Wednesday, December 10, 2014

HIGHMAUL: Kargath Bladefist (Warlords of Dreanor)

Goose - Tauren druid (tank)
Avierra - Blood elf paladin (tank)
Tenebres - Troll druid (healer)
Veexie - Blood elf priest (healer)
Shamcey - Goblin shaman (healer)
Jizal - Blood elf paladin (dps)
Gonggong - Tauren paladin (dps)
Ghul - Undead rogue (dps)
Bladewisp - Pandaren hunter (dps)
Tekkreinah - Undead warlock (dps)
Gingerbanks - Blood elf mage (dps)
Skaarathos - Orc death knight (dps)
LMF - Troll priest (dps)
Fugitlah - Blood elf hunter (dps)

“Defenders of Azeroth,” Thrall began, addressing the assembled heroes of the Terracotta mercenary company. “Time and time again we have asked you to put your lives on the line for the sake of our world. Now, in the middle of the savage land we know as Draenor, we ask you to do so once again.”

Durotan, leader of the Frostwolf clan, stepped forward. “The Iron Horde continues its build-up with the assistance of the ogres of Nagrand. While we have dealt them a temporary setback by destroying their portal into your world, they seek to build another. Even now they compel Imperator Mar’gok to help them rebuild the portal.”

“Who be dis Mar’gok and why is he so important?” Tenebres asked.

“As the Grand Imperator of Highmaul, Mar'gok is descended from a long line of sorcerers who have ruled the Gorian Empire. Equal parts cunning and brutal, Mar'gok recognized the rising tide of the Iron Horde and what it would mean to oppose them. He has agreed, under threat of annihilation, to an alliance with Grommash Hellscream.” Durotan paused and his brow furrowed. “Stopping Mar’gok is not going to be easy. Our last attempt at diplomacy with the ogres ended with our emissary’s head on a pike. I’m afraid we have no choice but to storm Highmaul itself.”

“This is where you come in,” Thrall said even as he pulled out a scroll with a map of the entire western region of Nagrand. “Highmaul is a large walled fortress in the middle of enemy territory controlled by the Warsong clan. The Frostwolves don’t have enough ships to move troops to Nagrand quickly. Taking Highmaul would mean crushing the Warsong clan supported by the ogres. We will need your strength to crush them both.”

“A long military campaign would only serve the Iron Horde,” Avierra noted thoughtfully. “We need a different approach.”

Khadgar the mage, silent this whole time, brightened up instantly. “What did you have in mind?”

“The Iron Horde can rebuild the portal all they want but without Mar’gok’s magic, it’s just a monument of stone,” Avierra surmised. “If a small tactical unit can get to Mar’gok inside Highmaul and kill him, we won’t need to worry about that portal being re-activated.”

“The Coliseum.” Khadgar’s eyes widened. “Of course. That’s your way into Highmaul. You will be gladiators in the arena!”

Highmaul is the seat of power for the Gorian Empire, the ogre civilization that ruled Draenor for generations, until the arrival of the draenei. A massive city that belies the ogre reputation for brutish stupidity, Highmaul is full of bustling markets, wealthy nobles, and the roar of the Coliseum crowd echoing through the streets of the slums. Visible from everywhere within the city's walls, Imperator Mar'gok's citadel casts a long shadow, a reminder of his watchful eye and iron grip.

Apparently even in the middle of the Iron Horde build-up, the games at the Coliseum continued unabated. The current champion was a brutal orc named Vul’gor who had a reputation for cheating in the arena to win.

The Terracotta mercenary company slaughtered Vul’gor easily. This was when the real surprise happened.

Kargath Bladefist leaped into the arena from the stands. Kargath Bladefist, Warlord of the Shattered Hand, honed his brutal skills as a slave in the ogres' gladiatorial games. He slaughtered countless opponents for the promise of freedom, but after winning, was locked away with the other retired "champions." Fueled by rage, Kargath tore off his own hand to escape and led a revolt that soaked Draenor in ogre blood. Now, he has returned to the arena.

The crowd of ogres and orcs roared their approval at seeing a former Champion of the Arena and now Warlord of the Shattered Hand clan. “Enough! I will show these weaklings what a TRUE champion is capable of,” Kargath shouted for all to hear.

This was when Imperator Mar’gok suddenly appeared as well. “You honor us, Kargath... I will enjoy watching you fight in the arena again, even with your... handicap.”

Kargath sneered. “The pleasure is mine... The crowd deserves a superior gladiator, seeing as the last one fell so easily.”

Mar’gok laughed. “Gladiators, seize this opportunity to die gloriously, for your names will be carved into history! Let the battle begin!”

Goose shapeshifted into bear form and roared his challenge even as Avierra raised her sword, it’s bright steel catching the light of the sun, “For the Light!”

Kargath roared. “You owe me a fight, cowards!”

Jizal, Gonggong, Skaarathos, and Ghul leaped into the fight right behind Goose and Avierra. Fugitlah and Bladewisp moved to opposite sides of the arena, Bladewisp throwing twin glaives at the warlord while Fugitlah’s pet charged in to attack. Gingerbanks, Tekkreinah, and LMF spread out, each one calling upon powerful magic to rain destruction on the lone warlord.

All around the arena, trapdoors opened revealing ravenous tigers. “Beware the beast pits!” Shamcey yelled. “Being eaten would be bad!” The sand moved as four columns sprang up and jetted gouts of flame around them. “Fire bad!”

Tekkreinah motioned to Gingerbanks. “Now would be a good TIME, mage!”

Gingerbanks blinked before understanding dawned. “Ah yes, right! TIME WARP!” The entire company’s movements quickened as everyone’s movement speed climbed, spells cast and attacks completed faster and faster. And yet Kargath seemed to shrug off the attacks and roared his defiance.

Gripping a length of chain in one hand he began spinning it over his head. “Let's give the crowd something to chew on! Chain hurl!” His spinning chain picked up Jizal, Gonggong, Goose, Shamcey, and Skaarathos, hurling them into the stands.

Goose roared and stood up on his hind legs, his gigantic bear form massive in size as he swiped with wicked claws. Ogre and orc spectators went down screaming. All five cleared out an entire section of the stands before leaping back down into the arena.

Kargath fixed his eye on Bladewisp suddenly. “There is no escape! Berserker rush!” Kargath fixated on the hunter even as he leaped backwards, sailing over the open tiger pit, landing just behind one of the flame columns around the arena. The warlord got burned and stopped his rush. “Fool! You'll need more than flames to finish me!”

Twice more he fixated on random heroes, once on Tekkreinah, the other on LMF. Both times he was stopped by the flame columns. Kargath screamed in frustration. “Gah! COWARDS! You can't hide behind these traps forever!”

But the constant attacks were taking their toll on the warlord. Tekkreinah’s Chaos Bolt slammed into him from behind. Ghul’s poison knives slashed relentlessly while Gonggong and Jizal hit him with consecutive Divine Storms. Bladewisp’s Aimed Shots drew blood time and again while Gingerbanks’ ice lances smashed into the warlord.

Imperator Mar’gok saw it before the others. “Finish him.”

Fugitlah and Bladewisp hissed in unison. “Kill Shot.”

Kargath dropped to the ground with a resounding crash. “And that' hundred,” he whispered.

Cho'gall enters the arena through a demonic portal.
Imperator Mar'gok yells: Cho'gall?!
Cho'gall yells: You thought to imprison us, Mar'gok? (You could never control us!)
Imperator Mar'gok yells: Guards, stop him!
Several Gorian guards leap from the stands and charge Cho'gall, who wipes them out with a blast of shadow magic. The city is suddenly overcast by dark clouds as Pale Orcs leap from above and begin attacking the orcs and ogres in the stands.
Cho'gall yells: Destroy them all! Raze this city to the ground! (The stones will be ours! All shall fall to darkness!)
Imperator Mar'gok yells: Seal the gates! Protect the palace! Highmaul will never fall to the likes of you!
Mar'gok teleports from the arena while Cho'gall departs through another demonic portal.

This left the company in a bit of a quandary. Veexie voiced the question in everyone’s mind. “Now what do we do?”

Friday, April 18, 2014

Siege of Orgrimmar: Fallen Protectors of the Golden Lotus

Veexie pointed to the corridor beyond the pool of Immerseus. “Where does that lead?”

“That stairway leads back to the Vale,” replied Lorewalker Cho. “The sha corruption in the Vale is rampant and it would be good for us to do our part in clearing some of it for everyone’s benefit. Come, let us do what we can.”

Mal nodded and led the way up the stairs to a ledge overlooking a small clearing that had 3 mysterious figures standing in it. They were pandaren, definitely, but sha corruption rose from them in clouds.

Lorewalker Cho strode forward, distress clear on his face. “Can it be...? Oh no, no no no no no. The Golden Lotus... they pledged their lives to defend this place.”

Zetsuen raised an eyebrow. “Those are the Golden Lotus protectors? What happened to them?”

The largest of them turned slowly, seemingly alerted by their presence, pale eyes staring directly at Lorewalker Cho. “You... Rook knows you…”

“Yes! Rook Stonetoe! You remember me! What has happened to you?” The lorewalker was beside himself with anxiety.

The one called Rook Stonetoe shook his head, as if confused. “Rook... does not know... Head... is cloudy…”

One of the female pandaren, who the lorewalker identified as Sun Tenderheart, wailed. “We know only despair now. A fitting punishment for our failure…”

“I see. This sha energy has trapped their spirits here, to endlessly relive their failure. It feeds on their despair.” Lorewalker Cho explained.

Jizal appeared troubled. “How do we cleanse this corruption without hurting them?”

“I don’t think we can, to be honest,” Bulalo the shaman remarked. “The vessel of the corruption may need to be destroyed for the corruption to dissipate.”

Rook Stonetoe whispered, “Please… help…”

“This is a fate far worse than death - please, heroes! Set their souls free!” The lorewalker pleaded.

Mal nodded to Avierra who adjusted her shield onto her left arm.  “Zetsuen? Veexie?” Mal asked.

Zetsuen and Veexie both nodded. As I finished off my noodles, I asked, “There’s 3 of them. Who goes first?”

Lorewalker Cho chimed in. “Rook is the toughest of the 3. He Softfoot is known for his legendary stealth while Sun Tenderheart’s magical abilities are formidable. Might I suggest we take Rook first while someone keeps He and Sun busy?”

“Avierra take Rook please,” Mal suggested. “I’ll handle He and Sun.” Avierra nodded her agreement.

I unlimbered my bow and nocked an arrow into place, signaling my pet wolf Lobo to get ready. Her ears flattened and a snarl signaled she was good to go. Jizal and Bulalo both hefted their respective weapons, Jizal mouthing a silent prayer to the holy Light while Bulalo communed with the elements for aid and strength. Cyanmyer the warlock summoned a soulwell from which everyone took a healthstone, for use in emergencies.

Another warlock, Tekkreinah, had joined them, adding his own skill with fel magic to theirs while Nonchalance the mage completed the party.

“Remember to focus on Rook first,” Avierra reminded them. “His spinning crane kick is quite formidable so move out of the way.” Mal and Avierra nodded at each other.

“For the Light!” Avierra swung a mighty Light-enhanced blow directly at Rook while Mal literally burned the ground as he charged at He Softfoot first before casually throwing a weapon at Sun Tenderheart, causing her to glare at him with narrowed eyes even as she started to cast a spell at the orc warrior.

“Sun... He... aid me,” Rook roared as he engaged Avierra.

“Will you succeed where we have failed?” Sun asked in a snarl at Mal.

He Softfoot nodded to his foes before pulling out a knife and rushing his opponent.

I slammed 4 quick explosive shots at Rook while Cyanmyer and Tekkreinah threw massive Chaos Bolts at the huge pandaren monk. Jizal and Bulalo rushed in, weapons swinging, while Nonchalance stood back and threw a Frozen Orb followed by an Ice Lance, fingers weaving spells faster than the eye could follow.

Rook roared with fury. “Brawl… with Rook!” His Spinning Crane kick smashed into Avierra, sha corruption nearly overwhelming the paladin’s Holy Power. Avierra simply muttered an oath to the Light before pushing the monk back with a screaming diagonal slash of her sword.

Rook stumbled back, wounds leaking sha corruption. “Rook… needs help!” He sprang free even as 3 shadow clones of himself leaped to battle in his stead. Lorewalker Cho gasped. “This is a forbidden technique! The Desperate Measures technique it is called. For the monk, three shadow clones appear and are known as Misery, Sorrow, and Gloom, each one with different abilities. Focus on Sorrow first!”

Nonchalance sidestepped a burning patch of ground before firing off a frost bolt at the shadow clone known as Sorrow. Cyanmyer and Tekkreinah both followed up with identical Incinerate spells while I fired 3 Arcane Shots in rapid succession. All this time, Veexie and Zetsuen were busily healing Mal and Avierra while making sure Sun Tenderheart’s Bane spell was cleansed from targets quickly, else it affected others fairly quickly.

Sorrow popped out of existence, having absorbed too much damage. Jizal and Bulalo had switched to Gloom earlier and it popped away shortly afterwards. Misery followed quickly as the warlocks, mage, and hunter focused him down. Jizal and Bulalo had already leaped to assist Mal in pinning down the sneaky rogue He Softfoot.

Again, Lorewalker Cho proved most helpful. “The Desperate Measures technique for rogues is just a single shadow clone known as Embodied Anguish but it places a Mark of Anguish on a person that causes a massive bleed. This needs to be passed on to another to minimize the effect.”

At this point, He Softfoot signaled for aid. A shadow clone sprang forth, dripping with sha corruption. It targeted Nonchalance and placed a glowing Mark of Anguish on her, causing her to scream in pain. “Pass it to Bulalo!” Veexie instructed quickly. The mage quickly blinked to the shaman and slapped him on the back with her palm, passing the Mark on to him. The large Tauren shaman merely grunted, prepared for the influx of pain the spell caused.

“Focus the Embodied Anguish down!” Zetsuen yelled. A torrent of fel, arcane, elemental, and holy energy slammed into the shadow clone, causing it to stumble back before simply popping out of existence. As the shadow clone disappeared, so did the Mark of Anguish, causing Bulalo to heave a sigh of relief.

Even as we turned our attention on Sun Tenderheart, she yelled. “Protectors, come to my aid!”

The Lorewalker piped up. “The Desperate Measures Technique for spellcasters is called Dark Meditation. It causes a field to spring up around the caster. All outside the field will die. Within the field, sha creatures of Despair and Desperation will spring forth to fight you. They must be destroyed for the spell to end.”

The field sprang up as light outside darkened to twilight. Everyone rushed into the field around the caster as small sha creatures sprang up. They died fairly quickly and soon, the spell ended.

This sequence happened one more time before Lorewalker Cho spoke up again. “The taint must be cleansed from all three at the same time! Otherwise the spell Bond of the Golden Lotus will trigger, causing them to heal each other.”

“Take them to the center Mal,” Avierra yelled. “We’ll bring them down all at once.”

“Got it!” Mal replied.

In short order, we had them all together in one spot and released our area-of-effect abilities to bring them down together.

Rook Stonetoe bowed deeply before fading away. “Feeling... better now... Thank you... little friends.”

Sun Tenderheart bowed as well. “We return to when we lost our way. You... are very kind.”

Lorewalker Cho bowed in return. “Be at peace, dear friends. May your souls become one with the land you gave your life to protect.”

“Our thanks, Lorewalker, without your aid this would nearly impossible.” Tekkreinah said with a bow of his own.