08 – Tactical Planning24-Jun-08
You have defeated the lurker. The party is scattered around the room, with most of you near the western corridor where Aka-Vasha was attacked. With your foe defeated, there appear to be no immediate threats in your vicinity.
However, the noise of Apollo’s irons seems to have attracted some unwanted attention from the north. There was a bellow in response to the initial shots, followed by howling from an unknown source.
The lurker has been defeated, and for a few brief moments the only noise is your laboured breathing. Then from the north you hear a new sound; not a bellowing but a baying howl! It sounds much closer than the previous noises; it might be just at the edge of your torchlight!
Apollo, with both his pistols now reloaded orders the closest torch-bearing retainer (Rogaine) – “Follow me!” – and darts to the edge of the northern passage.
Olive stoops down to the lurker and pokes some fingers into the dead flesh. He looks as if he was about to say something from the way he cocked his head, but the baying interrupts his comment. The android then leaps up and rushes next to Apollo, swinging the mace in anticipation.
Gene prods the lurker a few more times with his mace. Satisfied that the creature is dead, he turns his attention in the direction of the howling sound. Taking a torch from a retainer (Reesus), he follows after Apollo and Olive.
The trio stride confidently northward, weapons and torches in hand.
Before they make it into the passageway, however, Slinker shouts out: “Wait!” he says. “Leave the torches on the floor! Let them bastards come to us!” He takes up his crossbow again and squints into the darkness past Apollo, looking for something to shoot at and wishing he had time to roll a cigarette…
Rasputin voices his opintion: “Slinker’s plan is sound. Spread out in a semi-circle around the room with the shaft, missile weapons ready. The creatures sound hostile and we have nowhere to retreat. We will meet them with a hail of fire if they attack!” Thinking further, he adds, “Scouts to the east and west. We do not want them to hit our flanks by surprise.”
Having fully regained her breath, Aka-Vasha moves towards the east entrance and readies her longbow. With Vasha focused on her unseen target, Aka keeps an eye out down the eastern corridor.
Meanwhile, Andre switches to his heavy crossbow and loads a quarrel. He keeps watch on the western corridor.
Rasputin moves to the southern part of the room, placing the shaft between him and the northern entrance of the room, with his pistol in one hand ready to fire and his already bloodied sword in the other. He should be able to get a clear shot in from here.
Seeing the wisdom in Slinker’s plan, Apollo halts his race to the corridor and take his position in the semi-circle. Shooting irons at the ready. “Let them come, whatever they may be…” – he mumbles more to himself than the others.
“Excited exclamation: Tactical planning! I love tactical planning!” The android falls in place with the semi-circle. He places his mace back on its hanger and pulls out his sling. Within moments, the steady whirring of a readied shot can be heard echoing off of the metallic walls.
Likewise, Gene decides it is prudent to not advance down the hallway yet and takes a position to one side of the northern passageway. From here he might get some surprise against anything that emerges from the passage.
Ibben, still invisible and seeing his allies fan out in a semicircle basically aiming where he is standing (which is at the entrance to the northern corridor), drops his invisibility and gives an almost inaudible squeak as he quickly rushes to the east and south to be outside of any potential fusillade.
As he crouches by the eastern corridor, Ibben idly extends his mind outwards towards the motionless robot, trying to feel if it has a ‘mind’ (using Neural Telepathy), but detects nothing.
‘I don’t suppose any of you ‘orrible mutie wierdos can see in the dark can you?’ says Slinker.
Yobo scurries up to the entrance to the northern corridor and peers into the darkness with his night vision. Looking down the north corridor, Yobo’s enhanced sight reveals that there is a light source somewhere down the northwestern branch. (Whatever is producing the light to the northwest, though, it’s not in clear view and isn’t obvious enough to anyone else yet.)
“There’s a light up ahead along the western wall of the passage, I can’t see anyone or anything in the corridor. Can’t see much else.” Yobo tells the others.
The group pauses for several seconds and remains silent, waiting. The baying has stopped, but you can hear some shuffling and thumping noises from the north.
Rasputin whispers at Xanax to throw a torch into the northern tunnel for illuminatation. The retainer does so, with the torch falling about thirty feet down the hall. You can now all clearly make out the T-intersection at the end of the corridor, but cannot see any foes.
The shuffling noises become quieter, then go silent completely. You are all still gathered in your semicircle. Most are facing north; Andre and Reesus cover the western corridor, while Aka-Vasha and Ibben cover the east.
Rasputin hopes that the large numbers of ready weapons pointed their way will, at the least, cause our foes to hesitate long enough for us to establish if they are a threat before attacking.
Rasputin barks out, “Hold your fire till we can see them,” then he waits till they are illuminated in our torch light to determine if they are friend or foe. (Rasputin also holds his action)
Becoming impatient, however, Slinker fidgets with his crossbow then fires it up the northern passageway. “Yooohoo! Howly beastie thingy! Come and get the nice marrowbone I got for yooo!”
Moments later – perhaps in response to Slinker’s challenge – you see a number of small creatures scurry across the T-intersection to the north, moving from the western branch to the eastern branch.
You get a quick glimpse as they dash across. There are three short bipedal humanoids, splotchy green in colour. Their shoulders, abdomens, and limbs are fringed with leaflike
tendrils. Their heads have a topknot of small leaves. They appear to be armed with primitive weapons, though they make no threatening gestures towards you as they move.
Following them is a small doglike creature, also splotchy green in colour, but covered with wicked-looking thorns. As the thorny canine dashes across, it looks in your direction and growls.
These pygmy-like humanoids are a species of mutant that you are unfamiliar with. The doglike creature, too, is new to your group. They all appear adapted for camouflage amongst vegetation, and the creatures stand out in these metallic corridors here.
Once the vegepygmies cross the intersection (from west to east), you hear a quick cry from the northwest, followed by slapping and thumping in response from the northeast. Perhaps this is how they communicate?
(The referee tosses some dice. Then he shuffles through the PC’s character sheets and rolls a few more dice.)
A small head peeks around the northwest corner in your direction; a vegepygmie gazing at you with alien eyes. It utters a gutteral bellow, then just watches you in silence…
What are your actions?