• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part Two) - {complete}

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
WARNING: This installment includes adult themes and situations.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Session #32 (part ii)

It was explained to Ratchis that the druids would come to him in three nights time to bring him somewhere for the sample to be collected.

Ratchis returned to the others and explained to them that he had convinced the druids to use the scroll for them and repair Kazrack’s arm.

“However, we will have a few days wait,” Ratchis added. “But losing a few days is better than risking it all on Kazrack’s arm healing naturally in time to finish this sickle.”

“In the meantime we can continue with our preparations for whatever is going to happen on the night of the full moon,” Beorth said.

And so the party spent the rest of the day making more stakes and lengthening the trench around the forge area. Kazrack was impatient as no one allowed him to help, insisting that he rest. Not satisfied, he packed and re-packed his backpack and those of the others over and over trying to find the most efficient way of doing it.

Balem, 26th of Dek – 564 H.E.

The next day the party was led to the Glade of Hennaire as usual, as as they pass through the entrance in the trees, the Bear moving to guard the exit and the other druids moving off to do whatever it is they did all day, they were filled with a strange feeling that something was different.

As they approached the forge, Ratchis spoke up, “Um, I think the glade is smaller.”

“You noticed it, too,” Martin said, slowly. “I thought it was my imagination.”

“The trees have actually moved in closer all around us,” Ratchis said. “Not too much, but still ten feet is a long way for a tree, let along a few hundred of them.”

The rest of the party began to look around with their mouths agape.

“This is a place of the druids’, perhaps they did it,” Martin suggested.

“Look!” Beorth said, pointing down into the trenches.

The entire outer side of the trench that was slowly coming around the forges was collapsed and in most places, the stakes the party had been sticking into the side pointing up at an angle in order to form a defensive barrier looked as if they had been forced out of the earth from the inside.

“I am getting the feeling this wood does not want us here,” Jeremy said.

“Well, that’s no surprise,” said Martin.

With a sigh, Ratchis went back to digging and shoring up where the trench had been collapsed. Jeremy and Jana collected the fallen stakes and began putting them back, while Martin sharpened more. Beorth helped Ratchis, and Kazrack sat around bored out of his mind.

Later in the day, Beorth, Jeremy, Martin and Jana were led to where they could collect more wood.

-------------------------------------------

Teflem, 27th of Dek – 564 H.E.

“Stop it!” Jeremy cried to the trees the next morning when the party arrived to find that they had moved another ten feet closer and the trenches were partially collapsed again.

“If the woods themselves are against us, perhaps we have no chance at all, no matter what!” Kazrack proclaimed.

“So, why don’t you slit your throat, while you are at it,” Beorth snapped sarcastically.

Kazrack glared at the paladin.

The party spent a day similar to the one previous, but this time Ratchis continued to extend the trench, while the others shored up the partially collapsed area.


Anulem, 28th of Dek – 564 H.E.

And so another day came of merely killing time, until the druids came to pick up Ratchis for him to pay his price.

Drenthris and Efner arrived late in the afternoon.

“Knap! I hope you did not tire yourself out too much!” the kobold yapped to the half-orc.

“I have much discipline and am not so weak that it should matter,” Ratchis replied.

“What is this all about?” Kazrack asked.

“He must come to pay his price for the reading of the scroll,” Drenthis said.

“Ratchis, what have you agreed to do?” Kazrack asked. “Please do not do anything I would not approve of for my own sake.”

“I am doing it for all our sake’s, and do not worry, I would not betray my own scruples. Anything I do, I do of my own free choice.” He paused and turned to the druids. “I am ready to go.”

“Knap! Sure you don’t want your friends to come watch,” Efner asked with a sly smile.

Ratchis glared at the kobold.

“Have it your way.”

Ratchis was led away by the two druids.

The others worked until close to sun down and then Drenthris returned to lead them back to their camp.

“Where is Ratchis?” Kazrack asked.

“He will be returned soon,” Drenthris replied. “And at that time your arm shall be repaired.”

----------------

“How will you collect it?” Ratchis asked as Drenthris and Efner led him through the narrow trails of the thick foreboding forest.

“Knap! The usual way, we bring you somewhere and you put it in a bowl,” Efner replied.

“As long as my companions do not find out, I will do as you say.”

The druids nodded.

As the sun dropped below the horizon, Ratchis could see that he was being brought back to the main clearing where he and the others had first met the druids, but by some circuitous route, and to a place further back.

The area was lit up by several large fires, and was filled with scores of bugbears armed with spears, and growling and hooting in their guttural goblin language. As Ratchis and the two druids approached, they quieted down and the crowd parted, revealing the tall gnoll, Mardak the Elder. Beyond him, stood the huge bugbear druid, and the half-orc Ratchis had seen on the first night as well. Beyond them was a stone bier, upon which sat the woman the party had seen when they first enter the Circle of Thorns. She was not chained, but was hunched over and shivering, covered in a thick fur blanket.

Drenthris walked back towards the Glade of Hennaire.

Mardak stepped forward and spoke, “Efner has informed us that you are willing to give us your seed in return for our further assistance. It is your choice: You may have the bowl, or you may have the woman. I am feeling generous.” The gnoll gestured back to the shaking woman.

Ratchis’ mouth dropped open.

“What do you plan to do with…my seed?” Ratchis asked.

“It shall be placed in the woman,” Mardak said. “She is at the proper time in her cycle, and she bought some more years of her life as she cares for the child that shall come this, which shall be our champion. What is your choice?”

Ratchis paused.

“One more moment please,” Ratchis requested and walked towards the woman. She cringed as he sat beside her on the stone.

“I want you to know that I would not do anything you did not want me to do,” Ratchis said, trying hard to make his growly deep voice as soft and gentle as possible. “I only want to do what you would have me do, so let me know what you want.”

The woman looked up at the hulking half-orc, still shivering, tears streaming down her face, which was pale with cold and fear.

”I don’t know,” she said, softly, her voice quavering. “I’m scared. I’m afraid of what they’ll do to me and how they'll do it if you choose the bowl, but I’m afraid of you too.” And with that she pulled away, frightened of what his reaction would be to what she said.

“I can’t imagine that they will be more gentle than I will, but…”

“All I know is that this is going to buy me at least three more years of life, maybe even eight, and a few more years of life in this terrible place must be better than death. I guess… I guess you are the better alternative.” She dropped her eyes, as a look of disgust came over her face.

“I am a follower of Nephthys,” Ratchis said. “Do you know of Nephthys?”

The woman nodded.

“Then you know that Nephthys would not want me to rob you of your freedom of choice,” Ratchis explained gently. “So, if you change your mind, or… just stop me at any point.”

She nodded again.

The half-orc gently wrapped his muscular arms around the woman in an attempt to comfort her, and then laid her back on the cold stone.

The bugbears began to cheer and hoot.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Dawn

First Post
<picks lower jaw off the floor>

I am literally stunned.
How well was that role-played?

I guess the players should expect to see that “champion” at later date. Talk about building a future story line.

Whoa……..
 

Metus

First Post
D'ohhhh! No! Why would he do that?! I'd rather let Kazrack have a sore arm then give those crazies a champion! Geez. I just hope they're all ready to come back and destroy that place when they're through with the forging. That's what I would do.
 

Horacio

LostInBrittany
Supporter
Oh my God.

Nemmerle, really you have stunned me. That was wonderful. That was like a good film. Or even better, like a good book.

Best roleplayed scene I remember.

Wow!

Horacio

BTW, I've just begun my own Story Hour, using the new superheroes supplement from Natural 20, Four Color to Fantasy:
Golden Apple Rescue Squad
If you have time, visit it, and drop a comment...
 

ErichDragon

First Post
Another great update nem. I'm really looking forward to where this is going to go.

BTW, what is the status with the Aquerra player's guide? I've been dying to get my hands on the witch class you created but haven't seen it posted there yet.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
ErichDragon said:
Another great update nem. I'm really looking forward to where this is going to go.

Thanks for all the praise, guys. . . I was certain by now someone would pop their head in here and say something like, "Such topics are wholly inappropriate for D&D and if my DM did such a thing to my character I'd walk out." :D


BTW, what is the status with the Aquerra player's guide? I've been dying to get my hands on the witch class you created but haven't seen it posted there yet.

Well, I've been very busy - but plan to release the individual chapters as PDF files - going back revising errors and discrepencies as they are discovered (so far I have gotten absolutely NO feedback on the one chapter I have released :( - Chapter 18: Spells & Magic of Aquerra).

I plan to release the Combat chapter (Chapter 17) next and then perhaps the section on priests (which is a huge chapter probably around 96 or more pages by itself).

As for the witch/warlock - I think it needs some serious revision - but not sure how I am going to go about doing it yet . . .so unfortunately, I cannot tell you when that chapter will be available.
 
Last edited:

Cyronax

Explorer
nemmerle said:


Thanks for all the praise, guys. . . I was certain by now someone would pop their head in here and say something like, "Such topics are wholly inappropriate for D&D and if my DM did such a thing to my character I'd walk out." :D

I don't think it crosses any boundaries nemm. You've already established that your campaign, as do mine and many other DM's, handles mature themes. You and your players have skirted some very thorny moral issues in your story hour (as well as in the Story of Ratchis that his player posted last year), but you aren't gratutius (sp?).

I think that your portrayal of the Circle's motivations, mysterious and twisted as they are, is very realistic and thought out. That's how I'd imagine a bunch of evil, yet intelligent humanoids acting.

As for Ratchis, I think he did what he had to do. It had already been established that the Circle held some humans, and likely other races, as slaves/convicted criminals. That out of the way, Ratchis could only offer the woman as little pain as possible.

IMHO,
C.I.D.
 

Ratchis

First Post
I like the pictures a lot. Ratchis and Chance sure look a lot different than I had imagined. I always pictured Chance as kind of like Steven (the crazy Irishman) from Braveheart. As for Ratchis, I remember Nemm posting a picture of that big guy from that French movie Village of the Lost Children.

I consider those drawings to be interpretations. Ratchis still looks like a caveman-like Ron Perlman with a scar over his eye, mottled skin and a much less prominent snaggle tooth.

I am literally stunned.
How well was that role-played?

I thought it was done really well by nemm and I did my best to stay in character. There was a lot of laughter from the other players born of disbelief that nemm could be so cruel. ;) When people calmed down, it was a good moment.

D'ohhhh! No! Why would he do that?! I'd rather let Kazrack have a sore arm then give those crazies a champion! Geez. I just hope they're all ready to come back and destroy that place when they're through with the forging. That's what I would do.

Well, first, I was charged with fufilling a task to Osiris as payment for the life of my companion. I have already described previously Ratchis' beliefs in regards to Osiris and how it interacts with his opinion of the grove. Anyway, Kazrack did not look to be in the condition to fufill his quest which would cost him his life and more importantly would result in a failure in service to Osiris. Again, many of Ratchis' decisions in the grove are based on his trust in Osiris.

Which I guess also answers any questions of whether Ratchis would come back later to burn the place down.

As for Ratchis, I think he did what he had to do. It had already been established that the Circle held some humans, and likely other races, as slaves/convicted criminals. That out of the way, Ratchis could only offer the woman as little pain as possible.

That was basically the only motivation in that scenario. And it would buy her more life. Its not as though Ratchis isn't always wracked with pangs of doubt but in the end he does what he believes is right and has to keep his faith. Nephthys will guide him back to his path if he ever strays too far.
 

Cyronax

Explorer
Ratchis have you considered submitting "The Story of Ratchis" to Morrus for the Story Hour Archive? It was very very good, and I think a lot of people would like to get (another) chance to read it

Thanks,
C.I.D.
 

Dawn

First Post
<Thanks for all the praise, guys. . . I was certain by now someone would pop their head in here and say something like, "Such topics are wholly inappropriate for D&D and if my DM did such a thing to my character I'd walk out.">

I have to agree with Cryonax. These topics are part of the world and your job as a DM is to present real world challenges. Just because magic and magical creatures exist doesn’t mean that moral dilemmas just go away.

I commend you on including these issues and presenting them in a tasteful fashion. I also praise your players for role-playing through the situations (even though they’d probably just as soon string you up on occasion).
 

Remove ads

Top