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Thread: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge VII

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    Default Re: Iron Chef Optimization Challenge VII

    When you wish upon a... halfling?
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Starry-Eyes
    Little Starry*Eyes

    Halfling Were-Chordevoc 2, Bard 4, Ranger 1, Green Star Adept 10, Saint 2, Keeper of the Cerulean Sign 1


    The blackness above spun, the tiny pinpricks of light whirling into one. A voice screamed into the night and then fell silent. A form fell lifeless to the ground... followed by intense laughter all around.

    "Get up, get up, it's my turn!" a voice cried.

    The hobbledehoy child opened her eyes and the sky still turned from her dance.

    "Unghhh unghhh...!" she moaned in exaggeration, and plopped back down in the grass, her tongue rolling out and her eyes crossed.

    She then OOFED as one of her sisters fell on her, too dizzy to stand up anymore. Then a third. With a delighted shriek the children wrestled, unable to build up the coordination to actually stand.

    It was a game they played, standing up and focusing on a star while they spun in place. A lantern or a flarestick was then be lit up, and the sudden light would make them fall. It was a game for little ones, and she was the youngest of fifteen brothers and sisters. They'd called her Starry-Eyes since she was born because of the bright spark that was always in them. She had been born early on the Eve of the Green, the night the sky had fallen, in the back of a wagon as the town had fled. It seemed she was destined to always be small, for though today was her eleventh birthday she could have been taken for a 5 year old, but she was as tough and strong as any of her other rambunctious siblings.

    "Lightening bugs!" one shouted in the distance.

    "Fireflies!" another retorted.

    "Starwings!" the littlest one cried, making up the name on the spot, and tumbled over her brother to gain her feet.

    Leaping, squealing, arguing and swooping, the hoard of halflings spread across the field. The warm late-spring breezes wafted the scent of honeysuckle through the air, and a distant lake glinted with the crescent moon as they chased after the flashing insects.

    Starry-Eyes was in a joyous chase when her foot struck something unyielding and she flipped over on her back. So surprised was she she didn't notice her stubbed toe, for turning and looking back there was a strange creature in the grass. It looked a little like a frog carved of stone, except it sat like a pony, and had a triangle eye in the middle of its face. She turned on her belly and poked it. The skin was tough, like leathery brick, but it definitely flexed. Enchanted, she tried to pick it up, but despite being no larger than a cat it seemed to weigh a ton.

    As she tugged on the creature in vain the sound like a steam-kettle whistling, but multiplied a thousand fold, blared across the field, making every child freeze in their tracks and look up. A nightwhistler, or chorvedoc as Papa called it, wheeled overhead. Though only eleven, Starry-Eyes knew something was wrong. It didn't act right, and no nightwhistler was that loud! As the thought came, so the creature swooped at one of her older brothers. He ducked, but the bird turned on a wingtip right around. He batted at the bird and it shrieked again.

    "RUN!" it cried, and the children screamed without knowing why, except chorvedoc's didn't talk! They scattered in random directions, and the nightwhistler wheeled quickly, trying to heard them to the woods.

    Starry-Eyes however stood in place, too frightened to move or cry. Out on the lake, dark shapes burst out of the waters and took to wing. They glinted green in the moonlight as they dived for the panicked children. Their feet were like tentacles, with webs between, that wrapped around and enveloped one of the scattering forms. With hardly any effort it shot off into the sky straight up and disappeared. The nightwhistler then seemed to grow in mid-air, becoming like a man, but with feathers and a mouth-like beak. It sped towards another kidnapper, harassing it mercilessly, but the creature struck it with a wing and the birdman tumbled to the ground, spreading its wings only just in time to miss the field floor. One by one they were picked off and finally one spotted Starry-Eyes. She stood frozen as the huge creature descended for her. It was halfling-shaped, but with a neckless head even smaller than hers, dominated by two huge eyes and a mouth that seemed to grin at her. It's wings were as a bat's, but had hundreds of clawed tentacles. Feeling paralyzed she could only watch. She closed her eyes when she was whisked off her feet. Opening them she expected to see the horrible greenish-skin, but instead there were feathers. The manbird cradled her in his arms, and the monster was right behind, but as they reached the thick, interlacing canopy of the woods it veered off. It kept flying until the lights of a cottage was seen. There Starry-Eyes and the manbird settled. It set her down, and breathed heavily, looking around warily.

    "Follow the trail little one, it'll take you to the village." he instructed her. The little one looked into the dark woods with misgivings but nodded tearfully. She turned to it and found the strange frog thing squatting.

    "Need to run, toady!" she said to it and made shooing motions.

    "Wha..." the birdman said, peering around her, and his eyes went wide.

    The creature slowly lifted, as if to spring.

    "NO!" he screamed, and shoved the girl to the side as the frog-creature leaped. It seemed to pass right into the birdman's body. He arched his back as expressions and emotions flashed across his face. He cried like a hawk and gibbered like a lunatic as he twitched. A triangular eye then appeared on his forehead as he howled one final time, and then lay still. Starry Eyes slowly approached, and reached out to touch the triangle in confusion. The birdman lashed out, gashing her in the elbow with his beak and she jumped back with a scream. Holding her bleeding arm, she sprinted down the trail, not seeing behind her the form of the birdman vanish.

    She wasn't sure when she made it back, only that for the next few days she suffered one endless period of nightmares filled with whirling stars, flashes of green light and her sisters and brothers flying. Her only lucid moments was that of sitting up gasping with the heat of fever and her mother laying her back down with calm words. The next time she awoke she was certain she was still dreaming. She was at the top of an old apple tree by the lake, and somehow she was gripping the upper branches with her toes, which were long and scaly. Looking at her arms, she saw were covered in a pretty white down. For some reason this struck her as hilarious and she giggled, but all that came out was a warble. Up in the sky the moon hung full, and she found she could finally see it. She'd always seen it before, but now she could see lines like rivers and mountains and pits. The stars too were brighter, and they had colors she had never imagined. Her smell too... something nearby was fantastic. Looking below she saw an apple so green it almost glowed. She bent down and pecked it, marveling at the flavor. When she was done she peered around and leaped up fearlessly. She didn't know she'd known how to fly, but this was like a dream come true.

    In the distance she saw the lights of torches and lanterns in the forest that separated the fields from the village. Her keen ears picked up the called of 'Starry Eyes!' and she dived down. She didn't want to be a bird any more, she wanted her momma! Thus the search party found the little girl running towards them and leaped up into her mother's arms.

    "I flew... I flew!" she murmured into her skirts as she was carried back.


    It was both a painful and joy-filled life that Starry-Eyes lived as she grew into a young woman. The loss of all her brothers and sisters hit her hard once she realized they weren't coming back. From fourteen playmates to herself... the house has never seemed so empty, even when the others had gone out to play. None knew what had happened on the day of her 11th birthday, and they put her story off to the start of the fever that had gripped her. They sent out search parties, but no trace could be found. They even managed to gather the bravest to paddle about the lake where the star had fallen in hopes of finding some sign, but there was none. The pain eventually lessened, but the dreams continued. Every full moon she would disappear from her room, and her parents would scold and then clutch her, berating her for her foolishness. They had lost all their other children, how can we bear to lose you they'd ask. After the first few times they finally locked her in her room. That night they opened the door to find a screaming chordevoc wheeling around the room, but no Starry-Eyes. They brought in the village witch and confirmed it was there daughter. She had been chosen by Yondalla the witch proclaimed, to guard their village. Since then the others of the village held her somewhat in awe. Friends were pushed on her in hope they would attracted the blessing of the Goddess, but Starry-Eyes could see it in them that they didn't wish to come at first. Not this strange girl who wouldn't even awake til the evening and would only eat fruit and raw meat. As they came to know her however even the most sullen hobbledehoy couldn't help but be infected by her mischievous good nature and wild, playful look in her eye. Still, they could not be with her all night, so she spent most of her time in flight, dancing and singing as if she were ten years old again. Other times she'd fly to the top of the wonderful apple tree, watching the stars. She came to notice their spin and play and wondered at it. It was around that time she suddenly became aware of a presence behind her. She became her birdwoman form and wheeled down, just in time to see someone duck behind the trunk. Moving quick, she sped around came face to face with a man her size. He was green and wore a spiny armor.

    "Why are you watching me!" she demanded.

    The man bowed and smiled grimly.

    "I've watched you for many a year little Starry Eyes." he replied in a strong, deep voice that she found herself liking. "You are more special than you know. I have been your guardian since my friend died saving you."

    "You mean, that happened? It wasn't the fever!" she cried, the pinch of uncertainty she'd carried all these years giving way to relief, but then anger and horror. "Where are my brothers and sisters?"

    "I do not know, but if you will see them again I have doubts. There is evil in that lake. None of my kind come within a league of here, for those horrors are not of this world. They rest there til the stars are right, the light is green, and only then may they leave the lake. The chip off the star that fell paralyzes them except for the week of the coming of Alhazarde, then it forgets them, and only has eyes for it's mistress above. Then they may escape, a few at a time. Until then, they must live in the scum and the water-filled caves below in hiding."

    "I'm not going to let them come again. We have to go get them!"

    "Their ways are not your ways, little one! They are not here as you are. You might find them, and kill them, but then they would return, you having only killed a ghost. Or maybe they will be untouchable and unseen, or only found in dreams."

    Starry Eye's namesakes widened and she whispered, "I have seen them there!"

    The green man nodded, "Yes, you have. But you still don't know how to look. Let me show you. I am Warden the Thorn."

    When the sun was gone, and all asleep, Warden would come out of his hiding and they would discuss the stars and dreams. As he taught her of past doings and pointed out their dance, she noticed that things seemed to happen at special times of the year, and could predict them. It was like the stars were talking to her. As well, many of her dreams would come true, or dreams of others would paint her a picture that no others seemed to understand. She would have them meet her at night, with Warden well hidden and as they regaled her she would take flight; wheeling above, letting the stars whirl as she did when she was young, and as often as not a clear knowledge would come to her.

    Yet this was only beginning...

    Level 5
    Spoiler
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    Halfling Were-Chorvedoc 2, Bard 3

    Small Humanoid (shapechanger)
    Hit Dice: 3d6 + 1d8 HD (14 hp or 18 Animal/Hybrid)
    Initiative: +1 (+5 hybrid)
    Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares); Animal/Hybrid form: Fly 70 ft. (good)
    Armor Class: 17 (+3 armor, +1 dex, +2 natural, +1 size), touch 12, flat-footed 16; Hybrid 23 (+3 armor, +5 dex, +4 natural, +1 size), touch 16, flat-footed 18; Animal 21 (+5 dex, +4 natural, +2 size), touch 17, flat-footed 16
    Base Attack/Grapple: +2/-1
    Attack:
    Animal - Talons +9 melee (1d3+2)
    Halfling - +1 War Sling of Distance +7 ranged (1d6+3/20x4/100 ft.)
    Hybrid - Claw +5 melee (1d3+2)
    Full Attack:
    Animal - Talons +9 melee (1d3+2)
    Halfling - +1 War Sling of Distance +7 ranged (1d6+3/20x4/100 ft.)
    Hybrid - 2 Claws +5 melee (1d3+2) and bite +0 melee (1d4+1)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (2-1/2 ft./0 ft. animal form)
    Special Attacks: Fascinate
    Special Qualities: Bardic music 3/day, bardic knowledge, blindsense 60 ft., countersong, damage reduction 5/adamantine or silver, inspire competence, inspire courage +1, low-light vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +8; (Hybrid) Fort +5, Ref +11, Will +9
    Abilities: Str 14, Dex 12 (20 hybrid), Con 10 (12 hybrid), Int 10, Wis 14 (16 hybrid), Cha 16
    Skills: Climb +4, Decipher Script +2, Hide +9 (+13 hybrid) (+17 animal), Jump +4, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Knowledge (the planes) +6, Listen +8 (+9 hybrid), Move Silently +3 (+7 hybrid), Perform (dance) +8, Perform (sing) +4, Profession (astrologer) +8 (+9 hybrid), Spot +10 (+11 hybrid)
    Feats: Dreamtelling, Flyby Attack(WereB), Nymph's Kiss, Iron Will(WereB), Weapon Finesse(WereB)
    Traits: Quick
    Challenge Rating: 6
    Possessions: +1 war sling of distance, masterwork leafweave studded armor
    Alignment: Neutral Good
    Level Adjustment: +2

    Languages Known: Common and Halfling

    Bard Spells: Caster level 3rd. (Spells per day: (3/2); Save DC 13 + spell level):
    0 - Dancing Lights, Know Direction, Message, Prestidigitation, Resistance, Songbird
    1st - Feather Fall, Guiding Light, Swift Expeditious Retreat

    Blindsense (Ex): Starry-Eyes notices and locates creatures within 60 feet. Opponents still have total concealment against her.

    Lycanthropic Empathy (Ex): In any form, Starry-Eyes can communicate and empathize with normal or dire birds. This gives them a +4 racial bonus on checks when influencing the animal’s attitude and allows the communication of simple concepts and (if the animal is friendly) commands, such as “friend,” “foe,” “flee,” and “attack.”





    "THIS WAY!" Starry-Eyes shrieked, gliding slowly over the ground to sniff the prints. With a bright flare of blue-green light she disappeared into the distance, a faintly luminous tail trailing behind her. It was her 21st birthday today, 10 years to the day since her brothers and sisters had been taken into the beyond. She had learned and experience much in the year since she had met Warden.

    A previous night some 8 months ago she had been snacking on one of the delicious green apples of the tree by the cursed lake when Warden had asked her to share a bite. Upon doing so his eyes had widened for he recognized the aftertaste of starmetal.

    "All the vegetation around here tastes slightly of it, that's why hardly any animals come here, but this... this is laden with it!"

    An idea had formed. If the star paralyzed the horrible creatures below... then maybe if she got enough of it, she would be able to better battle them. They began to hoard the fruit of the tree, and talked a druid to venture near the lake despite his misgivings. He had enriched the tree, making it a positive bounty of harvest. They had then paid the local brewer to distill the cache until they had a dozen barrels of 100 proof apple brandy. Together they experimented and cast complicated spells, further concentrating and enhancing the mixture. What was left was several kegs that literally glowed with a faint green light, and so strong that if Starry-Eyes was not careful could die of its drinking. She spent the next night slowly sipping. As its effects took hold she sang, spouting ballads of heroes not yet born, songs of glory and the coming of disaster. Several scribes took it all down, and Thorn danced with her that night. Their dance was the wild abandon of the fey, though seemed to have an underlying pattern that mixed star and tree, firefly and swooping owl. She began to glow, like the warm green of moonlight through canopy boughs and they left the confines of the distillery. Outside the townspeople gathered without quite knowing and joined with the swirling pair. With the last swallow of the first keg she took Warden in her arms and transformed. Leaving the assembled in the midst of the revelry of life, she flew higher and higher into the distance. She glew brighter and brighter as they ascended, and nearly seemed to explode as she and Warden made love a thousand feet above. When they returned to the village the next morning Starry-Eyes' eyes has gone from hazel to a brilliant emerald and there was an avocado tinge to her skin.

    Since then strange sightings had been seen, and noises, especially around the lake area. Nothing definite, just a sense of unease and standing hairs. The uncanny feeling had increased and Starry-Eyes knew what it was, and her dreams confirmed it. Alhazarde would soon re-enter their skies and disturbing the sleep of those that were better off dreaming. The entire town had relocated to the next valley on her and Thorn's advice. She had been aiding the move when she saw it. The leathery frog was watching her from the top of a wagon. She had flown up to attack it when the shape had appeared, outlined against the sunset. It was one of the green winged men. It did not move nearly as smoothly as the last she had seen, seeming dizzy and drunken in its flight. The star had not yet appeared in the sky, but then her birthday was two weeks away. It must have been desperate to leave so early before and was obviously unable to achieve any great height. It had snatched a child, but her sling had met it's tiny head as it gained enough altitude to skim the treetops. It tumbled and fell. Starry-Eyes had hated to do it and risk the child, but even death was preferable to the taking.

    That's why she was skimming the forest ground, a dozen villagers behind her, though Thorn kept close pace, crouched upon the back of a tamed and unafflicted chordevoc. The scent couldn't be mistaken, nothing in the world smelled as it. Suddenly the tracks stopped and the ground was turned up. She peered into the sky and closed her eyes, letting out short, clipped shrieks that echoed through the trees but could detect nothing. She landed on the ground and began to dance and spin, focusing on a point in the sky. As dizziness took her she fell, and a vision filled her mind. The child was being taken back to the lake. Starry-Eyes launched herself upwards and took chase...

    Level 10
    Spoiler
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    Halfling Were-Chorvedoc 2, Bard 4, Ranger 1, Green Star Adept 3

    Small Humanoid (shapechanger)
    Hit Dice: 4d6 + 6d8 + HD (50 hp or 60 hp Animal/Hybrid)
    Initiative: +0 (+4 hybrid)
    Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares); Animal/Hybrid form: Fly 70 ft. (good)
    Armor Class: 22 (+8 armor, +3 natural, +1 size), touch 11, flat-footed 22; Hybrid 28 (+8 armor, +4 dex, +5 natural, +1 size), touch 15, flat-footed 24; Animal 21 (+4 dex, +5 natural, +2 size), touch 16, flat-footed 17
    Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+5
    Attack:
    Animal - Talons +13 melee (1d3+2)
    Halfling - +1 War Sling of Distance +10 ranged (1d6+3/20x4/100 ft.)
    Hybrid - Claw +8 melee (1d3+2)
    Full Attack:
    Animal - Talons +12 melee (1d3+2) and slam +13 melee (1d4+3)
    Halfling - +1 War Sling of Distance +10 ranged (1d6+3/20x4/100 ft.)
    Hybrid - 2 Claws +11 melee (1d3+2) and slam +11 melee (1d4+3) and bite +6 melee (1d4+1)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (2-1/2 ft./0 ft. animal form)
    Special Attacks: Bard spells, favored enemy (aberrations), fascinate
    Special Qualities: Bardic music 4/day, bardic knowledge, blindsense 60 ft., countersong, damage reduction 5/adamantine or silver, fortification 25%, inspire competence, inspire courage +1, low-light vision, lycanthropic empathy (birds), scent, unnatural metabolism, wild empathy
    Saves: Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +11; (Hybrid) Fort +8, Ref +14, Will +12
    Abilities: Str 15, Dex 11 (19 hybrid), Con 10 (12 hybrid), Int 10, Wis 14 (16 hybrid), Cha 17
    Skills: Concentration +1, Climb +4, Decipher Script +2, Diplomacy +5, Hide +8 (+12 hybrid) (+16 animal), Jump +4, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +2, Knowledge (geography) +2, Knowledge (history) +2, Knowledge (nature) +6, Knowledge (the planes) +8, Listen +8 (+9 hybrid), Move Silently +2 (+6 hybrid), Perform (dance) +12, Perform (sing) +6, Profession (astrologer) +8 (+9 hybrid), Spot +11 (+12 hybrid), Survival +4 (+5 hybrid)
    Feats: Combat Casting, Dreamtelling, Flyby Attack(WereB), Nimbus of Light, Nymph's Kiss, Iron Will(WereB), Track(RangB), Weapon Finesse(WereB)
    Traits: Quick
    Challenge Rating: 6
    Possessions: +1 war sling of distance, +5 leafweave studded armor
    Alignment: Neutral Good
    Level Adjustment: +2

    Bard Spells: Caster level 9th. (Spells per day: (3/4/2); Save DC 13 + spell level):
    0 - Dancing Lights, Know Direction, Message, Prestidigitation, Resistance, Songbird
    1st - Feather Fall, Guiding Light, Ray of Hope, Swift Expeditious Retreat
    2nd - Circle Dance, Eagle's Splendor, Luminous Armor

    Blindsense (Ex): Starry-Eyes notices and locates creatures within 60 feet. Opponents still have total concealment against her.

    Favored Enemy (Aberrations) (Ex): Starry-Eyes gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against aberrations. Likewise, she gets a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures.

    Fortification (Ex): Starry-Eyes has resistance to attacks that affect other living creatures. When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on her, there is a 25% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and the damage is instead rolled normally.

    Lycanthropic Empathy (Ex): In any form, Starry-Eyes can communicate and empathize with normal or dire birds. This gives them a +4 racial bonus on checks when influencing the animal’s attitude and allows the communication of simple concepts and (if the animal is friendly) commands, such as “friend,” “foe,” “flee,” and “attack.”

    Nymph's Kiss: +1 to saves against spells and spell-like abilities.

    Unnatural Metabolism (Ex): Starry-Eyes gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and necromancy effects.

    Wild Empathy (Ex): Starry-Eyes can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. Starry-Eyes rolls 1d20 and adds +4 to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.

    To use wild empathy, Starry-Eyes and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

    Starry-Eyes can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but he takes a –4 penalty on the check.
    Last edited by Private-Prinny; 2010-07-09 at 08:41 PM.