D&D 4E: The Skull-Skull Arena

The Skull Skull Arena

There was probably a way to get through this without fighting… but we’re all experts. We’re all MMO vets. See a monster, kill a monster.

Halfling thief Wenner crept down the stairs to another room, furnished with the requisite sarcophagi (and sarcophagals). The coffins and coffers each had small animal skulls piled upon them, and between them, another sludge-filled pit. At the far end of the room, closed, thick wooden doors barred further progress. On either side, 10′ stone platforms stretching to both walls held two kobolds, who passed around a sludge covered boulder that was tied by a rope to the ceiling. They would, tetherball-like, swing the stone out, catch some of the animal skulls on it, and the other would catch it.

Welcome to the exciting world of Skull Skull Arena.

Though we were still battered and bloody from the kobold assault on the floor above, two lone kobolds looked like easy prey. While Wenner scuttled over behind a sarcophaperson, I (Tipa, dragonborn paladin) roared and ran from the stairs, used an action point and charged the rest of the way, then spit acid mist at the nearest kobold.

Did they expect that? No, they didn’t. My target staggered back in fear; the other kobold tried to swing the boulder at me and missed. This was going great!

Four more kobolds appear, one from a midden near me. But hey, kobolds.

Human mage Bryn and elf cleric Sheeoil (SHAY-oy) left cover and headed into the fray. Bryn took out two of the kobolds nearest me with a single spell, which was pretty damn impressive. The other kobold and I traded feints and strikes without either of us hitting until Wenner managed to get a good strike in from behind, settling that score.

Brynn and Sheeoil were dealing with the other kobolds, but things weren’t going quite as well. While Sheeoil was moving into range, one of the kobolds tossed a fire grenade at him, setting him on fire. The smell of roasted elf-flesh immediately lent a festive air to the room; the cleric flailed about and lay dying (and still burning) near the slime pit.

With all the kobolds near me defeated, I ran to Sheeoil, extinguished him and used a Lay on Hands to bring him back from the brink. Sheeoil slowly brought himself back to health while Bryn continued focusing on the remaining kobolds. I ran up to keep them interested in not killing the wizard, but the dice were not with me and I never got a clear shot.

Wenners shurikens brought down the last kobold, and it was time to relax. Except the encounter clock kept ticking. No relaxing.

What WAS behind that door?

Something that hissed… and had claws…

Wenner concealed himself (eventually) above the door while Bryn and Sheeoil positioned themselves on the other side of the slime pit. The IDEA was, I’d open or bash the door and then run and leap over the pit to join Bryn and Sheeoil while the monster got stuck in the slime, and Wenner hit it from behind. Epic win, right?

Bashing the door wasn’t doing much, so I took the rock-on-a-rope and splintered the door with it. Two guard drakes rushed out. One grabbed one of my arms, the other grabbed the other arm, and I went down, unconscious and bleeding to death.

So much for the Michael Bay move.

Sheeoil and Wenner rushed toward the melee while Bryn positioned himself so he could hit both critters. Sheeoil used a prayer to heal Wenner and I while also damaging the drakes; I groaned and opened my eyes. Bryn zapped one, gaining its attention and giving me an attack of opportunity as it slithered toward the mage. I hit, finally!

That was the turning point. A night of bad rolls turned into a night of amazing rolls. The drakes, weakened by a spell, were unsure who to bite first. Wenner and Sheeoil took out drake #1; I rushed to Bryn’s side, using my daily to damage and daze the second drake while Laying Hands on the mage.

The drakes were dead and we weren’t. Wenner crept down past the broken doors and came to a cavernous room filled with the voices of kobolds and something darker. We decided to exit the dungeon and rest for the night. We’d need every trick we could get to take on whatever lay below.

It took awhile for us to agree to rest outside; I think all of us were at least a little worried that if we left, the instance would reset and we’d have to kill all those kobolds again :P

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Tipa

Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

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