Geometric Archipelago:Dragons on Semicircle Island/Chapter 10
Chapter #10: Ribbiting Conversation
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN GAME---
<mainstreet> You feel a rush of wind surround you... a huge copper dragon has suddenly teleported in!
<mainstreet> "Looks like you got 'em. Nice job," Lamaranth rumbles appreciatively.
<mainstreet> Lamaranth quickly makes for the back, to check on her eggs.
<Ascii> "Wait, WAIT!"
<Vivi> Aeth finally emerges and flies to land on Vivi's shoulder.
<Ascii> Ascii runs after her. "I put a ward around them!"
<Ascii> Ascii (very quickly) tells her the password to bypass the glyph before she gets unexpectedly blasted, and *he* gets unexpectedly deaded.
<mainstreet> Lamaranth rumbles amusement and thanks. She opens the door and heads into her nest.
- Vivi pulls out a funny pair of magnifying spectacles and puts them on. With Aeth looking over her shoulder, she searches all the tied-up clerics, orcs, and their bags for anything interesting.
<mainstreet> Vivi: All the clerics are outfitted similarly. With each cleric, you find +1 Mithral Breastplate Armor with the symbol of Tiamat painted on, a +1 Light Crossbow, a Wand of Summon Monster II, and... a Hat of Disguise!
<Ascii> "Eh? What are the hats for?"
<mainstreet> (There's also a silver Holy Symbol of Tiamat present around each neck, but you probably don't want to touch those.)
<Ascii> "If they teleported over here, and were going to teleport back out, where were they going that would have needed disguises?"
<Ascii> Ascii glances at the silver symbols, then at his own wooden one. Grumbles a bit.
<Vivi> "They might be disguising themselves elsewhere. Like in town, to hide the fact that they're Winstaras."
- Vivi puts on one of the hats and changes herself to look like Beatrice. "How do I look?"
<mainstreet> Adrienne laughs. "You'll never pull it off."
<Ascii> Ascii puts one on and changes himself to look like Adrienne. He then speaks with his usual Ascii voice coming out of 'her' mouth. "As long as nobody talks..."
- Vivi changes herself back to Vivi before the dragon comes in and tries to fry her.
<mainstreet> "If someone replaced you with someone that didn't talk?" Adrienne asked, amused. "Do you really think no one would figure it out?"
<Ascii> "So far, nothing useful has come out of your mouth, just a bunch of holier-than-thou bullshit. I imagine your collegues would appreciate you being quiet for a change."
- Vivi gathers all the interesting items from the search and stuffs them in her Handy Haversack.
- Nenni gathers up all the breastplates and cloaks and loot of the defeated clerics and Presdigitates them clean of blood and grime and sweat and tears.
<Nenni> He can only do 1 foot cube per round, so it takes him a little while. Good job the dragon is taking her time checking her progeny.
- Vivi gathers the items into her bag *after* Nenni cleans them.
<mainstreet> The door behind you all opens...
<Ascii> Ascii remembers to remove his hat in front of...Her Majesty? What the heck do you call a dragon political leader anyway?
<mainstreet> Lamaranth walks back out into the main hall. "Alright... everything's fine. I thank you for this..." she looks at the group. "As a reward, I will permit you to keep the items I issued earlier. Now, I believe it is time from some trash removal... with some interrogation as well, I suppose."
<mainstreet> Lamaranth walks up to Adrienne. Some of you can feel her bringing her presence to bear. "Now, you're going to tell me everything I want to know. When you do that, I will terminate your existence. Until you do that, your existence will be extremely miserable and horrifying and you will wish it were ended."
- Vivi stands well away from the vicinity of Adrienne.
<mainstreet> "The first thing I want to know is, is this your idea or are you working for someone?"
<mainstreet> "M... mine."
<mainstreet> "LIAR." Acid spits out from Lamaranth's mouth. "I guess I should mention I can tell when you're lying. Very well, who sent you?"
<Vivi> "Pretty sure that's a lie," Vivi pipes up.
<mainstreet> A few seconds pass, and Lamaranth puts a claw directly on Adrienne's shoulder. Adrienne gasps. "The... the Grand Mistress."
<mainstreet> "Hmmm... does she have a name?"
<mainstreet> Adrienne mutters something. Lamaranth growls. "Fine. Where is she?"
<mainstreet> Adrienne gaps. "A.. cave... in the deep mountains. You'll never find her. Not until it's too late."
<mainstreet> Lamaranth growls. "Tell me how to find the cave."
<Vivi> "Ask her who's at the cave," Vivi suggests.
<mainstreet> Lamaranth slashes Adrienne's face when she doesn't speak. Adrienne gives a shout of pain. "YAAAAAAAAA!"
<mainstreet> "It's the... mountain near the silver one's cave. I think they sense each other. Searching each other."
<mainstreet> "Silver one?"
<mainstreet> "You... you don't know about the silver dragon? Haha."
<mainstreet> Lamaranth frowns. "No I didn't. This gets more disturbing all the time."
<Vivi> "The Grand Mistress senses the silver dragon?" Vivi asks for clarification.
<mainstreet> "Something like that. I don't really understand her mumbling about that," Adrienne admits.
<Ascii> "Wait, there *is* a third dragon!?"
<mainstreet> "Apparently," Lamaranth growls. "So I have a discussion about territory to be having shortly. Just great."
<Vivi> "Told you so," Vivi tells Ascii. Then..."Does Deirdre know about the third dragon?"
<mainstreet> "We all do," Adrienne mutters. "Anyone that goes to base for any length of time will spot him eventually."
<Vivi> "Where does the teleport rope go, if not to your base?"
<mainstreet> "Another cave. One set up in case of just this case. We were confident, not arrogant."
<mainstreet> "Someone there will make sure you have the eggs before you move on."
<mainstreet> "Good luck!" Adrienne cackles.
<Vivi> "Are you SURE Deirdre knows about the third dragon?" Vivi repeats.
<mainstreet> "...well, if not, she's an unobservant dingbat. ...okay, that's possible," Adrienne sighs.
<mainstreet> "Is there anything else useful to learn before I melt you?" Lamaranth asks Adrienne.
<Vivi> "Who will be waiting at the first teleport cave?"
<mainstreet> "Uh... Grand Mistress's pet wizard will be waiting there. He's very talented. You won't get far."
<Vivi> "No one else with him?"
<mainstreet> "You should know Evangeline will be aware of all this, and will soon be able to assist the Grand Mistress to prepare for your arrival, if you ever find her. You're all DOOMED! The Grand Plan will go on unimpeded!"
<Vivi> "Yes, yes, Evangeline. Is she your mother?"
<Vivi> "Or your sister?"
<mainstreet> "No, she's my little sister."
<Vivi> "Is Annalise your mother?"
<mainstreet> "But she's just as talented as the rest of my sisters..."
<mainstreet> "Um, actually that's my middle name. I often use that at the bank."
- Vivi frowns. "Very well. Is your mother alive?"
<mainstreet> "Yes, but she's irrelevant."
<mainstreet> Lamaranth leans in, "Yes, a 'Grand Plan', just what is that, exactly?"
<Vivi> "How many sisters do you have?"
<mainstreet> Adrienne looks over at Vivi. "Four."
<mainstreet> "Our Mistress has been gifted with... Hypergrow. We'll induce hatching, then... with her pets domination spells... I'm sure you can figure out the rest..." Adrienne leers up at Lamaranth.
<mainstreet> Lamaranth roars and fires a massive spray of acid, melting Adrienne into a pile of goo.
<Vivi> "So this Grand Mistress isn't your sister or mother? Is she any relative of yours at all?"
- Vivi sighs as her question is lost to the goo.
<mainstreet> Lamaranth roars again a large pile of acid gets sprayed against the wall.
<Ascii> "Too late."
<Vivi> "I still wanted to ask her if the teleport cave has another teleport rope to the base."
<Ascii> "Vivi, I would assume the wizard will have a means of returning. Except if he *is* a wizard, he may intend to use his own teleport spells, which makes that a problem for us."
<mainstreet> Kyle winces. "If I understood what that cleric just said... I think you all should just leave. I think she's going to be incredibly enraged for some time. Give her some time to get rational again."
- Vivi drags the others with her into one of the prison bedrooms for further discussion away from the acid-spraying dragon in mama-bear mode.
<mainstreet> Kyle, for his part, retreats to his tower.
<Vivi> "Are we up to facing a wizard right now?" Vivi asks the others. "I don't have all that many offensive spells left. Although I do have a +1 crossbow now."
<Ascii> "We need to take this chance while we can. If we wait, they'll know the attack failed."
<Vivi> "There is ONE thing we could try. If we all use the Hats of Disguise to seem like clerics, I can cast a Silent Image to look like eggs. It won't work if he tries to touch them, but it might buy us a minute."
- Vivi starts to hand out hats so people can disguise themselves as the sisters. Realizing the numbers don't add up, she turns to Ascii. "Pull the toad out for a second, will ya?"
<Ascii> "What? Why?"
<Vivi> "If we can convince her to cooperate, it will be a little more possible to bluff the wizard."
<Ascii> "Not here. If we're doing this, we go outside."
- Vivi shrugs. "Ok."
<Ascii> Ascii leads the way out of the castle and into the woods nearby, looking for a suitable spot to gather their wits before venturing forth.
<mainstreet> Ascii: You find a nearby clearing. Terry hoofs the ground, it feels stable.
<Ascii> "Okay, so. We're tired, low on spells, and worst of all, hungry. We have two options. We can either try to bluff our way through the rope trick and be ready for a fight if it fails, or we can give up on it, sleep and recover, then head out tomorrow looking for this apparantly REAL..." He makes air quotes. "...third dragon."
<Ascii> "Let's start with status reports. I'm fine, but low on buffs."
<Nenni> "I have all my mana reserves full, apart from level 0 after cleaning those clerics' vestments."
<Vivi> "I have a couple Black Tentacles and two Scorching Rays left, and one Fireball. And, I guess, two Magic Missiles. All my highest level offensive spells are used up."
<Nenni> "And we've got a few new (or at least, second-hand) magic items."
<Hildyr> "I'm not really hurt and I don't have spells to worry about, so I'm good to go."
<Ascii> "Sounds like we could get away with it. Maybe."
<Vivi> "I've got a bit of a scratch, but I'm pretty healthy."
<Ascii> "Personally, I don't want to go teleporting into the lion's den without knowing how many lions are going to be waiting. It could be easy, it could be suidice. What if there's a whole bunch more clerics waiting?
<Ascii> "Hmm." Ascii pulls out the pouchful of toad.
<Ascii> "I imagine you could tell us a lot, but then again, I imagine you won't be any more inclined to help us than Adrienne was."
<mainstreet> "Ribbit ribbit"
<Nenni> "We could poise ourselves for firing off a volley of alpha strike the moment we warp out of teleport - *before* any opponents in the cave get a chance to respond to a surprise appearance."
<Ascii> "Nenni, for all we know it's not a cave. It might be a fort with a hundred enemy soldiers."
<Nenni> "If there is nobody (visible) in the cave when we warp in, none of our readied volley gets expended, so we can reconsider a new plan. If there are multiple hostile targets, well, surprise might be our best bet anyway."
<Vivi> "It's risky, yes. We don't have any evidence of clerics outside of the Winstara sisters and Jason, but it's not impossible that there's more."
<Vivi> "But if Adrienne was lying, Lamaranth would probably have picked up on it."
<Ascii> She didn't ask if anyone else was there besides the wizard.
<Ascii> "I don't think dragons can sense lies of omission."
<Nenni> "But if we wait longer than absolutely necessary, the entourage waiting in the cave/fort will suspect something has gone wrong and already be on the defensive. And if we wait until tomorrow, they probably will have covered the teleport ground zero with bear traps dipped in paralytic scorpion poison."
<Vivi> "*I* asked if there was anyone besides the wizard...but that question might not have been answered directly."
<Ascii> "You asked, but I don't think anyone listened."
<Nenni> "So if we don't go Really Soon Now, we might as well walk there manually, based on the directions I got back in town while Gathering Information, in which case we'll have to face their front line of defence, instead of shortcutting through all that to their teleport landing site."
<Vivi> "If we don't take the teleport, Evangeline will also have more time to get to this Grand Mistress before we do. But we might not be ready to face the Grand Mistress today anyway, even if we do take out the wizard."
<Ascii> "Nenni, it's usually *better* to face the front line than to skip past it. If you appear in the middle of a hornet's nest, they come at you from *all* directions instead of just one."
<Nenni> "If they're looking backwards."
<Ascii> "They will be if they have any brains. Plus they're expecting someone to come back. They won't just have their backs to the rendevue point."
- Vivi looks at the toad. "One hop for yes, two for no. Are you willing to help us at all?"
<Nenni> "Well, they're expecting *friendlies* and contraband to appear. Not hostiles. So they probably have most defence eyes looking over their no doubt formidable defences, possibly on par with the Control Room, AntiLife shells, and animated suits of armour. All outside the facility here, and probably there too."
<Nenni> "I mean look what happened when the clerics and orcs teleported into the courtyard here! They bypassed much of that defence, right?"
<Nenni> "And we triumphed because we were expecting hostiles."
<mainstreet> The toad hops.
<Nenni> "They clearly weren't expecting hostiles / resistance, and so won't be expecting hostiles instead of contraband at the rendezvous site."
<Vivi> "Are there more creatures than just the wizard, at the teleport cave?"
<Ascii> "Are you going to help us *after* we change you back? Or are you going to be a negative Nancy like Adrienne was?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops twice in Vivi's direction and shrugs at Ascii.
<Vivi> "Are there other defenses at the teleport cave, like traps or such?"
<Nenni> "Can we even gain insight into the motives of a cursed amphibian?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops two more times.
<Ascii> "She's a human, Nenni. Humans are simpler than most people think. Hmm. How about this: we try the rope and take you with us. If we die, the odds of you getting returned to normal before you possibly lose your mind are slim. If we survive, we'll turn you back as thanks."
<mainstreet> "Ribbit". Beatrice hops around a few times.
<Ascii> "Fine then. You can stay in the pouch in my pack. If I croak (heh), you'll die of starvation before you can get out, so for all our sakes I'll assume you're telling the truth."
<Vivi> "Wait, I have more questions."
<Vivi> "Is there anything in the teleport cave that can take us directly to your base?"
<Nenni> "And if the resident wizard fireballs us to a crisp, you're expiring too."
<Ascii> "Okay, fine. But she's not turning back until we go. Otherwise she might try to warn them from afar."
<mainstreet> Beatrice hesitates, as though unsure how to respond to Vivi's question. "Ribbit."
<Vivi> "Is the teleport cave part of the same network of caves as your base?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops twice.
<Nenni> "There will presumably be carts with blankets in the back of them to transport the contraband, or similar, to the base."
<Vivi> "Is the teleport cave within an hour's walk of your base?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops twice again.
<Vivi> "Does the wizard usually teleport you to the base from there?"
<Ascii> "Vivi, I imagine the rendevue point is some random-ass point in the middle of nowhere. They probably planned to teleport to it, then teleport again back home."
<Ascii> "Hmm. Maybe we don't need the fake eggs. We could pretend to be injured and having gotten our butts kicked by a bunch of skilled and attractive heroes."
<mainstreet> Beatrice doesn't respond.
<Nenni> "So maybe the resident wizard has a rope of Teleport From Obscure DMZ Cave Back To Top Secret Base" with a readied action to use it if unexpected travellers Stargate in to the landing zone."
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops in Nenni's direction.
<mainstreet> "Ribbit ribbit"
<Nenni> "So we need to ready Hold Person to fire off in the surprise round."
- Vivi frowns. "Hmm. If he's going to leap off instead of fighting us, that's much less useful."
<Nenni> "And a bit more dangerous if he has the cave trapped (likely) for such an eventuality."
<Ascii> "If he's a wizard, he probably has hiw own teleport spells. Right?"
<Vivi> "He might not be high enough level to teleport that far."
<Ascii> "Beatrice, do you know how the wizzard planned to get the cargo out of there?"
<Nenni> "Well as long as the wizard is identifiable and within 680ft, I can Dimension Door some of us (probably melee types) to his location. Then he can choose between teleporting us collectively along with himself, or trying to win a grapple check."
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops towards Ascii.
<Vivi> "I think she was approving of Nenni's idea that the wizard has a teleport rope to the base."
<Nenni> "I can Dimension Door myself and 3 Medium accomplices."
<Nenni> "The problem will be if his benefactor has supplied him with an Invisibility ring or Nondetection amulet or similar which he permanently wears, and only takes off when he's certain those Stargating in are authentic. Otherwise he Stargates out of there before they've had a chance to grope about with True Seeing."
<Ascii> "Is he using a rope or some other sort of device to do it?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops towards Ascii.
<Ascii> "So it's equipment and not himself. Makes sense, with the range limitations of spells. Is it on his person?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops towards Ascii.
<Ascii> "Then we need to make sure he doesn't get away."
<Nenni> "So we need to ready Hold Person to fire off in the surprise round."
<Vivi> "Or Black Tentacles?"
<Ascii> "Vivi, take the Hold Person wand. I'm going to try and hit him with Dimensional Anchor. He can't teleport with that on him."
<Ascii> "You go for the wand."
<Vivi> "If we Dimension Door to him, like you say, and grapple him directly, then he probably can't teleport away without taking us with him.
<Ascii> "That's a bad idea. He could teleport us into the dragon's lair."
<Nenni> "We could kill him."
<Ascii> "Plus he can't use the thingy if he's grabbed anyway."
<Ascii> "No. I want him alive if possible."
<Ascii> "He'll know a lot more than those clerics."
<Vivi> "Maybe we can try all of the above. You Dimensional Anchor him, I'll cast Hold Person, and Nenni can Dimension Door Hildyr and Hans in to grapple him."
<Ascii> "No, no grappling. If they do it'll interfere with our aim."
<Nenni> "Your aim won't mean much if he's got a chance to cast a spell or use a command-word activated magic item. Whereas grappling him prevents him using a Spell Pouch, etc."
<Ascii> "Nenni, you're a cat. Pretty sure nothing you can grab onto will slow him down."
<Nenni> "Did I mention bringing friends with me?"
<Ascii> "Beatrice, does this wizard know you guys well enough to know what you all sound like when you speak?"
<mainstreet> Beatrice hops.
<Ascii> "Crap. Gonna have to make a move quickly, then."
<Vivi> "Unless you turn her back to human and let her do the talking...if you trust her that far."
<Nenni> "I don't."
<Ascii> "No. She's not turning back until I can be reasonably sure doing so won't ruin the element of surprise."
- Vivi hands the hats out, instructing Hans to look like Jason. She turns herself into Adrienne.
<Ascii> Ascii puts Bea back into the pouch, then puts that safely in his pack.
<Ascii> He then dons a hat and becomes Mork of Orc.
- Vivi thinks better of it and morphs into Beatrice.
- Hildyr disguises herself as Deirdre
<Ascii> "If anyone needs to buff and/or pee, do it now."
- Nenni manifests Chameleon to get a bonus on Hide skills, and then Heroics to gain Improved Initiative, and Inertial Armour in case there are people where they're going who don't like cats. Then he snuggles up to Vivi who is (or soon will be) touching the Rope.
<Ascii> Ascii stretches out the rope. "Everyone ready?"
<mainstreet> Fluffy grabs the rope, ready for action!
<Vivi> Aeth hides in Vivi's pack
<Hildyr> "Ready to go," Hildyr says and grabs the rope
- Vivi grabs the rope.
- Nenni presses against Vivi's ankle.
- Vivi places a toe on Nenni's paw to ensure contact.
<mainstreet> Hans, looking like Jason, grabs the rope.
<Nenni> "We should offer the dragon's consort a ride too. He might like an opportunity for vengeance for the insult to his beloved."
<Nenni> "Nah... let's go!"
<Ascii> "Too late!" Ascii activates the rope!
- Nenni pops off a Heroism while he's waiting.
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---