Spot. Can Yonah smell anything new, btw?
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
Roll for Initiative.
That's my specialty.
That's something I do, but do not specialize in.
Not sure if Fanax needs init...
Yes, thank you.
Has Gorx ordered the fire elementals to go somewhere else, or are they still standing in the fire they helped to ignite? My sentiment is that the fire is the warmest, and hence most comfortable spot in the vicinity, and so they're likely to stay put if they aren't explicitly told to get out and do something else.
Gorx likely has not given them new instructions as he is rather fascinated by Operation Tent-Bellows. This is terrible tactically but is what is likely the case.
RIP fire elementals. Our only chance is if I charge into the mist and grapple this dragon into submission before it attacks.
Let me have a Listen check from Oni, please.
Not my specialty, but I can phone it in.
Reflex saves for Oni and Yonah, please.
It's my opinion that breath weapons propagate as a burst, rather than as a spread. The difference is between (for example) burning hands and fireball, respectively. This is based on the verbiage dealing with cone effects in the SRD/PHB's Magic Overview section. The rules don't entirely dismiss the possibility that a cone effect or line effect could propagate as a spread, but they do say that it is typical, and I have found no examples to contract it. So I'm going to handle it as a burst, which means that cover applies.
There is therefore a +2 cover bonus applicable to Oni's and Yonah's Reflex saves.
Counting that, Oni saves.
Regardless, Yonah hisses, "There is a dragon!"
Add plus 2 to the result!
Is what looks like Vumrot lurking in the mist particularly large, from what Oni can tell?
It's hard to see clearly because the fog really is extremely thick. If Vumrot were not at its very edge, Oni wouldn't be able to see him/her at all.
But overall, no. Vumrot is probably about the same size as Oni if you measure them by weight, except that his/her body mass is distributed very differently. Being a dragon, Vumrot has a lot more neck and tail, and two entire extra limbs. So she/he's much more serpentine in build.
Oni would need to see Vumrot in flight or else stretched out in order to be able to be certain that this dragon's physical dimensions are consistent with what he's been told to expect. But it doesn't seem terribly far-fetched that the Great Horde's leadership was correct about the approximate size of this creature. Just by eyeball, he thinks Vumrot probably is indeed large enough to carry off a goat or sheep.
I should add that the fire you guys started IS still burning. If you want to get Vumrot in melee, you'll have to find a way to pass through it. On the bright side, that's true if Vumrot wants to get at you, too.
At present, Vumrot has concealment (20% miss chance) from the fog. You currently have both line of effect and line of sight, so spells that don't call for an attack roll are completely feasible. If he retreats, even a little bit, then you'll lose line of sight. That'll make it considerably harder to target him with spells unless you make a good guess with something that covers an area of effect.
Guess we can't let him retreat then. Would it take a standard action to lay the tent over the fire then hop across real quick before it ignites under Oni's feet? Obviously it will still be super hot, I just don't want to burn all my fur off getting over there.
Failing that, Oni's next preferred plan of attack would be to run back 20' then turn around and sprint toward the fire, jumping over it when he gets there. But this seems unattractive for a lot of reasons; the first is that I don't know how much clearance over the fire I would need to avoid taking fire damage (I assume just passing through the square on the ground that actually has the fire in it would not suffice). The second and worse problem is that Oni's speed isn't high enough to do all that, close for melee and actually do anything to the dragon. The best I could hope for would be to end my turn next to him and hope I don't get shredded (which is extremely likely because I'm currently not wearing armor).
So yeah. Covering up the fire for a second seems like a better choice. Does this seem practical at all to Oni in the span of a round while also preserving my standard action? Would it require an action on the part of Yonah to let go of his half of the tarp, or would that be more like an immediate action?
What I really want to do is grapple Vumrot.
The fire is large enough that I doubt that you could get across it without incurring some kind of relatively serious injury; the fire not only would deal damage (around 4d6 points of fire damage), but would likely set fire to Oni unless he succeeded on a Reflex save. Covering the fire with the tent would probably just leave Zathrus out one fairly nice tent, at this point. Certainly I don't think that it'd provide any noteworthy protection against the heat of this fire. Likewise, I think your concerns about whether Oni would be able to get the necessary clearance to avoid damage by jumping over the fire are well-founded.
All this aside, the tent is not heavy but is bulky, and it is spread out. Getting it over the fire probably would require coordination with Yonah, which may or may not be easy to arrange now that you are actively under attack by a dragon. And, too, you'd need to either throw it over the fire elementals, or somehow coordinate with them, as well.
So I guess grappling is only in the cards if you think Oni is the sort of guy who'd literally walk through fire to get to someone he wants to kill. And even if he did that, there's the miss chance from fog. And the likelihood that if something goes wrong, the other goblinoids may be more likely to run away than help him.
I suppose it's also possible that if you wanted to get sophisticated about this whole thing, you could have a go at using a rope or grappling hook as an improvised weapon similar to a net, as you discussed earlier in this adventure. The upside would be that you might be able to pull the dragon into the fire (which would be great if it's vulnerable to fire damage). The downside is that the dragon might be able to do the same to you.
In the circumstances, I wouldn't blame Oni or Yonah if they decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and backed off a few steps to chuck javelins at this dragon while you wait to see if it braves the fire or scuttles back into the mist to hide.
If it does hide, then presumably that means it doesn't have any other way out of the cave, is vulnerable to fire, and isn't desperate enough to brave the flames in a bid to escape. In that case, you guys probably could work out some way to keep this fire stoked (I guess you'd have to throw wood onto the fire to feed it, and abandon your efforts to speed things up with the tent fabric).
Right on. Oni will run away. He needs to get back to the bushes where he stashed his gear and suit up for battle, which may or may not be over by the time he returns to the mouth of the cave.
Would you refresh my memory about which clump of bushes those would be?
Oni left his stuff about 110' southeast from the bottom right corner of the large #1 on the map.
Okay. That's just barely within range for him to get there by running as a full-round action, if he wishes, since his unburdened speed is 30 ft.
I want that very much. If he can end his turn with a headlong dive into the brush to get some concealment from the dragon, so much the better.
Unfortunately not. Jumping is part of an existing movement. He could if he had the Run feat.
Fanax stares at Oni as he runs to gather his gear. The goblin shakes his head, runs his hands over his face and then places both hands on his hips.
For the moment he is content to see what everyone else does.
Which dot on the map is Grimvaalk?
Not being a fan of icy breath to the face, Yonah moves four squares due south, drawing his wicked looking morning star and shield as he does so. "If one of you wants an unspoiled dragon tooth, you'd best get to him before I do," he avers irritably.
Grimvaalk delays until after the dragon goes.
Even with a tree for cover, Zathrus doesn't like being so exposed. He's gonna move to a location three squares diagonally northeast from the cave entrance.
Is there some mind-influencing effect that prevents the surviving fire elementals from attacking the dragon? I would have thought that being dominated would have led to a different result.
Something came out of the fog, blew frost at them that was so cold that half of them immediately passed out and fell to the ground, and then disappeared back into the fog. So they probably think staying close to the dragon is virtually suicidal, and even if they don't, they can't tell for sure where it is because of the fog, beyond a vague, "somewhere inside this cave, closer than we'd like."
So yes, they're behaving as if dominated. And per the dominate person spell description, "Obviously self-destructive orders are not carried out." Even if Gorx had had time to order them to stand and fight, it's likely they'd just disobey because dominated creatures can't be controlled very well in circumstances that involve sending them into situations that are extremely (and obviously) lethal to them.
Got it. Not sure what I'm going to do. Can Gorx both dismiss the elementals and delay?
Dismissing them is an action, so he'd be unable to delay if he did so.
To expand a little on the basis of why these elementals can try to run away: we have several things going on, not all of which would be sufficient on their own to loosen a shaman's control. Most prominently, the fire elementals have suffered a 50% casualty rate within the space of a single round from a single attacker. Worse still, they were attacked with cold, to which they are vulnerable (they take +50% damage), and which they hate. And even the survivors were injured seriously.
The nearly instantaneous casualties are really the big deal, here. If they had just suffered some damage, even cold damage, that probably would not be enough on its own to shatter their morale so thoroughly that they believe themselves in mortal danger. It would be enough to make them start complaining, and Gorx might very well have to exert himself to talk them into continuing the fight. But he's a charismatic guy.
They don't help the situation, though.
Your original question was whether there's some kind of mind-affecting effect that might make the elementals run away or refuse to fight, and this also is potentially an issue to consider in the future. Effects that apply the "frightened" and "panicked" conditions to their targets automatically lead the targets to flee, the difference being that frightened creatures will fight if they cannot flee, while panicked creatures drop whatever they're holding and run, or else cower if they can't get away.
Fear effects are pretty common, with spells capable of applying the "frightened" condition to a single creature starting at 1st level and to multiples at 2nd. "Panicked" takes longer to show up, as the fear spell is a bard 3, sor/wiz 4 spell.
And of course, true dragons over a certain minimum age innately have Frightful Presence, which spreads panic in their vanguard.
There also are some other spells that would specifically prevent a dominated creature from engaging in hostilities through other mechanisms. Calm emotions (bard 2, cleric 2, Law 2) is a good example.
In this case, though, the mechanism is just good, old-fashioned terror of death. The fire elementals have plenty of evidence to make them think they're overmatched, so they're running away. In general, I try to have creatures run away from combat or surrender if they think they are likely to die if they continue fighting. If something fights to the death, that's usually indicative of ideology, inability to flee coupled with worries that surrender will not be honored, desperation to defend family/offspring, or (rarely) profound stupidity.
Understood. Gorx dismisses the elementals, then moves E, E, E, SE, E, E.
Oni doesn't think stopping to put his armor back on in the middle of combat is very practical so he will spend the next round or two gathering his weapons and shield. He'll leave the armor and backpack in the woods and intends to reengage the dragon with his spear when he has everything else squared away. In all, we're talking about a crossbow, morningstar and shield. He probably kept the dagger and case of bolts with him while he was gathering firewood.
Okay. Picking up an item is a move action, and he's picking up four items. So that's two rounds. Drawing/sheathing a weapon is a move action, as is readying or loosing a shield. So that's two more. He can stop at any time, so if you don't mind, can you tell me what order he's going to get things ready to go?
Morningstar, shield, crossbow, spear. I figured picking up the spear last would save me some time.
Can Grimvaalk get an arrow in the cave from where he is? It'll be likely a missed shot, but can he get the angle right?