Comic 144 - Formulate a new strategy

21st Jun 2018, 4:07 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes) Rate this comic
Formulate a new strategy
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 21st Jun 2018, 4:07 PM edit delete
You throw the shield. Your grandfather sways to the side, dodging the shield and hurling his anchor toward you.

...But it's okay. You didn't really expect to hit him, anyway.

Valley shifts her weight, leaning out to grab the chain of the anchor before it can swing around and hook you. Grandpa gives the chain a tug to reel it in--but Valley plants her feet, firmly. Rather than the anchor pulling Valley, it's Grandpa that's pulled, straight toward Valley. She swings her stone zwei as he comes rushing forward, but Gramps brings an arm up, trying to stop the swing from in deep until he recovers the anchor proper--at which point, the clash commences anew, stone zwei colliding with the anchor.

The water elemental hustles toward the fight, or at least, as much as it can--it's clearly having trouble keeping itself together, more water sloshing off with every step. Justice follows just behind it.

As Grandpa again begins to lose the test of strength with Valley, he goes for the same move as before--giving way abruptly, letting her momentum carry her forward so he can slip even nearer, and slap the paralyzing pinch on.

"Nast!," Justice shouts. "Boost me!"

Justice LEAPS, and using your wind wand, you try to launch her into the air. It's... not pretty, being a bit spur of the moment, and not something you've tried with other people--but you do manage to aid her jump, blasting her skyward and over the action. With the same motion of your wand, you create another burst of wind... to bring your shield back around, as it's still sailing across the room.

Grandpa gets the pinch on successfully, and Valley tightens up. Justice does her best to maneuver over the grapple, flipping awkwardly through the air... while her elemental runs beneath, rushing past the melee. As she tumbles overhead, Justice juuust barely manages to skim her fingers across Valley... and Grandpa, hitting one with Status Martyr and the other with her Healing Hands.

"Gah!" Grandpa recoils, and Valley instantly brings her zweihander back... dragging it straight into the path of the water elemental, letting it coat half her stone zwei in holy water before she swings it with authority. It slams into Grandpa, ALMOST dropping him to a knee--he visibly buckles, but he doesn't go down.

You learn the combo ability Baptize Weapon.

You rush forward yourself, barely catching Justice as she drops out of the air. The water elemental, with the bare essentials of what it has left... just scarcely, hardly, stumbles up to the tornado you made earlier. It collapses, its mass losing any sense of form, Little Blue practically spilling into the tornado... but it works. Holy water is suctioned into the tornado, forming a Sacred Stir.

You set down Justice, who is still struggling against the paralysis she picked up from Valley.


Valley and Grandpa both all but drop their weapons, mostly wrestling at this point--Grandpa seeming to have just a bit more experience grappling, but struggling against Valley's superior strength. Even with the heavy hits he's taken, he's managing to stay in the fight... you suspect if Justice had been able to lay Healing Hands on him just a little longer, the battle would be over already.

...However, you did think ahead.

Your shield swoops back by, clipping the back of Grandpa's leg. He loses his footing and Valley immediately capitalizes, digging in her heels and lifting your grandfather into the air. She THROWS him, hurling him straight over you and Justice and toward the vortex of holy water.

Grandpa, in mid-air, throws his anchor for the ceiling. You catch your shield and without missing a beat, toss it hard to intercept. You use your wind wand to guide its path, however... you have completely ran out of mana, your last surge to boost Justice and bring your shield back completely draining you.

You breathe a sigh of relief when the shield still connects with his anchor in flight. It's not the direct hit you'd aimed for, but it throws the trajectory off juuust enough--Grandpa's anchor doesn't hit the ceiling entirely straight, and lacks the force to stick in. Unable to grapple his way out, Grandpa lands firmly in the whirlpool of sanctified water.

He sputters, and yells; the tornado didn't have much time left on it, and the wind portion fades not long after Grandpa's tossed into it. However, even that brief exposure took a visible toll; Grandpa reels in his anchor, forced to use it just to keep himself standing.

"Alright, you kids got me. You're... pretty good." He nods, giving a weary grin. He coughs, and with a bit of a grunt, forces himself to stand under his own power... so he can spike the anchor into the ground in front of him, offering it to you and your party.

With the magically elongating chain in tow.

"Ya earned this!," he says. "You're quick thinkers, and good fighters! You've all put my fears to rest... Nast is in good hands."

"Th-thank you," replies Justice, having finally recovered from her paralysis.

Valley steps forward, and picks up the anchor. "Yeah, like? Thanks. You're... kind of a tough old bastard, for like... a dead guy and all."

Gramps chuckles heartily, and nods. "I like to think so, anyway! Well, that's all I really wanted, so I guess this is--"

You tell Grandpa to wait. Before he... passes on, or whatever it is that happens next, you have a question. Did... he have any other kids...?

"Nope!," he replies firmly... but then follows up. "Well, not that I know of, anyhow. I did do some gettin' around before I met your grandma! Not much of an adventure if ya don't do some adventurin', right boy?"

"Yup," Valley remarks with a grin, "this is, like... most definitely Nast's grandpa."


Krylo 21st Jun 2018, 5:19 PM edit delete reply
Salute the old man and try not to cry while he fades away.
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, if Gramps is gonna fade out we should pay our final respects. Also ask if he has any final advice / knowledge, or any final messages he wants us to pass along to other people.

Also give a word to Justice and Valley, both did really well, they’re starting to become quite the duo.

P.S. I’m sure Gramps wouldn’t mind if we shed a manly tear.
Dragos 21st Jun 2018, 5:28 PM edit delete reply
Don't forget to heal/ victory sex! Mabye ask the girls how you can show your appreciation for there help ;)
Krylo 21st Jun 2018, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
Gonna -1 victory sex. I do not want to fuck on, in, or around a family member's grave.
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
I’m with Krylo, not the time or place for such a celebration.
G. Sansa 21st Jun 2018, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
Hell with that. Go ahead and cry.

Once he's gone, we should loot the crates and take all the candles from all the rooms. Head out, have Justice summon Little Blue before we leave the last room, and then book it to Tumbletart to meet the party with an eye out for bounty hunters. Maybe carry LB in a pot so he/she lasts?

Next item on the agenda, after seeing what other party found in books and from Dad seeing crown: buy cockadoo and then go see if Slimey wants to join the party.
JiggilyJoe 21st Jun 2018, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
+1 all the above, especially asking if he has any last words for us or family.
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
Or last words for old friends / adventuring companions.
The Mighty Dragon Lizard 21st Jun 2018, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
+1, the man deserves some respect!
Guest 21st Jun 2018, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
-1 to sex, but get milk if anyone needs healing up.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:44 PM edit delete reply
+1 what most people here said. As for victory sex, maybe save it for after we leave Peace Calling?
Guest 21st Jun 2018, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
Thank him for the experience and after he passes on check out the crates for stuff and nab some more candles on the way out.
Jex 21st Jun 2018, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
That was me whoops
Krylo 21st Jun 2018, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
+1 to post grandpa looting
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
Don’t loot until Gramps has actually faded out, seems a bit disrespectful to root around his stuff with him still here.
Guest 21st Jun 2018, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
He was an adventurer, he would understand.
Jex 21st Jun 2018, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
*After* he passes
Barswanian 21st Jun 2018, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
Leave some candles here if we're going to use this as a secret base.
Cloudy 22nd Jun 2018, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
-1 to using this as our secret base.
We were captured around here and we’re known to live in the town. Ourbase shouldn’t be near where we were caught or our hometown. I like somewhere in the woods or near the slimes, personally. A shame, though, this place is pretty rad.
1977 21st Jun 2018, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
Great battle.
You actually did Baptize Weapon and Sacred Stir.
As they were proposed I thought you could just try one or the other.

Sadly Grandpa couldn't really help us regarding lost uncles or aunts.
We could have a cousin out there or not, we just don't know.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:46 PM edit delete reply
Yeah we learned two new abilities in this fight, this was awesome.

And hey, an open question is better for the story, if you ask me. :)
Placeholder 21st Jun 2018, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
Check if there'snhthing in those crates around the room.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
+1, if we're gonna be leaving here we should be thorough on our way out.

But use the time Grandpa has left to pay our respects properly.
G. Sansa 21st Jun 2018, 5:35 PM edit delete reply
Did Valley learn the crabhand attack? If not does she want to ask to see it again?
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
Oh, yeah, good catch, add it the list of questions. Along with Sand Shark advice.
Some Random Guy 21st Jun 2018, 7:07 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
If Valley is capable of learning the crab-paralysis thing that Gramps did, she should.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:48 PM edit delete reply
Yeah that attack would be really useful to have in her arsenal from now on. OvO
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 5:39 PM edit delete reply
So what’s the next major move after talking to Gramps and looting? The party seems pretty drained after that fight, so I suggest we go get a bit of R’n’R somewhere before.
JiggilyJoe 21st Jun 2018, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
Right? Yesterday we drained all our mana and couldn't even diddle Justice until after a good night's sleep.
I vote we head for the slime cave and meet the rest of the party there. Hopefully we can avoid any confrontation on the way, but then we can give the books to the king, and rest up. We still need to see if we can get more inspiration from Ranse, and that would be as good a place as any to hole up safely.
Guest 21st Jun 2018, 7:28 PM edit delete reply
Probably stop by parent's house first, tell them what happened and show dad anchor upgrade. then see what time it is.
Twyll 21st Jun 2018, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
I agree with Guest-- I'm sure our parents would want to hear about this, and see our new toy!
CruntKnockler 22nd Jun 2018, 3:41 AM edit delete reply
+1 to giving Ranse a portion of wizard dick. Poor girl's been gagging for it for ages now, be plain rude to leave her waiting much longer...
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:52 PM edit delete reply
Yeah go home to tell our parents about this adventure (and so they don't freak out that some grave robbers visited this place), then go back to Humblestart and/or the Slime Cave, we got stuff to do there.
1977 21st Jun 2018, 5:47 PM edit delete reply
Now onto the business of looting.

Take everything whats left in the dungeon.

There are several candles in the rooms, take them all.

Take the crates in this room as well.
Don't just open to take whats inside but take the crates itself.

At some point we want to build our own mobile base.
The crates can provide at the very least building materials.
The pots provided us with raw iron, in the same way the crates could give us planks.
The abandoned mining equipment in town could even give both, iron and wood.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
+1, for the glorious mobile base
Corwin of Amber 21st Jun 2018, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
This may be an ideal place to set up recall
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 6:20 PM edit delete reply
Smart, we are probably the only people that know about it, no chance of ambush.
JiggilyJoe 21st Jun 2018, 7:11 PM edit delete reply
Doesn't recall require mana? Because were flat outta mana for awhile.
Recall? = Return?
Some Random Guy 21st Jun 2018, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Nast used RETURN.

Some Random Guy 21st Jun 2018, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Return is the name of a Pokémon move, I’m sorry if nobody got that one.
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, recall = Return.
I’m not sure if it costs mana to set up a return point, or if the cost is only taken upon using the teleport.
1977 21st Jun 2018, 11:50 PM edit delete reply
You can't set return points.
Right now the spell is more like townportal.
It brings us only to all visited towns, we just must concentrate which one.
For example from right there without even leaving the dungeon we could travel to Humblestart or Threeroadsd, not the Slime Cavern though.
Mana would be necessary of course, so no 'porting right now.
TGWMoC 21st Jun 2018, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
If I was reading it right, you don't 'set up' a return point. It works like old jrpg's, that is, it lets you return to a city or town that you've already been to. The lore did say we might be able to use it to go to smaller places, like the slime cave or the ranch, once Nash gets more experience as an enchanter, but for now, it only works for places with a larger population.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:56 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, while this location would be a good choice, you can't set up a return point at will.

We'd need to spend more time around here getting comfortable, kind of, before it can work with recall. I'm sure we can find a better location than constantly going back here... although our parents would appreciate the frequent visits, we can already return straight to Peace Calling for that.
Green Visitor 21st Jun 2018, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
I say we make this our secret base.

Sinister surroundings, check.
Indoor lighting, check,
Familiarity, check.
Secret entrance, check.
Krylo 21st Jun 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
Going to disagree purely because I want the slime cave to be our hideout
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
Slime Cavern = Main Base
Grave of Gramps = Oh Shit We Gotta Hide Base
Lapdragon 21st Jun 2018, 10:04 PM edit delete reply
The slime cave is already contested territory - I doubt the goblins would appreciate us moving in before we’ve dealt with their request.

I had thought about making these catacombs our home base once we cleaned them out earlier too, and now that we’ve done so, I think we should get Gramps’ blessing and do just that. It’s hidden and secure, and Gramps had likely been using it for decades in his own adventuring days - he might appreciate it getting passed down along with the anchor.

One other item remains - why don’t we ask Gramps if he’d like to stick around and be our “innkeeper” in the hideout, instead of passing on. He won’t be adventuring, as he’s likely tied to the location, but if he wants to stay undead and become part of our adventures, that would be “totes cool”, as Valley would say. :-)
Barswanian 21st Jun 2018, 11:27 PM edit delete reply
I mean, sounds good. If he sticks around, we should get Dad to say hi.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
I was skeptical but if Grandpa agrees that would be alright, and if he became our inkeeper at the base that would be awesome! Let's give it a try.
Eyebrows 21st Jun 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
Nast give your dead grandpa a hug.
Twelveseal 21st Jun 2018, 7:27 PM edit delete reply
+1 Channel your inner Mine. Also ask if there's any messages he wants to pass on to friends, family, lovers, maybe even enemies. Or if he's left any records of his adventures and exploits we can keep to learn about his life. Because hey, it would probably be useful.

After he's passed on, I'm all for checking the crates and setting this up as a Return location.

Not a fan of victory sex in this situation, or location for that matter. For now, take a breather. Nast is out of MP, and everyone is worn out. It'd be the ideal time to be ambushed, especially by a certain analytical bookseller. Might want to fill in the journal up to current events and include some notes on said dark elf as a possible ambusher before putting it back in the inventory.
MakePeaceAndLove 21st Jun 2018, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
+1 except we can't set up the location at will. We would have to spend more time here getting familiar with the place, but for escape purposes I think Peace Calling is already decently safe/far from suspicion wherever we might be that it would work. And if we're ever in trouble in Peace Calling itself, we'd port out to some distant city instead, like Threeroads for now.
Caydenite 21st Jun 2018, 7:18 PM edit delete reply
Give grampa a firm, many handshake. Ask if he has any advice and say a fond good bye, preferably with a sneak attack hug. Then congratulate the girls, Valley was bad ass out wrestling a tough ol' SOB like that, and that Wushu stuff Justice was doing was incredible; she better not have any doubts about not holding her own anymore.

After a solid looting, we should go home and rest up for the rest of the day before heading out; we cannot handle a random encounter right now. It would also give Valley and Justice chance to experiment with their new found bi/pan-sexuality.
Some Random Guy 21st Jun 2018, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
ZincFingers 21st Jun 2018, 7:35 PM edit delete reply
This nicely sums up the general consensus (Me thinks).
Some Random Guy 21st Jun 2018, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Politely ask if we can take anything from the crates. They seem to be there for a reason, and if the stuff in them are no longer needed by this epic warrior of a grandpa, we could check as to whether or not we need their contents.

After we leave, meet up with the full gang, divvy the loot from all previous encounters, and then try to see if the members of the party can craft any stuff.

Inzo could take the Iron, the Crab Claw, and all of the Pile of Bones.

Ranse could take the Paralyzer, the Mandragora Seed, and the Jellofish.
MakePeaceAndLove 22nd Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
+1 to asking Grandpa first especially

And before using the Jellofish as a material consider showing it to the Slime King first. the green slimes and the sea slimes could start up diplomatic relations? It's a far cry but worth a shot, right?
GS 22nd Jun 2018, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
Ask how he managed the skeletons and why.
And who were they in life?
Agent 82¼ 21st Jun 2018, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
Assuming grandpa's anchor can do those chain tricks now, not only have it's combat capabilities increased, it also has out of battle utility. Scaling small cliffs, crossing gaps in terrain, etc. Making it useful even if we find or buy a superior weapon.
MakePeaceAndLove 22nd Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, totally. Gives us grappling hook utility, and with its size and Valley's strength she can carry someone with her - holding on tight, of course.
Antarean 21st Jun 2018, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
Ask him about that stone slab a few rooms back and if he knows anything about the One True Goddess.

Also, ask if he has any enemies that would get back at him by framing us for being the panty thief; only just thought of that as a possible motive. Although I'm of two minds for telling Grandpa about this, just in case it causes him to decide not to pass on. Don't get me wrong, it would be awesome if he decided to stick around as an oracle or something, but I don't want to deny him a blissful eternity, or whatever the afterlife is around here.

We should be careful about leaving the dungeon, we're out of mana and we just might run into a certain dark elf bookstore employee. Depending on what time it is it might be prudent to spend the night here. I admit we probably won't be doing that, so I think another good course of action would be to go tell our parents about what we found but don't spend another night at their place so we don't end up putting them in danger.

Also, I think Valley already did this, but if not, she should definitely re-equip our New and Improved Grandpa's Anchor (tm).
Magister Dicks it 21st Jun 2018, 8:11 PM edit delete reply
+1 all you said
funny how just after posting my comment I just saw yours right before, with the same idea so far not mentioned, of having grandpa as a companion/guide/oracle.
He could either come with us in an item or stay here as a visitable sage-ish character.

I would like to keep this place as a safety bunker or something. access it only through the spell so that nobody can spot us, and maybe change the tombstone so that nobody would enter it like we did.
Magister Dicks it 21st Jun 2018, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
*only through the return spell
MakePeaceAndLove 22nd Jun 2018, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
+1 to what you guys said. It's his choice to make, but if he does stay as a sage, or inkeeper as folks said in the comments above, that would be really awesome.
Magister Dicks it 21st Jun 2018, 8:04 PM edit delete reply
I'm sure at least some of the items there have a story, and grandpa was a sailor so he ought to like to tell such tales... which could bring us useful info on different subjects and even bring up new quests (I know we have a shit ton of them already but this is a one time chance, we probably won't be able to see grandpa again)

So, I would rather loot the place not after he parts, but before, with his consent and his blessing.

Plus, would be rad if one of the items is a map.
And speaking of being the last time we see grandpa, I just thought of the possibility of somehow imbuing his spirit (new spell?) into a ring or some item like that so that we could speak with him and have his advice throughout the story.
Or not. You know, let his spirit finally rest. I personally prefer to let ghosts go on their next journey instead of keeping them here.
But it could be useful and meaningful to have him around (we need all kinds of protection atm).
What do you people think?

And yes, definitely hug him, blondie/Mine style ^_^
GS 22nd Jun 2018, 12:05 AM edit delete reply
+1 to collecting gear with his blessing and stories.

+1 to a hug, grandfather to grandson.

As for having him stay around... Nah. He said he waited to test us because it was his unfinished business; I guess deep down, he was worried about us because he had some rough experiences in adventuring.
He's earned his rest. ^_^ Let him go rejoin Grandma on the other side... and start his next adventure!
MakePeaceAndLove 22nd Jun 2018, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
All good ideas Magister. I think we ask Grandpa but let him decide, it's his choice whether he goes or stays - he did wait an awful lot for someone to visit, and he was expecting Nast, not our dad, so he's probably satisfied now, but if he wants to stay and get to know us better, that's great.

I would prefer to keep him here rather than carry him around in item form. An item can be stolen. O.O Here he should be safe, although I'm a little concerned how he'll handle in battle without his anchor, at least he's a wrestler with that Crab Pinch move so he should handle grave-robbers if any venture in here... plus it's a safe hideout, he had peace this long, yeah definitely better than carrying him around everywhere.
Sen 21st Jun 2018, 9:40 PM edit delete reply
Ask Gramps if he knows anything about the Ring of Disguise
Barswanian 21st Jun 2018, 9:46 PM edit delete reply
Does Grandpa have anything he wants to tell his son? (Dad?)
GS 22nd Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
+1. Anything to pass on to Mom or anyone else, too?
MakePeaceAndLove 22nd Jun 2018, 12:08 AM edit delete reply
+1 exactly
GS 22nd Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Ask Gramps if he made a record of his adventures.
We never knew about them growing up, so we were probably too young to understand/remember when he passed away.