Friday, January 8, 2016

The Saga of Majenko Part 9: The Assault on Castle Korvosa

We're finally creeping up on the climax of this sordid tale of bloodshed and betrayal! If you've enjoyed it so far, then please leave some comments, and share it with your friends. If you're just now joining us, don't worry, the previous eight installments of this telling of Curse of The Crimson Throne are linked below for your convenience.

Part One: Finding The Main Character of "Curse of The Crimson Throne"
Part Two: How Much Damage Could One Pseudodragon Do?
Part Three: Scourge of The Red Mantis
Part Four: Blood Pig Champion
Part Five: Brother to The Shoanti
Part Six: The Assault on Castle Scarwall
Part Seven: The Return to Korvosa
Part Eight: Re-Taking Korvosa
Part Nine: The Assault on Castle Korvosa
Part Ten: Down With The Queen

All caught up now? Fantastic! Now then, let me see, where were we...

Fake High

As any experienced gamer worth his or her salt can tell you, nothing changes the game more than the ability to fly. And since our aerial assault on Castle Scarwall had gone so smashingly in the last book, we decided to fall back on our old tricks and fly up to the top floor of Castle Korvosa.

After casting invisibility. We're reckless, not stupid.
The castle's attic is oddly abandoned, used for little more than storage. However, after some handy Perception checks, one of them made by the party's true leader and actual rogue, we find the ghost of a tiefling being kept in the attic. Apparently his body was hidden somewhere in the dungeons, and to grant him peace we need to find it. Seems legit, and something we should have plenty of time to handle in between swinging the hammer to bring down the city's powerful monarchy.

So, grisly task from an unquiet spirit collected and filed away, we make our way down a floor, and fight some devils. Once that errand is complete, we take another flight of stairs down, expecting to finally find that overdue helping of trouble we've been waiting for. Instead, we run into...

The Return of The Red Mantis!

Yep, one floor down, taking up a combination luxury penthouse suite and wicked dance club, were more of the insect-imitating assassins who had been dogging us for several books now. However, instead of just sending a few underlings, as they had in the past, this time they brought one of their captains with them.

Oooh, I'm shaking in my stinger... with excitement!
The is the first, real taste of combat our archanist has gotten, and it doesn't go well for him. Instead of letting Egil and Majenko do their thing (between the two of them, the red mantis underlings were little more than puppies, since they couldn't catch us flat-footed, nor could they sneak attack us), the arcanist decides to run into the mix, and start kicking open doors. This got him a kidney full of saw-toothed saber, though he managed to teleport himself out of harm's way with a cleverly used class feature. What he didn't do was heal himself. Instead, he chose to keep kicking in doors, which earned him a saber up the briscuit from the invisible captain.

So, the arcanist is out, and now the game has gotten serious. Sort of.

That's when Majenko decides to stop faffing about, and the rest of the standard red mantis members go down, either in death or in sleep. Egil steps up to try and face off with the Captain, and our cleric starts calling in assistance from the heavens above. The Captain summons creatures of her own, including some particularly nasty swarms. While she's fast, and hard to hit, a lucky shot here and there began to chip away at her. Before we can deal the deathblow, though, she manages to escape. Disappointed, and more than a little frustrated, we bundle up our dead companion, and Majenko scratches a message into the glass pane of the parlor wall.

You've already lost 11. Run now, and I won't chase you.

Infiltrate Low

After some begging, we manage to return our erstwhile arcanist to the Material Plane. And, knowing that our entrance from above must have been spotted, we decide to go in low for our second attack. You see, there's a secret passage Sabina told us about that will let us infiltrate right to the throne room if we're careful.

What could possibly go wrong?
True to her word, the passage is there. We slip in stealthily, and it appears the coast is clear. At least until the party gets blasted into next week! The arcanist is dead, Majenko has been turned to stone, Egil is insane, and the only one totally unaffected by what happened is the cleric. In the corner, where he had been lurking unseen to us, is the Bloat Mage. An evoker of terrible power, it's clear we won't be able to survive another round of his power unleashed.

Fortunately, the cleric has friends in high places. With a bit of inter-dimensional support, and a breath of life, she manages to get the arcanist back to life. Spells are flying, and soon the magus is back from the land of the mad. However, given that his familiar has been turned into a lawn decoration, he is far from pleased. Which is why he uses every trick he has to try to bring down the Bloat Mage. Continuing the pattern, though, the fat, floating bastard manages to escape. So we retreat again, noses bloodied, to repair our wounds and heal our allies.

No More Nice Party

It's around this time that the arcanist, whose chief job seems to be to get killed, decides to aid the revolution in other ways. He is replaced by a paladin, who is so by-the-book that his name has managed to evade mention in the annals of his own adventures. So, beefed-up and ready to stop pulling punches, we head back to the castle for another crack, though we are wondering why, at this point, there has been so little alarm raised. The castle has been penetrated twice by known heroes of the rebellion, and not so much as a whisper?

That should have been the first clue that shit wasn't right.
We find, much to our pleasure, that the Red Mantis haven't returned. However, we do find a strange statue that wants to eat us, along with a room full of Erinyes who try to turn us into unwilling pincushions. A little lower down, we find a full contingent of Gray Maidens in the throne room, along with what looks like the queen, getting ready for a throw down.

We quickly realize that what we're looking at is not as threatening as it at first appeared. The Gray Maidens, while highly trained and dangerous, don't have the resources to truly penetrate much of our defenses. And while the thing that looks like the queen is effective, its efforts are quickly nullified by a Silence spell. It turns into a puddle of slimy goo, and we deal with the guards, who refuse to stop fighting even though they've clearly lost this battle.

Of course, there are larger forces at work than we know. Such as the infernal creature lurking in the queen's bedroom, along with a rested and rejuvenated Bloat Mage, ready to give us everything he can.

The Power of Mind Control

Enchantment and compulsion are nasty things, particularly when most of the party succumbs to them. After the first two or three rounds, the paladin, the cleric, and Majenko all decided that it would be a better idea to report to their superiors about the presence of this awful thing than to actually fight it. While a dispell managed to keep Majenko on the scene, the brunt of our divine power just walked off the field. Fortunately, Balen was crazy even for a ranger, and charged right in to get some devil-slaying done.

It goes a lot better than expected, and soon the only threat left in the room is the evoker. He pulls the same trick he did before, and Majenko is turned to stone a second time. This wrings the last drop of what mercy Egil had left, and he pours all his remaining arcana, rogue tricks, and not-inconsiderable stock of wands into the mage's demise. It's a near thing, but when he can't escape the area of the silence effect, his head gets cut off by a dramatically-timed critical hit.

The Aftermath

With the cleric and paladin ashamed of their unwilling abandonment, we take the evoker's head back to our allies. While Majenko is still coughing out gravel from his second transformation back to flesh, we find out that the Bloat Mage had been enslaved to the devil. We also realize, thanks to some texts we located, that the queen is not in the castle, and hasn't been for some time. She's seeking a forgotten temple, where she'll be making a play for terrible power. And, while we need to stop that, we have one more errand to do first.

To find out how this game ended, tune in next time for the final installment, The Saga of Majenko: The Queen's Justice!

As always, thanks for joining me for Table Talk! If you have a gaming story of your own that you'd like to contribute, then contact me and I'll be happy to chat with you about it. If you'd like to help support me and my blog, then consider heading over to my Patreon page to become a patron today! Also, if you don't want to miss any of my updates, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter as well.

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