Duty Session 469: 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.
Gnolls. Again. THough there's a reason Arashi's been hammering away at this particular dungeon and from the rumors, she doesn't exactly have a lot of time. As such, here she is once again, ready to deal with them violently. She's familiar with the peeps, the dungeon, and she's already prepared when she arrives. "Lets do this."
To the others, he grins and nods, "Right, lets go! Tracks lead this way!" And off he goes, leading the group on the start of the gnoll tracks. The problem is that the tracks lead into deeper and deeper woods, and soon enough the tracks start to get muddled, "Hold up." Kaydon holds up a single fist, and then takes a knee.
As luck would have it the tracks lead them to some kind of ritual site. "Oh, oh! Haven't come across something like this very often!" Tail wagging in excitement as Shiruba starts picking through the various odds and ends. "Looks like plunder from their 'hunts'. And.. huh..." She picks up a doll between her fingers. "Vudu?.." She inspects it closer, then tosses it away. "Nope, just rags." Huff. "Feels like there should be something elderich here but I can't make heads or tails of anything...."
Marching up after the others, the site of the altar makes the warhorse give pause and take a long look around. After a few moments, and a shuffling of a few artifacts, Arashi stabs her weapon across a rune. "There, hopefully that'll help a bit. Don't mind the artifacts, the runes under them are more important."
Never the less, while the group is unable to decipher the runes, they do manage to locate a fresh set of tracks and blood. This trail leads them even deeper into the woods, and then peters out again. The group can hear the gnolls nearby. Kaydon frowns a little bit as he looks to the group, "Did anyone hear where that howling came from?" He asks, trying to see if he can pick up the trail again.
One rune isn't enough, so the group trudges on. Thankfully the tracks are found, but when the group pauses, due to the familiar laugh of the yeen, Arashi is more interested in the hints left on the land, "It... looks like there's a trail over here.." Arashi glances at the others. "Confirm for me, someone?"
"Aye it's this way."
She's pointing the same way at Shiruba is it seem they are on track at this point.
"We should make haste."
With that the elf is on the move.
Suddenly behind them a large gnoll with a huge bow steps out of the woods behind the group. He immediately directs the pack of hyenas to attack the group, and their barking and yipping turn to growls, as they move into position to strike at the group from both sides in a pincer maneuver.
Ah, finally, the gnolls show themselves, and in an instant Arashi's sword is in hand and, well, between it and that Dire-Shire form of hers, she certainly is a formidable adversary to stare down. In fact, the first gnoll that charges her doesn't really get a good look until Starshadow is coming down on him. A YELP is heard, then some of the others have their eyes widen. Is it really worth it? Maybe not...
Turns out Shiruba was able to tell that by the different pitches in the calls, and she's ready for it. By the time the beast charge she's got a cluster of arrows ready in hand. All that training she did before with her archery skills? It shows, as she fires arrows off so fast it could be mistaking for some manner of auto-fire gimmick. And yet with such accuracy that by the time she finishes several of the hyenas are dead, and the huntmaster is reeling from getting one in the eye, blinding him to the advance of the two Were Fangs.
The group is able to pick through and find some clues from the huntmaster's orders, which lead them towards a camp. Before the group however, the Death-pledged Gnoll General appears. It's not Haggar or his demon haunted counterpart, but it's still going to be a serious fight, as he starts throwing fireballs at the party. Better work quick before he burns the entire forest down around them.
Right. Potions. Sure. You know what the problem with vials of stuff is? They are less effective when they are diluted! It's why Arash tears off, walking and sliding along manifested platforms of water, dotting them all across the field to lower the effectiveness of the Gnoll's attacks. Eventually, she makes a hard turn and surges toward the creature, sword low, to cut him down near his calves.
The excitement doesn't keep her from firing her bow at the Deathpledged Gnoll. Though instead of an arrow her 'shot' unleashes a powerful burst of wind via the longbow's elemental enchantments, blasting some of the potions right back at the crazed gnoll throwing them around. "No. No burning down the woods. Bad gnoll!"
The death of the gnoll general is enough to get the attention of Rroarn. The demonic gnoll roaring at the group and charging in with claws flashing and trying to strike them with attacks that can destroy armor. The party will need to strike fast and hard to put him down.
One dead potion maker later, Arashi marches forward, a little eager to see what the boss of the dungeon run is. Rroarn again? "Why don't you -STAY DEAD-?" she barks before just charging forward. The arrow from Shiruba gets the creature to lean down just enough for Arashi to be able to -SKULL STAB- it, hop over, YANK, and pull on the creature as she sort of lands against it's back. "GET IT!" Why does this seem familiar..?
Kaydon has been playing it kind of coy as the group deals damage, but he has finally removed the cloth covered item from his back. He opens it up and reaches inside, gripping something, and pulling it out. His stance shifts as he drops the weapon onto his right shoulder, the mechanical movements on the weapon letting out a loud KLUNK as they lock into place.
He launches forward as the gnoll moves back forward, throwing a slash in a downward angle, but the moment his blade makes contact with the gnoll, he pulls the trigger and the charged mana battery in the chamber fires, an explosion rocking the demonic gnoll backwards.
Kaydon follows up with an upward strike as he closes the gap made between himself and Rroarn, this second strike having another explosion that forces the charged fire magic into another explosion, blasting straight through the gnoll, who falls over and bursts into pixels.
Kaydon turns around to face the rest of the group, and drops the blade back onto his shoulder, "I'd say that's a successful field test. Sorry we couldn't find Haggar, Arashi."
At least Arashi seems indifferent. "Well that's why I just murder the heck out of this one whenever he shows up. No big deal.."