Festival: The Bun-Bun Trail
A winding trail follows into the hills of the Fourland Dukedom. The usual monsters seem to have pulled back, this time of year, replaced by an unusual spawn of Bun-Buns and Clucks. Adventurers have been sent to help collect eggs from this mysterious trail for the artisans of Yamato. But what else will they find along the trail?
The local guards have taken residence along many parts of the path, keeping most of the monsters at bay. Children run along an area marked with streamers and ribbons, showing off unusually colored eggs which they have found.
The Adventurers are motioned closer to the hills, past the edge of the guarded trail. There a man with the uniform of a ranking guard seems to be gathering people together. "Things are a bit more dangerous beyond this point. If you're not capable of defending yourself against monsters, you're best bet is to stay on the easier path."
Hoping that will 'scare' off any weaker individuals, he then hands out simple baskets to those that remain. "We're looking to gather as many eggs as we can. The artisans use the shell material for all sorts of things. Unfortunately, we're not finding as many as we were expecting. So, it's up to you to look into it." He pauses, then adds, "There are more Bun-Buns beyond this point, and other monsters that feed on them. So be careful."
Well, whatever the case. It is the time for the season to turn, after all, and Prophylaxis is here to help! "The 'harder' path is less likely to have nearly so much competition. Perhaps we'll figure out where those missing eggs have gone, too."
And-- if there are monsters-- they'll need to be taken care of before any of these kids end up in the cross... hares.
"If we were worried about not being able to fight we wouldn't be here," Shiruba replies as she accepts a basket. "And the Doctor does have a point, likely no one goes that way save Adventurers to risk the danger."
This isn't the first time Fukaziroh's gone on an egg hunt lately, and she finds the whole thing silly fun. The danger, she figures, is just a game thing. Either ETO the game mimicking this world, or this world reflecting a game. It's dangerous because that's what Adventurers are for, and she's okay with that!
She rolls her eyes at the warning though. "Let us boldly go forth along the road less traveled!" she pompously declares. "It's bound to be much more fun anyways!" she adds, much less pompously.
"I'll be honest if they need to be wrangled I won't be any good for it. But if you need monsters killed, just throw me right at them." He seems confident enough, though.
"Thank you for your warning. I think however I should be able to help with the local problems. Aye from the stories I heard in my guild it's unwise to think Bun-Buns were anything but dangerous."
At first, everything seems quiet. The grasses lightly blow in the warm spring breeze. It certainly doesn't look as dangerous as the guard had suggested. In fact, they walk for nearly ten minutes without seeing much of anything.
Then, a Bun-Bun hops out onto the path. It looks towards them, nose twitching, ears perked up, head tilted. It gives a single hop forward and then...
The scream of the Bun-Bun pierces their ears as a monstrous bird carries off the little creature. Where one has found a meal, the sky begins to darken with more winged forms. They have apparently wandered into the hunting grounds of some Dire Hawks, and the monsters are not happy about their presence.
Ranged vs 8
Fire vs 8
(Other combat concepts vs 10)
But it's enough to cripple it, and allow her falcon to give it a taste of it's own medicine, diving at the monster to finish the job with its sharp talons.
Dire hawks? Well, Fuka's not afraid of no giant birds, and she has the dire cluck cluck meat to prove it! "Pick on someone your own size you big chickens!" she howls her challenge into the air, slamming the butt of her axe down hard and preparing a chant. She weaves runewords of flame intertwined with protection, retaliation and destruction, preparing a nasty trap for any dire hawks who take up her challenge and think to take advantage of her when her guard is seemingly down.
She'll notch several arrows takes aim crying out.
A rain of arrows is let slip against the incoming birds.
"Shiruba shall we see who bag more?"
No. Because it's being attacked by a swarm of dire hawks, which also seems to consider the entire party as a threat. Prophylaxis scratches at his cheek, wondering aloud, "You know... I do feel bad about killing the natural predators of these cute little murderers, but they should have thought about the consequences before attacking us. So."
He gestures into the air. A little bead of orange-yellow flame sails into the cloud of birds... and promptly explodes at the heart of their swarm. Freshly cooked bird begins to rain down from the heavens...
Though since Prophylaxis has no cooking skill, it'd probably all taste pretty bad.
The trail continues to weave through the hills nearby, stones shifting under their feet as they travel. The more distance they put between themselves and the Hunting Grounds, the more Bun-Bun activity there seems to be.
The curious little creatures peek out from the grasses, or hop around in groups, or nibble upon some of the local plantlife. However, the wise are well keen to the fact that these creatures can be dangerous in large groups.
Nearby, such a group seems to be forming. There is a particularly thick patch of flowers which have drawn the Bun-Buns from all over. It isn't quite to the point of becoming dangerous, but it is quickly getting there. If they want to pass further along the trail, they will need to break up this Bun-Bun gathering before it turns into a fluffing problem.
Handle Animal vs 10
Hunting vs 10
Earth vs 10
(Page for other creative concepts)
Note: If more than half of the group (rounded down) fails, there may be status effect consequences.
This is a good group, solid on offense and protection and support. It cheers Fukaziroh immensely to know she can't possibly screw up with the caliber of friends currently with her, and emboldens her to be aggressive.
Still, she's not about to murder bun-buns wholesale! That would be cruel!
She winds up with her axe raised high, bringing it down in a looping cut, channeling the power of earth to... literally cut flowers. The bun-buns are gathering to nibble on flowers, so she cleaves through bunches of them, sending the flowers flying... to give the bun-buns something of a divided attention, hopefully! Some will stay with the local flowers no doubt, some might well move to the mown-down ones. And some will quite probably attack, because it just seems like attacks happen sometimes right? And bun-buns are savagely vicious when they have a mind to be, she's heard.
Which is followed by a screech as her falcon swoops down, triggering a 'flee predator!' reaction in many of the rabbitkin and sending them scattering away... even as the falcon grabs the glaive instead of a bird and flaps away to return the throwing weapon to Shiruba. Perchs on an outheld arm, allowing her to collect the weapon from beak, and provide a jerky snack in exchange. "Good job."
...Feeding on a bunch of tasty greens!?
"This is bad... This many Bun-Buns in one place... Careful, now, everyone. Watch for any other Bun-Buns hopping up this way. If the flock grows any larger than this, they'll reach critical mass, and then...!"
Prophylaxis lets that hang ominously in the air. Meanwhile he taps staff against the ground and gently urges the earth to spread the Bun-Buns out a little bit. As long as they can diffuse their numbers, it should be safe...
He does drive his blade into the ground in order to create a tremble and try to force the bun-buns back. Hopefully he doesn't screw it up and drive them away instead.
With the Bun-Buns scattered, and only a few scratches to show for it, the group is able to move on in relative safety, it seems. Beyond the meadow, the path flattens into grasslands which are dotted here and there by a few rocks which act as waypoints in a sea of grasses. There is a peaceful feeling, here, without any signs of nearby monsters.
However, as they follow the path, something begins to crunch underfoot. Looking down, it becomes clear that something else has been preying upon the very same eggs they have been sent to find. Colorful bits of shell have been scattered, broken and ruined by the elements.
For a time, it becomes easy to find their way through the rolling plains, that is, until they come upon a number of forking paths that lead off in different directions. They could follow their internal compass, heading in the direction the guard instructed, or try to follow signs left behind by whatever destroyed those eggs.
Searching vs 8
Cartography vs 8
Tracking vs 8
Which pays off in the end as she does find a proper path that's neither too long or too visibly infested. She sends her falcon back into the air overhead to provide a signal others can spot and follow.
Searching is easy, and this really wouldn't be an egg hunt without a little searching right? Never mind how many times Fuka's tried to search and ended up completely lost... it's easy!
It's a little tedious however, so Fuka surreptitiously speeds up the search by flooding herself with air-based arte power. This ends up having her zooming about, finding more and more evidence of shattered egg fragments of all colours.
"This is some weird unicorn bun bun shi.... eggs." Fuka notes, slightly dubiously. "But yeah, seems like there's more destruction out this way. Let's find the easter-hating bastard and give 'em a good smacking!" she suggests.
"What could have done this..."
The grasslands seem to come to an abrupt end in an area that has obviously had more intelligent hands at play. Patches of flowers extend out in front of them, bits the path visible along some of them.
There is a sweet smell that comes off of the flowers. Yet, there is an edge to them that suggest that these are not normal plantlife. A quick look around suggests that there is some strange behavior in the nearby animals. Bun-Buns sit staring into nothing. A couple of Clucks seem to be trying to peck at a rock for seed. There is even a Quacker who is laying on its back, legs wiggling as if trying to 'walk' on the sky.
It's all a very clear sign that these are no ordinary flowers. A skilled eye, or a little insight, may be required to find a safe path through the flowers, and to avoid falling victim to their unusual properties.
Alchemy vs 10
Divination vs 10
Herbology vs 10
Note: Failure results in vivid hallucinations. Choose something suitably fun and/or traumatic.
She takes an arrow from her quiver, embues it with earth magic as she draws it in her bow, and fires. It bursts midair to release a fine powder of its own. The spores mingle with the flower's emissions and happen to shift colors... except for a few strips through the field. "Aha! Found some clear paths! There's too much in the air to try and blow away, you'll have to just tough it out. Or hold your breath."
It's pretty obvious to Fuka what's going on in the grasslands, and she giggles at the clearly stoned animals. At the same time she has to wonder... might the creature responsible for all the problems be nearby? Might it too be stoned, and on a rampage for purely irrational reasons?
All this gives her an idea, and given her knowledge of herbology it seems a good idea. She can collect the flowers and, since she's not actually eating any, it won't do her any harm. And who knows what strange druggy flowers might end up being good for in terms of herbology or alchemy?
The problem is, Fuka's knowledge of herbology is utter crap. She doesn't realize the flowers are contact-hallucinogens. Or possibly hallucinogenic pollen. And now, for whatever reason, she's seeing every one of her fellow companions as anthropomorphic hedgehogs... and is very carefully keeping her distance from everyone so as not to get pricked!
Which is neither here nor there, she just tries to pick her way clear of the dangerous flowers, occasionally taking huffs off her oxygen bottle when she feels light-headed, until she's finally clear of the hazard.
He looks at Shiruba as she seems to spot a clear path, "I'll follow your lead. I trust you to lead the way through here."
For when she take too deep a breath. She'll end up staring to see things strange thing one she looks down she's not flat as a board for one.
Then she sees someone in the distance his scruffy armour she'd know that anywhere. She calls out waving to him.
"Hey Goblin slayer."
She then sees the slayer take off his helmet and he's smiling at this.
He calls out about that adventure Elf's been harassing him to go on as well.
This gets one heck of a joyful look on elf's race. The next thing anyone knows runs towards him. This turns out to be a small tree she'll run face-first into.
"It looks like we can avoid the worst of the effects if we stay upwind," Prophylaxis advises. "Not all of these flowers are pollenating. Some of them have already begun to go to seed. If we stick closer to those, we should be reasonably safer as well."
Of course, not that it's going to help... certain members of the party. Hm.
The game certainly does have a variety of strange intoxicants, and though some people do have an array of experiences, it doesn't seem particularly dangerous. So long as you don't mind hedgehogs. Thankfully, there are some members of the party that can lead the rest through with only a few lingering side effects.
Finally, at last, they reach what seems to be the end of the path. A circular structure of stones seems to make a den amongst the grasses. There, atop what looks to be a nest made of tree branches, is a creature that seems a mash-up of reptilian and avian features. An IDENTIFY only reveals it as a monster, with the name: 'The Egg Snatcher'.
The creature rises to clawed feet at the intrusion, revealing that it had been sitting on a large collection of the unusual eggs that are found during the Festival. It must have been collecting them from along the trail. There is surely enough there to satisfy the artisans of the Fourland Dukedom.
That is... if they can deal with the monster guarding them.
Physical vs 10
Magical vs 10
(Page for other creative concepts - various difficulties)
Fuka ambles along with the rest of the group, trying hard not to bump into anyone. She still loves them even if they're all anthropomorphic hedgehogs. She's just not going to touch them if she can avoid it. No matter how cuddly they look.
When she sees the creature, she doubletakes. "Okay, THAT isn't a hedgehog." she proclaims, pointing. This is, of course, kind of obvious. "Am I still stoned?" she muses. "Quick, someone tell me if that's a friend or something I should try to murder!"
Presumably Fuka gets straightened out by someone, and she readies Chopstick for a beatdown with a mighty yell of "FUKA SMASH!"
Dealing with monsters is his speciality. Well one of them anyway. As he nears the creature, he hops up, leaping through the air and aiming to stab the beast in the throat with the blade hidden in his gauntlet. Once he gets it in, he'll pull the blade out and stab repeatedly, the intent being to stab the beast as many times as he can before he bails.
...For now, he has a monster to fight. And it's... Um.
"I see," Prophylaxis deadpans, "If it's time to bird up, then I suppose..." He lifts his staff, then-- strikes the earth once more. The sound it makes is unfamiliar to this clime, a crackling, crunching noise that could only be breaking ice and snow. The doctor's breath frosts at his lips, a frigid lattice working painfully across his skin as he becomes, for a moment, a beacon of bitterest cold. With a commanding, pained shout, he directs his staff at the strange bird-lizard, intent it seems to flash-freeze the Egg Snatcher where it stands...!
"BLACK ARROW! TO YOUR MARK!"
She lets the bolt fly for Egg Snatch the bolt is glowing a bblackish-purpleas it's fired and some might notice wasn't that the colour of the Beholder's blasts some time ago?
That also means that together, it is relatively easy to take down the beast. As the last bit of health falls, it gives one final caw and then bursts into fragments of light. There, in the nest, is left a large quantity of the colorful eggs that both children and adults alike collect this time of year.
Now, the only hard part is gathering them up and delivering them back to the nearest town. Thankfully that shouldn't be too hard with the heightened guard presence.
"Aye I think it was shall we head back to town with the erggs then go find somewhere to ahve a meal? I feel generious it iwll be on me!" She says beaming now!