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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Battle Of Bulette Pass: An Exercise in Group Storytelling

TODD THE BARBARIAN, half-orc. Still getting the hang of this "magic axe that comes back when you throw it" thing.
IXCHEL THE MAGE: No armor whatsoever. Eek.
SNIG THE GOBLIN: Why should adventurers have all the fun?
FATHER ANDERSON: Cleric and den mother.
MISER THE MINSTREL: Bard and seduction machine.
MEREDITH: Druid and animal lover. This does not include bulettes.
REDGAR: A fighter. A BIG fighter. A very STRONG fighter. But not a very high LEVEL fighter...
TIZERK OF THE GOLDEN BOW: Elf. Archer. And not present for this session, regrettably.

Part One. The bulette has attacked the group while traveling through the mountain pass out of the Battle of Bones, en route to a treasure site somewhere in the Anauroch Desert. Miser the Minstrel has had the crap beat out of him, and has retreated back into the wagon. Todd the Barbarian has had the crap beat out of him, and is on the ground in front of the wagon, barely alive (behind the bulette).

Yes, Tizerk, your horse is fine.

Meanwhile, Redgar sneaked out of the back of the wagon, flanked the beast, and whacked it a good one, getting its attention. Father Anderson, holding the torch, is seen to the left of the wagon, having had the crap beat out of him, too. Meredith the Druid is visible at far left, using her Bag of Boulders to pelt the beast with mega-sling-stones. Ixchel the Mage is not visible, as he is hidden in the wagon, poking his head and arm out every turn to launch a spell at the monster, then quickly withdrawing to safety.

Part Two. After having the crap beat out of him, Redgar is swallowed whole on a natural twenty. The monster then goes after the source of pain in his left buttock (Father Anderson and Meredith); Anderson is closest, and gets attacked. Ixchel continues to pop out, launch spells, and pop back inside, like a demented Whack-A-Mole that shoots back. It is somewhere around this time that Snig the Goblin is seen, hanging onto the monster’s underbelly and trying to hack through its armor. The group yells at him to get out from under the thing, which he does.
Part Three. The group disperses to raid assorted fast food joints, regrouping a half hour or so later.

Part Four. Snig does a Legolas Maneuver, charging up the monster’s tail onto its back, drops prone, and begins using his daggers as pitons, to move forward onto the monster’s face, closer to its vulnerable eyes. Redgar is taking heavy damage from the monster’s digestive juices and constricting stomach. He solves this by tearing open a bag of caltrops, hoping to give the monster indigestion. This works, but also has the effect of turning the monster’s guts into something resembling a cheese grater, in which Redgar is now being abraded and squeezed to death. Meanwhile, angry and in great pain, the monster attacks Father Anderson, bulldozing Todd and knocking the wagon aside, nearly onto Miser (seen at right). Critically injured, Father Anderson desperately looks for a way out – and notices Todd’s battleaxe, which is still embedded in the monster’s armored forehead…

… and Father Anderson leaps onto the monster’s head, seizing the axe, nearly losing a foot when he uses the thing’s lower lip as a springboard. He is now in one of the few places on the map where the thing cannot bite him… but he’s in deep trouble if it decides to start burrowing again!
Meanwhile, Snig claws his way closer, closer, to the monster’s eye – STRIKES – misses, and promptly fails his reflex save. He’s sliding forward, right toward’s the angry beast’s mouth! Fortunately, Father Anderson is in the way, and his ears provide fine safety handles. He finds himself nose to nose with Anderson, terrifiedly clutching the cleric’s head for dear life. Anderson is just as terrifiedly clutching the axehandle. Redgar, dying, begins frantically kicking the monster’s tonsils around with his heavy boots---

---and Todd, still axeless, charges around behind the monster and whacks it in the butt as hard as he can with his mighty Gauntlet of Fury!

---and the mortally wounded (and VERY nauseous) bulette projectile-vomits Redgar some thirty or forty feet (far right). Redgar takes serious damage from this; imagine a flexible cheese grater suddenly and violently giving birth to a large fully armored fighter, and you’ll have a clue.
The monster collapses, convulsing, dying, heaving its last.

Miser turns and runs towards Redgar, beginning a healing spell under his breath. The monster gags and coughs, one last time. A blast of blood and phlegm, studded with a great many iron caltrops, erupts with the monster’s dying breath.

Miser catches the edge of the moist shotgun-blast, and is knocked ass over teakettle, although his injuries are minor.

Todd, feeling very pleased with himself, roars the Name, to summon his mighty magical axe back to his hand… having completely forgotten the purpose it serves at the moment.

The axe ploughs a trench up the dying monster’s forehead, up and over its back, down its spine, and right at Todd’s face, taking Father Anderson and Snig with it. Todd glances up and sees his axe, with a goblin’s butt poised right above it, screaming right for his face.

Todd blinks twice, and promptly flings himself on his back, using his Uncanny Dodge.

The axe plows into the ground above Todd’s head, stopping cold. The axe haft catches the plummeting Father Anderson in the belly, stunning him badly. He falls on the unfortunate Snig.

And lo, there is much rejoicing.

Left to Right: Todd, Ixchel, Snig, Fr. Anderson, Meredith, Redgar, Miser, and a raccoon.

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