Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.

Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 30th, 2020, 6:10 pm

Riiki's eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected visitor. Even wider at the things following him. Subterranean biology wasn't exactly a speciality of kobolds unless it was something liable to eat them but he'd paid enough attention in Leli's classes to know what the worm-like creatures were.

"They juvuzzeers!" He said to Shorty. "Might want step back."

As if the male kobold's words had caused it to happen one of the creatures scuttled around the man they followed and reared back. It spat a large ball of greenish goo that made a hissing noise like water on a hot stove when it hit the dead chittorick it was aiming it. Those present watching in astonishment as the armour plating began to melt.

......

"They're scavengers. Harmless to live things." Tamina explained to Rip. "Not fussy about what they eat as long as it's dead. The spit their stomach acid to dissolve their meals."

"Then stick out this tube thing like a straw and suck it all up." Alleece shuddered. "Just don't step in any green puddles unless you want to lose your boots."

"I wonder who that guy with them was?" Tamina pondered.

.....

"Err... who are you?" Oolan asked the strange man. It seemed at least the invaders had earned a brief reprieve before the next wave.

OOC I'll update the Tamina/Rip group tomorrow after the newcomer makes an introduction./OOC
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Graybeard » August 30th, 2020, 6:46 pm

[OOC: Well, THAT didn't go as expected... at least not totally. Apologies if the following straightens out the curve too much! Incidentally, where is Oolan for this? I'm assuming in the following that it was Riiki, outside with Shorty, who asked the question. If this is wrong, I can retcon.]

At first, Shorty also saw the "janitor," and not the "juvuzzeers" surrounding him. The janitor seemed to be extending the broom to clean up the green goo and sweeping it back toward the scavengers, not paying any attention to Riiki's question. In just a few seconds, though, Shorty realized something was wrong with this picture. The goo wasn't getting swept up; it was simply disappearing, somewhere in the vicinity of the janitor's feet. "This can't be," he muttered, closed his eyes, shook his head ... and when his eyes were open again, he said "AHA!" about as loudly as his incongruously soft voice permitted.

Now he was seeing the shadows. Furthermore, he could see the jungle beyond the clearing through the human figure. It was faint, as though looking through something filmy, but it was visible.

"Illusion," he breathed. "These things can make you see something they aren't. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad one." Either way, he was giving the juvuzzeers a wide berth.

---------------

Rip, whose magic senses had been tingling, was reaching a similar conclusion.

"Illusion," he said softly, sounding much like Shorty. "That guy wasn't real and there was no broom." Sure enough, there were tiny footprints in the dust and debris on the floor of the passage, but nothing that looked like a broom had been there. "They don't want the chittoricks coming after them, so they project some kind of illusion of something the chittoricks will ignore. Probably doesn't look the same to a chittorick as it does to us. But whatever would fend off a chittorick, it surely doesn't look like a human. So how did they ever learn that humans and kobolds would react to an illusion like that? Are they mind readers? Or ... have there been humans or kobolds or other humanoids in here before?"

As if to punctuate the question, a RAAWK came from somewhere ahead of them; whether generated by ghob or parrot wasn't clear, but either way, it didn't sound happy.
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Jack Rothwell » August 31st, 2020, 11:13 am

Sound underground could often make guessing distances a fool's game, but the rawk noise appeared to be relatively close by. Without a word the four picked up their pace and hurried down the tunnel the echo had emanated from. After a few tense minutes they halted as the tunnel reached it's end. They ducked into the shadows and surveyed the view.

The sight that confronted them beyond was a scene from a fevered nightmare. They'd finally reached the nest.

The size of the chamber dwarfed anything they'd seen so far in their short trip underground. The fungi grew in greater abundance here; casting it's greenish glow on constellations of egg clutches that, as they could see, were being attended to by the worker chittoricks birthed for that specific purpose. The creatures in question were a little smaller than the soldiers which had greeted them at the entrance. Although the mandibles they bore were no less deadly for the damage they could do. A second raaaawwk drew the invaders attention to a rocky outcrop some dozen feet off the nest floor where a distressed parrot and an even more distressed ghob were perched. The latter jabbing furiously at the snapping jaws below him.

All of this was secondary to the massive shape of the matriarch.

The creature which had been the subject of campfire horror stories since time out of mind in kobold culture lay curled into a ball on a rise in the ground as some concession to a seat. It paid little attention to the humanoid and the familiar. instead it's head was lifted slightly, the two antennae whirling gently like oversized fingers as it sent unseen messages to the rest of it's alien children. Milling between it's legs were a handful of tiny larvae of leaving a glistening trail in their wake.

"One atta time!" Bashiir yelled. Stabbing at a worker who'd tried a leap. "Enough ghob for every murder bug!"

"Haven't seen us yet." Tamina breathed. her voice surprisingly steady. "Looks like your birdie got free Rip. Got any ideas anyone?"

"Looks like twenty workers or so. If we play distraction Tammy. Do you think you can get to the matriarch?"

"Get to. Yes. Kill antennae? Don't know."
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Graybeard » August 31st, 2020, 11:43 am

Unexpectedly, Rip chuckled softly. "The antennae are the control devices? Why didn't you tell me? That, I can fix easily."

Rupert Ricordiel, aka Rip, was no fighter, except when he had to be. Now wasn't one of those times, but he was still a high-level Tsuirakuan mage in his own way. His main job on the Bonny Read and the earlier pirate ships had been to fix things. There was always something breaking, some short circuit that needed breaking, something, and between natural aptitude and years of experience, he'd learned all sorts of tricks to deal with those somethings. One of them came to his mind now. He rallied magic and cast.

There was a quick flash of magic around the head of the matriarch and a soft popping noise, barely audible over the din of clacking mandibles and squawking parrot and ghob.

When the flash cleared, the matriarch's antennae had been tied together in a neat overhand knot. A few sparks flew from the juncture, and Rip fancied he could hear a soft fzzt of energy sizzling from one antenna to the other. Probably that was wishful thinking -- the place was too noisy for something like that to be heard -- but fzzt or no fzzt, this broadcasting system would definitely be off the air until it was repaired.

The workers, however ...

[OOC: Why didn't Rip use a Force Bolt instead of magical mending to do this job? Two reasons. First, he's not a combat mage, and his Force Bolts and Fireballs are pretty wimpy. Second and mainly, with a Force Bolt, it would be clear where it came from. The hyped-up Mending spell wouldn't leave a trail for the bugs to see ... hopefully. But not to worry, something else will soon blow his cover, with hijinks to ensue ...]
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Jack Rothwell » September 3rd, 2020, 7:32 pm

...froze in their action of attempting to remove the ghob and the familiar from their perch and resumed tending to the egg clusters in the cavern. Without the matriarch free to give them specific instructions they regressed to their default behaviour.

"That was great!" Tamina enthused. "Which means..."

The matriarch was currently thrashing around, trying in vain to untangle it's antennae, even accidentally trampling some of the larvae seeking sanctuary at its numerous feet. Bashiir let out a roar of primal triumph and hopped down with spear in hand. Without hesitation or a lick of common sense the humanoid charged the enormous creature bellowing a war cry.

"This land belong to ghobs!"

"Can't fault his balls no matter what else." Alleece sighed.

"Distract it for me." Tamina said. "I'll try and cut it's antennae off when it moves it's head close to the ground."

As she spoke the matriarch lumbered towards the ghob. T'ska and Alleece broke their cover. Tamina began to channel.

OOC Loved the creative solution btw Grey. Rip and Tamina are still in cover for hijinxs if you've got something planned./OOC
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Graybeard » September 3rd, 2020, 9:32 pm

[OOC: Thanks. :mrgreen: As I said, Rip prefers not to fight, so he'll hang back and watch the carnage in case some spellcraft is needed. (Besides, you're better at writing combat scenes than I am.) Thurston, however ...]

"I think we're winning," Rip whispered with satisfaction as he watched what was happening below. However, he wasn't prepared for one little event during the combat.

Thurston, no longer the center of the workers' attention (of course, they had no attention at all, under the circumstances), lifted off the ledge he'd been perched on, and swooped in the general direction of the matriarch, now sorely pressed. With a parrotish grunt, he pried loose one of the eggs from a clutch, and cursing with the effort (it was quite a load for a parrot), flew off with it to where Rip was watching in utter astonishment. (Or at least where he thought Rip would be; familiars had a good sense of their boss' wherabouts.)

"Kamgee's naked nuts," Rip swore, invoking a deity from some Northern Confederacy village he'd run into back in his early privateering days. "What in the Weave are you doing?"

"RAAWK," Thurston answered, keeping the volume down just in case. "That stupid kobold boss is gonna want some proof that we did what we said we did. This ought to do, don't you think? Now how about you cast something to keep this thing from hatching at a bad time?"

Again, this was in Rip's bag of tricks; he'd had to secure ships' larders against decay often enough, including eggs (and on one memorable occasion, eggs of something as scary as this beast). A simple Preservative spell, scaled up for the egg's size, should do the trick. The spell cast, he settled back into his hiding place, keeping personal energy against the possibility that he'd have to cast something else ... but as he did, he remembered something.

That village that worshiped Kamgee ... that was the place that Arabella came from.

Suddenly his mind wasn't entirely on the battle any more.
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Jack Rothwell » September 4th, 2020, 10:34 am

OOC Support mages are characters who always wind up being up essential in a combat heavy party. Funnily enough I have an idea for a mage character I may or may not introduce in this story or the other depending how events unfold.../OOC

Bashiir's charge was halted abruptly by the enormous insect meeting his aggression with a charge of her own. The ghob made a whuff as an armour plated leg connected with his chest and sent him sailing backwards into the dirt. Alleece and T'ska fortunately took a more cautious approach; circling to either side of the chittoricks' queen, darting forward to throw spear jabs at the gaps between it's carapace.

Back in hiding, Tamina gave the parrot a joyful beam and an affectionate stroke at it's acquisition of an egg.

"Whosagoodboy?" She said before sanity could reassert itself. "You'reagood... oh."

One of the workers had detached itself from the group in light of it's charge being removed from the nest and trundled after the parrot clacking it's mandibles. It didn't seem hostile; more as if it was thinking (as far as chittoricks could think) 'That doesn't belong there. It belongs here.'. It made a beeline for the bag with the obvious intention of retrieving it from Rip's grasp.

"Umm, could you handle this?" Tamina asked. "It'll probably follow you until it gets it back. I'ma have to run in soon."
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Graybeard » September 4th, 2020, 12:34 pm

For a brief moment, Rip regretted being a grown-up. If he'd been ten years old, he'd have used the egg to lure the worker out of its nest and back to the house where he'd lived (half time) as a boy in the Northern Confederacy, and announced to his no doubt mortified parents, "It followed me home, can I keep it?" But no.

He extracted the egg from the sack he'd been about to stuff into his Pocket Dimension, telling a disappointed-looking Thurston, "Hey, it did seem like a good idea." Like most eggs laid on a flat surface, and unlike most laid in places they might roll off of, it was more or less round. That was good; he wouldn't have to approach its guardian too closely. He rolled it along the passage floor toward the approaching chittorick, with a very small magical push to set it in motion.

Unfortunately, this plan hit a minor snag.

The passage sloped downhill toward the big chamber, and the rolling egg gathered speed as it went ... meaning that when it hit a small protrusion in the passage floor, it had enough momentum to become airborne. The chittorick, never having experienced a flying egg before, didn't have the muscular coordination to snatch it out of the air. Instead, it impacted directly on the worker's mandibled head, where it exploded with a soft sploosh, spreading lightly cooked egg all over the oversized jaws.

Rip looked at Thurston. Thurston looked at Rip. Both looked at Tamina, who looked back.
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Graybeard » September 4th, 2020, 7:48 pm

OOC: Incidentally, I'm a big fan of Girl Genius, and what just happened to the worker brought back a menory of these two moments there. I'd never really thought of a chittorick as being like Agatha, though!
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Re: Southern Continent: Picking Up The Pieces

Postby Jack Rothwell » September 7th, 2020, 2:52 pm

The worker, now covered in the goo of the egg it had tried to protect, snapped at the air as if playing a drum solo. Two of it's hive mates wandered over mimicking it's rhythm and stopped by it.

Clack-clackclack-clack. Declared the first.

Clack-clackity-clackclackclack? Inquired the other two in perfect unison.

Clack-clackclackclack-clack! declared the first, pivoting on the spot towards the direction the egg had rolled from. Clackity-clackity-clackclackclack!

As one, the chittoricks surged forward, clearly determined to put the clacks to a more hostile use.

"Umm.... might wanna run?" Tamina suggested.

As she said this Bashiir staggered to his feet and resumed his charge at the Matriarch. Alleece and T'ska dived for cover as the giant insect performed a spin that wouldn't have looked out of place at a rodeo.

"Sorry." Tamina continued. "Got to deal with this."

At that Tamina blurred out of cover courtesy of her brand of kobold magic, seeking sanctuary in the cover of the rocky rise that the queen had been relaxing on when the party had first arrived. The mage noticed a few larvae still slime-ing around in her bedding. One sluggishly squirmed towards her.

"Buggeroff." She suggested.
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