After about five years of playing, my 4E Ptolus campaign has reached it's finale. This post has SPOILERS so if you're playing in a Ptolus campaign, or are going to, you better not read this post. The campaign has a lot of elements from the book, but also many elements created by myself.
The final session I had initially planned to run on one night become one 6-hour session and one 10-hour session. This last 10-hour session had just 3 combats, and while it had also good amount of non-combat playing, combats were really long, even if a lot of the opponents were minions.
I still have some older notes unpublished, I just wanted to post this as soon as possible. I'll be creating an article to bind all the session logs together later, so if you're interested in reading them all, please check back later.
Background/Recap: PC's had returned to Ptolus from the caverns. Lilith had Calista, had heard of the Elder gods' plans to imprison the Galchutt into a better prison, and without doubt, was currently doing her best so that this will never happen. To those not familiar with Ptolus, the soul of the world is in the moon of Vallis, attached with 7 chains; If these chains are broken during a specific day, right this year - and this day is almost here - the soul will be transferred to an elven city of Dreta Phantas and Lords of Chaos (that are about to awaken) will be imprisoned into a prison from which they can't break out. Otherwise, breaking the chains will kill the soul of the world and the Galchutt will escape, and will continue destroying worlds one by one.
The heroes decide to go to Dark Reliquary to look for Lilith and get Calista back. They get ambushed by Surmoil Rallekred and a horde of minions, then fight a Cold Balor and an Ice devil, continue to cellars to easily swipe through Marilith Drusii, a Hezrou and the Nightwalker that usually lives in the tower of the reliquary. After this they are attacked by vampire Medre Allacondra and her minions (which are using improvised half-minion mechanic), but the minions are swept away by the wizard and the leader of the vampires can't stand alone long - but she's an ancient and strong vamprie so she turns into mist and retreats to safety.
Unfortunately you can't see Medre's miniature here well - if you want a better pic of her, you can find her at Miniatures for Sword & Sorcery: Intro
They find weeping Calista, and also real Cardalian. Raguel appears with a demonic horde, 'asks' the heroes to leave as they've found what they were looking for, but then wants to change a few words about Lilith. Heroes learn that Lilith has stolen an artifact that allows travelling to Vallis, and Raguel's scrying reveals that she just appeared to the Chamber of the Seven Chains, dismissing the scrying smiling cruelly. But heroes learn information about the portal of Vallis and Lord Zavere and Lady Rill can take them there using the Shard.
From the portal, only a few pillars and braziers can be seen a bit further. In the middle, there's a hole of infinite depth, and the group start descending using summoned flying mounts. There's only a few hours before The Day begins - luckily it seems that Lilith didn't break the chains during the day before. Descending takes almost a night and a day - and now there's only few hours of time before it's too late for cutting the Chains! Heroes descended into a hall, and a tunnel lead to another hall, where they found 7 chains, as well as 7 angels crucified upside down and a host of dead demons. Heroes supposed it's still the day they should cut the chains - if that's what really should be done. They tried to cut the chains, but had no way to do it. After trying different ways to do it, fearing that it is already too late, they hear sound of closing steps. They hide.
Lilith appears with a Balor and several other demons, saying "The time is close, we arrived just in time... wait, something's wrong!" - and initiative is rolled. Aurora (Feywild warlock) and Hau-Hau (Archmage) caused a lot of trouble to the enemies with their control spells very hard to come over, and Lilith was able to do very little in the fight. Goristo was shining as it got it's bright moment and hit Balro to awaken it - it had to gather courage for one round before doing that to Lilith. Balro caused good amounts of damage, even when he went down - two crits with death burst caused 70 fire damage! Lilith tried to dominate her enemies, pulled an extremely efficient looking axe but went down with another control spell and was cut down with ther own axe. She transformed into a succubus, with features of an angel and look of the same women the heroes had rescued when they had went after Helmut ages ago, and who they had seen sight of when Helmut was accused of committing a murder in his temple, as well in the caverns when Lilith appeared to hear what's locked in Calista's mind. And who Lilith had called 'daughter'. (And thinking it a bit further, you can have an idea of her father, and who was the 'one with angel blood' who let the demons in the Pale Tower)
The axe is revealed to be a Vorpal battleaxe, and it seems like a weapon that could really cut the chains (on critical). Holger starts smashing, and with his improved critical it takes one minute for him to cut a chain. He starts his job, but just before he's cuts the sixth chain, angry heels start echoing the tunnel, and high voice shouts 'YOU BASTARD BITCH'! The daughter had stolen a the travelling artifact and the axe from Lilith, hoping to be rewarded by the Galchutt herself, but Lilith had been able to find her way to Vallis some other way, and was quite pissed off. A short moment of surprise when she sees the heroes, then she sends her minions forward and attacks herself.
The final fight
Minons were fanatic bodyguards for Lilith, and took hits for her. This and Succubus's dominate and enslavement did her very difficult opponent. Heroes found their attacks being hit to their allies, to minions and their allies attacking themselves. Holger got nervous and could get a good hit on the chain, even if given additional attacks by warlord Jane. Situation got a lot better when they realized that if Lilith's ally attacks an enslaved person, the charm breaks. One last minon got dominated a lot and attacked enslaved heroes, and while the heroes got repeatedly hit by 45 damage chaos bolts and dominates, they got Lilith bloodied. And then Holger got the critical he needed to cut the last chain. Moon started to tremble, waves of black evilness (radiated from the rising galchutt), the roof collapsed on everyone in the chamber.
Just before the rocks hit the heroes, the time stopped. In mystic green light, they saw Lilith looking up horrified towards a huge boulder, Black Grail she had just drawn slipping from her hand, and Aurora (who had been enslaved by the Grail) looking hungrily at the grail. But then everyone started to pay attention to several green shapes of immense power - something that were painful and difficult to look at, but you couldn't stop trying. They started to talk without words, thanking the heroes for their great deeds, and then members of Reilukerho realized they were in partially ruined Ptolus.
Word started to spread of their deeds, and many were later offered positions of power, some of which were refused. Elijar, half elf rogue that was missing from this session, had apparently been active; His nemesis, Menon Balcazar was rumored missing, and the Balcazar manor on a nearby island was in flames.
Here ended the Ptolus campaign that started as a True20 game, and continued as a 4E game after about a year, taking about 5 years. Tomorrow starts my next campaign, a Beasts & Barbarians game using Savage Worlds. Still fantasy, but still very, very different! System change is going to quicken the fights as well as reduce my burden as a GM, and giving a different viewpoint to fantasy.