Monday, 22 November 2010
Pathfinder Kingmaker: the mother of all owl bears
So, having killed the mother of all trolls in an earlier session, this time around we were faced with the mother of all owl bears. Regular readers will remember that a gigantic owl bear (heretofore to be known as Owlzilla by the players) had trampled all over our beloved capital of Staghelm while the party was off troll slaying. Interviewing survivors discovered said behemoth was also wearing armour (we were told metal, at which point druid Cassie and wizard Grameer dutifully swotted up on their Heat Metal spells).
Owlzilla was easy to track and we were quickly able to isolate its lair in the SE region of our domain in an as yet unexplored and unclaimed area of the domain. It was decided that we would have to enter the hill under which it laired, rather than lay an ambush outside and wait for it to come out foraging. Although an 80 foot cave mouth beckoned, we cautiously scouted for alternative entrances, and found a back route. However, this was only accessible via a narrow path, so again we left Bullwinkle, Cassie's moose companion, behind.
Wu Ya, the tengu monk, volunteered to scout the entrance, whereupon he was set upon by two ettercaps. Luckily Grameer was right behind him and fried their webs with a Fire Ball spell. The ettercaps did not last long enough for my character, Artemisia, to enter the cave but anyway, she was saving herself for the Boss.
A hole in the floor led down to a much bigger cave, where we found the body of one dead owl bear and two of its young, plus a third baby owl bear which was wounded and still alive. More worryingly the bodies of several half orcs and barbarians bore witness to a battle. We are currently working on the theory that Owlzilla was deliberately provoked into attacking Staghelm by a third party, and the finger of suspicion hovers over our erstwhile neighbours to the west, although Artemisia has not ruled out our eastern neighbours either, as this lair is much closer to their borders, and they could easily have slipped this party over the frontier.
Needless to say, as we were searching the cave for further clues, Owlzilla put in an appearance. Technically, we could have fled, but given we were here to kill him anyway, we decided to stay the course.
Most of the session was devoured by this epic battle. I can only speculate how many hit points this critter had. It managed to seize our rogue, Olban, as he was trying to flank it for a sneak attack, and proceed to use him as a club. It also managed to seize and rend our summoned griffon, eventually banishing/slaying it too. Wu Ya was enlarged by Grameer and launched a frontal attack on Owlzilla, while Artemisia moved round behind it to launch a flanking attack. Owlzilla now had both hands full, so the best he could do was fight us off using the luckless creatures he was holding (including Olban, who took damage every time he was used to strike something else).
Cassie and Grameer both summoned rhinos using Summon Nature's Ally, which proved particularly effective against Owlzilla. It managed to dispatch three of these all the same, but when it finally tottered and fell, was still facing a rhino and a pack of five dogs, all summoned, plus I think Cujo, our pet guard dog.
The surviving baby owl bear has been adopted, to join Susie, our trained owl bear, in our menagerie in Staghelm, and perhaps be trained up to be a future adventuring companion. Owlzilla is to be skinned and stuffed and mounted in the great hall of our castle in Staghelm, where it will be decorated at Xmas with ivy and presents for the children.
One other interesting outcome: Olban was almost beaten to a pulp, and had to be restored by Cassie's new cleric cohort. We decided to bribe one of his lieutenants to retire and leave the realm, letting the changeling Olban take on his identity. Then we can promote him to take over Olban's position on the council, and hopefully throw Mad Eddie, the changeling assassin on Olban's trail, off the scent. We can but hope. Whether there is a negative impact of national morale as a consequence of Olban's 'death' is an open question: I suspect the more conservative citizens are probably quietly pleased.