As the Red War in Mulmaster continues on, individual accounts have begun to leak from the city. Tales of immense devastation and massive amounts of magical and martial fighting in the streets are everywhere.
This article contains an in-character, first-hand account of an encounter from DDEP00-01 The Red War. Although we have been careful to avoid anything beyond minor hints at content and your exact experience will differ when you play it, if you wish to remain completely spoiler free, it is recommended that you stop reading now and skip this article.
One such rumor that was circulating was the instant destruction of an entire city block by a magical explosion. Several refugees from Mulmaster corroborated the events and a Tribune reporter was able to track down two of the individuals who had personally participated in the fight which led to the explosion: a Priest of Lathander named Rae DeSoliel, and a heretic Priest of Amaunator named Darvin.
Rae explained that they had been under an illusion spell, posing as priests and Red Wizards who were ordering subordinates around, although eventually they broke their disguise to break up Red Wizard rituals and help protect the city from the invasion. Their path ended up on the docks where they encountered a golem described by Darvin as “…the size of a building and made out of buildings…” which they engaged to protect the city, as its intent seemed to be upon destruction.
“Both clerics were down,” Darvin explained, “one party member had been climbing up inside the golem … trying to cut it down to size.” Rae added in, “The resulting battle looked bleak … there was little hope.”
It was then when the wizard Gilbert decided upon the ultimate sacrifice. “… he misty stepped behind him [the golem] to help shield the party,” said Rae, “retribution strike, full charge… ” Gilbert struck with his staff of power, breaking it on the golem.
A staff of power is an incredibly rare staff used by the most powerful archmagi and contains an immense amount of arcane might. Ordinarily it is used to assist the user in casting offensive magics, but in dire situations, it can be willingly broken to release all of its contained magic at one time in a massive explosion: a “retributive strike.” It is only used as a very last resort, as the wielder and anyone or anything nearby will be caught in a massive explosion, which almost always means complete annihilation.
“He raised his Staff of Power and broke it against the monstrosity’s back … the staff exploded in a blast of unrestrained arcane power,” Rae recalled. “The party member in the building [golem] was high enough in it, I believe 30 ft, to not take full damage,” added Darvin, “he was blown unconscious from the building.”
The explosion destroyed the golem, buildings, carts, animals – everything in a wide radius around it. It could be seen and heard from most parts of the city. A friendly party of goblins (another strange tale we are currently investigating) investigated the explosion and came upon the unconscious party, helping restore them to health. With his sacrifice, Gilbert had defeated the rampaging beast and saved his companions.
Darvin approved of the wizard’s actions, citing a moral to his story: “if a golem made out of a city is attacking you, don’t be afraid to level a city block.”
Gilbert’s body was not recovered, likely being completely disintegrated, although his companions maintain hope that he was instead shunted to another plane. Although it is a small chance, it can sometimes happen with large, concentrated explosions of magical energy of this magnitude.