Ambrose senses Smoke's ears shift and reflexively reaches for his lance as the great beast egresses from the surrounding woodland. As it appears to be hostile, he spurs Smoke into motion, leveling his lance at the boar.
Cavalier's charge (+4 on attack roll, no penalty to AC, though I believe Smoke takes the penalty), spirited charge with lance.
Lance: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23
Damage: 3d8 + 12 ⇒ (7, 6, 7) + 12 = 32
AC 21, Touch 10, FF 21
AC 20, Touch 10, FF 17
For those who are waiting for a combat map - here you are.
The map isn't ideal, but hopefully is enough to show relative locations. Consider the forest to each side of the road as difficult terrain due to dense number of trees and underbrush. The road has turned out to be more like 20ft wide.
The red dotted lines around your icons shows the space taken up by your mount.
Helaku will ready an action to cast scorching ray if the creature comes within 35 feet. Since I don't have Handle Animal I don't think I can get Cayenne to close easily without doing something like Attack which would be a really bad idea for Helaku.
"That, Aleste, is what is known as a dire boar. And I do believe it considers us to be on the menu. Though I, personally, disagree with that notion and I think we should encourage it to accept a reversal of roles." Even while I am answering Aleste's question, I draw my bow while nocking an arrow at the same time, taking aim at the charging boar. As soon as the arrow is on its way, I use my knees to guide Dapples to the side of the road into the underbrush and out of the way of the charging monstrous boar. with a shrill whistle, I call Fang to follow as well.
Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Status: AC: 19 - Current hp: 26/26
The enormous boar paws the ground and squeals at you. Not needing any more warning, Ambrose spurs Smoke into a charge while Helaku readies a deadly spell. The boar leaps forward as Ambrose approaches, and the cavalier leans in to pierce the boar in the chest with his lance, dealing a massive amount of damage to the creature. The boar staggers and struggles to right itself.
Shaylar follows up with a well-aimed arrow, hitting the boar in the shoulder. The boar's eyes seem to turn red in anger, and he rounds on Ambrose, his closest adversary. Leaping raggedly into an attack, its tusks grind against the cavalier's armor, but are unable to find any gaps. Unsuccessful attack from the boar.
Helaku still has a readied action, the boar is currently about 45ft away from him. Aleste and Keliwyn, over to you!
boar gore attack 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Round 1, continued
With Ambrose distracting the boar up ahead on the road, Keliwyn eases his horse off the road into the trees as well and dismounts. Stealthily he creeps up on the fight, his enchanted cloak causing him to blend seamlessly into the surrounding terrain.
Keliwyn stealth 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (8) + 19 = 27
Meanwhile Aleste takes aim with his bow and shoots, having a clear angle on the huge beast. The shot is good and hits it high in the shoulder, but it doesn't seem forceful enough to have gotten through the boar's tough hide. Though it seems to be tiring, it shrugs off the shot as if batting at a flea bite. Near miss, was stopped by the creature's natural armor bonus.
On to Round 2!
Helaku edges Cayenne forward ten feet and opens his mouth. To all but the boar, he is silent, but a terrible scream assaults the creature instantly. Casts ear-piercing scream. Damage is 2d6 ⇒ (5, 2) = 7 (sonic). DC 17 Fort save to halve the damage and avoid being dazed for one round.
Spells 2nd 6/6 1st 7/8
Ambrose switches to his battleaxe and brings it down on the boar while he kicks Smoke into a flurry of hooves and teeth.
Battleaxe attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
Damage: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Hoof Attack: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Hoof Attack: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Bite Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Damage: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
AC 21, Touch 10, FF 21
AC 22, Touch 12, FF 19
Despite its wounds, the boar battles on. And then, Helaku unleashes his spell. Instantly, the boar stiffens as if bludgeoned by a terrific blast, and collapses next to Smoke. Ambrose, about to bring his battleaxe down on the boar's head, allows Smoke free rein to stomp and kick the beast until it is surely dead.
The fight over, silence reigns around you. Wherever the creature came from, it seems to have been on its own.
If you want to roleplay the encounter further, feel free. When you are ready to move on, read the following below:
You journey on. Around midday, the two elves in your group, Shaylar and Keliwyn, as well as Aleste notice a path leading off from the road to the right, heading east. From the directions you were given for finding Jorr Natherson's cabin, you figure this is where you break from the road, travelling on the ancient Witch Trail. The footpath is criss-crossed by smaller trails, and it takes all your concentration to keep on the correct path.
As you pick your way along, you find yourself confronted with streams and marshy areas. No stout dwarf-built bridges here, instead you find yourself wading through the boggy areas or at best you find the occasional log laid down that has been planed flat for dry travel.
Eventually the trail leads past a small cabin in a deep forest glade. A ramshackle front porch is littered with fishing baskets and skinning frames. The cabin overlooks a dark bayou or lake, with old gray cedar-trees draped in moss rising out of the water. An old skiff is tied up on the shore nearby, and a little smoke curls from the fieldstone chimney.
As you approach the cabin, Shaylar's wolf, Fang, begins to growl, alerting you to the appearance of three large, fierce dogs rising from underneath the porch. They charge out, baying loudly, stopping just short of you. They growl and snap furiously, but come no closer.
I've just rolled initiative in case any combat occurs or I otherwise need to judge in what order events occur. Feel free to post how your character responds. The dogs are currently 10feet away from your group.
20 - Helaku
19 - dogs
17 - Aleste
15 - Shaylar
13 - Ambrose
9 - Keliwyn
Helaku perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Ambrose perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Shaylar perception 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Aleste perception 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Keliwyn perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
dogs perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Helaku survival 1d20 ⇒ 18
Ambrose survival 1d20 ⇒ 15
Shaylar survival 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Aleste survival 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Keliwyn survival 1d20 ⇒ 10
dogs initiative 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Helaku initiative 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Ambrose init 1d20 ⇒ 13
Shaylar init 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Aleste init 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Keliwyn init 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Helaku smiles at the fallen monster. "Well that did it. I don't suppose any of you more familiar with the woods around here know if that creature might make a good meal or thirty? Perhaps something to supplement the food from town or offer in exchange for information from Jorr?"
Later in the day, Helaku follows the other's lead through the difficult trail until the dogs emerge at the cabin. "Let's keep our distance. They seem trained to stay on the property and it looks like Jorr may be home if indeed this is his home." Helaku moves up and calls out, "Jorr, we come from Drellin's Ferry hoping to exchange recent news of the town and wood. Will you come speak with us?"
Diplomacy 1d20 + 15 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 15 + 3 = 21
"Roast boar is quite good, Helaku. Indeed, this one could feed us for days, though I fear it would spoil before we could get through all of it. Best to take a few chunks and leave the rest for the forest. I'm sure there are creatures other than goblins who wouldn't say no to an easy meal."
Once the group arrives at the cabin, Ambrose yanks hard on Smoke's reigns as the dogs fly out from the porch, drawing his axe at the first sign of danger but easing his grip on it when the dogs stop short. After Helaku calls out, Ambrose add his own voice. "I am a Lion of Brindol, we mean you no harm! We are hunting goblins!"
Diplomacy (Aid Another to Helaku): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Leaping out of my saddle, I land next to Fang and quickly lay a hand on the wolf's neck, when I see the dogs stop short. "Woah there! Easy boy." When I'm convinced Fang is not going to take matters into his own paws, I let go of his neck, turning my eyes towards the three dogs. Looking at them straight, showing no sign of fear or hesitation, I take a slow but deliberate step forward, making calming noises in the back of my throat, trying to get the dogs to become less aggressive.
Skill check: Handle Animal: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
The dogs bark furiously at you, but you don't see any sign of a master. Shaylar attempts to calm the canines with his skills an animal handling, but the dogs continue to bark menacingly. The rest of you are on your guard as Helaku shouts out to the cabin with Ambrose joining in, hoping Jorr is inside his cabin. After a moment, a voice calls out from the cabin. "Drellin's Ferry? Brindol Lion? Who are you people? ...Wait, did you say goblins? I can't stand 'em!" The cabin door opens, and a lean woodsman of indeterminate age steps onto the porch. He has a seamed, leathery look to his face and arms, and a big curved knife sits in a sheath strapped to one thigh. He is holding a longbow with an arrow notched, but now lowers it. "Goblins. Wood's rotten with 'em just now. If you know somethin' about why they're here, maybe I can help you." He gives a birdlike whistle, and the dogs immediately become less hostile, turning to sniff around the ground and return to their spot under the porch.
The woodsman looks you over. "Well, name's Jorr. I suppose you'll be wanting some tea. Better come in then." He beckons you inside.
You can indeed carve up some of the dire boar for steaks.
|Rowena "Cat" Thennemen|
Looking at the woodsman as he commands the dogs with just a whistle, I pet Fang on the neck, whispering something only the wolf can hear. The effect is clear though, as the wolf's hackles immediately flatten and his teeth are no longer visible. "Well, I wouldn't say no to a nice hot cup of tea." Apparently completely relaxed, I follow Jorr into the cabin, Fang trotting close by my side.
Jorr's dogs sniff warily at Fang, but do not act hostile. When the wolf obediently follows Shaylar into the cabin, they decide not to follow their master in, plonking themselves sullenly outside. Jorr cocks an eyebrow at the wolf so happily making itself comfortable in his cabin. "Well, I'll be. Come right in, then."
Cat, are you joining the group again? ;)
Gives us someone to throw to the hobgoblins when we need to :)
"Jorr, I'm Helaku and it is good to make your acquaintance." Helaku dismounts from Cayenne and leads the horse into the man's compound, tying the horse to a likely spot near the porch. "I'll definitely take some of that tea. Might be the last civilized drink we get for a spell."
Ambrose guides Smoke over to the cabin and dismounts, tying the mare loosely to a post. He gives her a handful of oats and strokes her neck for a moment before turning to regard Jorr. "Thank you for your hospitality. I don't suppose I could trouble you for a pail of water for my horse? The days are hot and she works hard. Tea would be splendid."
Jorr harrumphs a bit as he sets down his bow and sets about making tea for everyone. Though he seems friendly enough, it's clear he's spent a lot of time on his own and his manners are rough. He also sets out some water for your horses and for Fang, and even has a few twisted carrots for them from his vegetable plot. Responding to Aleste, he remarks "Yep, know this area like the back o' me hand. Apart from a stint as an army scout, I've been out here in the forest since I was knee high to a gnome. So, what's brought ya out here? Don't get many social calls, he he."
Helaku shakes his head sadly, "I'm afraid you're right that its not a social call. Ran into a rather unexpected welcoming party on our way into Drellin's Ferry yesterday. We were ambushed by a pretty organized group of hobgoblins and hellhounds. Fortunately, we were able to fight them off and even managed a couple captives. Bastards claim they were part of a warband operating from an old human castle in the forest. Said they have some grand leader why styles himself Wyrmlord Koth organizing the hobgoblin tribes for some "Day of Ruin." Kind of ruined our plans to make for Vraath Keep to go treasure hunting. The town has asked us to help scout out the situation and said you know the wood better than anyone. So here we are."
Jorr strokes his chin thoughtfully. "Castle in the forest, eh? Kind of sounds like Vraath Keep, or what's left of it. Ain't been there for a long time, but sure know where it is. Them goblins really rile my blood. Usually they live up yonder in the Wyrmsmokes, but from what you say seems like we got a big war party here in the forest. I seen them too, been signs of worg riders and trouble makers all over, especially on the Dawn Way. Maybe they come down the Old Forest Road, or might be they came by the Skull Gorge. My money's on the Skull Gorge."
"Skull Gorge? It's a great cleft in the forest, where the Skull Creek has bitten into the rock. Years ago dwarves built a great stone bridge to cross it along the Dawn Way. Makes for a clear crossing over the gorge, and you'd have difficulty getting across it anywhere else. Once across, a force could easily hole' up here in the forest somewhere." Jorr pauses for a moment, seeming to sniff the air. "Hm. Rain tomorrow, methinks."
"The bridge sounds like a good place to set up a defense. Of course, we are still ignorant of the true strength of this army. Could be a few hundred, or thousands, and either way, I don't think those of us gathered would hold them off for long. I can't say I am privy to the ways of goblins, but I know military. If what we fought on the road to Drellin's Ferry was just a scouting party...well, let's just say that if this was an army of just five hundred, they probably wouldn't have dispatched near twenty soldiers, plus summoned help, just to ambush travelers on the road. I think we are dealing with something greater, and if we are, they can't all be held up in one keep. If they were camped in and around it in any great number, I'm sure Jorr would have noticed by now. I'd say they've captured the keep as an outpost, but it is unlikely that they have crossed into the Wood in full. Or perhaps I am wrong...as I said, I don't know goblins." Ambrose sips at his tea and idly scratches his neck while leaning against a wall.
"I agree and it sounds like you have a many reasons to want to be rid of the goblins as we do. Jorr, it sounds like you know these woods far better than any of us. Would you be willing to join us to go see the old Vraath Keep?"
Diplomacy 1d20 + 15 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 15 + 3 = 28
Quietly observing as Jorr discusses the goblins and their probable point of entry into the Vale, I absentmindedly stroke Fang with one hand as the other is holding a mug of tea. When Helaku invites Jorr to join us on our way to Vraath Keep, I look up, but seeing the merrit of an experienced woodsman adding his skills to the group, I agree and join him in trying to convince Jorr.
Aid Another: Taking 10 on Diplomacy for 11 total, adding 2 to Helaku's 28
Jorr leans back, scratching his sparse beard. "Well now, Vraath Keep. Wouldn't surprise me if some of the goblins are holed up there, like you say. Just the sort of thing them goblins would do." He's silent for a moment, then looks up at Helaku and Shaylar and adds: "I've no love for goblins, but it's been a long time since I've taken up the sword. But, I can help show you the way to the keep or anywhere else in the forest you've a mind to go. The share I'd ask for is 5 gold a day, or 10 if you've got a mind to go off someplace dangerous." Jorr eases himself to his feet, then walks over to a worn pack and starts stuffing gear into it. "Well, what are we waiting for, an invitation? Let's go see this keep then." There's a twinkle in the old woodsman's eye.
"A guide is definitely what I had in mind. Especially if you know places where we can approach with little likelihood of being seen. Thank you for the tea." Helaku stands back up and heads back out to prepare Cayenne for the trip to the keep. I'm fine with the fee.
"Well sure," Jorr responds as he stuffs some dried meat in his bag. "I've no love for goblinfolk, and I can't abide them thinking they can get away with taking over my woods. From what you say it's even worse than I imagined, so let's go see what's going on."
I've run out of time to post up the next part, but will try to post it up tonight so as we can get Leonar into the game. In the meantime, if you're wanting to do any more RP at Jorr's cabin go for it.
Soon enough, in fact barely enough time for you to enjoy the woodsman's rough hospitality, you are back on your way, with Jorr leading the way. From a nearby clearing he brings a small, rugged pony, and quickly fits the shaggy looking creature with saddle and gear.
Rather than lead you back to the Dawn Way, Jorr leads you north and west through the forest. He explains that there is a creek to the north and that he is aiming for a causeway which will allow your group to avoid the thick, boggy marsh round about it. While it would be a good idea to avoid the road and any goblin patrols there might be, he argues that by crossing the causeway you could reach Vraath Keep by evening.
Indeed, as you travel you notice the ground getting spongier, and the horses splashing through more standing water. Your thoughts wander as you pick your way along, listening to the sounds of the forest all around you: birds chattering, frogs croaking, gnats buzzing. You hear a wolfish howl to the west. Then, another...was that behind you? An answering howl from the west again, closer. Suddenly, a tall man with wild hair and leaf armor stumbles in front of you. His eyes are wild, and with each howl he looks guardedly in every direction.
At the sound of howling wolves, Fang immediately halts, hackles rising and teeth bared, glittering white in powerful jaws. Head swivelling left and right, trying to determine the direction of the sound while his nose is questing for scents. Immediately I draw my bow and nock an arrow, eyes scanning for signs of danger. As the strange man stumbles onto the path, my arms raise, aligning the arrow with his heart. "Halt! Who be thou?" Then his words register and, without moving my bow from its target, my eyes scan around for signs of the alledged goblins. Seeing my companions also going on full alert, my gaze returns to the man. "We do not intend to flee. Stand with us and live. Run and die alone."
"What do you all think? We can stand and meet them here, we can continue toward the causeway, or we can retreat and try to find someplace defensible?" He pauses and looks to Jorr, "Jorr, how far is it to the causeway and could we use it defensively if we're forced to fight them there?"
"If there is to be a fight, it would be best to get away from the tree cover. They will have the advantage here, and wolves are better at navigating this terrain than our horses are. If the causeway is free of thicker forest, it may be our best bet!" Ambrose looks around purposefully, now on high alert, axe and shield ready.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Leonar approached from the west. The howling is coming from the west and south of where you are now.
The howling seems closer now, though it's hard to judge the distance. Your horses seem skitterish and their ears flicker in alarm. Helaku calls out to Jorr, who responds: "That causeway's a mile away, maybe a bit more. Might make good defense; certainly, with the creek they won't be able to flank us."