Everyone wants to be the center of attention. When we are sitting around the table and we see that one character is having the spot light, espousing their special skills and abilities, it is only natural that there should be a touch of envy.
During this night though I happened to have an issue where one of my players wanted to have an opportunity for the spotlight as well. Even though it wasn't his bailiwick. So the thief character who was doing his job happily stood aside and let the "lesser" character take over. It wasn't as neat, took a bit longer, and ultimately made the others around the table feel a bit animosity towards the character that was "stepping in" where his skills weren't wanted.
Rule of thumb - you should let those with the skill set necessary to do their jobs..do their jobs.
Write up follows:
We picked up on Watermonth the 11th, just a bit shy of 11:30. Our party was arranged against a member of the Circle of Thorns who identified himself as Xishalan. A druid of some power, he also had at his beck and call, a leopard, a giant badger, a 6' beetle with strange antenna (yes –yes –it was a rust monster), and 3 hawks. The party moved in and started the fight.
Zoltan fired off a fast and lucky Sleep spell – which dropped the giant badger AND all 3 of the hawks! The group charged forward into the fight and Xishalan fired his own spell – this one a hold spell which froze the charging Smokey in his tracks, causing the running bear to dump onto his face and slide to a stop. Poor bear. Meanwhile the leopard made headway, hitting Karis' shield and the half ogre stopping the running cat cold. Some sweeps and cuts and the group moved in. As usual, our favorite dwarf crossbow (poisoned of course) stabbed the druid.
The rust monster was making a bee line towards Karis (strange – the largest, armored figure in the party!) but Detheron returned the favor and did a hold animal on the trundling monster – and it slid to a stop. With most of his animal companions neutralized and now having 11 angry party members (well 10 – since Smokey was held) on the attack, Xishalan was surrounded and in a short order taken down and the fight came to a fast(ish) end.
We stripped off what goodies and gear we could find – specifically the druid's cudgel (a club with a greenish tinted hunk of granite strapped near the top) with the etched word "Elkstone" on it, a whistle (that made its way into Zoltan pouch), a potion of Tempestskin (something to do with storms – we are REALLY light on alchemists), and some assorted coins - the majority of them being crowns and commons.
We had Amal and Osgar spend time skinning the badger and the leopard (keep in mind – these skins are untreated so will get real stinky soon), and then we cut up the badger (or at least some of the tender portions) for meat. We decided while this was going on to eat lunch (of the fish we swiped from the centaur's camp earlier plus some of our own stuff) and generally rest up. Nothing was following us and we felt comfortable that we could continue on the dense forest after a while.
About 1, we came upon the ivy covered expanse of some long forgotten structure. The forest and elements had torn most of it down, but what did remain was two walls (30' odd feet and 60' odd feet) that were joined together by a sagging floor (maybe 15'+ feet off the ground) and a tired looking roof. A large tree had grown through one of the windows and provided an easy way up to the structure's interior, should we wanted to go. The dwarf (Gwyn) told us that the lines of the place and the style reminded him of a church or temple – but it obviously wasn't dwarven made since it had been falling apart (in his words) so easily.
Zoltan took one for the team and climbed first. Getting high enough, he peered into the lower floor and saw about a dozen spongy and scattered long pews, and the remains of a stone font. There were moss choked symbols of ravens and a one eyed bearded man – which let the party know this was once a place for Odin. Those that had read Dargan's Folly informed us that the priests of Odin had figured largely in the books – so more evidence of us being on the right path.
At the 2nd floor, he could see the floor was really bad – but there were still 3 rooms sort of visible. One could be looked into given the position of the tree – and it might have been a sleeping place long ago – couldn't see the other two. Puck joined him in the tree and volunteered to step off onto the floor. It groaned and moaned – and the party could hear "stuff" falling off below the floor onto the 1st floor below – but it didn't come crashing down.
He gave the 1st room a once over – and saw lots of mice and bugs and ivy and dust and garbage – but nothing of any interest or value. So he went to the 2nd room (more broken and breaking stuff falling to the floor below) and here he saw the mummified remains of a female humanoid with 3 arrows in her body, some old and weather beaten gear, and half a dozen pixie sized winged creatures here in bad shape and cut up. He called out a quick scry and noted the dagger and one of the rings on her hands glowed.
On his attempt to go to the 3rd room, he didn't trust the floor at all and opted to go back to the tree and let Zoltan finish the job – telling him what he had noted on the long dead woman. Zoltan removed his armor, packs, and heavy weaponry to make himself as light as possible, and made his way to the 3rd room – it too was filled with drawers and sleeping pallets – but nothing but mice and dust and filth within. He opted to climb OUTSDIE the building along the stone face to the window by room 2 and go in that way. Once there he stripped the goodies off the dead woman took a look around, and went down to the rest of the party.
Puck came down (with all his gear) and the party discussed what they learned. The woman had 3 rings, one of them (silver with a badly pitted and blackened ruby) magical with the words "Cannith Al Tannoth" written within. A short read magic spell revealed it to be "Ring of Healing". Karis got the ring and enacted it (with the words) – and got a bolt of "feeling better" – and the ruby got more pitted and blackened. Meanwhile Evian was checking out the lower floor (since no one was upstairs anymore) to see if there was anything there of note.
The dagger was more of a utility tool than a weapon (although having 7" of iron shoved into you makes it an effective weapon still) and Gwyn worked at it as best he could until we could read through the grit and rust – the word "Talensia" on the crossguard. She had some coins in her battered pouch, a scattering of coins and denomination – but we noted that all the coins were date stamped between twenty and thirty years ago. And finally, she had a tarnished necklace with a faded oil print of a handsome man within. On the back was the engraving: "To Isola, Remember me on the dark and wild roads. Grath Daernhorse".
We did some discussing for a bit and then the party moved on. We traveled through the thick forest for a good 45 minutes until we came to a natural clearing on a small rise. A voice called out from the other side: "You have come far enough outsiders. The Circle of Thorns does not want you here. Depart now, while you may, in peace. Come further and you will face the limitless fury of Idun, Frey, and the Yggdrasil."
Stepping just into the clearing was a tall, red haired wild elf clad in a breechcloth and wooden bracelets; long scars surrounding his neck. He was flanked by two other wild elves wearing worn leather plates and feather fetishes in their hair. There appeared to be 4 shaggy backed wolves standing with the stoic druids, their teeth bared and tails rigidly upraised behind them. And finally there was a 14' tall, wide backed beetle with a thick green shell, what seemed to be a hardened length of horn in the front, and a set of 4' long mandibles.
The taller wild elf (that we identified as Faranath) ended it simply with, "I will not repeat myself. Go. Now."
That's as good a call to start the fight as anything. The group readied weapons and whatnot, bows and arrows and crossbow bolts and spells. Zoltan did the cloak whip thing and Karis waited long enough for Evian to cast Enlarge on him – swelling the already big half ogre to almost 11' in height and 500 odd pounds! The female druid tried to heat Karis' armor but the knight was able to shift out of the way in time.
And then Faranath dropped a sleet storm on the party and our life went into the crapper. Visibility dropped to 5'and the air was filled with driving cold and snowy rain. Detheron cast Invisibility to Animals on those closest to him (Him, Karis, Amal, and Evian) and the party was given orders to get the hell out of the snow and attack them. We split up, left and right, and half the party began falling and sliding. Eventually Osgar made it out and roared back that the druids were splitting up and attacking. Karis charged forward and slammed into the beetle first who didn’t see him until the sword struck. First blood!
The knight shifted from the sword to the mace he picked up, "Kysoth's Bludgeon" – thinking the ensorcelled mace would do better against the carapaced monster. Faranth struck Karis with an insect swarm and the knight was getting stung and bit and whatnot – his blows weakened and his armor worsened. Smokey joined Osgar at the outside and they got ready to engage the 1st wolf. Zoltan reappeared and tried to backstab the female druid but her skin turned brown and pebbly (like bark) as his weapon struck and the blow was turned aside. Damn.
Meanwhile Puck and Kalarig had made it out and arrows were fired at the other druid who was hanging far enough back – readying a spell. Faranth had taken his staff sling off and got himself something loaded, spinning the weapon around. Karis and the beetle fought on – blows exchanging. Smokey joined the fight with Amal, but the bear fumbled and got knocked out for 4 full rounds of combat – earning many snickers by Fodder. Detheron summoned another hippogriff to help us and the two orcs, hippogriff, and Fodder closed towards the female druid who was fighting with Zoltan – after summoning a wild horse that was kicking frantically at the thief/bard. Zoltan cloak/ported himself away – this time 50' back.
Detheron's wand "Sabrefrost" fired out – sending 7, 9# bowling ball sized chunks of ice to slam into the druidess – and she failed EACH one of her saves – chuckle. She went down with massive head trauma and passed out.
Karis moved backwards into the sleet storm, the 14' tall beetle following. The cold snow and rain drove the insect swarm from him and he was able to fight without trouble once more. Meanwhile Evian took out one of the two wolves on Puck's side, her long sword flashing. Gwyn was readying a poisoned xbow bolt and the 3rd druid made a ball of fire in his hand and then threw it at the party – hitting Evian square on. Kalarig hit the druid with his own arrows! One of them poisoned.
Faranth snarled out, "Let us show you the fury you've unleashed!" and hurled the stone he had prepared in his sling…upward! It soared up, trailing sparks into the afternoon sky, higher and higher until we lost sight of it. The beetle suddenly turned, knocking Karis down with its prodigious bulk, and charged! This time at the hippogriff, Amal, Osgar, and Fodder! The 4 of them took terrible wounds as the beetle charged past. Osgar was near death and the hippogriff was badly hurt. Detheron slapped a quick cure on the wounded orc who readied his hand axe and hurled himself at the slowing beetle's back.
The stone or whatever Faranath hurled into the sky suddenly burst and the sky went from sunshine to storm clouds instantly. 40 mph winds, lightning, driving rain – it all came down suddenly from the Storm Gem and Faranath was laughing, readying another spell. A few arrows were fired but they were ineffective in the wind. The party had to close to hand to hand. Puck launched a magic missile (using another precious scroll) and 3 bolts streaked away. Detheron cast a Call Lightning spell – knowing full well it wouldn't hit for another 10 minutes (but he gets 5 bolts!).
The beetle whirled around and dragged Osgar with it who managed to punch a widening hole in the beetle's back with his axe. Now with a better handhold, the crazed orc began hacking his way INTO the beetle, dragging his body further and further in to find something vital to cut! The beetle grabbed Amal and began to squeeze him, hurting him badly. The other orc whacked at the beetles head, refusing to give up even while being hoisted and whipped about.
The group mopped up the last of the wolves and we charged Faranath who was almost ready to do another spell – throwing themselves on him to spoil his casting. His skin too had that pebbly bark look to it when struck, so many blows were turned. Detheron healed Amal this time, the orc redoubling his effort to crush the weakening beetle's head. And Osgar finally got one foot braced on the INSIDE of the beetle's shell and gave a mighty shove, tearing forward and hacking with his axe. And the beetle fell with a gurgling crash!
Faranath got off a single heal on himself but it was short work for the party to finish him off and take him down and then it was over. Osgar and Amal were very hurt and filthy – but proud of their achievements – hacking off the beetle's mandibles and presenting one to Detheron and Osgar keeping the other. Some heals went around the table to and from Karis, Detheron, Puck, Amal, and Fodder.
A short detect told us what had an enchantment on it and we grabbed another Potion of Tempestskin, some wooden bracers from Faranath, and in his pouch were 11 more sling bullets – 10 normal looking (but magical) and one of them shaped like a 10 sided gem and covered in storm and lightning runes. Whoo hoo! Another Storm Gem.
And then while the storm was raging overhead, a high pitched voice roared out, "FARANATH!!! NOOOOO!!!!" and a stroke of lightning arced from the stormy sky above and slapped into: Karis, Detheron, Puck, Amal, and Fodder. Luckily, Karis was carrying the metal rod we picked up off the orcs near the monolith – it absorbed about half the lightning's blast. However it was enough to really screw up the party (Puck dropped to -3 and fell unconscious).
At the stroke of lightning hitting us, we ended it here.
We can see through the wind and rain there is a black-haired flying sprite pointing at the group, three more wild elves grimly near her with clubs drawn, and another 3 sprites near them all with their hands waving.
Great job everyone. Really well done. It's about 3:15 on Watermonth the 11th and we have maybe 3 hours of daylight left. The party guesses this new figure is Glitterbell (one of the 3 from the Que Eshya tribe that hired us 3rd hand) and we have heard that she is cruel and capricious.
And can apparently Call Lightning too.
Speaking of that – it has been 16 rounds since Detheron CAST his Call Lightning – so by my estimations, he has ONE bolt "in the chamber" and another one on board in 4 more rounds. We'll see what happens when we get back together.