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Siel nods at Nala's plan, having no inclination towards any sort of marching order or disorganized movement. What lay ahead intrigued her greatly; it would be interesting to see how the mortals reacted to the trials of the mines.
You march on into the forest. In the first two hours you manage to travel about three, maybe four miles, you guess: the terrain is fairly hard to negotiate. The trees are stalky and not very tall and they allow for quite abundant undergrowth. You find traces of a forest fire, months, maybe years old. Snapped off tree trunks hidden in the grasses and herbs pose a serious threat to those of less nimble makings and you find out that it saves time to report clearly to the ogre in the back about the obstacles you find. The light conditions are fairly good as the sun beams straight through the many gaps in the canopy. After two hours you hit a wall of darkness. Green giants dwarfing their stalky cousins defy the sun and deny any lesser plants access to the treasures hidden in the soil. Thirty, fifty....eighty meters tall? You are not quite sure.
As you enter the forest the light conditions are somewhat akin to a long autumn dusk. Right now vision is not an issue, but when the sun sets this place will be as dark as can be. Walking is easier here. Even though you have to slalom around the big trunks and massive roots, the ground is fairly even. An eerie silence surrounds your immediate vicinity, but meters above your heads you hear shuffling, squeeking and whistling. The ground level of the forest appears to have been lifted some ten meters as smaller plants and vines live in the branches of the green giants, providing a habitat for abundant life. After one or two hours of travelling in the forest, it is time to camp: Not only are you getting tired, darkness is also setting in.
Will you just sleep together or will you keep a form of watch? If so, I would like to hear how you will be arranging that. Will you light a campfire?
As for staying alert; Tralkor has a special arrangement with Burt. Burt is allowed to sleep when Tralkor is awake and when Tralkor rests, Burt keeps watch.
Tralkor makes use of his survival skills to help set up a small, primitive encampment. The setting darkness doesn't bother him. His darkvision is more then adequate to serve him in finding the needed materials in the surrounding area.
If needed, I can assist in keeping watch. I haven't exhausted any of my spiritual energies today, so no need for extensive sleep to replenish my reserves. Dunno about any needs for fire with the rest of you, but I could use a small one for a little brewing..."
The dense forest is tough going, but Nala is pleased with the progress they do make. After the days in the open, the press of trees, vegetation and roots around her makes the world feel tighter and less comfortable. They have little range of sight in this environment, and the noises of the forest above them constantly keep her alert. Itís tiring.
"I really donít want a fire in here," Nala says. "It may keep animals away, but it will attract intelligent creatures. But, if we get attacked in the dark, we will need light fast. Can any of you make magical light? Iím going to keep my lamp right by my side so I can light it if we need to see anything. We should sleep in shifts. Iíll take one of the later ones. Splitting my sleep in half won't hurt me much."
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
A little put-off at having to abandon her amazing pretty pony, Vrishchika continues with the others on foot. The dense forest makes her realize how much easier things would be if she could fly, or perhaps had wings of some sort. Though she tries to keep quiet, more than once an accidental swear finds its way under her breath.
"If you guys really need me to keep watch for part of the night, I guess I can. Though I'm pretty terrible when it comes to spatial awareness...and like, listening for stuff and noticing things." She shrugs and tries to smile, as if attempting to lessen the impact of her ...less than stellar awareness. "Though I can see in the dark, so I'm not totally useless as a night watch," she says, pointing to her left eye.
Those taking a closer look at her left eye notice that the pupil is actually seven pupils: six smaller pupils surrounding a central pupil.
"I, uh..." she scratches the back of her head, thinking of some way to make light for the group in case of a night attack. "No, I can't. Not with what I have prepared...and not very well with what I have in my books." Well, I'm just all around useless today aren't I! she thinks to herself.
Just adding for clarity that you do not need to rest for spell recovery, Tralkor. You could split guard with Nala 4hrs / 4hrs. This means you get 4 hours of sleep. Given your high constitution scores you guys can keep that up for a while, but at some point (depending on how tough the days are) you will need to 'sleep in'.
Please establish a fairly concrete night routine (e.g. 4 hrs Tralkor / 4hrs Nala, or 5 hours each with an hour of Vrishchika/Siel guard at the start and end), so I can roll for random stuff if applicable without weird discussions in hindsight.
Siel nods at Nala's point about the possibility of a fire attracting intelligent beings. I cannot create light, either. Perhaps, then, I should watch first, followed by Nala and Tralkor and finally Vrishchika at the end. She suggests.
"Whatever works best for you guys. I'm used to relying on just myself and Burt, so any help you can offer is already an improvement in our safety for as far as I'm concerned. About that light thingie: I actually think I can help with that, I've created light before. Just won't be able to tonight... But I'll make sure I will be able to tomorrow."
Okay. Based on what I read I am going with the following night schedule:
1 hr: Siel
3.5 hr: Tralkor
3.5 hr: Nala
1 hr: Vrishchika
That's 9 hours, with 8 hours for the arcane folks and 4.5 connected and 1 extra for the others. Nala and Tralkor, you can do this 3 nights in a row without losing your 'edge', a 4th one if you roll a decent constitution check and a 5th one if you roll a good one. Just so you know.
You decide to not light a fire, which severely hampers the vision of those without darkvision: During the night the forest is pitch black. Siel, during your watch nothing happens. You, and those after you, notice that it seems as if the forest never sleeps. As some animals go to rest, others awake. The palette of sounds changes, but not in intensity.
Tralkor, I need you to roll a Listen and Spot check.
((I would have rolled it for you, but the myth-weaver site is down))
I'm guessing you had a few beers before posting this schedule, or were emotionally unstable after watching PSV-FC Twente.
You have Nala scheduled for both the before-last and the last shift, were I think you meant to have Vrish take the final shift? And looking at the same schedule (assuming Vrish takes the final shift), I see Nala and me getting 4,5 connected hours of sleep and if we like another hour just before or after our shift. Potentially we can manage to get 5,5 hours of sleep using this watch schedule. A little better then the suggested 3,5.
Tral shares his watch with Burt. Burt mostly sleeps during the day, so they can keep each other company during their shift.
Burt is going to aid me in keeping watch, so two DC:10 rolls for him. If he makes 'm, please add +2 to Tral's rolls.
A soft gliding sound attracts your attention, Tralkor. As you focus your sight, you notice a snake slowly moving towards the camp, some 50 feet away. It appears to be on the hunt, as it is hiding. However, hiding is hard when you are well over 30 feet long. You know that snakes of this size tend not to be poisonous, yet still very dangerous. They can choke the life out of a warhorse and devour them whole, you've been told.
Tralkor grabs his club and stands straight slowly, so he won't attract the snake's attention. Hmm... pretty huge snake... Kinda doubt if I could clubber that to death myself... Let's not.
Slightly raising his voice, (snake's are mostly deaf anyhow, although Tralkor's lower vocal range might still draw attention from it) he wakes the others: "Wakey wakey. There's a huge frikkin' snakey." He snickers at his little rhyme, then gets ready to smash huge frikkin' skull.
If I have time, I'd like to cast Shillelagh on the club.
Nala grumbles at Tralkorís call. It canít be my watch already. The words take only a minute to process. Not wanting to be flat on the ground with a large snake around, she sits up. Keeping her spear close at hand, she reaches for the bullseye lamp she had left by her head and tries to light it in the darkness, keeping the shutter facing towards her and as closed as possible. The click, click of flint and steel seems too loud in the forest.
In a low but carrying voice, she asks, "Where?"
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
When you point the light in the direction Tralkor gives you, you can see the monstrous serpent if you can beat a DC15 spot check (so can the others).
Everybody that wakes up after Tralkor's alarm can (at least) get to his or her feet, make a spot check and perform one move action, for the beast moves slowly. Tralkor, you can use this same time to enchant your club.
Since Vrishchika hasn't replied yet, I am ruling she did not wake up. You can wake her more thoroughly this round (a move action) or shout her awake (free action) if you want, and I will take care of her actions untill she reports in.
Both Siel and Nala fail to spot it, while Vrishchika peacefully keeps on sleeping. Tralkor, you see the beast approaching slowly while Nala and Siel try to find it. When it is only a few paces away, you all can see it. It stops its advancement for a split second, as if it is trying to assess what it is he is facing. Seemingly unimpressed, it advances. As far as your knowledge on what a snake looks like before it is striking goes: It might strike soon.
As it is entering your camp site, Siel and Nala get to act before the snake has a chance to pick its target and start devouring it.
Knowing that this is probably a simple animal on the hunt, Siel channels the supernaturally concentrated suffering within her, releasing a surge of power that manifests as an explosion of light directly in front of the snake's head.
Casting Flare on the Snake's face. DC 14 Fortitude save or it's dazzled (-1 attack rolls, spot and search checks) for 1 minute
While I would, in principle, judge that Flare does not affect the 'sight/(senses)' of a snake much (since it is really a secondary, if not tertiary sense), I will grant you the effects of the spell because it is just a 'stupid' animal that might get scared. So, by virtue of confusion/fright rather than because of loss of sight.
A flash of light, centered on the snake head, occurs as Siel focuses and produces a short hymn. The snake seems to lose his focus, but not his determination.
With a click, Nala readies her crossbow and takes aim at the snake. The flash of light from Siel's spell is left imprinted on her vision, but it was enough to tell her where the slithering intruder is. She looses the bolt with a sharp thunk and it sails into the darkness. "Vrish," she snarls in a low voice, trying to keep the noise from carrying. "Wake up!"
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
"Ehhh," the sleeping Vrishchika rolls over in her sleep, upon a makeshift bed of various clothing now strewn about. "No, grandma, I don't wanna trick people into being your dinner today..." she mumbles at Tralkor's warning, but as soon as she hears Nala and the sound of a crossbow firing, she gasps and bolts upright as best she can, her eyes wide. "No, don't -" she starts, but cuts herself off as awareness returns.
"What's going on?" she whispers hastily, turning around and getting up from her pile-of-clothes-bed. Upon spotting the huge snake, she frowns nervously and takes a few steps back. Humanoid psychology was her forte...not animal. It made her uneasy to try and think like a creature led by instinct.
Oops, made this action when I thought getting up was a move action. Moving back 10 feet from the snake, assuming I can do that.
The snake does not appear very impressed by the flare and the crossbow bolt, as it surges forward and strikes at a target it had picked long ago. Tralkor, it curls part of its body and uses the momentum to leap up to your shoulder where it bites you. Immediately, it starts wrapping its long body around you. You recieve 11 damage and I need you to make a grapple check (DC26).
In addition to trying to resist the grapple, you still have an action this round, Tralkor, if you can come up with something. Vrishchika spent the round waking up and moving back a bit. Next to Tralkor's action, if any, all the others are up in the next round.
Sadly resisting a 30 feet snake proves rather difficult, even for a big fella like himself.
He refuses to give up though and tries to break from the snake's grip once more. He grabs the snake's body, summons all of his strength and tries to force the snake's constricting body over his head, tossing it aside.
Nala jumps instinctively back as the snake lunges towards them, but she is not their intended target. The way it had shrugged off the bolt hinted at a powerful animal before them. Tralkor looks stuck fast by its powerful coils, so it would be too dangerous to continue to shoot. She drops the crossbow at her feet and advances with her spear to strike at the snake.
Free action: drop crossbow
Move action: approach snake
Standard action: stab snake
I don't know if there are any penalties to attacking into a grapple, if there are any.
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
The grappling rules are notorious(ly evil), Nala, this is what I know and plan to play by:
-The grappler loses it's dex bonus to AC
-Ranged attackers roll randomly to determine the target (i.e. they shoot into frenzy). I will give the shooter a bigger chance to hit the right target if the shooter is any good (i.e. has a high b.a.b.)
-Melee attacks can be directed into the grapple just fine.
This means you attack at no penalty and manage to hit the snake.
Tralkor wrestles the snake and it looks as if his large size and muscles is beneficial here: While the snake is still coiled around Tralkors legs, he has managed to fight off the choking hold it had at first. Nala, your spear pierces the snakes hide and you can feel and hear the tip of your weapon breaking one of the many vertebrea it has.
Siel and Vrishchika are up, before the snake, and then Tralkor gets to act.
As Vrishchika points her finger and casts her spell, Tralkor feels a gooey substance forming on his armor, dripping on his limbs. Even if it scares you, Tralkor and you wish to avoid it, it does not work (but you are used to that). Siel is hacking at the snake with her sword, but does not manage to pierce the thick hide. The beast has not yet lost confidence, it seems, for it attacks Tralkor again. It bites tralkor for 16 damage and tries to choke again. Tralkor, you notice that the greasy substance on your armor helps you escaping: please make a grapple check to avoid the hold, with a +10 bonus (DC32).
She will have to work on the tip for her spear after this fight, but hopefully it is still jagged enough to pierce the snakeís hide. There is no time to hesitate, or Tralkor might become overwhelmed by the massive beast. If they canít get him out fast enough...
She stabs again, hoping to hit her previous strike or somewhere vulnerable. Driving it off may not be enough Ė going back to sleep with something this dangerous around isnít a comfortable thought.
Nalaís sadness is one of worry. Itís a nagging sort of sadness with a usually bitter taste to it, that isnít a heavy feeling, but one that lingers. Right now there is an abnormal layer of acidity to it that sharpens the senses and sets her, at least, on edge.
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.