The party may not be stupid, but they are expendable, and they are going.
The Next Job
As the party passes the council room they hear an argument about their expendability, and the likelihood of surviving the next job. At least one council member would like to hang on to the party a little longer, but they can’t oppose the Guardian.
Within a shielded, warded, room Saella provides a more detailed briefing. There is a major incursion  to the north east that Saella will have to deal with, and Saella needs the attention of the mole diverted away from her actions.
This is accompanied by an apology: the party were told of the mole in order to become that diversion. Part of the diversion is a new assignment to clear out some dark fae in the forest to the south west, and to find out why the good fae have been disappearing.
In essence, the party are now Saella’s lightning rod.
In other words: Saella may be sorry, but the party is expendable and the party is going.
It turns out that Saella may have travelled beyond the Ring Mountains at some point, and confirms that it isn’t the mortal plain out there anymore. Asmodeus is believed to be planning a major assault, and the current events with the mole are a prelude to a siege.
Although if the mole can succeed in splitting the unity of the three cities, a siege wouldn’t be necessary…
The party are introduced to Kara, the hunter who reported the dark fae. Whilst the dark fae are around the forest is cut off as a supply of food. The forest is two days march away, and Kara also mentions a halfway house that is no longer used.
The tale revolves around people disappearing, blood everywhere, and creepy dolls being left behind.
Treffen knows of devils that take the form of dolls to lure children to their dooms. Kara vaguely remembers a child receiving a strange doll from a high ranking individual but can’t remember anything else.
The hunters will carry provisions for the party.
At this point the party chose to expand the mission from clearing the fae from the forest to clearing the fae from the forest and restoring the halfway house for the hunters to use.
On the march to the halfway house Yangrit briefly catches sight of a gold homunculus flying high above the party.
The party arrives just before sundown.
Engage the Enemy More Closely
The party promptly entered the house, closed the door behind us, and started searching. The expected mayhem ensued with a doll devil and three imps.
This was a well handled fight – the close quarters worked to the party’s favour as it enabled flanking combined with Menander granting Precise Strike via the Cavalier’s tactician ability.
I was quite pleased with how effective Menander was at buffing the party between tactician, inspire courage, and casting Cure Light Wounds. I don’t think Menander even drew his sword at any point.
This was a battle where “engaging the enemy more closely” was the primary thing on the minds of Kalmar, Yangrit, and Ferus, and it was certainly successful.
The fight got strange towards the end when a doll like thing that wasn’t the doll devil proved to be an intelligent, talking artifact of immense power.
It basically compelled Menander to pick it up whilst the fight was still running.
Dealing with the Doll
Things got interesting once Yangrit knocked the doll out of Menander’s hands and the party started talking to it. In essence the doll is a true neutral creation of the fae that wants to maintain the “normal balance” of nature.
The current situation is not normal, so as long as the party are fighting the devils the doll is likely to be at least somewhat supportive . For the moment Treffen will be the one carrying the doll about and talking to it most of the time.
The doll is also aware that a recent fight went very badly for Saella, to the extent that Saella may not qualify as a paladin anymore. How the doll knows this from well over a day’s march away is almost as worrying as the news itself.
Contact with the doll triggered the party’s ascension to Mythic status.
The Big Bad Revealed
Whilst the fight was still running the Big Bad turned up outside but fortunately didn’t attack. Mostly he was there to gloat and Greater Teleport out. According to the doll the Big Bad is known to the devils as the “Son of the Prince”, and commands respect if not outright obedience from pit fiends.
The Big Bad is also the mole on the council, but no one recognised him as such, and has at least 5 homonculi running in parallel
In terms of how powerful this makes the Big Bad right up into the “Aieeeee! Run away!” levels.
As noted above the party have been raised to Mythic status, and also to third level.
I’m now hoping that this will slow down a little. From now on I’d like to have at least two or three sessions at each level, particularly levels in which mythic tiers are granted.
Menander is a buffing character, over time he will be acquiring a list of special abilities longer than my arm. The less time I have to assess the abilities for each level, the harder it will be to play them effectively. I suspect that this may be true of most of the party, with the only likely exception being the Two-Handed Fighter Yangrit (which is a relatively simple build).
The session itself was a lot of fun, the group remained focussed during the combat sequence and worked well together.
Next session should see the party advancing to the forest to tackle some dark fae. An open field fight should provide a different set of challenges, and one that I need to test Menander in.
In the meantime, here’s a first look at the third level version of Menander. I’m still finalising the Mythic elements, but I’m definitely leaning towards the Marshal’s path.
Interestingly one of the Mythic Path abilities is Loyalty which would give Menander a 1st level cohort right now, but I won’t switch to that unless Caitlin authorises it. It would be amusing though.