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"Something I hadn't even considered one we are the rightful rulers of this land is poachers and trappers. The land is rich, but that can quickly decline if human civilization is any indicator. I can't imagine we'll attract those that are better at living in harmony with nature especially given the nature of this place having swallowed fledgling cities in the past. But even more so poachers on our lands is going to be a lot of work to deal with. Do you know of any effective ways to help prevent poaching?"
Valerie considers the problem at hand. "We would need organize patrols and surveillance in the lands we control. We could hire a group of rangers or a network of scouts to report poaching activity. If there are many fey or other magical creatures about, we could enlist their help to protect their home from poachers as well.
"We could also educate the public about the importance of preserving the forest and maintaining a healthy balance with the environment. Failing that, we could impose harsh penalties to deter would-be poachers. Imprisonment, fines, banishment... It would be tricky to ensure that we don't come across as too draconian, but it could be an effective strategy."
She turns to regard Russ'ruk. "I am glad that you are already planning ahead for when we are able to settle our kingdom. Such forward-thinking is the sign of a good ruler."
You have gained 1 Influence Point with Valerie.
A long story about a fiery bear...
Linzi hangs on Blaze's every word as the ifrit tells the tale. The halfling scribbles furiously in her notebook, trying to capture the essence of the story. When she finishes, she shows Blaze the portrait she has sketched of the bear.
"Such an enthralling tale! I love it!" Linzi says with a chuckle. "And now it has been immortalized in my journals. Thanks for delighting my artistic senses, Blaze.
"You know, you're really quite something! A hero's hero! I hope you'll accept a little token of my appreciation."
Linzi offers Blaze two talismans--a jade cat and an onyx panther.
You have reached maximum Influence with Linzi!
The next day, you continue to explore the woods to the east. As you explore this region of the woods, you notice a pair of small nests in the branches of a fir tree, about 40 feet above the ground. You think you hear the sounds of faint whispers and giggles, but the source is not apparent.
Knaxshi will try to climb up a different tree to get a view into the nest.
athletics: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
After realizing that the bark is peeling on this one, he'll find another tree.
athletics: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
As Knaxshi climbs up trees, Vesi cranes their neck to look up at the nests. "What kind of creature makes nests, but also whispers and giggles? Not a bird, that's for sure. Perhaps local kids raiding those nests..."
Raising their voice a little, the druid calls out.
"Hello? Anyone up there? If you are, please be careful! Falling from such height would be no joke!"
Knaxshi doesn't notice any creatures nearby.
In response to Vesi's call, the air suddenly fills with a loud, strange noise. It sounds like a cross between a bird squawking and a boar grunting. At the same time, a trio of glowing lights appear in the air. They swirl about in a bizarre pattern for a few moments before abruptly vanishing at the same time that the noise stops!
Russ'Ruk, growls low. "I don't see anything, but I doubt it's children Vesi."
With the flash of lights and then vanishing act Russ relaxes. "Magical tricks? What do you see Knaxshi?"
Sitting down heavily on the moss at the base of a tree, Vesi pulls out some snacks from their satchel, holding them out.
"We are simply exploring this area, we mean no-one harm. Would you like to share some food with us?"
The undine repeats the words in Sylvan, as that is the only other language they know (and can reveal), nodding at the others to translate to any languages they speak.
Diplomacy to make an impression: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
"W-what? That... that wasn't me!" The undine's cheeks (the ones on their face) turn purple as the druid stumbles to their feet, blushing furiously.
"I swear, that wasn't me." Vesi turns around several times, looking for the hidden pranksters. "Alright, that was pretty funny, but won't you come out and talk to us?"
Russ'ruk can't help but snicker at the distress of their companion just a little.
"Alright little tricksters come out and stop hiding. We've had a good laugh, at poor Vesi's expense. And we just want to learn the inhabitants of the woods while we look for our other friends, so maybe making some new friends could help us too? Maybe not end in a fate like that poacher before because he took too much from the land?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
There is a pause, then the air as a tiny dragon appears! He has blue and yellow scales and colorful butterfly wings, and he looks up at Russ'ruk with wide eyes.
"You saw him, did you? Yes, he was a mean biggins. I'm not proud of what I did, but it had to be done. He was very bad! Hurting the animals, hurting the forest."
The dragon shakes his head as if to banish the dark thoughts. "But maybe you aren't mean like him! We are scale-cousins after all! My name is Perlivash! What's yours?"
Russ'Ruk is honestly a bit surprised by the one responsible for everything being a tiny Dragon creature.
"Ah that was your doing then, you can call me Russ. It's a pleasure to meet you Perlivash. We may be the rulers over these lands soon if we're successful in our quest against the Stag Lord. If you live here then that means your opinions in the land will matter a great deal. Especially if you speak for the forest creatures. We won't want to take too much for our citizens after all."
He nods at the tiny thing "Scale-cousins for sure, is there anything you need assistance with now Perlivash? We might be in need of aid searching for friends of ours A dour Dwarf and a sickly looking Elf, but I'd be mistaken to ask for help without offering in return."
Blaze cackles at 'Vesi's' sudden flatulence, then cuts that off to give Russ and his new scale-cousin an appraising look when she finds out that Perly had done a murder. "Huh, who would've thought you had even better pranks than making Vee fart?"
Vesi stares at Blaze. "Killing someone is not a prank!" The undine then turns to the dragon, bowing in greeting. "Hello Perlivash, I am Vesi. I understand that you were upset with that man, but I think killing him was a-a bit much."
"Oh, yeah, I saw those two silly bigginses!" Perlivash says. "I tried to make them laugh with some pranks but they didn't have much of a sense of humor! They were muttering something about a gnome that had double-crossed them or something. I think they went back to some biggins outpost nearby."
The tiny dragon seems ashamed as Vesi chides him, but he perks up as Blaze praises his work. "Hee hee! Yes, you see! A play on words!"
"Oh, they must have gone to Oleg and Svetlana's place, then..." Vesi sighs in relief upon hearing that Harrim and Jaethal were alive. "Thank you, Perlivash, for the news." the druid cranes their neck up to look at the nests again. "Do you live up there? By yourself?"
Russ has remained silent through the exchange since he does have to agree that it's not a good prank. He wouldn't have killed the man, maybe scared him enough that he ran off but to kill is a bit much. Instead he takes a moment to look around while the others talk to his cousin.
"Not by myself. My good friend, Tyg, lives here, too! Oh, Tyg! You can come out! These bigginses are friendly!" Perlivash calls.
The air shimmers beside the dragon as another creature appears. This one is a cat-sized fey with the upper body of a waifish humanoid and the lower body of a cricket. She waves. "Hi! Tyg-Titter-Tut, pleased to meet you!"
"Howdy Ma'am. Pleasure is ours." he says. It's odd looking at the tiny creatures. He now has a little more understanding about how the larger races see his people. "We've been travelling around this area trying to meet the neighbors and make friends and stuff."
"What a great name! Pleasure to meet you, Tyg-Titter-Tut!!" exclaims Vesi, waving at the second fey. "Have you lived here long? Do you have other friends in the forest, or is it just the two of you? Like Knaxshi says, we're new here and looking to be on friendly terms with our future neighbours."
"Can't say i've seen any creature like you other than maybe grassjumpers. But a pleasure to meet you, we'll be leading these lands for the mortals soon. We can't control every one of their actions, but we'll do our best to work alongside you and other fey to make sure we're not too obtrusive to the natural order."
Russ doesn't seem to know what to say really given the situation. "Ah in attempting to forge good relations is there any way we could easily get in contact with you for such talks?"
A little later
"Well seems we could return to Oleg's now, but no reason to ruin a perfectly good session of mapping out the region now is there?"
Russ is good to continue on our plotted route through the forest, if anything to see any more weird stuff.
"Just come back here and leave out some more of these sweet treats! We'll be happy to chat again!" Tyg says, waving farewell.
"Bye bye, bigginses!" Perlivash says cheerfully.
Leaving the fey behind, you continue on your way to the southwest, making your way into the deepest parts of the forest. After exploring the region for the better part of the day, Vesi notices something interesting up ahead. Numerous thorny plants hide a clearing.
The thick tangle of brambles gives way to a large clearing in the woods, its border partially defined by ruined stone pillars. The western face of the clearing is dominated by a looming mass of rock, nearly 300 feet across and rising to a moss-topped height of 100 feet at the center. The side of the towering escarpment facing the clearing has been carved in the likeness of an immense elk, its antlers drooping down from its weathered face to frame a 50-foot-wide cave entrance. A flight of stone steps leads up to this entrance from the forest clearing—the steps and the elk face both seem quite old and are thickly encrusted with moss. A 50-foot-long oval pool in the middle of the clearing contains water thick with algae.
A handsome man in blue and white robes kneels before the pool in prayer. When he notices you, though, he gets to his feet and turns to you. The man has long, blonde hair and brilliant blue eyes, and he smiles warmly as he raises a holy symbol of Sarenrae. "Blessings of the Dawnflower upon you, travelers. My name is Tristian. This place has been cursed by a powerful magical affliction, and a great beast guards it. You seem like the capable sort. Perhaps we should pursue a joint venture? I'll hang back, support you with healing magic, and help determine what sort of magic is oppressing this place. In return, you can provide the muscle needed to deal with the dangerous guardian. Does that sound amenable?"
Vesi puts their hands up as the stranger speaks. "Wait, wait. You don't even know us! We could be bandits." The undine looks around, taking in the overgrown character of the place. "If a beast guards this place, it is likely no ordinary beast. How do you know this place is cursed? There may be other reasons for a guardian to defend this place, and I won't agree to anything until I know more."
Nature to Recall Knowledge: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Tristian quirks an eyebrow. "Well, are you bandits?" he asks. Assuming you reply in the negative, he nods. "Alright, then."
He gestures to the elk carving. "This place has all the markings of an ancient shrine to Erastil. But something happened, and now a malevolence lingers over it. Over the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned with the nature of magical afflictions—particularly curses. I can recognize the effects of a curse in this place. It likely has something to do with the nature of the beast that dwells here.
"I've only viewed it from a distance. It appears to be a bear, yet its flesh and fur have partially transformed into thick tangles of diseased vegetation and dragging roots. It also appears to be in significant pain. Perhaps by ending its torment, we may remove the curse, as well."
Blaze shrugs. "Banditry is kind of a state of mind, y'know? We're all bandits when we really need to be... But uh, we're not here to rob you. And I certainly don't mind banking some favor with Ol' Deadeye while we're out here frontiering." She grins wickedly as she starts planning.
"Oh. And just 'cause I have some, **cough** experience with bears and forest fires. You okay keeping some water magic at the ready True Blue? Dragging roots sound like they'd be even better for spreading fire than the fuzzbutt would normally manage."
"Of course, I'll be ready. Good call, Blaze." Vesi nods to the fiery woman. Normally I would not want to kill a creature of the forest, but if it is diseased then it is for the best to put it down before it spreads more of this corruption."
You prepare for battle, taking up positions around the clearing. As Russ'ruk approaches the cave entrance, a hulking beast rumbles forth! The creature itself appears bear-shaped, yet its flesh and fur have partially transformed into thick tangles of diseased vegetation and dragging roots. It lets out a bellowing roar!
Knaxshi: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Russ'ruk: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Vesi: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Cursed Guardian: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Vesi may act first!
"Oh Great Green Ones, that's an ugly bear." Vesi throws an acorn on the ground next to Russ'Ruk, and a sapling sprouts immediately, growing within seconds into a young tree.
Cast Protector Tree (AC 10, 10 HP) for Russ'Ruk, the tree will intercept the strikes that hit him and take the damage first.
Then the druid shouts at Knaxshi. "Shoot that spot under the ear!"
Cast Guidance on Knaxshi.
Vesi's tree grows just in time to intercept the beat's sudden rush! It roars as it swipes a claw, tearing the tree apart and grazing Russ'ruk, its claws grabbing a hold of the kobold!
Claw: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
Damage: 2d4 + 8 ⇒ (2, 3) + 8 = 13
3 damage to Russ'ruk after protector tree. He is Grabbed (Escape DC 22).
Blaze slowly fills her hands with fire, intending to give it time to appreciate its impending fiery doom, but as the beast charges she cuts short the pyrotechnic display in favor of a pyrotechnic assault!
Intimidate: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Produce Flame: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Fire: 1d4 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 4 + 1 = 8
escape: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
This is feeling familiar lmao having some flashbacks to a frozen race in another timeline... guess i'll try to defend myself the other way i know how. Point blank annihilation
KB(cold): 1d4 ⇒ 2
recharge: 1d4 ⇒ 3
Russ is grabbed by the bear as it slaps easily through the tree, failing to wiggle himself out of it's claws enough to free himself he resorts to trying to make the bear drop him by force. Using the last of the air in his lungs he exhales a blast of frosty air at the bear.
1 action to try and escape fail x.x 2 action kobold breath dc 17 reflex from the bear
Knaxshi feels the magic pour over him. He lines up the target perfectly.
And then the bird swoops past into the line of fire, exploding in a burst of feathers.
attack: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 10 + 1 = 13
Sighing, he reloads shoots again.
attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
And finally, he reloads again.
"No! Drop him! Drop him right now!" Speaking as if to a disobedient puppy, Vesi circles towards one side of the bear, unleashing a blast of powerful wind.
Cast Buffeting Wind, Reflex save to not be knocked back 5 feet (10 or critical failure). Also deals 2d4 ⇒ (3, 3) = 6 non-lethal damage.
Reflex vs Breath, Winds: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 191d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
Blaze scorches the twisted bear, and Knaxshi hits it with a bullet. It turns aside, barely harmed by Russ'ruk's breath, and it completely ignores Vesi's winds.
The cursed bear maintains its grip on Russ'ruk as it tears into him with its jaws.
Jaws: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 221d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Damage: 2d6 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (4, 2) + 8 + 2 = 16
16 piercing damage to Russ'ruk and he is still Grabbed.
"Sarenrae, lend me your light!" Tristian declares, sending healing energy towards Russ'ruk. The holy light mends all the damage the bear just dealt!
Heal: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
"That's okay bud! Just keep clogging up its mouth and we'll patch you up during and after!"
Blaze beckons with one hand, drawing the fiery energy she'd unleashed into the bear back to herself in a sizzling crackle, then tossing it right back!
Electric Arc: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 DC 18 Basic Reflex
Elemental Toss: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Fire: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
(heroic)attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
flat: 1d20 ⇒ 8
attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
flat: 1d20 ⇒ 19
escape: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
Feeling the fright of being grappled and jostled by a bear made of diseased vines, Russ is glad he can distract it at least while the others... why aren't they running?
So he valiantly struggles to get his arms free and shoves the blade into the maw of the beast to defend himself at the very least. He'll not go down without a fight. He attempts to readjust his grip and strike again at the grabby claws but doesn't seem to make a dent in it's bark-like exterior.
"He-eeelp meEeEeEh!" He screams as he is continued to be tossed about.
Knaxshi keeps up his firing. "We're trying to help, but it won't hold still."
Shoot, reload, shoot
attack 1: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
attack 2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
"Hold on, Russ! Use your elbows!"
Guidance on Russ.
Vesi shouts encouraging advice at Russ'Ruk, fumbling at their belt for a weapon.
Strike, bola: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13 Damage, NL: 1d6 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Blaze singes the bear's viny fur while Knaxshi scores another hit. Russ'ruk hacks at the bear, landing two powerful blows, and while the beast is bloodied significantly, it refuses to relent.
The bear mauls Russ'ruk with its teeth, taking him down! It drops the dying kobold and rushes across the clearing to get in Blaze's face!
Jaws: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31
Damage: 2d6 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (3, 1) + 8 + 2 = 14
28 damage to Russ'ruk.
Tristian heals Russ'ruk again, getting him back on his feet.
Heal: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
As Russ'Ruk goes limp, he see the perfect shot to the heart. He's focused in, but before he pulls the trigger there is a chant and he sees scales blocking the shot.
Reload, shoot, reload
attack 1: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Russ felt a sharp pain and then nothing, and then suddenly a rush of air refilling his lungs, a pain in his side which caused him to hack and the bear running off. "Thanks." The kobold knight rolled over and pushed himself up grabbing the shield off the back of his fallen backpack and bracing himself for the inevitable return of Rootbear.
"You'll never put down the righteous might of Russ'Ruk the... gods I hurt too much.."
stand, draw wooden shield, raise shield 16/26hp 21ac 1 round left till breath is back
The bear was charging right for her- So much for regrowing Russ into a permanent apple for the bear's mouth. Or is that boars? -but before it could swipe her head clean off her shoulders, she gestured grandly with her hands, heat shimmering the air between her and the bear into mirages that led its grand charge astray until it was basically right back where it had begun.
Sucking the heat from the air she once more set the air to crackling fury as it arced back towards the bear while she herself fled! "I trust and believe in you all!"
Electric Arc: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 DC 18 Basic Ref