Comic 71 - Keep your distance

14th May 2018, 11:56 AM in Humble Beginnings at Humblestart
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Keep your distance
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 14th May 2018, 11:56 AM edit delete
As the first ant starts to make its way around the tornado, Lagrand casts Brambling Hand. Transforming his arm into thorned brambles, he lashes out at the lead ant, binding it--and most importantly, perhaps, wrapping around the ant's pincers to try and stop it from breathing fire.

The ant behind it is prompted to head the other direction, attempting to circle around the other side of the tornado. You head it off, keeping it away from Lagrand and Ranse.

While Lagrand fights to keep the one ant restrained, Ranse takes her goblin knife to it--hesitant, at first, and clearly inexperienced in combat... but the ant is pretty well held in place, so she's not in much danger. Once she gets over the initial hurdle of actually approaching the monster, she... gets pretty enthusiastic about stabbing it.

Meanwhile, you engage in a dramatic duel with your ant. You cast Reinforce on your new robes, and wait for the perfect opportunity to try and slice the creature. The ant sidesteps, strafing thoughtfully, looking for its own opening. Ants aren't really tactical combatants, though, and eventually it stops--clacks open its jaws--and prepares to shoot fire.

You immediately take the shot, imitating the sharp slashing motion you used in the fairies' temple.

Flames begin to erupt from the ant's mouth juuust... as it is unceremoniously cut in half at a bit of an angle.

Once more, the drain on you is pretty heavy, but for killing a monster in one shot you think it might be worth it.

Your tornado starts to dissipate, giving you a clearer view of the other two. You look over at Lagrand and Ranse, who... take slightly longer than you did, but do finish off their ant before you can come up with any further plans. Lagrand drags his thorny brambles around the ant's body, cutting into its surface and trying to crush it while pelting it with Treant Needles. Ranse continues to frantically stab the ant with her knife.

The ant goes down. It definitely looked like Lagrand was doing most of the work... but as Lagrand's arm is shifting back to normal (and he's catching his breath, while trying not to look like he's winded at all), Ranse hurriedly whips up a small vial of potion from things in her pockets.

She never makes eye contact, though she does hold the vial out to Lagrand. He eyes it... then her... then with some pause, takes the vial. He drinks it... and the very slight damage his arm took from restraining the ant rapidly heals.

You acquire Pyre Ant Parts.


K3001 14th May 2018, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
Continue forward, avoid combat if possible. Ask Ranse if those Pyre Ant Parts are of any use, alchemical or otherwise.
Lapdragon 14th May 2018, 1:48 PM edit delete reply
A new weapon for Ranse is in order - she needs to be able to carry some of the combat, instead of just stabbing ineffectually while Lagrand does the work.

Are there enough mouth parts left from our dead pyre ants to fashion a small pyresickle for her? A pyre mandible (reinforced, of course) that Inzo attaches to a handle has gotta be better than that goblin knife.

We might even be able to figure a way to make it poisonous with enough concentration and inspiration.

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Lapdragon 14th May 2018, 1:52 PM edit delete reply
And see if Ranse can make you some sort of low-grade stamina potion to give you some of your oomph back after using the wand?
Nieki 14th May 2018, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
Agree with K3001 and Lapdragon. It wasn't pretty, but Ranse did her best, and is pretty new at this adventuring thing. It can't all be sexy times...

Make sure to thank them both for their very valiant efforts. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any of our other party members would be more effective. Valley could probably crush these things in one shot, but would risk getting scorched in the process. And Enzo... is in a gigantic mech made of wood--Oh! But some Gob Juice might be just what we need for this situation.
Guest 14th May 2018, 2:55 PM edit delete reply
So, fucking archmages? I hope we get to do that at one point, they sound feisty.
Guest 14th May 2018, 2:56 PM edit delete reply
We gotta consider what weapons would be good for Ranse. A longer bladed weapon may take too much skill, and a bigger blunt weapon may take too much strength. She seems to enjoy the melee itself enough, so something such a whip may serve her well. Keeps her close enough to be effective, but far enough to be safe.
Guest 14th May 2018, 2:57 PM edit delete reply
Hambone here, wasn't logged in for some reason.
Twyll 14th May 2018, 3:23 PM edit delete reply
A whip tends to require a lot of finesse to use properly (and not accidentally whip yourself or your teammates), but if she can start practicing with it, she might do well with one eventually. It'll probably be a good long time before she can manage one in combat, though.
Arislide 14th May 2018, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
Ye old pointy stick may be best for her. I say a spear.
xenonni 14th May 2018, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
Maybe a ranged weapon for Ranse? A crossbow with various tipped bolts seems to make some sense
Arislide 14th May 2018, 3:55 PM edit delete reply
Her trepidation makes me wary of giving her a bow. I see her accidentally shooting one of us in melee
Hambone 14th May 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
Hey, if she's got a good throwing arm, she might be able to cook up some good alchemical grenades. Or, barring that, Inzo could make a t-shirt cannon launcher of some sort for em.
lil Joshu 14th May 2018, 6:07 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Make spit-roast out of the fire ant parts.

So convenient when your meal hunts for you.