With Hjorleif in the lead the group reaches the area where Ceru was hiding. The big Ulfen grabs the door and enters the front room. What Ceru originally took for poor housekeeping is, in hindsight, definitely signs of a struggle as several damaged potted plants and a broken chair can attest to.
Walthus' shack 1
Three doors lead from this room further into the house, two on the wall directly opposite the main entrance and one along an angled northwest wall. A staircase along the southern wall leads up to the second floor.
Since this crossed pages, I hope GM Wulfson is okay with me putting this here, so people don't have to flip back and forth to see what their initiative is on:
19 Walthus? and Ryoko
We're out of initiative then? I guess speaking is a free action anyway...
Hjorleif breathes heavily as he surveys the room, blood pounding. "Where'd you go, you little beastie?! I say we search the house... give a shout if you see the thing! I'll give it a taste of Ulfen steel, haha!"
Ceru, let's assume that there is a window in the 5' section north of the exterior door.
As Hjorleif looks around the room, Renjiro enters the house and makes for one of the interior doors, bellowing out his challenge. A swift kick sends the door flying open with the sound of cracking wood to reveal what must be the kitchen/dining area as a wooden table with a single battered chair sits in the middle of this room and a small wood burning stove stands in the northwest corner. Another wooden door lies along the eastern wall.
Eden and Tisa stand in the doorway Tisa standing in front of the young Druid her body on full alert.
"He is a shapeshifter, maybe he is a chair or something." Eden says looking about and drawing his shield and Quarterstaff. He then looks to Tisa and says "Sniff him out."
Tisa will be using her scent ability which gives a +5 on her survival score when tracking. In essence following his scent. If that is not a legal interpretation of the rules I will also roll a perception check.
Survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
As Hjorleif passes by her spot by the window, she nods to answer his question, not wanting to give her position away.
She whispers to Renjiro by means of the spell. "I'm going around the building to see if there's a rear exit."
She sneaks off, staying alert for unwanted surprises.
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Stealth 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Tisa begins sniffing the various pieces of furniture around the room as if uncertain exactly which scent she should be searching for, before loping off after Renjiro in the kitchen.
Hjorleif bounds up the stairs two at a time with his axe in his hands. as he comes to the top of the stairs he finds a hallway with three doors set into it, two along the east wall and one at the the end of the hall along the north wall
Walthus' shack level 2
While Ceru makes her way around to the back of the house, Ryoko stands in the living room, eyes scanning the room for any tell-tale signs of movement or evidence of recent movement out of the room.
As the gnome reaches the back the house she peers into a window into the kitchen in time to see Renjiro looking under the table and opening the stove searching for the missing creature before he approaches the only other door in this room.
As Renjiro cautiously opens the door he is surprised when the door as the door is jerked from his hand as he comes face to face(less) with a small, rubbery skinned creature. His mouth agape, the creature strikes at the unsuspecting Samurai.
Attack roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
A long snake-like tongue with a wicked barbed sucker on the end lashes out at Renjiro, narrowly missing attaching itself to him.
Now let's go into initiative order.
Ryoko acted a split-second before the others, stabbing at the abomination with her spear - she was ill-trained, but stabbing something with the pointy end of a long stick she considered will within her limited skills.
1d20 ⇒ 11
That confidence was quite mistaken, however. Hitting some stationary target was indeed something she had a bit of experience with (though less than her attitude would have seemed to indicate), but a moving, living target was something else. She narrowly avoided tangling her weapon in the door, or blocking Renjiro by accident, but that as about the sum of her positive contribution up to this point.
I am assuming Ceru is close enough to do this, and that since this is a hermit's swamp shack it does not have glazed windows. If I am wrong on these counts, let me know. If she can't get in on the fight she will probably throw her dagger through the window
Seeing that thing appear and attack Renjiro, she jumps without hesitation through the window in hopes of landing behind the creature, flanking it (with Renjiro or Ryoko, whichever makes more sense).
Acrobatics 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
If she is successful, she swings at it with her short sword.
Attack, incl. flanking bonus 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
If that hits, damage (all of this is assuming flanking):
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 (the +1 is from Dirty Fighting) + Sneak Attack 1d6 ⇒ 5
Eden hearing the noise in the other room and then the breaking of glass as Ceru makes her way through the window leans toward the stairs and says “Hjorleif! I think we found it down here!”
OOC: Tisa will move behind Renjiro and Eden will move to just in front of the broken window. And that will be my turn since my one prepared combat spell (Flare) is not going to work on a creature without eyes. And considering the cramped environment Tisa can’t really make it to the monster either so… yea that’s my actions.
Luxury swamp shack, then. Would Ceru be able to get it open as a move action?
Eden, I don't think we're assuming Ceru broke the window. She's a daring rogue, but I'm not sure she could manage that with a simple Acrobatics check--although that's Wulfson's call if he wants to leave my original post as standing.
Hearing Eden call out and hearing the sounds of commotion below, Hjorleif bounds back down the stairs. Seeing that there's not much room in the kitchen, he takes a position in front of the door and calls out to the others, "I've got the door if it tries to get away... or if there's more than one!"
Renjiro is surprised as he opens the door to what appears to be a pantry as he is attacked by the creature that Ceru saw through the window in the parlor although gaining the advantage the creature is unable to strike enjiro with it's tongue.
Alerted by the sound, Ryoko rushes into the kitchen to Renjiro's aid. Thrusting her spear at the little creature she just misses as it manages to slide out of the way of her somewhat hesitant attack.
The party is startled to hear the sound of breaking glass,as Ceru deftly lunges through an outside window and lands on her feet with her short sword at the ready.
Eden and Tisa enter the kitchen but are unable to strike at the creature without getting in the way of Renjiro and Ryoko.
The creature strikes out a Renjiro again, before the samurai can react to it's initial onslaught, This time striking true as it's tongue scores a hit across the warrior's forearm.
Renjiro ripostes the creature attack and scores a deep gash across the creature's chest with his katana.
Hjorleif returns to the main floor from upstairs and makes his way to the kitchen with his axe in hand. Seeing the nearly full room, he stands in the doorway ready to strike should any other threat appear.
Imma go ahead and post my attack, which comes after Ryoko.
Unable to get closer, Ceru finds all she can do is toss her dagger at the beast, though she takes care to avoid accidentally stabbing one of her friends.
Attack, including firing into melee penalty 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9
Damage 1d3 ⇒ 2
Steeling her nerves Ryoko stabs at the little creature with her spear but the shapeshifter easily dodges her attempt.
Ceru throws her dagger into the melee but her throw goes wide as the dagger sticks into the door frame near Renjiro.
Eden and Tisa wait for an opening before advancing on the creture.
Desperate the creature strikes out at Renjiro with it's tongue scoring a hit upon the wounded warrior seconds before Renjiro's blade severs it's head from it's body and it falls into a lifeless heap at the Samurai's feet.
Hearing the sounds of combat in the kitchen die down, Hjorleif remains standing near the door leading outside the building. "What's going on in there?! Did we win? Any more beasties hiding around?" He keeps his greataxe readied, scanning the room for any signs of another creature.
Ceru looks up at the samurai with concern. "You alright, Renjiro? Can anyone heal him?"
She reaches up and tugs at her dagger in the doorframe, sheathing it after she retrieves it.
"Let's look around, make sure there aren't any other monsters. Or it was a mess before we got here, it might have fought with someone else."
Ceru looks around, starting in the kitchen and moving out to the other rooms, for signs of both hostiles as well as any survivors.
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Tisa makes her way to the corpse sniffing it, probably to make sure it was actually dead. While Eden begins chanting something in a tongue that no one would understand but him (Druidic) before laying his left hand upon Renjiro and allowing the healing energy to flow into him.
He then backs up "There you go. Better?"
1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Ryoko prodded the thing with her spear's tip several times, before using the implement to turn it over - she seemingly didn't want to come into its arms reach despite her earlier bravado and generally "tough attitude". She poked it once again, shaking her head. "I heard about doppelgängers... maybe it is one of those? I frankly never saw one, or at least, never knew i saw one. For all I know you could all be doppelgängers"
Giving the corpse one last stab, she finally dared look away from it. "Let's see if we can find the real halfling. Maybe he's still alive."
Eden shakes his head. “You don’t need to repay anything, you needed help so I helped."
And at the mention of being a doppelganger Eden’s eyes widen and he pinches himself. “Nope I am still me.” He says relaxing with relief that he was not one of those things that now lay on the floor dead.
After dealing with the monster you fan out to search the rest of the house. The room immediately opposite the entrance contains several cages containing mice and small birds while the southern door leads to a small walled garden.
Continuing upstairs you find a storeroom filled with several tools, hunting supplies, and spare weapons (including three handaxes, a longbow, 2 full quivers of arrows, and two sets of leather armor all sized for a small creature). next door to that is what appears to be a guest bedroom, with sheets covering the unused furniture and finally a well used bedroom.
As you search this last room you hear a faint voice coming from behind the wall in the northwest corner H, hello. Is somebody there? Oh, god p,please help me..."
You hear a soft click as a section of wall swings open. A severely wounded halfling, a twin to the one you met earlier, stumbles out and mumbles in a weakened voice "Is it dead? Please tell me it's dead." he pleads to you "It was horrible. I could feel my life's blood leaving as that, that, thing drank it up." With that he collapses into a heap on the floor.
Hjorleif secures his greataxe to his back as he sees the halfling fall to the floor. "Hrm... this one doesn't strike me as another one of those shapechanging monsters." He pushes through the others and kneels by the small man, scooping him up and lifting him gently onto the bed in the room. "Anyone able to help the little guy? Maybe he can tell us what happened." Hjorleif frowns with worry as he looks to his companions.
Ceru uncorks her waterskin and offers the halfling a drink of water if he is conscious enough to take it.
"Poor guy. What's a thing like that doin' out here anyway?"
Eden moves over to the bed where the man has just been placed. Tisa also moves to the bed and rests her head upon it watching as Eden studies the man.
OOC: Ok I assume this was some sort of con draining attack, and if that is the case there is nothing Eden can do for him, really wish I had taken some ranks in heal, next level I will. But for now the only thing that Eden might be able to do is use knowledge nature, perhaps to determine if he will make it, or whether or not he can be healed by healing magic, on the chance I am wrong and it was not a con drain attack.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Ryoko eyed the frightened halfling, and could not resist a quick quip. "Dead as a doornail. Unless it can stand being stabbed, slashed and mutilated. Some creatures probably can, but I don't think it was one of these."
The weasel darted out of her clothes, towards the halfling, and sniffed him, baring its razor teeth.
Eden you believe that his collapse was caused by a combination of exhaustion, relief, and blood loss. A few days of bed rest and he should be back to normal.
Waking up in bed, the halfling looking chagrined, says "I passed out, didn't I?" Taking Ceru's glass of water Walthus sips gratefully. "Thank you. Thank you for saving my life.'