Add a Journal
Q & A
Welcome to The Chosen's journals. Each character is invited to keep a
journal and write down the thoughts of their characters as they wander
through Nyternia. In addition, the DM has a journal which highlights
each session. The players are:
DM's Journal, session #13
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The travel from Pavalar had been uneventful. The party was now just outside Gront, with plans to visit Rillan. As they broke camp, Malif remembered the book Mortenser had given them. He opened it, and the first page read:
Malif informed the rest of the party of the writing. "Oops," Malif said. "I suppose we should check that more often. I'll check it every morning and night from now on." He wrote back:
OK, we'll be there. Sorry it took so long to respond. It won't happen again.
The party rode to Rillan, who welcomed them inside. After exchanging greetings and pleasentries, Rillan said, "I didn't think about it at the time, but if you wanted these scrolls just to scribe into your scrollbook, it would be cheaper to just copy them out of my spellbook.
"I'd be happy to loan you my spellbook if that is the case, and I can just get Pippy to sell these scrolls I had earmarked for you."
Malif replied, "That sounds like a great idea. We could still use the fireball scroll, but I was just planning on copying invisibility and magic missile into my spellbook."
As Malif was browsing through Rillan's spellbook, he noticed that Rillan did not have Summon Monster II. He offered to let Rillan copy the spell, to which Rillan offered his thanks as he agreed.
While Rillan and Malif spent the three days to scribe all the spells, the rest of the party rested at the estate.
"Hey Pippy, you busy?" Vaugner asked as he noticed Pippy in one of the hallways.
"Umm... sort of. I need to go to Gront soon to sell these spells, but I have a little time," Pippy replied.
"We're heading to Ashanto. Do you know anything about it or about Trovantain?" Vaugner asked.
Pipy nodded and said, "Well I haven't been farther north than Asterin, but I can tell you what I've heard. Basically, Trovantain is a place where subtlety is less useful than a show of force. Make sure when you travel that you look formidable, or else you will get attacked. It's not uncommon for people to have gaudy and oversized weapons. Whether they can all use it isn't for certain, but it does make for a good show.
"The other thing I've heard is that you shouldn't be passive when dealing with people. Trovantains take negotiation and politeness as signs of weakness. If you want to be left alone, it's best to threaten to be aggressive. Even if you think the opposite force is more powerful than you, you should take a cautiously aggressive stance. Chances are they won't want to have a fight where they risk their own lives, and they'll just let you go."
The party thanks Pippy for the advice and wished him good luck in Gront.
Malif had just finished transcribing invisibility. As he again thanked Rillan, he added, "You know, should you come upon any unusual spells, it might make sense to buy them. With custom spells being so rare, it's quite possible that the knowledge of how to cast a spell dies when it's creator dies. I'd like a copy of them, and I'm sure a lot of other people would too. We could be like a guild, where you could create them and we can help sell them for you in our travels."
Rillan thought for a few seconds and then said, "Well, in theory that sounds like a great idea. The problem for me is that money is still tight right now. I'm still in debt from the Pavalar debacle. But, I'll see what I... well really Pippy... can do."
Vaugner spent some time alone and looked for Pippy. Eventually he found him near the stables. "Hey Pippy, I wanted to ask you a question in private... I don't suppose you've met anyone from the Hand have you?"
Pippy responded that he hadn't, and to be honest he wasn't sure exactly how to get ahold of them, as they were very secretive.
Before the party left, Malif introduced his falcon familiar Rabab to Rillan and Pippy, saying, "It's possible that if we get into trouble I'll try and send Rabab here with a message... hopefully that won't happen, but I wanted you to meet each other just in case."
The party then headed out. They stopped by Gront to pick up some supplies to have the cauldron make more potions of healing. Following Pippy's advice, they went to the suggested store and were able to get a good price for the materials after mentioning Pippy's name.
The party entered Asterin and decided to stop for a couple hours to gather information about the road ahead and as well as to ask about whether any interesting gems had been through there recently.
Vaugner found a shop selling a disguise kit. As he inquired about it, the shopowner said, "You best be careful; if you are planning on doing anything... unusual... here, you should make sure you let the appropriate people know beforehand. The kit will be 70 gold by the way."
Feeling poor, Vaugner replied, "70 gold? Hrm. OK, well I'll have to come back and get it later."
Malif stopped by the area where the caravans gathered and found an official whose job was to manage the various caravans coming in and out of Asterin.
"Have you heard news of Jacob's caravan and do you know when they plan on being back here?" he asked the official.
"Oh, some. I think they came through here maybe two months ago or so? Jacob doesn't have a set route that he runs, so he could be here in another two months or not for another year, depending on where his trade takes him," he replied.
"Okay, thanks," Malif said, as he handed a note and 5 silver to the official. "I have a note for Lisa, one of Jacob's employees. I'd appreciate it if you could deliver the note to Jacob or Lisa the next time they are in town."
The official replied that it wouldn't be a problem, as notes were left fairly frequently for caravans, and he would make sure that Malif's letter wasn't lost.
Blink went to the magic shop, trying to find out what equipment he could look forward to, but the shopkeeper (if he could be called that... his "shop" was simply a residence in one of the upper class districts) was evasive and didn't provide any useful information.
At the adventurer's guild, the party saw several notices of caravans looking for guards and other mundane tasks which they felt were beneath them. One notice, however, caught their attention.
Wanting to find more information, the party spent more time gathering information. Errol found out that the incident had happened four days ago, and that most of the caravan had been killed -- only three of the thirteen people survived. He also discovered the trader's apprentice, Kenneth, had survived, and was staying in a local inn.
The party found Kenneth at the inn, and he answered the door as the party knocked.
"Hi, are you Kenneth?" Errol asked. When Kenneth nodded, he continued, "We saw the post at the adventurer's guild about the caravan and wanted to ask you some more questions..."
Kenneth looked at the party timidly. "Um.. well, I just want to make sure you know that I don't have the gold on me, he's insured with the company, and they'll have to get the money to you," he said.
"No worries," Blink replied. "We're planning on trying to recover the body and just want to find out more about what happened that day."
"Oh," Kenneth said, visibly relieved, "Well, we were about half a day out when we started seeing some drone ants. It's not too common to have ant infestations around this time, and they generally stay clear of people, so we weren't too worried.
"All of a sudden four giant ants about five to six feet long and with oversized mandibles attacked us. They were much tougher than normal giant ants were. They wiped out the boss's bodyguard and the mercenaries we hired pretty quickly. When we saw that we were all going to be wiped out, boss said to run if you can. So I got on one of the horses and galloped back to Asterin. Two others got out with me. The ones that didn't make it onto a horse didn't stand a chance."
"How powerful were the mercenaries?" Vaugner asked.
"Well, the boss's bodyguard was experienced enough to be specialized with his long sword. We had seven rookies, and a couple warriors that have a little bit of experience in them. We also had a wizard and cleric who have been with us a while. They can still only cast first circle spells, but they aren't total novices either. Still, we got jumped and most fell quickly," Kenneth answered.
"Hrm," pondered Vaugner. "Okay, thanks for the information. Hopefully we'll be back in a couple of days to collect the reward."
Kenneth wished them well and waved as they left his room.
The party decided to leave their horses in Asterin, as it was only a half day away walking, and it was unclear how far back they would have to leave Tidus and the horses behind. Because of this, they decided to spend the night at an inn and start off the next morning.
The inn was modest but clean, much poorer than The Traveling Minstrel, which had become the stadard quality of inn the party compared all inns too. Still, the staff was polite, and the night passed uneventfully.
After walking for a few hours and eating lunch, they saw the remains of the caravan. In town they had found out that everything of value had already been removed, and by looking at the wreckage, they found nothing to disabuse themselves of that notion.
Though there were no ants around, Vernon immediately found ant footprints and started to follow them. After about 10 minutes the tracks led to drones. They were in two lines running in opposite directions. To the north, the ants were carrying branches and other vegetation; to the south, the ants held nothing.
The party moved among the drones, but as Kenneth had told them, the drones did not attack, though they did move out of the party's way.
Malif said, "Let's set up a little ways away and see if they send a patrol after us."
Whether through communication or luck, within 30 minutes three giant ants approached them. They were clearly bigger than the drones, and they moved purposefully towards the party. Kestrel, Errol, Vernon, and Malif stayed in a tight circle at the edge of some trees, while Blink and Vaugner hid in the trees.
As the ants neared, several arrows flew out from the party, severely injuring one of the ants. Kestrel finished it off as it charged in. As the ant died, acid burst forth from its wounds and mouth. It sprayed out and hit everyone within five feet of it for a minor amount of damage. The party quickly killed the other two ants. Each time as the ants died, a jet of acid burst forth damaging anyone close to the carcasses. Other than the acid damage, the party was unhurt.
"Well that wasn't too hard," Vaugner said. "That trader's party must have been pretty weak I guess."
Kestrel pulled out the cauldron, who ambled around excitedly as it was put on the ground. Seeing Kestrel's wounds it made an inarticulate sound and touched Kestrel. A flash of white light swept over Kestrel's wounds as a cure light wounds healed him. Vernon, who had also been splashed by acid, was similarly healed.
The cauldron looked around at the rest of the party and made more inarticulate sounds. Then, it walked back towards Kestrel and started making contented sounds. Kestrel petted the cauldron and put it back in the backpack.
The party then decided to see if they could get more ants to come out to them. "After all," Malif reasoned. "Might as well kill as many as we can before we wade into their nest."
Thirty minutes went by without anything happening. Getting impatient, Malif and Vaugner decided to kill a drone to see what would happen. The drone exploded as three arrows buried themselves into it. The other drones quickly scattered and soon were out of sight.
About 30 minutes after that, Vaugner spotted five more giant warrior ants coming straight for the party. The party stayed in the same formation, and used the same strategy. The ants did a little better this time; one managed to hit Errol with a claw. Grabbing onto Errol, it lifted him up and attempted to bite him. Busy dealing with Errol, the giant ant was unable to cover serveral of his vulnerable spots, and Vaugner used this to his advantage. Dropping his bow for fear of hitting Errol instead of the ant, Vaugner charged and drew his greatsword. He spied a vulnerable spot and his aim was true. His sword dug into the ant, and spurts of acid doused him as the ant twitched in its final death throe.
Aside from that, all the ants were easily killed. Vernon and Errol healed up the party members who had been clawed or damaged by the acid. Since it was getting late, the party decided to move away from the ants while there was still a little light and call it a day.
The party had set up standard watches, but nothing attacked them in the night. It was 10:00 by the time the party made it back to the site of the previous day's battles. No ants were around, but the tracks were still fresh and Vernon started following them back towards the hive.
After about 30 minutes, the party spotted lines of ant drones arriving and leaving a large hole in the ground. From a distance, the hole looked to be about 20' in diameter, and it wasn't possible to tell how steep the slope was.
The party had decided to again try and attract more ants to come to them. In addition, they wanted to be near trees in case Malif needed to cast a web. It took them about 20 minutes of following the drones to discover a suitable area. The party took their positions and Vaugner and Malif again killed a drone, scattering the rest of them.
This time, after about 30 more minutes, the party spotted nine ants coming towards them. Six of them were similar to the ones they had fought before, but three of them were some sort of mutation between ant and spider. They looked similar to a normal warrior ant, but they had eight legs instead of six. In addition, the front pair of legs looked more like spider legs than ant legs!
The three mutant ants were lined up in back of the other ants, and all of them were running straight towards the party. Deciding that web would almost certainly be necessary this time, the party retreated into the woods.
Malif and Vaugner again opened the combat with arrows. The warrior ants then charged into Kestrel, Vernon, and Errol. Luckily none of them were able to connect. The mutant ants then came forward to about 50 feet away from the front of the party and each of them unleased a ray! Based on their spellcraft knowledge, they realized that somehow these mutant ants had an ability to cast scorching ray.
One was fired at Vernon, and critically hit him. Vernon managed to gasp for breath and let out a feeble groan before he fell unconscious. The other two were aimed at Errol, but luckily missed.
Meanwhile, Malif calculated where an optimal placement of a web would be, and found a spot that would entangle eight of the ants. Chanting the magic words, webs coalesced in a 20 foot radius in the woods. Indeed, eight of the ants were caught in the web, and amazingly, none of them managed to avoid being entangled.
The lone ant not entangled found a clear line of sight to Malif and charged him, but Malif was able to dodge the claw. Three of the ants were caught at the edge of the web next to Errol, Kestrel, and the unconscious Vernon. They turned to attack Kestrel and Errol, the obvious threats they could reach. The last two warrior ants were caught in the middle of the web, and the three mutant ants were caught at the back edge of the web.
Malif had planned on dragging Vernon to safety, but the ant in front of him made that impossible. Vaugner shot two arrows into that ant, wounding it, and Blink ran over and connected with a solid punch which killed it. Malif then ran over to Vernon and was able to drag him 15 feet back.
Kestrel and Errol struck at the ants entangled next to them with some success. One of the three ants in the front quickly fell, but another was able to get past Errol's defense and dug into Errol with one of its claws. As it grabbed Eroll, he tried to break free, but the ant's grip was too strong. The ant then pulled Errol off his feet into the web and stung him with it's stinger. As it stabbed into Errol, he gritted with pain, both from the wound as well as the acid pumped into his body.
Malif pulled out a healing potion and forcefed it to Vernon. Vaugner, again seeing the ant vulnerable to being sneak attacked, dropped his bow and charged in with his greatsword. He connected with a solid hit to the belly of the ant, but the ant remained standing. Blink moved up to engage the other ant, and connected with a kick to its head.
Errol was in trouble; he knew if the ant hit him again he would probably fall unconscious, so he decided to defensively cast a cure light wounds on himself. The effort to do so while also being grappled gave him only a small chance of success, but he didn't see any better option. Amazingly, he was able to get the cast and was healed a tiny bit.
Malif shot two arrows at the ant next to Blink but missed. That ant, still stuck in the web and only able to reach Blink, struck out with a claw. Despite being entangled in the web, it still managed to hit and grab onto Blink, who also cried out as its stinger bit into his flesh.
By this time, one of the mutant ants had managed to free itself and climb out of the web. As it moved towards the party, Malif spotted it and hit it with two arrows. Kestrel killed the ant grabbing Errol, and it exploded in a burst of acid. As it released Errol, he fell and became entangled in his own web. Blink and Vaugner killed the other ant, which also exploded in a burst of acid. Blink also was unable to avoid becoming entangled in the web.
Feeling the sting of two arrows, the free mutant ant rubbed its two spider legs together, and Malif suddenly felt very frightened. He was able to shake off most of the effects, but remained shaken. The mutant ant then retreated back towards the ant cave.
Blink and Errol both lit torches and were able to burn themselves and the webs to free themselves. Kestrel, realizing that allowing the ant to get word back to the colony could be disasterous, dropped his guisarme, and then moved and drew his bow. He took a shot which flew true and killed the fleeing ant. Vernon healed Blink, who also had come close to falling unconscious, and Errol again healed himself.
The remaining ants were still stuck in the web. Moving methodically, the party was able to kill the warrior ants without problems. Blink, who moved fastest, was the first one to be in the line of sight of the ants. The front ant tried to fear Blink, but Blink was able to overcome most of the effects. The back ant then also tried to fear Blink, this time succeeding. Blink let out a wild screen and turned around, running at top speed away from the combat.
Each of the mutant ants was able hit Kestrel with two magic missiles, but were quickly cut down by the party.
The fight was over, and the party (minus Blink, who returned a few
minutes later) stood victorious!