Clever use of positioning!
GM?: 1d20 ⇒ 18
Grasping vines spring out of the beanstalk, writhing and reaching. The crow is instantly enmeshed in the clinging tendrils, entangled to the still growing beanstalk.
Crow Str. Check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
The bird thrashes against the new restraints but fails to break free. It is entangled by Bo's grasping vines.
It is DC 12 Climb to get up to the Crow
Thanks! And thanks for letting me get away with it...:)
climb: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11 So close.
With the bird now relatively harmless, Bo struggled to get herself up even with it, so she could finish it off before it broke free. But she nearly lost her grip again, and ended up clutching the still-growing vine with both hands, trying not to die.
Hoping her clawed companion would have more luck, she shouted, "Pearl! Attack the bird!"
Huh, you'd think a Big Cat would have a climb speed
Pearl Climb: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Pearl fails as well and the bird struggles to get free.
Crow Str.: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Bo Climb: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
On the second time Bo gets a good handhold and manages to climb up the growing beanstalk and get near the struggling but still entangled bird.
Pearl: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Pearl fails to join her, obviously thrown off by the strange circumstance they are in.
Holding so tightly her muscles were aching, Bo got within striking distance of the bird. Her angle was awkward, and she desperately hoped she'd be able to finish the not-crow before it escaped its bonds.
attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Hope that's enough with it entangled. And yes, Pearl should totally have a climb speed! I'm shocked!
Its does, but barely
As for Pearl, I studied my own cats for a few hours yesterday and I am ret-conning in a climb speed for her. Ridiculous she doesn't.
Bo slashes at the entrapped bird, cutting the flesh. No blood comes forth and apparently no pain for the creature.
Seeing Bo's success, Pearl recovers her poise, and claws down the plant toward the bird
Pearl Claw: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Pearl Claw: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Crow Str.: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
To save time
The bird is unable to escape, despite wriggling desperately. Bo and Pearl continue to attack it until it is a ragged ball of feathers and bone. Even then is squawks feebly, damaged long past the point of survival. Bo eyes it, wondering how to finally destroy it.
Then, with a burst of black feathers, the creature explodes into dozens of normal sized ravens. The swirling swarm of birds rushes at Bo, cawing loudly.
Damage: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 2) = 4
After they rake her back with stabbing beaks and ragged claws, they fly off into the bright blue sky, diving and swooping.
The orcish curse explodes from Bo much as the ravens did from the strange corpse. So shocked is she, that Bo nearly tumbles from the vine, to what surely would be her death.
But she managest o cling to the ever-climbing vegetation, and watches in wonder as the unkindness of ravens wheels off into the sky.
Assuming they're not coming back to attack? That was crazy!
Pearl likewise had roared in surprise; the sounds was halfway between a cat's roar and a woman's scream. Bo wasn't close enough to physically reassure the big cat, and wouldn't have dared free up an arm to do so, but she said, "You have saved me yet again, my friend!"
She looked up to the sky, wondering when this crazy ride would be over.
Crazy in a good way?
As Pearl growls in affection, Bo glances up. They are quickly rising into the second ceiling of white cloud. This time the half-orc knows what to expect and braces herself for the chilly mist.
For a few moments she is once again trapped in that world of swirling mist, blocking all sight. Even Pearl, a few feet away is totally obscured. The green beanstalk vanishes out of sight just beyond her reach.
Then the plant punches through the cloud, and Bo is dazzled into blindness. Squinting, Bo looks around her. Above, unblocked by any clouds, the Sun blazes fiercely. The harsh rays are reflected by miles of white clouds that surround her. Gradually she realizes it is not a featureless plain however, but a landscape.
She spots trees, small hills, piles of stones and even grass, all formed out of the fluffy white stuff. It isn't a mirror of the jungle below, this is a place of open meadows and rolling hills, complete with small walking paths. It is like a fantasy-land woven out of candy sugar, stretching in all directions, undulating with a gentle motion that reminds Bo of seaweed under water. In the distance she sees something that looks like a large building, maybe a castle?
Then the druid realizes the beanstalk has stopped growing. The green plant, which must be hundreds (thousands?) of feet tall by now, stands innocently still, gently waving in a wind Bo does not feel.
Is there a bad kind of crazy?
Bo remembers what happened to the last vine. She does NOT want to fall when the beanstalk dies. However, she doesn't really want to jump down onto the cloud - which she just passed through with little resistance. Which left one option.
"Come on, Pearl," she says, and climbs down the vine to the surface of the cloudscape, where she steps gingerly onto the surface, testing it carefully before trusting her full weight to it.
Oh so carefully Bo stretches out a foot and rests it on the cloud. It is spongy under her weight, but definitely solid. It is like walking on wet sand or maybe more like very thick wool? Or maybe there is nothing quite like walking on a cloud.
Under her fingers, she can feel the beanstalk shrinking, as if it is drying out. Glancing at it, she can see spots of brown spreading across the smooth, green surface.
Trusting to fate, she and Pearl step completely onto the cloud. She sinks a bit under her weight, but otherwise stands perfectly upright. Pearl sniffs this weird ground, obviously very confused. Her snorts swirl the thick white substance, dancing around her head.
Bo watches as the beanstalk withers visibly, drying with an audible crinkling noise. Then, slowly, it tips and then falls like a tree in the forest, vanishing into the mist without a sound. Bo and Pearl are quite alone and quite stranded in this strange world.
The half-orc is just coming to terms with this when she sees a dark shape moving among the swirling ground.
It looks like a feathered snake, crossed with a fish, diving in and out of sight, cutting through the cloud as if it merely were just a bank of fog. She can see a head covered in bright red feathers dipping in and out of the surface, like a fish in a lake.The creature travels fast and heads right toward Bo, and might even knock directly into them if she doesn't move.
The long sinuous shape barrels toward her, swooping in and out of the cloud. It is nearly on top of her when it suddenly swerves out of the way, taking a deep dive off to the side. Bo notices, with some alarm,t he thing is a good deal bigger then she first thought, about 8 feet long, with long powerful muscles.
There is a long pause then it erupts near Bo, feathers gleaming with mist. Instead of the same swimming style it pauses, mid-air, half in cloud, half not. It reminds her of the Snake she spoke to in the jungle, eye to eye with her.
"Hello, stranger." The creature says, the voice musical, like that of a flute. Bo notes it speaks...Druidic, just like the Wardens below. 'Why are you on the bottom of this cloud?" It leans forward, excitedly "Is this some new migration for your kind?"
Every time Bo thought she'd seen the strangest thing, it turned out to be only half as strange as the next thing she saw. She stared for a moment at the creature, not sure what was more surprising: that it existed at all, that it spoke her secret language, or that it thought she was on the bottom of the cloud.
Her good manners winning through as usual, she bowed slightly to the creature, and said, "Greetings to you. I am Bo, and this is my companion, Pearl. It feels like this it the top of the cloud to me. Do you see it otherwise?"
The feathered eel like creature considers Bo, head titled, "Of course this is the bottom. Why else would you be standing upside down?"
It looms closer, and Bo can see many large teeth in that long jaw, "You didn't answer our question. Your kind is not common here. Is this a secret migration, perhaps?'
Bo shook her head. "No, no secret migration. Or non-secret migration. I doubt many of my kind knew about this realm, and they would feel uncomfortable here if they did know. Indeed, I feel uncomfortable here. I am only here for a short while, then I shall be returning to the ground." She looked around, then frowned. "Assuming I can figure out how to get down again." Without splatting myself on the ground she silently added.
"May I ask, what is your kind called? I have never seen one such as you. You are quite magnificent. Are there others like you?"
The creature looks disappointed at Bo's answer, 'Ah."
It tilts its large head in display, ruffling the feathers as it says, "We are an xocothian, and we travel the seas and skies, going as wind and wave take us. We study the weather and migrations. Since you say are not migrating, and you are certainly not weather..." It turns as if to dive back into the cloud.
Deciding that the xocothian was unlikely to be an agent of the giant, Bo decided to risk asking for help. "Please, wait a moment. I am here on a quest, to try and find the young that have been stolen from below. Do you know where I can find the giant, or where he might be keeping the children?"
I should have stopped at a mercantile before coming to this jungle...everybody wants to trade! Mentally assessing her worth, yet again, she offered, "I have little enough, but I could offer a silver mirror, a very reliable compass, a tin whistle, or a handful of very healthsome berries."
"What about a story?!" Bo scrambled for something that the creature might value before it vanished in the clouds. "About an incredible migration, one that only happens every nine years?" Bo wasn't sure what she was going to say until she was saying it, but she knew as she spoke that it was the truth. Some hidden memory was surfacing, but she didn't have time to examine it. "Would you hear the story?"
Bo sat herself down on a pillowy hump of cloud, and began her story. "Far off, near to my homeland," where ever that is, "there is a large, salt sea. It is an inland sea, cut off from the ocean. Many freshwater rivers feed the sea, but for some reason it stays salty, I don't know why.
"In the sea lives the Black Eel. They are not very big, only about so," Bo held her hands up a few feet apart, "and very thin. They have glistening black scales, and sharp teeth. My people consider them a delicacy." Bo had no memory of her people, or her home, and yet this story was coming out of her mouth as if it were true. She chose to believe that it was.
"Here is the mystery. We could only catch eels in the sea for nine years at a time. Then they would vanish for nine years. Then they would be back. For generations we thought this was simply their life cycle. Perhaps they spent nine years as eggs, or small fry, and then spent nine years as adults. All we knew was that we caught them easily in nets for nine years, and then went nine years without.
"It was within my lifetime that we learned the truth. We began to trade with tribes farther up one of the rivers than we'd been before." Here Bo paused, unsure if this was true. Were they trading with them, or warring? Not important to the story. She was getting caught up in the telling, and didn't mind want to ruin the flow of it. "This tribe caught something they called "river slugs". They were about this long," she held up her hands the same distance apart, "and were covered with a thick, green, slimy mucous. When you scraped off the slime, they had a thin grey skin, with no scales.
"But guess what? When you roasted the flesh, it tasted exactly the same or our beloved eel. And this tribe complained that the slugs were only in the river for nine years at a time, then absent for nine years! After that, it didn't take long to witness the migration itself. Every nine years, the entire population gathers at the mouth of the river. The spend a month or so where the fresh water mixes with the salt, and they undergo a complete change to their body. Then, they either swim out to the sea and disperse, or nine years later, up the river. Nobody knows why they make this migration and body change, or even really how long they live. But that's the story of the Black Eel, which is also called River Slug."
The xocathian hangs on every word, obviously enthralled. When Bo finishes it says, excitedly, "Oh my, how marvelous! Your people were very clever, to put a strange slug like animal together with the eels they knew. Very clever indeed. Most humans ignore such things."
"That was a very good tale, a very good one. It is one I will remember and share with others, very much so." The creature seems very pleased with itself, as if she had bribed him with piles of gold and jewels.
Obviously stated the being asks, "So what can I tell you in return, for such a interesting tale?"
Bo couldn't help smiling at the xocathian's obvious pleasure. She only hoped the tale she had told was true.
"I would know of the giant," she said. "As much as you can tell me. Especially why it takes the young of creatures down below, and where he keeps them."
The creature ruffles a few feathers, saying, "I am not an expert on the subject, I merely travel often in these lands. The weather is quite exotic in this region."
'The giant is of the Cloud Giant variety, as far as I understand. Very old and quite cruel. He has built up a small community of servants and lackeys based in that castle, who keep guard for him. Air elementals and the like. If you plan to approach and get inside, you will h ave to be very clever or very stealthy. or both."
'As for your second question, that is simple enough. He eats them. I'd imagine he stores them in the kitchens?"
Feel free to ask more. The xocathan is not a tactical thinker.
Bo frowned. She was not surprised by what the xocathan had to say - deep down she had suspected it.
"Do you know if the giant spends most of his time in the castle? Or are there times when he is out? Does he sleep at night? How does he get the children - are they brought to him, or does he collect them?"
The xocathan ponders this for a moment, looking pensive. "I believe most as brought as tribute. His wrath is terrible and he has been known to destroy large parts of the jungle when displeased. few are willing to oppose him, at least openly."
"He spends much of his time in the castle yes, on the upper floors. I think, actually, he is quite the astronomer and scientist." the feather snake sniffs, as if dismissing the academic achievements of a giant. 'He sleeps through much of the day, for stargazing. It would be best to sneak in then, contrary to common belief."
Bo grunted a laugh. "Well, yes, that is high on my list of priorities. Not getting skinned, stomped, or devoured is on my to-do list. But it seems that, while rescuing one egg is a good cause, preventing the giant from doing so much harm to so many is a better cause. Though, one perhaps beyond my abilities."
Bo thought a moment, then asked, "Do you know anything about the strange beanstalks that grow so quickly from the jungle floor? How often they come, or why they die so quickly?" Bo regretted not asking the larvalady more when he had the chance.
The half-orc considered her options. "Do you ever speak to any of his guards? Or have you spoken with the giant himself?"
The xocathan shakes its head at the questions about the beanstalks. 'I know little of growing things, or plants. However, they are not uncommon in this part of the clouds. In fact.." he gestures with his long head, as a green plant explodes with a puff of cloud, revealing the top of another plant erupting nearby.
"The castle is not a welcoming place. You think a cloud giant would speak to the likes of me or I it? Hardly." But then the creature pauses, and consider, 'However, air elementals are often the best to speak of about weather patterns. In a way they are weather, you understand. I have spoken to some of the guards there yes, of rain and wind and sleet. Nothing that would be of use to you, I'm afraid."
"And the elementals don't attack you? Even though they are guards? Do they not see you as a threat? Or do you only speak to them when they are not near the castle? Do you think you could get any to speak to me? Or something I could say to get them to be friendly to me?"
The xocathan shakes it's head, muttering, 'SO many questions."
Louder it says, "I enjoyed your story but there is a limit to my patience. I did not plan to spend all day here talking to you. There is supposed to be a hailstorm a few miles away with the most fascinating formations..."
"Why would they attack me? I am a humble traveler and kept my inquires brief and to the point. Most air elementals have a passing interest in the weather, as you'd imagine. I spoke to some of them while they were on duty yes, but I doubt you could do so as easily. Your kind does not have the same sterling reputation as the xocanthans do, I'm afraid."
Sensing that she had little more to learn from the xocathan, Bo inclined her body towards it in a small bow. "My thanks for your patience and your help. Enjoy your hailstorm."
What time of day is it? Still before noon? I'm not sure how long I was playing dominoes with the caterpillar.
Time is kinda weird here. As far as you can tell, the sun is at midday the entire time you have been here.
The feathered serpent nods back, arcing its long, sinuous back. "I wish you luck on your mission. Be careful and man you enjoy many sunsets in your future, Bo from the bottom of the cloud."
With a swoop that makes Pearl yelp, it dives back into the cloudy ground,s ending up swirls of fluffy white matter.
Here, as in up here in the clouds? Or here as in this part of the jungle? Also,
is Shriek going to be able to find us up here?
Bo watched to see if the xocathan would surface again, but it seemed to be gone entirely. "Well, that was interesting." She looked up, but it was very difficult to tell how much time was passing. The sun seemed to be straight overhead. Again? Still? "If that giant is nocturnal, we might as well get closer now, and see what we can see."
Bo and Pearl began picking their way carefully across the clouds, towards the castle, keeping an eye out for an other beings along the way.
Both really, but more here above the clouds
Bo begins moving into a forest made of clouds, each trunk a pillar of cloud, arching branches of gossamer. Shimmering leaves of vapor dance above her head as they make their way toward the frowning forbidding castle int he distance.
As they cross an empty meadow of cloud boulders, Bo hears a cry above. She turns and spots Shriek, circling above her. The hawk seems quite at ease here, bright eyes flashing over the landscape. Bo has a feeling this is more to his taste then the icy maze of yesterday. Had that only been yesterday?
Bo smiled at relief as Shriek swooped by overhead. She had worried that the bird might not be able to fly so high - certainly this was much higher than she'd ever seen him fly before. However, there was certainly something strange about the place. At this altitude it should have been freezing cold, but she was quite comfortable. Magic, she decided, and left it at that.
Keeping a keen eye out for any other animals, she continued to lead them through the strangely beautiful forest, and towards the castle.
Bo sees no other animals as she treks through the forest. She spots one or two fey however, flitting among the branches of the ethereal woods. None talk to her or answer her calls. If she tries to speak, they vanish into mist and clouds. Still, they don't seem likely agents of the cloud giant.
As she walks the castle looms larger, and Bo realizes she underestimated the size. It is a looming mountain of piled cloud, heaped upon itself. It has a grayer cast then the pure white around here, like that of a storm-cloud full of rain.
Bo Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14
From her vantage, Bo can see the towering walls. At the front is a massive gate, like a vast mouth. It is open, although she sees a few air elementals hovering there, swirling bits of wind. There appears to be a few smaller doors as well but they appear to be closed. She can see little else from this distance.
Getting closer will require some sneaking or being spotted
Bo stared at the castle for a long time, trying to understand the scale and structure of it. The looming, stormy structure was quite the opposite of the airy, ethereal forest she'd been walking in. It filled her with a deep foreboding.
Her instinct was to wait until the cover of dark, but she didn't want to wait too long and risk the Swan's egg being eaten. Hunkering down low in the cloud, she tried to creep forward to get a better look.
stealth: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
I apologize in advance for me missing any posts due to the lack of forum navigation. They changed about some settings and it makes it tougher to see who posted last.
?: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Instantly, as Bo steps from the woods, a small swirling shape darts from the castle gates. While small, the cloud-like creature has dark hollows reminiscent of eyes and a mouth, and a howling wind whips it into ominous shapes.
It flies right up to Bo and barks an order, 'Hey, who are you?"
So much for stealth
Han Solo: [flustered] Uh, had a slight weapons malfunction. But, uh, everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?
The flyign creature peers at her, "I am a guard of this castle." It sounds very proud of this fact and even spins a bit in midair.
Then it settles down and turns what passes for a 'face' to Bo, 'And why are you here? And what are you?"
Nice! Just call me Bo Solo!
"Wow! Really? You guard that castle? That must be a really important job. How do you get a job like that? I bet I'd be really good at guarding a castle too."
Shriek circled around her, then swooped down to land on the specially padded shoulder of her jacket. "This is Shriek, and this is Pearl. I'm an orc. Do you think I could get a job with you?"
Please roll Diplomacy. It doesn't make or break things but it'll provide some context.
The elemental does its best to frown, but with a face made of swirling wind, it is hard to tell. "I don't think so. Everyone else is an elemental, no orcs."
He drifts closer, peering, "What is an orc and why are you here?" The animals doesn't seem to interest him much. Maybe he has seen some of those in the jungle below?
Diplomacy? Really? Love those rolls with a negative right off the bat....
diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16 Phew!
"What is an orc? I don't know, just me, I guess. I'm a person. Orcs look like me, green skin, tusks, that kind of thing. As for why I'm here - just exploring. I've never been up to the clouds before. It's amazing. Do you live up here all the time?"
The small air elemental reminds Bo of a precocious child, excitable and curious.
"Yeah, we live here, at the castle. Sometimes it gets boring, just watching for people who want to cause trouble. But it is important work! The castle is real important." The elemental says bobbing in a self-made slipstream. "I don't think orcs can be guards though. Everyone else is an elemental, like me."
The air elemental says, 'Oh yeah! It is really cool inside! All sorts of big rooms, jails, weapons.." Then he stops and hovers back down to eye level, "But no. They don't let people in, not really. The ones in charge are always talking about that. It is really important we keep people away."
The little creature flutters near Pearl who growls and lays her ears back.