Monday, August 10, 2020

Part 14: Finally Some Airship Combat!

 We rejoin our heroes, still in the same meeting they were in last time. Now that a basic end goal had been established, the party then conversed with possible avenues of getting into the imperial palace. While the empire's sea coverage was relatively weak, obviously their air support was unmatched, which could pose a problem, as Bubbles pointed out.

"Doesn't matter how strong your navy is. Shooting at something in the sky is impossible!"

The Western Navy's admiral furrowed his brow. "Do you have a suggestion?"

"Nope! I've got nothing!"

The admiral rolled his eyes. "Excellent. Thank you." He paused for a few seconds. "There is one avenue, though I am loathe to even entertain the thought, let alone suggest it."

In unison, both Savin and Bubbles finished the line of thought; "The Fury of the Small."

"Yes," the admiral said. "I do not wish to reward piracy, but-"

Bubbles piped up, "Just call it privateering. That's what Savin does, and he says its legal!" Savin shot a glare back at Bubbles.

"Right," the admiral continued, annoyed at the interruption. "They've caused an awful lot of trouble for us over the years but unfortunately they may be our best bet for quickly bolstering our air support." He groaned in irritation. "If only we had time to analyze the airship you lot are flying and make some adjustments, possibly adding to our own fleet."

Yesmae thought for a moment. "At the very least, do we even know where we'll be able to find the Fury of the Small?"

The admiral frowned. "That's a good question. We don't know where they hole up to stay out of trouble. Our best option would be scouring the Southern Isles in the hopes that we run into another pirate crew that is affiliated with the Fury, but even then that is a great deal of wishful thinking. Though I suppose it's better than-"

The door flew open as a messenger dashed into the meeting. "Excuse me sirs, but we've just received urgent word that pirates have engaged the empire's forces at the city of Doncaster!"

"Doncaster again? That city can't catch a break," Savin muttered to himself.

"The admiral's mouth hung open for a few seconds. "Well, I suppose that is our answer. We set off for Doncaster, aid the pirates, enlist them to our cause, and hope that bolsters our forces enough to make an invasion of imperial space possible."

Once the meeting concluded, the party made ready to ship out with the strength of the Western Navy at their backs for Doncaster. After a few days' travel they arrived at the scene of the major standoff. Two large forces lined up against one-another, just waiting for the other to blink, or move, or something. However, once the two armies caught sight of the Western Fleet sailing in, someone fired the first shot. Nobody's sure which side shot first, but what followed was a hail of cannon and ballista fire.

Bubbles looked over the battlefield and made a suggestion to the group before they joined the fray. "It looks like most of the other ships are already engaged with the pirates. If we rush down the flagship we'll probably win!" And truly, with the battle map I drew up, that was the case. One unengaged ship held the line between the party and the flagship, and the party's ship had some backup. After a few rounds of cannon fire and Grula flying ahead of the ship to snipe cannoneers off the enemy's ship, Savin got an idea.

His player asked me how far they were from the flagship and if he could see the captain of the flagship. I quickly measured out the distance on the map and, though he couldn't see it through cyberspace, I shrugged, saying, "Yeah, I guess that's reasonable. Why, what's your idea?"

"I'm gonna cast Dimension Door. If I teleport myself and one other person to the flagship we can quickly take out the enemy's commander and force a surrender." Bear in mind, Savin, like other characters from this player, thinks in an extremely strategic manner.

This is the kind of guy who revels in early checkmates if the opportunity comes up (I've been Fool's Mate'd a few times by him in the past 😒 What? I'm not a chess player), and he and Bubbles had decided that, if possible, they wanted to secure a victory with as few casualties as possible (well, more accurately Savin wanted to minimize casualties, while Bubbles was keen to gas everyone on the ships and commandeer them with little resistance).

What was Yesmae doing during all this? Unfortunately, nobody asked her. Savin put Ray in control of the ship, and Yesmae was left on cannon duty, and away Savin and Bubbles went on their crazy scheme.

So...from the perspective of the commanding officer of the enemy's flagship, an admiral, this is what happened. A human dressed up in fancy merchant's gear and a humanoid crow whose race is not super common just pop into existence in front of him, demanding immediate surrender. Which is already startling enough on its own, but one thing that sealed the deal? Bubbles had downed two potions before teleporting over: one of his Potions of Fire Giant's Strength and a Potion of Alter Self. So not only was this crow person sporting massive, Olympic weightlifter-esque muscles, but he used the Alter Self Potion to transform one of his hands into a massive claw.

So I had them roll for Intimidation. And I really wish I hadn't. Because Savin rolled a nat 20, and I've mentioned before the debate of whether a nat 20 means automatic success and my feelings towards it, from the admiral's perspective he had just gone from a comfortable stalemate that could have held a siege for months to being hopelessly outnumbered by not only pirates but a navy of another nation who was already upset with the empire. He decided his luck would be better spent with the new guys' mercy than fighting to the last in a losing battle.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a magical stone called a Stone of Farspeech (an item I totally didn't steal from either The Adventure Zone or Final Fantasy XIV), basically a magical, fantasy walkie talkie that one could use to deliver messages over a distance (see, totally exists in D&D).

"It's me. Put up the colors. We're done here." He paused, waiting for a response. "Yes, I know we're basically dead if we return home like this. We're also basically dead if we keep fighting. Put up the colors. That's an order." He returned the Stone into his coat pocket.

One by one, the imperial airships put up flags indicating surrender, until one was left: the heavily damaged vanguard ship, which instead opted to try to ram the party's airship. A move which was met by being violently blasted out of the sky by a hail of cannonfire from three nearby airships.

The opposing admiral grimaced, expecting the worst, while Savin quickly surveyed the rest of the battlefield. Seeing that the pirates were beginning to plunder their captured ships, he scoped out the most important person on the largest pirate ship, told Bubbles to keep things under control for a bit, and teleported over the larger ship to try to bring the pirates around.

No, you're right. This was probably a bad decision.

A couple of soldiers near the admiral glanced about, and the admiral shook his head. "What is it that you and your comrades are up to?" the admiral asked. "Wait, that's the airship we're after! Who are you and what are you doing?"

"We're taking your ships and throwing you guys into the ocean. Once we're done here we're going to make our way to the imperial palace, murder the empress, and save the world!"

The captain flew into a rage. "I will not let you do that!" He quickly shoved a free hand into his coat, grasping for a pistol.

Bubbles, wasting no time, grabbed the admiral's wrist. Unfortunately since he wasn't used to the strength boost from the potion (his strength is at a 7 when average is 10, the potion boosted him to 25), he felt the admiral's wrist crumble.

Naturally, with a freshly broken wrist, the admiral screamed, and the other two soldiers nearby raised their guns, one firing a shot at Bubbles. Unfortunately, the shot went wide, hitting the admiral instead. The other took aim to take a shot at Bubbles but was stopped.

By what, you ask? Why, Grula, of course! Grula, seeing things were starting to get iffy and hearing the first gunshot, made the snap decision to dropkick the other soldier, knocking his weapon out of his hand. Naturally, the admiral shouted for a stop to the fighting, to which Bubbles got defensive. After all, he wouldn't have broken the admiral's wrist if the admiral hadn't tried to defend himself. The admiral wouldn't have gotten shot if the other soldier hadn't tried to interfere.

This is the sort of insane logic that Bubbles' mind runs on, folks.

Anyway, rejoining Savin. Savin popped into existence right in front of the captain of the larger pirate ship, directly interrupting his speech about "Stealin'everythin' that wasn't nailed down" and "killin' all them imperial yobs".

Savin quickly started explaining the situation, right until the gunshots rang out from the imperial flagship. Immediately regretting his decision to leave Bubbles alone, he tried to hide his sudden onset of panic since he had no spell slots left to cast Dimension Door again. However, his panic subsided when Grula crashed into the situation on the flagship, and he was able to continue.

"Basically, have your pirates wait on the whole raid and plunder thing, get us in touch with your friends on The Fury of the Small, and hear what we have to say."

The captain, a small, somewhat well-dressed goblin, thought for a moment. "We get the stuff?"

Savin rubbed his forehead in frustration. "Yes, very well. After this, you can have what you want, but don't kill anyone else."

Not long afterward, everyone gathered on the bridge of the flagship to discuss the terms of their surrender and just what their plans were. Yesmae outed herself as the princess to the admiral and clarified that they weren't out to kill the empress, as the woman claiming to be the empress was an impostor working with Elphina Crowe, and that the real emperor and empress were hopefully still alive, hidden away as captives somewhere.

The admiral considered the new information he was provided with. "That being the case, what is your plan? Fight your way to the palace?"

Bubbles spoke up. "Wait! You could take us like Chewbacca!"

My group has a habit of referencing outside materials like movies and tv shows as legends, plays, and literature in universe. The admiral, naturally, no idea what this sudden outburst was about, and Bubbles had to clarify that it was a really old story where a big yeti creature was used as a fake captive to sneak into an enemy fortress.

After hashing out the specifics, the admiral agreed that that might work. He would escort them back to the palace as "captives". They'd get pulled into whatever nefarious scheme Crowe had for the party. They'd fight and defeat Crowe, stop the ritual, and save the world. The admiral agreed to this for three reasons: if the party was lying, they'd be taken into a no-win scenario and the admiral would be viewed as a hero rather than a coward; if the party was honest and they failed, oh well, the world ends; if the party is right and they succeed, the end of the world as we know it is stopped.

Let's see how this goes.

So a bit of a peek behind the curtain here. I 100% intended to have the ritual completed off-screen.. The party would have gotten stopped outside the imperial capital by some super powerful monsters meant as a distraction. The God Warrior would have awakened and begun a rampage, slowly absorbing everything into a sort of distorted dimension inside itself, which would have simultaneously become the final dungeon and in some fashion the final boss.

Instead, the party's own mixed feelings on the God Warrior ritual have inspired something better. Bubbles wants to hijack the ritual to possibly restore wings to his people. Yesmae just wants to stop Crowe but thinks there's a possibility that the God Warrior could be used to stop Crowe somehow. Savin wants to stop the ritual at all cost. So...I'm gonna let this happen. It's more fun this way.

1 comment:

  1. I got the new the king casino no deposit bonus【Malaysia】
    communitykhabar William】pinterest 토토사이트 in 2021, 바카라사이트 the king casino no deposit bonus,【】⚡,taylorlancer,taylorlancer,golfking.