Continued from here
Keeping out the Nasties.
We closed and barred the doors, and dropped any portculli that were still up. Our next job – raise block A. I worked out that raising the block the entire 10 feet requires 10 Dwarves 100 minutes, so each foot requires either 1 Dwarf for 100 minutes, or 2 Dwarves for 50 minutes, etc. We figured that they would only need the block open 4 feet, but that was still going to take 400 Dwarf-minutes – with all 8 remaining big people on the job, it would still take a good 50 minutes to raise the block enough to let the main party in. Al checked through the periscopes, and could just make out a large group of Dwarves outside the main gate.
And I just looked at my crossbow.
My Masterwork Crossbow.
More like a Manglework Light Crossbow.
There were still ten of our original eleven left. Denerik was badly injured, and Sister Eddarock had had a level drained by one of the wights. Bastards.
And then, of course, we’ve lost our Sergeant.
I sniffed a little, but then bent my abilities to making sure that B door would not close again without some serious engineering work.
Beside the murder holes for both doors A and B were a number of bottles marked “Acid”, “Fire” (presumably Alchemists’ Fire) and “Special”. I had no idea what “Special” was, and I was thinking of just opening the top a little and sniffing, but my musings were (luckily) interrupted by a voice coming through the Speaking Tube.
“Upper Gatehouse. What’s happening up there?”
We debated what to answer but were interrupted by the Paladin’s “Surrender, traitors.”
Right. So subtlety is out, then. I’d forgotten that little fact about paladins.
We moved the barrels to the murder holes, and got ready to pour when necessary, and then I checked the Door A Mechanism for any nasty traps. I didn’t find any, so, crossing my fingers, I waved the big people on to start winching it up.
Suddenly there was a distant, heavy WHAM that shook the floor. They must have dropped door C. We heard the sound of boots coming towards the temporary stores – we had dropped the portcullis, but it was only going to hold them back for so long.
Looking through periscope, Al spotted a bundle of ugly Dwarves. Just then I heard the door at the back of the balcony area open! Someone looked out, squeaked, and shut it again. I rushed over and jammed the locks, and as it’s the storeroom, they had no other way out of there. I checked that the other doors were well and truly blocked and locked, and hurried back to Al.
Al thought to open the portcullis, let them rush through, then drop it behind them. But they had something special down there , and were likely to get through the Portcullis before we could arrange it. So we started the defence. The clerics cast a Consecrate to screw with the creepy ones, and Al started up a FBNS then threw a Disrupt Undead at a zombie and took it down. Not to mention the acid and Alchemists’ Fire we poured through. But, scarily enough, what looked like the Boss just walked up through the fire, and hacked at the portcullis, slicing through one bar as if it were butter!
I grabbed a tanglefoot bag and sent it through on top of him, as Al sent a Ray of Enfeeblement his way. He still managed to dodge the FBNS, but was having trouble moving through enough to hit the door again. Al did her little adjustment for the FBNS and gave us a lovely roasting Dwarf scent through the whole gatehouse.
So we tried the one marked “Special”. It was an ooze! It dropped into the middle of the fight, and went for their faces! The Chief Dude moved across the door away from the Oozy thing, but then the stupid Oozy Thing crawled on top of FBNS, and started getting crisped. Boss dude yelled “Blunt Objects”, so Al moved the FBNS onto the boss, putting the crispyness where it belonged. Meanwhile, the Jelly charged around the wights and did its duty.
The winching crept on apace. I worked out later that, being down to 6 winchers, they would have lifted the block a whole quarter inch by now.
Al and I watched in frustration as the Boss swigged a potion, and the wights pounded on the jelly. I grabbed another bottle marked “Special” and started towards the Murder Holes. Al’s toasty Sphere toasted the boss some more, but the first jelly got whopped into gel. The barrel with the next one was rather heavy, and it took me a while to move it.
Al let loose a rat swarm, which went for the undeadypoos, but frustratingly, the Boss dude moved away from the portcullis, swigging another potion. Al moved the FBNS to a nearby living dude. And all the while, our larger team mates winched away.
Alas, now the guys downstairs started to shoot back at us through the Murder Holes, and one got Al, (bastard), while another lobbed some of their own Alchemists’ Fire into the swarm.
“Does that make these guys the Embalmy Army?”
Al dropped more acid down on the guys shooting her, which hit her swarm as well, but got the important Nasties nice and proper.
Then the Big guy came charging forward again, whacking at the door with his rather big axe Despite the bars’ strength, he managed to chop through a couple more bars. Al and I made use of another FBNS, and another “Special” barrel, while the people winching sang silly songs to help their stamina (and our morale).
But despite Al’s and my efforts, the bastards got through the portcullis, and started their rush into the Loading Room. We left the 4 Dwarves on winching, while Mel and Maul stepped out so they can help. Luckily the hole in the bars would only allow one person to come through at once. Mel, Maul and I hurried to the balcony to get people as they came through, while Al moved the FBNS back onto Boss Dude, then added the pleasure of a Magic Missile or two.
And dammit if the boss didn’t swig another potion. Al threw another Disrupt Undead, but this one didn’t do so well – just managed to make the nose fall off another zombie.
And the block was a whole half-inch up.
We threw a third jelly down, but this one must have been past its use-by date – it just wibbled a bit while the Dwarves pounded it into the floor. I used another tanglefoot bag, and the zombie that walked into that one pulled itself to pieces trying to free itself. Yes! Yet some of Mel’s shots on the bastards seem to be shrugged off. And as the next bunch tried to come through, Al dropped some more acid on them.
“If I could put Ooze in a bottle…”
Al grumbled about not being able to target the big dude, and instead dropped some Alchemists’ Fire on the undeads under murder holes, causing quite some damage. By now, though, the rogues were almost up to the walkway. I readied my nice bow. Then Maul threw a spear – badly – and it clanged off Mel’s armour.
“OI! WATCH IT!”
Mel fired at the Zombie, but it had no effect. Same with my bow – dammit. At last, I remembered the holy water and tanglefoots. (Tanglefeet?)
Al abandoned the Murder Holes, and ran up to join us, while Mel fired into the live Dwarves, aiming for one with a crossbow. Maul’s lightning finally crashed down, into a guy with a shield. And the scouts with us took out the crossbow dude. Meanwhile a bunch had made it upstairs, but I realised the front one was undead so I gave it what for with the holy water. It was a nice hit – who would have thought water would make things sizzle. Al used “disrupt undead” again, while I got the bow ready to get the alive guy.
Mel aimed at the zombie coming up the stairs, causes some damage on the dude. Maul was holding something back, and crackling with energy. The zombie that got to the top of the stairs charged Maul but missed, and she unleashed the lightning on the shielded dude, who staggered and fell into a mushroom cart down below. The guy under the walkway dropped his bow into the muck, where it sank beneath a pile of sweaty mushrooms. Al disrupted another wight, which looked unhappy, and I shot a bloke who looked nasty. Mel got angry at the wight, dropped her bow and charged the blighter, blasting it into pieces. Maul’s axe flew, slicing and dicing and splitting the zombie, and it flew off the balcony in several pieces.
Our own scouts (actually rogues) went for the live guy under the walkway, and took him down. One wight managed to climb the stairs, so Mel took a swing – but missed. Al’s “Disrupt Undead” flew about, not always hitting, as neither did my next arrow. But I was getting better. And as for “better”, you should have seen Roderick whacking the wight, which also copped a shot of lightning from Al, and its eyes lit up with an unholy glowing fire. From the yell of anguish, one of the fighters below also got a shock. The wight attempts to bullrush Mel, who whacked but missed. But the bullrush failed.
Al threw a Magic Missile salvo at the boss, while I fired at him (a nice solid hit, by the thud). Poor Mel had a wight in her face and swung Roddie, as Maul threw another lightning on the staircase. The buzzing and the charred smell were magnificent. And the rogues went right for the boss, but missed him.
The wight ran past Mel to get at Maul – but by the time it got there, only its hand hit her. The next three came out – two live Dwarves went for Maul, but the wight tried Mel (and missed, thank goodness. Those Level Drains are vicious!) Al threw another Magic Missile at the dude behind the shield, and I realised we had left the murder holes un-watched, so I rushed back to double check. And behind me there was an almighty crash of thunder as the last of Maul’s lightning hit hard.
There were flurries of movement at the stairs, the wight went for Mel again, but she managed a whack at the Boss Dude, who tried back with a Sunder on Mel’s shield. His shiny shiny axe did really nasty damage on Mel’s shield – it’s a special sort of axe which we really should give to Maul instead of letting this bastard use it. But Mel’s shield was broken, dammit.
Al sent another Magic Missile onto the boss, finally taking him out. (I have no idea why they shouted “Take that, Peter Dutton”, as they did, but.). I double- checked in the periscope, in case there might be reinforcements, but saw nothing but dead bodies. Our the rogues fired madly into the dudes. Mel whacked at the guys coming up, but there was a flurry of blows and nothing more. One went for Maul with a pick, and the look of hatred for Maul’s Oricsh good looks. The glaive missed her though. Al Magic Missile’d back onto the one with the shield trying for Maul, and I ducked forward and lobbed an Alchemists’ Fire over the shield guy’s head onto the one with the glaive. Mel flailed at the wight, and almost removes an arm, but it still kept on.
Her axe flew from her hands and hit Burla, hard as anything, while the axe fell down to the mushrooms below. Eltu swung at shield guy with her war axe, and Denerik with her axe, and he dropped. The guy with the glaive whacked at Maul and hurt her, while the three going for Mel tried hard, with one dude waving his mace around double-handed and hitting her. Then the guy behind with a shield though copped a whack from Roddie and staggered severely.
Brother Oddrack started the heals, and Denerik stepped up to help Maul and handed her a pick. The glaive guy stepped back and took another swing at Maul, hitting rather hard. The wight moved up behind it, and Al disrupted it into bones and rotting flesh.
Maul: Down-wight nasty.
Mel’s combat continued, and I tried to fire at the guy with the glaive, but missed. Maul’s efforts were rebuffed by the glaive guy (who had full plate) and Denerik went for the dude with the glaive going after Mel, and downed him! The Rogues kept trying for shield guy. The two left – the glaive guy near Maul and the shield guy near Mel – kept waving their stuff. Then Al Magic Missile’d the guy with the shield, (which is of course guaranteed to avoid said shield), and he clutched his face, screamed and fell into the mushrooms.
Meanwhile, my little bow sproinged and missed again.
And Mel ran around the back of the guy with the glaive, allowing that Mel and Maul could now flank him and hit hard.
Al shot acid at the guy, but missed, and Mel and Roderick took one last whack, double-handed, but he ducked, which allowed Maul to swing the pick up and into his side. There was much yelling of encouragement, despite the dude’s last whack on Maul (which did hit her hard on the helm and draw blood). Al’s acid drbbled over the mushrooms, Mel’s sword swung over the top, and Maul got a last hit and backed off (the guy didn’t hit her). He then went for Mel, missed, there was a flurry of arrows and blows, lots more misses, (because everyone was getting tired), and people started making silly mistakes.
One of our rogues shot at the last guy but hit Mel instead (luckily it pinged off her armour). Then, in a manoeuvre worthy of a well-choreographed dancing troupe, Denerik moved back and Maul handed her back the pick. More flurries of blows. Maul threw a stormburst at him, dusrupting his concentration, and Denerik headed in. Al called upon the glories of the gods of her heart, fired her crossbow, and hit him well and proper.
And I realised that we might be able to see the good guys coming in, so I headed to the periscope out the front. There they were – Dwarves we recognised, hefting swords and axes and hammers, and watching as the door got up to 2 inches high.
Then Mel finally connected with Roderick, and the guy dropped.
At. Fucking. Last.
Maul and I headed to the chopped portcullis, and cast an Invisible on me so I could go scouting. The others checked the bodies. There was Dwarf-shaped full plate magical armour which we made sure Darria put on. The Boss Dude turned out to be Elder Dern, one of the senior people of the abbey. And his Axe was shiny but not magic.
I snuck to the portcullis near lower barracks, but found it was locked, so I headed back. There were noises like huge hammers on the guardroom doors as if the bad Dwarves had brought up bigger tools. But we had prisoners to release.