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 Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:19 pm

Sylvea had almost no time to think. She glanced back at Donovan and pursed her lips. There was no time to get him to safety.

Quickly, she bade the zombie to stand protection over Donovan (After killing shrieker number two and on his next action), this would severely restrict their attack effectiveness, but she could not risk Donovan's safety. He was her Charge, after all.

As much as she thought getting rid of the shriekers would be a good idea, shrieker number three was their current, and only, warning signal. They would have to deal with the undead, the carrion crawler and then the shriekers afterwards. Hopefully they did not attract too many enemies.

Turning towards Areian, she drew out the Wand of Magic Missiles, uttered a prayer and hoped she had the trigger right.

Her target was the Carrion Crawler.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:43 am

(Carrion Crawler: Single tentacle attack on Ariean (AC 15): Hit (18))
(Ariean is immune to paralysis.)

The carrion crawler descended from its wall with frantic speed, dropping onto the walkway's edge and skittering at Ariean with its snaking tentacles tasting the stale air. The longest of the tentacles looped about the crawler's rough head and struck out, lashing Ariean across her belly and leaving a thin stain of venomous yellow mucus where it touched.

But Ariean succumbed not to the creature's touch; seemingly heedless of the blow, she reared her arms to tear at her offender. The crawler flared its tentacles wildly, seemingly dismayed with the touch of its foe's cold, gray skin and the resilience it embodied.


(Ghoul 1: Single claw attack on Ariean (AC 15): Missed (11))
(Ghoul 2: Single claw attack on Sylvea's Zombie (AC 11): Missed (8))

By then, the two ghouls leading the charge of the undead were upon the defenders. Darting past the wailing shrieker, one ghoul came at Ariean from her flank, zealously sweeping his claws before him. But his approach was loud, and Ariean deftly turned from the carrion crawler and leaned out of the rival ghoul's swipe, leaving him to spit a muttered curse and recover his balance.

His partner was none more successful, misjudging the length of his swing as he neared. The zombie didn't so little as look up from hammering on the noisy shrieker as the clumsy ghoul feebly raked his ribs, leaving but faint and harmless scratches in the zombie's rigored hide. And much to the ghoul's annoyance, his warlike yodeling in the zombie's ear went equally unheeded.

Not far off, the other zombies continued ambling towards the fray. One zombie recklessly stumbled into a channel of knee-deep sewage but continued unthinkingly onward, clambering out of the channel and leaving foul, clumpy footprints as he went. While some might find fault with zombies for their mindlessness and lack of concern for their own safety, others could see how such shortcomings would--and do--make them ideal lackeys for many a necromancer or death priest.


(Sylvea's Zombie: Slam attack on Shrieker 2 (AC 13): Missed (11))

Despite the surrounding threats, Sylvea's own lackey continued battering the shrieker set before him. But though the shrieker wobbled and wavered from the abuse, it took no bruises nor lost more of its fungal mass. It did fall silent, however, though surely it would not remain silent for long.


(Sylvea - Wand of Magic Missiles on Carrion Crawler (no defenses against magic, no Saving Throw))
(Three magic missiles strike Carrion Crawler for 13 (4 + 5 + 4) combined Damage)
(Sylvea's Wand of Magic Missiles has 49 charges remaining.)
(Remember: Sylvea may either focus all three magic missiles on one target or divide them among two or three targets as she sees fit.)

By then the ironwood wand was in Sylvea's slender hand and leveled at the carrion crawler's winding body. The Order of the Twilight Candle had taught her many insights into the workings of the arcane arts, and Sylvea barked what she hoped was the proper command word to unleash the wand's power.

"Min'gurthnar!"

The wand's mottled bloodstone erupted with a piercing azure light, and from that light did three bullets of pure arcane energy take form. For but the blink of an eye they hovered around the bloodstone in a perfect triangle, then launched themselves forth in swift, screeching arcs through the air. The length of the carrion crawler's body erupted in three bursts as the bolts of energy struck their mark unfailingly, and with a hypersonic wail the creature rocked and stumbled away from the repeating blasts.

Sylvea fixed her eyes on the wand, considering the usefulness of what magic she had just unleashed. Ariean held no such considerations, however, and lent her focus wholly to rending the carrion crawler into tiny, oozing pieces.


(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Carrion Crawler (AC 17): Hit (20), Hit (19), Missed (8))
(Carrion Crawler takes 10 (5 + 5) combined Damage)
(Carrion Crawler - two Fortitude Saves (DC 14): Failed (11), Saved (14))
(Carrion Crawler is now Dying. For what it's worth, it's also Paralyzed for 1 Round.)

If Ariean's gnashing teeth fell short, it was only because of her foe collapsing limply, the carapace behind its head weeping with yellow ichor from eight crossed, jagged rake wounds. Ariean shook the ichor and shreds of green flesh from her curled nails as the wormlike scavenger's thick tail rolled into the sludge with much repulsive splattering and bubbling.



Ghouls (Init 20) > Attacking Ariean and Sylvea's Zombie
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 18) > Still attacking Shrieker 2 (unless commanded otherwise)
Sylvea (Init 16) > Loosing her wand's magic missiles on both ghouls and Zombie 2
Shrieker 2 (Init 12) > Still silent
Shrieker 3 (Init 12) > Shrieking for 1 more round
Zombies (Init 11) > Still moving to attack Sylvea's Zombie
Ariean (Init 7) > Attacking Ghoul 1
Donovon (Init 3) > Still being useless


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:50 pm

Sylvea was quick to turn around and aim her wand towards the ghouls attacking Ariean and her zombie. Seeing that the shrieker had gone silent, she quickly bade her zombie to switch targets and begin attacking ghoul number two. She took a mere second to register that Arien had turned her attention to ghoul number one, dismissing the now dying carrion crawler. Then she uttered the command and aimed at the two ghouls and the closest zombie. A single bolt was not as powerful as three, but hopefully they would do sufficient damage.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:35 am

(Ghoul 1 - two claws and one bite on Ariean (AC 15): Missed (12), Missed (14), Hit (21))
(Ariean takes 5 Damage. 15/33 Hit Points remain.)
(Ariean is immune to paralysis, and further Ghoul Fever infection is meaningless to her.)

(Ghoul 2 - two claws and one bite on Sylvea's Zombie (AC 11): Missed (10), Missed (9), Missed (9))
(Lucky friggin' zombie....)

(Sylvea's Zombie - Slam attack on Ghoul 2 (AC 14): Hit (16))
(Ghoul 2 takes 2 Damage.)

With unbridled fury did the enemy ghouls throw themselves at Sylvea's defenders, stirring the pangs of dismay as one ghoul savagely tore into Ariean's neck with his teeth, spilling her dark ichor onto her shoulder and down her back. But his cohort met with far less success, leaving but insignificant scratches and marks in the unflinching zombie's grayed and rigored hide.

To reward him for his effort, the zombie permitted the faintest mockery of anger to cross his blank eyes as he sent a balled fist crashing into the ghoul's clavicle. But the snarling ghoul rolled with the blow and recovered, transfixing the walking corpse with a mocking grin.

But his grin died as a blurted, guttoral word echoed from the sewer walls, sparking the hissing and screeching of incoming spellfire.

"Min'gurthnar."


(Sylvea - Wand of Magic Missiles on Ghoul 1, Ghoul 2 and Zombie 2 (no defenses against magic, no Saving Throw))
(One magic missile strikes Ghoul 1 for 2 Damage.)
(One magic missile strikes Ghoul 2 for 5 Damage.)
(One magic missile strikes Zombie 2 for 3 Damage.)

(Sylvea's Wand of Magic Missiles has 48 charges remaining.)

Darting from the bloodstone of Sylvea's copper-bound wand, three more bolts of arcane power diverged and followed their twisting trajectories, striking home with rapid succession. The foremost zombie ignored the smoking wound in his belly, plodding on relentlessly. But the ghouls' reactions were profound reactions of startlement and chained, cannibalistic rage.

...the same rage which fueled the strokes of Ariean's teeth and claws, come to that.


(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Ghoul 1 (AC 14): Hit (14), Missed (13), Hit (20))
(Ghoul 1 takes 10 combined Damage.)
(Ghouls are immune to paralysis and further infections of Ghoul Fever.)

With a gut-wrenching scream of vengeance, Ariean threw herself onto her wounder, clamping her legs around his torso as she bit savagely through the thickness of his cheek and tore the meat away. His naked molars gnashed and ground the stinking air between them as he seized Ariean's hair and violently yanked her head away from him, inviting her to rake open his yellowed eyeball and carve three deep furrows into his brow and forehead where her fingers passed. And so she did, with great, inhuman zeal, delighting in the anguished howls of her gravely injured foe.

With vitreous humor dribbling from the remnants of his missing cheek, the enemy ghoul finally peeled Ariean from his body and threw her to the floor, only for her to land on her feet and pounce again.

And from where he stood, Donovon beheld the gory and barbaric spectacle of two ghouls horridly ripping into each other's flesh and bone, and he quailed all the more timidly.

By then had the three approaching zombies drawn near enough to join the fray, and both of the remaining shriekers had fallen silent. But with so much swinging and thrashing and marching so very near them, they would soon make their alarm known again....





(Carrion Crawler - stabilization check: 8. Carrion Crawler loses 1 Hit Point to dying.)

Zombies (Init 14) > Zombie 2 is attacking Shrieker 2; the others are bunching up for the onslaught
Sylvea (Init 12) > Wand of Magic Missiles again
Ariean (Init 12) > Still attacking Ghoul 1
Shrieker 2 (Init 10) > Resumes shrieking for 2 rounds
Shrieker 3 (Init 10) > Remains silent
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 9) > Still attacking Ghoul 2 (unless commanded otherwise)
Ghouls (Init 6) > Still attacking Ariean and Sylvea's Zombie
Donovon (Init 3) > Still being useless


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:51 pm

(I would like a repeat of the last attack... it seemed to work last time. Can I split my charges between Ghoul 1 and I think the marker is zombie 2?)

Ariean seemed to have the ghoul under control, their paralyzing strikes hitting with no effect other than discomfort. Sylvea decided to leave them, and cast a glance back towards Donovan, seeking his safety.

Looking forwards again, she uttered the trigger phase and this time had her sights on the zombie mindlessly attacking the shrieker and the ghoul who was attacking her own risen dead warrior. Hopefully the spell would be more effective with less targets to divide the power between.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:26 am

(Actually, Ghoul 2 is the ghoul who's attacking Sylvea's zombie. The wand will send two missiles at Ghoul 2 and one missile at Zombie 2, unless you decide otherwise.)


(Zombie 2: Slam attack on Shrieker 2 (AC 13): Hit (21))
(Shrieker 2 takes 7 Damage; Shrieker 2 is Dead.)

Mindlessly determined to break through and seize Ariean, the leading zombie joined his fists together and swung them wildly from side to side in a witless yet brutal attack. The shrieker's stringy stalk ruptured with a slick crunch, and its infernal shrieking was forever silenced as the shrieker was torn from the cold floor and hurled aside in three separate pieces.

The pulpy shrieker remnants were crushed to jelly beneath the zombie's filthy feet as he suddenly lumbered forward between his ghoulish allies with arms outstretched, unknowingly bumbling before the rippling bloodstone of Sylvea's leveled wand.


(Sylvea - Wand of Magic Missiles; two missiles on Ghoul 2, one missile on Zombie 2 (no defenses against magic, no Saving Throw))
(One magic missile strikes Zombie 2 for 5 Damage.)
(Two magic missiles strike Ghoul 2 for 7 Damage. Ghoul 2 is Dead.)

(Sylvea's Wand of Magic Missiles has 47 charges remaining.)

The mystic command again lashed from Sylvea's condemning tongue, and three magic missiles burst from the bloodstone and screamed at their targets in rapid succession. Catching a sorcerous burst in the thick of his breast, the zombie stumbled back a step with a moan which betrayed not pain, but the twinge of frustration. But the ghoul who then raked at Sylvea's animated lackey was not so lucky, for he had but a fraction of a second to look up at the screaming missile racing to strike him between the eyes. Two fleshy explosions and a brief shower of bone shards, dark ichor and stale flesh heralded the end of the ghoul's perpetually famished existence.

The undead assault was crumbling in earnest. Finding her zeal redoubled, Ariean darted in low beneath her enemy's swiping claws and clamped her arms around his midriff in a hostile embrace.


(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Ghoul 1 (AC 14): Hit (23/Natural 20), Missed (10), Hit (17))
(Undead are immune to Critical Hits.)
(Ghoul 1 takes 9 combined Damage. Ghoul 1 is Dead.)

With strength and fury belied by her small frame, Ariean's stony right hand tore away in the violently separating embrace and ripped through the rival ghoul's abdominal wall, leaving bare a tangle of viscera best left undescribed. A resounding gurgle bubbled from the ghoul's thin lips as Ariean's head plunged teethfirst into that cavity, scorning her foe's efforts to shove her away. And when Ariean's gore-slicked face did emerge by her own will, an unsettlingly large and horrid mass of her rival's innards emerged with it.

Suddenly stilled, the ghoul's withering form expulsed the last spark of undeath and collapsed, its bizarrely hollow belly casting a wet echo through the tunnels as it struck the floor and crumpled. And though Ariean vigorously swung her elven head and flung the knotted mass of sundered organs into the fetid sewer channel, Sylvea couldn't help but notice the disconcerting murmur of Ariean's chewing for a long moment afterward.


(Carrion Crawler - stabilization check: 4. Carrion Crawler loses 1 Hit Point to dying; Carrion Crawler is now Dead.)

And nearby, the carrion crawler's maw rattled and spilled the last of its caustic saliva, which dribbled to the flagstones and coursed among a twisting mass of tentacles which had finally yielded to eternal stillness.


(Sylvea receives 1,900 Experience total - 300 Experience for each Ghoul, 300 Experience for the Shrieker and 1,000 Experience for the Carrion Crawler. Ariean receives a matching award for this encounter.)

Level Up!
Ariean is now a Level 4 Ghoul!
Bite Damage increases to 1d6 (+ Strength modifier).
Paralysis duration increases to 1d4+1 Rounds.
Charisma permanently increases by 2, to 17 (Charisma bonus: +3).

No increases to Hit Points, Attack Bonuses, Saving Throws or Skill Points come with this Level.

Behind the defenders, Donovon shook his fists with elated cheer as the tide of the battle turned in Sylvea's favor. But with the vanguard toppled, the three zombies behind them were free to shamble forward as relentlessly as ever, and both Ariean and the zombie at her side braced to meet them claw for claw, keeping their ears open for Sylvea's commands. The skirmish was not quite over just yet.



Ariean (Init 22) > Advancing to attack Zombie 2
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 17) > Advancing to attack Zombie 2
Sylvea (Init 16) > Blasting Zombie 1 with her Wand of Magic Missiles
Zombies (Init 14) > Lumbering forward; Zombie 2 attacks Ariean, Zombie 1 attacks Sylvea's Zombie
Shrieker 3 (Init 11) > Shrieking for 3 rounds


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:57 pm

Sylvea smirked in triumph, memories of her training flashing through her conscience.

She looked at the remaing foes and grinned, baring her teeth as the adrenaline rushed through her system.

"Ariean! Make a meal of them!" her shout echoed through the tunnels as she levelled her wand once again. Picking up the wand had been a stroke of luck and she intended to get every use out of it she could. But, she suspected that the enchantment would not last forever, so she had to be careful.

Passing a glance at her risen companion, she commanded him to attack the zombie directly in front of him and then chose the next zombie (1) for herself. With a hiss, she uttered the enchantment and threw three more bolts from her wand.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:05 pm

(Sylvea's starting to get mean. Cool )

(So will all three of those bolts be hitting Zombie 1, or will Sylvea be dividing the bolts among two or three zombies? Bear in mind that Zombie 2 (the closest zombie) has been seriously damaged by two previous magic missiles and will likely perish with the next solid hit...or claw, or bite.)

(Also, I finally remembered to fix that previous post; Zombie 1 (the zombie woman) is still uninjured.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:58 pm

Well I was thinking that my zombie will try to kill the dying enemy zombie and Sylvea will take the uninjured one. Ariean is free to choose her next target. So yez, all three bolts will hit zombie 1 :-)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:19 am

(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Zombie 2 (AC 11): Hit (15), Hit (21), Hit (17))
(Zombie 2 takes 12 combined Damage.  Zombie 2 is Dead.)

Before Sylvea's listless lackey could fully heed her command, Ariean was already lunging at the next advancing enemy.  That stubborn zombie had withstood Sylvea's arcane blasts, but that resistance was near its end...an end which the ghoul maiden would bring about.

Ariean hurled herself onto the zombie's breast with a lashing fury, with such force that the wretch stumbled and fell onto his back.  Perched on the zombie's torso and zealously raking the throat and the face, her ghoulish bite cut deeply into lifeless artery, vein and sinew, forever stilling the zombie's struggles.

Sylvea's own animated wretch, on seeing his quarry so toppled, diverted his swinging limbs to the next target at hand.


(Sylvea's Zombie - Slam attack on Zombie 1 (AC 11): Missed (5))

In an unanticipated moment of awareness, the woman's shuffling corpse noted the inbound attack and stepped half a pace back, evading her assailant's sweeping blow with the merest of efforts.  There were no groans of exertion or cries of frustration between the two, merely an unnerving silence.

And an uttered command word would disrupt that undead silence, followed closely by that familiar, ear-jarring triple screech.


(Sylvea - Wand of Magic Missiles; three missiles on Zombie 1 (no defenses against magic, no Saving Throw))
(Three magic missiles strike Zombie 1 for 10 Damage.)
(Sylvea's Wand of Magic Missiles has 46 charges remaining.)

Diverging wildly in their unpredictable trajectories, the bolts of magic closed, screaming to blast their target from three converging angles.  Though the zombie shuddered from the rapid bursts against her skin, she heeded them not, so great was her ever-present numbness.


(Zombie 1 - Slam attack on Sylvea's Zombie (AC 11): Missed (9))

But though zombie relentlessly pressed the attack against zombie, neither was felled in the exchange; Sylvea's zombie stood his ground with a stoic air as the glancing fist skipped harmlessly from his clavicle.

Over the clash, the remaining shrieker drowned the clamor with its rising sonic alarm.  From behind his assailed, uncognizant ally, the third enemy zombie loped forth into the fray.  And Ariean, leering, made ready to greet him.


(Sylvea receives 300 Experience for defeating Zombie 2.  Ariean receives a matching amount.)



Sylvea (Init 16) > Move and staff attack on Zombie 1
Ariean (Init 15) > Advancing to attack Zombie 3
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 14) > Attacking Zombie 1 again
Zombies (Init 6) > Zombie 1 attacks Sylvea's Zombie, Zombie 3 attacks Ariean
Shrieker 3 (Init 2) > Doin' its thing
Donovon is still being useless in reserve.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:01 pm

Sylvea darted her eyes backwards and reassured herself that Donovan was still safe. As her charge, she was expected to be devoted to his care and wellbeing. But damn was he useless!

She resolved to ask him if he could actually bring any help to the table the next encounter they had, but for now it was too late. The fight would be over soon, even she could tell that and for now she needed to focus on finishing it intact.

With two enemies left, Sylvea decided to save her bolts and instead chose to heft her staff at Zombie 1. If anything, she was hoping to stun it for her own zombie to come and finish it off. She was only slightly irritated at its current battle performance, but more grateful that it was there to begin with.

Ariean, it seemed, already had her next target chosen for her.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:27 am

(Sylvea - staff attack on Zombie 1 (AC 11): Missed (6))

(Ariean - two claws on Zombie 3 (AC 11): Hit (14), Hit (18))
(Zombie 3 takes 9 combined Damage.)

(Sylvea's Zombie - Slam attack on Zombie 1 (AC 11): Hit (13))

(Zombie 1 takes 4 Damage.  Zombie 1 is Dead.)

With a piercing cry to advance, Sylvea lunged forth and brought up Ariean's rear, raising her Staff of the Northern Cross high.  With skin riddled and wounds still hissing from the Magic Missile barrage, her foe drew near, and Sylvea seized the moment to strike.  But the loping zombie shifted in her stance as the staff swung downward, passing well to the side of that lolling head and stoking Sylvea's frustration.

Trampling the corpse of yet another felled enemy, Ariean lurched heedlessly past that zombie to rake another.  Her ripping and tearing transformed that zombie's soft moaning to something resembling a bleating wail, and fetid gore rolled from that wounded breast as the undead shambler recovered his footing to answer the ghoul's attack.

Sylvea lifted the brunt of her magic staff from the floor, the prelude for another strike.  But with a meaty crunch pealing aside her, her enemy flopped backward and soundly struck the masoned floor.  With a sidelong glance, Sylvea met the blank stare of her own animated lackey and promptly knew what had struck her foe down.  That Animate Dead spell was indeed proving to be quite useful.


(Sylvea receives 300 Experience for defeating Zombie 1.  Ariean receives a matching amount.)


(Zombie 3 - Slam attack on Ariean (AC 15): Missed (12))

Then recovered from Ariean's assault, the remaining zombie balled both fists behind his head and swung them together at hers.  But Ariean was swift and sharp-eyed, and she caught both of the corpse creature's arms at the wrists.  With a bit of strength and a bit of balance, perhaps Ariean could topple the zombie and end the battle all the more swiftly.

The shrieker's infernal song wavered in nearing the end of its duration.  And Sylvea found some small comfort in realizing that, if any more monsters had been lurking within earshot, they probably would have already answered the screaming fungal call.




Sylvea's Zombie (Init 14) > Moving to attack Zombie 3 (unless Sylvea wills otherwise)
Sylvea (Init 13) > Squeezing past Sylvea's Zombie and attacking Shrieker 3
Ariean (Init 11) > Grappling Zombie 3
Zombie 3 (Init 9) > Attacking Ariean or resisting her grapple
Shrieker 3 (Init 9) > Falling silent
Donovon is still recording Sylvea's victory for the history books.  Or something.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:34 pm

((Sorry for the delay. I haven't got a good post in me, so I will just opt for Sylvea moving to attack/get rid of the shrieker with Ariean and zombie friend going after zombie three please.

Also, please don't put too much effort into the next post for this. I know you. Razz I wouldn't feel right, having copped out for the last couple of years....))

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:06 am

(Aww, now when have you ever known me to skimp on the details?  ;) )


(Sylvea's Zombie - Slam attack on Zombie 3 (AC 11): Missed (8))


(Zombie 3 - (Attack of Opportunity) Slam attack on Ariean (AC 15): Hit (21))
(Ariean takes 3 Damage from Zombie 3.  12 of 33 Hit Points remain.)
(Ariean's first attempt (of two) to grapple Zombie 3 fails.)


(Ariean - second attempt to grapple Zombie 3 (Touch AC 9): Success (14))
(Ariean - opposed Grapple check: 19)
(Zombie 3 - opposed Grapple check: 11)
(Ariean wins the grapple and moves into Zombie 3's space.  Zombie 3 is unable to move and may only attack by grappling with Ariean.)


With an unanticipated crouch, the remaining enemy zombie narrowly eluded a wild, double-fisted swing from Sylvea's own.  Fearful of losing the moment to strike, Ariean lunged with opened hands and flared fingers, only to be met with a solid blow to her collarbone.  Rather than resist the momentum of that daring fist, the ghoul wheeled under the impact and lashed out with her left hand, creasing the wan flesh of the zombie's throat with her black nails.  A forceful yank of the neck drew her and her enemy nearer, and on instinct did Ariean's free arm curl behind the small of the walking corpse's back, snatching him into the ghoul's ghastly and relentless embrace.


(Sylvea - Quarterstaff attack on Shrieker 3 (AC 13): Missed (7))


The Staff of the Northern Cross tore the stale air in its arc, bearing on the shrieker's cap.  But as Sylvea was promptly reminded, fungus is notoriously durable stuff; the metallic tip of her staff elicited no more than a quiver as it feebly impacted the mushroom's cap, yielding no appreciable end.

As if intimidated from the stroke of aggression, the shrieker fell silent the very moment when struck with the brunt of Sylvea's weapon.  But in her wisdom, the elven priestess understood that the shrieker would not remain silent for long.




Sylvea (Init 17) > Whacking the shrieker again
Ariean (Init 7) > Attempting to injure Zombie 3 in the grapple
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 5) > Slam attack on Zombie 3
Zombie 3 (Init 0) > Resisting Ariean's grapple
Shrieker 3 (Init -4) > Remaining silent


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:28 pm

Sylvea grunted again, swinging at the shrieker (after all, it was just a mushroom, right?)
She was starting to become quite tired, and her judgement was being affected. But she felt that if she just perservered, she would eventually be rewarded. Ariean was dealing with the more dangerous foe and Sylvea was mindful that her own zombie was also taking on the same enemy. So, she continued to whack the mushroom, her mind steadily turning to jelly.

Turning, she looked to where Donovan stood, cowering in the back. Good. At least he was still alive. She had not failed at that - at least.

"Lets finish this, Sister." She growled out and tightened her grip on the staff.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:47 pm

(A rather large and rather tough screaming mushroom, yes.)


(Sylvea - Quarterstaff attack on Shrieker 3 (AC 13): Hit (16))
(Shrieker 3 takes 5 Damage.  Shrieker 3 dies.)

Incensed with the mushroom's toughness, Sylvea reared back and aimed lower with a more lateral swing.  The Staff of the Northern Cross swept a hair's breadth beneath the shrieker's cap, thundering into the union betwixt that cap and its lean, supporting stalk.  As if in fitful pain, the shrieker trembled from the telling blow as its broad cap wailed feebly, then tore away from its stalk with a rippling report not unlike a ripped sheet of wet silk.  The purple cap rolled away across the algae-stained sewer floor with a sad, sobbing sound, then fell forever silent.

(Sylvea and Ariean each receive 300 Experience for the Shrieker's defeat.)


(Ariean - injuring Zombie 3 in the grapple: Automatic)
(Zombie 3 takes 2 Damage.  Zombie 3 dies.)

Not wanting to be outdone by her sister, Ariean wrenched the protesting zombie around and clamped her elbow around his neck from behind, squeezing with all her might.  The clammy hands of her lifeless victim clenched her wrist in a desperate effort for freedom, an effort preempted when the ghoul arched her back fiercely enough to hoist the zombie's feet from the floor.  A split-second later, the sewer channel echoed with the dull thunk of a skull cracked open against the unyielding masonry, and the collapsing zombie returned to lifelessness as its ruined face slid down the rough flagstone wall, a streak of dark gore marking its passage.

(Sylvea and Ariean each receive 300 Experience for the Zombie's defeat.)


And once again did the sewer's atmosphere fall to stillness, marred only by the ever-present dribbling and coursing of brackish water and foul sludge.

Timidly, Donovon paced back to the party, languidly swinging his rod in his self-abashedness.  "Apologies for not bein' of greater service, milady.  The confines were a touch too cramped, and I would likely have been more ill than good.  Pleased I am that ye fared so well."


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:43 pm

Sylvea gave an almighty swing and the giant mushroom was no more! She panted, taking her staff in hand and turned to face the zombie her sister was grappling. She caught the head of the zombie striking the wall and crumpling in a mess on the ground as she turned. Still panting, her blood pumping in her veins, she blinked and suddenly realised that it was silent, save for her own laboured breathing.

Donovan came scurrying from his hiding place, wringing his hands and she wrinkled her nose. Both the smell of the sewers and the stench of Donovan's cowardice.

"Sister, my Hunger grows." As per typical Ariean fashion, she was not winded. Nor did she even appear to have been affected by the past battle in the least. But Sylvea looked harder and knew that her sister was wounded. There was an extra weight to the way Ariean carried her limbs and the way she appeared so non-chalant. Her careful way of moving gave away the fact that Ariean was wearied and needed rest.

But there was no time for rest. They had to keep moving, they had a job to do and they hadn't even gone that far within Palemare yet. Summoning her sister to her, she told her to stand before her. "I know, my Sister. We will see what you can eat in a while. How much longer do you think you can stand?"

"I do not know. It grows." As always, Ariean was straight to the point.

Reaching forward, Sylvea nodded, and held Ariean's shoulders. Closing her eyes to focus, she was about to utter a prayer when Ariean stopped her. "Sister. You do not need to waste your energies on myself."

"Shush", she hushed her sister and placed her arms back on Ariean's. Then she raised her voice and her head, speaking towards the heavens, "Guide my energy, guide my Light O Mighty Glory!" Then her Prayers descended into Silence as she gathered the energies inside herself. She didn't need all that much time to gather what she needed for this spell, but she wanted focus as much of her attention on it as she could. It was, afterall, quite important.

Her Worship of Evening Glory was a subdued one. And she soon bent her head in prayer as she felt her energy whirl into her fingertips.

"Descendum!" She suddenly cried and wrought her spell into Ariean's body.

(Sylvea sacrifices Detect Undead to cast Inflict Light Wounds on Ariean)


Her chosen Focus Word rang off the damp walls and Sylvea felt a tingle and watched as the spell tore through Ariean. Hopefully it was enough.

Stepping back, she waited and watched.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:08 pm

(Sylvea spontaneously casts Inflict Light Wounds, healing Ariean for 12 Hit Points; 24 of 33 Hit Points remain.)


Even in the filthy hollows beneath Palemare, Evening Glory was listening. Evening Glory, the Deathless Beauty whose love endures, heard Sylvea's prayer in that moment, and the goddess silently responded. For Evening Glory was always with Sylvea, reminding her that all love, be it bright or dark, can endure as Hers endures, and death shall have no dominion against it.

The stagnant air along Sylvea's slender arms wavered as dark power funneled through her long-grieving heart and into her sister's warped form, fueling that ghoulish form with a scarlet fire from within. The minute cracks in Ariean's bones were knitted away, and fewer scuffs from the blows of walking corpses or raving madmen remained to sully Ariean's common pallor. Rising to her full height with a lungful sigh, Ariean welcomed the energy coursing through her, then fell sullen as it departed into the void just as swiftly.

The rays of sunlight sifted through the grates behind them faded beneath a heavy cloud coursing through a cold, azure sky which Sylvea could no longer see. And in that moment, the sewers seemed darker all the more. Donovon's disquiet was palpable, though his resolve remained fast. And the sewer channels ahead descended into deeper darkness yet.

As the party's leader, Sylvea faced an unpleasant choice. The westward passage was likely the shortest path to their destination, but it descended deeper...too deep for most streetside sewer grates to reach. Was Sylvea truly prepared to take such a path, or would a longer yet more shallow route be the way for her to lead their band onward?


Spoiler:
 


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:32 pm

Sylvea closed her eyes briefly and nodded her head, sighing with relief. Evening Glory had answered her prayers, as the Goddess had always done, and Ariean was already looking much better. Ariean herself gave no indication, just stared silently back at her sister, awaiting their next move.

Sylvea looked around, turning to Donovan. "Is there anyway to guide us beneath the roads?"

"Nay, Milady. I know not the ways down 'ere." His voice stilled trembled, though his back was straight enough.

Sylvea sighed. Of course not. "Ariean?" She turned to her ghoul sister next.

"My Heart, I only know in which general direction the echoes lessen. They whisper louder through there," she pointed towards the west - deeper into the tunnels below the city. Sylvea trusted her sister, but knew that the darkness that beckoned could also hide even more dangers. This encounter alone had been taxing.

Making a decision, she pulled a hooded lantern out and lit it - shuttering it forwards. "West we go. Ariean, you and - " she turned to her newly risen zombie, "- Draven go ahead." She shrugged as Ariean raised an eyebrow at her choice of name. She couldn't just keep calling him 'zombie', could she?

"You are now named Draven. And you now protect my sister Ariean as we travel."

Holding the lantern a little higher, she nodded towards the west bound passage. "Lead on."

Draven began shambling down the tunnel, Ariean following with Sylvea and Donovan behind her.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:20 pm

If the zombie understood or accepted what name Sylvea bestowed, he did naught to acknowledge his receipt of that name, instead taking Ariean's side and limping onward with her like the witless, undead vagrant that Draven truly was.  And westward he went with his charge, with the priestess leading the party from the fore and the fearful, bereft father grasping his truncheon with both hands as he brought up the rear.

The descending sewer tunnel, shrouded in darkness, seemed to dance with the semblance of life as Sylvea's lantern light crept across crudely cut flagstones and poked between the bricks of black clay and into the crumbling mortar among them, casting shadows which incessantly changed form as they drifted across wall, floor and ceiling alike.  The rushing and burbling of water, concentrated in those dank confines, grew unnervingly loud with the reports of so many sewer channels ahead, behind and around.


(Sylvea - untrained Search check (DC ?): 10)
(Sylvea - untrained Listen check (DC ?): 17)


Sylvea's light boots skid briefly as she plodded down the stairs, their cut granite faces grown thick with many years of fetid water and caked filth.  At the foot of those steps, the tunnel split three ways.  The tunnel leading southward was narrow in both width and height; even Sylvea would need to stoop if she would pass through it.  One of the broader passages diverged to the North while the other continued westward...or to what Sylvea hoped was westward.  These bowels of earth and stone were hardly a cozy place for a forest-dweller to be, and she would be right to fear the prospect of losing her direction in the realm of the subterranean.

Somewhere along the western wall of that northern tunnel, the glint of brass caught her firelight: a brazen door not too far off, its green-tarnished face smeared with several brown handprints stamped in what, from such distance, could have been either mud, filth or old blood.  But the western tunnel narrowed not far past the intersection, and rippling through that profile came something even more disconcerting to Sylvea's senses: voices.  Faint voices chanting alien words in a tongue which Sylvea could not yet discern, punctuated with an occasional burst of laughter.

...the rootless, desperate laughter of a madman.

Spoiler:
 


Sylvea >


(Oh, wait...did you want Ariean and Draven in the front, with Sylvea and Donovon behind them?  If so, my mistake; I'll fix that next post.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:36 pm

Sylvea was beginning to loathe these tunnels. She listened to the endless drip of water in the distance, and the rancid stench that surrounded them was beginning to give her a headache. The dimness was beginning to hurt her eyes and she was all to aware of the enclosure above her head. Oh how she longed for the open trees. For the dark canopy of leaves overhead and the quiet rustle of the forest. Even as she had studied in her new craft, she would look longingly out of her window, staring past the mountains and remembering her green, leafy home.

She stepped in another puddle and wrinkled her nose. Stopping at the juncture, she paused, listening. "Ariean," she called softly, knowing her sister was close.

From the darkness, Ariean appeared before her. Loping back to her with an easy stride, she gave her elven sister with a beating heart a small smile. Sylvea smiled back, "It would seem that that is where we are headed, would it not?" She indicated down the western tunnel.

Ariean absently picked at the claws of her right hand, "Yes Sister. There may be ways around them. But I would think we may get ourselves lost, trying to be clever. Better we face them directly."

Sylvea nodded, trusting her sister's judgement. Plus she was more than eager to quit these vile sewers!

"Down we go, people!"

Ariean nodded and swiftly turned, gathering Draven with her to ride point as they strode purposely down the tunnel towards the chanting voices.

(Yes well, I was intending Ariean and Draven to lead while Sylvea came next and Donovan in the rear....)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:27 am

Descending the steps amid the pattering of braskish water and the sloshing of puddles underfoot, Sylvea goaded her band into following the odd voices and moving towards the West...or what Sylvea believed to be the West.

That westward tunnel narrowed to the width of an ogre's shoulders before yawning into a chasm shrouded in subterranean darkness.  The bridge stretching before them betrayed its age, flecked with caked salt and run sediment, and swaying suspended from rusted iron chains rising into the hollow's endless night.  The iron gratework groaned softly as Draven set foot on the bridge; though many of the grate bars and rivets were badly corroded from decades--if not centuries--of dribbling water, the bridge seemed sturdy enough to cross.

The distant, stony walls of the void echoed with the roaring and murmuring of water too great to be a mere stream or channel, and Sylvea was not long in ascertaining the source of the sonic atmosphere: a nameless underground river, likely that into which Palemare emptied her sewers.  But as far below in the perfect darkness as the river was, Sylvea could not deduce the flow's direction; rivers typically flowed away from mountains and into seas, but with both the Crown Diamond Mountains and the Strait of Crows looming and yawning north from Palemare, the river was as likely to course northward as it was to course southward.

But if Sylvea minded well her steps, she would never find that answer firsthand.

And somewhere beyond, somewhere northward and twice westward, the far-reaching pinpricks of candlelight pierced the gloom, rising from the foot of the void as a winding spire.  And some unwitnessed presence drifted among those candles, seeming to drown the flames and spark them anew as it passed.

The chanting was amplified tenfold in that echoing cavern, though the river's grumbling was louder yet.  Though the direction of the voices could not be gauged by Sylvea's ears, the pillar of candles seemed their likeliest source.


Spoiler:
 


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:56 am

Sylvea picked her way across the bridge, mindful that both Draven and Ariean were already crossing.

As they neared the intersection, Sylvea tried to look forward in the dark. Usually, she had no problems, but stench of her surroundings and the toll of the last fight as distracting her. She gripped her staff and closed her eyes briefly, gathering steadying breaths into her lungs. Opening her eyes again, she lips set into a grim line, she nodded towards the northern passage, where the soft glow of candlelight seemed to point their way.

"Be careful, Sister." She murmured as Ariean began stalking down the tunnel. Ariean did not bother to reply, simply slowing her pace and quietening her steps....

Putting her fingers to her lips for Donovan's benefit and telling Draven to be as silent as possible, Sylvea followed her Sister a few paces behind, Draven following her and Donovan bringing up the rear.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:22 am

(Secret dice roll...)


The iron bridge creaked and trembled as Draven thoughtlessly plodded forth at his master's command, followed closely by Ariean.  Goaded onward by her faith and her confidence, Sylvea brushed past the suspension chains and followed with them.  But in that dreadful moment, the staccato shearing of horribly corroded rivets and chains startled Donovon, giving him cause to hesitate and falter in his tread before his boots had a chance to quit the brickwork and take to the treacherous bridge.  And all the band had but the barest measure of a second to recognize their predicament before the end of the bridge, failing beneath the combined weight of its crossers, broke away from its stony moorings with a pained, ferrous whine and fell away into the abyss.


(Draven - Reflex Save (DC 10): Automatic Failure (0/Natural 1))
(Ariean - Reflex Save (DC 10): Success (10))
(Sylvea - Reflex Save (DC 10): Failure (4))

(Both Draven and Sylvea plummet 90 feet into the frigid river below...)


(Draven is not harmed by the fall but suffers 2 Cold Damage (4 x 50% Cold Resistance) from the river.  4 of 19 Hit Points remain.)
(Sylvea is not harmed by the fall but suffers 3 Cold Damage from the river.  27 of 30 Hit Points remain.)


With the swiftness of a seaborne gale, Ariean dropped to all fours and sank her fingers into the gridded floor of the bridge, sparing her from a frightful drop.  Would that her fellows shared her reflexes, for with the meaty brunt of a spilled zombie tumbling over her back, joined with a sharp, wavering cry of alarm from behind her, the ghoul suddenly found herself alone in clinging to that dangling remnant of a bridge, with Donovon across the expanse behind, beyond her reach...and with her beyond his.

As the bridge thundered against the far precipice and threatened to hurl Ariean from its rust-pocked face, two large splashes erupted from far below as bodies impacted the racing water...water chilled well in the bellies of the foothills, as it immediately became known to those who fell.  The bitter, liquid cold seized every inch of her form as she plunged beneath the waves, and so spurred by the shocks of body and mind alike did she kick fiercely and propel herself back to the river's chaotic surface.  After a goodly measure of two lost breaths, she broke the lashing surface with a pained gasp and a wail of equal suffering.  And, she noted as a consterned afterthought, her toes had not so little as brushed the river bed below.


(Sylvea - Reflex Save (DC 10): Automatic Success (21/Natural 20))
(Sylvea doesn't lose any of her belongings to the river, but her lantern is immediately extinguished; she will need to wait until both the lantern and her tinderbox are dry before she can light the lantern again.)



(Sylvea - untrained Swim check (Rough water, DC 15): Failure (11))


Utter darkness had already closed around her.  She could hear.  She could feel.  But she could not see, save for yon fleeting glimpses of candlelight.  She felt the biting chill clinging to her skin and knew that she could not remain in the river for very long.  She heard the desperate calls from Ariean and Donovon, words for each other and words for their fallen cohorts.  But the make of the words was lost amid Sylvea's fearful paddling and the howling of the river's furious flow.  And she was again reminded, as she then heard the water silencing Draven's gurgled moans, that zombies make for very poor swimmers.



"The Hidden Curse"
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin


Yanked this way and that by the coursing waters, that hapless handmaid of Evening Glory was unable to take measure of her destination or to stroke herself towards it.  Her sense of orientation fled from her like leaves before the storm, and she could merely hope that her direction was true.  The chanting voices seemed to have fallen mute since she had plunged into the river, and for a scant moment, gripped as she was amongst cold, panic, loss and isolation, she found herself wondering if her cursed drow elf cousins, in a long-bygone age, had felt as she then felt when Allfather Corellon forever cast them out from the sunlit world they had always known and loved.

But philosophy could wait.  For that moment, there was only survival, for even if Draven were lost, Sylvea would not wish to join him in oblivion.




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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:02 am

Sylvea tried very hard to cut her scream before it left her lungs, but as things are most often than not, that was harder thought than done.

Her voice echoed off the walls, ending only in a splash as she finally met water, debris raining down around her. As her head plunged into the cold, she gasped, swallowing fetid water and Gods knew what else, desparately clawing her way back to the top. She hoped it was the top - and as her lungs breathed fire she broke the surface with a less than heroic "Gah!"

But breaking the surface did not alleviate her confusion. As dark was under water, it was just as dark above it. The occasional flash of yellow light winked at her from above but she was too bleary to make it out completely. The voices of Donovan and Ariean echoed off the walls, making them almost incomprehensible to her.

The water's flow had her caught, however, and her brief panic from moments before soon came rushing back. Gasping for air, catching water in her mouth, she made a pathetic attempt to swim. One that was soon stolen firmly from her by the water rushing around her body.

She was drifting. Terrifyingly fast, but drifting nonetheless. Some semblance of calm took a hold of her as the water continued to rush her to whatever destination it seemed fit. Luckily she had not let go of her Staff and she used this now to center herself, putting her fears and panic into it, visualising it as her safe island to which she desparately clung. Though the waters were rough, and her lungs were surely now filled with liquid, she had the wherewithal to realise that she could not control this. She just had to stay alive and bear it out.

Between chattering gasps of air and water, she began to chant. Her voice at first small but soon growing with power and belief that her prayer to Evening Glory would be heard and her divine Goddess would be there to see her safe.

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