Fair Warning: This story is pretty long.
Okay. So let me preface some things before I begin. First off, I know. Never split the party. The whole party knew, we did it anyway. Second, during an earlier session, I was given control of a massive golem construct army, but this was intended to be used for a much larger war later on. Third, the following is a culmination of a bunch of “if this thing back then hadn’t happened, this would not have worked” moments combined with tons of luck.
A couple months back, I joined my brother’s 5e campaign with his friends The others had been playing this campaign for several months now, and I was already iffy about joining another game because of past experiences, but so far everything’s gone pretty well. We’ve been on a quest to defeat Graz’zt, The Dark Prince of the Nine Hells, in order to prevent him from summoning Juiblex into the world. We were down a few people, so our party for this session consisted of our Human Warlock, Gray, Aasimar Sorceress, Lucy, Dwarf War Cleric, Malakai, and me, the Trickery Cleric/Wizard, Knavery. All of us were level 8.
We had just woken up from a 2 day vision-filled coma after a battle with Alikith, the mossy spawn of Juiblex, and Graz’zt to find the town we were in had turned into a warzone. We rushed to gather up our things and head into the city to get our debreifing. Alikith was making portals to the Abyss everywhere, and Abyssal creatures were overwhelming the entire kingdom. Gray, the Warlock offered up a prayer to his patron to find out where the biggest source of evil was and discovered is was out in the ocean quite a ways. It is at this point the party split happened. Gray took Malakai, the War Cleric with him on his magic carpet and they flew off to take care of this main source that was making portals everywhere else, leaving Lucy, the Sorcerer, and me to basically take care of the wounded and fight off any creatures in the city and town. Meanwhile, I was contacting my ally, Amara, inside a dodecahedron that is currently housing all the golems to let her know what was going on. But the response I got was not what I expected. See, I was unaware of any way to summon the golems without the use of another dodecahedron, so this was just a shot in the dark that would not have happened had I not snuck back into the dodecahedron a while ago to establish contact with Amara and get an open line of communication going. She told me “We have enough to help if you want. About 50 can be sent your way.” Being both surprised and leery about using part of the army, I asked for 25 instead, and this is where everything really began. To my surprise, a magic door opened in front of me, and my golems came marching out with a THOMP! … THOMP! … THOMP! … After summoning, I sent 5 each to the Western and Eastern defense, 2 to protect Lucy while she scoured for civilians to help, and the remaining 13 with me to head to the least defended area, South, where the main unit of Abyssal were storming out of the same portal Gray and Malakai were going to destroy.
I’m going to split these two fights up in separate bits, but keep in mind they were both happening at the same time. Props to the DM’s multitasking here. We’ll start with my battle.
I had just barely arrived at the beach when the DM said I saw this Abyssal horde of white necromorph-like creatures and black ooze barreling down toward me. We both knew what I was doing right now was a TERRIBLE idea, and he was not about to show me any brotherly favoritism. I didn’t want it, either. I had just enough time line up the golems before WHAM! The horde slammed into them, dealing 225 damage, which was split between my units. I had set myself a good 50 feet back, ready to lob Firebolts into what was outright death, should it ever reach me. But I should mention, these golems are not your everyday, run-of-the-mill golems. These guys were a homebrew variant that had miniguns attached to their arms that deal 4d8 piercing damage. (We’ve fought against them before and they hurt a lot.) I could hear the revving sound reverberate in my head as they let loose dealing over 100 total damage between all 13 of them. Then the second round. At this point, Lucy joined the fight, bringing the two golems I sent with her back. But that didn’t make a difference as the horde was already encircling the front line. This should have been the point where any half sane person said “Okay, this was a dumb idea, and I should just cut my losses now and run.” But I was determined to at least make this mean something. Something more than 12 extra seconds. I contacted Amara again and asked for the other 25 to be sent in now. And like that, the piddly row of 13 turned into a devestating barricade of 40 golems. At the same time, Lucy had cast Wall of Fire on the golem line, but since they are immune to fire, only the enemies took damage. Unfortunately, this still would not last forever. A couple rounds later and the horde had started crawling OVER my barricade, now barreling down on me. Lucy was fine, though. It was decided a couple sessions ago that she would be allowed to have her Aasimar wings out at all times. She’s kind of our primary healer, so I am A-OK with her not getting hit. Knavery, on the other hand, was not so lucky. I had to start backing up to town, doing what little damage I could comparatively. I was actually blowing through at least one spell slot every round. At this point, 4 or 5 rounds had gone by, the horde was a mere 10 feet away from me, and I was ready to run. Trickery Clerics have Dimension Door as an always prepared spell at a certain level, and I was getting ready to use it. I even shouted up to Lucy saying, “We can’t hold this, I’m getting out of here!” But then I had an idea. I had a certain spell prepared beforehand because of a group discussion to divy up spell categories between casters. I looked out over the water in game, and at the DM out of character.
“I cast Control Water. I want to wash the horde away!”
“… Okay,” the DM said with a mix of surprise and fear on his face.
As is the nature of the spell, everything in the area would make a strength saving throw to resist the tide. But my spell save DC was only 16. Not bad, but not great either. (Sidenote: We were just rolling a few d20s to represent our respective groups since we didn’t want to roll 40 d20s for each golem or creature.) I heard the DM’s dice hit the table. Then the DM asked, “What was the DC?”
“16,” I said.
There was a brief moment of silence before the DM spoke. “… All of them… failed… the save.”
I was speechless as the water quickly rose up to my feet before being sucked back into a whirlpool, taking every last disgusting creature with it, as well as 25 of my golems who had failed their saves, too, but this renewed my resolve. It was a second chance to really make everything count! I pushed foward and restructured my line, turning it into 2 staggered lines 10ft apart. This time, I was ready to play war! Lucy also flew off at this point to help the other 2 take care of whatever creature with giant tentacles thrashing around had just showed up. This was fine, though, I had things under control on the beach. Also around this time, I offerd up a prayer to my Goddess to aid my companions underwater. This will be important in their fight. This was all the time I really had, unfortunately, as the horde and my golems both made their following saves and escape the whirlpool. It was all or nothing this time. The horde once again slammed into the golem line, dealing another 2 or 3 hundred points of damage. They were attempting to claw their way over again, but every time they made it through, I had the line move back to block the creatures once more. This went on for another 4 or 5 rounds, with the DM telling me more and more corpses were starting to pile up. My Invoke Duplicity, though multiple unlucky rolls, actually popped a LOT of dead things with Inflict Wounds. After some time, a few NPCs even showed up to assist. This felt like acknowledgement from the DM, honestly. Like a “Hey, you’ve been putting in serious work to make this happen. I’ll throw you a bone.” At this point, the other group finally shut down the portal and the NPCs, golems, and I managed to fend off the last of the wave.
That has been the most stressful moment for me so far in this campaign, but it was well worth it. I really FELT like a hero after that, especially with the Control Water spell! I even found out from the DM afterwards that had I not fought there, he planned for the town and city to be in MUCH worse shape, and several major NPCs, including the ones who showed up to help me, would also be dead. He had originally planned for all of us to head out together to take care of the portal, so when Gray took off with only Malakai, he thought for sure this would be a TPK. But, miraculously, everything turned out fine. In other words, had the Warlock not rushed off like he did, this would not have happened. And now I can’t wait for the bigger war later on!
I’ll post Gray’s and Malakai’s crazy fight later on, so stay tuned for that.