Comic 166 - Set up the flank

4th Jul 2018, 7:01 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 4.5 (4 votes) Rate this comic
Set up the flank
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 4th Jul 2018, 7:01 PM edit delete
Valley starts to use Sand Shark, to get behind the golem--

but stops just short, realizing that with how hard this brick floor is, she might just end up knocking herself out instead.

Justice's water elemental seeps under and into the stone helmet sitting upon the floor, hiding as the golem nears the party. Justice herself puts a hand on Valley's back, starting to heal the minitaur as she weathers one sharp stone after another.

The golem's massive shield reconfigures, turning back into a huge arm--Valley starts to swing the anchor, aiming for the core, but can't get the attack off before the golem throws a punch.

...A big punch, one powerful enough to send Valley flying backward; she nearly topples the rest of the party over as she's launched back through the door.


By the time Justice recovers her footing from getting hit with Valley, the golem's arm is already reforming its shield. Justice swings her hammer and almost hits the core, but is just a moment too late; a subsequent shield bash from said golem sends Justice and Lagrand stumbling back. ...Then another, firmer shove, the golem slowly bullying its way out of the workshop.

Valley, finally getting to a stand, takes out the stone tallshield... and shoves it into the ground. She gives a glance to Lagrand, who hurriedly nods.


Justice does her best to hold off the golem--or at least defend herself. Her hammering only does so much surface level damage to the golem's shield, but she does a decent enough job blocking the swings of its smaller arm. Justice's wooden shield doesn't absorb the impact well, and each blow knocks her off balance, almost taking her off her feet... but she slows the golem's progress.

Valley dives into the earth, sand sharking her way under and past the rock golem. Lagrand takes cover behind the shield Valley planted, and starts getting ready to cast.

Valley bursts out of the ground behind her foe.


With a huge wind up, she buries one side of the anchor in the golem's back. It continues trying to swing at Justice, but now Valley has some measure of control; she pulls back on the golem as it throws its punch, ruining its aim. Before it can recover, she shoves it forward, taking it off balance.

"Get, like... back! Behind the shield or whatever!," Valley yells.

Justice retreats; the golem responds by firing more rocks, pelting Justice's shield with a series of stones. She baaarely makes it behind the cover of the tallshield when the golem's small arm suddenly explodes, the entire mass launching off as a spray of shrapnel. It slams into the front of the tallshield with enough force to crack it, Lagrand and Justice thankfully concealed from the impact of the buckshot.

The monster gives pursuit, trying to charge forward--Valley has enough strength to slow it down, but not enough to stop it completely. The water elemental seeps out from its hiding place in the helmet, reforming around the golem's legs; it begins to jet its own body about, thrusting itself backward, providing barely enough help to keep the stone enemy from making any more forward momentum.

The golem's shield unforms, and retakes the shape of a massive arm. It starts to reach backward, twisting the limb around to grab Valley.

Lagrand immediately reacts, conjuring and launching wood spears. Each one hits the core, dead on--spear after spear. The stones that form the golem shake, the creature buckling a bit beneath each hit, but it's not enough. It wraps its huge hand around Valley's head... and starts to squeeze.

Lagrand throws the spears as fast he can; however, the opening to the core is narrow, forcing the spears to funnel in one at a time. No matter how fast he makes the spears, or how many he can make at once, he can only attack so quickly and the golem isn't giving way.

"Damn it all," Lagrand grumbles, and rushes out from behind the shield. With another cast of Brambling Hand, he shoots his thorny vines straight for the core... and starts trying to rip it out. With the golem's small limb blown away and its larger arm occupied with crushing Valley's head, the threat seems... minimal, aside from any unknown abilities the golem could have. The golem starts to physically lift Valley off the ground.

By her head.


"Come on, you stubborn bastard!," Lagrand growls. He can get... some wiggle out of the core, but he lacks the strength to truly rip it free of the golem's body. Justice, in a bit of a panic, motions with her hand--and her elemental begins to seep upward, between the cracks of the golem, climbing its way toward the core. Once enough of its aquatic mass is wedged behind the core, it begins to push and jet--trying to help Lagrand pry the core loose.

Valley continues to fight, ripping stones free of the huge arm as it crushes her skull, but the rocks just... flutter in the air for a moment before returning to the golem proper.

Finally, Justice herself runs out from behind the cover. She grabs onto Lagrand's brambles, wincing as the thorns press into her bare palms--but she fights through the pain, gripping the vines tightly, helping Lagrand to pull on them.


with Lagrand and Justice both pulling on the vines that have by this point fully encircled the core, and with the holy water elemental blasting all the force it can muster from behind that core--

the glowing heart of the golem comes loose.

The golem immediately falls apart, its rocks disconnecting and plummeting out of the air. Valley gasps as she hits the ground, and the sudden break in momentum sends Justice and Lagrand tumbling into the grass.

The holy water elemental doesn't seem able to reconstitute itself in the ensuing rubble, or may have even ... lost track of itself? Within the maze of seams in the golem's body. Moments pass, but the holy water is... just holy water, now, inanimate and soaking a pile of equally inanimate debris.

Your party acquires a stone heart.


Fayti 4th Jul 2018, 8:21 PM edit delete reply
Is Justice OK!?
Guest 4th Jul 2018, 8:36 PM edit delete reply
Is Valley OK?!
K 4th Jul 2018, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
LB is KO!
Barswanian 4th Jul 2018, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
Valley needs help. Help valley.
ZincFingers 4th Jul 2018, 8:46 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, tend to Valley ASAP.
At this point all other injuries seem minor.
MakePeaceAndLove 4th Jul 2018, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
+1 to help Valley, she really needs the healing.
Caydenite 4th Jul 2018, 8:43 PM edit delete reply
ALL THE HEALING! Once everyone is healed up best they can (preference for milk, for mana reasons) then the party can gather themselves mentally and carefully look around, both outside and in he workshop. Still don't trust that rock pile.

I still like Zinc's idea of putting the hammer and pick in the bas-relief, but agree with Krylo that we should search first. Curious as to whats through that other door.
ZincFingers 4th Jul 2018, 8:48 PM edit delete reply
I was about to ask what the next major move should be.
I agree, search the place through and through. Then try the relief at the front, both combinations (hammer in first / pick in first).
Some Random Guy 4th Jul 2018, 8:51 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Get all of the tools put on the board in the back of the room, for Inzo.
MakePeaceAndLove 4th Jul 2018, 10:45 PM edit delete reply
+1, basically sums up all we need to do.

Heal up, search the place, loot all the tools and materials we can get and try the relief at the front.

Oh, also examine the stone heart. Too bad we don't have Nast or Ranse to Identify it, but let Lagrand and Justice check it out and see if they can figure anything out.

Even pulled out of the golem, I'm worried it might reawaken, it should be kept away from rock and earth if possible. >.> Buuut... I'd assume it should be safe stuck deep in our inventory, as per RPG rules.
ZincFingers 4th Jul 2018, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
Don’t jinx us, the last thing we need is a pocket lint golem running rough-shod through our belongings.
Ghest 4th Jul 2018, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
Safe in out inventory until we go to some place where it triggers an event.
Some Random Guy 4th Jul 2018, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Oh my God yes, heal everybody, +1 to all who said this.
Some Random Guy 4th Jul 2018, 8:55 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
There are now a lot of stones lying around. Get the usefully-shaped ones so that Inzo can increase the power and durability of his mech.

To clarify, Inzo's mech is mostly made of Pyre ant parts and forest-stuffs. We could get some stone material to back up the wooden base of the mech.

Also, now that I think about it, the Stone Heart seems rather useful. Put it in the inventory with a note for Emerald Scholar, to see if she could perhaps eat it like she ate the weird paralysing fish. Or, Inzo could use it in his mech?
Caydenite 4th Jul 2018, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
Maybe with that Stone Heart, Inzo (with maybe some help from Ranse to bridge the science/magic gap) could upgrade to a stone mech base, rather than a wooden one?

That'd rock. (sns)
Guest 4th Jul 2018, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
Good idea to checking out the stones as material, anything we can take from here would help. It was a workshop, after all.

I'd be really careful with adding that stone heart anywhere, though. It would suck for the stone golem to reawaken inside Inzo's mech and then attack us again - it'd be EVANGELION all over with that monster inside. I'd prefer letting Emmy absorb it, if possible.
Some Random Guy 5th Jul 2018, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Dang, if only I had the time in my life to watch a show with as great a reputation as NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. I’ve heard it’s amazing.
Korsha 4th Jul 2018, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
Heal Valley, quickly
Vilem 4th Jul 2018, 9:47 PM edit delete reply
+1 Heal Valley as quick as possible.
Then heal the otbers. Check if stone helmet is usable; it could prevent another head crush on Valley.
Search area.
Evaluate mana remaining before placing hammer and pick into recesses. We may not want to continue into workshop or initiating another stone golem encounter.
MakePeaceAndLove 4th Jul 2018, 10:51 PM edit delete reply
+1 to healing, she tanked that boss all through the fight.

Let Valley heal Justice back too, though, she took some hits fighting that small arm and then grasping at Lagrand's brambles.

Also need to congratulate everyone on how this battle went. They did their best and showed courage risking their lives to bring down that stone golem, and I think Justice and Lagrand might respect each other more after working together like this.
Espylacopa 4th Jul 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Heal all our peeps, especially Valley!
Take all the tools!
Examine the seemingly inanimate pile of rocks?
Go through the door on the right.
G. Sansa 5th Jul 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Also examine that strange globe thingy in the workshop. A globe/world map could be interesting info.
Espylacopa 5th Jul 2018, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
I think that's a whetstone, not a globe.
1977 5th Jul 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
Just read the lore entries.
The Stone Heart is worth 500g.
We should really look if the other 2 are salvageable or not.
Maybe a partly damaged Stone Heart is worth less, but when we start out with 500g it could still be worth something.

Agree with the rest of the comments here.
Heal the party, preferably with milk to save mana.
Loot the tool rack.
Try out placing the tools in the relief after we're done with everything else in the workshop.
The grindstone is worth our attention too.
Be wary of the pile of rocks in the corner.
Continue through the door to the next room.
Some Random Guy 5th Jul 2018, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
I might’ve suggested utilizing the Stone Heart in a mech for Inzo, but it is worth a lot, and selling it would be a very good idea.
1977 5th Jul 2018, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
Who said anything about selling the Stone Heart?
That's what the probably Broken Stone Hearts are for.
Items in top condition can be used by us, items which are broken but still worth a bit can be sold.
Regardless if it is worth a lot of money or little I prefer just selling things we have no other use for.
Some Random Guy 5th Jul 2018, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
I agree with that statement.
JiggilyJoe 5th Jul 2018, 1:01 AM edit delete reply
+1 to Valley doing as much healing as she can. I love when she can do this. Also Justice needs to save as much mana as she can.
Vilageoftheflame 5th Jul 2018, 1:36 AM edit delete reply
Valley should probably eat one of the recovereats that we still have.
1977 5th Jul 2018, 2:22 AM edit delete reply
Dipped in milk for better taste.
Guest 5th Jul 2018, 3:02 AM edit delete reply
First of all, heal everyone up. Secondly, let’s put that stone heart on the other pile of rocks inside. If all of this was guarding something, then why didn’t the other rock pile get up, unless it had a different purpose? Have lagrand keep a good grip on the heart with his brambles, just in case this inevitably goes horribly wrong.
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
ZincFingers 5th Jul 2018, 5:22 AM edit delete reply
Yeah... Let's not risk summoning another hostile.
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
The rocks, they would have rebuilt the golem if not for everyones good plan of tactical retreat (fleeing outside).

Lore entry on how it covers it's weakness : "its ability to reconfigure the rocks that compose it--and draw from other stones in the area to repair itself--"
MakePeaceAndLove 5th Jul 2018, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, it's probably a bad idea to risk summoning another powerful stone golem when our party barely defeated this one. >.>
Iago 5th Jul 2018, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
Take a break. Assess the damage.

How's the morale ? That's probably our toughest fight so far, the ones we've had troubled with up to now were more puzzles to solve than just dangerous opponents to vanquish - are they shook ?
Is warrior girl Valley exhilarated after that first taste of real danger or ... ?

Heal up, treat wounds, make sure everyone is okay. Use consumables as needed (we can probably do without, depending on the state of lund of our people).

Also, Justice should probably switch to a less damaged shield, since we got more of those.

Then step back in, look at everything, loot as appropriate, hope we find what we came here for. Or information, that's always nice as well.

And stay alert, there's probably more of those golems further inside.
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:20 AM edit delete reply
Barswanian 5th Jul 2018, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, they're doing a good job, but it's entirely possible there's a boss fight yet before stone zwei gets upgraded. Don't go forward unless everyone is ready for that.
MakePeaceAndLove 5th Jul 2018, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
If the helmet can be fitted for Valley, she should consider wearing it if we meet another golem.

Let the party consider things a bit before going through the next door. That was too close.
ZincFingers 5th Jul 2018, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
If it fits Valley she should wear is regardless of potential golem encounters, head protection is always a plus.
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:32 AM edit delete reply
Nah, in most encounters a bulky helmet cramps your style. Wear it when it seems necessary, as we prob should have figured in this encounter when it appeared on the floor in front of us.
Green Visitor 5th Jul 2018, 5:32 AM edit delete reply
Also, she may need do drill holes for her horns.
Lapdragon 5th Jul 2018, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Also, she's not proficient in heavy armor (which a stone helmet very much would be).
Espylacopa 5th Jul 2018, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
Actually, being of the warrior class, she is proficient in heavy armor. It's just that most warriors, Valley included, tend to stick to light armor because heavy armor slows them down.
Iago 5th Jul 2018, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
Also, horns and helmets don't mix.
Unless the helmet was designed for it - it wasn't, and stone isn't altered as easily as metal. I don't see it working.

Plus, being half-blind with pounds of stone on the head might overshadow the benefits anyway.
Can always give it a try, I guess, but I'm not convinced.

Long term, we could have something made, sure. But even then, I'd go for something lighter than a full helm.
Hellbovine 5th Jul 2018, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
Let's use this core to make the sex-golem!
Hermit 5th Jul 2018, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
Personally, I'm not too keen on sticking my dick in something made of rocks. Dunno if the stone heart can animate anything else.
G. Sansa 5th Jul 2018, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
Amber is a kind of rock, and can be very sexy.

Could probably do gender-switching and consentacles, too. Now we just have to find a huge chunk of solid amber.

And it would have Jurassic Park potential, too! We could finish the goblin quest, and start a separate Chuck Tingle quest, at the same time!
G. Sansa 5th Jul 2018, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Also, tar. Though not as sexy as amber, easier to find. And has obvious combat potential for special attacks...

If we got help from Cardvärde, it would be "tar, baby!"
1977 5th Jul 2018, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
First we have to speak with the puppetmaster to see what is needed for the creation.
Until we now that I agree with holding onto it as a possible sex-golem-part.
MakePeaceAndLove 5th Jul 2018, 11:16 PM edit delete reply
I agree with using this stone heart for the puppetmaster. At the very least it's a valuable ingredient in making golems and if we have it with us we might get a better offer negotiating.