The Devil’s Riddle: Session 50

Rapid clicking sounds echo down the passageway, and Idril finds herself wondering if they might be some form of rudimentary plant language. Then a twisting, writhing mass of bramble and briar comes pouring down the stairs towards them.

“Oh shiiiit!” Cayleb cries, and he panic fires his crossbow into the tangled thorns. While the rest of the group manage to better maintain their composure they are no less alarmed. As one they unleash the attacks they had prepared, arrows thumping into gnarled briar. Lisandra points and a bolt of light leaps from her fingers. The thicket seems to part momentarily, and the light passes through harmlessly. Tomas grips his greataxe tightly and bellows a challenge.

As the wave of thorns closes Idril unleashes the spell she has been holding. Bright colours swirl from her fingertips bathing the thorns in coruscating patterns. The thorn swarm falters, halts, and breaks apart into its composite creatures. A couple of them blunder about, their shiny black eyes turned milky white by the blinding lights. Idril intensifies her attack, and another creature lets out a clicking squeal, trying in vain to protect its eyes. Fyn is able to pick one of the blinded ones off with another well placed arrow.

But the respite is momentary. The remainder hurl themselves on the adventurers with savage glee. Wicked spined claws open wounds down Tomas’ legs while spat thorns tear painfully into Rufus’ face and neck. The two warriors are battered, bleeding and exhausted.

“There are too many of them!” Rufus cries. “Fighting retreat! Back through the door! Go!” He takes up a defensive stance, hoping to buy the others enough time to escape. Though it goes against his every warrior’s instinct Tomas follows the blademaster’s lead. Cayleb and Fyn back away, still firing, as Lisandra casts healing magics on Tomas.

Idril, leaning heavily on her cane, retreats back into the room with the trunk, frustration furrowing her brow. “I’m sorry, my friends; my magics are all but spent. I don’t know what further help I can provide.” Lisandra nods. “I have little left to offer myself. Rufus is right, everyone fall back!”

As if things are not bad enough the blinded briar-kin’s white eyes regrow their shiny black coating. They crouch and turn towards the embattled warriors, bloody maws spread wide in toothy grins, wicked little eyes glinting. The horde of tiny briar-kin seem relentless, remorseless, unstoppable. 

Tomas takes up a position in the doorway with the others at his back. The big mountain man roars in defiance, keeping the creatures at bay with chopping sweeps of his greataxe. Although the occasional attack gets through he does a remarkable job of holding the line. “Come at me, you spiky devils!” he bellows. “I’ll chop you to kindling!”

“Lisandra, keep him standing!” Rufus cries. He unslings his bow, notches and fires in one smooth motion. “The rest of you, keep fighting!” Fyn and Cayleb continue to shoot, though their quivers are running low. Even Idril unwraps a sling from her wrist and catches a briar-kin with a nasty shot as Lisandra channels all her remaining healing magic into the brave mountain man’s defense. As quickly as she heals him though fresh wounds are opened up by the vicious grinning little creatures. It is increasingly plain to all of them that this war of attrition can have only one outcome.

At the rear of the pack two of the creatures join hands and thorny tendril begin to snake towards the big man. “That’s it!” snaps Rufus as he takes another briar-kin down with a well placed arrow. “Back, Tomas, now. Close the door behind him!”

The door slams. Rufus and Tomas set their backs to the thick oak as Fyn and Cayleb work to secure it. No-one speaks, their breaths coming in short gasps. Sweat slicks their brows. Their work done the party step back, glancing anxiously at one another, then at the door. They have earned themselves a respite. But for how long?

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One Response to “The Devil’s Riddle: Session 50”

  1. Q: are all the briar-kin on the ground? (Unlikely) EXCEPTIONAL YES
    Curious. I wanted to see how many got caught by the Grease, but this suggests something else is going on. I’m going to rule the Childen of the Briar have combined into a huge mass of creeping tendrils. Just because it sounds cool 🙂 I’ll also rule that this means they are unaffected by the Grease spell.

    What happens next is an inexorable defeat for the party. Tomas takes the dodge action each turn and is raging, so he’s hugely tanky (Disadvantage to incoming attacks and resistance to Piercing damage), but there are just too many of the bad guys, and the party have nowhere near the damage dealing output to get through enough of them quickly enough. They are out of spells, out of ammo and quickly running out of HP. They only take out two of the eight briars before they are forced to hide behind the door.

    It’s not looking good for them…

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