Sagiro's Story Hour: The FINAL Adventures of Abernathy's Company (FINISHED 7/3/14) - Page 44




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  1. #431
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    Quote Originally Posted by Middle Snu View Post
    Wow!

    Just finished reading the whole thing. This is just a plain awesome story, and I am immensely grateful that you have devoted so many hours to writing it up.

    A couple of questions, if you don't mine:
    1) At one point, Kay committed a significant portion of the Yrimpa race to a single military operation - did it work, or was it a trap after all?
    2) Something that's bugged me for a while: in Het Branoi, when the Vree machine malfunctioned and attracted the terrible Cleaners, Piratecat wrote:


    So had Kibi not taken the Eyes into the Machine, would the quest have been over? And if so, how to get the third Eye? It's hard to believe that the Vree machine really would have worked, given how much of the Ways were still unexplored at that point.

    3) Way back in the Crosser's Maze, the party was given a list of 8 questions and had to pick one to answer. But many of these alluded to things that were only resolved years (real-time) later, like Aravis being 'like a cat'. Were you really prepared to answer all 8 questions at the time--and if so, have any of the answers changed in the meantime?

    Again, thanks so much! It's awesome and an inspiration.
    I'm glad you've been enjoying the story! Those are some great questions; here are some answers:

    1) The Yrimpa operation went off very well; it wasn't a trap, and (if memory serves) only 1 or 2 Yrimpa were slain. Honestly, with Kay's player leaving the game, the Yrimpa have faded into the background of the story. You may hear about them once or twice more before the game is over, but they're no longer a part of any major plots I'm juggling.

    2) No, the quest would not have been over had Kibi gone alone into the Vree's Machine. The Machine would still not have worked to "fix" the slices, as the Vree were claiming. The Chaos was more trying to reintegrate all of the slices of itself, and that would have worked. Also, Kibi would have gotten some flashes of insight (read: plot clues) about the nature of the Slices. That's all tentacles under the bridge at this point, of course.

    3) Yes, I was prepared to answer any of those questions at the time. The only answer which subsequently changed significantly was "Where is Sagiro's body"; I don't think I had yet decided that he had gone into Het Branoi ahead of the Company. I forget exactly what I had decided happened to him, but it wasn't nearly as interesting as having him be the Lord of the Roses. (Also, I was pretty sure they weren't going to pick that question.)

 

  • #432
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    Yrimpa is a really fun word to say.

  • #433
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    Yrimpa is a really fun word to say.
    Heh--I don't think I could say it out loud...

  • #434
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Axe View Post
    Heh--I don't think I could say it out loud...
    It's pronounced yer-IM-puh, with a clipped first syllable. (The "er" sound is very short.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagiro View Post
    It's pronounced yer-IM-puh, with a clipped first syllable. (The "er" sound is very short.)
    Heh---that's actually pretty close to how I had it in my head...

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    I've read it as EE-rimm-puh, also with short E

  • #438
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    Sagiro’s Story Hour, Part 314
    Return of the Killer Magic Rats

    Despite Aravis's agitation, it's been an extremely long and tiring day. The party spends the night at the cathedral in Victory, with plans to tackle the Crimson Maw first thing in the morning.

    Over a heroes' feast breakfast on the front lawn of the cathedral, while most of the Company discuss how to find and assault the Maw, Flicker has become oddly obsessed with flipping a coin.

    “Grey Wolf, check this out.”

    He flips the coin. Heads. He flips it again. Heads. Three more times; all heads.

    Grey Wolf takes a bite from a muffin. “Have you identified that thing yet?”

    “It's not magical,” says Flicker. “It's just some random mirac I still had from the last time we were in Kivia. You know how many heads in a row I've flipped? Fourteen!”

    He flips it one more time. “Fifteen!”

    Grey Wolf quirks an eyebrow. “Is there a tails?

    “Yeah. See? Hey Dranko. Can you confirm there's no magic on this coin?”

    Dranko looks over and squints. “Nope. Not magic.”

    Flicker keeps going and gets another nine heads in a row.

    “Let me see that,” says Dranko. Flicker tosses the coin over to him, and the half-orc takes a flip. Tails. He tries a few more times. Heads. Tails. Tails. Heads. Tails. Heads. Heads. Tails.

    “Huh,” he grunts, handing the coin back to Flicker.

    Flicker gets nine more heads in a row before tossing it to Grey Wolf. “Here, you try it.”

    Grey Wolf flips the coin, but when he tries to catch it, it bounces off the side of his hand and hits him in the eye.

    “Ow!”

    Dranko laughs. “Great. An intelligent coin that's adopted Flicker.”

    Grey Wolf tries again to flip the coin, but it slips out of his hand. When he reaches down to pick it up, a bird poops on his head.

    “Huh,” says Dranko again. “So Flicker's super lucky, and you're super... not. Flick, let's play dice for a second.”

    They pull out dice, and Flicker wins 14 rolls in a row.

    Ernie, at the other end of the table and paying little attention to these shenanigans, pulls out Tava's Righteous Fury and, with no expectation of success, asks it where they should go to find the Crimson Maw.

    His arm is yanked around, the blade pointing steadily to the south-east. “Hey, guys, I have a direction!”

    Morningstar frowns. “Isn't anyone else worried about Grey Wolf being so unlucky? Maybe we shouldn't go anywhere dangerous until he's... better?”

    “I dunno,” says Dranko. “There's no new magic on Grey Wolf. Maybe it's...”

    He's interrupted by a shriek from a nearby house. The Company hurries to investigate, and finds a halfling woman lying on the road, rubbing her back. She looks dazedly up at on open window.

    “I... fell out. I must have slipped. Funny, I never leave that window open; the bells from the cathedral are too noisy otherwise.”

    She returns to her house, and ten seconds later the Company hears another shriek, followed by the sound of several dishes smashing on a floor. And as they stand there, puzzled, they can hears similar shouts of alarm and crashing sounds from elsewhere in the city.

    “We should get out of here,” Aravis sighs. “Either we brought this with us, or it could affect more of us before we go into the Maw.”

    As they pass a tavern on the way out of town, a shabbily-dressed halfling comes running out to the street.

    “Excuse me!” he gasps breathlessly. “May I interest you in a gambling proposition?”

    “It's not just you,” says Dranko. “It's happening to Flicker here as well. You're under a magical effect.”

    “I am? Brandobaras must want me to become rich! I've been blessed!”

    The halfling takes off running down the street.


    * *


    Ernie uses his doubts about Tava's Righteous Fury's efficacy in wind-form as an excuse to bust out the Vyasa Vya, a.k.a. Burning Sky. The flying carpet coughs out a gout of black smoke that, as luck would have it, blasts Grey Wolf in the face.

    Grey Wolf takes this, as he has all the previous instances of ill-fotune, with resigned equanimity. “I've had worse.”

    They fly over the countryside, Ernie leading the way on the carpet as he follows the tug of Tava's Righteous Fury. Ten minutes out of town they see below them a three-cart pile-up at a lightly-trafficked crossroads. The Company now speculates these wild fluctuations of luck are somehow part of an imminent goblin offensive.

    Only after a full day of flight, with a shrouded sun poking a few last rays over the western horizon, does the Company reach a destination of note. Two hours earlier they had crossed the river at the western border of Appleseed, and the difference in terrain was stark. Green gave way to brown, and lush to rocky. And beyond the river, starting out sparse and becoming ever more frequent, have been the crumbled remains of the displaced goblin kingdom. There are no longer any signs of living goblins, but the Company spies numerous small ruined towns as they soar overhead.

    Now they see a particularly large and (relatively) intact cluster of ruins in a blasted and lifeless valley. Near the center of the ruins is the outline of a keep, mostly gone now but with a single conspicuously intact building that's been spared erosion from wind and rain by a tall section of the original outer wall.

    Tava's Righteous Fury dips to point at that building.

    Rather than risk discovery by sleeping right outside, the Company wind walks about ten miles away to make camp. Grey Wolf solidifies in a mud puddle. Nothing seems different when they return the next morning; Tava's Righteous Fury still points to the same goblin building, and at a downward angle. With Flicker in front scanning for traps, they enter cautiously.

    It's an abandoned temple, stripped clean of every furnishing, every object, every sign of habitation. Only a stone altar, wall carvings and the general architecture betray the one-time function of the edifice. Ernie squirms a bit at the violent acts depicted in the carvings, all perpetrated upon halflings by spear-wielding goblins. He looks down at his sword and sees it pointing downward and to the left. Flicker approaches a door on the left wall and examines the lock.

    “I think it's locked, but if I...”

    The door pops open.

    “Oh. That was lucky.”

    Beyond the door is a smaller chamber, and in the back of that room is a stairwell spiraling down. Flicker volunteers to go first again. “Heck, I wouldn't set off any traps if I were blindfolded! I'm the luckiest guy in the world right now!”

    “Yeah,” says Dranko. “You won't set them off. Grey Wolf will. So keep your eyes open, will you?”

    Grey Wolf manages not to trigger any traps, though he does stumble down a few stairs before Morningstar catches him. At the bottom there are three different branching hallways, but Tava's Righteous Fury leads the way to what was probably a torture chamber. There are no living remains or loose implements of torture, but several pairs of manacles are still chained to walls splotched with aged blood stains.

    A wall at the back of the torture chamber has been partially knocked out (from this side), and rough uneven stairs lead down from the hole for about twenty feet before rounding a corner to the right. A faint red light shines from beyond the bend, and the Company hears a low, distant growl.

    Pay-dirt!

    Dranko creeps silently around the corner, following a narrow tunnel as it angles down before emptying into a large cavern. Something enormous is squatting at the far end, though he's still well over a hundred feet from the thing and so cannot make out much detail. Maybe it's an enormous dog? Or a frog? A spider, maybe? Whatever it is, it's lit from beneath, as it sits upon the source of the ruddy light.

    The half-orc sneaks back to his friends.

    “There's something back there. It's huge, and it's sitting on our portal. Guess we'll have to kill it.”

    Flicker turns to Kibi. “Can you charm it?”

    “In theory. But it never works,” Kibi grumbles.

    Instead the dwarf casts veil, clothing the party in the illusionary form of rats. (Or, as the giants from their Quest for Cranchus would say, 'killer magic rats.') He, Dranko and Ernie make a cautious sortie into the cavern. It's strewn with boulders, and numerous stalagmites rise from the uneven stone floor. Kibi, while a rat in most senses, is still not the quietest of creatures. While Ernie's armor is magically silent and Dranko is naturally stealthy, Kibi can't prevent small rocks from crunching beneath his feet. The beast, which from a slightly closer vantage seems to resemble a cross between a dog and a toad, heaves itself up a bit on numerous thick limbs. It grunts, growls, sniffs, and peers across the cavern. Dranko thinks it has extremely knobbly skin.

    It sees rats.

    Ernie notes that this creature is tethered in place; a thick metal chain is bolted into a chunk of iron sunk into the stone floor, and the other end is fixed to a metal collar around the beast's neck.

    Kibi sighs, and casts charm monster. Of course, it doesn't work. The dwarf feels his spell slide off the beast's mind. And now the guardian creature has heard one of the rats casting a spell. It becomes more alert, and it peers closely at these trespassing rodents.

    Ernie and Dranko scurry forward. Dranko goes further, taking up a defensive position behind a stalagmite only thirty feet away from the massive creature. He sees that it has eight appendages, six of which are thick arms with sharp-clawed and prehensile hands. It appears to be squatting on a huge glass plate, out of which a bright red light is shining. The glass is strongly magical – strong enough to wash out any other nearby magical auras.

    The hulking dog-toad narrows its eyes as Ernie runs closer, and decides to take no chances. It reaches up to its own back with one of its several arms and breaks off a stony nodule from its skin. It hurls this soccer ball-sized chunk of flesh at Ernie, and when it strikes the ground next to the halfling it explodes in a conflagration of fire and bone.

    The rest of the Company takes that as the signal to charge in as well. Morningstar gets close enough to drop a flame strike on the beast, but it entirely shrugs off the pillar of cold flames. Grey Wolf pegs it with a rainbow blast which sears it with a variety of energy types. The creature lets out a loud ululation of pain.

    Kibi summons an enormous earth elemental (which tries to start a grapple but gets swatted away), and follows up with a quickened earth bolt that bounces off the beast's magic-resistant skin. Aravis's disintegrate is likewise rendered inert.

    Ernie draws a wand from his belt and manages to make a small hole in the beast with a searing light. Dranko activates his boots of haste before charging in and flanking the enemy with the earth elemental. His whip cracks and manages to dislodge one of the many protruding nodules on the creature's skin. Thick black blood oozes out and smokes in the air.

    The dog-toad-spider bellow in pain, and glares down at... a rat. Did that rat just take a chunk out of the monster's hide with its tail? Well, if there's one thing this particular guardian beast can do, it's slaughter little creatures that come too close. Balancing on its two massive legs, it rips into Dranko with all six clawed hands, dealing enough damage to send a hundred rats to their little rodent graves.

    And yet, somehow, this one survives. The creature's bestial brain registers annoyed confusion. Dranko, meanwhile, registers extreme pain and injury. He may be alive, but several parts of him that are traditionally on the inside are now splattered on the nearby stones. While Flicker runs up on his little halfling legs and flings an ineffective dagger, Morningstar rushes to cast heal on her husband. Dranko's pain is washed away.

    Grey Wolf begins to summon some lupine speed bumps while the earth elemental takes some ineffective swipes. Kibi casts Bigby's clenched fist and takes a vicarious swing, but somehow this cumbersome monster manages to dodge. The dwarf starts swearing at his ill luck. Why does nothing work?!

    Aravis tries again to disintegrate the creature, and while the spell does manage to pierce the target's resistance, it shrugs off most of the damage. Ernie pegs it again with a searing light, and Dranko lands two more perfectly-aimed whip strikes.

    The beast is mightily confused. It still sees nothing but rats, but it's undeniably getting its gnarled butt kicked. This one rat in particular is... well, the beast isn't really sure what it's doing. It tries again to tear it to pieces, but once again the rat survives. How is this possible?

    While Flicker tumbles into place and plants a dagger in the creature's side, Dranko blinks more blood out of his eyes and tries not to glance down at his sprung ribs. Again the pain is quickly soothed by a heal from Morningstar, who lets loose a quickened flame strike for good measure. Grey Wolf's wolves appear and advance, and Kibi's directs his elemental to stop swinging and start pushing. Ernie slides in to attack with his swords, Aravis fires off a lightning bolt, and Dranko doesn't let up with his whip.

    With the beast pushed to the right by the earth elemental, the Company can now see that it's standing upon a huge red glass mirror. But they don't have much time to ponder the portal's nature or function, as the monster reaches back and snaps two more rocky nodules from its back. By this time over half the party has moved up fairly close to the creature, and so it slams the two nodules into the ground at its feet. There is a huge explosion, a fiery grenade blast shot through with bony shrapnel. Morningstar, Flicker, Ernie and Grey Wolf are devastated, as is the earth elemental. All but one of the summoned wolves are obliterated. Dranko, at least, dodges the entirely of the blast by sheltering behind a boulder.

    Morningstar flexes her divine might and casts mass heal, entirely undoing the guardian beast's hard work, before the rest of the party moves in to finish it off. Grey Wolf fires an acid orb, Kibi lands a punch from Bigby's fist, and Aravis blasts the thing with a cone of cold. The beast is now close to death, its breath quickening, its rocky skin starting to ripple and bulge.

    Fittingly, it is Ernie who drives home the killing blow. “You're standing between me and my sworn duty,” the halfling intones. “Taste Tava's Righteous Fury!” He delivers the decisive cut... and the creature explodes.

    ...to be continued...

  • #439
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  • #440
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    I seem to remember that it was an advanced, reskinned behir with a really nasty area effect weapon. Not that we knew this at the time, of course. All we knew was massive pain and big explosions.

    While a rogue probably shouldn't have the tank role in the group, I'm always amazed by how much damage a high reflex save and Evasion saves me.

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