Babau

Villainous Outsider's page

39 posts. Alias of stormraven.


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Black shakes his head. "No, you've kept your side of the agreement and I shall keep mine.... This town will have nothing to fear after I'm gone."

Black looks at the dealmakers who shiver under his eyeless, faceless, glance. "Time to go." He breaks the two remaining seals with a clean snap... The earth yawns wide like two gaping maws beneath the old woman and the mayor. The black holes seem to inhale, sucking them toward oblivion. Thankfully, the Drearians' mortal eyes aren't allowed to perceive the worlds inside the cracks in reality. The pits open like a wound piercing through all of the 666 layers of Abyss, stacked like a hellish rock strata.

One layer is a steaming canyon boiling with tormented souls. Another is a gnashing cleft more akin to a hungry mouth than sane terrain. A third is a glass-lined pit smeared with blood and shot through with the promise of pain. Yes, it is a good thing our heroes can't see into the unholy rift, for to gaze within it is to invite mental ruin. This is where hope goes to die and reality is consumed. There are no rules... nor laws, nor order, nor hope. The Abyss is a perversion of freedom, a nightmare realm of unmitigated horror where desire and suffering are birthed in horrid demonic form... or worse.

But the Deal-makers' eyes receive no such protection. The Abyss, a sentient being itself, delights in displaying what awaits them. They screech and claw at the fertile soil trying to scratch their way out of the gaping doorway to the now-whispering and now-raving insanity of the Abyss. Clawed hands lash from the Black Pit and grab the old woman by arm, hair, and throat. With a final scream she is yanked into the void. The maw snaps shut.

The mayor struggles against the clawed hands that tear at his flesh, kicking wildly to free himself, His eyes plead and he screams as his sanity melts in the wake of what he has seen, "Please, help me! HELP!" It almost seems as if his struggles are paying off, he pulls himself halfway out of the sucking maw. Then Black kicks the orb at him. The wrecking ball crushes one hand and slams into his face with a tooth-breaking crunch. Trannyth's grip fails. The orb carries him backwards and the clawed hands do the rest, hauling him into the moaning hole between the planes, followed by the orb which tumbles into the darkness. Thankfully, the maw snaps shut.

The rolled skin, now bearing six broken seals, vanishes. The Abyss has claimed its due.

Black dramatically dusts his clawed hands, "Another contract successfully completed." He smiles, "Well, it's a been a pleasure working with you, but I have to go. If you still have that silly poem, you know how to reach me in future - just in case you need help solving that pesky prophecy or something else." He steps backwards away from your group and into a void that suddenly appears behind him. The void and demon vanish in the blink of an eye.

You are left standing in the silent field.

Congratulations! You faced a demon and kept your lives and souls...
You are now 3rd level. Also, your anointed Masterwork items increase to +1.


"Much as I enjoy putting the screws to my debtors...", he glances at Tull and Trannyth, "Let's conclude our business here. I have other clients to visit and this matter has taken far too much of my time." He pulls out - from where you can't say - a rolled skin parchment, secured by six red wax seals... four of which are broken. His claws rub against the two remaining seals.


Moving on...

With a good deal of effort, our heroes manage to roll the orb onto the tarp. As promised, it is far heavier than imagined, weighing several hundred pounds. With some effort, the tarp is pulled from the pit and dumped at the Demon's feet. He pats the orb and smiles, well satisfied.

I'll need a Will Save vs DC:25 from all of you... It's dangerous to be in proximity to an AOE demonic artifact.


The Demon laughs, "That would have been a fair trade... had you made it before you did all that work." He waves off any objection. "In the spirit of cooperation and because I've enjoyed our time together... we'll say your retrieval of my trinket and riding herd on these two is fair payment. Your debt with me is settled as soon as my property is returned."


Aerik Wynn wrote:
"...I would hear his response just the same. You all don't seem to understand that he thinks of us as cattle. Suppose he decides your left arm is fair payment for the doll if we don't decide to offer something else up instead? As I said, I would hear what he has to say of the creature's worth."

Black considers, "If gold coins were of interest to me, the doll would cost some 20,000 to create. Infusing it with the soul of a serial killer who can follow directions - that was the real trick. I can't put a price on that. But coins bore me. I'd say he's worth less than a soul but more than a few corpses... call it the value of a service or two, depending on the service, naturally."


Marcus Braun wrote:
"What I don't get, is why're you treating Fletcher like he's the one who shirked on the deal? He comes forward and delivers what you want, and you wear his skin like a suit, taunt his sacrifice. Doesn't give much reason for these two to cooperate, does it?"

"They weren't going to cooperate, and I don't need their cooperation in any case. The Abyss awaits them and they cannot escape it. My fashion statement is to give them a sample of what awaits them... a little 'thank you' for their tardiness." The Demon seems briefly thoughtful, "Fletcher eventually did honor his agreement and suicide was a smart choice. The man had a strong will."


The Demon is about to answer the Druid's question, then stops when Lyrica voices her opinion. He shrugs in Fruhand's flesh and steps lightly in the damp field, his claws testing the earth.


The Demon looks amused by Jak's outburst and cocks his head curiously at some of his comments, "I hate to wake your terrible wrath, but let me be clear. I expect to leave with only my trinket and two souls..." He glances at Lyrica, "... or their equivalent. You've made it clear that you aren't willing to 'work' with me. So let's not pretend otherwise. If you were interested in dealing, we'd be discussing recompense for my doll, the prophecy that dogs you, or the terrible monster you will unleash upon this world in the process of fulfilling that prophecy and how you can best destroy it."

Black lets that sink in for a moment before proceeding, "Continuing this conversation about property value versus the 'cost of doing business' holds no interest for me. I was obliged to give you a chance to negotiate for the doll's recompense. I've done so. Since you won't even agree that it has a value that requires repayment, the discussion is pointless."

"To speak privately with the locals... here is the deal I offer you. I'll give you what you want, as you specified. In exchange, there will be no further discussion, no negotiations whatsoever, about recompense for the doll - ever. That door is shut. Agreed?"


The Demon waggles his finger, "That's a slippery answer. You want me to agree to respect your private conversation and promise neither me nor my associate will intrude. What do I get from that deal? Nothing. As a trader, you know it's a poor bargain to give something and get nothing... So what do I get for my promise?"


Jak has to use a bit of diplomacy and a good deal of coercion to get Tull and Trannyth to agree to come along... but in the end, they do, though they stay as far away from Black as possible.

Jak wrote:
”I need a minute with those inside… alone. They need to know what’s going on.” He looks at the demon, then at the pumpkin-head, ”We can pick up the discussion of what we owe you when I’m back out here. You and your big toy here are to remain out here until then. Agreed?”

The Demon grins, "Are you acknowledging you owe me something?" It seems your answer to his question will affect his answer to your last question.


Jak Howell wrote:
Jak nods, "Black, let's go get your device. You do know where it is, yes?"

Black turns his back on the Drearians and starts strolling east toward the fields that way. "Actually, I don't know exactly where it is. It's somewhere in the Waveharp and Phibes fields. When we're very close, I'll know it... but I lack the patience to be searching through every square foot of fields trying to stumble over it. I'll trust you to convince Tull and Trannyth to lead us there directly."

Jak Howell wrote:
He looks at Marcus and Aerik, "We need to bring the mayor and Mrs. Tull..." his voice drops as he considers them. "It'd be best if they came willingly, but they need to come. They're a liability near the townsfolk."

You'll have to 'escort' them, to put it politely. But you won't need to go through any rolls to make it happen. They aren't capable of resisting you with any great effort but they won't go willingly. Please give me some Intimidate or Diplo rolls to get the dealmakers to lead you to the orb.

As Tull and Trannyth are forced out of the churchyard, they beg and weep, clearly undone by their looming fates.

Jak Howell wrote:
"And your deal was with the deal-makers, not the other innocent people your doll slaughtered. You wanted to collect on their overdue debt, you collect on it. Your doll was forfeit when it killed those innocents."

"...In your opinion. To me those innocents were a 'late fee'."

Jak Howell wrote:
"...You said yourself, you can reclaim the empowering soul at the end of a year. All it costs you is time."

The Demon seems to be enjoying this theoretical argument, "Oh, it has other costs - but that isn't relevent. What is relevent is you destroyed my property, regardless of the use I put it to. You insist on trying to add a moral component to what is a property issue. Put it this way..." He glances eyelessly at Jak for a moment. "You have a lovely and expensive magical whip. You've had it for decades. I come by and destroy it willy-nilly. Would you not feel that I ought to reimburse you for it? Wouldn't you resent its destruction? That's how I feel about the doll."

Jak Howell wrote:
"You keep referencing this agreement, which you have yet to produce."

The Demon scoffs, "Nonsense. You people brought the contract up and refuse to let the matter drop... with your talk of 'renegotiation', wheedling to ferret out the terms of the agreement, and trader analogies... thinking somehow you can pull a rabbit out of a hat by seeing it."

To facilitate the unearthing process I'm going to assume you grab a tarp and several shovels which should be more than enough for the damp earth.


The Demon mulls the alchemist's words, "That's a good question. First, were I inclined to butchery, I could have started already and you'd still be in the same position you are now... just worrying about fewer people. Second, though you probably see it differently, my response to the breaking of our deal has been 'restrained'. I gave them time after harvesting Phibes to make good on the deal and I didn't have to limit my toy to claiming the Pegason family. Third - and most compelling for you - when they have fulfilled their side of the contract, I have to honor my side since they are no longer breaching the agreement. And the terms are clear - Albridge's crops and people must be left in peace."


Lyrica Strom wrote:
"May Sarenrae protect me for what I am about to say, but you are a vicious, wicked creature, Mr. Black! Have you no mercy for those who are innocent?"

The Demon laughs with delight, "I have none, not a jot. I am a creature of absolute evil and chaos. Given sufficient reason, I would gladly leave this village a flaming ruin filled with corpses."

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Why would they willingly make an agreement with you if you are so eager and willing to harvest their souls for a life time?"

"Because the greed and short-sightedness of mortal races trumps any semblance of logic and reason."


Jak Howell wrote:
"I think it best that we revisit the idea of you showing us that original contract, Mr. Black," he cuts his eyes to Marcus, "especially as it concerns any claims you make on what you think we owe you."

"You are mistaking my deal with Albridge's finest," which he says laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm, "with the debt you owe for breaking my toy. The first is set in blood, involves souls, and - frankly - isn't your business. The second is about the destruction of my property at your hands and doesn't involve a soul-price since it isn't a deal between us."

Jak Howell wrote:
"Your doll was destroyed after it took the lives of people who - from my understanding, and from the word of some of your deal-makers - were not covered in that original contract. I’m not in the business of appraising souls, but I can’t imagine a child’s soul to be worth so little."

The Demon smiles. "The contract protected the town and its inhabitants from any damage... IF your deal-makers met the terms of the agreement. They were to return my property and give over their souls at the end of the last planting season. When they decided to violate the agreement, I was no longer obligated to leave the town alone. In fact, your deal-makers were informed that there would be dire consequences for violating our agreement. They could have seen the foolishness of their choice after Phibes' death. Since they persisted in their stupidity, I made a more definitive statement with the Pegason family." He shrugs casually,"I won't say I didn't enjoy it - it's one of the perks of my job. As for souls... the only souls I've collected belonged to your deal-makers. The Pegason family were only killed; their souls reside on the planes for which they were bound."

Jak Howell wrote:
"Plus, any trader worth his salt knows to check an agreement first-hand when he's brought into a pre-existing arrangement."

The Demon's smile widens, "And you would be the 'trader' in this scenario?"

Jak Howell wrote:
"And why don’t we go collect your trinket... get all the cards on the table. In fact, let’s all go... right now." Jak points at the pumpkin-head, "...including that thing. You’re here to square the deal. None of the people in that church are involved. So let’s take all this to whatever field the trinket is in. And I don’t believe for a second that you don’t know where it is."

The Demon shakes Fruhand's head like a hat. "I'm not a farmer. I have no interest in mucking around in some muddy field particularly when our agreement specified your friends return the orb to me. But I will accompany you to the fields - if you wish - to prove I'm an agreeable fellow. But my friend here..." he stretches a double-jointed arm backwards to tap the scarecrow on its pumpkin head, "will remain here to ensure your good behavior. In a situation like this, 'heroes' might plan to attack a vile Demon such as myself. If that were to happen, the very first thing I'll be forced to do is have my minion butcher the Priest and every child in that church... and then start on the women. And you are right, none of them are involved in this... unless you make me involve them."


"I deal in souls or lives or both. When I'm feeling whimsical, I deal in services. I wouldn't know how to extract 'grace' from a soul - temporarily or permanently - even if I were interested in it." The Demon eyes the lumberjack, the wheels turning in his infernal mind. "But it sounds like you'd be well rid of this prophecy or possibly figure out how to make it come true in a manner favorable to you. I could help with that... for a price."


"He can only offer his own soul - not yours. And I can't take your soul without your agreement, sadly. Perhaps you'd like to offer yours to save poor Mrs. Tull and Mayor Trannyth? Your soul would definitely be worth both of theirs. It would be a noble sacrifice..." He smiles.


Marcus Braun wrote:
"You're right--Tull and Trannyth are vermin, their souls can't be worth much. Ours are, though. You can kill all us if you want, but then you'll never be able to get what we could've given in fair exchange."

The Demon waggles a correcting claw. "Their arrogance and folly makes their souls valuable. Thinking so highly of themselves, they have so much further to fall when I extend to them the 'hospitality' of the Abyss. It isn't as delightful as debasing the innocent or breaking the spirit of the devout... but it is a treat. Your soul, no offence, being neither angelic nor wholly innocent, is far less appealing. Also, these people have kept me waiting for 13 years. I had expected them to turn on one another years ago... delivering a few of them to me ahead of schedule. Having that desire thwarted, I am hungry for them."

Marcus Braun wrote:

Marcus points to his companions in turn as he talks about them:

"Lyrica has been chosen by a goddess and been given divine power. Zeke was brought back from the dead by a different goddess. Jak has in-born magic and Aerik can speak with Nature. Me, well, I took the hand from the Forgotten, and, like all these folk, survived the mist that come to the 'Drear. The worth of our souls is high -- but I think you already knew that. That's why you're here, right?"

Sense Motive: 12

"Perhaps I was wrong. Your sense of self-importance almost matches that of the Tull woman. It seems the world turns on your very existence." The Demon issues a full-throated laugh. "The girl, as a holy vessel, has considerable value. The others... have some appeal, though not so much as you seem to think." This seems to be an honest assessment by the Demon.

Marcus Braun wrote:
"I think I have a way that you can get what you want, and no one else has to die here. You've already shown that piecemeal deals are fair in your eyes--13 years, but only for one family at a time? Would you have any interest in a similar deal?"

The Demon tugs at Fruhand's ragged ear with a claw, "I don't know what you mean by 'piecemeal' but... I'm listening."

DM Stuff:
If rolls are needed, they have been rolled and omitted.


Aerik Wynn wrote:

The druid's voice booms upon hearing the argument from inside the church.

"Do NOT let them in! No matter what you hear!"

The Demon seems both pleased and disappointed, "Smart choice."

Aerik Wynn wrote:

Then he eyes Black, and tries to hide his contempt, realizing he and his comrades are outmatched.

"Tell me what it looks like, and I'll get the trinket. I wouldn't trust them not to run."

The Demon practically purrs, "What a kind offer... It is an orb, about 2' across. It is rather heavy; it will take several of you to carry it. I'd suggest you bring a tarp. Feel free to take Tull with you as a guide, I'm sure she won't 'get lost' under your watchful eyes."


Marcus Braun wrote:
"Mr. Black--we want to renegotiate the terms of their contract. Can we examine it first, to view the specifics?"

Black sighs, disappointed, "No, you want to see the contract to look for courthouse loopholes. Then you'll try legal hair-splitting or - worse - arguing the 'spirit' not the letter of the agreement. Let me be clear, I'm here because the contract has been fulfilled. If it weren't, if I hadn't already lived up to the letter of the agreement, I wouldn't be here. Humans try to collect when they aren't owed - we don't. I'm still owed two souls and my trinket... and I could argue for them owing me more since they are still benefiting from my trinket which should have been unearthed after the last planting season. I'm willing to forgive that debt... we'll tack it on to the price Jannys' family paid. Consider it a gift. But I'm leaving here with what is owed to me. If you truly want to 'renegotiate'... what souls are you offering in place of the ones owed me? Bear in mind, not all souls are equal. Would you offer up your own souls in place of these corrupt things?" He points a claw at the three people now begging to be let into the church.

From inside the church, you hear a rising argument about letting the Tulls and Trannyth in.


Lyrica Strom wrote:
Lyrica gulps at the demon's words, but finds the courage to keep speaking to the monstrous fiend."We have not made any deals with you and we do not wish to do so..."

The wide mouth of the Faceless Demon stretches into a impossible cheshire grin, "Deals and debts are separate things. You destroyed my lovely toy - one of my favorite assistants - that was quite costly to create. Worse, you've banished its animating soul back to the Abyss where it must wait a year and a day before it can be brought forth onto this plane again. You've inconvenienced me, to say the least, and you'll need to square that debt... or I will." He flexes a handful of claws to make his meaning clear.

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"What is it you want from these people? They are as poor as church mice and I am certain that they have nothing to offer you. Why doesn't one who is as powerful as you look to other realms to find whatever it is that you are looking for?"

"What astounding ignorance. Didn't you say..." his voice passes into a believable imitation of Lyrica's own as he repeats the words she spoke to Galt when they arrived in Albridge, " My father was a priest of Sarenrae and he's taught me to have a strong faith in the divine... Clearly he neglected your education about the countering forces in the universe, so let me enlighten you. Mortal flesh is delicious; you should really try it. But better than that is sucking the spiritual marrow from your tormented souls. This town is a feast."


The Demon chews on some of Fruhand's neck flesh. "You already know the answer to that question, don't you? The priest told you over poor Fruhand's corpse. Or weren't you paying attention?" He savors the dead man's skin for a moment. "To be truthful, that's just part of the story. Oh, yes, Tull and Trannyth haven't told you everything. A trinket I leant them needs to be returned to me, that was part of the deal. They've got it squirreled away in one or another field, trying to squeeze out more profits even after their time is up." He lazily waves towards the abundance of crop-lands. "But that isn't the important question, no. The question that should most concern you is what do you owe me?"


The Demon's eyeless face turns to regard the fleeing sinners, as do the Scarecrow's glowing eye-holes. Neither makes any move to stop them. The Faceless Demon's tone remains light, "So much for dignity and self-respect."


Unfortunately, I don't think Telepathy is two-way, but points for trying Marcus. Of course, you could just say that out loud with all these crows around. :)

After a polite lag, the whistling resumes and Black walks back down the road, past the barn, and rounds the bend coming into the town center on his way to the Church. You slowly make out his emerging form from the mist. His silhouette appears, disappointingly, humanoid - lacking wings, horns, a spiked tail tipped in venom... or anything vaguely 'demonic' as the tales would describe them. In fact, Black might be a little on the lean side... As he approaches closer, you realize he is tall. Quite tall. Very tall - like 9' of tall. As his mist shrouded silhouette becomes a defined form, you see that his arms are overlong and terminate in long straight claws. There seems to be a strange bagginess about his mid-section. As he comes clearly into view, the reality of Black become clear.

In a macabre joke, he is wearing a skin stripped from the corpse of Fruhand Fletcher, down to the anatomically correct self-inflicted slash to the throat. Unfortunately, the bearish and pudgy Fletcher skin is ill-suited to the demon's lanky form. The skin is stretched like taffy while the over-wide barrel-chest drapes and pools around the demon's thinner mid-section. Fruhand's face is distorted by the unnatural stretching, looking like it is melting off the demon's head. Bad as that is, the sight of the demon wearing Fruhand's skin is worse. He is all black. His mouth stretches from Fruhand's mouth hole down to the slash across his neck. The mouth is filled with rows of razor teeth. When he speaks, bits of Fruhand meat gets caught in his teeth, shredding the mask of flesh he wears. But the stretched and torn flesh at head, neck, and arms reveals more of the demon. Black's head is a bulbous and smooth thing, glossy black, with no hint of eyes, nose, or ears... just the horrid mouth. His whistling stops as he regards the party and the cringing deal-makers. To the deal-makers he says, "The old man owes me nothing. But you two... you're delinquent in your payments. Naughty."

I think that's worth a Horror Check (Fort Save) at DC:18

Jak, finally able to see the creature, recalls the tales heard at his mother's knee... and finds a creature like Black featured in one or two of her stories. He still recalls the level of dread with which she spoke of the Faceless Demon.

So that you can make informed decisions here, you can all read the spoiler.

Faceless Demon:
The Gallu-, also called the Faceless Demon, is a soldier/spy most often directly employed by Demon Lords and Balors. They are shock troops, feared for their flawless shape-shifting abilities. They can appear as anyone. They are often deployed to the material plane for long periods of time to befriend mortals and drag them back to the Abyss to be the play-things of their Lords. They are renowned for being quick to anger and hard to control.

CR:6
CE Large Outsider
AC: 20 / Touch 9
HD: Really Good (considering their defenses)
Saves: Fort is Best, Will is Worst

Defenses are impressive:
DR 10/cold iron
SR 17
Immune to Poison/Electricity
Strong Resistence to Acid/Cold/Fire

Attacks:
The Faceless Demon attacks with claws and/or a bite
To HITs are quite good on all attacks
His attacks are enhanced by a 22 STR... so +6 DAM on all blows
His attacks are further improved by feats like Power Attack and Cleave

Specials:
Alter Shape (Su)
Dimension Door (Su)
Plane Shift (Su)

The Faceless Demon can Grab as part of its claw attack. A successfully grappled person is subject to the Demon's D-Door or Plane Shift ability with no save. Once grabbed the Faceless Demon can vanish with a victim and deposit them on one of several alternate planes of existence, including any layer of the Abyss.

DM Stuff:
Mayor Horror: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Tull Horror: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Both Morale: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (2) - 5 = -3


The whistling continues, getting ever closer to the compound. Over that, you hear Galt yell from the Church, "There's something coming from the East fields towards you! It's... No wait, it stopped! It stopped! It's at the gate to the churchyard. It's looking at us. I think it's looking but it hasn't come in.... God's help us. It's a scarecrow with a big scythe and a flaming jack-o-lantern head!"

The whistling comically changes to a wah wah waaaaaah briefly before resuming its upbeat measure.

OK, guys, where are you all standing - or cowering - your call :p. Is anyone looking over the wall to see what's coming or are you all content to wait in the compound?


As the fleeing crow cries fade, another sound intrudes. There is a WHOOSH as another house - somewhere near the Pegason place - goes up in an impressive torrent of flame and smoke. As far as you know, it isn't a house that belongs to one of the guilty.

From down that road, you hear a contented sigh followed by a delighted chuckle at the flames and destruction. Then the chuckle turns into a light, fanciful, and unhurried whistling tune. Someone, a hundred feet or more away, is slowly meandering up the road towards the Tull compound, kicking stones and enjoying a pleasant walk in the spring fog.

Peeking over the fence, it isn't possible to see even the silhouette of the approaching traveler... yet.

Belatedly, you realise you didn't hear the sigh and laughter with your ears. It sounded within your heads.

1d20 - 5 ⇒ (13) - 5 = 8


I'll take that into consideration, Jakkie...


The foul monster sees the paralyzed Paladin and smiles. "Looks like it's time for a little girl-on-girl action. Don't worry, boys love to watch this." She licks her lips in anticipation. Her smile vanishes as Jak body-checks the Paladin and turns her away. Meanwhile, Ezekiel fires his crossbow at the Ranger's back. The bolt finds the slim seam between Marcus' ribs and arm, passing between them and striking the Pananggalan in the cheek. The bolt carves through her head. She is destroyed before she even knows what hit her. The head follows the organs to the floor. She ends as a steamy, ropey pile of internals.

number crunching:
Unless I'm mistaken Ez would have a -4 on his To Hit for firing into combat and the Panaggalan would get a +4 to her AC for soft cover from Marcus which leaves us with...
HIT: 19 + 3 + 1 - 4 = 19 v AC 19 (15+4) for soft cover - skin o' teeth HIT
DAM: 8 + 1 = 9 Crit threats do max DAM.

COMBAT OVER


The nightmarish head notes the pressing enemies. Despite the pallor returning to her once healthy looking skin and her many dripping wounds, her voice is musical, "Please, boys, one at a time..." She opens her mouth as if to say more but her jaw widens... and widens... and widens... At the point you'd expect the bones to unhinge she lets out a blood-freezing scream.

Fort Saves from everyone, please.

BOOM:
2d4 ⇒ (2, 2) = 4


Let me tell you all about myself...

Jak Only:
Feel free to toss this info out on your turn. You can say your mom used to scare you with this story when you were particularly bad.

Our girl here is a variant of a Vargouille called a Pananggalan. Normally they have a 'living body' so during the day they walk around like any other person and at night the head and organs detach and go hunting. Then, before dawn, they return all fattened and fed and sink their organs into a jar of vinegar to shrink them down to normal size so they can fit back into their 'body'. Sweet, eh? :D

Anyhow, on to the stats and goodies.

AC: OK - 15
CMD: Good
HP: Good - 3 dice and change
Saves: Fort and Ref are good, Will is a bit weaker
Attacks:
Attack 1: Bite + Poison... the poison will make any magical healing VERY difficult (essentially a caster level check vs high DC for a spell or potion to work). Natural healing works fine.

Attack 2: 'Kiss'... that will slowly begin to turn the victim into a Pananggalan over the course of a day or so. Curing it would require a Cure Disease... in other words, it would be nearly impossible at your level and, given how far you are from civilization, you are unlikely to reach help in time.

Attack 3: 'Shriek'... This has a pretty low save but will paralyze everyone in sight within 60' of her for several rounds. There are a few ways to end the paralysis.
1) Time
2) Losing sight of her
3) Any victim she successfully attacks (with Bite or Kiss) is 'released'

DEFENSES:
Standard stuff EXCEPT... the blood she drains from her bite damages the victim and heals her - point for point.


The point of Aerik's sickle enters the fleshy portion between the creature's thumb and forefinger and only stops when the tip collides with the sarcophagus on the other side - neatly skewering the hand and severing tendons. As he pulls the blade free, the thumb drags uselessly behind the beast.

Marcus has little time to react as the head - amid dripping organs - floats languidly over towards him and enshrouds his face with her scorched and stinking hair. She bats her eyes like a harlot and purrs at the ranger, "Are you as ready for me as I am for you?" Then she surges forward to bite deeply into the side of his face - gnawing on his flesh and drinking his blood amid coos of pleasure.

As she pulls away her face - from cheeks to chin - is heavily streaked with Marcus' blood and she looks younger than she did a moment before. It's almost as if the blood is renewing her...

Marcus, a Fort poison save please. Regardless of the result, it won't effect your combat action.

Round: 2

ORDER: Aerik, The Head, Lyrica, Marcus, Jak, Ez, The Hand

MAP: The Judas Kiss

A's HPs: 9|14
E's HPs: 10|10
J's HPs: 7|10
L's HPs: 13|15
M's HPs: 9|14

BOOM:
Head v Marcus AC:17
Bite (20/x2)
HIT: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21 + Poison
DAM: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Status:
~ Good Guys ~
All - Inspire Courage +1

~ Bad Guys ~
All - major creepout factor


The foul head presses close to Jak, its organs rubbing wantonly against his armor as her hair twines about his face. She whispers seductively in his ear, "Come'on, love. Give us a little kiss, eh?" before burying her elongated fangs deeply into his neck.

Blood belches from the wound and she greedily sucks it down. As she pulls back to regard Jak, his blood giving her lips a glossy sheen of crimson, he can see color has also returned to her pallid skin - flushing her cheeks. Even her organs appear less dessicated.

Jak, need a Fort save vs poison. Regardless of the results, it won't effect your action so you can post with no changes.

Round: 1

ORDER: Aerik, The Head, Lyrica, Marcus, Jak, Ez, The Hands

MAP: The Judas Kiss

A's HPs: 9|14
E's HPs: 10|10
J's HPs: 7|10
L's HPs: 13|15
M's HPs: 12|14

BOOM:
Head v Jak AC:14 FF
Bite (20/x2)
HIT: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 + Poison
DAM: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3


Jayse's blade slices again and again. With two swift blows he shears the head from the massive Demon. His remaining strikes carve into the smaller Demon, nearly killing it as well. It staggers backwards under the onslaught.

Orin and Ushari, you are up.

I'm able to switch avatars without a problem.


The Demon almost smiles. He spares a nibble for Ushari, nearly tearing her arm off, and realises belatedly that he should have put his full effort into polishing off the monk as his claws fail to find purchase in Jayse's thin hide. The smaller demon, following its master's orders, focuses on Jayse. An unholy miracle lets one set of its claws penetrate his nearly impregnable defense. Jayse feels cold in the pit of his stomach... as he sees the demon's claws buried in his abdomen.

Round: 4

ORDER: Shadow Demons, Strae, Jofram (bot), Jayse, Orin, Ushari

MAP: Step Into the Black

Ja's HPs: 7|70
Jo's HPs: 79|79
Ov's HPs: 50|72
Uv's HPs: 17|52
St's HPs: 30|60

On-Going Effects:
Good Guys
Panicked - 4 of 4 rnds - Jofram, Vaelos, Filch
Invisible - 3 of 5 rnds - Straehan
Haste - 2 of 7 rnds - Jayse, Orin, Ushari, Straehan
Grayflame - 2 of 4 rounds

Bad Guys
Big SD - Shaken for 2 of 9 rnds
Big SD - Bleed 5 til healed

BOOM:
Big Bad v JAYSE AC:32 & USHARI AC:22 - Shaken
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 18 - 2 = 25 DAM: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (3, 4) + 8 = 15 + 1d6 ⇒ 6 Cold Uv
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (11) + 18 - 2 = 27 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold Ja
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 18 - 2 = 19 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold Ja

Little Bad v JAYSE AC:32
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22 DAM: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 + 1d6 ⇒ 5 Cold Ja
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold Ja
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31 DAM: 6 + 4 = 10 + 6 = 6 Cold Ja Crit?
Confirm: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold Ja


Jayse, again, becomes a whirling blade of doom - slashing off a fang with one blow and stabbing deeply into the smokey essence of the creature with another. In the midst of this assault, the vicious creature manages to slap aside two more of the monk's attacks. In the end... both man and Demon are still standing.

The creature snarls and its thoughts invade the minds of all present...

: You're strong. But you best pray your friends can finish me quickly. :

Next up... Orin & Ushari.


Jayse wrote:
As he fights, he yells defiance, "SHADOW! TEST YOURSELF AGAINST A CHALLENGER WHO KNOWS YOUR PRESENCE, COWARD!"

The foul beast glares at the monk, his wounds stinging more than the human's words. But this upstart is clearly a great danger. He orders his minion with a thought even as his sibilant words invade the monk's mind.

:: Let's play, mortal. ::

Clearly, the fiends of the Abyss don't believe in a fair fight... because both Shadow Demons fall on the monk with Fang and Claw, tearing the flesh from his bones. Jayse manages to slap aside a fear-hesitant claw from the larger Demon while avoiding the fangs and a set of raking claws from the other. But, in the end, as the Demons shrink towards the ceiling they leave Jayse a bloody (but standing) mass of open wounds.

Round: 3

ORDER: Shadow Demons, Orin, Ushari, Strae, Jofram (bot), Jayse

MAP: Step Into the Black Updated

Ja's HPs: 23|70
Jo's HPs: 79|79
Ov's HPs: 72|72
Uv's HPs: 38|52
St's HPs: 5|60

On-Going Effects:
Good Guys
Panicked - 3 of 4 rnds - Jofram, Vaelos, Filch
Invisible - 2 of 5 rnds - Straehan

Bad Guys
Big SD - Shaken for 1 of 9 rnds
Big SD - Bleed 5 til healed

BOOM:
Big Bad v JAYSE AC:25 - Shaken
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (16) + 18 - 2 = 32 DAM: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (6, 4) + 8 = 18 + 1d6 ⇒ 1 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 18 - 2 = 33 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 18 - 2 = 24 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12 + 1d6 ⇒ 2 Cold

Little Bad v JAYSE AC:25
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19 DAM: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6 + 1d6 ⇒ 3 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 + 1d6 ⇒ 6 Cold


A part of it had been mortal once... but that was a very long time ago, and no hint of human sympathy remained within it now. So it watched the demise of its lure/pet with the detachment of a sociopath. The mastiff had served its purpose, drawing in the hapless prey.

Wrapped in a gloom it had woven strand by strand around itself, like a web of living darkness impervious to any mortal vision, it lurked like a spider - lingering above the doorway - watching the spectacle. It had taken restraint not to wrap icy claws around the girl and the gnome as they rushed by... but patience was a virtue that often paid off. The creature of darkness and blank despair eye'd its helper sending a terse telepathic command.

: Take them now :

Jayse looks around the silent room. His darkvision poring over every surface detail, save a sizable area of inkiness just above the doorway's arch. He can't actually make out the details of the dome there. It's almost like his vision is blocked...

Then two black shadows - one man-sized and the other hulking and ominous - flow like an ill wind from the deep darkness. He only sees a brief flash of red eyes, steely claws, long fangs, and the silhouette of bat-wings. There are no bodies, just shadows. The creatures rocket and zig-zag along the dome - passing from fitful shadow to frightful shadow... til they hang over the comrades. The next moment is a blur of fangs and claws. Orin listens to the scuffling of Filch against his hair and Jofram's retreating footfalls. He frets over what to do next... that's when the screaming starts.

Ushari is fast. Jofram is very fast... but these things move with a speed that is fit for nightmares. And where they land the nightmare image is burst by very real claws and teeth. Jayse ducks a bite aimed to sever his head as Ushari gasps as a set of razored claws tear across her back only to feel the wound numbed and yet worsened by the grave-like cold accompanying it.

Despite her pain and the threat looming over their heads, both the monk's and cleric's attentions are drawn to the gnome's cries. The vast beast hovering over him tears through the sorcerer's mystical shielding as if it doesn't exist. Cowering, Straehan tries futilely to avoid the blows. But claws shred and teeth catch relentlessly. It's like watching a mountain lion toy with a mouse. Strae hits the wall - barely conscious - rimed in a layer of frost and shivering uncontrollably.

Round: 2

ORDER: ???, Orin, Ushari, Strae, Jofram (bot), Jayse

Orin - you can't see the baddies from your current position - just a FYI.

MAP: Step Into the Black Updated

Ja's HPs: 70|70
Jo's HPs: 79|79
Ov's HPs: 72|72
Uv's HPs: 38|52
St's HPs: 5|60

On-Going Effects:
Good Guys
Panicked - 2 of 4 rnds - Jofram, Vaelos, Filch
Bad Guys
none

BOOM:
Big Bad v STRAE AC:23 - charge (Pounce Full Attack)
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 18 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 18 + 2 = 34 DAM: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (2, 6) + 8 = 16 + 1d6 ⇒ 6 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 18 + 2 = 36 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 + 1d6 ⇒ 5 Cold
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 18 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 18 + 2 = 37 DAM: 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 + 1d6 ⇒ 2 Cold

Little Bad v JAYSE AC:25 / USHARI AC:21 - charge (Pounce Full Attack)
Bite HIT: 1d20 + 11 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 11 + 2 + 2 = 19 DAM: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 + 1d6 ⇒ 2 Cold Ja Flank
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 11 + 2 = 31 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8 + 1d6 ⇒ 6 Cold Uv
Claw HIT: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 11 + 2 = 16 DAM: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 + 1d6 ⇒ 4 Cold Uv


The logistics of an arm-wrestling matching between a 3'8", 40lb gnome and a 9'9", 700lb devil are wondrous. In the end, Straehan finds himself standing on the arm-wrestling table, pitting his entire body against the Devil's wrestling arm. The fight is brutally short. At 'go' the devil bears down, crushing the gnome and dropping him to a knee. Straehan attempts to rally and manages to regain his feet by leaning in with all his might (and probably a bit of charity from the Devil who is trying to suppress his laughter). The Devil's arm move incrementally towards the centerline. Straehan has just a moment to breathe and flash a smile at his small accomplishment when the Devil really puts in a effort to win. In an eyeblink, Straehan is flat on his back staring up at the ceiling high above, his head ringing from the blow with the table. Patrons laugh and applaud the effort. The Malebranche nods at his vanquished adversary.

rolls:
S's STR: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
D's STR: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28

S's STR: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (15) + 0 = 15
D's STR: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20

S's STR: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
D's STR: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15


OK, so our three heroes inflicted 365 DAM in ONE round. That is enough to scare the bejesus out of any avatar.

Never in the long unlife of the Cobra Avatar has it been challenged like this. Never in its millennial existence has it been wounded so deeply by so few opponents. Never has it danced so close to the brink of utter annihilation. A gnawing doubt about its assumed invincibility grows in its mind even as the small sliver of holiness, that cursed blade, works into its entrails.

In its pain and fear, the Avatar writhes and thrashes. Its massive tail lashes out, obliterating one of the massive central columns and sending a shower of boulder-sized masonry spinning across the Cathedral. Venom gouts from its fangs as the massive hood whips around trying to sweep aside these opponents who rend its flesh - inside and out. The 3 ton head crashes into another column, snapping it in half and raising a shower of ancient dust and debris. An ominous cracking begins as spiderwebs fissures - wide as a man is tall - race along the cathedral's vault. It begins to assume the appearance of a broken mosaic.

The distracted snake doesn't even consider the fleeing succubus dragging the dwarf out of the chapel. Lureene pushes the dwarf into the arms of her comrades in the tunnel and turns - bearing witness.

The writhing of the snake is like a tidal-wave of flesh that bears down on the heroes. Mal, the Dire Tiger, almost manages to leap over the whipping serpent body. His paws slip in the black blood however and his body is slammed by the undulating serpent into a column which cracks and tips. The capstone, roughly the size of an elephant, drops onto Mal as he leaps away from the column. Only determination allows him to claw himself free of the massive weight.

Even the dextrous Talvyra cannot outrun a 20' high wall of flesh. It rolls over and grinds her against the unyielding stone floor.

Priyya, inside the body, fairs only slightly better - the snake's form providing some shelter from the rain of masonry and the worst of the whipping body. Even still, the organs of the beast all but crush the life from the Paladin and her consciousness finds itself slipping away...

In the collapsing cathedral, a gong sounds. Battered as he is, Mal knows what it presages. When they first entered this benighted sepulchre, they set off an unholy trap. The gong struck and was followed by a wave of unholy energy which sucked the life from every living creature.

I forgot you were being NPC'd by this point, Mal. The trap was a massive Negative Channel Energy attack. Anyone in the cathedral gets hit.

Good guys UP.
Mal, you could spend a Hero Point to adjust your save on the Writhing attack. That would give you back 14 HPs. Feel free to get creative and suitably epic with your use of Hero Points. If you want to blow them all in one shot, I'll allow you to take two FULL ACTION attack rounds this turn. Double your pleasure, double your fun. :) Or you can try to live a bit longer - up to you.

Temple of DOOM

M HP: 19 | 162 ; CON -5
P HP: -4 | 100 ; CON -4
T HP: 7 | 117 ; CON -5

Snake Writhing:
Reflex DC:26 for 1/2 - 8d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 6, 1, 4, 4, 2, 1) = 28 DAM
M Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
P Save: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 26
T Save: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23 (evasion)

Masonry:
M or T 1d2 ⇒ 1
4d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 4, 3) = 14 DAM
Reflex DC:22 for 1/2
SAVE: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18


Mal and Tal time their snarling attacks - leaping with steel claws at the massive coiling avatar of death. The snake strikes with blinding speed. Talvyra hisses as a fang sinks into her haunches mid-jump, sending the battle cat spinning. Mal also feels the slash of an envenomed tooth... the unholy poison working through his system.

Undaunted, Mal completes his attack, rending the undead flesh with fangs and claws - raising a fountain of black blood. Beside him, Priyya slams into the abomination with the power of her Goddess lending strength to her blows that her flesh would be incapable of landing. Her holy blade shears deeply into the side of the building-sized Cobra. More of the vile black blood gouts across the Paladin - almost dimming her radiance. Priyya wipes it from her face with irritation... and staggers. For this is no normal blood.

It is the distillation of the thousands of thrice-damned souls sacrificed in this black cathedral, tainted with the dark desires of the corrupt deity that controls the Snake. It is a liquid unholy essence that sucks the life from anything it touches. Priyya staggers and rights herself, rallying the strength of her limbs.

Then the Snake flairs its hood and strikes. It sets its fangs against the Paladin and slashes its whip-like massive tail at the dire tiger rending its flesh. Mal dodges the flashing tail by a hair's breadth as Priyya falls beneath the sword-blade fangs, the poisoning overcoming even her holy defenses.

Good Guys UP!

Temple of DOOM

M HP: 86 | 162 ; CON -2
P HP: 42 | 100 ; CON -2
T HP: 65 | 117 ; CON -3

AoO:
Mal
Bite: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (10) + 22 = 32
DAM: 2d8 + 15 ⇒ (5, 6) + 15 = 26
FORT DC:26 - 1d3 ⇒ 2 CON 1/rnd for 6 rnds
SAVE: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15

Tal
Bite: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (10) + 22 = 32
DAM: 2d8 + 15 ⇒ (5, 3) + 15 = 23
FORT DC:26 - 1d3 ⇒ 3 CON 1/rnd for 6 rnds
SAVE: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16

Black Death:
Fort DC:22 for 1/2
DAM: 5d6 ⇒ (3, 1, 5, 4, 2) = 15
M Fort: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
DAM: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 2, 2, 4) = 14
P Fort: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (4) + 13 = 17

Cobra Strike:
~Priyya~
Bite: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (16) + 22 = 38
DAM: 2d8 + 15 ⇒ (3, 1) + 15 = 19
FORT DC:26 - 1d3 ⇒ 2 CON 1/rnd for 6 rnds
SAVE: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13

~Mal~
Tail Whip: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (7) + 20 = 27
DAM: 2d6 + 12 ⇒ (1, 4) + 12 = 17