02 November 2009

Gargoyles, Walking Crossbows, and a Rat (Oh, my)

When Dovra hit level 4, I had her take a Divine Channeler multiclass feat. This gives her a healing spell, but requires IC explanation. I was a bit disappointed that the full group wasn't there, but there was one IC witness, and one OOC witness. I'm expanding it a bit from what happened in game, but not by too much.

For a change, I'm trying to write it out in narrative form, and it wound up rather long, so it's below the fold. It is very nearly unedited, so think of it as a "stream of consciousness first draft." A few OOC notes: Abe/Shenron was late, and Heian/Philip didn't make it at all.

After being pulled into the death snail's repulsively attractive aura, Dovra felt sickened, disgusted, and even angry. She kept wiping at her arms, trying to remove the feel of contamination from them. She followed the group as they went into what was left of poor Blue Cheese's lab, and managed to confine herself to muttered grumblings as they searched it. She knelt in the wreckage for a while as one by one her newfound allies departed. Only Horgta remained, and she could take it no longer. "That was the most disgusting thing I've ever felt. That, that thing had no purpose but death. Do you realize that I've killed more hings since becoming Not Evil than I ever did when I was actually evil? Do you? Look at all this." She gestured to the mess of the lab, and started picking up items at random, not really looking at them. "See this? It's to make it easier to kill something. And this?! And this!?! All for killing! The only thing in this place not designed for killing are those blasted healing potions over there!"

She continued ransacking the already ransacked lab, while Horgta the half-orc just stared at her. The more damage she did, the more agitated she became. "This, and this, and—" Suddenly the object she'd grabbed began glowing, and she stopped and stared up at it. It was a star, silver and with eight points. She recognized it as Corellon's symbol, and the light spread down from the star and through her body. She could no longer see the lab, so bright was the light surrounding her. She heard a voice whispering faintly to her. It said, "Heal... Heal...," and she felt a new power grow within her, a power of mercy that would allow her to do more than just kill in the midst of battle, but would also allow her to provide aid and comfort.

The glow faded, but the calm sense of peace remained. Dovra's hand closed on the star and she tucked it carefully into her belt pouch. She noticed Horgta still staring at her. "Anyway, shall we keep searching the lab, see if there's anything else useful here?" Horgta gave her a funny half-smile and slowly backed away from her, keeping a close eye on her as if he thought she might be dangerous. Dovra was puzzled by this, but before she could think to ask, she heard a muffled cry for help. "Did you hear that? It sounds like someone's in trouble. Where's the rest of the group?"

Horgta stared at her for a moment before deciding he believed her. He rushed out of the lab. With the door open, Dovra could see Shenron and Heian off in one corner, arguing. Where was Allonar? He'd tried one of the wizard's atheletics potions and gone bounding up on one of the balconies. The stairs had burned when the fire snail got too close, but hadn't there been a ladder in the lab? Yes. She grabbed it and got to the wall just as Horgta pulled himself up the hard way.

"You could have waited for the ladder," Dovra said, trying to be helpful.

Horgta stared down at her from his perch on the wall. "You mean you're not crazy? I thought you were crazy with all the yelling and glowing."

Dovra gave him a confused look but decided to shrug it off. She climbed up the ladder and they both turned to the right, to the narrow corridor that led off the balcony. There was a small room at the other end. Dovra caught a whiff of a very expensive poison gas before she saw Allonar standing dazedly next to a large key on the floor; he was surrounded by what appeared to be living stone gargoyles. Around the room there were also things that looked like walking crossbows. He croaked out a warning about the gas before becoming stunned. The gargoyle creatures took the key and placed it on a square further back where all eight of the could surround it. The crossbow-creatures seemed to lose interest once the key was guarded, but there was still the gas in the room.

Rope. Both Dovra and Horgta had rope. They tossed one end towards Allonar and Dovra summoned her mage hand to tie it around him well enough that they could drag him back. He came to after a few minutes. For once, it was a relief to see his oddly glowing eyes. Allonar explained that he'd thought he could just jump in, grab the key, and jump back out—he suspected the athletics potion might have affected his judgment in this matter—but the gargoyles had come to life the instant he touched the key, and then the crossbow-creatures had begun emitting the poisonous gas. "Even worse, when you're dazed, those gargoyle creatures are no longer visible to you. But I think we need to acquire that key. It may open the door on the other balcony."

Dovra was dubious, and pointed out that no one had slept since dealing with the dragons. The creatures weren't doing anything now that they had the key again, and Blue Cheese's lab was probably safe enough. They needed a long rest. "No, no. We need to get that key first." Dovra muttered to herself, but the gas had cleared enough that she could get close enough to the key for the mage hand to tie a rope on it. She held her breath as it began tying knots, but the gargoyles didn't react. The other end of the rope was around her waist, so as soon as the key was tied securely, she ran for all she was worth, dragging the key behind her, and drawing the rope in as she ran. Allonar untied the key and ran off with it while the gargoyles and crossbows started following. He and Horgta made it out of the narrow hallway relatively intact, but Dovra was hit multiple times by the crossbows and fell unconscious.

She felt something being poured down her throat. It tasted horrible, but she could feel her strength returning. She could sit up. Someone, presumably Horgta since he was next to her, had pulled her out of the way. The creatures didn't seem interested in them so long as they stayed out of the way. They only cared about the key. Across the way, they could see Allonar on the other balcony. From the looks of things, he must have jumped the gap. He was almost to the door, but he suddenly stopped. "There's no keyhole!" He turned abruptly and ran the other way, jumping down from that balcony to the main floor before disappearing into the wizard's lab.

Dovra didn't remember anything with a keyhole in there, either, but she was a bit too distracted to worry about it just now. The walking crossbows were shuffling past her and toward where the stairs used to be. Where were the gargoyles? She saw Horgta fighting something that she couldn't see down on the main floor. Wonderful. Well, she could see the crossbows at least. She let loose a shock sphere at the two still on the balcony. They turned and fired back at her. One of them hit, and she groaned. She still wasn't feeling well from their last attack, but they kept moving forward. There was a crunch as they moved off the balcony and hit the floor, but it wasn't enough to slow them down much.

She stayed on the balcony and kept lobbing spells at the crossbows. For a short while, her mind cleared and she could see the gargoyles again. She cast light on the nearest one. Almost immediately it targeted her with some sort of spell, and she could no longer see them, but she could see the glow given off by the one she'd lit up. She kept targeting the crossbows. When her mind cleared again, she saw that the gargoyles were all headed into Blue Cheese's lab. They had to be trying to get the key back. She was no match for them, especially not when she couldn't see them, so she held back, and hoped Allonar had the sense to give up the key if cornered.

It seemed to take forever to take out all the walking crossbows. Horgta fought in and amongst them, while Dovra provided covering magical fire. Just before they finished them off, Allonar burst out of the lab and began desperately trying to hold the door shut. Well, he was alive, at least. Where in the blazes were Shenron and Heian? Shenron suddenly materialized from the staircase that led back down to the caves and the labyrinth, but there was still no sign of the rogue. Maybe Shenron had eaten him. It seemed unlikely, but Dovra wasn't entirely sure how trustworthy dragonborn were about such things. He'd eaten all that gold, after all.

With Shenron back in the game, it didn't take long to finish off the crossbows. Almost at the same moment, the gargoyles pushed their way past Allonar's hold on the door and burst back onto the main floor. One of them now had the key. From the looks of things, they were trying to get it back to the room it had started in. Dovra climbed down to the main floor, but she was quickly hit by another dazing blast that hid the gargoyles from her. Thankfully, Shenron seemed to be immune, and other allies were missed, so they could tell her where to direct her attacks. She didn't need to aim her thunderwave so much as point it in the right direction. Presumably they were whittling down the ranks of the gargoyles. At least, the ones who could see them were still fighting, and seemed to change targets regularly. Finally the dazing wore off and she could see them again.

Allonar was busy pursuing the gargoyle with the key. When maybe half the gargoyles were gone, he managed to grab the key and run for the door again. This time he tried pointing the key at the door, and apparently there was a keyhole now, since he inserted the key and turned. Dovra looked towards him as he froze in place, threw the key in, and slammed the door shut again. "Rather large rat in there!" he called out. Judging by the look on his face, it must have been even bigger than the dire rats they'd run into in the labyrinth. A loud thump at the door sounded more like a bear than a rat.

More fighting. The gargoyles knew the key was behind the door, and they fought their way to it, and opened it. The rat ran past them and attacked the first thing that got in its way. It was the size of a small bear. Dovra muttered to herself. She'd told them to take a rest before playing with the gargoyles and crossbows, and now they were all exhausted, and here was a bloody great rodent to top it all off. It seemed like only a moment later that she realized there was only one gargoyle still moving. It was badly hurt, but it still had the key. Dovra didn't pay much attention to who was fighting what, but when that gargoyle was dead, she moved close enough for her mage hand to come in and grab the key. Chances were good that Blue Cheese wouldn't have made a key that large that did nothing more than open a door. She'd have to take a closer look at it after the battle.

The only enemy still moving was now the rat. Everyone but Shenron wanted to barricade themselves in and let it wear itself out, but Shenron wouldn't listen to anyone, and kept fighting. Dovra sighed. She could throw phantom bolts at it from a distance without putting herself at any risk. Shenron and Allonar had it trapped on the balcony with the door, after all. Still, her heart wasn't really in it and most of her attacks missed. Finally she got fed up and scored a critical hit against it. It was only a tiny drop in the bucket, but it cheered her up a bit. When the rat was finally dead, she glared at the idiot men around her and stalked back into the lab. She was tempted to barricade the door against them, but decided against it. She did barricade the trap door with one of the mostly intact cupboards before climbing into a different cupboard and drifting off into a much-needed sleep.

Someone tapped on the cupboard just as she was starting to wake up. It was Shenron. "Er, are you any good with healing? Allonar got bitten by that rat thing and his filth fever's getting worse." Dovra sighed and sat up with Allonar while the fever raged through him. It took two tries, but she managed to pull him back out of it. To pass the time, she played with an orb puzzle that Blue Cheese had laying around, only puzzle wasn't the right word. It gave mostly useless information and then she had to make a guess. She managed to pick out one orb correctly, but the other three were destroyed. Still, an Orb of Ultimate Imposition was a nice find. She looked around and realized Heian was still missing. Maybe Shenron really did eat him.


John said...

"Do you realize that I've killed more things since becoming evil than I ever did when I was actually evil"

Typo? Should be "good" yes?

Anyway, great telling. Whenever I tried turning a game session into a narrative, it always came out hackneyed and nerdy.

Qalmlea said...

Oops. Yeah. I'll get that fixed. It was interesting trying to figure out how to keep it all from Dovra's perspective. I know that Allonar (I misspelled the name, so that's something else I need to fix) was hiding in a cupboard in the lab while the gargoyles searched it, but there was no way Dovra would know that. Even afterwards, I doubt it's something Allonar would be bragging about. ^!^

Qalmlea said...

And actually Dovra would never describe herself as "good". "Not Evil" she's okay with. One of her little quirks.