Festa catches #4 on the side of the head, snapping it back and cracking the neck. But then the head bounces back into place, seemingly barely damaged.
Zombie #4 bite at Festa: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 -- miss
The zombie responds by leaning forward and trying to bite a chunk out of Festa's face. However, it's much too slow and Festa dodges back in loads of time.
Shefton takes a deep breath in response to Tippi's words. Continue to delay.
Felos swipes at the zombie (#4 is in the corner, so no flanking possible). His first claw is unable to to connect, but the second shreds flesh away from its chest.
Up Next: Jacinth, Xanthippe (subject to delayed action), Festa, Shefton (subject to delayed action), Zombie, Felos.
Dax Thura wrote:
All the canines. The lists are based on category of animal rather than the specific animal.
That said, I did do some fiddling with the lists. The book only gives three skills for each category, but I wanted to make sure everyone ended up with at least a couple skills that worked well with their character, so I added an extra skill to each list (Sleight of Hand was already on the K9 list; I added Intimidate).
I also changed how frequently you can gain the bonus. By the book, it's once per adventure, which, frankly, is utterly useless--especially in pbp where you'd get the opportunity to use the bonus maybe once per year if you were lucky. Once per day doesn't seem game-breaking to me, and will actually give you the opportunity to use the bonus from time to time. :)
Douena Trestleben wrote:
"Animals are just as physical as people," Douena points out stubbornly. "So why does everyone here look like animals instead of people or vegetables or butterflies or ham sandwiches? If Aycenia came here, would she be an animal, or would she be a tree? How come Untari's spirit form is the same as her physical form? And why aren't you a wolf?" She pauses, looking at the crocodiles' long toothy snouts, then admits, "Although it's hard to get a bigger bite than that."
"Oh, but there are butterflies," the owl says. "Many of them. Just not in this specific location. No ham sandwiches, though, because they're not alive. Untari does not have a spirit form because she does not have a spirit guide." The owl turns her head a full 180 degrees to look at Mahjik. "We are very different from ghosts. Not the same thing at all. However, your guide has beckoned you to follow. Better do so quickly before he gets out of sight and then the opportunity will be lost."
She turns her head back to Douena. "Follow me." Then she flies up into the air.
The other spirits present beckon the rest of you to follow your associated spirit. Pezock grumbles and stubbornly stays put, refusing to follow the rat.
Those of you who follow your guide recall that the guide begins speaking to you, but you can't remember the exact words, as it all starts to feel like a dream. Then you awaken, with Alala, Masozi, and Osumare still dancing around your group. You feel invigorated, and you realize that you can now call upon your spirit guide for help without the need for the dancers.
If any of you don't follow, you simply wake up.
Those of you who follow your spirit guide gain the following ability: Once per day, as a move action, you may call upon your guide for assistance, gaining a +5 sacred bonus on a skill check. The skills you may apply this bonus to depend on your spirit guide.
Douena: Acrobatics, Appraise, Fly, Perception
Festa kicks #5 as it rises, but even though his foot hits solidly, he seems to cause no damage to it.
Felos moves forward an into the room, swiping his claw across #5's side and tearing away decayed skin and muscle. The zombie falls right back over again.
I'll presume Jacinth moves forward a little bit so that his channel will get around the corner. 5-ft step to Y 45.
Zombie #4 Will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11 -- fail
Jacinth steps up and a bright light briefly bathes the chamber, causing the zombie's flesh to sizzle and burn (and also possibly healing the rest of you if anyone's still hurt).
Next Up: Xanthippe, Festa, Shefton (subject to delayed action), Zombies, Felos, Jacinth.
Festa circles around the pillar and kicks #5. He can hear ribs shatter from the strength of the blow, but the zombie continues moving as it prepares to stand.
"Oh gods, not more," Shefton whimpers. Delay.
The two zombies pull themselves slowly to their feet, providing Festa another opportunity to attack it.
As the zombies' go before Felos, there was no opportunity for him to get in there before they could respond. :) If Festa's attack of opportunity takes out #5, I'll apply Felos's attack to #4.
Next Up: AoO for Festa, Felos, Jacinth, Tippi, Festa, Shefton (subject to delayed action), Zombies.
The owl looks over to where the serpent was. "She was an echo," she says. "Or an after-image you might call her. The person you call Ieana used to come to the spirit world frequently before her death. She was searching for something, but we don't know what. She killed her guide when she first arrived. The more she visited, the stronger her echo became. After her death, her echo was consumed with that moment. Enacting revenge was her only goal, but she had no way to reach that goal until you came here yourselves."
The owl turns her head back to Douena. "When you and your friends leave here, there will be echoes of you left behind as well, but I trust you will all be friendlier. We are certainly happy that serpent is now gone."
Pezock wanders slowly over and looks over his rat form. "How do I change to something else?"
"You can't, I'm afraid," the owl replies. "You cannot change your guide."
Festa opens the door to reveal a chamber with a single pillar supporting a sagging roof. Two corpses lie on the floor across from the door, one of them in front of another door. Both appear to be human and both suddenly twitch.
Felos Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
The zombies begin this battle prone.
Up First: Festa
"Wise man say you should meet me," a voice says, and a monkey looking exactly like Mahjik bounds out of the grass right beside Mahjik. "Come. I will be your guide." The monkey begins walking through the grass, beckoning Mahjik to follow.
Suddenly, beside the rest of you, you each see another animal that looks exactly like your current animal form.
"The dancers just open the way for us to communicate," the owl says to Douena. "They don't actually need to keep dancing as long as they do."
"It's typical of the mortal world, though," the lion beside Tar'kanas says. "The rituals are always exaggerated."
Pezock peers closely at the rat beside him. "You're my spirit guide?" he says with distaste.
"Did you really expect anything better?" the rat replies. "You may look like a bird, but you're a rat through and through."
"I am not a bird!" Pezock protests.
"I said look like one, not that you are," the rat snaps. "Now shut up and follow me! I've got a trick or two to show you."
The rats scurries off, but Pezock stands there stubbornly. "Suit yourself!" the rat calls back. "Your loss!"
Makoa's teeth snap down on the serpent's midsection, piercing deeply. Only one of his claws, however, manages to do similarly and pierce her tough scales. The snake looks barely alive at this point.
Ishirou katana at Ieana, flanking: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 9 + 2 = 22 -- hit
Ishirou then gores her with his horn and she falls still. Then her body fades away as if it were never there.
Pezock sighs. "That was too easy," he grumbles. "And there's not even any treasure!" He pauses a moment and then adds, "Unless it's hidden in the grass." He begins to scurry about, sniffing through the grass, but he finds nothing.
Felos Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0
The door on left side of the north wall is cracked and broken, and hangs loosely on a single remaining hinge. Peering past it, there seems to be only a bare 10-by-10 room. Trying to open the door to go into the room causes the door to crash down to the floor. A quick look around the room reveals that it is indeed empty.
For brevity's sake, I'll assume you move on to the next door.
Felos Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13
The next door is in better shape, only a little swollen from the dampness. Opening it reveals pretty much the same as the last room. This room is a little larger than the last, but just as bare and empty.
Felos Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
The remaining door on the north side of the east wall opens to a small 5-by-5 space containing another door.
Urza begins barking and the air around him begins to swirl. Enlarge person has a full round casting time so will take effect on Urza's turn next round.
Next Up: Makoa, Ishirou, Mahjik, Tar'kanas, Untari, Pezock, Ieana, Douena (subject to delayed action), Urza.
You can almost see the sound waves from Tar'kanas's roar rippling the air as they shoot towards the snake. The sound shakes the snake, knocking her back and forth.
Untari then springs into action, shooting across the ground and biting into the end of the snake's tail.
"What is with this stupid body?" Pezock squeaks as he moves forward. "Whose idea was it to make me a rat?" Double move to E 11.
The snake continues to shake in her stunned state.
Next Up: Douena, Urza, Makoa, Ishirou, Mahjik, Tar'kanas, Untari, Pezock, Ieana, Douena.
Oops! Sorry about that. I'm not sure how I missed him, but I totally did.
Ieana Fortitude: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17 -- fail
Mahjik rolls into place and hits the snake with what looks like just a small, feeble monkey paw, but it has a big effect. The snake almost loses her balance and is stunned.
Next Up: Untari, Tar'kanas, Pezock, Ieana (stunned), Douena, Urza, Makoa, Ishirou, Mahjik.
The only sound beyond the door is the sound of the water lapping about. Festa descends the sandy slope to the water's edge to get a look around the corner. I'll assume Tippi sends the dancing lights forward as well. As the dancing lights move up and provide illumination, Festa can see that the passage twists again after just a short distance, and the floor is completely flooded with the water. The water is fairly clear though, and doesn't look very deep--no more than a foot or two in the area that Festa can see, although it may get deeper farther in.
Makoa Wolf'sKin wrote:
Charge to H-12, starting rage(assuming thus counts as the same 'day' it's the third rage round used), Power Attack.
Yes, this counts as the same 'day'.
The snake burns from Urza's bark, bubbling welts forming on her skin. Makoa charges forward, moving incredibly agilely for a crocodile, but unfortunately causing Mahjik to fall off. The monkey lands on his feet, though, ready to fight. Makoa's teeth sink into the snake's flesh.
Rhinoceros Ishirou charges forward as well (to F 10), lowering his head to gore with his horn.
Ishirou katana at Ieana, charge: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 = 14 -- miss
Unfortunately, he missteps on a muddy patch of ground and the serpent slithers to the side.
Next Up: Untari, Tar'kanas, Pezock, Ieana, Douena, Urza, Makoa, Ishirou.
Once you are all in place, Alala, Masozi, and Osumare begin their dance again and sleep overtakes you quickly. You find yourselves standing in tall grasses, a bubbling stream nearby. The sky is blue and cloudless, and also sunless, yet somehow it is light out. By the stream, you see a giant serpent leering up over a crocodile with a monkey standing on its head.
You also notice that you have all taken on the forms of animals. Only Untari appears to be her normal self. Between you all, there is a lion, an owl, a dog, a rhinoceros, and a rat.
The serpent hisses in irritation at your arrival.
For the encounter, you have all your regular abilities despite being in an animal shape. Regardless of the size of the animal you are, mechanically, you still count as your regular size and so that is the size of the tokens, even though Tar'kanas the lion looks much, much bigger than Pezock the rat (it's dream logic). You move as your animal would move, but at your regular speed. For Douena, she can fly at her normal ground speed (no Fly checks necessary unless she wants to do some aerial acrobatics, in which case she can substitute her Acrobatics skill).
You can cast spells and use special abilities as normal. Same with attacks. Feel free to change the visual description of your actions to fit with the odd dream-logic of the world you're in, even though mechanical effects are unchanged. For example, an attack with a ranged weapon could look like you growing an extra-long limb to swipe at the enemy with or a load roar that knocks the enemy senseless. If you don't include a visual description of your own, I'll add one for you. :)
For Mahjik standing on top of Makoa, this is fine as a visual description, even though he's occupying a separate square on the map. Crocodiles are normally Large creatures, but mechanically, Makoa remains a Medium creature, so as long as Mahjik is adjacent to Makoa, you can say he's standing on Makoa. :)
Douena Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
First Up: Urza
Xanthippe suggested the west door, so unless anyone objects, I'll assume that's what you do.
The door is swollen with moisture like the other doors in this place, making it just a little stuck. A bit of effort gets it open fairly quickly, though. Beyond, the sound of churning water is louder. The water laps and splashes against the walls of a twisting, natural cavern. A sandy slope descends from the door down to the edge of the water. Dozens of purple and red sea urchins glisten in shallow divets along the ground and lower walls here, their spines glittering with water.
If I ever meet Tim Hitchcock, I'm going to buy him a drink just so I can toss it in his face for repeatedly insulting my intelligence. :P
Heh, I've noticed a pattern in that several of my least favourite adventures have been written by him. Broken Chains is another one.
Also, really curious to see how this works out for ranged attacks. Tar'kanas should have chosen porcupine. :)
I've been contemplating ways to handle ranged attacks. I've had a few ideas. :)
Dax Thura wrote:
His roar will cut from a distance.
Oh, I like that!
Shefton steps forward nervously and approaches the water. He looks at the body and shakes his head. "Doesn't look familiar," he says, "although it's hard to tell with him floating in the water."
Tippi is able to retrieve the body with her prehensile whip without difficulty. The body is in bad shape, partially eaten and heavily water-logged. Shefton takes a closer look and shakes his head again. "Doesn't look like anyone I know. It might be that Penkus guy, but I don't know."
A search of the body reveals nothing of value on it.
Heh, I'd completely forgotten about that dream! :)
As it happens, this dream will not have the beast shape restriction. You're actually going to be capable of everything you normally are--mechanically at any rate. I was just going to throw in some visual twists so that attacking with a weapon, for example, might look like you're biting something. It's dream logic. They don't always work the way you expect them to.
Owl will work fine, but you don't need to feel confined to things with stat blocks as you won't need those stat blocks. :)
Well, you're right not to put too much trust in the adventure. It is written as a combat encounter and was actually meant to happen much earlier in the adventure, in a section I cut entirely (because the whole section is just plain dumb). You were supposed to learn of your spirit animals at that time and have the encounter, but not gain the benefits of the spirit animals until you encountered the spirit dancers now. I just decided to combine the two together so that I could get rid of that earlier section.
If anyone's interested in what the earlier section was about, it was supposed to be just before you set out on the journey. First, you have to get yourself a guide and your faction sends you to see a man called Nkechi who is supposedly the best guide in the land. Once you've found Nkechi (which takes time), he then puts you through a series of tests to prove your worthiness to hire him as a guide. Once you've completed the tests, he performs a ceremony to introduce you to your spirit animals and you have an encounter with serpent Ieana. Securing Nkechi as your guide reduces your travel time by a measly couple of days, which intriguingly is about the same amount of time as it takes to find him and prove to him that you're "worthy" of him.
You're assuming beast shape rules are in effect, which I've never actually stated. :)
#2 darts aside of Jacinth's attack. Felos's attempts to get #5 start without success, but as the crab moves aside of his first claw, it moves right into the path of his second. One of his sharp nails digs deep into the crab's shell and it stops moving.
Festa then clobbers #3, shattering its shell into several pieces.
Crab #2 claw 1 at Festa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 -- miss
Seemingly unperturbed by the loss of its fellows, #2 continues to attack Festa. However, it is unable to hit him.
Next Up: Xanthippe, Shefton, Jacinth, Felos, Festa, Crab.
Alala nods. "Lie down beside them and relax. We will resume the dance."
Pezock grumbles as Ishirou and Jask try to coax him to join in. "I don't trust them," he growls.
"We have no choice but to trust them," Jask says. "Mahjik and Makoa need our help."
Pezock glares at the three dancers and sighs. He points at Mahjik. "I don't do this for him." He then points at Makoa. "I do it for him because he is not a coward." He sits down cautiously on the ground, looking furtively about at the three dancers. Slowly, he lowers himself until he's lying on his back.
Ishirou lies down beside Pezock, and the rest of you lie down as well.
Jask leans over Douena and says quietly, "Don't worry. We'll watch them."
Okay, I need spirit animal choices from each of you or you can choose to roll a d10.
Oh wow. I totally missed that those two crab hits were critical threats.
Crab #3 critical confirm at Xanthippe: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21 -- confirm
Crab #5 critical confirm at Felos: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15 -- not confirmed
Okay, so the hit on Tippi was a little bit more than I described it, but still fairly minor. No change to Felos.
Festa tries to damage one of the crabs in front of him, but is unable to hit it. However, Xanthippe quickly moves in from the other side and stabs at #3, cracking its shell a little.
Crab #2 claw 1 at Festa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 -- miss
Crab #3 claw 1 at Xanthippe: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3 -- miss
Crab #5 claw 1 at Felos: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21 -- hit
The crabs continue to snap viciously. Festa dodges aside of #2's attacks, while #3 turns round to snap at Tippi. She avoids the first claw, but the second claw catches her with a minor snip at her leg. #5 manages a slightly more substantial snip at Felos's leg.
"That's it! Get 'em!" Shefton calls out encouragingly--you presume to you and not to the crabs. He continues to cower by the door and make no move to help. Delay.
Next Up: Jacinth, Felos, Festa, Xanthippe, Crabs, Shefton (subject to delayed action).
No worries. It happens to us all.
As it happens to get a 15, you would have to remove all the bonuses and throw in an extra -2 penalty. Maybe you were just looking at the raw roll of 17 and removing the flanking bonus from that? :)
At any rate, she gets the flank, so it's all moot. :)
As Urza tries to wake Makoa, Jask tries to wake Mahjik. Unfortunately, neither individual stirs from his sleep.
Osumare leans in. "But that..." she starts, but trails off, her face lowering.
Alala and Masozi stumble to a stop.
"What has happened?" Jask demands of them.
"If they will not wake, then something is holding them in there," Alala responds.
"This is not our doing," Osumare says softly. "It really isn't. But you have no reason to believe us."
"Someone should probably go in to help them," Alala continues. "With luck, they may be able to free themselves, but we can't rely on that. If you wish it, I will go in to help them. Or we can send some of you in to help them instead. At least two of us must maintain the dance though."
Osumare looks confused and almost panicky, and the other two start to falter in their dance. "I don't know what you're talking about," she says to Douena. "We haven't lied to you. If you wake them, you will break their connection to the spirit world. It shouldn't harm them, but it may make them unable to make contact with their spirit guides in the future."
Wow, some really unlucky attack rolls this round.
Festa and Xanthippe each attack a crab, but the crabs are just a little too quick for them.
Crabs #4 and #5 move in a little closer (#4 5-ft step to AB 43; #5 5-ft step to AA 43) and attack Jacinth and Felos respectively, while #2 and #3 continue to snap their claws furiously at Festa. None of them connect with anything but air.
Crab #2 claw 1 at Festa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5 -- miss
Shefton moves to the doors and peers inside. He grimaces at the sight of the big crabs. Move to AC 45.
Next Up: Jacinth, Felos, Festa, Xanthippe, Crabs, Shefton.
Jacinth stabs with his spear, but the crab darts just to the side. The spearhead scrapes against the stone floor. Felos steps back and fires off another arrow, but its too high. It sails over crab #5 and slams into the north wall.
Next Up: Festa, Xanthippe, Crabs, Shefton (subject to delayed action), Jacinth, Felos.
Everyone but Makoa and Mahjik:
The dancers' faces contort in confusion and surprise. Osumare tries to shake her head while not interrupting the dance and chanting.
Jask hurries over to the side of Mahjik and Makoa. "Is it safe to wake them?"
The dancers glance back and forth at each other as if trying to decide what to do. Finally, Osumare steps out of the dance, while Alala and Masozi continue. "They will be learning of their spirit forms now and meeting their spirit guides. You must not interrupt." She looks over to Douena. "What vampire-snake people? We are not working with any vampire-snake people."
Mahjik and Makoa:
The serpent hisses angrily. "Fools! I will have my revenge!" With that, she prepares to attack.
There will be combat at this point. We just need to wait briefly for a couple actions in the waking world before proceeding...
For those watching the proceedings, they start to get quite boring. You make sure there are people on watch at all times, but otherwise also turn to catch some sleep of your own.
Mahjik and Makoa:
"Yes, of course," the serpent says. "One of the girls. I'm here to guide you."
Sense Motive for Makoa and Mahjik DC 13:
Serpent Bluff: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (17) - 4 = 13
There's a hesitation before the serpent answers and then it's words are too emphatic. You don't believe this serpent is one of the young women.
Douena has barely put her head down when sleep comes over her and she starts to dream. She sees a long serpent in grass feasting on the remains of a monkey and a crocodile. It looks up at her. "Revenge is sweet," it says in a familiar voice--the voice of the serpent woman you fought on Smuggler's Shiv.
Douena wakes up instantly, but knows that she (and perhaps others) needs to enter the dream ritual to prevent what she's seen from happening.
Bless has worn off (only lasted a minute total). Technically, dancing lights wore off too, but that's a spell I figure Tippi would renew as soon as it ended, so I've kept it around.
Jacinth moves into the room just as Felos shifts position and fires an arrow at one of the approaching crabs. The arrow lodges into a crack in the crab's joint, hurting it considerably.
Festa moves into the room and launches a powerful attack on #1, cracking its shell and leaving it staggered. It slinks away back into the water. It probably won't survive much longer.
The remaining crabs scuttle forward. #2 and #3 approach Festa and snap at him with their claws (#2 5-ft step to AD 41; #3 move to AC 41). #2 gets in two claw attacks. The other two crabs move around the pillar in the middle of the room and move towards Felos and Tippi [ooc](#4 double move to AB 42; #5 double move to AA 42).
Tippi gets in an attack at #5 as it approaches, but the pillar gets in the way (miss due to cover).
Crab #2 Claw 1 at Festa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6 -- miss
Both crabs on Festa are unable to catch him with their sharp claws.
Shefton stays put. Delay again.
Next Up: Jacinth, Felos, Festa, Xanthippe, Crabs, Shefton (subject to delayed action).
Felos discovers that Festa has an aura of overwhelming evil. ;)
Moving into the room in order to examine it for evil auras, Felos is able to make out a couple of things that couldn't be seen from the corridor. There are a couple more doors. One of them--the westernmost door in the north wall--is badly damaged and hangs askew on its one remaining hinge. The other door is at the northern end of the east wall. (The other two doors, in case they're not clear on the map, are in the centre of the west wall, and the east end of the north wall.
Felos does not detect any evil coming from anywhere in the room. However, shortly after he's moved into it, the water begins to ripple more vigorously in several places and a number of vicious-looking and rather big crabs rise from its surface.
Felos Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
First Up: Xanthippe
Douena Trestleben wrote:
"I don't think it's working," Douena tells the spirit dancers. "They're just lying there."
The dancers merely smile at Douena in between chanting.
"They did say it would take several hours," Shokambe says to her. "Perhaps you get some sleep."
Makoa and Mahjik:
Quite some time passes with the dreamland around them remaining unchanged and nothing moving. After what seems like ages, however, you finally catch movement of something through the grass, approaching you quickly. As it gets closer, you can see the glistening of scales off a long, serpentine body. The massive snake stops a few feet away from you and raises its head above the grass.
"Welcome," it says. "I've been expecting you."
Festa hears only the sounds of sloshing water coming from the west door, and through the crack in the ajar doors, both he and Tippi can see that the room beyond is partially flooded. The doors' hinges are stiff from rust, but the doors open the rest of the way without much difficulty.
The room beyond is indeed quite large and even after moving the dancing lights past the doors, only those with low-light vision can see across to the far side. Several wooden pillars rise up to support the ceiling, which sags dangerously in places and is thick with hanging strands of fungus. To the south, the ceiling has collapsed, leaving the southern part of the room choked in debris. A rippling pool of water reaches halfway into the room from this wall of stone and rubble. It seems that a rotting pier once extended into this pool, but all that remains now are several rotting wooden pilings protruding from the water. A body floats face down among them.
The undead were variant zombies with a bite attack instead of a slam attack. Otherwise, they were identical to regular zombies.
Shefton shrugs. "I...I don't know. I was just going on what he told me. He said he'd used these tunnels. I've never actually been in them before." Shefton is obviously terrified and seems truthful in his words.