Students of Strixhaven EP 31 – Schools Out Part Eight (Finale)

The party prepare themselves for battle, facing off against Vasarus, the recently reanimated mage that once caused the Necrophage. Roman shouts to the party to help him, asking them to set aside any differences they may have with his intentions. The party roll for initiative.

In round one, Grae starts off by casting Ice Knife, which hits the skeletal figure, but it passes a saving throw and takes no damage. Vasarus, examining the room with cold undead eyes, uses some of the newly gained necrotic energy to reanimate the bodies of the deceased in the crypt, with three skeletons and a zombie climbing out and entering into combat. One of the skeletons approaches towards Trix, and she attacks it with her rapier on her turn. The zombie wanders up, striking at Trix and attacking her. Khorvus retaliates, dealing a strong strike against the zombie with his war hammer. On the north side of the room, a skeleton tries but fails to attack Grae. Roman casts Bane on the three skeletons in the room, but only one fails the saving throw to be affected by it. Edolkar casts Reckless Attack and jumps over the balcony railing, striking at one of the Skeletons, but fails spectacularly.

For round two, Grae moves quickly using Kinetic Jaunt. She strikes with her short sword against of the Skeletons on her way, invoking Booming Blade, cursing it to take damage if it moves. The skeleton immediately begins to follow on its turn, and takes thunder damage. It continues on its path toward Edolkar, but fails its attack. Vasarus casts Flaming Sphere, centring it on the collective group of Trix, Khorvus and Roman on the top of the balcony. One of the skeletons approach Khorvus and strikes, but fails to hit through his armour. Trix lands a strong blow against the zombie, which would normally be enough to destroy it. Due to a condition called Undead Fortitude, it makes a saving throw and passes, leaving it remaining in the fight. The zombie attempts to strike back with an unarmed whack, but fails. Khorvus attempts another swing with his war hammer but fails, and moves to avoid the damage from the flaming sphere. The zombie gets an opportunity attack and hits Khorvus and he steps away. A skeleton makes an attack with advantage (thanks to Reckless Attack working both ways), but both attempts fail to hit. Roman, continuing concentration on Bane, casts a cantrip of Firebolt against Roman to maintain his concentration on the more powerful spell. Edolkar enters into another Reckless Attack, this time succeeding and destroying one of the skeletons in a wide swing of his great sword.

In round three, Grae having now positioned herself north in the room, runs forward and behind Vasarus to cast Burning Hands. Vasarus passes a saving throw, but still takes some damage. Vasarus moves the flaming sphere as a bonus action, ramming into Khorvus who fails a saving throw, taking some damage. For its main action, Vasarus casts Magic Missile, targeting Edolkar, Trix and Grae. Both Edolkar and Trix take a small amount of damage, but Grae finds that the brooch sold to her by Mama Kama protects her from the attack and nullifies the force damage. One of the remaining skeletons attacks Khorvus, fails, and then tries to move to also avoid damage from the flaming sphere. Khorvus takes an attack of opportunity and destroys this skeleton, sending bones flying. Trix casts Dissonant Whispers against the zombie, who fails their Wisdom saving throw. They take psychic damage and immediately move away from Trix. They re-roll for their Undead Fortitude and remain standing. Khorvus follows behind the zombie, activating Divine Smite, and destroying it with radiant energy, which nullifies undead fortitude’s ability. The remaining Skeleton attacks Edolkar, and gets what would be a success, but the attack is reduced to Bane and fails. Roman shouts to Edolkar, seeking his approval to cast a spell, and casts Enlarge on him, making Edolkar grow in size, nearing the height of the crypt’s ceiling. Edolkar tries to make use of this new-found strength and size, but fails on his first attack against the skeleton. He decides to move for the more important target, and runs towards Vasarus in the centre of the room. The skeleton makes an attack of opportunity and easily hits the large body of mass.

Grae runs up in round four to strike at Vasarus with her short sword, but fails. Vasarus moves the flaming sphere as a free action, now ramming into Trix. She rolls a saving throw and fails, taking damage. With Edolkar close by, Vasarus uses its main action to cast Poison Spray against him. Trix moves towards Roman and shoots an arrow off at the remaining skeleton. Her attack lands and destroys it, leaving just Vasarus remaining. Khorvus hurls a javelin at Vasarus from a distance, and it lands into the rib cage of the skeletal figure. Roman once again tries to maintain concentration on spellcasting, and casts another Firebolt on Vasarus. Edolkar activates Ensnaring Strike, Kinetic Jaunt and enters into a Rage, with protective dancing lights appearing around him. He attacks twice, but neither hit Vasarus.

For round five, Grae strikes again with her short sword but fails to land a hit on Vasarus who is too dexterous. Vasarus dismisses the flaming sphere, instead casting Spirit Guardians, which emits from a circle centred on itself. Shadowy spirits begin to fly around in a sphere around Vasarus, threatening to harm anyone who draws too close. Trix shoots an arrow at Vasarus, hitting him. Khorvus runs in with war hammer raised. He fails his saving throw and takes necrotic damage. Continuing with his attack, getting a critical hit. He applies Divine Smite, dealing a single, radiant-powered strike against the undead foe. Roman casts Healing Word on Khorvus, trying to treat some of his wounds. Edolkar starts his turn and passes his wisdom saving throw, but still taking some damage. He lines up a strike, following Khorvus’ lead, and gets a critical hit as well. Using his increased strength, he cleaves through Vasarus’ skeletal shoulder and watches as the bones collapse to the ground.

Out of combat, Roman (Orson) approaches the remains of the body, slightly panicking, realising he will be unable to recover the necrotic energy. Grae asks why he brought Vasarus to his castle. He takes a moment, explaining that in his youth he died from an accident fleeing the carnage of Vasarus raiding his village. Orson continues to provide information on his backstory before eventually collapsing over, dead. Grae goes upstairs and finds Jhazaal and asks for his help, bringing him back down to the crypt. He examines Orson, before also reviewing Vasarus and the other reanimated undead. They discuss what to do next, taking his body to his bedroom. The party move to wake up Amelia, but find that there are multiple lights alight in her room. Grae enters cautiously, hearing crying. As Grae and the party enter, they find that her once glazed over eyes are normal, and that she is looking at the party. They conclude that at the same time that the necrotic energy seeped into the basement, radiant energy must have risen into the upper floor where Amelia was resting. She speaks with the party, seeing them for the first time. Grae provides the news about Roman, but they try to avoid mentioning the details of his true intentions. The party take a long rest to recover from the day’s events.

In the morning, the party regroup, and help Jhazaal and Amelia with preparations, then have a small service. Grae says a short speech, thanking him for helping train and control her magic power. Grae asks Jhazaal to prepare the carriage to take the party to Rutledge. They pack up their equipment and say goodbye to Amelia. Sometime later, they arrive at Rutledge and go to the Mages Hall. They speak with Dorqen, and provide the Bulette carapaces they agreed to fetch for him in exchange for the bag of holding. He willingly accepts the additional carapaces, and offers it as a fair trade for the bag of holding. He offers them transport back to Strixhaven, but the party pause for a moment as Grae decides to remain in Tenahmir for now. She explains that now might is a good time to visit her gnomish family and seek to end her forced exile. The three say goodbye, offering for her to come back soon, and are teleported back to the plane of Strixhaven.

Grae begins her walk home and finds herself walking past Mama Kama’s Knick Knack Imporium, but finds that it is boarded up with a sign out front indicating it is closed. Looking through a window, she sees Mama Kama who informs her she has closed her shop because she had a feeling she should go back to visit family. She asks if the brooch helped, and Grae enquires on her history with the Eldrakes. Grae asks if she knows Katria, finding out that she is Katria, who has aged gracefully to an old gnome over the course of hundreds of years. She offers for Grae to join her, and shows willingness to help set the story straight on why magic being forbidden in their culture needs to be reconsidered. They walk out of Rutledge, heading to their homeland.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading (and hopefully listening to) Students of Strixhaven!