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  • #76
    Chapter 71: Isekai Life & Stealth Misadventures

    At the top of the stairs, I tripped over a sleeping goblin.

    I was in a hurry to make sure my feet were out of the line of sight from the returning bugbears. I could already heard one of them saying, “It's probably just the masonry, this whole thing is going to keel over someday soon,” and wasn't paying attention to my immediate surroundings. I reached the top, turned the corner, and stepped on a goblin's outstretched hand from where he was sleeping, tucked in between the wall and the staircase. When the goblin shrieked in pain and yanked his hand back, I stumbled backwards and fell.

    In my own defense, I did my best. I sprang up and sank Calliope's dagger deep into the goblin's belly. It shriek and punched me in the face even as my nostrils filled with the nasty stench of fresh goblin blood, although the difference in our mass meant that he didn't do much more than give me a split lip. I was able to wrench the dagger free and stab again, killing him... and marvelling at my luck, having struck twice with that nasty -6 nonproficiency penalty.

    Then again, I was was trying to stab a prone, mostly naked goblin....

    But by the time the deed was done, it was already too late. Rough hands were hauling me up and back, twisting the dagger out of my hand to clatter on the floor and pushing me up against a wall.

    “Lookie here, I think we found the source of our little racket!”

    Three bugbears crowded around me, their leader speaking a crude, growly common. All three grinned nastily, and smelled like an eighteen year old brewery infested with rats.

    “Thought you could get away, did ya? Came on down for a little swimmy-swim through the basement an' out to sea, huh?” In spite of the language change, I could just barely recognize the voice of the lead bugbear, “Clever, brave boy we got here.”

    “Best be taking these,” one of the other bugbears growled as he pulled the darts out of the wrapper on my arm.

    “Come on, now, don't look so angry,” the leader said to me, bringing his great snub-nose face in close to mine and lowering his voice conspiratorially, “I ain't no gobbo, and this was more entertainment than I've seen in months. Let's get you back up with the others, there's a good lad.”

    He shoved me to the direction of the next set of stairs leading up. I noted with some annoyance that this level, for some reason, had internal walls as a few goblins were poking their heads through murder holes and doorways to peer at me with a cruelly cheerful curiosity. While it was tempting to lash out with my limited arcane powers and try to find a way out of this, there was no way to ready my spell components with them still wrapped up in my hemp rope “belt”, so I bit my tongue and choose to bide my time. After all, they seemed to think I was one of the slaves... and that meant they were taking me to where the other slaves were.

    “Come on, Filmor, you go ahead, I'll take up the rear so he doesn't try any funny business,” the leader ordered in the goblin tongue as he and his subordinate escorted me somewhat roughly up the tower, “The rest of you get back to watch, and stay alert for other escapees.” I couldn't dally, obviously, bracketed by the two smelly goblinoids, but I tried my best to memorize the layout of the tower as we went. The “third” and “fourth” floors, counting from the old entrance and not the entrance-hole, were strictly regimented corridors with rooms off of them, but I had no idea what might have been their original purpose. There we goblins all over the place on these two floors, sleeping without rhyme or reason in the corridors and doorways, leaning against the walls.

    The stairs all seemed to be fairly shallow and long, to accommodate a dwarvenly stride, each one running up the wall to a landing on the corner of the tower, then turning ninety degrees to continue along the next wall. The walls adjoining the stairs were marked by arrow slits on the exterior walls, and murder holes along the interior, so that the defenders of the tower could poke spears at oncoming enemies in case invaders broke through those big bronze doors I saw.

    The “fifth” floor was different. It was similarly laid out to the others in terms of corridors, but with fewer doors, implying larger rooms. There were no goblins in sight, either. Also, immediately to my right as I came off the staircase, was the empty doorway opening up onto the first battlement.

    “Come here, Filmor, I want to show this guy something, give him a little incentive about his plan,” ordered the bugbear leader in goblinese. The bugbear in front of my stopped and turned around, murmuring an assent as the two brute grabbed me by the arms and carried me out onto the battlements.

    By this time, it was mid afternoon, and I had to squint against the sun. We were facing west, and I could see well over the forest, the shining ribbons of rivers crisscrossing the land. I only had a brief moment to hope that my allies didn't do anything stupid upon seeing me captured, if they noticed us, and then the two bugbears marched me all the way around the tower to the side facing the open ocean. The tilt in the tower, which was somewhat subtle up until this point, suddenly caused a sickening tightening of my gut as I found myself uncomfortably angled towards the vast, sparkling ocean.

    “I want you to see this, human, so you can tell anyone else who's got any bright ideas upstairs,” the leader growled at me in Common, “See, we've been tossing our dead, our waste, and the slaves we execute out into the blue like this for awhile now, and you ought to know we've managed to gather a few friends.” He switched back to Goblin. “Hey, Filmor, take a look and see if you can spot the ghoulies.”

    Filmor released his iron grip on my arm, and bent over the battlement to look. Of course, for us properly medium-sized creatures, the dwarven battlements only came up to our waist at best, and the lower part was right around the knees... which provided the perfect fulcrum as the bugbear leader booted the unfortunate Filmor in the ass and sent him, screaming, down towards the water.

    The bugbear leader cackled with glee, pulled me disconcertingly towards the edge to see the splash as the unlucky Filmor struck water.

    “That'll teach you to go around talking back at me and slinking about conspiring, you little flyblown bastard,” the bugbear leader chortled in Goblin, before switching back once more to Common, “See his thrashing about? Well, all that blood and guts in the water has aroused quite a collection of those little sea-ghoulies. If you or any of your little buddies get any ideas about swimming out of here again, keep that in mind- the second your ass touches water you're ghoul-meat.”

    He took a moment to take in the sight of his onetime subordinate being feasted upon by the undead, and was distracted enough that I felt his hand relax around my arm. Suddenly, I realize the opportunity before me, took a half step back, danced my fingers through the mudra and cast a magic missile, sending twin blasts of enegry right into my captor's back.

    “Whatcha muttering there, Elven or somethin'?” were his last words. Other than “Aaah!”

    Too bad for him that he didn't die before the lacedons got hold of him. I was having a nice little moment, watching the sea foam, and being just a little proud of my handiwork. Two bugbears down, with a little help from their Chaotic Evil nature and the weakest spell I currently had in my repertoire.

    Then I frowned as I realized one of them might have had Calliope's dagger. Great.

    Being careful to keep quiet and move slowly, I inched my way back around the tower to the side facing west, stepped up to the (delightfully tilted toward me) battlements and started waving my arms towards the edge of the forest.

    Someone tall and armoured stepped out of the trees and waved back, probably Voss, before making a wide, dramatic shrugging motion.

    I took a moment to consider it. Down below there were only seven bugbear guards left on the second floor, which would be just about an even match for us if we tried a frontal assault. But, just above them were oodles of goblins, largely resting and sleeping, yes, but dozens, possibly hundreds of them... who I'd have to sneak by again.

    I crossed my arms in an 'X' over my head. I could see Voss shake his head, then raise a fist. I couldn't make out the thumb at this distance, but I did recognize the universal “thumbs up” gesture. They'd be content to wait just a little bit longer until I came up with a better plan.

    Still, a contingency couldn't hurt. I unwrapped the rope from around my waist, tied it to one of the battlements as tightly as I could manage without the Rope Use proficiency, and dangled it off the side of the tower. It didn't quite reach the bottom, but it should be close enough for them to grab if they needed to. And as I side bonus, I now had my spell components readily at hand.

    That done, I decided to locate the slaves. The best force multiplier available to me at the moment was simply multiplying my forces.

    I padded over to the doorway, and strained to listen. Again, the tower was mostly quiet. I could heard an indistinct rhythmic tapping sound, like someone tapping on a drum to keep a beat, but for the most part it was silent. The bugbears did not seem to be stirring to check on their compatriots splashing down- maybe they thought that was my own execution they were hearing, a chilling thought- and, well, the entire tower sounded as if everyone was letting a bunch of sleepy goblins sleep. Who knew that the forces of evil could be so considerate?

    First order of business was for me to check one of the murder holes. If the lower floors were used for housing goblins in such concentration that they were sleeping in the halls, I was curious as to what this floor was being used for.

    I took a peek through one of the murder holes on my way up the stairs to the next level, shaded my eyes with my hands, and had a peek. The wall was sufficiently thick that I couldn't get too much of a look, but what I saw was all I needed- rows of straw beds on the floor, in an organized if not exactly precise fashion. There were goblins sleeping on the cots, and I could see clubs, hatchets and shortswords leaned up against the far wall. It seemed to me that here were the “barracks”, and below was housed the general goblin population.

    When I finally started climbing the stairs, I did it with even more trepidation than before. If that goblin I barely managed to handle before was just some random craftsgoblin, I certainly didn't want to tangle with an armed guardsgoblin.

    As I climbed the stairs, the rhythmic tapping drew closer, and, I noticed, there were occasional pauses in the noise, and sometimes the sound of metal on metal. When I finally turned the corner and had the landing in sight, I could see there was a rusty old portcullis in place, preventing access to that floor.

    Getting closer, I could see that this level had a large central hallway going straight through the tower, with a large room on one side, and several smaller rooms on the other. As I stood there investigating, I could see several people- human people- moving through the large room on the left.

    As I was investigating, one of the people- an older girl with long, bushy orange hair, wearing only a dirty shift and carrying an iron pot, spotted me. I tried to raise a finger in a “shush” motion, but she goggled at me, totally distracted, until the iron pot fell from her fingers, clattering noisily on the stone floor.

    Silently cursing, I had to think fast. I knew there were the goblin warriors sleeping just below, who undoubtedly would come investigate. There were no battlements on this level, no windows large enough for me to climb out of and try lowering myself down a level, and nowhere else to hide until I spontaneously started phasing through walls... so I did the only thing I could and ran upstairs.

    The next level up had no portcullises, and was fairly simple- a series of medium size rooms much like the level below. I picked one close to the stairs and slipped inside... finding it full of sacks of turnips, in various stages of freshness and decomposition. I immediately through myself on the ground behind a pile of sacks and shut my eyes. There was no chance that my good luck with Filmor and his boss would repeat.

    Soon enough, I could hear the rattling of bars and loud cursing and threatening in the goblin tongue. Shortly thereafter, I heard someone come running down the stairs from the level above me, and the sounds of a fight breaking out, couple with more cursing and screaming. I quietly vowed to never disparage the noble player class of Thief again and tried to breath a little quieter despite the heartbeat thundering in my ears.

    It took what felt like an agonizingly long time, but eventually the screaming stopped, and a short while later I heard whoever it was stomping their way back up to the level above me. Only then did I relax, and come crawling out of my turnip-y hiding place. It didn't sound like a search was being conducted, so I decided that I must be in the clear,amd that girl must have held her tongue regarding me.

    Ever so carefully, I crept downstairs once more, and to my surprise, there was a small crowd waiting for me on the other side to of the bars. That girl with the bushy hair was with a stocky older human man with a weatherbeaten complexion and a retreating fringe of grey hair, as well as a blade-slender and tall mist elf man with the characteristic onyx-black hair, with a grim expression and hollow, haunted eyes. Both men were wearing nothing but loincloths, and both showed signs of hunger and abuse. When they spotted me, the old man whispered to the girl, “Aye, I see you weren't making excuses. Why don't you go on finish your scrubbing, and I'll see what this is all about.” The girl nodded wordless and vanished inside the large room.

    The three of us remaining regarded us for awhile.

    “Uh, hello, I'm Theodore,” I whispered in the Common tongue, “I'm here to rescue you all.”

    “Rescue?” the elf hissed incredulously, “Is this a joke? Cry pardon that I don't burst out in merriment.”

    “Uh, yeah, sorry for my appearance,” I said, “But I was sneaking in here to try and find a way for my party to get in. Most of us are adventurers, hired by Ricard and Mia Parett of Pendleton to look into the mass disappearances happening in the area.”

    “That crazy old man is finally good for something,” the old man muttered in wonderment, “How many of you are there? Good armed men?”

    “Well, at least one good armed man, and a couple good armed woman, and we have a gnome, too,” I explained, “I'm the only one of us who knew how to swim, so I was sent ahead to investigate the goblins' defenses.”

    “All-Father's balls,” the old man breathed, “You swam past those monsters? You have some stones, lad.”

    I looked the elf in the eye, ignoring the old man's comment, “I am also accompanied by Sir Haseth of the Ravenwatch.”

    The elf suddenly stepped forward, leaning in close to the bars. “Sir Haseth yet lives?” he said, so shocked he slipped back into elven, “Thank Cyona! Is he here?”

    “My allies are concealed in the woods just west of here, watching the tower,” I explained, bringing the conversation back to Common, “How many of you are there? Are you all healthy? How many are fighters?”

    “We've got some fifteen good lads, five women I suppose,” the old man said, “Most of us humans back here are children. None of us are fighters, really, but put a mattock in my hands and we'll see if I can't crush a gobbo's skull.”

    “There are six of us left from the Ravenwatch,” the elf replied quickly, “They feed us just enough to keep us relatively strong for labour, cooking their meals and carrying their plunder, but we're all losing weight.”

    I nodded. “Above us, is the whole floor given over to storage? Do you know if your weapons are up there, uh, Sir Elf?”

    “Nievan,” the elf said, relaxing a little, “And, yes. Goblins can't bear the touch of lunargentum, so unless they're tossed out things into the sea, they should be somewhere up there, under lock and key. But more importantly, one of my countrymen is being held elsewhere...”

    I didn't give him a chance to finish, though I noted that mithril in this universe was called
    lunargentum”, I guess. “Yes, I know about the princess,” I replied, “If she's held elsewhere, I'll get her, too.”

    “W-wait, what Princess?” I heard the old man hiss, but he was cut short. All three of us froze, and I felt a cold knife of fear slice into my gut.

    From the stairs down came the crash of steel on steel, and the characteristic sounds of battle.

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

    Character Name: Theodore Esche
    Race: Human
    Class: Transmuter
    Level (XP): 3 (6847/10000)
    Hit Points: 6

    Ability Scores
    Strength 11
    Dexterity 17
    Constitution 8
    Intelligence 17
    Wisdom 13
    Charisma 14

    Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
    Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

    Spells Per Day:
    1st Level- 3
    2nd Level- 2

    Spellbook:
    (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
    (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

    Spells Prepared:
    (1st Level): Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Sleep
    (2nd Level): Stinking Cloud, Stinking Cloud

    Equipment: Belt Pouch (Small, 1)

    Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

    Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Ryujin

    Companions: Voss (Level 3 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

    Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

    Sexual Partners: 5

    Backpack (with Voss): Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 3), Boots, Darts (30), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

    Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

    Comment


    • #77
      Chapter 72: Isekai Life & Battlement Battle

      I came running down the stairs to see Voss, Haseth and Yua on the landing area, just outside the exit to the battlements, battling a whole crowd of goblins. Already the ground around them was littered with goblin bodies and they didn't seem much the worse for it, but there was a huge crowd of goblins coming up the stairs, and dozens of them, armed with shortswords and clubs, streaming out of the rooms on this floor. Only the bright light angling in through the archway was preventing my allies from getting immediately mobbed, but that situation would not last forever.

      “What the hell are you guys doing here!?” I shouted incredulously. Luckily, there weren't any goblins coming down from upstairs- yet- but there would be soon.

      “Raszil! He's here!” Voss yelled when he saw me, before stabbing his spear right into the throat of one of the armed goblins.

      “I can see that! You think he's going to get dressed in the middle of a melee?” I heard the gnome asked incredulously, before spotting him, standing outside the archway, holding my folded-up robes.

      I scowled at the lack of regard for my question. I thought I had signalled for them to remain- now we're surrounded by an entire tribe of goblins.

      “If you stay here on the landing, you're going to die,” I said heading for the archway, “Let me pass, then fall back to the battlements. Voss and Haseth to one side, Yua to the other!”

      On way way through I tapped Yua on the shoulder, hard enough that she's certainly notice. She gave me a glance back, saw me slip onto the battlements, and followed, backing carefully away from the enemy. Haseth and Voss covered her withdrawl, before backing away themselves, with the human fighter taking a nasty slash across the belly from a particularly brave goblin.

      We ended up on either side of the archway on the battlements, Voss and Haseth on one side, Yua, Razsil and I on the other. The principle here was simple- our enemies could only attack from one direction, and in so doing would subject themselves to the penalty for sunlight and the penalty from Yua's paladin aura both. That should debuff the goblins enough that we'd be really difficult to hit... but on a long enough timeline, the goblins would roll enough 20s to kill us all before we killed all the goblins, I think.

      We needed to figure something else out, fast.

      Raszil helpfully handed my my robe, while I stood behind Yua, watching her sweep off a goblin's head with an almost casual swipe of her greatsword. While I pulled on the robe, I shook my head at him. “Will you tell me what's going on?”

      The gnome shrugged. “Your man there thought you signalled for us to stay, but then you went a tied a rope to let us up, so he wasn't sure what you wanted,” he explained, “The old woman and I thought you were still sneaking around, but Haseth wanted to go, and I guess once your dragon girl there figured out what we were talking about, she just went off without a word, and we had no choice but to follow her or abandon her.”

      That shed some light on things. I supposed I should be glad they followed Yua- she certainly wouldn't have been able to defend herself on her own.

      “Well, we need an escape plan, and fast,” I said as I cinched my belt into place, “And we can't descend, or they'll just cut the rope from here.”

      Raszil glanced up, and nodded at the sloping side of the tower. “Maybe I could climb.”

      I glanced up, at the next tier of battlements, another fifty feet above us. “I thought gnomes weren't great climbers.”

      Razsil grinned at me. “Well, perhaps the Great God Suleyar gifted me with some of the secrets of how to make an ascent like that.”

      I frowned, then rand over to where the rope was still tied in place, and pulled the loop straight up off the battlement without bothering to untie it and began gathering it up. “With a little luck we can surprise these bastards,” I told the little gnome as I handed him the hastily looped up bundle of rope, “So, don't use it all up getting there, I guess.”

      Raszil threw the rope around one shoulder, and started testing the wall for handholds. “Well, I don't promise anything. After all we're going further up the tower full of evil goblins.”

      I could think of anything to say in return. With a surprising level of agility for his small size, Raszil began scrambling up the sloping side of the tower. I was actually pretty impressed. You don't really think about what things like movement rate really mean until you see someone half your size effortlessly climb almost forty feet in a minute.

      When I turned back to the fighters in our group, I noticed that our little green foes had finally stopped swarming through the archway at us, giving Voss, Haseth and Yua a chance to catch their breath and clean the blood from their weapons. It struck me as odd,considering the sheer number of bodies that they could throw at us, until I realized what was going on. They had failed a morale check.

      Before, in the field, even though the goblins were surprised, they were still very capable of hurting us because of the worgs. The presence of those worgs and the fact that they were very capable of hurting us, plus the lack of penalties due to bright lights and probably a few other bonuses like that. meant that their nerve could hold much longer in our counter-ambushes in the field. But now, here, we had surprised them while they were sleeping, were fighting them in direct sunlight, and other than Voss and maybe Yua taking a little ding here and there, were fighting them fairly effortlessly without taking much damage ourselves. Add all that together and it's a fairly meaty morale penalty.

      But you only take a morale check under certain circumstances, which would mean....

      “Voss!” I yelled, “Haseth! How many goblins have you all killed?”

      Haseth looked at me like I was crazy, but Voss was a little more used to my tactical savvy. He took a moment to glance inside the archway, ducked back to just barely miss being struck by a thrown boot, and added everything up in head, before shouting back, “Not sure. Twenty, I think?”

      Twenty. If you took into consideration that it was only the goblin warriors in the equation, and that the civilians were staying out of it, then probably the morale check that they failed was because they took at least 25% losses... meaning there were only about sixty more goblin warriors in the entire tower!

      Guttural shout from within the tower that I couldn't really make out snapped me back to reality. “Okay, they're coming,” I said, “Get ready, this is our best shot at taking them out!”

      I stepped past Yua and got my hands into position. The second one of the bugbears stepped out of the shadows, greatclub raised to strike me, I canted and let it rip.

      Fire arced from my fingertips into the interior of the tower. I didn't have to worry about collateral damage or things catching fire here- except, perhaps, a few bonus goblins getting caught in the blast, but I sure as hell could count on softening up or even killing the bugbears.

      Despite being wreathed in fire, his chain armor smouldering, the bugbear immedaitely in front of my seemed unfazed. With a great sweep of his arms, the massive two-handed club descended, and something grabbed the back of my robe and yanked me away. The giant wooden maul swiped uselessly in the air just inches from my face, and, while her foe was off balance, Yua launched herself forward, yelling a wordless battle cry, one-handing her greatsword straight through the bugbear's snarling mouth and out the back of its' skull, her other hand gripping me right between the shoulder blades.

      With her scales glittering in the sunlight, Yua looked every inch the paladin, despite her mismatched armour. With casual ease, she kicked the body of the bugbear back into the tower, and I marvelled, wondering- exactly how strong was she?

      The bugbears didn't stop coming, despite Yua's impressive display. Two more charged, one of which Haseth dispatched with an impressive pair of whirling sword blows, and the losing an arm and shoulder to Yua's brutal sword swing.

      The bugbears that I was was previous so intimidated by fell like wheat before a thresher. It was the perfect storm of good tactical positioning, suicidal overconfidence of our enemies, and the strength and skill of my allies. Not one of us suffered a single blow.

      If the goblins weren't afraid of us before, they had to be now.

      “Wow, you guys... you were amazing,” was all I could say.

      Voss flashed me a grin, and quipped, “Ah, they're not so tough without those wolf things,” but Haseth just looked grim, and Yua rounded on me, fixing me with a glare. I was a bit startled... guess she didn't appreciate me sticking my neck out like that, fire or no fire.

      “What are we doing now?” Haseth asked irritably, “That went well enough, but we cannot hold here forever. Sooner or later they will realize that if enough goblins rush us, they can simply push us off the tower.”

      I looked up. Raszil gave me a wave- he must have reached the next battlement some time ago, and had let down the rope. “We climb,” I said, simply, “You first, Haseth.”

      The grizzled elf grunted, and sheathed his longsword before dashing across the mouth of the archway to reach the rope.

      “More climbing?” Voss complained with a groan.

      “Yep, hopefully it will buy us time, before these goblins can get reorganized,” I said simply, hoping that none of the goblins could see what Haseth was doing from inside the tower. Once the elf had cleared about fifteen feet of rope, I nodded at Voss. “You're up, big guy.”

      As Voss dashed towards me, I happened to look down at one of the bug bear corpses that happened to still be on the battlement and noticed something gleaming, stuck into his belt. I dashed forward and yanked it, get back behind cover before the goblins could act, smiling with satisfaction. Calliope's dagger. I slipped it safely back into it's sheathe.

      I wasn't too certain what my plans were at this juncture. Climb up another four or five levels, using Stinking Cloud to cover our escape, and then move down the tower from there while the goblins were busy reorganizing, I suppose, but it was hardly a perfect plan.

      “Yua,” I said, addressing the dragon girl in her own tongue. She glanced back at me momentarily, but kept her attention fixed on the archway. “You're going to be last up the rope, okay? We're going to try and get away from the goblins before they swarm us, and try to find some way to fight them piecemeal.”

      She seemed to hesitate a moment. Then, “You were gone. I was worried for you.”

      “Ah... I'm sorry,” I said, realizing that this whole time she must have had only a vague idea of what was going on. “I'll try to do be-”

      I was cut off by a loud, precipitous snap.

      Voss was about twenty feet up in the air when, suddenly, the rope gave. I suppose it had gone through harder use today than I realized, and with his plate mail Voss must have weighed an awful lot. He landed on his back with painful sounding thud, coughing and gasping with the impact. Thankfully, he didn't seem to have hit his head or broken anything, but now the rope was ripped in two, with Haseth scrambling up the last few feet far above us.

      Yua gasped in surprised, and we both rushed to kneel next to him. “Gods... are you alright?” I asked, even as Voss rolled over onto his side and spat a wad of blood and mucus onto the stone.

      “Yeah... I'll be okay,” he replied with a cough, “I think I broke a tooth....”

      “He's all right,” I said for Yua, who nodded, and stood, resuming her guard stance at the archway.

      “Rope frayed and snapped,” Voss gasped, “What're we... what're we gonna do now?”

      I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, trying to think of something, anything that would get us out of this situation, but nothing came.

      “I think there's nothing to it... but to fight our way through.”

      Vos got up to his knees with a bitter laugh. “Ah, well, climbing sucks anyway. Did Haseth make it up?”

      I glanced upwards, and saw that Raszil and Haseth had both disappeared from the battlements. Probably smart of them to do that, to hide and plan their next move. It's not like they could yell down anyway without giving away their position.

      “Yeah, I think he's okay,” I replied, “These stupid goblins are a lot of trouble, huh?”

      “How many left, do you figure?” Voss asked, “You were keeping track.”

      “Sixty or so warriors,” I replied, “Maybe a few bosses and bodyguards.”

      “Thirty for me, thirty for Yua,” he said, spiting another glob of blood, “No problem. Let's do this.”

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

      Character Name: Theodore Esche
      Race: Human
      Class: Transmuter
      Level (XP): 3 (7211/10000)
      Hit Points: 7

      Ability Scores
      Strength 11
      Dexterity 17
      Constitution 8
      Intelligence 17
      Wisdom 13
      Charisma 14

      Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
      Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

      Spells Per Day:
      1st Level- 3
      2nd Level- 2

      Spellbook:
      (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
      (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

      Spells Prepared:
      (1st Level): Burning Hands, Sleep
      (2nd Level): Stinking Cloud, Stinking Cloud

      Equipment: Belt Pouch (Small, 1)

      Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

      Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Ryujin

      Companions: Voss (Level 4 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

      Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

      Sexual Partners: 5

      Backpack (with Voss): Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 3), Boots, Darts (30), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

      Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

      Comment


      • #78
        Hey, we've almost got Voss fully trained to just accept the random cruel shit that happens to him! We should buy him a hooker next time we're in town, and convince Yua to cure whatever diseases he gets from it. He's being a good sport about being the random cruelty and misfortune tank of our party.

        What was the full math of that fall? Total health, lost health, damage calculation?

        Comment


        • #79
          1d6 damage per ten foot drop, my result on the 2d6 was 6. With the fresh HP from his level up, he's still comfortably in the top third of his health meter.

          I'm surprised you're not asking for more info on the bugbear fight. Poor bastards couldn't roll higher than an 8 to hit.
          Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
          Currently Working On: Banter and chats
          Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

          Comment


          • #80
            I don't know enough to really get into the details, but yeah for all that theo freaked out about the bugbears they went down like major chumps.

            Like the level up thing. Did Voss level up from all the goblin killing, or do you mean last time they were in town he leveled up?

            Comment


            • #81
              Goblin killing. Class bonus xp gives him an extra 10 xp per goblin, and it's been adding up.
              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

              Comment


              • #82
                Wait aren't there still 5 bugbears unaccounted for? Theo managed to kill 2 with his little stealth mission, and the most recent post had 2 more die, but Theo noticed 9 bug bears during his stealth mission so aren't there still more of those buggers who may be hiding just about anywhere as we have two separate groups trying to meet up with one another with no coordination between the groups?

                Edit: Re-reading things, it sounds like they killed a total of 4 bugbears in chapter 72, which would still leave 3 bugbears left by my count.

                Comment


                • #83
                  They killed all nine, two with Theodore on his own and seven in that combat, sorry for not being clearer.
                  Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                  Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                  Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Chapter 73: Isekai Life & Dubious Rescue

                    Way back in my previous life, I remember having an intense argument with a DM once over the Stinking Cloud spell. Specifically, it's description in AD&D. The way that the spell is described is a little vague (is the gas heavier or lighter than air? Does it wrap around fortifications? Apparently that was for the DM to decide), but there is nothing in the actual description that specifies that a victim must breathe in the vapours for the nausea to have an effect, only that being within the cloud requires you to take a save vs poison. That seemed to imply (or at least I argued at the time) that the vapour was somehow absorbed through the skin or eyes.

                    Unfortunately, as I was struggling to think of way out of this situation for us, I found myself wanting to revise my stance on the subject, but unfortunately Corgiel was nowhere in sight for me to make my argument, so I had to assume the strictest possible definition of the rules here. Hoepfully this would benefit me later if I ever had to use Stinking Cloud on something that couldn't breathe.

                    Well, if we all lived that long. So far this dungeon had been one narrowly averted crisis after another.

                    “Okay, so, new plan,” I told Yua, “I will cast a spell that should drive away the goblins, and when it wears off we run upstairs, and try to lose them so we can reconnect with Haseth and Raszil. Stairs are to the right of the archway, okay?”

                    “Understood,” she said with a determined face.

                    “Okay, Voss,” I said, switching back to common, and relayed the same orders. Jeez, that was going to tiresome fast.

                    “Yeah, got it,” he said, “I think I can handle that, your majesty,”

                    I gave him an odd look for a moment before I realized- the only people around right now were in the know on my true identity. It had been so long, that his deference felt weird.

                    “Right,” I said, drawing a few thick steams of skunk cabbage out of my component pouch, “Let's do this.”

                    I cast Stinking Cloud so that it's extreme edge was just inside the archway. The cloud was a cube (to add to the confusion of how it doesn't behave like a normal gas, but I digress) and I placed it so that it covered the top of the stairway going down, the bottom of the stairs going up, and a solid chunk of the floor we were currently on. I immediately heard the sounds of dozens of high-pitched gobbo voices coughing and retching. The beauty of Stinking Cloud is that it served as a great denial tactic- even if you passed your saving throw, you had to leave the cloud within one minute or roll your save again. It only lasted for three rounds at my current experience level, but the effects could potentially last for a few rounds longer if we got lucky.

                    Mostly though, I wanted the goblins to avoid the landing and thus, take longer catching up to us.

                    The cloud, once conjured, was a thick, billowing cloud of opaque yellow smoke, that reeked even for us standing outside it's area of effect. It's easy to forget that spells have an effect outside their AoE... my nose was just filled with this putrid stink that was somehow akin to both a rotten dumpster and the sulphur smell of a stink bomb. Not enough to make me nauseous but only just. I still gagged from time to time as we waited for the cloud to recede, as did my companions.

                    Not to imply that I just stood around. Instead, I ransacked the bodies of the bugbears. Chipped battle axes, a bronze broadsword, the one guy's greatclub... I gathered up as much of their weapons as I could carry.

                    Voss frowned at me. “Starting a collection or something, your highness?”

                    “The captured farmers and elves are on the level just above us,” I said simply, “No matter what happens, armed them cannot be a bad idea.”

                    That answer seemed to satisfy. “So, how do we get them out?” he asked.

                    I puffed in thought. “Maybe you and Yua can try lifting the portcullis? Failing that, we have to find the controls for the counterweight.”

                    “Well, we could try,” he said with a shrug, “But yeah, giving our only allies in this situation weapons is probably a good idea.”

                    So, we waited. Thankfully for us, my level was still lower enough that we didn't need more than a handful of minutes, and we were off.

                    What I wanted was for us to go into the tower through the archway, and immediately head for the the stairs up. What I got was that Voss and Yua both took the time to execute some goblins that had been caught in the cloud, who were retching and coughing on the ground. The entire inside of the tower, now we didn't have the glare of the afternoon sun keeping us from getting an idea of what was going on, was in pandemonium- goblins, warrior or not, seemed in a panic, scattering away from us.

                    Here I was, worried that these couple hundred goblins would be organized and selfless enough to swarm us and fling us off the tower, but right now the goblins were busy putting the “chaotic” in chaotic evil. Some of the “warriors” were busy looting the barracks, but most of them were fleeing downstairs to safety, away from those terrifying adventurers.

                    That made me worry a little bit- if all the goblins fled into the surrounding lands, they could cause ongoing problems for the people living here. But who knew? If the warriors start throwing their weight around, there could be a lot of warfare between splintered off goblin tribes and that sort of thing. But for that to happen, it made it all the more important that we handle the leaders that currently exist.

                    We moved upstairs, Voss leading the way, Yua coming up behind me. When we reached the next level landing, Nievan was clinging to the bars of the slave pen, waiting for my return. The old man was nowhere in sight, but there were a few of the other kidnap victims standing around, trying to get some idea of what was going on.

                    “You're back!” The elf exclaimed, unable to hide the anticipation in his voice, “What's going on? Where's Sir Haseth?”

                    “Upstairs somewhere,” I replied, “Uh, it's a long story, but I think we've killed most of the goblins' real forces at this point, we're going to try getting you out.”

                    At that point I was jostled aside by Yua. Normally, she was dutiful and unobtrusive, trying to stay on guard and out of the way at the same time. Now, she looked furious. Nievan stepped back, startled by her sudden fury.

                    Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she grasped the iron portcullis and tried to lift. The portcullis refused to budge, though her attempted caused a shower of rust flakes.

                    “Alright, that's not working,” I said, looking to Nievan, “How many strong men do you think you ca-”

                    I was cut off by a primal shout of rage coming from Yua. Having failed to lift the portcullis, she heaved on it, pulling it... outwards. The sturdy dwarven construction of the bars tried to resist her, but slowly began bending her way, before first one, then the other broke free from the framework of the gate with the shrieking snap of rusting metal.

                    She stepped back, sweat glittering on her brow, making the edges of her scales stand out. She tossed the rusty metal bars aside, panting with her exertion. Voss, the prisoners and I just goggled at her. Exactly how strong was she, really?

                    But now, there was a gap in the portcullis just wide enough for a broad-chested man to sidestep through, most of the prisoners should have no trouble getting out.

                    “Here,” I said, passing my bundle of weapons through the gap in the bars, “Make sure that as many people as possible get armed before stepping out. I don't know how we're getting you all out of here just yet, but you probably shouldn't stay there.”

                    Nievan grabbed the bundle and laid it out on the ground, taking the bronze sword for himself. “Me and mine can't leave yet, not until we've secured the princess,” he replied to me in Elven, “But yes, you should get the humans to safety.”

                    “Theodore, back up!” Voss yelled, pulled me back away from the bars. Up from downstairs came a swarm of goblins- finally, some of them had gotten organized enough to come up here and attempt resistance.

                    People were just throwing me around left and right today.

                    Yua and Voss met the goblins just a few steps higher on the landing, and the fighting began in earnest. They didn't fight alone, however- from the protection of the bars, Nievan and his fellow prisoners began thrusting their weapons, killing few but making the assault more difficult.

                    I had, at this point, only two spells left prepared. I could throw darts, but Nievan had reminded me of something more important- actually making it so we all could get out of here.

                    “I'm going looking for more weapons!” I shouted, but I don't think Voss actually heard me, being absorbed in the advancing horde. It didn't look like too big of a deal for them, especially with help from the prisoners. With Yua's aura, those Goblins would have to roll like an eighteen or nineteen to even hit either of my allies.

                    Slipping back up the stairs to the storage rooms, praying that there wouldn't be any more goblins coming from upstairs... and there weren't, for now. I knew something was up there, from when I heard it go charging past when I had to hide behind all those turnips, but for now it was quiet.

                    I started trying doors. Most of the things in storage were very mundane- sacks of flour, bushels of apples, barrels of salt trout, all things that the people of Rhymer's Cross would be very grateful to receive back but were useless to me right now. Some piles of nicer-looking but probably valueless clothing. A pile of copper kettles, pots, and other such things. No sign of any sort of weapon storage for medium-sized creatures, no treasure, and no Elven princess.

                    Nothing to do but to continue upwards.

                    Here, I encountered difficulties. As I reached the corner of the stairs, I could hear, ahead of me, voices speaking in guttural goblin.

                    “...Nothing past this point, but what're we going to do? There's only two of us.”

                    That's all I needed to hear. I walked around the corner and tossed darts at the first goblin I saw. It was one of the ones that went around wearing crude leather armor- one of the lieutenants or sergeants, I suspected- but after getting hit with three of my darts right in his neck he went down like a sack of bricks.

                    I paid for my overconfidence, however. His friend took three darts but kept coming, raising a shout and charging me. He thrust with a wood-tipped spear, stabbing me in the abdomen. I manged to stumble back enough that I had room to launch a final volley of darts to finish him, but I was in bad shape after that blow... bad enough that I wondered how long it'd been since I cast Armor, as that might be done for as well. I would have to be exceedingly careful going forward... and have to find Raszil soon.

                    Nobody else was up on this new level. It was very much like the slave pen level, only without the portcullis- one large hallway with four doorways on either side.

                    I ducked through the doorway immediately to my right, and smiled. Judging from the pile of gleaming, silvery chainmail careless tossed into one corner, I had found the goblins' treasure room.

                    Other than the heap of elven mail, there was a large wooden chest, which I kicked experimentally as a crude way of checking for traps before I carefully opened it. It was untrapped, thankfully, and held a collection of ten longswords in black leather sheathes, almost identical to the one Haseth wore. I couldn't carry it all because of how awkward it would all be, but at least I knew where it was, now.

                    At the very bottom of the chest was a rotten old belt pouch. I rummaged around inside and came up with five very small gem stones, most of which had the milky look of low quality stones. I chuckled to myself. Was this really it? Goblin tribes were capable of having magical items, thousands of gold... did we really come this far and the only treasure was five measly stones? Plus the handfuls of silver the goblins carried with them, of course. I could almost hear the voice of Roadblock or Wild Bill telling me that helping people was the real treasure.

                    The very next room down the hall was some kind of crude bedroom. It stank of blood and body odour, and a musty pile of furs made a crude bed against one wall. There was an old dwarven armour stand, probably one of the few still intact, next to that, and the whole place was crowded with spare weapons of varying quality, but it was the sight of what stood in the far corner that hit me like a punch to the gut.

                    There was a rusty old anvil, and, on it, was a scrawny elf woman with black hair, chained down in the kind of position that made it obvious to what... use... she was being put to. She was naked, covered in bruises, with blood, lash marks, and other bodily fluids covering her butt and the back of her thighs. She didn't stir at all in response to my entrance, although I could hear the rattle and hiss of her laboured breathing.

                    I went over to the poor creature, and knelt, examining her face. Her lips were cracked and bloody, and she had to be thirsty and starving. She didn't even register me at first, seeming to be in some kind of daze, but when I cast my Knock spell and the chains fell off her body, she finally came up to awareness.

                    She gave a pathetic cough, and growled something unintelligible in a dry, rasping voice. I, gently as I could, pulled her off the anvil and laid her on the ground, head in my lap, so I could trickle a little water from my waterskin into her mouth.

                    From puffy, bloodshot eyes she regardedme, still half in a daze, and asked, “Who are you?”

                    “Don't worry, I'm a friend,” I said calmly, stroking her brittle hair. “I'm here to rescue you.”

                    She looked away from me, to stare off into space.

                    “Can you walk?” I asked, “Our friends are fighting downstairs, and we should get moving....”

                    I could finish my sentence. She weakly gripped the front of my robe and looked back up at me. Her eyes, I noted, though bloodshot, were beautiful pools of burnished orange.

                    “Kill me.”

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

                    Character Name: Theodore Esche
                    Race: Human
                    Class: Transmuter
                    Level (XP): 3 (7211/10000)
                    Hit Points: 2/7

                    Ability Scores
                    Strength 11
                    Dexterity 17
                    Constitution 8
                    Intelligence 17
                    Wisdom 13
                    Charisma 14

                    Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
                    Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

                    Spells Per Day:
                    1st Level- 3
                    2nd Level- 2

                    Spellbook:
                    (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
                    (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

                    Spells Prepared:
                    (1st Level): Sleep
                    (2nd Level): (none)

                    Equipment: Belt Pouch (Small, 1)

                    Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

                    Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Ryujin

                    Companions: Voss (Level 4 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

                    Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

                    Sexual Partners: 5

                    Backpack (with Voss): Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 3), Boots, Darts (30), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

                    Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
                    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Chapter 74: Isekai Life & Three Reunions

                      I was shaking my head on the way back to the treasure room. I had some serious issues with Corgiel at this point. This was supposed to be my “Heaven”, a paradise just for me. But, now, I was going to be a father twice over before the end of my first year of adventuring, something I was still uncertain about. And, on top of that, I had a suicidal rape victim to care for, and twice now I've rescued women who were captured and (basically) tortured... implying that the same could happen to Ashryn, Katriana, and Calliope, and our children.

                      Just... yikes.

                      It only took a little bit of time to search through the pile of discarded elven chainmail and get what I was looking for. Buried in there were a few of the black cloaks of the Ravenwatch, so I pulled one out for the elf girl. She's had a hard enough time that she deserves not to be paraded around naked in front of everyone.

                      Returning to the “bedroom”, I went to where I left the girl leaning up against one of the walls. Gently as I could, I helped her lean forward so I could wrap the cloak around her shoulders.

                      “Why didn't you kill me?” she asked hoarsely.

                      I frowned at her. “I'm not that kind of person,” I explained, “I'm not going to pretend I know what you went through, but I'm not going to kill you either.”

                      She closed her eyes. “I'm tainted.”

                      “I don't care,” I replied, “And anyone who does care is an asshole. Now come on, we're getting out of here.”

                      I helped her to her feet, and although she resisted a moment, she eventually let m hold her upright while we went limping out of the room. It was a struggle, as she was very weak and I wasn't all that much better off, between my low constitution and my wound. Even getting halfway down the hall to the stairs took some time... and that's all it took for the goblins to find us.

                      Eight goblins clad in leather and hides came tromping down the stairs from above, all well-armed with swords and axes, probably to try and attack Voss and Yua's defensive line from behind, provided they were both still alive. But as they were going, one happened to glance down the hall and noticed us, letting out a shout. The girl quivered against me in fear as they began closing in, snarling and laughing among themselves.

                      “Well, well... we had better make sure that the chief's toy gets put away properly, hadn't we boys?” snickered their leader, “Come on, then, take out the man and- ugh...”

                      There was a hard smacking sound, and the speaking goblin fell the the ground in a heap. Behind him, unnoticed by all of us, was a very satisfied looking Raszil, bloody mace in hand. He opened his mouth as is to make some quip, but was drowned by the sound of Haseth, charging down the stairs, yelling as battlecry of “For the Raven!”

                      The goblins were completely distracted from us by this turn of events. The rounded on their attackers and charged into the fray. For my part, I had the girl to take care of. I lead her over to lean once more against one of the walls, while I went through my pouches looking for more spell components.

                      “Don't let them take me again, please!” The girl begged, “Kill me first!”

                      “Relax, I've got this, nobody's going to take you,” I said, trying to reassuring as I grabbed a pinch of sand from one of my component pouches.

                      I chanted the words to the Hex of Lotus and Willow as I pointed, letting the sand spill out of my fingers. There were four goblins remaining upright after exchanging blows with Raszil and Haseth, two went down under the effects of the spell. After that, the fight was over quickly, as the remaining two gobbos proved no match for Haseth's blade.

                      “Princess!” The elf-knight cried in elven out as he rushed over to us. He knelt before the elf-girl and took her hand, pressing his forehead to it. I had been trying to avoid the assumption, but that confirmed it- the poor, abused girl was the Princess Kythaela that Haseth was looking for, the one whose safe return would get Calliope back.

                      “Haseth, I...” the princess winced, as she tried to hold back tears, “I-I was a fool....”

                      “No, I am sorry that I fled, your grace,” he murmured.

                      I felt a little tug on my arm, and looked over to see Raszil, bloodied mace in hand, next to me. “That blood yours, Theodore?” he asked, nodding at the stained hole in my robes.

                      I nodded. “Yeah, had a little run-in with some guards on my way up here,” I explained, as the gnome murmured words of prayer and delicately waved his free hand over my wound. I immediately felt better, as the prayer soothed the ache and closed up the wound.

                      “Well, your girl would be very cross with me if I brought you back all dinged up,” Raszil quipped as he patted me on the sleeve, before heading towards the two elves, “Sir Haseth, mind if I said a prayer for the poor lass's wounds?”

                      While Raszil healed the princess, Haseth came over and bowed to me. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Sir Theodore,” he said, rising, “I know our alliance is transactional, but truly, redeeming my honour would not have been possible without your help.”

                      “I'm just glad you two showed up when you did,” I said, suddenly embarrassed, “That was great timing.”

                      “Think nothing of it,” Raszil explained, having finished casting his spell, “We spotted that squad forming up on the floor above, and decided to follow them, hoping it would let us meet up with you. Lo and behold, here we are.”

                      “I'm grateful for it,” I replied.

                      “I don't understand,” Kythaela said, directing her questioning look at Haseth, “This human and this gnome... they are with you?”

                      “It's a bit of a long story,” I said, waving away her question, “We have to get moving. Voss, Yua, Sir Nievan and the other former slaves are fighting below, and they're going to need help. Haseth, come help me with the weapon and armour from the treasure room over there. Raszil, stay with the princess.”

                      Haseth looked uncomfortable leaving his mistress' side so soon, but came along obediently enough, and letting me pile his arms with the coats of Elven chainmail, before I gathered up all the swords. Then, we were off, heading downstairs to meet up with the others.

                      I had been a little worried that the situation had worsened below, but as it turns out, I shouldn't have worried. At some point the goblins had been driven back, and Voss and Yua were sitting on the stairs resting while Nievan and some of the other slaves overwatched the stairs.

                      Yua noticed me first and rose, but I brushed past her. First things first. “Sir Nievan, I have some things that belong to you.”

                      Our reunion was short but warm. Nievan and the remaining five members of the Ravenwatch were happy to be properly armed and armoured, and even happier to see their princess and Haseth was alive. For our group's part, Yua was visibly relieved to see me returned safe, and Vos gave Raszil a slap on the back to see him back. I was also glad to see them all, to finally have some stability in our situation, but I was beginning to put things together.

                      Once the greetings and back slapping was done, and Kythaela was lead away to rest for a spell in the women slave's room, I called a meeting with Voss, Raszil, Haseth, Nievan, and the old man, whose name turned out to be the thoroughly ridiculous Boss Gull. We stood in a circle in the slave pen area, leaving the protection of the stairs to Yua, a few of the farmers and a couple members of the Ravenwatch. Some of the farmers gathered around curiously, but none of them dared interrupt their rescuers.

                      “Okay, so,” I began, “Here is our situation, and someone let me know if they think I'm wrong about something.”

                      I laid everything out. Below us, somewhere in the tower, were literally hundreds of goblins. A few may have run off, but I suspected their mentality meant they would seek safety in numbers. There weren't any leaders down there trying to rally them, but we knew that there were still goblin raiders out in the Lakelands somewhere, who knew that we had stolen their boats. Those raiders still had worgs with them, and were probably racing back here even now. They would have at least one respected goblin among them, possibly even the chieftain of this tribe. There were also an unknown number of goblins still in the tower above us.

                      As for us, we had, in total, fifty-nine people on our side- Myself, Voss, Yua, Raszil, Haseth, Nievan, the other five members of the Ravenwatch, Kythaela, and then Boss Gull and another nineteen adult farmers, twenty-seven children, and out in the woods outside the tower was Moruca. We only had enough weapons to arm almost all of the adult farmers, provided the remaining Ravenwatch were okay with loaning out the swords of their fallen brethren to the farmers, but they were all untrained. A farmer might stand a chance against one goblin in hand-to-hand combat, but in this situation, we were vastly outnumbered.

                      Further, I was completely out of spells, and Raszil had one more healing spell and a single use of “Stay the Heathen”, which after a brief explanation from the gnome I took to be the spell I knew as “Hold Person”. A very useful tactical spell, as I recalled from the situation in Tresens, but staying a merely 1d4 heathens in this situation wasn't going to be tremendously useful.

                      If we somehow circumvented the hundreds of goblins still left in the tower, there were still goblin raiders out there somewhere. We didn't have enough boat space for everyone, so even if we got Princess Kythaela and, say, all the children out of harm's way on the boats, we would still have to travel to safety in Rhymer's Cross overland, heading right into the direction the goblin raiders would be returning from. The worgs would rip the farmers apart, we'd have almost no tactical assistance from spells, and even among those of us who were trained fighters, more than half of us were malnourished. In short, it would be a death march.

                      “That's why I'm suggesting we flip the script,” I concluded, “We take the tower, hold it, and beat them here.”

                      My companions' reactions were mixed. Haseth seemed thoughtful, but Nievan's eyes flew up in surprise. Voss look weary but was nodding his head along, while Raszil gave me a searching look. The Boss was completely outraged, though.

                      “What do you mean, take the tower?” he yelled, face red with rage, “You came all the way here to rescue us, and now you're saying we have to stay here!?”

                      “It's wiser than it sounds, elder,” Haseth said, trying to mollify the old farmer, “This tower is dwarven construction, and made to withstand siege. The walls are laced with murder holes, and we have a overabundance of chokepoints to choose from.”

                      “Plus the tower's food supply is one level above us, and the kitchen are here,” I added, “We could probably last a good week or so, and I'm not even suggesting we stay that long.”

                      “What are you suggesting, then?” the Boss spat back.

                      “Their chieftain or whoever is taking up the reins after the chieftain is going to need to regain the respect of the tribe as a whole,” I explained, “Else they're going to experience challenges to their power and desertion. They need to take back their centre of power, and that means fighting us. We can use that. Kill their leaders, kill their worgs, and we open up an opportunity to get out of here.”

                      “And what if we don't?” he retorted, “What is we all die here, or get sent back into slavery?”

                      “I haven't been a knight for long,” Voss replied cooly, “Just a few months ago I was just a commoner like you. Even still, I'd rather die on my feet with my spear in hand, fighting, then getting picked off by worgs as we flee through the woods.”

                      Every was quiet at that, as the implications of what Voss had said washed over us. We were badly outnumbered, almost out of spells, and almost out of options. If we turned out to be unlucky, we really would be choosing how to die.

                      I shook my head, trying to dismiss the dark thoughts that gathered there. “Alright, it's already late afternoon, and the way I see it, we have three things we have to do before dark. First of all, we have to take the floor below us, and prepare our defences there. That gives us access to the lower battlement, and has more room for us to maneuver. Second, we have to signal Moruca, our ally protecting our things out in the woods, and get her up here somehow. She's an amazing archer, plus we have additional spell components and supplies she can bring us. Third, we have to go room by room, floor by floor, and clear out every last goblin above us, so we can't be pincered.”

                      “We should find out where our spellbooks were stored, too,” Nievan explained, “Loudo and Elcair are mages as well as fighters, and it might be possible for them to get enough rest to recharge their arcane power.”

                      I nodded. “But before anyone recharges anything, we have a lot of work to do. Are you all ready for this?”

                      “Aye, you've gotten my charge back and restored the honour of the Ravenwatch,” Haseth said firmly, “If you say this is the path forward, then I'll trust you further still.”

                      “Ever loyal, ever vigilant,” Nievan added with a salute, “So long as you have the princess' best interests at heart, we shall serve.”

                      “Damn, Theodore,” Voss said, “You know I'm ready to go.”

                      “You're entertaining enough for now,” Raszil said with a grin.

                      “Fuck, fine,” Boss Gull said with a sad shake of his, “Don't make me regret this.”

                      We set our tasks, and who would be leading which team. Then we broke up to get organized and be ready to engage our various tasks. Haseth would lead the Ravenwatch and a few of the farmers in taking control of the floor below us, while Voss, Raszil, Yua and I would head upwards and clear the rest of the tower.

                      I was about to leave the group to explain the situation to Yua, when I noticed Princess Kythaela watching me from within the room set aside for the women's sleeping area, her expression blank and mysterious.

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

                      Character Name: Theodore Esche
                      Race: Human
                      Class: Transmuter
                      Level (XP): 3 (7673/10000)
                      Hit Points: 7/7

                      Ability Scores
                      Strength 11
                      Dexterity 17
                      Constitution 8
                      Intelligence 17
                      Wisdom 13
                      Charisma 14

                      Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
                      Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

                      Spells Per Day:
                      1st Level- 3
                      2nd Level- 2

                      Spellbook:
                      (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
                      (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

                      Spells Prepared:
                      (1st Level): (none)
                      (2nd Level): (none)

                      Equipment: Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (23), Robes, Dagger, 5 Unidentified Gems

                      Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

                      Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Dragonborn

                      Companions: Voss (Level 4 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

                      Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

                      Sexual Partners: 5

                      Backpack (with Moruca): Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

                      Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
                      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Chapter 75: Isekai Life & Stairway Battle

                        Of course, before any of my plans could be executed, I had something to do.

                        I took Yua gently by the elbow and pulled her aside where where she was standing guard at the stairs. She appeared confused, but despite that had a stern expression.

                        “Do you require something, my lord?” she asked with a certain chill in her voice.

                        I frowned. Why did she seem upset suddenly? “Okay, so, we have a new plan,” I said, “We're going to try and bait the goblins into attacking us so we can try to take out the enemies that have a chance of running us all down if we try to escape. Haseth and the elves are going to capture the floor below us, and drive the goblins further downstairs.” Hopefully they'd be able to do that, in their hungry and weakened state. “Now, us, Voss and Raszil are going upstairs to clear the rest of tower,” I finished explaining, “After which we'll be getting rest for the siege.”

                        “Understood,” was all she said, before turning back to her post.

                        I sighed to myself, and reached out to grab her elbow again. “Why are you upset?” I asked directly.

                        “I have no right to be upset, my lord,” she replied.

                        “But I can tell, you're acting all terse.”

                        “Forgive me, my lord, I must go back to my position.”

                        My brow furrowed. Were we really doing this? “Alright, you know what? You can help Haseth and the Ravenwatch take the floor below us, then.”

                        To be totally honest, it was something I thought of. Her paladin's aura would be of the most use when fighting a big horde of enemies, especially considering that the Ravenwatch seemed to use chainmail and shields exclusively for armour. The only problem was directing her when there was a language barrier... but I was also upset at her sudden attitude. I wanted to punish her, even though it was completely childish for me to do. But... at least I wasn't the only one being childish.

                        Her face twisted in a variety of expressions- an angry glare, and bitter frown, but she eventually snapped to attention and offered me a deep bow. “It will be as your say, my lord,” she replied, and by the time she straightened from her bow she had schooled her face to a stoic grimace.

                        I sighed again. I had no time for this. There was so much to do before night fell. I wasn't absolutely certain that a bunch of goblins riding worgs would be able to travel as far as we did on the river, but this world was based on AD&D, where that kind of dramatic convenience was common.

                        I headed back into the slave pen area and found Haseth, just wrapping up a discussion with the rest of the Ravenwatch, and got his attention.

                        “Yua will go with you on the attack on the floor below,” I told him.

                        He gave me a surprised look. “I thought she would be going with you? You two hardly seem to ever separate.”

                        I shrugged. “She projects a holy aura that can protect you from evil creatures. Your Ravenwatch are doughty fighters, I'm sure, but in this situation I'd rather you have the additional protection.”

                        Haseth nodded. “Very well, I will not aside additional assistance.”

                        By this time, the ex-slaves started circulating around with bowls of a hot, thick soup, crowded with vegetables. Without having to feed a few extra hundred goblins, they had plenty of vegetables and broth prepared, though I noted that the soup was conspicuously without meat despite the presence of something unidentifiable on a spit in the kitchen. I didn't want to ask questions, these people had gone through enough hardship without being asked to relive it just to satisfy my curiosity, and I'm not going to judge them on what they had to do in order to survive.

                        Hoping that the hot meal would make a difference, I took my bowl from the farm wife handing them out, and went to find Voss. Surprisingly, my knight was surrounded by a crowd of the older “children”- old enough to be on the cusp of adulthood, young enough not to be entirely entrusted on their own... yet. Included among them was the bushy-haired girl who had first spotted me earlier that day.

                        “...And then the hobgoblins brought them in- a pair of giant, killer man-eating apes.” As Voss paused for effect, a low “ooh” chorused from his audience. “I had to face one alone while it took all my allies to defeat the other. It was a vicious beast, but all beasts fear steel. Or, at least, they do after you poke them a few times.”

                        That wasn't exactly how I remembered it, but it was okay for Voss to puff himself up a little bit. It might even help morale.

                        Not wanting to interrupt storytime, I instead moved on to find Raszil. The gnome was sitting with his back to a wall, away from everyone else, already digging into his soup. I sat down by him, before finally helping myself to a sip of the soup itself. It wasn't much, but after so much bread and simple rations, tasted amazing.

                        Raszil didn't make any dinner conversation. He was definitely the oddest of my companions, except for the relatively unique Yua. For someone who was so vulgar, when we first met, he seemed more given to being quiet and unobtrusive in crowds. I supposed that was usual for a priest of the God of Secrets, however.

                        When I finished up my soup, he reached out a hand, offering to take my bowl. “We should get going soon,” he said, pushing himself on to his feet, “How did speaking to Yua go?”

                        I didn't really want to get into that, so I avoided the question. “I've changed my mind,” I replied, “She's going to help Haseth downstairs. It's just you, me and Voss going up.”

                        Raszil nodded thoughtfully for a moment, then looked back to me. “Are you out of your damn mind?”

                        “We can handle it,” I retorted, “They're just goblins, even if there are some tougher ones up there.”


                        I had been trying to figure out just what the deal was with that pack of goblins from earlier, and my working theory is that the goblin leaders and bodyguards lived way up the tower. Which mean that we had to deal with... twenty-ish more goblins? All of whom would be at the beefy end for goblins, with minimum 7 hp, but they didn't get at better at hitting things and with his magical shield, Voss' Armor Class was verging on “dragonlike”. With Raszil to scout and me to provide ranged support with my darts, we should be okay... provided the goblins didn't all come in one big pack and didn't start rolling 20s like crazy.

                        Raszil sighed and shook his head. “You're asking a lot of your man, you realize.”

                        “I know.” I'd have to make sure to reward him, somehow, later.

                        Of course, if you speak of the Devil, he will appear before you, so it was around that time that Voss, having finished his story (and soup) came over to us, glancing around. “Where's Yua?” he asked, “In the little dragons' room?”

                        It always surprised me how the people in this world knew what bathroom activities were, even though they never had to go. “She's not coming,” Raszil stated flatly, “Apparently Theodore thinks you can take on all the goblins yourself.”

                        “Maybe, well, probably, though I would have liked the help,” Voss said with a confident smile, but when he looked at me his expression changed to concern. “Is something wrong, Theodore? You seem....”

                        “Come on, let's go,” I said, levering myself up from the ground, “Let's try to get this done so I can have a decent amount of rest before tonight.”

                        My two companions shared a glance, but said nothing, falling into line as I led the way to the landing.

                        We began our slow, methodical journey up the tower. Raszil would wait on the landing, kjeeping a lookout, while Voss and I first searched all the storage rooms, and then did another pass over the rooms on the floor where I recovered Kythaela. The goblin corpses we left on that level were starting to stink, and I made a mental note of detailing someone to come up here and toss them into the sea.

                        The next floor was largely empty, except for another kind of communal barracks-room and another private room for some other VIG (very important goblin). This was also the level upon which was access to the third battlement. So Raszil and I took a quick stroll around the tower while Voss had a bit of break on the landing.

                        “Hey, see those?” Raszil said, pointing towards land.

                        I squinted, and shaded my eyes against the setting sun. The strip of field dividing the coastline from the trees immediately around the tower was dotted with little black objects that certainly weren't there before.

                        “Are they corpses?” I asked, “Moruca's been busy.”

                        “Seems so,” Raszil said with a nod, “Although I hope she's been mindful of our ammunition supplies.”

                        “Hope so.”

                        With that, we carried on up one more level.

                        At this point, the structure of the tower was deteriorating rapidly. The tilt in the floor was mostly the same, maybe just slightly steeper, but a big chunk of the floor was overhanging the ocean. It was starting to make me uneasy, and as we ascended I had to keep reminding myself that this tower has stood for centuries.

                        Partway up the stairs, Raszil, who was in front, held out an arm, motioning us all to stop. He then put a finger to his lips, calling for silence. It didn't take long to realize why- the dim sound of muffled, guttural voices croaking at one another came down the stairway.

                        Raszil slowly tiptoed up the stairs, disappearing around the corner. Voss couldn't move too quietly because of his armour, so instead I slipped down the stairs as quietly as I could to get behind him. Hopefully, Raszil would be able to scout around and get us some info, if not....

                        There was a shout of surprise, and the sound of running feet. Razsil came down the stairs fast, sprinting as fast as his little legs could, and as he tried to turn the corner got tangled up in himself and hit the ground hard. Voss and I stepped out of the way as the balls of flailing gnome came crashing down past us.

                        The first goblin came around, clad in leather armour and holding a shield, with a waraxe almost as tall as he was. Unluckily for him, I was ready, and launched a trio of darts right into his exposed face and neck. More came after him, the more elite goblins with better equipment than most of the hordes we've been seeing, but Voss calmly stepped up and ran the point of his spear through the first one's stomach, felling it, and then battle began in earnest

                        As predicted, as long as the goblins fought traditionally, they couldn't do much to harm Voss. The gobbos were used to fighting among each other or bullying farmers, or at least ambushing trained fighters in the dark. Unfortunately, with Voss blocking the stairway and me being on lower elevation than them all, I couldn't do much to help him. The entire stairs in front me was clashing steel and flailing green arms.

                        Suddenly, it all went black.

                        I don't mean that something hit me and I went unconscious. An unnatural darkness cloaked the area, rendering everything pitch dark. The goblins had a shaman, after all. I kind of wrote it off, because, hey, they already had worgs and bugbear allies, who many advantages could this tribe possibly have? But nonetheless, here we are. I couldn't even tell Voss to retreat, because we were on a staircase. I couldn't even imagine how hard it would be to walk backwards down a staircase while being attacked.

                        The goblins laughed in triumph as I stumbled my way back down, out of the area of effect of the unnatural darkness. I needed some way to get Voss out of that situation, but first I needed to be able to protect myself.

                        As I came out of the inky shadow, I was surprised to see three of the teenagers from the slave pens there, helping up a bruised and angry looking Raszil. Two of them were young boys armed with kitchen knives, and one was that bushy-haired girl, comically wielding a frying pan.

                        “Those little bastards!” Raszil was cursing, “Tricky little shits, aren't they? Out of my way!”

                        The gnome went charging past me, into the fray.

                        Not being able to do anything about the fight behind me for the moment, I instead chose to glare at the three kids. “What the hell are you doing here?” I demanded, “This is dangerous work, do you think we came and rescued you just so you can fling yourselves into danger like this?”

                        The two boys at least had the grace to look chastened, but the girl puffed herself up a bit and put her hands on her hips. “We want to help! We want to be knights, too! Like Sir Voss!”

                        I sighed and shook my head. “Get out of here, you're in danger!” I commanded, and then turned back towards the darkness, not sure what I should do, about the fight or the teenagers. And I had two kids of my own on the way. I was probably going to make for a walking disaster of a father.

                        It seemed to take forever, but after a few long minutes, from out of the shadows came Raszil's voice yelling, “That's me, you big idiot! They're all dead! Now stop swinging that damn laundry pole of yours!”

                        The duration of the darkness would be in the neighbourhood of half an hour, but I had no intention of giving the shaman that much time to plan his next trick for us... so I sidled over to one side of the stairwell, got on hands and knees and crawled upwards. My hands enocunter smelly, sticky goblin blood almost immediately, but it was what I had to do.

                        “Theodore, what are you doing?” Raszil called out, his gnomish eyesight penetrating the unnatural dark with ease.

                        “I'm going after that spellcaster,” I explained, “I don't want him to be able to set up some kind of ambush.”

                        I heard Voss curse and moan in pain. “Yeah, big guy here isn't going anywhere, we're both pretty beat up, are you sure you can handle this?”

                        I wasn't sure at all, but it had to be done. I just kept going up, not responding. When I felt the landing of the stairs, I turned to my left and kept ascending, and eventually came out of the darkness at the top of the stairs.

                        The whole floor was a ruin, with only the massive stone support columns full intact. Most of the walls were destroyed. The centre of the floor was a large ritual space, with a makeshift altar and weird goblin runes painted everywhere. In the centre of the ritual space was my target, a fat female goblin clad in filthy hides and wielding a staff and a bone dagger. Instead of the green skin of a normal goblin, hers was brown a gnarled as if she were carved from wood. The Barksin spell, giving her protection similar to my own Armour spell.

                        “You should not have come, pink-skin,” the shaman intoned in the rough goblin tongue, levelling her dagger at me. “Chturbo will have your soul.”

                        I wanted to say, lady, that isn't even the first time I've had that threat this year. Instead, I prayed I wasn't bringing only knives to a magic fight, and tossed some darts her way.

                        All three darts landed true, sticking deep into her chest. Dog bless that mighty Dexterity score I generated. The shaman hissed in response, and threw her dagger my way, but it deflected off my own magical protection. The shaman screamed in frustration, and came lurching towards me, arm outstretched.

                        I threw a trio more darts her way and ended her miserable life. Idiot, bring a touch spell like Cause Light Wounds to a dart fight.

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

                        Character Name: Theodore Esche
                        Race: Human
                        Class: Transmuter
                        Level (XP): 3 (7752/10000)
                        Hit Points: 7/7

                        Ability Scores
                        Strength 11
                        Dexterity 17
                        Constitution 8
                        Intelligence 17
                        Wisdom 13
                        Charisma 14

                        Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
                        Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

                        Spells Per Day:
                        1st Level- 3
                        2nd Level- 2

                        Spellbook:
                        (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
                        (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

                        Spells Prepared:
                        (1st Level): (none)
                        (2nd Level): (none)

                        Equipment: Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (23), Robes, Dagger, 5 Unidentified Gems

                        Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

                        Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Dragonborn

                        Companions: Voss (Level 4 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

                        Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

                        Sexual Partners: 5

                        Backpack (with Moruca): Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

                        Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
                        Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                        Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                        Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Why is Theo so bad at talking to women?

                          HOW is he so bad at talking to women? He has a harem without mind control collars or other bullshit. he should be doing a lot better

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Snapped View Post
                            Why is Theo so bad at talking to women?

                            HOW is he so bad at talking to women? He has a harem without mind control collars or other bullshit. he should be doing a lot better
                            He's failing his charisma rolls behind the scenes ^^

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by Snapped View Post
                              Why is Theo so bad at talking to women?

                              HOW is he so bad at talking to women? He has a harem without mind control collars or other bullshit. he should be doing a lot better
                              He did specifically request an "inexplicable" harem.
                              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Chapter 76: Isekai Life & Harsh Advice

                                After dispatching the goblin shaman, I returned to the darkened stairwell.

                                “Alright, the shaman's taken care of,” I yelled into the inky blackness, “Do you need help getting out of there?”

                                “We're managing,” Voss replied in a pained voice. Eventually, with a clatter of plate, he, Raszil, and the bushy-haired teenage girl rose up out of the dark, Voss flanked by his two smaller companions supporting him.

                                Voss collapsed on the floor immediately as soon as he was in a lit area. He pointed at me. “Never again am I fighting five goblins in the pitch dark for you.”

                                I nodded. “Fair, I'll do my best to make sure that doesn't happen. What's the girl doing here?”

                                She put her hands on her hips, still carrying that cast iron pan. “The girl has a name, you know.”

                                Voss shrugged. “Said she wasn't running away, like those other lads. Raszil and I figured that with us beaten within an inch of our lives, we could use the assistance.”

                                I looked her over, and sighed. “Alright, what's your name?”

                                “Sorrel,” she replied sourly.

                                “Well, Sorrel, you're an idiot,” I said, matter of factly, “But if you're too dumb to run we may as well make some other use out of you. Do you know how to use a spear?”

                                “You stick the green bastards with the pointy bit, don't you?”

                                I shook my head, while Raszil and Voss shared a bit of a laugh. “Good enough, then, let's go finish this off. I think this was the goblins' last stand, but you never know what might be skulking around. Do you guy think you can hold together long enough for us to get back?”

                                “Yeah,” Voss said, taking off his helmet, “Going to probably need a little patching up later, though.”

                                “At least until I can pray for assistance,” Raszil added.

                                “Right, well,” I replied, “I think that's all the goblins, but I'm going to take this annoying girl who won't do what's best and just go away, just in case I need someone to push in front of the goblins.”

                                I could feel the intensity of Sorrel's glare, but Voss just laughed.

                                “Alright, then,” he said, “We'll be here when you get back.”

                                So we left Raszil and Voss to rest.

                                The first thing we found hunting around was a stack of four spellbooks kept in a sack behind the goblins' crude altar. Worth going over later, for sure, but given that they had uniform black leather covers, they were probably the spellbooks belonging to the Ravenwatch members and thus, not suitable for looting.

                                The remaining six floors of the tower were deserted, and it was easy to see why. The effect of the wind pushing the tower and, judging by the scorch marks on the very highest level, repeated lightning strikes had reduced most of the very top levels of the tower to a ruin which provided little shelter from the elements. It was still possible to ascend, because the stairs were built next to the supports, but the very top levels of the tower has collapsed in the centre and were mostly a large pile of rubble encircled by a wall.

                                It was hard to imagine a flock of griffons landing here to drop off the Ravenwatch for an attack, but it must have been more stable than it appeared. A testament to dwarven construction, I suppose.

                                Satisfied with my ascent, it was time to head back down, and see how the other half of the battle was doing.

                                Raszil and Voss were, thankfully, unmolested for the thirty minutes or so I was wandering around with the girl, and we came to the conclusion that our mission was successful- the upper levels of the tower were now goblin-free. Making Sorrel carry the sack of spellbooks and Voss' shield, we began to descend, eager for news on how Haseth and Yua's battle went taking back the floor below us.

                                We could tell immediately that it hadn't gone well- three of the Ravenwatch members were sitting on the landing outside the slave pens, being bandaged up by the human farmers, and they looked in a sorry state.

                                “Where's Haseth?” I asked the closest member of the Ravenwatch.


                                “Sir Haseth is coordinating the defence from downstairs,” he replied, shaking his head, “We fought hard enough for it, so he's trying to make sure we keep it.”

                                That made me frown. Before I could reply, Voss interjected, asking “Did we lose anyone?”

                                “No, but just barely,” the Ravenwatch knight complained bitterly, “The goblins that ended up cut off on the floor once we took the landing fought like trapped rats. It was brutal. That girl with the greatsword refused to budge from the front lines, and damn near died for it.”

                                “But she didn't die, right?” I asked, a sour feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.

                                “Yeah, but it was close.”

                                I barely registered what he had said as I hurried by. I knew that if something terrible had happened to Yua, I'd never forgive myself. If what he said was true, Yua was on her last hit point or two, but it was hard to narrow down how much missing HP translated into wounds.

                                On the floor below, heavy cast iron pots had been moved onto the landing in front of the stairs downward, and some of the former slaves busied themselves with hauling limp green corpses out onto the battlement and casting them into the sea. Yua and a couple more wounded members of the Ravenwatch sat with their backs against the wall, being tended to by people wrapping up their various wounds and injuries.

                                I knelt next to Yua. “Are you alright?” I asked, in her own language, “I heard you were badly hurt, and came as soon as I could.”

                                She was hurt, badly. Her mismatched armour was rent in various places, and you could see where blood had been dripping from the joins in her armour. But, she was alive, not even unconscious.

                                Hit points are weird that way.

                                At first it seemed that Yua was happy to see me, her face brightened despite the pain, and her face began to growi a smile. Then, as if remembering she was mad at me, her expression hardened and she looked away. “I've done as you asked, my lord,” she said, “I await your next instruction.”

                                I realized I had subconsciously reached for Yua, and let my arm drop. “It looks like you're being taken care of,” I replied flatly, “So rest up, for now, we'll need you again soon.”

                                She didn't reply, instead choosing to stare off into the corner of the room, eyes fixed.

                                From there I wasn't sure what to do, so I went to join Haseth outside on the battlements. Fifty feet below, on the ground, a handful of armed farmers kept watch while a pair of other former slaves hauled up a pair of packs tied to a rope. Our packs- as in, the stuff that my adventuring party brought with us to the tower.

                                “Where's Moruca?” I asked, curious as to where the old woman had gotten to.

                                “Resting,” Haseth replied, “She is not young for a human, and did not enjoy being hauled up like a sack of potatoes when she couldn't ascend on her own. I take it your mission clearing out the rest of the tower went well?”

                                “Yes, although Voss and Raszil are badly injured.”

                                Haseth nodded grimly. “If they come at us tonight, we will be pressed hard.”

                                “Yeah, I suppose,” I replied, glumly, “Could use one or two of your griffons right about now.”

                                “That would be nice,” Haseth agreed, “I've had a few thoughts about defending ourselves that we can put into practice, though. Once we have all our people back up here, we will bring now some of the waste stone from above, and set fires to boiling seawater. We will do what we can.”

                                I wondered about how long our supply of wood would last, in case we ended up stuck here for awhile. I didn't think the goblins would have patience for a siege, especially if the chieftain needed to assert control, but it was certainly possible that we managed to remove all threats to the chieftain's power and he wouldn't have to assert his authority.

                                Either way it could wait. I hadn't realized until I finally just stopped for a second how bone tired I was. I gave Haseth a pat on the arm and murmured my thanks to him, and headed back upstairs. It was getting very close to sunset, and while I made it through the day mostly unscathed, I had accomplished a lot. My knees had started aching from all the ascending and descending of stairs and climbing that I had done, and I just wanted to stop somewhere.

                                I climbed up to the level where I had found Princess Kythaela, and slipped into the “treasure room”. It was distant enough from the levels below that I might be able to get some sleep in, near enough to the stairs that I might here someone coming looking for me, and remote enough that I didn't have to deal with people anymore.

                                Or so I thought. No sooner had I found some rags to pile together in a crude pillow, then Raszil sauntered in, crouching against the wall across from me.

                                “We need to talk,” was all he said as greetings.

                                “Can't it wait?” I said as I struggled to suppress a yawn, “I'm dead tired. I've swam through the ocean, had to sneak past ghouls, bugbears, and goblins, running up and down these stairs all day....”

                                “You don't have to complain about stairs to me,” he replied, “Even if this is dwarven construction, my stubby little legs still have trouble... Anyway, this is important, something I think you need to hear.”

                                “Alright, fine,” I said, waving a hand in his direction, “Go ahead, but if I fall asleep from your talking, don't blame me.”

                                “Theodore, you're a shit leader.”

                                I frowned. “Thanks for that. It's not like we've gotten through all this alive, right?”

                                Raszil snorted. “I'm not talking about that. You're a brilliant tactician. You're courageous and knowledgeable, and you have a very good grasp of how to apply different people's talents and make the best of bad situations. But being a leader, being someone that other people want to follow, you're terrible at that.”

                                I rolled over so I was looking at the gnome. “Is this really the best time for this?”

                                “The sooner you realize the better,” he replied easily, “Tell me, why do you think Sir Voss follows your lead and not the other way around? He's the knight, after all.”

                                I couldn't say it was because he was my knight in particular, and I gave him that title. “Maybe it's because of that tactical brilliance you mentioned.”

                                “That plays a part, certainly,” Raszil allowed, “But have you thought of what his desires are? What motivates him? Tactical knowledge and cunning are good reasons to trust a commander, but do you know why he follows you into danger instead of doing anything else?”

                                I opened my mouth to answer, and then hesitated. Voss had said he wanted to be a knight, but now he was a knight of sorts... at least, he could claim to be a hedge knight. I had promised him even more when I came into my kingdom... but was he really motivated by power and prestige?

                                We've been through some tough times, but if the going really got tough- or he got a better offer- would Voss really choose to stick with me and Katriana? And what about Enna and Yua? Bekker said something to the effect that he wanted to serve a new generation of adventurers to make up for serving the murderous son of his former lord, but I clearly had little idea what was going through Yua's head. Enna was grateful for being lifted out of her criminal class obscurity, but would that last? I couldn't even be completely certain about Calliope's eventual loyalty, and things had been shaky for awhile after our encounter with the druids.

                                My mouth suddenly dry, I swallowed. “Well, what should I do about it?”

                                “Just this- ask your people what they want, and make their cause yours as much as your cause is theirs,” he explained gently, “It's not enough to keep people out of danger. If you want them to believe in you, you need to work for them, too.”

                                For a long moment neither of us spoke, while I processed this information.

                                “Hey, Raszil?”

                                “Yes?”

                                “Why do you follow me, then?”

                                The gnome grinned. “Being bored of farmers isn't enough?”

                                I yawned again, wide enough that I felt a twinge in my jaw. “You tell me, and I want an honest answer.”

                                “Theodore, the last thing you should expect from a priest of secrets is an honest answer.”

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

                                Character Name: Theodore Esche
                                Race: Human
                                Class: Transmuter
                                Level (XP): 3 (7783/10000)
                                Hit Points: 7/7

                                Ability Scores
                                Strength 11
                                Dexterity 17
                                Constitution 8
                                Intelligence 17
                                Wisdom 13
                                Charisma 14

                                Weapon Proficiencies: Darts
                                Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming, Tailoring

                                Spells Per Day:
                                1st Level- 3
                                2nd Level- 2

                                Spellbook:
                                (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Magic, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc, Wall of Fog
                                (2nd Level): Knock, Stinking Cloud

                                Spells Prepared:
                                (1st Level): (none)
                                (2nd Level): (none)

                                Equipment: Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (23), Robes, Dagger, 5 Unidentified Gems, Backpack, Bag of Fine Sand, Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Pearl (worth 100gp), Rations (10 meals), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Wedding Ring, Small Tent, Oil of Acid Resistance, mint green potion, Potion of Rainbow Hues

                                Money: 320 gp, 791 sp, 7 cp

                                Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Dragonborn

                                Companions: Voss (Level 4 Fighter), Raszil (Level 3 Cleric/Level 3 Thief), Moruca (Level 3 Ranger), Haseth (Level 3 Fighter), Yua (Level 3 Paladin)

                                Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 3 Fighter, sister & wife), Ashryn (Level 3 Cleric, fiancee), Smokey Enna (Level 4 Fighter/Level 4 Thief), Bekker (Butler)

                                Sexual Partners: 5

                                Storage Chest: Alchemical Steel Broadsword, Alchemical Steel Bastard Sword, 299 pp, 2386 gp, 16 sp, 50 cp
                                Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                                Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                                Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

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