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Tag: boss_battle

Chapter 1 — Truly Horrid!
The gray monster dead, Solisar immediately flew off to recover Kytharrah. As he passed by, he saw the formerly mind-controlled slaves wondering about, all of them seemingly lost.

   At the door, Barth spoke. "These are the docking-bay doors, we are finally here."

   The wooden-planked walkway upon which they stood passed through a slit in the doors, and the doors extended above and below it, such that a worker could guide a floating crate out to waiting ships from either side and from either the top or bottom of the plane.

   Szordrin, still invisible, asked why there were no defenders for a wildspace station such as this.

   "We do have defenders," said Barth. "The Consortium pays mercenaries to protect us from such raids or the threat of them."

   "Where are they now?"

   "Perhaps you were betrayed," suggested Hakam. He put his ear to the door and heard muffled sounds through the thick wood. "Be ready for another fight," he warned.

   "An umber hulk, likely the one with the neogi on its back, came through these doors," said Leokas, noting the scratch marks he could spot on the wood at their feet.

   Kytharrah jogged along the plank to join them. Despite having been cleaned by one of Solisar's simple cantrips, he was still a mess — bleeding, cut up, and missing fur — but he still had a grin on his face, as he chugged from a bottle of healing potion, and at least the prestidigitation meant that he no longer smelled of sewage. Hakam hesitatingly put a hand on his wet fur to heal him. The flesh wounds sealed and the blood stopped, but he would still need a full-body barber to look presentable elsewhere.

   "We will still have the blessing of my god for whatever we have to fight beyond these doors," Hakam said.

   "Minotaur," the cleric continued, "Shove open the door and charge at whatever enemy you see. Do not look any of them in the eyes!" Then, using the magic of his air-walking spell, he flipped himself to the bottom side. Belvin joined him on the bottom side and began stripping off all his clothes, so that he would be ready to shapeshift.

   Kytharrah stepped up to the doors, shoved them wide open, ducked his head, and charged in.

   "Truly horrid!" exclaimed Martho.

   Leokas leapt through the doors at once and saw the object of Martho's comment. There ahead on the docks, standing with its back to them for the moment, was the largest umber hulk yet. It was at least double the height of their minotaur. Leokas let two arrows fly into its upper back just as Kytharrah drove into its lower carapace with his horns. To Kytharrah, it felt somewhat like charging into a metal wall. His head rang from the crash, and he stumbled back dizzily, but he still knew that he had a job to do. As the creature stomped step by step to turn around, the minotaur struck it again with both the melted and bladed sides of his weapon.

   The adventurers took in the scene around them. The umber hulk was not the only threat. Human crossbowmen, probably more slaves, were moving up and down the metal staircase leading from the docks to the upper offices. They were moving about on the Frihet too. Only Solisar, who was still flying, could see down on the deck to notice that many of the crew were bound. Nargroth was tied up at the forecastle, while he spotted Oma bound to the mizzenmast and Bansh to the mainmast.

   The other vessel that had been docked here, the tradesman, was gone, but now a much, much larger vessel filled the back of the docking bay, blocking it. It appeared to be made from a curved, dark crystalline material. Almost double the width of the Frihet, it looked something like a giant spider that had come in backwards, its engorged abdomen up against the back of the dock. Between several spider-like appendages hung sail-like webbing. The dome-like abdomen was open in the back, revealing two wooden decks within. The upper deck had a catapult and two ballistae aimed at the Frihet, while on the lower deck, more enslaved humans were at work moving crates.

   Five different Szordrins suddenly popped into vision below Solisar. From each, a dagger of ice flew forth. The sole non-illusionary icicle shattered against the giant umber hulk as it faced down Kytharrah. Kytharrah swung again but missed. The monster's left claw and then its right clasped the haft of the large axe and snapped the weapon in two. Kytharrah jumped back in shock — and just in time to avoid being decapitated by the rapidly vibrating giant mandibles that the hulk used for burrowing through stone.

   Solisar sent a cloud of glitterdust down on the monster in an attempt to distract it. Leokas stepped forward and prayed for aid on his next shot, while nocking an arrow, waiting for the perfect opening. Hakam walked on air from below and behind Kytharrah and touched him, granting the minotaur enhanced strength. Kytharrah felt the rush of power and snorted. He moved to the left side of the towering umber hulk, while grabbing a small vial. Quickly chugging it, he near-instantly doubled in size. "Now play!" he bellowed, arms ready to wrestle.

   Suddenly, there was an enormous sound of crashing, cracking, and grinding, and the whole wooden dock shook and buckled. The massive umberhulk fell onto its backside, and Szordrin also lost his balance. All five of him tumbled into the gravity plane. Only Solisar could see the cause of the sound and rumbling. A hammership had driven at full speed into the docking bay and rammed into the head of the neogi spelljammer. It fired a ballista directly through the crystalline windows at the head of the spider-shaped vessel. Sword-carrying men swung down from the masts of the hammership on ropes, shouting war cries.

   On the Frihet, Nargroth roared in rage and tore apart his bindings. The mind-controlled man guarding him was tossed overboard moments later.

   Belvin, stark naked, suddenly flipped around from the bottom-side of the dock, behind the umber hulk. As the umber hulk rose to its full height again, Belvin morphed into an eight-foot-tall polar bear and roared.

   The umber hulk turned to face the minotaur that now matched it in height and the white bear and seemed to hesitate. Szordrin magically tried to sway it from where he floated in the gravity plane. "I suggest that you investigate that crashing sound at your ship."

   Instead, it lunged at Kytharrah. Kytharrah ducked and rammed his horns again into the monster. The monster drove its massive claw into Kytharrah's right side.

   Magic missiles and arrows flew at the umber hulk. A heavy object struck the dock, tossed by Hakam. An instant later, a huge elephant now flanked the monster. It punctured the umber hulk's left side with its massive tusks, while the polar bear tried to bite at the legs with its jaws. Then, with a loud twang, a ballista bolt sprung from the deck of the Frihet and impaled the insectoid creature. Nargroth let out a victory yell from their ship, but the umber hulk still stood, even with a huge wooden projectile protruding from the front of its carapace and hemolymph spurting from several gore wounds.

   Kytharrah took the opportunity to try and shove the umber hulk off the dock, but even with his doubled size and enhanced strength, the umberhulk slammed him back with a blow that almost knocked him senseless. He felt blood all over his face, and it was hard to see. The umber hulk's digging mandibles began to whir, and it tried to look Kytharrah in the eyes, but before the magical gaze could affect the minotaur, the floating Szordrins completed a spell that filled the area around the umber hulk with magical darkness. "Lunk, get out of there! It is too big for you!"

   Kytharrah stumbled backward out of the darkness and dropped to one knee, as the monster's bite had still managed to slash at him in the dark as he pulled back. Hakam was there immediately to send a surge of positive energy through his body.

   The impaled-but-standing umber hulk was still in the darkness, trapped between a roaring polar bear and a trumpeting elephant. Leokas flipped himself over to the underside of the docks and hustled to the other end. Solisar flew toward Oma on the aftcastle, while continuously aiming his wand back toward the umber hulk and letting missiles of magic fly unerringly. The Szordrins, duplicate scrolls in hand, called down a rain of icy snowballs into the darkness. Hakam ran through the air to the staircase and observed the rest of the area. The crossbowmen who had been there were now aiming their shots at the mercenaries battling on the decks and dome of the neogi vessel, content to let their masters' monster fight the powerful newcomers.

   From the forecastle of the Frihet, Nargroth shouted, "Hey, hairy buddy with horns!" Kytharrah glanced over to see Nargroth's double-headed axe flipping through the air. It landed on the dock, and Kytharrah swiped it up. He could not see into the magical darkness, of course, but he could smell his opponent. He stepped back in and drove down his new weapon, hearing a loud crack, as the blade cut through the shell of the monster's forearm. He heard the dreaded whirring of mandibles and sprung back, but still they caught him in the chest, digging deep enough to chip a chunk out of his sternum. He fell to his back on the dock outside of the sphere of darkness.

   "Szordrin, I cannot shoot something that I cannot see!" shouted Leokas from below.

   The tiefling wizard dismissed his spell, as Leokas leapt from the dock in an attempt to land on the underside of the figurehead of the Frihet for the right angle to shoot at the umber hulk, but his feet slipped, and he continued past, gliding away on the gravity plane.

   Belvin, in polar bear form, and the elephant, continued to hold the umber hulk at bay, but it was swinging its massive arms wildly at both of them. Hakam hustled back down through the air to Kytharrah, who was on his back heaving in difficult breaths. Positive energy once again restored him. "Stop getting hit!" Hakam commanded.

   Able to see now, Belvin went low and wrapped his furry arms and claws around the umber hulk's legs in a hug, yanking it off-balance. The elephant drove a dusk into the back of the umber hulk's neck, driving the ivory weapon deep into the back of its head. The umber hulk twitched and jerked in its death throes before going still.

   The rest of the battle went very quickly. Solisar cut Oma free, and soon a summoned owlbear skeleton appeared on the neogi deck to block fleeing slaves from the escaping the mercenary boarding party. Bansh, once Nargroth had cut his bonds, helped the half-orc remove the mind-controlled humans from the decks and untie the rest of the crew. No one on the Frihet had been killed; it seemed that the intent had been to make slaves out of all of them.

   Solisar helped Leokas return from drifting away, and Belvin changed back into an elf and began recovering his clothes. Then they gathered at the edge of the docks, cracked where the neogi vessel had been driven into the wood. The deck of the neogi ship was strewn with bodies, and various mercenaries were wiping the blood from their weapons. A large man with a tricorne hat like Ombert and Frath wore stepped out from deeper in the vessel and approached them. He was carrying a small object that was dripping blood. He came up to them and tossed the decapitated, eel-like hairy head of a neogi at their feet.

   "Behold, the neogi 'master'," said the man. "My marines are already claiming all the cargo on board the deathspider for us. However, we could not have taken down that umber hulk monstrosity without great loss of life. My thanks is that I've ordered my men to leave its personal treasure horde to you; hearing this thing's spinal column snap as I ripped its head from its body with my hands is reward enough for me. Neogi masters always keep their trinkets in a room across from their quarters at the very front of the vessel. Help yourself. I won't set foot again on that god-cursed ship."
Session: 108th Game Session - Wednesday, Mar 20 2019 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
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