Oh wait, I have more than one round of actions... but no ability to edit the map XD
7 Sarenith – Night
Temple of the Elk; D3
The party hastily scrambled to their feet, drawing their weapons. “A shambler!” Jhod practically cursed the word. “Shoot to drive it back, we can't fight this thing.”
Giles screwed a bolt into his crossbow. He peered past Kyrie into the darkness, trying to see the nature of the beast. The others seemed to recognise what it was, but he wanted a good look for himself.
Kyrie picked up her shield, muttering a prayer. She moved ahead to the top of the steps outside the cave, strapping the board to her arm as she did. Not far behind her, Frodrick did the same, using the haft of his axe to pull himself to his feet.
Miguel swallowed the lump in his throat when he looked out. He grabbed his bow—there was no sense rushing to an early grave. Let it come to him. He reached into the air above the pool with his magic and called a quartet of lights to illuminate the whole yard.
The shambler jerked up, startled. Whatever horticultural organ it used for sight, it saw Kyrie standing at the top of the steps. With a brief second of processing, it lumbered forward through the pool, throwing small waves with every step.
Zeran quickly loaded his pistol for the moment the monster inevitably came in his optimum range. Beside him Jhod muttered his own prayer, clutching the wooden disk around his neck. A small point of soft light appeared above his head and grew into the shape of a bow made of antlers, before dissolving.
A glowing mantle fell over each of the party members in the cave and vanished from sight, leaving behind a bolstering conviction. (+1 morale to attack, vs. fear)
7 Sarenith – Night
Temple of the Elk; D3
Giles stepped out of the cave onto the stone slab landing. At once his long black hair shimmered, then suddenly turned stark silver. Silently the knight condemned the creature, channeling his will into his weapons to fill them with destructive force. He pulled the trigger and fired the bolt into the centre of the mass (-4dmg Shambler). He was rewarded with wet squishy 'thock'.
Kyrie marched down the right flank of the stairs, shield first. The shattered rubble of the stairs would make for an excellent defensive point. The shambler could not get up the stairs without going through her. She waited, ready for its steady advance.
Frodrick rolled out of the cave after Kyrie, his axe and his shield ready for wreaking havoc. He felt twenty (or fifty, in dwarven?) years younger, battle lust making his dwarven spirit sing beneath his gruff exterior.
Miguel nocked an arrow into his shortbow, running out to take his place among the shooters. He fired into the mass of vines, striking with a thump. He couldn't say how he knew, but he reckoned the shambler had not felt his attack. The shambler did not seem to react differently than it had to Giles' bolt, but it seemed an even less impressive shot.
Zeran took his place on the stairs just above Kyrie, his pistol arm extended at the shambler. He held and waited, though. At this range, his weapon would be too inaccurate to waste the shot. He waited, ready to fire.
The shambler turned to the pool edge and climbed out. It continued to lumber toward the party, ignoring the two missiles protruding from what could arguably called its face.
Zeran fired. The lead ball struck the shambler in the massive arm, sending up a small splurt of slime and vine juice. The shambler did not seem impressed by this display.
Jhod kept to the back, murmering another prayer to himself under his breath.
The suspense is going to kill me. As I try to kill you...
7 Sarenith – Night
Temple of the Elk; D3
Giles quickly reloaded his crossbow and fired again for the centre of the monster's mass. Another missile was swallowed by the thing's face with hardly a reaction. (-4dmg Shambler) Still, it seemed to find its mark.
Frodrick stomped down the stairs, his shield in line with Kyrie's. He stood one foot on stair, one foot on a stone block of rubble that used to be stair, a 7' drop to his left. He peered over his shield at the vine creature and prepared to accept its first strike.
Behind Miguel let his bow arm fall as he started up an motivating song to go support Jhod's blessing. It seemed there could not possibly be too much encouragement that they were not all about to die.
The mound of moss, vines, and slime continued to rumble across the cobblestones inexorably. When it got to the base of the debris field fanning out from the ruined stair, it was forced to navigate over the large stone blocks, until it was looming directly before Kyrie and Frodrick. (Total Defence)
Uninterrupted at the entrance, Jhod's murmuring prayer game to an end. The spell energy he'd been channelling released. Across the stone boulders directly next to the shambler a flickering circle appeared, quickly growing into a summoning ring.
The ring completed in less than a second, followed immediately by a burst of light. Standing over the fading circle, amidts a cloud of glowing motes over energy was a large, powerful looking stag too perfect to possibly be a mortal creature, seeming to glow with internal energy.
The elk reared up on its hind legs and kicked the shambler, to little effect, but then returning groundward it pushed itself forward to gore the mound with its antlers. (-7dmg Shambler) The shambler seemed at least to acknowledge the summoned monster's attack as the bony antlers drove into its 'arm'.
Jhod meanwhile stepped out into the night. He came down to the top of the stairs next to Zeran, another prayer already on his lips. In his hand was a slip of parchment covered in small neat writing. As Zeran finished reloading his weapon he saw the parchment suddenly burn to ash in Jhod's hand.
A shimmering aura surrounded his hand, and as he touched Kyrie, the faint ripple transfered to her. “Here, lass, this will help protect you.”
(Phew, so what is that, now? +1 morale to attack, +1 competence to attack and damage, +1 trait bonus to Frodrick's damage, a deflection bonus on Kyrie's AC, dodge bonuses for the tanks (on top of the dodge bonus Kyrie always had). We're really getting creative with the modifiers this one. You know Kyrie's AC right now is 10 + 3Arm + 2Shld + 1Dex + 5Dodge +2Deflect? That adds up to 23. Frodrick's is 21. Will it be enough? Well, one more round before we find out.)
Posted on 2014-04-23 at 08:33:25.
Edited on 2014-04-23 at 08:57:38 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Kyrie nodded over her shoulder at the cleric behind her, "Thanks!" She called, before looking at the weed's... well, where she guessed its eyes were, if it had eyes. It was a plant. Maybe it had eyes, maybe it didn't. All she knew was that it was a weed. A very dangerous weed that has shown that it is rather aggressive towards other forms of life.
Taking a breath, Kyrie steeled her resolve, and stepped forward, blocking its advance. She was almost distracted by that strange wild beast (or was it wild?) that showed up out of nowhere, but her main focus was the weed.
"Round two, this time, you weed." Kyrie muttered, keeping her focus on the weed's movements in preparation to defend against a counter attack, and lashing out with her sickle, attempting to reap... well, if there was anything of worth to reap from the weed she'd finish the end of that sentence later.
You're in luck. I'm pretty sure almost no one will die at this rate.
7 Sarenith – Night
Temple of the Elk; D3
With the hulking shambler this close, Giles dropped his crossbow on the stone platform. With a thought, he shifted his destructive will into a protective aura surrounding him invisibly. He pulled out the small wooden disk and held it up to the shambler, taking aim as he spoke the words to the spell.
After the spell took effect, Giles stowed the disk and jumped down off the broken ledge to the ground below. He landed harder than he'd hoped, but managed not to brake anything. The scarred knight with the silver hair drew his sword, stopping at the edge of the shambler's reach, hoping not to attract its attention before he could land a solid strike.
Acrobatics DC 15: 14+1
Kyrie did not wait for the shambler to finish coming to her. With its reach, she would not get a chance to fight back if she didn't move in now. Which was exactly what she'd planned to do. She stepped off the stairs directly at the monster's feet. Keeping her ready, she hooked her sickle overhead into the central mass of vines. Most of the blade disappeared into the mess without seeming to cause a reaction, but then she pulled down, cutting through as much vegetation in one sweep as she could. (-7dmg Shambler)
Frodrick was beside her half a second later. “That's the way, keep at it!” He waved his axe at the shambler, trying to force it to expose itself to Kyrie's next attack. He rammed the haft into the mass of vines to distract it. (Aid Attack Kyrie)
Miguel, still singing, slung his bow over his shoulder and jumped after Giles. He drew his sword, charging it with arcane energy just in case he had a chance to swing at something. Like Giles he stayed well back of the creature's actual mass, waiting by the summoned spirit for a chance to slip in when an opening presented itself.
Acrobatic DC 15:10+6
From atop the stairs, Zeran took aim and shot. This close it was almost impossible for him not to strike something vital—the bullet, propelled by a shot of black powder, cleaved through the thick layers of vegetation into the centre of the mass where (at least the assumption was) more vital organs lay. The ball punched through the shambler's body, and for the first time the monster seemed to notice the damage to its body (-9dmg Shambler Injured). For a moment, it seemed as if the party might manage to chase the vine monster off without any significant injuries.
The summoned celestial elk lowered its head and prepared ram with its antlers again. The shambler simply lifted one of its mossy arms and slammed it down elk (-15dmg Elk Disabled). The elk was briefly stunned by the force of the impact, and could hardly resist as the long grasses and vines that made up the shambler's arm flew out and wrapped around it.
In a dilemma that would make a vegan weep, the shambler pulled the elk in toward its central mass as its vines squeezed tighter and tighter around its body—until suddenly the summon's body gave in and collapsed back into nothing more than motes of energy (-17dmg Elk Desummoned).
Deprived of its meal, the shambler turned rapidly and lashed out at Kyrie. The girl was prepared for this, and she pulled back while bracing herself. The shambler's heavy arm instead glanced off her shield rather than strike her full-on.
Jhod, with his holy symbol in one hand, uttered another short prayer of asylum and protection, then stepped in behind Kyrie and Frodrick, inside the shambler's attack range.
(Heh, a shambler gets -such- a tight benefit out of power attack when facing easy to hit foes. Also, I have to say it's been fun playing a spellcaster who has no reason not to unload every spell he has in a fight. That Summon Monster II was the best decision I've made yet, that execution of summoning an ally and then killing it off spectacularly was flawless)
(Dancing Lights: Just recently discovered that the duration is always exactly 1 min, not 1min/level. Good thing we saw that now rather than in round 11... not that I would have changed it then without warning, since I don't correct my bungles when they benefit the party until the next occasion)
Posted on 2014-04-24 at 02:40:35.
Edited on 2014-04-25 at 20:12:40 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Next I should let you fight a shambler at level 6, just to see how much you improve. And let it hurt
7 Sarenith – Night
Temple of the Elk; D3
Giles raised his longsword two handed over his head and plunged into the centre of the mass of vines and moss and slime (-9dmg Shambler). The shambler rustled with a vigorous quiver across its body. It was clearly beginning to notice this prey was not without its teeth. Across its body were a noticeable number of severed tendrils, and several of its wounds oozed with some kind of slimy fluid—more than normal, at least (Bloodied).
Keeping defensive behind her shield, Kyrie lunged for a shot while the shambler was recoiling from Giles' hit. Her sickle got tangled in the thick layers of vegetation, slashing cutting through very little for her effort. Frodrick maintained his distracting presense hoping to give her a better opening.
Regardless of Kyrie or Frodrick's attempts, the shambler's attention turned to Giles. It seemed to identify Giles' sword as the biggest threat present. Of course, it was wrong.
Miguel stepped in next to Giles just as the shambler began raising its arm. Without thinking, he leapt in at the opening he saw and slashed across the plant monster's body. His sword, energized with magic and muscle, cleaved deeper than he expected, and almost got stuck for a half second in the monster's body (-13dmg Shambler, Badly Wounded).
The shambler very suddenly had enough. It could live off soil nutrients and small animals for a few days. It had been bested by superior prey. The shambler took a step back off the pile of rubble it was occupying, then turned to flee, lumbering across the cobblestones the way it came.
(The shambler is still within the radius of the lights spell. It is about 45' from the general location of the party. Note that any hoping to chase it down would have to cross the same rubble we used to slow it down. Also note that Miguel still has his ranged weapon on his person, and Zeran is, in fact, now loaded. I also skipped Jhod's action—because he has nothing left to do unless somebody is dying or fighting. Giles' ability will last until the shambler is gone or he stops attacking, whichever comes first.)
(EDIT: Nvm, this was too good to pass up.)
Even had they wanted to get close to the shambler ever again, none of the party would have been able to crawl across the blasted stone blocks that once made up the body of the stairs.
Zeran, however, had not loaded this shot for nothing. He hustled down the stairs and hopped past Kyrie, looking to get a better shot off. He clambered over the rubble, coming to pause on one stone boulder. With a moment to trail the shambler's movements he took aim and fired. He saw a splurt of slime fly up from somewhere in the top middle of the shambler's body.
The shambler continued on for two more steps, unfazed, then it missed the third by a bit. The fourth step came at the same time that the whole tangle of vines and grass and moss and slime crashed to the stones next to the pool (-17dmg *crit* Shambler, Dying) (+2Grit Zeran).
As Zeran fired his shot, Kyrie moved forward with purpose. They couldn't be certain if it had anything special up its... lack of a sleeve unless you count weird vines? Whatever. There was the possibility it'd turn around, whatever that entailed, so now was not the time to celebrate.
She had no way of knowing how his weapon worked, but it surely did wonders when he wielded it. Perhaps not as often as he would like, but Kyrie still thought it was a powerful weapon.
"Solid hit!" She called back at Zeran, although she knew that he saw it as well as she did. With only one or two steps further, the weed collapsed.
Well, we attacked the stalk and crown. Let's see if this thing carries its roots around with it. Kyrie thought as she advanced towards the fallen weed, shield still at the ready in case it was playing.
The creature did not stir. Now, Kyrie had no idea how the anatomy of such a weed actually worked, but given that it was a wandering weed, that had to mean that it carried its roots with it, somewhere they would be safe. That somewhere was most likely in the middle of its strange body. Moving to get a better positioning, Kyrie set aside her shield temporarily as she stabbed the sickle with a downward strike, using both hands, directly into the core of the vegetative mass. (Coup De Grace)
Zeran had kept his eyes on the beast as his companions fought it, slime and vegetation looks strange as they were hacked apart and tried to fight back. He was dismayed when the thing tried to flee with surprising speed, they had bested it but he was tired of loading a bullet only to have their foes leave or die. "Oh no, not this time. Even if I miss I don't damn well care." The man growled under his breath.
With single minded determination he bounded after it trying to get a better shot. He got into position, his eyes followed the movement and he trained his shot. Click, boom. His gun went off with a blast and he held his breath as he saw the spurt. Was it enough? Would it lick it's wounds or- it fell and his lips curled into a smile.
"Solid Hit!" He heard Kyrie call and he waved to her with his gun. "Finish that thing, you know more about plants then I do and thanks, glad that bullet hit." He called to her and watched her hack at the center of the body, what he could assume she had determined to be the roots of the plant monster. He was pleased, and tired, he was damn tired of everything that wanted them dead or maimed attacking during the night. "I say we bring part of it back as a trophy, any objections?" He asked turning to look at the rest of the party hoping they didn't, this wasn't your everyday kind of kill.
Do you know what a shambler's typical habitats are?
Exploration & Mapping
Hexes: E3 +25XP Each
The next day the party left Jhod at the Temple of the Elk, travelling southwest to continue down the Skunk River.Over the next weeks they planned to cover the majority of the forested land east of the river, keeping a careful eye out in case they strayed far enough south to run into the other group of bandits encamped somewhere in the region.
As they approached the river (and the familiar smell), however, the group noticed the terrain becoming soggier and more like the kind of land a creature like a shambling mound might like to call home.
Skunk Mire & Ruin; E3
Fortunately, only the land in the immediate vicinity of the river proved to be wetland marshes, but on the third day they encountered a large, soggy mire slumping away from the river. The peatland only covered an area of about a hectare bordered by the forest on three sides and the Skunk to the west.
With at most sparse, small trees dotting the small fen, the only feature of note was a pair of ruined buildings, one larger, and one smaller with signs of a long-crumbled tower. The stone structures were sunk into the water-logged ground, with bushes and rushes surrounding on all sides.
The soggy ground was dotted with shallow pools of standing water, forcing Zeran to chose his course carefully, or else become stuck in the muddy ground. The remains of what might have once been a path, just slightly less overgrown with reeds and rushes than the surrounding land marked the best route across the area, crossing directly in front of the two structures.
(Since at least 2 players have expressed interest in extracting a trophy from the corpse of the shambler, I'll let you discuss that OoC/in backpost. Also, Zeran should not panic about the number of bullets, I just figured that since his powder horn only really holds 10 shots, that's how many he has access to at any given time, with more stored away. This way if he falls in water, he's less likely to ruin the bulk of his powder.)
Posted on 2014-04-26 at 19:52:24.
Edited on 2014-04-26 at 19:54:43 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Giles splashed his blade in the water to clean off the remnants of slime and vegetation from the creature before returning his blade to its sheath.
"I say we bring part of it back as a trophy, any objections?"
Glies drew his attention up to Zeran and let a slight chuckles escape his lips.
" You really want to drag around a hung of rotting vegetation just to prove we killed something, a trophy to hang on our walls when and if we ever manage to build them. By all means be my guest but in my opinion it would be a waste of space better filled by supplies and such we may find. "
Giles returned up to the cave retrieving his crossbow and inspecting it for damage before stowing it on his back again.
"You folk do what you will with the beast, I'm going to try and gain some rest before we set out again I bid you all goodnight"
With that Giles returned to the darkness of the cave his hair turning back to its natural shade of black upon leaving the light of the moon
The shambler had the elk trapped and screaming in the viney mess of its body. Miguel cringed as he witnessed the summon's sacrifice only a few feet from where he was standing. He was relieved to know that his wildlife friend would be returning unharmed and safe to its native plane. Thank you for you services friend, he thought while singing to the elk as he vanished.
The combined efforts of the party managed to turn the shambler to flee, but Zeran wasn't done. He took a wild shot and brought the shambler down.
Moving to get a better positioning, Kyrie set aside her shield temporarily as she stabbed the sickle with a downward strike, using both hands, directly into the core of the vegetative mass.
Miguel sheathed his sword after it was dead. He approached Kyrie and gently placed his hand on her right shoulder. "It's dead, Kyrie." He helped her back to her feet and held up her shield to take.
Giles returned to the darkness of the cave his hair turning back to its natural shade of black upon leaving the light of the moon. After a moment of star gazing Miguel decided it was time for him to return to nights shelter. Giles was still settling onto his bedroll. "You know, it's a beautiful night out there," he told the soldier casually. "Lovely moon." He smiled innocently for a moment, then added. "By the way, I like the hair."
Should have known better than to leave it simply too open-ended, with too many options.
Boggard Lair; E3
The summery heat of the midday sun without the cover of the forest combined with the standing water in the mire to make the air unbearably muggy. It was hot and wet, and a layer of sweat hung between every layer of clothing or armour and skin.
The area still had to be mapped, though. At least this mire was small enough they'd be back under the shade in hardly any time. Besides, maybe there was something inside the ruin worth investigating, as unlikely as that might be.
The smaller building had one wall more or less entirely crumbled, and through the opening Frodrick saw a modest sized patch of mushrooms growing in the dark corner. He just had time to wonder about the somewhat organised appearance of the mushroom crop when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye.
Through the empty doorway on the larger building was a lumbering, pale purple slime-covered toad. The beast had seen them, and rumbled toward the open door. It had sickly green eyes, a healthy coat of slime, and two huge walrus-like tusks.
The monster (that Miguel was already recognising and identifying as a slurk) paused on the threshold and issued a loud warning croak at the intruders—provoking a responding croak from inside the smaller building. Appearing in that doorway an instant later was a humanoid about 5' tall, with decidedly frog-like features.
The boggard, a member of a swamp-dwelling species prone to violence and cruelty, saw the party. Immediately it held up its hands. “Truce! Truce!” The party could see clearly that its right hand was a mangled broken mess, long since poorly healed. It carried what could ostensibly be called its weapon—a piece of wood with nails driven through one end—in its belt, and was almost naked besides a hard leather breastplate over its torso.
(Obviously, continuing previous lines of thought in back-post as always (which I think we've successfully done something like once?) Bonus information on boggards: They're not an especially common threat for people who don't live next to large swampy areas, but they typically gather in small villages. Natives to the Rostland/North River Kingdoms areas will probably be familiar with the large tribe of boggards living in the Hooktongue Slough, the region of the Stolen Lands immediately to our west.)
(As for slurks, Miguel hasn't had the time to describe them, yet, but he basically knows everything about them (Arcane check: 26) though Giles has only heard the name connected with toad-shaped things (Arcane check: 9). Miguel, in a more relaxed moment, could tell you all about how they were originally conceived in failed dwarven attempts to breed a domesticated strain of subterranean toads. They are stronger and, if only slightly, smarter than typical animals (being classified as 'magical beasts' like the owlbear), and prefer to live either underground or in swamps, where they are often found domesticated by the less picky races that live there. Slurks have very large tusks and a powerful bite, but what really makes them dangerous is their use of slime (which is probably one of the first things Miguel would mention if a fight broke out), whether their hard, resinous slime that covers their back, which they can fire in jets at prey to trap them, or the greasy slime excreted by glands on their stomach that prevents them from being stuck)
Posted on 2014-04-28 at 18:56:56.
Edited on 2014-04-28 at 19:02:35 by Sibelius Eos Owm
"It's dead, Kyrie."
Kyrie stopped mid-swing, looking over at Miguel, "You're sure?" She stood up, wiping her green-stained gauntlets on the remnants of the plant vegetation that was less slimy than other parts, "Whew, that thing's core was hard." She remarked offhandedly, "... guess I should check for a seed pod or something. Some plants have those when they die."
Kyrie started cutting at the vines that made up the weed's body, trying to get a better look at the core she was stabbing. If there was an actual core. She didn't know how the thing worked.
If there is a sufficiently dense core that remains, Kyrie will pick it up and check it for seeds. Assuming there is none, she shrugs and puts it back down, though on hearing notion for a 'trophy', Kyrie will point at the core, "Well, I don't see why we'd want to keep something, but if we take anything, that might be the only main part of its body." She noted to Zeran before she wandered back to the cavern for much needed rest.
* * *
Kyrie looked in surprise at the creatures in front of the party. One was a toad. Oversized but still a toad. The other was also a toad. Or a toad-man? Yep, seemed like a man. She did a double take between the two, not sure what to think of them. ((Detect as noted does not reveal anything strange))
"Uh, hi? Sorry if we're intruding, but we're trying to make a map, you see." Kyrie spoke.
She didn't know what it was going to do with its weapon it had, but she figured that such a makeshift weapon would not do much undue damage, especially against armour, so she didn't consider it much of a threat. Worst case scenario, she would advance to intercept it anyway.
Boggard Lair; E3
The boggard narrowed its eyes suspiciously, watching Kyrie carefully as she hopped out of the wagon onto the solid ground of the path.
"Uh, hi? Sorry—" she began.
The moment Kyrie took a step toward the ruined structures the boggard hunched down into a pose ready to fight. His good left hand went to the weapon on his side but he didn't grab it. "No." He said. A warning. The slurk's general disposition of displeasure deepened and it emitted a low, hostile croaking.
Kyrie retracted the step.
Both the boggard and the slurk resumed a more casual pose.
"Hi. Sorry if we're intruding, but we're trying to make a map, you see." Kyrie spoke.
The boggard's expression stayed neutral as it heard, sizing up the party. It did not seem to register the farm girl's words at all. Finally after a moment, it stepped up.
"Me boggard. Me Garuum." He pointed at himself. He pointed to the slurk. "Me slurk. Slurk Ubagub." Once he established this baseline of communication, he tried for a more complex expression. He gestured for the crumbling buildings. "Me bug, me snake, me truce." He pointed for the path ahead of the cart, away from the buildings. "You truce, you go. No die."
Having exercised an impressive array of concepts, the boggard shut its mouth and waited to see the effect of its words.