Duty Session 520: No Game Gnoll Life
The Gnolls of the Isle of Beginnings have become increasingly hostile since the Apocalypse. At last, through the investigations of intrepid Adventurers, the source of this change in the monstrous creatures has been discovered. The Gnolls appear to be trying to summon a demon entity known as Yeenagi. The Adventurers must face off against the strongest of the Gnoll Generals to secure the place of the summoning and stop the Gnolls from unleashing this terror upon the world.
Rec. Party: 5+
Notes: Failing this +duty has non-death character consequences.
World Rewards: Gain items needed to unlock the final boss battle against Yeenagi the Demon Gnoll.
The scene: noon. Hyuga has decided that it's time to participate in some extracurricular activities. Farming is great, socializing is great, but it's time to be a Shielder. Or... whatever they call themselves. He'd always been partial to Mashu...
Anywho, the siren call is put out: it's time to stomp some serious gnoll at-sign dollar-sign dollar-sign. Of course, he's not 100% Attack, and so he definitely needs some physical or magical backup. He stands here, fully armored, with that massive greatshield he is known for at his left hand, and the hammer on his left hip ready for drawing. Hyuga waits.
"Organizing a challenging run," Haru says too far away to be heard. Know when two people are far away but can see each other? Walking closer towards them. That 'ok, do I wave or talk or what' moment that lasts forever. Then Haru repeats it again once closer. "And you have my orbs," he says in a Lord of the Rings reference that... well its good Fuka or Shiruba are not here to hear it. Orb jokes for days.
"hey," she calls out to Hyuga. "You organizing this run? A proper tank, I see, not too many of those." She nods thoughtfully. It's a tough job to do well.
Kotono the acrobatic Spriggan is making her way into the area, eager to take on some Gnolls it seems. While Miyako is most likely taking the standard path, Kotono is zipping from one spot to another almost like the ninjas she's trying to emulate. "I make this look easy sometimes!"
Miyako seems to find the entire idea amusing. Will she still find it so when they're knee-deep in gnoll blood? Hopefully.
"Yes, dear, you do," she assures Kotono as the two Spriggans approach the rest. "HaruHaru, Goldie, Fox-chan. Good to see you all."
She looks over at Hyuga briefly and adds, "Don't think I remember you...."
Hyuga is definitely the newbie. How often would someone forget a hulking monstrosity being held by an armored Crusader? "I don't know any of you, sadly, but that's another reason I made this duty request. I've kept to my farm for far too long. The name is Hyuga. Akizuki Hyuga. I'm not sure if I'll be good enough in this to be your primary Tank, but I will do my best." Hyuga bows, then re-grips his greatshield. His other hand reaches into his Inventory for a fresh apple to gnosh on while waiting for the party to be ready... and that... is one fine damn apple.
Hyuga leads the way, offering fresh produce for all to indulge in. The items are Farmed by Hyuga personally and are of high quality. He takes to munching on that apple as they move to the gnoll land... but Hyuga only has a general idea of where the location is. "Uh... I have never hunted gnolls before. Is anyone else able to Search for the entrance to their hideout?" Hyuga's face goes a bit pink with embarassment.
"It goes without saying," Haru says as he tilts the monocle side of his face towards Daiyu, "but it is good to have you among us." He doesn't elaborate on if that is in context to this duty or, in general, without a Crown on. He does not, of course, take notice of the tripwires that are too fine for him to see during the advance.
"I think I could handle this," Kotono says as she attempts to disarm one of the traps. "Elementary if you ask me..."
A mousetrap-like device nearly takes off several of the Spriggan's fingers. Had she not pulled away in time, who knows what could've happened?
"OK, maybe it's not so elementary," Kotono says with a scowl.
Which is why she's facing the wrong way and is suddenly zooming past everyone streaight upwards, by a rope around her ankle.
A swordslash later and she's landing hard on the ground, rolling on her shoulder and tumbling back to her feet, but now rubbing her shoulder. "Stupid gnolls. Stupid traps."
Hyuga watches Golden go, and suppresses a chuckle. "Uh... sorry... hammer, not sword." He moves after Goldenblade lands, taking up position on her now-injured side to provide just that much more protection. "Maybe I should lead with my shield? I mean, for rope traps, I might be too heavy for them. Springing needle traps is fun with this, because they shatter sometimes." He wields that thing one handed as if born with the darn thing.
She takes a few more steps, and again uses the parasol this time to snap a tripwire. Then to reach up and slap a branch to break loose, disabling a snare. It's a minature montage of disarming attempts before she finally joins her less successful peers on the other side of the field.
"This just goes to prove there's more than Threat Levels that make some monsters dangerous, I guess." The parasol is reopened and returned to her shoulder.
"Grah!" she snarls, plucking a dart from her shoulder. "Bloody hell...."
Unfortunately, what's coming up next is beyond what she's expecting.
"That's one giant enemy!" Kotono exclaims in disbelief. "My blades won't work against it."
Gathering her spellrunes, Kotono chants a spell of fire, intending to cast a fireball at the Gnoll. And she succeeds in launching a fireball...
One that's the size of the ones Mario threw in the original Super Mario Brothers game. (Yes, THAT small.)
"Why me?!" Kotono says as she stomps her foot.
Hyuga spies the Gnoll firing arrows at the party before most others might have. At least, most other Players, not necessarily those in this party. "Incoming!" Hyuga leaps out to the forefront, massive greatshield coming down like a meteor and embedding itself in the ground, just in time to shatter a gnoll arrow that had been aimed at his own head. Out comes the hammer, though what good it might do here... oh, that's right, he loves to taunt the enemy, making a lot of noise out forward by slamming the hammer into the shield as if a gong.
But worrying about it isn't enough to distract her from being suddenly fired on, jerking to the side to avoid what could of been a vicious hit otherwise. "... That is farther than most of my techniques can reach," she grouses mostly to herself. But as things are getting serious she again collapses the parasol, this time storing it across her back.
Then pulls several throwing knives out of seemingly thin air. She did previously serve as a stage magician's assistant after all, no one should be surprised at her drawing things from nothing. They are flung in the sniper's direction, but even enchantments for speed and distance aren't quite enough to reach his high ground effectively.
"Goldenblade, Hyuga: Keep pressure on the Sniper. Starting a long cast." Which is to say that getting hit while doing a Wave Arte can interupt it not to mention how much a stationary target getting hit with sniper fire is bad.
The Artificer has four small orbs that float around him as a casting focus. They turn a lava-like red color as he begins his chant. Words are formed into the air in a Tolkien-esque burning script as they float, taking his words and giving them perminance. When the final word is said, they disappear like ash blown by the wind. A finger points to where the Gnoll is stationed. He has the high ground, Haru. Solution: Get higher ground.
One of Daiyu's throwing knives rattles to life, floating up as if finding ascension in its purpose. A metallic gleam upwards in the forest. It points down at the sniper, one lone dagger. What could that do? What Chuuni level of shenanigans is Haru up to?
The knife drops, anticlimatically, and the sniper's gaze moves just enough to be cautious. Enough to miss the Flash Summon of a creature as large of a house coming out in an eruption of flame and turning his area into a pillar of raw fire as if someone yelled Dracarys onto him. A bird of fire, a phoenix, is summoned and its one hot birb. "Clear," Haru says as the health melts off the miniboss.
And then there's a sniper, and she's cursing again. Producing a familiar set of war-fans, the blades already sheathed in shadow as they expand. She hurls a set of dark bolts at the sniper, keeping up a fast but not terribly accurate barrage o suppress him so the more potent spell can bring him down.
And so it's onwards to another trap....
Hyuga presses the group forward, communicating via chimlink the whole while. "I'm new to this, what do you all mean they aren't reacting like the game?" He does not seem to be too concerned with the 'pressure' of the battle itself. "I mean, this isn't stressing me out..." Six pings of arrows before the miniboss is obliterated, and he rises up to confirm. Moving forward, he sets up his shield as the dark magic circle raises up. "...but this... is out of my league."
Which does little good when it's written in some arcane script she can't decipher. "... These gnolls proceed to worry me more and more." Why are they accessing things outside of their proper scope of the game setting?! Now she's a bit worried... and starting to see why, having to deal with problems like this, the Yamatoan Adventurers have gotten to be so resourceful.
"The world is a vampire," Haru says, a pop culture reference for sure as it tees up what he is doing next. A four meter tall earth golem is summoned from the ground, body made of rocks local to the area and thus looking a touch obsidian in nature. The Enchanter starts connecting the Enchantment circuits on the ground to Terra, his summon's, feet. "Setting to drain," the Artificer informs the party as he climbs up the magi-mech's back, settling into a 'standing' cockpit near the top and directing his summon to pull the raw arcane from the trap like a sponge to weaken the effects.
She focuses in on disrupting the traps, now, picking each one apart with bits of spell energy. "Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary," she muses as she hits a particularly difficult one. "Many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore... well now isn't /that/ interesting." She plucks an ethereal line, and the trap collapses to let the party by.
"You know," she says to Haru, "I used to think vampires were cool...." With a shrug, she adds, "At least foxes are still cool. Right, Ko-chan?"
She thought she could.
Kotono fails miserably. How bad?
"Will this ever end?" Kotono grumbles as she rejoins the others.
Hyuga sees the enemy and has very little faith in himself. He doesn't know the others, and so he does not know their skillsets, and so this causes him to hate himself ever so slightly. "Hard to be a damn Tank if you can't strategize. We need options." Grabbing his hammer and lifting the shield, Hyuga looks around... and spots an exit, of sorts. He makes for it, casting a basic spell to put Light on his hammer as a beacon, and makes it to a safe spot. Planting the shield, he swings his hammer around, and calls over the chimlink. "Possible exit here!"
She reaches over for a moment to pull Kotono close and give her a quick, warm squeeze. "Hey. We're not far from the end. And when we get back to down... lunch." She grins, though the smile fades when she sees the massive, feral gnoll. "Right, no."
She launches her best attempt at a binding spell at it, hoping to slow it down while the party takes another path.
But she hasn't given up, she's got grit and determination. She's used to things not working out at the start. She says to Hyuga, "We don't /have/ options. We just have our swords, or hammers, or whatever, and the strength to use them. That'll /have/ to do, because that's what we've got."
So, the monocle-wearing gnoll has knives? She charges in, regardless, though she's got no shields against his knives. What she does have is grit and determination, and she shouts, "It's not over yet, you bastard," and fends off his blows with a flurry of parries that clang off her blades, probably damaging them badly, but she doesn't have time to inspect or repair them, they're her last line of defense. She stands tall, though, determined and stalwart in this frantic melee. "Kill him," she shouts, "kill him hard!"
Emboldened by his allies, Hyuga also charges alongside Goldenblade. But where Golden throws attacks, Hyuga throws his shield. The massive slab of metal and forged bliss favors Golden's injured side, taking hits that would have otherwise likely hit, and Hyuga grips his hammer tightly. He tries to call forth a little bit of a helper, a certain tattoo on his right arm glowing, but the fire dies out quickly. He's just too rattled, and he cannot focus on much other than protecting the party. His party. Fine, more slams on the shield. "Try to break this you fat bastard!"
Kotono knows that and she thinks she can help defensively by using her blades in a defensive stance.
Unfortunately, did you also know that blades aren't exactly defensive against smaller objects, especially thrown knives?
"Ahhh!" Kotono says, going down briefly before getting back up. "Will this ever end?!"
And... oh dear. She stumbles back from the vivisection lab, trying to swallow back bile and worse, and she has no more time for games. Mad Scientist Gnoll is going -down-.
She holds up her fans to deflect a blow that throws her to the floor, but she kips up to her feet quick enough and the fight is on.
Hyuga is thrown into a tree, slamming against it, but never losing grip on his weapon and shield. He falls to the ground, outside of the forest, and the shield embeds itself into the ground with the young Crusader/Heavy Blade tank hanging from one handle. Using the hammer, he tries to steady himself... grunting with the effort. "Damn... it all..." Pulling himself up to a standing position, he puts his hammer back onto his belt with a shaky hand, the Blood Curse debuff showing itself all over his face.
She nods at what Haru says, the same debuff effecting her. "I guess I'll see you all in church on Sunday," she quips, luching back towards down unsteadily.