Piratecat's Updated Story Hour! (update 4/03 and 4/06)

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Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
It’s another perfect day in Paradise.

The sun is the ideal temperature, just a little warm, but balanced by a cool wind that smells like hope itself. The sweet-smelling flower petals are lifted by the breeze and cascade across the meadow, landing on the turned earth of three freshly-dug graves. Fruit trees, heavy with divine fruit, provide shade and nourishment. The dark blue lake by the waterfall is cool, deep, inviting, and empty.

In this tiny fragment of heaven, voices can only be heard from the bower atop the low hill. There, thunder ripples over the chanting and prayers, and pure light streams out from somewhere within. For a few seconds, the observers are deafened by the voices of angels.

And Agar rises from the dead.

Later, once Velendo has wiped the sweat from his brow and Agar has had a chance to reacquaint himself with life, the Defenders sit around and plan. They heal, discuss what they did wrong, suggest what to do next, examine the belongings of the deceased ruffians, and talk tactics. The general consensus is that they should return with a wind walk active, fly to the Temple, and use it as their base as they scry and discern location on Brindle and his “allies.”

The items which they recovered from their foes are examined by Nolin. Several of their tattoos were psionic, crawling off the dead flesh and onto TomTom’s arm as he exerts his will on them. The most interesting object is the trident, which speaks in Nolin’s mind. “You are weak. I wish to be wielded by the creature that destroyed my former wielder. He is strong. He can destroy.” It is soon revealed to live for destruction and shattering, and the paladins confirm that it is intrinsically evil. The group gives it a taste of its own medicine and sunders its shaft, leaving the weapon head until later. As a further taunt, Aleax the sword lays on hilt upon itself, and the bent blade straightens. It’s clear that the two weapons strongly dislike one another.

Nolin and TomTom also examine an intelligent rock. “Please help!” it pleads. “I think I’m dying! I don’t want to die. I don’t want to be alone. Don’t let go of me; I can’t sense people any more, and I’m scared.” It turns out to be the dwarven psion’s psicrystal, and the group watches sadly as the pathetic stone slowly dwindles away, its interior light fading along with its personality and intelligence. “Oh well,” quips Tao. “Anyone want a gem?” Everyone gives her a dirty look.

Finally, after a night’s rest, the group is ready to go back to Eversink. They pluck or eat all the sacred fruit from the trees, leaving only a single orange. Everyone but Tao shifts into wind walk, and Tao plucks down the last fruit.

The world dissolves, and the group feels themselves being ripped apart by wind. A storm is raging, rain pelting down and a strong breeze blowing in off of Mistrinith, the inland sea. Tao has on her slippers of water walking but has trouble maintaining her balance on the rough waves. Still, it isn’t hard for her to see the ship anchored nearby. Its sails are lowered in the rough weather and it is anchored, but it is flying the colors of House Meridian. Agar can pick out a figure standing on its bowdeck, staring out into the tossing ocean, wet blond hair whipping back in the wind to reveal storm-colored eyes: Shara. Quickly, the group wind walks over to her, and comes inside. Delightfully, not only is Shara there, but Kiri came with her.

Ordering the Captain to return to the docks, Shara explains. “Raevynn visited me yesterday. She told me what happened, and explained that she has had a druidic summons at the worst possible time. She wanted me to help you since she couldn’t. And luckily, Kiri is in town as well. So with directions from Raevynn, we thought we’d come meet you.” It’s hard to have a proper reunion on the small, tossing ship, but they do what they can.

Taking a small longboat to shore, the group ducks out of the driving rain into the offices of a building that House Meridian owns. Shara commandeers the interior office (and demands mulled wine and pastries), and the Defenders add Kiri and Shara into their strategy. Nolin leaves to report the attack to the Dock Guard. Finding the guard alone, he decides to charm person him. His new friend explains that the Defenders must have fought a group known as The Dockside Royals. They’re the most powerful gang down on the docks, responsible for making sure that the other gangs and miscreants stay in line. The guard doesn’t think that they work for a specific house, although he knows that they’re a thorn in the side of House Clearwater. He’s clearly afraid of them and the power they wield, even though “they’re all a bunch of cruel, ex-pirate or ex-mercenary scum. You’re best off avoiding them, my friend. They mean bad news.” Nolin confirms that the guard isn’t bribed by them, and asks the man to file a report that the Dockside Royals were involved in two attacks upon the Defenders, and that the Defenders are requesting assistance from the city. “Do you want me to come with you, Sir?” asks the charmed guard gamely. “No,” answers Nolin. “You need to do your duty, and right now your duty is here.”

Returning to the group, Nolin recounts what happens and says that the paperwork should be filed for “letting us kick these bastards’ asses.” Velendo is appalled by the charm spell, but Kiri explains that it isn’t uncommon for guards to wander around with that special daze that you only get from having three or more charm spells cast on you at once. Hearing that, Velendo worries a bit less, and he can’t deny that Nolin was efficient.

Shara casts scry and looks for Brindle. She sees a dimly lit cabin on a ship. The cabin is empty except for a cage with two seagulls. An empty hammock swings back and forth, papers sit on a desk, a ship in a bottle sits on a shelf… very nice, but where is Brindle? Probably polymorphed into a seagull, they decide, especially when a detect magic cast through the scrying mirror shows that the seagulls are radiating alteration magic. The ship in a bottle is also highly magical, radiating primarily alteration magic as well.

Shara then casts scry, looking for the minotaur that the group had fought the day before. She finds him, gathered in a small stone room with a number of other people and (oddly enough) the sound of a crying baby. Almost instantly, though, one of them shouts out, “Silence! We’re being watched!” Then Shara feels a mind forcing itself back through the scrying link. She resists it, but it breaks through, and Shara realizes that her scry is now showing all of the Defenders to their enemy! Shaken, she drops the spell, and the Defenders scramble in a near panic out of the office back into the rain. Within minutes, they all have successfully wind walked or teleported to the Temple of Calphas.

Inside the temple, Velendo casts Discern Location on the minotaur. He learns that the creature is “in the passage of the Smugglers Tunnels, below Pillar Island, here in Eversink.” One more scry (via a scroll) reveals the location and shows five people standing in a tunnel, even though (once again) someone with tremendous strength of will mentally forces their way back through the link, revealing the Defenders’ position. The second scry is dropped, and Tao and Kiri prepared to teleport everyone in. “What did you see?” TomTom asks.

Shara answers, “Five people with their back to a wall, including a bullywug, a half-orc, a minotaur, a sea elf and a kobold. Odd group. Errr….” Her voice trails off. “I could have sworn the half-orc and the bullywug were holding hands.”

The group exchanges glances. “Reincarnation of that female half-orc?” someone asks. “No,” someone else answers. “Needs the bodies, and we took them.” Mystified, the group casts their preparatory spells and then touches either Tao or Shara. With a disorienting jolt and a slight splash, the familiar conference room is replaced by a dank tunnel. Four inches or so of water cover the floor, and the walls make this look like it was once a hallway in someone’s home, long since sunk beneath the mud. All all the Defenders of Daybreak, only Sir Malachite is not invisible.

Down the tunnel, illuminated by torches, nine people are standing in tight formation. In the front row is a bullywug, a male half-orc, and a sea elf. In the second row is a human male (the doppelganger), another sea elf, and an older human woman. And in the last row is a halfling, the minotaur, and the kobold. “Decided to return, have you?” needles the doppelganger with a smirk. “We were getting tired of waiting for you.”

Then the sound of a crying baby splits the air, and the Defenders realize with a shock that three of the mercenary pirates in front of them have babies strapped to their chests: small, pink wiggling armor, and presumably a defense against area attack spells!

"Babies?" sputters an outraged Velendo. And the battle begins.

To be continued….
 
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Mishihari Lord

First Post
Babies?!!! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha! I love it!

So let's see ...

The defenders can't use area attack spells but their opponents can.

Everyone is in a narrow tunnel with no room to dodge or hide.

12th level opponents or not, I think they're about to get smacked down again. I wonder if they'll have sense enough to immediately retreat?
 

KidCthulhu

First Post
Strange you should mention Raising the babies. Velendo's words something to the effect of "We're not going to try and kill the babies, but if that's what we have to do to get these bastards, then I'll Raise them later. No way are we going to let scum like this think that you can take innocents hostage and get away!"

And as for the half orc and the bullywug, Nolin goes off on that subject in great length during the next post. I must say I excelled myself with rude innuendo and outright insult. Caused the half-orc to come out of the (mumble, mumble, mumble-spoiler) and charge me, it did.

Taunts and insults. Two more arrows in the quiver for the bard who's not afraid to piss off a barbarian.
 

Vurt

First Post
I wouldn't normally post this, but since it sounds like the action has already played out, well...

If someone were charging my character with a baby strapped to their chest, I think I'd "polymorph other" the baby into a grey ooze or some such. Turn your disadvantages into advantages! Then after the fight, change it back, and raise or heal as necessary.

Hmmm... What strange childhood memories that person would have...

-- Vurt
 
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Fajitas

Hold the Peppers
Piratecat said:

And incidentally, next post will show you a truly rat-bastardy combat technique for your bad guys to use. Fun, fun, fun!

I cannot even begin to stress just how much Piratecat's bastardness is only beginning.

He did, however, strike a perfect balance. The Defenders had a righteous head of mad built up, and we were going against a group of lower level foes that we knew we could take easily (as long as we didn't a) screw up , or b) have really crappy die rolls, both of which were the contributing factors to the last debacle).

Despite the level difference, PC threw us an incredibly challenging encounter. This was not the easy mop up, satisfying ass-kicking payback encounter we'd been expecting. He definitely kept us on our toes.

Though I would have liked the chance to cast at least one Chain Lightning. >sniff<
 

Jobu

First Post
Taunts and insults. Two more arrows in the quiver for the bard who's not afraid to piss off a barbarian.

Of course this only happens after the valiant Bard has already cast "Meatshield". He may be dumb, but he doesn't like to get hit in the face.
 

Fajitas

Hold the Peppers
nemmerle said:
Personally, I think purposefully killing babies is an evil act - whether you have the power to raise them or not.

Velendo's argument was that we needed to send a message that using baby-shields was not a viable strategy. It does not stop the Defenders. It just makes them madder.

And it wasn't so much a question of purposefully killing babies as it was of not letting their presence prevent us from stopping the bad guys. We're not the ones who brought them into this.

I was a little surprised to hear it from Velendo, truthfully. But lord knows Shara had had the same thought.

And Fede, it's not so much that Shara didn't have a Chain Lightning memorized. It's more that....

...well, you'll see.:D
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
Luckily, Velendo had cast a water walk just before they teleported in, so the Defenders are only leaving ripples in the low water instead of invisible foot-shaped holes. “That’s an illusory wall behind them!” exclaims TomTom and Velendo, whose true seeing shows the truth.

Shara smiles a tight, frightening sort of grin; she knows that if the Dockside Royals are removed, that will leave a power vacumn in the control of the docks. And who better to fill a power vacumn than….? Moreso, she has a debt to pay on the behalf of the Defenders. She prepares to pay it with a chain lightning, but Agar actually beats her to it. He lets loose with a chain lightning of his own. The lightning crackles out from his hands, the ozone smell overwhelming in the 15’ wide tunnel as it arcs towards the non-baby-carrying thugs. It hits the first one….

And stops.

No *pop* of spell resistance, no arcing, nothing. The bolt just winks out of existence.

Kiri’s lightning bolt and polymorph other spell do the same. Then, all sound disappears from the area where most of the Defenders are standing. A silence spell? But none of the people in front of them cast! Velendo casts a nervous look behind him down the long, dark corridor, and decides that discretion is the better part of valor. One or more people must be down there, somewhere in the darkness, casting spells at them. Moving until he is out of the silence, he creates a Calphas’ Reflecting Wall, similar to a wall of force but only see-through from the near side. Now they won’t have to worry about guarding their backs, and nobody back there can see them.

Not moving forward, the Dockside Royals fire missile weapons at Malachite, the only person who is visible. They pepper him with painful, well-aimed arrows and crossbow bolts. The slightly older human woman then tosses a small bead up the hall. As it hits, it balloons into a huge ball of flame, roasting many of the heroes who had anticipated lightning bolts. “Damn!” shouts Nolin. “She has a necklace of missiles!” Most of the group, still in the silence, hear him through the mindlink instead of with their ears. The doppelganger does hear him, though, and targeting on his voice (and perhaps using his ESP) he flings a crystal globe at Nolin. Glass shatters, and invisible or not, Nolin finds his front covered with green slime. The slime quickly begins to eat through his shirt.

Malachite and Mara both rush forward to fight the front line, the sword Aleax singing a quiet hymn of triumph. Malachite swings the glowing sword forward, and is surprised to see its radiance snuffed out as it approaches the armored sea elf fighter. Despite the sudden dead weight and poor maneuverability of the weapon, Malachite manages to slash the sea elf, and pulls his sword back to hear Aleax groaning and disoriented. “It was as if…” the sword says, but is interrupted by the sea elf. “Look at what you’ve done!” it hisses to the paladin. "I was the apex of creation, one of the scaled folk. And now? Now I’m an… an elf.” He practically spits the words in disgust. “You will pay for that, scum. And where is my trident?”

Malachite smiles. “Shattered.” And pulls Aleax back into a guard position.

Next to him, Mara is attacking the bullywug, her holy mace Lightbinder extinguishing every time it dips towards her enemies. The half-orc, however, has a weapon that leaps into purplish radiance every time it extends out to slice at Mara.

Through the mindlink, Shara and Kiri put it together. “There must be an antimagic field centered on the sea elf in the middle – the one with one of the babies,” Shara explains. “They can throw things out of it or attack out of it, and their weapons become magical as they leave the field. Ours stop being magical as they enter the field. Nice. The only way we can take them on is with missile weapons or direct combat, and we still have to worry about hurting the infants.”

“Don’t worry about the infants,” says Velendo. “If we kill them, I’ll raise them. We can’t let these people get away with the notion that it ‘s “okay” to use despicable tactics like this. They’re just sealed their fate, and they’re going to have to pay, babies or no.” Everyone looks at him with surprise, but another wave of missiles is flung from the piratical mercenaries, and the group desperately tries to come up with a strategy that will work. Malachite, Mara and Tao are better swordsmen than their opponents – but not if they’re getting hit with missiles while they try to fight, and not if the rest of the Defenders are effectively powerless. Tao dimension doors into the darkness behind them, preparing herself to take out some of the people in the back row. Shara prepares a telekinesis spell and readies an action; as soon as one of her opponents sticks a limb out of the field, she will grab it with the telekinesis and pull.

Then from behind the group, through the Calphas’ Reflecting Wall, a man appears, dropping into a fighting stance even as he tries to clear his vision from the aftereffects of a dimension door. He is carrying an open cage with two seagulls in it with his left hand, and has a large puppy-sized rat under his right arm.

Before he can react, TomTom drops a greater concussion on him and Kiri hammers him with a lightning bolt. “Aieeeeee!” screams the rat, dropping from his grip. “Don’t hurt me! Don't hurt me! This isn’t my idea!” The group exchanges looks; the rat’s voice is that of the dwarven psion that Mara slew the previous day.

As the seagulls leap aloft from their cage, Velendo spins around. “You people use babies as shields,” he growls, voice shaking. “You deserve no restraint from me.” Then, voice raised high in a holy chant of power, he casts destruction on the stranger. Screaming, before he ever moves a step, the man erupts into a pyre of greasy flames. In seconds he is reduced to ash in the water, his soul dammed by Velendo’s judgement.

The rat squeals in horror. And TomTom, spinning his head, shouts to Mara, “Those aren’t seagulls! They’re polymorphed rust monsters, and they’re heading for your weapons!”

To be continued….
 
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Blackjack

First Post
coyote6 said:
Poor rock. :(

You have no idea. PCat gave the stone a pathetic, frantic, desperate high-pitched voice. As its essence drained away it got more and more sad, its pleas for help stronger and stronger. I found myself having more sympathy for the rock than for most humanoid NPCs.

Then again, I play Malachite, so this is no surprise...
 


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