Johten's going to back up a respectable distance and let the mephits handle the situation.
Rasnak is up.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
Oh! Sorry... Rasnak attempts to get the poor bitten hob back in better health.
Vandersrike will delay. He also silently hopes that the mephits don't overcook dinner. He prefers medium rare.
Stones don't cook, but they'll make sure dinner is nice and tenderized.
I don't know why I thought they were fire based. Maybe because of the zombie-fry we had earlier.
Henrik will delay indefinitely. He expects the mephits to take care of the immediate problem and would prefer to use mundane healing before magical healing if things work out. If they don't work out, he'll jump back into the initiative cycle.
You never get back the time you spend waiting to see what’s going to happen. You can’t, however, interrupt anyone else’s action (as you can with a readied action).
Initiative Consequences of Delaying
Your initiative result becomes the count on which you took the delayed action. If you come to your next action and have not yet performed an action, you don’t get to take a delayed action (though you can delay again).
If you take a delayed action in the next round, before your regular turn comes up, your initiative count rises to that new point in the order of battle, and you do not get your regular action that round.
Vex will wait until after the mephits turn, see what's left to do.
We're out of initiative. Xolani is poisoned as hell, so Heal checks are probably in order. He suffered a half-dozen bites, so he'd need that many checks. Thus far, he's managed to make all his Fort saves, but even with a good bonus his luck probably won't hold out forever.
On a side note, I'm probably going to tweak the shaman again soon for balance reasons. The changes I have in mind will probably make some of the events already elapsed in this campaign technically impossible, but we'll just ignore the anomaly this would create.
Henrik is not trained in mundane healing.
Moving on. Let's see what's in store for you next, other than the labor of killing a couple thousand trees.
Even more rolls.
Let's have Spot and Listen checks from everybody, please.
Hear no evil, see no evil
I rolled 1d20+5, 1d20+5, the result is 9, 5 = 14.
Rolling again, but this time with a semi-colon.
A heal for Xolani, if I still can, then a Spot, then a listen.
Greenland be cold, folks.
Spot and listen.
In the IC thread, the mephits are dismissed then suddenly minotaurs.
I think my browser suddenly ate the post that I had intended to make that transition. I honestly don't know what the hell happened, but I realized just after I posted that something was not right. Have edited to try to clarify a bit.
Ah. Haha. Yeah, I had the post I'd intended for the transition. It was sitting in another tab since I drafted it three days ago. I totally thought I clicked the button to submit it into the forum.
I'm going to assume that Vandersrike and Rasnak, somewhat annoyed that the Hobs were eating their breakfast, found your browser and ate part of it.
Also, Vandersrike dives into the underbrush and attempts to hide.
Just confirm for me - there are two minotaurs?
I'm thinking the proper way to handle them is to wait until we get jumped by something worse than giant centipedes and let them fight it out. Godzilla versus Mothra.
Convincing Narg to back down on this will require an act of bovine intervention.
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken
Maybe just leave it alone before Narg gets mad. Johten doesn't want beef with him.
You definitely don't want to gang up on him. Nobody likes being bullied.
I'd rather not fight. We should just keep mooving.
Better Narg gets angry than horny.
Either way, the PCs would be easily cowed.
These are three minotaurs carrying axes that let them casually chop down trees, which they seem extremely proficient at doing, and carry the trees, which they seem extremely proficient at doing, right?
To be clear, though, a minotaur gets substantial advantages in there. They have high Str and they're sized Large, and their axes are correspondingly larger as well. Plus they have Power Attack and BAB +6.
A minotaur dishes out something like 3d6+6 points of damage with its axe under normal circumstances. If they use Power Attack, that jumps to 3d6+18 (21 to 36, average 28). Under the rules for Carrying, Movement, and Exploration > Exploration > Breaking and Entering, you can auto-hit against an inanimate object as a full-round action. If they were sized Medium, the axes would deal 1d12+18 instead (19 to 30, avg. 24).
A typical tree has hardness 5 and 150 hp. Even assuming that the minotaurs deal minimum damage with every swing, they're laying down ~20 hit points of damage. Call it 8 rounds (48 seconds) to fell an average tree, just with minimum damage. That sounds awesome, but Mbali is doing 1d6+14 (average 17), and she's far from possessing superhuman strength. Johten is no slouch, either. A Medium creature with a greataxe would take approximately three more rounds to fell the same tree, all else being equal.
It also helps that the bleak banyans really are smaller than a normal tree; mature specimens are substantial in size, but the ones on this plantation are young and probably are being kept pruned and crowned to artificially retard their growth. That's a normal practice on most kinds of orchard; my father-in-law is a peach farmer and deliberately trains his trees so that you can pick them without needing a ladder.
Similarly on the carrying capacity front, Large creatures have twice the carrying capacity as a Medium creature with the same Strength score as them. Johten is not substantially outclassed in terms of raw strength, versus a minotaur, but they leave him eating dust
What I'm hearing from this is that we can see they're strong as fuck, but shouldn't necessarily take from it that this translates to them being otherwise good at combat. I'm not falling for that. They're obviously polymorphed red dragons.
Probably the minotaurs are reasonably good at combat. I don't think your expedition would lose a fight against them. But if they can dish out 9 points of damage as a minimum every time they hit something, you're not going to enjoy the fight. Probably you'd lose people unless you really got the jump on these guys, and that's going to be hard to do now.
Average damage from one of these guys is enough to kill a hob outright—unlike the PCs, the hobs have not gained a level so far, and your allies are Monster Manual standard. The only thing different is that they are armed with a spear that deals base damage as 1d8/x3 instead of a longsword with 1d8/19-20. They do gain XP, but I'm treating them a bit like cohorts so they progress more slowly.
And anyway, it's not totally clear to me why you'd interfere with them if you don't have to. Narg and his buddies aren't hostile. And (Rasnak's current hysteria aside) the spirit that hired them does not seem to have been hostile, either. It didn't resort to violence against you during your direct interaction with it, even after you rejected its offer. And conspicuously, it has not hired Narg and friends to attack you. It has promised them a bees knees orange mint to fetch some wood for its project. Whatever that means. I suspect Narg's grasp of Common is not as firm as we'd all like it to be.
With minimum damage, the minotaurs kill Vandersrike each hit. Vandersrike is fairly sufficiently cowed. (It wasn't intentional until I proofed my post.)
We don't really have much in the way of PC leadership, however. We do clearly have an NPC leader, who has called the shots this whole campaign. What is her reaction?
Vandersrike has to be reduced to -10 hit points to die, so minimum damage cannot possibly kill him outright.
Anyway, I don't think Mbali is interested in precipitating a fight. She looked like she was thinking seriously about taking the spirit's offer, when it visited you in the cavern. I think that at this point, she really just wants to get this whole thing over with, with as few losses as she can manage, and get back to civilization to get paid and drunk. Picking a fight with Narg and company doesn't seem like a way to make that happen faster.
The job was to destroy the plantation, including killing its trees, after all. If none of the PCs are interested in picking a fight with Narg, then I'll advance the timeline pretty shortly. Probably Mbali will try to hire them, if there's to be no bloodshed. A day's work from these three would put you significantly ahead of schedule.
I don't know how much of it is just my RL exhaustion and how much of it is Vexandi, but at this point he, too, is probably not interested in fighting the minotaurs. He knows the spirit might not be a good guy, but he doesn't know for certain he isn't, and whatever his business arrangement (beesknees orangemint) is with the 'taurs, he isn't part of it.
Yeah - if we had a chance to all get together and talk this out including strategy MAYBE it'd be fun to gank the minotaurs while they're holding trees instead of weapons, but probably not. I'm going to let them go. Hiring them works for me, too. Then we can maybe learn what the spirit gave them.
Narg told you what the spirit promised them, in fact.
Mbali is not actually a terribly good negotiator. Anyone with a Diplomacy or Charisma modifier greater than +0 can chime in here to help her out as part of an Aid Another action. If your modifier is greater than +1, you can take over the negotiations if you wish.
If you're feeling froggy, you also could try intimidating Narg into helping you for free.
Johten sees no reason to pick a fight with Narg. What does he care if the "elf" gets some weird necromantic tree material to make spells and stuff from? If we kill these trees, we get to leave the hostility of the world and return to civilization with money to keep ourselves fed and out of the rain. If anything, he's all for us getting Narg to help us achieve that faster, even if it cuts into profits a little.
Should I just make a diplo check? My +8 isn't too bad. I'm not really in the right mindset to roleplay out exactly what Vex would say (I'm moving this weekend, and damn has it been a hell of a week), but you can certainly fill in any words if you think it necessary. Otherwise, my diplo roll is below.
I hope the move works out well for you. I'll sort of handle Vex like an NPC for this, since I can well imagine that you're busy.
Sounds good. Next week will be rough, too, but the hope is things start settling down and we can start getting everything sorted and stabilized now that we'll be in a new place.