Necromancer's Folly

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Necromancer's Folly

Player DM: Xenarchy

The Party

Sakari - Human - Sorcerer 2

Arissa - Human - Sorcerer 3

Garrin - Human - Rogue/Wizard 4

Karl - Human - Ranger/Rogue 4


Encounter 1:

2x Small Sand Elemental (Tweaked Earth Elemental) - CR 1 ea.

Sandman - CR 3

Encounter 2:

Intelligent Necrophidius - CR 4


Each party member purchases one scroll of endure elements - 25 gp ea.; These are expended during the scene.

The Scene Begins

Veyshan, the exotic land of sun and sand, magic and mystery, and bloody hell it's hot. The group of adventurers have set off from the port city of Tashraan, and while the women of the party have had to endure some of Veyshan's reknowned bigotry during the brief stay, no harm has come. The task ahead is a simple one. One of the elementalists of Veyshan has expressed concern about an associate of his that went into the desert for research and hasn't reported back in a few weeks. He fears the fellow wizard got waylaid by some desert beast or raiders. Nevertheless, the few heroic individuals are given instructions to find any sign of him and return with evidence of his fate. Payment is offered, naturally.

The Dune Seas stretch out ahead, bleak sand unwelcoming to travelers. Somewhere out there lie the clues to finding the missing wizard. The site of his research is marked on a map. It indicates a rocky region surrounded by shifting sands.

Arissa likely did little to dissuade the locals from their opinions; she responded to derision with smug self-superiority over her detractors, all too willing to return their verbal barbs with her own cheap shots.

Beyond that, she was relatively easy to work with and agreed to the job's terms. After a bit of scroll-reading to steel herself against the heat, she joined the others in the sands, content to follow the map for now. Undisturbed by the weather, she's smiling as they march.

Garrin seems to be weathering the heat fairly well. For one, his overly large and floppy hat is providing him a large amount of shade. For two, well.. he cheated. With magic. "Boy, this is a great desert. You know, last time I was in Tashraan, I spent two weeks in the marketplace *alone*. 'Course, that I was until I got run out over a misunderstanding over that one merchant's daughter.."

He lets out this long suffering sigh and then eyes Arissa and Sakari.

Sakari seems at ease here - she spent quite a bit of time in Veyshan before coming to Alexandria. Arissa and her obviously must've signed up for this gig together, as they are around the same age and seen together back in town. The dragon girl grumbles something about, "Damn sand..." she kicks a bit of it idly with one of her boots. "I thought I was done with this stuff! And done with those idiot types back in town, too," she eyes Garrin back. EYED. You better believe it pal!

Garrin navigates, with Arissa and Sakari aiding for +2 each.
GAME: Garrin rolls survival: (13)+1: 14
GAME: Arissa rolls Survival: (10)+1: 11
GAME: Sakari rolls survival: (10)+2: 12

Arissa simply meets Garrin's gaze with a softly amused smile. She's mostly quiet for now, content to simply pace along aside from a few remarks to Sakari. "Surely you must have known where the job you accepted was taking you? There's no point complaining now..."

Sakari folds her arms across her chest, "Oh I knew alright. It's fine, seriously. I have a feeling we'll be getting more of them around these parts," she assures Arissa, "With everything that's been going on. The money's good either way, you know? I do well in hot environments, anyway." She waves a hand a bit dismissively, "I just like to complain. Don't worry about it."

"Anyway, keep your eye on the sun. It's the only way not to get turned around out here in the desert, 'cause everything looks the same," Sakari nods, peering over in Garrin's direction since he's got the map, "Hey! How far is it?"

"Well, there's always a use in complaining. It makes us all feel better," says Garrin with a big grin on his face. He runs a hand over the top of his head after settuing the map aside, though, and adds, "This way, I think!" He points off in a direction. You know. That one. "I think this way, anyways... let's hope I'm not leading us all in a horrible death march. You know, one of my friends got lost in the desert once. The only reason he made it out is because an airship saw his giant 'HELP I AM LOST' that he drew in the sand. Of course, since he couldn't really see it, it wound up looking more like 'HERP I AM DUMB'. Which he sort of was to get lost alone in the desert."

With the protection offered by the spell against the elements, this isn't as bad a trip as it could have been. It's still awful to trudge through sand. It gets everywhere. Eventually, the outcropping of rock looms, a cleft between two jagged extrusions shielding a small area from the sun and sand. But before the party reaches that cleft...

Sand elementals and sandman approach the party beneath the sand. Stealth checks:
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+12: (7)+12: 19
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+7: (15)+7: 22
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+7: (14)+7: 21
The party's Perception checks:
GAME: Arissa rolls Perception: (4)+1: 5
GAME: Sakari rolls perception: (12)+6: 18
GAME: Garrin rolls Perception: (11)+5: 16
The party makes Will saves against the sandman's aura:
GAME: Sakari rolls will: (3)+5: 8
GAME: Arissa rolls Will: (3)+4: 7
GAME: Garrin rolls Will: (10)+4: 14

Something moves in the sand below. It's very sneaky and none of the party spot it until too late. The reason soon becomes clear. These things are made of sand. Two gnome-sized figures of vague shape rise up and between them one of more defined humanoid figure. It has approximately male features - its shape is regular enough to see that - and it stares at the three. Maybe it has a thing against women, or perhaps it is merely chance. A fuzz forms in the heads of Arissa and Sakari and they drop into slumber on the desert sand. The central figure seems surprised for a moment and shrugs at the smaller two. To Garrin it says in a raspy voice, "You cannot stop him. You are too late."


The sand elementals attack Sakari and Arissa.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (15)+6: 21
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (8)+6: 14
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+4: (2)+4: 6
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+4: (5)+4: 9
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for 6 points. 14 remaining.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for 9 points. 10 remaining.

The small figures of sand glide across the desert surface to the fallen sorcerers and do not appear to have the mental capacity to recognise them as sleeping. They just blast them with sand, bludgeoning them with the impact.

GAME: Garrin casts Mirror Image.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d4+1: (1)+1: 2


He proceeds to cast quickly invoke a spell. Quickly. There are now three Garrins! That's as many as three ones. And that's terrible. Still, he adds, "Yeah, yeah. We can't stop him. I've heard that before. You know what I'm gonna do to you? First, I'm gonna finish casting this spell. Then I'm going to shoot you in the face with my crossbow."

A sand elemental gets an attack of opportunity on Sakari for standing up.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (5)+6: 11
GAME: Sakari casts burning hands.
GAME: Sakari rolls 2d4+2: (6)+2: 8
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20-1: (8)+-1: 7

"Ugh! Pitooey! YUCK! I HATE SAND IN MY MOUTH!" shouts Sakari angrily, moving to pick herself up off of the ground. She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, glaring angrily at the small lump of sand next to her! Snorting smoke, she blows and a cone of fire blasts forth.

The sandman attacks Garrin.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (17)+6: 23
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d3: (3): 3

"You will not keep him from his work," rasps the elemental thing. It shifts forward over the sand, legs indistinct, and swings a fist at one of the Garrins. Poof! One illusion bursts as the creature makes a perfect strike against it.

A sand elemental gets an attack of opportunity on Arissa for standing up.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (7)+6: 13
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+4: (2)+4: 6
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for 6 points. 4 remaining.
GAME: Arissa casts Magic Missile.
GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (6)+2: 8

Arissa is unbothered by Garrin's grim concerns. "Don't worry. It's impossible for either of you to die, so long as I am here. You'" Suddenly less than coherent, she sags to her knees... then falls over. She's jarred back to consciousness quickly enough, eyes wide as she's struck and loomed over by 'living sand' with sufficient force for her to shriek, vision exploding with pain!

Realizing just how bad a situation this is, she hurries to her feet and is struck again, doubling over. She glances over to Sakari's battle, and then... smiles, eyes going distant and glazed-over. A shout and palm-thrust at the air between them conjures a pair of gold-white magic spheres, slamming into Sakari's attacker and dispersing it into so much loose sand.

A sand elemental attacks Arissa.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+4: (1)+4: 5
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for 5 points. -1 remaining.

The remaining small sand thing doesn't appear worried that the other has burst into a motionless heap of sand. It slams into Arissa with another bludgeoning burst of desert sand, knocking her down.

Arissa, at first, doesn't seem to realize she has been struck. She staggers back a step, looking down at herself and speaking in Celestial as her eyes return to normal: "(How?! Impossible... I have... the favor of the heavens...)" Disbelieving doesn't change reality though; she's too hurt to remain alert more than another moment or two. Her vision dims, stumbling backward another step and falling onto her back, unconscious.

Garrin uses blinding ray.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d20+5: (2)+5: 7

", hells," is Garrin's response when he sees Arissa falter. He leaps back a step, glancing back and forth, and then blasts a blinding flash of light at the elemental closest to him. He's looking mightily upset. "This ain't good! Hey, claw-girl! Do something!"

GAME: Sakari casts burning hands.
GAME: Sakari rolls 2d4+2: (6)+2: 8
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20-1: (19)+-1: 18

Sakari whirls around on the other sand elemental when she hears Arissa's strange cry as she falls - she charges forward in order to get a good shot and not harm Arissa further, eyes full of rage. Once again she lets forth a torrent of flame, melting off small globules of sand that fall to the side and form little splotches of glass. Or something like that!

The sandman attacks Garrin.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (19)+6: 25
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d2: (2): 2

The sandman surges forward and turns its hands into a blast of sand. Another image of Garrin is shredded by the assault and the elemental creature turns its head toward the last remaining one.

Arissa checks to stabilise.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+1: (8)+1: 9
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for 1 points. -2 remaining.

For all her divine favor, it seems to avail Arissa little right now. She lies still aside from ragged, weak breathing...

A sand elemental attacks Sakari.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (12)+6: 18
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+4: (2)+4: 6
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for 6 points. 8 remaining.

The little elemental turns, bits of glass falling off its scorched body. It melds its arms together into one appendage and bludgeons the scouring sand into her roughly.

Garrin attacks a sand elemental.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d20+6: (15)+6: 21
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d6+1: (6)+1: 7

So Garrin looks pained. He darts over towards Sakari and quickly draws his rapier as he heads over there. He sinks it deep into the side of the creature that's strikign at her. "Dammit," he snaps, "Stop hurting them!"

GAME: Sakari casts burning hands.
GAME: Sakari rolls 2d4+2: (4)+2: 6
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+5: (1)+5: 6
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20-1: (11)+-1: 10

Seems to be doing just fine! Apparently, despite her small size and appearance, and not wearing armor, she is quite tough! At least, for a caster. "Freaking die already! BURN!" she shouts, blasting both of the remaining elementals with yet MORE fire - completely disintegrating the small one and licking flames around the larger one. After that last blast - she's breathing quite heavily, obviously getting a little bit tired. "Kill it... fast... We have to save Arissa," she gestures down towards her fallen friend.

The sandman attacks Garrin.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (16)+6: 22
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+3: (6)+3: 9
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garrin for 9 points. 23 remaining.
GAME: Garrin rolls Will: (14)+4: 18

A little injured by Sakari's burst of fire, the last sand creature moves back up to Garrin and swings a sandy fist. It strikes him hard in the chest and a momentary drowsiness flows over his mind. It passes as quickly as it came.

Arissa checks to stabilise.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20: (8): 8
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for 1 points. -3 remaining.

Arissa continues to lie still, unconscious.

Garrin attacks the sandman.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d20+6: (20)+6: 26
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d6+1: (3)+1: 4

"Gyah! Ow!" Garrin is smashed and seems briefly dazed. Then? He lashes out at it, his rapier going through it to no effect.

"Oh, that's just not fair. Now I have to turn you into glass," he tells it.

Sakari uses a potion of cure light wounds on Arissa.
GAME: Sakari used a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.
GAME: Sakari rolls 1d8+1: (6)+1: 7
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for -7 points. 4 remaining.

The two smaller sand elementals now taken care of, Sakari turns coughs up a bit of smoke, and then turns to Arissa - rummaging around in her backpack before crouching carefully beside the other girl. She slaps her cheek gently, trying to wake her up, "Hey! Hey, you can't leave us here just yet. Drink this, yeh?" she holds a bottle full of some strange colored liquid up to Arissa's lips.

The sandman attacks Garrin.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (1)+6: 7

The sandman reacts to the thrust of the rapier, its form flowing around the metal. "Your weapons are useless. I have mastery of shape greater than my kin." It looks at the two fallen heaps of sand and then swings again at Garrin. All that talking must have distracted it, as it fails completely.

GAME: Garrin attempts to cast Magic Missile but fails due to ASF.

"Mastery of your shape, huh? WELL MASTER THIS!" Garrin then proceeds to make some quick gestures with his hand directed at its face.

Nothing happens.

Garrin looks at his hand as if it has betrayed him.

GAME: Sakari casts burning hands.
GAME: Sakari rolls 2d4+2: (4)+2: 6
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+5: (4)+5: 9

Sakari bares her fangs at the bigger sandman! "I don't care WHAT you say! I'm still gonna burn you into little bitty bits! LET'S FINISH THIS ALREADY! And I ain't gonna miss!" she smirks at Garrin a little, gathering herself up and forcing another burst of flame forth. As if the desert wasn't hot enough already!

Garrin makes an attack of opportunity on the sandman.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d20+6: (3)+6: 9

As the creature draws away from him, Garrin swings at it again. The only thing he does is stab sand. Ineffectually. "Okay. That's IT!"

The sandman attacks Sakari.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d6+3: (4)+3: 7
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for 7 points. 1 remaining.
GAME: Sakari rolls will: (5)+5: 10

The sandman lurches toward Sakari, ignoring Garrin's weapon. It lunges, both hands forward in a wave of sand and dumps the weight of sand into Sakari's face. She falls over. Not only that, she has passed out and seems to be snoozing there on the dune. The sand creature turns its approximation of a face toward Garrin. "You are next."

GAME: Arissa casts Magic Missile.
GAME: Arissa rolls 2d4+2: (7)+2: 9

Arissa continues to spin about until gets to where she wants to be, then stands in place. Her hips begin swaying from side to side, skirt swishing about as she raises a hand overhead. A pair of gold-white spheres form, flying over Sakari and slamming into the sandman!

GAME: Garrin attempts to cast scorching ray but fails due to ASF.

So Garrin totally tries to blast it again! He incants magical energies. He waves his hands in the air and is..utterly ineffectual! There is loud cursing and tossing of his large, floppy hat. He is very displeased with this before he adds, "I *knew* I shouldn't have slept through that class." He's *nearly* got tears of frustration in his eyes. And desperation.

Sakari feels asleep.

The sandman looks at the sleeping Sakari, the flailing Garrin and Arissa over there hurling golden spells. It is obviously thinking, and seems to think they are more of a threat than they really are. "Hmm. The master can handle himself. The deal wasn't worth this." It sinks into the ground and vanishes.

Combat Ends

Arissa keeps her hand held high, winking at the sandman as she speaks in Celestial. "(Have you made peace with the world?)" Another pair of spheres form. "(This is going to be, your...!)" She cuts off, the spheres vanishing as the the sandman sinks. Arissa's eyes return to normal seconds later.

She then retrieves a wand from her belt, smiling as she approaches the others. She's back to speaking normally: "Are you hurt? I'll make it better in just a moment..."

"I'm fine. Worry about yourself and Sakari," says Garrin, quickly, ignoring his own injuries as he rushes over to the little dragon-blooded sorceress. He leans down and begins to slap her (lightly) on the cheeks to try to wake her. "Wake up. We've got to get moving before it comes back with help."

Sakari is asleep! But then she wakes up, rubbing her forehead. "Not now boss, just another five minutes," she murmurs, before realizing that she's actually in the middle of the desert, but not in a slave caravan. "Ugh," she rubs her head again, "Did we kill it?" she asks finally, remembering the fight all of a sudden.

Arissa does a whole lot of out-of-combat healing that for brevity's sake is not recorded here.

Arissa makes her way over to the group in good time. What happens next is an odd mix of benevolence and confusion; it takes several seconds for her wand's tip to glow properly, and it occasionally flickers during her efforts... but eventually she has the group in decent health once more, and looks particularly pleased when her divine flames help Garrin; that tells her a lot about his heart.

She laughs softly at Sakari's question, trying to be reassuring. "We certainly did. I promised you... neither of you will fall so long as I am here."

"I gotta be honest: I'm a little tapped," says Garrin, honestly, to the others, "And if whoever's behind this did that, I'm not entirely sure we can tackle him if just his agents whupped on us like that. Maybe that was the best he had -- I dunno. Either way, if we're going after him, I need to check my spellbook and hope that I can figure something better out." He rubs his face, still upset, as he recovers his hat. He seems a little weirded out by the divine fire that washed over him as well.

"I'm pooped," Sakari says, shaking her head as she drags herself to her feet - stretching. Okay, she's not half dead anymore, but still! "I think we should camp for the night. I'm sure not goin' back yet, though. We didn't come all this way and fight those guys for nothing, and there's no gold if we don't complete the mission."

Arissa is in easy agreement. "If you two need to rest, then there is nothing to be gained by my insisting we push ourselves... of course. We'll stay here." As the discussions come to an agreement, she helps with setting up the camp-site by the rocks, though interestingly enough she opts to set up her own tent once the others have their accomodations set, apparently wishing to rest alone.

The party regains hit points from resting.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Arissa for -3 points. 19 remaining.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for -2 points. 19 remaining.
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Garrin for -4 points. 32 remaining.

The next day dawns with the bright sun casting long shadows throughout the rocky terrain. Its harsh glare shines enough to reflect off some surfaces, letting the party know that their ward against heat has faded. The desert is starting to heat up again and it won't be long before they're feeling it.

Arissa has an interesting item to share when she emerges from her tent the next day; a rather fancy, heavily engineered umbrella. It unfurls, held overhead once they finish breaking camp. With this in hand, she looks quite pleased. "It isn't quite the same as what we had, but it should be enough..."

"Oh, it's so damn hot.." Garrin says with a groan. "This is why I left Veyshan. Heat. So much bloody heat.." He's going to be complaining like this. The whole time. Even with ARissa's protection offered. It's still bloody, stinkin' hot, after all.

Sakari seems to have woken up - packing up her things. Over her shoulder she says to Garrin, "Among other things! This place makes me remember how much I like Alexandria," she giggles, seeming to be in good spirits - the remaining heat while under the parasol doesn't really bother her nearly as much.

"Oh? This region is your home... or former home? I had no idea," Arissa remarks to Garrin. She's trying not to complain; she feels the same heat he does, but it simply wouldn't do for someone to see her acting like this bothers her so much. "And you as well, it seems?" A question to Sakari.

The cleft in the rocks looms. It is like a gaping monstrous maw made of stone. On the upside, it's probably fairly cool in there in contrast to the searing desert heat.

"Not my home, but like I said earlier, I've visted before. Then I got chased off. Sort of. This was before I met Faiza, of course," he adds, carefully. He doesn't want word of previous adventures with merchant's daughter getting back to that person, presumably. He clears his throat. "..ah, here's the cleft the map indicated. It looks like its going to be less awful."

Garrin checks for traps.
GAME: Garrin rolls Perception: (15)+5: 20

"I lived here for ten years," Sakari shakes her head, following after the other two. "Yeah, this looks good, I guess." She peers about carefully, "So, what do you think 'boss' is gonna be like?" she says quietly to the other two, speculating - a larger elemental? Hrm...

"I wouldn't know," Arissa responds to Garrin, letting the matter go. Sakari's question gets a simple "We'll see soon enough... we should be quiet though. We're close."

"Hm. Doesn't look he's got any traps set, but let's proceed with caution," says Garrin, warmly, to the others. And with that, he's going to begin moving very quietly inside. He holds his fingers to his lips to indicate that the others should follow at a distance.

The party attempts Stealth checks.
GAME: Garrin rolls Stealth: (5)+7: 12
GAME: Sakari rolls stealth: (18)+2: 20
GAME: Arissa rolls Stealth: (5)+2: 7
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20: (18): 18

Down within the cleft, the party comes across something terrible. A large arcane circle has been carved into the ground with deep grooves filled with blood. Six human corpses lie in hexagonal arrangement around it, all stripped naked and their skin carved in ritualistic markings. A large old scroll is propped up to one side of the circle, held open by some rocks. And there in the centre of the circle stands a hideous sight. A man in a Veyshanti wizard robe faces the approaching party (although he hasn't seemed to have noticed Sakari). The back of his bald head has been flayed open and is melded to a long skeletal structure that may have been the skeleton of an enormous snake. Strange fangs have been surgically attached to his jaws. "Finally! You people have no sense of drama. I was looking forward to letting you witness my ascension yesterday but you had to go and sleep under the rocks. I fear my flesh is starting to get necrotic. It is getting dreadfully itchy. Never mind. It will not be a concern for long. Now tremble, mortals!" He scratches at his head. Bits of skin and flesh come off. His hands are covered in blood. "You bear witness to immortality!" The rocky walls flash with gruesome red light. They are all marked with evil sigils as well.


GAME: Arissa rolls Spellcraft: (14)+7: 21
GAME: Garrin rolls Spellcraft: (13)+11: 24
GAME: Sakari rolls spellcraft: (13)+5: 18

To Garrin only: 'You recognise what he's doing a moment too late. It's not a spell. It's the last component of a construct-crafting ritual, and a very twisted and dreadful one at that.'

The mad wizard incants magic and the six corpses shake and convulse, their bones cracking and breaking. The serpentine skeleton affixed to him glows the same sickly red and writhes. "Hahaha! You are too late! Witness as I am reborn!" His body goes slack and something horrifying occurs. The flesh on his skull sloughs off and a new creation rises, a giant snake-like thing with skull of the wizard and terrifying poisonous fangs. "I am as a god! Kneel, pathetic creatures and... oh bugger it. Where did my arms go?" The necromantic creation looks down at his old body.

GAME: Garrin casts Web.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (17)+6: 23

"Oh god. You turned yourself into a snake? -Don't you know that never helps-?"

Garrin then proceeds to emerge more forthrightly and begin to cast a spell. This time, now that he's not frustrated, it goes much more smoothly and a rapidly expanding bundle of webs flies fron his hands, landing upon the snake-creature, attaching itself to the walls and rocks in an attempt to ensnare him.

"He completed his ritual. We were seconds too late to stop him! Damn it!"

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa shows unusual detachment as she sees the corpses, blood and flesh used as fuel for spells. It's a horrible sight, and yet... she barely flinches. Instead, she stares at the apparent necromancer and his equally disturbing modifications, her eyes glazing over.

"If we lack a sense of drama... then you lack sense outright. After the things you've done, this won't be the last day of your mortality..." She smiles and concludes, "It's simply going to be your final day." Garrin's lament is met with a reassuring, surprisingly soft and calm, "It's alright... he's still going to fall."

Her hips begin to sway, a palm pointing at the air... as a glowing white circle forms behind their foe, magical runes swirling within it...

GAME: Sakari casts burning hands.
GAME: Sakari rolls 4d4+2: (13)+2: 15
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (17)+6: 23

And suddenly there was a huge gout of flame issuing forth from that shadows, "Yeah right, you're not even close to a god! What're you going to do, LOOK at us to death? You have no arms!" Sakari says as she steps forth from the darkness, one of her hands on her hip. "You're just a false imitation, snake." She brings out her claws afterwards, threatening.

GAME: Garrin rolls Knowledge/Arcana: (15)+11: 26
GAME: Arissa rolls Knowledge/Arcana: (17)+7: 24
GAME: Sakari rolls knowledge/arcana: (15)+5: 20

Everyone figures it out at about the same time. While this has the stench of death, this mad wizard has not made himself into an undead abomination. He has melded his soul into a construct body - a necrophidius to be exact. While such creatures are normally unintelligent guardians and assassins, this ritual here is far more extensive than that for a normal construct animation ritual. In this form the wizard has lost his spellcasting (although he appears not to have known that would happen) but has gained a paralytic bite and the means to hypnotise with snakelike swaying.

The necrophidius attacks Sakari.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (20)+6: 26
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 2d8+10: (12)+10: 22
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for 22 points. -3 remaining.
GAME: Sakari rolls fortitude: (4)+3: 7
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d4: (4): 4

"Seconds? No! I finished this yesterday. I was hoping to have a thrilling conflict where you had moments to stop me, but never mind. I will kill you and then the world will be mine! Ahahahaha!" The voice is hollow and echoey. The serpentine construct lunges and bites down on Sakari, sinking poisonous fangs into her shoulder. She drops, not only from the injury but also the venom in her body.

GAME: Garrin casts Shield.

So Garrin circles around to the side, eyes wide with Sakari's dropping. He gives Arissa quick nod, quickly intones a spell (and is now surrounded by a magical shield that shimmers with green and white energy) before yelling, "Hey, snakey! Over here! Over here! Come attack me! Because you're a big guy with NO ARMS who can't even scratch his ass. Wait, do you still even HAVE an ass? Do you shit like at all now? Everything poops, I think. Even weird snake constructs.."

Arissa's summon monster spell (celestial eagle) completes and attacks.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+3: (15)+3: 18
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+3: (2)+3: 5
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+3: (9)+3: 12
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (2)+3: 5

Arissa finishes her incantations, and an eagle appears from the circle! It looks like most others, dark feathers and all, save for one detail: The feathers on its head are gold, not white. The celestial eagle screeches and tears and pecks away at the snake, to little effect.

In the meantime, Arissa darts in toward the fallen Sakari, pulling her free of the massive snake and starting to haul Sakari away from the battle...

Sakari rolls to stabilise.
GAME: Sakari rolls 1d20: (9): 9
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for 1 points. -4 remaining.
The necrophidius attacks the celestial eagle.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+6: (6)+6: 12

"I'll... I'll get arms soon! Wait. That means I can't kill you now," says the villain. "I will defeat you here and when we meet again, I will have arms! You'll see!" He turns and strikes out at the bird with those poisonous fangs, missing. Maybe the distraction did it.

GAME: Garrin casts Scorching Ray.
GAME: Garrin rolls 1d20+4: (3)+4: 7

"If I stop you here and now, well, we won't meet again. Anytime soon, anyways. Also, HEY LOOK FIRE!"

And then a beam of fire is cast out from Garrin's hand and it hits the wall instead.


GAME: Arissa casts Bless.
The celestial eagle attacks the necrophidius.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (13)+4: 17
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (16)+4: 20
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+4: (17)+4: 21
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (2)+3: 5
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (3)+3: 6
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+3: (2)+3: 5

Arissa sets Sakari down, watching the battle unfold. She shouts in Celestial, "(The heavens themselves oppose this wretch! Strike now!)" It's arguable as to whether anyone understands her, but the burst of gold light from her body transcends language; everyone that isn't the snake-ex-necromancer feels a little more bold suddenly due to the light.

The holy eagle squawks as it lands suddenly, going beneath the snake's assault, and continues to frenzy away with its talons and beak. This is almost farcial, the talons finding no real purchase against bone... but the beak punches through. In the meantime, Arissa fetches a potion...

Sakari rolls to stabilise.
GAME: Sakari rolls 1d20-1: (14)+-1: 13
The necrophidius uses dance of death.
GAME: Garrin rolls Will: (7)+4: 11
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+2: (7)+2: 9
GAME: Arissa rolls Will: (14)+4: 18
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 2d4: (4): 4
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 2d4: (2): 2

"How do I work this thing? Let's see..." The necrophidius starts swaying, bending the snake body back and forth. The motion is awkward at first but the foe figures it out quickly and it becomes hypnotising. Garrin and the eagle appear entranced, unable to act.

"..gnuh?" is Garrin's response. He's totally confused for the moment. Shocked, actually. Whatever it just did has totally knocked him for a loop.

Arissa uses a potion of cure light wounds on Sakari.
GAME: Arissa used a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d8+1: (6)+1: 7

The bird suddenly ceases its attacks... and then vanishes. Arissa pours a potion's contents down Sakari's mouth, and assesses the situation... it's very bad. Eyes still distant and glazed, she hurries away from the fight, back the way they came, mind racing for options...

"Huh. I didn't expect it to be that effective. Now, if you'll excuse me... there's some stuff I need to take care of." The necrophidius leans down to his old body and starts rummaging through the robe. "Urf. If I just... ngr. Had hands, this would be so much easier. Give me a minute."

"..gnuh?" repeats Garrin. Still staring. Whatever it did to him, well.. it did it well. He can't even offer a snappy comeback about the hands.

GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa remains out of view for the moment, though she can be heard chanting in Celestial... and creating another white circle on the floor.

Sakari's fingers start to twitch as she regains feeling and movement in her body - the girl is careful though; she doesn't want the snake-man to know she's necessarily woken up yet. For now, he seems to think it's safe and isn't hurting Garrin. Maybe when Garrin comes out of his stupor, they can both jump him?

The necrophidius pulls a few satchels of minor magical accessories out of the robes and holds them in his mouth. Being a construct that a voice just emanates from, this does not impede speech, "I have defeated you this day, mortals. I will let you live, and when I return I will slay you with my own hands! Or hands stolen from someone else's corpse. I'm not picky. Hey, nice hat." With the snakey tail, he plucks Garrin's hat off his head and deposits it atop the bare skull.

Arissa's summon monster spell (celestial dog) completes and attacks.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (13)+5: 18
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+4: (3)+4: 7
GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa completes her summoning, this time a 'mutt breed' dog appearing... and much like the eagle, some of the dog's fur is gold. It growls and rushes the snake, trying to bite deep into the bones! Still not immediately interested in returning to the fight directly, Arissa keeps chanting, the circle persisting...

GAME: Sakari used a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.
GAME: Sakari rolls 1d8+1: (7)+1: 8
GAME: Xenarchy damaged Sakari for -8 points. 11 remaining.

Sakari still laying on the ground, Sakari decides - yes, she's going to try and sneakily reach for one of her potions and have a drink. Yuck! This stuff tastes terrible. But she feels much better! Hopefully, snakey guy over there doesn't notice. She really does not want to be bitten again!

"Away from me, beast! Can't you accept your defeat?" The necrophidius weaves out of the way defensively and starts toward the exit from the cleft. "Do not anger me, or I will be forced to slay you here and now! I am giving you a chance to meet again in more dramatic circumstances. Then we will have a real battle to remember! And I will have hands, too!"

"Hat?" says Garrin. Instead of gnuh. This time. "Wait... hat? HAT? You..took my hat?" He is starting to wake up. WOE BE THE DAY..

The celestial dogs attack the necrophidius.
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (12)+5: 17
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d20+5: (1)+5: 6
GAME: Arissa rolls 1d4+4: (2)+4: 6
GAME: Arissa casts Summon Monster I.

Arissa completes another incantation, and another 'holy mutt' appears. The first one lunges aside to give it room to join the battle, dog-pack tactics in full effect. Their response to pleas for drama is a lot of barking and growling and teeth-gnashing as they give chase, both very eager to tear into the massive bone-snake before them! Only one seems to be making much progress so far however.

As for the hidden holy mage... she keeps the summoning circle up, repeating her soft, near-singing chant...

Sakari stands up! BLUH! That is how she is feeling right now. Her magnificent flamey trap for the snakey guy is ruined. RUINED! "Come back here, you!" she shouts, shaking her fist at him, and maybe running after him if she can. But snakes are often quite quick and cowardly, so...

"Ahaha! Victory is mine!" The vile construct dodges out from the reach of the dogs and slithers quite rapidly out of the cleft and into the desert proper, taking a left at the exit and leaving line of sight.


Garrin has finally woken up. And is running after him. Really.

Arissa brings one more holy dog into the world, and then hears the snake's voice becoming more distant... she runs to give chase. So do the dogs, and they're much faster than her... though one disappears mid-pursuit. The other two hound the snake's retreat, barking all the way as Arissa tries to catch up...

Sakari charges madly after the group for a short while, before pausing, panting and looking tired. "Hey guys! Guys he's RUNNING AWAY AND WE'RE STILL ALIVE! THAT MEANS WE WIN! Right? RIGHT?! WHY ARE WE CHASING A SNAKE DEMON?!" She tries to remember - they came out here after some guy, right? "I mean, the guy we came looking for is DEAD! It's not gonna bring him back." But really, "Chasing an undead snake across the desert is a horrible idea!"

"MY HAT," says Garrin, chasing after him! Yelling! Screaming! Frantically. "THAT'S MY FAVORITE HAT, YOU SON OF A BITCH SNAKE THING WITH NO HANDS!"

"My hat now, mortal!" The necrophidius escapes into the desert by sheer persistence, avoiding the dogs and eventually slithering off from the rocky grounds to the sand beyond. His voice trails off as he departs, "We will meet agaaaaaain..."

Combat Ends

"Next time, I'm going to kick in your bony skull!" Garrin keeps running after him a little longer than is advised, but eventually returns to the others. "My *hat*," he whines.

As it becomes a speck in the horizon, Arissa's eyes return to normal and she kicks at the sand, spraying it around to little real effect. "I'll finish you later...", a whispered, angrily muttered threat. Then she abruptly smiles and looks to the others, acting as if she wasn't angry just seconds ago. "You're both well, I hope?"

Back in the cleft, there's a big mess left behind, including a how-to manual for constructing an intelligent necrophidius. As any of the spellcasters can tell, this thing is supposed to be for creating loyal construct minions, not as a means of personal immortality. This is a really half-assed lichdom he's managed here.

"Man," says Garrin after examining the manuals, "That's a really half-assed lichdom he's managed here."