So, they fought my first 4e Lich. I have a long love of Liches, and over the many years a few have appeared in my games with each quickly becoming an icon of fear and despair to those that battled them, and to those who followed in their footsteps. I always feel that a Lich should be unique. Each was a powerful spellcaster or similar in life, and in the cold eternities of unlife they will have developed items and powers of unique and terrible potency. No one should ever take a Lich lightly.
In truth, this guy (Atrophius, the leader of the Ravensoul Cabal) performed well. I should have given him more powers truth be told (a valuable lesson for when you make a solo - they will be on the field a long time, make sure they always have something nasty and interesting to do), and at times he felt a little uninspiring. However, my players seemed to love the battle, and a cheer went up when he fled, even though they all know he will be back - worse than ever and almost certainly not vulnerable to the radiant runes on Veteran's axe.
Anyway, here is the session report. Enjoy!
Anyway, here is the session report. Enjoy!
* * *
12:03 – 12:05 – It is amazing to the group how two short minutes can feel like an entire lifetime. The battle with this Lich and its two unholy allies is a painful reminder of the power of evil, the diverse nature of magic and those that twist it to their ends.
The Lich wields a vast arsenal of magics, and uses them with terrible ease. His unholy gaze fosters pus-filled buboes within the suddenly necrotic tissues of those it meets, and his lipless mouth drools and hawks incantations that unleash dripping beams of putrefying energy, flickering arcs of life stealing magic and at one point, a greasy blast of consuming fire, tainted with necrotic power. He walks through the darkness of his own being at will, teleporting with the same ease the heroes walk, and his mere presence triggers haemorrhaging and implicit dread in Ormid and his allies. He is a pollution of sanity given sentience; a rotting blot of unholy power that must be taken down.
However, his allies, the undead that Ormid later identifies as Wheeps, are a source of torment too. Their constant screams and moans pick away at the parties ability to focus and fill them with despair, turning every action into a monumental effort. They bite with sharpened fangs covered in their seething toxic tears, and many blows miss their mark thanks to their hideous presence.
Ormid quickly imbues the warforged's axe with radiant power, and this proves to be a great equalizer, for its touch devours the flesh and bones of the undead with glassy blazing flames of cold rainbow light. He also summons a small construct to the battlefield, which is imbued with life energy; a clattering, glassy-eyed thing, that repeatedly restores burned and rotted flesh to its former vitality, and enhances the adventurers ability to shrug off the most vicious wounds. The warforged does his best to tie the Lich down, but finds it almost impossible to keep still as it flickers to and fro across the battle field, whilst Llewellyn darts in and out of range, swiping with his thrumming, adamantium mace, crunching it repeatedly into the undead's preternatural bodies. Ardwaine smacks her hammer into anything without a pulse (mechanical or otherwise) within reach, and scores numerous telling blows – only to see many heal as the undead's baleful energy mend their bones and flesh (this is actually halted when they are burned by the shimmering flames on the warforged's axe), whilst Ferrous goes toe to toe with one of the Wheeps, receiving poisoned wounds over and over from its foetid bite.
At one point, Llewellyn and The Veteran move to flank the Lich, and immediately discover that the foul thing has worked a contingency against this; a ring of thrusting bone blades suddenly appearing around him in a driving burst, shoving them back and opening bleeding wounds.
With effort, the first Wheep is smashed to the ground. However, the Lich seems to draw power from this, a foul miasma rising from the things slumping form to wreathe it in protective darkness. As the Wheep drops it also emits a deafening scream which dazes those hearing it. The Lich also calls upon its own unholy tenacity to shrug off some of the blazing wounds inflicted upon it, and the group almost despair when it almost contemptuously shrugs off most of their lingering attacks effects.
The fight shifts back and forth, the winds of battle taking the struggling combatants across the smoking ruins of Greenford. Foul power lashes at the group, and on more than one occasion they question whether they will be able to survive this day. However slowly, painfully, they whittle away at the foul thing and its remaining ally; the fight moving to the tops of the crumbling walls of the shattered buildings and boulders that dot the area.
And then it is over.
The second Wheep is cut down, its tormented shrieks drawing blood from and stinging the minds of those that stand too close, and seeing this, the Lich summons its darkness forth and flees, its psychic voice cursing the party.
There is no question that it will return and seek revenge for its humiliation.
There is also no doubt that next time it will have an answer for the groups most useful attacks, and that if they are to survive another round, they must be ready and have new tricks to play.
At this moment though the group are too tired, hurt and grateful that the battle is over and they are alive to care.