Comic 117 - Patrol Peace Calling

5th Jun 2018, 10:14 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes) Rate this comic
Patrol Peace Calling
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 5th Jun 2018, 10:14 PM edit delete
You tell your parents that you'd like to do some more catching up--maybe going fishing with Dad tomorrow?

"That'd be great!," your dad says. "Yeah, we can get up early tomorrow and catch something."

Before you go any further, though, you want to make a quick run through town--just to make sure nobody followed you here, or anything. You don't... want to put your parents in any danger.

"Be careful, Nast," your mom replies.

"Yeah, don't do anything I wouldn't do!," adds your dad.

You, Valley, and Justice head outside, and begin to wander Peace Calling.

"Your parents are very nice," Justice states.

"Yeah, I can toootally see where you get... like, all of it," Valley says with a small laugh.

You keep an eye out for anything suspicious in town... and for any unused mining equipment. Most of it's been here since you were born, unclaimed and mostly undisturbed. Nobody's really had the urge or incentive to clean it up--just random gear scattered throughout town, rusting and rotting. You pass by old, dirty helmets, individual mine carts overgrown with weeds and vines, and...

a small hammer. It's not much, but it's an improvement. You dust it off and hand it to Justice.

"Thank you!," she says, equipping the mining sledge.

Justice's expression softens. "...Thank you. You're very kind... all of you. I know that I'm... something of a burden, thus far. I'm not as strong as Valley, or as clever as Ranse and Inzo, but... nonetheless, you treat me as an equal."

Valley gives a huge shrug, and makes a somewhat goofy face. "What? Like... you totally ARE equal. Taking that paralysis off me at the docks, like... that could have been our asses? And we toootally need someone with like... morals? To balance out like... all the Inzo. And whatever Lagrand's deal is, 'cuz Ranse thinks he's secretly evil or some junk? I'm thinking he's like... good, but a vampire maybe. What was I saying? Oh, yeah, you're fine. Totes fine."

Justice smiles again. "...Thank you. I just worry that when the moment comes--"

You catch something... a glint, in the corner of your eye, on top of one of the nearby houses. You look, but in that instant... it's gone, as if it disappeared into the sky.

"--Valley!," Justice yells.

In that same moment, you feel Valley's powerful hands shoving you backward. ...Way backward, off your feet even, and as you tumble through the air...

you see something crash into the ground. Hard. Hard enough to stir up dust and whip grass about, hard enough that the force of it sends Justice sliding backward.

It hits the ground almost right where you were standing.

You stumble to your feet, drawing your shield and wand.

As the dust clears... you see a VERY tall man, wearing armor that looks like... coral? He carries a spear with a jagged end... which he points directly at you.

"I trust you told them goodbye. ...Your family."

His voice is deep. He speaks with fangs and a heavy accent. He looks like... some kind of shark, almost, or a piranha maybe.

"I am told that's normal among your people," he says, taking a step toward you. "I didn't think you'd be so easy to track down... but maybe surface dwellers are just bad hunters."

"He doesn't need to say goodbye!," Valley yells, tightening the grip on her stone zwei. "Like, he's not going anywhere!"

Justice shouts something as well, but it's... not in your language. It's not kuo-toa, either--it sounds more primal, more brutish, guttural. Whatever it is she said, it brings a smirk to the shark man's lips.

You tell him you're not the thief. There's been a misunderstanding, and you've been framed. The real thief is out there and you're trying to catch him.

"The sea lion pleads, 'I am not tasty. Please, do not eat me.' It is a natural thing for prey to say." He twirls his spear between his fingers--despite his immense size, and the sheer bulk of his armor, the way he moves the spear is almost elegant. "There is blood in these waters... but do not fear, sea lion. I am challenged to take you alive. I enjoy a challenge."


He kicks off from the ground, launching into a dead sprint straight at you. His movements are smooth, his body like flowing water in spite of his menacing armor. He leads with the spear, the point of it aimed straight at your torso.


The Mighty Dragon Lizard 5th Jun 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DODGE! Once we doge cast Deinforce on the spear! After that have Valley attack with Earthbreaker and smack him with her sword a bunch. If we CAN'T Dodge then have Valley do that anyway while Justice uses healing hand to PREVENT US FROM DYING!
The Mighty Dragon Lizard 5th Jun 2018, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
Also if we get a chance, poison the fishy bastard.
Guest 5th Jun 2018, 11:55 PM edit delete reply
Might be better to deinforce his armor/ spear.
Tech 5th Jun 2018, 11:55 PM edit delete reply
Alex Nipal 6th Jun 2018, 12:03 AM edit delete reply
+1 to dodging

-1 to poisoning and weakening. If we can touch him, he can grab us. we do NOT need to be in touch range.
ZincFingers 6th Jun 2018, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
Ditto on not touching him, some coral will cut you up something fierce if you mess with it.
GS 6th Jun 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
First dodge, then cyclone him! Get dirt in his eyes!

'Sea lion', my ***!
Get ready to face the sea LEOPARD, sharkboy!
Guest 6th Jun 2018, 12:51 AM edit delete reply
+ 1 to dodging.
Feels like diplomacy won't save nast here. At least not this time.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
+1 to dodging

+1 to deinforcing his spear, then his armor if we get the chance

Once he's disarmed and a bit beat up, THEN we can try diplomacy. It usually works better when your position isn't 'fighting for your life'.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
I know we don't want to get into touch range, but if he does get close enough to touch, for God's sake, yes, poison his ass.
Guest 5th Jun 2018, 11:54 PM edit delete reply
Bounty hunters, eh?
Sticking around for the night might not be so good...
Guest 6th Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Tornado him plus Valley's earthbreaker thing! Let's do it!
Espylacopa 6th Jun 2018, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
Deflect his attack with your shield, counter with whirlwind-earthbreaker combo.
Alex Nipal 6th Jun 2018, 12:13 AM edit delete reply
Our first priority is to get back behind Valley and stay out of range of that spear.

"Maybe surface dwellers are just bad hunters". He might not be used to fighting outside water. Slash at his legs with the Wand. Valley use Earthbreaker to trip him.

Try to stay out of his range. We have a Shield now, but we should do our best to not have to use it.
If he's like the sharks in the stories he might go berserk when blood is drawn. Using an Unimpressive Trout as a decoy is a silly idea.

We can also try to flee. He seems fast, but we are in our hometown. There's probably a few spots we can use to lose him. I don't know what we would do after that though, he will still hunt us.

The best approach is probably to fight him and show him that he won't be able to claim the bounty on our head. Don't kill him but don't be afraid to impair and injure him.

Ask his name.

When you have time, ask Justice what she said to him.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
+1 to staying out of range, asking for his name and asking Justice what she said to him, once we get a free moment.

I also agree we should stand and fight rather than run. Show him we're not such easy prey, act brave even if we have to fake it a bit.

I would actually stay in front of him though. As long as he's focused on Nast then Valley and Justice can attack him from behind and maybe surprise him that way.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
Absolutely +1 for standing our ground
Crestlinger 6th Jun 2018, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Back up two steps and Door the bugger.
ZincFingers 6th Jun 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
That would certainly catch him off guard, Reinforce the door though, don’t want his spear to come through... and explaining to the neighbors why they no longer have a door might be awkward.
Krylo 6th Jun 2018, 4:12 AM edit delete reply
This has pretty good prospects but only if the door is both unlocked and opens outward. Otherwise trying it could just slow us down enough to get stabbed.

I think Nast should know whether people lock the doors and which way they generally swing in his hometown, though.
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 4:35 AM edit delete reply
+1. Reinforce the door *after* the spearhead sticks through; we can fix it later. The guy doesn't want to actually kill us and depriving him of his primary weapon would be valuable.

Watch out for a net; spear+net is a traditional combo and would fit for this guy. If he throws one, blow it away.

Ask Justice of she knows anything about these guys.

Is there a town watch or an old secret pit we dug as a kid or something?

Have poison and reinforce ready in that order but better if we can stay out of range.
ZincFingers 6th Jun 2018, 5:58 AM edit delete reply
Oh, yeah, after he stabs the door, disarming him should make all this a bit easier.
Dysprosian 6th Jun 2018, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
+1 reinforce after stabbing the door. Throw him in a whirlwind while he is trying to get it out.

Then have valley hit him with the broad side of her sword, bouncing him off the door and landing him in the whirlwind again. CC and disorient him.

If it works maybe justice can have a nice little chat with him.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
+1 to letting him stab into the door and reinforcing it to hold his weapon.

I wouldn't try poison though. At least not yet - and remember, poison is lethal here and Lagrand isn't with us to Detox him afterwards.
Twyll 6th Jun 2018, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
This guy seems to know what he's doing. I suspect he has methods of dealing with poison, but it could at least slow him down a bit, so we should try to use it.
Corwin of Amber 6th Jun 2018, 12:17 AM edit delete reply
He's obviously fast, strong and skilled. we'll need to use our knowledge of the area to limit his movement try to place something between him and Nast. Perhaps some bulk mining equipment? options, let him focus on us allowing Valley and Justice to flank him. We still have the bandanna equipped so if we do make contact with him be sure to grab something.
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 4:52 AM edit delete reply
Placeholder 6th Jun 2018, 9:05 AM edit delete reply
What about trying to lead him into the caves where all the dangerous monsters are. Then as he's about to be defeated we come to his rescue, proving to him we're good people.

If that doesn't work and he still attacks then he should be weak enough at that point that poison should take him out pretty easily.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
+1, especially to trying to steal from him.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 10:06 AM edit delete reply
+1 to stealing from him if given the chance, but if he's close, priority should be poison first.
Caydenite 6th Jun 2018, 1:33 PM edit delete reply
While I like the idea of having something between us and that sharp, pointy spear, he's great at jumping and clearly comfortable with attacking that way. I think that tactic might work better indoors if we can get there.
Sparky 6th Jun 2018, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Dodge, but ready your shield to deflect his spears attack. Cast Deinforce on it and then see if you cant smack it with the sheild. If not possible, get the hell out of the way and group up with your party. Have Valley Earthbreaker him. Defense is key, but offense will tip the balance in our favor. Maybe use the wind wand to help us dodge
GS 6th Jun 2018, 12:40 AM edit delete reply
Patrolling town was a solid idea.
If possible, we need to take this guy alive for questioning; we need to know if there are more bounty hunters near Peace Calling. If so, we need to run.
Can you imagine more sharkboys, crashing into Nast's parents' home...? o_o
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
That would be a good reason to leave town immediately, hoping they follow us instead of going after our family.

But from the way this guy talks so far I hope he's a lone hunter, and trying to collect the bounty before others... still, we can't stay here for too long.
Gruk The Loon 6th Jun 2018, 12:55 AM edit delete reply
To bad Ranse isnt here, fire would be useful.
Are there any other sources of fire we can put between us and the enemy? Maybe fuel it with the wind wand?
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 4:54 AM edit delete reply
Lantern hanging from hook on house?
GS 6th Jun 2018, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
+ Dodge.
+ Cyclone sharkface willie. Get dirt in his eyes and nose.
+ Use smacktalk to distract him while Valley sets up the earthbreaker.
"Sea lion? You poor mackerel; I've fished up tougher things than you from the river. Get ready to face a sea LEOPARD! I hope you've said goodbye to YOUR family, if you haven't eaten them all."
+ Keep an eye out for other bountyhunters; sharkface willie might not be working alone.
+ Try to keep him alive for questioning, but get him in a flanking crush. Valley does melee. Nast does ranged. Justice provides healing backup.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
Looking out for other bounty hunters is a good idea. I'm sure he's working along-bounty hunter's are usually keen on sharing-but others might be watching. I think it would be a good idea to hold back some of our moves. Anyone who's watching will be able to learn how to counter what we do now.
Eric 6th Jun 2018, 1:17 AM edit delete reply
I believe a good description of the spear is serrated
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Agreed, it sure looks that way.

Those tend to cause bleeding, so let's not let that thing skewer us, shall we?
CruntKnockler 6th Jun 2018, 1:40 AM edit delete reply
Does Status Martyr work both ways? Could we poison Justice and have her transfer that over to shark boy? Hopefully we can get some info out of him when he's near death, but if not I say we go with dodge roll, followed by the cyclone+earthbreaker combo. Not sure what to follow up with though...
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
From Justice's page I think Status Martyr is one-way only, onto her.
Seething 6th Jun 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
The attacker, while clearly adept, talks as though he doesn’t have a ton of experience with surface dwellers. His home is undersea. I wonder how he’s breathing? Is he a true amphibian? Or does he have some other means of breathing? If it’s a magical effect, we have someone who could take that away...
After all, Status Martyr takes a status effect. Doesn’t specify that the effect be bad and on a friend. Worth a shot at least. Could be nothing, could give Justice some nice buffs.
Brb 6th Jun 2018, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Maybe we can create a sort of bubble around his head if we move the wand in a sort of spherical way... I fear that would be OP though
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 11:11 AM edit delete reply
The circular/spiral movement creates the vertical tornado. How would you distinguish a a spherical movement from a circular one?

A bubble stealing air probably would be too OP, but there are still motions we haven't tried. Still, a Wind Slice or a tornado should be effective, if we can surprise him with it - he can see us holding a wand but might not know what it can do just from looking at it.
Eyebrows 6th Jun 2018, 2:35 AM edit delete reply
Charge straight at the spear. He can't impale us if he wants to take us alive. Poison him and de-enforce the spear.
Espylacopa 6th Jun 2018, 2:38 AM edit delete reply
That just might work to catch him off guard.
Krylo 6th Jun 2018, 4:11 AM edit delete reply
Bit risky. He says he's taking us alive, not in one piece. If he has access to some kind of healing magic a horrible gut wound might be fine with him.
ZincFingers 6th Jun 2018, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Even if he can’t heal, Justice can, he likes a challenge, actively making it easier for us to die in this encounter may lead to him further pulling his punches, and would likely confuse the hell out of him.
Professor Cupcake 6th Jun 2018, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Professor Cupcake
I... actually really like that idea. It's certainly not something he'd be expecting us to do at all, and should easily draw his attention long enough to give Valley & Justice an opening.
xenonni 6th Jun 2018, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
-1 to charging right into it. That's just suicidal.

If you want to surprise him, then go forward but SLIDE under the spear. If we time it just right we can even use our Wind Wand at point blank, before he can withdraw his spear to correct his aim.
lil Joshu 6th Jun 2018, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
+1 MakePeaceAndLove's & Fireopal's altered suggestion.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
Actually I like this idea. Deinforce the spear and charge at it, use the wind wand to slice it in half, then poison him and steal.
Caydenite 6th Jun 2018, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
I like the idea of not deliberately running into enemy weapons. If we'd rather not dodge, couldn't we at least ready our shield to block
Krylo 6th Jun 2018, 3:59 AM edit delete reply
Cyclone + Earthbreaker. If there was ever a time for a dual tech it is now.
Caydenite 6th Jun 2018, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
+1. Feels like neither earth nor wind would be his element. If it can hold him in place for a moment, Valley can try smacking the crap out of him with the two-hander. Justice should stay out of melee range and focus on healing, we're not getting out of this unscathed.
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 4:48 AM edit delete reply
If we can get inside somewhere that would be a terrain advantage against this guy.
1977 6th Jun 2018, 5:41 AM edit delete reply
"I don't know about sea lion, never tried it. Sharkfinsoup on the other hand, that's really good. I guess since it's time to eat anyway."
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
Can we fight him first and try to smack talk after we've gained the upper hand? Otherwise the wittiest of quips will ring empty as he skewers us mid-sentence.
1977 6th Jun 2018, 2:01 PM edit delete reply
I didn't say the exact time this should be said, right?
I just trust the author to find the perfect moment to say such things and simply suggest a few lines nothing more.
1977 6th Jun 2018, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Next time we are at the ranch we should finally buy a cockadoo.
When it lays an egg we simply eat them until we know how to feed the chick to get the breed we want.
Once we aquire some kind of guide on it we can then raise birds for multiple purposes.
The first should then be fighting.
And no, it is not to let them participate at professional cockfights.
Guest 6th Jun 2018, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
Dodge, then cut the spear in half with the wand. We don’t know how good a fighter we’re up against, so fight defensively until we see an opening. Try and get on the opposite side of him to Valley, then attack from both sides.
Jochi 6th Jun 2018, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
He IS between Valley and Nast. +1 to attacking the spear with Deinforce and slicing, after trying to dodge under it (or possibly while impaled on it, but let's hope not). No to poison, unless he reveals he is not staying within the law. We can't detox.
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
People are being reluctant to use poison. I think that's a mistake. Healing magic is abundant in this setting; we have immediate access to at least 4 forms (Justice, Valley, potion, recovereat) and long-term access to probably 3 more (Ranse's improvised potions, Lagrand's detox, and buying town resources). Poison in this kind of game is usually a small hitpoint loss every few rounds; definitely possible to stabilize until Lagrand gets here if we can reach a truce. And frankly, this guy seems as if he outlevels us by a fair margin, so he can probably take a fair amount of damage, and we can't afford to hold back.

In terms of the touch effects we could get on him, I'd say the priority is poison, steal, then deinforce. I could see an argument that steal is better than poison; but it's less likely to be of any immediate help (even if we got something awesome, we would have difficulty finding time to identify it before the end of the encounter), and I think in this encounter we can't afford not to focus on the immediate.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
I can't agree G.Sansa. I actually draw the very opposite conclusions here.

Poison proved quite effective on the Skelecan we fought before, enough to finish it off after our other attacks. Yes we cut its beak pouch open with a point blank Wind Slice, and yes Valley hit it, albeit merely grazing, with her Stone Zwei, but Poison did the rest of the damage during however long that fight took - a few seconds? No longer than a minute, surely? So, it is dangerous.

And of our 4 healing sources - the potions and Recovereats I'd really wish we save for ourselves instead, nor would I feel comfortable commanding Valley or Justice to heal him, which could turn around into a hostage situation.

I even think it's too early to tell if this guy outlevels us that much. He's certainly intimidating and he talks a big game, but unless we engage him and see how well he fights, we can't know how powerful, or tanky, he really is.

Finally, if we do touch him I'd argue our priority is exactly the reverse - Deinforce first, then Steal, then Poison as a last resort. If Deinforcing his spear makes it break, or possibly reduces its attack power, his threat goes way down. Then we can steal from him, possibly snatching his armor and/or weapon (and pray to Justice's Goddess we don't accidentally steal his panties or we'll never explain that as a coincidence XD), which makes him even more vulnerable and helpless. If we can outmaneuver and subdue him, we can end this fight without using Poison at all - which gives us ample time to question him, too. How did he find us here? Was he working alone? Who is he, really?

I know the guy just tried to crush us from above, but maybe he's not as evil as he seems - Inzo was our enemy before and this dude is... kind of cool? Maybe I'm too hopeful, but we won't know unless we try. If he's still aggressive after everything else then we can... turn him in to the authorities? Mainly because I don't see Nast killing a defenseless enemy we've already captured, only monsters and killing in self-defense, but, that's my view of it.
Fireopal 6th Jun 2018, 1:29 PM edit delete reply
Because poison is such a strong attack that is absolutely why we should use it. This guy means business, and we need to show that we're not an easy mark. More people will be coming after us, and if we hold back, we're going to get caught.
Caydenite 6th Jun 2018, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
You make a good point about poison, and I agree we don't want to be murdering people. I would be cautious of underestimating him though; he's clearly been stalking us, is either incredibly quick or stealthy and feels confidant on taking on three people, one of whom is a massive warrior with an equally massive sword. Of course he might just be arrogant, but I'd err on the side of caution here; our party's well being should be the priority here, not his.
G. Sansa 6th Jun 2018, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
This guy is a bounty hunter of an underwater race. It's possible he's after a bounty that's been posted above water, but seems questionable; he talks as if he's not too familiar with our world. So we have to consider the possibility that the panty thief has struck underwater as well. If we can get him to talk while we fight, he may say something that will give as an opening to convince him to back off.
MakePeaceAndLove 6th Jun 2018, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
Hey that's quite possible.

Although it makes me wonder - would mermaids wear panties, considering they have tails? ... I'm guessing not and he really is after the bounty, not because the panty theif suddenly struck underwater. Unless something else got stolen... like, the undersea king's crown? Or the, pardon the pun, royal jewels?
GS 6th Jun 2018, 11:36 AM edit delete reply
According to Piers Anthony they do, but only when they come on land. ;)