Monday, March 18, 2013

Problems with Holes


The party set off, marching through the rocky badlands. A few hours into their journey, they encountered a group of about a dozen Thri-Kreen. They quickly decided that discretion is the better part of valor and hid among the rocks. The Thri-Kreen spotted them and stopped close by. Yaotl stepped out from behind the rocks.
"We are travelers. We mean you no harm."
Thri-Kreen are awesome.

One of the Thri-Kreen stepped forward, "Trade?"
The group was pleased that the Thri-Kreen were not raiders and traded a bottle of wine for a large dead rodent, also known on Athas as lunch. The two groups continued on their way.
As the sun set, Ren started looking for a good, defensible place to camp. He couldn't find one immediately and Cyrus began to complain about his aching feet. After two more hours of marching, the party stopped to rest.
During Ren's watch, he heard someone approaching the camp site. He walked slowly into the darkness, allowing his natural infravision take over. He could see a small group of humanoids walking toward their camp, with a couple kanks following. Their heat signature was odd, not at all what he would have expected from Humans, Elves, or any other commonly encountered race. They weren't letting off enough heat, but it was enough to ensure they were not undead.
"Hail traveler!" He finally shouted to them.
The group stopped. "Hail Mul."
"What brings you out here?" Ren asked.
"We saw your fire and wished to share it." The strangers answered.
"Please, follow me." Ren responded, stepping back into the fire light. The strangers entered the light and Ren could see them clearly, his infravision fading. They were human like, but were bald, with small purple scales covering their bodies and serpentine eyes.
Only picture ever drawn of Nikaal. By Thomas Baxa.
Ren woke Yaotl, and then turned back toward the strangers. "I am called Ren and this is Yaotl."
One of the strangers spoke, "I am Kirrk-Sska."
"What are you doing out here?" Yaotl asked, groggily.
"We are traders. We come for trade." Kirrk-Sska answered.
"A lot of traders out here. We ran into some Thri-Kreen traders yesterday." Ren remakred.
Kirrk-Sska smiled, "Fort Inix is two days away. It's operated by one of the large merchant houses of Nibenay."
Ren and Yaotl perked up at this. Finally, Ren spoke, "Is it House Shom?"
Kirrk-Sska nodded, "Yes, I believe so."
"Do they have slaves there?" Ren asked Kirrk-Sska.
"We do not often deal in slaves." Was his reply.
"What do you call your kind?" Yaotl asked, too curious to hold it in any longer.
"We are called the Nikaal. We are traders. To trade is to live."
"Do you have any shields?" Yaotl asked.
After speaking to his companions in a strange language, one of the Nikaal went to the pack kanks. He handed Kirrk-Sska a small wood and hide shield.
"I have some rations I can trade." Yaotl offered.
Kirrk-Sska looked over the rations. "Seven days."
Yaotl handed over seven days worth of rations, and Kirrk-Sska handed him the shield. The other Nikaal looked on and nodded, seemingly satisfied with the trade. Yaotl and Ren moved away from the fire and the Nikaal laid down as close as possible to its warmth. The Nikaal kept watch, but nothing more was spoken.
Aziza woke first. Upon seeing the strange Nikaal, sleeping around here, she screamed and scrambled to grab her weapons. Ren quickly grabbed her, before she could attack.
"It's ok, they're ok." He quickly blurted out.
"What? Who are they?" She asked.
"They are called the Nikaal. They are traders." Ren explained.
Cyrus wasn't disturbed by the strangers at all. "Can we go back to bed please?"
Kirrk-Sska thanked Ren for their hospitality and the Nikaal departed into the wilderness.
The group woke and memorized spells. They decided to head toward Fort Inix. Cyrus wanted to only travel half the day, because they travelled so much yesterday and his feet still hurt. Yaotl protested and, despite Cyrus' complaints, the group started walking.
The morning passed without event. The group walked on through the rocky canyons. Finally, at midday, the group stopped to rest in the shade of some boulders. Ren stepped out into the sun and activated his psionic ability of photosynthesis. Even though he was able to get nourishment from the sun, it did not spare him the dehydration effects. After an hour, he gulped down and extra half gallon of
When the heat died down, the group emerged from the shadows and decided to find water of their own. Ren and Yaotl were successful in finding water. Aziza and Cyrus failed, but Cyrus created enough water for them. Kaza and Roan got into trouble. First, Kaza fell into a sink hole and was unable to climb out, thanks to the soft, sandy walls. Roan thought he heard some water in a rocky crevice and he crawled inside. The water was fouled and he crawled back out. He gave up and started back toward their rendezvous point.
Suddenly, Roan was racked with pain and started screaming in agony. His screams echoed down the canyon rocks. Only Ren was able to pinpoint the origin of the screams and ran to his aid. He found him, writhing on the ground.
Having heard stories of certain creatures, he ripped Roans hide breastplate off and found what he was looking for. On Roans back, sitting on his spine, was the chitinous back agony beetle. He quickly pulled out his bone dagger and scrapped the beetle off Roan's back. Ren tried to stab the beetle, but fumbled and stabbed Roan by mistake. The beetle made a pass at Ren, but quickly scurried off.
Ren carried Roan back to the rendezvous point, where the rest of the party, except Kaza was waiting. Ren and Yaotl decided to go look for Kaza, while Aziza watched over Roan and Cyrus took a quick nap.
Yaotl used his psionic ability of control sound to amplify his voice, and called for Kaza. Ren believed he heard a faint reply and they both rushed off the find him. As they were running, the ground gave way, and Ren and Yaotl found themselves in the bottom of another sink hole. They tried to climb out, but the walls were too soft and sandy. Yaotl used control sound again and shouted for Aziza and Cyrus.
Aziza, Roan, and Cyrus found the group, lead by Yaotl’s screams. The ground beneath Roan and Cyrus gave way and they fell into the hole. Aziza used her psionic ability of body equilibrium to climb into the hole. They crafted a makeshift rope out of their cloaks and Aziza climbed back out, once again using body equilibrium.
Ren attempted to climb out, but one of the cloaks ripped and he fell back in. Looking at the tattered fabric in his hands, he quickly surmised that it is, in fact, his own cloak that had torn.
"Do you guys just want to do this the easy way?" Cyrus sighed, while opening a dimension door.
With everyone out of the pit, they group resumed their search for Kaza. Shouting, and then listening, they eventually found the pit that Kaza was stuck in. Ren, Cyrus, and Roan manage to fall in. Cyrus, once again got everyone out using dimension door.
The party healed up and continued on its way, convinced something dug those holes to trap unwary travelers.
After walking a few more hours, the group stumbled upon three B'rohgs waiting among the boulders, it was an ambush! Only Yaotl was surprised. 
B'rohg. By Thomas Baxa.
The B'rohgs began by hurling large boulders at the group, injuring Roan and Aziza. Kaza and Aziza engaged one of the creatures, while Roan and Yaotl engaged another. Ren readied himself, using flesh armor and accelerate. Cyrus healed Roan.
Ren leaped into action and knocked out one of the B'rohgs with six vicious punches and kicks. Kaza smashed the knee of the one he is fighting, with his mace, and, as he fell, Aziza stabbed him in the throat with her tortoise blade. Even though he was badly injured, one of the B'rohgs managed to knock out Yaotl with four powerful attacks.
Ren rushed to help Yaotl and finshed off the last B'rohg. Out of spells, Cyrus rushed over and stabilized Yaotl. Kaza then healed Yaotl magically. Almost everyone was badly injured and exhausted from the fight. Healing spells were used and they continued onward.
After an hour, Cyrus started complaining about how exhausted he was. Ignoring him, the party marched on. Finally, Ren found a secure spot to camp and they all laid down to sleep. Yaotl decided to take first watch. Cyrus was the first to fall asleep.

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