Portals Rarely Wait

The false priest is uncovered as a doppelganger, a member of the Lonely Hearts Club thieves guild, and a bit of intimidation forces him to reveal that the real priest is locked away in the basement below the warehouse. Upon his release and the incarceration of the doppelganger a further development of the Lonely Hearts Club is discovered, with information that a portal is being opened that will see an army enter the city. Or something like that, I got distracted by a shiny object.

Just as we are about to head off to prevent the opening of yet another portal word reaches us that the house of a prominent cleric is on fire. The priest is almost panicked by the news, as the cleric is one of the few people who has the capability in the city of closing the portal should it be opened, so her rescue could be of great importance. Gruknal, Adran and Grimstorm jump in to action and head off in the direction of a rising cloud of smoke. Krafft and I don't much fancy the tedium of running in to a burning building and instead head off with the priest for some real heroism in trying to prevent the portal from opening in the first place.

Getting to the Stone Anvil church, which the doppelganger priest had assumed control over to disguise the true intention of the Lonely Hearts Club, we rush to find the portal before it is too late. Out of the corner of my eye I spy spiders the size of my hands gathering in the rafters of the church and it soon becomes clear that we must face some guardians first. A swarm of large spiders descends from the ceiling, accompanied by a couple of huge spiders flanking it. Krafft and I ready ourselves for combat.

Facing a swarm and there being only the two of us I decide to unleash my full power early. I use a daily power blast, knowing that swarms are vulnerable to damage from area of effect spells, incidentally dropping the two minions who are also caught in the blast. This seems like a good time to use an action point and on doing so a feat lets me make a basic melee attack, which I can swap for one of my at-will powers that can take place of a basic attack. Shifting back from beast form to elf as a free action my action point attack is another area of effect spell, a burst doing cold damage. It's just enough, as the swarm's vulnerability to area effects sees it disperse.

With no enemies left in the room Krafft asks, 'is it my turn?' Luckily for his rage some scurrying sounds can be heard from the corridor ahead and he charges down it to be faced with more giant spiders. He picks one minion off easily with his weapon before they all move in to attack him. But, even in the confines of the corridor, this is a dangerous tactic against Krafft and his polearm gamble feat, granting him an opportunity attack against any foe that moves next to him. The effect of each minion moving in to melee is that Krafft ends up with a 6-minion kebab on his weapon.

We drop out of initiative as the GM's head drops to the table, muttering 'a swarm and 8 minions killed in the first round of combat, to less than half the party' and what could be either muffled chuckling or crying, it is difficult to distinguish.

'Right, do we get to the portal in time to stop it opening?'

'No. Sadly, you were just too late, as you hear the clumping of footsteps further down the corridor.'

'Too late?! We were in combat for less than six seconds!' But we simply weren't quick enough for the plot to overtake us, it seems. Luckily, the plot also allows the rest of the party to turn up at that point, albeit a little singed. 'Oh, hi. Did you rescue the woman from the fire?'

'Um, no. We failed the skill challenge. My rolls were just as shabby as they were last week!', complains Adran, apparently suffering from breathing too much smoke.

'Let's be honest, it wasn't that your rolls were poor', Gruknal interjects, 'more that they reflected your actions. You weren't looking for the unconscious dwarf as much as trying to rescue the priceless tapestry, unburning magical urn, the statue that no longer has jewels for eyes... How did you get on with keeping the portal from opening?'

'Ah. Let's find out, shall we?'

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