When we last left our valorous PCs, they were speeding across the sky in a House Lyrandar airship, hastening to intercept the Lighting Rail presumably carrying Clockwork and his army of mechanized men toward Sharn.
As they approached the Lightning Rail, they devised a cunning plan. The plan was to overtake the train, and use the power of the airship to lift away some of the conductor stones. The captain of the airship was amenable to the plan and put it into motion. Night fell and the train reached the gap in the conductor stones, running off the rails and crashing, sending dirt, trees, and shrubberies flying (poor Roger). While they had hoped removing the conductor stones would cause the Lightning Rail to stop, they didn’t take into account that the conductors running the train wouldn’t be able to see the gap in the night. Still, with the train stopped, they rappelled down from the airship to deal with the warforged. At this point, they didn’t actually know if there were any innocents on the train, but proceeded anyway because the needs of the many, etc. etc.
A large number of warforged were picking themselves up off the ground. There were more on top of the train, presumably guards. The lighting elemental that was bound to the train broke free and started going on a rampage. The captain of the airship dropped our heroes off while they went to deal with the elemental. With the element of surprise, the heroes took out several of the warforged as they recovered from the crash. Master Yorel rushed inside the Lightning Rail in an attempt to deal with Clockwork himself.
The battle raged on the ground around the crash Lightning Rail and on top of it. The House Lyrandar airship kept the lightning elemental occupied whilst our heroes dealt with the warforged. Occasionally, they’d hear explosions and breaking glass from inside the coaches. Wave after wave of warforged poured out, and finally Master Yorel, thrown from a window. Clockwork and his lieutenants followed on his heels. Though Master Yorel was set on fire at one point, our heroes eventually proved triumphant, defeating Clockwork and his army of mechanized men.
Master Yorel commented that while they stopped Clockwork from reaching the old Creation Forge, they used up all their hard-earned Xendrik Expedition money to do so. After some much-needed healing, rest, and relaxation, it would be back to the grindstone: chasing down rumors of lost artifacts to sell; more treasure hunting for profit and glory….
When I developed the climactic battle of the campaign, I envisioned a battle where the PCs helped maneuver an airship to intercept a Lightning Rail and leapt between the two to duel Clockwork atop a moving train. The derailment worked pretty well, too, though it wasn’t as dynamic (or, frankly, as dangerous for the PCs). One of the players commented that this battle was the most coordinated and tactically-sound the group has ever been since he started playing with us. Just as we wrapped the 4E campaign, everyone clicked.
I could’ve made the battle harder, but as it was it took the entire session and the PCs did expend almost ALL of their resources, so it appears that I also, finally created a perfectly balanced encounter. Judicious use of minions helped a lot. I’ll have more thoughts about 4E and what’s next for the group in my next blog entry.