Children of Sorrow

darkbard

Legend
The spider will not be so easily driven off, for it is hungry. And it is not alone. Two other, slightly sleeker spiders drop from the canopy onto the forest floor. Will they get their feast and your story come to an unceremonious close before it's truly begun, or will there be a slaughter of spiders at dawn?


Okay, that failure yields combat as its consequence. Victory here, though, earns you a Success at the Moderate DC towards completion of the skill challenge.

Roll initiative for the PCs and pick squares for them to start. We'll handle combat via Discord and I will update here as we go (to facilitate ease of reading, implementation of immediate actions and triggers, and so on).

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Let’s use the following grid notations: X-axis runs A to Q left to right, and Y-axis runs 1 to 16 bottom to top such that the bottom left square on the map is A1 and topmost right is Q16. The partial square along the bottom is not counted in this. Thus, the Tree Spider (black oval) is in square E9 to start.

Illumination: Deep in the forest at dawn, it is dim light. Creatures with low-light vision or better see normally. All others treat the terrain as lightly obscured (concealment except against adjacent creatures).

Trees: The trunks (solid white hexagons) are blocking terrain. Adjacent squares under the canopy are darkness (total concealment). Trees can be climbed with a DC 12 Athletics check. Trees are 40 ft (8 squares) high, and at least 2 squares must be climbed adjacent to the trunk before moving horizontally along branches.

Webs: Webs are 15 ft (3 squares) off the ground and difficult terrain. At the end of each Move action in webs, a creature must make a DC 9 Athletics check or be grabbed (DC 13 Acrobatics or Athletics to escape). Spiders are immune to this.

Mossy boulders: Blocking terrain. Can be climbed with DC 12 Athletics. Provide cover to medium creatures or total cover to small creatures.

Rain puddle: Muddy and about a foot deep at its center. All squares are difficult terrain. Can be stunted with.

All other map features are incidental color.

TORIQ makes Monster Knowledge Nature checks vs A r(11)+9=20 (meets Hard DC 20) and vs S r(16)+9=25 (meets Hard DC 21)

Ambush Spider (A, Grey ovals)
Medium natural beast (spider)
Level 2 Lurker XP 125
HP 28; Bloodied 14 Initiative +8
AC 16, Fortitude 12, Reflex 14, Will 13 Perception+8
Speed 8, climb 8 (spider climb) Tremorsense 5

Traits
Camouflage
The spider can make a Stealth check to become hidden when it has cover or concealment instead of needing superior cover or total concealment.

Standard Actions
(⚔) Bite ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage.

⚔ Venomous Bite (poison) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature the spider is hidden from); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage, and the target is slowed and takes ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends both).
First Failed Saving Throw: The target is immobilized instead of slowed and takes ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends both).
Special: When charging, the spider can use this power in place of a melee basic attack.

Skills Acrobatics +9, Stealth +9
Str 13 (+2) Dex 17 (+4) Wis 14 (+3)
Con 10 (+1) Int 4 (-2) Cha 7 (-1)
Alignment unaligned Languages –

Tree Spider (S, Black oval)
Medium natural beast (spider)
Level 3 Skirmisher XP 150
HP 43; Bloodied 21 Initiative +6
AC 17, Fortitude 15, Reflex 17, Will 14 Perception+6
Speed 6, climb 6 (spider climb) Tremorsense 5

Traits
Web Walk
The spider ignores difficult terrain composed of webs.

Standard Actions
(⚔) Bite (poison) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +8 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 3 damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).

⚔ Springing Attack ✦ At-Will
Effect: The spider jumps 4 squares, makes a melee basic attack, and jumps 4 squares. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.

Skills Stealth +9
Str 12 (+2) Dex 16 (+4) Wis 10 (+1)
Con 11 (+1) Int 1 (-4) Cha 8 (0)
Alignment Unaligned Languages -

Initiative
A, 26 (in I14 & N9, grey)
S, 24 (in E9, black)
N, 20 (in K4, green)
J, 16 (in P16, blue)
M, 11 (in P11, purple)
T, 8 (in I10, red)




ROUND 1

The Ambush Spiders are aptly named, for they leap into action as soon as pedipalps hit the ground, one charging into Toriq and seizing her upraised sword arm in its chelicerae, delivering a poisonous bite that sends a burning sting down her arm and inducing a profound sluggishness. The other scuttles forward and grasps onto Mylistra's leg, contracting painfully before it releases her.


A1 (I14)
Standard: Charge I14 to I11, Venomous Bite vs T, r(10)+7+1=18 vs 18 AC. Hit, r(7)+5=12 poison damage & slowed/OG 5 poison damage (SE both).

A2 (N9)
Move: Shift 1 square N9 to O10

Standard: Bite vs M, r(17)+7=24 vs 17 AC, Hit, r(6)+5=11 damage.

LOCATION: A1 in I11, A2 in O10
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 12 damage to T, 11 damage to M
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: T slowed & OG 5 poison (SE both)
CURRENT HP: A1 28/28, A2 28/28
DE/BUFFS: na



Sensing a quick and generous meal, the Tree Spider scuttles along its web and descends the trunk of a tree to Toriq's south flank. With prodigious strength and speed, it jumps forward and bites Toriq on the shoulder, piercing hide armor before she can raise her shield in defense. Then the creature leaps away before she can strike it with her blade.

Move: Climb 6 squares E9 to I7 (2 down tree trunk)

Standard: Springing Attack vs T, jump 2 squares to I9, r(14)+8+2 CA=24 vs 18 AC. Hit, r(5)+3=8 poison damage & OG 5 poison (doesn't stack) T BLOODIED, jump 4 squares to K5. (Jumps don't provoke OAs.)

TRIGGERS: HALF-ORC RESILIENCE Trigger: You are bloodied for the first time during an encounter. Effect: Gain 5 THP.

LOCATION: K5
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 8 damage to T, (T also gains 5 THP)
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: OG 5 poison to T (doesn't stack),T BLOODIED
CURRENT HP: 43
DE/BUFFS: na



NEMO's street sense triggers quickly at the sudden appearance of a much larger attacker, and the young halfling deftly slices at one of the spider's several eyes - dazing it momentarily - and slips safely away.

* Standard Action: Acrobatic Strike vs. S: r(8) + 9 + 2CA (Cunning Stalker) = 19 vs. 17 AC; Damage: r(2) + 5 + r(6,2)(Sneak Attack) = 15 HP; Shift 1 square to L3

* No Action: Low Blow (Enc): Trigger: Your melee attack hits a creature granting combat advantage to you. Effect: The creature is dazed until the end of your next turn: S = dazed UEoNNT

* Move Action: 3 squares to O5 (avoiding OAs)

LOCATION: 05
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: S: 15 HP
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: S: Dazed UEoNNT
CURRENT HP: 24/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 7/7, 1 AP Remaining



From his vantage point away from his comrades, JENDI sees a number of spiders descending upon them - both literally and figuratively. Thinking it a good opportunity to use some fell tricks taught him by the Raven Queen, the young warlock first curses the closest spider - the one threatening his mother's fetching assistant - then attempts to throw one of the Queen's crackling and blighting spheres at it. Sadly, it seems to sense his attack and the sphere brushes harmlessly past it, singes some leaves in a nearby tree instead.

Controlling his sense of frustration, Jendi pulls the forest's darkness around him as a shroud and moves a few steps forward. This change of position gives him a better sense of where to throw and his aim proves true. The spider is hit directly in its many eyes and shakes its head in desperation, giving its recent victim her chance for vengeance, as is Jendi's intent. Not to mention seeing the effects of his growing power!


* Minor Action: Curse A(O10)

* Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs. A(O10): r(3) + 4 = 7 vs. 12 Fort/Miss

* Move Action: 3 squares to P13: Shadow Walk/Concealment UEoJNT

* AP for Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs. A(O10): r(17) + 4 = 21 vs. 12 Fort/Hit; Damage: r(2) + 4 + r(4)(Cursed) + r(7)(Fell Might) = 17 necrotic & psychic damage & A(O10) grants CA UEoJNT, A(O10) BLOODIED

LOCATION: P13
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: A(O10): 17 necrotic/psychic, A(O10) BLOODIED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: A(O10) cursed, CA UEoJNT
CURRENT HP: 26/26
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Fell Might spent; Concealment (Shadow Walk)
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP remaining



MYLISTRA limps back a step away from her attacker, before gathering her senses once more. Gaining courage and fortitude from witnessing the sorcerous attacks from young Jendi, the witch joins the attack by throwing the spider a powerfully scornful glare.

The spider shudders and stumbles away from her - and possibly from Jendi, standing not far behind her. Instinctively, Mylisstra grabs her dagger and throws it, piercing deeply into the spider's carapace and killing it.

Equally instinctive is the witch's healing word sent through her singing voice to her dear friend and ally, grievously wounded by the other two spiders.


* Move Action: Shift 1 square to O12

* Standard Action: Gaze of Defiance vs. A(O10): r(13) + 4 + 2CA (HoB) = 19 vs. 13 Will/Hit; Damage: r(6) + 4 = 10 psychic damage, and all allies gain +1 Power bonus to att UEoMNT (+3 if it attacks M)

* Minor Action: Healing Word (Enc) on T: spends surge: gains 7 + r(5) = 12 HP, +2 att UEoMNT

* AP for Standard Action: Ranged Basic Attack: throw dagger at A(O10): r(10) + 7 + 2CA (HoB) = 19 vs. 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r(1) + 3 = 4 HP/ A(O10) Killed TRIGGERS: JENDI'S FELL MIGHT RECHARGES

LOCATION: O12
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: A(O10): 14 to A(O10), Killed
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na because ... A(O10) = dead
CURRENT HP: 13/24; T: +12 HP (HW)
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: T: +2 ATT UEoMNT (HW), J Fell Might Recharges
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP remaining



The attack of the two spiders was swift and painful but not unexpected. TORIQ is of course aware that where there is one spider, two or three ... or even more ... generally are lurking somewhere nearby, hiding in the dark. At least they (mainly) have targeted her. Throwing her senses around her to sense how her companions are faring in this attack of arachnids, she finds that they are doing ... surprisingly well.

Pleased with their efforts, the warden shakes her head in an attempt to clear it but the poison is dulling her mind somewhat. No matter: she will delve into her instinct and let her blood flow. Analysis is not always mind-driven, nor action.

She meets the many eyes of her closest foe and gives a toothy grin. Then she throws her head back in an animal's roar and attacks in a furious frenzy.

Staring at the torn carapace at her feet for only an instant, the Guardian of the Ruby Spire turns to doggedly step toward the last of the spiders, gaining momentum as she goes.


* No Action: Font of Life: Trigger: start your turn; effect: make a saving throw vs. Slowed & OG 5 Poison: r(2)/Fail

* Take 5 OG Poison damage: 5 THP expended

* Minor Action: Hunter's Quarry (Enc.) on A(I11): UEoTNT

* Standard Action: Wildblood Frenzy (Enc.) vs. A(I11): r(19) + 7 + 2 (HW) = 29 vs. 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r(5) + 7 + r(5) (HQ) = 17; effect: make a 2nd attack: r(7) + 7 + 2 (HW) = 16 vs. 16 AC/Hit: Damage: r(1) + 7 = 8

* Free Action: Furious Assault (Enc.): Trigger: You hit an enemy with an attack. Effect: The attack deals 1[W] extra damage if it’s a weapon attack or 1d8 extra damage if it is not a weapon attack: r(5) = 30 total HP Damage to A(I11), Killed

* Move Action: 2 squares (Slowed) to K8

* Save vs. Slowed & OG 5 Poison: r(12)/Success

LOCATION: K8
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: A(I11): 30 HP, Killed
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 22/30; 5 THP spent
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: T: +2 ATT UEoMNT (HW), no longer Slowed/OG 5
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 9/10; 1 AP remaining



End of ROUND 1: A1 & A2 Killed; S 38/43 HP, dazed UEoNNT.



ROUND 2

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Hunger can be a powerful motivating factor by itself. So too can anger. Taken together, they are too much for the TREE SPIDER to bear. It sees the large foe before it, even through the blurred vision and its limited sight. But it senses the little prey, not far off. It charges around the giant trunk of a chestnut and sinks its chelicerae into its prey's shoulder, injecting poison in the hope it will fall soon and can be dragged into the treetop and devoured.

Standard: Charge 3 squares K5 to N4, atk vs N, Bite r(11)+8+1=20 vs 17 AC. Hit, TRIGGERS N SECOND CHANCE Trigger: You are hit by an attack. Effect: The attacker must reroll the attack and use the second roll, even if it is lower, r(18)+8+1=27 vs 17 AC. Hit, r(4)+3=7 poison damage and OG 5 poison damage (SE)

LOCATION: N4
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 7 poison damage to N
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: 5 OG poison damage to N (SE)
CURRENT HP: 28/43
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Dazed UEoNNT



Again NEMO's survival instincts kick in, and he slashes at the massive spider as he falls a step back. As his nausea recedes and his vision clears, the young halfling can see the creature appears to be quite battered by his attack.

Perhaps today will not be his last! Hearing movement behind him, he glances over his shoulder and - seeing Jendi getting a crackling black sphere ready to throw - ducks down, out of the way.


* Start of turn: takes 5 OG poison damage (Nemo Bloodied)

* Standard Action: Sly Flourish vs. S: r(9) + 9 + 2CA (Cunning Stalker) = 20 vs. 17 AC/Hit; Damage: r(2 + 7 + r(5,3) (Sneak Attack) = 17 HP

* Move Action: Shift 1 square to O6

* Save vs. Slowed & OG Poison: r(11)/Success

LOCATION: 06
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: S: 17 HP
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 12/24  BLOODIED
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 7/7; 1 AP



Stepping over and through the broken pieces of carapace on the forest floor, JENDI once again pulls the shadows of his Queen to shroud his presence from sight. He points a slender and pale finger at the remaining arachnid opponent and whispers, "your turn" as his progress comes to a halt.

Rolling his hands around the growing and crackling sphere of black energy, the young warlock gives a slight smile at Nemo ducking and covering his head. Then, with a withering glare at the spider, he throws the sphere directly at it, nodding with satisfaction at the explosive collision of spell and spider.

"Well, are we ready to frighten some loggers?"


* Move Action: 6 squares to P7, triggering Shadow Walk/Concealment

* Minor Action: Warlock's Curse vs. spider

* Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs. spider: r(14) + 4 = 18 vs. Fort/Hit; Damage: r(3) + 4 + r(6) (Warlock's Curse) = 13/Killed

LOCATION: P13
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: S: 13 necrotic & psychic damage/KILLED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 26/26
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Fell Might recharged
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP
 
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darkbard

Legend
Combat complete. That earns you 125 x2 (A) + 150 (S) = 400/4 = 100 XP/PC and 1 Success at Moderate DC in the SC. That puts you at 3/6 Successes, 1 Failure, 1 Secondary Skill remaining, 1 Hard DC remaining.

You have time for a short rest. Please, in your followup post, note Surges spent/total and Action Points remaining for each PC. You may make one use of Healing Word during this rest.



A sudden stillness, quite unlike the forest of earlier, which had been replete with suggestive sounds of a hundred sorts. The light of the sun begins to break over the horizon and through the dense canopy [bright light conditions forward]. The scene around you is one of carnage, blue-tinted ichor and gore sprayed across the Bracken and trunks of trees. The hacked and spell-withered corpses of three incredibly large spiders are strewn across the tableau.

Before long, the rustle and voices of the logging train--in full, this time--can be heard making its tentative approach.

Though they are still at a distance, the plaintive voice of the teen, Hansel, reaches you, "I told ya, Bordis, it were some hag or harpy of the woods! A woman wrapped in cloaks done hexed me!"




This is your next obstacle: All about you is evident indication of some great violence, the corpses and gore, the trampled understory. These things will no doubt escalate the loggers' anxiety and reflexive impulse to both scrutinize and respond with violence of their own.

What do you do? (Moderate DC)
 

Nephis

Adventurer
During the short rest, Surges remaining/total and Action Points remaining for each PC:
  • Jendi = 8/8 and 0 AP remaining
  • Mylistra = 7/8 (and uses Healing Word on herself) and 0 AP remaining
  • Nemo = 5/7 and 1 AP remaining
  • Toriq = 8/10 and 1 AP remaining. Only Toriq is not at full HP: she is at 29/30



MYLISTRA's eyes dart over to meet NEMO's before flicking over to the larger spider parts. "What do you think?" she asks the young halfling, still almost a stranger to her. Nemo's eyes widen as her idea becomes apparent to him. "I think so?" he replies with certain hesitation, possibly at the ghoulishness of the idea.

Jendi flicks his focus from one to the other, distaste and possible understanding in his expression. "Sister, stop them, please." he softly and urgently insists. Toriq, a slight wry smile flitting across her lips, shakes her head. "I think we have to take the chance, as revolting as you may find it," she says in amusement. "Explain how we do this: this is your expertise," she says to the other two.

Mylistra and Nemo gather up the larger pieces of spider carapace and carefully help first Jendi - grumbling non-stop - and Toriq into their arachnid costumes, using vines to attach the pieces to their bodies, before Mylistra dons the third empty carapace. Nemo can direct them, make the appropriate noises, while remaining hidden at the same time. The two "experts" make sure that while the disguises will easily stay in place, they can also be easily discarded at a moment's notice, should the need arise. But first, they need to scare off the loggers.




* Group Skill Bluff check to disguise themselves as dangerous spiders to scare away the loggers: Nemo +7, Mylistra +8 = 2 Autosuccesses vs. 8 Easy DC (Group Check step down), 2 out of 4 Successes = Success at Skill Check
4 Successes/1 Failure
 
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darkbard

Legend
SC Progress: 4 Successes/1 Failure/1 Secondary Skill Available/1 Hard DC Available

The logging train is upon you now, a dozen or more working people wrapped in thick woolens and furs against the deep chill of autumn in this clime.

Young Hansel is at the lead beside a burly, whiskered, male Half-orc, who must be Bordris. The boy's father is a few paces behind, with the rest of the logging outfit.

"Ain't no hags left in this part of the forest, boy," grunts Bordris. "Harpies neither. Guildmaster paid a handsome bounty to the Order of the Ebony Tower to drive 'em off. I've seen the trophies on the walls of the Guildhall..." Bordris stops short, in his speech and in his forward movement. Several gasps of shock and fright escape from the loggers as they, too, see you now: a trio of giant spiders poised to pounce from the underbrush. Nemo is a natural mimic, his chittering from behind a tree almost making Jendi turn to face an unseen threat.

"Aye, no harpies, boy, but just as bad: spiders!" He shouts the last. "Release the hounds!"

A doghandler steps out from the train, half a dozen hunter-guardian dogs of obvious strength and ferocity
[think: akitas] strain at their leashes, canines used primarily to drive off marauding owlbears and the like from the logging camp. The handler unleashes them, and they advance warily as a pack, hackles raised, and deepthroated growls accompanying each step.

What do you do? The dogs can sense their humans' fear and believe you to be an arachnid threat, so they're ready to attack. Moderate DC if a Skill check or DC 15/13 vs AC/NAD if you want to use an attack power here.
 
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Nephis

Adventurer
As the words of Bordris penetrate TORIQ's ears, she can almost hear Mylistra's muscles stiffen next to her - monstrous spider disguise notwithstanding. She herself can feel the wild frenzy of rage fill her own gut, and she lets out a low growl of threat at the revelation of what has been done to some of her fellow Guardians and dear friends. How dare they!

To her surprise - and grim delight - the hounds interpret her snarls as a strange alpha-threat from the arachnids they are facing: their deepthroated growls turn to whines of terror, and they cower in their tracks, slowly, cautiously, backing away.




Primary Skill Nature check (with a +2 bonus from Wildblood Frenzy encounter power) to present an alpha-threat to the hounds causing them to surrender: r(16) + 9 + 2 = 27 vs. 12 Moderate DC/Success

5 Successes/1 Failure
 
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darkbard

Legend
SC progress: 5 Successes/1 Failure/1 Secondary Skill Available/1 Hard DC Available

"Blast those curs!" snarls Bordris, though he, too, backs away from the growling "arachnid" in deference. "Who knew spiders could mimic hounds?" he mutters to no one in particular.

"Right, then, Leonid, leash 'em back up," Bordris orders as the logging train retreats to a safe distance. "If we can't take the old trail to the chestnut grove, it'll 'ave to be through the fens. Strap on gaiters if ye got 'em. This is gonna be through the muck."




You've successfully cowed the loggers from advancing upon Dryope's grove by their preferred route, but they will give one last-ditch effort to do so by other means. What will you do to stop them here and successfully finish off the Skill Challenge? This is against that remaining Hard DC.
 

Nephis

Adventurer
JENDI hears the loggers' change of route and mentally scans through what his sister has taken to calling his "bag of trick" to see if there is some "trick" he has not yet used which might profit their cause (and keep them here in the forest, close by the mark indicating the sunken vault on his map). In the carapace next to him, he can hear Mylistra muttering, at first quietly, almost to herself, then with growing strength and urgency. Finally, he can make out what she is saying: "send them harpies, send THEM HARPIES!!!"

Turning to look at her, he realizes that she has let the carapace fall off and is staring at him, eyes a glowing lavender in the half-light under the forest's canopy. Facing her more fully, eyes seeing her more clearly after removing his own spidermask, he realizes that she is not only repeating this but pointing in the direction of the loggers' adjusted route. As he registers all of this information, he remembers some of his more interesting teachers back in Blackstone who taught not only the standard skills, spells, and lessons, but also about the usefulness of alteration, of thinking and creating on the fly. Could he do that now?

Closing his eyes, delving into his more interesting but not yet intuitive skills, and sends out the Ravens of his Queen. With a twist of his outstretched hands, he alters Her beautiful ravens into winged females with screaming visages and sharp talons. Straining, he pushes wind through the images, causing them to scream hoarsely and wail.

Suddenly all four of them are staring around them, Jendi and Mylistra following the journey of his raven-harpies, Toriq and Nemo up at restless sounds of birds and bird-like creatures taking off from branches in surrounding trees, joining the shadowy throng of Jendi's creation. Birds of all kinds and sizes, scream and caw and crow at the men, flying at them with physical talons and wings that Jendi's birds can not quite mimic, making the lie of the ravens into truth. And is that a harpy or two they can see, joining in?

Whether there are harpies on the wing or no, the men and boys (and faster hounds) do not wait to find out. They run back down the route by which they'd already entered the forest, leaving it and vowing never to return ... and never to speak of their own cowardice ... to each other or anyone else.




Mylistra makes a Secondary Skill Insight check to recognize the loggers' fear and hatred of harpies: +9 = Autosuccess, to give Jendi a +2 bonus for his

Primary Skill Arcana check to alter his spell Winged Horde into a Horde of Harpies to frighten the loggers out of the forest: r(14) + 8 + 2 = 24 vs. 19 Hard DC.

6 Successes/1 Failure. Yay!
 
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darkbard

Legend
Skill Challenge successfully completed. Rewards: XP = 200 (Level 1, Complexity 2 SC) /4 = 50 XP per PC and 120 gp (Treasure Parcel 1.8), for in the loggers' flight from the scene, amid the abandoned saws and sledges and harnesses, is discovered the foreman's paychest. Further, this is your second completed encounter of the "day," so you've achieved a  Milestone.

What comes next? Do you continue to Dryope's grove, for Toriq to check in with her beloved and complete the Minor Quest to protect her? Will Jendi take the opportunity to convince the others to seek and pillage the Sunken Vault in search of his desired magic armor? Or perhaps you will turn back to Ravenswood, to address the plight of Elena now that you are sure the loggers, at least, do not threaten the dryad? Or something else?

Whatever your expressed intention be, I'll frame the next scene accordingly.
 
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Nephis

Adventurer
The party would like to check in with Dryope and make sure her situation is okay, and Jendi will of course try to convince the others to help him find the vault.

Actions points as follows (due to having reached a milestone):
  • Jendi & Mylistra: 1 AP each
  • Nemo & Toriq: 2 APs each
 

darkbard

Legend
The way to Dryope's Grove is not far, perhaps an hour or so more along the forest path, but a game trail, in truth. During the journey, Jendi peppers the conversation with occasional references to being so close to a site of great historical importance, how an opportunity for discovery and, perhaps, relics of wealth and power, should not be squandered.

Toriq leads the others with a mixture of confidence (over their success in driving off the loggers) and anxiety, for she should have heard from her beloved yesterday; something further must be amiss.

Just after crossing the sweet, babbling brook that signals the boundary of Dryope's domain, it becomes clear what that something is. A woman's scream rings out, and up ahead, at the base of an enormous chestnut tree, a beautiful Eladrin woman with flowing golden hair cowers. Surrounding her at some distance yet is an array of what can only be described as thorny brambles of vine and twisted twigs given humanoid form and life. Yet these plant creatures clearly radiate a malevolence and disturbance in the natural order.

And they are not alone. A sickly gray-skinned figure in tattered black rags with wicked yellow claws and an impossibly long, barbed, black tongue that seems to flick in and out of its mouth with a mind of its own crouches menacingly as if to pounce.

"Yes, grab her and claw her and blight her, my pretties," he commands the plant creatures in Elven
[comprehensible to those who speak it].

Then, its wicked tongue flicking past its chin in relish, and as if to itself in the Common tongue of humans, "Master will be pleased with Bauskaz when all the forest above is his to command."




Okay, assuming you do not leave Dryope to a dismal fate, this is a Level +2 combat encounter. Dryope is a Minion under your control for the duration, and her survival is your goal here, every bit as much as defeating these wicked foes.

Choose your starting squares from D-E-F-G-H/2 and/or O-P/1-2-3, roll initiative, and make Monster knowledge checks, if you like (Religion for the gray humanoid, Nature x2 for the twig figures), post that to Discord, and I will update the map accordingly. We'll proceed as before, by making combat moves on Discord, which I will transfer here once any interrupt actions are accounted for. As before, I will use red for Toriq's token, green for Nemo's, blue for Jendi's, and purple for Mylistra's.

Creatures: Dryope (Minion ally; yellow circle), Ghoul x1 (black circle, HP 65; AC 16, Fortitude 16, Reflex 14, Will 15), Twig Blights x2 (grey circles, HP 28; AC 16, Fortitude 12, Reflex 16, Will 14), Twig Blight Minions x7 (white circles, HP 1; AC 15, Fortitude 12, Reflex 15, Will 13).

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Dryope’s Grove (Encounter Level 3, L+2); grid runs left to right on the X-axis (A to Y) and bottom to top on the Y-axis (1 to 25), such that bottom left square is A1 and top right square is Y25. Any map details not specifically denoted below are incidental color.

Giant Chestnut: The trunk of this massive tree is blocking terrain.

Protruding Roots: Squares containing any roots of the giant chestnut are difficult terrain. Dryope is immune to this terrain (forest walk).

Boulders: Squares E/5-6, F-G/10-11, K-L/3, S5, M-N/3, T/4-6, U4, S-T/15, U-V/8-9, are blocking terrain and can provide cover accordingly. They are 1 square high and can be climbed with a DC 12 Athletics check; this eliminates the blocking terrain effect.

Foliage: These squares of brambleweed are heavily obscured and difficult/hindering terrain. Saving Throw: A creature can make a saving throw to avoid being forced into hindering terrain, whether it is pulled, pushed, slid, teleported, or otherwise moved against its will. On a successful save, the creature is knocked prone in the prior square adjacent to the brambleweed.

Brambleweed
Brambleweed has finger-length thorns, sharp and sturdy enough to rend flesh. The plant's thick vines spread across an area, hindering any who enter it.
Effect: Brambleweed squares are difficult terrain. A creature that starts its turn in a brambleweed square takes 5 damage. A creature that ends its turn in a brambleweed square is restrained until the start of its next turn. Dryope is immune to these effects.

Giant Puffballs: These enormous mushrooms, D9, L11, Q/19-20, and V/13-14, are difficult terrain and can be stunted with as single-use terrain. (Possible ideas: Blast attack that Dazes creatures in blast; create Area burst Zone that does initial psychic damage, then is heavily obscured, and so on.)

Dryope
Dryope Level 3 Minion Controller
Medium fey humanoid (plant) XP 38
HP
1; a missed attack never damages a minion. Initiative +5

AC 17, Fortitude 13, Reflex 16, Will 17 Perception+3

Speed 8 (forest walk)

Standard Actions

Dryad’s Plea (charm) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Ranged 5 (one creature); +6 vs. Will
Hit: The target is dazed until the end of Dryope’s next turn and cannot willingly move closer to or attack Dryope (save ends).

Move Actions
Treestride
(teleportation) ✦ At-Will
Requirement: Dryope must be adjacent to a tree or a Large plant.
Effect: Dryope teleports up to 8 squares to an unoccupied square adjacent to a tree or Large plant. She does not need line of sight or line of effect from origin to destination square.

Minor Actions
Deceptive Veil
(illusion) ✦ At-Will
Dryope can disguise herself to appear as any Medium humanoid, usually a beautiful elf or eladrin. A successful Insight check (opposed by her Bluff check) pierces the disguise.

Triggered Actions
Slip Away
Encounter
Trigger (Immediate Interrupt): A creature enters a square within 3 squares of Dryope.
Effect: Dryope uses Treestride (free action) without needing to meet its requirement and can make a Stealth check to become hidden at the end of the move if she has any cover or concealment.

Grove’s BlessingEncounter
Trigger: Dryope drops to 0 hit points.
Effect (No Action): Dryope is restored to 1 HP and teleports to an unoccupied square adjacent to the chestnut trunk.

Skills Bluff +12, Nature +10, Stealth +8

Str 11 (+1) Dex 15 (+3) Wis 14 (+3)
Con 12 (+2) Int 10 (+1) Cha 18 (+5)

Alignment unaligned Languages Common, Elven

Monster Knowledge checks:
Jendi makes a Religion check vs the Ghoul, r(17)+8=25 beats Hard DC

Bauskaz, Ghoul Zealot Level 4 Brute
Medium natural humanoid (undead) XP 175
HP 65; Bloodied 32 Initiative +7
AC 16, Fortitude 16, Reflex 14, Will 15 Perception+9
Speed 8 Darkvision
Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 necrotic; Vulnerable 5 radiant

Traits

Weakened Paralysis
Whenever the ghoul takes radiant damage, one creature immobilized by the ghoul can make a saving throw against that effect as a free action.

Standard Actions

(⚔) ClawAt-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 6 damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends).

Prepare for SacrificeAt-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature the flesh seeker has immobilized); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 8 damage, and the flesh seeker knocks the target prone and grabs it. The target takes a -2 penalty to attempts to escape the grab and cannot stand up until the grab ends.

Render unto Orcus (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one prone creature grabbed by the flesh seeker); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d8 + 9 damage.

Skills Acrobatics +8, Athletics +11
Str 18 (+6) Dex 12 (+3) Wis 14 (+4)
Con 15 (+4) Int 10 (+2) Cha 11 (+2)
Alignment chaotic evil Languages Common, Elven
Equipment dagger

Toriq makes Nature checks vs Twig blights and Twig blight Minions, r(9)+9=18 meets Medium DC for Twig blights and r(11)+9=20 meets Hard DC for Minions.

TWIG BLIGHTS
L2 Lurkers, Small fey humanoid (plant); HP 28, AC16, F12, R16, W14; Vulnerable 5 fire; poison, illusion, chaotic evil

Traits
Rooted

When an effect forces the seedling to move through a pull, a push, or a slide, the seedling can move 3 squares fewer than the effect specifies.

Standard Actions
(⚔)
Claw • At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature), +7 vs AC
Hit: 1d6+7 poison damage

Blighted Claw (poison) ✦ Recharge when the blight uses invisibility
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 8 poison damage, and the target is weakened (save ends).
Miss: Half damage, and the target is weakened until the end of its next turn.

Invisibility (illusion) ✦ Recharge when the blight uses blighted claw
Effect: The blight becomes invisible until the start of its next turn.

TWIG BLIGHT SEEDLINGS
Twig Blight Seedling Level 1 Minion Skirmisher

Small fey humanoid (plant) XP 25

HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion. Initiative +5

AC 15, Fortitude 12, Reflex 15, Will 13 Perception+6
Speed 5 (forest walk), climb 5 Darkvision
Resist 5 poison

Traits
Rooted

When an effect forces the seedling to move through a pull, a push, or a slide, the seedling can move 3 squares fewer than the effect specifies.

Standard Actions

(⚔) Claw (poison) ✦ At-Will
Effect: Before the attack, the seedling shifts up to 2 squares.
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +6 vs. AC
Hit: 3 poison damage, or 5 poison damage if the target is granting combat advantage to the seedling.

Skills Stealth +8
Str 7 (-2) Dex 17 (+3) Wis 12 (+1)
Con 9 (-1) Int 5 (-3) Cha 10 (0)
Alignment Chaotic Evil Languages Elven

Initiative:
Twig blights (grey), 27
Dryope (yellow), 23
Mylistra (purple), 13
Ghoul (black), 13
Nemo (green), 12
Jendi (blue), 7
Twig blight Minions (white), 6
Toriq (red), 4



ROUND 1
1702690137330.png



The TWIG BLIGHTS are quick to obey their master's command: one rushes Dryope from the near side with intent on a mortal blow, but the Dryad disappears in a blink, reapparating in some brambleweed nearby. The Blight searches around confusedly for a moment before catching sight of her and reversing course.

Meanwhile, the farther Blight stalks across the Grove, ending beside its fellow.





TB1
Standard: Charge Q9 to O14: TRIGGERS D SLIP AWAY Encounter Power: Immediate Interrupt; Trigger: A creature enters a square within 3 squares of Dryope. Effect: Dryope uses Treestride to Teleport N15 to T7. Makes Stealth check to become Hidden, r(6)+8=14. Fails to surpass enemy Passive Perception. TB1 finishes move, returning to Q12.

TB2
Double Move: F21 to P11.

(⚔) Claw • At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature), +7 vs AC
Hit: 1d6+7 poison damage

LOCATION: T1 in Q12, T2 in P11
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: na
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: TB1 28/28, TB2 28/28
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na (edited)



After instinctively slipping away from the large twig blights, DRYOPE attempts to dazzle one of their smaller fellows, to no avail.

Desperately looking around, the dryad sees to her immense relief her beloved enter her grove. The hand she extends towards Toriq looks less like the eladrin she resembles at the moment and more her usual leafy green self. With a pulling motion, the dryad strides through the greenery - to arrive near the warden's aura of comfort, strength, and protection ... and to hide herself from her attackers.


* Standard Action: Dryad's Plea vs. M (O7): r(5) + 6 = 11 vs. 13 Will/Miss

* Move Action: Treestride: Teleport to Q2 and make stealth check to hide: r(14) + 8 - 22/Succeeds vs. Passive Perception of all three types of antagonists

LOCATION: Q2
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 1/1
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Hidden vs. G, TBs, & Ms



MYLISTRA looks around with disgust at the unnatural blights invading her friend's grove and at the ghoul controlling them. <This will not stand,> the witch murmurs to herself, thinking of her own poisoned homeland.

She strides forward and - bringing her arm forward to catch one's attention - gives a violent stare and makes a sign in the air. Normally this action would leave a faint and temporary mark on a creature's forehead. In this case, however, the mark ignites and causes a conflagration. The marked twigblight burns into cinders which then float away in the breeze.

Mylistra looks around for more fodder for her power.


* Move Action: 6 squares to J4.

* Standard Action: Gaze of Defiance vs. M (J6): r(16) + 4 = 20 vs. 13 Will/Hit. M (J6) Killed.

LOCATION: J4
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: M (J6), Killed
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 24/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 7/8; 1 AP remaining



THE GHOUL whips his head around as your band enters the scene. "Ah, the Lord of Undeath will relish new sacrifices in His name! But, oh, how my own hunger grows! Perhaps He will allow me to suck the marrow from one of your bones ... starting with you, infidel!" It points at Mylistra, then it whips its head in Dryope's direction. "There, in the shrubbery! Slay her so that my Lord can bring the glory of undeath to this forest!"

With preternatural speed and strength belying its emaciated form, it crosses the clearing in a nonce and rakes a nasty wound across Mylistra's arm with its claws. And then she feels it ... the paralyzing touch for which such undead creatures are feared spreading across her body.


Minor: Perception check to find Dryope, r(15)+9=24. Succeeds vs D'S 22 Stealth. D no longer hidden from G.

Standard: Charge 6 squares G11 to J5, Claw attack vs M, r(18)+9+1=28vs 17 AC. Hit, r(6,4)+6=16 damage and Immobilized (SE). M BLOODIED

LOCATION: J5
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 16 to M, M BLOODIED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: M Immobilized (SE)
CURRENT HP: 65/65
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na



The young fighter, trained in guerilla tactics, moves forward to defend the besieged witch against the foul grey creature. The ghoul does sense his approach and attempts to keep him from entering the fray, but NEMO counters his attack and parlays his position into advantage for himself and for his companions.

The ghoul is left dazed and shaking its head to clear its ... mind ... for the moment, while Nemo looks for another moment for further attack. He jabs the ghoul a second time with his dagger.


* Minor Action: enter Duelist's Prowess (Daily) Stance; Effect: Until the stance ends, each time an enemy hits or misses you, you can use the Duelist’s Prowess Attack power against it.

* Move Action: 6 squares to J6: TRIGGERS OA FROM GHOUL: Claw r(10) +9 = 19 vs 21 (Nemo's AC vs OAs: 21)/Miss

* Standard Action: Sly Flourish vs. Ghoul: r(18) + 9 + 2CA = 29 vs. 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r(2) + 7 + (1,2) Sneak Attack Damage = 12 HP

* No Action: Low Blow (Enc): Trigger: melee attack hits a creature granting combat advantage to Nemo. Effect: The creature (Ghoul) is dazed UEoNNT.

* Action Point: Sly Flourish vs G, r(13) +9 +2 CA = 24 vs 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r(2) +7 = 9 HP

LOCATION: J6
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: G: 21 HP
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: G Dazed UEoNNT
CURRENT HP: 24/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Duelist's Prowess Stance
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 5/7; 1 AP



JENDI watches Mylistra blithely stride forward into danger and incinerate one of the twig blights ... blighting the landscape. He smiles slightly, thinking of how he often imagines his mother's assistant as the personification of his Goddess, the witch's present actions being a particularly vivid reflection thereof.

Then the young warlock is filled with horror as the ghoul attacks her ... in the name of Orcus?? The Goddess of his dreams and power fills him with rage and disgust. He feels an inner push into combative action and obeys it immediately, feeling his body slip into shadow as he moves forward. His punishment of Mylistra's attacker is swift and mighty, deftly guided by his Goddess's hand.

Coming back to himself, Jendi realizes his tenuous position and whips some powerful and beguiling strands at the nearby blights, hoping to annihilate those he can. Sadly, only one succumbs to his deadly distractions. At least it is the blight closest to him.


* Move Action: 4 squares to L7; triggers Shadow Walk Concealment UEoJNT

* Minor Action: Warlock's Curse on Ghoul (closest enemy)

* Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs. Ghoul: r(15) + 4 + 2CA = 21 vs. 16 Fort/Hit; Damage: r(7+1)Child of Sorrow + 4 + r(2 )Curse + r(8)FellMight = 22 Psychic AND Necrotic (negates Ghoul's Resist 10 Necrotic); Ghoul BLOODIED

* Action Point: Beguiling Strands (Enc.): CBL5: 7-11, M-Q: all enemies in blast: M(M10): r(2) + 3 = 5 vs. 13 Will/Miss; M(O7): r(19) + 3 = 22 vs. 13 Will/Hit; TB (P11): r(8) + 3 = 11 vs. 14 Will/Miss; Damage: 3 Psych: M(O7) KILLED; Forced movement negated by Rooted Trait.

LOCATION: L7
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: G: 22 Necrotic & Psychic damage/BLOODIED; M (O7) KILLED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: G: Cursed
CURRENT HP: 26/26
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Fell Might expended; Concealment (Shadow Walk)
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP



THE TWIG BLIGHT SEEDLINGS act as one upon their master's command, searching for the Dryad with an innate natural intelligence. Yet because of that very nature, Dryope is able to foil their efforts to seek her out, all but the Blight nearest to her, that is. It lunges toward her, but Toriq pulls her out of the way at the last minute, swapping places with her in the brambleweed and taking the blow intended to end the Dryad’s life. The Halforc retaliates in kind, splintering the Blight into a thousand twiggy pieces.

Another Blight flanks Nemo, poisoning the young rogue with its thorns, while three others surround Jendi, one lashing the young Warlock with its thorny claws, injecting him with a stinging poison.


Minor: Perception checks to locate D, target DC = 22 Stealth. B12, r(3)+6=9. Fails. D14, r(12)+6=18. Fails. F19, r(14)+6=20. Fails. M10, r(19)+6=25. Succeeds. T20, r(5)+6=11. Fails. D is no longer hidden from M10.

M10
Move: 5 sq to P5

Standard: Charge D TRIGGERS T GUARDIAN'S COUNTER Immediate Interrupt. Trigger: An enemy attacks an ally within 2 Sq. Effect: You & ally swap places, and you become target of attack. After resolved, make MBA vs triggering creature. Atk vs T, r(20)=CRIT. 3 poison damage. T MBA vs M10, r(16)+7=23 vs 15 AC. M10 DESTROYED

B12
Move: 5 to G9

Standard: Charge to J7, Claw vs N, r(8)+6+2 CA +1=17 vs 17 AC. * Immediate Interrupt: Duelist's Prowess Attack: Trigger: Enemy (Ghoul) attacks or misses Nemo: ATK vs. Reflex: r(2) + 9 = 11 vs. 15 Reflex/Miss. Hit N for 5 poison damage (CA).

D14
Move: 5 to I9

Standard: Charge to K8, Claw vs J, r(9)+6+1-2 Concealment =14 vs 15 AC. Miss.

F19
Move: Run 7 to H12 (grants CA, -5 atk USoNT)

Standard: Charge to K7, Claw vs J, Shift 2 sq to M6, r(18)+6+1+2 CA -2 Concealment -5 Run=20 vs 15 AC. Hit. 5 poison damage (CA)

T20
Move: Run 7 to M13 (grants CA,-5 atk USoNT)

Standard: Charge to O10, Claw vs J, Shift 2 to M8, r(11)+6+1 +2 CA -2 Concealment-5 Run= 13 vs 15 AC. Miss.

LOCATION: Ms in J7, K8, M6, M8, D in O2, T in Q2
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: T 3 poison, N 5 poison, J 5 poison
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: T in brambleweed at start of turn
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: M6, M8 grant CA & -5 attacks USoNT



Initially TORIQ struggles to pull away from the sharp brambles grabbing at her and her equipment, but a sharp cry of "Mylistra!" from her brother and an answering groan of pain from her friend give the halforc the impetus to pull herself free. The warden rushes into action, past her beloved, trusting that she will be able to protect herself.

As she races toward the ghoul threatening to make Mylistra into a sacrifice of defilement for its demonlord, she stares at it, marking its weaknesses. Toriq allows her anger to boil her blood into a frenzy to be unleashed on this unnatural undead monster. Her first attempt to slash at it carries with it too much frenzy and not enough focus: she is more controlled in her second strike and is able to turn it into a furious assault on the ghoul, causing its now truly dead carcass to fall to the ground.

Glancing toward more attackers, these threatening her brother and his little friend, she quickly steps past a twigblight attempting to scratch her and into a protective stance, her brother at her back. She smiles a challenge at the two she faces, letting them know she has her eye on them and is ready to put action behind her threats.... nay, her promises!


* Start of turn: take 5 Damage from Brambles

* Minor Action: designate Ghoul as Hunter's Quarry (Enc.) UEoTNT

* Move Action: 6 squares to K5 (avoiding any OAs)

* Standard Action: Wildblood Frenzy (Enc): vs. Ghoul: r(5) + 7 + 2CA = 14 vs. 16 AC/Miss; Effect: Make the attack one more time against the same target or a different one: vs. Ghoul: r(20) = Critical; Damage: 8 + 7 + 6 = 21 HP

* Free Action: Furious Assault (Enc.): Trigger: You hit an enemy with an attack. Effect: The attack deals 1[W] extra damage if it’s a weapon attack or 1d8 extra damage if it is not a weapon attack: Damage: 8 --> total damage: 29 HP, GHOUL KILLED

* TRIGGERED ACTION
: Jendi's Fell Might recharges

* AP: Move 2 squares to K7

* TRIGGERED ACTION: OA from J7: r(9) + 6 = 15 vs. 18 AC/Miss

* Free Action: Nature's Wrath: Effect: Once during each of your turns, you can mark each adjacent enemy. This mark lasts until the end of your next turn: J7 & K8 Marked by T UEoTNT

LOCATION: K7
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: G: 29 HP, Killed
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: M(J7) & M(K8) Marked UEoTNT
CURRENT HP: 21/30
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/10; 1 AP remaining (0 available this encounter)

Remaining foes: TB1 (28/28), TB2 (28/28), 4 Minion TB seedlings



ROUND TWO

1702844114303.png


Their master defeated, the TWIG BLIGHTS briefly seem unmoored. But the ghoul's last command must linger still, for one charges across the central clearing to where Dryope stands, defenseless for the moment, and drives its thorny claws into her midsection. The dryad lets out a gasp of pain, then, "Oh, Toriq!" and disappears in a twinkling flurry of fireflies and moths.

The second blight, seeing their quarry defeated, joins the fracas with your band, attempting to do in Jendi as its fellow did Dryope, but, still wrapped in shadow, Jendi is protected from its blighted claws ... to a degree. The poison coursing through his veins weakens the young Warlock.


TB1
Move: 5 sq Q12 to Q7

Standard: Charge, 4 sq Q7 to P3, Claw vs D, r(19)+7+1=27 vs 17 AC. Hit, r(4)+7=11 poison damage. D reduced to 0 HP. TRIGGERS D GROVE'S BLESSING Effect: D restored to 1 HP and teleports to square adjacent to chestnut trunk (N23).

TB2
Move: 4 sq P11 to L8

Standard: Blighted Claw vs J, r(8)+7 -2 Concealment=13 vs 15 AC. Miss. Half damage on Miss = r(3,7)+8=18/2=9 poison damage and Weakened UEoJNT. J BLOODIED.

Blighted Claw (poison) ✦ Recharge when the blight uses invisibility
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 8 poison damage, and the target is weakened (save ends).
Miss: Half damage, and the target is weakened until the end of its next turn.

LOCATION: TB1 P3, TB2 L8
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 11 poison damage to D, 9 poison damage to J
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: D KILLED (SORT OF), J Weakened UEoJNT (BLOODIED)
CURRENT HP: TB1 28/28, TB2 28/28
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: na



The dryad can feel her molecules reform, taking nourishment and instruction from the roots of her beloved Chestnut, and becomes DRYOPE once more. She takes a moment to breathe in the fresh green air through the canopy of the forest's tender leaves before taking in her surroundings, visual and aural.

The sound of the striking of metal on wood causes her to flinch before she realizes - from the calls and yells of her beloved and her companions - that it cannot be the threatened loggers. She "strides" to a nearby shrub of bramble to get a better look and to prepare a further defense, should she need one. She also attempts to hide her presence but has a niggling doubt that she was actually truly successful in this.


* Move Action: Treestride: Requirement: Dryope must be adjacent to a tree or a Large plant (her Chestnut Tree); Effect: Dryope teleports up to 8 squares to an unoccupied square adjacent to a tree or Large plant: square H21; Hide check using Stealth Skill: r(8) + 8 = 16/Fails against Twig Blights & Succeeds against Minions passive Perception (18, 16, respectively)

* Ready Action: Dryad's Plea on any enemy entering close burst 5 of her present location

LOCATION: H21
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: Readied Action: Dryad's Plea
CURRENT HP: 1/1
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Hidden vs. Ms



Eyes closed, MYLISTRA murmurs the words of healing to herself and grits her teeth, drenched in blood, feeling the pain of the skin around her wounds knitting itself back together. Then she opens her eyes and readies to do battle.

The Ghoul itself may have been vanquished, but their ordeal is by no means over. She gives another violent stare at another twigblight - a larger one - and makes her marking sign. It may not be incinerating this one, but it is giving her allies something easier to hit. Smiling in grim satisfaction, she circles the crowd of combatants until she reaches the perfect point. The twigblight bearing her sign seems to feel her eyes upon it and turns its head 180 degrees to stare. Mylistra's smile widens and the symbol held in her hand seems to glow and reflect the silver lavender of her elven eyes.

"Boo," she whispers, and the twigblight turns its head back around and takes off, running. Mylistra's satisfaction grows as she sees her plan fall into place: as the unnatural thing races past her combatants, both Toriq and Jendi are able to get their licks in and nearly fell it.


Minor Action: cast Healing Word (Enc) on self: spend surge (6 HP) & gain r4 add'l HP; +2 ATK UEoMNT

Standard Action: Gaze of Defiance vs. TB2: r8 + 4 + 2 HW = 14 vs. 14 Will/Hit; Damage: r8 + 4 = 12 psychic damage; allies: +1 ATK vs. TB2 UEoMNT

Move Action: 6 squares to I10, avoiding any OAs

AP: Cause Fear (Enc) vs. TB2: r16 + 4 + 2 HW = 22 vs. 14 Will/Hit; TB2 moves speed + 2 away from M (7 squares) to S4

TRIGGERED ACTION (Jendi): OA vs. TB2: MBA/Eldritch Strike: r9 + 7 + 1 GoD = 17 vs 16 AC/Hit; damage: r4 + 4 = 8/Weakened = 1/2 damage = 4 HP TB2 BLOODIED
TRIGGERED ACTION
(Toriq): OA vs. TB2: r18 + 7 + 1 GoD = 26 vs 16 AC/Hit; damage: r5 + 4 = 9 HP

LOCATION: I10; TB2 in S1
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: TB2: 12 psychic, 13 damage = 25 Total HP, TB2 BLOODIED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: Allies +1 ATK vs. TB2 UEoMNT (GoD)
CURRENT HP: 18/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: +2 ATK UEoMNT (Healing Word)
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 6/8; 0 AP remaining



NEMO delays until after Jendi's turn



JENDI snarls a curse at one of the smaller twigblights still threatening him, the blood dripping down his forehead somehow making even more ferocious. The warlock is young, but when in his element he looks dangerous and ageless: severe wounding makes his appearance almost feral. He seems fearless as he reaches out a hand to touch the blight, to further curse it. Perhaps this is why the small unnatural creature shrinks away, avoiding his touch.

Jendi continues to stare menacing at it as he obeys a summons from his small friend, asking to switch places.


Minor Action: Warlock's Curse on M(K8)

Standard Action: Hand of Blight vs M(K8): r4 + 4 = 8/Miss

Move Action: shift 1 square to K6

LOCATION: K6
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: na
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: M(K8) cursed by Jendi
CURRENT HP: 12/26 BLOODIED
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Fell Might recharges (Ghoul killed); Concealment ends
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP



NEMO slips into place to make his attack, sensing Jendi's sister attacking the unnatural tree creature he left behind. Now, time to use more of the tactics Beppa taught him: he notes the location of the three creatures around him before tumbling into action, dagger in hand.

He can see their strange eyes following his movements, distracted by his braids, his dagger, his feet. Then, the dagger shoots out at each as he somersaults past, slicing at limbs of wood, poking into those weird eyesockets, removing branchlike arms.

Coming to rest, the young halfling looks at the carnage he is the author of: kindling everywhere, but of an unnatural hue, possibly unusable.


* Move Action: Move 2 squares to L7

TRIGGERS OA from M(J7): r11 + 6 = 17/Miss
TRIGGERS IMMEDIATE INTERRUPT from Toriq (marked): Warden's Fury vs. M(J7) r8 + 7 = 15 vs. 12 F/Hit; M(J7) Killed

* Standard Action: Acrobat's Blade Trick (Enc): vs M(K8): r18 + 9 = 27 vs 15 AC/Hit, KILLED; vs M(M8): r6 + 9 + 2 CA (Cunning Stalker) = 17 vs 15 AC/Hit, KILLED; vs M(M6): r19 + 9 + 2 CA (Cunning Stalker) = 30 vs 15 AC/Hit, KILLED; Effect: After the attack, Nemo can shift a number of squares equal to the number of enemies he hit with the attack (3). During the shift, Nemo can move through squares occupied by enemies you hit with this attack: Shift 3 squares to O5.

LOCATION: O5
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: Ms in K8, M8, M6 all KILLED by N; M (J7) KILLED by T
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 19/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Duelist's Prowess Stance; +1 ATK vs. TB2 UEoMNT (GoD)
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 5/7; 1 AP remaining (0 available this encounter)



TORIQ, with a quick glance at the carnage of timber at Nemo's feet, turns and immediately charges to where she last saw Dryope and where their wounded foe has fled. Concentrating on picking off their opponents one by one, she hopes she is not falling into wishful thinking when she senses the return of the dryad's essence moments before, near her beloved's treasured tree.

On her way to her wounded prey, the halforc begins to rush past the as-yet-unwounded twigblight on her way, then stops. "You may serve as my prey," she growls, slamming it heavily with her sword, greatly disabling it by snapping one of its wooden legs.


Move 4 squares to O4

Standard Action: Weight of Earth vs. TB1: r15 + 7 + 1 GoD = 23 vs 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r4 + 4 = 8, and TB1 is Slowed UEoTNT

Free Action: Nature's Wrath: Marks TB1

LOCATION: O4
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: TB1: 8 HP
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: TB1 Marked by T & Slowed UEoTNT
CURRENT HP: 21/30
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: +1 ATK VS. TB2 UEoMNT
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/10; 1 AP remaining (0 available this encounter)



END OF ROUND; ENEMIES REMAINING: TB1 in P3 (20/28, Slowed, Marked by T), TB2 in S4 (3/28)


ROUND THREE

1702927681906.png


THE TWIG BLIGHT nearest Toriq whispers something unintelligible to her, a raspy sound like dry leaves against a dead branch, "Dreeadari kuth maleeni!" [The others understand it completely, despite its unusual intonation of Elven: "Your Dryad will die!"] Then it simply fades from sight. Reflexively, Toriq stabs out with her longsword where it stood but seconds ago, but it has moved off, closer to its objective. Toriq's keen ears and Mylistra's elven sight can discern evidence of its location.

Meanwhile, the SORELY WOUNDED BLIGHT also disappears and moves into the bramblewood underbrush, hoping its foes will lose track of it. But the rustling of the underbrush gives way its location.


TB1
Standard: Invisibility: becomes invisible USoNT

Invisibility (illusion) ✦ Recharge when the blight uses blighted claw
Effect: The blight becomes invisible until the start of its next turn.

Move: 2 sq (Slowed) P3 to Q5 [location known to M & T]. TRIGGERS OA FROM T MBA r4+7-5 invisible=6 vs 16 AC. Miss. Stealth to hide as part of move, r(1)+10=11: exceeds J&N passive Perception scores, fails vs M&T

TB2
Standard: Invisibility: becomes invisible USoNT

Move: 5 sq S4 to R9. Stealth to hide as part of move, r(2)+10-5 move more than 2=7. Fails vs all passive Perception scores.

LOCATION: TB1 in Q5 (hidden from J&N), TB2 in R9
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: na
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HPS: TB1 20/28, TB2 3/28
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Both invisible USoNT, TB1 Slowed and Marked by T UEoTNT, TB1 hidden from J&N



From her vantage point in one of the brambles on the other side of her Tree, DRYOPE can see the two blights blink out of view and feels a pit in her stomach. The dryad immediately strides her way closer - yes, to danger - but more importantly her allies and her beloved. They will protect her.

As she makes her strides, her anxiety causes her to rustle the leaves around her, and she can sense eyes on her, both visible and not.


Move Action: Treestride: teleport 8 squares to A14; Skill Stealth check to hide in brambles: r9 + 8 = 17

Move Action: Treestride: teleport 8 squares to D6; Skill Stealth check to hide in brambles: r4 + 8 = 12/Fail against most

CURRENT LOCATION: D6
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 1/1
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Hidden from anyone with Passive Perception 12 or less



Focusing on the spot where she is fairly certain the gravely wounded treeblight has moved to, MYLISTRA moves cautiously forward into place, prepared for any surprises. No surprises appear to be in order, so she makes her vicious glare at that space (only feeling slightly foolish) and makes her mark.

There is a rustling sound of snapping branches, but the witch is not convinced she has succeeded until the broken body reveals itself. Looking up towards Toriq and the little halfling, she sees a flicker of movement as the branches are obviously brushing against something unseen. "There, child," she cries out to Nemo, "just step forward: it's between you and the brambles. You can't miss it! You won't miss it!" This last she says with her hand, palm up, beseeching her Goddess.


Move Action: 6 squares to N7

Standard Action: Gaze of Defiance on TB2: r13 + 4 + 2 HW - 5 total concealment = 14 vs. 14 Will/Hit; Damage: roll + 4 psychic = enough to kill: TB2 KILLED

Minor Action: Favor of the Gods (Enc): CBU3, Target one creature in the burst: Nemo; Effect: next time N misses with an attack roll before the end of M's next turn, N can reroll that attack roll. N must use the new result, even if it is lower.

LOCATION: N7
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: TB2: at least 4 HP/TB2 KILLED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 18/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: +2 ATK ends; Nemo Favor of the Gods
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 6/8; 0 AP remaining



JENDI hears Mylistra's melodious alto call out instruction to Nemo and looks over to where she says the remaining blight is. Scanning around the landscape and mentally thinking through his bag of tricks, he decides to try one of his newer "tricks," using the bramble bush as the focus. He's fairly certain he won't accidentally hit his diminutive friend!

Holding his staff aloft, he sweeps his free hand in a wide arc, ending with a finger pointing at the spot around which he plans the shower of blue-white molten metal droplets to fall and catch any invisible creatures attempting to hide from them.

Watching the argent rainshower and hearing the sizzling of burning plant matter - not to mention smelling seared wood - assures him that his ardent rain hits its mark. Smiling with satisfaction, he takes a few steps toward his muse and into his own concealment.


Standard Action: Argent Rain: ABU1 within 10 squares: R6; Target each creature within the burst; ATK vs. TB1: r18 + 4 = 22 vs. 16 Ref; damage: r3 + 4 + 5 Vulnerable Fire = 12 Fire Damage; effect: the burst creates a zone that lasts USoJNT. Any creature that enters the zone or ends its turn there takes 5 Fire damage. A creature can take this damage only once per turn.

Move Action: Move 4 squares to N10, activating Shadow Walk concealment UEoJNT

LOCATION: N10
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: 12 Fire Damage to TB1
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 12/26 BLOODIED
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Concealment UEoJNT (Shadow Walk)
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 8/8; 0 AP



Startled when he realizes that the elegant dark elf is addressing him, NEMO looks at the brambles ahead of him and the strange silver metal rain falling and takes a step forward. He immediately is able to sense a creature in front of him, although it is still hidden from his sight.

But something in the air tells him that luck is on his side: his mother used to claim he couldn't actually sense such a thing, but whenever she scolded him about it, the boy would look to his father who'd lay a finger to the side of his nose and give Nemo a wink and a smile of solidarity. And now he sensed it again.

With a sly flourish of his dagger, the young halfling finds his hidden foe and - as he did earlier, but with less fanfare - he slices and dices, slashes and ... smashes? Well, he has never claimed to be a poet ... yet! And soon, there at their feet is a small pile of scorched twigs and broken sticks, along with a lingering sense of magical animation dispersing.


Move Action: Shift 1 square to P5

Standard Action: Sly Flourish vs. TB1: r17 + 9 + 2 CA (Cunning Stalker) - 5 total concealment = 23 vs. 16 AC/Hit; Damage: r1 + 7 + r3,6 Sneak Attack = 17 HP; TB1 KILLED

LOCATION: P5
DAMAGE TO ENEMIES: TB1: 17 HP/KILLED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: na
CURRENT HP: 19/24
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Duelist's Prowess Stance; Favor of the Gods UEoMNT
SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 5/7; 1 AP remaining (O available this encounter)



Before the party takes a short rest, MYLISTRA casts Healing Word on Toriq: 7 (Surge) + r2 = 9 HP healed.



COMBAT OVER.
 

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