Rise of the Planar Trade Consortium

Run 78 Rise of the PTC: To Seize the Cage!, Pt. IV "A Great Battle"

Some communication is gotten from Gabberslug that is nominally positive in nature. It seems that Baphomet had captured both A’kin and Mitya, and turned them over to Gabberslug. A’kin is recognized by Mitya when they’re both imprisoned together, and the two cut a deal that should get both free in time, it just involves being handed over to a powerful demon (Gabberslug). Despite the tastiness of the halfling the nalfeshnee swine-guards who pick up A’kin and Mitya bring him intact (with just a little drooling on their parts) to Gabberslug. Some violent negotiations ensue.

In an extra-dimensional space Akalabeth has conjured the heroes plus the three sisters (and Estevan & baby Alruna) rest up. During the rest Akalabeth reveals she is planning on seizing the Cage, so as to control it’s gates, Sioned works to try to convince her against that plan. Suddenly there is violence right near the entrance to their resting-space, nalfeshnee are tearing down the walls of the building they holed up in. They dump a badly wounded A’kin and a bound Mitya, as a present and depart. A’kin relates that he and Gabberslug have cut some kind of deal, mostly just one that would guarantee his and Mitya’s lives: Gabberslug did in fact wait out the attack on Orcus, and is now willing to consider helping Sioned et al, provided they can prove themselves worthy by slaying one of the two remaining demon-princes aspects and driving it’s army from the Cage.

There is some debate amongst everyone over the next step to take, but in the end agreement is reached that combining their forces with the infernal forces to destroy Demogorgon’s army is the right answer. (there is risk in this since it will leave the infernal army badly weakened, and free Baphomet’s forces from the constraint of needing to fight Demogorgon’s demons) The group then travels to where Grazzt, Glasya, and Fierna have encamped (with about 25,000 devils remaining).

Together there is agreement that something needs to be done, the infernals are still losing the war in the Cage. Consensus is that with the hero’s aid, and Akalabeth’s help, the infernal army can win a great battle, and with that agreement plans are put in motion. The infernal army musters, and marches on Demogorgon’s stronghold. Grazzt is as brilliant as his reputation claims and chooses an excellent battlefield to deploy on, Demogorgon is more crafty than hoped for but does come charging to the attack when taunted with Orcus’s rod sufficiently.

The Battle of the Cage (I) is nasty, and hard, and long. Sioned attempts to inspire the devils, but despite her silver-tongue they don’t really respond to her speech as strongly as she’d hoped. Camillas is more effective, her walls of ice prove critical to channeling demonic forces during two critical moments when the devils are at risk. Giilos proves tremendously effective, he joins the front line and fights side by side with the legions, rallying them when they flag and leading them onwards in when they charge. Mitya proves nearly as effective, sneaking past demonic lines to assassinate several demons in charge of largely-mindless forces, without their leaders those formations readily break and flee.

In the end it all comes down to one moment though. The moment when, ground down to maybe 15,000 remaining “men” Grazzt’s army faces certain doom. The battle is at it’s most violent, dust, noise, chaos, all obscure what is going on. Rook somehow manages to spot the final demonic thrust before it lands. A marilith general has spotted a weak-point in the devilish lines, a gap between two units that if exploited will break the battle line. Like Alexander at Gaugemela the moment she sees the opportunity she, and her hezrou retinue, charge it!

Surrounded by thousands of demons and devils the heroes are now all that stand between the army of Grazzt and certain defeat.

The fight is brutal. The hezrou are very tough, and their bites are extremely nasty. But it’s the marilith who really dominates. When she raises a shroud of steel around her, whirling her blades so fast they can barely be seen, she is almost impossible to hit. Additionally her ability to dance forward, striking multiple times proves deadly; she initially hammers Rook, planning to take Mitya down following him, but Rook just won’t drop. Even her weapon dance isn’t quite enough, but the marilith has another trick up her sleeve and she connects on the back-swing shrouding him with steel. (and slaying him outright) The remainder of the fight doesn’t get any easier after Rook dies.

With the death of the marilith, and her retinue, the battle is no longer in real doubt. Grazzt sends Glasya around the flank to pin the remaining demons in place and uses Fierna to hammer them into the dust of the Cage. Having slain a good quarter of a million demons, at the cost of almost half the remaining infernal army, everyone retreats to the devil’s camp to rest for the next day.

During that rest Rook is raised from the dead. (though the cost is brutal, no one has enough reagents or residuum on hand so they have to disenchant the Rod of Orcus that they were hoping to keep as a trophy) Everyone now wonders what Gabberslug will do; if he turns stag and helps Sioned’s forces even the mere 15,000 troops the devils have will probably win a fight with Baphomet, but if Gabberslug sides with the demon prince there is no chance in Hell that a mere three legions (cobbled together from the remains of ten legions, so not trained up together) can possibly survive.

The next day will surely bring a Great Betrayal, though who Gabberslug betrays will determine whether the result is a glorious victory or a complete defeat.

Thus endeth the session.

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absimiliard

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