Corruption of Azim

Chapter 9


Nock felt introspective. He hardly noticed the world around him as he rode behind Gaimon on the Elf’s horse. After their victory two nights before, he felt almost happy as he rifled through the belongings of their fallen foes. That mirth extended into the next day, dispelling his usual dour mood.

But today he was contemplating his past. Years ago his life had been forever altered when he involved himself with Humans. They were a rotten, evil bunch who took advantage of him. Their actions ripped him from his life as a poor farmer and turned him into a prisoner.

How strange it seemed that he now found himself in association with similar men. The streak of evil in Tyrus and Asmodeus was not hard to see. And yet, somehow these humans were different. Nock had never imagined how evil and loyalty could go hand in hand. The bard felt that he wasn’t just tagging along; he actually belonged.

He wasn’t sure how Tyrus felt — the blackguard was often brooding and aloof. Perhaps the blackguard wouldn’t shed any tears if the bard perished, and yet he would fight and bleed to protect. Asmoedus seemed to regard Nock and his abilities as a genuine asset. The wizard’s ambitious goals were more detailed and sinister than Nock would have the patience for, but he looked forward to revenge on Bernard Isley.

Then there was Gaimon. Being an Elf made him easy to like; Nock didn’t hold the same prejudices against all races. Gaimon wasn’t much for words, but he had a sadistic streak that delighted Nock’s psychotic nature. He felt a kinship with the Elf that he couldn’t really explain.

He was beginning to actually trust these people. I’s must ta lost me head, trustin’ them longfolk, he thought to himself.

As the sun rose high in the sky, the party stopped near a massive tree to rest in the shade. They ate the remaining meat of a deer that Tyrus had killed the night before. Nock savored the venison and the welcome reprieve from rations.

Gaimon propped himself up against a rock. Asmodeus and Tyrus were debating how long it would take to ride back to Fallerun and whether they were off-course.

Still wrapped up in thoughts of his past, Nock tuned his gittern. Absentmindedly he began to play. A striking melancholy melody invented itself from Nock’s subconscious. Singing was not one of Nock’s fortes, but he found himself half singing, half speaking piercing lyrics which told of the adventurers who betrayed him in Nobwyn, and his wrongful imprisonment in the Far Waters Prison Colony due to the judgment of Bernard Isley.

At the end of the performance, Nock noticed that the others had gathered around to hear. Looking directly at him, Tyrus nodded his approval.

“Someone should avenge that Gnome,” said the blackguard.

Nock was silent, but nodded once in the affirmative. In a gesture of solidarity, Gaimon put his hand on the bard’s shoulder.

“We will,” Tyrus stated matter-of-factly.

After a few minutes of silence, Asmodeus spoke up. “Tyrus. You’ve seemed… preoccupied since our battle. Do you want to talk about it?”

Tyrus leveled a look of faint annoyance at the wizard, but answered saying, “I’m just a little upset at the universe and am looking for a reaction.”

Tyrus cut off further questioning by suggesting they should be on their way.

That night, Inque was restless in the camp. The dog seemed alerted to some unseen danger in the dark. A little after midnight, Nock was awakened from his sleep by loud baying cries.

Never one to sleep much, Gaimon was standing nearby with sword in hand. He looked off in the direction of the howling.

“They aren’t Gnolls,” he said. “Some kind of wolves, I think.”

The cries lasted a few minutes, but then were gone. Nock did not sleep well that night.

The next day was uneventful, but the howling of wolves was repeated that night. Nock didn’t appreciate Tyrus’ suggestion of “They’re hunting us.” But again the night passed without incident.

The next day, the party’s travels came to an abrupt halt. Nock leaned past the Elf to see what was going on. A large, steep ravine blocked the way ahead. Looking to the right and left, Nock saw that the ravine extended in either direction for at least a mile.

Nock dismounted and walked up near the edge. The obstacle was very deep; he had to step back to avoid vertigo. The other party members followed the Gnome’s lead, dismounting and examining the problem.

Asmodeus cursed.

“It’s too steep for our horses to cross with all this gear,” Tyrus said.

“Perhaps we should just follow it,” Asmodeus suggested. “The stream below should eventually meet up with the river to Lysidia. Then we can get out bearings back to Fallerun.”

Nock returned to the horse’s saddlebags to munch on some rations. Before the group could debate the problem, they were interrupted by Nock’s cry of alarm. The Gnome saw three huge wolves emerge from the treeline. They were each the size of the warhorse Ingus.

“Wolves!” he yelled.

The party sprang into action, grabbing their weapons. The wolves crept close, keeping the party trapped by the ravine. Nock prepared his crossbow and aimed it at the approaching beasts.

But before the fighting could be joined, yet another interruption caught the attention of all. Something large was crashing through the trees. A tall, burly man emerged from the foliage with a mighty shout.

On seeing the man, the wolves started in panic. They turned tail and fled.

“Ho, travelers!” the man said as he approached.

Nock inspected this strange man. He was the biggest human Nock had ever seen! He wasn’t just tall, but also broad-shouldered. The man had hair all over his body — he had long brown hair with beard and his bare forearms were practically fur. He wore simple leather clothing and carried a massive club.

As you can see, I’ve incorporated most of the Chapter 7 stuff here. It was a longer introduction, but here we are. How will you greet this “mountain man”?

Asmodeus will be startled for a moment, but quickly regain his composure. This man will probably need to die, as, well it’s not like he could help but notice the mass amount of armor and loot we’re carrying. But there’s no need to be unfriendly about it, and he did just save the group from those huge wolves. Besides, he probably knows the best way to town. Best to ask him. Then kill him. But we’ll see.

“Ho there, friend!” the wizard will call out. He’ll move to put his staff back on his horse, and while turned away, whisper to Tyrus “Kirish T’kal,” to indicate the Blackguard should do a Detect Good spell. “What manner of man can spook three of those . . . giant wolves?”

Following the wizard’s lead, Gaimon will lower his sword, but not sheathe it. “Those weren’t like any wolves I’ve ever seen. What were they?”

I have no dice with me, so I authorize the DM to roll knowledge checks on whatever those wolf things were. This doesn’t change the actual dialogue I posted. They’ll play it ignorant for now.

Tyrus covertly casts Detect Good.

Tyrus detects a strong aura of good in this man. From the Knowledge checks I made for Eryx, his characters believe what you saw were dire wolves.

Karasu Nock wonders if the man is part giant. That’s another race he’d just as well avoid. For the time being, he’ll let Asmodeus and Tyrus take the lead on this encounter.

Asmodeus looked startled, but upon regaining his composure called out, “Ho there, friend!” He then replaced his staff on his horse, and while his back was turned to the stranger Nock heard him whisper “Kirish T’kal” to Tyrus.

As the enormous man approached, Nock couldn’t help but wonder if he were part Giant. Tyrus’ head only came up to the man’s shoulders. Giants be another’n race t’avoid, he thought. But at least the wolves were gone.

“What manner of man can spook three of those… giant wolves?” Asmodeus asked politely once the stranger drew near.

“Those weren’t like any wolves I’ve ever seen. What were they?” Gaimon added. Nock noticed that the Elf had lowered his sword but hadn’t sheathed it.

The stranger laughed a hearty laugh. “Those are dire wolves, but they know better than to get in a scrap with me! I wouldn’t have any problem with them, except they’re being influenced by that miserable Kailden. Oh, but you probably don’t care about that.

“My name is Ulric. What manner of man am I? Well, I fancy myself a protector of the land. And who might you be?”

“I am Tyrus,” the blackguard responded. “Thank you for helping us, and if it isn’t too much trouble, perhaps you could assist us once more. I fear my companions and I have lost our way. We’re trying to reach the town of Fallerun.”

“Fallerun, eh?” Ulric put his massive paw of a hand to his face and rubbed his bearded chin. “Well, you’ll want to head that way,” he said as he pointed off in a southwesterly direction. “It’s only a few days travel from here.

“Say, your horses seem to be carrying quite a bit of gear. What brings you out this far north of civilization?”

Tyrus and Gaimon exchanged glances. Asmodeus wore a look of displeasure.

“We are merely adventurers seeking goblin treasure,” Asmodeus lied. “We had heard tale of an old tomb near Fallerun where goblins had taken over. We were just heading there.”

Ulric’s face fell into a frown. Nock watched the huge man sniff the air as if it would tell him whether they spoke the truth.

“You smell of blood.”

Ulric then lifted up a blanket from Ingus’ load to reveal the armor of the Fallerun soldiers. Nock felt certain the man had located it by smell. Ulric dropped the blanket.

“You killed the men who owned these sets of armor, didn’t you?” he growled menacingly.

Ulric is definitely suspicious of your group. His mood quickly changed from jovial to serious. How will you respond? I know that Eryx’s vote was to kill him, so if he doesn’t post (I’m not sure if he’ll be able to post while out of town) and barring any disagreement, I’ll assume that Gaimon will attack.

“No! Absolutely not!” says Asmodeus. “We found those dead soldiers. No reason to let their armor go to waste, though.”

Gaimon, after a moment, will catch on and lower his sword again, trying to look disgusted that Ulric would even consider that possibility. But his eyes have begun to light up with anticipatory glee.

“We may be looking out for ourselves, but not to the tune of killing Validras soldiers!” continues the wizard. “However . . . ” and at this, he will look at the group, as if reluctant to share this part of the story. He will wink at Nock while facing away from Ulric, hoping the Bard has some spell to ease the giant man into a false sense of security. “But perhaps you could help us. We’re no rangers, but whatever happened to these soldiers wasn’t in a fight with the gnolls they were hunting. Perhaps this Kailden fellow had something to do with it?”

Asmodeus just wants to get some information on Kailden, in case that information becomes pertinent on the way back what with dire wolves running around and all, and try to lull this Ulric into a false sense of security. Gaimon will just go along. He’s played this game before.

Asmodeus Bluff: 8 (roll) + 3 (bonus) = 11 total.

Gaimon Bluff: 18 (roll) + 0 (bonus) = 18 total.

Also, it would be nice if Tyrus could somehow communicate that this man is good-aligned. “We did not, my good friend,” or something like that.

Nock will go along with Asmodeus’ bluff by nodding vigorously and feigning being close to tears. He will appear to absentmindedly strum his gittern for comfort. Covertly, he is also casting a charm person spell on Ulric. The bard would like to get Ulric comfortable, wrangle as much information out of him as possible, and then kill him. This giant man is too suspicious and bluffing and spells will only work so long.
Bluff roll: 20 (roll) + 9 (mod) = 29 total.

“No! Absolutely not!” Asmodeus protested. “We found those dead soldiers. No reason to let their armor go to waste, though. We may be looking out for ourselves, but not to the tune of killing Validras soldiers!”

The wizard’s lie fell flat and forced upon Nock’s ear, but the gigantic man seemed to be considering it. The Gnome went along with the bluff by nodding vigorously in agreement with the wizard. He tried to put on a hurt look of one brought close to tears by such villainous accusations.

The charismatic Tyrus had no trouble feigning a look of mixed shock and offense. After a moment Gaimon also caught on. The Elf lowered his sword and tried to give a look of disgust, but Nock saw that his eyes had lit up in anticipation of a fight.

“We aren’t sure what happened to those poor soldiers,” Asmodeus continued. “We’re no rangers, but whatever happened to these soldiers wasn’t in a fight with the Gnolls they were hunting.”

While mentioning the lack of a ranger’s skill, Asmodeus turned away from Ulric and gestured toward the group. While facing away, he winked a signal to Nock. The Gnome caught the wizard’s meaning and grabbed his gittern — ostesibly to strum absentmindedly. But in truth he was carefully casting a Charm Person spell.

“Perhaps this Kailden fellow had something to do with it?” Asmodeus asked.

“Humph,” Ulric responded. Then a wide smile crossed his face and he laughed. “I guess I owe you an apology! Sorry about jumping to conclusions! It’s just that there aren’t many folk wandering about in these parts, and those who do are usually up to no good.

“But I trust you won’t be making your fortunes on the demise of others. True that their armor shouldn’t go to waste, but those Fallerun families deserve to know what happened to their sons, and deserve to have their property returned.

“Ha! But a reward for bringing this gear back would be appropriate of course!”

“Quite right, my good fellow,” Tyrus answered. “That was indeed our intention. I’m glad to see that such an honest and upstanding man as yourself acts as guardian of these lands.”

“I wish I could tell you what happened to these men,” Ulric said as his face fell to a frown with another mood swing. Looking over Ingus and the other horses, he sniffed the air again several times.

“I don’t think that Kailden was involved. I only smell the scents of Gnolls and soldiers. Oh, and yourselves of course.”

“You must have quite a nose,” Gaimon offered.

“Who is this Kailden anyway?” Asmodeus inquired. “I take it you know his scent? Or is it the wolves you would expect to smell — I believe you said something about him leading or directing the dire wolves?”

Ulric grinned. “Aye, exactly! You’re a clever one. Ha, ha! I was smelling for wolves! But there’s not a whiff of them. If Kailden and his dire wolves had attacked this group, I’d know it.”

Ulric made a face and crinkled his nose at the suggestion of their smell.

“I’ve been hunting him for months now. He’s a real menace; a murdering psychopath. This past summer he showed up in the area and killed some farmers in Fallerun. The soldiers managed to drive him out though.

“I found out about him after he started speaking to the dire wolf pack. I guess you could say he abandoned his lone wolf ways. Heh heh.

“With the help of the pack, he’s killed all sorts of creatures. The wolves obey him because with his help their hunting is more successful. But he’ll kill anything, even if it can’t be eaten. The driads are almost all gone.”

Ulric threw his fist into the air and cursed Kailden before continuing. “I think he’s looking to move closer to civilization though. He wants to kill Humans… they always want to kill their own kind. I’ve been tracking his movements southward, finding a kill here, a tuft of fur there—”

“Wait. What?” Tyrus asked. “You say he’s Human… don’t you mean hair rather than fur?”

The rest of the party was just as confused by Ulric’s description. It was apparent that there was some important detail he had forgotten to share.

“How does he speak to the wolf pack?” Asmodeus inquired.

“And what do you mean, ‘they always want to kill their own kind’?” asked Gaimon.

“He’s a werewolf,” Ulric answered with a shrug.

Ulric seems less suspicious of your group now. The combination of bluffs and Charm Person seems to have worked. But you’ve also noticed that he is prone to sudden mood swings; alternating between good humor and deadly serious.

What will you do next?

The first thing Asmodeus will do is send Corbinian to watch the wolves and make sure they’re not circling back around or some such.

Something is definitely up with this guy. He’s too big. He has mood swings. He has a sense of smell that’s clearly overdeveloped. Something’s just not right.

However, more information on this Kailden might be valuable. Possibly a side quest later (to prove ourselves to the town)? Or maybe an ally? Asmodeus will immediately play the concerned son. But he’ll be observing Ulric very closely, trying to figure out exactly what he is.

“So it was the gnolls that killed these soldiers? Based on your smell, that seems to be overly developed, I guess.” Asmodeus will shrug. “Like I said, we’re no rangers. But I myself am from Fallerun. Been away for some years, but still care about the community. What danger is this Kailden to my hometown?”

“And why are you spending so much time to track him down?” asked Gaimon, who is clearly sizing him up, even while sheathing his sword. “Forgive me if you don’t seem . . . normal.”

Asmodeus will laugh. “You’ll have to forgive my bodyguard. He takes his duties a little too serious sometimes. But I must admit to being curious about these things myself.”

Just to save time, I’m going to roll knowledge checks to try and determine what kind of creature this Ulric is.

Asmodeus Knowledge: 4 (roll) + 4 = 8 total.
Gaimon Knowledge: 20 (roll) + 1 = 21 total.

Your knowledge checks don’t give you any insight. Ulric appears to be an extremely large human (huge like a football player might be, not unnaturally gigantic despite Nock’s colored perception). He does seem to have animal-like qualities — specifically his sense of smell — that are outside what one would consider the norm of human ability. You don’t know whether that comes from any kind of non-human heritage, magic, or just that he’s lived in the woods too long.

Nock is done with this Ulric fellow. He wants to bid him goodbye, head back to town, and leave this scary-looking “giant” far behind them. He’ll try to communicate this as discreetly as possible to Gaimon or Asmodeus, hopefully without Ulric hearing him.

A werewolf?! Nock didn’t like the sound of that. The Gnome felt that it was time to be done with this Ulric fellow. Time to bid him goodbye, head back to town, and leave the scary-looking ‘giant’ far behind them. Unfortunately, Asmodeus was still fishing for information.

“My father lives in Fallerun,” the wizard said, playing the role of concerned son once again. “I myself am from Fallerun. Been away for some years, but still care about the community. What danger is this Kailden to my hometown?”

“Well, like I said, he’s a murdering psychopath,” Ulric answered. “I’m sure if he gets a chance he’ll try to return to the town. The soldiers have kept him out for a while now though.”

“Why are you spending so much time to track him down?” asked Gaimon, who was clearly sizing up Ulric, even while sheathing his sword. “Forgive me if you don’t seem… normal.”

Ulric just laughed. Asmdoeus joined in the laughter then said, “You’ll have to forgive my bodyguard, He takes his duties a little too serious sometimes. But I must admit to being curious about these things myself.”

“I suppose I’m not what you’d call ‘typical’,” he joked. “But to survive out here in the wilderness, I guess you just need a few advantages over the norm.”

“Indeed,” Asmodeus confirmed. “Your sense of smell seems to be overly developed.”

A confused look momentarily crossed Ulric’s face. Then when it passed he replied, “Ah! Yes! I guess that’s true. It’s a useful trait though. Helps you find food, animals, and dangers. Why just yesterday I found a delicious morsel of honeycomb. And of course it helps me find Kailden, that cur.”

While Ulric was directing his conversation mostly toward Asmodeus, Nock pulled on Gaimon’s armored leggings to get his attention. The Elf looked down and saw the Gnome’s grimace. Nock signaled with his thumb that they should be on their way.

“You asked why I’m trying to catch him?” Ulric continued. “Well, I believe I already told you that I’m a protector of the land. There aren’t many druids in these parts, you know. And Kailden is dangerous. If left unchecked he’ll destroy everything. He’s a disease and there’s nothing for it but to put him down like the dog he is. Ha!”

Now what do you want to do? Ulric seems friendly enough, but not wont to volunteer much more about himself. As for information about Kailden, Ulric is apparently content to know that he’s a werewolf and therefore must be slain.

Specific questions may dig up some additional answers, and you can roll Gather Information checks to try to improve the results. It does seem like Ulric is guarding his answers a little bit though.

Update: I forgot about the raven. He’s flying around circling the area to look for the wolves. Via the empathic link Asmodeus knows that none have been spotted. But the treeline is fairly dense in this area along the ridge, so they could be in hiding. You may make Spot and/or Search checks for the raven to try to get additional info.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Tyrus would be opposed to killing this guy, and would indicate that somehow to Asmodeus. But there is yet one more piece of information Asmodeus would like. Also, looks like Ulric doesn’t represent much of a threat and won’t be in town to accidentally let it be known that they had the soldier’s armor. Gaimon will be disappointed, but Asmodeus is beginning to think it best to just move on.

“These wolves, we’ve heard them the last few nights. Any advice on how to throw them off our trail? And what general direction have they been heading of late? Are they really following us, and in which direction are you headed?”

At this point, hopefully Ulric is headed in a different direction. Time to part ways.

Spot Check (Corbinian): 19 (roll) -1 (modifiers) = 19 total.
Search Check (Corbinian): 5 (roll) + 7 (modifiers) = 12 total.

Nock noticed that Tyrus was adjusting his saddle. Apparently he was ready to get moving as well. But still Asmodeus asked additional questions.

“These wolves,” he began, “we’ve heard them the last few nights. Any advice on how to throw them off our trail? And what general direction have they been heading of late? Are they really following us, and in which direction are you headed?”

“You are a curious one,” Ulric chuckled at the onslaught of questions. “Well, they had been heading southward but I think they are following you. Like I said, Kailden loves to kill anything he can, especially Humans.

“If the pack really is hunting you, then I doubt you can put them off your trail at this point. You’re traveling slowly with heavy loads. They can travel all day and have no burdens. Plus you’d be easy to follow, especially if they’ve picked up your scent. That smell of blood can’t be good for your chances.

“So if they’re following you, all you can do is be wary. Dire wolves are big and dangerous, but you seem like stout, capable fighters. You could probably fend them off, but watch out for Kailden himself. He’ll be smaller than the others but much more vicious and harder to kill.”

Asmodeus stopped for a moment and looked off into the sky to his right. “They’re still nearby,” he said. “Corbinian spotted one of the wolves not far from here.”

Nock thought this was all the more reason to leave. He absentmindedly fingered his knife as he wondered what it would be like to fight a wolf as big as a horse.

“And what about you, Ulric? Which direction are you headed?” Asmodeus asked.

“Well, I’ve been following the pack trying to find Kailden. He’s usually not far from the pack, but sends them out to distract me. I was planning to keep following him, which means I may be following you. I’ll go with you if you’d like — I’d hate for you fellows to be alone in a fight against him.

“If you weren’t in danger, why I’d have half a mind to follow your trail back to where you found these soldiers. In a few days I won’t be able to pick it up again. I’m curious as to what’s happened there. Gnolls are usually trouble, but they’ve been unusually active of late.”

I went ahead and moved the dialog onward to answer Eryx’s questions since he hinted that Karasu’s just wants to take leave of Ulric. What will you do next?

“If Kailden and his wolves were to attack, I’m not too concerned,” Gaimon would say. He’s clearly uncomfortable with the idea of Ulric traveling with them.

“Quite right,” Asmodeus would respond. He would flex his fingers. “I have a few tricks of my own up my sleeve. I wouldn’t be concerned about us, Ulric. My raven will keep us informed of the wolf movements, now that we know they’re tracking us.” Asmodeus will mount his horse. “Thank you, kind sir, for your help in pointing us to Fallerun, and the offer to journey with us. We wish you luck on your hunt.” His tone of voice and demeanor will make it clear that they do not want Ulric to join with them. “Your time would be best spent tracking this menace, keeping him from Fallerun. We can take care of ourselves.”

Asmodeus will have Corbinian keep track of the wolves AND Ulric as the raven is able. Time to head onwards, though. For the sake of time, I authorize the DM to roll any Search/Spot checks he deems necessary. If we don’t get attacked tonight, I’ll update spells for Asmodeus. He’ll be preparing for a wolf attack and adjusting his spells accordingly. If we do get attacked tonight, well, it will be an interesting attack. Hopefully Ulric will be following and maybe could help. But we’ll see. Once they get out of earshot of Ulric, Asmodeus will specify that if they are attacked, Kailden is to die. Immediately. The wizard doesn’t want to risk someone contracting lycanthropy. He’ll be keeping a sunrod ready to hand.

Also, feel free to add or edit or break up the dialogue I post. You can get a general idea of what I want my characters to say, but just because I write a paragraph doesn’t mean that Asmodeus has to speak, uninterrupted, for an entire paragraph in the actual narration.

Any dialog in quotes I will usually try to post as literally as I can. If you don’t want it to be literal dialog, then you need to let me know in some way (e.g. don’t put it in quotes, or post that your character will say something along these lines). If you don’t want it to be a single paragraph, then don’t put them all together.

For example, Asmodeus wants to ask the following questions:
“These wolves, we’ve heard them the last few nights. Any advice on how to throw them off our trail?”
“And what general direction have they been heading of late?”
“Are they really following us, and in which direction are you headed?”

Or, if you didn’t care about the actual text, don’t write it as dialog. If you want me to be able to take liberties with it, please specify.

In some way or another, just let me know when you don’t mean for the dialog to copied exactly. I will always take some DM liberties with your dialog, but it helps me when I know what you want. I’m trying to give you guys maximum control over your characters, especially in dialog.

Asmodeus will be keeping his Everburning Torch ready to hand, not a sunrod. And yeah, I’ll try to be more specific about the dialogue. I had just assumed that, in a live role-playing situation, my questions would be answered, so he’s not just throwing a chunk of them at a time and waiting for a series of answers. Anyway . . . I’ll be more clear about that in the future.

“If Kailden and his wolves were to attack, I’m not too concerned,” Gaimon said. He was clearly uncomfortable with the idea of Ulric traveling with them.

“Quite right,” Asmodeus responded. He flexed his fingers as he continued, “I have a few tricks of my own up my sleeve. I wouldn’t be concerned about us, Ulric. My raven will keep us informed of the wolf movements, now that we know they’re tracking us.”

Nock was relieved to see the wizard mount his horse. The rest of the party followed suit.

“Thank you, kind sir,” Asmodeus said, “for your help in pointing us to Fallerun, and the offer to journey with us. We wish you luck on your hunt. Your time would be best spent tracking this menace, keeping him from Fallerun. We can take care of ourselves.”

Asmodeus’ slightly curt tone left no doubt that he didn’t want Ulric joining them. Tyrus gave a much more cordial farewell.

“Take care! Stay on your guard!” Ulric called after them while waving goodbye. Soon he disappeared as the party moved into the treeline heading toward the town.

The party remained alert as they traveled, but there were no signs of wolves all that afternoon. Corbinian was searching for them and Ulric, but neither could be found. Asmodeus instructed the group that if they were attacked, killing Kailden would be the priority. He didn’t want anyone contracting lycanthropy.

After sunset, the group decided to push onward a while longer. They lit torches to light the way. Nock wrapped one of the soldier’s blankets around him. The whether had turned quite cold that day. He suspected that it would be a cold night. He was glad for the extra blankets they had pilfered.

Once they finally stopped for camp, they debated on whether to build a fire. Tyrus argued that the wolves would find them no more easily with the light but the fire might keep them at bay; at least the natural wolves. It was decided to build a large fire.

The party stayed up later than usual. They kept watch out over the darkness with torches and weapons ready at hand. No baying cries were heard that night, which prompted the question of whether Ulric had scared them away. After a while Nock found his eyelids heavy. He carefully set his weapons about him and huddled into a pair of blankets.


Gaimon’s cry woke Nock from his sleep. The Gnome threw off his blanket and grabbed his weapon. A massive black shape leaped at him out of the darkness! The dire wolf’s teeth sank into his shoulder causing him to cry out in pain.

The dire wolves have ambushed you! Gaimon was the only one not asleep at the time. Although he was keeping watch, his spot/listen checks failed to detect the approaching threat. Plus they came charging out of the darkness giving little time for warning.

Six dire wolves have attacked your camp. No smaller wolf is in sight. All of your characters have been injured in their charge, plus Asmodeus’ horse:
Asmodeus: 13/28 HP
Gaimon: 32/45 HP
Tyrus: 28/44 HP
Nock: 13/25 HP

Gaimon’s warning cry gave each of your characters enough time to get their weapons and stand (so no one is left prone). Gaimon was also able to injure one of the wolves, dealing 12 damage. Tyrus and Gaimon are in a good flanking position.

Please roll initiative and give me 3 rounds of combat. Be warned, the party is in extreme danger! Especially Nock and Asmodeus who don’t have much in the way of armor. I recommend you think carefully about a strategy and don’t hold back.

Did Inque not help at all with the detection of the onslaught of wolves? Anyway . . .

Asmodeus Initiative: 8 (roll) + 3 (DEX) = 11 total.
Gaimon Initiative: 9 (roll) + 2 (DEX) = 12 total.

Gaimon would have been carrying the magic sword, but in looking over my comments I didn’t specify that. Ostensibly it would be to carry it and then bury it when they got to their hiding spot. My apologies, and if you rule that I needed to specify that ahead of time, that’s cool. You’ll have to roll magic damage if you rule that he has the sword.

Asmodeus will first cast Mirror Image, using a free action to snap at Gaimon to activate the magic sword, Edit: then drink a Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds. 7 (roll) 8 (roll) 3 = 18 total. Yeah, he’s back to full health. Then he will move over to Gaimon and cast Mage Armor. His next move will be to try and use the same tactic they used during the attack on the second camp—divide by fire. He will use the magic staff to cause a Wall of Fire and try to divide some of the wolves from them. Same sorts of considerations apply about trying to hit wolves with the wall, and take into account the fact that the wall damages wolves on the other side. He will not be trying to sustain it. They can run around in it the number of rounds it will last, which I believe is 7 rounds. Edit: This is 4 rounds of actions now. I’ll leave this up, but if Asmodeus isn’t able to get to the Wall of Fire part that’s okay, I can re-evaluate then.

Gaimon’s bloodlust hits him full tilt and he begins to full round attack wolves left and right, doing his best to shield Nock and Asmodeus and distract the wolves from them. He’s in full blown intimidate mode, and this is something that actually rarely happens. Nock should be surprised—these are animals, Gaimon is turning completely animalistic himself.

Both of them, and Corbinian, will be looking for Kailden. The moment Kailden is seen, if he appears, Asmodeus will immediately drop what he is doing and cast Wither Limb on the werewolf, affecting his legs. Kailden will fall prone and will be unable to move more than 5 feet per round for 7 rounds.

Asmodeus Mirror Images: 4 (roll) + 2 = 6 images total created. Awesome.

Gaimon Full-Round Attacks. Modify as needed for him to move if wolves die or move or he needs to flank or move to defend Nock and Asmodeus, whatever. This is assuming he gets 3 rounds of full-round attacks. On first round attacks he has 11 bonuses [ 6 (BAB) 1 (Masterwork) 3 (STR) 1 (Weapon Specialization)] and on full-round attacks he has 7 bonuses [1 (BAB) 1 (Masterwork) 3 (STR) + 1 (Weapon Specialization)].

Gaimon Attack 1: 7 (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 18 total. Damage: 3 (roll) 6 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 15 total.
Gaimon attack 2: 2 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 7 total. 6 (roll) 3 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 15 total.
Gaimon Attack 3: 20 (CRIT!) (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 31 total. Damage 12 (max weapon damage) 6 (roll) 6 (roll) 6 (bonuses) = 30 total. That was totally epic. I’m surprised Karasu didn’t hear me cackling maniacally from wherever he was here in the DC area. My other roommates sure did.
Gaimon Attack 4: 12 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 17 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 1 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 9 total.
Gaimon Attack 5: 4 (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 15 total. Damage: 6 (roll) 4 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 16 total.
Gaimon Attack 6: 11 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 16 total. Damage: 6 (roll) 1 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 13 total.

Asmodeus Spot Check: 7 (roll) + 1 (bonuses, Corbinian is not within arm’s length) = 8 total.
Gaimon Spot Check: 18 (roll) + 3 (bonuses) = 21 total.
Corbinian Spot Check: 9 (roll) + 7 (bonuses) = 16 total.

Nock Initiative: 7 (roll) + 1 (mod) = 8.

Nock casts Invisibility on himself. Thereafter, he’ll throw down a card from the Deck of Illusion, then skeddaddle, leaving the fray. Finally, he’ll heal Tyrus with his wand.

Nock Spot Check: 6 (roll) + 5 (mod) = 11.

To answer Eryx’s question: yes, Inque did help Gaimon sound the alarm in time. But the guard dog wasn’t able to give much advance warning due to the suddenness of the attack.

Breaking free of the massive jaws, Nock jumped back just in time to avoid a second bite. He shoved his hand down into a pouch, found the material component he needed and hastily cast a spell of Invisibility.

The dire wolf’s head lurched back in surprise when Nock disappeared. But the Gnome wasn’t about to wait around to be sniffed out. Quickly he turned around to find a safer spot. But they were surrounded.

Tyrus, Gaimon, and Inque were beset by wolves. Even Ingus had joined the fray. Asmodeus’ horse looked dead. Then Nock saw Asmodeus’ limp body be tossed to the ground out of the mouth of a dire wolf. The wizard was bleeding badly. Nock ran to see if he was still alive. Besides, moving closer to the campfire seemed like the safest place to be at the moment.

Barking, howling, and cries of pain filled the air. Tyrus and Gaimon were slashing at the wolves with their swords. One injured wolf tried to turn tail, but Gaimon’s crackling blue sword dropped the beast. Gaimon’s horse paniced and ran; one of the wolves chased it off into the darkness.

Kneeling down next to the wizard, Nock double checked the safety of his position. The wolf which had dropped Asmodeus was snapping at Ingus but the mighty warhorse was holding its own. Tyrus was between Nock and the other wolves, including a smaller one which lept out of the darkness. Where the dire wolves were mottled gray in color, this one was jet black. Werewolf!? Not good!

Nock pulled out a wand and used it to cast a healing spell on the wizard. The faint green energy bound wounds and stopped the flow of blood. Asmodeus groaned faintly, but did not awaken.

Gaimon let out a battle cry. Glancing over the campfire flames, Nock could tell that the Elf’s bloodlust had taken over. Sheathed in electricity, his greatsword swung in massive arcs cleaving between two wolves. One was slain, another badly injured. Framed in fire, Gaimon looked almost demonic as he fought.

Meanwhile Tyrus cut a long slash across the small wolf. But the black beast hardly flinched. It leaped onto the Blackguard causing him to tumble backward. Bloodstained teeth bit deep into Tyrus’s upper right arm. Dropping his sword, Tyrus grappled with the werewolf and held its head just far enough away to avoid a bite to the face.

The injured dire wolf that Gaimon had been fighting ran away bleeding. The Elf stepped over to assist Tyrus. One swing missed. A second hit, but still the werewolf clung to the blackguard. One of the dire wolves snapped at Tyrus’ legs.

Nock fumbled through his belongings and pulled out his Deck of Illusions. He pulled a card from the deck and threw it to the ground. Faintly glowing white smoke started billowing out of the card. Within a moment the smoke coalesced into the form of a humongous cloud giant!

The appearance of the illusion led to a few seconds’ pause, then sent the animals into panic. The last two dire wolves turned tail and fled. Ingus reared up in fright. Inque circled around behind Gaimon and whimpered. Tyrus and the werewolf were the only ones not to notice.

The party is in a much better position now, but still in danger. Due to your poor initiative rolls, the wolves got another turn before you could attack. They killed Asmodeus’ horse, and severely injured the wizard taking him to -4 HP. During the fighting Gaimon and Tyrus took additional damage, but Nock was lucky enough to avoid being injured.

I took the liberty of having the Nock heal Asmodeus instead of Tyrus. The wand healed for +5 HP, but the wizard had lost an additional 2 due to bleeding out. He’s still unconscious but now stable (won’t lose additional HP per round).

Here’s the current HP status:
Asmodeus: -1/28 HP
Gaimon: 6/45 HP
Tyrus: 1/44 HP
Nock: 13/25 HP

As you can see, the wolves were able to injure everyone quite badly. Gaimon’s horse ran off with a dire wolf chasing it. Ingus and Inque are uninjured and were able to give a little help (by way of dealing damage). The illusion scared off two dire wolves. Tyrus got a crit and dealt significant damage. Gaimon got two extra attacks: one from an attack of opportunity and a second from a cleave which crit.

The small black wolf (which you all feel certain is Kailden) is the only enemy left. Please give me your next 3 rounds of actions.

Nock spends the next three rounds healing his comrades. He’ll spend one charge on each of them, starting with Asmodeus for obvious reasons, then whoever is closer.

Upon awakening, Asmodeus will immediately launch a Darkbolt at the werewolf. If it hits and stuns him, then he’ll cast Wither Limb, targeting the enemy’s legs. If it doesn’t hit, he’ll send another Darkbolt flying at the pathetic creature. He’s furious at this blithering idiot who’s thrown such a monkey wrench into their plans . . . and now he has to walk the rest of the way back to Fallerun! If he had his way, they would make the werewolf’s death very slow and painful. He regrets not having prepared spells to make that happen. Regardless of if the second Darkbolt hits, he’ll cast Wither Limb on the third round, then order the rest of the group away from Kailden, as the werewolf will only be able to move 5 feet a round after that.

Round 1 Darkbolt. 2 (roll) 3 (DEX) 3 (BAB) = 8 total. Damage: 4 (roll) 5 (roll) 8 (roll) = 17 total.

Round 2 (or Round 3) Darkbolt. 12 (roll) 3 (DEX) 3 (BAB) = 18 total. Damage: 6 (roll) 8 (roll) 3 (roll) = 17 total.

Gaimon will just keep merrily swinging away, but his bloodlust has tempered down. He’s thinking with his head, keeping himself between the wizard and the wolf.

Attack 1: 5 (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 16 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 2 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 3 (shocking) = 13 total.
Attack 2: 4 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 9 total. Damage: 5 (roll) 3 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 5 (shocking) = 14 total.
Attack 3: 14 (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 25 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 4 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 4 (shocking) = 14 total.
Attack 4: 5 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 10 total. Damage: 1 (roll) 6 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 3 (shocking) = 14 total.
Attack 5: 4 (roll) 11 (bonuses) = 15 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 4 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 1 (shocking) = 13 total.
Attack 6: 16 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 21 total. Damage: 1 (roll) 4 (roll) 6 (bonuses) 5 (shocking) = 16 total.

If at any point Kailden goes down, Asmodeus will simply say. “Well, I wish we could keep him around for a bit to show him the true nature of pain, but carrying his head to the mayor for a reward will have to do.” He’ll then indicate to Gaimon to kill him, and Gaimon will slice off Kailden’s head.

Also, because this appears to be shortly very relevant, when is the next full moon? And has Tyrus been actually injured in this fight by Kailden?

Yes, Tyrus has been bitten by the wolf which you believe to be Kailden. I thought that “Bloodstained teeth bit deep into Tyrus’s upper right arm.” was pretty clear about that, but now you can rest assured.

I updated the page Moons of Azim to give more information about phases and their relation to lycanthropy. Azur sets too early this time of year to trigger lycanthropy. Tolus was last a full moon about a week ago, leaving some 3 weeks before another.

With a cry that bespoke of effort, Tyrus managed to throw the wolf off of himself and roll away toward the fire. Gaimon stepped between Tyrus and the enemy. The seasoned fighter brought down a heavy stroke which caused the beast to whelp in pain.

Turning to the side once more, Nock again used his wand to heal Asmodeus. With a groan the wizard opened his eyes and looked around. His flesh was still raw and mangled, and he gasped heavily as he tried to prop himself up.

“NO! Wait! Stop! Don’t kill me!”

Nock was startled by this shouting. The voice was not known to him. It sounded panicked and slightly manic. It was followed by a loud sob. Looking past Gaimon, Nock saw a wounded, badly bleeding human lying at the Elf’s feet.

“Don’t kill me,” he said with a whimper. Then he snapped back into an angry yell. “Curse you! I’ll curse you, you Elven ye’nil! But let me live and I’ll help you! You’ll be sorry when he mauls you and I’ll spit on your mangled carcass!”

Now that the werewolf has changed back to his human form, you’re certain it is Kailden. Will you heed his cries and try to converse with him (despite his significant Elven insult to Gaimon)? Or will Gaimon finish him off?

If the latter, no need to make new rolls. The ones you already rolled are sufficient. Gaimon is next on the initiative list and Kailden is at his mercy.

Asmodeus will snap back, full well knowing the insult. “You better talk fast because while you’re trying to save your skin, Kailden, we’ll be getting healed up.”

Gaimon will switch off the magic affect on the sword and step back. Then he’ll take one step forward and give Kailden a vicious backhand with his gauntleted fist and then spit on the cringing human. I don’t know how that works rolling-wise. I authorize the DM to roll a to hit and 1d3 damage for an unarmed strike if he deems it necessary, but it’s not lethal damage.

Both Asmodeus and Gaimon will be attempting to intimidate the werewolf. Asmodeus in particular is absolutely furious at him, and appears to have the words of a spell on the tip of his tongue, his hands outstretched and ready for the somatic motions necessary. Gaimon is pacing back and forth right by the wolf, ready to spring forward at a moment’s notice, clearly impatient and fuming at the insult.

Asmodeus Intimidate: 11 (roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 17 total.
Gaimon Intimidate: 7 (roll) + 9 (bonuses) = 16 total.

If Kailden attacks, they will follow the above course of attacks and kill him. He has this one chance only to save his skin. And what is Asmodeus’ current hitpoints?

Still invisible, Nock lets out an unnerving laugh. Things have gotten more interesting, mostly because he just really likes watching people cower in pain.

Intimidate: 4 (roll) + 5 (bonus) = 9 total.

Besides that, he continues healing whoever looks the most hurt with the wand, using another three charges.

“You better talk fast because while you’re trying to save your skin, Kailden, we’ll be getting healed up,” Asmodeus called out. The wizard had propped himself up on one arm.

Nock let out an unnerving laugh. The tide of the battle had changed and now their enemy was cowering in fear. It was much more interesting. His laugh startled Asmodeus who was unable to see the Gnome due to his Invisibility spell which was still in effect.

Apparently Asmodeus’ warning to Kailden was enough to halt Gaimon’s attack. The Elf took a step back and the blue electricity died away off his sword. He paced a few steps back and forth, hovering over the cowering werewolf who was still whimpering sobs of “No.”

“You’ll all be dead! I’ll kill you!” Kailden snapped in another burst of defiance.

This prompted Gaimon into action. Nock again wondered how the Elf managed to keep his bloodlust in check in moments like this. Gaimon’s self-discipline was a mystery to him. With a heavy gauntleted hand, Gaimon struck with a viscious backhand.

The werewolf was knocked unconscious.

Gaimon’s unarmed strike was not leathal, but it did put the werewolf down. You suspect that Kailden has very little HP left.

I forgot to post Asmodeus’ HP last time. He was at 3 HP, and another cure from the wand (not narrated due to turn order and story-flow, but we’ll count it) brings him up to 11/28 HP. Everyone else is still at the same HP.

What now? I plan to have Tyrus do some healing, FYI.

Nock rumages through his pack until he finds his prized masterwork manacles. He dismisses his Invisibility spell and clamps the restraints around the werewolf’s ankles. “We’s safe now. No one break these, wolf or no wolf.”

Nock’s all about getting some rest now, sure that his manacles (with the help of a bit of rope if anyone has it to string the wolf up the nearest tree) will hold Kailden.

Asmodeus is mostly concerned with Tyrus contracting lycanthropy. In consultation with the DM, I rolled a Knowledge and Survival check for my characters to see if they could identify/find wolfsbane. Asmodeus would know about it, but may not know how to identify it.

Asmodeus Knowledge: 9 (roll) + 4 (bonuses) = 13 total.
Gaimon Survival: 9 (roll) + 1 (bonuses) = 10 total.

I don’t think that’s going to help. If Tyrus or Nock rolls better and could help us find some, that’s our first priority (after securing Kailden with the manacles and rope as well as gagging him-a leather strap from Asmodeus’ dead horse will do just fine on that part). Also, we’ll be looking for Gaimon’s horse as we search. Asmodeus will send Corbinian to look for the horse. We may also want to consider sending Tyrus ahead of us on his horse to see if Jorn Braithwaite is a Cleric of sufficient level to heal Tyrus of the affliction.

When Kailden is awake, Asmodeus will want to question him. Specifically, who did he mean when he said ” You’ll be sorry when he mauls you and I’ll spit on your mangled carcass!” Also, what danger are we in from the wolves returning? We’ll re-evaluate what to do with the werewolf after we get his information, whether tonight, or in the morning. For now, wolfsbane, Gaimon’s horse, rest, etc.

None of your rolls (including Tyrus’) are sufficient (apparently Nock rolled a 1). The party knows from Asmodeus that they need wolfsbane, but no detail about what the plant looks like or where to find it.

Tyrus knows that they aren’t likely to get the plant in time, but he has a few days to get back to Fallerun. He believes the party is only a day or two away from town. He’s worried about the wolves returning, and doesn’t want to abandon the party to ride ahead (though he will if you insist).

Tyrus heals Gaimon +21 HP (now at 27/45) with Lay on Hands, and heals himself +12 HP (now at 13/44 HP) with a Cure Light Wounds. What other healing will you do?

With this new info, how do you want to proceed?

We will use the rest of our spells to heal (Nock and Tyrus’) and then the wand to get everybody to full. Then we will proceed as outlined, just searching for Gaimon’s horse instead of wolfsbane.

Nock rummaged through his pack until he found his prized masterwork manacles. He then dismissed his Invisibility spell, ran over to the werewolf and clamped the restraints around its ankles.

“We’s save now. No one break these, wolf or no wolf,” he announced proudly to the group. Gaimon smiled.

The group then surveyed the damage done and set about healing themselves in case the dire wolves returned. Asmodeus was furious that his horse was dead, but his concern quickly turned to Tyrus who had been bitten.

“Does anyone know what wolfsbane looks like?” the wizard asked. “We need to find some now!”

But it was immediately apparent that they weren’t going to find any. No one knew what exactly they were looking for. Even if they did, it was the middle of the night. For several minutes they discussed and argued what to do next and whether Tyrus should ride on ahead to Fallerun to try to get healing.

Eventually Tyrus put an end to the argument. “I don’t think it’s worth riding ahead for. We aren’t far from town. If the mayor’s cleric can heal me, he can do so just as well a day or two from now. Besides, I feel fine… who knows if I’m even afflicted?

“If I take Ingus and ride ahead, what will you all do? If you can’t find Gaimon’s horse, how will you carry everything? No, I won’t leave you like this. And the wolves may still come back for their ‘pup’.”

With this settled, Nock and Tyrus set about restraining the werewolf. They dragged him over to a large, nearby tree and used rope from Tyrus’ gear to string him up by the feet. Nock was pleased with himself and felt confident that the werewolf was going nowhere.

Meanwhile Asmodeus and Gaimon left to search for the missing horse. About an hour or so later they returned with it in tow. Asmodeus’ raven had spotted the poor beast. Apparently it had outrun the wolves.

By this time Nock was very tired. He fell asleep while the others chatted.

When Nock awoke that morning, Gaimon was already busy loading up gear onto the horses. Nock frowned to think that there would no longer be room for riding. But he was no stranger to long journeys by foot.

Tyrus was still asleep. Asmodeus was sitting on a log near the tree where the werewolf still hung motionless. The wizard’s spellbook was closed on his lap, and he was just staring at the prisoner.

With nothing better to do, Nock grabbed some rations and a blanket and sat down near Asmodeus. He wondered what it would be like to be a wolf. He noticed that the werewolf wore tattered black clothes with gray trimming. The fabric looked like it was once very fine, but was now nearly worn out. Next he wondered how long it would take for all the blood to pour out if he were to stab the beast in the throat with his knife.

They were nearly packed and ready to leave when their prisoner woke up. Immediately Asmodeus began to question him.

“Kailden, to whom were you referring to last night? You said we’d be sorry when he mauls us. Who were you talking about? Or are you just mad?”

“Heal me,” the werewolf replied defiantly. “Heal me and let me go.”

Nock could see the fury in Asmodeus’ eyes. The Gnome wouldn’t have been surprised to see Kailden burst into flame or have some other hideous spell cast upon him. He was disappointed when the wizard didn’t do so.

“Release you? You really must be mad. You’ve killed my horse and bitten my friend. The only reason I can think of to let you live is just to watch you suffer.” He held up his spellbook. “I’ve been looking over some spells for just that purpose.”

Kailden just laughed. “He will kill you, you know. He’s so stubborn. Once he figures out that you’re evil he’ll be mad. That bear will hunt you too.”

After some additional laughter Kailden looked at Tyrus who had walked up. “Him too. You fools! Release me! One night you’ll all be sleeping and then he’ll be so hungry. So hungry. And you’re just sacks of meat! Easy prey. Then you’ll be dead!”

Everyone has been healed to full HP. After spells, it took another 14 charges of the small (cheap) wand of Cure Light Wounds to get everyone back up to full. So far this chapter 16 total charges have been spent from that wand.

Kailden appears to be somewhat less manic than the night before, but now he’s not begging for his life. He seems weak at the moment, probably both from injuries and from hanging upside down so long. How will you handle him?

I’ve updated my spells, including the ones that I’ll cast during the course of this post.

“So, Ulric is a werebear? I thought there was something odd about him.” If Kailden has anything to add, Asmodeus will continue the conversation to get maybe a few more relevant points out of the captive, but it’s time for some fun.

When the conversation no longer serves any purpose, the wizard will shrug, and cast Wrack on the poor creature, watching him scream in agony for a few seconds. Once the spell has finished its course, he snap “that was for my horse.” Next the wizard will cast Curse of the Putrid Husk. After the werewolf is helpless he will order Gaimon to kill Kailden and chop off his head. Maybe they can get a reward for killing the werewolf out of this whole mess.

The Elf will request to wait until Kailden is awake, Asmodeus will consent. Once the werewolf awakens, Gaimon will slice his head off. He will use his own sword, not the captured one with the electric enchantment. They’ll take Kailden’s head, wrap it in his shirt, and then be on their way. Corbinian will be on the lookout for anybody in the area, especially Ulric.

Nock sprawls out on the grass and watches while playing with his dagger. Once the bloody deed is done, he’s eager to go back to town to see the rising panic when the town realizes that no help is coming. Also, he’ll offer to carry the head.

Though, DM, I don’t want to impose on your role, if you could bring the narration just to where Kailden is helpless (assuming he doesn’t make his save roll for Curse of the Putrid Husk) that would be best. I’m open to the possibility he might say something that would make Asmodeus rethink killing him while this whole process goes down.

Also, some of the links in this chapter and chapter 10 seem to be broken.

“So, Ulric is a werebear?” Asmodeus asked. “I thought there was something odd about him.”

Kailden didn’t answer the question. He just returned to his demands to be released. It was obvious that this ‘conversation’ was going nowhere.

The wizard merely shrugged, then spoke the words to invoke a spell. Immediately their prisoner began to convulse and cry out from pain. The werewolf began to swing back and forth from his rope as he doubled in pain. Blisters formed over his body and burst, dripping fluid onto the ground.

Nock sprawled out on the grass and played absentmindedly with his dagger as he watched the gruesome sight. Asmodeus just sat calmly and ran his fingers along his spellbook. Gaimon also watched, but Tyrus turned away and rubbed the arm where Kailden had bitten him.

The torture lasted under a minute, but it seemed longer to Nock. When the spell had run it’s course, the werewolf hung limp for a while as he slowly stopped swinging.

“That was for my horse,” Asmodeus snapped.

“I hope you enjoy your walk home!” he finally managed to say, half choking and sputtering. “My pack will kill you as you carry all of that stuff!”

Asmodeus stood.

“Release me!” Kailden repeated, then laughed to himself like a madman.

Asmodeus made the chants and motions for another spell. Kailden stopped laughing abruptly and gasped. But then he resumed his laughter all the harder.

“That would have been a good trick,” he finally said between laughs. “Too bad it didn’t work, huh? But I’m tired of this.”

Their prisoner then began to change form. Black fur grew over his body as his body quickly changed shape. Nock was alarmed to see the wolf’s legs slip from the manacles and the rope fall away. The animal landed on the ground with a thud.

Asmodeus’ Curse of the Putrid Husk was unsuccessful. In wolf form, Kailden’s legs are relatively straight (unlike a human’s) thus allowing him to escape his bonds.

Please roll initiative and give me your next actions.

In case you didn’t roll the 3d10 to see how long Kailden has his -2 penalty from Wrack, I rolled 8 4 4 = 16 minutes total. If you already rolled, ignore that. This isn’t going to take that many minutes anyway.

Asmodeus Initiative: 13 (roll) + 3 DEX = 16 total. Gaimon Initiative: 12 (roll) + 2 DEX = 14 total.

Asmodeus will immediately yell out “keep away” and cast Wither Limb, affecting Kailden’s legs. If the spell is successful, he and Nock should try to kill the werewolf from range. If it’s not, and Kailden attacks, Gaimon will rush in, trying to get Inque to attack as well (by the way, how has the dog been handling all of this?). Asmodeus’ next 2 moves will be to cast Darkbolt while staying as far away from the werewolf as possible.

Darkbolt Attack 1: 10 (roll) 3 (DEX) 3 (BAB) = 16 total. Damage: 7 (roll) 8 (roll) 4 (roll). Darkbolt Attack 2: 10 (roll) 3 (DEX) 3 (BAB) = 16 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 1 (roll) 7 (roll).

If Necessary: Gaimon Attack 1: 1 (roll) Miss. Gaimon Attack 2: 14 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 19 total. Damage: 1 (roll) 1 (roll) 6 (shocking roll) 6 = 14 total. Gaimon Attack 3: 20 (roll) (CRIT!) 11 (bonuses) = 31 total. Damage: 12 (Max Weapon Damage) 1 (roll) 3 (roll) 4 (shocking roll) + 6 (bonuses) = 26 total. Gaimon Attack 4: 17 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 22 total. Damage: 5 (roll) 1 (roll) 2 (shocking roll) 6 (bonuses) = 14 total. Gaimon Attack 5: 11 (roll) 11 (bonuses)= 22 total. Damage: 2 (roll) 1 (roll) 1 (shocking roll) 6 (bonuses) = 10 total. Gaimon Attack 6: 6 (roll) 5 (bonuses) = 11 total. Damage: 6 (roll) 5 (roll) 1 (shocking roll) 6 (bonuses) = 18 total.

If Kailden tries to run, Asmodeus will send Corbinian in with a Sap Strength spell.

Corbinian Touch Attack (If Necessary): 19 (roll) 2 (DEX) 3 (BAB): 24 total.

If Kailden dies at any point, and begins to revert back to human form, Asmodeus will say, “Quick! Cut off his head!” The wizard is hoping to ideally get the head separated from the body in case they could preserve it in a half-wolf state. Not sure if it will work, but that’s the hope.

If he’s close enough, Nock will throw the knife in his hand. He’ll then whip out his crossbow and fire at the cursed beastie twice:

Nock initiative: 9 (roll) + 1 (Dex) = 10 total.

Attack Roll 1: 11 (roll) 5 AB 1 weapon focus 1 masterwork: 18 total. Damage: 3 1 = 4 total.
Attack Roll 2: 12 (roll) 5 AB 1 masterwork: 18 total. Damage: 1 + 1 = 2 total.
Attack Roll 3: 7 (roll) 5 AB 1 masterwork: 13 total. Damage: 6 + 1 = 7 total.

Quickly Nock moved to get to his feet. Asmodeus cried out, “Keep away!”. Inque began to bark. Nock hurled the dagger he’d been playing with at the werewolf. It hit blade first, slashing against a furry flank.

But Kailden didn’t seem to mind the attack. He just turned his head then started to lope away. But before he could get far, a streak of darkness from the wizard’s hands hit with incredible speed. The wolf dropped at once.

Tyrus and Gaimon ran with Inque in tow to where the werewolf fell. Nock followed at a safe distance with his crossbow ready. Carefully the warriors approached the fallen body.

“He’s dead!” Gaimon called out.

“Quick! Cut off his head!” Asmodeus commanded.

Gaimon didn’t hesitate for a second. The werewolf was hidden by some tall grass, but Nock saw a massive swing of the Elf’s greatsword followed by a spurt of blood. The Gnome was surprised when Gaimon lifted the head from the ground for it was a human’s head instead of a wolf’s.

Asmodeus lamented this when they regrouped. “I had hoped to preserve the head in a half-wolf state.”

“By the time we reached the body, he’d already changed,” Tyrus explained.

“No matter,” Asmodeus replied. “We’ll still take it with us. We should be on our way now, lest Ulric or any dire wolves show up.”

Gaimon wrapped the head in Kailden’s shirt which he had torn from the body. Nock happily offered to carry the gruesome prize.

They then gathered up the last of their belongings. The remaining two horses carried most of their loot and gear, but each member of the party was forced to carry their own packs.

Nock looked over the campsite before leaving. The carcasses of two dire wolves and Asmodeus’ horse lay around the still smoldering campfire. He wondered if the rest of the wolf pack would continue following them now that Kailden was slain.

Humming an old Gnomish tune, the bard then rushed to catch up with the others who were already starting their long walk back to Fallerun.

I think that’s going to be it for this chapter, unless you two have anything else.

Asmodeus, Nock, and Tyrus each receive 650 XP. Gaimon receives 750 (due to his lower character level).

On a side note: the reason the links were breaking is because Obsidian Portal changed their wiki parser (you can read about it at their blog). Because it was causing so much trouble, I changed it back to the old style. This fixes a lot of the links, but means we have to go back to adding HTML <br> tags within the gray boxes. Also the preview window is giving me some trouble… oh well.

Sounds good to me. Let’s head back to town, keeping an eye out for any wolves.

Asmodeus is hoping that Jorn is a Cleric of level 12 or higher and can simply cure Tyrus. They have three days. I’d like to know how long the trip back takes before actually moving forward on this part.

Regardless of when they get to town, Gaimon and Nock will be sent to bury the loot with the rest of their stuff. Gaimon takes extra care to hide the magic sword, and Asmodeus is reluctant to part with his new staff of fire. Asmodeus will keep the magic gauntlets, but in his pack. He will not be wearing them. Gaimon and Nock are then to go find Shandra immediately. Or Elandra (since they won’t be able to find Shandra, but they don’t know that).

While at the fort (again, dependent on when they arrive), Asmodeus will try to see if Ulric’s description of the werewolf was accurate-whether or not Kailden had attacked the town earlier, and if there is a reward.

Edit: So, just to make sure I’m counting spells right. Did Asmodeus ever cast the Wither Limb spell, or just drop Kailden with a Darkbolt?

Asmodeus did cast Wither Limb, but apparently it failed.



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