That Time I Swarmed my Players with Flying Sirens

When my player's Fighter reenacted Aquaman, and my Warlock promptly blew them all up.


3
3 points

     I've been Dm-ing for about a year now and I recently had an amazing session that I just had to share. We've been playing this game for a year now and the party's just getting started with the larger story I have planned. Their goal was to make it to the Northern continent to follow some clues they'd found about a mysterious figure pulling the strings behind the current war that's raging. I originally planned to have them head to another city after the one they were in currently, but I decided to cut some of the fluff off and get them straight to the action. 

     The party is as follows: 

  • Gherki – the Tiefling Fiend Warlock pledged to the god of madness (think Sheogorath from Elder Scolls). 
  • Bastion – Warforged Guardian Fighter (a subclass I made for that player specifically – this gets important later). 
  • Tarkus – Half-elf Thief Rogue / Artillerist Artificer. 
  • Castiel – Aasimar Life Cleric. 
  • Keothi – Goliath Vengance Paladin. 
  • Hu – Half-elf Drunken Master Monk. 
  • Also part of the game but weren't able to make it to the bulk of the session – Arwen (Wood Elf Druid) and Gorgaroth (Goliath Barbarian). 

     One last important thing to note is that Bastion has a special magic item made just for him. It's a shield that increases his AC and saving throws for each enemy that is targeting him. Every other enemy gives a +1 to AC, and every enemy past the first gives him a +1 to STR and DEX saves. If this sounds super OP, it is, but that's the climate of the group. I'm rather loose with how much I power them up, but this makes it so I can throw super dangerous encounters at them to keep it interesting. Keep this in mind for later. 

     The party is hired for protection for a ship that's leaving the harbor soon to make a trek north. They hop on, meet the crew, and get moving rather quickly (the party is as excited as I am to keep moving). Partway through the trip, a little quirk of my world pops up. In this world, the middle 3 days of the week are essentially nighttime – there's more to it than that but it's not important for the story. They eventually reach open waters and during the trip, and a couple party members started learning a couple jobs to help on the journey. 

     On the second night out at sea, a storm hits the party and Arwen ends up leaping off the side of the boat into the water (the player was going to have a solid schedule change, so she thought it'd be easier for everyone if her character takes a quick leave of absence). Before anyone can react to this, the party starts to hear singing being carried in on the wind. We're using Discord for our games mainly becuase we're all in different places (as well as the global pandemic n' such). We use a Discord music bot whenever we need it, and I had a friend of mine controlling the bot, and he queued the first song of three (A Mermaid's Desire by Claudie Mackula in case anyone's interested). 

     The storm fades away as a beautiful chorus of voices float in over the wind, and the captain shouts out, "Sirens! Don't pay any attention to them!" As soon as he hears this, Castiel casts Silence on the center of the ship, giving the crew a place to clear their heads. Gherki's player's jaw hit the floor along with Bastion's. The characters that learned jobs start making checks to help navigate the ship out of the storm, with Hu running along the rigging to raise and lower sails and Bastion helping hold and move the ropes. After the first check I have everyone make a CHA save. Those that fail have disadvantage on the next check – which if I can remember corretly was just Bastion and Tarkus for now. At this point the song switches to the second (My Jolly Sailor Bold by Acapella Onion). A solo voice sounds out over the waves, coming from all directions – including up. 

     Another set of boat checks and then another CHA save. Bastion and Tarkus fail again, and the captain fails once. Bastion starts wandering to the side of the ship to catch a glimpse of the Sirens, now unable to make another boat check. This is a good time to mention the exact details behind these Sirens – they're winged creatues – more like the Witcher 3 brand of Sirens – this comes into play in a little bit. There's a bit of back-and-forth conversation that fills up the rest of the song before the last song switches (The Unquiet Grave by Karliene). As the song starts, I describe the ongoing storm, "As the lightning continues to flash, you see figures on the rocks to either side of the ship, illuminated by the light. As you look up, you see countless silhouettes dancing in the clouds. 

Gherki's player asks me, "How many are there exactly?"
I simply answer, "You ever seen Aquaman?" 

My players loose it again. 

     The captain shouts out, "That's not supposed to happen… They're hungry!" Somehow I managed to time perfectly to when the violin part hits on the song and this made my players loose it. Another CHA save ends up leaving Bastion, Tarkus, the captain, and several crewmates on the side of the ship. Castiel and Gherki immediately cast Dispel Magic and free both Bastion and Tarkus before I have the group pull up Roll20. 

     As they're switching over, I describe the scene as they pull it up to see for themselves. There's something like 20-25 Sirens on the screen, each with its own token. As combat starts, the only important thing to note is that the Sirens go after Gherki and before Bastion. Combat starts with several of the Sirens throwing crew members overboard to be devoured by the horde of Sirens on the rocks that the ship is stuck on. Hu is stuck in the Crow's Nest fighting 3 Sirens on his own. Bastion rushes to his side to defend his friend on his turn. The captain attempts to flee from the Siren attacking him and ends up taking a crit that one-shots him. Keothi's attacks are devastating as he's using a Sunblade Greatsword along with Hunter's Mark and Smite – he's mowing the Sirens down as he comes to them. Castiel is running crowd control and healing/blessing anyone he can. Tarkus is trying his best to keep a group of Sirens off the crew, and then there's Gherki. 

     Gherki is built to be unstoppable in social encounters, with his combat forte being enchantment magic as well as… *ahem* … FIREBALL! This entire time he's looking for a good spot to use his treasured 10d6 fire damage (Warlock slots). At this point, Bastion has shouted out that he'll use his taunt feature (part of the subclass) to make all the Sirens target him. He does this, and I ask if he wants me to do a single save for all of them or individual saves. He chooses blanket. They all fail. Including the 20-30 up in the clouds. They come pouring out of the clouds, Aquaman Kingdom of the Trench style. My friend, who helps me run combat, did the analysis and said 26 Sirens is the maximum number that can surround him. So Bastion has 26 Sirens crowding around him, making his AC 34 and granting him a STR and DEX save bonus of +25, and then my friend and I start rolling 26 attacks. The only way they could hit him is with crits, so they only land 4 attacks. After rolling the damage, Bastion is left with 1 health. 

     And that's when Gherki comes in. 

     He throws a Fireball out with the action that he declared and everything up in the nest fails. The Sirens had 30 health each. He did 32 damage. He killed all 26 around Bastion as well as an extra 30 or so in the clouds dealing roughly 2100 damage total, knocking Bastion down in the process, but also giving the crew enough time to get them out of the storm. Bastion's quickly healed by Hu using a healing potion while Castiel casts Revivify on the captain. In exchange, he tells them they're not here as muscle, someone wants to meet them. After some more Persuasion/Intimidation, they learn the identity of this someone – the King of the Pirate City. They look towards the horizon and see 3 dark ships rapidly approaching. As they get close enough to hear, a voice shouts out (think Hondo Ohnaka from Star Wars: Clone Wars), "I SMELL PROFIT!" And I cut the session there. 

     One of the best – if not the best session I've ever run. The lead up along with the battlemap and climactic ending makes it a session I won't forget for a while! I hope y'all also enjoyed it!


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