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RSS Feeds. Eventually - with Sneaks giving up and leading the way - they reach their destination at The Ticklish Ogre inn and tavern and have some long-awaited food. Hilarity ensues. At approximately the same time, Hantei Yasumoto is in the Azure District, having recently disembarked from a long and interesting sea voyage and reached his destination. After falling for a guard's poor advice and nearly getting into a bar scuffle, he eventually escapes to the much more suitable Merchant's District and - after asking around for "a woman who wears masks" - finds Mala at the Drunk Bear, looking for adventurers to help her with a "dangerous and possibly lethal job" that nevertheless promises payment.
Intrigued, Yasumoto agrees and follows Mala as she makes her way to the next tavern on the list; along the way he notices she is being particularly watchful of the rooftops, and even catches a glimpse of movement there himself. Their guard is up. When the gnome goes to investigate though, Draco mistakes her for a child and treats her as such, prompting a near scuffle that dissolves into Mala sulking and grumbling for most of the visit.
Eventually though they are persuaded to at least hear her offer, lured by the chance to earn money to pay off their debt to Sneaks. After leaving the Ogre they catch sight of more movement above; Sneaks climbs to the roof and catches a pair of Lotus Thieves preparing an ambush and engages with an Eldritch Blast.
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The resulting skirmish is a bloodbath, with Yasumoto, Raina, and Draco easily leaping or climbing to the rooftops and engaging the thieves directly with exotic weapons or by just turning into a lion and chowing down. Mala leads the group, in a rather roundabout way, to Vanderboren Manor, explains the situation, and introduces them to Lavinia; despite Sneaks's suggestions otherwise, the new group decides to engage the Lotus immediately and departs for the Taxidermist's Hall.
There, Mala finds the trapdoor leading to the guildhall is stuck shut; fearing a trap Sneaks investigates, but finding none he allows Draco to tear the trapdoor off its hinges, revealing a roughly-constructed jam built into the underside locking it shut. The first thee or four doors in the guildhall are similarly blockaded, forcing Draco and Raina to break them down noisily to continue the group decides for one reason or another not to head down the halls leading back towards the caverns where the first group found the Ixitxs and Rhagodessas and attracts the attention of a patrolling pair of Lotus Thieves Unfortunately for them, Yasumoto catches wind of their approach and sends Mala to warn the other two they both simply think of Sneaks as Raina's pet, and that Raina's just eccentric or something then ducks into the room below the Taxidermist entry to let them pass, sweeping in unseen behind the group as they approach the others' position.
Alerted of the incoming foes, Draco and Mala pounce on Cruncher as soon as they see him, with Raina and Sneaks joining the fray soon after, and Yasumoto makes quick work of the demonic wolf's two accomplices. Having discovered a door behind the curtains covering the east wall of the training room, the group is poised to enter deeper into the Lair of the Lotus Dragon, and whatever dangers therein remain This session was constantly being interrupted by people dissolving into giggles. The players are beginning to fear that the role of party leader following Yuri's death may well fall to a fuzzy white kitten.
The downside of the past session was that Mala's player got a call about half an hour in from her significant other inviting her to a concert. It shouldn't hurt her too much in the long run, she's nearly 4th level and all the new people started at the beginning of 3rd, XP-wise. Cruncher disappointed. I went beyond the guide's suggestion of giving him the Fiendish template and went with full-on Half-Fiend. Between that and dealing with Mala's player the main combat of the night was fairly disappointing, but at least the rest of the session made up for it.
- Full text of "Screenland (Dec Apr )".
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Also, despite the description in the post above and discussions on the character pre-game, Draco is very much NOT quiet and introspective. Amusing how characters shift between concept and actual play, heh. The beginning of the madness: Busboy: "G'mornin' lady an' gent, what can I getcha? He has all the money. I'm paying! With his money! He also makes Julienne Fries: Mala: "So what do you do?
If fight, I fight.
skinny ribs and the savage stiltwalker Manual
If talk, I talk. All the grace of a sack of bricks, and the brains too: Draco: "I shift from Lion form to Half-Orc form on my way down from the roof. He goes from all grace to no grace in 0. Continuing their investigation of the Guildhall, the group patched their wounds - what few they had - from the skirmish with Cruncher and his retainers before moving on into the inner sanctum of the Lotus Dragons. The doors now seemed to be more equipped with traps and defenses than simply barred and blocked, and Mala disabled several tripwires along the way.
The first thing they encountered was yet another Rhagodessa, this one bigger than most they had encountered thus far and collared to a chain that secured it to the northern portion of its chamber; however when the group arrived the chain had been let slack allowing the monstrous spider to reach the entire room. It pounced on Sneaks as soon as he entered and nearly devoured the little cat, but the group quickly came to his rescue and pummeled the monstrosity senseless.
The next room held yet more Guild thieves, this time once again prepared for their entrance with crossbows drawn, hiding behind an upturned table in what appeared to be some sort of meeting and notice room. Draco, the first one in, was riddled with poisoned bolts but the half-orc's sturdy constitution refused to give way to the toxin; he lunged into the room despite the surprise attack and the following initial volleys and pounced over the barricade, scaring the living daylights out of two of the attacking men; the rest of the group quickly followed suit and soon wiped the floor with the bandits.
Investigating the room shortly after discovered a map of Sasserine marked with color-coded flags which the group didn't bother to decipher, and a chalkboard bearing several guild notes. After clearing the room, Sneaks and Raina smelled something rotting beyond the next door; investigation revealed another undead monstrosity, a zombified bugbear. Draco charged the beast immediately, and the others rushed into finish it shortly after, allowing it only one swing of its morningstar before destruction.
The area beyond seemed to be a private dwelling for someone of wealth and importance, a guess soon proved true when behind yet another closed but not locked door was nothing more than a beautiful redheaded woman sitting on a pile of cushions. She attempted to engage the group in conversation, trying to persuade them to accept an offer of employment on her behalf; however only Yasumoto expressed even the slightest passing interest, the others showing outright disdain or in Sneaks's case apathy.
The ensuing battle was short but fairly vicious. The Lady Lotus launched into attacks with shadows stretching from her fingers and light dancing along her blade, while Gut Tugger blasted the group with acid and darted about biting into foes as he bolted by.
Skinny Ribs And The Savage Stiltwalker
While her back was turned, Yasumoto dug his blade into the Lady Lotus's side, whispering a curse for "stealing his kill" by having Yuri murdered. Gravely wounded she retreated, downing a potion of Gaseous Form as she did so just in time to see Raina assume her Weretiger form and rip Gut Tugger to shreds. Howling and sobbing, shouting threats and promises of vengeance, the Guildmistress fled into the piping in the sauna and disappeared. The group made their way back to the mess hall, intent on investigating the rest of the complex, and Sneaks found his way into the kitchen, rousing the many caged birds there.
Opening the south door triggered a hastily-erected trap that flung boiling something into the mess hall, easily missing Sneaks who was too small and off to the side to be struck. Further investigation by he and Draco discovered a cowardly little kobold named Churtle hidden in a pile of blankets in a small room behind the kitchen; terrified by the half-orc's lion form the kobold clung to Raina and begged for mercy, offering her culinary skills to the group in exchange for a promise of her well-being. Much to Mala's Gnomish disdain Raina accepted, calmly and easily carrying the tiny kobold out of the room and assuring her the lion-that-wasn't-a-lion wouldn't do her any harm.
Can you spell "curb-stomp"? Rowyn level 6 and Gut Tugger level 5 plus 1 Dragon HD lasted all of two and three rounds respectively. That part was a bit vicious on Raina's behalf, as she did it right in front of gaseous form ed Rowyn who had spent her last round tumbling away and drinking the potion and hadn't been able to fully retreat yet. Speaking of Now that she knows what she's up against I'm pretty sure she's going to do retraining as well as gain some levels - more Rogue, less Bard on the first side, and swap to Warblade on the second I think - and you can bet dollars to doughnuts she's going to have a silvered sword and something to protect herself or mitigate some of that massive damage - Ring of Regeneration maybe?
RE: (DF) Mordred's Vengeance: A Tale of Grief, Despair, Anger, Heroism, and the Heart
I'll figure it out when I get there. Needless to say that when the party comes for her again she's going to be equipped both to deal and to take some severe hurt. The investigation of the guildhall continued, with Raina carrying the recently acquired kobold cook Churtle along with them to keep her safe from Mala's vicious glare and the stabbings that were likely to follow. After giving a second lookover to the barracks and the liquor stores, the group headed down an unexplored hallway that quickly took them into a large chamber rank with the scent of blood, sour meat, scorched leather, wet fur, and brimstone Beyond were a set of empty cells, followed by a door leading into a large torture room.
Three men, one wearing a leather apron and armed with knives and branding irons, stood over a bound man in rags apparently about to begin working on him when the group burst into the room and went on the attack. When Raina moved through the brawl to release the prisoner, she noticed the ropes holding him were tied to slip when pulled, poorly knotted and obviously indicative of a trap. His rouse broken, the "prisoner" - the Guild's torture master, Kersh Reftun - went on the assault, punching and headbutting his would-be rescuer, while she held him pinned to the table as her allies decimated his three goons.
After demanding his surrender twice, Raina knocked the torturer into unconsciousness and tied him to the rack with more sturdy knots, then left Churtle - armed with her rolling pin - to make sure he remained unconscious. The group investigated his chambers and found his stores of food and his footlocker the latter of which Raina left in Churtle's care , then moved on. The group soon stumbled upon an observation room with four more thieves in it; thanks to Mala and Sneaks's stealth they got the drop on the group so they were completely unprepared when Draco charged in and shoved one of their number through the window they were looking through and out into the pool of water beyond.
The group went on the assault, quickly killing two of the men while Raina tossed the last one out into the pool with his partner; Yasumoto then turned a large lever on the wall, releasing some kind of restraint behind it as well as loosening a rattling chain somewhere to the west. Moments later a massive Dire Crocodile charged out of the west side of the cave and bit down on one of the thieves, tearing into him with abandon, while his companion fled. Eager to head him off, Draco and Mala moved into a hallway they had passed on their way in; through sheer luck the thief entered the hallway from the other side and was nearly knocked out right there by Draco's sudden charge.
Wounded and helpless he fell begging for mercy, which Draco answered by knocking him out with a solid punch. The group tied him up and left him in the torture room with Churtle. Roused by the crocodile's appearance, Draco convinced the others to join him in testing himself against such a superior predator; the group entered the cave by way of the tunnel the thief had used to escape - after sending Yasumoto to turn the water back off so the flooding in the Crucible stopped - and charged the beast, which was distracted by finishing off its meal of Soaked Lotus Dragon.
The group pummeled it fairly quickly, but a shot to the head by Raina saved the beast from death by knocking it unconscious. I love Churtle. She and Raina bonded immediately and she's come to consider her as her contact to the group.
She won't do anything unless Raina tells her to. That said, Mala wants to kill Churtle on principle. At one point Mala almost got caught trying to backstab the kobold only to be caught by Raina; her parting warning to Churtle was "She won't always be here to save you," which Raina countered after Mala left with "She won't always be here to threaten you. Too much crazy! Raina: Mrow? Draco: why oscar meyer? Awkward Moment He doesn't need to break free to hit you and he doesn't think you can beat him.
What the hell man? They're always hiring: Churtle: "I like this job. I'll be bodyguard in the future. Preacher, doesn't the Bible have rules for that? The rules are very specific on killing. They are however somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps. Well, as was probably obvious to most of my readers, my group bungled the Weretiger template resulting in a character far too powerful for the group at its current level.