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Mika can't discern what spell was cast from the Svirfneblins' earlier chanting, but the nature of their work--and what went wrong--becomes all too clear as you approach their former position.
Of the deep gnomes, only a few bloody smears and a trio of ravaged corpses remain, though you were certain you heard more than three voices chanting, and the robed one is not among the dead. In their place writhes an enormous serpent, mawed tentacles lash out from its back seemingly at random. A handful of wounds mar its scales, and its eyes have taken on the cloudy haze of blindness, but its power seems hardly diminished. Behind it sits a weighty obsidian bowl, about a big across as a human's shoulder span, on clever little folding altar. A fresh human corpse rests beside it.
As you approach, the snake-things stops writhing and turns its ear (at least what you assume is an ear) towards you. "Come back to bargain again, have you?" it says in a voice that warbles oddly to hit both high and low notes (you get the strange feeling that the svirfneblin could have understood it as well as you do), "still won't like the deal, I think. Should have drawn a circle." it breaks into an oddly-pitched cackling laughter that grates on your ears.
know(planes) DC 17
This is a Naunet, the lowest rank of true protean. Among its many powers are resistance to physical attacks, blindsight, shape changing, and the ability to confuse with the touch of its tentacles
map @ stuff
Last battle before you can rest and level up, I promise!
If you decide to attack outright, I'll roll initiative and begin, but I'll leave it non-combat for the moment in case you want to take another tact. Of course the opponent may initiate combat if it thinks you're being aggressive.
Mika freezes at seeing the creature. She quickly remembers her learning about these dreadful outsiders. "A Naunet? They summoned a Naunet??? This is really bad. Even if I had my magic I wouldn't be able to do anything and it can take attacks like they are nothing."
She then calls out to the beast "Wait! We aren't the ones that summoned you. We have no want to fight you. Maybe we can come to some type of agreement between us. I understand that bringing you to this plane can be very disturbing for you. There is no need to be evil. We can benefit each other. What would you want?"
At the sound of Mika's voice, the Naunet slithers closer, stopping about 30 feet away. "No, no, not summoners. No. But ask the same thing, I will. The hand that fed the bowl, the robed one's left, I will have it. Bring it to me and I'll tell you how to send me back. I can wait, most patient, maybe."
Its sightless head bobs back and forth like a cobra waiting to strike, considering each of you in turn. As it examines one of you its face shift, subtly taking on some aspect of your features before moving to another. When it reaches Jon it stops, "ooh, an oath-keeper. Break your vows, and I'll leave now. No need to wait. Or track down the robed one and I'll sit here quiet, as long as I can bear."
Jon grits his teeth and holds back the urge to strike. "If you wish to see me fall, you will be waiting a long time indeed. I know little of you, but you clearly know nothing of me. Tell us of this robed one and tell us why we should believe that you will do as you say, if you wish our aid."
no detect evil and no grit to pierce DR. I need a daring act to get back the smitey goodness!
"He'll break no promises for you, you horrible thing." Genevieve glares at the creature, maintaining a strong facade.
"Now, let me get this straight. We feed you your summoner and you tell us how to get you home. What's to stop you from telling us, then trying to pop our heads off after we go to the work of getting you your summoner?"
Awesome avatar by Kpenguin. ALL HAIL DOCTOR DIRE!
As the creature approaches, Mika steps back. She obviously does not like being near the Naunet. She then realizes to herself that the others might not fully understand this creature. She says quietly "Please don't make it mad guys. It is a protean, a creature of chaos. They aren't evil per say, just chaotic. They hate anything with form and getting it back to it's own plane of Nothingness would be for the best. Why did they summon a Naunet? And not even use a binding circle?" Mika asks these questions not expecting an answer but at marveling at the Svirfneblins' stupidity.
5ft step back
Also knowledge arcana to recall any useful information about calling or binding an outsider (1d20+8)
"Yes, yes, stupid," you're unsure if it is speaking of you or the gnomes. "Desperate were they, and the offering insufficient to bind. Now decide. Too long here, feeling... constrained," as he speaks, a tentacle slaps at a nearby building, easily knocking a hole in the sturdy wall.
"Let's find this damned sorcerer and be done with it. I'm not likin' this," Huril said, his arms crossed as he had himself somewhat turned from the protean, wanting to be away from the thing as soon as possible.
Huril warily circles the Naunet to examine the area around the shrine. Besides filling the obsidian bowl atop the altar, the blood leaking from the nearby human corpse turned the surrounding area into a muddy morass rife with fresh tracks. Six svirfneblin spent some time circling the shrine before the protean appeared and scattered them. The trails of three survivors converge and head off into the night. One or more of them was injured, leaving a regular trail of blood drops to follow.
"Alright lets see where this goes. And hopefully we can do this fast." Mika follows the others in the direction of the blood. She stays closer to the back. She also draws her dagger. If nothing else she can distract someone else for the others to do the damage.
Even though giving a person to the Naunet isn't that good, we have to to save the town. And since they summoned it this is the right thing to do.
"Agreed, I do not trust that thing to stay put for long. We were going to track down the necromancers regardless, giving them to that thing is worthwhile to save the town. Creature or rope makes little enough difference." Jon follows the trail, blunderbuss in hand.
You expect the trail to be long and difficult, but it's barely a block away the tracks reveal that the injured svirfneblin collapsed and had to be dragged into a nearby structure. The blood trail is virtually uncongealed, they must have entered the building only a moment or two ahead of you.
Huril moves up beside Jon, drawing his sword and nodding, ready for what was next. Thanks to the healing magic, Huril felt better now than he had in days, since the maggots got to him. He shivered slightly at that thought, but shook his head and looked to the door.
Jon's kick meets no resistance, and the paladin nearly stumbles in as the double doors fly in on well-greased hinges. The previous entrants had broken the lock, and not seen fit to barricade it shut.
The room is filled with inky blackness that confounds both moonlight and streetlamps. It doesn't take a wizard to realize that it's a magical darkness.
I'm real proud of this one. Honestly, I think it my best-looking map yet.
@Mika (don't peek, other people!!!)
Though the room is dark, and strangely resistant to natural light sources, it's no match for your excellent eyesight. A few horse stalls line the left wall, with farrier's equipment and feed occupying the right. A trail of blood drops leads to a partially open door at the back of the room.
Mika speaks quietly "I don't like this. They are trying to hide the blood on the ground. Can anyone else other than me see? We are in a barn. The blood leads to another room a few yards straight ahead. The stable door is open in front of you Jon. Closed in front of you Huril. Should...should I go first?"
I am assuming that the brown lines are stable doors.
"Did anyone bring a torch? If not, Mika, put your hand on my shoulder. You can steer me. The scatter from my gun should help if i have to fire blind." Jon stands uneasily, cursing himself for not being prepared.
And that is why my caster's ALWAYS know/prepare light. Comes in handy more than any other cantrip/orision. I have one who uses light/mage hand to turn random pebbles into flying torches.