Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bujilli: Mucking About (Episode 12)

Smack! Another Zurian goes down into the bloodied muck.
Crunch! The Rhinocerenary stomps a fungoid tentacle into a splintered mess.
Whuff! the Phorain reels back from a lucky strike, three tentacles latching on to the terrorbird's legs as it slips in the muck.

Bujilli watches it all, aghast at how very wrong everything has gone in such a short interval of time. He hesitates on the other side of a portcullis, horrified at the wretched turn of events. Whomever these adventurers are--were--they took few precautions, moved through the place like an invading army and stirred up trouble everywhere they went. It was shocking. Confusing. Completely at odds with how Bujilli had been raised.

Shlurp! Another tentacle sliced upwards from the muck to catch one of the Zurians in the guts. A classic sucker-punch. Muck-rakers were notorious for that sort of thing. Anyone who had grown-up robbing crypts and pilfering grave-sites would know that.

Bujilli shook his head grimly. The Zurians and their exotic mercenaries were faring poorly. Var'Quom, muck-rakers, were opportunistic beasts, ambushers. This was a classic ambush. These adventurers walked right into the thing's trap. A trap that Bujilli had avoided more by instinct than any real conscious decision. The passage to the East, up that slight slope and across all that strange, slightly sparkly mud didn't seem right to him. Now he knew why. It had been a trap. If he had gone that way, he knew he would be dead thrice-over by now. One lone Half-Almas couldn't do much against all those tentacles, not when the thing had the advantage of surprise.

Riiiiiiip! The Phorain was back in the fight and tearing the tentacles that had grabbed it into shreds. Of all those caught-up in this fight, the Phorain seemed to be doing the best job of things. But it was a foolish waste of time and a dangerous distraction. Bujilli knew that they needed to strike the muck-raker's center-mass, or else it would just wear them down until it could feed upon them all.

But what could Bujilli do? Really?

He considered slipping back across, past the portcullis as it continued to shimmer in-and-out of phase. His spell would expire soon, but there was time enough to get back into the room...but to do what, exactly?

The Thought Wall spell collapsed. Bujilli could feel the onrushing waves of Oneiric influence washing past him again. These adventurers had managed to by-pass the Thought Wall, or else Bujilli would have felt it if they had dispelled or disrupted it. That meant that the Oneiric vortex was still churning away back there, surrounded by dead Dreamsnails and Miasmagaster spawnlings...and probably other things.

Chuff! A Zurian only barely avoids being cold-cocked by a flailing tentacle that the Phorain deftly severs with a back-stroke of its massive two-handed sword. The Zurian slips to her knee in the muck and her eyes meet Bujilli's for an instant.

"The Gem!" She shouts to her remaining fellows. Then a tentacle knocks her back towards the far wall and she loses grip on her weapon. It hangs in the air for a moment. A perfectly balanced scimitar that flashed with eldritch green light along its hyperfolded edge. A Noble weapon.

Instinct kicks into high-gear and Bujilli shifts his position back a bit and over to the opposite wall, to put as much cover between him and these unfortunate adventurers and himself as possible. He relinquishes his Protection From Aethyrial Intrusion spell--it won't be needed any more.

These aren't just any group of random adventurers; they are looking for the Gem that Bujilli carries. The Green Gem that whispers to him of the Synchronocitor and other worlds. The Gem that teaches him new spells and tries to get him to go places he'd never imagined existed before.

That one look told him everything he needed to know: this group were not his friends. They wanted the Gem and they meant to get it.

He had no intention of just handing it over. Especially not to a petulant princess and her bumbling crew of enforcers. If they thought that they could just storm into this sort of a place and take the Gem by force, they had another think coming.

Bujilli grinned in the lop-sided sarcastic fashion that usually drove his Uncle to fits of anger.

He cast an Invisibility spell upon himself. He considered using his Confusion spell on the mercenaries--that would almost certainly spell their doom, but he didn't feel like helping the muck-raker. He disliked those creatures ever since one ate his companion monkey all those years ago. No. He was not going to make things easier for the nasty thing. Besides, there was little need. It was already decimating these intruders.

Chak! The Phorain clove a tentacle cleanly in two.
Squish! The Rhinocerenary ripped-out three tentacles with one massive heave and was about to clomp forward, following the tentacles back to their source--he looked like he was preparing to charge right up the slight sloping passage. Bujilli smiled--that was exactly the most dangerous thing to do, and the only really right thing any of them could do now--it was too late to attempt to run away. They were all well too close to the thing, within range of it's myriads of tentacles. they'd never escape if they tried to turn and run.

But the Princess halted the Rhinocerenary in his tracks. She had her gleaming scimitar back in hand. She was pointing to where she had seen Bujilli. For a moment it looked like there would be an argument. 

Crunch! A tentacle brought the Rhinocerenary down into the muck.

Bujilli cast his Ventriloquism spell.
"You cannot defeat a Var'Quom by fighting its tentacles. You must strike its center-mass. Take the fight to it, like your friend there was about to do before he got distracted."
The Phorain looked about itself. Most of the rest of its party was dead or struggling in the muck with squirming tentacles. Except for the Princess. Even the Rhinocerenary was down, fatally distracted and now swarmed by tentacles trying to choke it into oblivion.

The Princess scowled and before she could command the Phorain to ignore his message, Bujilli shouted, his voice echoing off of every wall and reverberating in his own bones like the voice of some petty godling:
"It's your only chance."
The terrorbird-centaur nodded once, solemnly, then drew-out its back-up sword and adjusted their grip on the two-handed sword to wield it like a bastard sword. then it turned in one fluid motion and let loose with a terrifying, blood-curdling shriek as it charged forward, across the muck, directly up the sloping passage and into the approaching center-mass of the muck-raker. 
"Just don't forget that I tried to help you."
Bujilli muttered as the spell ended. He knew better than to expect gratitude from people such as these. There was the look of obsession in the eyes of the Princess. A terrible obsession. Her mad pursuit of the Gem had already led four of her crew to a messy death, and the Rhinocerenary was beginning to disappear beneath squirming tentacles.

And the Princess stood there. Imperious. A sphere of arcane force shimmering about her. Watching. Whatever power her weapon allowed her to wield, she held it in reserve, even in the face of such utter destruction. Whatever spells she had left to her, she kept ready only for her personal use.

Bujilli had met that sort before. A toxic narcissist. Privileged. Selfish. Spoiled by the good things and ruined by the inevitable hard things in life.

He spat in disgust.

A hard choice was before him. Stay...and he was out-numbered. the Phorain might be grateful for his help, but it would be foolish to rely on the gratitude of a mercenary in the employ of such a person as this Princess. Whatever he did or did not do to help these people, they were an even more immediate threat to him than the muck-raker had ever been.

They were after the Gem.

"You have failed me, Klydorre." The Princess strode across the muck to look down on the struggling Rhinocerenary with vicious contempt.

Shick. Her scimitar swept out in a lazy, under-handed arc. The Rhinocerenary ceased his struggle as his head tumbled end over end through the air to land with a sickening squealch in the muck.

"This bores me." hissed the Princess as she cast a spell. A lurid green haze streamed from her right hand, dissolving the tentacles wherever it came into contact with them.

Bujilli turned and ran down the corridor before him. He hoped that the protcullis would stop her. But he knew it wouldn't.

She wanted the Gem.

She was only using her spells now because she could sense the Gem somehow.

She knew he had it.

Bujilli ran.

He knew now that he had something worse than any fungus-beast hunting after him now...


Running headlong into the dark unknown...

Should Bujilli attempt to set-up an ambush for the Zurian Princess?

Can he escape?

Should he try?

Is there a better way?

What if he were to try and set the Thing That Watches on the Princess somehow?

What lies ahead in the dusty gloom on this place?
Which way should Bujilli go? What should he do?

You Decide!

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Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

11 comments:

  1. Give me a few minutes to get the updated map ready and I'll post it so you all can consider which direction to go and what death-defying feat of derring-do or pro-active self-preservation that you'd like to have Bujilli attempt next.

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  2. I think he should try and ambush the Princess. She's too dangerous to have on his trail.

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  3. Any suggestions for how to ambush her? This could get interesting...

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  4. Probably not much good can come of that; the Phorian may yet survive, and if either one or two of them finish off the muckraker, they are likely to be more powerful than Bujilli needs to face on his own. And she's scary crazy.

    Looking to the next post with the map, it seems there will be many opportunities to dodge pursuit. Some spell in this corridor to slow them down and obscure the view while he takes one of the acetal ways out of the next room may be best.

    Freeing the watcher could be highly unpredictable. What if the watcher wants the gem, too?

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  5. There is a better than even chance of the Phorain surviving the encounter with the Muck-Raker. But it will come at a heavy cost. So far the dice-rolling has been pretty good for the terrorbird-centaur. So far. The Muck-Raker is an ambusher mostly because it is a tough customer when no one is able to hit it where it hurts, but once someone starts thrashing the heck out of the center-mass...it isn't nearly as tough. A Phorain who decides to take something out once and for all is a terrible thing to face. This particular Phorain is burning CON in order to bring down the Muck-Raker...and that will take a heavy toll on them. But even grievously wounded, the Phorain remains a formidable opponent.

    As to the Princess. Yep. Scary-crazy would fit. Like a human-hide glove. Like Trey said--she's real dangerous to have on Bujilli's trail.

    Bujilli can make use of any SPELL that we've made available on the blog by way of one of his Little Brown Journals...but he'll need to burn a page to use one he does not already know. That might come in handy.

    He also has Dreamsnail teeth, Oneirically-polluted water, and a captive miasmagaster spawnling...perhaps somehting could be Macgyver-ed from some or all that stuff.

    Being invisible ought to help as well, though it is a bit questionable when you're trying to hide form a Zurian...as their awareness of Weakspots and transplanar phenomena, not to mention her obvious spell-casting ability, might give her some way to negate any advantage from simple invisibility alone. It'll probably take a little more than just standing really still and hoping that she'll go away. Besides, she seems to be able to sense the Gem. did I mention the scimitar--that's pretty wicked stuff as well...

    The Watcher could definitely have its own take on things, and it might just see something valuable about a magic green Gem that teaches spells and leads disaffected outsiders on wild adventures across more than one universe...

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  6. Here's an interesting spell that might be in the book, Malign and Particular Suspension of Natural Law.

    http://hereticwerks.blogspot.com/2011/08/malign-and-particular-suspension-of.html

    Would Bujilli get the impression this could let the Watcher loose, or give it a hand in getting loose?

    Re a simple trap, the miasmagaster spawnling could at a push be released at the end of the corridor to slow up a chase with its fumes, maybe making it trickier for the princess to get close to the portcullis. If it could be secreted away in a dark crevice, it might not be noticed before the gas surprised a pursuer or two. Are there are any spaces in the walls of the corridor?

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  7. Ah, That's a nice spell, Malign and Particular suspension of Natural Law would allow Bujilli to literally dictate the way things work within an area of effect of 35'...unless he wants to burn some hit points to extend the range.

    "Gravity, inertia, conservation of energy--none of it applies or matters any longer within the zone of effect of this spell. Everything is completely subject to the whims of the caster until the duration ends and the caster must then successfully save versus spells at a -4 penalty or else the area affected becomes a weak spot in reality where things have an easier time intruding upon space and time and all manner of anomalous phenomena happen on a sporadic basis..."

    For as long as the spell is in effect, it will be very useful and could serve Bujilli very well indeed, however...it will eventually run down and then things might not be so wonderful. Making the save will dampen down the transplanar stresses and avoid another Vortex or worse, but if Bujilli should fail that Save (at a -4 penalty)...then he'd have a Weak Spot right there in the corridor...

    Hmmmm...a Weak Spot wouldn't trouble the Princess very much, but it could possibly open up another avenue of escape, or Bujilli might be able to draw something through it that might dissuade pursuit.

    Using the effect of this spell as an attack might be worth contemplating. How would you suggest Bujilli modify the natural laws within the area of effect?

    RE: The Watcher...there is a strong liklihood that it could very well be released by use of the Malign & Particular spell. Better than even odds. Much.

    Yes. If the spell does not free the Watcher directly, it will aid its ongoing efforts to free itself. The timescale might be a bit geological in nature, but it all depends on the dice.

    RE: The spawnling. Yes, there are gaps and niches in the walls--some of these are left-over from previous battles; bullet-holes, burn-marks, slagged sections, broken shards, fractured tiles, the works. Note: The fumes produced by the miasmagaster's siblings did not stop the Princess previously, but that might have been because of a spell cast by one of her underlings, and she is rather short-staffed presently. blocking vapors is a fairly low-end spell, especially for someone who is a native to the Kalaramar Drifts like a Zurian, so this could maybe provide a distraction, but it probably won't be the coup de grace. The element of surprise could be useful, so this might be a good part of an ambush in the making.

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  8. Re Bujilli modifying natural laws, could he reduce the strong interaction within the area of effect. That could weaken or blow apart the atoms of everything inside and mean there might not be anyone left to trouble him.

    Letting the Watcher out might not then be necessary, but if it happened could be a useful backup, in that the Watcher is closer to the other party than Bujilli, and may deal with anything that survives. Big risk, but so is having that party around.

    If he can control the weakening of the natural laws, he could use a slow weakening as an incentive, offering to spare their lives in exchange for them leaving. Does Bujilli get the feeling a promise of that kind from an individual like this could be trusted?

    The potential for a Weak Spot is a reasonable risk given the power of the party and the risk to Bujilli otherwise. Drawing something through or getting out could be a bonus, and at least an option given the new unknowns waiting at the other end of the corridor.

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  9. Okay, manipulating the fundamental forces of nature is essentially that spell is all about so if you'd like to dissolve the atomic structure or erase the bonds between atoms within the area of effect, that is feasible...but entirely dependent upon concentration and visualization...and the overall power-level of the spell as cast. In this situation there's a very strong chance that your idea would in fact work...but there are some circumstances that might play into that effect, such as the energetic field that has trapped the Watcher, and of course there is the spell(s) that the Zurian Princess might have going or is about to cast. Interactions can be interesting.

    Good point regarding the Watcher and its proximity to the other group.

    Slowly altering the prevailing conditions would allow Bujilli to revise or alter his efforts based upon observation and feedback, so that makes good sense.

    Promises. Hah! The Princess can detect the Gem and she's proven herself to be ruthless and willful, and totally willing to use-up her servitors and slaves, even the mercenaries, in a callous and childish manner. Trusting her would not be in Bujilli's best interests, and he definitely gets that impression loud and clear.

    Creating a Weak Point wouldn't be any worse than the Oneiric Vortex, really. It might allow something to cross-over from an Adjacent World or Alternate Timeline, maybe, but it'd be temporary...unless meddled with or compounded by more spells. The Zurians are pretty experienced in manipulating such things and it could offer the Princess a handy way for her to summon more stuff to sick on Bujilli. He'd realize that, otherwise I'd wait and see what new monster(s) get to come after him.

    Slipping out of here via a Weak Point would take Bujilli away from his goal, and the Princess is very likely to follow or send something after him, and it is unclear if she is after the Gem or if the Gem is just one piece of the puzzle for her, as it is for Bujilli.

    Lots of options.

    I could use three separate rolls of a D20 to get things started off with for Episode 13...

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  10. Re: 3 d20 rolls. I rolled a 20, a 14, and an 11.

    Bujilli definitely needs to get rid of the Princess, and before she gets to the next room with the Transveyances and whatever's sleeping in that brain case. I like Porky's idea to use the Malign and Particular Suspension of Natural Law. If he focuses (and potentially burns some points) he should be able to modify it enough to get the Watcher released, or maybe just bring down the ceiling on her. :)

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  11. Thank you! Bujilli will need to burn a few points, but he will see a few options as he gets going with his spell. Bujilli will be learning a bit more about transplanar physics now...

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