Content of the article: "Well, he didn’t prepare Shield so…I guess he’s dead now"
A group of four PCs, myself included, is running Storm King's Thunder, we're most of the way through (no spoilers please), and something just happened that I really want to share.
Comprised of a BM Fighter, Assassin Rogue, WM Sorcerer, and Hunter Ranger, our party is really good in situations where the only way out is forward, as was the case in our most recent session.
In pursuit of a ship circling endlessly in the Trackless Sea, my group hopped into our airship and set off from Waterdeep, having docked to procure provisions for a two weeks' journey. We found our quarry on the third day and sent the Rogue in to investigate, while the rest of us stayed on the airship, ~1,200 feet above.
The Rogue has a flying speed, so he zipped down to the boat, but made a bit of a splash as he ducked underwater where he found Merfolk guards, who spotted him pretty quickly. He decided to stay in the area and try and hide from the merfolk & pirates, when our Fighter provided a distraction. Fighter chugged a potion of Invulnerability and dove off the airship, with the Sorcerer holding Polymorph until Fighter cleared the deck. Fighter landed as a Giant Ape taking only 26 damage from a the fall (20d6!!) and crushed some poor pirate to boot. The Ranger and Sorcerer were stuck on the airship as it could only descend about 70' per round.
All the commotion brought some of the crew out, who raised the general alarm. The Giant Ape and Rogue commenced with fighting an entire Pirate Ship while the other two ran off to get provision barrels to throw overboard at the pirates. One round later an Archmage stepped onto the deck; our Fighter was nearly out of HP as a Giant Ape at this point and it was looking like we finally bit off more than we could chew.
A water keg that had been dropped from 1,000 feet catches the Archmage flush, dealing 73 damage. The look on our DMs face when the barrel was tossed overboard, passed the DC to aim at the mage, AND hit the mage was almost as good as the look on his face when – one turn later – the Giant Ape crushed him into goo. All he could say was "well, he didn't prepare Shield, so I guess he's dead now."
TL;DR – We were able to kill an Archmage with a water barrel and a Giant Ape because he didn't have the Shield spell prepared.
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