Game Thread Round 4 (ekidnu, HenryLockwood, Wishkamon) - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Aug 15th, 2021, 10:46 AM
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Round 4 (ekidnu, HenryLockwood, Wishkamon)

The Villan Arrives
"Call Bartholomew! We haven't lost just ye.." Sir Ether was calling out, just as Eleath knocked him out. The order was not complete, but Bartholomew heard it and knew what to do. The ground started to violently shake. So much so, that the grains of sand making up Rocky were sifted to the surface and the crossing companions were knocked to their feet. The remnants of the chapel continued to crumble, and nearby buildings started topping in on themselves.

A bright light shot out from across the street, originating from a staircase leading down into the ground. Those stairs led to the holding cell Rocky had just located, Fu's Bar. Two tendrils of energy, like lassos, whipped out from the light and grabbed Sorbo and Jeremy by the feet. Both were then quickly pulled in, and flung through a doorway below ground. They were now in Fu's Bar, a holding cell from which there would be no escape. Eleath stood to continue the fight, but he had another fate waiting for him. The last winter's call had come.

Despite the ground shaking, Aegaras' well-laced boots still served their purpose, and he was able to pull him himself to his feet. Not far away, Magna stood as well. The former swamp witch and infamous drillmaster was too old and stubborn to give up, just because the world seemed to be collapsing on itself. Rocky pulled his form together, and despite trying to run earlier, now found himself part of the trio, the last of the Crossing Companions left who could stand up to Bishop Bartholomew.


The tremors stopped, and a silhouette then emerged in the light radiating from Fu's Bar. By now, the companions recognized who it was by his size and shape, even before any details could be seen. It was Bishop Bartholomew, here to finish off the Crossing Companions that remained. There was no villainous monolog, explaining in detail his evil plan. No Sunday Sermon to justify his actions. Just quick, swift action. Bartholomew raised his staff, and three new tendrils of energy again shot out like lassos. This time, the tendrils grabbed large pieces of stone that had fallen from the chapel and with ease hurled them, one each at Rocky, Magna, and Aegaras.
EventSkull Crushing Stones: Make an Outplay Roll, rolling Low to avoid the stones being hurled at you. If you have a piece of adventuring gear, or skill that can help you avoid the obstacle, you are free to use it. With 1 success you avoid the stones. With 0 successes, you are hit and take 1 wound. This does not replace your action for the round.



OOGMWelcome to the Final Round of Outplay 2021! Your objective for this round is simple. Defeat Bishop Bartholomew, and rescue all of the Crossing Companions from Fu's Bar. Typically, this round is a mechanics-free open RP round, often involving characters from several different types of systems. That is not the case this year. All of Outplay 2021 The System rules are in play for this Boss Battle! However, there is no mechanical score this round. The judges' votes alone will determine the winner.
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Last edited by Bhelogan; Aug 15th, 2021 at 10:05 PM.
  #2  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 04:00 AM
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RisingSo this is what drowning is like.

The ground trembles and heaves and shifts, like a roiling ocean convulsing beneath a thunderous storm. Instinctively Rocky tries to flee down, towards the steadfast safety of the deep earth, but his sandy grains are buffeted by waves of clay and a groundswell of shale. Earth is not meant to move like water, but today the world is upside down—despite his frantic efforts to sink into the airless depths, the elemental is pushed up to the surface, to a land of crumbling buildings and falling rocks. This is how a Terran drowns.

Fortunately, elementals don’t breathe. And surfacing, by itself, is harmless. Indeed, for a brief instant, it seems—aside from the unnatural quaking of the earth—that all is well: Sir Ether is down, as is the Grey Guard mage, and the rest of the cultists are either unconscious or gone. Relieved, Rocky gathers his sand together and re-forms into his rocky self ... just as two coils of solid light ensnare his companions.

Sorbo is too far away, but Jeremy is dragged past him, almost within reach. The Terran hurls himself forward, falling as he stretches out to his full extent, reaching as far as he possibly can. His massive fingers brush against the writer’s frail body ... success is within his grasp … but a sharp yank of the luminous tendril leaves him with naught but the blanket that covered the noble’s frame.

“Jeremy!” His booming voice echoes with shame and despair. As if hoping to find some remnant of his friend within, Rocky raises the large blanket and gives it a slight, speculative shake. A pair of sunglasses clatters cheerlessly onto the ground.

He was so close, but what does it matter? He has failed his friend again.

No. The mental connection to Occam is fainter than usual, but still clear. One does not fail merely by not succeeding. The only true failure lies in surrender. The measure of a hero is not his infallibility, for every person fails. No, a true hero endures beyond failure, to try again—perhaps to fail again, but to persist nonetheless. You shall persevere, Lord Rocky, Protector of the Summoned. You shall …

The connection is severed, just as the tremors cease.


ShowdownRocky stares in confusion as Bartholomew reveals himself. His simple mind has difficulty understanding the bishop’s treachery. Why would the bishop do this? Bewildered, he looks to his remaining companions for assistance, only to notice with dismay that Eleath has fallen.

“Help?” His deep, gravelly voice pleads uncertainly for guidance from Magna and Aegaras. With a jagged finger he points towards the lighted doorway at the bottom of the stairs, naively offering the only information he has in return. “Companion prison there.”

A moment later, the enemy attacks. There is no time to think—there is barely enough time to react. Shifting and twisting, Rocky tries to rotate his body out of the hurtling boulder’s path, while instinctively using his soft blanket to cushion any impact. The earth elemental is too slow to dive out of the way like a half-elf with well-laced boots, but with perfect timing--and a good dose of luck--he avoids the blow completely, catching the flying rock with his blanket instead.

Rather than trying to stop--or smash--the boulder like a typical Terran, Rocky lets the rock fly past, using both its and his momentum to redirect its trajectory. Spinning around, with his blanket nestling the stone like a sling, he whirls the boulder right back at Bartholomew, along with a simple question.

“Why?”


 

Last edited by ekidnu; Aug 17th, 2021 at 04:20 AM.
  #3  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 04:29 AM
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With words, into dangerThere was only one way to survive. Run! Aegaras darted aside, reacting instantly and relying on his boots for some fancy footwork. It was only afterwards that he could take time to think.

Aegaras had thought himself, and the others, in control of the situation. Eleath had subdued Sir Ether, with a little help from Magna; Jeremy was communing with Rocky, who'd investigated the underground and found the prison; and Sorbo and Aegaras himself had rescued the city guards from becoming mere "unfortunate consequences" of the Grey Guard's evil plan. He'd not considered that there could be a leader behind Sir Ether, a man in the shadows using the swordsman as a figurehead. He had not considered, more to the point, that Eleath would suffer so for his heroism: the warrior in his bright armour fell, a light flashing from his body. Was that his armour, glinting in a sudden flash of moonlight? - no - that was deeper, brighter; that was life, a fast flame burning away everything, leaving only a charred and twisted corpse behind. Aegaras was not in control of the situation, and as always he reacted fast to stave off the panic.

Aegaras had started running as soon as the Bishop hurled the rocks. He had kept running as he thought, for it was plain to see that this confrontation must be won, as retreat would only lead to death another day. Aegaras refused to live in that sort of fear: the momentary fear of dodging heavy rocks was bad enough.

The ledger Aegaras had been constructing in his head came, incongruously, to mind. He had always hated and feared his book-keeping lessons, but they seemed like a haven now. Should he update it? None of the assets remained current, nor the liabilities, yet the principle had served him well before.

Asset: The man behind the man, Bishop Bartholomew, had emerged.

Liability: He had seized Sorbo and Jeremy, flinging them into a pit; there was nothing to be done for them before the Bishop was defeated. And Eleath! Aegaras' hardened soul had no time to mourn, not now, but he would raise a glass to the warrior's memory later, if they survived.

Asset: Magna and Rocky, two of the strongest Companions, remained free and fit to fight, with Aegaras himself.

Liability: They were all in danger from incoming heavy rocks, and whatever else the Bishop could throw at them.

If this fight could be won, though: oh, the victory that would be! To defend the Companions, to rescue them from their imprisonment, to restore the team to the field: that would be glory beyond anything Aegaras had known before. For a moment the thought distracted him from his two primary concerns, survival and earning enough to see the next month through in style, but survival at least was more urgent than glory. Running, weaving, dodging whatever Bartholomew hurled, Aegaras picked up Eleath's broken scythe. It was an unfamiliar weapon, bent and useless, but it was a symbol not a sword that Aegaras needed. Inspiration and courage would be his weapons now; with those, he could guard the others so they took no wound, at least for now.

"We're alive!" he shouted, delight in his voice. "We have a job to do, and we stand here, at the gates of the Bishop's abyss, ready to enter. Ready to enter the abyss and rescue those held there!

"Sir Orfeo, in the old lay, did the same. His wife, Heurodis, was struck by a madness, a vision, wherein the Faerie King claimed her for his prize. Orfeo and a thousand knights took up arms to defend her, made a ring around her, yet she was snatched away, just as our companions have been. 'Ac yet amiddes hem ful right / the quene was oway ytwight', as the poem says. Are we not in like peril?

"Yet despite his grief, his abandonment of worldly things, Sir Orfeo did not discard his love! He took a beggar's cloak, his harp, and nothing more: for ten years, he mourned her. And then, after an age, he saw her hawking with the faerie court! He ran after them, following their ride, even when it led him directly into stone, three miles or more into a rocky hill to an underground country.

"With nothing but his harp and his courage, he won back the love of his life from the Faerie King, whom no other had dared to challenge. This victory, against all the odds - this is our fate today!

"Rocky, like Sir Orfeo you can pass through the earth, and can come to the prison this Bishop rules.

"Magna, like Sir Orfeo you know the wilds, the ways of the world, and can use those to guide us and keep us.

"And I? Like Sir Orfeo, I am swift of tongue, and can sway hearts of stone.

"Like Sir Orfeo, we shall survive: and, like him, we shall triumph!"


Mechanics and OOC
Dice Dodging rocks, using Boots: 2d6 rolling low:
2d6sml4 3 ✔, 5 ✘ (1/2) Total = 8
One crit, for two successes and no wound.

Then using I Have An Armour Of Words, with Eleath's Scythe as a new spell focus.
Dice 3d6 rolling high:
3d6smh3 3 ✔, 4 ✔, 6 ✔ (3/3) Total = 13

One crit, for a total of four successes, and a toast to mechanical bonus points! All three of us should be protected from the next wound suffered; we didn't pre-define what an extra success does on this spell. I don't know if this affects Magna's roll to dodge "skull-crushing stones", or any wound suffered from that.

I'm borrowing from the Orpheus myth here, in particular the 13th-century English version translated by Tolkein: https://allpoetry.com/Sir-Orfeo and the Middle-English text of the same poem here: https://people.umass.edu/sharris/gen...feoTolkien.pdf


Statblock
Aegaras 'The Drunk', Half-elf CN3
Current Wounds: 0
Signature Moves:
Charming Narrative: Aegaras can talk the hind leg off a donkey. More usefully, since meeting angry donkeys has not been a key aspect of any of his varied adventures, he can generally charm, convince, influence, and - if all else fails - outright beg people to see things his way. Some might view this as a leadership trait, but Aegaras is not enough of a planner to be a great leader.
Known Spells (2):
I have an armour of words: buff; language-dependent. Aegaras tells a story of heroic survival against the odds; the magic prevents the first Wound a character suffers. More successes on the casting roll means this affects more characters.
Befuddled by the light: debuff; language-dependent. A barrage of words, some relevant, some not, quickly confuse an enemy, conveying a Debuff and reducing the likelihood they'll dodge Aegaras' allies' attacks. Mechanically, this usually works as a Buff (+1d6) to allies' attack rolls.

Adventuring Gear:
Coin Purse: Aegaras has no head for figures, and is never entirely sure how much money he has to spend. When he attempts to purchase something, bribe someone, or similar, his Coin Purse may or may not contain enough for what he needs.
Well-laced Boots: Aegaras always makes sure his boots are comfortable, waterproof, well-soled, and above all else well-laced. This helps if he's out for a comfortable stroll, crossing a rough surface, or running away from overwhelming odds.
His Father's Sword (Spell Focus): Aegaras has still not realised that the sword isn't actually very good quality, or that he's not very good at using it. He can parry a blow, or make an attack of his own, but it's not as a sword that he really uses it. No: when you're going into battle, you feel a lot more confident with a sword, and Aegaras' father was wise enough to know that his son was not a swordsman and never would be. He handed over his third-best sword, told the young man it was a mighty blade, and watched Aegaras' face beam with pride and new confidence. This item does not count as a weapon for Adventuring Gear purposes and conveys no +1d6 on combat rolls.
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Last edited by HenryLockwood; Aug 17th, 2021 at 04:43 AM.
  #4  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 05:11 AM
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Magna Harper-Gravelmane
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The moment of sweet relief, as she heard Sir Either's body thudding to the ground mid-sentence, was instantly soured by the implications of his choked words. The ground was trembling beneath her, but it was not from the ocean of writhing vines which she had been envisioning. No, it was something else.

There was more struggling to do. More overcoming.

Gods, if there was going to be more running, then she would be furious.

Still, she had her companions by her side. Sorbo, Jeremy and Aegaras were here, and somewhere beneath their feet, tiny particles of Rocky were beginning to sift to the surface; not to mention the unfaltering blade of the masterful Scythe, who could make thin ribbons from the Bishop if it became necessary.

Magna spun around as a violent flash of light erupted behind her. Her eyes found the glowing vines first, and followed their path as they ensnared Jeremy and the frosted figure of Sorbo.

"Let's go, Ele-"

The unshakable dwarf almost stumbled as she rushed to pass Eleath. There was a tortured look on his pale visage, and a stream of tears flowing from eyes which flicked between horrors unseen.

"Wise One, Cousin... Tell the others...tell Phayekaen... tell the little one I'm sorry..."

"T-Tell them your damned self!" She shouted, unable to keep a ripple of emotion from her voice.

She felt, for the first time, the desire to beat the deadly assassin, but somehow she knew -although she would never have the closure of understanding it completely- that it was already too late. There was no act of violence nor kindness which would bring him back to them.

Magna made a thin effort to wipe the pained expression of shock from her face as Aegaras approached, but it lingered behind her dark eyes, and in the twitching corners of her perpetual frown.

Up ahead Rocky had taken a solid form again.

She knew that the enduring giant had a gentle soul and a kind demeanour unsuited for battle, and his gravely call for help only wrenched her heart further from its chest.

But all was lost if she let Rocky's pain and the empty husk of her good friend consume her. She forced herself into action, focusing on the newly acquired knowledge that the rest of their team were no more than several locked doors away, beneath their feet.

So then, all that was left to do was to wipe the floor with the gatekeeper and not get crushed to death. Easy.

Once again Aegaras’ words lit a fire in her heart, and the old witch hoisted herself from her unsteady position, using her staff and a strength which she hadn't been entirely sure was still in her stout legs.

She moved hastily across the street, keeping a safe distance from the foe so that she could keep track of everything which was going on.

A giant stone lintel came hurtling towards her, but by whatever magical miracle the huge rock only clipped her by a millimetre. It buffeted her aside with a sharp pain and almost caused her to lose her balance, but did no real damage.

“Not this time,” she growled at the floor. It wouldn't have her this time.

As if there were any other option, the swamp witch bellowed, “Take him down! Release the others!” as she shifted her feet against the ground, feeling the energy of the wilds beneath them and channelling it up through her staff.

Two twisting vines reared from the earth on either side of her, flailing back to gain momentum, and then cracking forward like Faye’s whips to strike the deceitful bishop. One was aimed for the arm which held his staff, and the other for his stupid head.


Stat Block
 

OOC
 

Last edited by Wishkamon; Aug 17th, 2021 at 06:05 AM.
  #5  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 09:41 AM
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The Battle with BartholomewIn a ping pong match, a ball is paddled back and forth between two contestants, generally picking up speed as each hits it a little harder, or with a different angle or spin in an attempt to score a point. This was similar to the scene with Rocky and Bartholomew, except it was a giant boulder being tossed back and forth. The goal here was to crush their opponent with the stone. The Bishop initially served, Rocky returned. The stone caught Bartholomew's shoulder and continued to fly backward, just as his lassos wrangled it, and again using its momentum again threw the poisonous rock back at Rocky.

“Why?” Bartholomew sneered back at Rocky. "Because you are a blight in this world. And, because the more of your souls I capture, the more powerful I become."

It was a short exchange, but it was enough time for Aegaras to retrieve Eleath's scythe, and use it as inspiration to deliver another magically laced tale of courage to bolster his allies. Magna would need it. Without the aid of a blanket like Rocky's, or fancy boots like Aegaras', her walking stick was not strong enough alone to bat aside the boulder that had been tossed her way. But Sir Orfeo's inspiration put just enough pep in her step to avoid being crushed.

Now it was Magna's turn to conjure up magical tendrils of energy. Her's were like vines from the swamps, where she had spent so much of her life. One vine whacked the Bishop upside the head, in the same manner, one would discipline a schoolboy. The other grabbed the staff, with which the Bishop was controlling his magical lassos. Still reeling and dazed from the earlier blow, Bartholomew was unable to hold onto the staff, which was taken from his hands and tossed away. The wooden shaft clanked on the ground a few times, rolling a bit before coming to rest at Magna's feat.

The Bishop was far from defeated. His face contorted as he raised his hands, now perhaps to deliver that sermon he missed earlier. Somehow, the Bishop appeared less holy and regal than he had earlier n the day. Something sinister was showing in his face and demeanor. "My the flames of the God's have mercy on your souls!" Pillars of intense heat appeared above Magna, Rocky, and Aegaras, and quickly descended on them. This was no divine flame strike, however. The flames that engulfed the companions were clearly Hellfire!

EventHellfire: Hellish flames engulf our heroes. Make an Outplay Roll, rolling High to resist being burnt alive. If you have a piece of adventuring gear or skill that can help you protect yourself from the flames, you are free to use it. With 1 success you resist being burnt. With 0 successes, you are scorched and take 1 wound. This does not replace your action for the round.



OOGM
Rocky and Aegaras still have protection from 1 wound, from "I have an armor of words". Magna used her's to avoid taking a wound this round. (A little post-the fact, but we will run with it)

Rocky - Partial success, but as a penalty, the Bishop has tossed the rock back at Rocky once again! Same mechanics as Skull Crushing Stones from the last post.

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  #6  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 10:40 PM
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ReactionAgain, instinct takes over. There is no time for fear or doubt, or hope or resolve, or even confusion. As the bishop hurls the same boulder back, Rocky wraps the soft blanket around an arm and raises it protectively like a shield, just in case—he has no intention of standing his ground like his kin. Instead, he sidesteps the attack, using the blanket to absorb whatever little impact remains from the glancing blow as the rock flies by.

Only in the short lull that follows does the Terran have time to process all the action. Thanks to Occam’s mental encouragement, he feels somewhat better now—he is still uncertain and anxious, especially with the abrupt loss of the spirit’s telepathy, but he knows that his past actions are not binding. Faced with another psionic blast he might flee again—in fact, there is no doubt that he will—but until that time he will still help, in whatever little ways he can.

Souls? The bishop’s words are both illuminating and confusing. Rocky had been puzzled by what he felt in Fu’s bar earlier—it made no sense that the prisoners would be casually playing darts and filling out surveys, as if unaware of their predicament—but if capturing souls is the objective, perhaps they are being kept in good spirits, to preserve the quality of their souls? But how could such a despicable act increase the bishop’s power? And why are the Crossing Companions a blight on this world, when all they do is try to help people? And what is a blight anyway?

Confused, Rocky gives up on extracting further meaning from the bishop—he seems preoccupied with the witch’s magical vines—and turns instead to the wise dwarf for an explanation. Magna will know. Like Kase, he respects and admires her greatly for the intelligence he lacks.

“How soul make power? Why we blight?”

Finally, the Terran’s poor overworked brain returns to the problem of deciphering the half-elf’s speech. Rocky is truly glad to have a linguistic powerhouse like Aegaras for a friend—his words create a strange tingly feeling that others would recognize as confidence—but sometimes it feels like the merchant’s son is speaking another language. And what exactly is Aegaras telling them to do? Sometimes even more than the words themselves, the elemental is defeated by metaphor and symbolism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegaras
“Like Sir Orfeo, I am swift of tongue, and can sway hearts of stone.”
Out of a necessity to simplify, Rocky focuses on just the last part of the half-elf’s speech. After all, the last part is the most important, isn’t it? Hearts of stone. That’s a symbol, or code name, or metaphor for himself—isn’t it? And ‘swift of tongue’—that must mean the plan is to talk the bishop into giving up his evil ways.

Though unskilled with words, the elemental is nonetheless relieved, for the alternative—beating the enemy senseless—is not something he enjoys. That’s the main reason why he misses Eleath, even though he barely knows the elf who speaks even less than himself—the Scythe would do what this Terran, and other elves, cannot.

Swift tongue. Reaching down, Rocky prepares himself by picking up his sunglasses and sliding them on. There is a word that Glass taught him that applies here—not in a strictly literal sense, but also not in a manner that is completely removed, or even contrary, to its original meaning. What is it? Ah, yes …

Showtime.


ActionCool. With slow, heavy steps, Rocky advances upon the bishop. The elemental’s exterior facade is as hard and impassive as a rock, but inside the Terran is an agitated bundle of nerves. It’s one thing to crash a party; it’s an entirely different matter to confront a dangerous magic user. Fortunately Magna’s vines have ripped away Bartholomew’s magical staff, so, knowing he has the support of his friends, Rocky continues onward.

Cool. Over and over, the Terran repeats this mantra in his mind. This time he’s not trying to look cool—rather, he’s trying to appear intimidating, an appearance which, fortunately, comes naturally with his physique. Rocky does not have a ‘swift tongue’—he needs to compensate with a strong physical presence. He tries to focus on looking big and mean and scary, remembering what Magna has taught him about frightening the enemy into surrender.

Cool. No, it’s the inside he needs to keep cool this time. He can’t afford to panic. Not now. Not …

FFWWOOOOSSHH!!

A great column of searing flame completely engulfs the elemental.

Flashback“Here we are Rocky.” Bub rolled in a wheelbarrow covered with a colorful tarp. “Probably my finest creation, if I do say so myself—your head isn’t exactly a standard size. May I proudly present to you … your Sunglasses of Infinite Coolness!” With an exaggerated flourish the gnome removed the tarp, revealing a large pair of dark, stylish shades. “Go ahead, try them on!”

“Groovy.” Rocky rumbled in a deep, grateful voice as he complied with the request. After a few moments he asked a clarifying question that demonstrated his still tenuous command of the Common tongue. “Cool. Fire no yuck?”

The gnome shook his head with a weak smile. “No, not that kind of cool. Cool as in … well … you know … cool! I’ve explained it to you many times before. They’re cool.” An exasperated tone betrayed the repetitive nature of this conversation.

Unperturbed, Rocky responded in a satisfied tone that changed his question into an affirmative declaration. “Cool. Fire no yuck.”

Foreseeing a losing battle, the gnome surrendered with a sigh. “Yes, Rocky. Fire no yuck. Here, put the sunglasses back in the wheelbarrow—I’ll need another week to do some more work. Let’s see now, where’s Bigby’s standard reference for magical item creation? Ah, there it is …” Reaching up, Bub grabbed a tome off a bookshelf and started flipping through it. “Let’s see … resist fire … protection from fire …”


Out of the raging inferno emerges a ten-ton monolith of incandescent rock. Flames sizzle and dance over the red glowing stones, but the elemental seems completely unaffected by the fire. He continues his steady, inexorable advance, with a pace that is neither faster nor slower, just completely indifferent to its brief stroll through hell.

The sunglasses of infinite coolness have performed their job perfectly, even protecting Rocky’s other belonging as well—the blanket using classic D&D logic that, even if a PC gets burned by a fireball, his gear typically remains unharmedsmolders but is unharmed. (Or perhaps, in reality, Rocky is so inspired by Aegaras' speech that he doesn't even feel the heat. Whatever passes for adrenaline for elementals must be coursing through his nonexistent veins.) It’s up to Rocky to finish the job. There is one final touch he needs to get right—one special move, and one special word, taught by his mischievous tabaxi friend, Glass. He focuses, bracing himself for this final push.

Rocky doesn’t stop until he is next to Bartholomew, when the contrast is greatest: a behemoth of jagged rock, adorned with flickering flame, towers over the puny bishop. The Terran tilts his head, looking down at the man like a noble disdainfully inspecting something stuck to the bottom of his shoe.

Cool. This is it.

A single stony finger touches the bridge of his shades, sliding them halfway down his nose, so that two unblinking eyes, as hard and emotionless as diamonds, peer just over the sunglasses. An expectant pause ... and now, the one-word question ...

“Really?”


 

Last edited by ekidnu; Aug 17th, 2021 at 10:58 PM.
  #7  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 03:30 AM
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Through the fire and the flamesA blight on this world, is it?

Aegaras rolled an eye. The Bishop might have a way with magic, but he was no poet. The second line, though, about capturing souls? Now that was revealing, and showed that Rocky's talents extended well into interrogation. Perhaps the elemental was deeper and more subtle than he appeared, if he could extract that motivation with a one-word question.

There was a chance here, time to close with the enemy and show him the error of his ways. Rocky's thrown rock, and Magna's vines, had staggered Bartholomew for a moment, and Aegaras took that opportunity. He began to sprint forward, where the Bishop would not have space to wind up a rock, and any blast of - hellfire!

That had not been where the thought was going. Like his thoughts, Aegaras changed direction abruptly as a column of flame burst into being. Unfortunately it was magical flame, and tracked him as he dodged; there was no way to avoid it, and Aegaras simply had to rely on willpower to see him through. He thought of Sir Orfeo; the legendary knight had never faced hellfire, only the tricks of Faerie, but his tale was an inspiration indeed. A bit of raw willpower, it seemed, was enough to throw off the effects beyond the cosmetic. Aegaras patted out a couple of smouldering patches on his coat, as he returned to his sprint, and his racing thoughts. Rocky was there, already looming over Bartholomew. Aegaras could help, unbalancing the man before Rocky gave him a mental shove: but no, Rocky was too fast, and too concise. Concise - that's one way to put it, laughed Aegaras' mental voice. Ah well, best to close in anyway: any fresh blast of hellfire - and now it was an intentional, grimly ironic, thought - would catch the Bishop as well. Perhaps, if he was the demon he seemed to be revealing, it would have no effect, but Aegaras had to make the gamble. As he emerged from the pillar of flame, his clothes singed and his hair trailing foul-smelling smoke, Aegaras began his diatribe.

"Do you realise how much effort it is to look the part? Obviously you do, because you are no true priest, are you? You are a fiend, some nether being sent to do away with us. Servant of a greater master, of course; things like you never act independently.

"Anyway, I was criticising you about your efforts. Your declaiming is faulty. You mumble. You even mix your cliches! It's supposed to be 'Gods have mercy on your souls', because flames are notoriously unfeeling and not exactly full of mercy!


Aegaras paused, and shook his head sadly.

"Not only that, but you follow it up with an attack that goes for the superficial, the visible, rather than the core. You are like an archer afraid of the gold; like a pie-cook who can only make a crust, and that burned. Look - just look - what you have done to my hair!"

The hair in question was, once, neatly arranged, but the events of the day had already marred it with acidic slime, magical fog and frost, and dust from the collapsing chapel. Aegaras was not going to let that obstruct him in his obfuscation!

"And, as the poet said, 'This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle / And God it woot, that it is litel wonder / Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder'. Since you do not seem like a scholar, a poet, or even much of a priest, the point is that your boasts are hollow, and that fiends - like you - are little separated from friars - like you pretend to be!"

Artistic license, again, for the Bishop was playing the part of a wealthy, settled man rather than that of a mendicant preacher, yet it served. The longer Aegaras could hold his foe's attention, the better a time his allies would have of closing in and bashing Bartholomew.

"And the blame is redoubled," Aegaras added in a sterner, quieter tone. "For the self-same poet argues 'if gold ruste, what shal iren do? / For if a preest be foul, on whome we truste, / No wonder is a lewed man to ruste.' So your rot, in a position of trust, is a betrayal most foul, most contagious.

"That is the true blight, false priest! You, and your deceptions, and your depredations! It ends today!"


Very well, thought Aegaras. I am not immune to cliches myself.


Mechanics and OOC
Dice Resisting hellfire, 1d6 rolling high:
1d6sh3 4

One success, no wound.

Dice Befuddled By The Light, 3d6 rolling high:
3d6smh3 5 ✔, 6 ✔, 3 ✔ (3/3) Total = 14

4 successes! Bishop bewildered; baloney baffles battling bishops' brains!

Up to you, Bhelogan, how this works. If it acts as a simple buff for Rocky, here is the roll. Obviously with 0 successes I hope you decide the debuff works differently this time!
Dice Buff dice for Rocky, if needed:
1d6sml5 5 ✘ (0/1)


Today's poetic reference is Chaucer, in particular the prologue to the Summoner's Tale quoted here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Chaucer#English, plus elements of the Prologue https://chaucer.fas.harvard.edu/page...ral-prologue-0


Statblock
Aegaras 'The Drunk', Half-elf CN3
Current Wounds: 0
Signature Moves:
Charming Narrative: Aegaras can talk the hind leg off a donkey. More usefully, since meeting angry donkeys has not been a key aspect of any of his varied adventures, he can generally charm, convince, influence, and - if all else fails - outright beg people to see things his way. Some might view this as a leadership trait, but Aegaras is not enough of a planner to be a great leader.
Known Spells (2):
I have an armour of words: buff; language-dependent. Aegaras tells a story of heroic survival against the odds; the magic prevents the first Wound a character suffers. More successes on the casting roll means this affects more characters.
Befuddled by the light: debuff; language-dependent. A barrage of words, some relevant, some not, quickly confuse an enemy, conveying a Debuff and reducing the likelihood they'll dodge Aegaras' allies' attacks. Mechanically, this usually works as a Buff (+1d6) to allies' attack rolls.

Adventuring Gear:
Coin Purse: Aegaras has no head for figures, and is never entirely sure how much money he has to spend. When he attempts to purchase something, bribe someone, or similar, his Coin Purse may or may not contain enough for what he needs.
Well-laced Boots: Aegaras always makes sure his boots are comfortable, waterproof, well-soled, and above all else well-laced. This helps if he's out for a comfortable stroll, crossing a rough surface, or running away from overwhelming odds.
His Father's Sword (Spell Focus): Aegaras has still not realised that the sword isn't actually very good quality, or that he's not very good at using it. He can parry a blow, or make an attack of his own, but it's not as a sword that he really uses it. No: when you're going into battle, you feel a lot more confident with a sword, and Aegaras' father was wise enough to know that his son was not a swordsman and never would be. He handed over his third-best sword, told the young man it was a mighty blade, and watched Aegaras' face beam with pride and new confidence. This item does not count as a weapon for Adventuring Gear purposes and conveys no +1d6 on combat rolls.
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Last edited by HenryLockwood; Aug 18th, 2021 at 03:46 AM.
  #8  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 05:10 AM
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Magna Harper-Gravelmane
right-aligned image
"Don't you listen to him, Rocky. If anyone's the blight here, it's him. Anythin' he says is just to hurt ya, like he wants to do to our friends under the ground..."

Ok, so she wasn't above a little emotional blackmail in the heat of combat, but she was hardly being dishonest. How many of the companions might have been hurt or maybe even killed already in that mysterious underground cell? She couldn't shake the image of Sorbo's distraught face when he had told her that Rhun was 'gone'. Losses were a part of the job, unfortunately, but that didn't make it any easier.

The Bishop's staff clattered to her feet, and Magna put her boot on it. She had hoped that taking his arcane focus might limit his magic, but it soon became apparent that ol' Barty Boy had a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Pillars of ungodly hellfire spun into existence from above, and descended towards them.
Magna barely glanced up, summoning an invisible shield with a practiced flick of her staff and an inpatient huff.

When the fire met the top of the shield, it engulfed it, pouring down its sides like a liquid, unable to penetrate the invisible sphere. The inferno raged, and Magna booted the staff outside the shield so that it could burn away to ashes in the bishop's own flame.

When the tendrils of heat and light died down, Magna stood firmly, glaring out from behind them like a wildfire in her own right. The bishop was looking and sounding increasingly twisted and manic.

"If yer' gonna' turn into a giant ugly monster, jus' get on wit' it, would ya?" She demanded impatiently, eager for an end to this carriage wreck of a day.

The old witch flexed her fingers, trying to shake the numb tingling sensation that was building up in her hands- frazzled nerve endings from channeling too much magic. Adrenaline and exhaustion were waging an ongoing battle for her mind and body, but she would not kneel to them so easily.

Personally, she had no interest in questioning Bartholomew -honestly, at this point she was starting to lose interest in even taking him alive- but Rocky was already making his steady, unrushed approach, and Aegaras was in full flow, so it wasn't like she could have got a word in edgeways, even if she had wanted to.

Yes, that man certainly had a way with words. She'd often reprimanded him for not shutting up during training, but when you weren't on the receiving end of one of his discombobulating monologues, it was almost a pleasure to hear him work.

Despite her impatience for a conclusion, she could tell that Rocky needed answers, and although she wasn't entirely sure he would understand the ones he got from the crazed fiend, she wouldn't deny him the chance to try.

One chance.

Then he was getting his teeth knocked out.

With a wearied intake of breath, she weaved an illusion over the elemental, making him appear even larger and more intimidating than he already was. The jagged outcrop of his shoulders became saw toothed spires of basalt, and where his plates shifted and slid against one another, glowing lines of magma revealed themselves.

Rocky was already shimmering from the heat of the flames, but now he crackled and popped too, spitting chunks of red-hot rock and bubbles of molten lava out at all angles, which formed into a twisting hurricane around him and the so-called-holy-man.

It had occurred to her that she might freak out the gentle giant if she went too far, so she thudded her staff rhythmically on the ground as she worked, knowing that the elemental would pick up on the vibrations and understand what was going on.



Stat Block
 

OOC
Here here, I'd also like to thank teammates past and present for helping with proofreading for their competition, that's pretty special and speaks volumes about their character!
 

Last edited by Wishkamon; Aug 18th, 2021 at 05:58 AM.
  #9  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 10:55 AM
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The Battle with Bartholomew Continues...
The Bishop stood, almost in disbelief as the Terran walked straight towards him, ignoring the unholy hellfire rained down on his head. Those peculiar spectacles had protected Rocky, and all of his belonging, and more importantly, looked really good while doing so. The massive elemental then looked down at the Bishop, adjusted the glasses with one finger, and asked the question, “Really?” To add to the intimidation, Magna had cast an illusion that made Rocky look even bigger than he actually was.

"Wow..." Bartholomew whispered to himself. Even he couldn't resist being intimidated by that level of coolness. He made a mental note to confiscate those glasses as soon as this battle was over with.

As cool as Rocky was, Aegaras' words were equally captivating in their befuddlement. In this case, not because what Aegaras was saying was complete bologna made up on the spot, but rather it was an accurate assessment of the situation and showed a depth of insight that surprised Bartholomew. Magna using her magic to avoid the hellfire was no surprise. Rocky avoiding flying stones was no surprise. Even Aegaras talking non-stop was no surprise. But actually, making sense? That did shock the 'Bishop'.

Magna had suggested something though, that despite his current state of awe and confounding, prompted Bartholomew to think of something that happened in the not-so-distant past...

Flashback... because the GM is the only one who hasn't done one of these so far
"I don't get it," Sir Ether said, looking at Bartholomew from across the table. "I see what benefit the Grey Guard will get by being the only adventuring guild around, but I don't see why that will help you?"

"Did you know, there once was a time when the world was a charming place? One could go about doing their work, without anyone getting in their way. I could collect souls, and nobody bothered to stop me. Then the Square of Nine was formed, in an attempt to keep the world in balance. The more they interfered, the worse things actually got. So, not long ago, these adventuring guilds started popping up everywhere, trying to right the wrongs all the chaos was causing. Now, one can hardly kick an annoying neighbors cat, without some dufus being paid to come to find the culprit and bring him to justice."

"So, when you collect souls then, I take it, you are not talking about growing your congregation?" Sir Ether asked, starting to put the puzzle pieces together.

"A congregation of sorts. As far as they know, they are in a place of bliss, free to do as they like. A comfortable stay for all eternity. In any case, per our arrangement, the Grey Guard will leave me alone, to do my work. It's that simple."


"Get on with it, should I?" Bartholomew said, breaking his gaze from Rocky, and staring down the swamp witch. "As you wish." The Bishop reached down and picked up a chain that had previously been invisible. As soon as his fingers clenched around it, a terrible chorus of screams echoed from down the stairs. Some amount of energy was being sucked from the life-forces of those poor souls stuck inside Fu's Far, and ran through the chain, like a conduit, into Bartholomew. He laughed, a deep rumbling laugh that resembled the growl of a massive bear. Instantly, he started to change. The human skin exterior of the man split down the middle, as his insides grew larger and took a new form.

Where there had once stood an old feeble-looking man, now stood a massive demon, even taller than the magically augmented Rocky. His basic form was still human, but his skin looked like red-raw meat and was as hard as stone. The transformation had momentarily left Bartholomew disoriented, giving the companions a precious few moments to act.

OOGM
Aegaras still has protection from 1 wound from "I have an armor of words". Magna and Rocky have used theirs.

HenryLockwood - in this case, you were using Befuddled by the light as a debuff to overcome an enemy. Not as a 'help' action. So, rather than giving Rocky extra dice for his maneuver, successes go directly towards overcoming the foe. (Much like an attack spell would)



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  #10  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 02:09 AM
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ekidnu ekidnu is offline
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The bishop gets a makeoverSo focused is Rocky on maintaining his act—on intimidating the bishop with a cool, fixed stare—that he doesn’t notice Magna’s illusion at first. Thanks to this fortunate ignorance, he receives the witch’s message before the scary ruse has a chance to frighten him. It is a hard-won victory for the elemental and the dwarf, for trying to teach Morse code to Rocky was an unmitigated disaster—the Bauerburg courthouse is probably still covered with molasses. Fortunately, Magna was clever enough to develop a simpler code that even a Terran could understand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abridged Quasi-Morse Code for Dummies

Steady rhythmic beat = Groovy

Random irregular beat = Yuck
It’s good having friends who can explain difficult concepts. Rocky is relieved to learn, from both Aegaras and Magna, that it is the bishop who is the true blight, not him or any of the other companions—which is good, because a blight sounds bad, even if he still doesn’t know what it is.

But the elemental remains confused about the fates of the souls in Fu’s Bar. They seemed content the last time he felt them, yet Magna is quite confident that Bartholomew intends to hurt them. This confusion vanishes the moment the bishop transforms, against a soundtrack of anguished screams.

So that’s how souls make you more powerful.

Even though the bishop-demon now towers over him, Rocky feels a curious sense of relief. Of course he is still anxious—there seems to be a never-ending expectation that the big rock monster will bash the bigger evil monster, even though that’s not who he is—but he takes great comfort in knowing that magic is no longer a threat. Far more frightening than any armored leviathan is a frail wizard who can alter the laws of the universe on a whim.

However, the problem remains: how can they defeat this demon and save the souls of their friends? Severing the chain that acts as a conduit would be the intelligent choice—which marks that as a task for his friends. Instead, Rocky notices the demon’s raw, exposed flesh and is reminded of something someone said—something related to his sandy form. What was it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kase-13, android extraordinaire

“Silicon dioxide crystals are incompatible with my internal mechanisms.”
No, that’s not it—what does silicon dioxide have to do with sand?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegaras, uninvited speaker at a seaside resort

“And just remember … sex on the beach might sound like a good idea, but sand gets *everywhere*. Do you understand? Everywhere! You’ll be chafed for weeks!”
Is this how to defeat the demon? Should Rocky rub him the wrong way? Or is the key to spread himself everywhere? Something is still missing.

Wait … he remembers! It was a girl—no, a lady—whom he’d never seen before. She was kissing one of the Crossing Companions goodbye at the chapel this morning and giving some parting advice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Couch Girlfriend

“And most important—don’t forget to exfoliate! A foaming sand scrub won’t just give you the perfect beach bod, it’ll release your inner beauty. Remember: a good sand scrub is good for the soul.”
Soul. Of course! Rocky just needs to scrub away the demon’s outer layers to release all the souls that have been sucked inside to make him so huge. And maybe—it’s a highly improbable thought, but the naive Terran can’t help himself—maybe a sand scrub will release the demon’s inner beauty too. Perhaps he’s just misguided, like Sorbo, and just needs some help?

Rocky signals to Magna with a single stomp on the ground—his secret code for telling the witch that he’s about to do something. (They’re still working on refining the code to say what he is going to do.) Fortunately, he also announces his intention to the demon, in a deep encouraging voice.

“Help make you groovy.”

It’s time to give this demon the beauty treatment.

The elemental dissolves into a huge pile of sand, which immediately starts scouring its way up the demon’s legs. Rocky’s diamonds lead the way, keeping all the individual grains linked via mutual vibrations in the ether—not Ether—and scratch deep, crisscrossing grooves wherever they go. Higher and higher the sand ascends—between the butt cheeks and into the bellybutton—until it is everywhere, abrading everything it touches.

There was something else the lady—not a girl—said: cucumber slices. Hmm. Hopefully Rocky’s diamonds are an acceptable substitute. But was it cucumber on the eyes, or in the eyes? The Terran has always had a bit of trouble with prepositions. Perhaps it’s best to do both, just to make sure. So it is that Rocky and the demon see eye to eye, as a pair of diamonds start boring their way into Bartholomew’s skull.


 

Last edited by ekidnu; Aug 19th, 2021 at 02:09 AM.
  #11  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 04:03 AM
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HenryLockwood HenryLockwood is offline
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Musings on marriageIt was a victory, of sorts: or a small step towards one. For now, there was nothing to react to, no immediate danger: and while Aegaras was closer than he ever liked to the front line of the fight, he was still filled with confidence and courage. He had mastered the art of self-deception long ago, well before he'd ever attempted to grow facial hair, and had perfected it while he persisted with his disastrous attempts in that direction. Unheeding of the derision his beard had drawn, Aegaras had primped and preened it daily. With this skill, he had armoured himself in magical courage, the same as he had Magna and Rocky.

Now, it seemed, the Bishop had been deceiving a lot of people. Not only did he look like a respectable citizen (much like Aegaras), he was a fiend on the inside (a little like Aegaras, who was something of a rogue). Deceit was Aegaras' stock in trade, and he managed to do most of it without even lying. After all, heroic tales could not literally turn aside a blade, or a monster's claw: but Aegaras convinced people they could and, therefore, they mostly did. Magic was a strange phenomenon, he mused, including this demon's efforts with the chain. Why use a chain? They were heavy, cumbersome, and tied you to a location; surely a purely ethereal conduit would be better. Perhaps even a construct of self-belief and fancy: surely that was how the Bishop was working, for no mundane chain could conduct souls.

That was it! Break the chain, and the power might be released! But which chain? Should the physical form or the metaphysical concept be the first target? Happily, Aegaras felt he had a way to do both. He darted forwards the last few steps, even as Rocky dissociated into sand. A clever move, that, from the Terran who never thought in the same straight lines as everyone else. Instead of attacking the demon - a daunting task, even for someone the same size! - Aegaras went for the chain, thrusting the tip of his father's sword into a weak-looking link. Though it was not the mighty blade Aegaras believed it to be, it was sturdy steel, and worked well as a pry-bar here.

The attack on the Bishop's self-confidence, and his belief in the chain, would take a different, wordier, approach.

"You sound so obliging. The last time I heard a tale of someone saying 'as you wish', it was a love story. The young man had been saying 'as you wish' to a woman who bullied him as if they had been married for decades, instead of being his own age and an entitled beauty. Marriage is, I am told, a wonderful but also a terrible thing. 'The sorrow and woe that is in marriage'," he quoted.

"Wait! Stop giving me that look! You're about to argue that this has nothing to do with marriage, but you'd be wrong. 'Mawage is wot bwings us together today. Mawage, that blessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam.' Marriage is the union of souls. What is your chain, if not a union - however forced and unholy - of souls? Answer me that!"

Aegaras coughed, interrupting himself before the demon-bishop had a chance to reply.

"Or don't, because quite frankly your opinion is worthless. You have probably been lying to yourself about a lot of things, like the hard red skin and shape-changing being scary. You probably think you're something special, but all of us here have seen worse things than you.

"But back to marriage. No, I am not proposing to marry you! I'm not sure man-demon marriages are even legal, and I would not chain myself that way. In fact, I wouldn't even chain a demon that way! I dare not speke of it no wickedness / lest I myself fall eft in such dotage. / I will not say how that it is the chain / of Satanas, on which he gnaweth ever' - you see! Even the poets knew, and poets are not the most worldly-wise people I have ever met, that marriage is a chain, a tethering, that ties you to a single person or place.

"So, you see, if you cast off your connection to these souls, break this chain, you can become free! You can act for yourself, not as a servant tied to this place! You are missing out, you know. Why, if I had been married, I would have seen but a tenth of what I have! Marry not, good sir! Give yourself no chains to gnaw, and go - be free!"


With the last words, Aegaras gave a mighty heave on the hilt of the sword, one booted foot keeping the chain in place. If he could just lever open one link, he could lift open the chain, and disrupt the demon's connection.


Mechanics and OOCUsing his father's sword as a prybar, and Charming Narrative as an attack on the more metaphysical and more important part of the conduit.
Dice 3d6 rolling high:
3d6smh3 3 ✔, 6 ✔, 3 ✔ (3/3) Total = 12


Aegaras' fear of getting married is convincing and contagious, for a personal record of five successes.

Quotes are Chaucer once again, this time from a shorter work: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/l-en...cer-to-bukton/
(And, of course, the excellent Princess Bride).

Finally, my apologies to my wife, to whom marriage is definitely not a chain that chafes.


Statblock
Aegaras 'The Drunk', Half-elf CN3
Current Wounds: 0
Signature Moves:
Charming Narrative: Aegaras can talk the hind leg off a donkey. More usefully, since meeting angry donkeys has not been a key aspect of any of his varied adventures, he can generally charm, convince, influence, and - if all else fails - outright beg people to see things his way. Some might view this as a leadership trait, but Aegaras is not enough of a planner to be a great leader.
Known Spells (2):
I have an armour of words: buff; language-dependent. Aegaras tells a story of heroic survival against the odds; the magic prevents the first Wound a character suffers. More successes on the casting roll means this affects more characters.
Befuddled by the light: debuff; language-dependent. A barrage of words, some relevant, some not, quickly confuse an enemy, conveying a Debuff and reducing the likelihood they'll dodge Aegaras' allies' attacks. Mechanically, this usually works as a Buff (+1d6) to allies' attack rolls.

Adventuring Gear:
Coin Purse: Aegaras has no head for figures, and is never entirely sure how much money he has to spend. When he attempts to purchase something, bribe someone, or similar, his Coin Purse may or may not contain enough for what he needs.
Well-laced Boots: Aegaras always makes sure his boots are comfortable, waterproof, well-soled, and above all else well-laced. This helps if he's out for a comfortable stroll, crossing a rough surface, or running away from overwhelming odds.
His Father's Sword (Spell Focus): Aegaras has still not realised that the sword isn't actually very good quality, or that he's not very good at using it. He can parry a blow, or make an attack of his own, but it's not as a sword that he really uses it. No: when you're going into battle, you feel a lot more confident with a sword, and Aegaras' father was wise enough to know that his son was not a swordsman and never would be. He handed over his third-best sword, told the young man it was a mighty blade, and watched Aegaras' face beam with pride and new confidence. This item does not count as a weapon for Adventuring Gear purposes and conveys no +1d6 on combat rolls.
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Last edited by HenryLockwood; Aug 19th, 2021 at 04:04 AM.
  #12  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 06:51 AM
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Magna Harper-Gravelmane
right-aligned image
Like so many wise cadets before him, Bartholomew did exactly what he was told by the fierce dwarf, but Magna’s scowl only deepened as he drew upon the power of his captured prey, sucking their lifeblood like a miserable leech.

The chorus of tortured cries was instantly recognisable to her, but the yelps and moans didn’t give her the same pleasure as they did when they came from her annual 'team-building-gauntlet’.

These were not screams of development, not the whining hiss of heated blades being plunged into icy water. This sound came from a confused ensemble, agonised by crushing pastoral bliss.
There was no tougher test for war forged mettle, but she knew that they could endure it.

The bishop’s skin split open like an overripe banana as he tugged the chain, and peeled down his emerging new form. Magna shook her head with a look that was decidedly unimpressed.

“An’ that’s supposed to scare us, is it?”

It was clear that something needed to be done about the chain, but even as she thought it, she saw Aegaras heading there. The corner of her mouth twitched into a fleeting smile.

This was not their first rodeo -although it certainly was turning out to be a bumpy one- and they had shed enough sweat together to have a feel for what must be done.

At the same time, Rocky gave her the ‘doing a thing’ signal, and weathered down into a granular mass of sand.
The elemental grated his way up the demon’s body, his strange, liquid consciousness highlighted occasionally by the glinting motion of his roving eyes.

Between them, Rocky and Aegaras had the two angles covered, which just left her with the role of supporting them both.

Support was important. It was the difference between a healed bone and a lifelong injury. It was the difference between a masterful archway and a pile of rubble.

Then again, it was hard to support Aegaras when he was spouting such youthful nonsense. She took a moment from glaring down the monster to chastise the young rogue as he harped on about ‘The sorrow and woe that is in marriage'

“Yer’ talking out yer’ ass, Aegaras!” she pointed out bluntly, turning to him as if the demon had ceased to exist.

Of course the merchant's son was just trying to make a contextual point, and it wasn’t like she was trying to undermine that, but youngsters these days were so cynical about love that they wouldn’t recognise it if it slapped them in the face. He hardly had the right to wax lyrical about it.

What she had known of love and marriage had been wholesome and enduring. She had known from the start that her husband’s life would be shorter than hers, but the years they had shared living and traveling together had easily been worth the years of distress and sadness she had endured after his passing.

To assume otherwise, to cower from love in fear of unknowable repercussions and imagined shortcomings, was to sleepwalk through life.

“Ye’v no right to talk about love if yer’ only experience of it is hussies and trader’s daughters!”’

Probably a bit harsh, but that had never stopped her before. She gestured wildly as she spoke, sprouting a few weedy vines in front of her which flailed in uncertainty, their tips seeking first the dashing rogue as she waggled her finger at him, and then the towering monstrosity, but never quite settling on one or the other.

“A relationship's give an' take. Sure, there’s a chain, but neither of ye should be a ball. Ye’ both do things ye' don’t enjoy, to relieve the burden from the other. If that’s not how it is, then it’s pointless.”

It was a distraction, as well as a life lesson, because behind the demon, now hopefully exfoliated to the point of agony, a third vine rose up like a serpent.

“Ye’ll understand one day. Just don’t settle, An' don’t let what other people say, stop you from trying somethin'“

The vine behind the demon lunged forward and snaked itself around his neck, tightening and pulling with all the force Magna could manage.

Her voice became more strained as she dug her feet into the ground and pulled against her staff. As a pressure built behind her eyes, she rounded the point back towards the demon and his chain.

“Anyway, the point is- you both have to be willing to give, or the strain'll be too much, and-” she waited until she saw Aegaras make a violent levering motion with his father’s sword- “It’ll break!”


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Last edited by Wishkamon; Aug 19th, 2021 at 07:35 AM.
  #13  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 10:06 AM
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Bhelogan Bhelogan is offline
Druid of the Coast
 
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A secret weapon
A sandstorm chafed the demon, while Aegaras tried to break the link between Bartholomew and the chain that linked him to Fu's Bar. He did so metaphorically, with a discussion about the woes of marriage. Meanwhile, Magna directed her vines to try and choke the demon. The result left Bartholomew sore and agitated. Held in position, his other hand reached over and grabbed the chain, on which he started to pull.

Bartholomew's first tug on the chain didn't seem to cause anything to happen. With the second, something large started to surface. With the third, a large hole was left in the ground where Fu's Bar had been, which had now been tossed into the air. Using both hands, and bracing himself against the weight (aided by Magna's Vines), Bartholomew swung the makeshift weapon over his head like a ball and chain. From the outside, Fu's Bar just looked like a large square block of earth, roughly the size of a small house. Next to where the chain connected to the block was a wooden door, and a painted sign over it, naming the prison tavern. Could the patrons inside feel that they were being spun in circles through the air? The companions still on the outside could not be sure, but they hoped that their allies on the inside were oblivious to the fact that the establishment they were enjoying was about to be used to crush them.

Batholomew's demonic and judgemental gaze stared back and forth between Aegaras and Magna, trying to decide which should be crushed first. Magna's vines were an annoyance, that was true. But Aegaras' words struck a note that was far more annoying than the physical restraints were. Rocky had his own problems to deal with, as the spinning chain was causing a vortex that sucked up his sand particles and blew them like wind, scattering his bits all over the place. Each swoosh as the building circled gathered more speed and momentum. Rather than picking one target, Bartholomew swung Fu's Bar close to the ground, in an attempt to clobber it into both Magna and Aegaras in one swipe.

EventDodge a building! More than just stones, Magna and Aegaras have to dodge a ball and chain weapon the size of a house. Make an Outplay Roll, rolling Low to avoid the tavern being swung at you. If you have a piece of adventuring gear, or skill that can help you avoid the obstacle, you are free to use it. With 2 successes you avoid being hit by Fu's Bar. With 1 success, you take 1 wound. With 0 successes, you are hit hard and take 2 wounds. This does not replace your action for the round. For Rocky, also roll Low to avoid being completely scattered, rolling low. With 2 makes, he keeps himself together enough to reform or control where he goes. With 1 or 0 successes, he must use his actions to re-collect himself (needs 1 success, if only 1 success die was made for the event, or 2 if no successes were made on the event).



OOGM
Aegaras still has protection from 1 wound from "I have an armor of words". Magna and Rocky have used theirs.

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Last edited by Bhelogan; Aug 19th, 2021 at 03:09 PM.
  #14  
Old Aug 19th, 2021, 08:54 PM
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ekidnu ekidnu is offline
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AdriftApparently Bartholomew’s outer ugliness extends deep, deep inside as well.

Despite Rocky’s best efforts, there is no trace of the demon’s inner beauty, or better half, or even a pebble of good—this much is clear when the ex-bishop starts whirling the prison around recklessly, thoughtlessly endangering all of its inhabitants, to say nothing of Aegaras and Magna.

The elemental instinctively reaches out, intending to push his friends out of the way, but his plan is quickly dashed by the deadly vortex that spins sand every which way, threatening to tear him apart. His diamonds strain to maintain the resonances that are essential to his integrity, but it feels like they will crack at any moment. Somehow, Rocky will need to overcome Earth’s oldest enemy: Air.

The worst, most frustrating part is that there’s nothing to fight against—it is the complete opposite of Earth, with nothing to feel, nothing to react to. How does one defeat an invisible, intangible foe? Powerful gusts fling his sandy particles up, down, and around, creating a chaotic maelstrom that pulls him apart every time he tries to collect himself. The parts of him that are close to the chain, or to the prison, cling desperately to the material, like fish sheltering within flotsam. A thin, sandy skeleton forms along the chain to the comforting block of earth that is Fu’s Bar. But it’s not enough. How can he gather the bits of him that are floating elsewhere?


FlyingFortunately, Rocky is not the only thing being blown about the sky—caught in the whirlwind, dancing like a capricious kite, is his beloved blanket. Whatever sand is nearby seeks shelter within its soft embrace, until there is enough to form slender fingers that tug gently at the fabric’s edge. Now he just needs to remember some friendly advice from long ago ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumice

“Dude, chill. Just go with the flow. Feel the wave—let it do all the work, until you go ‘whoa, this is totally gnarly’, then just give it a little nudge. No need to push, dude—that’s the difference between riding a radical bomb and total wipeout. Whoa.”
With a little pull here and a little push there, a small sandy figure floats above the fray, swooping and soaring as it collects wayward clouds of sand into itself, and eventually two diamonds too. By using his soft blanket as a paraglider, Rocky is able to collect most of himself back together, until his mass is too great, at which point he dives down onto the revolving prison, using his weight to drive Fu’s Bar towards the ground.

There, reunited with the sand on the building and the chain, the Terran reassembles into his rocky form. “HELP!” As soon as he can, Rocky cries out, his deep voice booming like an urgent thunderclap. He calls not just to Aegaras and Magna, but to his friends inside the prison, for who knows if the half-elf and witch will need help themselves.

Without thinking beyond the immediate need to free those trapped inside, Rocky presses one of his diamonds firmly against the wooden door, then spins it like a drill bit as he tries to cut open an exit for his friends.


 

Last edited by ekidnu; Aug 19th, 2021 at 08:56 PM.
  #15  
Old Aug 20th, 2021, 04:55 AM
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Magna Harper-Gravelmane
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The demon swung the building round and round, picking up momentum and power with each rotation. It grinned a toothy grin at her and Aegaras, and bought the unlikely flail crashing towards them.

With a dizzying panic Magna launched herself aside, using her stick to gain all the momentum she could manage, but it wasn't enough.

The broadside of the weaponised tavern met her in mid-air with a sickening crunch, and sent the old dwarf flying like a ragdoll. She struck the tumbled ruins of the chapel and fell to the ground.

And then she lay there, floating in a dark pool somewhere just beyond consciousness. Everything was vibration and confusing sound, then slowly there were colours, and shapes.

Was she crying?

Coming back to the worldThey had cried a lot that day. Luce had cried because his mother, a woman he remembered being so strong and fiercely in love with the world, had become a babbling, unwashed old crone, talking to animated rocks and eating soup made from tree bark.

Magna had cried because her son was easily her age already, if not older, doomed by his father’s genes. He had always had Seline’s eyes, but now, framed in wrinkles and silver hair, they were almost too painful and beautiful to look at.

Luce had told her about his adventures with the guild- a life spent in service of others, foiling evil plans, slaying monsters, and downing giant demons. All in a day’s work.

He’d convinced her to return to Harthford with him, and after a great deal of arguing, she'd agreed, but now that they had come to the border of the swamp, she dithered.

“C’mon Mam, it’s Ok, It’ll be ok!”

“Ah, what do you know? Jus’ get out of here and leave me be! I’m perfectly happy here, ya' brat!” She turned around to shuffle back towards the little hut.

Luce sighed, but It wasn’t like he had expected her to come easily. Fine then, It would need to be a taste of her own tough love.

“Ah, don’t be such a wimp, mam! You don’t know what’s good for ya!” He marched back over to block her way, and then made a shooing motion to get her going, “Let’s go. c'mon, Yer’ coming wit’ me.”

Magna lifted her stick to hit him, but Seline’s kind eyes stopped her. She glared at him for what felt like an eternity, then with an infuriated huff she turned round, and started heading back towards the waiting world.


“Alright, I’m coming, I’m coming, don’t get yer’ knickers in a twist!” She growled as the memory melted away.

Her thoughts had reassembled themselves into coherence, but there was an unbearable ringing in her ears. It'd been a while since she'd taken a hit like that.

Her tongue found a hole in her jaw where several teeth should have been and she spat out a mouth full of blood. Magna got to her feet, with all the steadiness of a toddler riding a baby giraffe, and a lightning bolt of pain shot out from her shoulder down the whole left side of her body. Finally, there was a soreness in her ribs and a disconcerting rattle in her chest. A punctured lung, perhaps? Did she have a tincture for that?

“Don’t be such a wimp.” she told herself.

The battered old dwarf made her way over to where her staff was lying. With each step, she powered through the pain and dizziness, defying the crashing waves that buffeted her. By the time the gems were glowing, the pain was just background noise.

The demon still wore a scarf of her vines, though they were limp and lifeless without her magic to fuel them. With a great effort, she re-established her connection.

“Enough of this now!” She bellowed, and directed her vines to their grim target.

The green-brown tendrils snaked up from Bartholomew's throat and began to force themselves into every available orifice. They wreathed up his nose and into his ears, seeking soft tissue inside to lacerate and blend. Where Rocky’s diamonds had begun the cutting work, they pushed into the soft wetness of his eyes, and tried to force themselves past his jagged teeth to slide down his throat.

Fed up and exhausted, Magna channelled every once of magic she had left into the vines. Twisting, seething and growing. They sought his insides.


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Last edited by Wishkamon; Aug 20th, 2021 at 05:28 AM.
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