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gwangi32

Tears of the Goddess

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Amalric has his bow aimed in the direction where he last heard the sounds of the wildmen. His is quite surprised of the size of the group, especially the style of armor and armaments. He quickly takes aim at the lead archer.

 

Are these the same savages that Cruidha spoke of.., perhaps a parley.., he starts to think but breaks off that train of thought because he knows nothing of this region or its inhabitants. Seeing that they are heavily outnumbered he still holds his bow taut because his companions are depending on him, and he has a plan already in place with Mycaelis.

 

perhaps our surprise attack will cause them to pull back and regroup, they don’t know how many we are and we could make our escape beads of sweat start to form on his brow as he watches his targets draw closer

 

closer you dog, closer..,

 

then hell breaks loose, moments after the fleeing figures have gone from sight Amalric spots Mycaelis rushing towards the pit. Amalric follows suit but leaves his bow out to provide cover, though not liking the odds of the three of them facing what has just frightened off 15 armor and armed men he looks for any sign of the roaring beast.

 

“quick get her out” he says with obvious haste in a low tone. Do we make for the crevice or into the woods away from that thing” he adds expecting the beast to break through the woods at any moment.

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"See if you can find some place with cover that we can defend," Mycaelis grunts stretching as far as he can for Cruidha's hand.

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In keeping with the idea of Reaper minis for the images you are seeing think DH3052 K'Baka Kwana. I'm thinking Cruidha is currently dressed like DH 2743 Tara but without the crossbow/dagger, hand ax and short sword instead.

 

You have just gotten Cruidha out of the hole when a creature stomps out, perhaps 100 yards from you. It is a massive hairy anthropomorphic vision of terror has pushes around a huge copse of trees. This beast is fully ten feet tall at the shoulders but is slumped over, knuckle walking. It lets out a tremedous roar.

 

You are all frozen for a moment at the sight. The beast is as close to the crevass as you are (100 feet), the thickets of the forest are about forty feet away. "What is that some demon of the earth," whispers Cruidha, eyes wide in fear, near the edge of panic. But here whisper has broken the spell of fear. The monsterous creature has not noticed you, and seems to be peering down the path where the wildmen fled moments ago.

 

This is pretty critical so if you have questions before you react that's fine.

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Amalric raises his bow, an arrow already in place.

 

“Demon or Devil it’ll make our search a living nightmare, I’ll have several arrows deep in its hide before it reaches us!” he states as the bow is drawn taut. “what say you?” he says to no one in particular, but his tone is one on the edge, you can sense that he will fire at any moment if there is much delay.

 

Note: If the beast makes any sign of looking our way I’ll shoot, using Rapid Shot

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Seeing that his companion is intent on standing up to the beast, Mycaelis regains his feet and notches an arrow of his own.

 

"Aye, I'll stand with you," he grunts. "I'm no coward."

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Recently I read about using a cutscene to inform the Player Characters of some useful information. So I was thinking this might be a good time to go back in you shared histories ...

 

Old men to tell old tales, that's how it seems at any given campfire. Be it a Aquilonian Grandfather spinning a yarn during the spring, as the men help the horse foal and break in the yearlings; or a grizzled greybeard growling a tale before nightwatches begin for the caravan, old men tell old tales. One such tale, told and retold in the northern mountains, from the Pictish Wilderness to the fastness of the Hyperboreans is that of the Demons of the Peaks. As the fire crackles and shadows flicker the story unfolds of a manlike creature, hairy and savage. This thing craves human flesh more than any other meat. It hunts the darkest, moonless nights. Few have seen it and lived. But those few have described a six foot, hair covered man like monster. The creature comes on a wayward party in the night, only a vague scent in the air to give warning and then ... someone dissappears. Maybe during their watch or maybe when no one is looking. The monsters are quiet, savage and hungry, always hungry.

 

All of you are from the North and have some form of the campfire story filitting through your heads.

 

You are all standing not far from a pit in the ground. Further into the canyon are trees growing in thick copses, further than the trees is the mouth of the canyon which you came through. You can tell that this beast could not get through the passage that you came through. Cruidha is looking at the nearest trees, some as tall as 100 feet are in the grove.

 

"We can get to those trees before the thing charges," she says while readying her hand axe. She moves with exagerated care.

 

The beast sniffs the air, it is blowing from the trees, any scent would be coming from further in the valley. The creature begins to move slowly toward the path, now walking in a manner very much like a human.

 

You may shoot if you like. Cruidha is armed very lightly and I believe that Mycaelis was as well neither having a bow.

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“Get that fire in your Cimmerian blood going Cruidha, strike as it charges by, the beasts anger will be directed at me.”

 

He turns his head and nods to Mycaelis

 

“On three.., two.., one..,”

 

“Twang.., Twang..,” The pair of arrows swiftly head toward their mark. Amalric steps closer to the edge of the pit, placing it between him and his target.

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Crouching down behind whatever cover is available, Mycaelis nods in agreement to Almaric's plan. As the arrows fly towards their target, he readies his great axe and his muscles tense in anticipation of springing to the attack.

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I refer you to either battle Conan had with a Man Eating Ape; Hour of the Dragon or Iron Shadows in the Moonlight, for a description of a normal sized carnivorous ape. Thak in the story Rogues in the House could also be a reference. In all three stories the beast was much smaller than this one. In any event the battle begins.

 

Two arrows streak out to strike the huge hairy manlike creature. One sticks into the furry flank of the beast causing no apparent injury, the other strikes the beast in the hand. It grunts in annoyance and looks at its finger. Having been concentrating on the road and the dissappeared natives, it takes the creature a moment to take in the arrow, and notice the three of you.

 

Plucking the arrow out it begins to move in your direction. Standing tall on hind legs this engine of destruction is nearly 14 feet tall. He roars and begins to charge.

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I've read Iron Shadows in the Moonlight just recently!

 

Watching the snarling beast charge, bends Mycaelis' will but not enough to break it. Setting his teeth in resolve, he tightens his grip on his axe and waits to spring on it at the first opportunity.

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Either unfazed or uncaring about the fierceness of the beast Amalric becomes like an automated machine, two more arrows swiftly fly toward the creature. He continues to take calculated steps moving along the edge of the pit, keeping it between him and his target, while also maintaining a clear shot for when his companions strike.

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I reviewed our other discussion thread and updated how many shots will go off. Amalric gets eight all together, four rounds prior to the beast closing the ground between your group and it's original position where it stopped to scream it's rage.

 

Cruidha has moved to Amalric's left and stuck her sword in the ground near her foot for rapid use. She holds a hand ax in either hand preparing to throw. "You two are mad, we need spears and dogs to fight a beast like this, we should all have bows. We need to hunt this like a Cimmerian Cave Bear," she mumbles just loud enough to be heard.

 

Two more arrows speed on target. Perhaps it is the rapidly decreasing range, but these hit much more solidly than the first pair. One seems a fatal wound, if facing a human opponent, sinking up to the fletching in the beast's gut. Again Almuric releases, his steady hand and skill sending four more arrows at the beast in smooth, steady rhythm. The combined effect of the arrows is less than could be hoped for, though bleeding from wounds the beast is not slowed at all.

 

Suddenly, and frighteningly for a creature so large it leaps into the air clearing the pit, it will land on Almuric. Cruidha throws her hand axes to little effect, grasps her sword and prepares to dodge.

 

Rolled up some bow shots and two thrown weapon checks. Almuric can fire two more arrows, prepare and strike with a weapon or dodge out of the way. Mycaelis can step in to the attack, but if Amalric opts to dodge then Mycaelis must move and roll initiative to strike the beast. This beast just used a feat called Uncanny Leap, it is prparing to use a grapple. This man ape does not Shun the Light as many of his kin do but is restricted in climbing by size. Just so you know I did roll hits 50% of the time for Amalric who caused a total of 39 points of damage, Cruidha's axes were both misses.

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Hoping that the creature hasn't noticed him yet, Mycaelis waits until it lands and charges, attempting to plunge his battleaxe into it's broad back.

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Amalric watches as his companions get into position. He dodges aside, away from their position allowing for the beast to land between them, he tries and maintain a close proximity along the pits edge, hoping the creatures loses its footing on its borders when it lands or simply falls in trying to avoid their attacks.

 

Trying to keep the beast focus on him he lets out a roar of his own “AARGH!, COME TASTE MY STEEL YOU DEMON OF HELL!” he yells out while casting his bow aside (away from pit that is), then draws his sword waving it viciously in front of him and reading himself to strike the beast as he expects it to turn and attack him.

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I took some time to figure out some of the repercussions of the combat you chose to become involved in and did some rolling for third party actions. Now we move to the final scenes.

 

The beast lands, still grunting and growling. It has not been the ghostly quiet monster of the fireside tales. And though strong, obviously, it is not subtle. The man ape swings it's fist at the dodging Amalric, missing by a hairs breath. Almuric's counter swing is ineffective, not fully penetrating the furry hide of the monster. Cruidha stabs at the leg, hoping to hamstring the creature, "If we worry the thing like a pack of wolves on a bear we could live through this," she shouts.

 

Mycaelis steps in and swings his axe, opening a large wound in the thing's side. Spinning to this new cause of pain the man ape falls on Myca like an avalanche. In the grappling that follows Myca manages to squirm free with no damage. Amalric and Cruidha trying to miss their friend also miss the monster.

 

Perhaps slowing due to loss of blood both Myca and Amalric manage to gash bloody wounds into the monster. But still concentrating it's hate on Mycaelis the cretures sledgehammer fist and a glancing brush with it's fang filled mouth leave him severely wounded and on the ground. As Mycaelis lifts himself up snarling in defiance the man apes fist smashes him down again, the sickening snapping of bones leaving little doubt that Mycaelis is gone. Vengefully Cruidha and Amalric drive their blades into the beast, drawing more blood from the creature.

 

The man ape now focusses on Amalric and though he stabs the creature it's return stroke shatters his ribs, breaks his spine and throws him ten feet through the air to land in a heap. Cruidha succeeds in stabbing the beast again. The creture is definitely hurting, it pants and gasps. But is still enraged and far from dead, it charges after Cruidha who had stepped back from the carnage, shocked to be alone. She stabs the monster one last time her sword still suck in it's hide as she is ripped limb from limb.

 

The battle over the man ape staggers, sitting back and wheezing in pain. Suddenly a storm of arrows strikes the beast, it staggers up and a second wave pierce it's hide. It falls over dead.

 

"By the broad backside of Gullah," curses Gul Fel, chieftan of the Last Outpost of Acheron. "Now we must capture and train another Servant of Set. I think I prefer a bear, honored Nebu." This last was addressed to a tall man different from the others in more than height.

 

"Yes, something different is called for," replies Nebu, "The ape was smarter than any average beast and even with the added influence of the Stones of Ishtar was difficult to control. A pity it was so badly damaged by these trespassers. Let us take a tiger cub though Gul Fel, there is one captured even now in the village of our servants. Send a runner to bring it to me at the Temple of Set this evening. I will begin the ritual this very night."

 

 

And so ends the quest for the Tears of the Goddess. The gems remain in the hands of this small remnant of ancient Archeron. I hope the players and readers enjoyed this thread as much as I did.

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