Friday, September 17, 2021

5e: Crossing the Desert

From: Sir Fulhoff of Clan Balderk, Knight of Hawk’s Nest, War Mage
To: Helja and Adrik of Clan Balderk

Dear Mother and Father,

I'm sorry to have left so suddenly and without discussing it with you ahead of time. By Digger's mighty claws, I just could not listen to everyone go on and on about cousin Thorin and his new role as Clan Warden. 

Besides, the magic was calling out to me. I had a vision, or perhaps just a dream, just I had to find out what it was calling me toward. 

But first I had to get there. And no, I wasn't going to just spend my coin. I would hope you'd know me better than that by now. I found a caravan heading across the Scrier Desert. Not much of a caravan, in fact a mere 2 wagons pulled by camels, funded by the laziest gnome I've had the displeasure to encounter who goes by the name of Ragnear. But he'd already assembled a team of guards to keep his caravan safe. 

And I thought the company Thorin assembled was motley. There's Pand, a giant cat with memory problems, a small sneaky goblin named Heddah, an elf called Swallow Greenhorn on some sort of "work/study program", and a human artificer with too many children and an oily personality named Lou Saperstein.

Pand the cat was too big to fit on either of the wagons, so took the lead as we crossed the bridge separating the village from the desert gorges that would mark the first third of the trip. The Heddah and Swallow were in the first wagon with the gnome, and I was stuck with Lou... who talked too much even for a human. 

It wasn't too long before I noticed that the tracks of the camels and the wagons were quickly swallowed by the sands... It wasn't a magical effect that I could tell, but it also wasn't natural. And then they appeared, dust devils. 

The battle was joined, such as it was. Being in the rear wagon meant I missed most of the action, but the cat seemed to do alright, drawing a pair of swords from... I don't actually know where it was keeping them. I managed to slow one down with a ray of frost, but that was my only contribution to the fight. Lou managed to shoot himself in the lip with his crossbow. 

Some hours later, as the sun was hidden by the tall walls of the gorges, we were set upon by a pair of Yuan-Ti, an abomination and a pitmaster. Again, Pand was up front and was surprised, but recovered quickly, laying into the abomination. From my vantage point, it looked like the elf and the goblin went at the smaller but more disturbing pitmaster. Once again, being at the back meant I couldn't bring my hammer to the fight, but my magic did it's job. I cast Hideous Laughter on the pitmaster, which had it rolling in the sand. Lou, somehow useful, hasted Pand. I'm not sure I ever want to see a plushy 7 foot tall hasted cat ever again. Somehow the spell manifested in a rainbow flowing from it!

Hasted, Pand had dropped the swords in favor of a pair of flails. Again, I don't know where the flails were being kept. I did ask later and the answer it gave me was "hammerspace" which was blisteringly unhelpful. The abomination morphed into a giant snake and tried to bite the plushy cat, failed, and coiled around the elf who had gotten too close.

Heddah (the widdle gobwin as she insists on referring to herself as) shanked the pitmaster as he rolled. He stopped rolling after that, freeing up my focus. I cast Vitriolic Sphere on the snake's head. The acid wasn't as effective as I'd hoped, but I could still see it burning the monster. Pand grabbed it by the tail, and whipped it hard enough to release Swallow, who then promptly ran back at the snake and delivered a mighty blow against the scaled monster. So mighty that the snake didn't notice, and Swallow sprained his wrist. 

I must say, in my experience, the Eldar Arcanus may have mighty magic, but their failure to properly cultivate physical endurance and strength, not to mention a certain wisdom to recognize that failure... Dwarven mage-smiths and battle-wizards may be fewer in number but are truly a higher quality.

Lou, while still maintaining the haste, shoots off a pair of bolts. One hit. He calls himself a sharp-shooter, but... 

Don't tell Thorin, but I miss him and the rest of the company. 

I toss a lightning bolt at the snake's face (incidentally causing Pan's already poofy body to poof more), and then Heddah runs up the snake's body and slits it's throat. It thrashes and falls to the sand twitching, blood soaking into the dry earth as fast as it can flow from the creature's body. 

Taking a bit to search around, we found the yuan-ti's stash. Then we get back on the wagons and keep on till we reach what the gnome called "the second arena."



A big thank you to my new neighbor Vicky for DMing, and for inviting me to join her and her friends, and for giving me a chance to play Fulhoff again! Can't wait for next session.

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