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Session 135 - Hell to the King

posted Oct 2, 2017, 1:47 PM by Will McCain
Jonid.

Ever since the Tomb-dungeon of Mazoo, he had been a thorn in the Maladroits' sides. Every time he had run, but now he sat in a gilded throne looking down on them.

Waiting.

Hearts full of caution and angry determination, the adventurers made ready to put an end to things. Before they could draw their weapons, though, Jonid pulled a last trick and summoned duplicates of each member of the party. Of course. They knew he had the Shard of Illusion, so they couldn't take this final test lightly. There was no going back, not that any of them wanted to, so battle was joined.

Knox opened with show of his magical might and let loose a Meteor Swarm onto the doppelgangers. Though some saved or had defenses, all of the illusory party took damage. Jonid, unfortunately, didn't look particularly hurt. Alera followed up with some Storm Bolts, further damaging the imposters and stunning NegaLucas. From there on it became a back-and-forth of powerful strikes and misses. Fighting themselves was a reminder to the Maladroits of just how much they had grown, and how formidable they could be. They prove particularly frustrating when they pre-empted some of the party's moves, such when NegaKnox used one of his preparations of Time Stop to counterspell Knox's own casting. NegaCallon was able to stun Lucas, but Callon, singularly suited with his Ghost Touch weapon to deal with his counterpart's Blinking, was able to put some damage into him in exchange. Alera attempted a direct attack on Jonid. To their collective dismay, the damage was spread across the duplicates of the Maladroits in Jonid's stead.

Knox and Alera noticed the gnomeling casting Mislead before the entire room shifted and the Maladroits and their doubles were rearranged. They now had to be careful of not attacking one of their own. To that end, and spurred on by Desangriev, Callon forwent his own activation of his ring and instead spent his time trying to take down the other fighter. Lucas focused on Alera, Alera tried to down Knox, and Knox finally got in a Time Stop.

Things were looking dire, but they pressed on and harder. Their noble struggle must have touched the heart of some watching earthbound deity, for they suddenly felt their health and spells renewed! The day might just be won by this mysterious patron!

Upping the stakes, Jonid summoned a demon in the middle of the fray and once again shifted the positions of the combatants. When Callon attacked it, it vanished. A mere figment to get the party to waste an attack. Knox was able to send NegaCallon away with a Maze spell, allowing the party to focus on the already hurting targets. Keeping their focus on their illusory doubles, they began to fall one by one. Lucas did away with NegaAlera, and Knox blasted his own duplicate into dust. The illusory Lucas was tricky with his defenses, but the fighter and the rogue were able to put him to bed, as well. Now left with Jonid (until NegaCallon returns, at least), the Maladroits closed in.

Jonid struck Callon with Blindness, but Alera healed him. Thankful, he remembered that they had questions for Jonid about Cordova, and bid his sword take on Merciful to avoid dealing a lethal blow. The spirits of the blade are aghast that mercy would be called for someone like Jonid, but Callon corrected them that this was a time for justice instead of vengeance, and that the mercy was for Cordova. The magical shifting of Warrior Spirit was their nod of compliance. Lucas and Callon began their assault on Jonid, but his layers of magical defense proved difficult to get through. In his frustration, Lucas tried to grapple Jonid, but he proved too slippery. Cursing at the gnomeling, he offered a prayer to Fharlaghan for guidance in getting his target. 

Jonid moved across the room, but they held fast in pursuit. Even when NegaCallon reappeared between Callon and Lucas, he was but short work. Alera began to tire of Jonid's defenses, as well, and cast an Anti Magic Field on herself to try and reach him. Seeing the threat approaching, Jonid escaped her grapple and cast Disjunction in order to get rid of it and rob the rest of the Maladroits of their own magical boons. The Anti Magic Field resisted the spell, but many of the other Maladroits' magical items were disabled. Even worse, some were outright destroyed. Lucas lost his Cloak of Resistance, Knox lost his Ring of Sustenance, and Callon lost his custom-made Bulwark Plates.

It was but the last, final gasp of a doomed man. The party pushed Jonid into a corner, where Alera's Anti-Magic Field robbed him of his defenses and boons. When she failed to grab him, Lucas latched on. Callon turned the temporarily depowered Desangriev on its side and laid into their foe with the flat of the mighty blade. Jonid tried to stab himself to rob the Maladroits of victory, and perhaps his secrets, but Lucas pinned him, leaving just enough space for Callon to deliver the final knockout blows.

They bound him, removed all his items, and found a dagger that not-so-subtly revealed itself as the Shard of Illusion. Callon took the artifact and wrapped it in cloth. Lucas, still irked, delivered a kick to the unconscious Jonid and walked away to cool down. Despite their losses, despite their frustrations, and despite the uncomfortable history they had been shown, it was over. Jonid was captured and the Shard secured.

They headed out to rejoin their friends and embark on the next important task: Keeping the Shard of Illusion from FernDelia Getting Cordova back. 
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