Ah yes, the age old issue of shooting into battle. I used to play it where a fumble would automatically strike a friend but changed my ruling as I developed the fumble charts (from Dragon magazine) and rolled into 3rd edition. Simple enough - if you shoot into battle and MISS by more than 4, I have you roll again to hit a friendly. Don't have to worry about that if you have Precise Shot.
Our group has had some rather funny instances of shooting into melee and in this regard it was no different. However it WAS at our party gypsy who only just came back from the dead. And it was from our resident dwarf who would rather be a 2nd line archer fighter as opposed to front line battle swinging hero. So he is all geared up for fighting in the front - but never wants to! And he's shot party members before.
What's funny to me is that I know he will shoot party members again. :)
Write up follows:
We talked about our options and decided the water logged cavern was not a good idea, neither was the one with the Troll sounds in it – that left the center one. It was wide, 10 to 15’ in many places, the ceiling as tall if not taller. Loose rock was on the floor and some cracks ran across the ceiling in places but Gwyn assured us it was safe.
Olthar and Soren went first just outside of light range and scouted as we followed behind. It was a short time later when it forked to the left and right – the left side possibly opening into a larger cave. We discussed options and the group moved closer. Eventually Olthar was checking the right side and Coruth’tae the left. At that point a giant cave tick made a prodigious 45’ leap and barreled into the grey elf, burrowing its head into his gut and sucking his blood.
The group tried to knock the tick free but its carapace was thick. Torches were lit and Gwyn tried to burn the thing’s head but it was sucking Coruth’tae and the elven wizard was growing weaker. Eventually it was burned and set ablaze and hit and struck and it jumped free back into the cavern on the left. There was a brief moment when it was debated about tossing a Fireball in there but the group decided against it.
Meanwhile Zoltan had stayed behind and the experienced thief’s instincts paid off as he heard a scrag picking its way closer from the main cave they had just come from. Thinking quickly he shouted back in Giantish some encouraging words and threats and the Troll stopped, replied in kind that it would back away, and did so!
We nursed Coruth’tae back to standing and decided that we would move on, hoping to find a place to rest as we were growing exhausted. Opting to leave the tick and its room behind we went right, deeper into the darkness. The corridor looked worse and worse, with many areas of ruptured ceiling and debris laden floor. Gwyn was growing a bit concerned and advised us to be even more careful. We picked our way across the weaker parts with caution, Detheron opting to use Coruth’tae’s wire puzzle to turn himself 2 dimensional and be carried forward.
From here we returned to the two wood elves walking ahead to scout and the group following. Eventually they came to an area with a number of stalagmites and then what seemed to be a cleft in the stone, 7’ tall, 4’ wide, with a scattering of silver coins in front of it. Hmm. They returned to the group and let us know what was in place. Zoltan followed them and didn’t like the look of the place. He took a loose stone from the floor and threw it and it seemed to hit a silver coin – but did nothing to the coin! Odd. Further tests did the same.
Coruth’tae was called forward and the illusionist eventually agreed with our experienced spelunker. When it was time to hit a stalagmite instead, the thrown rock bounced off one of them that seemed to unfold to 10’ tall, 5’ wide at the base, with 6 long tentacles hanging off its side. Damn! A Roper!! It hurled two of its tentacles forward, not at the group, but just over their head into the ceiling – causing it to cave down.
Damn it! Zoltan, Coruth’tae, and Damian all ran forward, Olthar and Arnog got buried under the stone, and Gwyn, Soren, Detheron and the tiger all ran backward to avoid the falling stone. The roper snagged Zoltan and its tentacles immediately drained a bit strength from the gypsy. However as it began to pull him forward, the thief hurled himself at the Roper and nailed it with a surprise hit with his bleeding knife and his short sword!
Olthar held his breath, badly hurt but still alive. Arnog was frantic, trying to pull himself forward but rocks kept whacking him in the head. Damian tried to hack the tentacle holding Zoltan to no avail and the Roper actually tried to shove the gypsy into its maw, biting and tearing into the thief who was fighting to keep himself free. Meanwhile Detheron held his Heimdall’s Bulwark over the top of the now 6’ tall pile of fallen rocks and called for a ward – the rainbow shield appearing to hold further rocks from falling onto the pile!
The tiger ran ahead and attacked the Roper. Gwyn and Soren both took to the hill and began firing crossbows and arrows at the Roper who grabbed Coruth’tae and drained some of his strength, biting at him, his back teeth circumventing his shield spell (which only affects his front). The tiger eventually bit its way through Zoltan’s tentacle and the Roper was growing weaker, but managed to bite Zoltan hard, tearing the thief’s right ear off! And then to add insult to injury, Gwyn accidentally shot the gypsy with a crossbow bolt during the tightly pressed melee. It was growing more difficult in the corridor to fight and get a blow against the Roper. Arnog managed to pull himself free and then bent down and dug Olthar out as well.
Damian tried to gag the Roper with his own tower shield and body! Blows were raining hard and furious and then the Roper gave a gasp and shudder and Coruth’tae’s shadow wand ripped the last of life from the subterranean horror and it was done. The group was then divided – stay here or get to the other side of the pile – Detheron was announcing the ward was going to fall. Half the group stayed with Zoltan who was digging in the Roper’s gut for his ear (also finding out the Roper’s CAN’T digest platinum – it was at the beast’s belly ;) ) and the other half ran away and the ward fell and more rocks rained down.
The illusion of the silver coins and oval opening had faded with the Roper’s demise. Gwyn, Damian, Detheron, Coruth’tae and the tiger were on one side of the now 30’ long, 10’ wide, 9’ tall pile, while Arnog, Zoltan, Soren, and Olthar were on the other with the dead Roper.
And then the giant tick leapt out of the darkness and hit Gwyn in the back. Damn it! Plus, from the steady diet of scrag blood, the tick had developed the ability to regenerate. Just lovely! The dwarf was knocked down and with only half the party able to help the combat was looking grim. Gwyn tried to stab the tick but the angle was bad. Damian hit it with his sword but the blows were resounding as the dwarf began losing blood. Torches were plied as well as oil and the dwarf and the tick were ablaze in short order.
Gwyn was struck by Damian’s sword at least once and it was with herculean efforts that the tick was eventually slain (with a big thanks from Coruth’tae’s well timed shadow wand again). The group sluiced over the mound of rocks and we decided that the dead end corridor with the huge imposing pile of stones in front of it was as good a place as any to rest for the night.
Watches were doled out and the group went off to slumber. Shortly after everyone went to sleep during Damian’s watch, Zoltan stood up, drew his knife, and began cutting the dwarf’s crossbow and bow strings. The paladin tried to rouse the group but only Detheron woke up who took in the scene, heard Zoltan’s complaint that he was not going to be shot in the back ever again by the careless dwarf, and subtly agreed, telling Damian they’ll take care of it in the morning.
During the night we were approached by a pair of Crab Spiders but they were dispatched easily. A scrag came to investigate but Coruth’tae used Zoltan’s trick of talking Giant and convinced the troll to move on. Eventually the group woke up – tired and drawn out, but better for the sleep. Zoltan and Gwyn were feverish and pale – sick from the deep we were in. Detheron offered to cure both of their diseases but Zoltan told him not to worry about him, to heal the dwarf instead.
It was then that Gwyn saw his weapons and wanted to know what happened. Zoltan flat out admitted it and the two of them had some words, the dwarf shrugging and saying, “When it comes time that you would want me to “take a shot” and I can’t – it’ll be your fault.” We broke our fast and decided to go back to the main cavern and see if there was another option at our disposal.
We climbed over the pile and walked in the darkness, eventually getting to the tick room. No more giant types were in there, just hundreds of smaller types ranging from normal to the size of someone’s thumb. We opted not to risk it and continued on to the main cavern where we heard the sound of a scrag wandering in the water.
Damn it. Zoltan tried talking to it in Giant and the scrag replied, decidedly female, that it could smell us. Double crap – it was the big female. We parlayed with her a bit and she was wroth that we had damaged the scraglings – which we eventually learned were the lamprey looking things in the oily pool. She wanted repayment of it by sending forth the one that did it – we lied and said that the Roper had killed that one.
She was mollified a bit by it but wanted us to still feed the scragling pool. Bring us the Roper and dump it in. If we did that, she would consider us square and let us on our way unmolested (by her at least – if other scrags wanted to take a shot at us, that was their problem and most likely stupidity). IF we did kill any mature scrags, that was ok – just do NOT harm the young anymore. Seems the scrags were taken in by something called Lyggvilda and the larger female scrag had no respect for it or the easily led scrags.
The group was sent back down the corridor to get the half ton Roper and somehow drag it over the pile of rocks of if that failed, chop it up and drag the pieces. And that’s where we left it.