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The Dragonslayers III Pt. 29: Dueling the Dragon Lord

The Courtyard - 'X' marks the mushroom!

The Courtyard – ‘X’ marks the mushroom!

The great red dragon was at least 50 ft. in length not counting its powerful tail and extra-long neck. Its head was crowned with several spear-long ivory horns which ran along the spine in a ridge of spikes on its back to the end of and studding the tail. Its dark red scales resembled dark red shields battle-worn each but all still true. Three skulls of adult dragons, species unknown, hung clunking about its neck on a necklace alongside a shield-sized golden medallion covered in dragon-scratch. On a single claw was a carved jade ring like the one taken from the steel-helmed juggernaut which Vorwulf wore as an arm torque.

Vorwulf shot a dragon-bone arrow from his longbow which shattered harmlessly on the magic shield that appeared around the monster, its gold medallion glowing brightly. He activated an item gaining a magic shield of his own. Grom as soon as he caught sight of the legendary beast, the one which had wiped out his tribe leaving only him and his protégé, froze in his tracks a victim of his own panic. The dragon’s throat inflated with a hideous sucking sound, its jaws gaped and a white hot blast of fire shot out as it swept the entire area its back to the burgeoning millennium mushroom. Vorwulf took shelter behind the large stones under the ruined archway avoiding all the damage, Grom the shaman and Magiia however took the blast surprised that half of the damage bypassed their protection from fire dealing quite a bit of damage. Mags stopped her charge and drank down a healing potion. The first drake swooped over the rocks near the entrance to the courtyard and snapped at Vorwulf whom parried easily with his superior quality bronze buckler. The third and fourth of the three fire drakes swooped down at Maggi with their claws and caught her off guard as she ran towards the “big one” intent on “tasting his blood”. The flames of battle rose to a rage very quickly, three of the Drakes lashed out at Vorwulf as he tried to keep rounding the edges of the battle field using his bow more on them than on his main target as intended and the other Drake continued to pester Maggi. Grom fought top overcome his fear but eventually had to resort to casting Dispel Fear on himself. The dragon cast Hold Person on Maggi stopping her before she could get a blow in; she fortunately was still able to activate the Shield ability on her Bronze Helm. The dragon then turned and gupled the Ferenoi down following a massively powerful bite. Grom rushed forward eager to join the fray.

Maggi’s shield beginning to waver in the volcanic acid-bath of the dragon-lord’s stomach, Maggi was able to shake off the dragon-magic with a Natural 20 (the ONLY way she could’ve done so). Two of the Fire Drakes continued their assault against Vorwulf who was able to deflect their claws with his buckler. He quick-drew his swords and struck back concentrating his blades on the first of the two dealing some damage to the beast. Grom ran forward towards the dragon-lord and drew his morning star of Supernatural Might. The dragon glanced back keeping an evil green eye on the mushroom. Then as Maggi used all her might to slash with axe into the walls of the monster’s stomach it vomited her up. The Drake that remained near the dragon lunged at the shaman. The other drakes continued after the ranger, he continued to hack and slash at them. Maggi stood up and struck at the dragon-lord causing the second charge of his shield to be knocked down. The dragon stomped on her a great blast of dust mixed with the swirling coal smoke. Mags was able to work her way form under the dragon’s gigantic claw the way greased by the dragon-vomit which she was covered in as well as her own blood which flowed freely from her mouth and nose. The two Drakes fighting Vorwulf finally dropped their black blood spreading over the white ground where they fell. Maggi pulled herself up desperately trying to stay conscious (she made a Recovery check versus the stomp).

Jenn (Magiia’s player): “I’m on K-O points here!”

Grom dropped from the sky to her side with the third Fire Drake on his tail.

Vorwulf knocked an arrow and shot at the dragon-lord finally dispelling the monster’s magic shield for the final time that day. Grom tried his morning-star against the dragon’s hide; he found he was quite ineffective barely scratching a single scale (he did three points of actual damage to it). Maggi activated her shield and let loose a power-attack at the dragon who easily batted the whistling blow to the side. The last drake snapped at the shaman wounding him. The dragon struck at Maggi dispelling her shield with a single blow. Grom again tried his weapon against the dragon-lord (this time dealing about six points of actual damage). Maggi wound her body up and smashed her axe into the last drake felling it in a gory spray of blood and organs. Vorwulf was launching dragon-bone arrow after dragon-bone arrow at the red monster. He activated his boots of Fleet of Foot and the Eyes and Ears of the Dragon ability on his coif. Nearly all his shots at the dragon missed so he shot an acid-arrow at the monster which had little to no effect. In the ensuing struggle Maggi was forced into another recovery check to avoid losing consciousness and Grom used the Heal ability on his mithral open helm to being the Ferenoi back up to almost full health. She was able to counter a claw strike but dealt very little real damage with that blow. Then all of the slayers let loose a united frustrated groan as the red dragon-lord with a wave of its nasty claw summoned four more fire drakes. Its tail swept at both Maggi and Grom, the Dragon-Blood Warrior was able to get out of the way but the shaman took a great deal of bludgeoning damage and was forced into a recovery check to remain standing.

Jenn: “Well at least its shields are down.”

Vorwulf shot an arrow deep into the first newly summoned fire drake. Maggi hacked into the third, the nearest to her, hurting it. The dragon unleashed its horrific breath weapon for a second time sweeping the area forcing Grom to dodge into a nearby pit to avoid it and imminent death, Mags was barely able to absorb the damage she couldn’t avoid. Her life was now hanging by a thread though the bleeding was cauterized. Vorwulf had been just out of the area of effect. The drake on Maggi struck and she countered wounding it blood gushing. The first and second flew after Vorwulf; he was able to avoid their claws and teeth. The third leapt into the pit after the shaman. Grom in mid-fall was able against the odds, to quicken Bestial Might on himself magically morphing into his bizarre winged and furry form. He set himself down on the uneven ground below realizing he was in a high ceilinged vault which was choked with fallen stones and ruin. Up ahead he could see a strange glimmering light where the tunnel intersected with another; he briefly considered trying to seek out the Wasp whom they all believed to be down here somewhere. He ducked behind an amorphous pile of spider-webs, stones, and broken wood as he could hear the snarling of the incoming drake. Above ground the dragon snapped its jaws at Maggi who avoiding the blow lashed out and nailed it dealing it some decent damage. Vorwulf pulled out his great axe, he had run out of dragon-bone arrows, and engaged the drakes that were attacking him. Maggi dueled the dragon and drake while underground the shaman drank down a potion of Barkskin while trying to keep hidden as he could hear the drake trying to sniff him out. Before he stepped out he activated the Mage Armor ability on his necklace and made a run for it running past the beast and leaping into the air while it gave chase. No sooner had Maggi backed off and drank down a healing potion than she felt the claws of the drake raking her ribs (she rolled a Natural 1 versus the blow). The shaman burst out of the pit and swept over Maggi’s position. The drake on his tail was blur as it zoomed out of the pit and attempted a dive attack on him but floundered unexpectedly and smashed face first into the ground (it had rolled a Natural 1) at full speed killing itself.

Vorwulf closed with the dragon-lord, two drakes following him, Maggi struck at the drake still on her wounding it badly, and Grom also let loose a power-attack with his morning star on the same target dealing some damage. The dragon turned towards the mushroom which was now much taller and glowing with a strong and very pronounced eerie white light. The drakes continued their assault. Grom flew up 100 ft. above the dragon. The dragon swept its tail at Mags and she deflected the blow with her axe and countered it burying her axe in its hide. Vorwulf concentrated his attacks against the drakes using the magical speed granted by his boots to deliver a series of power-attacks felling two of the remaining three. The dragon unleashed a Swarm of Magic Missiles to little effect and then a claw at Maggi forcing her to recover. She was again in dire straits. Vorwulf, after dropping the two drakes, drank down yet another potion of healing.

Vorwulf then redoubled his efforts on the remaining drake dropping the already blood-ragged beast before it even had a chance to act. Maggi chopped into the dragon again. The dragon turned itself around to face the slayers and moved forward trampling Maggi then turned its face up unleashing a blast of its lethal breath at the flying shaman who was just able to get out of the way. Grom flew over near the tail end of the dragon struck at it; his weapon glanced harmlessly off of its armored hide. Vorwulf stepped back and exchanged his great axe for his cutlass and the Dragon Bane Longsword with the large rock-crystal pommel stone. The runes on the blade read, “Suck the Breath & Drink Deep the Dragon’s Blood”. Maggi power-attacked the dragon again wounding it and both Vor and the shaman focused their efforts towards cutting the monster to ribbons. It unleashed a Hold Person spell on Vor but he was able to resist, barely. They continued fighting it slowly making headway as its wounds began to multiply, Grom buzzed around striking and moving. The dragon-lord struck out at the flying shaman but missed only due to the constant Displacement spell emanating from the magic robes he wore. Using his magical speed Vorwulf continued to subject the great monster to a death by a thousand cuts.

All three of the slayers battled on for the next two rounds with their greatest enemy, all taking their share of wounds, their armor getting torn and dented. Maggi took the brunt of the dragon’s rage spending much of that time surviving by recovery-check and the shaman expending all of his healing touches per day. Grom found himself underfoot and was nearly crushed to death but fought his way out after struggling for two turns. At the beginning of the ninth round all including the dragon were badly wounded, bleeding, and filthy. All but the dragon were nearly out of breath nearing their threshold for exhaustion. Some of the dragon’s wounds closed and any bleeding stopped.

Cris (Vorwulf’s player): “S#*t! This is the last round and my boots are done. My armor’s nearly gone too.”

Jenn: “I’m out of potions! My girl’s bad, real bad right now!”

Gil (Grom’s player): “Yeah I’m hurt. My helmet’s out of Heal but I got some healing spells left.”

Cris: “Save ‘em. If we survive we’ll need ‘em.”

Grom swooped by the dragon doing a flyby attack dealing only a handful of actual damage. Vorwulf pulled a potion of Healing from his dragon-hide bandolier and downed it. Mags rushed forward again and let loose a powerful blow into the monster opening a deep and bloody gash. The dragon blasted its breath at Grom again and he dodged. Vorwulf moved over to Maggi and she surged forward again laying her axe into the dragon’s side. It reared and rushed forward trampling both Vor and Mags laying them out and leaving them bloodied and struggling to get to their feet in a cloud of choking dust. Grom did another flyby gliding down towards Maggi’s twitching figure. Realizing that it was nighttime Vorwulf activated the Cape of Bat Flight and shot straight up into the weird green night and drank down his last potion of Heal. Grom dumped his last potion of Heal down Maggi’s throat saving her life. The dragon lunged at Vorwulf striking out with its claws and tore into the airborne ranger wounding him badly. Its tail whacked Grom wounding him. Vorwulf, desperate, flew at full speed to the dragon and as he flew above its neck he canceled the cape’s effect and in midair went into a leap attack with both weapons.

Me (the GM): “Um, dude. you’re gonna wind up right next to him and he has an attack left.”

Cris: “S#*t. Damn. I uh…, Yup, he’s gonna kill. Ah..uh..Oh SCREW it, screw it.”

He threw himself towards its long and vulnerable neck with both weapons and as it turned it left itself open to his attack stretching its throat out for the Dragon Bane weapon in the ranger/dragon-slayer’s right hand (it rolled a Natural 1 to auto-parry). The first cutlass struck and laid open the hide to the muscle and the longsword sliced a bared artery, letting loose a virtual rain of steaming red-hot blood. He thumped to the ground on his feet and he, Grom, and the newly risen Magiia all had to dodge the dragon’s corpse as it convulsed in its death throes and fell with a crash. It was then that they saw that the mushroom which huge by then, it was starting to convulse madly jerking to and fro then suddenly it seemed to collapse in on its self, shrinking and shriveling into a nasty black mass then to nothing.

Cris: “Whatever the Wasp’s doing he’s doing it.” The others nodded in agreement.

There was a crack as of thunder and the energy of the leyline which the millennial thing had tied up and was sapping was suddenly freed exploded back into activity. All three of the slayers were injured by the explosion of magical energy. The strange green glow which had flooded the sky began to subside as the green moon began shrink away back into the darkness. The slayers looked about them and then to each other. They were all horribly wounded, completely battle-worn and utterly exhausted. Now all they had to do was travel back to town.

 

To Be Concluded…

The Dragonslayers III Pt. 28: Follow that Wasp!

The slayers had gathered together the booty they looted from the corpses of the Sons of the Dragon including the unfortunate Archer. After Vor shot a few arrows to dispel the shield around the enemy bowman Grom had flown in above the half-dragon and cut his throat. Before the coup-de-grace they had agonized for a while over that decision. Vorwulf checked the juggernaut’s corpse, Maggi was searching the charred remains of Nose Bone, and Grom stripped the gear from the dead archer and flew it down to his companions. Their take comprised of a black lacquered composite shortbow probably with the True Strike ability on it, a large jade bracelet from the juggernaut which Vor was determined to wear as an arm torque, a superior quality spear that was magic but what it did they didn’t know, 4 superior quality throwing glaives which were also magical, a mithral arrow with red fletching definitely magical, 2 potions of Heal, a gold ring with a large emerald, and a pearl ring. They knew the massive mace that the juggernaut had wielded had the Thunderblast ability on it since it dealt quite a bit of damage to Maggs but that they left. They also left the gold medallions bearing the mark of the dragon that each of their enemies had also worn. They didn’t care about the bits of armor and none seemed to be holding any money or jewels. They packed their near gear away and readied to get back on the move.

Grom cast Restoration II on Magiia, she had been hit by one of the Draconian’s envenomed glaives. The shaman also decided to take the time to cast Impervious to Elements (Fire) on both himself and Vorwulf as it had served Maggi well in the battle. They took a look around mainly trying to locate Xanto the Wasp if he was anywhere near. He jumped out from behind a crumbling archway enwrapped in very dry vines.

The Wasp: “Guys! Hey! Over HERE! Let’s go its opening! It’s opening!”

He gestured to the darkening evening sky they could see the green moon was filling the sky with strange, green light and they now noticed that everything had a sickly green pallor cast over it. The Wasp extracted a small crystal sphere with a gold bee trapped at its center. He mumbled a quick spell over the orb and it disappeared with a pop leaving behind the gold be which immediately began to buzz and flew swiftly ahead the Wasp burst after it with his own blurring buzzing wings.

“C’mon Fellas!”

The Blackwings jaunted after the mischievous mage. Vorwulf took the opportunity to down his brand new Heal potion restoring himself to near full health. They proceeded through the weed & vine choked twists and turns of the maze-like ruins at a brisk pace leaping over sudden piles of dirt and stone and jerked to dodge unexpected obstructions and large fallen lichen patched blocks. All the while they were moving towards the pillars of black smoke which were all the more visible and appeared as hideous black pillars against the weird shimmering green sky that crackled with the blue-white bolts of magic energy from the active leyline which ran through the dead-center of the ancient city. They noticed the red-orange glow which began to bow over the shattered battlements more and more, tell-tale dragon-sign or at least the obvious light of a very large fire or fires.

The Wasp rounded a corner through a narrow but very tall archway and suddenly dodged to the side buzzing crookedly through barely avoiding the blade of a fairly large bipennis axe. He had nearly been cut in two by the surprise blow (at least in his retelling of it). Before the slayers stood near identical creature to the juggernaut but more lithe and wearing a polished steel helmet with a red-dyed horsetail tassel at its crown with large deer antlers mounted on either temple. The only differences besides the scant difference in build form the first juggernaut this one also had a jade bracelet on his left wrist and was wielding a long superior quality double-ended heavy bipennis axe. He ignored the Wasp whose buzzing was barely audible and was out of sight and turned towards the 3 slayers and took a fighting stance.

Cris (Vorwulf’s Player): “Ahh! I wondered where this guy was. Let’s do this.”

Gil (Grom’s Player): “Oh yeah, the guy the hunter told me about.”

Magiia charged and power-attacked with her axe but her blow was batted to the side with an unnatural ease and she suffered the very effective counter-attack wounding her badly in the very first exchange of the fight. Vorwulf lunged in simultaneously drawing his paired weapons and struck, the big-guy kicked a blast of dirt into his face but to no effect and he landed his double blows dispelling the magic shield, the half-dragon’s medallion burst with a golden glow. Grom stayed back and used his Rod of Magic Missiles which again hit the medallion’s shield. The half-dragon took a step back and slung one-end of his double-ended weapon at Maggi’s ankle trying to trip her nearly succeeding but ultimately failing to throw her on her back. He struck out with the other end at Vorwulf hacking into his armor and dealing a fair blow to the ranger/dragon-slayer.

Maggi struck out again but was again easily parried. Vorwulf followed with his paired swords and hit wounding the 10 ft.-tall brute and Grom sent another blast of magic missiles dealing no damage. The dragon-son swung at Maggi again but this she successfully parried the end aimed at her and struck back with a counter-attack smashing he axe into him unleashing a gout of red-hot dragon blood. With a roar the monster lashed the other end of his weapon at Vorwulf hitting him again. Maggi struck again wounding her enemy mortally but he was still on his feet. Vor followed up a second later dropping the half-dragon in a shower of gore. They made a quick check for the Wasp but he was nowhere to be seen. What they couldn’t know was that he was heedlessly buzzing along urging on companions who had ceased to follow quite some time ago.

They quickly looted the half-dragon’s corpse with Vorwulf putting on the jade bracelet as an arm-torque. They followed the path they though the Wasp had taken and soon could see his yellow and black striped form buzzing under an archway into a large high-walled courtyard where the ominous columns of black smoke were visible floating above the disintegrating battlements. It was fully dark now save for the weird lights of the green moon and the crackling leyline. The Wasp motioned for them to follow and he buzzed through the arch into the courtyard.

Cris: “Damned Wasp!”

Vorwulf: “HEY! WAIT UP!”

Vorwulf with the other two in tow moved swiftly to follow the Wasp through the tall archway between two half-ruined square towers. The group found themselves in a large triangular courtyard blocked on one side by a high hill of rubble and bush where several ruined buildings were scattered about. There were a few large gaping holes where the ground had fallen in and up ahead the group could see another archway between a pair of capped towers a large but badly defaced statue of white stone stood in front of each representing, possibly, wizard-like figures. Through that arch lay a larger courtyard where the dragon obviously lay as the red glow was shedding a bloody light over the triangular courtyard and a steady rain of fine black soot was raining down. The path under the arch was choked with two very large pieces of pale stone blocks.

The Wasp suddenly turned sharply to the east and buzzed through a large breach in the larger courtyard’s wall. Vorwulf sighed probably tinged with exhaustion more than frustration. He decided to try stealthily creep through the archway into the large courtyard hoping in vain to gain any kind of advantage. He moved around the last block in the path and saw before him a mostly barren courtyard bounded by mostly ruined 20 ft. battlemented walls. There several massive piles of burning coals and wood burning hotly placed at three corners around the place and several large cave-in holes in the ground and between all these at the center lay the dragon with its face peering at a small pale object that had a blinding crackling aura about it. It was the mushroom which seemed to increase in size as he looked on. He shot his eyes ot the east trying to spot for the Wasp. He caught sight of a yellow and black blur through the smoke of a smoldering coal field shooting across a short span of the courtyard and down into a nearby hole.

Vorwulf [more mumbling than anything else]: “Damned Wasp.”

He looked back as the rest of the group caught up with him being only a step behind. Suddenly the bone-white stalk of the millennial mushroom shot up and grew to at least 10 ft. in height in a second and its aura burst with white energy and the crackling energy of the leyline suddenly collapsed in on itself falling into the mushroom and disappearing all the while all sound seemed to just stop and everything seemed to freeze dead still for just a moment. The sky was a uniform dull green dominated now solely by the light of the weird green moon with only the pinholes of stars with which to share the night sky. The gigantic red dragon turned its horn-crowned head, the 3 dragon skulls slung around its neck clunking with strange music, its evil green eyes meeting those of Vorwulf. This was an ancient dragon.

It was also a dragonlord and a hybrid, its blood a mix of a Great Horned and a Chromatic Red dragon. Just as he realized this he heard Maggi’s war-cry echo out from behind him the frantic beating of her feet against the ground as she charged followed. The dragon, which still looked uninterested in them as it believed them no threat, waved a claw casually. Three large Red Drakes appeared near it and with a single beat of their wings they were roaring at the slayers through the air.

Vorwulf knocked a dragonbone arrow.

To Be Continued…

The Dragonslayers III Pt. 27: The Sons of the Dragon

Just in time Grom cast Protection from Elements (fire) on the Ferenoi before she was out of his reach. Magiia dashed between the ruined gate towers and leapt behind one of the large boulders to the side of the now revealed pit trap that had almost claimed Vorwulf. She peaked around and spotted a 10 ft. tall half-dragon partially concealed by a boulder about 45 ft. straight ahead in the cleft that lead via a slightly twisted path to the inner gate. The large guy behind the boulder was a human with vaguely draconic features with patches of bright red scales over most of his visible skin. He was wearing a scale mail shirt with a steel pectoral plate held by a cross-harness over that, a pair of spiked bronze bracers on each arm with bronze greaves on his legs, and a polished bronze open helm on his head which was decorated with a pair of nine-point deer antlers and red horsetail tassel streaming from the peak of the helmets crown. From his neck dangled a large gold medallion bearing the mark of the dragon. He was armed with a superior quality heavy two-handed spiked great mace. She couldn’t wait to sink her axe into him.

Magiia: “My axe is thirsty! THIRSTAAY!”

Grom the shaman stopped and tried to take as much cover as possible where he stood still between the decaying gate towers and by chance caught sight of the hidden archer whom was squatting camouflaged in a large clump of shrubs 10 ft. up on a ledge at the start of the cut-path at the base of a still intact crenulated wall. The archer was another human half-dragon with red scales and equipped with a steel pectoral plate, a wolfskin mantle, spiked bronze bracers on his ropey forearms, and a pair of bronze greaves protecting his legs. He had a gold medallion bearing the mark of the dragon around his neck, a red hip-bag, and a full hip-quiver filled with excellent and a few evil looking arrows. He was currently armed with a composite short-bow which was training on the shaman. Grom shouted and pointed the archer out to Vorwulf.

Vorwulf spotted another ducking behind a clump of woody shrubs just about 10 ft. across from the larger half-dragon, this one appeared to be a human dragon-shaman equipped with a red gambeson, a studded wide red leather belt with a red hip-sack, and a bishop’s mantle. He also bore similar spiked bronze bracers on his arms and bronze greaves on his legs. He was armed with a superior quality longspear with a pair of throwing glaives dangling from his belt. His skin was covered in a layer of red scales and his nose was pierced with a polished half-moon of boar’s tusk. The ranger could see the glitter of gems off of the rings on his fingers and from the gold medallion bearing the dragon’s mark around his neck.

Cris (Vorwulf’s Player): “Oh yeah of course! Of course they do!”

Jenn (Magiia’s Player): “Oh great! Are we gonna be able to hit these guys?” Referring to the cannibalistic barbarian’s they had faced several days previously (see The Dragonslayers III Pt.24: The Mark of the Dragon).

Vorwulf shot an arrow at the Nose-Bone dragon-shaman. The medallion glittered with a magical light and the arrow immediately turned and shot back at Vorwulf who barely parried his own arrow with his magical buckler. The half-dragon juggernaut from behind the boulder surged forward towards Vorwulf’s position. Vor caught sight of a dark feathered shape flapping its wings and slipping from the battlements at the top of a nearby tower atop a 10 ft. bluff to the west. It disappeared from sight as soon as it was clear of the shadows. He could hear something set down lightly on the boulder just behind the one behind which Maggi currently took cover. Nose-Bone stepped from behind the bushes and attempted to cast a spell but failed. The hidden archer took a pot shot at Vorwulf but the black arrow shattered on the ranger’s buckler.

Maggi pushed away from the boulder and charged the juggernaut, her obsession with killing dragons ultimately taking over, with a mighty battle-cry as soon as she reached the half-dragon juggernaut the ground before him exploded in a blast of fire but she was protected from the flames by Grom’s spell; undoubtedly a trap-spell cast by Nose-Bone. She swung but was easily parried. Grom cast mass bull’s strength granting his comrades and himself a badly needed bonus to their strength attributes. Vorwulf shot in the hidden archer’s direction (he missed the arrow zipped uselessly into the thicket) and moved away from the boulder on top of which he knew there was something he couldn’t see. The juggernaut nailed Maggi with his mace wounding her. Nose-Bone moved further back nearing the boulder from behind which Juggs had charged. A glaive flew unexpectedly at Grom whom dodged (barely). It had come from the top of the boulder on which Vor had heard something land. Now however, it was visible having made an attack dispersing the spell that had kept it invisible until now. On top of the rock was squatting a draconian with red-brown scales and with black feathers over its head and its black wings appeared as those of a large black raven. The creature was wearing a bright red gambeson over which was a steel pectoral plate held in place by a cross harness and spiked bronze bracers on its wrists and bronze greaves on its legs. It was armed with a superior quality quarterstaff and from its belt dangled a single superior quality throwing glaive.

Another black arrow with bright blue feathering shot from the thicket at Vor and exploded in a seismic blast which Vorwulf, thanks to his Improved Evasion feat, was able to completely evade. The blast was fortunately far enough out of the way not to catch anyone else in the area of effect. Maggi undaunted swung again at Juggs this time connecting with and dispersing the invisible magic shield that surrounded him his medallion burst with gold light. Vorwulf still armed with his longbow turned and shot at the top of the boulder striking a shield surrounding the feathered draconian. The juggernaut smacked Maggi with a Natural 20 and could’ve killed her in a single blow had she not previously activated the shield ability on her helmet. The draconian replied to Vorwulf’s arrow with his last glaive which Vorwulf masterfully parried with his buckler. Nose-Bone retreated behind the boulder out of sight. Another black shaft shot from the bushes and nailed Vor dealing some damage. Maggi replied the juggernaut’s devastating blow with one of her own which smashed away his final shield of the day signaled by the glow from his medallion suddenly going out with a pop. Grom slung a spell at the thicket in which the archer hid causing it to squirm to life and completely entangling and immobilizing him. Vorwulf tried to get another shot at the feathered draconian but fumbled burying the arrow in the dirt. Meanwhile the juggernaut smashed into Maggi this time as she hadn’t had a chance to re-activate her magic shield and blood gushed. Again Vorwulf shot at the draconian and again struck a magic shield but the light from his medallion also went out with a pop. Juggs hit Maggi again wounding her fairly badly this time.

Magiia leveled a power attack at the juggernaut burying her axe-blade deep in his flesh. Vorwulf buried and arrow with a Natural 20 in the feathered draconian who shrieked in pain. The juggernaut answered Maggi’s powerful hit with his own which only by the breadth of a hair she was able to deflect. Grom moved to the rear of the Ferenoi Maggi and used his healing touch to keep her standing. The draconian flapped its black wings and flew roaring at Vorwulf in an attempt to catch the ranger in its powerful and venomous jaws. Vorwulf dropped his bow, quick-drew his scimitar and cut into the monster with a simultaneous attack killing it. The strange corpse petrified into stone while still in the air and crashed to the ground. Maggi activated the Shield ability on her helmet and let loose with another power attack at Juggs opening another wound. Vorwulf stuck his swords in the dirt and grabbing his longbow back up knocked an arrow let off a wild shot at Nose-Bone pinioning him with an arrow wounding him badly. The juggernaut again tried to finish Maggi with another insanely powerful blow but only managed to smash away the shield spell surrounding her. Grom cast a Heal Other spell on Maggi trying to assure her survival. Nose-Bone peeked around his boulder and cast Fire Bane at Maggi. The Protection from Fire spell that Grom had cast over her protected her fully however Grom forgot to cast it on himself forcing him to make a Recovery Roll to keep standing. Vorwulf put away his bow, snatched up his swords and went for the juggernaut but his single blow was easily swatted away. Maggi leveled another axe-blow at Juggs taking another chunk out of him. Vorwulf now side-by-side with Magiia struck at and hit the juggernaut dealing very little damage. The half-dragon replied with his spiked mace but the blow was deflected far too easily off of Vorwulf’s buckler. Nose-Bone activated one of his rings and a Swarm of Magic Missiles, 5 each, struck the three slayers. Grom called down the lightning from the sky blasting the dragon shaman with the nose bone into a smoking ruin barely recognizable as a corpse. Vorwulf again struck at Juggs but was again swatted away.

Finally with the upper hand, the slayers began hammering away at the juggernaut even Grom after pulling his morning star of supernatural might and tightened ranks with his two companions. It was another full round of bashing, chopping, and slashing before the impossibly tough villain was finally dead. The only one of the slayers not on the verge of death was Vorwulf who was still very wounded.

Cris: “Yeah, I’m about half-way.”

They began swilling potions as the shaman wanted to preserve some of his spells for the dragon. It was then that they turned their attention to the still entangled archer.

Grom (sort of downcast): “I’ll do it.”

Grom cast bestial might on himself and flew up above the head of the half-dragon archer and pulled out his dagger.

 

To Be Continued…

GM Copy of the battle-map

GM Copy of the battle-map

The Dragonslayers III Pt. 26: A Flight of Graylings

It took a couple of hours for the slayers to clear the debris field of the ruined city and emerging from the piles of pale rubble that used to be a city gate they were confronted with a bleak, limestone desert broken sparsely by clumps of woody shrubs. The sun beat down with unrelenting heat but the air and occasional breeze was icy cold. They continued northward for an hour. Vorwulf’s compass proved itself useless as the needle began to spin around its face faster and faster the farther they got from the dead city. After about another hour of travel Vor stopped the group, he was lost and unable to get his bearings back. The landscape was white and flat. Grom the shaman cast Commune with Nature and was able to point the way, they were a lot farther to the east than they should have been. The spell seemed to speed his senses over a vast area. He realized the leyline was expanding the area of effect of the magic allowing him to detect their goal about 2 miles off and an uncountable number of supernatural creatures all around. They started again this time in the right direction.

They broke out their rations on the move, Vor pulled some steaming fresh-baked bread, ripe cheese, and juicy meat from the Bag of Meals. Just after finishing, after about an hour, Vor spotted something moving just at the edge of his vision. By chance (a natural 20) he made out the camouflaged shapes of seven manticores in a ring surrounding the group. He shouted his warning as he pulled his swords.

In less than 30 seconds they had killed all seven only Grom took any damage from their claws and Magiia was sporting claw furrows in her armor. The wasp was nowhere to be seen until the last monster dropped. He buzzed back among the slayers and touched down; he had been hovering about 100 ft. above the fighting.

The Wasp (kicking a dead manticore): “ALRIGHT! YEAH!”

Jenn (Maggi’s Player)[to Gil after hearing him giggle at the Wasp’s antics]: “You really like him don’t you?”

Gil (Grom’s Player)[at the level of a whisper almost dismissively]: “Well, uh, yeah…yeah.”

Grom chopped off all of the manticores’ scorpion tails and stuffed them into his Bag of Holding.

Maggi: “What are you doing!?”

Grom: “They might be magic. Right? They’re different colors. Might be able to use ‘em.”

Each manticore was of a different and brilliant color (red, green, yellow, blue, orange, purple, and black).

They continued on with Grom in the lead and as evening began to fall on the white plain they could see the eerie wall of blue-white energy crackling in the distance yet somewhat too near for comfort. All of their magic items, each was heavily equipped with all sorts of magic stuff, was vibrating. Grom and Maggi felt euphoric from the rush of magical energy flowing through their bodies. They got as close as they dared (within 100 ft. of the line) and tried to sleep, Maggi didn’t feel the need to rest at all so she volunteered to keep watch all night long. Vor would join her for the third however. Before going to sleep Grom decided to try to commune with nature again and got a very strong bead on the true Sons of the Dragon, those that the trapper had told him about (see The Dragonslayers III Pt.21). They were planning on following the leyline north-west until they would come to the city, or so said Grom anyway.

The night passed peacefully under the strange blue glow of the leyline until third watch when Vorwulf was able to spot five adult graylings swooping in at the camp. The battle was another brief skirmish with Grom coming out the worst. The slayers had managed to kill 2 of the dragons; the other 3 were wounded and had flown off. Vorwulf had spent a couple of his precious and dwindling number of dragon-bone arrows. During the battle Grom had cast Bestial Might on himself and whipped out his Morning Star of Supernatural Might and being frustrated that the dragons were strafing them with somewhat effective flyby attacks flown straight at them very quickly finding himself surrounded, realizing his mistake almost too late he flew back to his allies. He had to use a daily charge on his helmet of Heal fully restoring his health.

Maggi immediately fell onto the corpses cutting arteries and filling the empty potion bottles. The dragon-blood was burning hot to the touch. Vorwulf cut out some teeth and claws for trophies.

Vorwulf (Played by Cris): “Damn. Too bad we don’t have time to skin ‘em.”

They ate breakfast and let the shaman warpaint them. Xanto the wasp refused (savages). They got on the move shortly thereafter with Vor in the lead again heading due west along the leyline. At noon a bright green flash in the sky painted everything with a pale green pall for an instant.

The Wasp: “The Green Moon! The Green Moon!” Excited, he immediately picked up his pace and began to buzz far ahead of the slayers.

By evening they reached the ruins which jutted up like broken bones piercing the pale landscape. These were much more intact and the walls and battlements high. Large thickets of pale green bushes and patches of tall golden grass huddled about the fallen stones and broken arches of the city. They could see a cobblestone walkway, an old road, leading right into the overgrown mouth of the city gates a partially intact grand archway between two skeletal towers. Grom cast Impervious to Fire over the entire group (save for the Wasp) and they proceeded cautiously. Vor looked over to the Wasp.

Vorwulf: “Okay Xanto. You want to be here so go ahead!”

Xanto the Wasp: “Um, naw that’s fine lead the way you’re the leader!” He was quaking with excitement obviously anxious to get in there.

Vorwulf (shrugging): “Fine then.”

Vor moved as quiet as a cat through the high broken archway into the overgrown outer courtyard immediately he had to dodge to the side as he had nearly stumbled into a pit trap just 15 ft. past the gate towers. An arrow shot from somewhere up ahead of the ranger aimed at Grom but due to his ring of greater displacement it missed a direct hit but as it thudded into the ground it exploded in a seismic blast visible shockwaves rippled through the air and the earth dealing some damage to Grom though he was able to cast a healing spell on Maggi to bring her back to full health. Maggi was unaffected by the spell, her armor was only slightly dinged by the shockwave. She roared as she charged and Vorwulf knocked an arrow yelling for the Wasp whom didn’t answer back.

 

To Be Continued…