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As the party nears the cultists' compound, Rumble signals for everyone to be still and quiet. "We should go no further before scouting what we're up against. Are you prepared to take a look now, Dredge? Or do you need to wait for morning? The cover of night may be in our favor for scouting, but could make combat tricky for those of us unaccustomed to the dark."
There was once a time when I could sneak up on a deer and spear it through the heart before it knew I was there. However, this armour clanks and rustles noisily and I am badly out of practice. I think it would be wise for some of us with better stealth skills to try and get a glimpse of the cultists' captives. He looks to Rumble and grins, If they are not wild fey beasts bent on eating us, we can ride to their rescue. Otherwise, we can leave here knowing that the missing children are likely captured by our other suspect. He looks up into the treetops. I know you do not trust me, brother elves, despite the symbol of Corellon on my mount. Worry not; I shall be out of your woods before long, he assures the elves he cannot see but knows are there.
Rumble looks at Baruk quizzically but then grins her too-toothy grin. "Your tree friends, if indeed they're up there, could undoubtedly tell us the answer to that at far less a risk. Wood elves are far stealthier and have eyes far keener than Mountains, after all. And I doubt they hate their cousins enough to enjoy watching eladrlings suffer."
The Warlock shrugs apathetically to the entire ordeal. Elves watching them from the trees are about as characteristically paranoid as Dwarves burying themselves and their hoard in some Lolthblessed hole in the ground.
That is to say, they're both equally weird.
"Relying on these elves to be our eyes and ears, is it?" Tajal looks about uneasily. "Regardless of our prior engagements, I think it would be far better to investigate the source of the chant ourselves... in force, if need be."
Arcana check to try and detect whether rituals are being (ab)used: (1d20+14)
Arcana check to see if the patron knows anything? (1d20+14)
Dredge nods. "Yes, I can stealthily approach and see what I can see. If I think they've detected me, I can teleport away before they have a chance to discern my location."
If noone objects, Dredge moves as quietly as possible in the direction of the chanting, ready to teleport away at a moment's notice.
Readied action: Daily item power, Boots of the Dryad.
Teleport 4 squares to a square adjacent to a tree, treant or plant of your size or larger.
Trigger: If I notice that the cultists have noticed me, I'll teleport four squares to the tree furthest from the cultists and immediately hide.
Perception roll if needed for anything: (1d20+2)
Also, sorry if I'm a bit slow for the next few days - I'm in the Alps, internet access is a bit spotty, and it seems like my email notifications are broken
Tajal detects that there is a ritual of some sort going on, but can't determine exactly what kind.
Dredge slips quietly through the trees, as though he were nothing more than a mere shadow. Upon reaching the clearing by the waterfall, he sees the entrance to a cave. Ringing the clearing are chanting cultists, surrounding a great bonfire. They wear strangely decorated emerald robes. Tied up near the bonfire are several miserable-looking gnomes and eladrin, though these are adults. One of the cultists steps forward, a long ceremonial dagger in his hand, approaching a terrified female gnome who looks up at him with tears in her eyes, begging in Elven to be let go.
"You shall have the honor of being the first sacrifice to summon the great one," he says, throwing back his hood to reveal a human man with short brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard.
"There seems to be some ongoing ritual," the Warlock comments, peering in the direction of the lights. Without Dredge's report, however, he's uneasy about just charging ahead. After all, while the element of surprise and recon-in-force are both appealing ideas, he recognises the foolhardiness of charging in with less information than possible.
Although his first instinct is to return to the group and leave immediately, Dredge realises that he had better do his due diligence first. He attempts to size up the threat of the cultists and of this mysterious "great one".
How many cultists are there, and how well armed?
Use whichever is more appropriate for the great one, I guess
Very well... Dredge thinks to himself, before slipping back through the trees to the group.
When he reaches them, he speaks in hushed tones. "There are a few adult gnome and eladrin prisoners, and a dozen human cultists. They don't appear well armed, but they could still wield dangerous magic. They're performing some kind of ritual - they think they'll summon something called 'the great one'."
He pauses, knowing his next statement will be unpopular. "Unless someone can convince me that this ritual or its potential target poses a legitimate threat, I think we should mind our own business here and prepare for our real job."
I will convince you of nothing, Dredge. The right thing to do here is help those people; if none of you are interested in doing that, then I shall do it myself, Baruk declares. He places his helm on his head, draws his lance and heavy shield, and Auldfaxe charges forward towards the clearing at full speed.
Tabita grins and tries to put an arrow through the head of the bearded human.
Afterwards, she invokes words of magic to bolster her allies.
Bolstering Speech (At-will)
Martial - Minor - Personal
Effect: Until the end of the encounter or until you use another bard at-will attack power, your skald’s aura gains the following effect: Each time you hit an enemy with a basic attack, one of your allies in the aura gains temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.
Watching Baruk charge off, Rumble sighs and turns to the remaining party members. "I suppose we should go put a stop to this nonsense."
As she walks towards the clearing, she scoops up a handful of leaves and throws them into the air. Rather than falling, they swirl around her endlessly. Selecting a twig, she whispers softly at it, and then pulls, twists, and shapes it into the recognizable form of her war pick.
With a sigh and a shake of his head, the eladrin also advances. Allies charging so recklessly into battle... a surest sign of stupidity if ever he saw it, but he had to admit to wanting to halt the ritual himself, if only because summonings never quite appear benevolent.
The Warlock emerges from the trees, firing off a bolt of energy at a nearby cultist, but not before placing a curse upon the cultist.
Move: to C-5. I assume this is three squares from my starting position and gain concealment.
Minor: curse cultist at G-9. I have a +2 to defences against his attacks.
Standard: eldritch blast.
Attack: (1d20+11) vs Reflex.
Damage: (1d10+12) untyped damage, plus (1d6) curse damage.
A howl of wind surrounds Rumble as she charges through the trees, kicking more leaves up into the vortex which surrounds her, caking some of them onto her skin, and bending the trees slightly out of her way.
As she clears the treeline, Rumble quickly assesses the situation. Hoping to stay closer to her allies than in the barfight, but not wanting to leave a flank undefended, she heads for the nearest unengaged target to the north.
"I don't think I'm the great one you meant, but you have summoned me nonetheless" she echoes out at the cultists. "You have two choices now. Let these Fey go, or die here tonight."
With that, she swings her Pick viciously at her target.
I am assuming unless told otherwise that we don't have action points.
Minor Action: Stoneskin Cloth Armor: I gain 5 THP.
Move and Standard: Charge the I6 cultist (not worrying too much about where i started specifically) ending in H5.
Hit: (1d12+8) damage.
Dredge watches in amazement as everyone goes dashing blindly into the trees. He mutters a curse, wondering what happened to common sense, before chasing after them -albeit more carefully. As he runs through the dappled sunlight, some of the shadows pool and coalesce as a dagger in his free hand.
When he emerges from the treeline, he adjusts so that he can use a nearby rock for cover if need be. He then points his staff towards one of the cultists and concentrates. At least I can practice controlling this magic, he muses. A blast of energy leaps from the tip of the staff, generating quite a lot of recoil.
Move: to C15
Minor: Summon shadow-wrought weapon
Standard: Chaos Bolt vs cultist at I13.
Attack: (1d20+10) vs Will
Damage: (1d10+14) psychic
Extra attacks if needed (1d20+10) (1d20+10)
Extra damage rolls if needed (1d6+10) (1d6+10)
Well, they're not. No chaos effect either, and probably a miss haha.
The party emerges suddenly from the trees before the cultists can get their bearings.
Baruk's valiant charge goes awry, but his holy power does not fail him entirely and he successfully draws the leader's attention away from the helpless bound gnome, the man changing the direction of his dagger thrust towards Baruk instead. The blade sinks in through a chink in Baruk's armor, wounding him slightly but doing no major damage.
Tajal lets loose a bolt a bolt of eldritch energy that slams into an unprepared cultist with such dazzling, stunning force that the man is instantly vaporized into a fine red mist, unrecognizable tatters of what were once his robes fluttering pathetically to the ground as he dies.
Rumble fares better on her charge than Baruk did, and another cultist goes down before the swing of her pick, the sharp point sinking deep into an eyesocket as he gapes in surprise.
Tabita seems disoriented and looks around, thinking.
Dredge's surge of wild magic makes a pretty shower of sparks, but has no effect otherwise.
The cultists split up, some rushing the party, some continuing to chant, still trying to complete the ritual. Two find their mark, striking blows home on Dredge and Rumble with their ceremonial daggers. Another slips towards the prisoners, blade in hand, apparently trying to decide which to go for first.
"Kill them! Spill their blood for the great one!" The leader urges, waving his bloodied dagger about in the air. "Add them to the sacrifice!"
Cult leader vs Baruk: (1d20+13) vs AC, on hit (1d8+7)
I5 cultist vs Rumble: (1d20+13) vs AC, 8 damage.
G12 cultist vs Auldfaxe: (1d20+13) vs AC, 8 damage
D15 cultist vs Dredge: (1d20+13) vs AC, 8 damage
P4 cultist vs Rumble: (1d20+11) vs Ref, 7 damage
Rumble watches the scene unfolding and decides to intervene before the prisoners get hurt. Her eons of watching the Fomorians torture their prisoners beneath her roots flashes before her, and she feels her fury rise up to just beneath the surface. "Stop them!" she screams at her allies.
Turning towards the cultist who stabbed her moments ago, she grins. "Don't worry, I'll be back for you." she promises, while sprinting around Auldfaxe and taking a momentary position near Baruk and the Leader.
"I've heard that autumn goes by a different name here sometimes, is that true? No, no, don't tell me. Let's play a game. Would you be so kind as to act it out?"
After she speaks, she brings the palm of her hand to her lips and blows gently across it, spraying hundreds of leaves in the faces of the nearby cultists. "Ah yes," she giggles, "Fall. Bye!" and off she darts, running past them while swinging her Pick at the fool attacking the prisoners, aiming to skewer his head, in one ear and out the other.
Move: To G11, in a manner which provokes only from the I5 cultist.
Minor: Earthshock Vs the Leader ((1d20+9)) and the G12 Cultist ((1d20+9)) Vs Fort.
Effect: I gain 9 THP.
Standard: Charge the J12 Cultist ending in I12 (does not provoke OAs). ((1d20+13)) Vs AC.
Hit: (1d12+8) damage.
Rumble is at 59/62 HP and has 9 Temps. Or she is at 51/62 HP and has 9 Temps, depending on if I5's OA hit her.
As Dredge fails to dodge the cultist's dagger, his eyes literally flash with anger. Almost against his will, his form dissolves into sparks and darts between the cultists, delivering painful shocks to each he passes through.
He regains his normal form beside the cultist leader. Some residual electricity gathers around his shadow-wrought dagger and it moves faster than the eye can follow, slashing dozens of times in a fraction of a second. Finally, he deftly spins away from the leader, hoping to create some distance and avoid any retaliation.
Seeing Dredge rip apart some of the cultists with his storm magic, Baruk has Auldfaxe retreat, taking a passing blow from the lead cultist if he is so inclined. I end this now. Honour to the Seldarine! he spurs the horse into motion and tries to run down the leader with his lance once again.
Move Action: Move Back. He can AoO either Auldfaxe or me, but not both
Standard Action: Charge back in, putting myself in a square that won't interfere with Rumble's turn retroactively, I guess.
Attack Roll: (1d20+13), +2 more if I have CA
Use Furious Assault on a hit. Use Valiant Charge on a hit. Use Holy Smite regardless (since I have to declare it first)
Hit: (3d10+11) damage and dazed and immobilized both UEMNT.
Effect: 7 radiant damage.
Rumble charges ahead, easily throwing off the annoyances before her, slamming a cultist out of existence with her pick after shoving the leader to the ground with a quick shake of the ground beneath his feet.
Tajal quickly blasts the cultist who tried to attack Rumble as she ran in, disintegrating the man.
Dredge cuts a bloody swath of destruction across the battlefield, dropping two of the cultists before cutting deeply into the leader, lightning sizzling around him in a haze of crackling electricity.
Baruk moves Auldfaxe back, easily laughing off a pathetic attempt to attack him, and charges in anew, stabbing down at the end of his movement to attack the prone leader with a furious attack that gores the man through, wresting a shout of pain from his lips. Ethereal tentacles explode from the man's body, but he's too shocked by the force of the blow to put them to any use and they fall limp.
He quickly rallies, though, and slams them at his attackers. Baruk is too high for him to reach, but the tentacles successfully wrap around Auldfaxe, the suckers harming the noble steed and knocking him to the ground as three of the remaining cultists run in to attack, though only one manages to land a blow. Two of them on the far side of the bonfire break off and run into the cave as the leader screams incoherently in an incomprehensible language that makes your head hurt to listen to.
I15 cultist AoO: (1d20+13) vs AC, 8 damage.
Leader AoO: (1d20+13) vs AC, (1d8+7)
Leader bloodied trigger, close burst 3, vs Will, triggered by Baruk:
vs Auldfaxe: (1d20+11)
vs Baruk: (1d20+11)
vs Rumble: (1d20+11)
vs Gnome 1: (1d20+11)
vs Gnome 2: (1d20+11)
vs Gnome 3: (1d20+11)
vs Eladrin 1: (1d20+11)
vs Eladrin 2: (1d20+11)
vs Eladrin 3: (1d20+11)
vs Eladrin 4: (1d20+11)
Hit: (2d6+9) and target is slowed until EONT
Tabita: Miss, see OOC.
Close Blast 3, reflex, vs Auldfaxe: (1d20+11) vs Baruk: (1d20+11) On hit: (3d6+12) and target is knocked prone.
vs Auldfaxe: (1d20+14), 8 damage
vs Rumble: (1d20+14), 8 damage
vs Rumble: (1d20+14), 8 damage
As the cultist stabs at Rumble, he hits nothing but a bunch of leaves, which burst forth, surrounding Baruk and the Cultists and providing them an opportunity to move while the Leader is distracted.
The mountain turns her focus to the leader with her eyes glowing bright blue and frowns slightly. "Perhaps I should have clarified. Stay down!" she shouts, as she swings her pick at his left kneecap.
Assuming Rumble only took 8 damage last round, she sits at 59/62 HP with 1 THP remaining.
Minor Action: Natural Terrain Understanding - Burst 3
Effect: Each ally in the burst gains a +2 power bonus to AC and can
shift 2 squares as a free action. This should affect Baruk, Auldfaxe, and the prisoners.
Move Action: Minor Action: Unseelie Eyes
Effect: Until the end of the encounter, I gain Darkvision. Additionally,
as a Free Action, I can toggle on/off a CB2 of Bright Light from my Eyes.
Standard Action: Batter Down Vs the Leader (1d20+14) vs AC, (2d12+8) damage and prone on a hit.
Temporarily exhilarated by his own display of power, Dredge spins on the spot, looking for a new target. Noticing his now-central position, he focuses his mind on the surviving cultists, seeking an opening into their minds. When he finds one, he lets loose a blast of psychic energy.
When he reopens his eyes, he notices Rumble's eyes taking on a golden sheen. Curious... he notes, as with a blink he activates his own Unseelie gift and attempts to catch the mountain's attention.
At the same time, he manoeuvres closer to the fire, eager to be away from the leader should he regain his footing.
Standard: Bedeviling Burst
Attack vs Cultist J13: (1d20+10) vs Will
Attack vs Cultist Leader: (1d20+10) vs Will
(Use second attack against Cultist I13 if the leader is dead, but I doubt it).
Damage: (1d10+14) psychic.
Won't bother with push/slide regardless of roll result.
The Warlock calmly continues his assault. The others seem to be in a fair bit more trouble than this, but Tajal sees no real need to break out his stronger, more exhausting spells. After all, these are but rabble, waiting to be mowed down like peons.
With Rumble's Guidance, Baruk and Auldfaxe both make their way out of the fight and stand up. Baruk then vaults back onto the horse's back. He points his lance at the cultist. Your Master does not belong in this world. My lance shall be the end of your villainy, he says, in a voice echoing divine power. The Seldarine shall not permit his entry into this world! Everyone and everything present understands the meaning of his words, as if translated into the language they are most accustomed to.
Free Action (Off-Turn): Shift Baruk and Auldfaxe back, putting Auldfaxe in E10-F9
Move Action: Stand Up
Auldfaxe Move Action: Stand Up
Standard Action: Mount Auldfaxe
OOC: Auldfaxe has Impenetrable Barding, which grants him Resist 5 All. And my armor gives me Resist 1 All. Not sure if those are factored into your damage calculations. The gold text is to represent Baruk speaking in Supernal, the language of the gods.