On our way up a mountainous path to a monastery, we encounter some huge air elementals. We are not prepared for this, a single fly-by attack by one of the elementals, knocking Salvador down to half his hit points convincing us of this. We retreat back down the mountain.
We spend a night preparing tactics and spells to get past these elementals. Buff spells are learnt, utility spells are learnt, and when to use them and how is discussed. The next day we go back. The air elementals attack us again, and this time we are prepared.
Salvador is enlarged and flying, and can engage the elementals without penalty. He casts a swift True Strike on his weapon, followed by Vampiric Touch, smacking one of the elementals with a power attack that hits for plenty of damage, and draining it to gain himself some temporary hit points.
Thrak is enlarged and flying too. He engages the other air elemental and misses wildly. At least he intercedes the elemental likely to be attacking little gnomish me.
I cast Baleful Polymorph. One of the air elementals turns in to a bat. The now-bat doesn't fail its second saving throw against the polymorph spell, letting the creature keep its supernatural and spell-like abilities, as well as its intelligence and wisdom, but the now-bat doesn't see itself being a match for us any more. The bat, perhaps the toughest bat in the world, flies away from the battle.
Salvador strikes the first air elemental, dealing another massive hit and regaining more temporary hit points.
Thrak attempts to join in, but misses horribly again.
As much as I would like to see Salvador slay the air elemental, I have more spells that could end the battle more quickly. I cast Phantasmal Killer, revealing the air elemental's greatest fear and making it feel real. Maybe being turned in to a bat, I dunno. It works, the elemental failing its saving throws, and the air elemental dies immediately.
We were prepared. The encounter is over without too much trouble this time, although it's possible one of us wasn't quite pulling his dwarven weight.