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Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Pillbug

SERENITY
A huge white fierce snake bars the way! Wait, no; that's you, and you're not barring anyone's way. What you are is in the way, of a righteously pissed-off colony of chuul who just had a holy hand-grenade lobbed into their feeding grounds, and one of the survivors is sniffing around to make a meal out of you.

Your play-dead strategy doesn't fool this one in the slightest. Could be that you're still too blood-warm with living heat; could be your body's natural thaumoelectric field; could be just that chuulob don't mind dead prey. Whatever the cause, you're forced to abandon your disguise as the monster closes on you. You wriggle out of a delicate pincer-grip and flee blindly downwards for shelter, a hungry chuul hot on your tail!
Chuulob certainly qualify as Creatures Unusual. Maybe your bardic lore will help prevent this one from eating your face.

You fly from darkness into deeper darkness, adrenalin and frazzled nerves giving your escape an edge of desperate speed. Bonk -- your head cracks hard against a wide rough flatness, and there, a corner -- you dart into the cranny just in the nick of time. Fruitlessly you hunt for a pocket of air in the drowned structure. Your head's crammed up against its sheet metal ceiling, way back in the far top corner - maybe a restroom, an outbuilding, hard to tell without good light -- and the square-paned window opening you slipped in through is much too small for the pursuing chuul, try though it might to thrust its massive claw in after you to pluck you out. It swiftly changes tactics, and you hear metal grinding and screeching above you -- it's going to pull the roof off and come in after you, and then...there's going to be a feast.

You're not stunned anymore, but your breath won't last forever. What do you do?

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Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 1/9 | XP 15/14

It was cramped in here - uncomfortably so. Whatever this structure was, it was not built to accommodate twenty feet of elf-snake. Hands braced against the walls, the bard watched the window warily. Most of her gear was back in the sled, not that any of it would help much. She still had Ramona's knife at least.

As she waited for a probing claw to investigate the entrance, a metallic tearing sound came from above.

Clever bastard.

Drawing the knife, she scrunched down as much as she could and readied herself for a fight. She thought back to her schooling and tried to recall what she knew of these creatures. They were crustaceans. They'd have thick armor and strength to spare. Even so, there must be a weak point.

Bardic Lore: What should I aim for to incapacitate a Chuul long enough to escape?

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Pillbug

SERENITY
Go for the eyestalks, or the base of an antenna cluster. You'll have to be quick and precise: Defy Danger (+DEX or +INT) to get your opening. Take +1 forward to act on this knowledge. What do you do?

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 1/9 | XP 15/14

Serenity willed her heart to slow, trying to conserve her air as much as possible. It was easier said than done. If there ever came a day where she could face danger with a calm heart, it would not be today.

As the roof was finally torn free she lunged. Her body uncoiled like a spring, aiming for a gap to escape the Chuul's trap. As she cut through the water, her knife lashed out towards an eyestalk - that ought to keep it distracted for long enough.

Defy Danger by...acting fast (+DEX): 2d6+1 14

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
18/26-1 HP; 4/14 XP; 1 Armor; 5/11 Load, Scarred
I got on overwatch climbing on buildings and in mangrove branches. Just like they hold down the soil from the eroding sea I'm holding back the chuul with darts. Fixing the problems the Bombardans brought on themselves, and loudly swearing so they know it. The invoice I sound out isn't worth the paper it's printed on, of course, but the principle is that they owe me. Not my crew, they're Bran's.

1d8+1d6+1 volley herc app = (6)+(6)+1 = 13
1d10 mf damage = (4) = 4

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.




Serenity hauled the sled onward, muscles straining at the weight. It bothered her not at all. Nor did the idea of being a pack mule for the Bombardens. To serve was a joy, and the only regret she held was that it was too risky to raise her voice in song right now. It would bolster spirits and ease the journey, but the risk was simply too high. Instead, she offered Ramona a kind smile before dipping her head respectfully.

"Ramona. I wished to speak with you, if I may." She paused a moment to collect her words, the smile slowly fading as her demeanor shifted. "I am deeply ashamed of my hurtful words. Of castigating you for your choices. I have no right to judge. If you can forgive me, I wish only to know what I may do to earn that forgiveness. Regardless, I wish you to know. I am here for you if you need me. I am probably not the woman you wish I was, and it is likely I can never entirely become that woman. But I promise I will try to be good enough."

slydingdoor
Oct 26, 2010

Are you in or are you out?

Ramona
18/26-1 HP; 4/14 XP; 1 Armor; 5/11 Load, Scarred
Nothing surprises me. What is this?

They're just words. Just words. Been telling myself about her words.

–Spare me the waterworks–

Ones like those have been coming back to me like waves on the shore, suddenly the tide's out. That doesn't mean she's earned the right to see my saltwater again though. I can't let her wipe the slate clean just by blurring my eyes. I know it's been scratched. She'll need time, sweat and oil, to brush with the grain until the gouges come out. "You've told me. Show me I mean something to you, keep showing me, and ask me again later." I blink hard and turn away. drat forked tongue can probably smell tears, what's the point. "And the feeling's mutual. I wasn't bluffing when I said I could take care of you and keep you safe, even though circumstances have changed a little into a snake."

How can I be there for your needs?

I need some air, I look around for something to climb. A vantage point, a sniper's nest, where I can see what approaches instead of this drat guessing. Hoping.

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Pillbug

SERENITY
Quick as a (ha, ha) striking snake, your knife-arm flashes out and lops an eyestalk clean off the attacking chuul. It spasms in agony and rears away in a tangle of disorganized limbs -- the coppery tang of chuul blood abruptly flavors the waters. You seize the opportunity and shoot surface-ward as fast as your threshing tail will carry you.
You struck a vulnerable spot. Deal your damage, ignoring armor.

At last your head breaks the surface with a splash -- air, blessed air! You emerge into a blooming skirmish: Ramona on high, providing covering fire to a knot of capsized Bombardans in a flat-out dash for their hover-sled transport; Branwen and Kaude still in the water; two Bombardans still unaccounted for, and Nori.

Your own personal predator may, of course, be along again shortly -- unless you either stab it in the brainpan or be on your way post-haste. But for a little while, nothing is menacing you.
What do you do?

* * *

RAMONA
Your target prudently declines to present any soft underbits to your volley of well-aimed death. Nevertheless, your flashing flechettes embed themselves in the chuul's thick dorsal plating, leaving it looking like it's just suplexed a porcupine. Beads of dark blood well up from the puncture-marks closest to a joint or a thin spot. Looks like that chitin is thick enough to stop flechette shots cold, unless you get it at a weak spot or find a place it doesn't protect. The creature chitters and hisses, coiling into a tight protective ball under your fire, abandoning for the moment its pursuit of fresh prey.

The capsized Bombardans, ever resourceful, seize the opportunity to dog-paddle frantically back to their hoversled, where Bigjob and Eithlinn have managed to hold on, and (between the two of them) wrestled some sort of clumsy control out of the lumbering machine. It sinks wheezily down to touch the swamp surface, and the bedraggled acolytes clamber aboard.

You'll claim no kill this time, huntress; but those Bombardans still bought themselves enough time to get away. Five saved; two left, Branwen and Kaude can handle themselves...and where in the high holy gently caress is Nori?
What you do now?

* * *

BRANWEN
Well, this certainly bloomed into a pleasant little mess, didn't it? Everyone's scattered, split up like grenade shrapnel. Fortunately not literal shrapnel -- that honor is as yet preserved for the two chuulob you've blown to kingdom come.

Strangely, the creatures don't keep coming as you'd expect - the two pursuing you turn with a flip of lobsterlike plated tail-ends and beat a hasty retreat, vanishing into the murky depths. Kaude moves just as quickly, darting minnow-swift for the flaking corpse of a long-dead ornamental tree. They swarm up the branch like a gecko, clutching a purloined chemlight (where did they get that?!) in their teeth, and don't stop until they're a good six feet above the water. In its pale green glimmer you can see the thief's chest heaving in and out like a bellows. Their eyes are white-rimmed and dilated - huge with fear.

That thief was bold enough to rob from Scrimshaw. What in this or any other hell could have them so afraid?

And do you really want to stick around to find out?
What do you do?

Alumnus Post fucked around with this message at Aug 9, 2018 around 14:03

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 1/9 | XP 15/14

Damage: 1d6 1

The bard streaked past her foe, her arm lashing out to strike at the chull as she went. As she broke the surface, her eyes darted about as she took stock of the situation. Things were hectic but they were not being routed, thank Nashira. Raising an arm, she made a series of quick hand signals to Ramona. Enemy behind; going to secure the clerics.

Taking a deep breath, she dove once more, sinuously cutting through the water as she tried to spot the two Bombardens that had not managed to regroup yet.

ArkInBlack
Mar 22, 2013


Branwen McAlister
HP 20/20 | Armor 1 | XP 11/12 | Load 4/12
Spells: Light[ ] Sanctify[ ] Guidance[ ] CLW[ ]
Bless[ ] Cause Fear[ ] Magic Weapon[ ] Speak W/ Dead[ ]
Boom[ ]


Branwen's feet find purchase and she drags herself splashing to her feet. Her outstretches her hand towards the fleeing creatures, crying out "Bask in Bombarda's echoing glory!" and a small mote of radiant light zips forth from her palm, leaving a small trail of smoke behind as it spirals towards the retreating beasts. As it nears, it flares up, increasing in both brightness and pace, smoke trail now a trail of furious flames. In the blink of an eye it darts and circles each of the animals before colliding with the side of a clattering claw. In a second blink the trail of flames exploding, peals of Bombarda's thunderous rapture blasting apart the creatures and splashing water in every direction.

SidekickBOT @ArkInBlack: 2d6+2 Cast-A-Spell = (4+5)+2 = 11
SidekickBOT @ArkInBlack: 2d6 BoomDamage = (6+5) = 11

Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Pillbug

BRANWEN
There's no escaping your wrath for these clawing monstrosities. Your Goddess' thundering majesty streaks from your palms, a pair of dazzling comets that light the swamps of Silver-home with a darting radiance as bright as day. The bare-limbed shadows of treebranches dance starkly over the walls of the workhouse ahead.

The chuulob can't stand the glare. They chitter and wail, swatting uselessly at the motes of radiance. One of them strikes its onrushing death with an outstretched claw, and in an eyeblink the swamps are once more host to a choral symphony of thunderous noise, hurtling body-parts, and glaring light.

The unfortunate chuul who struck the blast head-on receives a merciful end: rendered swiftly into a gritty wave of pulp, it had no time to feel pain. The other one, blown into two ragged halves and an arterial gout of hemolymph, is not so lucky. You feel the blast like a hammerblow against your armor.

Strange hissing and popping noises come from inside the derelict workhouse as your light slants into the broken windows. The thief screams - the first noise you've heard them make, an inarticulate wail of grief and rage. Abandoning all pretense of safety or silence, they spring from their perch like a hunting cat, hit the water in a graceless belly-flop, and dive.

What, exactly, did you just do?

SERENITY
The Bombardans are easy enough to find: just wait for the humongous kaboom, then swim towards all the splashing and swearing. These two have somehow gotten completely turned around - if it hadn't been for Branwen's hooning great road flare just now, they might well have gone off into the dark like lost sheep.

"YEEAAARGH!!" One of them starts violently as you come up behind him. "FU--" --he turns, panic in his eyes, only to see that it's just you. "Thought you were one o' them things," he pants. "Lead th' way."

RAMONA
A silent prayer for Branwen's proclivity for explosions: as long as you know when they're coming, you've got plenty of light to scan the surroundings by. More light here in the last few minutes than the whole neighborhood's seen since the Sink. It's enough to see -- at least for a bit -- quite a ways out.

The swamps stretch on interminably, broken only by the reachings of sunken trees, stands of plant or fungal life, or the tumbled wrecks of buildings from before the Sink. You can't even see the edge of the dome from here, but you can see out to your ostensible destination. Maybe an eighth mile ahead, a miserly clumping of electric lights sits enwrapped in the pale green gloom of glowing fungi. Silver-home district square. Or whatever's left of it.

One thing, one person, you don't see. Nori. No sign of her, no signal, not even a floating glowstick to mark her passing. She's gone. Drowned? Lost? Eaten by a chuul? You could search, of course; either for her, or at least to find some closure. Call a halt, set up a dive platform. It'd be little different from diving for pearls...

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Serenity
HP 20/20 | Armor 2 | Load 1/9 | XP 15/14

"My apologies." As the pair calmed down from the start she gave them, Serenity seized them by their upper arms and turned the group around towards the hoversled. With a flick of her tail, she sped off towards the rest of the group, forcing herself to clear the distance as swiftly as possible.

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Alumnus Post
Dec 29, 2009

They are weird and troubling. We owe it to our neighbors to kill them.


Pillbug

BRANWEN

quote:

@ArkInBlack: 2d6+2 Discern Realities = (3+2)+2 = 7
- What's about to happen here?

You look upon the destruction you've wrought and its likely consequences, ears still pleasantly ringing with the echoes of Bombarda's thundering majesty. The chuulob will trouble you and yours no more, if indeed they ever had a mind to trouble you at all. The few survivors are already fleeing, battered and bruised, and four among their number will flee no more.

A boil of furious activity suddenly erupts around the bifurcated corpse of your most recent kill. The water churns and roils madly - the fleshy mass bobs, upends itself, and slips beneath the surface. Bright lights and flashes were a signal, apparently - if the words of that damned thief are to be believed, a signal to some ill-defined "help[ers]" with the meaning of "OK."

So, this naturally begs the question: what exactly was it that all your lights and flashing noise just signaled to? It seems that evidently your signal has communicated "turn anything that's bleeding and swimming at the same time into a cloud of meat scraps", because there is nothing left of that body but chitin and mandibles, and the "help" doesn't seem to be satisfied with just one meal.

Further, it seems even the very light of a Bombardan blast is hazardous to something within that derelict workhouse up ahead; and that whatever-it-was you just damaged was important enough to overcome Kaude's entirely rational fear of their own "help" and drive them back into the water. One can surely surmise that, sooner or later, words will be had over what you've just done.

Hopefully, just words. It would not do to go entirely without allies in this gods-be-damned sunken shithole, not when a budding lich-king is gathering his charnel legions and a slumbering elemental stirs uneasily in its adamantine chains...
What do you do now?

Alumnus Post fucked around with this message at Aug 14, 2018 around 03:33

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