Wild:16 Ambushing Do Deng
Each PC had a dream sequence while spending the night between Tepu and Garl.
Bo only shared minor overview of his dreams -- no details.
You sleep deeply. You experience vivid dreams. You dream of your family. Your family happy enjoys a quiet meal together. You pass on desert the first couple times, but finally accept it from So Seung the third time she offers your favorite cobbler. You catch the occasional accusatory askance glance at you, however. The family places blame on you for something. Of what, you cannot be sure. Did they blame the situation on you? Do they blame you for leaving and coming back? Have they heard how little you did yourself to try to help the family? ( DM interpretation assistance: Bo's not good.)
A great bronze dragon flies into your dreams. She's enjoying a dessert party and playing maj jong. She offers you your favorite dessert but, before, you answer says, "Oh, take it this time. I'm rather tired of you not enjoying the pleasures of life. What else is there? Really, Bo, dear? I'm running messages all the time and I still find time to make mango parfait, see the sights, and foment an argument in the tavern! Daoud, maj jong is boring today. Shall we play triminos instead?"
"Sure thing, Aasterinian. As she was saying, Bo, what's with all this? Your backpack is bursting at the seams, and your stomach is rounder than a kappa shell. You've mastered modesty, sure -- and you signed over your share of the ship to that dagger woman (watch out, she'll stab you in the back one day) -- but, you did those only because you knew they'd feel good. More than that, you've been addle-minded! Dear child! Do you realize that even your closest friends haven't an inkling of what you are saying most of the time? Clear, consise, candid clarity. And, I don't like all these secrets some of your companions are harboring. Perhaps it's time for an intervention. Give up everything, escape to nature for a while, and have some heartfelt conversation without the weight of gold holding you down from your ideals and clouding your mind. Join us for triminos, Keoghtom?"
"No thank you. I do like your idea though. Perhaps we should send our little Bo on an expedition to the woods, though. Deep in the woods, far from the coasts, there are many secrets to be found and unraveled. Portal to other worlds even! You appreciate the exploration, don't you, Merrshaulk?"
"Yess! Slither around! Go everywhere! Come see the Abyss! Sleep in my duchy. Let me teach you how to bite. Show you how to inject your poison. Visit your father. Show him your devotion. Disobey me! Yes, disobey my somber request to put them all to sleep and to feed from their power. Disobey me so I can lung out and taste your flesh. Disobey me such that I can make your blood flow down my throat. ( DM: Bo's been pretty solidly CN. Not evil, for sure, too.)
Brilla talked about her dreams' meaning, but not details.
You sleep deeply. You experience vivid dreams. You dream of your family, alive and dead. You dream of your ancestors as far back as you can recite. You dream of your father, and of Amon, and of Aym, and of Malphas, and of Savnok. They each speak to you as one, a chorus of voices completing one another's sentences, forming one coherent thought.
"How do you expect to achieve greatness? How do you expect your future grandchildren to etch sigils in your honor and to celebrate your life? Circumstances have made you a captain. Sieze the opportunity. Do not stand by idly as others dominate your life. Become the leader they call you in name.
"The path you are following has no future for you. It is the path of a coward without story to choose no sides. Follow an ethos! Determine your morals! You have shown signs that you might prefer to help the world, but you are weak in your conviction. ( DM interpretation note: I currently percieve Brilla as NN with a twist of G wishing to come out.)
"Find a cause. We will be there to help you achieve it."
Fuelwen, "Sahuagin don't dream."
You sleep deeply. You experience vivid dreams. You dream of your family. You dream of your school, your priestesses and your hunting band. They are all participating in a grand hunt in bright coastal waters. They are attacking huge army of sea elves allied with dolphins. They battle is not going well. Formations are breaking; attacks are not happening in unision; the generals' orders are being delayed.
All of the sudden, a shadow falls over the battlefield. Overhead, you catch sight of the greatest shark you have ever seen. Larger than even a humpback, he lunges into battle, devouring everything in his way. The priests make way for it, chanting, "Sekolah. Sekolah!" Is it Sekolah himself?
He makes no concern for who he eats. You might even say he grins as he devours those amongst your own rank who are far from formation. The tide turns, as the dolphins flee. You, however, do not see the victory come. You find yourself in Sekolah's maw. You'd lost your way. You were not where you belonged. You stopped listening for the calls of your leader and did not circle behind. You deserved death. You did not deserve such a great death to feed Sekolah's insatiable hunger. ( DM interpretation note: Fuelwen hasn't been acting so lawfully lately; even law of the nature lawful. I would currently place him at NE.)
"And we must remember," the priestess is finishing to others, as you return from your spirit journey, "There are many paths to victory. Sometimes it is best to swell yourself with power, even in obedience and subservience, than to keep swimming blindly towards your goal. Sometimes, that goal may be just over the next reef -- in sight! -- but you did not know that reef was poisonous before you swam amongst its nettles and were powerless to recover. Only the blind see their destination so clearly that there is nothing obstructing the path to it. The impatient and the weak always give in to the moment without formulating a plan and sticking to it when necessary."
Nathaniel doesn't dream and didn't say that he got lost in thought about things.
As everyone around you sleeps, you can't help but to notice how their faces contort with expression. One moment they're lit with excitement. The next, their teeth are chattering. You get lost in thought as various stories you know flood to the forefront of your mind all at once. For a moment, you even remember a trite childhood incident with your family. You recall your training in the name of Wee Jas. As a Jasidin, you are supposed to uphold the law, beautiful law. You have memorized and can recite the laws of innumerable lands. In each, you have no problem whispering to yourself the laws -- minor as well as major -- you have violated. Just recently, you've murdered, accessorized murder, metted out your own "justice" outside of the proper channels, and possibly plotted treason. Wee Jas cares not about the creation of the undead -- but did you properly procure the bodies you have begun to animate? Did you even think to check? Have you fallen ugly in her eyes? You were once beautiful. Have you forgotten about your revenge pact to get back at Lovie Jackson for making you what you are today? ( DM interpretation assistance: Nathaniel has been CE.)
A breeze drops a leaf at your feet. Sunrise will come soon. The early morning is the hardest to keep your mind clear. After 300 years, you still can't keep your mind from wandering while the world around you sleeps.
Rake gave every minor detail of his dream to everyone who would listen.
You sleep deeply. Your nightmares are particularly fierce. However, you eventually vanquish them -- a rare feat indeed. Perhaps it's a skill you've learned recently? After this, you experience vivid dreams. The most vivid dreams you've ever experience. You dream of a family you might have once been able to have known but is now impossible. The family is sad and crying, and you notice it is marching in a line with dozens of other families. They are marching in a dried up stream bed towards a valley filled with tents and pavillions.
The valley is a war encampment it's filled with soldiers of all sorts, but particularly bugbears and gnolls. Each has a tattoo of a single drop of red blood somewhere on his body, and the leaders are all wearing amorphous masks. ( DM interpretation assistance: Erythnul's holy symbols) The soldiers are ripping apart families. Men are slaughtered where they stand. Women are put to work cooking, sewing and sharpening, if not raped. Children are ignored if they're lucky. Many are put to work cleaning, polishing and carrying immediately -- but most taken to an auction block. There's a group of cloaked men there, wagering with one another for the cost of each child. One young girl with an arm malady goes for but fifty six copper.
Standing tall in the middle of the encampment is a seven-foot tall, brutal-looking mand. He is mottled and muscular with mad, green eyes. His furs are dyed red with wet blood, fresh soaked from a sacrifice that still bleeds at his feet. ( DM: Erythnul's physical description)
All of the sudden, a horn sounds. The camp mobilizes. Women and children are trampled. A few soldiers continue the slaughter of the captive men. Coming down into the valley is another army. At that army's head is a hideous, gray humanoid with siz arms, two gigantic tusks, and armor adorned with skulls. ( DM: Hextor) He leaps into battle with his army behind him. He lays down scores of the opposing soldiers with each of his six weapons, clearing a path towards the man in red. They meet. They clash. Gray triumps over red. In what appears to be his last breath, the red man says a word, vanishes, and a torrent of fire rains from the sky, burning everything and everyone indiscriminately -- except the six-armed gray.
Your mind drifts after this dream, but you keep thinking back to it with glee. The bloodshed. The death. The burning and the fire. You can feel the agony and the horror. You wake up nourished and ready for the day. ( DM: I'd describe Rake as CE.)
Fuelwen: We made our preparations on Tepu, and sailed back to Garl, loaded with explosives. On the way, we had dreams. All of us. An odd coincidence, but each of them seemed to be portentous. I denied having one.
Nathaniel: Rake had a vivid dream, one where his god was defeated by the orcish deity Hextor. Strangely, instead of converting immediately, as I assumed he would, he desires to lead a battle to defeat Hextor.
Brilla: The dreams effecting all of the party at the same time was a bit unsettleing. Evidently the ancestors want me to take more charge. How do you lead the unleadable?
Rake: The dream I had left me with a simple desire. Though my friends thought I would convert to Hextor, I still felt drawn to Blood Storm. I starting to question if maybe the Blood Storm is not just one god, but a group pulled together to rage against tyranny, fight to protect the innocence of children, and to lead the Kalashtar into this world with a purpose. I need to understand what the Blood Storm really means. How to destroy, protect, and grow all at the same time. My One year birthday will soon be here, and I need to figure out what I mean in this world of wild.
Fuelwen: We needed to get Bob in contact with Dung for an extended period of time. Which meant we needed to kidnap Dung. I laid out the plan- we would fire the fireworks off of a bridge. After stunning Dung with an explosion, Rake would toss him off the bridge. I would subdue him in the water, and we would use a boat to get away down the river. With the addition of some hirelings to our party, we hoped that we had enough force to overcome.
Nathaniel: While we made preparations, Uncle Bob's manservant assisted us. This manservant was known only to us as genie, as he was not permitted a name. Rake attempted to inflict one upon him but unlike Wild Tentacles, it did not stick.
The unnamed genie led us to a bar that appeared to be outside someone's house. There we met the forces that Uncle Bob was supplying us–four vanarra and a dozen pikemen. During dinner Bo walked off by himself, lost in thought...
Brilla: Luckually we were able to decided where we were setting up the ambush. A bridge looked like the ample spot, though Do Dung was not to keen at first with the location. After some quick talking and a little assistance from Nathaniel we were able to convince him to stay there.
In the plan I was to be on a small boat that would set off explosive that would take out an end of the bridge so that the enemy would no be able to approach and we could cut off escape.
Rake: The genie actual feared to have a name. He wanted to be owned. Strange creature to not want a sense of self destiny. I walked with the Great Cow and helped inspire fear and strength when he needed it. Not sure how Great Cow is going to make this festival work but, want Bo to leave home happy. Or at least not so cranky.
Fuelwen: As one would expect, the plan evaporated within the first seconds of the attempt. Our setup was successful, all the pieces were where we wanted them to be. But Dung was quicker than we expected- he reacted to the stunning explosion in a flash, despite being blinded.
He ran under the bridge, clinging to the underside with magic. I netted him, but couldn't get close enough to bring him down. Brilla detonated the bomb, which added to the damage, but destroyed the net ((OOC: which has only 5 HP, by the way)). Nathaniel did what he could to keep Dung silenced to prevent spellcasting, while Rake did Rake things, and Bo supported the party, and tried to help grapple Dung. Our hirelings handled Dung's guards.
Brilla: The plan began to go south as Do Dung seems to have expert navigation while blinded and went under the bridge with a spider climb ability and begun to head to the end of the bridge. Most of our group were unable to bring him to the water so I had to blow the explosive on the side he was on.
Garl has some of the weakest stone structures I have ever seen. The blast had a very minimal explosion (3d8, or was it 3d10) that should have barely scratched the stone, yet it crumpled like the origami that these people are so fond of, destroying 225 square feet of bridge, if not more. Needless to say, the blast barely effected Do Dung as he clung to the side of the embankment.
This continued into futility as he eventually escaped from our hands. For the most part I feel luck just wasn't on our side.
Rake: So the explosion went off, and still strange almond eyed man was able to scurry under the bridge before I could reach him. He moved and cast spells without being able to see. He seemed immune to most of the damage we were able to inflict. Next time we study more about prey before we strike. Picked that up from Fuelwen:)
Fuelwen: Our hands were tied by attempting to not kill Dung. That, and he's actually a formidable grappler, and was difficult to contain. Finally, he used magic to escape the scene. We injured him, but now he has the opportunity to marshal his reinforcements.
Nathaniel: While Deng has escaped, we have information on the usual guards in his employ. He has Ogres, a Kappa Wu Jen, Swashbucklers of some sort, and Bi Butsu the druid, who likely has a new animal companion by now.
Brilla: We are headed back to the boat now since the plan failed. We don't have enough time and resources to look for Do Dung all over the city.
Rake: So the target escaped. And I feel that next time I should be true to myself and the Bloodstorm and destroy our enemies. The target's friends are not good people. They would endanger Bo's family. Bo is my friend, and I feel inside that if I destroy these followers of Deng, that maybe I can make a better spot for Bo's family. Yet Bo says, that it would make things worse for his kingdom. Really confused on how to best strike where my friends and Bo's family will be safe. Bo's kingdom has strange rules and do not look at the caring of a child to be proper. I am starting to like Great Cow as emperor more and more. But can't tell Bo that. He would make me eat rice for a week.
Infiltrating and Capturing Deng's ship
Fuelwen: Guile was the order of the day. Brilla donned Nathaniel's hat of disguise, impersonated Do Deng, and bluffed her way aboard his ship, along with most of the party. This allowed us to slip aboard, and take our opponent's position of strength. I lurked beneath the docks nearby, prepared to give aid as needed. As a result, I missed the majority of what transpired aboard, until the hired Duskblades fired off a flare to alert me and the flying Djinn that combat had been joined.
It was a good fight, and the largest threat was Do Deng's second, a Kappa Wu-jen. He, and the druid Be Butsu, fell in combat. A third fighter, a swashbuckler, managed to flee. It was not worth our trouble to track him through the streets, while the fourth, an ogre, became our prisoner- er, guest.
Back on the Seawolf's Folly =
Fuelwen: Not wishing to move our... guest, through the streets, I ordered the hired Duskblades to run back to our ship and fetch it here, along with her crew. A short time later- a flare went up from Seawolf's Folly. Expecting trouble, we rushed to the scene, only to find Do Deng had slaughtered her crew, and was lounging on her deck, with a commoner toting a lantern- obviously a ploy to make us go for the wrong target.
Now, the spear is in the other hand, and we must attack the enemy after he's secured our position of strength.
Fuelwen: Do Deng is injured, and doesn't have full knowledge of the forces at our disposal. Even with our resources drained, we can easily retake the ship, if we move quickly and with full surprise. The hired duskblades can clear the gap onto the ship easily, even if they were encumbered with a third person between them, probably Brilla (the lightest) (Cast jump, which means (A) has 1 1st level spell remaining, (B) would have two, after this). Once over, one of them can move the gangplank. Bo can slip up from below decks, using his snake-form. Nathaniel can attack from anywhere. This leaves only Rake and myself, both of whom can easily cross the gangplank once it's lowered.
Once aboard, the plan is simple: throw everything we've got at Do Deng until he falls.
Ethyl: What about his teleportation? As a warlock, he can use that as often as he wants to. Nathaniel is already out of silences, and grappling failed last time.
Deenar/Bob whispers down from above Nathaniel: Tell us what to do.
Fuelwen: Good point. Does that spell still work if he's impaled to the deck? We also have Nathaniel's orb with Touch of Idiocy, if we can get close enough- Bo could crack the orb then deliver it as a snake, perhaps, if the charge lasts long enough. The other possibility: what's the range on the spell? Because if we can get the ship far enough from the docks, the only place he can teleport is ocean. He's obviously waiting for us, so I could attempt to get a new net in the time available, which will make casting much more difficult.
Bob: I have to be in direct contact with him for 20 minutes, and he must be alive. If he's impaled is of no concern as long as it meets those criteria.
(And Brilla informed you that his teleportation is Dimension Door with a limited range of Close [25 + 5 per 2 caster levels].)
Nathaniel: There are three methods we may be able to use to counter his ability, Flee the Scene. The first, and least likely for success, is to use my Hag's Eye. The remaining two options depend on the graces and talents of Ethyl. First, she may cast Weapon Augmentation, lesser, enchanting the weapon with the Paralyze enchantment (MIC39). This augmentation only functions one time and may be resisted. The second thing that we can request of Ethyl is that she cast Spell Storing Item and place the spell Dimension Anchor in it. There would be a moderate cost to her life force. This spell only has a ray attack that must be aimed and the spell cannot be refused if it hits it's target.
Prior to the assault, I can grant some benefits to the party's resistances and make us slightly more difficult to hit. I can instruct Deenar/Bob something, but do we have any ideas what Bob is capable of?
Fuelwen: That last sounds like the best option. I still think we should cut the ropes that connect the ship to the dock ((OCC: can I pop an action point to say that the tide is on its way out right now?)), if only to discourage fleeing through more mundane means.
Rake: Rake will point out that he is almost drained of power. Do we need to attack tonight? If so how about hiring out some local talent. Have the genie bring some local magic talent to cast on the warlock to confuse him. Or bring back some potions for the group to utilitize. Or throw him something he values. He is on our ship, is there someone he cares for or an item he values that we can threaten him with? Rake will charge where ever you need him to but, complicated scenarios or thinking on the run is not really his strong suit. (player is willing to spend DP to get a skunk farmer to unleash some potent stench on his ass.Or do find an all night alchemist shop open.)
XP works out that everyone levels after this session, with some padding, too.
Ethyl: I leveled up, too!