PCs vs. Vranthis

The party sneaks into the Platform room and watch as the Kobolds bring in a body (a Koa Tou as it turns out) and sacrifice it on top of the platform. The party attacks, slaying all but the sorcerer (turns Invisible and casts Fly). The party is spread out with the Vall and Calderon on top of the platform. Vranthis returns at this moment from hunting and is none to pleased to see his worshippers slain.

Vranthis breathes on Aemaria and Terjon. Calderon drops a Fireball on Vranthis. The sorcerer uses this moment to cast Magic Missile and hits Calderon hard. Vranthis turns to the wizard, leaps to flight and strikes Calderon, dropping him to 0 hps. Vranthis grabs the wizard and whisk him away to his lair with the sorcerer in tow.

The Kobold sorcerer harasses the group but they eventually put a few arrows in him. The group goes past the lair (for whatever reason) to the pit room. They eventually work their way back to the lair.

In the lair, they find it dark and quiet. In the nest area, Vall finds Calderon hanging upside-down and naked. The rest of the party is closer to the entrance of the lair. Vranthis is hanging on the wall (SpiderClimb) and unseen (Invisibility from the sorcerer) near the entrance. He drops down from the wall and breathes again. Terjon is down, but Ace (the Rogue) gets him a CLW potion before it is too late. Aemaria charges the dragon (AoO from dragon misses) and gets a hard hit. The dragon's bite misses, but nothing else does - she is dropped to negative hit points. Vranthis put's his claw around Aemaria and negotiations commence.

Meanwhile, Ace slowly inches his way toward the floating pyramid and grabs it successfully. He hopes that it contains something that will help with the negotiations (the player said he hoped there was a trapped person in their that would help the party). The dragon feigned fear. Ace walks toward Vall and the nest. The nest area was uneven enough to warrant another reflex check to hold the slippery pyramid - the player rolls as 1....

The Fiendish Gorillion (sp) materializes between Ace and Vall (both within reach). One hit to the Rogue takes him to zero (he had other damage) and the remaining attacks nearly kill Vall. The party gives up.

In exchange for their lives, the party gives up on magic item per person. However, Vranthis covets the valley the Orcs control just outside the CRM. For political reasons (uneasy truce between the Orcs, the Temples, and the Dragon), he would like others to clear the Orcs from the valley. He offers to return the magic items plus some gold for this service. The party slinks away to lick their wounds in the cleared out Ettin's lair.

The party rests up and decides to go after Vranthis. The basic plan is to load up Aemaria with as much magic as possible and hope she can get enough good hits that the party can finish the Dragon.

The party comes back to the lair. Vranthis was dozing lightly but he heard the party coming. He hides in the back part of the cave on the ceiling using SpiderClimb. The party comes in, and a Booming Voice asks "Have you brought me the heads of the Orcs?" The party answers "no" and the Vranthis replies "Then you shall die!"

Vranthis breaths and Aemaria charges. The battle is tough, but Vranthis notices that his attacks are not doing much to Aemaria (damage is transferred to Terjon, Resist Elements spells, and the like). Vall closes to help. Vranthis does not want to be pinned in the lair. He strikes out at Vall and nearly kills him with a full set of attacks. Vall withdrawals for healing. Vranthis escapes the lair with about 33 hps and the party basically out of spells (Terjon is anyway) and somewhat damaged.

The wizard Calderon casts Web over the lair entrance and the party searches the lair. Calderon then casts Levitate on the floating pyramid to avoid triggering the summoning. Ace is overjoyed at the pot of coins, but the group is disappointed that their magic equipment is not there (it is in the Platform room under a large rock). After searching around for about 5 minutes or so, the group exits the lair (Vall, Ace, Calderon, Terjon, and Aemaria). This lineup has a major tactical error - the high-speed PC is in the front (Vall at 40) and the tank with the remaining protection spells is in the back (Aemaria).

The dragon awaits the group as they exit its lair. Vall "I found the Dragon!" - a classic quote. Vranthis uses the following tactics to great effect: (1) breath weapon when the group is bunched (2) melee anyone who separates from the group (3) save Aemaria for last, as she appears to have powerful magic on her.

It appeared as if Ace was to be the first to fall. He eventually got separated from the group and Vranthis went after him. Ace has a nasty habit of tumbling the wrong way in a fight (to a location that brings him closer to death as opposed to further away). This fight is no exception. Exasperated, Vall closes with the Dragon to save Ace. Vranthis turns on Vall, see him as the biggest threat to his tactics since Vall is as fast as he is. Before the rest of the group can close in, Vranthis viciously attacks Vall and drags him off into the gloom towards the Platform room.

The party is stunned, demoralized and the majority of their defensive spells have expired. The group spends about 10 minutes of real time figuring out what to do. Meanwhile, Vranthis uses Spiderclimb on the now unconscious Vall (but he did stabilize) to stick him to the side of the Platform near the top. Vranthis, with an earlier casting of Spiderclimb still in effect hides on the ceiling near the platform. The group finally pulls itself together to enter the Platform room. Calderon casts flaming sphere to create a large movable light source to scout the room (grants 30' radius of light).

A titanic struggle breaks out between Vranthis and the remainder of the group. After breathing on the group, Aemaria charges the dragon. She is knocked back (Large and In Charge feat). The dragon breathes again bringing Ace and Calderon near death (both at negative 3 or so HP). Terjon uses a wand of CLW to get Calderon up again. Aemaria manages to get inside Vranthis's reach but is unable to hit the mighty dragon. Vranthis rips into her, bringing her to negative hit points. Terjon calls upon the power of Helm and charges, but is quickly struck down by Vranthis. Calderon fires a few feeble Magic Missiles from a wand at the dragon (one missile per charge). It is now the Dragon at 9 hps vs. Calderon with 3hps.

The roar of battle wakes Vall from a painful slumber.

"You shall adorn my wall again, wizard!" roars Vranthis.

Vall looks about him. He is high up on the platform the Kobolds used to sacrifice the Kou-Toa only, could it be, a day ago? Strung across the huge cavern are the dying members of party illuminated by stones and weapons granted the power of light by Helm. Aemaria and Terjon are heaped in a bloody pile nearby. A green smoke slowly rises from Aces body near the opening of the huge cavern that leads to the cold waters of Lake Stagalos. The great dragon Vranthis towers over the wizard Calderon, laughing at his puny wand of Magic Missiles.

The dragon rears back to strike the near-defenseless wizard. Calderon shouts "Mystra, strike thee!", then shouts a word of power, and breaks the wand over his knee. Pure white energy, the Weave in its purest form, bursts from the broken wand. A light that is brighter than the Faerunian sun pierces Vall's brain for a split second followed by a deafening explosion that rocks the very foundation of the Crater Ridge Mines!

Vall blinks his eyes many times in an effort to see what happened. The Dragon lies crumpled in a heap with a huge hole in his chest. There is no sign of Calderon anywhere. Then Vall begins to fall...

The group withdrawals from the mines to lick their wounds for about a month of game time until a new wizard/sorcerer shows up.