The Slave and Her Sovereign

XP

* SKILL CHALLENGE RESOLVED (2N to safety of your caravanserai of Chomrok) = 900/2 = 450. Go ahead and level up!

LOOT

* 140 Gold.

* Select 1 x Uncommon Magic Item of Level 6 or less.




The wyvern's fortitude renewed (effectively "trigger Second Wind" as in the Heal move), it beats its mighty wings one more time, banks hard left and spirals to the ground, slowing its landing to a full stop in a scrub grass meadow as wild goats scatter. The Second Nation and civilians of Chomrok scatter to the safety of the primary structure and outbuildings the moment you "deboard." The Wyvern stares at Pa'avu briefly, accepts whatever patting it gets on its big, meaty head, and immediately runs to take off back toward Bantouk (much less burdened!).

As they close, the fermenting thought in your mind is confirmed. This clan of feral raiders has a history with Pa'avu's old clan @Nephis !


You'll get an advantage from your success, realization, and time to plan for their assault (Pick 1):

* Enemies grant CA to all UtEo Round 1.

* +4 to Initiative.

* Automatic success at High DC Monster Knowledge vs all of the creatures.

* Pick a terrain element (Hindering Terrain or Blocking Terrain). You can put it wherever you want and if its HT, you get 1 x Encounter Power to be immune to its effect (and stay out of it, but not prone) or you get to pick a Stunt (Single-Use; Encounter Power equivalent) for the Blocking Terrain and gain auto-success on the Skill Check.

Also:

* Decide whether you want any of B-B or the MS with you.

* Pick your squares.

MECHANICS

* Fieldstone Walls squares are 8 ft high Challenging Terrain, scalable with DC 10 Athletics (at normal speed) or Climb Speed and traversable with DC 12 Acrobatics. They provide Cover vs or Superior Cover if adjacent (pending). They can be stunted.

* Pond in bottom left is 4 ft deep water & Challenging Terrain. Requires Athletics DC 10 to navigate at Swim Speed and any creature gives up CA and takes -2 to hit while in.

* G1/2/3. Gnoll Grenadiers (Standard Artillery) are on Pteryodactyls and maintain an altitude of 4 squares (20 ft). HP 44, AC 18, Fortitude 16, Reflex 17, Will 15

* B1/2. Gnoll Bloodcallers (Standard Soldier) HP 56, AC 20, Fortitude 17, Reflex 16, Will 15

* PL. Gnoll Packlord (Standard Controller, Leader) HP 56, AC 18, Fortitude 17, Reflex 16, Will 16

* If any of B-B or the MS's go down in the course of a combat; DC15 Heal to Stabilize each at the end of this combat. Failure = send them off to the ever-after.

INITIATIVE

Bita-Bousseh & Bjorkus 22
Bloodcallers & Pack Lord 22
Chanvati, Minerion, Aesterion 17
Hazard 13
Grenadiers & Harriers 11
Pa'avu 10

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ROUND 1

PA'AVU
Monster Knowledge (against High DC) from background:

Bloodspear Grenadier * 3
Medium natural humanoid (gnoll)
Level 4 Artillery XP 175
HP 44; Bloodied 22 Initiative +6
AC 18, Fortitude 16, Reflex 17, Will 15 Perception+8
Speed 8 (4 flight - 4 sqs up) Low-light vision

Standard Actions
(⚔) Shortspear (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 9 damage.

(➶) Javelin (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature); +11 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 9 damage.

✻ Fire Bomb (fire, weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Area burst 1 within 10 (creatures in the burst); +9 vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + 5 fire damage.

Triggered Actions

✻ Blazing Fury ✦ Encounter
Trigger: The grenadier drops to 0 hit points.
Effect (Free Action): Each creature adjacent to the grenadier takes 5 fire damage, and the grenadier uses fire bomb.

Caltrops ✦ Encounter
Trigger: An enemy ends its movement adjacent to the grenadier.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): The grenadier shifts up to 2 squares and drops caltrops in a close blast 3, which must include the enemy's space. Until the end of the encounter, any creature that enters the blast's area or ends its turn there takes 5 damage and is slowed (save ends).

Break Fall ✦ Encounter
Trigger: The grenadier is dismounted or knocked prone while flying and falls 20 ft or less:
Effect: Take half damage from 1/2d10 fall. Activate Pterodactyl Harrier.

Pterodactyl Harrier
Medium natural reptile
Level 4 Minion Skirmisher XP 44
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 18, Fortitude 15, Reflex 17, Will 16 Perception+5
Speed 5, fly 6 Low-light vision

Standard Actions
(⚔) Fly-By✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 4 damage, or 6 when charging, and shift 2 squares.

Move Actions
Sly Takeoff ✦ At-Will
Effect: The PH shifts 1 square and then flies 5 squares.


Gnoll Pack Lord
Medium natural humanoid (gnoll)
Level 4 Controller (Leader) XP 175
HP 56; Bloodied 28 Initiative +4
AC 18, Fortitude 17, Reflex 16, Will 16 Perception+5
Speed 8 Low-light vision

Traits
Pack Attack
The gnoll's attacks deal 5 extra damage to any enemy that has two or more of the gnoll's allies adjacent to it.

Standard Actions
(⚔) Flail (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + 7 damage.

➶ Demonic Frenzy (charm) ✦ Recharge when an ally drops to 0 hit points
Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature); +7 vs. Will
Hit: The target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of its next turn. In addition, the target uses a free action to make one or two basic attacks against a target or targets of the gnoll's choice.
Effect: The target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

✻ Feed on the Weak ✦ Encounter (Recharge when Bloodied)
Attack: Close burst 5 (One ally in the burst);
Effect: One ally in the burst gains 15 temporary HP and can make a basic attack as a free action.

Minor Actions
ᗕ Pack Cackle ✦ Recharge ⚄ ⚅
Effect: Close burst 5 (allies in the burst). Each target can shift up to 2 squares as a free action



Gnoll Blood Caller * 2
Medium natural humanoid (gnoll)
Level 4 Soldier XP 175
HP 56; Bloodied 28 Initiative +6
AC 20, Fortitude 17, Reflex 16, Will 15 Perception+4
Speed 8 Low-light vision

Traits
Pack Attack
The gnoll's attacks deal 5 extra damage to any enemy that has two or more of the gnoll's allies adjacent to it.

Standard Actions
(⚔) Claws ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d6 + 5 damage, or 2d6 + 7 while the gnoll is bloodied.
Effect: The gnoll marks the target until the end of the gnoll's next turn.

ᗕ Blood Call (charm, psychic) ✦ At-Will
Effect: The gnoll shifts up to 3 squares
Attack: Close burst 5 (each creature marked by the gnoll in the burst); +7 vs. Will
Hit: 1d10 + 7 psychic damage, and the gnoll pulls the target up to 3 squares.

Minor Actions
ᗕ Blood Frenzy ✦ At-Will 1/round
Requirement: The gnoll must be bloodied.
Effect: Close burst 1 (enemies in the burst). Each target takes 5 damage and is marked by the gnoll until the end of the gnoll's next turn.




BITA-BOUSSEH has barely had a chance to take in the goliath's tactical suggestions, as she finds a (somewhat) sheltered spot from which to direct her stalwarts. "Aesterion, keep an eye out! I'll give you an opportunity if I can! Minerion, look to Chanvati: he'll do the same for you!" The tiefling attempts to dredge up all the frustrations of the day to direct a furious glare at one of the flying dactyleers, but her exhaution is real and she is unable to do so.

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower: r(5) + 7 = 12 vs Will 15 Miss




AESTERION and MINERION each wait, axes poised for action, as they witness their brother-at-arms charging into melee downfield. Sadly, BJORKUS's axe slices harmlessly through the air next to the gnoll he is facing.

* Aesterion and Minerion both delay until after Chanvati goes.

* Bjorkus: Standard Action: Charge ATK (to V1) on B1: r(5) + 9 + 1 = 15 vs. 20 AC Miss




The BLOOD CALLERS explode with savagery and the sort of quickness that can only be seen by pack animals under a bloodlust. Bjorkus falls in the fray as the pair encircle Pa'avu.

The PACK LORD wades into the fray, barking and baying indecipherable commands as one of its Blood Callers answers with a shrieking howl and a flurry of claws, forcing Pa'avu to desperately defend the onslaught.

The stories of these bestial creatures were very...very true...


B1

* Standard Action: Claws vs SB AC: r(14) + 9 = 23. Hit. Bjorkus down.

* Move: Circle far right (for the gnolls) to P10 (no OA).

B2

* Standard Action: Charge to R8 and Claws vs P AC: r(17) + 9 + 2 (CA) + 1 (CH) = 28. Hit. r(1, 3) + 5 = 9 damage and B2 marks P until the end of the B2's next turn.

PL

* Move: From U8 to R9

* Standard Action: Feed on the Weak (CB5; 1 ally). B2 gains 15 Temp HPs and makes Basic Attack (Claws) vs P AC: r(11) + 9 + 2 (CA) = 22. Hit. r(6, 2) + 5 + 5 (3 allies adjacent) = 18 damage (B2 already marked P). P BLOODIED.




Observing the gnolls ravaging his sahtree, CHANVATI unleashes a powerful perturbation of space around her, ravaging the Pack Lord and one of the Blood Callers as they are hurled instantaneously through space. Then, Chanvati draws upon further reserves and unleashes a blast of psionic energy at the Pack Lord, causing the gruesome scavanger to reel under the assault.

Then the psion advances towards his foes, calmly shielding his presence under a veil of psychic distortion.


* Standard Action: AUG 2 Dimensional Scramble centered on Q9. Attack vs PL (Augmented by Adept's Insight), r(12) +8 +r(1)+1 = 22 vs 17 Fort. Hit. Attack vs B2, r(5) +8 = 13 vs 17 Fort. Miss. Attack vs. B1 r(18) +8 = 26 vs 17 Fort. Hit. Damage = r(6,4) +5 = 15 damage to PL and teleported to Q8 (flanked), 15 damage to B1 and teleported to O8.

* Free Action: (AP for Standard Action): Mind Thrust vs PL, r(13) +8 = 21 vs 16 Will. Hit for r(7) +5 = 12 psychic damage.

* Move Action: H7 to N6.

* Minor Action: Mind Shroud. Superior Cover and Slowed UEoMNT.

36/36 HPs, 5/7 Surges remaining, 0 APs remaining, 0 PPs remaining.




MINERION and AESTERION heed Bita-Bousseh's directive and see Chanvati maneuver one of the gnolls, bitter enemies of the plains-dwelling minotaurs, into their reach. They both charge, axes swinging with as much force as they can muster. Aesterion's feint opens the space for Minerion's blow to land soundly.

Minerion:

* Move Action: G7 to L6.

* Standard Action: Charge L6 to P7 (to flank with Aesterion; see below), Axe Attack vs B1, r(17) +9 +1 +2 = 29 vs 20 AC. Hit for 6 damage and B1 is Marked by Minerion UEoYNT.

Aesterion:

* Standard Action: Charge I11 to N9. Axe Attack vs B1, R(1) = automiss.




At first startled by the creature that suddenly materializes in front of him, HAZARD gives a ferocious growl and attacks it savagely with his most vicious bite. Then he alertly surveys the field for more attacks to his Beloved.

* Standard Action: Bite ATK vs Pack Leader: r(20) = Crit vs 18 AC; Damage: 10 + 10 = 20. BLOODIED PACK LORD

* Minor Action (Enc): Savage Protector: + 2 AC Hazard: 68/68 HP; 8/11 Surges; AC 17 + 2 = 19




The GRENADIERS glide on their winged reptile mounts, lobbing fiery bombs into the fray. Hazard's reflexive yelps and growls reveal the trueness of their aim as Minerion succumbs stoically to the blasts.

The last of the trio launches a javelin at Bita-Bousseh from his perch, but the missile only caroms off the nearby fieldstone wall.


G1

* Move Action: I2 to I6.

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (P6) on SM and H Ref; r(3) + 9 = 12. Miss SM. r(10) + 9 = 19. Hit H for r(5) + 5= 10 Fire damage.

G2

* Move Action: I14 to K10.

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (P6) on SM and H Ref; r(8) + 9 = 17. SM down. r(16) + 9 = 25. Hit H for r(6) + 5= 11 Fire damage.

G3

* Move Action: A5 to E7.

* Standard Action: Javelin vs B AC; r(5) + 11 = 16. Miss.




Despite the great amount of damage these boj’H’jna have just dealt her, PA'AVU is undaunted. She howls as she swings Velmech'ti at the leader of this foul pack, but he manages to duck at the last minute. Or perhaps he is swaying with blood loss, because when the goliath's miss enrages her and she howls still more shrilly, her swing this time holds true and severs his torso in half. She gives yet another great scream - in triumph this time - that visibly effects the bloodcaller who marked her earlier. Pa'avu gives him a grim but toothy smile: "you will soon share his fate."

* Minor Action (Enc): Iron Resurgence: lose 1 surge, spend two, gain temporary hit points (+24/6THP)

* Standard Action: Howling Strike vs. PL: r(5) + 10 - 2 (marked) + 2 (CA) = 15 vs. 17 AC Miss

* Minor Action (Enc): Screaming Armor vs. B2: - 2 ATK EoPNT

* Free Action (Spend AP for Standard Action/Daily): Tyrant's Rage vs PL: r(7) + 10 - 2 + 2 = 17 vs. 16 Will Hit; Damage: r(10, 9) + 5 + 2 (Bloodied) = 26 DEADED!!! (not dazed, sadly)

Pa'avu: 41/49 HP (6 THP), 3/11 surges remaining, 0 AP remaining




B1 35/56
B2 15 THP 56/56 -2 ATK UtEoPNT
PL DEAD
G1 44/44
G2 44/44
G3 44/44

ROUND 2

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Boiling with anger, BITA-BOUSSEH rests one hand protectively against the giant fieldstone wall to her rear. Then she gestures at the avian mount holding aloft the gnoll dactyleer nearest her, overwhelming its primitive mind with fear, causing it to careen wildly and into the ground with a thud.

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower vs Pterodactyl Harrier in K10, r(19) +7 vs 16 Will for 5 damage. Harrier dies and is slid 2 to K8.

TRIGGER - G2 FALLS
TRIGGER - BREAK FALL (ENCOUNTER) G2 TAKES 1/2 DAMAGE FROM FALL


* Grenadier falls 20 feet for r(7,1) = 8/2 (Break Fall) = 4 damage and prone in K8.

* Move Action: Over Challenging Terrain of Fieldstone Wall (will just treat as DT rather than attempt to climb) from H10 to H12 for Superior Cover from all enemies.




With their leader nothing more than a pool of blood and gore (as they have left their enemies so many times before), the BLOOD CALLERS violence seems momentarily surmountable, reinforced by Aesterion's foiling of a savage attack via slipping it deftly and parrying with a mailed gauntlet. Nonetheless, the gnolls do not let up and again the pair encircles Pa'avu and lays into her defenses howl-reinforced fury!

B1

* Standard Action: Claws vs SA AC: r(4) + 9 = 13. Miss.

* Move Action: Shift to P9

B2

* Move Action: Shift to R9

* Standard Action: Claws vs P AC: r(18) + 9 + 2 (CA) -2 (Screaming Armor) = 27: Hit. r(1, 4) + 5 = 10 - 6 THP = 4 damage and B2 marks P until the end of the B2's next turn.




CHANVATI sees the barrister pull the pterodactyl to its death and realizes she has the right idea of things: get these aerial foes grounded!

Still shielded from his foes' easy discernment, Chanvati folds space outward above the closest remaining rider. But these gnoll dactyleers are more skilled riders than he anticipated, and his foe dips below his space-bending assault before rising again to altitude. His concentration diverted, Chanvati's protective shroud dissipates.


* Standard Action: Dimensional Scramble Area Burst 1 targeted 5 squares up I6 (1 square above G1), Attack vs G1, r(7) +8 = 15 vs 16 Fort. Miss. Attack vs PH, r(5) +8 = 13 vs 15 Fort. Miss.

* End of Turn: Mind Shroud ends.




AESTERION will not tolerate this pack attack against the Goliath, especially not by these cowardly scavengers, lacking in all honor. He feels rage building within him. The bull that is part of his heritage takes hold. He paws the sandy ground, takes a few steps back. Paws again, snorting and bellowing. Then, he charges the nearest gnoll flanking Pa'avu, swinging his axe with tremendous force. But his bellowing snort gives away his attack, and the gnoll evades the strike.

* Move Action: Shift N9 to M9

* Standard Action: Charge to O9 vs B1, Attack, r(3) +9 +1 +2 (CA from flanking)= 15 vs 20 AC. Miss.




HAZARD smells blood and an opportunity to take out one of these dog-men and shifts closer to his Giant. He hesitates momentarily in choosing which to attack and just misses his chosen victim with his snapping teeth, but he has gotten its attention.

* Move Action: Shift from Q7 to Q8.

* Standard Action: Snarl & Snap vs. B1: r(10) + 9 = 19 vs. 20 AC Miss; effect: B1 is marked UEoHNT.

Hazard: 47/68 HP; 8/11 Surges remaining




In full throes of a blood frenzy, the GRENADIERS lob a fiery payload right into the melee of both friend and foe as its flying reptile lets it off on the ground near Chanvati. The flying lizard then lashes out with its beak to no avail.

The Grenadier that Bita-Bousseh downed explodes from its prone position, spear in the air and howling as it launches itself into the orbit of the ever-growing melee, receiving the heavy butt of Aesterion's axe for his carelessness.

Meanwhile, the final one aims with great care and launches a javelin at Chanvati from above, sending him careening against the fieldstone wall in an effort to defend himself from the trueness of the missile. Whether it was a psionic shield or martial prowess or sheer luck, he narrowly escapes being skewered fully.


G1

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (Q9) on B1, B2, P, and H Ref; r(3) + 9 = 12; Miss B1. r(18) + 9 = 27. Hit; r(6) + 5 = 11 - 11 THP (4 THP remaining) fire damage to B2. r(6) + 9 = 15; Miss P. r(13) + 9 =22; Hit H for r(6) + 5= 11 Fire damage to H.

* Move Action: Flies down 4 sq and gets off Harrier (H1) into sq M6.

TRIGGER H1 IN SQUARE M7. ACTIVATES. STANDARD ACTION REMAINING.

H1


* Standard Action: Fly-be vs C AC; r(2) +11 = 13. Miss.

G2

* Move Action: Stand from Prone.

* Standard Action: Charge to P8 and attack (Short Spear) vs H AC.

TRIGGER OA ATTACK FROM SA. SA (Axe) + 11 on G2 AC; r(11) + 11 = 22. 6 damage and marked by SA UtEoG2NT.

r(7) +11 -2 (marked) +1 (charge)= 17. Miss.

G3

* Move Action: E7 to I7

* Standard Action: Javelin vs C AC; r(20) + 11 = Crit. 15 damage.

TRIGGER VENGEANCE IS MINE (CHAVATI)

As the last hovering dactyleer lets fly his javelin at CHANVATI, the psion not only escapes being skewered through sheer luck but manages to launch a psychic assault of his own in retaliation.

* Immediate Reaction (Trigger: An enemy hits you), Mind Thrust vs G3, r(19) +8 = 27 vs 15 Will. Hit for r(1) +5 = 6 psychic damage.




PA'AVU breathes in deeply through her snarling mouth and allows her l'pahb'gin to harden her skin. Then, using the rage pulsing through her veins, she pushes her opponents around the battlefield. Sliding into place next to her companion-at-arms and across from her hound, she attempts to channel that same energy into Velmech'ti's strike, to no avail.

* Minor Action (Enc.): Stone's Endurance: Resist 5 All UEoPNT

* Minor Action (while raging): Tyrant's Rage effect: push any adj enemies 1 sq: B2 to S9, G2 to Q7, B1 to O8

* Standard Action: Pressing Strike vs. B1: shift to O7; ATK: r(4) + 10 + 2 (CA) - 2 (marked) = 14 vs. 20 AC Miss.

Pa'avu: 37/49 HP; 3/11 Surges remaining; Resist 5 All UEoPNT



B1 35/56 Marked by H
B2 4 THP 56/56
G1 38/44
H1
G2 34/44 Marked by SA
G3 44/44

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ROUND 3




Safely ensconced behind the fieldstone wall--for the moment--BITA-BOUSSEH does what she can to provide succor to her surrounded allies, taking aim to drive the remaining mounted gnoll from the sky. In a replay of her earlier attack, the fear she strikes into the nervous system response of the pterodactyl causes it to veer hard into the ground to its death, its rider falling painfully en route.

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower vs G3's mount, Attack, r(12) +7 = 19 vs 15 Will. Killed and slid to K5.

TRIGGER - G3 FALLS
TRIGGER - BREAK FALL (ENCOUNTER) G2 TAKES 1/2 DAMAGE FROM FALL


* Grenadier falls 20 feet for r(9,4) = 13/2 (Break Fall) = 6 damage and prone in K5.



Undaunted by the barbarian's roaring rage, the BLOOD CALLERS wade back into combat, swinging wildly against Hazard's viscous canine posture and scrapping. His savage defenses hold.

B1

* Move Action: Shift O8 to P8

* Standard Action: Claws vs H AC: r(4) + 9 = 13. Miss.

B2

* Move Action: Shift S9 to R8

* Standard Action: Claws vs H AC: r(4) + 9 + 2 (CA) = 15. Miss. H is marked by B2 UtEoB2NT.




Pressed by the dactyleer and its CHANVATI steps back out of harm's way and attempts to bend space to his will once again. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. His blood runs cold.

"Hold on, " he urges himself. "You will not die in the sands outside this backwater village."


* Begins turn: 15 HP down from the grenadier's javelin. 21/36 HPs

* Move Action: Shift N6 to O6.

* Standard Action: Dimensional Scramble ABu 1 centered on L6. Attack vs G3, r(7) +8 -2 (Cover) = 13 vs 16 Fort. Miss. Attack vs H1, r(3) +8 = 11 vs 15 Fort. Miss. Attack vs G1, r(6) +8 = 14 vs 16 Fort. Miss.

* Minor Action: Inspiring Word on self. Spend Surge and heal (9) + r(3) = 12 HPs.

* End of Turn: 33/36 HPs, 4/7 Surges remaining.




Bita-Bousseh calls out to the remaining Minotaur on its feet, "AESTERION, protect the psion!" The half-bull heeds his mistress's direction, steps back safely from the current scrum, snorts loudly, and charges the grounded pterodactyl. His axe connects with a satisfying crunch and split, and the avian raptor is but a crumpled mess in the sand.

* Move Action: Shift O9 to N10.

* Standard Action: Charge N10 to N8, Attack vs H1, r(17) +10 = 27 vs 18 AC. Hit. Dead.

Pa'avu temporarily benefits from Phalanx.




Snarling at both opponents, HAZARD carefully steps back into a more strategic position. Then he savagely attacks the dogman threatening his Giant with a snap of his powerful jaws.

* Move Action: Shift to Q9

* Standard Action: Snarl & Snap vs B1: r(14) + 9 + 2 (CA) - 2 (Marked by B2) = 23 vs 20 AC Hit!!! Damage: r(2) + 5 = 7 and B1 is Marked & Bloodied

Hazard: 36/68 HP; 8/11 Surges remaining; Marked by B2 UEoB2MT/Marking B1 UEoHNT




The GRENADIERS again lob their fiery payloads into the fray as one of them rushes Bita-Bouseh's (formerly) safe sniping position and another attacks poor Hazard with the business end of a shortspear!

G1

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (O7) on B1, P, C, SA Ref; r(19, 16, 16, 3) + 9 = HIT all but SA. 8 Fire damage all (P takes 3 due to 5 Resist).

* Move Action: M6 to I12.

G2

* Move Action: Shift Q7 to Q8.

* Standard Action: Shortspear vs H AC; r(19) + 11 = 30. 1 + 9 = 10 damage.

G3

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (N7) on P, C, SA Ref; r(4, 7, 16) + 9 = MISS all but SA. AE down.




PA'AVU snarls, "away from my Hound, Boj’H’jna!" as she takes a few steps away for better momentum. The goliath murmurs loving words to Velmech'ti, causing the greatsword to glow brightly. When she lets her feet fly, her voice an unearthly wail, Pa'avu holds the greatsword aloft in her hands, so that its light can encourage those companions who remain on their feet. Her blow with Velmech'ti knocks the now-dead H'jna into his fellow soldiers as her triumphant warcry causes them to stumble backwards a step.

* Move Action: move 2 squares, ending in M6 <WOULD TRIGGER OPPORTUNITY ATTACK FROM B1 BUT DECLINING DUE TO HAZARD MARK + PA'AVU DR AND HAZARD HARRIER MARK ENFORCEMENT>

* Minor Action (Daily): Vanguard Weapon Power: +1 ATK all allies w/in 10 squares, USoPNT

* Standard Action: Howling Strike vs B!: charge to O7; ATK: r(12) + 10 + 1 (Charge) + 2 (CA) = 25 vs 20 AC Hit; Damage: r(8) + r(3) + 4 (Str) + 2 (GoB) + 1 (magic weapon) + r(8) (Vanguard) = 26 B1 DEAD

* Free Action (Enc): Warcry: push G2 to R8; push B2 to S8

End of Turn: 32/49 HP; 3/11 Surges remaining, Stone's Endurance Resist 5 All ends




B2 4 THP 56/56
G1 38/44
G2 34/44
G3 38/44

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ROUND 4




BITA-BOUSSEH balefully eyes the grenadier threatening her as her Stalwarts lie unconscious on the field, too far for her to aid them. She steps back a pace, never taking her eyes away from her opponent. Yet she feels encouraged by the glowing light she perceives on the battlefield beyond and glowers at the gnoll with infernal power, sending him back a few paces.

* Move Action: shift 1 square to G13

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower at G1: ATK: r(8) + 7 + 1 (Vanguard) = 16 vs 15 Will; 5 Damage to G1, and G1 is slid two squares to J10.




With the Pack Lord slain, the remaining BLOOD CALLER is pack alpha. It barks (literally) orders at the Grenadiers who answer with deferential postures.

B2 - DELAY UNTIL AFTER GRENADIERS

Pa'avu Free Action: Does not possess Abyssal as a language but Nature vs Medium DC to infer the exchange of the Gnolls via posture/body language: r(12) + 7 = 19. SUCCESS.

Effectively: "G1 - get in melee and attack H with your spear!"




CHANVATI runs one hand across the top of his queue, checking for singed strands after the grenadier's detonation. He may not be a vain man [he is], but he is proudful of that long, silky braid!

The situation is desperate. He calls forth his ki power to scramble space once again, teleporting the new Gnoll alpha as far afield as he can. Then he pulls a small pyramidal smoky quartz figure from his belt pouch and lofts it at the bloodcaller's feet. That mad soothsayer claimed it had true power. Now was the time to find out!

It explodes in a pulse of smoky rings. Within, the bloodcaller's movements seem decelerated, as if moving through a viscous medium.

Chanvati skirts the wall towards one of the grenadiers, holding his crystal staff aloft menacingly--if not very convincingly.


* Start of turn: reduced to 25/36 HP from fire bomb; +1 attacks from Vanguard weapon

* Standard Action: Dimensional Scramble ABu 1 centered on S9. Attack vs G2, r(1) = automiss; Attack vs B2, r(17) +8 +1 = 26 vs 17 Fort. Hit for r(1) +5 = 6 -4 THP = 2 damage and teleported to U11.

* Minor Action: Throw Four-sided Caltrop to T10. ABu 1 creates Zone UeoEncounter. When a creature enters the zone or starts its turn there, the creature is slowed (SE). RED ZONE

* Move Action: O6 to L6.




Pa'avu calls out to HAZARD and points at her gosb'tar. The hound steps back to disengage with his present combatants and charges over at the one threatening Chanvati. He seems almost distracted by the one barking orders, but the hound persists and savagely snaps at his new combatant and makes his protective presence known.

* Move Action: shift to P8.

* Standard Action: charge ATK vs G3: move to K6; ATK: r(9) + 1 - 2 (marked by B2) + 1 (Vanguard) = 18 vs 18 AC Hit; Damage: r(4) +5 = 9, and G3 is Marked.

TRIGGER IMMEDIATE REACTION CALTROPS (BLUE ZONE)

Caltrops ✦ Encounter
Trigger: An enemy ends its movement adjacent to the grenadier.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): The grenadier shifts up to 2 squares and drops caltrops in a close blast 3, which must include the enemy's space. Until the end of the encounter, any creature that enters the blast's area or ends its turn there takes 5 damage and is slowed (save ends).

* G3 Shifts to K4: TRIGGER IMMEDIATE REACTION HARRIER (HAZARD): An enemy that is marked by Hazard and is adjacent to it shifts or makes an attack that doesn't include it as a target. r(12) + 9 + 1 (Vanguard) -2 (Marked) = 20 vs 18 AC Hit; damage: r(2) + 5 = 7 damage (BLOODIED) and G3 is slid to K5.

The GNOLL GRENADIER attempts to escape HAZARD'S snapping jaws, but the dogged...dog...is having none of it. Hazard pounces on the gnoll and ensnares it before it can get away.

End of turn: 26/68 Bloodied; 8/11 Surges remaining.

[HR][/HR]

Two of the GRENADIERS do as they're instructed. But they have to change tactics mid-stride and assail the large barbarian instead. As they tangle with the barbarian, the BLOOD CALLER rushes in despite its hobbled state and the third Grenadier lobs a fiery grenade at Chanvati and Hazard while retreating behind the fieldstone wall.


G1

* Move Action: J10 to N6.

* Standard Action: Shortspear vs P AC; r(8) + 11 = 19. HIT. 2 + 9 = 11 damage.

G2

* Move Action: R8 to P7.

* Standard Action: Shortspear vs H AC; r(4) + 11 = 15. Miss.

G3

* Move Action: Shift K5 to K4

* Standard Action: Fire Bomb ABU1 (K7) on H, C Ref; r(2, 20) + 9 = Hit C for 13 damage. BLOODIED.

B2

* Start of turn (Slowed SE)

* Move Action: RUN U10 to R9 (-5 to hit and give up CA USoNT).

* Standard Action: Charge (P8) and Claws vs P AC; r(11) +9 +2 (CA) +1 (charge) -5 (Run) = 18. Miss. P is marked by B2 UtEoB2NT.

* End of Turn; Save vs Slowed 8. Fail.




PA'AVU hears her gosb'tar's voice and sees him point around the corner of the nearest stonewall: "sahtree, to my aid!" Deciding to avoid the sharp caltrops surrounding him, she sees a chance to use her strength in mimicking moves she has seen in the gladiator's ring. As she darts past the h'jina circling her, she feels zings travelling from her new badge and along her stoneskin to sting their grasping hands. She takes advantage of their inability to stop her charge to use the h'jina in front of her as a vault to propel herself up onto the top of the stone wall. Running along its edge, she sees the boj'h'jina threatening her Hound and drops down behind it with a sharp unnerving scream. "Velmech'ti smells blood and wants more," the goliath snarls as her greatsword cuts deeply into this new foe. It attempts to crawl desperately away, but Pa'avu hits the side of his neck with her elbow and she hears a satisfying crack.

* Vanguard Daily bonus to allies ends.

* Standard Action: Howling Strike as a charge: Charge: avoids OA due to Badge of Bezerker, includes Athletics Stunt over/onto the wall: DC10 autosuccess, with climb moves 7 spaces (movement 8 due to Rage Stance/Charge), "lands" in K3; ATK: r(18) + 10 + 1 (charge) - 2 (Marked) = 27 vs. AC 18 Hit; Damage: r(3) + r(5) + 5 + r(5) (Vanguard) + 2 (GoB) = 20 damage.

* No Action (Enc.): trigger: hit w/an attack: Iron Soul Flurry of Blows: +5 Damage, and target cannot shift UEoPNT: DEAD!!

TRIGGER - BLAZING FURY (GRENADIER 0 HP): Effect (Free Action): P takes 5 fire damage, and the grenadier uses fire bomb (NA - out of Fire Bombs).

A fiery explosion greets Pa'avu when she vanquishes the GRENADIER!

Pa'avu: 16/49 HP; 3/11 Surges remaining




B2 54/56 SLOWED, CA given up and -5 to hit USoYNT
G1 33/44
G2 34/44

1677289776284.png


ROUND 5




BITA-BOUSSEH can bear the cowering in the wall's shadows no longer. She steps out into the wide, dusty road and bellows, "You have felled my Stalwarts and ravaged my allies. I will see your souls to the Nine Hells!" Palpable anger roils forth from her and the nearest grenadier gives a wounded yelp and scurries closer to his packmates.

* Move Action: G13 to L9

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower vs G1, ATK r(8) +7 = 15 vs 15 Will. Hit for 5 damage and slid N6 to O8.




CHANVATI frantically pats out the flames on his smoking sleeves and thinks, absentmindedly, "Allies? I thought we were more than that, barrister...." Then he turns his potent mind to the Gnolls once more, distorting space around them and flinging them en masse against the fieldstone wall. He takes a few steps forward, out of the caltrop hazard splayed at his feet and assumes a guardian position in front of the Tiefling.

* Start of turn: reduced to 12/36 HPs from fire bomb.

* Standard Action: Dimensional Scramble centered on P8. ATK vs G1, r(9) +8 = 17 vs 16 Fort. Hit. ATK vs G2, r(15) +8 = 23 vs 17 Fort. Hit. ATK vs B2, r(11) +8 +2 (CA) = 21 vs 17 Fort. Hit. r(6) +5 = 11 damage and G1 teleported to O6, G2 teleported to P6, and B2 teleported to Q6. G1 BLOODIED.

* Move Action: L6 to M9.




Watching his Beloved Giant, HAZARD has an idea and leaps away from the painful shiny things surrounding him and up onto the stone wall. He jogs along it and drops down, out of the sight of the others. His Beloved Giant is strong and inventive, and the hound remembers the hole she made, down in the tunnels. Maybe he can do something like that now! She will be so proud!

Bita-Bousseh, having done what she could for the moment, watches Chanvati's handywork. As the gnolls reemerge, somewhat shaken, the wall suddenly explodes outward and upon them. The two grenadiers manage to escape most of the flying stones, but their would-be leader is caught in the full spray and knocked prone.


* Move Action: Climb Wall: DC 10 autosuccess, total movement 6 sq, land in O4

* Standard Action: Terrain Stunt with Stone Wall: Athletics Check: r(8) + 10 = 18 vs 14 DC Success; ATK vs. Reflex: vs. G2: r(4) + 4 (level) + 3 = 11 vs 17 Reflex Miss; 1/2 damage: r(8) + 2 = 10: 5 HP dmg; vs. G1: r(8) + 7 = 15 vs 17 Reflex Miss: 5 HP dmg; vs. B2: r(11) + 7 = 18 Hit!!; 10 HP dmg and B2 is prone. G2 BLOODIED. DARK GREY ZONE IS DIFFICULT TERRAIN.

End of Turn: 26/68 HP, 8/11 Surges remaining




Two of the GRENADIERS do as they're instructed. But they have to change tactics mid-stride and assail the large barbarian instead. As they tangle with the barbarian, the BLOOD CALLER rushes in despite its hobbled state and the third Grenadier lobs a fiery grenade at Chanvati and Hazard while retreating behind the fieldstone wall.

G1

* Move Action: O6 to O5.

* Standard Action: Shortspear vs H AC; r(4) + 11 = 15. Miss.

G2

* Move Action: Circle left to avoid OA P6 to N3

* Standard Action: Shortspear vs H AC; r(5) + 11 = 16. Miss.

B2

* Start of turn (Slowed SE)

* Move Action: 2 Speed/2 = 1 Speed. Crawl 1 square Q6 to P5 (only entering DT is extra sq...not leaving it).

* Standard Action: Claws vs H AC; r(20) = CRIT. 17 +5 (Pack Tactics) = 22 damage and H is marked by B2 UtEoB2NT.

* End of Turn; Save vs Slowed 17. Pass.




Hearing the yelp of pain from her hound, PA'AVU repeats her earlier journey in reverse, landing in front of Hazard, allowing the momentum of her drop to add weight to Velmech'ti's swing into the torso of her opponent. "Not today, boj'h'ina, not THIS DAY!!" she howls as she savagely slices into its torso. The immense power of her raging cry pushes the exploding corpse away from poor Hazard and herself and shoves the two survivors back into the mess of broken stone, one still on his knees.

* Standard Action: Howling Strike as a charge: Charge: includes Athletics Stunt over/onto the wall: DC10 autosuccess, with climb moves 6 spaces, "lands" in N4; ATK vs. G2: r(19) + 10 + 1 (charge) = 30 vs. AC 18 Hit; Damage: r(4) + r(6) + 5 + r(5) (Vanguard) + 2 (GoB) = 22 HP

* No Action (Enc): Iron Wolf Charge: + 4 damage (26 HP total); secondary attack vs. Will/close burst 2 all enemies: vs. G2: r(12) + 7 = 19 vs. 15 Will: Hit, and G2 is pushed to L1; vs. G1: r(16) + 7 = 23 vs. 15 Will: Hit, and G1 is pushed to P7; vs. B2 r(12) + 7 + 2 (CA) = 21 vs. 15 Will: Hit, and B2 is pushed to Q7. All three are -2 ATK UEoPNT.

TRIGGER - BLAZING FURY (GRENADIER 0 HP): Effect (Free Action): P takes 5 fire damage within 1 square (no one), and the grenadier uses fire bomb. G2 still has Fire Bombs, so FA Fire Bomb ABU1 on O4 vs P and H Ref; r(8, 7) +11 -2 (IWC) = Hit both. (r1) +5 = 6 fire damage.

TRIGGER - HAZARD UNCONSCIOUS AND PRONE

A fiery explosion from a lobbed bomb greets Pa'avu and Hazard when she vanquishes the GRENADIER!




B2 33/56 PRONE
G1 12/44

1677332684181.png


ROUND 6




BITA-BOUSSEH glares imperiously at Chanvati in his protective stance and whips her forked tail in mild annoyance. "This soft, if pretty, merchant intervenes his body on my behalf? Chivalrous, no doubt, but foolish." She strides past Chanvati, off the dusty road and into the savannah grasses. With a hurled invective--"The imps will dine on your roasting flesh, jackal!"--she glowers at the bloodcaller, causing it to stumble back in fear, once again within the pull of Chanvati's pulsing magic trinket.

* Move Action: L9 to P12.

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower vs B2, ATK r(18) +7 = 25 vs 15 Will. Hit for 5 damage (B2 now BLOODIED) and slides bloodcaller to S9, within the Four-sided Caltrop Zone. (When creature starts turn in Zone, Slowed (SE).)




CHANVATI realizes that the Gnolls are separated and in disadvantagous terrain. If they are brought down now, there is still a chance their group can survive these raiders! He touches two fingers to his temple and unleashes a blast of psionic force at the grendadier in the wall rubble. The Gnoll emits a high-pitched, pitiful yelp, staggers, nearly falls, and then regains its bearings.

* Standard Action: Mind Thrust on G1, ATK r(7) +8 = 15 vs 15 Will. Hit for r(6) +5 = 11 damage. G1 has 1 HP remaining




With the fight suddenly turned against them, the ferocity of the BLOODCALLER and GRENADIER only increases...but to no avail.

Chanvati evades a poorly thrown javelin like a pugilist slips a punch, but the grenadier stalks in, threatening him with its spear. Bita-Bouseh looks on with a fiendish smile as the beleaguered Bloodcaller hobbles forward in an errant attempt to eviscerate her...but the creature's claws come up a hair (and a horn!) short.


G3

* Standard Action: Javelin vs C AC; r(7) +11 -2 (IWC) = 16. Miss.

* Move Action: P7 to N9.

B2

* Start of turn (Slowed SE) and Prone.

* Move Action: Stand from Prone.

* Standard Action: Charge (Q11) and Claws vs B AC; r(7) +9 +1 (charge) -2 (IWC) = 15. Miss.

* End of Turn; Save vs Slowed 4. Fail.




Rage and anxiety flowing collectively through PA'AVU's blood fuels the goliath's leap over the field of broken stone, landing her perfectly positioned to strike a furious blow to the boj'H'jin threatening the tiefling. She sees the shocked relief on Bita-Bousseh's face as the body of their opponent falls separately to either side of them. They stare at each other for a moment, then the goliath growls out the words, "finish them!!"

* Standard Action: Howling Strike as Charge: Movement: Jump over DT area & move up to 8 squares total: Athletics Check: r(18, 18) + 12 = 30 [3 squares], ending in R10; ATK: r(20) + 11 + 2 (CA) = CRITICAL!!!: Damage: 10 + 6 + 5 + 8 (Vanguard) + 2 (GoB) + r(8) (Vanguard on Crit) = 39 HP damage = DEADED!!

Pa'avu: 10/49 HP, 3/11 Surges remaining




G1 1/44

1677337915186.png


ROUND 7




BITA-BOUSSEH blinks several times at the bifurcated corpse tumbling in two different directions before her. Quickly, she regains her composure and redirects her glower to the remaining Gnoll beside Chanvati. Feeling the full force of her fearful infernal fulmination, the gnoll's heart stops as it staggers back and falls amid the rubble.

* Standard Action: Infernal Glower on G1, ATK, r(17) +7 = 24 vs 15 Will. Hit for 5 damage (DEAD) and slid to P7.




WHEW! ALL ENEMIES DEFEATED! (BARELY...)
 

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Nephis

Adventurer
Character Level Up and Bookkeeping Update:

Pa'avu's Level-Up Choices: +1 Str/Dex, Wasteland Wanderer (feat), retrain Warrior of the Wild to Monastic Disciple (Iron Soul)(feat), Boots of Free Movement
Pa'avu, level 4
Goliath, Barbarian
Feral Might: Thunderborn Wrath
Background: Feral Raider, Wandering Duelist, Noble's Guard (Wandering Duelist Benefit)
Theme: Iron Wolf Warrior

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 19, Con 16, Dex 15, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 16, Con 14, Dex 14, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10.

AC: 19 Fort: 19 Reflex: 16 Will: 15
HP: 49 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 12

TRAINED SKILLS
Intimidate +11, Endurance +9, Athletics +12, Heal +8, Perception +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +3, Arcana +1, Bluff +2, Diplomacy +2, Dungeoneering +3, History +1, Insight +3, Nature +7, Religion +1, Stealth +3, Streetwise +2, Thievery +3

FEATS
Level 1: Warrior of the Wild (retrained to Monastic Disciple at Level 4)
Level 2: Skill Training (Heal)
Level 4: Wasteland Wanderer

POWERS
Barbarian at-will 1: Pressing Strike
Barbarian at-will 1: Howling Strike
Monastic Disciple: Iron Soul Flurry of Blows
Barbarian encounter 1: Resurgent Strike
Barbarian daily 1: Tyrant's Rage
Barbarian utility 2: Iron Resurgence
Barbarian encounter 3: Thundering Howl
Theme Power: Iron Wolf Charge (+ Fixed Enhancement Scaling)

ITEMS
Adventurer's Kit, Javelin (2), Screaming Hide Armor +1, Vanguard Greatsword +1, Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier), Badge of the Berserker +1, Crowbar, Grappling Hook, Boots of Free Movement (heroic tier)

Pa'avu: 45/49 HP, 6/11 Surges remaining, 1 AP remaining

HAZARD (consolidated)
A Dog Named Hazard
Medium natural beast (animal)
Level 4 Brute XP 150
HP 68; Bloodied 34 11 Healing Surges (17) Initiative +4
AC 17, Fortitude 17, Reflex 15, Will 14 Speed 6

Standard Actions
(⚔) Bite ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + 5 damage, or 1d10 + 10 while the dog is within 2 squares of an ally.

Minor Action
Savage Protector (Encounter)
Effect: Hazard gains +2 Armor, cannot use Bite, gains Snarl & Snap and Harrier. This Effect can be ended with a Minor Action.

Standard Actions
(⚔) Snarl & Snap ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage.
Effect: Hazard marks the target until the end of Hazard's next turn.

⚔ Harrier ✦ At-Will
Trigger: An enemy that is marked by Hazard and is adjacent to it shifts or makes an attack that doesn't include it as a target.
Attack (Immediate Reaction): Melee 1 (the triggering enemy); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage, and Hazard Slides the target 1 square.

Athletics (Escape) +12, Perception +9

Str 18 (+5) Dex 14 (+3) Wis 14 (+3)
Con 14 (+3) Int 10 (+1) Cha 11 (+1)
Hazard: 68/68 HP, 8/11 Surges remaining
 
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darkbard

Legend
Character Level-Up and Bookkeeping Update:

Chanvati's Level-Up Choices: +1 INT/+1 CHA, Bard of All Trades (Feat), retrain Commander's Strike (Warlord AW1) to Direct the Strike (Warlord AW1)

Character Summary
Chanvati, level 4
Human, Psion|Warlord
Discipline Focus (Hybrid): Telepathy Focus (Hybrid)
Warlord Leadership: Canny Leader (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlord: Hybrid Warlord Will
Psionic Augmentation (Hybrid): Hybrid Encounter Power
Human Power Selection: Bonus At-Will Power
Background: Tyr - Embedded Spy, Nibenay - Walker of the Exalted Path, Merchant Prince (Merchant Prince Benefit)
Theme: Noble Adept

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 19, Wis 12, Cha 16.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 12, Dex 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 15.

POWER POINTS: 3

AC: 19 Fort: 15 Reflex: 18 Will: 19
HP: 36 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 9

TRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +11, Insight +12, History +11, Diplomacy +10, Bluff +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance +6, Heal +6, Intimidate +8, Nature +6, Perception +8, Religion +9, Stealth +6, Streetwise +8, Thievery +6, Athletics +4

FEATS
Bardic Ritualist: Ritual Caster
Human: Bardic Ritualist
Level 1: Staff Expertise
Level 2: Unarmored Agility
Level 4: Bard of All Trades

POWERS
Bonus At-Will Power: Mind Thrust
Hybrid at-will 1: Commander's Strike (retrained to Direct the Strike at Level 4)
Hybrid at-will 1: Dimensional Scramble
Hybrid Encounter Power: Vengeance is Mine
Noble Adept Encounter Power: Adept's Insight
Hybrid daily 1: Living Missile
Hybrid utility 2: Mind Shroud

ITEMS
Ritual Book, Adventurer's Kit, Alchemical Reagents (Arcana) (10), Zills, Ceramic hand, Staff of the War Mage +1, Writing case, Jade hairpin, Brooch of No Regrets +1, Residuum (Any) (200), Battle Harness Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +1, Disguise (2), Four-Sided Caltrop, Acrobat Boots (heroic tier)
RITUALS
Glib Limerick, Unseen Servant, Hold Portal, Animal Messenger

Chanvati: 33/33 HP, 5/7 Surges; 1 AP remaining; Chanvati has expended Living Missile, Staff of the Warmage, and Brooch of No Regrets Daily powers.
 
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Nephis

Adventurer
NOTE: this post below reflects why Pa'avu was able to know the tactical information for the combat denoted above.

[Flashback]: PA'AVU sits snugly inside one of the wagons with her fellow young ones: their clan is on their way to their dark season lands, where the cold of the Storm Roc Mountains won’t bite so hard. The young ones giggle and shriek as they enjoy reliving the thrilling stories of the D’kill’H’jna clan-mother Agu'Ulupine told them to frighten them before their night sleeping. These scavenging bands of gnolls fly beasts similar to but also very different from the wyvern she showed Pa’avu how to fly.

Suddenly, one of their elder clanfolk gives a sharp bang on the wagon, a signal to stop all sound and movement within. The early morning sun barely lights the interior, as they silently stare at each other – eyes wide – listening to the sounds of their elders howling in rage and fury, heavy feet thundering, metal clashing against metal. There are unknown yipping howls as well, at first answering the elder goliath howls, then – thankfully – the yipping grows fainter. The young ones wait, very, very still and quiet.

Eventually, one of the younger clan-uncles looks in on the young ones and gestures that they must join the elders outside. Pa’avu crawls out of the wagon, helping the smaller ones, and they all stand in the cold air, looking around them in horrified confusion. There are the bodies of sheep everywhere, half butchered, furs still on their bodies, steam rising from their bodies. This was not shepherds’ work, Pa’avu knows, but why? This serves no purpose, and they have always been taught that everything has a purpose. And where are the shepherds? Agu’Ulupine beckons them to come to where she is standing, closer to the surrounding forest and gestures to some of the trees. More horror fills Pa’avu as she sees v’linski* shepherds, some hanging from branches by rope, some simply nailed straight onto the trees themselves. All the bodies are dripping, and the skin looks too raw, too red, torn. Are their ears missing as well?

The elder clan-mother speaks to them with great solemnity, “it is important that you see and understand. This is the work of the D’kill’H’jna. They have no mercy, no honor, and should never be given any. They spoil what they do not need, kill for sport, and take joy in pain, their own and others.” Pa’avu continues to listen to her clan-mother’s life-lesson as she watches some clan-elders take down and gather the bodies of the poor shepherds. She suddenly realizes one clan-mother is using a hunting knife to slit some of the shepherds’ throats. Agu’Ulupine, seeing what Pa’avu is staring at, says simply “It is important to give mercy where the Boj’H’jna** does not.”

[Present day] As soon as PA’AVU and her fellow travelers are all on solid ground once more, she knows: these are the D’kill’H'jna. Diving deep into her memories of her clan-mother’s lessons, the goliath quickly shouts out warnings and tactics to her companions to aid them in this skirmish.

*v’linski: Giantish word for elves
**Boj’H’jna: Giantish for “stinking gnolls”
 
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darkbard

Legend
The last Gnoll having fallen, CHANVATI, Pa’avu, and Bita-Bousseh run over to the crumpled forms of their companions. Alas, Aesterion and Bjorkus are but charred corpses, the former’s body protectively fallen over the latter’s in a desperate attempt to shield his cousin’s unconscious form from the grenadier’s fire bomb. Minerion, however, is roused by Pa’avu’s trained ministrations, and Hazard by Chanvati’s inspirational encouragement.

Searching the corpses of their foes, the group uncovers a charred but still viable ritual book—at least one of the gnolls must have been literate and able to decipher alchemical recipes for their munitions; though those recipes are ruined beyond legibility, Chanvati grimly appreciates that the ritual within for enchanting items with magical energy is unharmed, awaiting his study and mastery—and a relic of Omthala’s church, surely raided from some remote outpost of the faith, a fist-sized platinum-spiked sphere, reminiscent of the sun and recognizable as a treasured altar piece adorning those churches that can afford such luxuries. What’s more, Chanvati removes a pair of bracers, overlapping steel plates embellished with silver filigree and jade, from the packmaster; when he slips these armguards onto his forearms, he feels a surge of physical might, exceeding any possession of brute force he has experienced. Pa’avu claims a javelin from among the booty of their fallen foes, both to replace the weapon left behind in Bantouk’s undercity, amidst the flesh-eating jellies, and as proof of their endurance through this epic battle.

Slowly, some traumatized members of the 2nd Nation and curious farmers from the surrounding terraced vineyards return to the battlefield, where they help build two funeral pyres—one for the fallen Minotaurs, unspoiled by association with the other corpses. Bita-Bousseh releases Minerion from service to her so that he can return the ashes of his kinsmen to family in the Minotaur city of Mogis, across the Scorched Savannah from Chomrok. Pa’avu insists on not letting good meat go to waste and convinces the others to let her harvest the pterodactyl wings for a delicious gelatinous soup shared with the assembled here, some half a mile outside the stone enclave of Chomrok in a somber ceremony of remembrance for those fallen and new relationships being forged between local and newcomer.

As dusk falls, the group of refugees makes its way into the caravanserai proper, where the astonished satrap, an ancient fellow named Raathya, who was friends, long ago, with Chanvati’s grandfather, welcomes all, amazed by the heavily-edited version of the tale of their flight from Bantouk and the battle outside the caravanserai’s walls.

Over the course of several days, (1) members of the 2nd Nation send coded messages back to family members in Bantouk, (2) Bita-Bousseh and Chanvati luxuriate and decompress in a private bath en suite to their chamber, their every need attended by Raathya’s staff of slaves and servants, (3) Pa’avu and Hazard recuperate their wounded bodies, much to the shock of Chomrok’s commoners, in the cool, spring-fed public baths open to all residents and travelers to the caravanserai, (4) Chanvati brings the platinum icon retrieved from the Gnoll Dactyleers to the Elven Priestess, Berylana, who tends the shrine to Omthala within the caravanserai’s walls and rewards him with 250 gold coins for its return, (5) Chanvati sends a flurry of letters to his father Quwaenthi, Inquisitor Eyo-urth-shala, and Ibhea outlining in details appropriate to each recipient some version of their removal to Chomrok (omitting any incriminating details, making false pretenses, and so on) and making inquiries into his standing amongst various groups within the capital, (6) Chanvati takes the necessary time to study and master the Enchant Magic Item Ritual, (7) Chanvati purchases a simple dagger.





Bookkeeping Matters:

Per @Manbearcat :

Please put this into your next post:

XP

* 175 x 6 (1050) + 44 x 3 (132) - 175 (H) - 44 x 4 (176 for B-B & MSs) = 831/2. 415/416 xp

LOOT

* 1 art object (a totem or something) worth 250 gold.

* 1 Uncommon magic item of level 7 or lower (you can upgrade Screaming Armor or Badge of Berserker to +2 instead if you choose).

* Alchemist Abyssal Codex – You can retrieve the Enchant Magic Item Ritual Book from this.

*RESOLVE DOWNED ALLIES *

* Death Saving Throw or Heal DC 15 for Hazard or he gets 1 x Doom.

* Heal DC 15 for each for the 3 Minotaur Stalwarts or send them to their minotaur-ey afterlife.

*EXTENDED REST, VIGNETTE THE TRANSITION SCENE, WRITE NEW QUESTS, INCLUDE AN IMMEDIATE GOAL FOR SCENE 1 OF NEXT DAY *




Extended Rest: all Daily and Encounter Resources are refreshed.

XP: both PCs = 4474/5500 for L5

1 Uncommon magic item of L7 or lower = Bracers of Mental Might

New Stats for the Barrister:

Bita-Bousseh
Medium natural humanoid, tiefling
Level 4 Controller (Leader) XP 175
HP 37, Bloodied 18, Surge 9, Surges per day 8; Initiative +4
AC 19, Fortitude 16, Reflex 16, Will 18 Perception+4, Low-light vision
Speed 6
Resist 7 Fire (5 + 1/2 L)

Infernal Glower (At-Will), Fear
Ranged 10, Target: one creature
Attack: +7 vs Will
Hit: 1d8 +4 damage, and Bita-Bousseh slides the target 2 squares

Hell's Dark Promise (At-Will), Charm
Minor Action
Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature), +7 vs Will
Hit: Bita-Bousseh slides the creature 2 squares.

Infernal Wrath (Encounter), Fire
Free Action Close burst 10
Trigger: An enemy within 10 squares of her hits Bita-Bousseh.
Target: The triggering enemy in the burst
Effect: The target takes 1d6 + 3 fire damage, and the target grants combat advantage until the end of its next turn.

There Will Be Order
Immediate Reaction (Encounter)
Trigger: Bita-Bousseh or an ally within 5 squares of Bita-Bousseh is bloodied or knocked unconscious.
Effect: Bita-Bousseh or the ally spends a healing surge and saves against 1 effect that a save can end.

Lawyer's Dodge
Move Action (Encounter)
Effect: Bita-Bousseh shifts 3 squares and can shift through difficult terrain until the end of her next turn.

Languages Common, Supernal

Acrobatics +4 (Escape), Bluff +11, Insight +9, Stealth +6

S 11 (+2) D 14 (+4) W 14 (+4)
C 12 (+3) I 16 (+5) C 14 (+4)




Chanvati Minor Quest: Convince Bita-Bahlin and his masters that Chanvati is not a dissident-traitor and his interest in the 2nd Nation was feigned so as to infiltrate the group and then expose their plans to the Inquisition, much as he exposed Tarquin and Amna’s crimes.

Chanvati Major Quest: Discover what besets the Empress such that she cast out counselors (such as Bita-Bousseh), contracted to an inner circle of advisors, and initiated this new Inquisition.

Pa’avu Major Quest: To access the mythical aspects of my heritage, I will travel to Stoneroot’s Perch to commune with the venerable K’mniich’ himself. (*Take 1 Advantage forward to use in any conflict on this Major Quest. You can use the Advantage for the normal purposes, but also to gain 1 additional Success when defeating a Hard DC or to reroll any roll in a combat.)

Pa’avu Minor Quest: Get the girl to the Sect of Omthala (L+1, C2 Skill Challenge suspended, 3 Successes (0 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/2 Secondary Skills Available).




PA’AVU thought it odd when she saw reproduced in an etching above the stone entranceway arch to the caravanserai the emblem of the closed fist with the star above its fourth digit worn by her clanfather on a silver medal around his neck as a symbol of his authority. She found it impossible when she discovered several bathers in Chomrok’s public baths adorned with a tattoo of the same image.

Approaching one woman, a meek soul who seemed terrified by being addressed by the hulking Goliath, it was revealed in a stammering revelation that the symbol denotes the Old Faith practiced by the area’s inhabitants before the religion of the gods dominated, that shepherds and others still paid homage today to the primal spirit known as Stoneroot, which resides in the distant peak where sheep and goats are pastured during summer months to escape the heat of the savannah, that the fist is no fist at all but the outline of the peak when viewed from the east, and that the star belongs to the constellation Mother Wolf that sets over the peak during the summer season.

Pa’avu knows that this is fate at work, that her journey to commune with Stoneroot himself and learn what she can of her mythic blood begins today, from Chomrok. She approaches her gosb’tar, who has been speaking openly to the barrister of staying away from Bantouk for some time, until the political situation there settles some. “Gosb’tar,” she says, “I know a way for you to be safe from the agents of the Empress who would do you harm. You will come with me to the mountains.”





Our immediate goal is to begin the journey from Chomrok to Stoneroot’s Perch in fulfillment of Pa’avu’s Quest.
 
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Skill Challenge Goal: Journey from Chomrok to Stoneroot’s Perch

Level +2, Complexity 4 (DCs will be for level 6 so 11, 15, 23 while ATK vs AC is 21/23 and vs NAD is 19/20)

ADVANTAGE USES (1 extra, 5 total, due to Pa'avu prior earned):


✦ (wagered before roll) A success against a hard DC counts as two successes: a success against both a hard DC and a moderate DC.

✦ Refresh Skill Training Exhaust status.

✦ Remove a Complication (like Healing Surge loss or -2 Skill/AC forward) on a Failure.

✦ Reroll a Failure but at +5 DC.

0 Successes (3 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/4 Secondary Skills Available/5 Advantages Available)




Raathya wrestles his old, weary bones into Chanvati's quarters. Chomrok's stewardship has been in his hands for decades, yet today he looks like a fresh child about to enter into an uncomfortable conversation with a parent around daily chores, allowance dispensation, or weekly cookie allotment.

"Master Chanvati...I am...loathe to bring up the matter, but I...I must...and the inevitable signs of your looming journey are upon us. So, today is the day I suppose.

We are stretched thin here at Chomrok as it is...and there is a stirring among the folks herein. A fear of imperial reprisal in the way of taxation burdens or seizing of our crop and beasts."

The old man straightens and looks the noble in the eyes as he finds his courage.

"That beast of a dog is massive...and the same goes for your slave. The pair alone consume enough for five of Chomrok's native-dwellers. And we lodge so many travelers...not a small part of our income.

Your journey to Stoneroot will be long and hard. I...I...I cannot allow your provisioning for this endeavor to stretch our resources as thin as my calculations project. I am sorry sir...but for the health of your grandfather's deep investments in this place, I must be a good steward and forbid your dipping, the inevitable very deep dipping in light of the hulking members of your fellowship, into our stores...or at least you must compensate the settlement (1)...a very public compensation...might be best...perhaps with an oath that we will not suffer Imperial retribution do to your...doings... (2)


...sir..."

He bows low in humility and maintains that posture.




If you go route (1) its MEDIUM DC. If you go route (2) its HARD DC. If you go both, its MEDIUM DC x 2.

If you go another route to deal with this quartermastering/requisitioning obstacle, we'll address it! Failure will be an of-level, fatigue-related Disease/Condition attack (against Fort) on the members of the fellowship due to provisioning complications!
 
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darkbard

Legend
Chanvati steps out onto the balcony looking down into the caravanserai's central courtyard and beckons the old man join him. Below, Pa'avu carries a haunch of salted pterodactyl on her shoulder and loads it onto the pack animal, her mighty deltoids glistening with sweat already in the dawn light. The greatsword on her back is nearly the length of a fullgrown human.

Chanvati inhales deeply, breathing in the still-cool air that wafts across the savannah. "My slave there butchered that beast with her own hands, both literally and in battle. She butchered those Gnoll marauders, too, marauders that imperil the trade roads in these parts. Has Chomrok's garrison grown so soft as to allow such raids within sight of its ramparts, Raathya?"

The merchant prince turns to face the old man, who takes a step back when seeing the furious gleam in Chanvati's eye. Psionic energy bursts across the neural network of Chanvati's mind, lending added force and nuance to his harangue.

"You speak of my grandfather, Raathya, a kind man but a fool. My father is kind but no fool. I am neither. You forget yourself, and your play here reeks of graft. My family owns this caravanserai, however long you have served here as satrap. If you wish to keep that position you will honor my family's needs--my needs, and the needs of those under my protection. Else you will find yourself without a position that has rewarded you handsomely over the years, old man. And perhaps without a precious appendage or two, as well..." he lets his pronouncement trail off.





I'm wagering an Advantage here for 2 successes, and making my roll against the Hard DC.

Pa'avu's presence below, her imposing physique and implicit threat of violence, is leveraging a Secondary Skill check Intimidate, +11 vs 11 Easy DC = autosuccess for a +2 bonus to

Chanvati's Adept's Insight-augmented (r(3) +1 = +4 bonus to) Primary Skill check Intimidate, r(17) +8 +2 +4 = 31 vs 23 Hard DC. 2 Successes.
 

2 Successes (2 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/3 Secondary Skills Available/4 Advantages Available)




Over the course of the next day's overly cheerful and determined efforts to provision and resolve the logistics of the expedition to Stoneroot's Perch, the old steward and his staff turn genuflection into an artform.

The only thing left to do is to chart the course and get on with it.


Pick a route with a sequence of 3 (known) obstacles and make a related move to consult your accumulated wisdom on the course charted against Medium DC. On a success, tell us more about the obstacles (1 sentence and choose the DC), gain 1 success in the SC, and choose 1 of the following:

* Your scout sees it coming. The first combat faced (3 characters) on the journey is Level +2 (875 xp) and pick one character to have a surprise round.

* The expedition is enlightening. Increase the xp earned for this Skill Challenge from 1000 to 1100.

* Discover a dangerous opportunity and be prepared. There are 2 x Uncommon magic items of level 8 (or lower, player choice) in the lair of a powerful denizen along the way. Use all 4 characters (both PCs and both Companions) and face a level 4 Solo in its lair with an encounter budget of 875 + 350 + 176 = 1401; Level +4. Take +2 Initiative.

On a failure, gain 1 failure in the SC and choose 1 of the following:

* The road ahead is more perilous than expected. The first combat faced (3 characters) on the journey has its encounter budget increased by 1 standard worth of xp from Level +2 (875 xp) to Level +3 (1050). Take -2 Initiative.

* Weather is miserable the first day of the journey, drenching gear and spirits alike. Roll the worst of 2d20 for your Primary Skill in your next obstacle and you cannot use an Advantage with it.


1) THE OLD WAY

* The Gray Grove

* Breathless Chimney

* Annointed Prey



2) WE DARE NOT TREAD

* The Choke

* Blood and Ice

* Treacherous Sky
 
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Nephis

Adventurer
The night being slightly cooler than the day, PA'AVU has opted to sleep out on the balcony, guarding entry by means of the courtyard, leaving her Hound guarding against inner entry by lying in front of the door to the suite of rooms. Gratefully breathing in the fresh air, the goliath gazes at the stars and the mountain ranges beyond Chomrok and its environs, as she ponders the stories with which Chanvati regaled them all as they shared the evening meal, a rare event. Her gosb'tar seems to be feeling unusually awkward in the social tension surrounding some meeting he had with the satrab earlier today, a meeting of which Bita-Bousseh has made slight mention with no specific details. Pa'avu is far more interested in the puzzles and pictures in her mind, germinated by Chanvati's tales of having spent the day researching numerous travelogues in the tiny and very old library of Chomrok. The goliath allows herself a moment of amusement in picturing the usually fastidious prince not seeming to mind the dust often present in such places.

In her distraction, her gaze softens as it takes in the distant forests and peaks to the northwest. Gradually she notices the light of a very bright star, over one of the higher peaks (the highest?): Pa'avu recognizes this as the image she has been noticing everywhere here, the symbol on her clan-leader's pendant. There it is: their destination! As she comes to this realization, clouds seem to part, and for a moment the star's light reveals the landmarks -- of which her gosb'tar related after his research -- along the path to the peak: The Old Way! Then the clouds return, and the Way is hidden once more.





*Chanvati, Secondary Skill check History, +11 vs. 11 Easy DC = autosuccess, for +2 bonus to

* Pa'avu, Primary Skill check Nature, r(6) + 7 + 2 = 15 vs. 15 Moderate DC Success!

* Discover a dangerous opportunity and be prepared. (gulp!)




Route: The Old Way

* The Gray Grove (Moderate DC): Where the savannah first rises into the foothills stand a small petrified forest, haunted by the echoes of its cataclysmic transformation.

* Breathless Chimney (Moderate DC): As the hills give way to the ridgeline of foreboding peaks, the path is accessible only through this long, constricted vertical opening.

* Anointed Prey (Hard DC): Circling the approach to the summit is an oily moat that must be traversed, but whether it is a magical canal, the artifact of giants, the excrescence of the mountain itself, or something else altogether, none living seems to know.




As part of provisioning, we purchase 20 additional days of trail rations, 2 climber's kits, & a hunter's kit.
 

3 Successes (2 Hard DC Available)/0 Failures/2 Secondary Skills Available/4 Advantages Available)

Route: The Old Way

* The Gray Grove (Moderate DC): Where the savannah first rises into the foothills stand a small petrified forest, haunted by the echoes of its cataclysmic transformation.

The grove might be rainbow-hued underneath from its fossilizing, but no one knows. The winds blow hard from the west here, so the leafless trees that stand vigil over the hidden pass into the foothills are permanently covered in layers of ash from the endless conflagrations that make cinders of, and gives name to, the scorched long grass of the savannah.

As dusk is consumed by nightfall, the grey sentinels loom above, but not silently as wind sweeps through the long-dead branches, creating a layered whistling of varying pitches. Legend has it that the trees were killed suddenly by a celestial object, exploding calamitously above, splaying the trees out wildly below the airburst but merely stripping the bark from the rest of the forest. The coinciding, sky-choking forest fires did the rest.

A heretical group of Goliaths, turned away from the Primal Spirits and the Primordial entities of the world, pilgrimage to these woods to take part in ceremony. The Cult of the Iron Gorgon is a small group, but they cast a wide net and leave a large mark. Perhaps from the cataclysm or perhaps from some twisted experiment of sorcery gone awry, these woods are dotted with intermittent "Gorgon Mud Traps." The viscous substance fills only shallow pools so sinking and asphyxiating isn't a threat. Its that it seems to lie in wait. It seems to have sentience. And those slipping into its cold embrace find their movements and heartbeats slowing...eventually turning to stone.

The Cult of the Iron Gorgon take this as a "holy place" and they secure the "leavings" of the traps as an offering from their unseen master. They ritualize the petrification and then consume the unfortunate. Sometimes...when the pickings are thin because expeditions to Stoneroot's Perch have (wisely?) trod a path far away from this place...The Cult of the Iron Gorgon will go out and kidnap souls and let them loose in this place in the dark of night.

But lucky for them, you've walked into their domain on this moon-obscured, stormy evening.

How are you avoiding the Gorgon Mud Traps (1)? How are you dealing with the hungry eye of these heretical Goliaths (2)...they are out there...hidden perfectly in these surrounds...waiting for prey...longing to watch them slowly be rendered motionless...lifeless...gray...delighting in the process...before consuming the offerings?





Start with (1) above. If you get a success, move to (2). If you get a failure on (1), sit tight and I'll change the situation. Medium DCs.
 
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