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Sfounder's Curse of the Crimson Throne PbP

Game Master Chris Marsh

COMBAT MAP

Curse of the Crimson Throne Initiative:


  • [dice=Baddies]d20+[/dice]
  • [dice=DeGrog]d20+4[/dice]
  • [dice=Ferox]d20+10[/dice]
  • [dice=Gaius]d20+3[/dice]
  • [dice=Grym*]d20+3[/dice]
  • [dice=Morkeleb]d20+5[/dice]
  • [dice=Odric]d20+4[/dice]
  • [dice=Sandor]d20+2[/dice]


Curse of the Crimson Throne Perception:


  • [dice=DeGrog]d20+0[/dice]
  • [dice=Ferox]d20+18[/dice]
  • [dice=Gaius*]d20+16[/dice]
  • [dice=Grym**]d20+12[/dice]
  • [dice=Morkeleb]d20+0[/dice]
  • [dice=Odric]d20+0[/dice]
  • [dice=Sandor]d20+12[/dice]

*Does not include Trapspotter.
**Does not include Favored Enemy, Favored Terrain, or Bucho


7,801 to 7,818 of 7,818 << first < prev | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | next > last >>

Male Dwarf Fighter 7 Urban Ranger 2 AC=28; T=15; FF=25; HP 101/101; Init+4; Per +14; +13F+11R+6W

So where did we leave Triana?(is that the right name?)


Male Human Ranger 9, AC 23, HPs 116/116, Int +3, Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +6 (Bucho AC 24 HPs 96/96, Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +5 +4morale)
Odric the Stout wrote:
Yeah. This is gonna be awesome.

Yup


Trinia has had enough adventuring to last a lifetime. Unless one of you takes the leadership feat and wants her as a cohort, she's going to go back and stay with Vencarlo when you leave Flameford.


Male Human, Savior of Korvosa, Initiate of the Korvosan Guard
The Kegerator:
Power Attack (Furious Focus) with MW Keen Falchion +1: [dice]1d20+19[/dice] for [dice]2d4+11+9[/dice] damage.
Murder Hobo/9 Initiative:+4 - AC:26, T:15, FF:24 - HP:117/117 - THAC0:11 -
Crunch:
Fort: +12, Ref: +8, Will +6/+8 vs. Fear - Perception +0 / Stealth +0 - FAME:29/37

Odric writes some instructions down for her to pass to his managers at the Inn and tavern. He also thanks her for the support and shakes her hand in a friendly show of respect.


Male Human Wizard (Enchanter: Controller) 9 Init +5; AC=11; T=11; FF=10; HP 59/59

Morkeleb gives Trinia a warm handshake and almost a smile. He touches the end of "her" wand, tucked into his belt, as she turns away...


Haven't seen DeGrog in a while, so I'll skip him. I will also reroll any repeats.

Morkeleb: 1d100 ⇒ 90
Gaius: 1d100 ⇒ 35
Ferox: 1d100 ⇒ 67
Odric: 1d100 ⇒ 62
Sandor: 1d100 ⇒ 55

Morkeleb: 1d3 ⇒ 1 Warband of orcs. 20 infantry, 3 warg riders, 1 barbarian leader.

Gaius: 1d3 ⇒ 1 A wounded griffon.

Ferox: 1d4 ⇒ 4 A quartet of starving wyverns attack.

Odric: 1d2 ⇒ 2 a pair of basalisks.
Sandor: 1d10 ⇒ 3 a caravan of mixed human and orc. They fly a flag of commerce....

Let's try it. If you want to opt out, no worries. Otherwise we'll advance when everyone checks in.


Male Human Wizard (Enchanter: Controller) 9 Init +5; AC=11; T=11; FF=10; HP 59/59

Give me 24 hours...


Male Human Wizard (Enchanter: Controller) 9 Init +5; AC=11; T=11; FF=10; HP 59/59

Ok less than 24 hours...had an uninterrupted lunch break

Orc battle!!:
In an unforgiving dustbowl, the Saviors of Kosovo pursued their next leg of their great quest: to search the frightening Scarwall Keep, in order to find the secret of stopping the Queen Ileosa. They travelled on high alert, knowing the deserts they traversed were home to many unfriendly creatures. Grym and his faithful hound Bucho scouted ahead, and on their second day the dog’s keen nose caught scent of an approaching war party of orcs. Grym quickly approached a dune and used its height to spot the band, then reported back to his friends.

“A score of orcs, a couple warg riders. One tough-looking bigass leader. We’ve got time to get to that dune and rush them before they see us.”

Without hesitation, the group trusted the ranger’s assessment and made for the dune. Morkeleb immediately cast a spell, and began floating into the air—both to keep him out of range of melee attacks, and to give him a commanding view for spellcasting. Ferox broke a bit to the right, muttering prayers to Abadar and nocking an arrow. Gaius moved left, then simply vanished from sight; no doubt to wreak some secret havoc once the fray started. The four remaining warriors drew weapons as one: DeGrog his cutlass, Odric his falchion, Sandor his Dwarven waraxe and shield, and Grym his short sword and dagger.

The wizard opened the fight with a magical ice storm, punishing the lead orcs with fist-sized hail, and making the ground slick. Before the surprised creatures could regain their footing, Ferox let loose with a volley, taking down an orc and his warg. Odric charged forward with DeGrog and Sandor at either side. They began cutting their way through the infantry with alarming speed and spraying gore. The monsters tried to mount a defense, but their feeble strikes did not slow the heroes a bit. Grym and Bucho moved with practiced precision, flanking and taking down foes quickly and brutally. All the while, Ferox’s bow sang out, striking target after target with his deadly shafts.

The hulking orc leader overcame his shock and began screaming out orders; then he shouted again, frothing at the mouth, his muscles straining against his skin as he drew his own falchion and moved to engage. Morkeleb extended his hand, and intense rays of fire struck the leader in the chest, burning him badly. The injured orc called out a command, and one of the infantry pulled out a bow, targeting the floating wizard. A sharp crack erupted, and his bow suddenly dropped to the ground; Gaius had used his whip to pull the weapon out of his hands. The Calistran calmly walked up to the stupefied orc, drawing his blade with one hand, and wagging a “naughty finger” at him with his whip hand. He then calmly ran the orc through, then looked at the lead orc and winked.

In a berserk rage, the leader screamed at Gaius and swung his blade, but he danced aside with a mocking laugh. Sandor then closed with the monstrous orc, slamming him to the ground with his shield, then bringing his axe down in a deadly chop. Seeing their leader go down, the few remaining orcs turned to flee, but the ferocity of the combatants brought most of them down before they could take a step. Between Ferox’s arrows and Morkeleb’s magic, none of the ones who actually ran, made it more than 20 paces.


Also, it's going to take you (with encounters) 20 days of travel to go from Flameford to Scarwall. The first 9 in the Cinderlands, the rest is either mountains or valleys.


Male Human Ranger 9, AC 23, HPs 116/116, Int +3, Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +6 (Bucho AC 24 HPs 96/96, Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +5 +4morale)

Thorgrym and Bucho are feeling very left out...

Dungeon Master S wrote:

Haven't seen DeGrog in a while, so I'll skip him. I will also reroll any repeats.

[dice=Morkeleb]d100
[dice=Gaius]d100
[dice=Ferox]d100
[dice=Odric]d100
[dice=Sandor]d100

[dice=Morkeleb]d3 Warband of orcs. 20 infantry, 3 warg riders, 1 barbarian leader.

[dice=Gaius]d3 A wounded griffon.

[dice=Ferox]d4 A quartet of starving wyverns attack.

[dice=Odric]d2 a pair of basalisks.
[dice=Sandor]d10 a caravan of mixed human and orc. They fly a flag of commerce....

Let's try it. If you want to opt out, no worries. Otherwise we'll advance when everyone checks in.

Grand Lodge

Male Unknown All

I'll fix that when I get to school

-Posted with Wayfinder


Male Dwarf Fighter 7 Urban Ranger 2 AC=28; T=15; FF=25; HP 101/101; Init+4; Per +14; +13F+11R+6W

Nice post Morkelb

Caravan encounter:
After the long days of walking and fighting our way to our destination, Team Bucho spotted yet another obstical in our path. We knew the drill, and quickly picked out a spot for ambush.

We were set when Gaius noticed that they were flying a commerce flag. He quickly convinced us that we should stop and trade with them. The plan was set, Gaius would have invisiblity cast on him, and he would be our shaved knuckle.

We met the caravan, it was an amalgamation of human and orc. They were more than happy to buy our recenly acquired treasures. We traded some griffon feathers, wyvern stingers, basalisk eyes, and worg teeth. There was a rumble among the Orc's when we traded the Orc Warband's leaders sword. It seems that he was something of a local legend, and cousin to the Orc caravan leader. Swords were almost drawn till Odric started his warm up excercises, the flatulence that escaped from his bowels during a deep knee bend was impressive, of course the flachion kata had nothing to do with getting them to calm down.

The trades were complete, Odric set up another contact for distributing his Stout, and the rest of us came away with some money or a modest piece of equipment. Nobody knows what Gaius did when he was invisible. But we suspect it was acquiring a piece of equipment at a discount.


Male Half-Elf Rogue 4/Cleric 5; Trapspotter 19; Init: 3; AC: 22; T: 15; FF: 22; HP: 56/56

The Tale of The Wounded Griffon:
The party pulls up stakes as the sun sets. Grym and Morkeleb advise that travelling under shroud of night will ease the passage and stretch supplies farther, and the wisdom is heeded.
Grym and Bucho lead the way forward as twilight gives way to night. A feeling of dread descends on everyone as it does each night, intensifying as the distance to Scarwall diminishes. It is not discussed, but felt by all. The discomfort hangs in the air. Gaius asks himself if it’ll grow into panic before they get to Scarwall, and drive them home to Korvosa.
Would it be so bad? Rulers come and rulers go. Let The Crimson Throne claim Ileosa—it will, sooner or later. Black Markets thrive the tighter a despot’s leash gets, and black markets—in goods and flesh—have almost always kept Gaius in coin and company.
Gaius mused, not for the first time, that home and wealthy, a warm embrace soothing the sting from a few lashes was not a bad way to wait out a tyrannical woman.
Gaius’s thoughts had turned to Marshall Cressida and what she might be wearing tonight, when he stopped and stood staring at the night sky. Grym and Bucho continued ahead, unaware that anyone had stopped, for a few moments before turning back and seeing the party’s advance halted. Odric grunted, Ferox snapped something to Gaius and Gaius only stood and stared ahead into the night sky. He raised his hand up slowly and pointed to the sky above them.
Grym then turned his gaze from the path ahead and looked up to see a flash of fire in the sky and two darting shapes—one enormous, and one small. The large one leaves, and the flash of fire engulfs the smaller. It falls to earth, off to the north in the mountains, not far from where they are.
It’s a minor diversion from their path. Grym presses the matter and insists they take a look. The insistence from him is unusual, and Gaius reaches out with his senses and feels the touch of a divine presence. So, he says to himself, Sarenrae wants us to take a look. While not a cleric, Gaius recognized the divine touch that sometimes laid delicate fingers on Thorgrym. While the others discuss the logistics of the detour, Grym and Gaius just start walking north, one focused on his task and the other laughing at the absurdity. The decision made for them, the others quickly fall in step.
When they reach the edge of the mountains, the smell of charred fowl and beast is stifling. Grym leads them forward and there is a mass of burnt bone and feathers. There is a small impact crater nearby and drag marks in the sand between the twisted animal and it. It is a dying griffon, one too late to save. Grym stands, solemn for a moment before he draws his scimitar and ends the beast’s suffering. Ferox steps up beside Grym and surveys’ the scene.

“It was trying to get to… There”, Ferox said, pointing to a hole in the rock wall, about fifteen feet in the air.

Working together, it’s an easy obstacle, and inside the rock wall is an alcove lined with down, cloth, twisted tree limbs, and bones. And inside that alcove is a large egg that requires the ranger hold it in both hands.
“Oh Boy”, says Ferox, “Breakfast!”. But as Grym fixes him with a stare, Ferox grins and says, “I’m only fooling”.

“Quite viable”, said Morkeleb. “Though I am not sure how much longer until it hatches.”

“So…”, began Sandor, “What are we ta do with it then?”

For a time, silence and wind were the only answer. Then the party found the path again, and continued on to Scarwall.

TL;DR Version:
We found a mortally wounded griffon, burnt by something. It was beyond healing magic. Grym put it out of it's misery. It was near it's nest and we recovered a viable egg. The Party should decide what is done with it. Then we get back on the road to Scarwall.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Male Human Ranger 9, AC 23, HPs 116/116, Int +3, Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +6 (Bucho AC 24 HPs 96/96, Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +5 +4morale)

Sorry this took so fragging long. I had a hard time w/ this. I wanted to write something really cool, but I had a hard time coming up w/ an idea. Having an encounter w/ a great dragon (that we aren't supposed to fight) was hard.
Anyway I finally had a couple hours free and came up w/ this. I'm still not super happy w/ it but probably the best we are going to get.

The party is intrigued over finding the Griffon egg. Grym and Ferox especially are intrigued over what burned the mother griffon. During the party’s next camp, the ranger goes out on a patrol. He finds another corpse. It is the half charred body of a huge land shark. It has been mostly eaten. He also finds a print. He believes it is from a large dragon.
Against his better judgement, his own excitement building, the ranger forgo’s sleep and sets out tracking down the lair of the wrym.

***
Back at camp the party starts rousing and going through their morning rituals. Gaius (having performed his rituals to his Goddess during the night, as proper), is working on a quick breakfast for the party. Morkeleb is studying his spells or reading some sort of book, (they all seem the same to Odric…). Meanwhile the big warrior is doing a few morning exercises and the shorter but just as stout warrior is sharpening up a few bolt heads for his new crossbow. It is the inquisitor who realizes that Grym (and dog) never came back to camp last night.
While they start to worry and wonder what happened to the usually dependable Grym, a beast is heard crashing through the brush toward camp. Blades are drawn, arrow nocked, even a spell upon the lips. Then the sharp eyed Ferox sings out, “It’s the ranger’s dog, Bucho.”
The dog runs into camp and stops almost collapsing. The dog’s tongue lolls out of the side of its jaws, foam is flecked on its nasty jowls, the dog’s flanks heave as it breathes. Odric picks the scrap of paper from the dog’s collar. “It is a note from Grym. He has found the lair of a red dragon…”

A few hours the later the party gathered close for a moment in a thick copse of trees. Morkeleb leaned in to give the results of his spell. “I scouted the area out as well as I could without waking the sleeping wyrm. As best as I can tell, it is a mature, adult red dragon. I think that without some serious and probably timely preparations, we would be insane to consider attacking such a beast.” The wizard looked around at all the party members. “We perhaps could defeat the beast, but it would be the death of many of us. And we already have an important mission that needs doing. We have given our word to the elders of the clans that we would bring down the Queen.”

***
A short distance away a lithe creature watched the group of adventurers. A spell of her own let her listen into their conversation. With some disappointment she found they were not going to plan some sort of an assault on the dragon and were going to leave. Elfaba had been bored for way too long. She wanted to see an exciting fight and the dragon slain. Or the whole party burned to a crisp, either way it would be exciting to watch. She couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste, she was pretty sure she could find some way to make something happen. She followed behind careful to stay downwind of the canine in the party. Soon she saw her chance…

The party begin making their way back on course. Thoughts of a fierce red dragon getting dimmer as they got further and further away. Though two from the party linger behind for just a moment.

The heavy, low slung dog takes a few moment to sniff at some little hole. After a few moments Grym realizes its just a rabbit hole, and from the way Bucho is acting there are certainly rabbits only a short distance down the hole. He ponders for a second to think if he should bother letting the dog dig up the hole and catch a few tasty rabbits. He gives the dog the “go get ‘em” sign, fresh meat is always good for Bucho. He looks up as Odric hangs back to wait with him.
The big man waves, then stands in silence for a few moments before speaking. “It would have been something to take on that dragon wouldn’t it?”
Grym gives a rare smile, “Yes, it would. I feel for that little griffin egg. Like maybe we could have gotten a little revenge for him.”
The two men stand there for another minute. Bucho suddenly backs out of the hole he just dug holding a rabbit by the back leg. The rabbit desperately struggles, yet it is for naught. Almost effortlessly the dog pins the rabbit down with his paws and grabs it behind the neck w/ its jaws. A few hard quick shakes and its neck is broken. A few seconds later the dog is chewing and swallowing the entire creature.
Both Odric and Grym watch the dog claim its prize. For a moment their eyes cloud over. Almost instantly they look at each other. Odric speaks first, “You know I just was thinking about this red dragon. I think we can take it. Just you and I, and Bucho. We are the best warriors in the whole group. We don’t need their magic or arrows.”
The ranger looks back at Odric with a very dangerous look on his face. “Let’s do it.”

The two men quickly move along with blades in their hands. Odric grips his great falchion, he thinks about the stories he will be able to tell after this. With all the riches that will be his, he will own every alehouse for a thousand miles. Each serving his excellent brew and all telling stories of his bravery. He even pictures himself with a great tankard in hand telling this very tale of slaying a red dragon almost single handed (just a tiny bit of help from his trusty ranger sidekick). Huge crowds hanging on his every word and a bevy of beauties kneeling around him…
The ranger moves along blades in hand. He grips his powerful magic knife. He pictures himself driving the blade into the skull of the wyrm giving it the death blow. Then carving out dragon steaks while letting Bucho feast on a bloody dragon heart. With his share of the treasure he could do many things. Perhaps give back to his old mentor and her goddess, well really his goddess too. Maybe Sarunrae herself would take notice of her humble servant, Thorgrym Dragon Slayer…

Though not unusual for Grym and his dog to slip away from the party to scout ahead or check their back trail. It is very odd for Odric to not be with the main group always ready to lend a hand to fight for the party. Sandor calls a halt clearly worried that something bad happened.
Soon Ferox is back tracking not even bothering to try and look for the ranger’s prints, instead he goes for something much easier. Soon he sees what he is looking for, Odric’s big heavy boot prints. The inquisitor quickly leades the party to a small clearing where there is a hole in the ground and some blood and fur scattered about.
As Sandor joins Ferox to piece together the trail sign and figure out what happened, Morkeleb senses just the faintest tingle in the air. He slowly, one by one, shuts off his sight, hearing, smell, taste, and even touch. He reaches out with his sixth sense…
In a few moments the Inquisitor addresses the group. “Sandor and I believe that Odric walked into this little clearing where he was with Grym and Bucho. The dog dug up a small hole there and ate a rabbit that he probably found inside. Then the three went off that way in a hurry.”
The wizard also speaks up. “That’s not all. It is faint and fading quickly, but I sense an enchantment was cast here not so long ago. Though both Odric and Thorgrym are formidable, resisting mental magic is not their strong suit. I fear one or probably both men are under some sort of enchantment.”
Ferox immediately begins leading the party on the trail. Luckily they are able to make good time for the trail is easy to follow. Odric is stomping along and even Grym doesn’t seem to be concealing his passage. Soon Ferox speaks up. “We seem to be heading straight toward the dragon’s lair.”
“We can’t let them engage that dragon. It could easily all our deaths if we are not united and some of us are under some sort of spell.” The wizard states.
Gaius lets out a sigh and rolls his eyes, “Well, lets go save our two heroes from certain death then.”

The party pushed on trying to gain ground on their two comrades. Soon they spotted Odric at the base of a steep rise. It wasn’t much further to the dragon’s lair, even now they felt way too close to being detected by the great wyrm. Then Ferox’s sharp eyes spotted Grym, he was a distance away to the left. It looked perhaps the two had split up to approach the dragon’s lair from different sides. Communicating quickly the party splits in two to save and/or capture their wayward friends.
The Calistrian rogue sprang over the rough terrain with surprisingly nimbleness. Huffing and puffing Sandor somehow keeps up, though he does leave a dwarf sized path in his wake. Yet he realizes he isn’t going to catch up to Odric’s long legs and head start. The dwarf takes a knee and braces his fancy new magic crossbow. He quickly controls his breathing. He gently strokes the trigger. A bolt flies out and just barely hits. The bolt doesn’t penetrate but pings off Odric’s heavy shouldn’t plate with force. The dwarf scowls a bit, he meant to put a bolt right in front the warrior to just get his attention. But either way he certainly got his attention.
The Stout turns with his big blade and starts to charge toward the crossbow bolt ambush. He takes half a dozen long strides back down the mountain his attention fully fixed on the dwarf assassin. He never even saw what hit him. Gaius expertly timed a Hold Person spell, it blasted into the warrior. Odric froze stiff and hit the dirt like a statue.
Knowing that the warrior can still hear what is going on around him, can’t help himself. He saunters up to Odric and gives his chin a caress. The Calistrian Sting coos at him, “Oh Odric, I can’t believe how hard I can make you…”

Meanwhile, Ferox and Mork sprint to try and head off Grym. Even fleet footed Ferox knows he can’t catch the ranger while he had this much of a head start. He calls back to the wizard, “I’m going to get ahead of him. I’ll turn him back toward you. Be ready to break the enchantment.” With that the Inquisitor opens a dimension door and pops out of sight.
Getting ahead of the ranger, Ferox stands his ground in front of Grym. He holds not his bow but a tanglefoot bag. “Turn back my friend, your mind is clouded. Slaying the dragon is not our path.” Not sure if his words got through, he watched Grym begin to move around and choose a different path. Once more he had to use his dimension door ability to get ahead of him and cut off that corridor. Again the ranger didn’t seem to want to engage with Ferox or he feared the ranger simply wanted to engage when he had the high ground. He watched the ranger move back down the slope toward the wizard this time.

Morkeleb watched the ranger move back down the slope. He lost him once in the brush but then Grym emerged much closer than the wizard realized. He called out, “Hold my friend, you have been enchanted. Let me break the spell.” Grym paused for a moment unsure. Morkeleb took that as a chance. He quickly started casting Dispel Magic. As the words and movement smoothly poured from his body he realized he had forgotten about something. A low growl sounded just to his left. Though low to the ground, Bucho’s head and jaws looked massive almost too big for his body. The dog was only a foot away.
It was only through extreme force of will was Morkeleb able to master his fear and continue without breaking concentration and finish the spell. Grym put his hand to his head as if he was dizzy for a moment, but then he sheathed his blade. Very tentatively the wizard put his hand out toward the dog. Bucho gave it a quick sniff then pushed his head into Mork’s thigh and soon was leaning his whole body into the wizard. He responded by roughly scratching the dog’s neck. He let out a slight sigh of relief, for a moment there he wasn’t sure if the dog was going to rip his leg off or not. He was pretty sure the dog knew he was casting a spell. He wasn’t sure if the dog was smarter than a normal dog and somehow knew he was trying to help his master. Or maybe he should simply be grateful for the many times during dangerous moments in their adventures, the ranger had given the dog orders to guard the wizard. Perhaps after doing that so many times, the dog had come to trust the mage. Or at least consider him some sort of permanent charge that he is to always guard…

Later that day the entire party was back on their proper path. The lair of the great red dragon would perhaps be a chapter for another time. And Odric and Grym would remember this as the time the whole party had to come rescue them. Grym hopes the others wont bring up this story much in the future.


Male Half-Elf Rogue 4/Cleric 5; Trapspotter 19; Init: 3; AC: 22; T: 15; FF: 22; HP: 56/56

Cool story!


Male Dwarf Fighter 7 Urban Ranger 2 AC=28; T=15; FF=25; HP 101/101; Init+4; Per +14; +13F+11R+6W
Gaius Lirsiiv wrote:
Cool story!

I agree with Gaius. Very good especially with combat off the table. Now lets see if S decides to give us a lil side enemy off of your creation.


Male Human Wizard (Enchanter: Controller) 9 Init +5; AC=11; T=11; FF=10; HP 59/59

Yes, a neat twist. I like 'em all so far...


Male Human, Savior of Korvosa, Initiate of the Korvosan Guard
The Kegerator:
Power Attack (Furious Focus) with MW Keen Falchion +1: [dice]1d20+19[/dice] for [dice]2d4+11+9[/dice] damage.
Murder Hobo/9 Initiative:+4 - AC:26, T:15, FF:24 - HP:117/117 - THAC0:11 -
Crunch:
Fort: +12, Ref: +8, Will +6/+8 vs. Fear - Perception +0 / Stealth +0 - FAME:29/37

The tiny she-imp Elfaba spit a most unladylike curse as the ranger and warrior escaped her spell with the help of their friends. The great wyrm slumbered on, no smoking craters or molten stone, no rent trees torn from the earth, no… excitement damn it!

With a scowl on her pretty face, the mischievous creature turned and darted into the underbrush with only the tiniest rustle of leaves in her wake.

-

A few nights later, under an overcast sky where not a single star shown through the heavy clouds, Elfaba sat brooding in her latest ‘acquired’ home. A hideout with a truly interesting collection of extremely lifelike statues. She had found a nest of basilisks, ordinarily solitary creatures in this area, and decided they could potentially provide her some amusement. The floor of the natural cave was littered with an array of rusting and useless weapons, holy symbols, even a heavy door that had apparently been removed from its stone frame in some dungeon many leagues from here. All these futile efforts to protect from the stony gaze of the basilisks lay strewn about, dropped to the ground moments before the owner transformed into lifelike statuary.

Some of the statues of course held their weaponry high in defiance. A robed cleric, pitted and mossy had his head bowed over a holy symbol in a futile attitude of supplication.

Elfaba thought it might be amusing to lure some unsuspecting wanderers into the basilisk’s lair. Maybe she would ensnare some traders, or perhaps a pair of doomed lovers, running from disapproving families. She let her imagination run wild, then as the larger basilisk of the pair most often lurking in the cave lumbered in, she flicker her fingers in annoyance and redirected its deadly gaze away from her.

-

The heat of the noonday sun beat down, and Odric adjusted his gait yet again. With a wide legged swagger, he hoped the others didn’t realize he was horribly chafed as the heat and grit caused his bulging thighs to rub uncomfortably against each other, and his grundle seemed to stick with each step. He noticed Morkeleb seemed to float above the ground, gliding along for miles at a time, then realized with a laugh that the wizard actually was gliding a few inches off the ground, occasionally poling himself along with his bejeweled staff. Sandor clunked along stoically, but the misery must have been beyond the dwarf’s endurance, because some hours ago the gruff grumbling had ceased altogether, replaced only with the clank stomp clank stomp of the armored dwarf’s heavy footfalls.

Gaius and Grym were talking about some sort of religious mumbo-jumbo. This was a little unusual, but the two men seemed tired of humoring the slightly insane ranting and remembrances of the Inquisitor, and so were studiously engaging each other in some apocryphal comparison between their deities. The Man-Orc alone seemed unbothered by the miserable conditions. He hummed softly with sea chantys that ordinarily put Odric in the mind of adventure and mystery in far flung lands, but today seemed to grate on his patience the way his war kilt was grating on his thighs.

When the party came to a halt in the dubious shade of a rock outcropping, prompted apparently by Donkeyhorse’s unwillingness to proceed without a rest, Odric plopped down gingerly, hoping to avoid irritating his screaming taint.

Grym watered Bucho, who managed to somehow slobber more water into the dusty trail than he drank, despite Gryms admonitions to be careful. The Ranger then attended to Donkeyhorse, who drank much more conscientiously. Odric’s annoyance was growing by the moment as the animals drank their fill with sloppy gusto.

Off to the side of the trail, a rusty sword lay half hidden, Odric was unsure how he had missed such an interesting item earlier. He drank some water, mixed with a bit of wine for flavor and fortification, then hauled himself to his feet with a groan. The rusty blade was interesting, it had been reasonably high quality, but the ravages of time had reduced it to junk. Odric, out of an abundance of caution asked Morkeleb and Gaius to make a cursory examination of the weapon as proof against traps. With weary shakes of their heads, the two men indicated there were no magical or mundane traps, so Odric picked the sword up and examined it morecarefully.

Within a few moments, he concluded it was indeed junk, and as he was about to toss it off of the trail, admittedly more incurious than he would ordinarily be due to the chafing and exhaustion, he saw another piece of weaponry about 15 yards off the trail.

Odric looked around, then went to retrieve it. Before long, Odric had discovered a trail of gradually improving items leading off the trail. With a harrumph, as though cross that fortune had favored him with treasure, only to make him walk to collect it, Odric advanced along the trail of improving, yet largely junky, loot.

As he rounded another outcropping, the warrior saw a cool looking cleft in the rock of a still more distant rock face. With a longing stare, he remembered the last time he went off on his own, and decided to go back to the group to ask for them to accompany him. If the loot turned out to be nothing, the worst thing he could think of was an opportunity to relax in the cooling confines of a cave for a few moments.

Without much argument, the group agreed to scout out the cave. In the darkened depths, Elfaba snickered and rubbed her tiny hands together with glee overcome with joy that the same group had once again blundered into her clutches.

The party entered the cave with a collective sigh. The detritus lining the path to the cave mouth seemed old enough that any threat it might have portended was likely long gone, the group theorized. The rationalization was couched in a strong desire to rest for the afternoon in the cool and inviting cave.

Elfaba was flitting back and forth in unreasonable excitement. She was prodding the basilisk out of the inner depths of the cave and towards the adventurers with a small wand. The beasts snapped at her halfheartedly, but their senses had picked up the traces of… heroes.

The group sprawled out on the cave floor, around the corner from the main collection of statuary, but far enough inside to let the cool air wisp its way into scalding hot armor plates, across sweaty and raw skin, and down the back of grimy collars.

All of a sudden, Odric let out a startled cry, and the wet sklurrch told the others he had either been disemboweled (which seemed rather unlikely, considering the manly vigor of his bowels) or the Kegerator had tasted blood.

A bead lizard head rolled across the rough stone floor unsteadily, but as the other leapt up, a practiced team entering the familiar dance of violence and blood started to mobilize for battle.

Magic flew, and steel flashed, but with a bass crackling, one by one the party members made the fatal transition from flesh and bone to solid, unyielding, unfeeling rock.

Odric, cast in a perfect granite pose of vital combat, was a perfect specimen of musculature and violence. Gaius seemed to be half blended into the shadows when he solidified, seemingly blended into the rock of the uneven wall. Sandor froze, knees bent about to spring forward, in a pose of coiled potential, with his now stony axe held tightly in both hands. Soon, DeGrog was frozen into a statue, posed in a fearsome follow-through with his now-stone blade coated in now-stone gore from the remaining basilisk.

In moments, Morkeleb who was crouched behind a boulder breathing heabily, realized he was alone.. He controlled his breathing, realizing the basilisk was a dumb beast, and hoped to be able to step into the arena after it had withdrawn, when he realized there was someone else there.

A high pitched giggling came from Ferox’s stone shoulder, and Morkeleb held up his dagger carefully, and tilted it until he as able to see the distorted outline of a small impish creature on the Inquisitor’s stone likeness.

Morkeleb knew the risk and as he searched the depths of his knowledge he thought he could remember a bit of lore he had heard once. In fact he thought he might have heard it from Odric as the big man retold one of his exaggerated adventure yarns over ale and meat. The source worried him, but the wizard had little option. He set his jaw and determined to take action.

He closed his eyes, and slowly allowed his staff to inch upwards, until the jeweled headpiece had a clear line of sight to Elfaba. With a throaty command, in a voice unlike his own, Morkeleb uttered the first thing that came into his mind. “Run”

Elfaba was gripped with an unreasoning trepidation and made a rapid exit from the tent. With the odds now improved, Morkeleb wondered how he might manage to overpower a basilisk, even one wounded in battle. His idea was to come up with a clever deception, then perhaps apply his knowledge of the arcane to bring it to fruition. He pondered for a few moments, then came to the conclusion that the multiplicity of variables would mean there might not be an easy answer. Speed and force might be the best answer, to paraphrase Odric.

Morkeleb reached out with his senses, and closed his eyes. He had never been especially skilled at this manner of divination, having focused his studies on mental/magical domination, but he thought he could tilt the odds enough into his favor by sneaking up on an unsuspecting, wounded basilisk.

With his eyes tightly sealed, Morkeleb drew forth his dagger, and with a silence that foretold drama, if not success, the wizard let the blade fly – his first completely bling attack and doomed to fail, he knew.

Except in a moment, he heard the sickening wet slurp of his dagger entering the creature’s eye. The wizard got about the horrible business of testing the half remembered theory Odric may or may not have implanted in his memory.

The Basilisk let out a disappointingly quiet gasp as its last breath escaped its lungs.

Morkeleb swiftly retrieved his knife and set about hanging the basilisks up as best he could, collecting their blood in a natural depression in the stone floor. Morkeleb’s reed thin chest heaved with exertion as he started to push Gaius, then Ferox into the bloodbath. As the statues splashed into the absurdly copious pools of fresh basilisk blood, the gasped and emerged poised to do battle with the basilisk. Seeing none, they looked inquiringly at Morkeleb with blood streaming off them alarmingly.

Hurry, we must bathe the others in the blood of the Basilisks soon if we are to save them from an eternity in statue form. One by one, the companions wrestled their friends into the blood, until at length only one statue remained. Odric’s massively heavy stone form presented a problem. It would be tough to move him, but also, the idea was briefly floated to leave him in stone form, given the last to misadventures he had been central to.

Ultimately, the ties that bound the party together won out, and Odric too was plunged into the pool of basilisk blood.

The party searched the entire area, and discovered quite a few statues, as well as some treasure composed of…

-

Elfaba cursed the party for robbing her yet again as the treat of seeing them all killed. She was indignant that her plot, designed for her amusement, fell apart. On the spot she vowed revenge on this group of would-be heroes. Blechh. Heroes. How ridiculous, old fashioned, and passé.

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