Tenfold Shields (OOC)

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Talanall
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Tenfold Shields (OOC)

Loktar!

Dafyd
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For Doomhammer!

Talanall
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Fanax and his cousins recognize the blue-skinned goblin. He's very familiar.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
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Lok'tar ogar!

Fixxxer
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What would be a decent guess at how many miles the horde covers on the average day?

Talanall
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About eight to ten miles, depending a little bit on the weather, exact conditions on the ground, etc.

Elements of the horde are capable of moving faster by quite a bit—goblin wolf-riders in particular can cover a good 40 miles without pushing hard, if they're only trying to sustain that pace for a day or two. I think we've discussed the basic reasons why they have to slow down after that, in terms having to do with the need to pack food for mounts and riders. They can push that figure to 45 or 50 miles, if they're willing to be a little hard on the wolves.

The main body of the horde is that portion which carries all the supplies, however, and a wagon is only going to go so fast. The steppe is largely devoid of tracks and roads, so that slows things a bit, although not the way it might in a forest or hills. Still, that's the limiting factor on how fast the horde can cover ground.

Also, the hobgoblins are herding animals across this whole trip. They're not exactly going in a straight line when they do that because they have to let the animals graze, although they do their best not to allow the animals to spread out too much.

If the map's scale is accurate, then it should take about 14-16 days to cover the distance between the horde's current camp and the Abbey of St. Fiacrius. The herds and other supplies are undoubtedly sufficient for a longer period than that, but Lwazi also is undoubtedly correct in his assertion that it'd be best to move right along. There are about 3,000 fighting goblinoids (call it ~1,000 goblins, ~1,500 hobs, and ~500 bugbears) in the horde, plus roughly that man again who're non-combatants of various kinds. Families, craftspeople, cooks, herders, horse doctors, etc.

Camp followers, basically. Often, when you read that phrase in fantasy novels, you get the impression that these are pretty much just whores, pimps, gamblers, and other unsavory types, but in fact they are in many respects part of the logistics chain for any non-professional army.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Let's see if Grimvaalk knows anything about dragons -- Knowledge (something) roll...

I rolled 1d20, the result is 4 = 4.
Talanall
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The keyed skill for dragons is Knowledge (arcana). In any case, Grimvaalk doesn't know anything useful even if he has ranks.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Does he know they like cold and not fire?

MinusInnocence
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I think the conventional model for setting Knowledge DCs would have a baseline of 15 and from there you add the creature's CR to determine even very generic information about it; like the dragon type and maybe knowing that a white dragon has the (Cold) subtype, and what those terms mean.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
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When I said, "He doesn't know anything useful," I meant what I said. Knowing that white dragons dislike fire and are fond of cold would be useful.

So no, Grimvaalk does not know it. :P

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
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What does Zathrus know about white dragons?

Knowledge (arcana)
I rolled 1d20+8, the result is 4, 8 = 12.
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Shit. Not much.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Zathrus is aware that dragons, regardless of the kind, have both low-light vision and darkvision out to at least 60 ft., that they're immune to most paralytic effects, and that it's futile to try to ensorcel one into a charmed sleep. Some dragons are capable of changing their shapes, including into credible imitations of humanoids. Despite their immunity to magical sleep, Zathrus is quite sure that dragons sleep naturally, and that they eat and breathe like other living things.

But as a rule, dragons are physically robust for their size. They can soak up a lot of punishment in a confrontation, and they can dish out a lot of punishment in turn‐universally, they are adept with their claws, bites, and other natural weaponry. Most have extremely quick reflexes, and they resist mental and physical insult very stoutly. It's difficult to hurt them by magic, poison, or even just a clever trap.

Often, dragons show a disturbing facility for learning, as well. There are a few dragons that are nothing more than animalistic brutes, but a majority of dragons are sentient enough to speak, or at least to understand a little speech. And as might be expected of creatures that are smart enough to talk, they also are smart enough to plan ahead, use deception, and show tactical adaptability. True dragons, as he understands it, are generally as smart or smarter than most humanoids.

He doesn't think all dragons are capable of flying, but the discussion so far has made it abundantly clear to him that this one can and does.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
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Fanax will now and henceforth address Gorx as Dutch.

Cronono
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Where's your god damn faith, Fanax?

Board Rider
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It went out the front of the tent along with this groups common sense. But, hey, it will be interesting.

Talanall
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Did "Gorx" just become an adjective?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Gorx modifies Gorx.

Talanall
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Gorx2.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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Darker

It's also a verb "Don't Gorx this up."

Talanall
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Speaking as a recovering English major, this entire discussion has given me a throbbing grammar-boner.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

The grammar discussion is really cutting a little close to the reason I chose Zathrus for Zathrus's name.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j-76eLz1hc

Talanall
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I thought you named him after Zathrus. My mistake.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
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I need to watch more television.

Talanall
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It doesn't look like anyone's going to knife anyone else just yet, so I guess we'll move ahead with the game.

This is a last chance for you to add/delete gear before you start your first excursion away from the camp and its market for supplies. So please review your character sheets one last time, and address any last requests or changes to me. When you're squared away, post your sheet here: https://www.dndarchive.com/forums/immigrant-song/character-sheets, since we'll be using open sheets for this campaign.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Hmmmm... maybe I'll pick up a few flaming arrows... you know, to start campfires. And a dragon bane arrow... for... reasons.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I don't really buy the flaming arrow argument, but fair's fair. Grimvaalk knows he'll be facing a dragon. We'll say that the Great Horde is (being somewhat impoverished because the goblinoids of the horde are, in general, operating barely above subsistence) equivalent to a Small Town in terms of its market size.

So you can buy individual items worth up to 800 gp.

A +2 equivalent arrow, such as a +1 bane (dragon) arrow, costs 166 gp, 5 sp.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Well, that would probably make the task at hand somewhat easier.

Darker

It would if we could pick up a good number of them. Alone, a single arrow or two (the maximum that Grimvaalk could buy) might do an average of 7 hp more damage an arrow IF they scored hits. Sure, if all the archers had such arrows, we might be able to take out an even bigger dragon in a couple of rounds.

If we had someone to cast it, a scroll of Flame Arrow would make much more sense, costing 375 gp, but enchanting 50 arrows with +1d6 fire for 30 minutes. But I don't really think we'll have that hard of a time anyway. Basically, make sure we stay mobile so the dragon can't make a full attack (or in the case of the wolf riders, has to double move just to keep up with them). Don't cluster so it can't score multiple hits with its breath weapon -- and use some protection or resisting to keep the energy damage down.

Cronono
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Shamans can cast Magic Weapon, but I don't see any other buffs as being applicable from Gorx's spell list.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

You guys have a difficult battle ahead of you, for sure. To a great extent, I think that you will have to make up your mind about how you want to approach the encounter with the dragon before you make any specialized preparations about how to fight it. I don't think I'm tipping my hand very much if I remark that the most fundamental choice facing you is whether you fight it inside its lair, or somewhere outside it, in hand with an assumption that its lair is relatively enclosed.

If your planning relies heavily on "stay mobile and avoid clustering up," then you may have problems in a confined space (which its lair may be). But conversely, if you're trying to fight this thing in the open where you can move around freely, then you're likely to be operating in a setting that will allow it to fight on the wing. That certainly will play to your wolf-riders' strengths, but it will severely limit the bugbears' ability to contribute to the fighting. They won't be useless, but neither will they be able to apply their brawn as effectively as you might like. That doesn't mean you shouldn't proceed with a plan involving combat outside of the lair, but it's probably something you should give due consideration. It's also the case that you are virtually assured of being able to arrange for a fight to happen outside—if the dragon knows that a hostile force is in the area and aware of the lair's location, then you've basically forced a confrontation. So if you can figure out a way to deal with the basic shortcomings of this overall approach, it has the general benefit of being one that you can count in being able to use.

An opposite approach may be possible, to the effect that you will hope to fight inside of the lair, in circumstances that will afford you the ability to use a natural choke point that will allow the bugbears to hold the dragon at bay while the goblins pile on with arrows/spells. Life could be a little bit difficult for you if the lair doesn't include such a choke point, although there is a high probability that it does—unless the dragon has bedded down in some kind of extremely large cavern or ruin in which all passages are a good 25 feet in diameter, or has chosen a location that has many entry and exit points, it just doesn't make sense to assume that there'll be nothing to work with.

Other than these two broad avenues of planning, you've got some sneakier options at hand. You could try to cook up ways to turn the environment against your foe, such as by figuring out a way to cause a cave-in or landslide that might hit the dragon. I think Gorx can cast soften earth and stone, so it's at least a plausible approach. But all of the problems associated with the idea of fighting inside the lair are applicable to such a stratagem, except that they are magnified because of its specificity: it would require you to find a PERFECT spot.

On the other side, you could try to figure out some way to knock the dragon out of the sky. That would be extremely difficult, I think, but I am not prepared to rule it out; it's less difficult for smaller fliers than for larger ones. Flying creatures with average maneuverability or worse have a "stall" speed, usually half their rated flight speed. If something prevents them from moving at least that fast, they lose lift and begin to fall, dropping 150 ft. If the ground is at least that close, they take falling damage proportional to their altitude. Otherwise they get a Reflex save to pull out of the stall; if it fails, then they fall 300 more feet that round, and the save repeats until they hit the ground or pull up.

The Core rules for aerial movement are sketchy beyond this, however; there isn't much in the way of defined mechanics to determine what, if anything, might prevent a flying creature from moving fast enough to prevent a stall. However, WotC has published non-core guidance on this score. See: http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20040706a, all of which I think was later absorbed into the Rules Compendium. The punchline is that if you can figure out some way of executing an aerial bull rush, trip, or similar effect that would check a flying creature's forward movement, WotC unofficially suggests treating that as a stall.

Obviously, if you could make it happen, this would be fantastic from your perspective because it has some potential to inflict damage in addition to grounding the dragon.

Less exotically, Gorx is capable of casting resist energy as a shaman, so if you can obtain scrolls of that spell, you at least have a fix for the dragon's breath weapon.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
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We've bungled a number of Knowledge(Arcana) rolls to know useful things about the Dragon. Is it safe to say that we know everything from this post?

Darker

The rangers should also manage protection spells as well, right? I think 4th level can cast 1st level ranger spells.

Talanall
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Cronono wrote:

We've bungled a number of Knowledge(Arcana) rolls to know useful things about the Dragon. Is it safe to say that we know everything from this post?

By virtue of Zathrus's result on his K: Arcana check, you guys know all of the information provided at http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#dragonType. Additionally, you're aware that most dragons are smarter than a brute animal (smart enough to talk), and that some dragons, especially 'true' dragons, are considerably smarter than that. See https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/30070#comment-30070 for the particulars of what Zathrus knows.

Additionally, you know that most dragons have breath weapons that deal some sort of supernatural injury; classically they breathe fire, but Zathrus is sort of vaguely aware that some dragons may breathe other things, and you know that the specific one that you'll have to deal with is capable of flight—you have eyewitness accounts to verify that. You know that this one is white in color and was big enough to carry off livestock (I don't think Lwazi specified what, but the vast majority of the hobgoblin herds and flocks are goats, sheep, and ponies rather than beeves or horses), which is at least useful in making sure you get the right one.

You specifically do NOT know anything regarding the specifics of true dragons in general, except that they tend to grow in cunning and power as they age. And you know nothing of the specific powers and vulnerabilities of white dragons. And although I haven't spelled it out, Pradha, Ganbataar, and Lwazi aren't in possession of this knowledge, either, or they would have told you. As may be indicated by his dragonhide armor, Lwazi has some prior experience with dragons, but he's not really an expert on their habits and capabilities.

None of this would prevent you from seeking advice from other NPCs if you were so inclined, however. There are around three thousand goblinoids in the Great Horde, so it's entirely possible that someone, somewhere, may be able to tell you more.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Oh. Also, you know that dragons have a strong, almost universal tendency to establish and defend a territory, and to reside in a lair of some kind.

As far as my post regarding tactics goes, I think that its contents are not really knowledge about dragons, so much as it's reasoning that follows from what you know about dragons. I don't think any of it is beyond what your characters could work out for themselves if they chatted about the task at hand with relationship to what they know about their own capabilities.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
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Darker wrote:

The rangers should also manage protection spells as well, right? I think 4th level can cast 1st level ranger spells.

Grimvaalk can cast 1st-level ranger spells, yes. As I recall, his Wisdom score is sufficient to allow him a bonus spell of first level, and he's a rng 4, so he gets "0" 1st-level spells, plus the bonus; this means he can cast spells. Fanax is not currently able to cast spells.

Fanax could use a wand of any spell that appears on the ranger's class spell list, but until he actually has a caster level, he cannot use scrolls. Grimvaalk can use divine scrolls of spells from the ranger list.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold