so 0807 is not a melee hex and will not cost a penalty.

Engelhart: I was all ready to stay and reap the punishment; I can't get far enough to help Embla right at this point, but it does let Pandred do her stuff. I think I'll break into a stride-4 run and go all the way to 0810.

At the end of the player's round 3

Pandred: Can I resume shoving the gate? Dropping the axe, etc.?

The DM: Yes. The gate is magical and relatively light. The demon isn't touching the gate; it's holding its hex but nothing more. You can throw your body against the gate to slam the gate into the demon, but it is only hurt by magical weapons. As well, it appears to be at least 250 lbs.; so with your strength and size, you're not going to roll the beast out of the way.

Pandred: Without Oddsdrakken here, my AP limits me a lot. I'd like to heave on this gate with the understanding that even if that doesn't actually force the demon away, it will at least not be able to move without me closing that half. If Lothar and Vafrandir combined can't deal the approximately 8 damage it will take next round to stun the Toad, then it's out of my hands what happens as far as I'm concerned. Embla has throwables, and if she doesn't she can have mine. I believe in you guys, so let me keep shoving.

The DM: Understood. Your being there, Pandred, keeps the creature from teleporting — which it earlier demonstrated it's able to do.

Vafrandir: How many AP to pick up Lothar's sword? I assume 2 AP, based on the time to draw such a weapon. In that case, I will pick up the sword in 0807 and use my remaining 1 AP to continue to 0707. I'm not sure if I'm in melee with the demon because of the gate between us, but if that is the case then that 1 AP will be used to extract myself, and I will remain in 0807 after getting the sword.

The DM: "Adjust a free object for use." In this case yes, 2 AP. The gate protects you from being in melee with 0905, so your move is 1 AP to get into 0807. Picking up the sword leaves you with 1 AP left, yes?

Vafrandir: With the last AP then, I will move to 0707.

The DM: Lothar fires his bow at the toad and misses with a 6.

Enemy's Turn

The DM: The demon does not move to attack, but holds its position by the gate. It will make a roaring sound, however ... and just like that, there's another one in 1008.

Vafrandir and Embla each take 1 damage from the intense cold radiating from the toad. Embla staggers back into 0408, still conscious at -2 h.p.
The experience table is updated. Check my numbers on how much damage you've caused and taken in this fight. Lothar has joined the fight and that has adjusted everyone's bonus X.P.

Round 4

The DM: Everyone except Embla can act.

Engelhart: Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb and take the duplicate-demon as an illusion, as I feel we must concentrate on keeping the toad stunned until it keels over. Alexis, I retreated all this way to now mount a charge on the toad, and here the questions about new rules begin: Is there any danger of receiving attacks of opportunity, seeing as it is already engaged with Vafrandir? Would we need to roll an extra initiative die?

The DM: Technically, if you check the initiative rules, Engelhart has broken off the fight, even if the players haven't. So Engelhart does have to roll initiative to re-enter. If you're declaring a charge, I need you to name your end hex; THEN we roll initiative; if you win, you run forward, and THEN I'll tell you if there are any attacks of opportunity. The new demon might have a missile weapon. If you're attacked by opportunity, and it doesn't stun you, then you'll finish your run to your end hex and attack at +2 to hit, and attempt to overbear. The toad weighs somewhere around 450 lbs. If you fail initiative, then I move you to your target hex and your round is over; IF the toad attacks you (and it may not, it may be stunned by Vafrandir, it may attack Vafrandir), then it will get +2 to hit you. If you're not stunned by the toad's attack, then you'll STILL attack at +2/overbear because you're STILL charging. Your call.

Following the player's move.

Engelhart: I'm going to play it safe, going counter to my instincts, hoping Vafrandir can hold out at least one round. I move cautiously to 1009 and swing the maul at the newcomer. Attack roll: 1 (what the...), and a d8 of 3 for where it lands, plus a 2d6 roll of 11 for breakage. Damn.

Vafrandir: I'll attack the toad. My understanding of the bonuses: +1 from my strength, +1 to hit from my race, and +2 against an amphibian? [7]+4=11 to hit.

The DM: That misses.

Pandred: I keep pushing on the gate, but if possible I'd like to move into 0906 while I do it.

The DM: Done. You're in 0906. Lothar loads his bow.

Enemy's Turn

The DM: The toad attacks Vafrandir. It hits with a 17, causing 3d4 damage. I roll 10 damage, one short of a wound, and Vafrandir is knocked back into 0708, stunned. The toad makes a move to hop forward and the demon in 0905 shouts sharply at it; the toad holds its position.

The demon in 1008 laughs, kicking Engelhart's hammer into 1107, and swinging a fist. An 11 hits AC 7 and misses.
The other demon in 0905, no longer pressed, moves to 0806 and claws at Pandred. It misses with an 8.

Round 5

Following the enemy's move.

All participants can move, except for Vafrandir.

Pandred: I'd like to see what Lothar does before acting.

The DM: Lothar rolls a 19 to hit, causing 2 damage. The toad has bled twice, once last round and once this, so that it is 4 hp below where it was when Engelhart hit it.

Pandred: Further note, I moved to the outer edge of the gate to get MORE leverage on the creature, not less. Can you explain how being in 1006 kept them pinned in a way that 0906 doesn't?

The DM: You weren't what was keeping it pinned down at the gate. Engelhart was. Engelhart abandoned that position, giving the creature more access to move around, removing it from melee. From its present location, it can still keep the gate open, as it's body is still against the corner of the gate.

Engelhart: Oh, me?? I've got to say, I too understood that it was solely through Pandred's effort that the demon was being kept pinned and that I wasn't involved at all.

Pandred: He said I was preventing the teleport, which I extrapolated to mean we were in a competing shove that otherwise hindered them. I know I don't have the full picture, I'm just expending a lot of effort on this and Vafrandir just took a big hit.

The DM: Given the difference in weight, it is perfectly understandable that it need only keep its shoulder to the fence to maintain pressure back against Pandred. It is STILL holding the fence and pushing back ... but it can also do that NOW from 0807, where it can reach around with a claw to attack Pandred. Formerly, it was kept from moving out of its hex, because Engelhart was in 0806. It had to hold the gate from where it stood. And, I cannot stress this enough, it was in with Engelhart, meaning that it was being made busy. IF you take that combat away, it can turn, hold the gate and address Pandred, since it no longer has to deal with Engelhart.

Pandred: Now that the second one [demon] is here I'm beginning to think that even trying to hold the gate was a waste of time I could have used to kill this toad, since I'm having no luck overbearing the demon apparently.

Engelhart: Have you a throwing axe? You could, perhaps, get the best of both efforts, attacking the toad from a distance and still hold your position? Independently, I use up all my 4 AP to skirt the demon and move onto 1107, the magical weapon unfortunately being an absolute necessity.

The DM: Got it. You haven't got quite enough AP to pick it up.

Engelhart: I'm aware. That's a task for next round, if heaven doesn't come crashing down.

Embla: I use the magic word to shorten my battleaxe into a hand axe and throws it at the toad. 12 on the die, so I believe that hits AC 6 after accounting for non-proficiency.

The players finish their Round 5.

The DM: Misses. And I forgot to mention last round that Vafrandir and Pandred were affected by the cold emanation from the toad, which caused them each 1 damage. Vafrandir will stagger back another hex from it.

Pandred: I pluck out my Handaxe and throw at the Toad. 14 and +1 (total 15) to-hit from point blank at Thac0 18 hits AC 3. 2 on the damage die.

The DM: Damage applied. The beast isn't stunned. Your handaxe is in 0706. Does Embla move at all?

Embla: No - If I get too close to that aura, I'm toast.

Enemy's Move

The DM: The ice toad makes no move, as it has been told by its master to remain where it is.

The demon in 0806 decides to overbear Pandred through the door, hurling his whole body weight against the door. Its weight is 260 lbs.; divided into Pandred's 217.99 lbs. tells the demon has 119% of Pandred's weight; the overbearing page gives the demon +1 to attack; Pandred's armor is discounted, except his shield and dexterity, which gives Pandred an AC of 9. The demon rolls a 16 (which would have hit anyway), and Pandred takes 2 damage. It pushes Pandred into 1007 and the gate swings partly open.
Showing the end of the enemy's round 5.
Because Pandred is kicked out of 0906, she doesn't suffer cold damage.
At the same time, the demon in 1008 says to Engelhart, "Don't pick that up; it's way too heavy." This is a suggestion and Engelhart must make a saving throw. The phrase takes the demon 2 AP to say. Whereupon, this 2nd demon moves to 0809 and engages Vafrandir.

Round 6

The DM: Embla is able to call back her axe without an AP cost; it will take 2 AP to reach her, however, but she can move to another hex and the axe will meet her there, if she wishes. Otherwise, she has to wait the 2 AP where she is before she can move.

Embla: I move into 507 and recall my axe. I have in my notes for the axe that I cannot recall it and throw it in the same round. Is that true?

The DM: Yes, that's correct. But in the spirit of Thor, let's presume you can use it as a melee weapon. I recognize your desire to back off, but it is worth telling you that the toad has now gone three rounds without using its breath weapon, and has a 50/50 chance of using it this next round. Unless it is stunned, that it. The breath weapon reaches 30 feet. I want to give you a chance to reconsider your action in light of this information.

Embla: Understood and appreciated. I move through 507 to 607, recall my axe, reconfigure it to a battle-axe, and swing at the toad. 11 on the die hits AC 5.

The DM: Oh, how I wish I could give that to you! But it is a miss.

I don't think Pandred is stunned. Vafrandir is. Engelhart's circumstance awaits the saving throw.

Engelhart: I roll an 18 and pass the save. However this is problematic, as I think I'd rather have failed it, instead of losing yet another 1-3 rounds. At least if the suggestion had won over, I could simply draw my warhammer and go hacking at the ice toad. Or, since this is a negative imperative "something you mustn't do", am I allowed other actions?

The DM: If you had failed the save, you wouldn't have been able to use the hammer again this entire fight. I'm going to rule that, because the suggestion did not describe an action you should do (as with Pandred), but as something you should NOT do, the spirit of the spell shouldn't keep you from leaving the hammer on the ground and taking some other action. Suggestion is devilishly tricky; as a spell, it is damned hard to pin down and I feel the spirit of gameplay should not favour failure over success. I do think you should expend one AP proving to yourself that, indeed, the hammer is too heavy (as the lingering suggestion makes you believe it is) before using your other 3 AP to take some other action. Agreed?

Engelhart: No problem, consider it spent. I draw and throw my warhammer at the toad (I'm very deliberately not going near its cold aura or soon-to-be-recharged breath ability!). Attack roll: 7, a clear miss.

The DM: You may take some comfort from the fact that the toad is at least bleeding 1 hp.

Engelhart: [OOC: from reading the spell's description I also find it interesting that, despite being a powerful spell, a PC mage would never get more than a fraction of the usability here on display, due to the need for 2 rounds of casting, interruptable by the mere presence of a foe in an adjacent hex and the pitiful 30' range.]

The DM: [OOC: PC's are, after all, mere mortals.]

Pandred: Engelhart, you want to pass it [the maul] to me? I only have a -2 non-proficiency, that's -1 after the bonus, and I have the +3 damage from strength. I'm not saying I'm sick of these guys, but if you don't want to crush their skulls, I am DOWN to take your place.

The DM: He can't really "pass it," but that doesn't stop you from taking it.

Pandred: I will wind up taking it, since I've got HP and you're unable to. I expend 2 AP to move into the maul's hex [stride-2]. I have one remaining, so I should finish grabbing it next round.

Engelhart: I move to 1208. I failed with a hurl of the hammer and am now unarmed.

The party finishes their round 6.

Pandred: Please please please don't move into 1208 unless you're going to cast whatever the hell spell Alexis thinks might help us out. Two of us are about to die. You have to put your body in a place it can be harmed, and every round you do not do so is a round you are leaving one of them to die. To DIE. There's some inherent hypocrisy to me saying that since I've been at the gate this whole fight, believe me I know, but at the time we were under the impression it was doing something of value. In the next round or two we're calling this fight - whether we fight to the death with our friends or we get the fuck outta dodge and leave Embla and Vafrandir to start dropping 4d6s again. If you're not dropping that spell then move as close as you can to our friends. We need you.

Engelhart: No need to get all dramatic as yet. Embla still has her Hp ring and, before all is said and done, it won't be over until the horned lady sings. And we cannot run away in any event, the demons would simply never allow it.

The DM: Lothar shoots, rolls an 18 on the toad. And rolls 1 damage.

Enemy's Move

Concurrent with and then Continued on Talk:Attempt to Close the Gate