So the Dungeon Master for our usual Saturday Night got very sick back on Thursday, and contrary to what Harlan Ellison may have thought, I Have No Voice And I Must DM is not actually a viable strategy. So, another player stepped in with an intriguing idea: "Make a bunch of twentieth-level characters, and then fight whatever I throw at you." There's a loose framing device around this to smooth the edges, but that's the concept. So we tried it. These... these are my notes from the episode.
Since it might help anyone who wasn't there (and even some of us who were), here's a cast list before we get started:
-Dala (human rogue, swashbuckler)
-Grimblood Darkborne (half-orc barbarian, totem warrior) (me)
-Lexx Bloodgood (fallen aasimar fighter, champion)
-Luka Alphason (human wizard, Evocation)
-Meghan Bridie Glivet (human, cleric 19/fighter 1, grave domain)
-Sirro (Aasimar, cleric, life domain)
-Vulferam Fireflower (Goliath, fighter 18/rogue 2, battlemaster)
Let us begin...
Everyone no matter what your adventures were in the past, what you did, what you achieved... you all became very powerful. So when we were all recruited (in various ways) it because I.M.P.A.R.T. needed our help. (Interplanar Mystical Protectors and Arcane Research Teams.) They will provide resources, and we will help... everyone. We protect against things from outside the material plane. Our job is to get the job done, and the job is something nobody else can do.
We may have been here for different lengths of time. Whenever we joined, we received a medallion. It's not large, but it's carved with the name of the organization and a handful of gems; when it glows, we grab it and concentrate and it'll bring us to the conference room. (The concept reminds of this old series of toy-advert cartoons, actually. That is not a criticism, though; I loved that whole idea.)
Dala is attractive but nondescript except for a particularly garish bracelet that matches nothing else she wears. Megan is a small human woman with a very large scythe. Luka is a human male, young, dark-skinned, bright auburn hair. Vulf is large but surprisingly unobtrusive. Lexx is gray-skinned and deshabille. Sirro is wildly unkempt and complaining about an interrupted tryst. Grimblood is a large half-orc wearing only a kilt and a pack.
At this point Scythe appears in the room. She's the one who gives us our assignments.
Giant monsters are coming up out of the sea and destroying cities. Only six months apart. Then another three months later. Usually these giant monster attacks happen maybe once a century; this is far too frequent. Or there are far too many of them.
There are some local cults that may be calling this thing up. That's our way in. Find them, bring them in, make sure we can still ask them questions, then stop them from doing whatever they're doing to call these guys up. Let's go to the armory and get suited up.
We go through a couple of checkpoints and into a large room. The equipment is mundane, but there's a massive and varied supply. (OOC Note: there isn't much description of the facility, but that's because this is a one-shot that might become an every-once-in-a-while thing for when we can't do the main campaign.)
In the back of the room is another security checkpoint. Here Scythe starts showing us magic weapons, Vanna White style. Lexx grabs the longsword. A Flame Tongue greatsword - after a bit of arguing Bloodgrim takes the flame tongue, Vulf takes the Frost Brand longsword. A Sunblade longsword is next, and Sirro shivers lustfully. A rapier that's a holy avenger: no immediate takers. The second rapier is a luckblade. Dala snags the luck blade rapier. The wizard immediately takes an interest in the staff of frost. We do a couple of swap-outs; since the holy avenger isn't well suited to any of us, Scythe puts it away and retrieves a straight +3 rapier instead. She also reconsiders on Grimblood's flame tongue, and manages to scrounge a luck blade greatsword for him instead.
A couple of enchanted suits of armor come over and take the holy avenger back, and Scythe produces a magic scythe for Meghan
Next: armor! It's all +3. Grimblood and the wizard grab bracers of defense instead; everybody else suits up.
Then we're off for dinner (IC), then a long rest so we can get attuned to the new weapons, and then it's off to Cultist City and/or Tarrasque Target Town.
Discussion of tactics ensues before bedtime:
1. Yeet the Goliath into the Tarrasque's mouth.
2. Seduce it.
3. Rum. Lots and lots of rum.
4. Or, maybe, we could go look for the cultists and try to prevent them from summoning the thing.
Dala concentrates on her necklace to get Scythe back in for a minute. "Can we get some maps of the area, and maybe a book or something on the area?"
Us: "Can we get rum?"
Scythe: "There's wine on the table."
Us: "No, enough to get the tarrasque drunk and maybe seduce it."
Scythe: "It's immune to poison, I don't think..."
Scythe: "No. Just no."
The cults are mostly just rumored, and there may be two of them. The devastated cities are essentially no-go zones. Dala wants to know how far the cities are apart.
Lexx: "Okay, so we could start a *third* cult and really mess things up."
The distance between the cities is a matter of hours or days. The rate of the attacks has been increasing, and there's a distinct possibility that we'll get there just before the next attack. And... it's on Waterdeep. Which, you know, nobody's really going to miss Waterdeep, right? Daggerfall is already gone.
Next morning: Best Breakfast Ever, then through the magical gate. It's closer to nightfall than we thought it would be, and we've come in on the outskirts of town.
This is an alternate Waterdeep; we're in an alternate timeline, it looks like. We're not too far off the road into town, on the northern side where there are a lot of farms. The wizard who's with us says this is an alternate dimension.
We decide to circle the city once, while Dala employs her investigation skill. She spots two guys running along, one struggling to keep up with the other. They're similarly dressed, but the one that fell dropped something. Dala turns us that direction, quickly but subtly. She picks it up and it seems to be some kind of rough amulet, with a rough footprint as the central design. It's not a religious symbol that anybody recognizes; it's probably reptilian, but not a dragon. It's probably a (the?) tarrasque.
We take off after them. Not all of us are particularly stealthy, but the cultists are oblivious. They come out of town and head down a small peninsula, and they seem to be heading for a crowd of maybe eight other people (so ten total). There are a lot of bags with them and a heap of something. As we approach the group, we hear talking and complaining about the couple who are late. ("It's a dork cult and they're trying to summon dork forces.") We think it might be fish in the bags. It's a lot, whatever it is, and it definitely smells like fish.
So Dala slides into concealment, and the rest of us follow.
Their cloaks are patched, mismatched. There's one person with a larger medallion, very hand-crafted and crude, but much more elaborate than the others. We're... roughly 100' out, close enough to hear them shouting. Sirro approaches Dala and suggests that if we rush them he can throw down an anti-magic field that will prevent summons and whatnot.
There... is a magic circle on the ground, just past where the cultists are standing.
Okay, so: Dala the rogue sneaks forward to dashing range, and then the Goliath (Vulf) yeets the Aasimar (Sirro) while Grimblood yeets the other (fallen) Aasimar (Lexx). Sirro drops an anti-magic field, while Lexx sprouts bony wings and black eyes and just goes TERRIFYING. So Dala pops out of hiding and puts a blade to the throat of the leader, who stays *very* still. The back of his amulet says PTT, which he explains as... Pet The Tarrasque. They want to pet the tarrasque so it won't destroy the city. Tell it it's a good boy and send it on its way. Oh ye gods...
Cultist Leader: "You used an anti-magic spell? Oh, no, the other cult is gonna summon the tarrasque! They're on a boat. They were going to summon it and we were going to try to lure it over here. Fucking Todd took our fucking book and they're just way better than us."
Okay, new plan: we can gate out of here and gate back in to the boat.
...Or not. The boat out on the water disappears as we all sense a great rush of magic. So yeah, the would-be monster fuckers are fucked. The Tarrasque is now rising out of the water.
We handwave the next little set of actions, where we all run back towards the town, yelling for everybody else to evacuate, and get into a position to intercept the beast as it comes tearing into the docks.
We attack. Grimblood... hits, but basically just dents a scale. Lexx does a ton of damage; Sirro gets his wings back through a divine intervention and does more, but... this thing is way, way too big for even a solid hit to make a lot of difference. We're going to have to whittle it down. Meghan casts divine aura, making us all a lot harder to hit. Our wizard makes an attack but misses.
The Tarrasque attacks! Grimblood and Lexx fail their saves and are terrified, but everybody else is okay. Grimblood takes some slashing damage (but hey, rage!) and the two fighters take some as well.
Okay, so we're fucked. New plan: we're going to need a giant enchanted fishhook and a lot of enchanted chain.
Lexx the Fallen Aasimar reaches out for something, anything, and gets his wings back. He can now do necrotic damage and for the length of this battle can also fly. It seems the Raven Queen supports us.
Sirro does something to damage it, and it's now down at the 3/4 mark on its hit points. The pattern on its attacks seems to be roar, then bite, claw, claw, horn, tail.
The wizard tries a magical star attack, and the star turns away from the tarrasque and hits him instead. Irritated, the wizard casts Freezing Sphere for some godsawful amount of damage; the Tarrasque is annoyed, and swallows the barbarian. Then it goes to attack Sirro, hits itself instead, and then attacks Sirro again, this time doing some damage.
Grimblood uses his wish to get out of the monster's stomach and winds up on the beast's back, where he makes a single attack to stay in place... and crits. The tarrasque tries to buck him off, and instead drives the sword in deeper. Sirro casts a healing and restores us, then brings Grimblood all the way back up to max by flying up and slapping him on his naked ass. (Grimblood fights completely naked. Armor on the battlefield is for the weak. So is clothing.) Vulf attacks and smacks the fuck out of it.
Meghan points with her scythe and recites "Ye hold the doorway and none shall pass." Meghan is casting Blight, and even with the save the tarrasque takes 50 damage. The Goddess of Death is generous.
Sirro suddenly remembers that seduction was supposed to be Plan A, and... winds up in the beast's mouth. The wizard promptly rescues him.
The Tarrasque is not happy. It takes a bite at Lexx, then tries to claw Grimblood off. It does some damage but doesn't manage to pry him loose. The tarrasque attacks Vulf and does some damage, but loses Lexx from its mouth. Grimblood attacks and does some more damage, then manages not to get bucked off. Taking advantage of his shadow wings, Lexx swoops around and attacks its ass, reaming the monster thoroughly with his longswords. Sirro swings up and plants a blade next to Grimblood, then offers him a ride off. Meghan blasts it with Blight again, solidly damaging it. The wizard casts Control Water, then uses that to lift Grimblood off the Tarrasque; Grimblood takes advantage of Sirro's presence and leaps into his arms just before the water would have dropped him onto the docks.
Dala has been dancing around the monster, attacking, then moving away, then hiding. The Tarrasque finally notices the rogue and starts scratching around his legs, but fails to find him. It slashes at Vulf and does a bit of damage, then hits Lexx. It tries another tail sweep for the rogue, and finally manages to connect. Dala attacks in return, and the Tarrasque falters and turns away, roars, and heads back into the water. We have felled the Tarrasque.
Someone is washed up on the shore in formerly-lavish robes. He too has a medallion, but this one is custom. It's got the footprint on the front, and on the back it says F.T.T. This is Todd, and his group was summoning it for sex. ("We thought... if we tied it down... it would be safe...") So we grab Todd and start focusing on our medallions, and Scythe appears.
We get a bunch of experience and Grimblood goes off to retrieve his kilt.