Comic 156 - Examine the mushrooms

27th Jun 2018, 11:37 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes) Rate this comic
Examine the mushrooms
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 27th Jun 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete
You remove the purple robe from around your mouth, leaving only the bandit bandana. You ask Emerald to equip the purple robe, as you might need to make an emergency Return, and you're not sure how a crowd of random citizens would react to a King Slime suddenly appearing.

Ranse takes a deep breath, and a moment to psych herself up... before creeping closer to get a better look at the mushrooms.

After staring at them for a moment, she sneaks back to you and Emerald.

"Th-... yeah, they're mushrooms. They're... on thereprettygood. Though. So... w-we might not be able to get a piece. Without. ...Waking it up."

You nod, and formulate a plan.

You'll slice off a chunk of mushroom with your wind wand. Emerald should be ready to paralyze the caterpillar when it awakens--that'll hopefully buy Ranse enough time to grab the mushroom piece, and you time to cast Return. Then, you can all escape, and avoid any further conflict.

Everyone nods, and gets into position.

Before kicking off the plan, you sneak pretty close yourself... and attempt to Steal, using the bandit bandana.

You do not, in fact, procure the fungus you seek--almost the opposite. You steal a shrinking potion.

You give a small sigh, and back away.

You fire off a wind slice. It hits perfectly, slashing off a piece of mushroom.

The caterpillar stirs with an angry... er... giant caterpillar noise.

The King Slime lashes out with a tentacle, coating it in paralyzing juice before slapping the huge bug with it, however--

"It has not worked!"

Part of the caterpillar rises up.

"I-It mightbeTOObig!" Ranse blurts out. "It might t-take more... more--"

The caterpillar slams its body back down. Ranse and Emerald dive out of the way, but the sheer force of the impact sends vibrations through the ground--vibrations that spread and rise up from the earth, shaking their way through your body. You and everyone else in your party are, in a cruel twist of fate, paralyzed.

...But the caterpillar, now awakened, doesn't take the opportunity to mount a follow-up attack.


Instead, it breathes in deep... and exhales, a faint blue mist releasing from its body. The mist spreads far, quickly, and rises into the air.

You don't... feel any different, though. If it was meant to inflict some kind of status effect, you don't think it worked.

"It's... a pheromone signal!," Ranse manages through gritted teeth. "L-Like the... the ants!"

"What in heavens could it be signalling to?!," the King Slime responds. "MORE obscenely large caterpillars?!"

The paralysis wears off before the caterpillar can act further--

but you hear something in the distance.

Stomping. Loud, heavy stomping. Something, or... multiple somethings are closing in on this location, and they definitely don't sound like caterpillars. Whatever's coming, you don't have much time until they arrive.


GS 28th Jun 2018, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Grab the shroom and get out of there!
V.V.V. 28th Jun 2018, 12:19 AM edit delete reply
I regret that I only have one +1 to give to that.
1977 28th Jun 2018, 12:21 AM edit delete reply
ZincFingers 28th Jun 2018, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, grab what we came for and make tracks... or no track, I don’t think Return will leave any.

Edit: have since shifted to the non-Return party, as we might be able to just vanish into the forest and avoid whatever has been called.
The Might Dragon Lizard 28th Jun 2018, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
MakePeaceAndLove 28th Jun 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
+1 Amen to that GS
Harski 28th Jun 2018, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Twyll 28th Jun 2018, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
I believe the Steve Miller Band said it best:

"Go on, take the mushroom and run!"
ZincFingers 28th Jun 2018, 1:09 AM edit delete reply
Gandalf 28th Jun 2018, 12:41 AM edit delete reply
I said we should have tried asking nicely.

Nothing for it now but to leg it. (Figuratively, that is: time to test out the Return enchantment.)
Barswanian 28th Jun 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
Meanwhile, in the other group...
MakePeaceAndLove 28th Jun 2018, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
I'm hoping for that, too.

That way if we return towards Threeroads, or even Humblestart, there's a slight suspense to find out whether we're safe or we're gonna find ourselves surrounded by knights/guards in that city.

Plus it's about time we check on how the others are doing.
Dysprosian 28th Jun 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
Good time for nast to hop in there and grab the shroom. Tho judging where they are at, ranse grab and run port out.
Espylacopa 28th Jun 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
How much time is not much and how many seconds are several? If you estimate that you have enough time to cast return, do so, if not, flee and hope such large creatures can't track comparatively small lifeforms very well.
Some Random Guy 28th Jun 2018, 7:39 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
GS 28th Jun 2018, 12:44 AM edit delete reply
Emerald looks like a ninja... ^^;

With the current Alice in Wonderland-theme, who wants to bet a giant Tweedledee and Tweedledum are coming?
ZincFingers 28th Jun 2018, 1:12 AM edit delete reply
Like all games, later when we are stronger, we need to come back here and squash this caterpillar like... well I was gonna say “a bug”... but it’s too obvious now...
MakePeaceAndLove 28th Jun 2018, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
That joke ran out of steam before the kettle started whistling.

But I agree that we should return here when we are stronger and challenge the local monsters again.
Guest 28th Jun 2018, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
Let’s put this bunny suit to use. Rabbit kick the tree to get over to the mushrooms quickly, then rabbit kick ranse back towards emerald. Land next to them and cast return.
Krylo 28th Jun 2018, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Take the mushroom and run.

-1 on casting return, as that the spell description says it takes awhile to cast and I don't think the caterpillar is just gonna chill while we do it.

Besides, we don't really want to be back in Humblestart right away, there's other stuff we wanna do around here.

If we can get a bit away from the caterpillar where it's safe, maybe stop and observe to see what it's calling.

Also: If the caterpillar gets ready to slam the ground again, prepare to time a jump to avoid the vibrations in the ground.
ZincFingers 28th Jun 2018, 1:28 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, yeah that’s a good point, mayhaps we can flee the current area and continue exploring without returning to town.

I’ll back this idea.
Caydenite 28th Jun 2018, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
We could port to 3roads instead.

Hmm, on one hand these pheromones might be traceable long distance, and this fight could now be inevitable. We don't want to drag trouble with us somewhere else. Maybe Ranse knows? On the other, a big fight against multiple foes when we've already been spending mana and can be group paralysed sounds hella tough. Of course we might not even have time to retreat.

Could we mainly climb on the Caterpillar? If the coming monster wants to protect it, it'll limit there attack options and might protect us from Paralytic Slam. Keeping our footing wont be easy though. Maybe ES might have better luck and can then keep pumping it full of paralyser, to prevent future slams.
Krylo 28th Jun 2018, 2:09 AM edit delete reply
We could. If we do, though, we should be ready to duck out of sight and escape town as soon as we can, while keeping ears and eyes open for knights or thieves guild members.

Maybe if we're lucky the knights have cleared out and we can hit the entertainer's guild up, but maybe we're not and need to exit town post haste.
ZincFingers 28th Jun 2018, 3:48 AM edit delete reply
This is assuming the pheromones are going to stick to us. It maybe they have already dissipated completely, but as the signal was sent, the recipient comes.
MakePeaceAndLove 28th Jun 2018, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Good point on the casting time Return takes. If nothing else, duck behind some bushes and either run as fast as we can or start quietly casting Return, maybe straight to Humblestart to bring the mushroom ingredient for Ranse's dad, at which point we only need that 'something old' item.

... as regards the pheromones, I don't believe they're going to stick to us. Rather than marking us as prey, I'm guessing the catterpillar sent a distress signal.

The weird thing is that it chose pheromones to summon help from so far away, rather than a visual or sound-based signal. Whatever's coming must have a really sensitive smell. O.O
JiggilyJoe 28th Jun 2018, 1:24 AM edit delete reply
Unfortunately we never tested how long it took to cast Return, so gather everyone close and let's hope we can cast it before whatevers coming gets here.
Espylacopa 28th Jun 2018, 1:33 AM edit delete reply
Nast did cast return once, whether he can remember how long it takes and accurately judge how long it'll take the big whatever they are to get here is another matter.
1977 28th Jun 2018, 1:34 AM edit delete reply
Nast used Return to travel from Peace Calling to Humblestart.
He knows how long it takes and can estimate if it's too long or not.
Antarean 28th Jun 2018, 8:42 AM edit delete reply
I know some insects have a symbiotic relationship with ants and will release a pheromone to call them if they're being attacked by a predator and then the ants can defend them. I don't *think* that's what coming now though, I think we're too far from the pyre ant hill and they probably wouldn't make a "stomping" sound. (Unless there's a particularly large one in the area?) If it is the pyre ants though wee might have just heard any future diplomatic attempts with them.

Also +1 on being ready to jump if it rears up again.
G. Sansa 28th Jun 2018, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
This definitely seems like a "one side makes you larger, the other makes you small" caterpillar. Which means that whatever's on its way is probably a super-giant version of something small (dormice?).

Nast should cast return to Tumbletart, then use wind blasts to shepherd the mushroom bit and party onto the relevant patch of ground. Also be ready to wind-blast to make sure no bad guys come with us.

When/if we get to Tumbletart, we should go talk to Ranse's dad. Offer to pay him to do some alchemy on one of our non-butt-related ingredients such as the seed or a fish — I know that Ranse will eventually do that, but we seem to be accumulating ingredients faster than she can get to them. See if Inzo is done yet. And then switch PoV to the other party.
GuyIncognito 28th Jun 2018, 12:07 PM edit delete reply
Well... regardless of how we get out of this one (let's just grab the mushroom and run), we now have a shrinking potion. Time to head back to the Old Temple and get some Fairy Tail.
MakePeaceAndLove 28th Jun 2018, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
Oh, that's amazing actually!

Let's save that Shrinking Potion for the faeries then. Or for emergencies.

They don't really have any reason to agree, but maybe after we catch the thief? ... Well, it's worth keeping in mind.
Krylo 28th Jun 2018, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
I think we need to hit up a tailor and get some fairy sized panties before we can hope to seduce the fairies.

But. . . after we do that? Yes. Excellent use of potion.
GS 28th Jun 2018, 1:39 PM edit delete reply
+1 to getting the faeries some new undergarments.
Twelveseal 28th Jun 2018, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Soooooo... basically doll clothes? Maybe ask if one of the fairies wants to come along first, just so we can have these things sized right...
Krylo 28th Jun 2018, 3:23 PM edit delete reply
+1 to getting one to come with for sizing.

But find a tailor first. The fairies weren't super happy with us when we left. It'd be best to come back with progress.
JiggilyJoe 28th Jun 2018, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
+1 to getting some fairy tail!