Corruption of Azim

Chapter 4

Fur and Fangs

Gaimon’s mouth felt dry. The Gnome sitting behind him was inquisitive and Gaimon found himself talking much more than he normally would while riding. Asmodeus had pulled the Elf aside briefly and asked him to try to befriend Nock. For some reason the little bard trusted him more than the rest of the group. Little racist, Gaimon thought with a chuckle.

The party had quickly left Fallerun after Nock joined the group. The incident with the mayor had left the town in somewhat of a panic. The guards had been out in full force looking for the assassin, but they were disorganized. The Northwest gate had been left unguarded and the party used this to their advantage. If they were lucky, no one from Fallerun saw them ride away from the city.

Once the city was out of sight, Gaimon tried to casually strike up conversation with Nock. It was awkward at first, but the Gnome seemed interested in how Gaimon came to be Asmodeus’ bodyguard. So the Elf told the story and answered the seemingly unending stream of questions. Gaimon suspected that Asmodeus was purposely keeping himself, Tyrus, and Shandra behind out of earshot so the bard could speak freely. The Gnome didn’t speak much of himself though.

The party traveled North along the foothills. At dusk they took a short break to eat, but then rode on instead of making camp. Traveling at night was slow and more dangerous, but it would be the best time to find some Gnolls. During the day they’d be hidden away sleeping.

For a few hours after dusk, the bright moon lit the way. But at this season it set early in the night, disappearing behind the mountains. The red moon was up all night, but its light did not illuminate much. Fortunately, the terrain was not very difficult. Gaimon wondered what it must be like for his Human companions who couldn’t see nearly as well in the dim light.

The Elven warrior kept on alert as they traveled. The occasional sound of a branch snapping under a hoof, or animal in the bushes sent adrenaline through his system. But the night was uneventful and there was no sign of any Gnolls. Eventually the party grew weary, and Asmodeus called for a halt to make camp.

The night passed without incident. At dawn Gaimon took the opportunity to trance while Tyrus kept watch. The party slept in well into the morning, then continued their Northward journey in the afternoon.

DM
You knew that the Gnolls weren’t terribly close to Fallerun, so you aren’t surprised that you haven’t run into them yet. But you expect that to change either tonight or tomorrow night as you move into their territory.

The day’s travel was uneventful. Nock had left off asking questions, so Gaimon was able to ride in his preferred silence. The others kept somewhat closer than the day before, and the Elf heard the Tiefling speaking cheerfully to her horse, her husband, and the wizard.

After dusk the party kept a close eye out for Gnolls. Gaimon knew that the huge canines preferred ambushes and sudden strikes. They knew that they must be close to the Gnoll territory, but there was no sign of the creatures.

Not long after the white moon set, Gaimon thought he saw something in the shadows. Startled, he drew his sword and rode up to the area.

“What is it?” Asmodeus called after him.

The warrior looked around in the darkness, but whatever it was — if it had been anything — was gone. Tyrus pulled up next to him with weapon drawn.

“There’s nothing,” Gaimon told him. “I thought I saw something, but if I did, it’s gone now.”

“We should proceed with extra caution,” Asmodeus instructed as the group chatted about the incident. But the brief excitement was soon forgotten. The party continued on for another hour or two without any other sign of danger.

Suddenly the whistling sound of arrows broke the silence of the night. Gaimon felt an arrow slam into his armor only to bounce off harmlessly. A cry of pain from Asmodeus was followed by another arrow whistling past the Elf. He looked back in time to see the wizard get hit with a second arrow.

Gaimon drew his weapon and searched the surrounding darkness. He could see the glimmer of yellow eyes watching him.

DM
You are under attack! The arrows came from either side of you (roughly East and West). You are in the low foothills, so the terrain is slightly hilly with sparse trees all around.

Asmodeus was struck by two arrows, one in the right thigh and the other in the left arm. He has taken 10 points of damage, leaving him at 14/24 HP.

Nock was also hit with an arrow which left a glancing cut on his left shoulder. He has taken 2 points of damage, leaving him at 20/22 HP.

The other arrows all either missed or armor protected you. Please roll your initiative and also give me 3 rounds worth of actions you want to take.

Karasu
Nock slides off the back of whomever’s horse he was riding (he would have been sitting with someone else since he has no mount of his own). Ignoring the pain in his shoulder and staying low to the ground (which is considerably low!), he makes a beeline for the nearest tree or shrub that provides any amount of cover. He prepares a crossbow bolt, smears some poison on it, and will work his way around, as stealthily as possible, until he has a clear shot of any attacker. He’s hoping his low-light vision will be accurate in nothing more than starlight. If successful, he will continue to the next gnoll.

Eryx
Given the group dynamics, I think it’s safe to assume that Nock would have been riding with Gaimon. Gaimon will immediately ride over to Asmodeus, who will be quickly dismounting and grabbing his Wand of Healing Moderate Wounds out (he keeps it pretty ready to hand). He’ll tell Gaimon to go fight and give him mage armor. The elf will then draw his sword and Bull Rush the nearest gnoll and then start carving his way through them one after another. He won’t move to a new target until his current one is dead. Once he’s in melee range, he will use Power Attack liberally, Cleave if the opportunity presents itself. As he goes, his eyes light up more and more with manic delightness (for purposes of flavor text), and goes mostly berserk. He does not ever lose complete control, but isn’t exactly calculating. He’s more of a machine moving from one to the next, to the next.

As Asmodeus dismounts he yells out to keep any identifiable leader of the gnolls alive. First he’ll cast Mirror Image (I’ll roll a d4 when I get home tonight) and then he’ll try to follow Gaimon. As far as spells, he’ll use Dread Word if he can see a caster of any kind or a leader, Unnerving Gaze if any Gnoll approaches him, Touch of Fatigue if any gnoll gets within touch range, and Darkbolt the moment he can see a gnoll in the specified range. If he gets below 10 hitpoints he will use the wand on himself. If he gets a moment, he’ll grab out the Wand of Bull’s Strength he has, (but not as ready-to-hand as the Wand of Healing Moderate Wounds) and use it on Tyrus and Gaimon.

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Changing ownership of the wand to Tyrus. Asmodeus only used it once anyway, editing that to be a Nock self-healing spell.]

DM
Quick update, I forgot to mention the lighting situation. I’m assuming that the group has been riding by moonlight only—no torches. Since the brighter white moon has already set, it’s relatively dark. The red moon does give enough light to travel, but not to see very far. (Also, I’ll put together a wiki page for the Azim moons later.)

Eryx
Asmodeus Initiative: 22
Gaimon Initiative: 17
Asmodeus rolled a 3 for his Mirror Image. So that means his spell created 5 mirror images of himself.

Karasu
Nock’s Initiative: 17.

The Elven warrior quickly rode up to aid Asmodeus. Behind him he felt Nock slip off the horse. A glance behind found that the Gnome had already disappeared into the darkness.

Asmodeus was dismounting and calling out instructions. “If you can determine their leader, keep it alive!” he shouted. Then turning to Gaimon, he reached out with a glowing hand. Upon contact, Gaimon felt a field of force envelop him with the wizard’s Mage Armor spell.

“Go cut them down,” the wizard instructed. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Another volley of arrows came raining down. Asmodeus was hit in the left side, and he groaned sharply with pain. Another arrow hit Gaimon squarely, but again his armor protected him. He also heard a muffled cry of pain from Shandra. He dismounted and prepared to charge into the darkness. The party was quickly dispersing to fight.

Wincing with pain from his wounds, Asmodeus voiced the words of a spell and then suddenly split into six copies of himself. One of the Mirror Images was immediately hit by an arrow and vanished.

With a slight grin, Gaimon sped toward one of the pairs of yellow eyes in the darkness. He swung at the huge dog-like creature, but it deftly moved out of the way. A cold chill passed nearby, and Gaimon thought he saw movement of something darker than the black night. The Gnoll towered some two feet taller than the Elf and had teeth barred in a menacing grin. It tried to smack him with a warhammer, but it was too slow. Bringing his greatsword to bear, Gaimon cut a deep gash down the leg of the Gnoll. A few high pitched yelps of pain — one of them quite loud — told the Elf that his companions were also injuring their foes.

DM
Since Whipblade didn’t post, I rolled initiative for Tyrus: 12 and Shandra: 5. Shandra was hit by an arrow in the right thigh, dealing 3 damage and leaving her at 18/21 HP. Together they ran up to fight a Gnoll. Tyrus missed at first, but Shandra successfully tripped the beast with her whip. Then Tyrus crit for 15 damage, followed by Shandra’s dagger crit for 8 damage. The prone Gnoll looks heavily injured.

After casting Mage Armor on Gaimon, Asmodeus was struck in the left side by an arrow which dealt another 3 damage, leaving him with 11/24 HP. His Mirror Image spell was effective in adding new targets for the Gnolls, but they did slay two of the images with arrows. Following Gaimon, he cast Darkbolt at the Elf’s target, but missed.

Gaimon charged one of the Gnolls, but his bull rush failed to injure it. He dodged an attack, then connected with one of his own dealing 14 damage.

Slipping into the darkness, Nock prepared a poisoned crossbow bolt. He fired at a large Gnoll, but slipped in the firing and missed completely. Apparently he was spotted despite his attempt to hide, because he was hit by 2 arrows — one in the right hand, and another to the left shoulder. He has taken another 8 damage, leaving him with 12/22 HP.

Thus far none of you have been able to discern a leader of the Gnoll pack. You believe there are somewhere between 5 to 10 Gnolls out there in the dark.

Please give me your next 3 rounds of actions.

DM
Oh yeah, I forgot something! Nock’s second poisoned crossbow shot hit, but only dealt 2 damage. I do need to know what kind of poison he’s using though (look at the DMG for the list) because I didn’t see it listed on the character sheet. Nock can use his own “special blend” and that’s fine for story purposes, but it needs to match up in cost and effect to one of the poisons. (Unless you want to propose a new poison effect?)

One more thing. If you guys know specific actions that you’ll be taking, feel free to roll the to-hit and damage (or healing, etc.) values. For example, Eryx might make rolls to hit the Gnoll he’s attacking. That gives you more control, especially on how much power attack to use, etc. But if you don’t post your rolls, I’ll just make them for you.

Karasu
Nock quietly curses the wounds he’s received: “Would have had better luck in the shadows of Fallerun.” His own brand of poison is strong, almost similar to Deathblade, except in odor and consistency; his is almost gritty. In effect, it does the same damage, just stings more. Nock will fire one more crossbow bolt, then he’ll draw and throw a random card from his Deck of Illusion and sneak away for better cover in the ensuing confusion.

(I don’t have any dice of my own. Could someone else roll ‘em for me?)

Eryx
Karasu will use my dice from now on. Asmodeus will light up 2 gnolls with Magic Missile (that’s 2 Magic Missile spells on 2 gnolls and I’ll roll tomorrow when I get home) and at this point if one gets too close he’ll use Vampiric Touch on them instead of Touch of Fatigue. He’s looking around specifically to see if one of the gnolls looks like a leader, and will try to keep any such gnoll alive (but seriously harmed is okay). He’ll still try to find opportunity to use the Wand of Bull’s Strength or Wand of Heal Moderate Wounds as specified in my post above.

Whipblade, where are you man?

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Changing ownership of the wand to Tyrus.]

Eryx
Dice Rolls:
1. Magic Missile #1. Rolled a 3+1=4 damage from 3 Missiles, 12 damage total.
2. Magic Missile #2. Rolled a 3+1=4 damage from 3 Missiles, 12 damage total.
3. Vampiric Touch, if he can use it. 8 (roll) +1 Strength + 3 BAB=12 to hit and 15 damage.

In his peripheral vision, Gaimon saw two of Asmodeus casting spells. Then suddenly several streaks of light flew from their fingertips and struck the Gnoll in front of the Elf. The beast was bleeding profusely, but still it raised its warhammer again. The blow was slow and easy to dodge. A look of manic delight crossed the his Elven face as Gaimon swung again with his greatsword, but the blow was blocked by a steel shield.

Gaimon noticed one of the Gnolls had come near and cut down one of the wizard’s illusions. But the several more copies of Asmodeus came close to the Elf, surrounded the Gnoll he was fighting, and with faintly glowing hands reached out to touch the creature. The bipedal dog-like beast squirmed as it tried to dodge the wizard hands, but to no avail. The red light of the spell seemed to seep into the beast and then returned to what must have been the real Asmodeus.

The huge bleeding Gnoll slumped to the ground. As it fell, Gaimon saw another one run up and cut into Asmodeus with a shortsword. He wasted no time charging to get between the Gnoll and the wizard, but his greatsword again failed to connect. Another volley of Asmodeus’ Magic Missiles did not fail however, and the injured Gnoll reeled from the damage, taking a step back. Blood and saliva seeped from between sharp teeth. It narrowed it’s dull yellow eyes and lunged. Gaimon was caught slightly off-guard by the quickness and ferocity of the lunge.

He felt a strong blow against his shoulder. A clank of metal was followed by the sound of metal scraping against metal. But the pain never came — his armor had protected him again. With a laugh, Gaimon brought down the full weight of his weapon upon his enemy. Blood poured from a deep gash, and the Gnoll let out several high pitched yelps of pain.

DM
Fighting together, Asmodeus and Gaimon took down one Gnoll and severely injured a second. Asmodeus did all the damage as rolled by Eryx, plus Gaimon got in a power attack dealing 12 damage. One more of the Mirror Images has fallen. Asmodeus’ Vampiric Touch spell gave him 15 temporary HP, and then he was cut with a shortsword leaving him with 18/24 HP. Gaimon has yet to be injured (AC 28 is quite a bit higher than any of the rest of the group!)

Meanwhile, Nock was grazed by another arrow dealing only 1 damage to his right thigh. Then the Gnoll he was shooting at charged at Nock but missed with its battleaxe. With a 7-foot tall Gnoll towering over him, he threw down a card from his Deck of Illusions which created an illusion of himself (I drew a Joker). He was able to use the confusion to hide. The Gnolls then attacked the illusion thinking it was the Gnome while Nock retreated. The next round he fired another crossbow bolt but missed. The Gnolls tore into the illusion, dealing what would have been significant damage. Nock feels pretty sure that they’ve figured out it is some kind of trick.

Nock is unable to tell yet whether his poison worked against his enemy. Also, since the character sheet didn’t specify any poisons in his inventory, I’m going to go ahead and rule that he’s used them up now. You’ll have to buy some later (or buy the materials, at least) or try to get Tyrus to give you some (if Whipblade ever posts). A Deathblade level potion is worth 1,800 gp for a single dose, hence the necessity of this decision.

In the course of battle with some Gnolls, Tyrus was cut in the right leg for 10 damage, and hit by an arrow in the back for 4 more. This puts Tyrus at 30/44 HP. Shandra was cut by a sword in the torso for 3 damage then in the left leg for 4 damage, leaving her at 11/21 HP. They dealt almost as much damage as they took though. Tyrus executed the prone Gnoll with a strike dealing 13 damage. Shandra moved on to the next Gnoll, but was unable to injure or trip it. Tyrus dealt 6 damage with a hit to the Gnoll’s head.

You know that two Gnolls have been put down, one certainly dead and the other bleeding out. There are four Gnolls in melee combat with you: 1 w/ Gaimon & Asmodeus, 1 w/ Tyrus & Shandra, and 2 that were beating up Nock’s illusion. You believe there are one or two more still firing arrows. Neither Tyrus nor Asmodeus believe their targets thus far have been the leader of the pack, but Nock feels pretty sure that he’s identified the leader — none of you have communicated any of this yet however, and Nock would probably be careful in doing so lest he reveal his location.

Please give me your next 3 rounds worth of actions.

Eryx
Gaimon will keep swinging away at the gnoll in front of him. He will use full round attacks until it is dead. Just keep going with these attacks in this order until the thing is dead.
Attack 1: 13 Roll + 5 BAB + 3 STR=21 to hit. 3 Roll + 1 Roll + 3 STR=7 Damage.
Attack 2: 1 Roll to hit. Fail.
Attack 3: 5 Roll + 5 BAB + 3 STR=13 to hit. 6 Roll + 5 Roll + 3 STR=15 Damage.
Attack 4: 1 Roll to hit. Fail AGAIN! He’s getting pissed.
Attack 5: 5 Roll + 5 BAB + 3 STR=13 to hit. 4 Roll + 3 Roll + 3 STR=10 Damage.
Attack 6: 15 Roll + 5 BAB + 3 STR=23 to hit. 6 Roll + 3 Roll + 3 STR=12 Damage.
Once it is dead, he will look around to see if Tyrus and Shandra need help, and if he can see any of the arrowing Gnolls. If he can see one, he will Bull Rush it (assuming Tyrus and Shandra have finished off their Gnoll and aren’t in dire need of help).
Spot Check for Archery Gnolls: 2 Roll + 1 Skill Point=3 Total.

Asmodeus will call his familiar to him and do a spot check to see if he can discern the leader and if he can see any of the gnolls shooting arrows.
Spot Check: 19 Roll + 1 point + 2 Familiar Bonus=22 Total.
If he can discern the leader, he will cast Touch of Fatigue and have the Raven deliver it on the leader.
Touch of Fatigue: 7 roll + 3 BAB + 2 Familiar’s DEX=12 Total.
Then he will cast Drown on any of the arrow shooting gnolls he was able to see.

Karasu
Nock will cast TrueStrike on himself and then attack the gnoll that isn’t the leader (assuming the leader is one of the two in melee combat) using Sneak Attack and specifying Lethal Damage. He wants to humiliate the leader before killing him, not out of a desire to follow Asmodeus’ plan.
Sneak Attack (Shortsword): 18 Roll + 5 BAB + 1 Masterwork -1 STR + 20 True Strike -4 Lethal Damage=39 to Hit. Damage 4 Roll + 1 DEX (Weapon Finesse) + 3 Sneak Attack Damage=8 Total (Lethal Damage, whatever that means).
Then he runs towards Gaimon to tell the elf which one the leader is. If he gets chased, he’ll cast Invisibility on himself. If he doesn’t get chased, he will cast Invisibility on himself anyway. So Gaimon won’t be able to see Nock when he starts trying to point out the leader.

DM
Eryx, Gaimon cannot use a full-round attack action to get a second attack because he’s only a level 5 fighter. You get that ability at level 6, at which point the first attack gets the full +6 BAB, but the second only gets +1. That’s why it says +6/+1 at level 6, but level 5 only has the single +5.

“We’ve got to determine which one is the leader!” Asmodeus called out. “If you see—argh!” Gaimon heard his master cry out in pain again. A glance over showed another arrow had hit him, but he seemed to be managing.

The Elf dodged another blow, and thrust his greatsword into his enemy. The Gnoll’s eyes rolled back into its head, and it slumped to the ground. Gaimon grinned, and began searching for his next target. He found it; one of the Gnolls was charging him, but it was too slow. The creature’s dagger didn’t even come close.

“There, that one! Tyrus! Look out!” Asmodeus called out from behind. “Their leader is behind you and charging!”

Gaimon took a glance to see if he could see the Gnoll leader the wizard was warning about. Then he swung his weapon while turning back to his target. A miss! He cursed at himself under his breath. I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off it! he thought. The Gnoll’s dagger glinted against the moonlight as it swung down in an arc towards him. But then the Gnoll abruptly let out a howl of pain. Nock had appeared out of thin air and stabbed it in the back. But the Gnome’s sneak attack didn’t go unpunished as he was hit by an arrow from the side.

Taking advantage of the distraction provided by the bard, Gaimon carved a gash into the Gnoll. It was bleeding badly now. Nock shoved his shortsword again into its back and it fell on its face. The bard gave a little grin, and pointed.

“There be da leader,” he said nonchalantly as he tugged his sword out of the fallen Gnoll’s back.

Looking over in that direction, Gaimon saw the Gnoll leader swinging at Tyrus. Another Gnoll was striking at Shandra. It looked as though the Tiefling was injured, because Tyrus was hovering around her in a protective stance. Nock healed himself with a spell while Asmodeus ran up.

“There’s the leader. We’ve got them! There’s one more over there,” Asmodeus said while pointing, “it’s the one which keeps firing arrows. Those are the only three left, and one is injured. I suspect my Drown spell failed though.”

Gaimon prepared to rush over to attack the leader. He saw it lift it’s head up to the sky and howl. The sound was slightly mournful to hear. Before he could move, the Gnolls broke off their attack and began to retreat!

DM
Asmodeus with his raven was able to identify the Gnoll leader and also see the last one shooting arrows. He was hit by another arrow dealing 4 damage, leaving him at 14/24 HP. His raven was unable to hit their leader with the Touch of Fatigue spell; it kept the bird at bay with claws and a battleaxe. The wizard also cast Drown on the Gnoll shooting arrows, but it didn’t seem to flinch.

Nock used his Invisibility spell to hide from the Gnoll leader which had spotted him. He then followed the one which charged Gaimon and was able to strike it in the back. Working with Gaimon, he cut the beast down. The bard was hit by an arrow which only dealt 2 damage. Asmodeus healed him 8 points, leaving Nock at 17/22 HP.

Tyrus continued hacking away at the Gnoll which was persistently attacking Shandra. He delt 21 damage to the Gnoll, then healed Shandra for 9 points with his cure light wounds spell. She had been cut by a shortsword for 8 damage, and she is now at 12/21 HP. Shandra was unable to injure the Gnoll. The Gnoll leader rushed to attack Tyrus, but he was able to defend himself while helping his wife.

The Gnolls are now running! The three are splitting off in separate directions. Two of the Gnolls on the ground are clearly dead, but the other two are bleeding out. What do you want to do?

Eryx
Asmodeus will order Gaimon to chase after the Gnoll leader with specifications to capture it, and will try to get his Raven to deliver a Sap Strength spell. He will want to ignore the other two Gnolls, and will give the Wand of Heal Moderate Wounds to Nock, with instructions to heal Shandra as we take off. Asmodeus is aware that Nock will not be able to keep up for long in such a chase.

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Changing ownership of the wand to Tyrus. Nock wouldn’t have gotten the wand, but it didn’t matter since he ended up not using it anyway.]

Sap Strength Spell: 17 roll + 3 BAB + 2 Familiar’s DEX=22 Total.

Gaimon will run after the leader. He’s definitely trying to not kill it, so he’s attempting to do non-lethal damage, trip him up, etc.

Karasu
Nock will stay behind, heal Shandra, and watch the other two gnolls bleed out.

Whipblade
Tyrus will cast Lay on Hands on Shandra, wait a moment until he sees that his wife is safe and being healed, adjust the hood of his darkvision cloak, then pursue the leader with the intent to disable him… painfully.

Gaimon took chase even before Asmodeus could call out instructions, “After the leader! Capture it!” He passed by Tyrus as the blackguard laid his hands on Shandra for a healing spell. Dodging bushes he sped down a small hill after his quarry.

The Elf heard a flutter of wings above him. Asmodeus’ raven was streaking toward the Gnoll leader with faintly glowing claws. The bird quickly outpaced him and then caught up with the Gnoll. The distant faint glow winked out.

Gaimon couldn’t tell whether the spell worked or not. The Gnoll was fast. It didn’t seem to be slowed at all. He on the other hand was wearing full plate armor which slowed his pursuit. He cursed in a faint voice that accompanies heavy running. The Gnoll had disappeared into the darkness.

He slowed his pace and caught his breath. Tyrus and Asmodeus who had also given chase, caught up to him and also slowed down.

“We’ve lost it,” Tyrus grumbled. He slashed his sword into some nearby bushes to relieve his frustration.

Gaimon’s mood turned melancholy as his dark glee and adrenaline from the fighting started to wear off. The three of them quietly made their way back to Nock, Shandra, and the horses. As they drew near, they could see that the Gnome stood fixated on a dying Gnoll. It was coughing up blood while gasping for its last few breaths. Nock’s face had a peculiar, thoughtful yet disinterested look about him. Shandra was busy looting the bodies.

After helping round up the horses, Gaimon surveyed the loot. The Gnolls hadn’t been carrying much. Aside from their gear, there was a little money and some rotten smelling meat which must have served as their rations.

DM
The raven totally hit the target with the Sap Strength spell, but the Gnoll leader’s fortitude save negated the effect. So it was able to get away, running faster than the armored warriors and disappearing into the distant darkness.

Tyrus’ lay on hands for +7 to Shandra brought her up to 19/21. Seeing that he and Shandra were basically healed up, Nock decided not to waste charges of the wand.

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Therefore Nock didn’t get the wand, but it didn’t matter since he didn’t use it.]

On the dead Gnolls you find 1000 gp and several gems. They have leather armor and a couple of heavy steel shields. You also find bows and arrows, a shortsword, a warhammer, and two long daggers. The weapons and armor are as you had expected from Gnolls; they are decent weapons but not in great condition.

What will the group do next? Continue on to try to find more Gnolls? Take the equipment and bodies they now have and use them to frame a Gnoll attack? Something else?

Karasu
Though it’s has been fun, this gnoll quest seems more of a lark to Nock than serious business. Just a good excuse to get out of town with a well-armed group to watch his back. He’ll want to take what they can to frame the gnolls (might as well) and return to the town to hear news of the mayor. He’ll also want to claim at least a fifth of the gold and one of the gnolls’ long daggers, for recreational purposes.


Eryx
Asmodeus thinks they have enough to stage a Gnoll attack. He wishes they could have tried to convince the gnolls to attack themselves, but that’s okay. Guess that Addiction spell is going to waste. He’ll suggest they sleep the night and grab the loot with one body to stage as if it were killed. The one with the least damage. Also, they should use the wands to heal everybody to full, especially Nock. (Trying to gain some amount of trust.)

As far as the attack, he thinks on their way back to town they should try to find a farm with nobody around, if possible, and burn down the barn and house, kill livestock, etc. leaving one gnoll body inside one of the burning buildings. If there are people around, well, he would rather not kill people, but is prepared to if needed. The first choice would be to cast Reality Blind on them so the farmers or whoever appear to have PTSD or something like that. He will prepare that spell in the morning, and I’ve updated the daily spells part of the google doc for Asmodeus for tomorrow, assuming he can be fully rested and take the time to study his spellbooks in the morning.

Gaimon is feeling a tad guilty about letting the group get ambushed, and when they get back into town he’ll look into getting a guard dog. (Which I had actually bought but forgot about until we were in combat.)

The party had gathered together around the loot which Shandra had piled up. Asmodeus was looking toward the pile, but his expression showed that he was occupied in thought about something else. After a hushed sigh he addressed the group.

“I am disappointed that we were unable to capture the Gnoll leader. I would have liked to persuade it to lead Gnolls to attack the town. Alas, the spells I prepared for this occasion will go unused.

“But no matter. We have now the things we need to stage a Gnoll attack. We’ll take their gear, one of the bodies, and some of their hides. Then the night before entering Fallerun, we’ll frame the Gnolls for our attack.”

“We should make some distance from here before we rest,” suggested Tyrus.

The notion was agreed upon, and the party gathered up what they needed. Tyrus rode with Shandra on Fallacy so that his own horse could bear the burden of a seven foot tall Gnoll corpse and the hides. They travelled for an hour or two before making camp.

It took two days to return to the outskirts of Fallerun. The party was in no hurry, and the corpse slowed them down somewhat. They returned to a diurnal schedule and saw no further Gnolls. When they neared the town, they hid themselves in a copse of trees North of the river and waited for nightfall.

Asmodeus charged Tyrus and Shandra to look after the horses and gear while the others would stage the attack on a small, isolated farm. Gaimon suspected this was due to Tyrus’ aversion to slaying farmers. The Elf himself had no such scruples, but Asmodeus instructed him and the Gnome to make sure to leave three of the victims alive. He had some spells prepared for them.

The attack was quickly executed. Moments after bursting into the farmhouse, Gaimon and Nock had slain the farmer and two of the sons. Asmodeus cast Reality Blind on the wife, daughter, and remaining son. Wearing the Gnoll hides like makeshift mantles, they made sure to spread fur liberally about the house and barn. Next the corpse was placed with some weapons as though the farmer had managed to kill one. The livestock was scattered or slain. Finally they lit the barn ablaze and retreated back into the darkness.

DM
That wraps up this chapter. Each character gains 1,500 XP except Tyrus who was given an advance of XP so he could be a blackguard (which required him to be level 7).

Also, feel free for each character to take their share of the money. I’m just going to let you guys decide how to handle money and looting. You might want to pick someone to distribute it, or always take 1/5th for each character, or something.

Also a question for the next chapter. Will Nock be taking any precaution about returning to Fallerun? Will he try to slip in (maybe using Invisibility)? Or will he just try to casually go in with the rest of the group? Or just not care/try to conceal himself?

Karasu
Nock would suggest splitting up and entering from different points. Nock would sneak in at night using his Invisibility spell.

Eryx
Asmodeus likes the idea of going in in groups. Tyrus and Shandra, Nock, Gaimon and Asmodeus. He wants to find out what happened to the mayor. He and Gaimon would go in by the entrance closest to his father’s farm. They would all meet back up at the Blue Drake, try to find/talk to Elandra or other locals to see what happened. Then make decisions from there on the next course of action.

I’ve also updated Asmodeus’ and Gaimon’s character sheets online, assuming we each get an equal share of the gold. Asmodeus is listed as carrying all of the jewels so we can get them appraised later, but this doesn’t mean Asmodeus himself actually carried all of them if others wanted to divide those up as well.

Whipblade
Tyrus, like Nock, is not sold on the whole framing the gnolls idea. As for if Nock needs to slip in… I don’t know what he needs to do that for… I mean, he was sitting next to me the whole time.

After some careful thought, maybe we should approach Renferrel directly, and ask if there is a reward for hunting down the assassin. If we get his approval, we can go goof off for a month, then come back. I’m not sure how he’ll react though, finding out that the assassin was hired by his father. Man, that’s just cold. How can you do that to your own kin?!

You know… we could use that month to actually hire a hit on Renferrel’s father too. On his behalf, of course. You know he’d want us to. As a preemptive strike for trying to kill him.

Eryx
Let’s find out what happened to the mayor before we decide on a new course of action.

Comments

blackwolf_xiii

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.