Duty Session 449: For Whom the Bell Gnolls
Recently, there has been a shift in the behavior of the gnolls who dwell within the forests close to the newbie leveling areas. They had always been a threat, but it seems as if they have started to change their tactics as a result of Adventurer activity in the area. They no longer strike only at night, meaning that the forests are now a dangerous place, even during the daylight hours. With a number of both Lander and Adventurer deaths attributed to the gnolls, the Hunters Guild has put out a call to thin out their numbers, in the hopes it might return gnoll activity back to normal levels.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Reduce gnoll activity in new player leveling areas.
Tian apparently did not get the memo, but that isn't surprising. The former Palace Land Adventurer has been distracted as of late. Even now, they seem to be making notes on some pieces of paper, staring at each of the others gathered and making note of any headgear they might be wearing.
There are obvious signs that the Cait Sith is under the influence of a so-called 'Strange Mood', including the fact that their focus doesn't even seem to be on the here and now. With their hands occupied, the deaf Adventurer isn't making any sort of effort to communicate.
Tian is just there. Why? Who knows. Is this a good idea? Almost certainly not.
He nods to Proph, eyes Tian warily, but nods a greeting, and says, "Doc, this is the one we'd discussed before?" He's brought the special spell he needs.
It's Syx so he'll probably do that regardless of what he's told.
Today is a day to work out annoyances and frustrations, at least for Setsuna. He has been a little grumpy as of late for those who have interacted with him, and is not exactly the fun loving, joke tossing person he has been in the past. Still here he is trying to socialize and get out with his friends and teammates before he became the grumpy necromancer that lives in the tower. That is why he has to make everyone suffer the next joke, "So am I to understand, someone forgot to put in a gnoll check?"
She looks to the ground and switches languages to Elvish "Junie, you're not suppose to call lowbies fodder, they're people too... just like interns you can't just use them and then ignore them in the office meetings..." the system translates that just as it always does but there's really nothing June can do about that except learn Alvarian and that's proved more difficult than she's happy about... although that could be more about focus.
She changes her focus back to the group and her language back to Japanese. "Everyone ready to go? Got your potions, got your weapons, got your meat shield?"
"It is," he says to Schneider. "Good. Hopefully the monster shows up and we'll be able to deal with it permanently. Or at least see if we can't learn anything from this infestation." He glances Setsuna-ward and just ... shakes his head.
"Punch everything," Prophylaxis adds to Syx then. "But don't run too far ahead." To June, then, "No, we're looking for a monster. We have business with it."
When it seems people are ready to go, Tian reluctantly stows the notes, giving a nod of the head before looking around, seeming to finally take stock of their surroundings. Their eyes seem to focus and unfocus from time to time, as if they were thinking about something and somewhere entirely else, only to snap back to the moment.
Pinching the skin between thumb and forefinger, they close that same hand, then make a motion in front of it like a shield. "<Meat shield, at your service.>" Apparently, Tian has no delusions about what their role is in dungeons like this, especially with so little experience with them. They follow with a thumbs up, showing that they are ready.
Setsuna looks around and catches the head shake from the doctor but he knows, he knows the doctor is going to be laughing at his gnoll jokes later. For now he needs to get his game face ready as others do, taking a moment he checks to make sure his butterfly hairpin is properly positioned. Then he checks his dagger for quality assurance, and finally confirms he has potions. Then again he always has a surplus of those due to how often he goes out with a walking talking health potion . "So we are going after the glitch right? Think it is a gnoll pointer error?"
The deaf Adventurer pats the two daggers at their side. They raise two fists in a fighting stance, then knock the knuckles together. "<I can fight, but I appreciate the support.>" There is almost a moment of clarity in their 'Strange Mood' at that point.
As June seems to lead the way, Tian follows until they stumble upon the strange sight ahead of them. At the comment regarding blood, Tian holds one hand up to the other, wiggling fingers as if to indicate blood falling. "<There is a 'bleeding' status.>"
That, is when the Cait Sith becomes distracted with some of the items that are around them. Some of the objects fall distinctly under the realm of 'Accessories' so it seems to spark them into crouching down, picking up objects and examining them rather than actually doing much to help at the moment.
Setsuna looks around the area with the bleeding statue as he feels his hair stand up from the magical residue in the air, "Nothing ominous about a bleeding statue and magical energy in the air." Taking a moment he looks around, before muttering some made up words under his breath. A magical symbol appaers on his forehead, that looks like a butterfly and an eye interlayed ontop of each other , glows for a moment as Setsuna simply stares off into the distance. Finally he looks back at the group, the magic symbol gone. "So it looks like in a few minutes we will go over in that direction and find something about the magical field."
She follows the marks of the clumsy gnoll until following them becomes easy and they reach a miden heap of stolen treasures. "Maybe there's a clue in here?" she asks looking at the ravens and crows with trepidation before one caw starts it off. "I'm going to punch the first Hitchcock fan I see I swear." she shouts as the end of the Birds is the begining of this trial. Maybe someone can find something to help defend against the swarm in the dross piled in the clearing.
It's no surprise that the Blade Dancer is quiet as they move, not really striking up conversation, either. However, at the sight of the heap of stolen 'treasures', Tian darts forward, clearly enthralled by the idea of looking for baubles and items that might have been scavenged.
So lost in their thoughts and explorations, is Tian, that the Wolf-Fox doesn't even realize the birds are attaking. Afterall, they cannot hear the cry of warning that comes beforehand. It is only by 'happy accident' that Tian manages to pull out a sheet of metal and props it next to them as they continue to dig through the refuse in search of anything that might be helpful to their research.
The birds clang into the metal, unable to reach the Adventurer.
He manages, with a bit of effort, to pull the raven from his face and he throws it to the ground, and he jumps up and down on it because damned birds. Wait, is there something he /should/ be doing to help the party?
Setsuna watches the group go in the opposite direction he foresaw and just rolls his eyes, " You know I don't think the oracle of delphi ever had problems telling which future was wrong and which one was right." He reaches up and flicks the jade hairpin before he follows along with the group. Careful steps and a pile of treasure, a pile of treasure that screams this pile of treasure dares you to touch it.
Then the answer to why one should not touch it appears, a single bird, then another and then a whole lot of them. No way is he simply going to avoid them all, instead he rips the bones from the ground and magically forges them into a shield he holds above his head as an umbrella. "You gnoll, with this type of weather I have half a mind to go home." He looks around to see if that joke at least causes a smile.
Hearing Setsuna's latest joke, that actually does get a laugh out of him. However the laugh is cut short as he grabs a particularly large carion bird from the sky and gives it a picture perfect backbreaker.
Once the birds have been handled the party heads further in, just keep going IN and you'll find bigger monsters this is the rule of encounters that seems to be universal. There is the sound of yipping howls that the savy know as Gnoll war cries. But instead out charge some rabid hyenas, only to be followed by a gnoll hunter dressed in mad max armor and weilding a twisted wood bow.
But the gnoll huntsman, that is an enemy he can face. One completely resisted fireball later, Schneider will break out some of his rarely used starter gear and fire a few arrows at the huntsman. Sadly, he's no marksman. On the other hand, the ground takes all the damage. Alas, that doesn't really help.
An arrow whistles by Prophylaxis' ear narrowly missing a perfect bullseye right into his left socket. With a curse on his lips, the doctor slams his staff into the ground and conjures a globe of roiling magma from the depths of the earth. Grunting with exertion, he swings his staff into the globe like a baseball bat, causing it to burst into a catastrophic cascade of flame, shrapnel and molten stone aimed directly at the gnoll and his sniper's nest...!
Once again, Tian lacks the forewarning of others, only able to read the reactions from the others. Still, that is enough to shift their attention in the direction of the arriving enemies. Grabbing for the daggers at their side, Tian draws the twin weapons and begins to move them in a circular pattern.
In the air, they draw out a magical circle which gathers together into a tight ball of fire magic. From the center of the circle, the daggers are thrown forward, casting the fireball towards the enemy.
Setsuna, magical shield still acting as an umbrella looks over at June, "So what I am hearing is that oracles are almost always wrong so I should always do the opposite of what I see?" Its really more of him grumping with this new mysterious power of his. Then he sees the gnoll riding on the hyenas and he tilts his head, " I thought gnolls were kinda like hyenas. Is this a Goofy and Pluto situation?" The confusion of the situation has left him not even attacking, and you always fail 100% of what you don't try.
Now Syx is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he'd be the first one to admit that. Which is why the first thing he does when the group gets attacked is grab hold of a rock nearby and huck it at one of the hyenas.
All that manages to do is piss off one of the hyenas that the rock bounces off of, and Syx quickly gets swarmed by a few of them.
She hasn't been ignoring the fight however, instead many of these revelations are punctuated by an exhalation of green fog over the hyena's, stone slowly creaping in from the extremities until they stop moving, neat stone statues of beasts.
"Beastkin count as humanoid monsters unless they're werefang or cait sith." she offers "So I think it's more... beast vs dire beast situation?" she shrugs a little "But I guess the Goofy/Pluto allegory is apt enough."
Once the hyenas fall and the hunter is taken care of, the group can hear all the lowbie mobs shouting and staying out of fire ball range until a great beast of a gnoll general stomps into the clearing. The great leader has red runes burned into it's skin show it's infernal nature, it sweeps it's massive scythe. Light magic, someone who can read the curses infused into it's flesh are good ways to bring this fight down to a more usuall level. Otherwise smashing the unnatural with the natural is always an option.
It isn't until the infernal gnoll makes itself known that the Blade Dancer turns their attention directly towards it, curling a lip as they raise their blades once again. With hands occupied, there are no words shared from the crafter to the others, only a focus on what is in front of them.
Seeing the infernal marks, Tian begins to trace out familiar symbols from the Palace Lands, ones that are meant to contain and combat against forces of evil. The symbols glow faintly in the air as if they were trying to form some kind of containment that might help others be able to better do DPS.
It's tremendously effective, as it turns out. Magic, clearly peaked at 'throw rock.' All further developments in the art has quite obviously been a waste of time.
Setsuna watches the general of the gnolls, stepping into the ring with the adventurers. "Finally the general of nothing steps up to deal with us." Setsuna makes a fist and spires of earth begin to launch up towards the general, the magic around the spires doesn't just let up after being launched though. Instead the sharp rocks move in the air as Setsuna guides them around the scythe and any other defenses the Gnoll may throw at them before they find their target.
He rushes in without warning, roaring past the others as he drives forward, dropping down to his knees to slide along the ground as the scythe whizzes overhead. He kicks his legs out and continues to the slide down between the gnoll's legs, and then kips back up to his feet behind it.
Syx moves quick once he's back on his feet, grabbing a hold of the creature, and hauling with all his might to slam the beast into the ground with enough force to make a crater.
It TECHNICALLY counts as earth magic.
The party continues on through the woods until they find the path that leads into the obvious boss chamber. A glyph burned into the ground. Then without even the benefit of a WWE intro song Haggar drops in with a loud crash as his huge feet impact the ground. However Haggar is looking.. off, glitched, pixelated edges and his inspect is full of bad data along with a new title: Deathcleaver. He drag shis great axe in a wide circle, melee AOE in-bound the fight looks like it could get choppy.
The last quest that Tian had gone on, they and Shenmi had barely survived. However, this time there seem to be far more capable Adventurers on their side. So, knowing that this will take their most powerful of attacks, Tian begins to summon up air that swirls around them.
The air magic they command is surprisingly powerful, throwing them skyward and giving them an ability to attack the huge creature at a higher footing. Blow after blow rain down with those twin daggers, slicing from the torrent of wind and striking over and over against the glitched creature.
How? He's a squishy mage!!
The doctor wades into the front line nevertheless, staring daggers at the flickering, glitchy gnoll. "Come on then," he growls, slamming his staff into the earth. This time, no stone answers him. Instead... His skin takes on a distinctly blue tinge, the temperature around him plummets. His staff glistens as it's covered in a thick layer of rime. With a shout, he smashes his gelid rod across the gnoll's snout in a clear declaration of contempt.
This is how you gather enmity, right? Well, whatever the case, the doctor barely even flinches when the gnoll smashes its axe into his staff, instead whirling and driving a blade of razor-sharp ice into its foot. Frost roots the creature to the ground, setting it up perfectly for... "Schneider, go for it!"
Setsuna looks at the big ugly Haggar and just grins, "Oh it's this guy again, this is the guy we wanted right? " With out another word he slips into the shadows as he reappears behind Haggar, dagger drawn. With a single slice he goes for Haggar's hamstring before he blinks away again. In the end Setsuna just ends right back where he started and looks over at Schneider. "All you kid."
He was going to make sure Haggar was down once Schneider had done his thing, and as soon as the spell was cast, rushed forward, leaping up onto Haggar's axe, and running along the shaft, his form bursting into flames as he reached the huge gnoll's arm, leaping from there and wrapping one of his arms around Haggar's throat, to haul him backwards into the ground, with the firey explosion going off from all around him, engulfing Haggar in the process as he impacts the ground.