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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    sandmote's Avatar

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    Default Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    OOC thread here.

    The regent for the nearby town of Chires has requested the presence of locals willing to aid in some willing to investigate strange activity on the border of the nearby Jungle. The families nearest the jungle have been disappearing, as have a few smaller caravans, and locals report strange beaked squid leaping down from the trees. Regent Pludall is afraid these creatures may come from a demonic cult or be working with the neighboring principality to soften up the area for invasion. He's hoping for a few brave souls to determine the source of these attacks and, if possible, destroy it. Signs requesting help have been posted around the town and in the few neighboring villages, but the creatures appear dangerous and most locals are afraid. Confusingly, some caravans have come across wagons in the road which clearly have been attacked but with no one present and all the cargo intact.

    Regent Pludall is personally meeting those willing to go out and aid the search for the culprits. The old man's demeaner is that of one resigned, of one who has seen many troubles and nothing but troubles for a very long time. "The young lord of Chires eagerly requests your aid in this frightening matter," he explains to the latest group shuffled into the tavern's side room by the servants: a dwarf, half orc, tiefling, warforged, human, and giant frog. They all seem to have been here too long to notice the halfling slip into the room with this group.

    Pointing to an area over the map in front of him, Pludall points a region deep in the jungle. "Several attacks have taken place here, and you are being tasked with searching the area." He rattles off a few points of interest: an old ruin, a dried up cistern where a village once stood, and the cite of an ancient yuan-ti holding that predates the kingdom. "I'm forgetting what I've explained to whom. Please try to return with any of the creatures attacking for identification, or try to deal with the threat yourselves; if any of you return please let us know so we can catalogue where you've checked. Any particular questions before you go?"
    Last edited by sandmote; 2021-05-21 at 10:09 AM.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    The little mechanical Minim-3 shook their head in three precise movements.The silver-and-darkwood construct was wearing their neutral face and clad in reinforced robes of white cloth and hidden maille. Unlike most people, she had absolutely no fidgeting when listening, without even visible eyes to be looking around the room. If it wasn't for how out of place she seemed in the tavern, she could have been a strange statue or work of art.

    When she spoke, her voice was entirely toneless and utterly precise in meter.
    "Further inquiries==negative. Recommendation: departure."
    And the far stars cried, and the planets yearned;
    But no man may know, for she'll ne'er return.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    The ranger was a little frustrated because he hadn't found anything in his first check of the woods. Whatever was there, it was probably something he had never seen before.

    He looked at his partner, who he had chosen to name Glenn. The frog was actually paying attention at some food he was chewing, probably found in the jungle while Kyle was looking for clues. The beast was just very good at finding sentient things to hunt while nobody was looking.

    He replied: "I don't believe I have anything to ask, either. It's probably better to go see whatever it is with my own eyes".

    Kyle wasn't really the type to prefer theory over practice, honestly.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Groth

    Standing a foot taller than most Groth has remained in the back, drinking his extra-honeyed tea. He has found that people can get intimidated if he is the front row. Setting his teacup town, he weighs in.

    "I managed to track one of the creatures. It was a repelling, strange thing, with a long beak connected to several tentacles. I found it hanging from a tree. It doesn't seem to have eyes.

    I have never seen nor heard of anything like this."

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "I have questions," states Kyros imperiously, stepping forward and gesturing to the map. "Approximately where and when has each of the reported attacks occurred? If we can determine some sort of pattern, it may be possible to set up an ambuscade."

    The tiefling turns to Groth. "These creatures are clearly some manner of aberration, though I could not say exactly which without seeing one myself."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    When Minim-3 suggests leaving immediately, Linus nods, but Kyros's question is an intriguing one. Thinly obscured by the massive Groth, he waits silently for the answer. Although the Regent had indicated the locations of the attacks (an old ruin, a dried up cistern where a village once stood, and the cite of an ancient yuan-ti holding that predates the kingdom), he had not told them when, or the order of the attacks.
    Last edited by esorscher; 2021-05-22 at 09:38 AM.
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    One of Pludall sighs "Fair point. We're sending you just north of the center of the attacks. That said, they've been ranging over a massive distance, and we suspect whatever is causing them isn't staying in one place itself. We've heard people equally certain they're demons, fey, or some new experiment of the yuan-ti. Excuse me if I'm holding off on identification until someone brings one back."

    With this, one of the regent's aides hands the party a bag, and the group is pushed out the door. First person to check inside it finds a smaller map (with the areas of the most attacks marked), a pair of healing potions, and a signal horn.

    The party can try to search for more information in town, see if they can wait for another chance to talk to the regent, or head out immediately. If you do head out immediately, there's three roads in that direction:
    • A long winding mountain path, where any attacks taking place likely haven't been reported.
    • The main road, where attacks have been spare, even though some of the creatures have been spotted.
    • A smaller side road between the local villages, where several wagons have been found abandoned, but no one has reported seeing anything.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Groth

    After being shoved, more or less, out of the door, Groth turns to the others.

    "Well, that was quick. But as we say in my line of business, sometimes a quick soup is more nourishing than a slow-cooked roast. So, I say we take the smaller road. It seems more things are happening there. We can meet at the edge of town in an hour and head on, no reason to waste daylight.

    And perhaps we should introduce ourselves, if we are going to work together. I am Groth. I am handy with all kinds of ways to hurt someone. I am even better in cooking. I am here at the request of the Bakers and Cooks Guild, since many of our supplies have gone missing. What about you all?"

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    I agree, I think we may learn more if we go straight at where the problem is happening.

    My name is Kyle Dolan, from the village of Greenwood. I hunt wild animals by trade, though recently I've been hunting a certain necromancer who terrorized my village a few years ago. I took this job to find out if he's related somehow.

    He points at the giant frog.

    Also this is Glenn. He used to live in the forest near my village, and has been helping me fight the necromancer since he first appeared. We... actually worship those giant frogs at Greenwood, though this guy is more like my partner. He just hates undead as much as I do, I suppose.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "My name is Linus," the halfling says with a slight nod of his head. "I procure valuable and hard to acquire objects for my patrons, without attracting undue attention." He avoids mentioning why he's on the trip, not eager to share his criminal past.

    "I agree, the smaller road may be fruitful. In my brief scouting before our meeting, I saw a tentacled beast with a bird's beak. It seemed to be hunting the dinosaurs drawing the carts, but was wholly uninterested in the livestock in the cart. This seems incongruous to me; if it were hunting to satisfy its hunger, why leave the livestock? It may not be responsible for the attacks, and merely a scavenger." He realizes he is rambling, and finishes, "Either way, beginning with the route where the attacks have the highest frequency seems best."
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "Designation: Minim-3. Utility: musical machine, repurposed. Musical module not installed. Killing module installed. Set task: Investigate disappearance of Master's associate."

    At the halfling's words, she gave a precise nod.
    "Addendum: investigation of merchant cart revealed gold taken. Additional goods not taken. Evidence conclusion== cart willingly abandoned. Alternative: purposeful targeting of sentients. Cart animals incidentally to prevent escape. Gold less traceable than goods; thus taken."
    And the far stars cried, and the planets yearned;
    But no man may know, for she'll ne'er return.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Kyros makes a vexed sound at being ejected so quickly. "Really! How very rude!"

    Brushing non-existent dust from his clothing and combing his blueish-black hair with his fingers, Kyros introduces himself to the others. "Kyros Voldari, scholar and intrepid investigator into the arcane, the occult, and the otherwise otherworldly. I've been asked to look into this matter by one of my colleagues." Kyros raises an eyebrow at the new information from Linus. "If livestock is being left behind, it seems less likely that this is an invasion by a neighbouring principality; they would either take the animals for themselves, or slaughter them to deny the town access to the resources. It would appear that the attackers require beasts of burden and more easily spendable resources."

    The tiefling peers at the map. "If our employer demands quick action, then the most logical place to start is where most of the attacks have been reported - the side road between the villages. Failing that, the main road where the sightings have occurred." He turns to Groth. "Where was the creature that you saw located?"

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Groth

    Responding to Kyros' question, Groth makes a vague gesture.

    "It was in some hills over there. However, I think it was more of a lucky break than anything else, and I did not see any more of these creatures. I think the side road is a better bet"

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    With most of the party in agreement, they set their way down the side road shortly. The path is nearly empty, save for the large groups now traveling to band together against attack. Groth recognizes a few of the hills from his way back.

    Everyone stumbles across two things of interest at once, a while after noon. Near the top of a hill he road forks in two, heading in nearly the same direction, with a large bush between the two paths. The path directly over the crest of the hill appears abandoned, with fresh shoos growing out into the space; its as if even the animals are avoiding this route now. Massive palms shade the spot. The second path is clearly new, with large branches still handing on despite gnawing and foot traffic.

    More important, however, is the large quantity of blood at the same spot. It smells bad, as if diseased, despite its freshness and runs into another bush on the far side of the newer path. The party hasn't seen anyone on the road in the last hour and a half, though, and no one was talking about this, so it's likely the body couldn't have been taken far.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    Each person can make one check to start with; examples rolls off the top of my head are listed below.

    • Nature (Intelligence) to figure out what's going on with the paths.
    • Investigation (Intelligence) to check out the blood splatters.
    • Survival (Wisdom) to determine where the body was taken.
    • Stealth (Dexterity) to follow the blood.
    • An Intelligence check using cartographer's tools to check for anything nearby on the map.

    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Linus notices an odd smell in the air, and sees there's a section of the blood that's mostly clear. There's a blue-ish membrane near it, which looks like it burst. He holds it up for everyone to see (its mostly clear of blood) and the smell gets stronger. It looks like the remains of a fruit; as Linus is looking at it, he notices several more of these handing up from the palms on the side of the older path.

    Kyle has also noticed something interesting about the blood, as whatever dragged the body into the bushes left a few clear prints where the blood turned the ground to mud. About the size of a human sole are pear-shaped prints with four round toes; if they're clearly felid in nature. Groth quickly reveals the tiger who made them when he stumbles over the bushes and into its face. The creature has a boar in its jaws, and it growls at the half-orc through the meat.

    Everyone else holds still as they spot the large predator so close to them.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    There will be time to study these apparent fruits later, Linus reasons, wondering if they really are fruit at all. The sight of the tiger gives him pause, but he doesn't move. His untrained eye sees a predator defending its kill, and so he lowers his body even lower, attempting to appear nonthreatening.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Stealth to hide behind a medium sized creature, or behind foliage: (1d20+6)[21]
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "Hostile contact," announces Minim on reflex. She reaches up and yanks the horn on her head sideways, and it comes off in her hand - and then with the snap of displaced air, a flat rectangle of a blade - without point or thickness, more the absence of anything - flicks into being. Her other hand grips her knife, sheathed at the small of her back, and withdraws the conventional steel blade with the oiled whisper of metal.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show

    Since both sides are surprised, I don't think Minim can take an action or move yet, I assume?
    Last edited by Awful; 2021-05-26 at 03:57 PM.
    And the far stars cried, and the planets yearned;
    But no man may know, for she'll ne'er return.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Kyle is startled. Not scared, though. He is used to beasts. It's the unnatural stuff that he knows he is really supposed to fear.

    He grabs his longbow and gets ready to fire it at any moment's notice. But at the same time, he tries to position his body in a way that signals to the beast he is not interested in starting a fight, just defending himself.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Rolling Animal Handling to see if the tiger can be convinced not to attack.

    (1d20+5)[17]


    The giant frog also gets ready to attack if necessary.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Kyros freezes the instant he spots the beast.

    "I suggest that we back away slowly and leave the cat to its meal," he whispers urgently, at the same time readying an Eldritch Blast in case it decides to attack.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Groth

    "What the..."

    Groth's eyes widen as he comes literally face to face with the tiger. A city man himself, he is not sure what to do. He slowly backs away, maintaining eye contact as he unslings his cleaver slowly.

    "While the name "The Tiger's Eyes" would be marvelous to include in my menu, right now I am not sure what to do. If this cat jumps though, I will turn it to cotolettas."

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    The tiger seems equally unwilling to risk itself in a fight, after some of Kyle's urging makes its way deeper into the undergrowth, turning around every few feet to make sure it isn't being followed. Between the weight of what its dragging and the rough vegetation, it takes the tiger a few rounds before disappearing behind a bush about halfway down the hill.

    Leaving the group with the question on which path to take, and issue of the strange fruit.
    Last edited by sandmote; 2021-05-27 at 09:49 AM.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Well I don't feel like this tiger was the culprit we are looking for, to be honest." - Kyle remarks.

    "So, anyone has an idea of what this fruit is? It doesn't seem like anything I've seen before".

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "I'm wondering if it's a fruit at all," Linus says. "Or if it's connected in some way to the tentacle creature. Perhaps a lure of some kind? Or its offspring?" He has no skill to base his theory on, just speculation.
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Groth

    Groth watches wearily until the tiger leaves. he then approaches the strange fruit and tries to see if he has seen anything before like this.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    As the tiger disappears into the undergrowth, Kyros lets out the breath he's been holding in. The tiefling wanders over to examine the strange fruit hanging from the nearby palms. He frowns as he stares up at them, then at the membrane found by Linus. "I'm not a botanist either, though some of colleagues at the university are... they might know, but I have no clue. Perhaps we should bring down one those in the palms to examine it?"

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    "At least one," Linus agrees with Kyros. "They could be valuable." He begins the process of gathering up the fruits.
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    As Linus moves toward the palms, the frog moves between him and the trees, ribbiting loudly.

    Kyle stops to look again at the burst skin Linus held up, and recognizes it. He'd stumbled upon them once in the forest before. If you step too close to the tree, they'll fall on whoever's passing by, unleashing a sick smell that makes you feel weak and dizzy. One of the village elders called them "retch fruit," he thinks. This must be why the path changed: once the trees started fruiting, everyone (including the animals) starting passing around the area they guard. They can still be collected, but it might be risky.

    Once someone checks around the path, they find that, yes, it leads right around the bushes and connects right back up with the old one. They can stay to try to collect the fruit, or go on their way.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Linus quickly abandons his plan to collect the fruit, and once the party is ready, follows at the back.
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    As the party passes to where the two paths reunite, they can continue. They pass into more hilly terrain, uninterrupted until a loud shout of terror is heard over a hill to east.

    Any one who reaches the hill here (25 feet of movement) sees a banana grove, with two men. One is has a sword drawn, and is waving it frantically at the trees; the other lies next to a bunch of bananas on the ground, not visibly moving from your position. Dagnar and Kyle can make out something swoop by in the leaves, but not what it is.

    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    The two men are another 40 feet from the top of the hill (for a total of 65 feet from where you heard the shout).

    Dashing toward the two men is an option, as is an active perception check to try to get a better look at the creature. Whatever this is isn't visible yet, so it can't be identified, but maybe it could be spooked with an intimidation check (using either Charisma or Strength). Alternatively, someone could try a stealth check to sneak up on it on a later round.
    Last edited by sandmote; 2021-05-30 at 12:47 AM.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Into the Maw of the Devourers IC

    Kyle says in a low voice. "Guys, the trees."

    He looks at the frog and points to the tree. Glenn understands the command and starts slowly approaching the tree from behind.

    Meanwhile, Kyle gets his bow ready, and tries to find a target he can aim at from below.

    Spoiler: Rolls
    Show
    Glenn: stealth check to sneak up later.
    (1d20+3)[5]

    Kyle: Perception check to find the thing on the tree.
    (1d20+5)[21]

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