The party inched around the room in an attempt to surround the wizard Hallas without provoking him and as a distraction Amras attempted to engage him in conversation. The party discovered that Hallas had odd gaps in his story; he didn't remember arriving in Shadow Port and while he did remember the box -- in which they had assumed the item they had been sent to retrieve had been kept -- he had no memory of its contents. This was all very suspicious and odd and then the dog said "Get out of here now and you may live", which was something of a surprise.
Ne-0n pointed at the talking dog and asked Hallas what was going on. Hallas indicated that he heard nothing but a bark. The dog bit Ne-0n on the leg, crumpling the robotic sorcerer's metallic skin. Then there was a big fight.
Hallas' spells either failed or were countered by Amras' own magical abilities and the dog was hacked and blasted into bits. Literal bits, as it exploded into rainbow coloured light when they got it to zero hit points; they began to suspect that it was not a normal dog. Meanwhile Hallas was beaten into unconsciousness and the party was just about to tie him up and loot his study when the tower shook as something huge approached. Poking their heads out the window they saw a gigantic shadow thing -- perhaps some sort of amalgamation of the smaller creatures they had fought earlier -- half-stomping and half-slithering towards them.
Huge 6th level spoiler
Initiative + 11
Vulnerability: light (yes, I know there is no light damage type in 13th Age, so what?)
Inky black tentacles +11 vs PD (3 attacks) - 21 negative energy damage.
Natural roll is above target's Constitution: the target loses a recovery as they feel their life force draining away.
C: Shadow Wail + 11 vs MD (2d4 nearby enemies) - targets are stunned (save ends) as each of the thing's masks lets out an agonised moan.
AC 22 PD 20 MD 20 HP 270
Ooh! A boss monster! Ooh! A boss monster that couldn't roll above a five and so missed with each and every attack except for the wail and that was no good if it couldn't follow up with any other attacks. Never mind then.
At some point during the one-sided mugging of the Giant Blobby Shadow Thing Hallas woke up and tried to crawl into a corner to hide from the enormous monster smashing holes in his house, but Amras executed him with a ray of frost, an act that seemed a little disproportionate.
As the wounded and helpless wizard froze to death a strange magical burst erupted from his body and shattered the windows of the tower; Sartheen the Red was occupied chopping the Giant Blobby Shadow Thing to bits but did feel the weight of the Blue's geas lift as Hallas expired. Was the geas that bound the Blue to the Emperor's service somehow contained, not in the wooden box Sartheen had seen, but in the human being Sartheen had seen carrying the box?
Then came the looting and as the party ransacked Hallas' study they uncovered a strange and lifelike statue of an armoured half-orc, with a silver vial on a cord hanging around its neck. They opened the vial and poured the contents into the statue's mouth, and to the great surprise of no one the statue transformed into a
They escaped the tower just as it shaped itself into an enormous fist and tried to squash them, then they legged it to the edge of town -- Amras' keen intelligence helping him to plot a course through the shifting streets -- where a group of shadow things blocked their path. Amras teleported past the mob and ran into the woods while the rest of the party hacked their way through the shadows.
Once in the relative safety of the hills above Shadow Port, the party -- and their new addition, Gothrog Thickskull, paladin of, er, Communism -- discussed their next move. Some wanted to return to the cave with the magic portal but others pointed out that this would take them straight back to the Blue. Shadow Port was on an island so the only other way off -- given their current resources -- was to steal a boat, but that would have required returning to town and they were about as keen to do that as they were to face the Blue again.
Sartheen suggested a third option. He knew -- via an Icon relationship roll -- of a small gang of smugglers who had tried to circumvent the established order of things in Shadow Port and while the smugglers themselves had been forced into early retirement by the thieves' guild it was possible that their hideout -- and their boats -- would be intact. The dragonspawn's hunch paid off and the party escaped the island in a sloop with Rarity falling back on her skills as a former pearl diver to guide them to a safe port. Alas, those skills were a bit rusty and by the time they slouched into Glitterhaegen the party was battered, bruised and half-drowned.
They knew that they had burned their bridges with some Icons and made enemies of others, so they booked into an obscure inn far from the main thoroughfares of the city and kept their heads down. As the party convalesced, Ne-0n meditated and when he emerged from his trance, days later, the robot announced that he was tired of being manipulated by powerful beings and that it was time to take the Icons on.
With the summer holidays upon us and regular attendance due to become sporadic as a result we decided that we'd arrived at a good point to pause the campaign. The characters have reached fifth level and so a new tier of play has opened up; when we return to the 13th Age in the autumn we'll see how the player-characters intend to oppose the Icons. Until then it's board games for us and we may even have a go at this new Dungeons and Dragons thing everyone's talking about.