Genive, still in Disguise, leads the Heroes’ attack. She bursts into the room, Surprising the occupants, and shouts that the Tower is under attack from within. Then Stumpy, Lester, and Jaques charge in, keeping the group tight.
In the moment before Jaques and Lester cast their spells, they and Genive and Stumpy get the full picture of who is actually in here.
In one corner of the room stands a fearsome-looking Half-Orc barbarian. The only evidence that he is a Half-Orc is his arms and visible skin; on his face is an ivory Mask of the Skull. He carries an Adamantine Heavy Flail over his shoulder, and is clad in Studded Leather. This hulking figure is of slightly higher level than the Heroes are. He is standing in a group with two human Barbarians.
In the center of the room is a Barbarian Sorcerer, an Enchanter of Fey heritage. He is with a Barbarian. In the far corner is another Barbarian Sorcerer, a Necromancer of Fiendish heritage, and also with a Barbarian. These spellcasters are each of the same level as the Half-Orc.
Standing against opposite walls, are two Druids. Each one has two Brown Bear pets before him. These Druids, shamans of the Four Nations tribe, are quite experienced. One is in conversation with a Barbarian.
At the far side of the room, at the foot of the stairs to the second Ballista floor, is another Barbarian. Beside this wildman looms the Barbarian Chieftain. The Chieftain is a horrifying sight; one and a half times the Heroes’ level of experience, stronger than an elephant when Enraged, fast and skillful in combat. And wielding a Greatsword. A Vorpal one.
A Chieftain, his lieutenant, six Barbarian warriors, four Brown Bears, two Druids, and two Sorcerers … against Genive, Lester, Dwarven Defender Stumpy, and wizard Jaques. And since Genive is in Disguise, she is not a target.
It is a Free Action, during the Surprise Round of combat, for the Party’s misgivings about this endeavor to become Grave. On the fly they decide to deal as much damage as possible first to the spellcasting Sorcerers and, as possibly, against the less-threatening Druids. The Sorcerers are considered to be an immediate problem. If and when this situation should become untenable, Lester is within arm’s reach of his allies and can pull them out of there with a Teleport.
Jaques uses his Rod of Quickening to dish out two spells; first an Acid Storm at the center of the room, and then he banks an Acid-converted Lightning Bolt through several enemies and off a wall to connect with both Sorcerers in a straight line. Lester targets the Sorcerer in the middle of the room with an Orb of Force.
The effort is not the supreme knockout-punch success as they had against the Patrol group a few minutes ago, but it gives the Heroes a glimmer of hope. By the end of this round, one Sorcerer is dropped to just below unconscious, and the other is killed. This command group now has no Arcane spells such as Transfix, Flesh to Stone, Feeblemind, or Cryptwarden’s Grasp. Barbarians caught in the Heroes’ spells have taken damage as well, but not enough to drop any of them.
On Genive’s action, she feigns attacking Stumpy to maintain the illusion that she is one of the Barbarian horde. Stumpy, having assumed a Defensive Stance, desperately wishes he had not volunteered to join these idiot humans’ suicide mission.
The command group attacks. Lester makes a Reflex Save to avoid being trapped in a Druid’s Enveloping Cocoon spell. Jaques, however, fails his Fort save and finds his lungs filled with stagnant water from a Swamp Lung spell. He falls prone, coughing for the next two rounds to expel the fetid fluid, and has contracted the Filth Fever disease.
The Half-Orc charges into melee and, with a crushing Sunder from his adamantine Heavy Flail, destroys Stumpy’s shield and follows up with a Sundering Cleave against Stumpy himself. This lieutenant is truly a Combat Brute. Half of the human Barbarian warriors advance to melee and attack Stumpy, ignoring their “ally” Genive and “his” useless attempts to help kill the Dwarf. The Barbarian Chieftain only watches, confident in his men.
Now is a good time to leave. Stumpy is without a shield and is prime target, Genive cannot aid in their defense or her ruse is lost, and Jaques is puking up ditch-water at their feet. Lester touches his allies and makes a quick, panicked Teleport. For a destination he chooses the observation bunker where the rest of the Party was sent back to wait.
A moment before she vanishes from the room, Genive makes a Spot check and notices something very interesting.
Lester’s haste was regrettably necessary, and in this hurry was lost the accuracy of a successful Teleport…