This was the last session of the DnD Trial Run. The Crew is continuing for another six weeks. Look for some more write ups by Doc and Angelo, and perhaps our newest member to be revealed......
The smell of smoke filled the air. The sound of crackling timbers was soon replaced with the shouts of rage from Jacob. His anger was quickly approaching the same heat that had previously burned down the barracks.
Maribe, Thorian and Gaylord gathered quietly in the courtyard to discuss the next steps. Should they interview the rather daft mage or search the premises for signs of the culprit. With impressive insight and perception Maribe realized that old one arm wasn’t in the tavern when the fire broke out, perhaps they should look into his whereabouts.
The mage suddenly looked up at the well and a look of panic crossed her face. Did she hear something? Did her experience with the arcane arts show her something the rest of them couldn’t see? Was the ancient and terrible evil about to strike again.
Thorian looked to the well. It was awfully close to the stable. What if? Oh NO!!!!! He rushed to the stables to check on Buttercup. His heart felt like it had been plunged into freezing water. He tore open the doors, sword in hand. Thankfully Buttercup was safe. She did, however, seem a little nervous.
Thorian screamed in fear. If the ever brave Buttercup felt fear, something truly evil must be abound. He yelled at the top of his lungs, “To arms. An evil vampire, demon, devil is near”. His warshout was answered with a scream of terror. It cut through the night, coming from the kitchen.
More like a skit by the keystone cops then the well oiled combat machine they were, they deployed for battle.
Maribe and Thorian raced to the kitchen through separate doors. Gaylord and Ithy ran to investigate the well. Jacob’s men ran around in small circles in fear and desperation – they didn’t realize they were moments away from death by Croak.
Maribe and Thorian kicked in the doors of the kitchen. Small droplets of blood led to a small halfling arm sticking out from under a sack of potatoes. They moved the bag hoping to find Ubi alive and well but Ubi was no where to be found. The arm ended at the elbow with a ragged cut.
Another door led south out of the room. The two companions prepared to investigate just as it burst open and a green, humanoid froglike creature stood there. Blood running drom it’s mouth and bits of halfling lodged it it’s sharp teeth. It was a Slaad. It jumped at Maribe and let out a vicious croak that was so powerful it was like a physical attack. Her ears and eyes bled but she maintained enough sense to strike at the beast as it rushed past her, heading for the well and it’s escape.
The adventurer’s surrounded it. Hacking and slashing. At first it seemed like the forces of good and righteousness would have the upper hand. After repeated strikes the Slaad was bleeding profusely. Ithy had the slaad in his mouth and was rending it to pieces. The beast wouldn’t be so easily slain. It let out a terrible croak that blasted the party in multiple directions. The goons fell dead, Maribe and Thorian were bloodied and Ithy was banished back to his natural plane.
The Slaad then pounced on Thorian and knocked him senseless to the ground.
With the party running out of resources and desperation closing in, Maribe cast her second heal to bring Thorian back to fighting strength and she struck the Slaad one more time. It was battered and bruised but still determined to fight.
Thorian surged to his feet and swung his sword at the slaad but he hadn’t fully recovered and his blow was weak and ill timed. He shrugged of the restraints of his physical bounds and swung again – striking the beast soundly in the head and dropping it.
The slaad was no more.
The party wanted to search mysterious room #11 but they were in no shape. They were out of powers, had no action points and didn’t have a healing surge between them. They barricaded the door, burned the slaad body and went to the barn to rest.
On the way they questions the mage. She told them that this beast was a parasite that planted its eggs in a host. When born they would burst out of the host killing them. This explained the body in the inn as well as the origin of the beast. It still didn’t explain the behavior of the mage but in there exhausted state, they weren’t very worried about it.
Weary they completed the march to the barn. Buttercup still seemed upset. Maribe used her druid background to investigate and to her horror learned that their faithful mule was infected by the slaad and had another one of the foul beasts growing inside her. If nothing was done, it would burst out, Killing Buttercup and bringing them a fresh foe to face.
They looked at each other helplessly. They couldn’t let her suffer, nor could they let another one of those creatures loose on the settlement.
Thorian raised his sword and laid his hand gently over Buttercups eyes. He wished for a more powerful daily power to ensure she didn’t suffer. Maybe, just maybe, he would roll a Nat 20 and see her off to the gods of mules and faithful servants in peace.
Just before his stroke fell, Maribe reached out and gently touched his arm. “Maybe there is another way”, she said.
The mage was brought to the stable and she looked Buttercup over. She stated she could help and casually cast a spell. Light blue magic poured from her hands and eyes and engulfed buttercup. The light quickly grew into a much larger size and the shape of an ancient pachyderm. The light pulsed white and when it cleared, Buttercup had expanded to the size and shape of the magic. A giant, apple eating, mastodon stood in her place. The stable walls exploded outward as they struggled to contain her and the roof sagged onto her back. Jacob groaned. First the barracks were burned to the ground, now his stable was torn apart. Ubi was dead, his goons were gone. He grumbled about going to count his coins and went back to his inn. Most likely to drown his sorrows in ale.
Maribe inspected her again and declared that the parasite was gone, Buttercup was indeed a wooly mammoth and she was hungry for apples. The companions feed their loyal beast of burden before laying to rest next to her for the night. In the morning they had recovered from the previous several days and buttercup had returned to her more natural form. A little bloated from eating but healthy and ready for their next adventure. Thorian was very concerned. If the Polymorph spell wore off, did the parasite return. He turned to Maribe for answers. She considered the problem with her extensive animal education, instinct and mystical ways. Thorian was very impressed when she answered. She knew that Buttercup was a faithful companion and her safety was paramount. She suggested a physical examination of Buttercups posterior. As distasteful as it was, Thorian knew it was the right answer. He applied cooking lard to both hands and thoroughly checked out Buttercup. It took a few minutes to calm her down but in the end (pun intended) she checked out safe and sound. Thorian thanked Maribe for the sage advice. Sometimes the road less traveled is the right answer.
The mighty adventures returned to room #11 and cleared out the spawning pit of the slaad. Three more eggs were found and put to the sword and the torch. Together with Jacob they mourned the many losses they had taken. Everyone would be remembered fondly, except the goblins of course. Thorian wasn’t sure how they brought the Slaad here but he was convinced they had contributed to this debacle.
Gaylord agreed to join the band for further adventures and they all agreed to escort the mage to her next destination. Something was certainly wrong with her and she would take additional attention to make sure she didn’t accidentally bring about the doom and destruction of the known world.
Thorian looked to his nearly empty purse. He didn’t make any money on this adventure to help him to raise and army and recapture his ancestral home but he forged a fine friendship with some powerful allies who would certainly help him take the next steps.
Thorian stepped out of the barn. He was pleased that Buttercup was healthy but his hands were filthy. He flicked his hands downwards and dislodged some of the material clinging to his fingers. “Disgusting” he said to himself as he flung his fingers quicker and quicker. He began turning in circles, violently shaking while bits of Buttercup’s last meal flew all around him.
He stopped suddenly, dizzy from the exertion but excited. He wiped his hands on the grass and drew his sword. He repeated the same moves but this time working sword attacks and thrusts into the pattern. He knew it would work in actual combat. If he found himself surrounded by foes he could use this attack to hit multiple opponents. He practiced the move a few more times.
He would call this fighting move “Buttercup’s revenge”........ No, to situational specific. Sweeping blow. That would be the name he would use. Of course it left him dizzy and fatigued. He probably couldn’t use it very often without causing problems for himself. Once an encounter if he stayed in shape and practiced it.
He sheathed his sword and whispered his thanks to Buttercup. She would never know how much she helped him.
As he walked back to Jacob’s Inn he looked over and saw Maribe laughing hysterically to herself. That’s what he liked about her. She had a lively sense of humor. He had no idea what was so funny, but at least she was having a good time.