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The Doomed Bastards: Reckoning (story complete)

Beregar

First Post
Lazybones said:
I guess it depends on the build and the situation. In my Shackled City story, my arcane casters were kind of gimped, in that Zenna died before the mystic theurge class really hit its sweet spot, and Cal had 4 bard levels that didn't really help him once he got into the teens. Plus Cal was more of a "utility caster" than a blaster-mage. Even so, especially at the higher levels there are places where an arcanist can accomplish some pretty awesome effects, including one-shotting tough bad guys, and neutralizing powers that would otherwise kill sword-swingers.

True that to some extend - at least if you can add spells and feats outside core rules. It's also an equipment question, I suppose. I still think arcane casters are a rather dangerous choice because they are high threat, low durability peeps. I have noticed that during lower levels a lot of your resources are drained simply by spells that allow you to evade a quick demise knowing that intelligent enemies tend to target your squishy, unarmored self first. For example I try not to enter into battle without at least mage armor and mirror image running (my first round is actually usually spent on casting mi if I feel I can't obliterate my foes).

I suppose that on higher levels it's a bit different: you are akin to god, but I believe clerics are even more so. Plus a lot high level characters are closer to each other due magic items. Finally, there's always the spell resistance, various energy resistances/immunities, various spell immunities (i.e. undead) as opposed to melees who can provide high, sustained damage relatively safely.

Anyhow. This is naturally just my opinion and I certainly wouldn't play a mage if I didn't enjoy it. I have developed a few nasty tricks involving spells that don't allow SR (conjurations usually) and sudden metamagics from CA. Quickened True Strike followed with sudden maximized Disintegrate dishes out pretty high damage. I tend to specialize to conjurations and/or transmutations with my wizzies/sorcerers. :)

But I am still unsure about the warlock. I guess that's one reason I put one in this story, to see how it works out in "play".

I'm interested in seeing that as well. I noticed you picked him weapon focus (ray) as one of the feats. Any particular reason why that over point blank shot because I see two benefits from point blank shot: +1 to attack and damage within 30 ft PLUS it leads to precise shot which allows you to stay back and shoot into melee without suffering the penalty?
 

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Lazybones

Explorer
Beregar said:
I'm interested in seeing that as well. I noticed you picked him weapon focus (ray) as one of the feats. Any particular reason why that over point blank shot because I see two benefits from point blank shot: +1 to attack and damage within 30 ft PLUS it leads to precise shot which allows you to stay back and shoot into melee without suffering the penalty?
Ah, I looked up Mr. Warlock's stats and it looks like I left his feat selection incomplete (he only has 1, and should have 3). I thought I read somewhere that you had to use actually use a weapon to chose PBS, but on rereading the SRD it looks like rays are treated "as if using a ranged weapon." Unless someone can point out a rule that counters that, I'll make a few revisions to Navev's sheet and take your suggestions into account.

* * * * *

Chapter 7

THE POINT OF NO RETURN


“Why the delay?” Dar asked as Tiros joined the others at the base of the shaft.

“I thought I heard something,” the marshal said, as Varo handed him his torch. “Could just be the acoustics of the place playing tricks.”

“This place is... foul,” Navev said, rubbing his arms.

“It’s just another dungeon,” Dar said, thrusting his torch at the warlock. “Here, hold this.”

“I do not need light to see. And I need my hands free to work my magic,” Navev said.

“Well, I need my hands free to use my blade, and you’ll damned well appreciate it when a snarling monster is trying to claw its way to you, wizard.”

“I’m not a—“ Navev began, but he trailed off at the look from the warrior.

“Here, I will take the torch,” Varo said. “I am no warrior, in any case.”

With that issue resolved, the group moved out, with Ukas in the lead. The passageway at the base of the shaft ran off in only one direction, roughly east of the mausoleum. The tunnel was hewn from solid rock, and as they progressed, they could make out dark smears along the walls, which grew more prolific as they continued.

“Bloodstains,” Varo pronounced, after a brief examination.

“Wonderful,” Dar said.

They continued for almost a hundred feet, in single file, before Tiros’s light revealed an end to the passage ahead. There was an uncovered pit there, a dark opening about five feet square. An old, tattered rope was attached to the wall above the pit, offering a route of descent.

“Another shaft?” the marshal inquired.

“Only one way to find out,” Dar said. They moved cautiously forward. But before they reached the edge of the pit, a massive noise filled the passage, and the walls of the tunnel began to tremble.

“What is it?” Navev shouted, his eyes glowing with held power as he stared about wildly.

“Sounds like an earthquake!” Tiros said, steadying himself. A few feet away, the mad elf clutched his head, and rolled back and forth, moaning.

“It is coming from back there!” Varo exclaimed, pointing his torch back toward the entrance. And then, they heard other sounds, these instantly recognizable.

Screams.

“Damn it,” Dar muttered, pushing past them as he ran back toward the entrance shaft. The others followed, bringing the torches with them. The light reached Dar just as he reached the shaft. The fighter had drawn back suddenly, and as the others joined him, they saw why.

Blood, a bright pool of splattered scarlet, covered the ground in front of the warrior. It continued to drip down from above.

“Give me that torch,” Dar said, yanking the light from Varo. The fighter sheathed his sword and lifted himself up into the shaft, holding the burning brand up before him.

They could see the source of the red shower at once. A set of thick metal bars had emerged to block the top of the shaft. Beyond the bars, slabs of stone had been ground together by some massive mechanism—the source of the noises they had heard before. Crushed against the bars by the force of the trap was the mangled remains of a man. One arm, barely squeezed through the narrow gap between the bars, dangled down into the shaft, trailing a dying trickle of crimson. A few droplets splattered onto Dar’s helm, as the fighter stared, grim.

“I would guess that the entire mausoleum was a massive death-trap,” Varo said. “The slabs rose up from the floor; it is possible that the entire interior was crushed. That would explain the pulverized stone and smashed bones we found in the crypt.”

“But why didn’t we trip it?” Navev asked.

Dar clambered back down. “We had the key. Clearly Sobol sent some goons after us, to follow us in. That must have been what you heard, marshal.” Tiros nodded. Dar continued, “They probably touched something they weren’t supposed to, or did something else to trigger the trap.”

“Poor bastards,” Tiros said.

“Jerks didn’t help us when we were fighting for our lives against those damned gargoyles. As far as I’m concerned, they got what they had coming.”

“Still, they likely had as much choice in the matter as we did,” Varo mused.

“Well, there’s only one way forward, now,” Dar said brusquely. Returning the torch to the cleric, he pushed through them again, leading them once more down the corridor.
 

HugeOgre

First Post
I've been thinking of starting my own storyhour, so here I come over to see whats to see, and read a bit about how others write, and by the sheerest of happenstance I click on a title that catches my eye. Imagine my surprise to see that the author is none other than my favorite storyteller of all time - Lazybones. GREAT to see you writing on here again.
 

Lazybones

Explorer
Glad to have you with us again, Eric! At this point, I think I HAVE to write; it may sound weird, but when I'm not working on a story or doing something else creative, my mood takes a turn for the worse. Even my wife has commented on it, and since I have a strong motivation to keep her content, well... here we are. :D

I'm very pleased by the fine reception that this story has gotten thus far. Up through today, I've gotten approximately 82 views per story update posted... a very nice average! So nice, in fact, that I'm going to post updates today and tomorrow, and then settle down to a M-W-F update schedule starting next week. I have a busy stretch coming up, but I have a number of draft updates already completed, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to stay ahead of the story for a while, at least.

Thanks to everyone for your support, both lurkers and posters! And keep those questions/comments coming!

LB

* * * * *

Chapter 8

INTO THE DUNGEON


The first thing they noticed was the stench.

It blasted them as soon as they had levered open the secret door at the base of the pit. Navev had been violently ill, and all of them, even Ukas, had not been immune to its effects. The foul odor suffused the dungeon like a miasma, and after a while seemed to seep into their very pores to become one with their skin.

The complex they entered seemed more like a natural cavern than a worked complex, at least at first. Rough, uneven crevices spawned off the main tunnel, most of which dead-ended or became too small to navigate after just a few feet. Following the main spur, they came to a doorway with a rotten wooden door, banded in heavily rusted iron, frozen open on broken hinges. Beyond that the passage forked off to the left and right. Bearing right, they found themselves in a small rectangular room. A few rotting animal corpses—rats, it looked like—and another wooden door in the far wall were the only notable features.

“Gods, this... smell,” Navev said, as they fanned out to examine the place. The warlock was pale, and looked ready to void his stomach again.

“It’s hardly worse than the back allies of Camar,” Dar said, although his expression betrayed his own revulsion at the potent odor.

The warlock paused before a rat corpse. The light of Varo’s torch showed white spears of bone jutting from the ragged fur. His lips tightening, Navev lifted a boot to kick the noisome object away from him.

Varo grabbed him, suddenly. “I wouldn’t do that,” the cleric said. The priest cast about and picked up a sliver of wood about a foot long lying nearby. He used the scrap to prod the rat corpse, turning it to reveal the ugly green ooze that covered the bones, slowly eating away at the remains.

“Green slime,” Varo reported. “You would have lost your boot. If you were lucky. I would recommend additional caution, were I you.”

He turned away, and Navev turned paler, if that were possible.

On the other side of the room, Dar and Tiros were involved in an argument. “You’re a naïve fool,” Dar was saying, as Varo walked over to them. The mad elf watched from a crouch a few feet away, his eyes glowing in the torchlight.

“Perhaps,” the marshal acknowledged. “But that we are all here together by compulsion does not justify this.” He lifted his hand, showing the binding ring given him by the cleric Valus above, and Varo nodded as he grasped the subject of the controversy.

“That elf would as soon kill you, kill all of us, as soon as look at you,” Dar said. “He bears us no loyalty or allegiance.”

“As if any of us do,” Tiros said with a wry smile. “We are bound together only for the needs of survival, warrior. I will not keep a slave, even for the sake of this company.”

He pulled off the ring. The elf’s eyes remained fixed upon it, the metal glimmering bright in the light of Tiros’s torch.

“Give it to me, then, if your conscience is so unsettled,” Dar said. “I’ll keep the wretch under control.”

Tiros shook his head. “The ring was given to me; in this case, the decision is mine.” Without waiting for a reply, he tossed the ring to the elf. The creature leapt up and snagged it in mid air. His momentum carried him between the two fighters; he hit the ground running, and was gone from the room before any of them could so much as take a breath.

“Damn it, I hate it when I’m right,” Dar said. He pointed a finger at Tiros’s chest. “It’s on your head then, marshal. If that creature comes for your head in the deep of the night, I’ll not stand in its way.”

Turning, the fighter joined Ukas at the door. The half-orc looked enquiringly at the fighter. “Hell, have fun,” Dar said.

With a guttural roar, the half-orc disintegrated the portal into splinters and broken iron fragments.

“So much for the element of surprise,” Tiros said. “I imagine every inhabitant of the dungeon heard that.”

“In this case, the decision was mine,” Dar said, leading them into the passageway behind the door.

The corridor was unremarkable, culminating in another door more or less identical to the first. Having made his point earlier, Dar merely gave this door a shove, revealing another rough-hewn chamber beyond.

This place was likewise in poor condition. A faded carpet barely more than wisps covered the floor, upon which a wooden coffin in equally bad shape rested upon a display stand that sagged beneath its weight. Pieces of assorted trash were scattered about the room. A large crack in the wall gaped in the rear corner to the right, while to the left a staircase led down to another area beyond the range of their torchlight.

“Watch for traps,” Tiros warned. “I like this not.”

But after a cautious search, the room did not appear to hold any concealed dangers. After verifying that the crevice narrowed quickly beyond the ability of any of them to squeeze within, the companions turned to the staircase. The stairs did not extend far, and appeared to open onto another chamber below.

Without waiting, Dar started down the steps, his sword at the ready in his hand, his shield raised to cover his torso.

He had nearly made it to the bottom when his left foot crashed through a false step. His leg slammed hard two feet down into a hidden compartment, utterly destroying his balance. As his body fell forward, however, something held the limb pinned, and Dar’s face twisted in a grimace of intense pain.

“Bastard sons of whores!” he exclaimed.

The cry was echoed a moment later by a cacophony of loud squeaks, as a dozen rats the size of bloodhounds erupted from the lower room and came charging in a mass up the stairs.
 

Tonks

First Post
Lazybones said:
The cry was echoed a moment later by a cacophony of loud squeaks, as a dozen rats the size of bloodhounds erupted from the lower room and came charging in a mass up the stairs.

Well at least the group knows what is for dinner after this encounter is over...:)

Great stuff and can't wait to settle into the M-W-F goodness.
 



Lazybones

Explorer
Aramis Simara said:
May the Gods have mercy on their souls. :]
Heh, there's only one god in Rappan Athuk, and he isn't known for mercy... ;)

Thanks for posting and supporting the SH, Tonks, Aramis, and SoT.

A quick note: I am slightly censoring the language in the SH due to the Eric's Grandma rule here at ENWorld (although I have noted that a number of popular story hours don't bother). When I release the story as a PDF, it will have the more... colorful... language more or less intact. Now for the Friday cliffhanger:

* * * * *

Chapter 9

BLOOD AND CRAP


Dar, still obviously in pain but unable to move, lifted his sword into a ready position as the giant rats surged forward toward him.

Before the first creature could get close enough for the fighter to strike, Ukas leapt forward, hurdling over Dar and landing at the base of the stairs five feet away. The half-orc’s boots crushed a rat that was too slow to get out of the way, and as the creatures leapt at the barbarian’s legs, he started swinging around him with his chain in wild abandon. Rats squeaked loudly, took incredible blows from the iron manacles that weighted the ends of the chain, and were hurtled away, their bodies broken. Several rats nipped the half-orc’s muscled legs with their jutting teeth, gouging out thumb-sized hunks of flesh from the limbs of the massive warrior. But those wounds only drove Ukas to a greater frenzy, laying about him with wild abandon.

Tiros squeezed past Dar as the fighter impaled a rat on his sword. Another leapt over its dying companion, aiming for his wrist, but he swiftly snapped the weapon up, smashing the rat hard under its jaw with the iron ball at the base of the sword’s hilt. The rat fell hard on the next step, its body quivering violently.

“Are you pinned?” Tiros asked.

“No, I’m leaving my foot there because it’s so damned comfortable! Aaargh!” he cursed, as his movements worsened the pain in his trapped leg. Another pair of rats crept forward, warier now, but they hesitated as Tiros summoned Valor, and stepped forward to block their path to the injured warrior.

“Try not to move,” Varo said, as he crouched beside Dar. He lowered his torch. “Looks like a reverse-spike trap; they’ve got your foot pretty good. I’ll have to cut them away for you to get free.” He looked up at the fighter. “This may hurt.”

“Just do it,” Dar replied, his jaw tight.

The intensity of the rat attack was fading now, as Ukas continued his onslaught. Only a few rats from the original rush were left alive, and as the last few slipped on the bloody floor, the barbarian reached down and grabbed a rat that was trying to latch onto his ankle. With a triumphant roar, the half-orc stuffed the rat into his jaws, crushing its neck with a loud cracking noise. Ukas lifted his head so that the rat’s blood coursed down his cheeks and across his breast, then he shook his head, tossing its corpse aside.

Tiros slew the last two in quick order, and as the chaos of battle settled Varo helped Dar work his leg free of the pinning trap. The warrior leaned on the wall, grimacing as the priest cleaned the wounds before applying healing from one of his wands. “I feel weakened,” Dar said, propping his weapon against the wall next to him and flexing his sword hand.

“The barbs were poisoned,” the cleric explained. “I can help you, but I want to cleanse these wounds first, lest you add a disease to the list of things that I will need to treat. Ukas, too... rat bites are known to fester.”

The half-orc, covered in blood, merely grinned and walked away.

Dar, benefiting from a lesser restoration from Varo, straightened and took up his sword again. He looked over his shoulder at Navev, who’d hung back at the rear during the brief melee. The warlock’s eyes flickered red briefly before returning to their usual deep brown. “Keep up the good work,” Dar said, his voice thick with sarcasm as he joined Ukas and Tiros in the area ahead.

With the rats defeated, the companions examined the room at the base of the stairs. This one was smaller than the chamber above, and was occupied primarily by old bones. An intact skeleton sat propped up in a chair facing them, across a small wooden table that lay in the middle of the room. For a moment the companions regarded the skeleton warily, but it did not stir as they approached, and Varo shook his head, indicating that it was not animated as an undead creature. There was a faint tapping sound that echoed softly off the walls, difficult to place.

As they got closer, they could see that the skeleton and the table were covered with trails of large red ants. There was a deck of cards laid out on the table in front of it, with one skeletal hand extended toward the deck.

“Ah, looks like he lost,” Dar said.

There didn’t appear to be anything of value in the room, so they crossed to the exit on the far side. As the light of the torches drove back the darkness, the source of the tapping was revealed as a metal plate lying on the ground near the wall to the right. A slow but steady drip of water from a crack in the ceiling above provided the noise. A corridor seemed to extend beyond to the left and right just ahead. Ukas stepped forward, his foot poised to kick the annoying plate aside, but as he stepped forward into the arched exit, the floor suddenly dropped out beneath his feet.

“Ukas!” Tiros cried, leaping forward, Dar and Varo only a step behind.

They looked down to see Ukas clinging to the edge of the pit with one muscled hand. The shaft fell a good twenty feet below them, and was clearly deliberately designed as a trap; the cover was already beginning to slowly creep shut, operated by some hidden counterweight mechanism. A solitary explorer would have likely found himself trapped, even if he’d managed to survive the initial fall.

Dar and Tiros were able to help the barbarian out of the pit. There was enough space around the sides of the trap to pass safely, although the rim was narrow enough to make it dicey if one was in a great hurry. By the time that Navev slipped past, the pit door had closed almost halfway.

“Don’t forget it’s here,” Dar said, as they started down the corridor to the left. In that direction the passage quickly ended in another doorway, this one empty save for a collection of wreckage that only barely resembled a door. Several arrows jutted from the stone jam, and directly beyond, several skeletons lay splayed across the floor.

“Looks like a battle happened here,” Varo commented, as they carefully moved into the room.

This place was larger than any of the chambers they had explored thus far, easily forty or fifty feet across. The outline of the room was uneven, and again resembled a natural cavern rather than a worked chamber. The foul odor was even stronger here than in the other rooms. There was a ruined wooden object along the wall to the right, an old desk by the look of it. Dar moved over to it; he barely prodded it with his sword before it toppled to the side, even more broken than before.

“By the Father’s puckered arse, this place is more cleaned out than the Duke’s jail on Hanging Day,” the warrior said.

“Must you blaspheme?” Tiros said.

“In case you didn’t notice, this ain’t exactly the High Sanctum, marshal,” Dar returned. “The gods have crapped on us, so forgive me if I don’t give ‘em much ado.”

“Not all of the gods have abandoned you,” Varo said. The cleric had crossed the room and now stood along the far wall to the left. “Over here.”

The others joined him. As they drew near, the cleric prodded a space of the wall with his torch. “Look.” The flames flickered slightly.

Tiros examined the spot indicated. “A secret door here. It looks like it wasn’t closed all the way.”

“Somebody got careless, maybe,” Dar said. He gestured to Ukas, and the half-orc pulled a stone slab about four feet high out of the wall. Beyond, a narrow corridor stretched out into darkness.

“Oh, gods, that even worse,” Navev said, holding his hand in front of his nose.

Dar and Varo exchanged a look. “What do you think?” the fighter asked.

“Secret doors are not easy to construct,” the cleric said. “Invariably they conceal something important.”

“Yeah, I was afraid you were going to say that,” Dar said. Sliding his sword into its scabbard, he took the torch from Varo and slipped through the door. The others followed.

“I have a real bad feeling about this,” Navev said. He did not linger behind, however.

The corridor turned to the left before opening onto another room. This chamber, smaller than the last, was roughly ovoid. The odor, a mélange of fecal smells mixed with the sweet sticky stench of rotting flesh, was overpowering here. The only thing of note was a long stone platform in the middle of the room. The function of the place was evident in the three head-sized holes arranged in a row across the edge of the platform. The one in the middle was provided with a seat of clean white stone; marble, perhaps. It seemed wholly out of place in the foulness of its surroundings.

“A crapper. Wonderful,” Dar said. “’Something important,’ eh, priest?”

“This place is obviously populated by sentient inhabitants,” Varo said. “Someone kept the toxin on the stair trap fresh, and obviously someone has make an effort to keep that seat clean. Unintelligent monsters are not quite so... diligent, in their toilet hygiene.”

“We should still search,” Tiros said. “We cannot afford to miss anything important.”

“Yeah, well you can go check out those holes, marshal,” Dar said. “Damn it, this place is really starting to get on my nerves.”

Tiros and Varo started a quick survey around the perimeter of the room. Ukas, meanwhile, crossed to the marble seat. Tugging off his breechclout, he seated himself upon the “throne.” A series of clearly audible noises rose from the seat.

“I would have thought that nothing could have made this place more disgusting,” Navev said, still holding his nose shut.

Dar watched Tiros and Varo as they completed their search. “Can we go now?”

Ukas grunted a last time, and shifted to rise. To his surprise, however, the half-orc found that he could not get up. He grunted, leaning forward, a look of confusion on his face.

Navev said, “Hey, what’s wrong with—"

The barbarian’s confused look became one of pain and alarm as a cascade of foul liquid spurted out from around the edges of the seat, and up between his meaty thighs. The stuff had the consistency of explosive diarrhea, an ugly brown mess of stinking, tainted pollution. As Ukas cried out in distress, the brown slick became streaked with garishly bright red.

For a heartbeat, the companions could only stand there, stunned. Finally Ukas began to topple forward, but they could see that the stone “seat” remained affixed to him, the white marble already beginning to meld back into the corrupt brown mass that rose out of the sewer hole below. The half-orc looked at them, pleadingly, as the... thing... flowed up onto him, absorbing the lower half of his body into its fetid mass.
 

HugeOgre

First Post
I think it was almost worse, knowing what was going to happen, yet being powerless to say or do anything while LBs words poured out the narrative onto the page. I usually play good characters, but Im going to miss that barbarian...
 

Tonks

First Post
All I was able to say was "Where is Silent Bob when you need him to beat the Galgatha..."

Well that and...Is it Monday yet?
 

jfaller

First Post
'Dungie'... Wasn't that the name of that thing? Sadly I had the second and third books of Rappan Athuk and never got to experience one of the famous "highlights" of this deadly dungeon.

LB, you're an artiste. Keep up the good work...
 

Richard Rawen

First Post
Lazybones said:
. . .
So nice, in fact, that I'm going to post updates today and tomorrow, and then settle down to a M-W-F update schedule starting next week...

Sweet! I will greatly look forward to your regular updates LB! What a wonderful discovery to find you writing again!

As to the alignments... my guesses:
Mad Elf: Neutral
Corath Dar: Chaotic Neutral
Ukas Half-Orc: Chaotic Neutral
Zafir Navev: Neutral
Licinius Varo: Chaotic Neutral or Neutral Evil or ... heck I dunno :)
Velan Tiros: Lawful Neutral
 

Lazybones

Explorer
jfaller said:
'Dungie'... Wasn't that the name of that thing? Sadly I had the second and third books of Rappan Athuk and never got to experience one of the famous "highlights" of this deadly dungeon.

That's it... the damned thing is near invincible, to boot.

How will the DBs handle it? Read on...

* * * * *

Chapter 10

THE DUNG MONSTER


The companions watched in horror as a monster resembling a mass of living, amorphous crap rose out of the latrine and onto the hapless Ukas.

Finally, as if waking from a dream, Tiros shook his head and stirred to action. “Get him!” he yelled, rushing forward to the half-orc’s aid. Varo, caught behind the creature during his search, hurried back around the stone bier to the front of the room, while Dar drew his sword and rushed at the creature from the flank opposite the onrushing marshal. Navev, calling upon his power, fired a bolt of red energy into the bulk of the creature. The eldritch blast blasted a black scar a foot long across the surface of the monstrosity, but within seconds the roiling surface of the creature had obscured the mark, leaving it as it was.

More of the creature continued to surge out of the hole. It was huge, a massive blob taller than a man, and it continued to spread outward. Tiros ran toward Ukas, whose body was engulfed in it up to his chest now. The half-orc saw the marshal and cried out—or tried to; when his mouth opened wide only a spray of blood came out. Tiros seized the half-orc’s outstretched hand and pulled with all his strength. On the other side of the creature, Dar laid into it with his sword. But despite the strength of the figther’s swing, the impact was like smacking a mass of oozing tree sap. The sword slapped into the creature’s mass and stuck to it. The creature’s movements tore the hilt from Dar’s hand, and almost immediately the blade began to sink into its body. Navev, still standing in the room’s entrance, hit the monster again with another blast, but again the warlock’s power seemed to have little effect upon the thing.

“UKAS!” Tiros cried, his entire body tensed with his effort to draw the trapped barbarian from the body of the monster. Now the only thing visible was the half-orc’s face, and the outstretched arm that Tiros continued to pull. His efforts were having no apparent effect, as the monster continued to spread out over the remaining parts of Ukas’s body, but the marshal refused to give up.

Ukas’s eyes were wide; for an instant the human and half-orc locked gazes. Then, as the light in those eyes began to fade, brown ooze swept out of the barbarian’s throat, out over his jaws, and across his face.

A moment later, Tiros fell back, landing hard on the stone floor. He looked down to see Ukas’s arm still in his grip, its end a white and red mess stained with brown.

The creature began to slurp forward, looming over him. There was another flash of red, another eldritch blast that hit it full on, and slowed it for less than a second.

Tiros felt a numbing fear fall over him. He’d fought on gory battlefields and sent men he cared about to their deaths, but he’d never confronted anything like this before. He felt his gorge rising, and knew that in another second, he would join Ukas in utter destruction.

Then Varo was at his side, pulling him to his feet. Dar was there as well; as the creature lunged forward, a massive pseudopod forming out of its mass, the fighter met it, taking the blow on his shield. The fighter staggered back from the force of the blow, which landed with a meaty smack. His feet slid on the floor as the monster drove him back, and then he started to go the other way, as its sticky mass got a grip on the shield, and it began drawing it into its body. Dar frantically tore his arm free of the straps on the back of the shield, and staggered back just in time to avoid being sucked in as well.

“Run!” he yelled. “Run, on your lives!”

The companions needed no urging. Navev was already gone down the corridor out to the main chamber, and Tiros, having finally regained a sound footing, staggered after, with Varo at his side. Dar was only a step behind the cleric, glancing over his shoulder to see the hideous creature flowing slowly after them.

The fighter reached the secret door to find Tiros and Varo waiting. “Warlock!” the marshal said, as they helped Dar through and heaved the door shut. “Your power... target the mechanism... we have to seal the door!”

Navev came forward, a bewildered look on his face. Varo indicated the points to target, and the warlock summoned his magic, blasting into the substance of the portal. Shards of rock went flying. Dar stepped back, drawing his dagger.

“Will that hold it?” the fighter asked, as the companions drew back, forming a half-circle around the portal.

As if to answer the question, dark runnels of brown liquid began seeping out around the jam of the secret door. For a second or two they trailed down the stone, seeping out from the gaps around the door. Then, with a sick wrenching noise, the door collapsed outward, and the dung monster poured out into the room.
 

Richard Rawen

First Post
HOLY S... er... I mean, well... crap!

Well blow me down, thar be the nastiest non-fiendish monster ever sailed these boards!

Anudder fine story yer tellin matey, ye had me on the edge o'th'bulwark to be sure!
Aye, they be in a fine mess fer sure now wit th'great cur sunk to th'bottom o'the ...
well les nay squawk abou'where he be sunken to!

(OOP: Could you post the stats for that nasty, here or on the Rogues Gallery please?)
 
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HugeOgre

First Post
Im just happy it wasnt the cleric who took a dump, though in some ways it would have been nice to see an old tradition continue. >:)
 

Tonks

First Post
HugeOgre said:
Im just happy it wasnt the cleric who took a dump, though in some ways it would have been nice to see an old tradition continue. >:)

Only good priests meet their death so quickly. Those who aren't on the golden road always seem to take longer to get rid of.
 

Lazybones

Explorer
Richard Rawen said:
(OOP: Could you post the stats for that nasty, here or on the Rogues Gallery please?)
It's basically a mimic on steroids. The entire block would be Necromancer Games IP, so I can't reprodue it in toto, but here's some highlights:

10HD, hp140, Spd10, Atk +12 melee (1d8+5+1d8 acid+adhesive), DR25/magic, SR100, Regen25, immune to acid, cold, electricty, fire, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep, sonic, stunning, all mind effects, critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage and drain, energy drain, fatigue, exhaustion...

I think you get the idea. ;) I think that the "immune to everything" is a bit over the top, but in 3.5 at least it can be hurt with magic weapons (which of course these guys don't have, with one exception... but I don't see Tiros doing enough to it alone to overcome its regen :] ). I think that the creature's speed is the only balancing factor that gives players any chance at all in this encounter.

Of course, the Doomed Bastards are going to have their hands quite full dealing with it... but we'll get back to that tomorrow. ;)
 
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Fimmtiu

First Post
Good God! That bastard would give a fully-equipped high-level party pause, so your little band of threadbare redshirts had better come up with a creative way to get the hell out of there.

DR 25? Regen 25? SR 100? Seems rather excessive, in a "there is only one right way to kill this" way. You don't guess the "right way" on the first try? Surprise! TPK! Roll up another party and try again! I'm not a big fan of those kinds of scenarios.
 

Lazybones

Explorer
Fimmtiu said:
Good God! That bastard would give a fully-equipped high-level party pause, so your little band of threadbare redshirts had better come up with a creative way to get the hell out of there.

DR 25? Regen 25? SR 100? Seems rather excessive, in a "there is only one right way to kill this" way. You don't guess the "right way" on the first try? Surprise! TPK! Roll up another party and try again! I'm not a big fan of those kinds of scenarios.
Actually, I think the intent of the module author was, "There's no way to kill this period." I think the "run away" option is pretty much the only solution in this encounter.

It's actually a very nasty trap for player groups that generally don't withdraw from combats as a rule.
 

wolff96

First Post
Welcome back, LB!

I hadn't noticed this new story hour until just recently -- being sick gives one plenty of time to catch up on one's reading -- so I was very happy to have a new delight to follow in my spare time. :)

So far, this is one impressive collection of folks. I like it.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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