An Ancient Evil

Game Master Celestial Healer

The kingdom of Leyland is in the midst of change. New technology and new social structures are taking the place of the old ways. In the midst of this, an ancient evil is awakening and threatening this prosperous nation. It falls upon a band of heroes to face this menace.

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Male Human Rogue 4 (HP 23)

Potential Critical confirmation roll:
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Attack (w/PwrAtk) 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (16) + 7 - 1 = 22
Damage (w/PwrAtk) 1d10 + 4 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 4 + 3 = 13

With the one opponent already dead, Trina darts past Jerry and Rhodes into the underbrush, letting gravity pull her glaive low after passing her companions then using the momentum of the swing to arc the blade at an accelerated downward angle toward the writhing creature.

Move to M27 (just enough move to make it there with the difficult terrain) and attack decapus.

Sylvia's bond strikes the tentacled creature solidly. It catches fire, smoldering in trails of acrid smoke. It seems undaunted by its state, although it is clearly being harmed.

Trina strikes it solidly with her glaive, while Rhodes waits to ambush the thing.


Rhodes (readied action)

46/46, AC 11

So just checking Jerry has his standard actions & so does Luce. Sorry, for the complexities - but trying to do the advanced stuff.

Moving the bloody hand from his throat to the pommel of the saddle, Jerry swings upon the back of Luce with a practised ease. He pulls the lance from it's position before pushing the lioness forward.

She twitches her whiskers at the creature before moving forward straight towards the creature. At the last minute, Jerry lowers the yew pole carefully couching the base.

Jerry 5' Step to P25
Ride (Fast Mount): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24 (DC 20 for Free Action)
Jerry: Draw Lance (move action). Do I need another Handle Animal roll?

Luce: Charge "Ride-by-Attack" could K22 work? For a straight line that takes past the creature?
Charge (Lance): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29; Damage: 2d8 + 9 + 9 ⇒ (3, 8) + 9 + 9 = 29(? Lance is 2-handed despite being wielded in 1 hand? And the charge 'double damage' that's the static bonuses?)

That looks like a straight enough line to me. And I don't think drawing a weapon would require handle animal. And it appears you calculated the double damage properly. Nice rolls.

Charging across the trail on his lion, Jerry skewers the writhing decapus upon his lance. Its tentacles twitch and flail for a moment and then the foul thing lies still.

Out of combat.

46/46, AC 11

Luce skids to a halt, the rise and fall of her thorax lightly under her load and the sudden exertions. Fortunately, a pouncing mammal she's used to short bursts of speed although she doesn't want to eat this kill.

Jerry puts his free hand to his neck whilst raising his lance to point at the sky. "Good hunting, what?" his voice is slightly throaty. "There was some mention of a drink. To raise the spirits."

I take it the blood loss, is a blood drain (Con) and not a bleed effect?

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Trina steps over to examine the twitching corpse, impaled and uplifted on Jerry's lance. She gets stopped once, one of her head-tendrils grabbing onto a nearby branch and yanking her to a halt, then tugs the thing free and finishes her approach. She jabs her glaive in the underbrush to hold it upright and begins prodding at the decapus with her cane, scowling.

"These things shouldn't be here," she says flatly. "Not just that they're unnatural and should probably not exist in the first place. They're not native to the forest, or the surface world in its entirety; they normally live in deep caverns and tunnels far beneath the earth, in dark forgotten places below." She spares a glance over at the bisected worm, then shakes her head with a frown. "I have a feeling either they're connected to whatever started this whole mess, or the blight that's struck this forest and its people has attracted them to the surface. Either conclusion means we're likely to encounter more things like this."

Her examination complete, she gives Jerry, the only injured member of the party, a quick lookover to see how much - if any - medicinal aid the bite wound might need.

Heal 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Good thing I was able to blow it up before it did any harm," Sylvia claims, poking the dead decapus with a stick, "I wonder if I could sell this specimen to the university. It is rather a mess, though."

Male Dwarf Gunslinger 4

"Erm, can anyone explain what in the blazes we just fought?!" Krosh allows the shock of the weirdest creatures he's ever seen, or heard of for that matter, to hit him now that the adrenaline has worn off.

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Male Human Rogue 4 (HP 23)

"Clearly it is some kind of purple octopotamus." Rhodes says, clearly not in the know.

46/46, AC 11

"A cephalopod? I'd say they were more like serpents or some sort - or creepers what." he moves his wrist and the impaled creature hits the earth with a thump and a small ring of dry dust.

"Good thinking, that 'Trina." he points with his finger; "Purifying agents like salt & wine could cleanse the land of these abominations. Although whether they are the cause or a symptom..." he mulls over what's happened.

Guiding Luce back to the others with his thighs, he looks to the dwarf. "Good shot, that's quite the weapon." Then nods to others; "Quite the smooth tourney, hope that isn't all the sport we get today." he says with over-confidence, before realising that they need to pick back up the tracks.

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"This one is called a Decapus," Trina begins, nodding to Smitty as she nudges the thing just dropped off Jerry's lance with her cane. "It's an aberrant creature, native to the deep earth as I stated before, with an innate penchant for illusions and deceit. It was probably the source of that voice we heard - likely something similar to a ventriloquism spell."

She steps over, picking up her glaive on the way, to the slaughtered slug. "This is a gutslug. Also an aberrant, also a resident of underworld caverns. It's like a leech, just bigger and not aquatic, hence why it latched on to Jeremiah like it did. I imagine the two have a symbiotic relationship of sorts in their home territory - the Decapus luring prey close with its illusions, and the gutslug hiding in undergrowth or fungus or rocks to spring the attack when someone comes to investigate like we did."

She brushes her hair and tendrils down with a frustrated sigh then nods to the cavalier. "Salting the corpses wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm just worried it'll harm the forest - further - as well. I know salting ground is a great way to harm plantlife, and I don't want to do the forest any further injury than necessary." She looks about for the elven druid, hoping for a second opinion from who she hopes is an expert on the subject.

46/46, AC 11

"I take it the gutslug doesn't lay eggs in the wounds? Or poison?" Jerry adds flippantly with a casual wave of his hand and smile to his lips for the informed maiden.

"I think the ground here will take many years to recover no matter what." Underneath the feline pads the pale ground crumbles slightly.

With a slap of his thigh the noble man exclaims: "By jingo, I think you've cracked it. Underground caves! Forest caves! Would have access to water sources to spread their vileness and be hidden from the cleansing sun."

Male Dwarf Gunslinger 4

"Thanks, Jerry. I've not had a chance to use Bessy in a live-fire excercise before, but she did quite well," Smitty beams with a small amount of pride.

"Ach, I don't mind going underground, but you imagine we'll be seeing more of these creepy, crawly things? We acquitted ourselves well against these critters, and I know we can't leave the area to the 'mercies' of more of them..." Krosh trails off and shakes his head.

46/46, AC 11

"Bessy? That's a fine name for a rifle..." he rasps his chin; "I had an Aunt Bessie, but she was more of a battleaxe."

"Luce he prefers the sky, but if we have to go underground...." he shrugs acquiescing to fate, knowing he'll come up aces.

Jerry, the stat block says blood drain, then references Con drain. But in the universal monster rules, blood drain is Con DAMAGE. In this case, I am going with the universal monster rules (damage, not drain) since drain would be overpowered at this CR. I suspect it was a misprint.

Trina's Heal check can identify the Con damage. It will take time to recover, or else a bit of restoration.

Any further investigations before you proceed?

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"All these theories are very fine, but we need data. Data! We cannot build a house without bricks. Now stand still and don't mess up the area before we're done looking around." Sylvia proceeds to closely examine the creatures and the area in which the attack took place, particularly where they were first seen.

Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19

46/46, AC 11

Raising an eyebrow at the presumptive alchemist; "The Helios tribe use wattle and daub to build their huts, fine structures to keep out the mid-day sun." He looks around to find the path and if there is any sign of the constables tracks, not bothering with the disgusting creatures.

Survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

However he does wad up a hankie and wedge it against his trapeziums to stem the blood flow, before cleaning the bloody pommel of his saddle.

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Bricks, sticks, they all rhyme," Sylvia mutters shortly, "You're dripping blood all over the scene. Can't somebody fix that?"

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"No venom nor eggs," Trina announces after giving Jeremiah's wound a more thorough examination. "Just a bit of blood loss. You should be fine to keep traveling, I think, and your body will mend itself in time; I don't have the spells necessary to undo the damage immediately, alas. I can mix up something for you to drink that will hasten the healing process, either when we choose to make camp or when we return to the manor, whichever comes first. In the meantime, let me know if you start feeling weak or dizzy."

"The wound itself is minor, other than the lost blood," she decides after a few moments. "If you want me to mend it, though, I can do that while we wait on her examination." Her tail still holds the healing wand she'd withdrawn before the battle.

46/46, AC 11

"I'm touched by your concern." he flashes a subconscious smile that had been know to melt many a maidens' heart, although he's not worried by Sylvia's lack of reaction.

Well officially he's 3 points' down.

"Only in your presence doth my knees weaken." the words slip charmingly from his lips as Trina examines him. "Don't have to use your magics to help me. A hearty meal and a nice wine, then I'll be ticketty-boo."

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

She doesn't know how to respond to Jeremiah's comments - being flattered is fairly alien to her, even still - and so instead she opens up her chirurgeon's bag and withdraws a bottle of brandy, having almost forgotten she had it when asking for alcohol earlier. "Well, I have this... though I should probably apply some of it to those things first," she says, though she still waits for Caladriel's input before putting anything further in the ground in this wretched place, and does her best to stay out of Sylvia's way while she examines the scene.

Male Human Rogue 4 (HP 23)

Rhodes tries not to let his eye twitch at Jeremiah saying anything like that to Trina.

46/46, AC 11

'Hope I didn't lay it on too thick, but Trina is a nice girl that deserves some more confidence.' he thinks patting Luce's neck robustly.

"So does anyone conjure big flashy spells? Just in case we need them." Jerry wonders.

Looking about, the scene is much as Trina intuited it. It appears the gutslug was laying in stealth to ambush prey, and the decapus most likely drew prey to it with its powers. You find the devoured, rotting remains of a wayward sheep, evidently a previous bit of prey. No human remains, though.

The tracks of the constable actually continue up the path. It appears he did not stop here.

46/46, AC 11

"Up this way.... the constables path hesitated not. He pushed forward further into the forest." he looks up at the heavy canopy. "Best move lest we be caught in the woods come dark." He readies to spur Luce forward, taking the reigns behind his shield.

Male Dwarf Gunslinger 4

"Sounds good to me, lad! I don't want to be caught out with any more of these creatures, if I can help it." Krosh trundles behind Jerry and his mount.

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"The constable must have come through before these creatures arrived. They had mutton instead," Sylvia points out before joining the procession, "I can't wait to see what new creatures have taken up residence since then. Really, I don't see much hope for the constable."

46/46, AC 11

"Mutton?" Jerry says softly, not wanting to know exactly how Sylvia knows that.

"Have faith, with some fortune he may still live. Perhaps he's found answers to our questions." he adds optimistically, trotting after the tracks.

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Seeing the group departing and no sign yet of Caladriel, Trina pours a bit of the brandy over each of the corpses then stoppers the bottle and returns it to the satchel, then packs back up, retrieves her glaive and cane, and resumes following behind the others.

Cheetah AC 20, Perception: +13, Speed 50

Caladrel watches as his friends easily dispatch the two strange creatures. When he sees them begin to move, he swoops down to let them know that he is well and then climbs back to 50 feet to continue the search.

As he flies, he thinks to himself, What strange sounds and effects those weapons made that the dwarf and elf used. They seem quite unnatural. He then shakes his head to remind himself of the task at hand and resumes his search.

Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30

46/46, AC 11

Instinctively Jerry ducks out of the way of the swooping eagle, a smile slips to his lips. 'Ahhh untameable creatures, so challenging to try and co-exist but so rewarding. To not bend them to your will but empathise and understand them.' he thinks.

"Hope that wasn't best brandy?" he quips to Trina looking to the rear-guard.

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

She shakes her head with a slight smile. "No, fairly inexpensive stuff, more for medicinal use than actual drinking. Something to take the bite off say lancing a boil or amputating a mangled limb."

46/46, AC 11

"Hope none of those diseases are catching." he responds wryly. His eyes dart from tree to tree trying to spot the next threat, whilst under him the lioness plod forward nervously. The strange forest putting her ill at ease.

The party continues to follow the tracks along the forest trail. All the while the tangled branches of the forest seem to reach out, as if beckoning you into the darkness. The forest is eerily still, however - devoid of small animals or any other healthy life.

Survival DC 20:
The tracks are becoming somewhat ragged, as if the constable was quickly becoming less sure-footed. At length, it breaks into something of a loping run.

Perception DC 24 (those on the ground only):
In the distance, through the branches, you see a large shape. There is some type of structure.

Looking down from above, you make out a cottage in the woods, its roof heavily obscured by dead leaves. The trail the PCs are on is headed right toward it.

46/46, AC 11

Padding softly through the forest Jerry keeps his eyes out, trying to follow the path of the constable.

Jerry Survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Luce Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Jerry Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Luce Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

Cheetah AC 20, Perception: +13, Speed 50

Caladrel flies ahead of the group to take a closer look at the cottage. He flies within 30 feet of the cottage and looks for signs of life. Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24

"Look there... and there... he began to run. He looked none too steady on his feet by that time." Sylvia points out the places where the constable's tracks become uncertain and where he begins to run. "Note how the length of the stride and the pressure of his toes and heels change. He's running, or at least trotting. Not frantic, though. Not yet."

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

Survival 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24

"And there," Trina announces, pointing through the brush with her cane. "Up ahead, along the path of the tracks. There's something there - a building of some sort. Maybe that's where he was headed."

You see a middle-aged man carrying some rotted firewood into the cottage door. There is a sound from another person in the cottage, moaning, or perhaps even growling. The man carrying the firewood does not look unusual in any way.

When Trina points it out, you can indeed make out the glimpse of some small structure in the distance, although with so much forest in the way, you cannot make out much.

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

With a tilt of her head, Sylvia pauses and surveys what she can see of the structure, then laughs shortly and shakes her head. "The tracks lead in that direction, and this is why we came here. Not sure why I'm waiting." She pulls her leather coat tighter and takes a flask from her bandolier, holding onto it... just in case.

"Shall we go see what this building is?" she queries, without moving forward.

46/46, AC 11

"A building?! Does one of our more discrete companions want to sneak up there and scout it out?" he asks quietly, looking around the group and knowing his own strengths. "Perhaps we get to within a quarter of a mile, or maybe a hint more - then scout? Maybe Caladrel." he looks up to the sky.

Cheetah AC 20, Perception: +13, Speed 50

Caladrel flies back to the rest of the group. He lands near them and begins the transformation back to his elven form.

M Elf Druid 4 {AC 19, T 13, FF 17, HP 28/28}

Back in his native form, he tells the group what he has seen.

"There is a cottage up ahead. I saw a middle - age man carrying firewood back to the house. Also, I could hear moaning or some other sound coming from inside. Maybe it's our missing constable. I did not see anything else unusual."

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"Sounds good," Trina replies, gesturing to Sylvia and Jeremiah and nodding to Caladriel. "If those two things we fought earlier aren't the only ones of their kind haunting these woods, no doubt anyone who's managed to survive out here has run into one or two. We'd be best served by not spooking anyone who might be a potential ally or at least we can ask for information, so I'll wait in the woods a ways and keep an eye out. I'll stay close enough to hear a yell if trouble starts, or if you think someone inside needs medical assistance, magical or mundane."

She stays at the rear of the group when they resume movement, keeping her eyes and ears open for more approaching creatures or other hostilities and fighting to keep her tendrils and hair out of the trees as they pass beneath branches.

46/46, AC 11

"So we all go forth?" he queries, taking a step back as Caladrel manifests his elven form. In his stance to the druid there is clear respect for the old ways and ability of the priest.

"It could be Nathan, that Lord Wallingham told us about. A ranger and copser who lives in the woods." Jerry's thoughts run to the tracks that Sylvia saw. "If the constable ran here, all afeared, then maybe it's his moans that Caladrel heard - caught in the nightmares that plague the Smythes."

Female Tiefling (Motherless) Inquisitor [Sin Eater, Preacher] 4 [HP: 25/28] [AC: 16 | T: 11 | FF: 15]

"I'm not particularly picky about the specifics," Trina replies with a shrug. "If we think it's suspicious we can wait while one person has a look then comes back; if you're correct and it's just the old ranger's home then we can approach as a whole to ask for information or whatever is deemed best. Or we can all - well, mostly all - head up immediately."

F Elf Alchemist 4 {Init +3; Perception +8 (llv); HP 25/35}

"Obviously, our diplomat should go. That's me, of course. Be right back." She hesitates a second as she looks to the lion-mounted nobleman. "And good thought about that ranger. Maybe nobles aren't a complete waste of space."

Sylvia keeps hold of her proto-bomb and begins picking her path through the underbrush towards the building.

46/46, AC 11

Jerry looks worriedly to the others, an unaccustommed expression on his face.

"Should someone accompany her?" he asks with some concern.

Luce pads the ground softly, eyeing the bark of a tree.

M Elf Druid 4 {AC 19, T 13, FF 17, HP 28/28}

"I will," answers Caladrel to Jerry's query.

Caladrel moves quickly to catch Sylvia, unimpeded by the undergrowth. When he catches up to her he says, "This forest is not safe for any of us to go alone. Let me accompany you."

As they approach the cottage, Caladrel keeps a careful eye out for trouble of any kind.

Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29

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