Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Without needing further direction, Kyrie charged to where she heard the feral screeching sound. Sure enough, she found both Giles and Beaky, preparing to face off. She threw herself into the spot Giles had stepped back from, forcing the owlbear to pay attention to her.
Miguel followed her closely, stepping over the bodies of all the people he'd put to sleep, so as not to kick one awake. He came up on the other side of Giles, drawing his focus within himself for a moment, then launching into a war chant.
It was Zeran, unsurprisingly, who was the first to deviate from the pre-stated plan. He had business to take care of. “If you want to continue living, keep yourself down and find a corner to hide in. If we see you moving to run you'll probably be picked off.”
He left the man laying in the dirt and chased Dovan into the other side of the stone ruin, putting his back against the crumbling stonework just inside the door to keep cover from the archers. Dovan was just ahead of him, going for the stairs. Zeran shot his arm up, tightened his focus, and fired. The shot flew past Dovan just barely, hissing past his right ear.
Stefan came up in the rear. He was the only one equipped for long-range, so he took his hand at providing cover fire. He nocked an arrow and let it fly at the northwest tower. The shot was good. One of the bandits buckled, clutching the arrow in his side. It wasn't fatal, but it would give him something to think about (-6dmg Jex Bloodied).
Frodrick moved into the building, commanding Jargon behind him to follow. There was no room for her in the door, yet, but she waited patiently for her chance to take a bite out of this bear.
Dovan turned to Zeran for the barest of instants and curled his nose in a condescending sneer, before running up the steps, drawing a dagger in his free hand. On the other side of the wooden wall, not visible to either of them, but very audible, the owlbear tore into Kyrie with a furious passion, for blocking its prey.
The towering owlbear male descended with both claws, battering the paladin around in her armoured shell. It swiped with its left, long hook-like talon claws locking around her right shoulder (-9dmg Kyrie Grappled), then with its right, which she caught on her shield, pinning it to her body (-8dmg Kyrie 9/34). It screeched loudly into her face, red-rimmed eyes hanging just above her own as she tried to push back against it.
While the savage monstrosity was busy with Kyrie, Giles slipped past it without disturbance, ending up behind it, across from Frodrick. He took advantage of its distraction to draw his blade up and thrust it deep into the monster's flank (-17dmg *crit* Beaky Injured).
The archers loosed another volley (one, named Jex, ducking under cover after firing) at the yard. An arrow landed next to Stefan and Jargon was startled by a shaft near her. Zeran flinched back as one arrow clipped his upper arm (-4dmg Zeran), a lucky shot.
He didn't have time to pay attention to such needle stings, though. Roaring down the stairs with his incredible bulk came Auchs. When he got to the bottom he turned and wordlessly bellowed at Zeran, closing the distance between them entirely too quickly. The pirate had his back to the wall.
You could try and take us, but victory's contagious
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
The heavy grey clouds burst. Wet, hot raindrops fell like fat droplets of blood. The first few seconds already speckled the dusty ground dark and light with summer rain.
Kyrie held her ground against the owlbear. With a thought, the divine energy of life and creation flowed through her body, revitalizing her and mending scrapes and bruises (+16hp Kyrie). With this influx of energy, she pressed back against the monster, trying unsuccessfully to take control.
Miguel followed into the common room beside Frodrick, song still on his lips, and slashed the owlbear with a two-handed swipe of his sword. Reinforced by music and magic, he drew a hooting roar out of the monster (-11 Beaky, Bloodied).
One room over, Zeran was already beginning to feel like he'd bitten off more than he could chew. “Hey, big guy, uh, remember me?” He barely finished that sentence when his flight instinct kicked in and told him to get moving. His mouth ran the whole while he slipped out the door into the yard. “Do you want to be the hero, Auchs? Do you want to be the knight?”
He came up behind Kyrie, calling back as he went. “Come, Auchs, come save the lady!” He crossed his fingers behind his back, hoping he hadn't just given his friends one more hazard to deal with.
In the yard, Stefan dropped to a crouch, making him a smaller target for the next arrow that came his way. He shot for the two in the northwest bandit post again, but this arrow lodged itself in the small wooden wall around the fence, rather than in bandit flesh. “Lay down your weapons and my master will spare your lives as he has done for me!”
Frodrick himself was doing his level best to distract the owlbear enough to give Kyrie a chance to avoid its onslaught, while on the other side of the room, behind Giles, a figure appeared in the door.
Akiros said nothing, his words dead in his throat before he could utter them. He saw the scene before him and made a snap decision. With a ferocious bellow, he drew his longsword in a swift motion and charged into combat next to Giles. He swung his sword overhead, launching himself into the owlbear's flank wit ha savage fury, practically ramming it on top of his shield (-10dmg Owlbear, Badly Wounded).
Giles would have taken a shot at the bandit lieutenant, but he saw the man's eyes focused on the owlbear. At the very least he could better afford to have help taking down the beast before he probed this newfound ally.
A voice from the wooden walkway directly overhead, “Hey, you with the loud weapon! Stand still!” Dovan pitched a dagger down at Zeran from overhead. The pirate did not intend to do as suggested, but he barely started to move when the large knife struck into his back at an oblique angle, striking with enough force to cut into his armour, jab him in the back, and stay there (-6dmg Zeran).
(Dovan roll 23, check Gunslinger's dodge; regardless of position, attack connects as he's trying to dodge)
Meanwhile, even with Frodrick's help, Kyrie was having a tough time avoiding the owlbear's vicious claws. It let go of her only just long enough to swipe with both claws. A timely jab from the haft of Frodrick's axe forced the owlbear to miss with one claw as it tried to stabilize its balance, but it hammered Kyrie hard with its right, almost forcing her to her knees as she held back against the tremendous weight (-17dmg *crit* Kyrie 8/34). With her stuck again in its claws (Grappled) it hooted and pecked at her face, but Kyrie ducked the vicious owl-like beak.
Giles refused to let his guard down even though Akiros had evidently thrown in with the party's lot, though then he didn't really let his guard down around many in the first place. Despite this, he pressed the advantage of the two-pronged attack. The owlbear was a physically larger menace, but against a well-coordinated group of smaller creatures, it was surrounded. Giles slashed two-handed into the owlbear's bloody feathers (-14dmg Beaky).
The ferocious chimerical monster staggered under the bloodloss. Its feathery fur was matted with its own blood. Its gaze intensified on Kyrie for a moment, then went dull. The rest of the creature followed after, collapsing to the ground inside the bandits' common room (Dying).
The bandits in the watchtowers continued to pepper the yard with their arrows. Jargon let out a pained whinny when an arrow struck her in the flank (-4dmg Jargon)), but most of the arrows fell to the ground around Zeran and Stefan. The bandit named Jex from the south tower called out as he loosed his arrow at Stefan. “The Stag Lord will hear about your desertion if you don't kill the intruders!” As soon as he saw his arrow miss, he quickly ducked his head back under the level of the wooden cover rail.
Auchs sped into the room hot on Zeran's trail. He did not appear to have even heard the pirate's protests. He stopped at Zeran, towering over him. For half a second it seemed like he might be trying to work out a sentence, but then he simply bellowed incoherently, gripping the table-leg club in a meaty hand. Zeran threw up his arms as all he could do to deflect the blows away from his face (-9dmg Zeran 8/27)
Out in the yard, Jeb picked this moment to make his move. He stood up suddenly. Before Stefan could react, the foul-smelling man threw a handful of still relatively dry dust into his face (Stefan Blinded), then turned to the gates, fumbling with the crossbar.
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
With no time to spare, Kyrie allowed her body to flow with vital energy as she stepped up to interfere with Auchs (+16hp Kyrie 24/34). She swung her sickle, forcing the mountainous man onto the defensive to avoid her blows (-4dmg Auchs).
Miguel came over to Zeran's aid, conjuring a healing spell with his magic. He touched Zeran's shoulder, pouring life and energy back into his body (+8hp Zeran 16/27) (-2spells). Miguel primed his sword with energy as he turned back to Akiros. Things were falling apart quickly. “To what do we owe this pleasure, then?” he called lightly to the lieutenant as Zeran dodged out of Auchs' impressive grasp, retreating so he could reload in peace.
Akiros sword clutched in hand, strode around the corpse of the owlbear straight for Miguel. “I am sick of working with these gutless bandits.” He jerked his head aside. “Move.” Miguel let him pass.
The man was in a battle fury, but he paused long enough to look back at Miguel. “I would start again, if I can.” He turned back to Auchs, shouting, “Auchs! Stand aside!” He strode clear past the bigger man, too, unmolested. Auchs, for his part, did not seem to be aware of the current team composition. Akiros cast a glance up at the walkway, where Dovan stood, and disappeared into the other room of the fort.
Stefan in the yard took a moment to rub his eyes free of grit. He considered taking petty revenge, but there were more important things to aim at—he was the only one equiped with the range to deal with the towers. He fired on the older varisian man in the northwest post who had not thought to duck yet like his friend. He struck (-5dmg), giving the man something to think about (FS Bloodied).
Frodrick saw Jargon, struck by one arrow, rounding on Auchs. Fighting space was at a premium in the yard, today, so he ran to her side (ducking a poor swing from Auchs as he passed), and in an impressive display of horsemanship, considering the sheer weight of armour he packed on, he got one foot in the stirrup and all but leapt into the saddle. From his newfound elevation, he directed Jargon to attack, distracting Auchs with swipes from his axe. Jargon chomped at Auchs, but the big man must have been bitten by more than one horse, because he immediately jumped away from her bright teeth. “Bad horsey!”
“Hey, prettyboy, did I miss you?” Zeran looked up to see Dovan drawing another dagger from his other boot. He flicked it down, end over end, into Zeran's gut. Zeran twisted suddenly, managing to avoid having the dagger stuck, instead taking most of the impact against his armour as the knife fell back out onto the ground (-3dmg). “Nope!”
“Why is it always daggers? Why me?” moaned Zeran.
Giles chased after Akiros, trying to keep him in his sights. He didn't trust the man's sudden turn, and wanted to make sure he didn't try something funny. As he stepped around Auchs into the yard, he saw someone else, though.
Jeb was grabbing at the door bar. Akiros hadn't gotten so far that he couldn't detour just slightly. He came up behind Jeb. The man turned. “Hey, girlie, you commin' with ol' Jeb? Wouldn't be wise to stick around 'ere much longer, hey?”
The man shoved the crossbar up, exposing his back to Giles very unwisely. He cut him down on the spot (-11dmg Jeb Dying). A moment later Giles found an arrow land directly beside him. He seemed to have attracted the attention of the soft-spoken bandit watch. The other post to the west both ducked after each shot.
“Auchs, you blithering idiot, how many times do I have to tell you to cover your back?” Dovan shouted down from his perch. Auchs looked up, stupidly for a half second, then stepped into the room, keeping his back against the wooden wall and away from Frodrick. After, he wheeled on Kyrie, swinging his club around like a bat (-13dmg Kyrie 11/34).
Let me in the ring, I'll show you what that big word means
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie was getting frustrated. She had not expected the oversized dope to pose such a threat. She channeled the last of her healing energy into her bruises (+20hp Kyrie 31/34). The 'Auchs' was practically inhumanly strong, but he was also rather slow and poorly armoured. She struck with her sickle and he had to fall back to the wall to avoid taking an injury like the zombies from before (-6dmg Auchs).
With Zeran safely behind him, Miguel went on the offensive as well, pressing the advantage Kyrie was already beating out of Auchs. The bard didn't like it—the brute seemed like he was fighting out of animal instinct rather than making an informed decision—but he had priorities, and Auchs was too much of a threat to his team while he was still fighting.
Auchs tried to roll away as Miguel struck, but his blade sunk into something. The bard's sword was already so covered in the owlbear's blood it was hard to tell at first if he'd gotten through, but a red stain quickly started to form on his side (-10dmg Auchs Bloodied). This only seemed to make the giant angrier.
Zeran stepped back to get a better shot at Dovan. “Hey, leave Auchs alone you cretin, that boy is a lot smarter and braver then you'll ever be.” He looked down where Auchs was on the verge of throwing a tantrum. “Come on Auchs, can't you see he is using you? Being mean to you? Help us Auchs and you'll be a hero! You'll be a brave knight and help people smaller then you, be a good guy Auchs!”
Zeran took aim and fired. Dovan's smug sneer vanished. He whirled, ducking away from the shot that came too fast for him to avoid it entirely. When Dovan looked back, there was a line of blood running down from his forehead, and he was scowling (-8dmg Dovan Injured).
Zeran grinned back. “Hey you, with the face!”
Before he could come up with a retort, the sound of pounding boots came from the left. Akiros stamped up the stairs and charged toward Dovan.
Out in the yard, Stefan realized he could use another advantage before he got shot again. He got to his feet and stepped out from the cover of the watchpost above him. He released another arrow up at the man there (-4dmg AM). He decided he would fancy a sniping spot himself.
Frodrick didn't let up on Auchs, urging Jargon forward to rear up and attack. Jargon kicked, one hoof flying out, but the other connected with Auchs' shoulder, then she chomped down on his wrist (-3dmg, -6dmg Auchs). The giant man-child's angry tantrum turned to a keening whine, blithering about bad horses. He looked up, fearfully, toward the walkway overhead, but didn't back down.
Dovan glanced at Akiros. “Yeah, no.” He sidestepped neatly right off the platform, dropping down to right between Zeran and Miguel. Despite the distance, he landed almost gracefully (-4sub Dovan).
“Be with you in a moment,” he told Zeran. Miguel turned to defend himself against Dovan, but couldn't keep his attention on both sides at once. He parried the rapier aimed for his back with only an inch to spare (-14dmg Miguel 10/25). Dovan was clearly skilled at backstabbing unwary foes.
“My, you're much prettier than your friend,” the bandit lieutenant taunted.
Giles turned back from Jeb's bleeding form. Forget Akiros. He ran back into the stone common room with the chipped plaster. As he passed, Auchs took a swing at him that he had to deflect and duck under (-9dmg Giles 20/29). He had no idea if the big man had actually seen through the illusion or if he was just lashing out at anything that passed.
Giles stopped in front of the big corpse of the owlbear. He knew Dovan would be seeing through the illusion to the real him, so he spared the lieutenant a grim scowl and across the his gut with his sword. Dovan moved to dodge and parry with his rapier, but wasn't fast enough for the magically empowered soldier (-7dmg Dovan).
Dovan cluched his gut in pain. “Oh my,” he said. His hand came away with blood. “S***.” He collapsed to the ground (Dovan Bloodied, Unconscious).
Almost as soon as Dovan went down, Auchs dropped his club, tears forming in his eyes. “Stop hurting me!” He fell to his knees and covered his head with his hands.
The archers released another volley, Frodrick knocking an arrow meant for Jargon out of the air with his shield. From the looks on the archers' faces, he could see they'd realized their mistake, and the change in the hostilities on the ground.
(Oh yeah, I almost forgot. That crit hit-miss (nat 20, nat 1 on confirm) was actually Dovan's attack—Miguel could have had it a lot worse, but he probably would have still survived since sneak attack damage doesn't get multiplied—it would have been only an average 5.5 extra points of damage)
Posted on 2014-08-25 at 21:49:39.
Edited on 2014-08-25 at 21:51:27 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie held her sickle. Two down, one big one to go. “You might want to keep your head down and maybe be over there where you're less likely to be hit by people trying to attack us,” she told Auchs. The big man stopped whimpering and nodded, wide-eyed.
There was one direction left. Akiros came from the door at the back of the room. The fort was hardly big enough to support many other hidey holes. Kyrie walked around the owlbear's dying body, preparing to be the first to meet the Stag Lord face-to-face in combat.
Miguel followed right behind her, blending a lyrical spell into the song he was still singing (+7hp Miguel -3spells). Zeran turned to follow, reloading his pistol. He called to Auchs, “take a few breaths big guy I'll be back soon buddy.” Auchs sat back against the wooden wall and nodded.
Before he went to follow the others, he spoke to Giles under his breath, “Leave Dovan for me, if you can. The idiot won't be waking up anytime soon, and I'd personally like the privellage of finishing him off. Besides we're going to need your help with the Stag Lord.”
Giles didn't like the idea of leaving Dovan, but he had to admit that Zeran was right. Frodrick rode past him (seated with comfortable distance to the ceiling) to get into the centre of the room, getting ready to act if things got hairy fast.
The soldier glanced down at the owlbear—it was still breathing, if very shallowly. He inverted his sword, and thrust it as deep as he could into the centre of mass. On one hand, the monstrosity was not likely to be much danger to them in the immediate future, but on the other, he was not about to give it the chance to prove otherwise (-17dmg *coup de grace* Beaky Dead).
Still out in the yard Stefan ran into the other room of the stone ruin, the one containing the steep stairs up to the walkways. He wouldn't have much to add in a crowded environment, but he could at least do his best to handle the remaining guards. His head poked just over the top of the stairs.
“Stand down!” he told the bandit in what he hoped was a commanding voice. The archer did a double take at him, and turned to see him. It didn't look like he had heard anything. Stefan remembered the thunderstone. The guy was probably deaf.
Stefan pantomimed a command for the bandit to throw down his weapon and come quietly. The bandit merely sneered—maybe he wasn't keeping up with the events on the ground so well without his hearing.
The bandit lieutenant Akiros stampeded back down the walkway. He closed on the bandit in a heartbeat.
The watchman's tone changed drastically. “I give, I give!”
Akiros snarled, “You always were gutless unless your enemy was strapped down, Ayles.” He turned to leave, rounding his eyes on Stefan.
Stefan realized he was wearing the armour taken directly from the bandit woman the day before. He raised his hands. “I'm with Frodrick! I'm not a bandit.”
Akiros grunted and ran down the stairs, ignoring both of them.
Beaky: Dead as All Get Out
Auchs: Badly Wounded, Bloodied, Surrendered
Stag Lord: ???
(These posts are getting easier to make with less than ten people all reacting and interacting in scattered order. In other news, I swear I'm going to stop quoting lyrics for the titles of these posts. Besides, I've basically run out, I've just gone back to the chorus/pre-chorus again)
Posted on 2014-08-26 at 21:33:04.
Edited on 2014-08-26 at 21:39:13 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie kept up the pace into the next room, the one Akiros had emerged from. She came into a fairly large room filled mostly with various crates, bags, and salvaged lumber. The room looked to be made more or less entirely of wood—likely the construction of the bandits added onto the stone ruin, much like the watchtowers.
It looked like a storage room in every detail except the small cot, presumably for the Stag Lord's second-in-command to keep an eye on the supplies. Immediately to her right was a second, wooden door. No Stag Lord here, try the next room. She pushed the door open.
There was a small thump as the door hit something while swinging that didn't stop it from coming all the way open.
Standing directly on the other side of the door, his hand slightly outstretched as if reaching for the knob, was the Stag Lord. Despite being almost face-to-face, Kyrie couldn't see his expression, but the hazy, somewhat confused look in his eyes (and the smell of the breath he let out) told her he was deep in the bottles Zeran and Giles had brought. He clutched a longbow almost absently with his other hand.
“Guys! I found the guy!” Kyrie called back. She promptly stepped into the corner beside the door, hoping to draw him out where they could surround him.
“WHAT. THE F***. IS GOING ON OUT HERE?” the Stag Lord bellowed in a drunken rage.
Miguel stepped into the room a second later. His eyes widened as he saw the impressive (if inebriated) bare-barrel-chested figure of the Stag Lord. He dodged left of the door, keeping himself on the defensive.
Zeran followed him into the storage room, but he knew exactly what he was doing. He stood tall in the middle of the room, his pistol arm fully extended at the Stag Lord, and pulled the trigger on the bullet he'd just loaded.
The Stag Lord ducked reflexively, covering his head with one arm (-8dmg Stag Lord). The broad man with the unusual helmet rumbled his displeasure in a low growl and brought his bow up. He snapped off a pair of shots with deadly aim—even drunk. Zeran took one of the arrows in his right shoulder—if he hadn't dodged as fast as he did, it probably would have been worse (-12dmg Zeran 4/25 Bloodied). The other ended up in the wood directly where Miguel had been standing when the shot was fired. He'd only avoided the shot because he'd been waiting for it.
The Stag Lord pushed the door to his private quarters shut with a loud slam.
Frodrick spurred his Jargon into the room. He had to duck coming through the stone portal, but the room itself was more accomodating to his stature. He positioned Jargon comfortably between Zeran and the door and turned to face away from the door. “Jargon, kick rear.”
The stout mare lifted her hindquarters with a half-jump and kicked the door open again. The Stag Lord was still there still facing the door, standing just a little further back from the door than he was earlier.
Giles disregarded Akiros coming up again behind him. He still didn't trust the raging warrior's convenient double-cross, but there were other things to take care of, and unless he happened to choose exactly this moment to double-double-cross to impress his master or something, he would have to be a known, tolerated nuissance rather than an active danger.
The soldier put his sword back and picked up his crossbow as he moved up to the entrance to the next room, looking for a place to keep cover from the door but also have a good line of sight to return fire.
Overhead the party heard footsteps on the wooden roof—this building would logically fall directly under the south walkway, so that was probably the sound of a pair of archers making their hasty escape.
Outside, after Akiros left him, Stefan continued his plan, moving into the tower. He kicked away Ayles' weapons and made the man sit still in one corner of the post. Despite his deafness, the man had proven very willing to save his own skin after coming in such close proximity with Akiros—perhaps he feared that if he didn't obey the boy's pantomimed commands, the lieutenant would come back to make sure he did.
Stefan peered across the yard to the opposite post on the northwest corner of the camp. It was empty now. No doubt the two he saw there were thinking to make their escape before the party inside realized they were missing. Stefan simply waited, keeping one eye on the only gate in or out of the post, and one eye on his captive.
An idea came to him as he watched. “Uriel,” he called. The horse nickered from somewhere below the post, where the other horses were tied up. Zeran had freed the black charger with the white blaze, but in the confusion of the fight he prefered to stay put.
Stefan leaned out over the edge of the post. “There.” He pointed to the gate, still closed, where Jeb was bleeding out. “Stay.”
The horse seemed to consider Stefan's command for a moment, but evidently decided to obey.
Isn't it a pain when you wake up and the next thing you know there's a horse on your bed?
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie spotted the Stag Lord backing up to take another shot. She absolutely was not going to allow that to happen—if he wasn't going to come out peacefully, she was going to have to go in. Forcefully.
She stepped back into the doorway. She locked her sights onto the Stag Lord and filled herself with the righteous energy to protect her allies from the his cruelty. She ran at him, ramming him with her shield. Even drunk the big man was a tough opponent—true to their prisoners' prediction—but Kyrie ploughed into him like a runaway horse. She shoved him back into his room a step and moved in to fill his field of vision.
Kyrie was almost inside his room proper. She didn't have time to notice fine details, but the reek of stale alcohol struck her in the face. The walls were covered in an insulating layer of thick hides, and a bed sat in one corner, with chests in the other corner stacked with empty bottles of booze.
Miguel hesitated. He hoped to hit the Stag Lord with a grease spell to hamper his mobility, but in such tight quarters, if he hit Kyrie, too, it could spell her death from an untimely fall. Zeran had no such issues. He knew that it wouldn't matter much in the end if the Stag Lord wanted to shoot at him again, but he also knew that his chances were much better under Kyrie's protection than anywhere else. He ran up behind the paladin, letting her do her human shield act that she was so good at as he reloaded his boomstick.
Akiros appeared in the doorway from the common room, still in the throes of a battlefury, with probably more than a little battle-frustration thrown in, spending the last few moments on a rabbit hunt all around the fort. “Stag Lord!” he shouted at the Zeran's back, too far away to even see his former liege. “I would like to report an attack on the fort!” After a moment, he added, “Also if this is not a bad time right now, I would like to announce my resignation!”
“Akiros, you wretch!” the stag-helmed man bellowed over Kyrie's head, stepping back into his room. “I'll have your useless guts for garters. Where do you think you'll go? You were nothing when I found you! Nothing!” He shot at Kyrie, which she dodged, deflecting the arrow off her shield.
He growled, forgetting his traitorous lieutenant for a moment, trying to make a shot stick to the girl in front of him. He pulled another shot, aimed up, and released. Kyrie could only react so fast. She pulled up her shield, flinching as the force of the arrow buried it into the wood between it and her neck (-11dmg Kyrie).
Miguel saw his opening and took it. He ran past Zeran and Kyrie into the spot the Stag Lord had just vacated. He kept up his song, as he charged his sword with arcane energy and swung. The Stag Lord dodged the strike leaning back, almost swaying as if he hadn't meant to do that.
Frodrick sucked in his gut and leaned into Jargon's mane. This door was a fair bit narrower and shorter than the last had been. He squeezed Jargon's sides and coaxed her through the narrow passage, pushing his way past Zeran and Kyrie to get into the Stag Lord's room proper. He crammed Jargon's bulk in between Miguel and the Stag Lord's fur-mounted bed.
Inside the room he looked down at the Stag Lord from his perch. “You and yer lot are done here.” He raised up as Jargon kicked at the bandit lord, which he dodged, then came down with a dwarven fury. The Stag Lord turned to avoid the blow, but couldn't get out from under the axe fast enough to do more than soften the impact. Frodrick caught him across the bare chest, turning the Stag Lord half of the way around just from the force of impact (-20dmg Stag Lord Injured).
When the Stag Lord whirled back, Frodrick noticed his injury was much less severe than one would expect for a strike on unarmoured flesh. The masked man's chest turned an angry red from the impact, and there was a bloody cut, but some force (other than the thickness of the scar tissue that covered the man's chest) had mitigated the blow, too.
Giles abandoned his plan to snipe at the Stag Lord through the door. The battle was moving too quickly and unpredictably for a reliable shot anywhere in there. He put his crossbow away and moved into the storage room tied to the Stag Lords' chambers, coming up next to Akiros with his sword redrawn.
The footsteps across the wooden roof that served as the south walkway disappeared, descending the stairs on the east side of the storage building.
(Stefan does not appear to have an action because he's literally just waiting for the other two watch bandits to show up somewhere, and they didn't have enough movement speed this round to show up, so he's doing almost nothing.
Posted on 2014-08-29 at 19:24:37.
Edited on 2014-08-30 at 06:35:31 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie, Zeran, and freshly turned ally Akiros flooded into the Stag Lord's chambers, surrounding him on almost all sides. The Stag Lord dodged their attacks with almost incredible grace and fluidity (and a certain swagger likely related to his level of intoxication), but not even he could avoid every attack aimed at him so easily.
Kyrie tried to hook him with her sickle, and Zeran made to club him with his pistol, but it was the Akiros' battle-fury fueled sword that caused him to stumble to avoid the blade plunging through his protections and into his back (-7dmg Stag Lord).
The man quickly came to the realization that his room was no longer the defensible position that it was when he'd fell back. With liquid speed, he jumped at Miguel, pouring around the bard between him and Zeran, then out into the small antechamber at the door. There he saw Giles coming up to join the fight.
The Stag Lord raised his bow. Giles saw, or at least would swear he did, a pair of pinpoint red lights flicker in the large hollow sockets of the stag skull that the bandit lord wore as a helmet.
When he released his shot, Giles could not possibly dodge fast enough. It was as if the Stag Lord had seen exactly where he was going to be and had aimed accordingly. The arrow took Giles in the lower ribs. His mail did much to catch the arrow, but it still punched through to the tender flesh below (-20dmg Giles 0/29). The soldier was winded by the arrow, though it did not feel like it had penetrated deep enough to puncture his lung.
“Huh?” The Stag Lord slurred. “Yer not human.” It was almost as much a blunt statement of fact as it was a question.
Miguel spun around to follow the man out. He swung his charged blade, launching at the same time into the chorus of his song, and drew the first serious slash across the Stag Lord's side as the man turned too slow to avoid him (-10dmg Stag Lord). The bandit lord was beginning to weary (Bloodied).
Once again Frodrick ducked low and prepared to guide Jargon into the narrow space of the antechamber, this time staying in the narrow half of the room's width, not even enough to turn Jargon all the way around in. He commanded her to attack, but she was not able to manoeuvre well enough to catch the Stag Lord, though his axe found its way into his thick arm (-8dmg Stag Lord, Badly Wounded).
As badly as he hurt, Giles stepped up to close the distance between him and the Stag Lord. With a thought he willed the force maintaining the protective aura around his body to fill his body, stitching muscle back together slowly and numbing the pain (+2hp Giles 2/29). The soldier bore down on the Stag Lord, returning fire with a piece of his mind, proving that the bandit lord wasn't the only one here who could land blows with a deadly precision. His blade struck the man just off from his gut, slicing open a bloody wound to add to the others building up on his body (-13dmg Stag Lord).
Stefan waited a long moment, then heard the sound of footsteps running along below him.
“Hold there!” The footsteps stopped abruptly. “Show yourselves, hands up. I'll shoot if either of you try anything funny!”
The two bandits from the other watch tower emerged from under the post. They had been making their escape, but now the jig was up.
“Remove your weapons and throw them aside. I'm taking you prisoner in the name of my master, Frodrick of the clan Redbrew. If you cooperate, he may choose to spare your miserable lives like he did mine.”
The two bandits looked at each other, then threw down their bows and undid their sword belts. An exchange of lords wasn't so terrible a prospect as an arrow in the back trying to flee.
“Hey, you, is your name Falgrim Sneeg?” Stefan asked after a moment.
The slightly older Varisian man growled. “Yeah, who wants to know?”
Stefan almost laughed. “Ye gods, you know Kesten still never shuts up about you?”
The bandit's sneer disappeared. He glanced to the door, still guarded by Uriel.
“Oh relax, you're supposed to be brought in alive.”
Falgrim did not seem especially relieved by that, but didn't like his chances of escape either way.
(Okay, so OoC y'all should know that normally a sneak attack is not possible in that kind of a context, but he totally did it somehow. I ain't tellin'.)
EDIT: Nyrodine noticed that I had somehow lost track of 9 points of damage that Giles took from Auchs, which would have reduced Giles to 0hp. Given that his first action was to activate Fast Healing, giving him 2hp, he does not have to edit his action, but he has a lot less hp than I previously thought.
Posted on 2014-08-30 at 20:32:51.
Edited on 2014-08-31 at 04:54:28 by Sibelius Eos Owm
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Kyrie came up behind Miguel, but in the Stag Lord's small, makeshift antechamber there was barely enough room for Jargon alone, much less Frodrick, Miguel, and the Stag Lord. At the very least, she covered all the combatants nearest to her with her bastion. She watched the Stag Lord, ready to run into the room to cover as many as possible should he think to break out from the middle of them again.
Zeran beside her, with the cover of the doorframe, pointed his loaded pistol into the room. In the middle of that crowded room, he could hit anyone. He watched for a moment, then shot, right as Miguel moved right.
The Stag Lord gasped (-6dmg Stag Lord). He clutched at his chest where the ball struck, leaving a small bleeding circle. With his bloody hand he reached for something under his belt, looked around the room, then let his left arm go slack, dropping the bow (Staggered, Near Death).
The bandit lord's hand went instead to the hilt of his sword. With a bellow, he drew the sword in an instant and gripped it with two hands. The Stag Lord shook his thick, messy black hair out of his eyes, then swung at Miguel.
The bard would have to remember to thank Kyrie for keeping up behind him. Her aura took half the force from the attack, allowing him to deflect the blow from his sword without suffering for it (-5dmg Miguel).
Miguel turned aside the Stag Lord's sword and replied in kind. The man hardly moved to try to dodge or block, simply taking the cut across his thick chest (-7dmg Stag Lord).
Frodrick raised his axe, getting Jargon to raise up with him. The Stag Lord avoided her hooves, but there was not enough room in the chamber to get away from Frodrick's axe. Another blade sunk into his flesh (-6dmg Stag Lord).
By now the Stag Lord was covered in so much of his own blood that his chest was almost entirely red. He swayed now more from blood loss and the blackening edges of his vision than the drink. He turned to Giles as the soldier raised his sword.
Giles shifted his resolve again from regenerating his body to instead bringing destruction to his foes. He plunged his blade into the Stag Lord's belly deep enough that Miguel noticed the bandit lord's cloak move with the tip of the blade (-14dmg Stag Lord).
The Stag Lord simply choked, then released a last breath. When Giles pulled his sword out, the Stag Lord's body fell to the ground, collapsing in a heap in the antechamber. He was completely, and undeniably dead, having fought off unconsciousness for long enough to take his death on his feet (Overkill).
Giles recoiled and the arrow hit into him, it had been awhile since he had taken a proper hit and the resulting force winded and made him faulter briefly before steadying himself and regaining his composiour.
“Huh?” The Stag Lord slurred. “Yer not human.” It was almost as much a blunt statement of fact as it was a question.
Giles smirked and moved it attacking in procession with the others, a few hits later and the Stag Lord looked more worse for wear, Giles moved in and thrust his sword deep into the Stag Lords gut and running him through, with a smirk he looked into the dying mans eyes and whispered under his breath
"You're right, Im better"
Giles took a step back and removed his blade dripping with deep crimson blood and watched as the man feel to the ground far beyond dead, Giles didn't hesitate he droped down letting his sword fall to the ground beside him and nearly riped off the stag hood to be greeted by a makeshift leather mask benith, the hood gave off a slight magic aura, possibly how he was able to land such decisive blows with his bow, Giles ran his hand over the bone and fur studying it further, maybe linked to Erasti given the stag like nature but he couldnt tell for sure Jhod would know more he was sure. Peeling off the leather mask Giles got the the first good look at the man beneath, a vile beast of a man a monster in his own right.
"No wonder you wore a mask heh"
Giles stood up somewhat shakly still not fully recovered from the blow he took, sheathed his sword and stumbled out of the room and back to the common area where he collapsed in a chair and proceeded to pull the arrow out from his chest.
The Stag Lord was dead. As the thought settled in on Frodrick's mind, a wave of surrealism sunk in. He had come to these untamed lands to die with ax in hand. Yet here he stood still alive and for all intents and purposes, all his foes had fallen.
He looked to the rest of the party as the objective completion sunk in on all of them. He watched with his one eye as they all too came to the realization that their quest was at an end. He did not know what to do, and wished to take his cue from the others. Do we give a sigh of relief? A cheer? Do we bury the dead or burn them? His comrades were a mixed bag, and Frodrick didn't know what to do with them now that the fight was over.
Getting off of Jargon, the stout veteran dwarf went to one of the conscious bandits and planted his feet into the ground and his fists on hips. “Where in the nine hells be yer crapper!? Cause I be needin to let one go for the last ten minutes!”
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
The Stag Lord's face was covered in long-since healed acid burns. The man was a hideous wreck of long dark hair and scarring under his leather mask. Giles took the stag skull helmet and the mask, setting them down and murmuring an orison. The saber-toothed elk skull was definitely magical—not too strong, but it emanated an unmistakeable aura of divination magic. The leather mask was just a mundane mask.
Giles lacked the study and know-how to determine function of the magic invested in the helmet, so he left the skull with Miguel for the loot pile.
Frodrick rode Jargon back out into the common room, leaving her under the stone roof sheltered from the rain. He strode out into the courtyard. He seemed to remember he left a squire of his somewhere around here. He hoped the boy hadn't gotten himself killed.
The three enspelled bandits were still out cold, despite the rain falling on their heads (though Craggar might have to be moved soon, lest he begin to drown with his mouth hanging open like that). Jeb still lay in the same spot, a pool of blood mingling with the puddles beginning to form out of the rain in front of the wooden gate.
“Boy!” Frodrick called.
Stefan's head poked out from the watch tower. Frodrick left Miguel and Kyrie to tend to the sleeping prisoners and went to see to his squire. He hefted himself up the too-steep stairs designed for legs almost twice his own length. At the top he saw his squire waiting with a trio of captive bandits, huddled together under the protection of the watchtower's roof.
“Um... Hello.” Stefan said.
“First thing's first.” Frodrick grumbled. The stout veteran dwarf went to one of the conscious bandits and planted his feet into the ground and his fists on hips. “Where in the nine hells be yer crapper!? Cause I be needin to let one go for the last ten minutes!”
Meanwhile Zeran was getting help to drag Dovan's unconscious—but still breathing—body out behind the proverbial woodshed. Without pomp or circumstance, the pirate unfolded his switchblade. He cut Dovan's throat and let him bleed out while he stripped the body of his useful possessions—the rapier, his last (unused) dagger, his brigandine, two nice-looking turquoise earrings, and the silver stag amulet he wore around his neck.
Miguel used the last of his healing magic (+6hp) to erase Stefan's weariness and Frodrick sent the boy on horseback to go with Zeran and fetch the wagon—and their other prisoner with it. The others relieved the remaining bodies and prisoners of their belongings and plundered the crates and chests set in storage.
Giles and Miguel sorted the items for anything that carried a magical aura. After, Miguel went over each of them, peering into the structure of how the patterns laid into the item were shaped, attempting to determine how the magic worked. Akiros' sword held a simple enhancement—though Miguel couldn't work out the bow and the rapier, he suspected they had the same.
Oddly, the clothing the Stag Lord wore-namely narrowed down to the kilt, the gloves, and the cloak, together emanated a single aura. After some effort, Miguel was able to work out that they shared among them an enchantment designed to protect the wearer from physical blows—exactly as one might find on a suit of armour to strengthen it.
Miguel had no idea how it had been done, but for all intents and purposes, the items seemed to function as if they were a full suit of leather armour, complete with a minor enhancement, despite missing what might otherwise be considered a key piece—the chest protection.
Finally, the Stag Helm, apparently made entirely of a naturally bleached stag skull, complete with antlers, but was magically toughened to the strength of iron. Beyond that, it was enspelled to enhance sights and sounds for the wearer, as well as granting a temporary insight to aim a single shot.
As for the last items—Akiros' magical arrows and the necklace of flat herbivore teeth the Stag Lord wore, Miguel couldn't muster their function. At first Miguel expected the arrows to have an enchantment like the other weapons, but when he looked at them, the spells laid into them were more complex than that.
Zeran spent some time talking with first Auchs, then Akiros, and announced that neither would cause further problems for the party—and confirming Akiros' betrayal of the Stag Lord.
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
It rained all night, but the party at least had a roof over their heads. Come morning, Miguel and Kyrie refreshed themselves and distributed as much energy as they could spare to recovering the party's strength (+11hp Kyrie (F), +9hp Zeran, +14hp Giles; -3LoH) (+4hp Miguel, +11hp Giles (F), +8hp Zeran; -3spells)
With fresh eyes in the morning, Miguel took a second look at the Stag Lord's amulet necklace and determined that it was enspelled to toughen the wearer's skin, turning their very body into a second layer of armoured protection.
Reasoning that it would take time to transport all the prisoners back, Frodrick and Stefan took the day to ride out and explore and map the area while the rest saw to the fort. On horseback the mapping was done in a day, and the two returned to find that the others had discovered something of interest.
In a room that none recalled visiting the previous day, while sorting supplies from treasure (including finding enough rope to keep the prisoners tied for the journey back), Miguel noticed a large wooden slab. After clearing it off and removing it he discovered that that covered a stone stair leading down into the ground.
Akiros swore when asked about it, apologizing that he had forgotten about the man down under. The cellar served as a place to store treasure—but was guarded by a decrepit old man who lives in the dark down under. The bandits prefer not to go down unless they absolutely have to because of the 'freak'. The Stag Lord has commanded the man to use his magic to heal the bandits of the fort when they're wounded, and to guard the stash of loot, but most prefer to let their wounds heal over naturally rather than visit him.
Upon hearing this story, Giles and Miguel resealed the entrance to wait for Frodrick and Stefan's return before making any trips to locate further spoils and/or make contact with the old man said to live in the hole.
I assure you, this is not normal wolverine behaviour. I looked it up.
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
Not one to delay when there was a task that needed doing, Frodrick insisted on seeing the cellar as soon as he was dismounted. Miguel and Kyrie carefully removed the wooden slab covering the stair so as not to alert anyone below.
Frodrick descended first, leading the way. The stone stair descended about 15’ underground, turning three times at right angles. As the party filed in behind him their senses were accosted with the miserably damp atmosphere of the cellar. The stair dropped off at a sizeable room, with three archways in the walls opening to other rooms.
The carved stone walls and floor were caked with mould, and the ceiling high above covered in cobwebs, but otherwise the room was empty of any signs of life. Through the archways Frodrick could see the piled shapes of furs and crates, sacks, and a few weapons.
Miguel unleashed the light spell he had been saving so as not to broadcast their approach. With nobody hiding in the corners of this room waiting to ambush them, there was no benefit to keeping the humans of the party in the dark, too. If anything, assuming anyone was still alive down here, he was probably hidden in one of those rooms.
A slight movement from overhead attracted Frodrick's attention. Miguel glanced up at the same time. Clinging to the roof a few feet over Miguel's light ball spell like an overgrown spider was a wolverine. Also called a skunk bear, the beast resembled a small bear the size of a large dog, and hung perfectly upside-down from the stone roof.
Frodrick didn't know what to do for a moment. He hesitated. The wolverine raised a claw from the roof and began grunting. It took Frodrick a second, but he realized the rhythmic grunts as a spellcasting chant.
“Oh no ye don't!” Frodrick swung back and threw his axe at the roof. The dwarven steel bounced off the stone roof just a foot away from where the wolverine clung, bringing a few cobwebs back down with it when it fell to the ground.
Miguel reacted in his own way. What was a good song for fighting giant gluttinous weasels hanging from the ceiling in your cellar? He didn't have any, so he improvise. He started up the song, the mouldy walls eating up the reverberations even as his own magic reinforced the sound of his voice.
Map of Cellar: ~here~
Stefan knocked an arrow and shot at the animal that was somehow clinging to the roof (was that normal for this kind of creature?). His arrow was a near dead shot at the wolverine, forcing it to dodge. It snarled as it did, but did not lose focus of the bestial chant it was keeping up.
A moment later the wolverine stopped. The spell had been completed. He scuttled away to the roof over one of the archways as the magic took effect. A flickering circle appeared on the ground next to Giles. It did not take a comprehensive study of the nature of magic to realize what was happening. The circle quickly filled in with lines growing like vines as energy like smoke poured into a solid shape next to him.
A gigantic ant, almost as big as a small pony took shape next to him with a final flare of energy. Its head and mandibles were disproportionately large for its body. If Giles had been a student of natural philosophy, he might have known what that meant, but for now all he needed to know was that it was even more dangerous.
The summoned giant ant pounced on Giles before he could even react. It locked its mandibles around his mailed torso as he tried to dodge (-6dmg Giles Grappled), then arched its back to bring its abdomen around under to get at him with its stinger (-5dmg Giles Poisoned -1Str)
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
The old dwarf grabbed Giles by the back of the chain shirt. He'd been in the maw of an oversized vermin like this before and he did not wish the experience on any other.
The man did not seem to be concerned with escape, instead focusing all his efforts on murdering his attacker before he got murdered, first.As the poison worked its way through his bloodstream, weakening his body (-1Str Giles), Giles swung one-handed at the ant, nicking its abdomen (-4dmg Giant Ant).
Zeran, pistol loaded and with no shot at the ant, decided to focus on the main threat. He had the range, so it was only a matter of getting away from distractions. He stepped around to follow the wolverine to the arch, pointed his gun, and fired.
The ball took a chip of stone out of the roof as the animal practically jumped away to avoid the shot (-6dmg Wovlerine). Of course, to actually jump in its current position would result in a very sudden drop as it lost its grip on the carved stonework and moss.
Miguel came around to Giles' aid, blocking off the ant into the corner. He swung at the mindless summoned soldier. His blade battered the back of its bulbous head (-6dmg Giant Ant Bloodied) as Kyrie cut at it with her sickle (-6dmg Giant Ant Badly Wounded). Watery beads of thick bluish blood began to form over the creature's body.
Stefan meanwhile kept his focus on the animal hanging from the roof. He stepped up to keep a clear line of sight on his target. He drew and fired, pegging another arrow within a few inches of the mark (-4dmg). Between the two it was forced to keep constantly on the defensive.
The wolverine scuttled under the top arc of the the arch, taking partial cover from the stonework as it began to chant again. The ant, meanwhile, held Giles in its jaws with all its strength, single-mindedly ignoring all others around it (-8dmg Giles 10/28 ). The pressure was beginning to be more than Giles could ignore, even before the ant stung him again (-6dmg Giles), stabbing him like a knife in the gut.
If I could, I would be awfully tempted to summon BEEEES
Stag Lord's Fort; Hex G5
“Damnit, boy, I don't got all day!” Frodrick kept adjusted for a better grip on the soldier trapped in the ant's crushing mandibles. Giles was beginning to see the wisdom in a quick retreat. He grabbed the ant by one of the mandibles, mentally declaring his will to destroy it and its master, and tried to pry himself loose. It took most of his strength just to keep the jaws from snapping shut on him, but his dwarf was there to get his back.
Frodrick heaved and wrenched Giles free of the ant. The burning pain from the poison in his stinger wounds was beginning to fade, his body was fighting it off. Breathing deep for the first time in several seconds, he stepped back and away from the badly wounded ant. His wounds began to seal themselves up very slowly as he caught his breath (+2hp Giles 6/29)
Zeran quickly reloaded and pointed up under the archway. He could just see most of the wolverine's body. He fired, blowing a bloody red streak on the animal's side from a glancing shot where it dodged too slow. As the ball struck, it met a loud, woody thunk. If it were not obvious, this was no ordinary ceiling-crawling spellcasting wolverine.
Miguel raised his sword above his head as the ant recoiled from Giles' release. Before it could regain its balance, he smote it down, stabbing it in the abdomen, where the majority of its sensitive organs lay (-7dmg Giant Ant). The ant's body finally collapsed, one leg still twitching as motes of energy began to pour out of its wounds. The body was gone less than a second later (Desummoned).
Kyrie stepped over to Giles, slinging her shield over her shoulder as she did. She laid her free hand on Giles' torso and channeled healing energy into his body (+8hp Giles 14/29). The paladin tended to the wounded while waiting patiently for the next thing she would need to smash.
Stefan took a shot at the wolverine, too, hoping to interrupt its concentration where Zeran's shot had failed. The boy fired, but in haste his arrow deflected off the arch instead of finding its way to his target.
The rhythmic animal noises from the roof came to a stop. Another ring flickered into existant on the stone floor—this one much bigger than the last. It was at least 10' in from edge to edge, and encircled Frodrick, Stefan, and Zeran. The three didn't have time to wonder what happened to an object caught in the middle of a summoning before the flickering glyphs filled in the space.
Instead of one large creature taking shape in the middle of the circle, hundreds, if not thousands of tiny flickers of light burst into and out of existance like a sea of stars across the circle, each tiny flare leaving behind a large spider the size of a gold coin.
The tiny arachnids came in numbers to carpet the ground as the circle faded away. They swarmed over the three caught within their mass, biting with multitudes of tiny, painful fangs (-1dmg Frodrick, -5dmg Zeran Poisoned -2Str, -3dmg Stefan). The bites burned with the spiders' venom, affecting Zeran the most as he growled through the pain. Stefan meanwhile succumbed to the distress of the hundreds of bodies crawling over him, swatting them away and losing his focus (Stefan Distracted*).
The wolverine watched its summoned creatures go to work for a moment, then scampered down the wall, landing on the ground next to Frodrick, outside the pool of swarming spider bodies.
Wolverine: On the ropes, Polymorphed, Hangin', Spellcasting
Giant Ant Soldier: Desummoned
Spider Swarm: Uninjured, Swarming
(The Distraction ability of a swarm technically inflicts the 'Nauseated' condition, though I have chosen to represent that by a more accurate term though for all mechanical purposes they function identically. That is to say, the nauseated condition prevents any action that requires attention (attacking, spellcasting) and limits the character to only one action per turn.)